What I’m Reading: Where the Crawdads Sing

From the book jacket:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

My review:

I was easily skeptical of all the hype behind this book, so it took me a while to finally give in and see what all the fuss was about. Even after I finally bought it, I was unsure for the first couple of chapters but something finally reeled me in and I was hooked. (Fishing puns definitely not intended.)

Where the Crawdads Sing is quietly powerful, and I couldn’t help but feel heartache for Kya as she desperately longed to feel simply accepted for who she was, and frustration towards those who didn’t understand her.

I believe the author did a fantastic job using detailed description throughout the book without making it too long-winded; it was almost poetic, in some ways, and every detail had a purpose.

I don’t regret my decision to finally pick up Where the Crawdads Sing, and I think it certainly lived up to its hype.

My rating: ★★★★★/5

What I’m Reading: Paper Towns

From the book jacket:

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew… 

My review:

I’m not generally drawn to YA books, but I really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, so when I was gifted Paper Towns I was pleased to take on another John Green read.

I was quiet surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this one, even though at times I thought Margo seemed overly philosophical for a 17/18-year old girl, and most definitely selfish. I wasn’t particularly a fan of her character, but I don’t think Green actually intended for us to cheer for her. The true story, for me, was the bond between Q and his friends.

Green did an excellent job in creating Q, Ben and Radar’s friendship; they are a fairly accurate representation of most 18-year old boys and their friendships – constantly ragging on one another but sticking by each other’s sides when things go a little nuts.

While I’ll never quite understand Q’s obsession with Margo, I can understand why he wanted to find her. I can also see the bigger picture Green wanted us to see – that despite how well you think you know someone, there’s a lot more underneath the surface.

A lot of other reviewers compared Paper Towns to Looking for Alaska, but since I’ve yet to read the latter, I can’t judge. Paper Towns was light enough to breeze through relatively quickly, but still thought-provoking enough to make it interesting and not just a bunch of drivel.

My rating: ★★★★/5

What I’m Reading: The Rosie Result

From the book jacket:

I was standing on one leg shucking oysters when the problems began…

Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project.

Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school: his teachers say he isn’t fitting in with the other kids. Meanwhile, Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards.

For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new.

It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity.

And opening a cocktail bar.

Hilarious and thought-provoking, with a brilliant cast of characters and an ending that will have readers cheering for joy, The Rosie Result is the triumphant final instalment of the internationally bestselling series that began with The Rosie Project

My review:

I really enjoyed the previous two instalments of the “Rosie Series”, so when the third came out I was looking forward to reading how things would wind up in the end. As expected, Don is back and his mannerisms have not changed – except they perhaps need to in order to be an effective parent to Hudson and partner to Rosie.

I wanted to love The Rosie Result, but this book had a bit more of a serious tone to it and I had a hard time looking past that. I could understand the angle of Don and Hudson figuring out who they were and where they lay on the autism spectrum, and I enjoyed that aspect of it; I felt though that the addition of anti-vaxxers and gender/job equality needed to be either developed more or nixed completely.

Still, despite Don’s quirky personality, his concerns as a parent were relatable for anyone who has a child in school – you’re constantly worried about them fitting in, making friends, succeeding, etc.

While a little drawn-out, The Rosie Result wrapped everything up quite nicely in the end, and it was heart-warming to see just exactly what the “result” was that Rosie has had on Don’s life.

My rating: ★★★½/5 stars