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

What I’m Reading: Sharp Objects

Sharp ObjectsFrom the book jacket:

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

My review:

This is by far the deepest, darkest read of the Gillian Flynn “trilogy,” and as disturbing as it was I couldn’t put it down. I have no idea where Flynn’s headspace was at when she penned this one, but whoa…

The characters are all NOT OKAY, from 30-something year old Camille to little Amma and her cronies, but I still was desperate to know how much more messed up these individuals would become. (Answer: Waaaaaaaaay more.) I was able to kind-of-sort-of figure out who commits the murders, but the twist (because there has to be a twist) was perfect, not over the top, and explained a lot of the characters’ behaviours.

One relationship I had a bit of trouble understanding was the one between Camille and her boss, Curry. Overall, Curry seems genuinely concerned about Camille’s well-being given her past, so I struggle with why he’d give her this assignment. I understand that she has an “in” as the events being covered happened in her hometown, but did he now realize the damage this place had caused Camille growing up?

Aside from that, the remainder of the relationships in this story are beyond healthy, creeping me out in an oddly-satisfying way. I don’t even think Dr. Phil could handle the crazy of these characters.

In all honesty, I’m not certain Sharp Objects is for everyone. It’s extremely dark and a lot of the content I think would make your average reader extremely uncomfortable. Still, I was absorbed by it and thought it was disturbingly good.

My rating: ★★★★★/5.