I want to know!
I recently finished reading One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood at the recommendation of my daughter, who has never steered me wrong in books, and it was exquisite. I loved every single page and every little nuance. It was simply the most beautiful book I've read in a long time.
It's a book that makes you feel smart, too. So often I was thinking, "Yep, I see what you did there! Very good!"
The premise of the book via Amazon is:
The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?
So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.
One Saturday, the boy doesn't show up. Ona starts to think he's not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son's good deed. The boy's mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that the world can surprise us at any age, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again.The relationship between Ona and the boy (he is never named) is charming and heartwarming. Their conversations are delightful, funny, and enlightening.
I fell in love with Ona, yes, but I also fell in love with Quinn and with the boy who I really feel like I know. But most of all, I fell in love with the writing of Monica Wood.
I have decided to buy this book for everyone I know for Christmas because everyone needs to read it simply because it's so beautifully written and crafted.
True love = me and this book.
I'm also doing some YA reading to keep up with my students so I just finished reading We'll Fly Away by Brian Bliss which is on the long list for the National Book Award.
This book will definitely engage my students and I can't wait to share it with them. So many of them are in love with Angie Thomas's The Hate u Give and while this is not exactly like that, (different plot) it is as engaging.
Here's the premise for We'll Fly Away from the National Book Foundation:
Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.
But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love.
Again, I felt like I knew these people. Bryan Bliss has created a heart wrenching, thoroughly believable story and the tragedy of this book is that what happens to Luke and Toby can and does happen to our teenagers all the time. #truth
The writing is fast-paced, the dialogue is real, and whether or not you're into YA lit, you should read this book because it has implications for adults as well. As a teacher, it has a message for me, too. I'm interested in checking out other books by this author.
I've been reading a new author lately - new to me, that is. I was checking out the list of authors that will be at the Louisiana Book Festival in November (I'll be there with Cane River Bohemia) and came across Steph Post. When Michael Connelly writes the blurb for your book, I'm going to check you out!
I'm a stickler for reading books in order so I started with A Tree Born Crooked; again, here's the premise from Amazon:
James Hart, with a tough-as-nails exterior and an aching emptiness inside, does not want to go home. Yet when James receives a postcard from his mother, Birdie Mae, informing him of his father's death, he bites the bullet and returns to the rural and stagnant town of Crystal Springs, Florida, a place where dreams are born to die. James is too late for Orville's funeral, but just in time to become ensnared in the deadly repercussions of his younger brother Rabbit's life of petty crime. When Rabbit is double crossed by his cousin in a robbery-turned-murder, James and a local bartender, the unsettling and alluring Marlena Bell, must come up with a plan to save Rabbit's skin. A whirlwind road trip across the desolate Florida panhandle ensues as James tries to stay one step ahead of the vengeful Alligator Mafia and keep his brother alive. With bullets in the air and the ghosts of heartache, betrayal and unspeakable rage haunting him at every turn, James must decide just how much he is willing to risk to protect his family and find a way home.
I loved this book and I loved the characters, even the ones you're not supposed to like. The whole time I was reading this book all I could think of was, "First novel? Good lord, I can't wait to see what this writer can do!"
The story was fast-paced and full of suspense. I was quite satisfied with the ending and so I moved on to Post's next novel immediately which is Lightwood.
Lightwood begins the Cannon trilogy and begins with Judah Cannon walking out of prison after serving his time for the family crime business. He immediately reconnects with his lovely girl, Ramey, and then life gets complicated - not because of Ramey, but because Judah is sucked back into the family business so fast he doesn't know what happened. He promises Ramey that they'll break free. Soon. Just not yet. Tension.
In this book, Post creates one of the more interesting characters I've ever come across in Sister Tulah, a truly crazy preacher who has an iron thumb over the entire county. You just know there is more to her story and Post artfully withholds some of that for later.
Where Lightwood ends, Walk in the Fire continues, the second book in the Cannon trilogy. I'm not finished with this one yet, but with only a quarter of the book left, I can tell it's going to be a real page turner until the end. We have many of the same characters in this book as with Lightwood; even some of the ones who didn't survive Lightwood have a role in Walk in the Fire. Post introduces a few new characters to this story and with each book I can see her craft become more and more polished.
I can say that because I've also read an advance copy of her latest novel, Miraculum, which will come out in January 2019. I'll do a full review of Miraculum in a few weeks, closer to her publishing date, but just go ahead and pre-order that one because you're going to want to read it.
Miraculum is not about the Cannons, but is completely separate. (Will there be a sequel, Steph?!)
For now, I'll just say this: think Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comes crossed with The Greatest Showman, and Water for Elephants; add a serving of Steph Post suspense and tension, and you have Miraculum. I truly loved this book and can't wait to share it with everyone! It's the kind of book that even after you close the covers it stays with you. You keep thinking about it.
I hope someone makes a really great movie out of this one because it's so visual and so textured; the characters are rich and finely drawn, and Daniel Revont needs to be played by Daniel Day Lewis. Just saying.
I'm usually reading two, maybe three books, at a time and so I'm about to begin Delia Owens's book Where the Crawdads Sing. This is another one recommended by my daughter, and like I said, she's never steered me wrong. I can't wait to start it! I also have some YA that I brought home for Fall Break reading: Mirage by Somaiya Daud and Dry, by Neil Shusterman among them.
How can one not love reading?! There are so many great adventures between the covers of a book!
So, what are you reading?