This was a week of not being able to put books down. Seriously, every one was a page turner (or an ear burner). This is why I love reading so very much – such a diverse week of writing styles, dialects, topics, emotions. What a ride!
Prisoner 88, by Leah Pileggi
I connected with Leah Pileggi on Twitter when we got engaged in a discussion of historical fiction. I am always honored when aithors share their experiences and expertise. Though I’ve been trying not to read too much of the genre I’m writing, her book, which had been lurking there for awhile, hopped to the top of my TBR list anyway. I was thrilled to get it very quickly from the library, and read it in two or three sittings. This was a great picture of a period and set of historical events I hadn’t experienced before, told from the perspective of a young boy who was sent to a prison for adults. The prison didn’t know what to do with him, and the story grew from that premise. It’s a wonderful tale of loyalty at its heart, with a setting that takes us vividly to the time and place. One of my favorite things about this book, which told a powerful story we have never heard, was the affirmation that came in the end notes. There, Pileggi describes how she was inspired to write this story by a tour of the old prison. My upcoming work is inspired by a few photos encountered in museums, too. They have stuck with me. I feel moved to research and bring their stories to life.
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
What a punch in the guts this book is – so beautiful, so powerful, so heartbreaking…The audio is exquisite and I cried. I didn’t want to stop listening, and as difficult as parts of it were, I didn’t want the story to end. Lovely and memorable. Hard to say more.
Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson
I know I am trying not to read too much historical fiction since that’s what I’m writing. And yet, I had to pick this one up, feeling as if I had been missing somethig. I was right – I was inside these characters, good and bad, and I cried and hurt for them, got angry and determined and discouraged with them. At this point in my writing it could serve to be disheartening – but I’m not discouraged. I’m writing my very first historical fiction and this award winner (National Book Award Finalist and Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction) is a bar to reach for, not a book to be discouraged by. I went and got the sequel right away, though perhaps I ought to save the reading of it for awhile.
Sky Jumpers, by Peggy Eddleman
This book was action-packed – there is so much going on, with the fate of the community resting on the shoulders of the young people. Great, well-crafted fiction and interesting post-apocalyptic world-building. I haven’t gotten jaded about this type of fiction, still enjoy seeing how people handle the “after,” and learn the lessons they need to learn from utter disaster. Certainly appropriate for fourth and up, though there is killing when the bandits come (sorry, spoiler!), but if you’ve a lover of action in your life who’s looking for a good read, this one will fill the bill. I see there is a sequel. I’ll be reading it.