#28: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Is a 576 page tome about an orphan, her foster family, and the Jew hidden in their basement in Nazi Germany during World War II. It’s horribly depressing, mainly because everyone is starving and then dies. Okay, not everyone. But geez, did I need a fluffy romance novel to recover from this one. Liesel, the 11 year-old heroine learns to read over the course of the book and also begins accumulating a collection of stolen books. I didn’t love this story. I could see how it was skillfully written, but by the end, it was very hard to find something good to take away from it. Due to the sucking of the joy out of the world. And I hated the narrator. [book club selection]
#29: The Radleys by Matt Haig – This was recommended to me by two avid readers and it’s vampire YA – what more could I want?? The Radley’s are your average suburban-dwelling English family that go to work, go to school, eat dinner, socialize with the neighbors, take out the trash etc. Except they’re also vampires. I really enjoyed the family dynamic juxtaposed against the paranormal drama. It was entertaining, and had some genuinely exciting moments. And even with all the moodiness and noir of a vampire family drama, it was a relaxing breath of fresh air after The Book Thief.
#30: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – This YA fantasy has some insane world building and fascinating secondary characters. The heroine Karou, is a blue-haired, tattooed art student in Prague, with a very unusual part time job. She's kickass and incredibly vivid. The Prague setting is wonderfully drawn and has me dying to visit and have a bowl of goulash in a hidden cafe. I would never have chosen this novel for myself, but actually really enjoyed it and look forward to a sequel. [book club selection]
#31: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen - This is my first Sarah Dessen (the reigning queen of YA romance). Remy is the daughter of a one-hit-wonder rock star and an oft-married mother and is cynical about romance. Then she meets Dexter, a mess of a dude in a band. I kind of like the fact that Dexter took on the manic pixie dream girl role. I had a hard time connecting with Remy because I didn't understand her terror of committing herself to awesome Dexter. But I liked the ending and will be squeezing in some more Sarah Dessen.