Friday, June 12, 2015
Rating: PG - There is vague talk of sex
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
My Thoughts: I honestly was not too impressed with this book. It kept my interest, it was very well written, and I was hooked on it for sure, but I kept expecting something really amazingly moving or interesting to happen and it just never did. The ending was disappointing to me. Maybe it was because I was more interested in Faina's story than in Jack and Mabel's, and the book is really about the relationship between Jack and Mabel and how it changes and grows.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.
Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.
My Thoughts: While this book is getting raving reviews all over GoodReads, I didn't think it was that memorable. It's a quick read, since the chapters, paragraphs, and even the sentences are very short and choppy. It's constantly switching viewpoints between Willow's 1st person narrative and literally every other character's 3rd person. I didn't find that particulary annoying, but I just thought this book would be different. There wasn't a lot of descriptive language, a lot of the events are kind of unrealistic, and it all just kind of felt hazy, if that makes sense. I was kind of interested in the plot line of a 12 year old genius trying to find her place in the world, but it's really more about a girl trying to deal with the fact that she is suddenly an orphan with no other family in the world. She didn't really need to be a genius to make the plot any better (or worse). I thought it was an ok book, it did keep my interest, but mostly because it was just such a quick read. I wasn't dying to finish it and I didn't feel moved or forever changed by this book. It's a good teen novel though.