Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anya, Another Girl, Summer without You, Goodbye

The first book I read was Anya's War by Andrea Alban. Anya, is a Jew living with her family in Shanghai, China on the eve of WWII. Her father refused to join the communist party and so the family left Odessa. But then Anya finds an abandoned baby on the street. Her hero, Amelia Earhart, is lost. And the Japanese ships in the harbor are a threat. She wonders if there is any place safe enough for anyone to be Jewish. She struggles with her religion and her dreams and her family. While the historical and religious context were interesting, for some reason, I wasn't particularly pleased with this novel.

Just Another Girl by Melody Carlson is the story of Aster, the middle sister, trapped between selfish Rose and dependant Lily. Her parents are divorced, her father doesn't pay child support and doesn't visit, and their mom works all the time. So Aster is stuck caring for Lily. At age 17, she wishes she could have her own life, hang out with friends, go to college...Aster struggles with how society views Lily and struggles with the family God has put her in the middle of. I am a fan of most of Carlson's books, and I liked this one. It didn't wow me, but it was a good read.

I really loved What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. The cover is fabulous and I love the names SD came up with. For girls: Mclean, Riley, Heather, Opal, Tracey.Not so many for guys, but I liked the name Ellis, thought it was original. Mclean is the main character. For 3 years, she and her dad have been traveling from town to town working on restaurants that need help as part of EAT Inc. Every time they move, she becomes someone else, gets a different name (her middle name is Elizabeth, so they come out of that). Changing herself doesn't help Mclean deal with her parents awful divorce and doesn't help her forget, or forgive. But in Lakeview, somehow, Mclean ends up being, well, Mclean. This is a fabulous buildingsroman and a girl's search for her life identity. I loved it and definitely recommend it.

I wasn't very fond of Jenny Han's first novel, but I liked It's not Summer without You, better. Belly has to deal with her heartache over losing Conrad, and Susannah's death, and the change in the mother. I always thought Conrad was a jerk, so I was glad when Belly got to end up with Jeremiah, who I always thought was better. I liked getting to see it from Jeremiah's perspective as well as Belly's. I'm curious to see how the final book will turn out. I liked the cover too, how you can't see Belly's face.

So these are the books I've been reading. And today I'm going to start on Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. It's time for me to get back to reading today!