Hello earthlings! I am back after a mild book coma where I blacked out and read a book about a guy on Mars for a few days. It was as great as it sounds.
Making my summer reading list and hoping you’ll share yours, too.
Two great ones (and a boring one) below.
As always, all book reviews are spoiler-free.
1. The Martian.
If You’re Looking For: Believable Science Fiction, Page Turner, New Fiction
My Review: A classic tale of survival against all odds–basically Robinson Crusoe on Mars. You don’t have to be a space nerd to enjoy it, although it would have made it slightly easier to comprehend. So many times I stopped to think, “Wait. What?” Still, I couldn’t stop reading. Charming, funny, and insanely well-researched. Not your average fiction read in any capacity. Five stars for originality and suspense.
Their Review: “Riveting…a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man’s ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.”- Booklist
Quoted: “If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
If You’re Looking For: Coming-Of-Age Novels, Soft Sci-Fi, Young Adult Fiction, Summer Reads
My Review: Young adult fiction at its best. I zipped through this novel in a day, compelled by the gripping plot line and wonderful writing. A beautiful marriage of apocalyptic fiction and a coming-of-age tale. One of those stories that gets stuck in your head long after it’s over, especially the terrifying details of our (seemingly plausible) end. A great, smart book for the beach or backyard. Five stars for writing, depth, and feeling.
Their Review: “[A] gripping debut . . . Thompson’s Julia is the perfect narrator. . . . While the apocalypse looms large—has in fact already arrived—the narrative remains fiercely grounded in the surreal and horrifying day-to-day and the personal decisions that persist even though no one knows what to do. A triumph of vision, language, and terrifying momentum, the story also feels eerily plausible, as if the problems we’ve been worrying about all along pale in comparison to what might actually bring our end.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Quoted: “How much sweeter life would be if it all happened in reverse, if, after decades of disappointments, you finally arrived at an age when you had conceded nothing, when everything was possible.”
PS: I read this a few years ago! Re-reviewing to showcase great summer reads for the blog.
3. The Snow Child.
If You’re Looking For: Magical Realism, Alaskan Fiction, Adult Fairy Tale
My Review: This was our book club book a few months ago, and while I tried really hard to love it– I found most of it uninspired, slow, and a bit too “this is what is happening.” I can see why so many reviews sing its praises; I mean, it’s a nice story. But not once did I ever feel shaken or swept along. To sum it up: underwhelming. Three stars because I wanted to (and did) finish it.
Their Review: “The real magic of The Snow Child is that it’s never as simple as it seems, never moves exactly in the direction you think it must…Sad as the story often is, with its haunting fairy-tale ending, what I remember best are the scenes of unabashed joy.”―Ron Charles, Washington Post
Quoted: “We never know what is going to happen, do we? Life is always throwing us this way and that. That’s where the adventure is. Not knowing where you’ll end up or how you’ll fare. It’s all a mystery, and when we say any different, we’re just lying to ourselves. Tell me, when have you felt most alive?”