Heart-warming characters and an unconventional story telling left this reader smiling from beginning to end.
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Dial | Hardcover, 403 pages
Published in 2008, My Most Excellent Year sat on my shelves unread for the last two years. I won this book when I first started blogging (Mel’s Just One Opinion
) and I haven’t been able to pick it up until recently. I was in need of a light read that could help me bounce back from the heaviness of Forbidden and The Fault in Our Stars. Boy, did I get more than what I’ve bargained for!
Told in a series of emails, alternating point of views (via journal entries), and letters, My Most Excellent Year is a story of a boy who believed in dreams and helped others to make theirs a reality. This book is full of happy; I smiled so much, I’d developed a cramp in my cheeks. The author’s knowledge in all things Red Sox and musicals, combined with feel good stories are sure to melt the hearts of even the most discerning realist readers. It has a trail blazing, trend setting boy who adopted a gay Chinese boy for a brother; a gay Chinese boy who adopted a lonely boy who’d lost his mother; the cutest orphan next to Annie, a daughter of a former Mexican diplomat who only wanted to sing and dance, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, and romances that’s sure to put a goofy smile on your face. There was no drama, no clique mentality of any kind and no teenage angst. It was innocent and somewhat snarky; quirky and just…a book that you will hug when you’re done. If the books you have in your pile is not working out so good for you then I suggest you read this. It’s not a laugh-out-loud funny book but it’s funny enough to glue a smile on your face from page one to the last.
My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
You won’t find the lost girl in this plot.
Nothing But Blue by Lisa Jahn-Clough
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | ARC paperback, 213 pages
Blue woke up without a single memory of how she got there. No name, no identity. Little burst of vague memories fades in and out of her mind but the one constant reminder was the chant that was going on her head:
No one survived.
The story begins as she travelled toward somewhere but she didn’t know where until that certain need to get to the ocean. In her journey, she finds a dog who seem to be more sentient than any other. The reader will be duped to believing that there’s something fantastical about the plot. But there isn’t. The dog was just more attuned to her for inexplicable reasons. I found no sense of direction where the story was going. It was just about a girl who couldn’t remember who she was. The incident that brought on her amnesia wasn’t really explained well. And without giving too much away, it certainly made me believe that Blue has something to do with the accident. She was guilt-ridden, but her only sin was that she wasn’t in the house when it happened. She meets this vagabond, nomad, hippie group of people whom she saved from rail bulls. I really didn’t find any of the other characters in this book to have any bearing to Blue’s story. It was pretty pointless. Even the quasi-romance-friendship with Snake was tepid. It ended before it began. I would wish that the book was longer but why prolong the agony?
Less than compelling read with a plot that really had no direction to speak of.
My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars