Mini-Reviews: Part One

Because I had not decided to blog until February, I did not post reviews of my January reads.  So in an effort to remember what I actually read this year, here are mini-reviews of some of January reads.

Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah

I picked this up because it was about the sister relationship.  I have two sisters and usually love books dealing with sisterhood.  This book wasn’t bad.  I am pretty sure I read it in two days.  It was, however, cheesy and the sister story wasn’t anything special.  There was estrangement, bad childhoods, improbable romance, cancer, single moms… cliched for sure.  Sometimes, however, cheesy hits the spot and in the few days of rest I got between holiday family time and going back to work, this was what I wanted.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I’d heard many good things about John Green and decided to start with this book, as the premise sounded interesting.  Also, the library cover of this book was really cool, a hologram or something.  The book is written with the two authors alternating chapters in the first person.  Each author writes from the point of view of a boy named Will Grayson.  Green’s Will Grayson lives by the rule of keeping his mouth shut, thereby isolating himself, and is often in the shadow of his larger-than-life gay best friend, Tiny Cooper.  Levithan’s Will Grayson is depressed, gay, and is also pretty isolated.  The two Wills meet randomly and the boys come into the own as a result of the chain of events that follow this meeting.  The best part of this book is the characters.  Both Wills are funny and easy to relate to.  Tiny Cooper is a really interesting and funny character, too.  My least favorite part of the book was the ending, which felt a bit silly and contrived.  Although, the characters were so fun, I will definitely try other books by these authors.  (In fact I am in the middle of another John Green book right now!)

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

For some reason, I decided I really wanted to read something about the genocide in Cambodia.  I was craving something serious and historical.  This book is the memoir of a woman who was a small child during the civil war/genocide/Pol Pot years in Cambodia.  The story was told from the perspective of a child living through extremely distressing situations, which made for some moving scenes.  For example, the descriptions of starvation and fear and social withdrawal and loss were quite well done.  I left this book having learned something and would like to know even more about Cambodia.  I’d say that is a successful memoir.

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