Sunday, January 24, 2010

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Rating: 4 out of 5

I was trying to find a book to give as a birthday present for my niece who's about to turn 16 years old this month (Kids sure grow fast, don't they?) when I came across 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher at the Hastings bookstore. I'm not really into YA novels, but something about the cover just made me want to pick it up and buy it. Yes, I am a sucker for nice covers.

At the beginning of the novel, high school student Clay finds a bunch of audio tapes sent to him. These tapes were recorded by Hannah, Clay's crush. However, Hannah is also dead. She committed suicide weeks before. With her voice reaching from the grave, Hannah tells her story and why she ended up committing suicide.

This is a very sad story. At first, I thought Hannah's reasons seem petty and selfish. Then I decided to put myself in her teenage shoes. That was when I began to understand her. It really wasn't until the end when I realized how she lost her belief in humanity. I'm not saying that what she did was right, but her suicide could have been prevented. I'm a healthcare worker so I've seen cases of attempted suicide and suicide. It's really easy to judge a person without knowing what's going on in their life. This book showed just that.

I breezed through this book. Even though the story was depressing, it was still good. While I recommend it, I don't think it's for everyone.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Rating: 4 out of 5

I love thriller books. It's no surprise that even after I lost interest in In the Woods, I picked up Child 44. When I bought this book, I promised myself that I will read it right away. It took me a whole year before I plucked it out of my bookshelf where it was collecting dust. Oh, well.

In Child 44, Leo (the main character) is on a mission to find a serial child killer and bring him to justice. I think what really caught my interest in this story is that it's set in 1950's Russia (then called the Soviet Union) where fear and paranoia gripped the society.

Sometimes my reading schedule gets interrupted because I have something important to do like work, errands, and etc. There have been times when I don't get back to my reading because I lost interest, or I want to start a new book. Not so with Child 44. Even after a three day interval, I was eager to get back to the story, and my interest in it stayed.
Kudos to Mr. Tom Rob Smith. This was his first novel, and it became a bestseller, which I thought was well-deserving. Character development was right on the money. The actions scenes were great, and the descriptions were super. I really felt like I was in the scene with the characters. Some scenes were graphic, and I did cringe while reading them. That didn't stop me from reading though. I also loved how the story paced along nicely. It didn't drag. The whole story was exciting from beginning to end.
If you're looking for an excellent thriller/mystery, I would definitely recommend Child 44.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In the Woods by Tana French

Pages: 429
Rating: Nada

I wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like this book. It was highly recommended by Books-A-Million. It was a New York Times bestseller and also the winner of the 2008 Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel. So many praises! How could I not like this book?
Well, I didn't like this book. In fact, I really struggled to keep myself interested, and it just didn't work. Because I didn't finish it, I'm not going to rate it. I don't think it's fair to rate something I didn't complete. I'm disappointed though since this was supposed to be my first review of the year. Sigh.
The beginning wasn't bad. In the Woods was the story about two murders that happened in the woods ( hence the title) of Knocknaree, Ireland but occurred twenty years apart of each other. The plot was interesting enough, but the story lost its steam in the middle of the book. I know mysteries were supposed to keep us readers in suspense...and if...IF they're exciting enough and hold our attention that we just can't wait to get to the end, awesome! Sure there was some suspense in the story, but the story dragged. On and on. I seriously felt like that kid in the backseat of the car who kept asking the parents, "Are we there yet?....Are we there yet?"
But I never did get to the end. After painfully trying to read it for a week and stopping page 282, I decided to close the book and put it back in my bookshelf. The end. At least for me anyway.
Next book please!