Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
This was a fantastic read. I loved the whodunit plot that revolves around a bunch of eccentric characters. There's a slew of teenagers on a music retreat, the organizer - a sociopath, a conductor with seven fingers, a teacher with a secret past, a woman who witnessed a murder in the hotel years ago on a quest to move on, and the unfailing concierge who has seen it all. They're eventually trapped in this grand old Shining-esque hotel during a snowstorm when another murder takes place. I love stories that flip back and forth between the past and present, and this one wove them together tantalizingly and seamlessly.
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
This book was indeed strange, and very, very creepy. On the surface, it's a story of a missionary sent to a planet light years away to preach the gospel to the 'natives.' At times it was reminiscent of sci-fi stories like Avatar and District 9, but never really goes down the path of exploiting the aliens. It really focuses on the main character's relationship with the natives and how he begins to change as a result of his increasing distance from human interaction, including his wife back home on earth. It would be great fodder for dissection on what makes us human, the nature of religion, and many other heavy topics. Mainly, I kept reading because I was convinced there'd be some weird plot twist at the end. I suppose because it's a popular literary trend right now. Alas, there were a few revelations, but no major WHOA! moment.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Speaking of heavy... Oy, this book! It's one of those that you can't really explain because if you did, you'd give away important plot information. Suffice it to say that it's a disturbing, heartbreaking and unique story. Similar to The Book of Strange New Things, the main character is very introspective and it's another novel that would be good for dissecting heavy themes on the nature of what makes us human. I felt chewed up and spit out in an eye-opening way after reading it. Open at your own risk.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
So yeah, I needed a palate cleansing book after reading those last two books and a good YA romance seemed to fit the bill. I enjoyed Jenny Han's short story in My True Love Gave to Me, and heard good things about To All the Boys I've Loved Before. It was a sweet and perfectly serviceable coming of age story that sort of turned into a twist on Can't Buy Me Love. (Am I dating myself with that movie reference?) I enjoyed it enough to probably read the sequel that's coming in May.
Books I Read in February 2015
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