Jellicoe Road

Sometimes when I finish a book I need to write an immediate response – turns out Twitter is fabulous for this.  The problem is with books I love, the books that without sounding like a cheesy cliche – the ones that get into my soul I have this immediate reaction, and then I want to savor.  I want to think about them, and figure out what I liked so much, and then I never, ever blog the book.  This is what happened with The Book Thief.

So I finished Jellicoe Road, and I twittered, and then I did daily mundane things, and I knew if I didn’t sit down NOW I wouldn’t, and then I’d miss the opportunity to tell you to read this book.  It isn’t that the plot was so outstanding, I mean you know that Taylor’s life is entertwined with Hannah’s story of the five kids.  But I like the stories, Taylor and the kids.  It isn’t that the characters were so inviting. Taylor is a bit of work, and I wished for more of some the other secondary characters like Raffy and Jessa. Which isn’t to say that they were repelling.  It isn’t that I developed a bit of a literary crush on Jonah Griggs, which is to say that I did of course.

But Melina Marchetta loves language.  The book is lyrical in the way it tells the story.  In that way it reminds me How I Live Now.

I just randomly opened up the book and found this:

The world sways and I sway with it until it is like being in a hypnotic dance, almost enticing me to step over.


She’d get bored being good.  She’d get bored trying to go clean.  She got bored being my mother.

(I like the parallelism.)

So the story in a nutshell: Taylor’s mother left her in a 7-11 on Jellicoe Road, Hannah took her in.  But Hannah is gone. It is territory war time with the Cadets and the Townies, and Jonah Griggs is back and the Brigadier, and there is a story to untangle that may tell Taylor more than she wishes to know.

Very good, I loved it.

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You Know Where to Find Me

Plot – After Laura’s suicide her cousin Miles, and family and friends grieve. 


Rachel Cohn likes words, she likes to play with words.  I guess I knew that from Gingerbread – Cyd Charise’s constant patter, but it was easy to forget in light of the plot.  Which is interesting because that love of language is what makes Gingerbread seem like cotton candy, when really it is more than spun sugar and air.   
But in You Know Where to Find Me – there isn’t any cotton candy.  It is heavy and sad, and the words weigh you down.  And yet, lift you up because Rachel Cohn likes language, and she spins this story with more words than may be strictly necessary to tell the plot, but that are like the humid weather of DC in the summer, inescapable and oppressive, and yet integral to the moment.  

This isn’t really a book that blew my socks off – but there was a moment when I stopped and thought – Damn! she likes language, and it is refreshing to read someone who likes language enough to engage with it for tone, mood, atmosphere.

3 Willows

Backstory:  When I first read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants I liked it, wasn’t overwhelmed but ok, you know, I liked it.  By the time Sisterhood II came out I was annoyed by the attention the book got, since I didn’t feel it necessarily merited the love.  And when I started II I was even more annoyed by what I thought was bad writing, filled with ridiculous metaphors (a common but mortal sin in my book). I put it down and didn’t read any until I had to read III.  So I begrudgingly read IV  for purposes of conversation with girls who read and liked the series.  (BTW- I liked the movie for the Greece eye candy – beautiful scenery, and I mean scenery – not Kostos.) 

Oh – and the story about its existence is,  you know, icky. 

Anyways I wasn’t like I have to read this book blah blah blah”  and it has a terrible cover.  3 Willows

But I wanted something to read and it was late so I was just going to download to the Kindle (part of the problem with Kindle – waaaayyy too easy to get books) and the new Deb Caletti not available on the kindle so I thought what the hell?


What the hell indeed?  It wasn’t god awful, but I did finish thinking well that is a couple of hours I can’t get back.  First the love of the sisterhood is a little annoying.  Second – why is effie such a bitch?  Third – there is nothing surprising, or cool, or you know, more than bleh in the book.  It is like its cover – kind of just there.  

I don’t usually bash books on my blog, and its not like I mean too, it just there isn’t a lot to say which kind of sums up my experience with it.  Maybe I shouldn’t post but I’m trying to be better about blogging what I read even if it doesn’t send me over the moon.  And well, Ann Brashares – I’m done with you.

 However – if you are a middle school librarian – this belongs in your collection.  For name recognition, girl friendship reading purposes.  I suspect middle school girls won’t have the reaction I did although I don’t suppose this will be as popular as Sisterhood.  It is however for a middle school audience – including the fifth graders who read the Sisterhood series.

Something fun.

So after getting a bit frustrated at SLJ’s tournament of the books which recognizes books already well recognized Renay at YA Fabulous has deemed herself crazy enough to host her own tournament. Come join her (and me).


The thing is there is always just enough bitter with the sweet- Saracen-redemption, loses just so it isn’t too perfect.
But Joe McCoy makes my stomach hurt.

National Poetry Month

From comes this daily poem, Summer at Blue Creek, North Carolina
What I love is this line –
by the foundation where
the fine people’s house was before
they arranged to have it burned down.

The poem’s narrator is remembering his childhood and you just know he picked up that tidbit from overhearing the “grownup talk”.  And then there is the sudden mood change. . .