Books of December (2013)

Last month I read almost four books (missed by a hundred pages or so).

Dandelion Wine

The first one was «Dandelion Wine», by Ray Bradbury. Published in 1957, it is more or less autobiographic with a touch of magic.

This novel narrates one summer (summer 1928) in the life of Doug Spaulding, a young boy from Green Town, Illinois. It describes the people’s routines, the kids’ adventures (like going to the forest or to buy ice cream). Bradbury talks about the joys of being young, the flight of time, and the changes in our lives.

Anyone who enjoys classics should give this book a try. Readers’ opinions go from «it is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read» to a «boring, with no plot.» So, if you really like short books, preferably old and with a little touch of magic, this one’s for you.

Before I Fall

This novel by Lauren Oliver tells the story of Samantha Kingston, an American teenager who has everything: she looks great, she’s popular, has a boyfriend, three crazy best friends and always gets what she wants. However, Friday the 12th of March after drinking too much at a friend’s party she has a car accident and dies.

Don’t worry, she wakes up the next day in her bed and discovers that it is Friday again. Seven days pass with Sam waking up on the same day, trying to figure out what, how and why this is going on. On this journey she’ll find herself, she’ll re-evaluate her behavior and try to change the lives of those surrounding her.

Oliver’s debut novel received many positive reviews and was highly recommended… I didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, this whole idea of dying and coming back all the time is pretty good, but the protagonist is the perfect stereotype of a typical teenage girl. She’s only interested in her friends, her popularity, her boyfriend and the parties. I would only recommend it if you love young-adult fiction and pink stories. Sure this book has its good, funny and sad moments, but I don’t know if it fits my reading preferences.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

December’s best book is definitely «The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair» by Joël Dicker.

Who killed Nola Kellerman in 1975? Nobody knows. 2008, Markus Goldman visits his old mentor, the great writer Harry Quebert. While searching for ideas Markus discovers that Harry had a secret relationship with Nola, but an outraged Harry throws him out of his house. Sometime later Markus receives a call. Harry is in jail, Nola’s body has been found buried in his garden, and he could be sentenced to death for it. Markus refuses to believe Harry killed the woman he loved and starts his own investigation. However things are not what they seem. Everybody has a secret, everybody has a sin. Soon Markus finds himself confused, alone and threatened.

Number one in sales in France and winner of three prices, this thriller is just what I had been waiting for. Once you’ve started, you cannot put it down. You’ll find yourself thinking you know who the murderer is and change your opinion at least four times. Still, I do have to warn you: this novel can be cheesy when it comes to love.

The Lost Hero

The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan, was the book I almost finished in 2013. It is the first one of «The Heroes of Olympus» series. It’s like the continuation to «Percy Jackson and the Olympians», so if you haven’t read that one but really want to read this one, you should probably read the plots of the last five books on Wikipedia, just to have an idea. Otherwise I recommend you read «Percy Jackson and the Olympians».

Jason wakes up with no memory of who he is or what he is doing. Apparently he’s got a girlfriend and a best friend, and they’re all on a bus on a school field-trip. His girlfriend, Piper, has problems of her own, since her father’s missing and her boyfriend is pretty sure he’s never seen her before. The best friend, Leo, is a hyperactive, joke-telling mess, who doesn’t really get what’s going on. They’re attacked by a bunch of monsters, taken to a camp for demigods (‘cause apparently, they’re all children of Greek gods) and must now find a way to figure their situation out.

This book was quite the fun read; it didn’t have the magic from the original series, but I did enjoy it. Recommended for all those who enjoy adventures, fantasy, mythology and young adult literature.

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