Monday, August 1, 2011

My Library Thing "Read in 2011" tag counter toggled up to 75 books over the weekend.  A Librarian colleague, helped out by adding Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs to my book bag last week.  Riggs' first novel has been on the New York Times Children's Chapter Books bestseller list for 7 weeks, and this week stands at number 4 on the list.  Although "Peculiar Children" was reviewed in the adult new fiction section of some of the review journals (Booklist, Library Journal), our Consortium libraries are placing the book in their Young Adult fiction collections.  After reading the book, I concur with that placement.  Yes, it is a book that may appeal to many adults, however, it is at heart a story about a teen with typical teen themes such as friendship, first love, family relationship, identity, and finding your place in the world.   "Peculiar Children" is a fantasy-mystery with some science fictional time loops, and some horror in the form of "tentacle-mawed" vampire-like "hollowgasts". This tale's appeal clearly hangs on the 44 weird, and quirky, atmospheric black and white photographs that accompany and illustrate the text as a freaky sideshow.  This is the only way I can account for the book's ride on the best seller list, because, while the pacing and writing starts off smoothly dark, it becomes a bit lumpy towards the middle, and drags towards the end.
My rating: 2 and a ½ stars. Dede enjoyed the book more than I did and rates it: 4 stars.

This past week I also read Mindblind, by Jennifer Roy, The Space Between Trees, by Katie Williams, and The Kid Table, by Andrea Seigel.  If you liked Mark Haddon's, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, or Francisco X Stork's, Marcelo in the Real World, you will probably enjoy "Mindblind," another tale in the growing lexicon of books about people (teens) with Asperger's or Autism. My rating: 3 and a ½ stars.

The Space Between Trees is a murder mystery page turner, with a surprising realistic conclusion that is not neatly wrapped up, nor particularly happy.   Adults as well as teens who like murder mysteries would like this book.  My rating: 3 and a ½ stars.
Lastly, but not least, The Kid Table, is a window into family dynamics over the course of one year at five various holiday and celebratory gatherings. The "kids" (or cousins) relegated to the kid table are all (but one) in high school or college, and are all only children.  It is by turns charming, humorous, and serious, and lets you know that though someone has grown up knowing their cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. what one doesn't know about them, and about yourself, can be a wide field of discovery.    My rating: 3 and a ½ stars.

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