Monday, March 2, 2015

Mini-Reviews: Adult Fiction

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

(Summary from GoodReads) 


After enjoying Eleanor & Park and Fangirl getting Attachments from the library seemed like a good idea.  I totally see the appeal of Rowell’s first adult novel—the e-mail format is quirky, there are several humorous moments, and it’s incredibly sweet.  I never formed a terribly strong attachment to the characters, which could have a bit to do with them, but I think has more to do with the fact that marriage is pretty far from my mind these days. Attachments was fun to read once, but it didn’t really stick with me once I put it aside.

The Fever  The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation" (Laura Lippman).

(Summary from GoodReads) 


Abbott’s The Fever is probably one of the most bizarre books I read in 2013, and there are many things it does well.  It goes by very quickly but each character is well constructed and their backstory is fascinating.  The Fever is a social commentary, particularly about young women interact with each other and the world around them.  Abbott skirted around a lot of interesting ideas, and I think I would have liked this book better if it had gone into even more depth with those.  As it was, it felt like there were pieces missing from this one.

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, “Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?”

Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.

George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other's soulmates.

When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.

Lydia Netzer combines a gift for character and big-hearted storytelling, with a sure hand for science and a vision of a city transformed by its unique celestial position, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the heavens in her novel How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky.  

(Summary from GoodReads)

How to Tell Toldedo from the Night Sky is really well written, and I started off loving the concept.  The plot is really well structured and there are a lot of great connections, but it started to unravel towards the end.  There were, however, points where the storyline just got much too weird for me.  I will say I loved how it discussed the concepts of fate and destiny.  While I'd only give this one three stars, a lot of other people have loved this one, though, so I think I’m the odd one out.

The Art of Fielding
At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry’s gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners’ team captain and Henry’ best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment—to oneself and to others.

(Summary from GoodReads) 

I picked this one up when John Green recommended it a few years ago.  I went to Kenyon long after John Green graduated (which is not why I picked it—in 2005 I had no idea John Green even existed) and this book made me feel a lot of nostalgia for it and small towns with liberal arts colleges. I have to wonder if that’s partially where Green’s recommendation comes from.  I was bound to enjoy it because it made me feel like I was coming home, and it was well written.  There were a few small inaccuracies, like the college president getting something like six new ties for free from the bookstore each semester—my father is a college president and I can assure you that this doesn’t happen.  I also found the ending a little predictable.  Overall, though, this one entertained me and I would reread it.

The Engagements From the New York Times best-selling author of Commencement and Maine comes a gorgeous, sprawling novel about marriage—about those who marry in a white heat of passion, those who marry for partnership and comfort, and those who live together, love each other, and have absolutely no intention of ruining it all with a wedding.

Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years—forty years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love—the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding—beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings—and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own.

As these lives and marriages unfold in surprising ways, we meet Frances Gerety, a young advertising copywriter in 1947. Frances is working on the De Beers campaign and she needs a signature line, so, one night before bed, she scribbles a phrase on a scrap of paper: “A Diamond Is Forever.” And that line changes everything.

A rich, layered, exhilarating novel spanning nearly a hundred years, The Engagements captures four wholly unique marriages, while tracing the story of diamonds in America, and the way—for better or for worse—these glittering stones have come to symbolize our deepest hopes for everlasting love.

(Summary from GoodReads) 

I’m not sure what to make of The Engagements.  I found myself really caring about the characters with this one, and the storylines were decent, though the way connected didn't really come off as a surprise in the end. The prose never hooked me, and I think that's why this one felt a little long and slow.  This one is a little too dense to be chick lit, and not literary enough for a book club.  Since there’s not anything super exceptional about it, I’m just not sure how this book is going to find its audience.

1 comment:

  1. Attachments is such a cute read. I loved reading the e-mail exchanges between Beth and Jennifer, they were at times hilarious. I also found Lincoln to be extremely adorable. I do wish the romance would have happened a bit earlier than it did though.

    Cucie @ Cucie reads



Related Posts with Thumbnails

Ads Inside Post