Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Death of Bees

by Lisa O'Donnell

What do you do to kill time while you're waiting for your wonderful friend to meet you for a daily dose of fro yo? Well, if you have a goal of reading 50 books this year, you will not waste any time and will literally run (NOT WALK) into the nearest bookshop. So that's what I did! And I picked up this little surprise. The Death of Bees intrigued me from the moment I saw the cover, and the premise of two young girls who have buried their parents in the backyard and are living alone was something I DEFINITELY haven't heard before. I will be honest, the first half of the book shocked me. And not because Marnie and Nelly (both younger than 16) did indeed bury their horrible parents in the yard after their deaths, but because they deal drugs, have sex with married men, and swear a lot.... Does this mean I'm strangely both sheltered and jaded? I honestly don't know. Let me just say that this story was very eye-opening about the poverty stricken population in Glasgow, where the story takes place.

The second half of the story became a page turner for me, as the relationships with the girls neighbor Lennie and their grandfather become more developed. Through these, the girls learn the nature of love, how to accept good love from others, and their own true value. As they build a new family with Lennie, they learn about sacrifice and find a home where they least expected it. And when things take (another) turn for the worse, the sisters lean on each other, despite their constant bickering and misunderstandings. The dynamic between Marnie & Nelly is the foundation of the story, their love for eachother propelling them forward. I also found the varied viewpoint storytelling interesting to read. Especially since Nelly appears to be a 90 year old crone trapped in a 12 year old's body. In her own words, Toodle-oo!

Just One Day

by Gayle Forman

I have been looking forward to this book for ages, simply because Gayle Forman wrote one of my favorite book series of all time, If I Stay and Where She Went.
Although her writing is intended to be "young adult" literature, the themes and heart of her stories speak to readers of all ages. In this new book duet (the sequel Just One Year will be out this fall), we follow Allyson as she gets caught up in a whirlwind European romance with Willem. In "just one day", she falls in love and discovers her true self. But when Willem disappears the next morning, Allyson is left to deal with the fall out. As she heads off to her freshman year at college back at home, we join her on a journey of self-discovery. Anyone who has left the nest for the first time can identify with Allyson's struggle developing her own identity apart from her overprotective parents and familiar surroundings. As she grows into herself, she begins a search for the truth of what happened to Willem.... and the ending will have you biting your lip (like myself), as you realize you have to wait months to find out what happens to these two characters! Yes, MONTHS. (I should have heeded my sisters advice and waited to read this until the sequel was already out... I'm not known for my patience.) While this story did not have the same depth as If I Stay, it certainly pulled me in. And if Gayle Forman follows her previous pattern, then the sequel is sure to be even better!