Tag Archives: Headstrong Girl

After Birth, Garnethill Trilogy

Elisa Albert’s After Birth blew me away. So much so that I just wrote the author an email to thank her for getting it right, and immediately after finishing my library copy I preordered the paperback so it can live in my permanent collection. Ari is coming on her son’s one year birthday, but her postpartum depression and inability to heal from her traumatic birth experience has her coming undone. When pregnant Mina, a former rock legend, moves to Ari’s small town up the Hudson,…

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Uglies Trilogy and Detectives in Togas

I had mad love for Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy back when I first read it. Imagine a dystopia where until age 16, you are “ugly.” Then you get a whole bunch of surgery to become beautiful, and then live in paradise until you die. All parties, no war. Everything is beautiful, and Tally Youngblood can’t wait until her birthday–until she meets Shay, who tells her about the world outside, and asks Tally to escape with her. Tally is a great character–I think she’s more awesome…

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So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Julie of the Wolves, Ann Rule

I greatly enjoyed Brian Lehrer’s interview segment with Jon Ronson called “When Social Media Gets Mad,” and was even more delighted with his thoughtful, creative, and meticulously researched book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. He does so much more than just remind us of dumb tweets and stupid truth-stretching. Ronson is after understanding the nature of shame and how it operates. I especially loved the section on disgraced Jersey governor Jim McGreevey’s second life as a pioneer in prison reform. I am also very interested…

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More Courtney Summers, Crazy Moms

Just in time for Mother’s Day I finally picked up Her by Harriet Lane, about an exhausted mom of a newborn and a toddler who’s befriended by a chic artist who seems to save the day over and over again. Of course this lady (a perfectly normal seeming woman with a high school age daughter) has an ulterior motive that comes to light in a suspenseful way. It reminded me a lot of Notes on a Scandal. I’m also continuing my Courtney Summers love fest.…

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Two Books That Were Not Gone Girl

America’s Test Kitchen Radio has this great feature where they test kitchen gadgets and tell you one that’s hot and one that’s not. So I’ve got two Gone Girl knockoffs, one that’s hot and one that I read anyway. You: A Novel has an irresistible premise, in which a stalker narrates his growing obsession with a troubled young woman. He addresses her using the 2nd person, but within the context of a first person narrative. Author Caroline Kepnes had to use a teeny bit of…

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Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Synopsis: The interlocking stories of Darcy, an 18-year-old who has just gotten a contract for her first novel, and Lizzie, the protagonist of Darcy’s novel who is having a love affair with a Hindu death god. Review: Afterworlds had great promise but Scott Westerfeld loved Darcy too much, and didn’t make her suffer enough. I got tired of hearing the characters talk about how they were all wonderful writers. Even if they are wonderful writers (and Darcy’s novel does have “the juice”), it grates. But…

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The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Synopsis: A series of murders in a resort town lead to the unexpected reunion of two women who have been sentenced never to see each other again after they murdered a child when they were only 11. Review: Heavenly Creatures is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I was keen to read The Wicked Girls after reading it compared with Peter Jackson’s thriller about two preteen girls who commit an unspeakable murder. The structure of The Wicked Girls is quite cleverly executed.…

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The Fever by Megan Abbott

Synopsis: When her best friend has a mysterious seizure and ends up in a coma in the hospital, a high school girl begins questioning everything she knows about her friends and family–and then another one of her friends falls victim, too. Review: I wasn’t sure if I would love or hate The Fever, but imagined I wouldn’t fall in the middle the way that I did. There were enough intriguing elements to keep me interested, along with some good surprises, but the emotional payoff just…

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Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Synopsis: After being hidden away for 19 years, the lawful heiress to the throne of the Tearling emerges from hiding, only to find her kingdom tarnished by an ongoing atrocity perpetuated by someone she always admired, and her life in danger from many sides. Review: Queen of the Tearling is a bold, skillful beginning to a promising series. The twist here is that the feudalism typical of epic fantasy is actually the fallout after all technology has failed. It’s futuristic and medieval all at once,…

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Panic by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis: A girl whose mom is an abusive alcoholic joins a dangerous game in order to win the money to escape with her younger sister, only to find herself caught in an even tighter prison of fear that may be deadly. Review: Panic has an irresistible hook–every year small town teens play a dangerous Survivor-style game that left one girl paralyzed–and breathless execution. Her intricate characterizations and willingness to linger on small moments between people, combined with her inventive plotting (tigers!) make this book yet…

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