The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

The Little Friend
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A bit of a so-so novel for me. Nothing like the awesomeness of The Secret History. If you’re looking to read some Donna Tartt I would recommend you start somewhere else as this one may put you off.

Not much happens. It’s a big ole’ book with a lack in action. Needless to say I did enjoy some of the plot – it just took a long time to get to the exciting bits! We follow a young girl named Harriet, we learn that when Harriet was a child her older brother Robin was found hung from a tree. In their suburban neighbourhood the question of whether the death was intentional has always been at the edge of everyone’s mind. Robin was only a boy, could he of hung himself – or was it someone else? We come back to the story years later when Harriet is in her teens and she makes the decision to try and find her brother’s killer. Along with her peppy young friend and a plan that may involve car chases, snakes and gun fights it makes for a novel that sounds pretty action-packed and appealing, right? It was slow, very slow. Plus the font in my edition was ridiculously small – I’m kind of surprised that I read it all to be honest!

If you’re a die-hard Tartt fan I would say that you would probably like to read this one but if you haven’t read anything from her yet I would steer clear of this one! I don’t regret reading it but know that I won’t be revisiting it in the future.

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Rat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons

Rat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons
Rat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the second volume.

I was a little underwhelmed by this one and to be completely honest I’m sat here racking my brains trying to remember what actually happened – so it didn’t leave much of an impression!

I still really love this series as a whole – I thought the last volume was awesome, so I will be continuing on once volume four is out.

The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour

The Last Illusion
The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This was nothing like I imagined it to be. Definitely one of the most disappointing reads of the year so far.

This book follows a young Iranian boy who has been kept in a birdcage by his mother. At the beginning of the novel he is rescued from his ten-year long prison and taken from Iran to New York where he is adopted by a behavioural analyst. We then see his VERY speedy recovery – some how he manages to reclaim his posture, speech and can function pretty well in human company. The book then details his life as a young man and the struggles he is going through, we see him trying to make friends and battling with his inner ‘bird’ instincts. At this point the book was verging on the side of boring and I couldn’t see where the author was going with the strange addition of bizarre ‘friends’ for the young man. Each of these friends seemed to have a whole truckload of mental health issues of their own which I didn’t think were dealt with in a great way – particularly the eating disorders/body dysmorphia elements of the book. To top it off a large thread of the book revolves around 9/11 and the World Trade centre being destroyed – I won’t spoil it for you but I personally feel that this topic was handled in a very disrespectful way and I couldn’t really see why it needed to be added in to begin with – I mean we already have a kid who has spent most of his life in a birdcage and his peculiar friends…is that not enough for an engaging plot?! Clearly not…

This novel was all over the place, I don’t really know what the author was trying to do! She has taken on a lot of big topics – feral children, mental health issues, eating disorders plus 9/11 on top of all that! It was like she was trying to squeeze in as many things as possible and ended up doing a bad job of it all. I wouldn’t recommend.

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

Hangsaman
Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If anyone has the time to explain this novel to me I would greatly appreciate it πŸ™‚

For the first 20-30 pages I really enjoyed this novel but then I got hopelessly lost with the plot and clearly missed what the point of it all was.

This novel follows a young woman named Natalie as she takes the plunge and begins College. At the beginning of the book we see Natalie interacting with her family (this is the part that I understood and really enjoyed) but whilst she is speaking with them a police officer of some description starts questioning her regarding a murder – all completely in her mind. I had hoped that this was going to continue on throughout the novel and we were going to learn what she might of done or what she was trying to hide but as soon as she reached College it stopped and I have no idea why?! We then see her blunder her way through College, trying to make friends and fit in but I just wasn’t gripped by any of it.

This was a relatively short book which didn’t take me long to read but definitely left me feeling a little stupid! Have I missed something blatantly obvious? It’s a shame as I wanted to love Shirley Jackson’s other books but so far nothing has reached the glory of We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautifully subtle story that had me gripped the whole way through.

We follow the remaining members of a Chinese American family in the 1970s after the news that one of their daughters Lydia has been found dead. We move between each person in the family and see the devastating effect the death of Lydia has had. Not only are we in the present but we also flash back to memories of Lydia which gives the reader a much more rounded view of this young woman. She seems to of been in a lot of mental turmoil leading up to her death and we slowly uncover what happened to her – it’s truly wonderful how Ng weaves the story in and out amongst the details of present day life with the rest of the family.

I would highly recommend – it’s incredibly written and really set in it’s time. I know this will be one that I pick up again in the future – and definitely one that I will have a different experience with each time. Brilliant!

More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This
More Than This by Patrick Ness

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought the first half of this book was awesome but the second half went a little down hill!

A young boy drowns and wakes up in his childhood home in England. Is this the end? Is he in hell? He struggles to come to terms with the fact that the world doesn’t seem to be finished with him yet can’t quite work out what he is meant to do next.

I can’t really go into the main plot of this novel as it would totally spoil it for you but for those of you who have read it you will know there are some big twists and turns. This novel keeps you guessing and was pretty action packed – which wasn’t what I expected after reading the first part of the book. The second half takes this big plunge into a really high-action plotline which I wasn’t a huge fan of.

One thing I did enjoy was the LGBT element of the story – again I won’t go into is as it would spoil the novel – but I thought this was done really well and I loved the perspective from the characters involved. If you love action with a slight science-fictional twist I think you will enjoy this novel!

 

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this one up from my library on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Primarily set in the 1970’s we follow a neighbourhood where a woman has gone missing. No-one can fathom where she might of gone and slowly the secrets start spilling out. Each chapter is set in a different house in this neighbourhood and our main narrators are two young girls who have taken it upon themselves to find out why their neighbour might of disappeared. Alongside the present day there are flashbacks to a time in the late 60’s where the neighbourhood was under similar duress. The two young girls plan on uncovering their neighbour’s secrets – but at what cost?

This was a really fun read – and had a surprisingly nostalgic feel to it (although I was born in the 90’s). I found myself giggling at the girls as they took their neighbourhood by storm and conducted covert interviews with each of the tenants of the street. The only thing that niggled me was the over-use of food being used to set the book in it’s time – there’s only so many times I need to hear about custard creams and angel delight!

A quaint and easy read yet there are some quite heavy and controversial topics brought to the table – I would recommend to all!