April reading round-up

First, apologies for the extremely light posting this month. I’m battling through the last few weeks of grad school and doing my best to find myself a job for when I’m done, and I recently started a new part-time gig, so it’s been pretty busy around here. Not surprisingly, that means I read a little less this month (side note: I challenged myself to read 100 books this on Goodreads – unfortunately I picked 100 because it seemed like a nice round number, and not because I thought,”Oh, two books a week! No problem!” That would have been a silly thing to think. Now Goodreads reminds me every time I log in that I’m behind on my challenge and I’d better pick up the pace if I want to reach my goal. Unemployment, here I come!)

Anyway! I did managed to get some reading done this month, and since I’m driving more with my new (very part-time) job, I’ve also started listening to more audiobooks, so I’m going to mention those too.  So! Here are my April reads:

          

I actually finished A Tale Dark and Grimm at the very end of last month, but didn’t include it in the round-up and never got around to reviewing it (boo). It’s a fracture re-telling of several Grimm fairytale, all strung together to make one long tale about brother and sister Hansel and Gretel. I haven’t been reading too much Middle Grade fiction lately, but this one was a good reminder of how enjoyable MG can be. Funny, witty, dark and gory but never too much for the intended audience. Much good has been said about this (the author’s debut, by the way!) and it deserves the praise.

After A Tale Dark and Grimm, I went to the far end of my regular reading spectrum with Queens of All the Earth, an adult (although YA-friendly novel) about two sisters traveling in Barcelona. There were beautiful moments in this book, but also something a little precious about the prose that didn’t work for me.

I followed that with Breaking Night. Breaking Night is a memoir about a young woman who grew up with drug-addicted parents in New York in the 80s and 90s. Liz Murray, the author, was homeless when she decided she wanted to turn her life around. She enrolled in an alternative high school, finished in only two years (while still homeless), received a prestigious New York Times scholarship, and graduated from Harvard. It’s an amazing story, and hopefully I’ll have a post on The Hub with more about it soon.

While I was reading Breaking Night,  I was also reading FreakAngels. It’s a graphic novel set in a drowned London about twelve telepathic young adults who may or may not be responsible for the end of the world. I’m not much of a graphic novel reader, but I have a friend who runs the graphic novel book club at the local library, so I read it for that, and it’s a lot of fun! The whole series is available online for free.

When I finished Breaking Night, I moved on to Rot & Ruin. This was my first zombie novel, and for the most part, I really liked it! I wrote a nice long review that you can read by clicking on the title, but in a nuthshell: the world-building was great and I enjoyed Maberry’s take on zombies and people’s reaction to them, but it was a little long and heavy-handed sometimes. Still, a fun one ( I sent my copy to my sister the zombie-lover for her b-day).

I finished Rot & Ruin about the same time I started listening to Matched on audiobook. This one was SUPER-hyped at the end of last year, so I was excited to read it, but it wasn’t anything amazing. It was an interesting story (like a cross between The Giver and Delirium), but I was annoyed to be come to yet another cliff-hanger ending. I also wasn’t crazy about the reader or the production of the audiobook, which definitely influenced my take on the story.

In contract to Matched, the reader on Heist Society was awesome. If Heist Society had been published this year, it would definitely be on my Best of 2011 list. It tells the story of Kat, a teenage thief extraordinaire who’s trying to escape the family business, but gets drawn back in when her father is accused of a crime she’s sure he didn’t commit. Heist Society is fun, fun, fun, and the audiobook was great. I liked the reader a lot, and it had all kinds of little touches I appreciated: telling you when you reached end of a disk, repeating the last few sentences from one disk and the beginning of the next, etc. I’m writing a review of the audiobook for the Hub, so look for that in a few weeks.

Last but not least,  I read Trudy. This was the book for teen book club this month, and while it’s very different from most things I read, I enjoyed it. It’s a very sweet book about a girl entering junior high. In addition to all the regular pressures of adolescence, her elderly father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The author, who came to talk to book club, was so nice, and the book seemed to go over well with the kids.

So that was it for April! I’ll be back to posting regularly in this month (and if you hear about any sweet teen services jobs, let me know!)

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