August 23, 2011

Summer Lovin' Books

I can't believe the summer has almost come to an end! *Insert crying* Yesterday, the weather was positively autumn-ish. Not that there's anything wrong with autumn-ish weather---it's divine, really!---but man, I'm going to miss summer. The hot days, the lounging about, the watermelon-eating, and the roller coaster-riding. Don't leave us just yet, summer!

As I reminisce about the last few months (lemonade! dresses! So You Think You Can Dance!), I have to say I was lucky enough to read some really great books. A few of my faves:

Legend by Marie Lu

I started Legend with a bit of apprehension. See, I looooove dystopian fiction but I've been disappointed by a few of the Big Dystopian Novels that have come out in the last couple years. My brain has witnessed too many shadowy government figures and bad boy love interests who are secretly as cuddly as kittens once you get to know them. (We need more Peeta's, I tell you! Nice boys!)

But Legend was refreshing. The characterization was spot-on---especially the whip-smart heroine, June---and the plot was fast-paced yet satisfying. I also enjoyed the worldbuilding, which was subtle but made sense. Sometimes, dystopian worldbuilding makes me scratch my head ("Why don't these people escape to Russia?! They don't have to be bred to become organ donors!" Extra points if you know what book I'm talking about!) but Legend didn't suffer from this problem.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Okay, I think I might be the last person on Earth to read this novel but better late than never, right?

Man, I seriously inhaled this book! Jay Asher mentioned in an interview that he intended Thirteen Reasons Why to be a thriller---and boy is that true. I couldn't stop turning the pages, even though I knew what the outcome would be.

Interestingly enough, my little sister read this book when I finished and she gave it a "meh" rating of a B-. Her complaint? She thought Clay, the narrator, was too perfect. She wanted him to have a flaw of some sort, which I found interesting. If you've read this novel, do you think the book would have been stronger if Clay was more flawed?

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Oh dear, this book has stirred a lot of controversy. Basically, it's a memoir written by a Yale Law professor who raised her children the Chinese way. In other words, her two daughters were groomed to become music prodigies/math geniuses who weren't allowed to have play-dates and sleepovers.

You know what though? I loved it! I know, that's sort of weird, right? Amy Chua has a self-deprecating sense of humor---she's not afraid to make fun of her craziness---and, at the end of the day, this book is about how she learned to chill out as a Tiger Mother and let her daughters explore their own interests.

And I could relate so much to this book since I'm a child of Chinese parents: the forced piano lessons, the forced evening math classes, the forced Chinese school attendance. Ah, memories! Both my sister and I were giggling at some of the anecdotes shared, although to be fair we were allowed to have sleepovers and to participate in activities beyond playing instruments and learning math.

So what have been your favorite summer reads?


  1. I felt the same way as your sister about 13 Reasons. I read it quickly and loved the premise, but was sort of bummed by the fact that Clay didn't have faults the way everyone else did, especially everyone Hannah singles out. I still enjoyed the read, but that stood out to me.

    I haven't read LEGEND yet, but it sounds awesome. And I've heard nothing but great things. I'm in the middle of BLOOD RED ROAD right now, and it is KILLING me. Sooo amazing. Another dystopian/post-apocalyptic tale done right. (At least in the half of it I've read.) :)

  2. Ooh, I want to read BLOOD RED ROAD now. I loved LEGEND, as you know. My other fave dystopian read of the summer was ARTICLE 5, which I just finished (and unfortunately have to pass along on the Apocs ARC tour or I'd lend it to you). Gripping, chilling, unputdownable. I loved it!

  3. I loved LEGEND for the same reasons you've listed. I especially adored June: she's the ultimate heroine, I think. Flawed, but willing to learn. And so, so brilliant.

  4. Erin, ohhhh you have made me so intrigued about Blood Red Road! I wasn't sure if I could get into the dialect but now I think I need to read it. RIGHT NOW.

    As for 13 Reasons Why, I can totally see where you and my sis are coming from. Now, I kind of want Clay to have a flaw too! I think I was too absorbed in the book to really notice it at the time but he does seem a tad too perfect.

  5. Jess, I can't wait to read ARTICLE 5! I do love post-apocalyptic fiction and I'm excited to dive into this one once it comes out. You get to read such great ARCs! I'm uber jealous. :)

  6. Emy, yes! I loved June! I loved how strong she was--yet likable--and how calculating she could be. I haven't read a MC like her before so it was refreshing.