Christmas 2012: Books I Recommend

I’ve already posted the books that I’ve been coveting this year, but I wanted to share my suggestions for stocking stuffers with you guys! I’ve read all of the books below this year and HIGHLY recommend them. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Astray by Emma Donoghue
  • I’ll admit I’m usually not a fan of short stories – just when you get to know the characters they leave! However, since discovering The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits while on the Kenyon-Exeter Program (2010-2011) I have fallen in love with Donoghue’s short fiction. She has an amazing ability to introduce and develop characters in a very small space. Her newest collection, Astray, is about comings and goings, immigrations and emigrations.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • This is the only one that I didn’t discover in the past year. I snuck it in here because the sequel, Shadow of Night came out this summer. There’s so much to love about A Discover of Witches – set in the Bodleian Library, involves hints (or a lot, really) of the supernatural, strong female characters… Check out my view the sequel here.
The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Previously reviewed here.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Though her newest novel Gone Girl has received much critical acclaim, I prefer her earlier work. Sharp Objects was a bit of an underground classic at my high school and it became a secret code for my best friend and I. “WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart.”
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If You Liked Beauty Queens by Libba Bray….

Try These Titles!

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Adventures of Jacky Faber, on her Way to Botany Bay by L.A. Meyer

As the new captain of the Lorelei Lee, Jacky Faber can’t wait to live an exciting life on the high seas. But when’s she is arrested and put on a ship headed for the prisoner’s island of Australia, Jacky gets a very different adventure than she expected.

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Briony Larkin has two secrets: she’s a witch and she is the reason her sister Rose became ill. Filled with twists and turns at ever page, this magical story will have you wondering what happens next.

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Cat’s friends mean everything to her, so when one of them is attacked for being himself she resolves to find out who is responsible. The down-to-earth writing and no-nonsense plot are sure to leave you wanting more.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Drawing has always been a part of Lina’s life but when Soviet’s forcer her family out of their home and into a Siberian work camp, her life may depend on it. Follow Lina as she tries to make sense of family, art and life in the midst of World War II.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

When Ralph, Piggy and their friends survive a tragic plane-crash, they must find a way to survive on a remote island with no supplies, or adults. Things go from bad to worse as the boys slowly forget what it’s like to live in society.

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

Tally Youngblood has always dreamed of her sixteenth birthday when she can finally become pretty and move to New Pretty Town. When Tally’s new friend tells her about the other consequences of the surgery, Tally is forced to choose between what is right and what is easy.

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright

Carlos Duarte is not your typical high school student, for starters he’s fashionable, on trend and already has his dream job as a makeup artist. Can Carlos survive the cutthroat world of NYC makeup

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Hannah has committed a crime but not just any crime, a crime that is bad enough to have her skin melachromed. Walking around with red skin is bad enough, but when she finds out the government wants her dead she must join the Resistance and fight.

Alphas by Lisi Harrison

Invites to the exclusive Alpha Academy only go to the prettiest, most popular girls and Skye Hamilton finally scored a spot. Testing her physical, mental and emotional limits, Skye soon finds out that being the most popular isn’t enough.

Pageant Perfect Crime by Carolyn Keene

Girl Detective Nancy Drew is hot on the trail of a shoplifter when she finds out that the culprit may be in a local beauty pageant. Determined to solve the mystery, Nancy enrolls in the Miss Pretty Face River Heights Beauty Pageant. Follow Nancy as she tries to solve the case, compete in a pageant and keep her boyfriend!

 

If you missed the trailer for Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, check it out here.

Book Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke By Hillary Jordan

Published October 4, 2011

Mode read: Hardcover

Summary:  Set in the future United States when the extreme right has taken over, When She Woke tells the story of a woman who has committed the crime of abortion but refuses to disclose the name of the father. It follows much the same story as The Scarlet Letter but instead of Hester Prynne’s scarlet A Hannah Payne is forced to have all of her skin turned scarlet. This “melachroming” is the government’s answer to crowded prisons and results in many deaths by citizens who don’t want criminals in their midst. Rather than risk death by vigilantes Hannah chooses to flee the country and soon learns the difficulties of keeping silent.

Bechdel Test?: Passes with flying colors (if you’ll pardon the pun). Hannah lives in a halfway house for the melachromed and has intense conversations about life and death with her housemates.

Rating: 4/5

There are no words for how much I liked this book. From the opening scenes that are reminiscent of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to the brief mentions of Bowling Green, KY, this book had me turning the pages furiously. Hannah is a loveable character because she doesn’t complain about her circumstances but accepts that her choices have consequences. Though I don’t like to discuss political issues on my blog, this book seems to me to be a must read before the upcoming elections both for its discussion of women’s reproductive issues and its focus on what happens when you take away funding for the arts/start censoring.

Warnings: This book contains very strong political statements and discusses LGBTQ, reproductive rights, and religious issues.

 

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