Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mini-Reviews, Book Club Edition

I'm joining another book club tomorrow, which has me all kinds of excited. Here's what both book clubs I'm a part of read this month.

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell

This book was really sweet, and managed to completely tug on my heart strings. I'd recommend anyone going into know that it is not a light, fluffy romance, though. There's romance, and it is adorable, but there are a lot of other really dark things, too. Eleanor comes from a difficult background and a lot of people in her life aren't very nice to her. Starting out, she assumes Park will be exactly the same. They're initially awkward bus seat-mates, and sort of quickly and inexplicably go from not talking to being crazy for each other.

The love story came about quicker than I expected, but it was also nice to have happy things going on in the book. Rainbow Rowell did such a great job capturing the craziness of crushes and affection and self-consciousness, and everything that goes into loving someone. I would have liked a little more from the ending, and a bit more obvious character growth for Eleanor. But overall I enjoyed this one.

Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys

This was a very interesting read. It's crazy to think that such horrible things were going on in Russian and the Baltic States during World War II, and that most people have no idea. It's something so terrible and horrendous that everyone should know about it. The author's note was just as interesting as the book. I couldn't believe that even after people came back from those kinds of labor camps that they weren't allowed to talk about what happened.

So I think this is an important book. Obviously, it's not a happy read. Lina and her family go through so much, along with all the other deportees. At times it was so hard to read that I had to put the book down. But there were moments of hope and happiness and strength throughout the book. As far as story-telling goes, I would have liked a bit more from the end (again). The epilogue has a huge jump in time, and I would have liked more about what happened in between. But from a historical perspective, it was a really informative, engrossing read.