Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mini Reviews: Boy Books Edition

I've done a terrible job of staying away from contemporary books this month, but I have read some really interesting stories! I recently finished two contemporaries written by men with male main characters, so at least that's a little different. Right?


Anyway, here are my thoughts:

Where Things Come Back 
by John Corey Whaley

Cullen lives in the middle of nowhere, but his town becomes a big deal when an "extinct" woodpecker is spotted in the woods. And then his little brother goes missing. And Cullen goes through a couple love interests. And then there are chapters from all sorts of random people's point of views. But it all comes together in a very unique, un-put-downable read.

It was just a really quirky book (with an equally quirky cover) but I enjoyed it. At first it seemed like the different story lines were never going to connect. And other times I couldn't tell if what was going on was actually happening or not. (There were some zombie-riffic imaginings that were obviously fake, and then some other things that were more ambiguous.) But it was quite the ride to read. I liked Cullen, despite his doing multiple bone-headed things, and not handling his brother's disappearance in a way that made sense to me. I adored his little brother, Gabriel, though. It was easy to become invested in all the characters. Once I saw how everything came together I was pretty impressed. I don't think I've read anything quite like this one.

by Andrew Smith 

Ryan Dean West (AKA Winger) is a 14 year old junior at his posh boarding school. All he wants to do is not be seen as a little kid by his classmates, especially Annie, who he's liked forever. He ends up in the dorm for troublemakers and finds quite a bit of trouble for himself. Also rugby, violence, and lots of little illustrations.

I stayed up until nearly 3 finishing this because I cared so much about the characters. But when I got to the end I kind of wished I hadn't read it. Content wise, the book gets fairly violent (the boys are on a rugby team, which is a rough sport on its own. But they physically fight each other outside of sports pretty regularly, too). The profanity is frequent, including the f-word. And there are some very intense things that happen.

But on the good side, I loved the characters so much. Ryan Dean is very flawed, and he makes some of the dumbest choices, but overall he was so easy to root for. He was funny and authentic, which also meant he tended toward more pervy than I cared for. But I was
still invested in his story, and his friends. The characters and the voice are top notch. The occasional illustrations were fun, too.

For me, this book was a lot like Code Name Verity. I was invested, but it was intense and darker and not exactly what I thought it was. I couldn't put it down, but I don't know that I enjoyed reading it. It was absolutely well written and interesting, but it hurt to get through.

Have you read either of these? Anybody else a fan of books with a male main character?

1 comment:

  1. I've seen a few good reviews for Winger, but I'm honestly so put off by the cover, I'm not sure I'll ever read it! It doesn't especially sound like my sort of book either, but I really think the cover is the nail in the coffin for me :)