Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
2013, 416 pages
I am so bad at blogging lately! I read this book at least two, maybe even three, weeks ago and didn’t blog about it. It wasn’t that it was bad, I just apparently didn’t want to write about it. So now it is much later and I need to just get on with it! So here we go.
Palisades Park was, once, a real place in New Jersey.
According to the book it closed in the 1970s. The book follows the effect this amusement park had on the Stopka family. Eddie Stopka first visits the park with his parents when he is a young boy. He loved it so much he never forgot it. Fast forward and he meets and then marries his wife in the park. His children are raised in the park. His daughter wants to become a high diver, based on those she has seen in the park.
The book starts in the 1920s, and goes up to the end of the 1960s. The Depression, World War II, Korean War, and the Civil Rights Movement are all parts of the plot.
The author himself went to Palisades Park himself as a child. The book is like a love letter from him to the park. It’s well written, and interesting. Worth a read.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 bedazzles
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
2013, 400 pages
This book is pure silliness. And that is awesome. It switches back and forth between sisters Fliss (Felicity, because I was wondering where the nickname ‘Fliss’ could possibly come from) and Lottie. Lottie proposes to her boyfriend, Richard, and he panics. The rejection is too much for Lottie and she jumps headfirst into a relationship with a former boyfriend she hasn’t seen in fifteen years.
Lottie, determined to end her poor dating record, decides that there will be no sex until they are married. Of course the new boyfriend decides that they must get married immediately! The rest of the book is about Fliss’s attempts to sabotage her sister’s wedding night so that Lottie can get out of the marriage if she wants to.
It’s a hilarious comedy of errors, and should definitely become a movie.
Rating: 4 out of 5 bedazzles
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
2013, 433 pages
Where do I go with this book? There were things I enjoyed, and things I really did not care for. Regardless, I stayed up way too late finishing it last night. That made it a book that I read in one day. Generally that doesn’t happen unless I liked it. So…..what does it all mean?!
I should probably explain the plot before I go picking it apart. Essentially it is this: 18-year-old Cath and her twin, Wren, move in to college. Cath is introverted, and always seemed to follow her twin around. Wren decides they need some space in college and becomes the party college girl, complete with hospital trip due to too much alcohol. Cath resists making friends, talking to people in public, general friendliness. She writes fan fiction based on a series (very Harry Potter meets Chronicles of Narnia….I mean, we know what it’s about) that she loved as a kid. Her sister used to write with her, but does not now. The eighth book in the series is coming out, and Cath is determined to finish her novel version before the real one comes out. She spends a lot of time on message boards. Her father’s a little manic, there is boyfriend drama, there you have it.
First of all, the names. There are twins, Cather and Wren. The reason is explained that the mother did not pick out two names, just one, and so split it between the two. Cather is too close to catheter, as both I and my friend Alyisha observed, to make it an acceptable name.
The fanfiction angle. I get it, I appreciate that it exists. I have never read fan fiction, but I’m sure there is some wonderful stuff. Someone can point me in a direction and I will give it a shot. However, in what universe is finishing a fiction novel online more important than, you know, taking your finals and staying in college?
Family drama: dad’s a manic and sometimes needs to be hospitalized, the twin is a drunk because, you know, that’s what you’re doing in college, and a mother who abandoned them. No wonder she’s disappearing into fan fiction. Her life is kind of sad times.
Well, I did finish it in one night. I needed to know how the boy drama ended! No YA book is complete without boy drama!
The girl is not a pushover. She doesn’t want to just sleep with guys, so good for her. She has her own world and she wants to keep it, even if it is considered lame by others, so also good. She had her own opinions and she kept them. She didn’t go changing because of boys. So, again, that is good.
The story was fast paced and an easy read. Good in this sense.
The book is interspersed with chapters from both Cath’s fan fiction and the imaginary series that she took her ideas from. The parts were good, and seemed like it could actually be a series.
Rating: I think 4 out of 5. I’m indecisive.