Wildlife, by Fiona Wood:
The dialogue, the clarity of the two narrative voices, and the interactions between the characters (especially in the cabin scenes, which portray group power dynamics so accurately that I wondered if Wood had a background in anthropology) were all spot-on. Sib’s conflicting feelings about her relationship with Ben; her fracturing friendship with her bestie Holly; her closeness/distance with her other best friend, Michael; Lou’s slow re-entry into the world via her reluctant interest in the various dramas playing out in her cabin; the parallels to Othello—not too obvious, not at all strained, no didactic AHA! moment for the characters, they’re just there for the reader to pick up on or not—and the incorporation of various poems and music references: all excellent, all noteworthy.
I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson:
Even better—which is saying something—is the depiction of the two of them as a unit. The sibling rivalry, the desire to throttle AND the need to protect, wanting to establish independence but also feeling the pain of emotional distance. Listed like that, those elements seem contradictory, but Nelson makes them not only work, but feel real and true and almost inevitable. Likewise, the twins’ relationship with their parents—again, as a unit and as individuals—is fabulously well-drawn.
Jackaby, by William Ritter:
Double points to Ritter for NOT creating any romantic tension between Jackaby and Abigail: There is (eventually) mutual admiration, respect and friendship, but not even a hint of flirtation. So refreshing! And double-plus points for his depiction of Chief Inspector Marlowe, who starts out as a classic skeptical stick-in-the-mud, but eventually proves to be intelligent, empathetic and fair-minded. Due to differing worldviews and priorities, though, there is no doubt that he and Jackaby will continue to clash in the future.
Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn), by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Falls the Shadow, by Stefanie Gaither
Being Audrey Hepburn: A Novel, by Mitchell Kriegman
Evidence of Things Not Seen, by Lindsey Lane
Color Song (A Passion Blue Novel), by Victoria Strauss
Day 21 (The 100 Series), by Kass Morgan
Made for You, by Melissa Marr
The Vault of Dreamers, by Caragh M. O'Brien
Echoes of Us: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 3, by Kat Zhang
Sway, by Kat Spears
Michael Vey 4: Hunt for Jade Dragon, by Richard Paul Evans
The Infinite Sea: The Second Book of the 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey
Who R U Really?, by Margo Kelly
New paperbacks (that I've read):
Conjured, by Sarah Beth Durst:
For those who stick with it, for those who are comfortable allowing Eve to get there in her own time, all will be revealed—and in a hugely satisfying manner. It’s a dark fairy tale, it’s a carnival of horrors à la Ray Bradbury, it’s a cop story with occasionally hilarious pitch-perfect dialogue, and it features a male romantic lead who is easily as adorably irresistible as Seth Cohen. It’s original, it’s smart, it’s scary, it’s emotionally satisfying on all levels. It’s a thriller and a romance and a mystery and a thoughtful examination of love and humanity and trust and patience.
Starry Nights, by Daisy Whitney:
While I grant you that that passage has a vaguely creepy voyeuristic vibe, it also highlights the reverence with which Whitney writes about art: as something sacred, something holy. The details about art and art history—as well as the moments of travelogue as Julien and his friends run around Paris—are well integrated in the narrative, and the very few moments in which the information is relayed in a more didactic manner are forgivable, as Whitney does a great job of choosing hugely interesting tidbits to share.
Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn), by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian:
The characters’ feelings are so mixed and so constantly morphing that my sympathies—and even alliances—shifted right along with theirs, and it’s especially nice to see a book about revenge that deals so heavily with the blowback that comes not from exposure, but from one’s own empathy and conscience. The explanation of the paranormal element—which I was ready to dismiss as unnecessary until it TOTALLY WON ME OVER in the last 100 pages—ended up being so awesomely unexpected that I’m considering going back and re-reading both books.