* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Maddy has been trapped for most of her life at home due to a rare illness. Cared for by her mother and a kind nurse, she is content, but longs to be a normal teenager. When a cute boy moves in next door, little does Maddy know that he will change her life forever.
I thought Maddy’s story was sweet with the kind of teenage angst that made me smile because I remember having those feelings. I liked that most of the conflict actually centred on her mother and Olly’s parents. I read a few reviews that felt the story fell flat in the end, but I thought the ending was agreeable. Sad, but hopeful.
From page one, the book felt like it was written to become a movie and lo and behold! The book was optioned before even widely released and somehow cheapens the story for me. I don’t know why because I’m happy for the author’s success.
* * *
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (audio book narrated by Rita Wolf)
Parvana is an eleven-year old girl who is also stuck inside her home, but this time due to the Taliban-rule of her town and their strict law that females are not permitted outside without a burqa and an escort. When Parvana’s father is taken to jail, Parvana’s mother is incapacitated with grief. Parvana and her older sister realize they need to buy food for the family or face starvation. They come up with a scheme to disguise Parvana as a boy so she can go out into the world and take care of the family until their father returns … if he ever does.
Although it is fiction, The Breadwinner provides eye-opening insight into the oppressed and silenced lives of Afghani women living under the Taliban even to this day. I truly appreciated Parvana’s story of how her family lived in fear and boredom, but felt a strong duty to their country and never-ending hope for all Afghanis. Although classified as a young adult novel, I think readers of all ages would find this book educational and inspiring.
I don’t think there was anything I disliked about this book other than Parvana’s mother was pretty stupid and useless.
* * *
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
Set in 1914, Girl Waits with Gun tells the story of the three very different Kopp sisters who get into an accident with a rich and mean-spirited factory owner, Henry Kaufman. Normally quite isolated from other people, the Kopp sisters find themselves suddenly tangled up with Kaufman, his gangster friends and the law. As the sisters face constant personal threats and harassment, Constance in particular becomes too angry to stay quiet and attempts to put a stop to things.
Girl Waits with Gun was delightful. With all of their love, resentment and goofiness, the relationship between the sisters is the highlight of the story. I adored them and burned with disgust and anger throughout the story as they endured the hatred of the bad guys. But then there were men dedicated to keeping them safe too and I was very satisfied when justice was served.
I was hoping for some romantic action between Constance and the strong, but silent-type Sheriff she teams up with to take down Henry Kaufman and his thugs. Alas, he is married with many babes, although there was definitely something simmering under the surface. Luckily, the way the book ended, I’m predicting a sequel…
Have you read these books? What books are you reading in November?