What I Read This Week

Six Months, Three Days, by Charlie Jane Anders– This is a novelette, only about 26 pages, but those 26 pages are among the best I’ve read recently.  It’s about a couple.  He can see the future.  She can see multiple possible futures.  But they both agree that their relationship is going to end, badly, in six months and three days.  They get together anyway because they know that the good parts of the relationship are going to be really, really good.

I read rave reviews about this, and bought it because it seemed like an interesting, fresh premise.  I wasn’t expecting it to be actually as good as it was.  I figured that with both of them able to see the future, the story wouldn’t take me anywhere surprising, but it did.  Not only that, but it made me think.  I can’t wait to read it again so I can catch everything I missed the first time.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews– This one has been on my TBR list for awhile, and I finally got around to it.  I liked it, but didn’t love it.  The narrator was likable and did self-deprecating well, but there were too many stereotypes in the book for my liking.

The “dying girl” seemed flat to me.  She wasn’t the main character, so I suppose she didn’t need to be as well developed as our narrator or Earl, but I don’t know much about her.  Maybe that was the point, but she was a title character in the book, and I didn’t much care about her.  She doesn’t really seem to have any friends until the narrator befriends her, and even then, her main characteristic seems to be that she thinks he’s funny.  And she likes posters of men who are old enough to be her father.

I get the point.  She’s a girl with cancer, and she doesn’t have to be funnier or more insightful than a normal kid.  Books seem to want to make these kinds of kids wonderful, as if dying builds character.

The problem is that she’s completely forgettable.  Even a “normal” girl has interesting things about her.  She was a symbol in this book, not a real girl, and because of that, I liked it less than I would have otherwise.

It’s worth reading, but I’m glad I got my copy from the library.

We Are Called to Rise, by Laura McBride– This is a multiple point of view book, and I very quickly found my favorites.  There’s only four, and they’re very different, so I had no trouble following the narration.

I really liked this book.  It’s slow getting started, but once it hits the “single, shocking moment” described on the cover, it’s like a thrill ride.  I couldn’t wait to finish and see how all these wonderful people were tied together.

The ending was one that left me with questions, has made me think, and want to discuss.  I loved how this book empowers the characters.  None of them are perfect, and their flaws are right out there in the open, but that only makes me like them more.    All of them are tested, and see what they’re really capable of.  All of them change by the end.  This isn’t a book with easy answers, and it’s one of the things that I loved, and frustrated me, about this book.

This one may be worth another read someday.

If you’ve read any of these books, and agree or disagree with my opinions, let’s discuss in the comments.

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