Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vacation Reading

I'm way overdue on this, but better late than never! Here are short reviews on the two best books I read over my vacation:

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The much-awaited (by me, anyway) companion volume to Life As We Knew It takes place during the same catastrophe - the moon being knocked out of orbit, causing cataclysmic weather, deaths, and the breakdown of society - but from the perspective of a different family in another part of the country. In New York City, a teenaged boy and his two younger sisters are at home alone when it happens. Their father is in Puerto Rico at their grandmother's funeral and their mother has left for work at a hospital, neither to return, leaving the three kids to survive for themselves in a world that has become unstable and scary.

Because they're in a city and also very involved in their church, this family is much more informed of what is going on than the family in Life As We Knew It and have a bit more access to support. Like the first book, this one was filled with a mixture of desperation and hope. It is a very different story though, and did not disappoint.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The daughter of a bookshop owner is called upon to write the biography of an ailing writer who, in addition to her many novels, has told just as many untrue versions of her life story. What follows is a fantastic tale full of secrets, lies, betrayals, sinister twins, madwomen in the attic - everything you could hope for in a novel. Unpredictable and creepy, it's a gothic page-turner. If you haven't read it yet, I strongly suggest you do so. This is Setterfield's first novel, and I can't wait to see what's next.

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