The Half Life of Molly Pierce (2014) by Katrina Leo

The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leo (2014)

Suggested age range: 15 and up (Harper Teen, 256 pages)

Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: Library

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

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The Book: It’s mystery, it’s contemporary, it’s young adult. It’s The Half Life of Molly Pierce. Seventeen year-old Molly feels like she’s missing part of her life. There’s the boy who claims he knows her, but she doesn’t recognize him or know where (or when) she met him. Then there’s his brother who also knows her name, and with whom she senses a significant connection. Was (is?) there something between them? Love? Friendship? Slowly, memories start to come back, and Molly begins to put the pieces together. What is her secret life everyone else seems to know about but her? Will she ever have a whole life instead of just half of one?

Spirituality in The Half Life of Molly Pierce: So, you’ve probably heard me talk about the idea that the relationship to the self is one area of spirituality we can think about out of the four major connections (self, others, natural world, Divine [God]). Looking at this novel through a spiritual lens highlights that idea of our connectedness to the self, and it definitely made me think about how this idea of being “whole” is tied to our spirituality. Mental illness is something a lot of people deal with in today’s world, and it shouldn’t be ignored. The more we can understand it and support people who deal with it, the better. When we see brokenness, we want to fix it. I want to see un-whole people become whole, and Molly’s story reminded me of that even more.

Hope and expectation for the good to come were two other dimensions of the story that engaged my own spirituality.

I wasn’t expecting this because I honestly wasn’t sure what the book was going to be about! So I’m immensely glad I picked it up.

Who Should Read This Book: If you enjoy psychological reads that have a bit of mystery, like We Were Liars, you’ll probably enjoy this. Readers interested in issues surrounding mental illness, or writers interested in ways they can represent mental illness in a story would definitely find this book relevant. It will make you think, and is ideal for reading and discussing with others. I found myself telling my friends about it, even though they weren’t reading it at the time. Oh, and it’s pretty addictive. You might even drop friends off to shop and wait in the car so you can finish the book. (Note: There is some strong language and mature content in the book.)

The Final Word: I wasn’t sure what to think of Molly Pierce at first. I hadn’t read many of the reviews of the book before I plunged in, which I found out afterwards, was a good thing. There is a bit of a twist, and I’m certainly not going to give any hints what that twist entails, but readers who like puzzles and uncertainty—this might be a good choice for you.

I was wondering how Leo was going to wrap the story ends up and resolve the plot, and I was surprised at how satisfying the ending was to me.

The beginning of the book was very jarring (and I think it’s supposed to be) but its conclusion left you with a far different feeling.

Have you read The Half Life of Molly Pierce? What did you think? What other books did it remind you of?

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Uncovering the Secrets of Jellicoe Road (2006, Melina Marchetta)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (2006)

Suggested age range: 15 and up (Harper Teen, 419 pages)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Library

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

“Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered and every secret will be made known.”

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I finally read it!! During Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon!! And it was amazing!!

The Book: A tragedy took place on Jellicoe Road. Friendships were forged and flowers were planted. Eighteen years later, Taylor is trying to piece together what happened, and how it relates to her own story of being abandoned by her mother on that same road. When Hannah, who is like a second mother to Taylor, disappears, Taylor does everything she can to figure out where she is. A strange recurring dream of a boy in a tree continues to haunt Taylor, and she senses someone following her. And then there’s her friendship with Jonah Griggs, leader of the Cadets–the social group in constant battle with her own.

Spirituality in Jellicoe Road: We all want to belong within our families, and form valuable connections with our parents, and this is a challenge Taylor encounters in the story. In addition to dealing with the fact that her mother abandoned her on Jellicoe Road, Taylor is navigating the significance of her recurring dream with the boy in the tree, who seems to important. What does it mean for her life, whether it’s her past, present, or future? This aspect in the story got me thinking about the notion of dreams as spiritual. Are our dreams important and how we do figure out what they mean? If you know me at all, you know I find dreams fascinating, so of course I was highly intrigued by this part of the book.

Who Should Read This Book: Whether you are a fan of Marchetta’s high fantasy, such as Finnikin of the Rock or E. Lockhart’s contemporary YA, We Were Liars, I’m pretty sure you will enjoy Jellicoe Road. Marchetta’s beautiful prose reminded me of the gorgeous imagery from Finnikin, while the mystery of the plot and its companion narrative made me think about Lockhart’s text. At first I was pretty confused, trying to figure out the connections between the two different storylines, but it gets easier as you go along, so don’t let this deter you.

The Final Word: This book was published in 2006, and it’s taken me so long to read it! Its unforgettable plot and spiritual dimensions, however, drew me to review it on the blog. I believe it is not to be missed—you just have to be ok with crying. Ok, maybe crying a lot.

Get your box of tissues, and step onto Jellicoe Road as soon as you can.

Have you read Jellicoe Road? What did you think??

 

Top Ten (Ok, Eleven) New Series I Want To Start

Series! Trilogies! Books, Books, Books!–Lots of them!

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This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—check out their fabulous blog if you haven’t yet.

Here’s what they have to say about Top Ten Tuesday: “Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :)”

This week we’re sharing the top new series (in the last year or so) we want to start. Beginning a series always carries with it a certain weight because you know that you will have to then wait for the subsequent books to come out. I just finished Cress and now I’m dying for Winter to be released! Ahhhh!!!

But, I’ll wait, and I’ll count down the days with all my book buddies. We all know the commitment series require, but we love them, and we’ll keep on loving them! So here are ten eleven series I’m hoping to start in the near future. 😀

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  1. The Glass Sentence (The Mapmaker Trilogy #1)

 

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2. Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)

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3. A Thousand Pieces of Your (Firebird #1)  Ok, so this book isn’t technically out yet, but it’s one of my top anticipated for the near future.

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4. The Young World (The Young World Trilogy #1)

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5. Landry Park (Landry Park #1)

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6. These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) 

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7. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Way Fare #1)

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8. Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)

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9. Ilusive (Illusive #1)

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10. Elusion (Elusion #1)

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11. The Falconer (The Falconer #1)
[BONUS]

Are any of these series on your TBR list? Which one do you suggest I read first? Any titles you think are particularly relevant for the exploration of spiritual themes?? Looking forward to exploring your TTT lists, so do share!

Top Ten Books Katie Has Read So Far in 2014

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This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—check out their fabulous blog if you haven’t yet.

Here’s what they have to say about Top Ten Tuesday: “Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :)”

This week, we’re looking at our top ten reads in 2014. Some of these might be books that were just published this year, but some may have been published earlier. I have met some fantastic books in 2014, and now let me share them with you! It’s hard to pick just ten, but I’m including children’s, young adult, adult, and nonfiction reads.

Top Ten Books Read So Far in 2014

snickerA Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

One of my new favorite middle grade books of 2014! And perhaps for all time–read my review and you’ll see why.

winner-curse1-624x936The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The first in a series, this fantasy was definitely one of my favorite read in 2014. I appreciate Rutkoski’s style and relished not knowing what was going to happen as this story unfolded…

18053060Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I waited and waited for this one to come out–and it did not disappoint! A twisted version of Oz–but one that will hopefully be saved…

Cinder_hi-resCinder & Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I’m a fan of the Lunar Chronicles now. The world of Cinder and Scarlet is fascinating–I’m currently reading Cress and can now see why everyone raves about this series.

victoria-schwab-the-archivedThe Archived by Victoria Schwab

I still have yet to read the sequel and I think I’m delaying it because I loved the first one so much. This is such a unique premise–check out my review and pick this one up!

11590645Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

This is just my kind of nonfiction book, and I thought Sankovitch’s voice in this slim volume was perfect. I absolutely loved reading about her year of reading one book a day, as she worked through her grief at losing her sister to cancer. I know I will return to this book again!

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Windfallen by Jojo Moyes

I read Me Before You first, and then encountered Windfallen for my second Jojo Moyes book. I adored this one!! Looking forward to reading all of her other books.

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I JUST posted my review of this luminous mystery and was thinking about this story for days afterwards…

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Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

I LOVE the adventures and antics of Flora and Ulysses. This is heartwarming story that would be perfect as a read aloud!

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All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

This foodie novel comes out in July, and it’s a treat not to be missed. Stay tuned for my stop on the Blog Tour hosted by The Midnight Garden!

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Bonus: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Aliens? The apocalypse? This was an engrossing story with an interesting take on the alien invasion premise. I am counting the days until the sequel is released…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring The Mystery of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2014)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2014)

Suggested age range: 13 and up (Delacorte Press, 240 pages)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Personal Copy

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Realism, Mystery

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

The Book: Cadence is part of a privileged family: the Sinclairs. But like many families, this family harbors secrets. Summers find Cadence with her family on their private island off the coast of Massachusetts. There, she becomes part of the “liars,” a group including herself, her two cousins, and a grafted in “cousin,” Gat. They sneak out together, they get in trouble together, but when the summer ends, they each go their separate ways. Except for one summer. What secret is the family holding back from Cadence of that fateful summer, and what happened that she is desperately trying to remember?

Spirituality in We Were Liars: Topics like greed, racism, and dysfunctional family relationships in a story can certainly make room for spirituality. Without giving anything away, I will point out that the issue of materialism surfaces in the story—and one character’s response to this excessive greed is an interesting aspect of the narrative. Feel free to let me know in the comments your thoughts on these aspects of the story!

Who Should Read This Book: If you can read and you like a beautifully written story with a mystery at its heart, you need to sit down with The Liars. You owe it to yourself to visit this island off the coast of Massachusetts, and learn about the Sinclairs with all their flaws. Whether you like a good contemporary realistic novel or a thought-provoking mystery, I’m certain you’ll find something in this story to enjoy. This is the kind of book that kept me close to the page, tracing it for hints as to what really happened during “Summer 15” for the Liars.

The Final Word: Lockhart’s prose is clever, crisp, and beautiful. I hadn’t read anything by her before, but now I plan to change that. I appreciate her style, and I was glued to this story for several days. My only regret is that it had been longer. Now, I’m planning a re-read, especially since I want to return and scour the pages for clues. An unreliable narrator can really make a narrative more fascinating, and Lockhart expertly weaves a story that you will be thinking about long after you have closed the book.