Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Echo and Stars

I am excited to be a part of a partnership between our local library and my kids' elementary school library as a Book Ambassador. This just means that once a month I get to choose a book from a selection provided by the public library, read it, and then come back to the school to share my thoughts on the book with a few classes. 

Last month I chose Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. I loved it so much. So. Much.

If you have a passion for music and a love for history being weaved into stories and a fascination with the way words can be used to pierce the soul, you will love it too. It tells the tale of a harmonica that travels over years and continents to touch and inspire the lives and intertwine the stories of three musically talented children. The book touches on the struggles of life in Nazi Germany, the loneliness of the Great Depression and the difficulties faced by a migrant farm-working family who become caretakers for the home of a family sent to a Japanese internment camp. It was like a combination of August Rush and The Book Thief, with a little bit of Newsies thrown in.
The only thing that bothered me was the tidy conclusion to each person's individual story. There were points when the reader is left hanging as to what might have happened and at the end it was kind of like the author thought the book was too long and didn't want to elaborate on where the stories were going so they all had miraculously happy endings. I also kind of felt like the fairy tale that starts and ends the story was kind of cute but not necessary. However, I will say that I thought the way the three stories intertwine at the end was heartwarming and beautiful.

I also recently acquired The Fault In Our Stars while visiting a local Little Free Library. I just finished it yesterday.
I have heard nothing but great reviews of this book so I was excited to dig in. And yes, it was beautifully written in parts. In fact, I have fallen in love with the following passage (along with a few others):
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 
Every book-lover can relate, right?
There were a few other moments in the book where I felt as if the author was peeking into my brain and putting my thoughts into words. I loved those parts. The love story between Hazel and Augustus was very sweet and perfect by most people's standards. However, I really didn't love this book. There was way too much swearing and the whole love story was kind of Twilight-esque to me. I'm sorry if you loved this book and you hate my review. But that's how I felt about it. It's also the kind of story that builds up a young woman's hope that a guy like Augustus exists and will say all the perfect words and do all the perfect things and have all the perfect feelings. I'm not a fan of those kind of stories.  
So, how about you? What books have you read lately that you love?

1 comment:

Anaise said...

Have you read Cry, The Beloved Country? I read it some years ago and thought it was the most beautiful book I'd ever read. I'm reading it aloud to my older girls right now.