I’m hilariously behind on my reviews, so that means you get some capsule reviews in the interim! Woohoo!
Bossypants, by Tina Fey: Just as good as everyone says it is! Bossypants is a fun, light read that you can devour in an afternoon. If you enjoy Fey’s humor on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, this is a must-read. It’s very much written in her voice–so much so that I felt she was standing there speaking to me–and is a humorous way to get a glimpse at her childhood years and early time as a writer. Her insights on working in television writing and comedy as a woman are particularly interesting. I would have liked some dirt from her time at SNL, though! Four out of five stars.
Matched, by Ally Condie: I had heard this compared to Divergent, so I was a bit concerned (since I really didn’t enjoy that reading experience.) I was pleasantly surprised by how much more meaningful and well-drawn out I found Matched to be. While there were certainly some sappy parts, I thought that Cassia had depth and sensitivity, and I really liked the importance placed on the beauty of art, like poetry. Comparisons to Lois Lowry’s The Giver aren’t unwarranted, but I liked Condie’s take on the dystopian genre. I’m already on the library’s waiting list for the second book in the series, Crossed. Three enjoyable stars out of five.
Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman: Seraphina really, really impressed me. This is what YA fiction should be! Not only were the characters well-rounded and believable, but the world-building was fantastic and the rules governing magic and music were unique and interesting. The role of the Church in Hartman’s society is fully-formed, with the good and the bad presented fairly. Seraphina is a fantastic character: I loved the fact that she was capable without being unrealistic, and that falling in love didn’t change the core elements of her personality. The love triangle (with a male in the middle, shockingly) was handled sensitively; it would have been easy to characterize the other girl involved as mean, evil, or stupid, but instead, all the characters involved had positive characteristics. I think my favorite part out of everything was the dragons! They were delightfully alien and distinct from humans, and the glimpses we got of their culture and mindsets were intriguing. My only complaint would be the amount of time and energy spent on establishing Seraphina’s mental “garden.” I still can’t wait to see where this series goes! Four out of five stars.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History, by Ben Mezrich: My bullshit alarm was ringing throughout much of this creative non-fiction account of Thad Roberts, a NASA intern who stole a safe full of precious specimens from his employers–for love and for the attraction of risk-taking, and not the money. Right. It also desperately needed more balanced storytelling; it read as a very one-sided account, as though Mezrich interviewed no one but Thad. (I thought Mezrich seemed a bit too taken in by Thad’s charm, actually.) The POVs and experiences of Thad’s girlfriend, friends, parents, and family were glaringly missing. I found myself getting more and more irritated by Thad’s justifications as the book wore on, and checking out his website only exacerbated those feelings. The consistent characterizations of the theft of government property as a “heist” and a “challenge,” Thad’s unrepentant nature, and how easy the court (and the court of public opinion) was on him was the final straw. An uneasy three out of five stars.