It’s time for the second instalment of things I’ve read recently, and these four books were random library selections. They are all fairly easy reads – not particularly long and with a fast-paced story. Here goes:
Told in Silence, Rebecca Connell
The main outline of this story is that Jonathan and Violet marry young, and at the point of the story Violet finds herself a widow at just 21. The book is split into three parts:
Part 1 - Told by Violet, flitting between the present and the time before Jonathan’s death. There are beautiful passages on the idea of loss, but it trips along fairly quickly.
Part 2 - Told by Harvey, Violet’s father-in-law, looking back at Jonathan’s life and featuring a few revelations.
Part 3 - Told by Violet, who discovers events discussed in part 2 and her world is shattered.
All-in-all, this has a good storyline and moves quickly. The time jumps are slightly stilted to begin with, but once you know the characters the story begins to tell itself.
The Clever One, Helena Close
I can’t get over how much the cover of this reminds me of a Judy Blume book, did anyone else used to read those? The story is simple, and possibly a little silly: Maeve is 16, her older sister is pregnant to a horrible man, so Maeve decides to get rid of him. There are multiple themes of family, alcohol, drugs, prison; the family and their friends are a fiery group. There are some sweet relationships that develop through the course of the book, and the narrative voice of Maeve is convincing. The final act of revenge was well-described, although I wanted to hear more of the aftermath.
The thing that spoilt this story for me was the ridiculous amount of swearing. I don’t mind swearing in a book – when done right, it can add so much to a character. However, this book tried far too hard to be controversial, as if making characters swear a lot would suddenly make them more believable. It ended up sounding immature and a bit desperate. It’s a shame, as certain characters did have potential, but this just ruined the effect of the book for me.
The End of Everything, Megan Abbott
Lizzie and Evie, aged 13, are best friends, and then Evie goes missing. This is where the story begins, and I’m not going to say any more as I don’t want to give anything away! What I loved about this book was how developed and believable all the relationships were: father/daughter, sister/sister, friend/friend. Lizzie tells the story, and it is narrated in a convincing 13 year-old voice. It is packed with careful observations, but is fast-paced and full of story. A great little read!
The Book of Tomorrow, Cecelia Ahern
This is a real trashy book: full of story, easy to read, and not hard work in any way. Sometimes, that is exactly what you need. Tamara and her mother move away to stay with her aunt and uncle in the middle of nowhere, and she finds a blank diary. Every day, this diary fills with a page of her own writing, narrating what is to happen the following day. This sets off various mysteries, hunts, and huge family secrets are revealed. It has all the ingredients for a good story, and it’s great for an escape after a busy day. The writing and the story didn’t blow me away, but it was a good read and kept me turning the page.
So there we are: fast stories, easy reads, and perfect for curling up with on a lazy weekend. Coming up in the next reading list post, I’ve already read a couple of brilliant books I’m looking forward to sharing, so stay tuned!
What have you been reading recently?