October 30, 2012

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Popular Chelsea Knot loves to gossip.  She can never keep a secret for very long.  But when she tells a secret that almost gets a classmate killed and two others sent to jail she takes a vow of silence to avoid hurting anyone else.  Returning to school after the New Year’s holiday, Chelsea is met with zero friends and an onslaught of bullying to fight against.  She continues to stand by her silence even when it would be far easier to fight back with words.  It’s important to Chelsea to now think before she speaks and so chooses to write to communicate.  This coming-of-age, page-turner provided so many lessons but never felt preachy, it simply told Chelsea’s story as a high school student grappling with bullying and learning to stand up for herself. 

October 16, 2012

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys

There is nothing I can write to do this book justice.  Not only that, I am also at a loss for words having just finished a book I fell so completely into.  It was tense, intricate, suspenseful, mythical, and incredibly haunting.  Excuse my lack of a proper review.  You’ll just have to trust me on this one. 

October 9, 2012

The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe

In 1915 Boston, Sybil Allston sits in a darkened room with several strangers awaiting a potential spiritual presence.  Sybil has been visiting Mrs. Dee’s séance’s for years, after her mother and younger sister drowned while aboard the Titanic.  With a scrying glass, Sybil believes she has her own ability to see, and starts her practice, albeit under the influence.  Meanwhile her brother, Harlan, is expelled from Harvard, subsequently attacked and put into the hospital. He refuses to discuss the situation and Sybil, thinking these two events are tied, gets involved and tries to solve Harlan’s problems.  Also to get involved: Benton Derby, a Harvard professor and past love interest who left Sybil to spinsterhood, re-enters Sybil’s life as he tries to help the Allston family.  The patriarch, Lan Allston, has a distant yet strong presence throughout the novel leaving the reader wondering why he himself doesn’t get more involved in his children’s lives.  With several different perspectives, time frames, and historical settings, Howe writes a rich and complex novel.