Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward
Published: Aug. 2011
Setting: Mississippi (USA)
Pages: 261 (hardcover)
A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant.
I wanted to love this book, but didn't. Ward is a wonderfully descriptive writer, so she made the setting & the family dynamics come alive through her words - the poverty stricken area that the kids lived in, the irony that just through the woods there were families much better off than they, their constant worry about what they would eat and how their father was absent emotionally though physically present. But the story & pacing of Salvage the Bones didn't hold sway over my attention. The first 3/4 of the novel, I was barely interested, and would have been less so had it not been for reading about Skeet and China, his dog. Even the narrator, Esch, left me wanting - it's just that we were told a whole lot about her, but she didn't actually do anything, and nothing much happened.
But the last 1/4, when the hurricane started, did help to redeem the book a little. It was fascinating to see what happened, how the family survived, and the destruction that occurred in and around their neighborhood due to Katrina. I was comforted by a sort of happy ending - knowing that in the end they realized that they could count on each other, and that would be enough. (Amazon | Goodreads)
Pandemonium (Delirium #2), Lauren Oliver.
Published: Feb. 2012
Series: Delirium #2
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, like Raven taught me to do. The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too.
I loved this follow up to Delirium. And as a side note, I think you should read this series in order. The second book references Alex, an important character from the first book, and the dystopian society is gone into into much more detail in the first book - you see Lena living in it.=, and get to go through her emotions as she becomes more aware of other possibilities.
Now, in Pandemonium, Lena is a bit more clued in. She's tougher and stronger, but still retains some naivete, so her growth seems a natural progression - Lauren Oliver is a master at character development so I connected well with all the new people in this book. There's also a lot of action with just enough drama to make this book exciting! The twists and turns of the story, while slightly predictable at times, still drew me in and kept me reading well into the night. And that ending!!! Major cliffhanger alert! I for one HATE cliffhangers - but for some reason, this one left me excited to read the next book in the series, instead of annoyed and exclaiming in disgust, "No More!" Luckily, the final book in the trilogy is about to come out, so I don't have long to wait to find out what happens. (Amazon| Goodreads)
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