38. The Girls – Lisa Jewell
Story – Clare and her two daughters, Grace and Pip, move into a new flat that opens out onto a communal garden. Here they meet the neighbours and become enmeshed in all the dramas and secrets of the garden.
Thoughts – Not really sure where I stand on this story. It was well written and it certainly drew me in, but I suppose I’m not sure what the point of it was? All the events of the books, and then at the end it’s like none of it happened? And the ending! Who invites a psychopath to just move in?!
37. Rethinking Normal – Katie Rain Hill
Story – Autobiography of young adult Katie, who was born a boy named Luke and who made the decision as a very young teenager to begin the transition process to become who she really was.
Thoughts – Really interesting book. Transgenderism isn’t something I know a lot about, so it was good to fill in some gaps. Katie was very open in her memoir and I learned a lot. I didn’t love the way it was written, a bit too much boyfriend and girlfriend drama, but I suppose that’s what her life has been like! It did read like a teenager’s memoir, which doesn’t invalidate it at all, but means it lacks some of the insight and perspectives that will come with time. I would definitely pick up a second memoir if Katie wrote one in another ten or twenty years.
36. The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion
Story – Don and Rosie (from the book, The Rosie Project) are back. Now married and living in New York, with something to celebrate…
Thoughts – I enjoyed this book, although not as much as the previous one. I like the writing style and the character of Don and the way he is written, but the storyline on this one was too predictable. Right from the beginning I knew the big plotline. It was still enjoyable, but lacked that element of originality that I liked so much in the first book.
35. Echoes of Dollanganger (Christopher’s Diary #2) – Virginia Andrews
Story –Too full of crap to sum up.
Thoughts – So boring. I shouldn’t have read it, after reading the first book in the series I should have known better, but obviously I am a glutton for punishment. Admittedly the diary portions of the book are interesting since they relate directly to Flowers in the Attic (which I adored back when I was about twelve) but the rest of the story is so slow and repetitive it was driving me mad. I seriously considered not finishing.
34. Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family – Marian Keyes
Story – Literally an A-Z list of things related to the Walsh family from Marian Keyes books.
Thoughts – Lovely and funny book that I really enjoyed. I love Marian Keyes, and her books about the Walsh family are some of my favourites. I really love the characters she’s created and the way all the stories fit together. This was a great little add-on extra.
33. The Third Twin – C.J. Omololu
Story – When Ava and Alexa were little, they made up a third sister- Alicia. If something went wrong, it was Alicia’s fault. But now the girls are much bigger, and now they are becoming Alicia, putting on a new, wilder persona to go out on dates. But something fun has turned sinister, and the bodies are piling up…
Thoughts – This book was okay. Lexi was a pretty good narrator and although it wasn’t the most gripping story it wasn’t awful. The most annoying part about it was that there were only two possible reasons for the events happening and I came up with them right near the start, so I just had to spend the rest of the book waiting to learn which of them was correct.
32. Is It Just Me? – Chrissie Swan
Story – A collection of columns Chrissie Swan wrote about her life, her family, and her opinions.
Thoughts – I liked this. It was light and breezy and fun, even though it did touch on some more serious issues here and there. Chrissie just sounds like the kind of person you want to be friends with because it would be fun to hang out with her.
31. Cut Both Ways – Carrie Mesrobian
Story – Will has never been very successful with love. In fact, he hasn’t even been kissed until one wasted night he and his best friend Angus make out. Although he’s never thought of himself as gay, Will doesn’t mind. In fact, he liked it. Almost immediately though, he starts going out with a girl named Brandy, splitting his time and attention and love between the two of them, unable to choose and just waiting for the inevitable disaster to strike.
Thoughts – This was quite a weird book in that I read it rather obsessively and really wanted to know what was going to happen next, and yet it wasn’t actually very good. It was obviously written to sound like a teenage boy and in that sense it was pretty well done. The problem was the teenage boy it was supposed to sound like, Will, was pretty emotionless and not very self reflective or self aware. It just lacked that little bit extra that makes you fall in love with a character (even if they’re doing something shitty like cheating on both their best friend/boyfriend and their girlfriend). And really, the character of Will became less likeable as the book went on because he was behaving so badly to Angus and Brandy and I just thought it was long past time he made up his mind!
Also, the ending was awful. I almost always hate ambiguous endings, but this one was the worst. Absolutely nothing was resolved between Will, Angus and Brandy, or Will and his Dad, or Will and his Mum and stepdad, or his dad and his friends…so if you want to read a book where you don’t get to find out how any of it ends, this one is for you. But actually, up until that last chapter I admit that, for all its flaws, I really liked this book.