GeekeryDo

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: GONE GIRL, LOOKING FOR ALASKA, and ELEANOR & PARK

BooksKristina PinoComment

Sometimes I have a lot to say about the books I read. Sometimes I don't. Here's a look at my short thoughts on three books I read recently:

Gone Girl, Looking for Alaska, and Eleanor & Park. The first two were books I read for the Les Literables book club, so if are interested in a more involved discussion of either of those, do check out those episodes on YouTube!

Gone Girl  by Gillian Flynn

As I mentioned before, I read this book for Les Lit. I didn't really know what to expect going in, except that it was some kind of suspenseful story regarding the disappearance of Amy, the main female character. I was even a little bit apprehensive of getting into it, because it seemed like it might be a bit of a horror read, and I'm not generally into the thrill of being scared. Thankfully, it isn't scary at all, unless you think really hard about the possibility you might marry a psychopath.

Flynn wrote this book well, alternating between the perspectives of the two lead characters (Amy and Nick). Both of their voices are completely distinct, and presented in different styles. Technically, the story begins during their fifth wedding anniversary, since that's when Amy disappears. But we get a nice mix of reminiscing the past as everything unfolds. I enjoyed reading this book, and honestly had a hard time putting it down. All the little bits of info trickled in at a maddeningly slow pace (but in a good way), and there's a fantastic twist.

If you like suspense, you should enjoy Gone Girl. A note though, this book isn't really for younger readers. [Buy it at Amazon]

Looking for Alaska by John Green

After reading (and loving) The Fault in Our Stars, I was prepared to read more of John Green's work, but had no idea where to go next. A friend pretty much sold me on reading this one, so I picked it for the book club.

Looking for Alaska is told in the perspective of a boy (Pudge) who decides to go look for a big change in life, and leaves to boarding school. It covers one school year, and doesn't have a strict plot in terms of main conflict, good guy, bad guy, etc. We just follow through his experiences that year, about the people he meets, and the main event, which is Alaska's disappearance and his reaction to (coping with) that. If nothing else, it's an interesting read that raises good questions about growing up and life in general. It also made me realize that although I've had problems with narratives centered around an un-likeable character in the past, it isn't always a bad thing.

Since, like I said, this book pretty much follows Pudge's experiences, it's kind of a "drifting" book. Things happen and we follow along. I felt relaxed reading it, and despite objections from some silly adults, I think it's a great young adult novel. Is there a teen in your life in need of something to read? Don't hesitate to hand this one over to them. Of course, it's a good read for adults, too. [Buy it at Amazon]

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book came in my Christmas mail. It's another one that silly adults have challenged for reasons that don't follow having read it at all, but I think it's a very important story. It follows the perspectives of Eleanor, a girl with poor self-confidence and a bad situation at home, and Park, a boy who prefers to be invisible (not literally, of course). As with Gone Girl, it goes back and forth, and they both have their different ways of expressing themselves.

The two kids are crazy for each other, and as if their own personalities weren't already working against their relationship (remember, Eleanor is lacks confidence, and Park hasn't come out of his shell), they've got their own problems dealing with people at school, and an extra big problem dealing with Eleanor's family life. I enjoyed reading a book that dealt with some of the more complex issues that teens (and adults) worry about today without falling back on drugs and alcohol - which are valid points of focus in YA fiction, don't get me wrong, but there's more to the life of a teen.

As much as I loved this book, and some parts of it tugged at my heartstrings, I didn't like the ending. It's not that the ending is bad, it's just a frustrating (though probable) conclusion. That's just my own personal opinion, though, and I welcome you to chat me up about it if you've also read the book, because I haven't had anyone to chat with yet!

I recommend Eleanor & Park to fans of YA fiction, including, of course, the target audience. [Buy it at Amazon]