Seven Ways We Lie was very ambitious. With seven main characters a lot could go wrong: unresolved plot lines, not enough depth, loss of focus and characters that might be too similar. I’m glad to say that Seven Ways We Lie didn’t suffer from any of these shortcomings. In fact, the choice to integrate so many characters’ perspectives worked!
Books set in university that aren’t entirely pre-occupied with romance are surprisingly tough to find. During my own undergraduate studies I wished for so many more but had to make do with books set in high school. Maybe “make do” sounds like I didn’t enjoy those books but I did. It’s just that the university setting tends to be rather neglected. That’s why I was pretty excited to learn that Counting Stars featured university students.
This Side of Salvation had a lot going for it. Sports, school, religion and romance — all things that are important to a sixteen-year-old. David had a bright future ahead of him in baseball. He trained just as hard for it off-season as he did during his seasons. College scouts were on the look-out for him and his high school coach had taught David all he could.
What do you make of a book that everyone has already loved to shreds? How do you pick up those pieces and see what others saw before you? Hype has a way of bringing awareness to certain books. At the same time, it can negatively impact one’s enjoyment. Without the hype I wouldn’t have loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. With the hype, I came to feel indifferent.
One thing to be said about Beauty Queens is that it’s way over the top. As much as many have referred to the book as satire, I think it got lost in trying too hard to be funny. Some events were just so ludicrous, they were too far removed from social commentary. Maybe it’s because of that that I was hard pressed to enjoy Beauty Queens. “Give it a chance. Things will get better after a while,” I kept thinking. Things didn’t get better—at least not in my opinion.