Young adult books set in college, or even about the summer before college, aren’t all too common. That’s why I was surprised when I first learnt that American Panda is set at MIT. Well, Mei is 17 years old as she enters a year early but it works out well for this book. Mei had a sheltered upbringing, which is very evident as she tries to find her place at university.
Home means so many different things to different people, and I’ll Be Home For Christmas definitely captured that through the various short stories. Although, anthologies usually leave me with mixed feelings. I’ll Be Home For Christmas was no different. While I adored most short stories and the poem at the beginning, there were a few that I didn’t enjoy, and a couple of which that even left me confused.
As much as I enjoy summer reads, predictability tends to be one strike against them. The Honey Farm on the Hill was no exception. I saw nearly every twist coming chapters ahead of them — from Nell’s discoveries about her long lost love to the mystery of disappearing bees to the resolution. Not much about the plot surprised me. Yet, I quite liked this book for the setting, the characters and the relationships.
Food writer travels through Tuscany on a bulldozer — such a bizarre and hilarious image this premise painted. It sounded so ludicrous and I have to admit, it made me think of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. That set the bar of absurd humour unfairly high but I couldn’t help it. Perhaps it’s a good thing then, that My Italian Bulldozer wasn’t filled with tall tales, even if that slightly disappointed me.