Welcome back to the book club that’s not actually a book club!
THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak (Goodreads)
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery…
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
[inserts a thousand expletives here because holy moly was this book amazing]
I’m not a crier. Over the course of my (admittedly short) life, exactly two books have made me full-out sob: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green and this one. I’m in awe of Markus Zusak’s writing style. I love the book, I love its characters, and I love its choice of narrator. (I’ve heard that John Green said something about how if you’re looking for a book where you’ll love all its characters you should read this one, and yeah, it’s definitely true.)
My friend recommended this book to me about a year ago, and it took me until now to actually read it. I’m really glad that I did read it, even if it broke my feelings multiple times. But hey, what are friends for if you can’t live-text them your heartbreak?
This book broke my heart, man. I finished it last week and it’s still bouncing around in my head. At the end, Death says he is haunted by humans. I think I just might be haunted by this book.
FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell (Goodreads)
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
As someone who started off writing fanfiction herself, I could relate to Cath. That and the various other nerdy-ness is mostly why I love this book so much, to be honest. The nerd subculture was so awesome that I just fell in love immediately. Cath’s struggles and anxieties—can she write her own stories outside of the safe bubble of fanfiction? Does she have any idea what the hell she’s doing being an Actual Adult Who Has to Make Adult Decisions? Also, boys???—made her real, and for me and probably a lot of other people, relatable. And Cath’s shaky relationship with her twin, Wren, only added to the book because though they look the same, act the same, and used to be nearly the same, they’ve grown apart and neither really knows what to do. FANGIRL’s a book about growing up and discovering who you are at the time when it’s most important—your freshman year of college.
(Also, Levi. Oh my God. I could probably write a thousand words on him, but I won’t. Oh man. He’s adorable.)
THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen (Goodreads)
Expect the unexpected.
Macy’s got her whole summer carefully planned.
But her plants didn’t include a job at Wish Catering. And they certainly didn’t include Wes.
But Macy soon discovers that the things you expect least are sometimes the things you need most.
I think this was the second Sarah Dessen book I read. The total’s up to five now, but this is still one of my favourite of hers. The dynamics between the characters—Macy and her mom; Wes and Bert; Wes and Bert and Delia; Macy and Wes; Delia and Macy; Jason and Macy—were so rich and detailed and lovely. Macy’s the girl dealing with all this grief she has no idea what to do with and stuck in all these empty relationships—her workaholic mom, her super-academic boyfriend, etc. She’s in this protective bubble because it’s safe. Then she joins Wish Catering and meets this group of people—especially Wes, who can understand her grief intimately—who turn her life upside-down. They’re real and quirky and can form real relationships with her, and with them, she starts to learn the way out of the safety bubble she’s trapped herself in.
Check back in next month for another three books! 🙂