Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Charlie is a quirky, unsure teen who is befriended by a brother/sister duo. In love with Sam, or the mere idea of her, the novel is told in a series of letters to an unknown addressee about his experiences with the friends and a forced-upon girlfriend. The novel is intelligent, and Charlie opens his soul through the letters in a way he can't in his daily life. Chbosky presents a tale of insecurity and angst in a raw, emotional, and touching way. The end shows a transformed Charlie and ultimately reveals the recipient of the letters. Excellent read for teens and adults.
Lina is a 15 year old Lithunian girl who is transported with her family and other intellectuals like cattle on a train to Siberia. The beginning starts like many of the heart-wrenching novels about the atrocities of Hitler during WWII, however, veers on a diferent course of the untold horrors of what happened when Stalin's Russia marched in. Lina and family fight to stay alive in the biting cold, working on a beet farm berated by soldiers and treated like trash.
Despite the unbearable conditions, Lina finds strength and draws and documents the events and details of their condition in secret; manages to make a friend in Andress; and fights each day to save her family and persevere. This is a tale of the determination of the human spirit as told through the eyes of a young girl.
Ruta Sepetys delved into her own Lithuanian roots and discovered much of what she uses in this work of historical fiction. Truly breathtaking and frighteningly real, this novel transcends the bounds of your typical YA novel. Just when you thought you knew everything about 1941, a story like this sweeps in to shed light on another untold tale. Be sure to keep listening to the prologue and interview with the author; simply amazing.
Finally, after wading through lots of simple, boring teen books, this little gem arrives. Without my Entertainment Weekly Bible, I wouldn't have discovered this fantastic teen love story, coming to a movie screen soon near you.
Eleanor is back with her Mom, step-Dad and four siblings in a miserable household attending a new school in 1986, finding an unlikely friend in Park. Both points of view shine light on the loneliness, isolation, bullying, and the dare to hope and connect in the world of teenage angst. When Eleanor thinks she's fat, Park describes her as beautiful. Couldn't wait to hear what the other had to say about the same situation.
This book is well-written, almost like Rowell popped the top on the teen brain with all the first, raw emotions spilling out into a funny, lugubrious, intense singular story line with the perfect ending. Just bought his newer book, "Fangirl" and am excited to see Rebecca Lowman is narrating as well. She and Sunil Malhotra were fantastic in "Eleanor and Park". This was an excellent read.