Friday, May 29, 2015

I hear their voices, sirens singing in the street.

I've been working like crazy lately, so working my way through all these library books hasn't been easy! I was laughing when I saw them stacked on the counter and noticed some similarities in the titles. Therefore, you get them all in one post!

Before He Finds HerBefore He Finds Her by Michael Kardos

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In 1991, Ramsey Miller holds a huge block party for his neighborhood. Then, the story goes, he drunkenly and angrily murdered his wife and young daughter.

However, that's not exactly the case: his daughter got away, via the Witness Protection Program, and is living in a small town in West Virginia. Renamed Melanie, she lives with her father's close friend and his wife; it's a cautious life, as her father was never found. However, as she nears 18, Melanie is tired of this life of secrets and hiding. Finding herself pregnant, she decides she doesn't want this life for her own child, so she heads back to her hometown to find her father herself.

The book weaves in Melanie's current life and discoveries with narrative of Ramsey's life leading up to the days of the block party, allowing us to figure out what happened along with Melanie.

This novel started out really well, and for a while, I was thinking it was going to be one of my favorites read so far this year. However, it soon petered out a bit, and the more I thought about it, I liked it less. There are just some odd plot holes that doesn't really make sense and leave you wondering. Further, even accounting for her upbringing, Melanie as a main character is so "blah" and doesn't stand up for herself, thereby making it very hard to root for her. I really found myself pulling for Ramsey at many points. Lots of potential, but doesn't really follow through.

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Where They Found HerWhere They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The body of a baby is found in a small New Jersey town, close to the town's prominent university. Molly Anderson is asked to cover the story for the local paper -- her first big break since becoming a reporter, but both she and her husband are concerned it will dredge up memories of the loss of her own baby. Meanwhile, across town, teenage Sandy searches for her own missing mother. At the same time, Barbara, the wife of the local police chief who is investigating the baby's death, is busy trying to deal with her young son, who is having trouble in school and acting strangely.

McCreight weaves together the stories of these three very different individuals, as we learn what happened to the baby and more. I confess that I figured a lot of this out early on, but was still intrigued enough to keep reading. It's a very enthralling storyline and I found myself staying up late to find out what happened to the baby and the various women involved.

The story winds up being tied to another death nearly 20 years and it's well done, if not a little easily tied up at the end. The characters were a little flat for me - I had a tough time empathizing with Molly or Barbara, which made it harder to get into their stories, though I did like Sandy. It's still a good page-turner and a quick read.

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Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)Where She Went by Gayle Forman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sequel, of sorts, to "If I Stay" and picks up three years after Mia leaves Adam to start a new life at Juilliard. We learn that Mia has become a star in her own right, while Adam is rock star: the main focus of his band, Shooting Star. He has a celebrity girlfriend, a major tour, and a crazy life. But is he happy? And is Mia content with the choice she made to walk away from Adam?

This book is told from Adam's point of view and we learn about how Mia's decision has left him devastated. It's another rather short book, but it's also lovely. I am not sure exactly how to describe it. I liked "If I Stay," but I truly loved "Where She Went" -- it was beautiful and poignant and touching. Even though Adam (and Mia) could be a bit frustrating at times, it was certainly a worthwhile read.

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