Every month, the YA Highway team invite people to pick their favorite read from the past month and talk about it as part of their Road Trip Wednesday blog hop. Well, today’s the day we answer the question…
What was the best book you read in April?
I read some good books in April, but the hands-down winner was…
UNRAVEL ME by Tahereh Mafi. No surprise, perhaps, given that Tahereh’s SHATTER ME was my book of the year for 2012. First, a brief, spoiler-free teaser of the story without giving anything away for those who haven’t yet read SHATTER ME: Stuff happens.
Okay, let’s see if I can do better than that. Here’s what I said in my Goodreads review:
This second book in the series picks up with Juliette having joined with those resisting The Reestablishment. Aside from struggling with her own insecurities, learning about herself, her power, and what possible use she might be to the resistance, she also has to deal with trust issues, making friends, and the increasingly awkward situation with Adam and Warner… which doesn’t get any better!
Tahereh Mafi writes such poetic prose, and while I’m not a big poetry fan (see RTW two weeks ago), this is poetry I can really appreciate. There’s so much feeling and depth to the writing, you can’t help but connect with Juliette, the MC and first-person narrator. If studying poetry can make you this good of a writer, then I need to study more poetry.
A couple of points about the book that didn’t sit well with me. First, the romantic stuff–the hot-and-heavy scenes–while beautifully and tastefully written, went on a bit too long, IMO. After a while I started to feel uncomfortable, like I was the awkward third person at the table–what we used to call a “gooseberry.” I understand the plot point being made by these scenes, the need to show the emotional attachment between the characters, but, as I said, I think Tahereh and her silken pen got a little carried away with themselves.
Another thing that threw me out of the story a bit was our initial introduction to Brendan, an English character. He seems to be relatively young, but the first line out of his mouth is, “Winston’s always a bit beastly this early in the morning.” There is no way any English person I know would ever refer to someone as “beastly”–unless they’re trying to be humorous, and I’m sure the joke would be lost on his largely American audience. It reads to me as if Tahereh was trying to convey his “British-ness” and resorted to stereotypical “British” vocabulary to do so. If I’m right, this failed BIG TIME. He might as well have said, “Alright, guvnah! You seen any bobbies around, or are we ready to tally-ho and eat some bangers?” My entire secondary education (11-18 years old) was at an English “public school” (i.e., centuries-old private school)–the kind of place where you might expect to hear people talk like that. Not one, of my peers used that kind of language, except in parody–they weren’t serious.
All that said, this is an excellent book, a worthy successor to SHATTER ME, and I’m really really looking forward to the forthcoming novella (as yet untitled, to be released later this year) and the final installment of the story (also as yet untitled, to be released next year–*sigh*). I highly recommend it.
Do you have thoughts to share about UNRAVEL ME? What was your favorite read in April? You can comment below, or join the Road Trip (see the YA Highway blog for details).