Happy Leap Day, and welcome to this week’s Road Trip Wednesday! The question from YA Highway is: What was the best book you read in February?
I read some great books this month, but I have managed to select one favorite, and one shout-out. The book I have selected as my read of the month is NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman. After being told for some time now “you need to read some Neil Gaiman,” and especially after seeing his Doctor Who episode, “The Doctor’s Wife” (which was, IMO, the best episode of that season), I finally obtained a copy of NEVERWHERE and read it. There’s something about Gaiman’s style–I can’t quite put my finger on it–that connects with me. The way he phrases things reminds me of the way I might phrase something. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, as if I’m as good as him, or he’s somehow copying me–not at all! But it’s as if we’re on the same page stylistically. And that connection automatically draws me in. The story itself was also very well told. For those who don’t know, the novel is about a guy called Richard who moves from Scotland to London for work. He’s a bit put-upon, and dating a very domineering rich girl, but his compassion for others makes him very likeable. Indeed, it’s this compassion that gets him into trouble. When he rescues a seemingly homeless teenage girl, he finds himself drawn into a secret world that exists below his feet, where people talk to rats, the Angel Islington is an actual angel, not just a place, and he is now invisible to everyone above ground. The girl, Door, wants to find out who killed her parents, Richard wants his life back, and together they embark on a quest to obtain what they’re looking for. In the meantime a couple of cutthroat maniacs are determined to stop them. I highly recommend this book, really to anyone who enjoys good fiction, no matter what genre.
My shout-out is TORN by Erica O’Rourke. This is the first in a series of three: the second, TANGLED, came out about a month ago, and the third, BOUND is due out in the summer. TORN begins the story of Mo Fitzgerald whose happy, relatively-uncomplicated life is shaken when she is witness to her best friend’s murder. This event begins a series of revelations for Mo, showing that nothing was ever quite what it seemed, from her father’s imprisonment, her Uncle Billy’s associations with Chicago’s mob world, to the real reason her best friend died. As she learns more about Verity, and the magical power that runs in her family, Mo finds out she is connected to her in a way she never anticipated, and the magical people that inhabit Verity’s world need her to help prevent a disaster that could destroy them all. I enjoyed reading the novel, and there are things Erica did that I found instructive. For example, especially in the earlier part of the story, she fleshes out some back story by inserting italicized flash-backs–not randomly, but as illustrative of something Mo is saying (it’s a first-person narrative). The way these flash-backs are written and integrated didn’t feel like an intrusion into the story, just a continuation of the flow of Mo’s thought. I also liked the fact that Mo is not magical. This is not a Harry Potter-style “you’re a wizard, Mo!” kind of story. Mo is a “normal” person, and remains so. And while she forms attachments to the magical world, there’s no doubt that she’s an outsider. I liked this because it was contrary to what I expected. There are romantic scenes in the story which, just as a personal thing, I’m not really big on. I don’t mind romance, but I don’t need to know details (taste of lips and breath, etc.). Again, not a strike against the story, it’ s just not something I look for. Nevertheless, I recommend TORN, and plan to pick up TANGLED sometime soon-ish (the pile of books on my desk isn’t abating!).
What was your favorite February read? Join the in RTW fun either in the comments, or by blogging your answer and linking to your blog in the comments at YA Highway.