Shiver by Maggie S: Girl is transfixed by wolves in the woods at the back of her house. Wolves are werewolves. It had a pretty, pretty cover and a few people talked approvingly of it. I kept reading this partly because it was a substantial writing-improvement over the last two books I picked up, and partly because I was curious to see if there would suddenly be plot in the second half. Answer: not really, although at nearly the half way mark it mentions wonderful backstory of made-family as a lead up to sudden tension... and then drops the tension until the last hundred pages when finally I’m engaged and want to know what happens next, but god it was a long time coming. I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the sequel or not.

Before I die by Jenny Downham: Tessa is sixteen, and she’s dying. She has a list to finish before she goes *exhales* This was a wonderful read. Poignant without being sentimental, and angry and freaked out and delighted in all the right places, this hooked me from the first few pages. The time-jumps between chapters jarred sometimes, but this is still a fantastic, beautifully written book. Highly recommended.

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodhouse: I enjoyed the language, and the grimness and Ree and Gail’s relationship and care for each other in particular, but I never felt emotionally gripped by the story. M pointed out that Ree is basically taking on the man’s role, and wondered (paraphrased) if that’s what made Ree’s story ‘worth’ writing about. We’re both wondering if and how it would have been written differently if a woman had told the story.

Night watch by Terry Pratchett: I was delighted by lots of this book, the ‘seamstresses’ and the actual seamstresses; Vimes setting himself up as Keel, and whole bunch of things. I feel like I’m... missing something, possibly not having read a Guards book before. To other books in the series!

Extremely loud & incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Huh. I started this book being entranced and impressed by Oskar’s voice, and enjoying it. I loved his search for the lock, and the way he went about it, and the whole resolution of that arc. I found myself being mostly confused irritated by the grandmother’s and grandfather’s story as it went on that I spent half the book speed-reading. I’m not sure, on balance, if he has an excellent grasp of character voice (namely Oskar’s), or if he’s writing the same character again and again. Also, I somehow got it into my head that Oskar had Asperger’s, although it’s never explicitly mentioned, to the point where I’m not sure if I mixed it up with something else or what. I was utterly, utterly delighted by Stephen Hawking’s letter, regardless. *draws little hearts*
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