Saturday, 30 October 2010

Jodi Picoult: House Rules

Jacob Hunt is a teenager: brilliant at maths, wicked sense of humour, extraordinarily organised, hopeless at reading social cues. And Jacob has Asperger's. He is locked in his own world – aware of the world outside, and wanting to make a connection. Jacob tries to be like everyone else, but doesn't know how. When his tutor is found dead, all the hallmark behaviours of Jacob's syndrome – not looking someone in the eye, odd movements, inappropriate actions – start looking a lot like guilt to the police. And Jacob's mother must ask herself the hardest question in the world: is her child capable of murder?

Another fascinating read by a great author. The reader can identify easily with all characters and it is shockingly easy to see how Jacob could be considered a cold-blooded murderer, when all he wants to do is help....

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Aimee Bender: The particular sadness of lemon cake

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

This was a fantastic read initially. Unfortunately, the story got stranger by the page and the end left me with a sad and bitter after-taste, as the gift of Rose's brother Joe is not exploited well enough.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Barbara Delinsky: The Family Tree

Dana Clarke has it all -- a husband, Hugh, who she adores, a beautiful home in a wealthy area, and a baby on the way. But, when her daughter, Lizzie, is born, what should be the happiest day of her life turns out to be the moment that her world falls apart. Lizzie is beautiful, healthy, and black! ...

This was a great read and it strongly reminded me of Jodi Picoult's dilemmas. It's interesting to see each person's reaction to the fact that the little girl is black. The story is gripping, but unfortunately, the end is too weak for my taste. Still, a great read!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Jane Green: Bookends

Cath and Si are best friends. Total opposites, always together, and both unlucky in love. Cath is scatty, messy, and emotionally closed. Si is impossibly tidy, bitchy, and desperate for a man of his own. They live near each other in West Hampstead, close to their other best friends Josh and Lucy - who are married, with a devil-spawn child called Max and a terrifying Swedish nanny, Ingrid. When Portia steps back into their lives, - beautiful Portia, the undisputed queen of their group at university, who broke their collective hearts one night and from whom they have all gradually, silently, grown apart - her reappearance sets off a chain of events that tests them to the limit. Does Portia have a hidden agenda, or is she just looking for happy endings all round? Whatever the answers, none of them could ever predict the outcome ...

Although the book started like any usual "women's fiction book", I soon discovered that there was more to it. The stories around the friendships and lost contact struck a chord, but also the fact that not all is rosy! A brilliant read...