Welcome to the May 2017 edition of The Book Review Club. Here's a little May trivia for you...On May 10, 1877, the White House's first telephone was installed. On May 10, 1994, Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's first black president. And on May 10, 1924, Edgar J Hoover was named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation, which became the FBI in 1935. Whew. And now onto our really amazing book reviews! (This is our last meeting until September 2017. Happy Summer!)
by Heather Gudenkauf (adult, mystery/thriller)
Somehow or other, the thriller NOT A SOUND by Heather Gudenkauf made its way onto my radar. I thought it sounded like a book I'd like to read this summer, and I jotted the info on a scrap of paper and stuck it to the fridge. Along came a rainy day, which put me in the mood for a thriller. I thought why am I waiting till May 30th for the release of NOT A SOUND? Why don't I read something else by Heather Gudenkauf? And anyway why haven't I already read something by Heather Gudenkauf? So, I picked up her debut, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, which was published in 2009 and was a NYT bestseller. The result? My family ate ordered-in pizza for dinner.
In a nutshell: Early on an August morning in the small town of Willow Creek, Iowa, two seven-year-old girls disappear from their homes. The girls, Calli Clark and Petra Gregory, are neighbors and best friends. Calli has been a elective mute since the age of four after witnessing a domestic violence incident.
The story is told from several points of view (which I love): Calli, her mother, her 12-year-old brother, the local deputy sheriff, and Petra's father. The voices are all distinct and different and really well executed. There is loads of conflict: an alcoholic + abusive father, FBI agents vs the local law enforcement difficulties, previous romantic entanglements, a large uncharted forest, etc, etc. Also, due to the number of narrative perspectives, the reader knows much more than the characters in the story. This heightens the tension enormously. The plot is very fast faced. The characters are rich and multi-layered. I happened to guess the identity of the villain (something I'm generally bad at), but it was based more on a feeling than anything concrete. And if anyone else has read/reads the book, I have one teeny, tiny question: I kinda would've liked a different character to pull the trigger. How do you feel about that?
All in all, it was a great, edge-of-your-seat read. Any complaints would come from my family because, once I started THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, I was so absorbed that I ignored everyone and everything around me. It's been several books since I've been this absorbed, and it was A DELICIOUS FEELING.
(Dear FCC: Bought book. Plain and simple.)
And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!
MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS
Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: MAX AND CHARLIE by Zack Lieberman (MG, graphic)
Stacy Nyikos: PLANET JUPITER by Jane Kurtz (MG, contemp)
Beth Bonini of TRAC: THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas (YA, contemp)
ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS
Ellen Booraem: ARABELLA OF MARS by David D. Levin (steampunk)
Jody Feldman: THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD by Agatha Christie (mystery)
Linda McLaughlin: Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD by Therese Anne Fowler
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK by Matthew Quick
I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN by Joanne Greenberg
Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: WHAT ALICE FORGOT by Liane Moriarty (women's)
Ray Potthoff: LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly (historical)
Stacy of the Cat's Meow: EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid (literary)
Alyssa Goodnight: MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS by Gerald Durrell (memoir)
Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: CLOUD MESSENGER by Karen Trollope-Kumar (memoir)
Margy Lutz: AT HOME IN THE WOODS by Vena and Bradford Angier
Patti Abbott: MY BELOVED WORLD by Sonia Sotomayor (memoir)
Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!