Orphan Train… a little known piece of history

I like historical fiction, a lot… its one of my favorite genres.  I say one of because I cannot have just one.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a story based on a piece of history that I admit, I knew nothing about before this book.  For 75 years, orphans of different backgrounds were brought from Eastern cities to the Midwest to find foster homes to take care of these children.  This book is a fictionalized story based on these children’s experience.

This is the description from Goodreads:

orphan2The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected
friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from “aging out” of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.
Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

This is a book that has been on my TBR pile since I first heard of it, but was really excited when it came up as one of my book club’s monthly reads.  Yes, I am technically in more than one book club.  Why?  Because. Books! This story follows the relationship between Molly, who is in the present-day foster care system, and Vivian, who was in foster homes after being brought to the Midwest on an Orphan Train.  The book bounces between present-day Molly and Vivian to child-Vivian (whose name changes a few times as she bounces from home to home).  I admit there are several times in this story where my heart broke.  It is always hard to hear of children being treated so poorly, especially when I know situations like that not only did exist in that time, but still exist in present-day.  That is what really spoke to me as I read this book… not a whole lot has changed.  And it definitely gave me a new appreciation, perspective and respect for some of the children that I know and love.

I loved watching as Vivian found a family that wanted to adopt her, though she never really felt like she was ‘home’… and watching her fall in love… and watching her relationship with Molly grow and change the both of them.  Believe me, I haven’t really spoiled anything in saying that.  There’s actually a lot more I would like to say about this book, but in doing so I would definitely give some things away.  I’ll just say Vivian surprises me with some decisions that she makes.

After reading this book, I admit I looked it up online, wanting to know more about the Orphan Train Movement.  Kline does include some information in her book, which I did appreciate.  Have you read the book?  What did you think?

ot_train

4 out of 5 stars.

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Jane Eyre….a new favorite!

Jane Eyre

Yes, I finally read Jane Eyre!  I honestly cannot believe that it took me so long to read this one for the first time, but I can tell you that I am glad that I did.  I think that part of why I put off reading Jane Eyre and so many other classics, is partly due to intimidation.  Have you ever been intimidated by a book for any reason?  Because of the language, size, author, literary influence?  Well, I’m not afraid to admit that the next book on my classic TBR list that intimidates me just a liiiitle bit is War and Peace.  Just a little, but I digress.  Jane Eyre has definitely become a new favorite of mine!

In case there is anyone else out there who, like me, have yet to read this, here is Goodreads’ summary:
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

First of all, I’d like to talk about the language.  I love the way they chose their words during this time period.  Don’t get me started on how we have butchered the English language.  Welp bae, idk I am totes a noob.  I’m not even sure what I just said, but I’m still cringing just from typing that.  Let’s just focus on some things out of the book, shall we?

“I shall sully the purity of your floor.”  

“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him they spontaneously revived, great and strong!  He made me love him without looking at me.”

“Even for me, life had its gleams of sunshine.”

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

…and, of course…

“Reader, I married him.” 

To be sure, I shall be wandering about saying ‘what the deuce’ to all of my acquaintances for a fortnight until I am outcast.  Well, “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”  Ok, I couldn’t help myself – I am just tickled pink with these sayings.  Ok, one more: “Why are you speaking to the air?” That last one was technically from the movie, and not from the book but it still makes me laugh!

This book has all of the little pieces that make it wonderful from Jane’s saucy personality, to the kindness in her friend Helen, the verbal banter between Jane and Mr. Rochester, and the mysterious ‘ghost’ in the attic.  More than that, I personally felt like I could identify with Jane. I have only two complaints, and they’re not really complaints but things that just made me tilt my head and lift my ears (like a puppy) thinking; really? 1. The family that she happens to find when she runs away are… her cousins?   What are the chances of that?  Eh, OK if you say so… 2. I don’t speak French which makes it a little difficult to understand Adele when she speaks in French.  But I love the rest of the book so much, those two things don’t really make a difference to me.

So, what about you?  Did you love it as much as I did?  What were your favorite parts?  Did anyone not enjoy it?

5 out of 5 stars.

Malala Yousafzai: her father, her book and an inspiring story

So, last night I watched this TED talk of Malala Yousafzai’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai.  He talks about what it is like to be her father and how he raised her.  He says, “Do not ask what I did. Ask what I did not do.  I did not clip her wings, and that is all.”  I really enjoyed this video and thought it came up at an appropriate time with Father’s Day coming up this weekend.

I-Am-Malala

If you have not heard of Malala, she is truly an inspiring young woman.  Raised in Pakistan, where women as fortunate to have schools and education like we do in the US, Malala fought for her right to go to school.  In 2012, at fifteen years old, she was shot in the head by the Taliban because of her advocating for women’s rights in Pakistan.  She survived and last year became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize.  Her memoir, I am Malala, is her story of learning how to stand up and become an advocate.  She has overcome and stood up to great challenges that many others would have backed down from.  The book provides a lot of history and background to her country and culture, which I personally find fascinating and if you do, too – please check out her book.

“I do not want to be remembered as the girl who was shot.  I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.” – Malala Yousafzai

The Bluest Eye: A story to touch your heart… and break it.

The Bluest Eye is the first one of Toni Morrison’s books that I have read.  I say first instead of only because I will be reading more of her books.  If you’re not familiar with the book, read how Goodreads describes it:

the_bluest_eye_frontcover_The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.
What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.

Completely unintentional, but interesting enough now that I am looking at that description, the first book of hers I read was also her first novel.  Set in the 40’s, you follow three little girls as they are growing up during a hard time for blacks in America.  You learn how the girls interact with each other and with the other girls in their school.  Pecola, one of the three’s only wish is to have blue eyes, so she can be beautiful.  The story is not always told from Pecola’s perspective.  I’ll tell you: it is very interesting how Toni Morrison writes from the different character’s perspectives.  She starts off telling about their personal history, explaining how they came to be who they are before she comes back to the story.   In this way, she makes you see that life is hard, and though people may be ugly and mean she makes you see that they are people first.  That, I feel is just one of the many strengths in her writing style in this novel.

In thinking about Pecola and how she wanted blue eyes to be beautiful, it made me really sad that she could not be beautiful as she was.  I had a conversation with a friend, who proposed a question: how many people do you think are black have ever at any point in their life wondered what would my life be like if I were white?  How many deaf people have ever wondered, what would my life be like if I could hear?  How many blind people wondered what their life would be like if they could see?  She brought this up to emphasize that very rarely do white, hearing people who can see wish to change that fact about themselves.  I say very rarely, in light of recent news.  I won’t go into that (and I don’t really want to make this an issue of race), but in reading this, I simply thought about this: how many people wish they were different for whatever reason?  Hasn’t every human being at some point in their lives wished they could change something about themselves, to be more beautiful, to fit in, to be smarter, to … whatever?

Spoiler alert! Though I won’t go into much detail, for those of you who have not read this yet… I will say that I wish that life had been better to Pecola Breedlove.  She may be a character in a book, but what she goes through and experiences are not unlike many, many little girls who to this day experience similar things and it breaks my heart.

What did you think of the story?

4.5 out of 5 stars.

The never-ending TBR list…

So, I’ve been thinking lately about actually starting to tackle that TBR list.  Not just the pile of books that I haven’t read yet, but the books that I’ve wanted to read for years and never got around to… or even some books that I probably read too young and would like to read.  For instance, I just finished The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (review to come) and am currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I’ve never read Jane Eyre… or any of Jane Austen’s books, I’m ashamed to say.  This will be remedied shortly.  Thus, I’ve assembled a list of classic books that have been on my list  for a while now, to share with you.  Let me start off by clarifying; this is by no means an exhaustive list nor are the books listed in any particular order.

1. Pride and Prejudice

2. To Kill a Mockingbird* (This is a re-read to be honest – I read it in middle school)

3. War and Peace

4. Beloved

5. The Hiding Place

6. Anna Karenina

7. The Princess Bride

8. Little Women* (Another re-read)

9. The Bridges of Madison County

10. Emma (Well, the whole Jane Austen collection, really)

11. The Handmaid’s Tale

12. The Color Purple

13. A Wrinkle in Time

14. The Great Gatsby

15. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

So, what do you think about my list?  How many of these have you read?  Am I forgetting any?  What’s on your list?

Lost Lake, a sort of modern fairytale

As readers, we all have a list of authors that we will read every book that they publish.  Sarah Addison Allen is one of those authors for me.  She tends to put a little magical twist into her stories.  Not like Harry Potter’s world of wizardry type of magic, but hers is a bit more subtle.  Like having a book appear for you to read to deliver a message when you need it; or an apple tree whose fruit has magical properties.  In Lost Lake, its the crocodile.  But Sarah Addison Allen also has a knack for creating this perfect little world that you could live in forever. Or at least I could.  The small, quiet, cozy southern towns and the people who live there really make for a nice little summer getaway.  Which is what happens with Kate and her daughter, Devin.

lost lakeFrom Goodreads:

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life?
Sometimes lost loves aren’t really lost. They’re right where you left them, waiting for you to find them again.

So, there you have it… the perfect little setting for a modern fairy tale, complete with ‘once upon a time’ and ‘happily ever after’.  Well, not really… but pretty close!  I love the characters that she creates – all so different and new, but they feel like people I’ve either known for years or want to sit down on the porch with and get to know better.  Definitely a good summer read!

On another note, Kate begins the book by stating that she ‘woke up.’  Usually, I would think: she just had a nap, or she just woke up from a good night sleep.  But in this case she had spent the last year ‘asleep.’  Her husband died in a tragic accident, and she disconnected with life.  Just going through the motions, she was not fully aware of what was going on, and not fully herself and allowing her mother-in-law to take over.  It is at that point she wakes up, and begins to take control of her live, discover herself, connect with her daughter, and discover old family mysteries.  The way she described being ‘asleep,’ though – I could totally relate!  I did not have a death to mourn that created the disconnect for me, it was actually kind of gradual.  However, I was ‘asleep’ and going through the motions for years and I love that she was able to capture that in the book.

Also, I just had to share:  I love the inside cover of the book. I actually love the cover of the book, too.  Not that you should judge a book by the cover – just take my word for it. So, I don’t usually splurge on hardback copies unless its cheap, or one of my favorite authors.  Lost Lake happened to fall into both of those categories this time.  Have a look, though:

2015-06-08 23.16.03

Take another look at the little postcards they’re showing you there – they’re relevant to the story!

Has anyone else read any of Sarah Addison Allen’s books?

4 out of 5 stars.

The Last Book in the Universe…or Farenheit 451 from a younger perspective.

So, I swear I did not do this on purpose, but I read The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick right after I read Farenheit 451.  It’s like Farenheit 451‘s mini-me!

The_Last_Book_in_the_Universe_-_Book_CoverAccording to Goodreads:

This fast-paced action novel is set in a future where the world has been almost destroyed. Like the award-winning novel Freak the Mighty, this is Philbrick at his very best.
It’s the story of an epileptic teenager nicknamed Spaz, who begins the heroic fight to bring human intelligence back to the planet. In a world where most people are plugged into brain-drain entertainment systems, Spaz is the rare human being who can see life as it really is. When he meets an old man called Ryter, he begins to learn about Earth and its past. With Ryter as his companion, Spaz sets off an unlikely quest to save his dying sister — and in the process, perhaps the world.

Ok, so it isn’t clear in the description but if you read in between the lines of being plugged into the ‘brain-drain entertainment systems’ (Or 3 screen families in Farenheit, or just TV to you and me) you understand that no one reads and books don’t really exist in their world.  Written from the perspective of Spaz, he meets a older, wiser gentleman called Ryter who is *ahem* writing ‘the last book.’  Ok, so the names aren’t the greatest.  However, it is written from a younger perspective and also intended for a younger audience who might find the puns clever.  However, let me sidetrack for a moment here and advocate for YA books- some of my favorite books are YA.  I will admit that I was a little skeptical when I first got this book, though  I was unsure if it was going to be as good as my friends made it out be- yes *shocked face* I judged a book by the cover.  However, this, like many, many other books have proven that the cover is not everything.  There are some really insightful, deep and thoughtful topics that can be addressed to quench an intellectual thirst but done from a different perspective, sometimes.  It is refreshing, cleaner, and I do appreciate that as a reader you can address these things without using graphic, vulgar or profane words.  Just my two cents.  Hop on over to Bookbound and read Who should read YA? for a more clever advocate on the topic.

Moving along… so Spaz goes on a quest to save his dying sister and has to face numerous challenges and threats along the way.  However, he makes some friends and learns some lessons, too.  He learns how being different has allowed him to be the best person for the job and he learns to accept himself and his differences.  He opens up and learns how to stand up for himself, those he cares about, and for what is right.  He is young, and he does make mistakes and has flaws but as the reader, you come to love Spaz, too for his heart and his spirit.  You’ll be rooting for him, too.  The moral of the story is very much like Farenheit 451 in honoring how stories were originally told- through storytellers and storytelling.  As long as there is someone to tell the story, ‘books’ will never really die.

Has anyone else read this one?  Or do you have any other good Adult/YA pairings?

3.5 out of 5 stars

Farenheit 451 – Reading one of the Classics for the first time

So, another one of the books that I was able to devour during my recent travels includes Farenheit 451.  Yes, it is a classic, but one I had not read yet.  I borrowed this one from a friend who read it for a class and I thought – I should have already read this by now.  Does anyone else have a list of classics that they have not read yet but feel like they should have by now? Or is it just me?  Perhaps that will be a post for another day.  Moving along, I jumped right into this book without actually having any idea what it was about.  I didn’t even read the synopsis on the back. Which is weird for me.  I usually fully appreciate the whole cover, flip through the pages, smell them, you know – the whole nine yards before beginning to read a book.   For some books it might be recommended to go in blind, so to speak. Probably not so for this one, so I’ll share with you what Goodreads has to say about the book:

fahrenheit-451

The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.
Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock

So, entering this book without knowing what it was actually about was a little confusing at first.  It was just such a bizarre concept to me that there would ever actually be a world where no one read books.  Not even magazines.  I’ve heard of banned books, but ban all the books?  How dare they? How can people learn anything? How can they even read road signs on the road? Once I got past the initial shock and got off of my soap-box, defending my books I understood the point.  And it’s a good one, and rings true to society as we know it.  You know, the one where all of the kids develop carpal tunnel in their thumbs by the age 20.  We’re all a little bit guilty, myself included; I’m not pointing any fingers.  It is nice to hold a button on my phone and simply speak: “Google, what is Cassiopeia?” or “Google, take me home” and be directed home and toward the right answers.  I do it all the time.  Regardless, it is true – we are moving really quickly and technology is developing and growing faster than ever.  Yes, please go right ahead and appreciate the modern technology (I, for one will not stop) but do not lose where it all came from.  And, that’s exactly what this book does: it pays homage to the roots of it all and shows appreciation for the authors, readers, and storytellers from generation to generation.

So, it was interesting to read a perspective of the future written from the past (originally written in 1953).  Guy Montag is a fireman whose job is to set fires, not put them out.  He is so unhappy in his marriage you would almost think that he and his wife were ‘assigned’ to marry each other.  They don’t even remember how they met, so the reader starts to wonder… The neighbor, Clarisse is my favorite.  She reminds me of the part in the movie Pleasantville when people start to see in color.  Clarisse was the one who started to add color to Guy’s world and before he realized it, he could not see in black and white anymore.  The rest of the book follows what happens when someone who sees in color fights against the world who sees in black and white.   I’m very glad that I took the time to (finally) read this book and if you have not read it yet, either you should add it to your list and it’s not even 200 pages so there’s no excuse not to, really.

Have you read it?  What do you think?

4.5 out of 5 stars.

All the Light We Cannot See…is it worth the hype?

One of the books that I was able to finish on one of my flights from the weekend is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Which, by the way I am so glad that I was able to finish.  It feels like I’ve been carrying that book around for a month!  I haven’t really… it just felt like it, you know?  So, we were supposed to discuss this book for our book club last month (but we didn’t because everyone happened to be on Chapter 2 at the time) and I was determined to finish it before our next meeting!  I succeeded- hooray!  I was so excited to see how this story played out and had been looking forward to reading it for months.  I love historical fiction and especially World War II stories, plus this author added a really interesting twist.  Plus, it won the Pulitzer Prize this year.

all the light we cannot see

Here’s what Goodreads has to say about the book:

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

So, I looked up the book on YouTube and found a video with the author describing his inspiration for the story and it was really interesting the way he described how we (human beings) take advantage of the magic of technology all around us.  We can pick up a cell phone and talk to someone thousands of miles away and hear them as if they were standing right next to us.  Part of this concept is interwoven into the story with the radios and whatnot.  I, personally love that kind of stuff — it fascinates me.  For instance in the story, Werner and his sister are listening to the radio and discover a station of scientific lessons talking about how the brain sits in total darkness but is able to translate light and colors.  Nerdy, yeah maybe a little but who cares?

So Werner is a brilliant German kid who is swept away in the war because of his ability to fix radios and do intricate mathematical formulations.  His story alternates with Marie-Laure, in France, who is blind and learns how to navigate her way around Paris and Saint-Malo from her father’s miniature model of the town.  It is really very interesting, too to see the world from Marie-Laure’s perspective.  Her descriptions are lovely and I love the way that she ‘sees’ colors! It’s worth reading just for those descriptions – really well written!

So, that being said… I loved the beginning.  And I loved the ending.  However, to be honest, I found it a bit slow in the middle.  Perhaps part of the reason may be because for some reason I expected Marie-Laure and Werner to meet sooner in the story and for their lives to overlap and intertwine a little bit more.  Spoiler:  Werner and Marie-Laure don’t meet until closer to the end of the book; like around page 400 or so.  So perhaps that could be why I found the middle a little slow; I was waiting for the story to take a different turn.  Which, don’t get me wrong – I like to be surprised by a book, I like when a book keeps me guessing.  This wasn’t really one of those, though – there was just a lot more that had to happen before they even met in the first place.  I can’t really say a whole lot more without giving some things away.

So, all in all it was a really good story and I’m glad that I read it.  Like I said, it had a great start and a great ending but I personally would have trimmed the middle – just a bit.  Has anyone else read this one?  What did you think?

3.5 out of 5 stars.

When the second is better than the first…

How often does it happen when the second anything is better than the first?  In my experience, not often and it makes it that much sweeter when the first one was good.  Then the second one is even better.  Such was the case with me and The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey.

Infinite Sea

The Infinite Sea, if you are not familiar with it, it is the second book to The 5th Wave.  The 5th Wave is not a book that I would normally have picked up on my own.  Aliens and zombies kind of put me off a little.  However, I read this for a book club last year and I’m so glad that I did.  The 5th Wave refers to 5th form of attack from the aliens toward the humans.  The first when all forms of power are cut off, then a tsunami, plague and the silencers.  The story follows Cassie who, survives the waves, is separated from her little brother and is determined to find him again.  I won’t go into too much detail here.  Hop on over to Twenty-First Century Fangirl’s page for an awesome review of The 5th Wave

Here’s what Goodreads has to say about The Infinite Sea:

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.
Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The Infinite Sea picks up where The 5th Wave is left off.  I’ll warn you there is a cliffhanger at the end of the first book.  It’s a big one, and they kind of leave you hanging there for a few chapters.  Going into the second book you’re dying to know – or at least I was – what happened to Evan?  As with any post-apocalyptic story, there are deaths and yes, there are sad moments.  But in general this book does not disappoint.  I was literally on the edge of my seat the entire time.

I ended up listening to this one instead of reading a physical copy of the book so I was a little confused when the story picks up with Ringer and carries on with her quite a bit throughout the book.  I was not a big fan of her character in The 5th Wave, but you really get to know her and her story so much more in depth and she kind of grew on me.  Although I do like how both Cassie and Ringer are strong female characters… but if you survive the first four waves, I guess you kind of have to be.

In addition to Ringer, you learn more about the Others, about Evan’s background (oops did I spoil something?) and see Cassie and her group band together.  This book kept me guessing and there were a few predictable moments, but overall kept me guessing, which I like.  I like a book that keeps me guessing and makes me think – this one definitely did that more so than the first one – which for me, is why I liked it so much more than the first (as good as it was).  I don’t want to give too much away because you should definitely add this to your list!  I’m so excited for the third book, The Last Star.  Don’t you hate waiting a whole year to finish the series?  Ugh.

4.5 out of 5 stars.