Hey anon! I didn’t give it all that low of a rating… anything over 5 is a good rating in my book (no pun intended). But I base my ratings on a mixture of plot, writing style, intensity, character development, and my level of interest in the book. I know that’s not a perfect rating system, but it’s usually what I am looking for in a book. The rating I gave it is a mixture of these aspects, and I thought it was a little lacking in the intensity and character development aspects. I know lacking intensity isn’t necessarily a bad thing, which is why that number didn’t figure much into my final rating, but I do tend to prefer books that aren’t spoon fed to me. I also had to read it for a class which may have played a part in my lower level of interest, though I tried not to let it. I thought it was good overall, it’s just not a book in which I would normally be interested or ecstatic about. I also tried to give it a fair explanation saying that it was a good book by other standards, but not something I would normally read. I hope that answers your question.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart is an African novel focusing around the main character, Okonkwo, and what happens when white missionaries come to his village. Since it’s written by a native Nigerian, the language is different from any other book I’ve read. The sentences are long and flowing and altogether pleasing to the ear. He also introduces the reader to many foreign words that give flavor to the story. The plot is easy to follow and, even with the foreign concepts, it’s pretty easy to understand what’s happening. Things Fall Apart, according to Wikipedia, is the most widely read book in modern African literature—so it’s a pretty big deal. It’s an easy read, and I would highly recommend it, if only to say you’ve read it.
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Geektastic is a collection of short stories written by popular YA fiction authors including Cassandra Clare, John Green, David Levithan, Scott Westerfeld, and others. In order to rate this book, I’d have to rate each story individually, which would take way too long. So I’ll just say that all of these stories are pretty great in their own way and anyone who even remotely considers himself or herself a geek should read this book. The stories all focus on some aspect of geekdom and cover all the basics including comic books, fantasy stories, live action role playing, online gaming, and a lot of conventions. It’s an easy read, considering the longest story is less than fifty pages. It’s a book with great geeky charm and even better geeky comics.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a cute story about a boy and a girl who meet by chance and the eventful roller coaster of a night that follows. Both Nick and Norah are trying to get over their exes when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. She agrees and a night rife with heartbreak and puppy love follows. This book is interesting in that it’s written by two authors giving alternating points of view. Because of this, the reader can really get into the character’s heads, making them more relatable than your average teen novel lovers. The only downside to this book (other than the predictable plot line characteristic of most teen love stories) is the amount of cursing. Both the main characters have the mouths of sailors and there are very few pages that don’t have the f-word (seriously—who says f*** that much in one night??) on them. Other than that, it’s an easy read and a cute story about new love, moving on, and music.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a paranormal teen romance. The cover tries to tell you that this book is about a girl caught in the middle of an otherworldly war, when in reality it’s more about a girl with love interests on both sides of a war. The book follows a solid storyline of a girl trying to figure out who she is (literally—she may not be altogether human) until about two-thirds of the way through when (plot twist!) she sort-of figures out who she is. The characters are easy-to-understand, however a lot is left to interpretation. The plot is slightly confusing but not to the point that it’s impossible to follow. The book sets itself up for the sequel, and I’m definitely going to read it.
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
each book is approximately 1000 pages
A Song of Ice and Fire is an incredibly long, yet incredibly interesting, series set in Westeros, a country perpetually stuck in the middle ages. As suggested by the titles, the series focuses on the complex fight for who will be king (or queen) of Westeros and the wars that result from this “game of thrones.” The books are told from alternating characters’ points of view. The characters are fascinating, however there are so many of them it’s hard to remember who’s who and who’s fighting for who (although there is a helpful directory of characters and allegiances in the back of each book). It’s a series filled with intrigue, betrayal, and plotting mixed with witty banter and often graphically described violence and sex. These books will require your full attention, so they take a while to read. They are worth the time, though. I wouldn’t suggest these books to anyone under the age of eighteen. Or anyone who doesn’t like to see his or her favorite character die.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna and the French Kiss is a typical teen fiction story about a teenage girl who is sent to France to attend boarding school where she meets a heartthrob British boy. Teen angst quickly follows—complete with an in-the-way girlfriend and a jealous best friend. The characters are rather cliche yet still lovable. It’s an easy-to-read book with a clear (if predictable and unrealistic) plot line. It’s a good book to read in between more intense or complex novels or just for a lazy Saturday.