RTW: Swept Away

This week’s Road Trip Wednesday asks: What’s been your most surprising read of the year so far—the book you weren’t sure about going in that really swept you off your feet?

Because I’m wordy, I’m going to answer with THREE books:

TRINKETS by Kirsten Smith

Moe (the outcast), Elodie (the innocent new girl in town), and Tabitha (the most popular girl in school), are polar opposites. But they all have one thing in common – they shoplift. They’re caught. This is the story of them meeting at a shoplifters anonymous group, and learning that each girl is more than meets the eye. I was surprised with how much I really, really liked this book. The chapters rotate back and forth, narrated by each girl (Moe in diary entries, Elodie in verse, Tabitha in first-person narrative), and it’s really wonderful seeing them grow and change. It’s real, it’s fun, it’s lovely, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

WINGER by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West is a 14-year-old junior in boarding school who’s in love with his best friend, Annie, and living in the “bad kids” dorm due to hacking into a cell phone. This year, he wants to prove himself. Winger is hilarious, heartwarming, perverted, and just…wonderful. It’s long, but I wanted it to be longer. You get so wrapped into the lives of all the characters that you feel like it’s your school and your friends. And the twist ending is completely, heartrendingly, earned. Loved it.

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple

The premise of this book is fantastic – a mom, Bernadette, has disappeared. Her daughter compiled every e-mail, memo, letter from the days leading up to the disappearance, and that’s what you’re reading. You’re reading a woman’s struggle through her correspondence, through situations that she’s going through. The characters are beautifully brought to life, especially Bernadette who is absolutely hilarious, with her weird hatred of Seattle, her hidden past, her annoyance with neighbors. This received a 2013 Alex Award, and I can totally see why. Absolutely loved. 

RTW: Anything For Love

This week’s question: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love, or what’s your favorite book/movie moment of someone doing crazy things for love? 

As it turns out, I’m not a very crazy romantic person. Ask my husband. I think the most romantic this I did last year was surprise him with FIFA 2012. (In my defense, it was a Big Deal, – he is British and all – and i’m pretty sure he’s more in love with the game than me.)

He’s way sweeter.

So let’s go with my favorite movie moment. It’s not so much a moment, but a culmination of events. I love the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I love how Joel goes from wanting his memories erased, to wanting to keep them forever. I love that, for love, he mentally fights a mental procedure. How great is that?

But mostly, I love the ending. Because Joel and Clementine have seen what happens when they date. It doesn’t go well. They try to erase one another.

And yet. They try again.

RTW: Best Book of January

This week’s Road Trip WednesdayWhat’s the best book you read in January? 

Probably this one:

Peter and the Starcatchers

by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

S bought it for me back in December right after we saw Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway. I adored the musical more than words can say, so I felt the need to read the original material. And it was fun! It’s Peter’s story before he was The Peter Pan. I enjoy recommending it at the library now.

I’ve always been fond of the Peter Pan story, which is why we saw the play in the first place. The play was magical in the sense that it wasn’t magical. There were no special effects, no crazy Spiderman-esque wiring to make the characters fly. No, it asked for you to use your imagination and pretend the ladder was really a mountain, the rope was really a wave, the girl was flying, and not just sitting on a see-saw. I loved that so much because it, as cheesy as it sounds, reminded me of being a kid. When a blanket was a Batgirl cape, a princess dress, a ninja turtle belt. When a covered corner was a cave, a secret hideout, a magical palace. The show reminded me to dream, believe, imagine, and try. So, to me, the show felt magical.

And I might have teared up at the end.

“Pity the child who lives in a fact-based world.”