This Is Where It Ends
Young Adult / June 23, 2016

Author: Marieke Nijkamp. Summary: 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting. Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. (Publisher’s summary.) My Thoughts: This could have been an amazing book. It wasn’t. Despite the frequent flashbacks from different points of view, which both confused me as to who had what sad backstory and also slowed the action down greatly, none of the characters became sharply defined in my mind. I had trouble keeping track of whose pov I was in at the time, and what sort of backstory they had with the shooter, because they often seemed similar. The shooter’s backstory was explored a little through the other characters, but his real motivation and phsychology was never brought out – at least I hope so. The other option is that the meager information we got was…

The Book Thief
Young Adult / April 8, 2016

Author: Marcus Zusak. Summary: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: One of the few books that can bring tears to my eyes. Zusak has a knack for unconventional prose that truly overturns the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  In this moving World War II story he focuses not on the allies, or the Jews, but on a common German family. They may hate Hitler, but there is nothing they can do, or will do – and yet the consequences of the war will hit them…