The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

http://www.alicesebold.com

There seems to be a recent trend of womens’ fiction novels being turned into movies. My Sister’s Keeper, Confessions of a Shopaholic, He’s Just Not That Into You, etc. The Lovely Bones  by Alice Sebold is the latest piece of literature to be shown on the big screen, but this book doesn’t quite have the same happy, chick-lit feel as some of the others. As usual, I have not seen the movie, but don’t really intend to. The book is all I need. Although the movie does star Mark Walbergh, so I may have to go see it just for him…

The aqua-blue background and silver charm bracelet on the cover of The Lovely Bones is, to say the least, misleading. It’s not the light, cutesy tale one would think it to be when pulling it off of the shelf. In reality, The Lovely Bones is a mix of memoir, mystery, and thriller, all with a feminine appeal. The book is told from the point of view of Susie Salmon, a 14-year old who is stuck in the “world in-between.” Susie was raped and murdered by her neighbor, Mr. Harvey, while taking a short-cut on her way home from school. The murder itself is depicted rather graphically for a short bit of the book, but the rest reflects on the the struggles of those she left behind.

Susie watches over her family from heaven, as they discover her death, and attempt to recover from it and move on. She watches her younger sister try to cope with the loss, and continue to grow up and deal with everyday teenage issues in the most normal way possible. She watches over her father as he begs detectives to continue searching for her killer, and, ultimately, takes matters into his own hands.

But perhaps the most heart-wrenching moments of all are when Susie reflects on her own life and what she has missed, since being taken away too young. The novel takes a unique look at the mysteries of the spiritual world and the after-life, and the relationship we have with it here on Earth.

The story is definitely a tear-jerker, and, at times, difficult to read. While Sebold’s use of language and description makes a beautiful literary piece, it also causes the story to move along slowly and become dry in places.

For a unique book, and a fresh perspective on life and it’s little treasures, be sure to read The Lovely Bones.

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

http://www.megcabot.com

Well it has been a while since my last post, but a lot has happened! I graduated from JMU and snagged a wonderful full-time job so needless to say I’ve been busy! But now that things are settling down and I’m getting used to my new routine, posts should be coming more regularly. But enough about me, back to the books!

Meg Cabot is the author of The Princess Diaries, the tween book series-turned hit movie, as well as a number of other young adult books. But she has also ventured into the world of adult fiction, and has had great success, especially with her Queen of Babble mini-series.

Queen of Babble follows Lizzie, a new college graduate with a degree in fashion history…well, she doesn’t exactly have her degree quite yet. There’s a technical problem standing in the way of getting her diploma, but she doesn’t dare tell her judging family this. She’ll just write her senior thesis while spending the summer in Europe with her new boyfriend, Andrew, and everything will be fine.

Except Lizzie’s new beau doesn’t exactly turn out to be Prince Charming. But by the time Lizzie gets fed up enough and decides to leave him, she’s stuck in Europe with no way to get home. Lizzie’s best friend Shari just happens to be spending the summer working at a Chateau in France and encourages Lizzie to come stay with her at the mansion.

Lizzie quickly finds adventure at Chateau Mirac. Her tendency to speak without thinking, and to not know when to stop puts her in many awkward, yet humorous for the reader, situations. She finds romance with the owner’s son, Jean-Luc, but his girlfriend poses a big obstacle for their budding relationship. And when a bride who has her wedding at the chateau is on the brink of a nervous break-down, Lizzie uses her “useless” fashion history skills to turn an out-dated wedding dress into the dress of her dreams.

But when Andrew unexpectedly shows up at the Chateau, begging for Lizzie’s forgiveness, will she leave the lavish life in the French countryside to be with him once again?

Cabot’s story is a cute, quick read, and while entertaning, it is, at times, too fairy-tale-like to relate to. Cabot seems to have made the transition to adult fiction quite well, but you can still tell that she is used to writing for a younger audience.

Be sure to read her two sequels to this book, Queen of Babble in the Big City  and Queen of Babble Gets Hitched.