I will admit that I didn’t think I would enjoy this book. I’m not one for adventure stories and it just didn’t seem like my kind of book. But I had read lots of rave reviews on the book, so I decided to pick it up and see what it was all about. I am so glad I did. This book was about a girl who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail – by herself! – in the mid-1990’s. It is filled with her struggle to make it through each day, to keep hiking, and what it was like during those sweltering days of heat and intensely cold nights. She loses toenails, she gets blisters, and she meets tons of friends. But this story is so much more than about a girl hiking the PCT. It is the story of Cheryl. Of how she got to the PCT. Of her mom, whom she was close to and her dying of cancer. Of her marriage and all the ways she destroyed it by her own hand. Of her family and the way it completely fell apart when her mom died. Of Cheryl herself. And her personal triumph. She hiked 1,100 miles over the course of her journey and it wasn’t easy. She made a lot of rookie mistakes, not exactly knowing what she was getting herself into but it made her so much more human and real. That’s the beauty of memoirs: the realness and vulnerability. Towards the end of this book, I found myself getting sadder and sadder at the thought of finishing and that is the measure of a great book, in my eyes.
2. Putting Boys on the Ledge by Stephanie Davis (3 stars)
I got this book free on Kindle and it seemed like a sweet YA novel. Which it was. It was written at more of a middle-grade level and was mainly a love story, with no other plot. It was a simple, easy read that I finished in a day or so. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it… unless you’re a twelve-year-old girl.
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (3 stars)
This was our January #twookclub pick! I swear, I have read this novel but now I wonder if I read some adaptation of it, written for the younger audience. I’m not sure, but I felt like I was reading an entirely new story. The language was hard to get used to at first (and the cheesiness…) but once I got into it, I started to really enjoy it. I can’t say this is one of the best books I’ve ever read, nor one of my favorites, but there’s something wholly pure and classic about this novel that you can’t help but enjoy. My Kindle told me this book was over 600 pages long so it took me a looooong time to read it (two weeks!) and I was pretty happy to start something new when I finished it. Still, I’m glad I read it and I’m excited to read more classics now!
4. Three Girls and a Baby by Rachel Schurig (4 stars)
I think I read this book in less than a day. I just couldn’t put it down! It is a novel about a girl who has broken up with her boyfriend, after he found out she cheated on him. She’s down in the dumps about it, then later finds out she’s pregnant but has no way to contact him (and believes he wants nothing to do with the baby, thanks to his meddling mom). Luckily, she lives with her two best friends who help her and support her as she traverses the world of pregnancy and impending motherhood alone. It was a really cute story, although there were a lot of inconsistencies which is why I knocked the rating to 4 stars, but still a really good read. I definitely recommend it if you like the chick-lit genre!
5. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (3.5 stars)
This book was the January pick for my in-person book club. I actually won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and it arrived a week before book club which worked out perfectly! Since I was on a Kindle buying ban for January, I was planning on getting the book from my library – until I found out I had a $17 fine. Um, oops? This book had such an interesting premise and I think it’s been on a few #twookclub discussions, so I was excited when it was picked! Basically, the story is about Julia, who is 11 and in that awkward stage of growing up. She has a crush on a cute boy, a best friend she plays soccer with, and a worrywart mother. It happens almost seamlessly but Julia wakes up one morning to the news that the rotation of the earth has slowed. Each day grows a little bit longer which ends up affecting everything from the agriculture to the sea life to the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s part sci-fi, part coming-of-age. It’s an incredibly interesting story but I really wanted more. I felt like the author limited herself by having an 11-year-old narrator and it became more about her life than this crazy shift in the Earth. While I enjoyed that part, it left me feeling a little “eh” at the end. Also, the dramatic foreshadowing was a little too much at times.
6. Worth the Scandal by Karen Erickson (3 stars)
One of those cute romance novels with a brooding leading man, a passionate woman, and corporate espionage. The writing was good and I liked the flow of the story, although there were definitely some major typos. (She completely switched the name of one of the characters, which was very confusing at first!) It was a little over-the-top at times, but generally well-written for a romance novel.
7. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash (4 stars)
I gave an entire review of this novel on Wednesday and suffice it to say, I loved this novel. I loved the writing. I loved the characters. I loved the plot. I loved the language. The premise sounded intriguing but I honestly didn’t expect to get as caught up in it as I did. And YOU could win a copy of this amazing novel! Details here. Giveaway ends on Sunday night.
Books read in 2013: 7