The Giver by Lois Lowry

giver.jpgIf you enjoy dystopian or reading about fictional worlds, this one is for you! The Giver has been around for quite some time and is constantly listed as a must read. I decided to give it a try!

Jonas lives in a society where everything is pleasant, thought out and pain free. When children turn 12, they receive an assignment from their society. This is the job they will do for the rest of their life. Jonas is anxious for the ceremony, so you can imagine how nervous he felt when his name was skipped over. The truth is, Jonas has a special job. He will become the next Receiver, the keeper of memories and an honorable person in society. This job will introduce him to things no one else in the society has ever endured. Will he be able to handle it?

I really enjoyed this book! Its short and sweet. I think one thing that sets it apart from many other dystopians in the detail in which she explains the society. To me, that is one of the most fascinating parts of dystopian. My biggest disappointment was the ending. I was really hoping for more resolution, but instead I was left with SO many questions. I wanted to see it as sweet and fitting, but I really wish there was more. Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 5. Definitely something I would recommend.

Common Sense Media Rating: 11+ years

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

hawkinsThis book has been on several “must read” lists, but I was hesitant to read it at first. However, I recently came across a movie trailer for the book, and I was convinced. I’m very much a read-before-you-watch kind of person. I have mixed reviews about the book, but I am very excited to see the movie.

Rachel is spiralling. She is an alcoholic still mourning the loss of her husband and the life she once lived. Every morning she takes a train to work, which scoots by her old house – and the house of Jess, a woman she’s been watching on every commute. Jess and her husband have a seemingly perfect life, the kind Rachel dreamed of living. But one day, everything changes. Jess turns out to actually be a woman named Megan, and Megan is missing. Rachel thinks she has some answers, but she is also surrounded by speculation and confusion. Rachel’s journey will have you questioning everyone – including her.

I think this book will make a fantastic movie. I actually think that it would have worked out better that way in the first place. While the book was mostly captivating, Hawkins sometimes is too vague and too mysterious for my liking. One of my biggest pet peeves with mystery/thrillers is when characters begin to change so that we will suspect them. I also felt like the vagueness of things became really confusing at times. From the very beginning we get “he” and “she” pronouns with no name so that we question who it is. Which is great…but I don’t want to spend 200 pages guessing. Lastly, the book switches between characters AND time periods. Two of the characters are told in a similar time frame while the other starts a year back. This got really confusing, for me, at times. I had to remember what happened and when. This is why I think a film adaptation will be better – the time can represented smoother. Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5. I want to give it more, because I did enjoy it, but there were several things that really hindered my ability to read it.