Title: Jasper Jones
Author: Craig Silvey
Rating: 3.75 Stars
Despite all the 5 Star reviews of Jasper Jones clogging up the blogosphere, Silvey's novel isn't quite worth all the hype it has garnered. Granted, it is beautifully written with realistic dialogue, complex relationships, and a plot line that is equal parts bitter and sweet. Moreover, its prose is stunning, quiet and reflective without dragging the novel down. Within the pages of Jasper Jones lurks a shocking small town secret, an achingly sweet first love, and a realistically unfair portrayal of life in all its highs and lows. It does, admittedly, get off to a bit of a slow start, but once it hits its stride, Jasper Jones is impossible to set down. And yet, I will not be re-visiting the world of Jasper Jones the way I lovingly re-read the pages of Melina Marchetta's novels. As such, take my advice: lower your expectations for this novel and prepare to be, very pleasantly, surprised. You'll thank me later.
Title: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating: 4 Stars
The Impossible Knife of Memory is a beautifully written tale of growing up and, most importantly, facing the harsh realities of life even when we need to see the world through rose-tinted glasses. I did find myself disappointed by the ending of this novel, which wrapped up events a little too neatly for my liking. Still, I can't not love a book that contains swoon-worthy math pick-up lines, exemplary teenage driving, and features a genuine college application process (complete with college visits AND the essay prompts for the 2013-2014 application year!). And, if you needed any more motivation to read this novel: it's written by Laurie Halse Anderson. You simply cannot go wrong with her.