I think I’m going to take a wee break from Scotland and talk about another one of my favorite things: books! As the year comes to a close, I think it’s natural to reflect upon everything that happens. Is it weird that I sometimes remember things in reference to what book I was reading at the time?
That said, here are some of the books I enjoyed most this year. Note: At the beginning of the summer, I wrote this post about the some of the best books I read last school year. None of these books will be included.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Short Summary: Charlie, a withdrawn, disturbed freshman in high school, writes letters to a nameless “friend” in whom he confides the pain and joys of finding his place in the world.
Review: This is the first book I remember finishing this year, and it’s stayed in my head ever since. Charlie’s voice is truly unique; it has a rare personal and honest quality to it that I loved. Although it has its flaws and contains a few graphic disturbing scenes, Perks is among the most touching stories I’ve read.
2. Catcher in the Rye
Summary: Holden Caulfield, a neurotic, underachieving teenager is expelled from yet another school. To deal with the situation and his inner turmoil, he aimlessly wanders New York City, trying to find himself.
Review: I think there are two kinds of people in this world: those who love Catcher and those who just don’t get it. Although it took a school assignment to get me to pick up this book, I found I fall squarely in the former category. On the surface, it looks like a long, babbling yarn, but if you look closer, Salinger has many deep insights to share.
3. Throne of Glass
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Celeana Sardothien, the most feared assassin in the land, is freed from an infamous prison camp. The crown prince promises her she will stay free under one condition: she will fight for him in a competition and win the position as an assassin for the king, the man she hates the most.
Review: The best thing about this book is Celeana. She is overflowing with sass and confidence, which makes her an endearing character despite her sketchy past. There’s also an interesting fantasy world and a good adventure plot, which makes the book an enjoyable read. I also liked the second book, though book the third bogged me down a little. I haven’t gotten the chance to read the fourth one, but I hope to soon!
4. The Red Queen
Summary: In Mare Barrow’s world, there are two kinds of people: those with red blood, who have no magic, and the magical silver-bloods, who oppressively rule over the red-bloods. When Mare publically discovers she possesses magic despite her red blood, she is forced to play the role of a long-lost silver-blood noble.
Review: The first time I tried to read this book, I didn’t really get into it, though I couldn’t figure out why. The second time, I couldn’t set it down. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, wondering what would happen and who I could trust. It’s a thriller that will make your head spin.
5. A Thousand Splendid Suns
Summary: Mariam is an illegitimate child who is always treated like a burden. Laila is a beautiful young girl whose father is determined to get her through school. When war rages in their homeland of Afghanistan, jarring circumstances bring these women together, forcing them to set aside their differences and form the strongest of bonds.
Review: This book wins. It’s probably the BEST book I read all year, and definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read. Filled with shattering heartbreak, wartime horrors, and true unconditional love, Splendid Suns is a heartwarming story that will haunt me forever.
And last but not least, I remember reading some really awesome novels my creative writing classmates wrote this year! I can’t write about them all because it would take an entire second post, but they definitely deserve a shout-out.
Quick note: The books listed here have content that will upset some people. It’s too much to go into now, but just because I mention I like a book does not mean I morally agree with all of its content.