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What I’ve Been Reading

Picture 2I started and almost finished Beauty Queens on my trip home from Denver last week. I had been told by dozens of people that I needed to read it, which is probably why I had been putting it off. I always get nervous when more than one person recommends a book to me because I feel like it raises my expectations too high.

But it didn’t happen this time. No one really gave me any details about what it was about so I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. It’s hysterical. I don’t even know how to describe it, other than to tell you it’s about a bunch of teen beauty queens whose plane crashed on a deserted island. I’d love to give you tidbits to lure you in, but I think I’m glad I read it kinda blind. So, if you think you’d be entertained by a campy satire mixed with a social commentary on beauty and strength…then read it!


Picture 3I can’t remember why I picked up Where Things Come Back but I’m glad I did. It was unlike any other Young Adult fiction I’ve ever read. Very real and dark in tone, so it was a nice change. And while it didn’t devastate me or anything, I wasn’t happy reading it. It kept me quite gray while I finished it. I’m glad I read it, but if you’re look for light fare that’s going to leave you seeing rainbows and petting unicorns? This is not it.

But if you’re looking for something that will be a bit introspective and serious and maybe leaving you thinking about life and loss a little longer than you normally like, then it’s a good read. It’s well written and a bit different from what I’m used to.



If you’ll recall, I have put a moratorium on series books. I was getting frustrated with a few factors:

1) Having to re-read a book to refresh my memory once the next one came out. I only have limited time to read, I don’t want to waste it reading books I’ve already read once.

2) Being disappointed after what could be years of time put into a series.

So – my new rule is that I won’t read a series until it’s done and someone I trust assures me the entire thing is worthwhile. I won’t get to the end and regret having read it.

I read Matched when it first came out a million years ago, but didn’t continue with the series after I put my moratorium into place. Now that the final book has come out, and John Green said it was good, I decided to pick up the first one again. I started reading them on my trip to Denver.

I’m not done with the final book yet, but I’m almost done. But here’s the thing, I’m kinda having trouble sticking with it. I mean, it’s good, but I’ve hit a bit of a lull. I don’t want to give anything away, but I was kinda hoping someone who has read the series could maybe encourage me in the comments to finish it. I’ll just say that there’s some sick people and other people are trying to cure them and I feel like I’ve been reading about sick people for YEARS now. Just when I think the story is leading elsewhere, we’re right back to the sickness again.

So, it’s good, but I’m just struggling. A book has to really pull me in to keep my attention in my crazy life and this lull seems to be waning my interest a bit and I’m worried I won’t finish it.

Have you read it? Can you give me some words of encouragement to stick with it? BLAH.


That’s what I’ve been reading, what about you? Anything good? What Libba Bray book should I read next if I ever finish the Matched Trilogy?


16 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading”

  1. I read the 2nd in the Matched series and thought that one dragged. I haven’t picked up the 3rd one yet, and based on your thoughts, I may not. Such a disappointment, since the 1st book was so good!

    1. I did end up finishing the book this morning and while I think the series was good overall, I’m not sure three books was necessary. I feel like the last two could have been combined into one, but it seems like a “trilogy” is where all of the money is at. I felt like some parts drug on while other’s didn’t get enough attention. It’s weird. Maybe it could have been three books if they had focused more on other parts and less on…other other parts :) (Trying to not spoil it in case you want to pick it up.) (Although, I’m not sure it’s worth it in the end.)

      1. I completely agree. It was good, but not great. It either needed to be two books or more than three (though I’m not sure the author had enough material in her to expand it beyond the three she wrote…) so that other elements could be fully fleshed out. (As an example and I *think* I can say this without spoilers for those wanting to read – there were several people during the 3rd book who recognized the Pilot’s voice, who figured out who he was…and yet she didn’t explain fully how all of them did or even why that was significant)

        And I wasn’t happy with some of the pairings at the end. Not even a little bit.

  2. I was going to come mention the book I’m reading now, but then realized it’s the first in a trilogy and the next two aren’t published yet! (It’s good tho! so far. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo)

    1. I read that! It was great! I didn’t know it was a trilogy when I started it :( – But it was really good so I didn’t get too pissed off when I realized I’d have to wait for more!

  3. So the last Matched book DOES end well. Eventually. But I agree – it drags. I still liked it INFINITELY better than the middle one (BAH!), but it did feel kind of like “sickness, sickness, sickness, OH! ENDING!” OK, so not that bad. The build up to the ending was decent, but yeah, it took a while.

  4. The first Libba Bray book I ever read was A Great and Terrible Beauty. It is part of a trilogy, but all 3 are out and, in my opinion, worth reading. Very different type of story!

  5. I just finished the Beautiful Creatures series (5 books, all are out) and I really liked it. It’s different than what I usually read (witches aren’t usually my thing), but I really enjoyed it. Well written and they were longer than most ya books, which I appreciated.

    1. I actually read that! I started it b/c I knew the series was almost done AND they were making a movie out of it, so I wanted to be clued in. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t go directly and pick up the next one. I’m sure I’ll come back to it, but it just wasn’t one put down one desperate for the next, but I will get back to it, I’m sure!!!!!!

  6. If you want “fluff”… Easy by Tammara Webber (shockingly not trashy based on the title) – just a sweet quick read.

    I also liked (but didn’t love) Testimony by Anita Shreve (a journalist writing about a boarding school’s scandal involving students, parents and the headmaster). The premise was good, but I didn’t like that everything was written in the past tense. (I’m annoyed with tv and movies that do that, too. One scene and then “3 hours earlier” That formula annoys me)

    And while everyone and their mother is raving about Tina Fey’s Bossypants, I’d like to point out the amazing Rachel Dratch also wrote a fabulous book – Girl Walks into a Bar – and I love her even more. I mean, come on, she outright says that she knows people think she’s a troll and that the only parts she’s going to play are the, uh, “un-f***ables”.

  7. It bothered me when the same day Reached came out it was also named on Amazon’s top 25 of 2012 list – that to me just screamed of manipulative marketing. I saw John Green’s posts also and it just made me think they must share an editor or manager or something, it seemed somehow less than 100% sincere. I have started to sort of loath the trilogy. I imagine every pitch meeting for a book idea immediately devolves into a “how can you make this a three part series?” discussion.

    So since I’m on an publishing industry rant… I’d recommend How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely (it’s a novel) or if you’re looking to stay in YA “How to Buy A Love of Reading” by Tanya Gibson (not about publishing, it’s a coming of age story but those two titles always seem to go together in my head.

    1. Good guess. John does share his agent (Jodi Reamer at Writers House) and his publisher (Dutton) with Ally Condie. He also often promotes the books of other authors who share his editor (Julie Strauss-Gabel), such as Stephanie Perkins.

  8. I loved Beauty Queens! I loved it so much I recommended it to my,then 14 year old, son and he loved it as well!

  9. You’ve brought me to the dark side: just picked up Beauty Queens from the library today after reading this earlier in the week…

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