Out of Heart

Books to read in 2017 – The Asian Writer

Out of Heart is another gorgeous book donated to us by the wonderful people at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie. It follows Adam, an unusual and reclusive 15 year old with a huge artistic talent. He comes from a family broken by years of abuse, trying to recover from the death of his grandfather (his “Dadda”).  Into this storm of emotion walks William, another lost soul, but one who has been granted a second chance: he has just had a heart transplant as a result of the death of Adam’s Dadda.  This unlikely scenario is one that leads all parties down the much needed road to recovery. It’s a lovely and not difficult read, although it deals with some very heavy issues.

The Bell Jar

bell jar

Yes, this novel has two covers.  This is because it was impossible to find an image of the 50th anniversary edition (which we have in the library, pictured right) without an attached image of an old cover. The Bell Jar is a book about a young woman’s attempted suicide, so when the book was re-released with a pretty young girl looking in a mirror on its cover, lovers of the book became totally enraged, claiming this made the book look like chick lit. I suppose you will have to read it now to decide if the cover does it justice or damage.

 

 

Me Before You

Me-Before-You-book-cover-Jan-12-p122

Sigh. I love this book. Actually, I love Jojo Moyes. I find all her novels combine the lightness of chick lit with the depth of real world issues, but not in a way that seems forced. This one deals with euthanasia.  The main character, Louisa, is taking care of a wealthy young man who is paralysed and in a wheelchair. He had such a big life before he became paralysed that he’s not coping with things at all, and wants to be able to take his own life at a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland. Enter Lou, who is employed to take care of him, but takes it upon herself to remind him of the magic life has to offer… When you finish this one (or if you’ve already seen the movie!) be sure to read the follow up, After You, which I reckon is even better.

Holding Up the Universe

holding up the universeI bought this book on a whim at the airport, with no prior knowledge of either the book or it’s brilliant author, Jennifer Niven. I simply loved the first few pages and then found I couldn’t put it down during my flight. The premise is super weird, but stay with me! It’s about a girl called Libby, who had at one time gained notoriety for being the “fattest teen in America”. No seriously, she had to be cut out of her house. After years of therapy, the book finds Libby restarting high school, hoping to start afresh. It is here she meets Jack, resident cool guy with the biggest ‘fro in the known universe.  The whole cool guy thing is a front though, to cover up the fact he has a disorder called prosopagnosia, leaving him unable to recognise faces. I realise this sounds like a ludicrous basis for a book, but it’s not. It’s wonderful.  In an interview, Niven revealed that she wrote the book for her nephew who has prosopagnosia and hated that he never saw himself in the books he read.  I personally found the characters so well-drawn that I think we can all find a part of ourselves in Libby and Jack.

Late addition: this is a pretty cool clip about what face blindness feels like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxCC74jCfXc

Everything, Everything

everything, everything

Can you think of anything worse than being stuck at home with your mum, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Well, that’s the reality of Madeline Whittier’s life. She has a disease called SCID, which basically means she’s allergic to everything and can never go outdoors. And she’s pretty ok with it all too, until the day, that is, that Olly moves in next door. The question this book forces you to ask yourself is, is it better to live a long life with nothing in it, or a short life that embraces everything? This is an easy but gripping read, which most students have loved, with short chapters decorated by comical pictures and graphs.