John Green creates such amazing characters and when you add the talents of David Levithan you find yourself falling in love with the book. Will Grayson, Will Graysonis the story about two different boys living two very different lives who happen to meet in the same windy city and are both named Will Grayson. On a chance encounter, the two strike up a conversation which leads to friendship, new adventures (at times musical adventures) and a whole new path.
I really like that this story is written by two authors and then told from two different perspectives. This writing style gave you insight on both of the Wills and the ups and downs of their lives. The characters are incredibly realistic, it feels like you know them. I was impressed with how well the authors were able to capture the humor, depression, and the nerdiness of growing up. I also liked that Green and Levithan continually added plot twists. I never knew where the story was headed or how it would end. This is a great YA contemporary novel that has you laughing out loud sometimes, as well as contemplating the trials and tribulations of being a teen.
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is a fascinating historical fiction novel set in Paris during World War II. Overrun by German soldiers, the citizens of Paris are left distraught. Architect Lucien Bernard is asked to design factories for the Germans and persuaded to start building secret nooks inside the walls of houses for people to hide. To some he is a traitor and to some a hero. His new, rather lucrative albeit dangerous career is never as simple as one hopes and soon Lucien finds himself forced to make life altering decisions that will forever change the person that he is.
It was intriguing to read about Paris during WWII and how the people felt while being occupied. Most people are fighting to survive and yet there are others who are so consumed with greed that it astounded me. The Paris citizens were faced with cruelty on a daily bases from both Germans and other Frenchmen. The were forced to decide to either help others to survive or turn a blind eye. The intense look at humanity was both heartbreaking and joyful. Written by an architect this book was clearly a nod to design and building, but also a wonderful book on the human condition.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memoryis a remarkable book that looks at the impact of post traumatic stress disorder not only for the person with it but for the family members around them. After jumping from place to place, Hayley and her dad have decided to attempt to settle down in upstate New York. After returning from Iraq Hayley’s dad struggles with demons making it next to impossible to keep a steady job or pay bills. In fact, some days he can’t even leave his room because he is stuck in his nightmares of war. However, Hayley is optimistic that she can have a normal life here, perhaps even a boyfriend.
“You could drive a truck through the amount of space between forgetting and not remembering.” This is one of my favorite lines in this book and it captures the essence of the story. Anderson is an amazing writer who captures the sensitivity and compassion between a father and daughter both dealing with PTSD. The characters are wonderful and the plot is fast-paced and intriguing. This is a book I highly recommend.