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Three reviews March 26, 2010

Posted by Galaxy in Book Reviews.
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March, and often into April, seem to me especially good months for reading. It’s a transitional time when winter’s fading but the really lovely, warm spring weather hasn’t arrived (except in a teasing “soon, but not yet” sort of way). I like to hunker down with a stack of books until green things start poking through last year’s dead grass and the last of the snowbanks have finally disappeared from the yard–total escapism.

This week, we’re each going to share one book that has kept us occupied (and sane) this season.

Linda:

I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson (Find it on our Staff Picks table now!)

Talking dog? I had my doubts. But in the same way that I want a reader to take a risk–say when I am trying to sell them a book about sheep farmers in Iceland–I figured I owed it to this book to give it a try. In short, the relationship between Paul and his dog Stella is the best relationship between any characters–human, canine, feline, bovine–anything or anyone in fiction, and probably in life. I’d welcome Paul and Stella on my doorstep any day, and in the meantime I’ll be so happy I met them while I was reading.

Sandy:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (available April 6)

I love this collaboration between David Levithan and John Green.  It’s the story of two boys named Will Grayson who live in different suburbs of Chicago. One Will Grayson lives by rules that will keep him out of the spotlight, number one of which is “Shut up.” Unfortunately for him, it’s hard to avoid the spotlight when your best friend is Tiny Cooper, “world’s largest person who is really, really gay.”  The other Will Grayson faces a daily battle with depression and finds his only solace in online meetings with a guy named Isaac. One night, the Will Graysons’ paths cross, and each boy finds his life changed in ways he wouldn’t have imagined. Engaging from the first page, the story is funny, heartbreaking, redemptive, and completely captures the frustration of those teenage years when you’re trying so hard to understand who you are and how to deal with life’s highs and lows. (Not to say that ends as soon as the teen years are over.)

Stella:

My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira (available May 13)

Robin Oliveira’s debut novel is a Civil War story full of wonderful historical detail and strong writing. Mary Sutter is a woman who wants to become a surgeon, succeeds, and discovers her strengths and limitations along the way.  The book is loosely based on the life of Mary Edwards Walker, the first American female surgeon and the first woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. [edited 3/29: Though some aspects of the character’s life might be similar to that of Mary Edwards Walker and other female surgeons of the Civil War, the author would like to note that Mary Sutter is a completely fictional character.]

(I really enjoyed this book, but if you have a weak stomach there are some graphic descriptions of battlefield wounds and amputations that you might want to skip past.)

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