Happy Friday, friends! Read any good books lately? I sure haven’t. January proved to be a real “dud” month for me with books, and I apologize in advance if my two reviews come off aggressively whiney, but I was pretty let down by my selection. I’m wondering if it’s because I was coming down off of the Harry Potter high after reading books one through seven back-to-back, and then immediately stepping into published fan-fic, and then entirely different genre all together? It’s likely. All I know is that I need some new good reads STAT and I am all ears for your recommendations in the comments!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by John Tiffany (Adaptation), Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling.
“Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”
My first thought after finishing the last page and closing this book was, “What the *expletive deleted* did I just read?” I started Cursed Child the day after completing Deathly Hallows, and was really curious to see what the gang and their kids were up to several years later, but instead a lot of underwhelming and confusing material. Keep in mind, I am relatively new to learning that J.K. Rowling is pretty problematic, and while I get that she did not “write” this, I am extremely perplexed as to how she acknowledged all of this as canon. Why did she end Deathly Hallows with Harry telling Albus that it would be okay if he was sorted in Slytherin, but then in Cursed Child she okayed Harry being extremely bigoted towards the house and Scorpius? I’m not sure the reasoning behind letting that narrative unravel. Not to mention, this would have been a great opportunity to showcase Slytherin as something other than the Evil Murder Club that Rowling perpetuated in books one through seven, but I guess just like how she and David Yates agreed not to make Dumbledore “explicitly gay” in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, this was another potential redeeming moment tossed out the window. All in all, I was wildly unimpressed with this book and found it to be very disappointing. (Goodreads synopsis + Purchase here)
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
“Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.”
I realize I should probably expound upon this, but truthfully, the most intelligent response I can muster to this review is…meh. I have read and enjoyed all of John Green’s books, and I was really excited to start TATWD, and was excited for a female perspective of someone who struggles with anxiety, but I found myself cringing a lot as I read it. Do you ever watch a TV show or movie about teens that was clearly written by someone who hasn’t stepped foot in a high school in well over thirty years? Everything just sounds uncomfortable and unnatural? That’s kind of how I felt reading this book. Honestly, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the old one out of touch with the youths. Yep, I am definitely am after typing that last sentence, but the dialogue between the main character, Aza, and her best friend Daisy often read like scrapped lines from Juno and often times I just wanted to yell at the book “I get it. These are very cool teens that understand pop culture. Congrats!!!” I thought how HE wrote about Aza’s anxiety was beautiful and it felt very real, so I definitely do not want to dismiss that. I think John Green has an excellent handle on the inner workings of someone dealing with mental illness, and crafts it in such a way that as a reader without having experienced the specific nuances of Aza’s struggles, it read as something I could understand and empathize with. (Goodreads synopsis + Purchase here)
Have you read a book by a favorite author that let you down?