Continuing with our summer of learning practical things, let us now learn about dating. There are great people out there to date, normal people, who have a pulse and aren’t followed by paparazzi at every turn. Then again, if you are into the undead and the famous, those types might be right up your alley. But what if the guy you like just kinda happens to be a prince. Maybe of a country like Denmark. Whose name happens to be Hamlet. Is everyone following me here? That’s right, a modern retake on the Shakespearian classic, Hamlet. Only this time, Ophelia isn’t dead. This time, Ophelia is telling all about her time with the royal family in the midst of some truly epic turmoil.
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray is the fabulous tale of a true royal love gone wrong. Take Hamlet and his family, toss them into modern times, throw in some paparazzi and the problems that come with being famous in this day and age and voila! A whole new spin on an epically tragic play. Shakespeare lends himself to some amazing and weird retellings, and Michelle Ray manages to bring something new and interesting to a concept that is always in danger of being over worked. She stays true to the original work, with the one big difference being that Ophelia does not end up as soggy worm food. The famous lines and monologues are all worked into the dialogue, but in such a natural way that it never feels forced. You are following Ophelia through three different points of view, her view point as she tells what really happened, the people of Denmark’s point of view watching her interviewed on TV after the fact, and snippets of her being interrogated by police. The switching of viewpoints is nicely delineated with different fonts and a consistent pattern. One opens and chapter, one is the bulk of the chapter, and one ends the chapter. It is wonderful and makes the novel better-rounded and gives you a lot more insight into the events that occurred.
Over all, this is a wonderful retelling of a Shakespeare play that has been poked, prodded, stretched and beaten to death. Read this, and then read Hamlet. Or do it in reverse. Either way, it is going to be enlightening.
Not murder mystery death, but sad, heart wrenching find yourself death. While the cover of Moonglass by Jessi Kirby may lead one to believe that it is a schmaltzy summer romance, that assumption is far from the truth. Moonglass is a touching story about Anna and her journey towards accepting her mother’s death, which happened many years ago. Her mother drowned herself in front of seven year old Anna, and while Anna has grown up to be a confident and accomplished young woman, questions about her mother still remain. Her father accepts a new job at the beach where he first met Anna’s mother, and she slowly uncovers the mysteries of her mother, as well as discovering the many different shapes of grief.
This book is at its strongest when it focuses on Anna, her father and her mother. There is some great character building and a few truly touching moments. Where the book falters is when Anna goes off to start her new high school and things become a little too stereotypical “new girl at school is amazing and gets the hottest boy.” If it were a whole separate story, it would be wonderfully entertaining and a lot of fun. Mixed into the heaviness of the other plotline, it looks vapid and makes the serious issues lose some weight. I found myself getting whiplash from how quickly Kirby would jump back and forth between the two plotlines, often with no warning. It took some effort to keep things straight, but the characters, especially the Dad, made me stick it out. Kirby had so many wonderful characters and ideas, that I wish that I had gotten more time with all of them so they could fully develop. Overall, I did enjoy this book, and it is a wonderful first effort from Jessi Kirby. You should check it out for yourself at the Tucker Free Library.
I missed you all! It has been a hectic few months here at the Tucker Free. So much changing and rearranging and other verbs that end in ‘ing.’ If you guys have not been recently you should stop by and visit to see how awesome we look now. We are seriously pretty. Like a princess. And while you are here, you should probably check out some books. You know that you can check out 25 items, right? You are smart cookies, reading 25 books in a day or two should be no problem. Then just return them and get 25 more! Or you could be saner and get one at a time. I should start doing that; my book pile is threatening to topple like a house of cards. But there is one book that just came in, went straight to the top of my book pile and I now feel compelled to share it with all of you. Orchards by Holly Thompson. It is beautifully crafted, remarkably well written and was an absolute treat to read.
Orchards is the story of Kana Goldberg, a girl who is worried that the thoughtless comments she and her cliquey friends directed towards another girl contributed to her suicide. Her parents decided to send her to her mother’s ancestral home in Japan to give her a chance to think about her actions. She spends much of her time tending her family’s oranges and trying to fit in with a family who has never really accepted her non-Japanese father. She starts to reflect upon her actions back in America when news about a friend from home sends her world spinning out of control for a second time. It was and is truly a joy to read, so come to the Tucker Free Library and check it out for yourself!