Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl is a 237-page contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare retelling collection.

Vinegar Girl Kate (a strong independent woman who don’t need no man) is just shy of 30, gardens and works at a preschool, and is constantly in trouble at work for lack of discretion when talking to the children’s parents–definitely a character I can get behind. Bunny, 15, is Kate’s ditzy sister. Their father, Dr. Battista, is a scientist working with autoimmune disorders alongside his research assistant, Pyotr. More

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is a 522-page fantasy novel by Rainbow Rowell, published by St. Martin’s Griffin in October of 2015.

23734628Simon Snow, a wizard in his eighth year at Watford School of Magicks lives with his evil, vampire roommate Baz and is constantly worrying about and fighting against the Insidious Humdrum. The story shifts between Simon, Baz, and their friends Penny and Agatha’s points of view. More

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies is a 390 page fiction novel published by Riverhead Books in September 2015.

Fates and Furies coverI wanted to review Fates and Furies because of the acclaim it received this year and the fact that I think it’s highly overrated. Normally I avoid writing negative reviews because I know each book has its audience, even if I’m not part of it. I felt compelled to write this review because while the novel is touted as being masterful and literary, the pretension of it makes it my least favorite book of 2015.

The plot revolves around the marriage of Lotto (Lancelot) Satterwhite and his lovely (okay, interesting-looking) French wife, Mathilde. They get married after two weeks of dating, have rad parties, pay lots of bills even though only Mathilde has a job, keep dark secrets, and do all sorts of other marriage-y things. The first part of the book, Fates, is told through Lotto’s point of view and sets up their perfect marriage. The second, Furies, is told through Mathilde’s point of view and breaks it down into the nitty gritty. More

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The Republic of Thieves, published by Del Ray in October 2013, is the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence, written by Scott Lynch. BEWARE, there be spoilers here. If you haven’t read the first two, I would recommend either not reading this review or not caring about spoilers.

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3)

The main plot of the novel deals with Locke, who was poisoned at the end of book two, and Jean trying anything and everything to find a cure to the poison. Awesomely, they turn to the dangerous and exciting Bondsmagi to help cure him–in exchange for a political stint attempting to keep their government power. So, while the magic and Bondsmagi are cool, the political aspect is less interesting, except, of course, for their silly and dangerous shenanigans keeping things interesting. More

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars is a young adult romance novel loosely based on Esther Earl Grace–a young girl suffering from metastasized papillary thyroid cancer. It is a 318 page book published by Dutton Books in January of 2012. I got my ebook copy when it was on sale a while back intending to read it sometime in the future, and my roommate had it on her list as well, so it made our summer reading list

The Fault in Our Stars is fiction based on a nonfictional girl with cancer. Cancer girl meets cancer boy at cancer support group and cancer sparks fly aided by “Cancer Perks.” Cancer boy, aka Augustus Waters, has osteosarcoma and only one leg. Augustus and Esther Hazel Grace Lancaster, 17 and 16 respectively, have a cute little romp being cancer-y and afraid of falling for each other because of it. More

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant is the final book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. It is a 526 page dystopian YA novel published in October of 2013. If you don’t care about reading the first two, continue on, otherwise you may want to read with caution as *HERE BE SPOILERS* for books 1 and 2.

Allegiant continues the plot from Divergent and Insurgent, which feature a dystopian Chicago where factions used to exist to coordinate society based on positive traits people had the most affinity for. Unfortunately, the faction system has broken and the factionless are vying for control. Tris and Tobias venture outside the bounds of the city to figure out a better solution than endless warring between factioned and factionless. More

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

Red Seas Under Red Skies is the second book in the Bastard Gentleman Sequence by Scott Lynch published by Bantam Spectra in August 2007. It’s a 558 page fantasy of sorts about thieving and piracy, or as its description says, “swindlers and swindling.”

This sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora again features Locke, this time only with his friend Jean Tannen, as they venture away from Camorr and into Vel Virazzo and Tal Verrar–countries far away from Camorr and the devastation they left behind of their House of Perelandro, the dubious thirteenth god devoted to thieves.

While Locke and Jean set up an enormous plot to break into an unbreakable vault of the man who runs the Sinspire–a massively profitable gambling house–the war leader, known as the archon, of a country no longer at war has other plans for them. In a twisting and convoluted plot, Locke and Jean end up on a ship on the Sea of Brass, with plans to be pirates of the seas and to stir up trouble in Tal Verrar’s waters. I really don’t want to give away the plot, which is massive, so I’ll leave it at that.

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

While taking a film and literature class last year, each student had to take a part (a chapter, the intro, something of our choosing) of a novel or short story and adapt it into a screenplay that held the elements of the piece without just being written in a different form. While I chose the first chapter of The Name of the Wind (maybe I will post my adaptation if I’m ever feeling pretentiously good about myself), one of my to-be-librarian friends chose Graceling. She gushed about the plot and the powers of the characters. I admit, I was a little intrigued, regardless of the fact that she had probably started and finished the project the night before. Anywho. Graceling is a 471 page fantasy, romance story by Kristin Cashore.

Graceling is about people who have Graces which make them quite good at one thing. Some people don’t have Graces, but for those who do, life is a little more interesting. There are many types of Graces, like being exceedingly good at swimming, climbing, singing, etc. However, for the main character of this novel, we learn about the Grace of killing. Katsa is a young adult who has been bent to the will of her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns, ever since she showed her Grace by accidentally killed one of her cousins when she was eight. As she develops her killing skill, her uncle forces her to be his strong arm of “justice” by threatening his subjects with consequences from Katsa.

While out on a mission to save an elderly relation of a king from another country, Katsa runs into a man from that country, who happens to be Prince Po, a man Graced with combat skills.  While trying to figure out why the man was kidnapped from his country, Katsa and Po train together. Their conversations and adventures were incredibly fun and deep–you really get to know the characters.

I loved Po and Katsa as two strong fighters in Graceling’s old world. All the characters in this book were absolutely brilliant. You meet characters from other countries and learn about some of their culture, like Bitterblue, who is the daughter of another king. I would say characterization made the book, but honestly, everything in this book just worked for me. Cashore knew exactly how to write exciting fight scenes, not-too-gushy romantic scenes, frightening scenes, and mysterious characters. I was quite impressed by her easy writing style.

As for thickening plot, the secret villain was incredibly well-thought out and fascinating. The villain was intelligent and used a terrifying Grace. I don’t want to give too much away, because the adventure of reading the story really is that worth it. I read Graceling this past summer, and I hadn’t enjoyed a book as much as I did this one in what felt like a long time. I finished it quickly and immediately wanted to spread the love of the story. This book was fantastic, and practically no matter what you enjoy reading–although fantasy and worldbuilding lovers may especially appreciate it–I give this book my hearty recommendation. I plan to read the following novels, Fire and Bitterblue, in the future. I am really excited to read more of Kristin Cashore’s accessible style.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. It is a 496 page YA sci-fi/fantasy romance. Well, it is classified as a romance, but I think I would actually call it a non-romance. Not lacking romance, but having non-romance. This may sound silly, but it will be explained in the review. The review will have some spoilers for the first book, so if you haven’t read it yet, you may want to either wait to read this or just accept that you would have found out the information eventually, anyway.

Insurgent is a direct continuation of Divergent, starting where the previous book leaves off. Tris and Tobias are together and are getting out of Dauntless after the simulation attack. The first stop on their journey is the Amity compound. The Amity value peace above everything else, so in this war-time, they are pressed into some sort of action towards the Erudite/Dauntless/Abnegation conflict. Our heroes visit other places as well, but I won’t give away the entire plot. While Tris and Tobias are trying to solve the faction problems, they also face a rift between them as their secrets start growing and never really stop.

The book jumped back into the action quickly and effectively. After about 75-100 pages, however, things started going downhill for me. I enjoyed learning more about both Tris’s and Tobias’s families, and more characters in other factions, but the inner thoughts of Tris made me quite angry. Although it is through her that I learn about Tobias–and don’t get me wrong, I love his character–it is also through her that I have to listen to constant complaints that he’s keeping secrets, when the book begins with her keeping a huge secret from him. Instead of being open about it, she literally complains for 300 pages about this.

The action in this part is still good, and I still cared about the plot and really wanted to know what was going on with the factionless (those people who did not make it through initiation into a faction) and the Erudite. However, Roth didn’t see fit to give me the information I wanted, but instead made me read through Tris’s inane thoughts for multiple chapters. This is where the non-romance comes in. Rather than furthering their relationship and having the characters become more emotionally mature, they seem to backtrack into childish secret keeping and what seemed to me a version of the “who can keep silent longer” game. This felt extremely non-romantic to me, and didn’t make me desire their union but some sort of resolution that would just get Tris to mentally shut up about Tobias.

The final 20% of the book redeemed it for me; reading the end was a thrill. It felt like Roth remembered that she had to keep people interested for a third novel, so she kicked the action into gear and started doing things about the Erudite attackers and Dauntless traitors. It brought up something bigger than the factions, and a possibility that truly made me want to read the final novel in the trilogy. It is really ONLY this fact that I recommend this novel. The final chapters are good enough for me to forgive the middle of the book. So if you enjoyed the first book, or want to find out what’s going on in a dystopian sense of this world, I do recommend at least reading the first and final 100 pages of Insurgent. Other than that, I would say you’re not missing much and you should just wait for the movie (which I am actually a little excited for).

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is a 487 page, young adult, dystopian fantasy. It is the first novel in a trilogy, also called Divergent (creative, eh?), and is on the verge of being released as a feature film. A few of my friends really enjoyed this book so I added it to my reading list. As my computer has been out of commission these past few weeks — I lost my power cord in the move and didn’t have the ambition to get another — I decided to get started on it.

Divergent is about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice Prior. Every year, the 16-year-olds are given an aptitude test of sorts that places each person in their most fitting faction. A faction is a sort of society of people who all value a similar basic trait, and there are five such factions: Candor (truth), Erudite (knowledge), Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peace), and Dauntless (bravery). Each year, all 16-year-olds are given the aptitude test and are allowed to choose the faction they will spend the rest of their lives in.

Our main character, Beatrice, was born into Abnegation, but she has never felt that she was selfless enough to truly fit in. Even her brother Caleb, who is also 16, has always seemed infinitely less selfish than Beatrice feels. When she takes her test, the results are astounding. While most young adults are suggested one faction, Beatrice comes out with three. The tester, a Dauntless female with tattoos, demands that Beatrice never tell anyone that she got an almost impossible result–Divergent. I won’t give away what this means, but I will say that it’s a deadly secret, and creates agony for a 16-year-old on the verge of making her first life changing decision.

While training for her initiation after choosing her faction, Tris (the newly coined Beatrice) meets some new people, including our second main character, Four, and a few malevolent characters as well. From here, the plot of Divergent moves incredibly fast; I finished the book in two sittings. I devoured this story. Even though some of the writing was a little too fresh for me (I believe this was Veronica Roth’s first novel), I enjoyed getting to know about the factions.

However much the factions seemed to make sense in the world Roth created, I thought it odd that everyone showed such essentially good traits. Maybe I’m also just not cut out for Abnegation or maybe the factions seem a little too idealistic. Although the story says it is dystopian, I wonder how long after the fall of what I can only assume is the original government that this book takes place. How long does it take a society to stop being primarily scavengers to figure out an entirely functional (if not completely benevolent) government that works enough to have someone who is Divergent be considered different and dangerous? I really hope this gets hashed out in the following books. Dystopian novels are a thrill for me, as much for the new world as for the destruction of the old.

I loved most of the characterization in this book. Beatrice was, even fresh out of Abnegation, a strong female lead. Four was probably my favorite character — an instructor of the Dauntless — does it get any more dangerously attractive than that? Thanks to the idea that people can learn to hide their original factions, it became interesting to learn whose parents started out in different factions than you might expect. I believe Roth succeeded in building a lot of character intrigue. Although, to be honest, there was some mushy happenings between Tris and her male lead, I believe that was to be expected in a YA novel about 16-year-olds. Even with the cute romance, the dystopian story still shines through.

Overall, while I had some squabbles with the writing, Divergent is a pretty strong debut novel and a good start to an interesting world. After finishing the book, I started Insurgent, the second in the Divergent trilogy. I am eager to learn more about the world Roth created, and maybe see the characters shake things up in their factions. The future of this series is exciting, and it doesn’t hurt that the third book in the series, Allegiant, is due out this October.

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

The Daylight War is the third installment in the Demon Cycle, a planned five-novel series by Peter V. Brett. It is a 639 page fantasy novel. The story continues to follow the main characters of the previous novels and adds a new main POV — Inevera — the woman (should I say seductress?) on the cover on the novel.

The Daylight War

The first two novels in this series were focused on two powerful men who learn the secrets of defeating corelings, Arlen Bales and Ahmann Jardir. This novel focuses heavily on the women behind the scenes of the men, Renna, Leesha and Inevera. The main plot centers around the tensions between all these people, and the fact that each community believes either Jardir or Arlen are the Deliverer-come-again to rally armies and save humanity from the corelings. In the meantime, the mind demons become aware of these two powerful minds and aim to destroy them before they can make a difference in the world. Unfortunately for the demons, Jardir is equipped with ancient weapons of immense magic and power that protect him, and Arlen — thanks to consuming demon meat and tattooing himself with wards — is learning the secrets of their power, and starts traveling through the core and virtually teleporting around the world.

Along with the demon battle going on, the namesake, The Daylight War, is finally getting a little more exciting. The Krasians have left the desert and are coming to the north to gather everyone into one great force to fight the demons. In order to rally forces, first they must “convince” the northerners to come to their side. This shows the culturally real side of the Krasians; they rape, pillage, set fire to food supplies and force their women-as-second-citizens culture onto the greenlanders. We get to see this in-depth when Leesha and some of her company travel to the Krasian fort. Seeing the culture push was a wake up for how brutal most Krasians can be. I loved these sections of the book, though–the Krasians are and have been my favorite to read about in the second and third novels. Brett is excellent at exploring and describing different cultures.

While this story follows Arlen and Renna, Rojer, Leesha, Jardir, the mind demons, and pretty much all the characters from the previous novels, my favorite character in The Daylight War was the new main POV, Inevera. Because she was so mysterious in the first two novels, I was always curious about her training as a Krasian dama’ting, a healer and fortune teller of sorts. While most dama’ting are born into the life, every once in a while the dice, mystical pieces of carved demon bone, foretell a Damaji’ting–the predicted wife of Kaji, the original leader of the Krasians (and therefore wife of the Sharum Ka, first spear and leader of their country). Because the other nie’dama’ting have known each other and have been training since birth, Inevera is not only behind in knowledge, but also an outsider and a pariah in her group of peers. Her struggles are endearing — I applaud Brett for being able to make me sympathize with someone I once detested.

On the lighter side of things, we also get a POV from Abban — the Krasian trader and friend of Arlen. Smaller perspectives like his–while not a huge source of plot movement–kept the story fresh, because by the end of the novel, I wasn’t sure if I could stand to read, “Love you Arlen Bales” another time. The romance is fun for a while, seeing Arlen being more of a normal human, but Renna’s character seemed like she was trying too hard to please him. She becomes sort of a wild woman, hunting all the time, eating demon flesh, a generally violent and feral woman-beast. It seemed Arlen was more a temperance for her than she for him.

The coreling battles, while less numerous, were outstanding in this novel. Corelings start coordinating, and the mind demons act as generals to the lesser demons. Their attacks on major human settlements were both disturbing and fascinating. This is where Jardir’s and Arlen’s powers truly shone; Brett did a fantastic job narrating the battles. At the end of the novel, when the demons have been at bay for the waning of the moon, there is a human battle of sorts (supporting the title!), and is all too brief for my tastes. It was thrilling, but the ending felt unfinished. Perhaps that’s because I am now anxious to read the next novel and don’t want to wait.

Overall, I would say this book is an improvement in point of view on The Desert Spear, and moves along much quicker, if only because you’re hurrying to get to Inevera’s next section. This installment of the Demon Cycle is a great addition, so if you’ve read The Warded Man and The Desert Spear, this is definitely a must-read. If you haven’t had a chance to get into the series, what are you waiting for? This series is incredibly creative and fun.

The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett

The Desert Spear is a 583 page fantasy novel. It is the second book in The Demon Cycle. After reading The Warded Man (first of the series), I immediately picked up the Desert Spear and continued the journey of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer. Along with the familiar characters, Peter V. Brett added in a few new perspectives, like that of Jardir (Ahmann asu Hoshkamin am’Jardir am’Kaji) from Krasia.

The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2)

The first 200 pages detail Jardir’s life from childhood to the approximate present that The Warded Man brought us to. Jardir, being a male, was basically taken from his family at age 9 and put into intense training called Hannu Pash. Through this training, almost all the boys of Krasia are trained in order to fight alagai’sharak every night. During this, they use spears, nets, and teamwork to trap and kill corelings, the demons that rise from the core of the Earth every evening as the sun sets. It was fun to get a deep back story and understanding of Krasian culture and history as a precursor to the events in the rest of the novel. We also get a new view of Arlen here, as he manages to travel to Krasia and befriend Jardir.

Although I really enjoyed Jardir’s point of view, I think I would have liked it more if it was spread throughout the book rather than condensed into the first 200 pages. It felt as if his story was just playing catch-up to the other characters, and didn’t really fit into any major plot other than back story for a main character.

Along with Jardir, the second primary point of view comes from Renna Tanner, a young woman on a farm just outside of Tibbet’s Brook. When she was young, she and Arlen were promised (basically an arranged marriage agreement). Renna has it rough living with her family and rather disturbing and backwards father. Her viewpoint was an exciting way to get back into the hamlets without reliving the stories from the first novel. She eventually travels with Arlen, and it was nice to see him return to his human side after thinking absorbing Core magic was turning him into a demon.

Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer are returning POVs in The Desert Spear. In this book, I think Leesha’s view was my favorite. It was really fun to see her going on adventures. Other than that, I feel not too much changed from the first book that wasn’t natural progression. Aside from the regular human perspectives, this book actually brings in one of the more intelligent demon breeds — a mind demon — and gives a little hint into their thought process. In the face of this demon and the other corelings, humanity is desperate for the return of the Deliverer, a prophet foretold by both the Ejevah (Krasian holy text) and the Canon of the northern cities, to save them from the darkness. Krasia claims the deliverer is Jardir, and the northern cities and hamlets claim Arlen for role. It is this that sparks such tension between characters in this novel.

The book moved quickly, as it felt like something completely different from The Warded Man. The additional POVs really brought some spice to what could have been a simple continuation of The Warded Man. It was fascinating to see Krasia, a civilization that actively fights the corelings every night, rather than just hiding behind wards. Arlen’s explorations into various worldly places was one of the best things Brett could have done for the series to expand the world in a believable and understandable way. The exploration of previous POVs was interesting, and the new ones really brought a fresh feel to this book. If you liked The Warded Man, you should not miss The Desert Spear.

Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

This is, quite obviously, the tenth book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. It is a 319 page mystery-comedy novel that my Grandma lent me a while back. I started it last year, and just decided to finish it since she gave me the 18th one, and I realized I was falling behind a bit on the books she has lent me.

Ten Big Ones (Stephanie Plum, #10)

Right at the beginning of the novel, Stephanie witnesses a robbery and identifies the robber as the Red Devil, a member of a vicious gang. The entire novel pans out with her trying to find out his real identity, which causes his gang, the Comstock Street Slayers, to pursue her with a vengeance. Stephanie has to battle them with her sister’s impending wedding. She also has to juggle the two men that are interested in her and her safety. They attempt to keep her locked up behind their safe doors, but stubborn Stephanie won’t stand for it.

Originally, I stopped reading after the first 50 pages. The whole Red Devil thing didn’t really interest me, and I was a little bored with reading the Stephanie Plum books –I had just read nine of them in a row! I eventually picked up the book again, if only to finish it quick in 2012 to reach my reading goal. Unfortunately, I failed that goal because I lost interest again at about 150 pages. After another month, I picked it up again and finished the book.

I don’t think it speaks well for a novel when you have to force yourself to finish it. Near the end (pages 200-316), it finally got interesting. That was, until, Evanovich decided to wrap up the whole gang mystery in about the last ten pages. I was extremely disappointed with the ending of the novel. Of course everything was going to work out okay, because Stephanie goes on to more adventures in following books, but I feel Evanovich just gave up in the end of the novel and just decided to basically write, “Stephanie gets kidnapped again, and in even bigger trouble, but the men in her life rescue her and everything turns out fine. The end.” I swear the ending felt almost that short.

One of the redeeming qualities of this book is that Stephanie manages to find her way into Ranger’s apartment while he’s away for a few weeks. To me, Ranger is the most interesting character in the series, and getting even a little perspective into his life was really fun. But then again, the whole indecisive, “I can’t choose between two men so I’ll just keep them both hanging” plan she’s got going is getting just a bit annoying. Since the overall story of Stephanie Plum doesn’t involve needing to read every book, I would recommend skipping this one in the series. I’m going to take another break from it, and just hope that when I give #11 a chance, it will have a more satisfactory ending.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I read North and South for my major British authors class, while studying the Victorian Era. It starts off with a girl, Margaret, wistfully thinking of her girl/friend/companion/cousin, Edith, who is getting married and therefore leaving Margaret behind. It follows with a bunch of proposals to the main girl character.

North and South

The premise of the book is that Margaret’s father, a preacher, has been asked to reaffirm his faith in order to take a new position. His views are different than those of the Church of England, so he declines and the family moves to Milton, an industrial town. They previously lived in Helstone, a lovely place in southern England that is nothing like the smoky atmosphere of northern England.

The majority of the novel revolves around the rebellion of the mill workers against the masters, one of which is Mr Thornton, who has a fancy for Margaret which she does not requite. While this may sound interesting, it was long, wordy, and hard to enjoy.

This was my first Victorian novel, and let’s just say it will probably be my last. Margaret is supposedly really attractive in a strange way, which I suppose allows for the two guys she meets to almost immediately propose to her. I was really hoping that there would be at least some romance throughout to save the book, but Margaret was too focused on taking care of her ailing mother and father that that didn’t really happen.

We read this book over about six class periods, and it was really rough trying to keep up, because it was so long and prosy. I didn’t like most of the characters and am glad I’m done with the book. I would only recommend this to fans of books like Pride and Prejudice, and it’s just because that is the only thing I’ve read like this book.

The Constant Gardener by John le Carré

For my film and literature class this week, we read The Constant Gardener by John le Carré. The majority of the book happens in places surrounding a British High Commission in Nairobi, with a little bit written in Canada and Germany, as well. There are two main characters (and some minor ones) that the narrative follows at separate times. Sandy Woodrow, an older ‘gentleman’ who works at the High Commission, is the opening main character and Justin, a career diplomat similar to Sandy, is the later main character.

The Constant Gardener

This book is basically a murder-mystery story. Justin’s (attractive!) wife, Tessa, has been murdered and her travelling aid partner, Arnold Bluhm, has gone missing from the scene. Though we find out relatively early on what is going on and at least have an idea why Tessa was killed, Justin must go follow her steps to find out for himself.

I felt this book was hard to get into… I did not like Sandy Woodrow, and also did not especially enjoy his narrative. However, once the narrative started focusing on Justin’s continuance of Tessa’s cause, the book really picked up. Of course, I’ve always been a sucker for documents in books — emails, interviews, notes, etc. It is fun when an author includes things of that nature.

Both main male characters dealt with two side characters — Rob and Lesley, who were interviewers. I really loved these two characters, and am glad they had a part in finding out the ‘mystery.’ They were probably the most ‘pure’ characters besides Justin, who was a bit of a bore until the second half of the novel. I don’t want to spoil the ending… so I will just say that I did not approve of it. It wasn’t how I saw the book ending, or how I saw Justin dealing with the events as his character was progressing.

Although this was not in any way a bad book, I would not have picked it up on my own, nor would I have finished it if it wasn’t required for class. I welcomed Justin’s part of the story, and was quite happy to get away from Sandy, and so I did like the second half of the book. I appreciated the controversy surrounding pharmaceuticals in Africa, but the book felt overly long. Once I had picked up what was going on, I still had to wait for Justin to catch up. Overall, it was a decent read. We will be watching the movie on Monday, so look forward to reading about it!

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