Noah’s Wife by Lindsay Starck

This is a novel with creatively thought out connections to the story of Noah’s Ark, only the main focus of the novel is Noah’s wife. The reader never uncovers her given name, as she is always referred to by others and even by herself as she is narrating as only “Noah’s wife.” Her identity is based upon being a part of her husband’s goals and plans, which is why she agrees to move with him to a very small town in the hills where the rains have been falling nonstop for months and months. The town was built around a zoo which used to be a main attraction to tourists and townspeople for years. Noah is to be the minister at a church where none of the townspeople, save the organist Leesl, will go, perhaps in part because the previous minister walked into the river. As Noah tries to rebuild/repair the church, and break through to the townspeople, he wears himself down to nothing mentally and spiritually. However, Noah’s wife stands strong and may end up saving them all. I loved the way the author captured different characters in the novel, from the Italian storekeeper Mauro to the burly zookeeper with a heart of gold, Adam. The reader is given more and more details about Noah’s wife as different characters become narrators and give their perceptions of her.  It is also very neat to read about how the townspeople come together with one goal and purpose, saving the animals, when the zoo floods. What a wonderful story. The writing is beautiful and fluid. I would highly suggest this first novel from Lindsay Starck.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

 

 

Ashfall is the first in a 3, and planning to be 4 book series by Mike Mullin. Mike Mullin is an Indianapolis based author, whom I met at an ALA conference last year. He is well spoken, super smart, and the most down to earth guy. After reading his first book, I have even more respect for him and his awesome talent. The book was published in October, 2012. However, I finally got around to reading it after hearing my students rave about how amazing it is. The book is written for the YA crowd, but there are certainly many adult themed scenes. I enjoyed the book very much, for the suspense, and the non-stop action which kept the story propelled forward as if the reader was actually there with Alex and Darla making their way through the ashfall. The story supposes that the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park erupts with no warning and ash covers the earth for thousands of miles around the eruption site, including Alex’s hometown while he is home alone for the weekend. Alex is determined to get to where his parents are and reunite with his family. The readers can assume it will not be easy if only for the ash covered landscape and extreme weather fluctuations, but there are so many other obstacles Alex must face which make for a nail-biting read. This is one of my all time favorite YA books so far. I couldn’t put it down. Well done, Mike. I look forward to reading Ashen Winter, Sunrise, and the upcoming 4th installment.

The Blue by Lucy Clarke

The Blue by Lucy Clarke will be published on August 4, 2015.

This book had a little bit of everything I look for in a quick read: suspense, mystery, romance, twists and turns in the plot, and adventure. Lana and Kitty, best friends since childhood decide that they have nothing holding them to their current lifestyles and set off for adventure and a carefree life. They find exactly the thing when they happen upon The Blue, a yacht with a crew of young, beautiful, and intriguing people. However, as the weeks at sea become months, Lana soon gets to know the crew and wonders if they made a mistake diving into this lifestyle with a bunch of strangers. Aaron, the skipper, has a carefree attitude about ship safety, but strict rules about relationships with other crew members. The other crew members are Denny, Heinrich, Joseph, and Shell. It’s interesting to see how Lana’s various relationships develop with each of them, and even how things change with Kitty, who she thought she knew so well. If you are in for a fast paced adventure on the sea, this is the book for you. I really enjoyed the characters and the story line.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nivens

All the Bright Places is at its heart a story of an unlikely friendship and then love between a girl named Violet and a boy named Finch. However, it’s not your average YA romance, and there are richly created scenes and moments. It has been compared to The Fault in Our Stars, but I found it to be so much more than just another story dealing with loss. I chose to read this book after a recommendation from a good friend who loves YA. The story takes place in my home state of Indiana, which is where the author grew up. I appreciated the amount of research the author completed about the different “bright places” of Indiana, as well as the way she wove in so many passages and quotations from famous literature and writers. This was a beautifully written, touching story, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. The story touches on so many important issues which teens unfortunately may face on a daily basis: loss of a sibling, survivor’s guilt, grief, abuse, mental illness, bullying, and suicide. Both Violet’s and Finch’s narration captivate the reader, and both have important stories to tell. After reading, you’ll have a new appreciation for Post-it notes and teenagers. Read it, read it, please read it!