1. Title: Viola in Reel Life
Author: Adriana Trigiani © 2009
Review in five words or less: Predictable but charming and authentic.
Personal Rating: «««¾ out of five.
When Viola, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, is forced to spend her first year of high school at a girls boarding school in South Bend, Indiana, she is angry, resentful, and feeling way out of her element. Filming is one of her passions, and she copes with the rigors of her new life by keeping a video diary. This book chronicles a year of growth as Viola slowly discovers new things about herself and life in general.
This was a very sweet and engaging coming of age story. Despite all of Viola's faults, I found her to be extremely likeable and her voice in the story was strong and authentic. Though the predictability can be a bit distracting and Viola is Mary Sue-ish at times, Adriana Trigiani did a good job balancing the flow of the storyline. The only major problems I had with this book is that Trigiani needs to pay more strident attention to the details of her story. In one instance, a character who is at the library, participates in a conversation with Viola who is in her dorm room.
Definitely recommended to those who like this type of story.
2. Title: The Quickie
Author: James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge © 2007
Review in five words or less: Irritating, unlikeable protagonist; good story.
Personal Rating: «««½ out of five.
After seeing her husband with another woman, a hurt and furious Lauren decides to have an affair of her own. Her little quickie takes a deadly turn when she witnesses a shocking crime, and she must make a series of choices that will affect the things she holds dear: her family and career. Lauren's world steadily begins to implode as the consequences of her affair begin to make themselves known.
Ten pages into this story and I already loathed the protagonist. I found this so hard to read because I couldn't stand Lauren and her self-absorbed and self-serving reasoning and the way she tried to justify all of her actions. The only thing that kept me reading was that the twists and turns were incredibly explosive and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. This was fast-paced and the in-your-face action was enough compensation for a lackluster protagonist.
The ending was overly contrived and it glossed over actions to neatly wrap things up. It didn't really cover what I wanted to know, and I feel that information was important enough to include in the book. It left the ending feeling a bit incomplete. If you like books by James Patterson, you might like this.
2 / 50 books. 4% done!
689 / 15,000 pages. 4% done!
Current Book: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman