61. Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro (293 pages) Lucy loses her job, her fiancé, her home, and then her life within a week. Now, she's stuck haunting her ex-fiancé with her dead grandmother and trying to figure out where everything went wrong. Notaro's reimaging of the afterlife is refreshing, and her plot is engaging with feeling, comedy, and mystery. Definitely, a wonderful, refreshing, thoughtful, and clever light summer beach read that I couldn't put down. An improvement on her previous novel, but it has nothing on her uproariously hysterical nonfiction. Grade: A-
"If you would like to know how easy it is to overlook evil, to see it for something else, Petra could tell you: it is the easiest thing in the world."
62. The Cabinet of Wonders (The Kronos Chronicles: Book 1) by Marie Rutkoski (265 pages) When Petra's father, a genius metalsmith, makes a weather clock for the young Prince, he is rewarded by having his eyes stolen by the Prince who wears them as his own. Angered, Petra with her tin spider confidant journeys to Prague to steal them back. She is befriended by a gypsy boy with magical fingers and a Countess that secretes acid. This masterfully told tale is aptly named, as it is, itself, a cabinet of wonders, full of enchanting and charming magic that tickles the imagination. It is a child of L. Frank Baum, Diana Wynne Jones, and the oral tradition stirring together history and fairy tale. This is what children's literature should be: brilliant, eloquent, exciting, engaging, charming, imaginative, and just a bit grotesque. Grade: A
63. Ever by Gail Carson Levine (260 pages) Kezi's father promises her in sacrifice to their great god Admat, but she falls in love with the god of the winds, Olus, who takes her away on a journey towards immortality. Levine, a master of clever reworkings of folk tale, turns her talent on Mesopotamian and early human folk tale/mythology in a beautiful love story between mortality and immortality, that examines the meaning of faith, feminism, and identity. Levine's stories are imaginative and powerful, and her female characters follow a strong folk tale tradition of strength, courage, and self actualization. Grade: A-
64. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (247 pages) I am a girl. An American girl. An American not-sportsy-in-any-way girl. So, to say that this book was not written for me is a bit of an understatement. Why in hell did I read it then? Because Nick Hornby wrote it. And I enjoyed it. Sure, it was interesting to get a glimpse into the footballing culture, but more so was his fascinating portrayal and dissection of obsession. His description of what it means to be a fan of something, is, sure hilarious, but it also strikes deeply into the core of this nerdy girl who waited in line, in costume, for six hours, for a film of guys wielding laser swords. Obsession/fandom becomes part of one's life, for better or for worse, guides us, builds our relationships, build us. And Hornby describes it perfectly and with affection and criticism. Grade: B+
65. Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding (271 pages) My favorite chick lit ever. Funny as hell. Love the part where she talks about watching Pride and Prejudice being like watching a football match. Brilliant commentary on living single.