Debut Author Challange: Pantomime By Laura Lam

Title: Pantomime
Author: Laura Lam
Length: 292 Pages
Genre: YA
Format: nookbook, ePUB
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Debut Author Challange

What it’s about: The story follows Gene, a girl born into nobility. She is close with her brother, and very much a tomboy, but she also has a big secret. One night she hears her parents arguing about her, and she decides to run away. She takes up the false name of Micah Grey, and joins the circus. Al the while she is still living with her big secret and trying to fit in and prove herself.

The good: I’m a sucker for a circus setting. While I’m not a big fan of the split story lines, it was very well done in this book. I think mainly because it’s two perspectives from the same person. I also loved learning about the circus people. when Micah/Gene described the settings of where she lived, it was so vivid and beautiful. Even the slums were well described, and I wanted to really be in some of the places that were mentioned. I know I’ve said it before, but in a genre that is overrun with vampire, werewolves, angels, witches, and now zombies, it is nice to read a book about someone who is not a supernatural being. True, Micah/Gene’s secret could be considered controversial, but that is only because of the ignorance people have of it.

The bad: No surprises, well at least not with the main character. It was fairly easy to guess Micah/Gene’s secret early on, and that the two characters were the same person. An abrupt ending is always a let down to me. Leave it on a cliff hanger, yes, but an abrupt stop, especially with no word of what may happen with Micah/Gene or if there will be a second book…. it’s almost cruel.

Final thoughts: Very good book. People should go read it.

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Starter for ten by David Nicholls

Title: Starter for Ten
Author: David Nicholls
Length: 250 pages
Genre: Fiction, coming of age
Format: ePUB
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Saw the movie, decided to give the book a try.

What it’s about: The book centers around Brian Jackson, he’s recently arrived at University, and has a head full of knowledge. Except when it comes to socializing and girls. His one goal in life is to be on University Challenge, and it seems to come true, but between that and a crush on a teammate, it seems Brian can’t do much of anything else right.

The good: Brian was very relate-able for me, in that he’s not good at socializing. He often makes inappropriate jokes, or jokes that only he gets. Brian is also full of general knowledge, and can sometimes come off as a know it all. His awkwardness often leads him into comedic and embarrassing situations. Like when he went to Alice’s house for Christmas and got high, and accidentally came on to Alice’s mom. This book had me laughing, and cringing, sometimes within a few seconds of each other.

The bad: There were times, despite how much I loved Brian, that he would say something and I’d want to hit him. He was nasty to people for no apparent reason. Didn’t matter if it was his friend Spence, or his “enemy” Patrick. Even people he only mentioned in passing. Probably, the worst though was his mom. I get that he was 18, and awkward anyway, but when his mom told him she was lonely, he acknowledged he should comfort her, but still didn’t. And speaking of him being a know it all, he often came off just as pompous as he accused others of being. Another thing that irked me was, for all his talk of being a socialist, he didn’t seem to hold many of their values, except when he was trying to save face about being a socialist. For all his talk about loving knowing things, and wishing his dad could see him at university, I think it was his feeble attempt to look like he had depth, and a flimsy way to reinvent himself. I viewed him going to University as yet another way for him to prove something, and show off.

Final thoughts: I’m glad I saw the movie first. If I hadn’t, there would be no way for me to humanize a lot of the characters. Would I recommend the book? I doubt it. Even though the movie follows the book very closely, I think I’ll stick with recommending the film.