Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge: Giant Days

graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

Image designed by my friend Kim of Dreaming of Espresso. Thanks for letting me use it!

Giant DaysThe only book challenge that I signed up for this year is the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge, and I went for the Modern Age level. This challenge is kicking my ass! I thought it would be totally manageable, and I was half-right because it hasn’t been difficult to read at least one graphic novel a month. I just haven’t been able to keep up with the reviewing part. But hey, last month’s review was a 3 volumes in 1 review type of thing so I think I’m still good. 😛 Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison and Lissa Treiman was supposedly my March graphic novel but I’m posting my review late, because this work week has been tiring and I wasn’t able to find time to sit down and work on a post.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery mold, nuchauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.

Giant Days, Vol. 1 was the book that I read during my birthday. I bought a copy of it earlier this year based on the recommendation of my good friend Maggie. I don’t think I’ve ever read a graphic novel with a college setting so I was curious when I found out about Giant Days. I was also drawn to the bright yellow cover and the illustration on it, showing a girl concentrating hard while she’s typing away on her phone. The art style seemed fitting for the storyline, and it reminded me a bit of some cartoons that I watched growing up. It had a young and fun vibe to it. Right off the bat, readers are introduced to Susan, Esther and Daisy. Three college girls who have totally different personalities but have become close friends in a short span of time. It was easy to sink my teeth into Giant Days and I found it an enjoyable read, but I couldn’t really say that I loved it. It was fun to get to know the girls and to see them supporting each other through their college-related adventures, but I wasn’t as invested in them as I would have liked to be. The length felt too short for me to get to know them enough. It would have been a stronger read for me if it had more character development. As it was, I felt that the storylines were spread a bit thinly to shine the spotlight on each of the girls. While it’s an interesting graphic novel, I’m a little undecided on whether I’d pick up the second volume due to be released sometime in April. I should probably read the rest of the graphic novels on my TBR pile before deciding to buy more.

Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge: The Wicked + The Divine

graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

Image designed by my friend Kim of Dreaming of Espresso. Thanks for letting me use it!

The only book challenge that I signed up for this year is the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge, and I went for the Modern Age level. This means I need to read and review at least one graphic novel per month. On the reading part, that’s definitely not too difficult to accomplish! The reviewing part is more difficult. I received Vol. 1 of The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist), Clayton Cowles last Christmas and I bought the next two installments right after. I read all three volumes together so I’m consolidating mini reviews of them in this post.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

The Wicked + The Divine - The Faust Act The Wicked + The Divine - Fandemonium The Wicked + The Divine - Commercial Suicide

Vol. 1: The Faust Act – So many people were gushing about WicDiv and it kept being mentioned whenever I asked for graphic novel recommendations. I was excited to get started on Vol. 1 because I thought the concept for the series was brilliant. I was intrigued when I read the premise, and immediately wanted to find out more about these young men and women who turned into gods, and manifested their powers by performing concerts. They thrived on these performances, and the audience loved them. Kind of similar to how much influence rock stars and pop stars have in the real world, just a little bit more intense. I thought the artwork was gorgeous and reminded me a bit of Jem and the Holograms, one of my favorite animated shows when I was younger. Vol. 1 served as a quick introduction to the series, showing readers a wide range of characters. I enjoyed reading it but I was mostly confused by the time I reached the end. I felt like I couldn’t get a clear grasp of the storyline. Good thing I already had a copy of Vol. 2 with me so I could dive right in.

Vol. 2: Fandemonium – Vol. 2 continues with the story that Vol. 1 started and introduced a few more of the gods. I went through Vol. 2 pretty quickly because I wanted to understand what was going on. And yes, I did get some of the answers that I wanted but even more questions were raised. Just when I thought I would finally see everything come together, BAM! Something else happens that I can’t figure out. I know I’m being very vague here but I don’t want to accidentally mention any spoilers. Similar to how I felt when I finished Vol. 1, I wanted the next installment ASAP. I was lucky I started reading these just as Vol. 3 was released.

Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide – I was so glad Vol. 3 was readily available in Kinokuniya Singapore. I didn’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next. Going into Vol. 3, I had no clue that the illustrations would be different from the earlier two installments. Each chapter was illustrated by a different artist. While the idea may seem appealing to other readers, I really liked the original artwork and wanted the story to continue in that way. I found the abrupt changes jarring. On top of that, I still felt mostly confused even if I was already in the third book in the series. Sadly, it was a disappointing read for me. I just wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters.

After reading three volumes, my conclusion is that WicDiv isn’t a series for me. There’s too much violence, too many questions, and not enough answers. I wouldn’t have minded the violence if I loved the story, but sadly, that wasn’t the case here. As always, I’m glad I tried something new. But I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I would have a better experience with my March graphic novel read.

2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge

One of my reading goals this year is to read more graphic novels! I was just browsing when I happened to stumble upon a challenge that will help me accomplish this goal: the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge. Instructions can be found here. And since it’s mentioned in the site that it’s never too late to join, I’m signing up now!

2016 graphic novel challenge

I haven’t joined a book challenge in ages but I feel like this is something that I wouldn’t have much trouble with. Since I’m a newbie, I’m going to choose the Modern Age level which means I have to read and review 12 graphic novels this year. One per month shouldn’t be too much, right? I even have one for January since I managed to read and post a (mini) review of Soppy. I’m glad my last book haul also has some titles that I can read for this challenge. To serve as a reminder to myself when I look back on this post, here are graphic novels / comics that I already have copies of:

American Born Chinese This One Summer Anya's Ghost

Maktan 1521 Halina Filipina Mythspace

The Wicked + The Divine - The Faust Act The Wicked + The Divine - Fandemonium Rat Queens Vol 2 Ms. Marvel Giant Days

I have a few more titles in my wishlist but we’ll see if I’ll be able to get copies of them. I have a feeling this challenge will make me want to browse the graphic novel section of Kinokuniya more often (or Fully Booked whenever I’m in Manila). If you have any recommendations for graphic novels, please feel free to leave a comment. 🙂

Best of 2011

Happy 2012! Hope you guys had fun celebrating, wherever you may be. I’m basically mirroring what I did with my best of 2010 list last year because I also posted it on January 1. Looks like 2010 was better in terms of favorites because I had 20 in my 2010 list and I only have 15 for 2011. Here they are, in no particular order (click on the images to see my reviews):

Also, just a quick recap of the challenges that I joined this year and the books that I read and reviewed for them:

Aussie YA Reading Challenge
Good Oil by Laura Buzo
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Once Upon a Time V Challenge
Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Chime by Franny Billingsley
The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

That wraps up 2011 for me. Looking forward to more bookish goodness in 2012! 🙂

Good Oil by Laura Buzo

I can’t remember where I got the original recommendation for Good Oil by Laura Buzo but I’ve heard such good things about it. I’ve put off reading it because after this, I’ll be out of Aussie YA books to read. But I wanted to include it in this year’s Aussie YA Reading Challenge so I went ahead and picked it up. I finished reading this a couple of weeks ago but real life got in the way of things so I haven’t posted my review until now.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

“Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I’m open to all kinds of bribery.”

From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost… head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he’s 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be a hundred. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?

Good Oil was published in 2010 but I get the feeling that it’s set earlier because the characters use landlines instead of mobile phones to contact each other and there’s no mention of the internet. I just noticed that little thing but I certainly didn’t mind because it reminded me of how things were like when I was in high school. What I really liked about Good Oil is we get alternating perspectives from both Amelia and Chris. I could relate to fifteen-year-old Amelia, still in high school and nursing the biggest of crushes even though she knows there’s no hope. If you’ve ever had a crush on someone unattainable, then you’d really like Amelia. She’s also smart and passionate about the things that she believes in. And a bonus point for all of us readers: she loves to read as well. A quote from the book from Chris’ POV: “She even takes the goings-on of fictitious characters personally.” Umm Chris, why is that surprising? I do that all the time! I could also relate to Chris, who’s older but not necessarily wiser. Funny, charming Chris who studies in college while working in Woolsworth, or what he calls the Land of Dreams. He’s heartbroken and dulls his pain by consuming as much alcohol as he can. Endless drinking sessions in college? Been there, done that. If you’ve ever been lonely and heartbroken, you’ll be able to sympathize with Chris too. I felt like his voice was very realistic for a guy in his early twenties.

I’m beginning to think there really is something in the water that Australian authors drink. How else can we explain the number of well-written YA novels that keep popping up? Good Oil is no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the interactions between the two main characters – how Amelia looks up to Chris and wants to spend more time with him even if nothing romantic develops between them and how Chris calls Amelia youngster but starts to think of her as maybe something more (although he also knows there couldn’t be anything between them because of the age difference). I liked the tension and the friendship between these two, their conversations are intriguing and fun to observe. It also made me realize how vastly different high school and college students behave. Good Oil is something that I’d recommend to all fans of contemporary YA, I just wish it was a lot easier to acquire. I think this is the last Aussie YA title that I will review for this year but I’m looking forward to reading more of these in 2012! I definitely had a lot of fun completing the Aussie YA Reading Challenge for this year.

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
The Crooked Shelf

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

I’ve been neglecting the Aussie YA Challenge the past few months because I still have the rest of the year to finish it and I only need two more books. But when my good friend Celina offered to let me borrow her copy of Pink by Lili Wilkinson, I decided to go ahead and read it. I’ve been hearing good things about this book. Also, that’s one less book for me to buy. Thanks again, Celina, for lending your copy. 🙂

Here’s the summary from Lili Wilkinson’s website:

Ava Simpson is trying on a whole new image. Stripping the black dye from her hair, she heads off to the Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence, leaving her uber-cool girlfriend, Chloe, behind.

Ava is quickly taken under the wing of perky, popular Alexis who insists that: a) she’s a perfect match for handsome Ethan; and b) she absolutely must audition for the school musical.

But while she’s busy trying to fit in — with Chloe, with Alexis and her Pastel friends, even with the misfits in the stage crew — Ava fails to notice that her shiny reinvented life is far more fragile than she imagined.

Pink is a delightful, contemporary Aussie read. It’s all about how the main character, Ava, is confused about a lot of things in her life. She thinks her girlfriend Chloe is awesome and she feels lucky to be in a relationship but she also wants to explore and discover other things about herself. She’s tired of always wearing black and trying not to care about school because that’s what Chloe wants. So she transfers to Billy Hughes so she can wear pink, act all girly and maybe even date a guy. Ava just didn’t realize that things aren’t so simple. It’s hard to form friendships when she’s hiding so much about herself. She doesn’t even know when she’s just pretending and when she’s being real. I think Pink’s storyline is something that most teenagers will be able to relate to. I can remember being confused about so many things in my life back when I was that age so I could definitely understand where Ava is coming from. As Ava finds out for herself, it takes time for things to fall into place. You can’t just magically be somebody else even when you transfer schools.

As with most novels set in high school, the characters are divided into the popular and unpopular groups – in this case, the actors vs. the stage crew. I’ve always liked theater settings in novels because there’s so much that happens in preparation for a play or a musical (and also because I like watching theater productions in real life). The characters get to bond over rehearsals or while building sets. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Aussie YA rocks. Why can’t Filipino YA be the same? 😛 Pink is funny and very easy to read. Ava is one smart girl but some of the things that she gets herself into are hilarious. I felt embarrassed for her several times. But I was always rooting for her, I wanted her to make sense of everything that was confusing in her life. Ava makes mistakes along the way but that’s part of growing up. I think she did the best that she could and that’s all that we can ever ask of anyone. I recommend this for fans of contemporary fiction and international readers should take advantage of the fact that this has been printed in the US so it’s more accessible than other Aussie titles. I’m already looking forward to reading Lili Wilkinson’s A Pocketful of Things.

Other reviews:
Steph Su Reads
My Girl Friday
The Readventurer

Retro Friday: Clockwork Heart

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I already posted about how I was able to get a copy of Clockwork Heart but in case you didn’t see it, Janice of Janicu’s Book Blog generously sent me a copy when she found out that I was interested in reading this book.

Here’s the summary from Dru Pagliassotti’s website:

Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus — a courier privileged to travel freely across the city’s sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. But even she can’t outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on the governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in Ondinium’s lowest sector. Both hide dangerous secrets, in this city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart…

I was confused for the first few pages of Clockwork Heart because it took me a while to be fully immersed in the worldbuilding and to understand the terms that go with it. This steampunk novel is set in a fictional country where there’s a strict caste system. Only the icarii, couriers who can fly using metal wings, can move freely across all castes. It’s funny because I’m afraid of heights but I would love to try flying using those icarus wings. Taya is an icarus who suddenly gets involved in Ondinium’s politics when she rescues the wife and son of one of the country’s most powerful leaders. Taya was an easy character to like, she’s a no-nonsense type of person who strives to be the best that she can be in her job. She loves to travel, which is fitting since she’s an icarus, and longs to be assigned as an envoy in other countries. Another character that I liked right from the start is grouchy, sarcastic Cristof who’s the exact opposite of his handsome and charming brother Alister. Cristof is a member of the highest caste in the country but he chose to turn his back on his prestigious lifestyle. He works as a clockwright instead because he’s fascinated with the inner workings of clocks and other mechanical devices. I think he’s the steampunk equivalent of a nerd and I found him endearing. Cristof’s geeky charm trumps Alister’s suave moves. Another intriguing aspect of the novel is the relationship between these two brothers and how they do what they can for the other person even though they have such different views in life.

There were some parts of the novel that went way over my head like the mechanics of the icarii’s metal wings and the discussions about programming and subroutines. Programs what? But those things didn’t pull me out of the story so I didn’t really mind them. There’s a lot of action, some mystery and political intrigue in Clockwork Heart, which made it such a fun book to read. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that I enjoyed reading this because I’m a fan of political intrigue in fiction. You really don’t have to be into steampunk to like this novel and I have a feeling most fantasy fans would take pleasure in reading Clockwork Heart. I was able to predict one of the plot points and had an “I knew it!” moment but all of the other events were a surprise. It’s only the middle of the year but I have a feeling that this book will make it to my best of 2011 list. I really don’t understand why it’s out of print. I heard that there’s a second book in the works and I’d love to read that as soon as it becomes available. Read this if you get the chance, it deserves to get more attention!

Other reviews:
Janicu’s Book Blog
See Michelle Read
The Book Smugglers

Chime by Franny Billingsley

I’ve never read a book by Franny Billingsley before and I’ve been hearing good things about Chime so when I saw a copy available at a local bookstore, I decided to grab it. I just wanted to say that I don’t think the cover goes with the story – the girl doesn’t look like the Briony in my mind even though she does have blonde hair and dark eyes. For some reason, the cover suggests a paranormal YA book to me rather than historical fantasy. Just wanted to bring that up in case some of you are hesitant to pick up the book because of the cover.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Before Briony’s stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family’s hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it’s become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He’s as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she’s extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn’t know.

The writing in this one takes some getting used to and I’m not sure how to describe it exactly but let me just say that Briony’s voice is unique. It took me a couple of chapters before I was fully immersed in the story and I didn’t have a hard time finishing the book when I got to that point. Briony is such an interesting character! She hates herself because she believes she’s done wicked things. She’s very matter of fact about not liking herself and even people around her like her twin sister Rose and her father. Briony also knows that she’s smarter than a lot of people and that a wicked girl like her can get away with sarcastic remarks all the time. Along comes Eldric, a young man from the city, and everything changes when he fits into their lives so effortlessly. I really liked this novel because of the characters, I thought that Briony hating herself would get on my nerves eventually but that never happened. I still liked her. I also found Rose charming and some of her comments and actions even made me smile. While I didn’t develop a fictional crush on Eldric, I did like how his friendship with Briony developed through secret bad boy meetings and wanderings in the swamp.

The swamp setting is also refreshingly different. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where a swamp plays a major role in the story. And swamps are generally described as disgusting, not beautiful like it was in this book. All sorts of interesting creatures called the Old Ones live in the swamp. It’s a dangerous place and people need to carry Bible Balls for protection when they venture to this place. Briony loves it though because she’s friends with the Old Ones and she becomes wolfgirl when she’s in the swamp, exploring everything in a stealthy way. I was expecting to fall in love with Chime and even though that didn’t happen, I still enjoyed reading it and it has made me curious about Franny Billingsley’s other novels. I feel like Chime would grow on me and I’d like it a lot better as a reread because I wouldn’t have to adjust to the writing when I pick it up again. Although with a mountain of a TBR pile, I have no idea when I’ll get around to rereading this. Recommended for fans of YA fantasy, especially those who prefer a historical setting.

Because I can’t adequately describe the writing style, here’s a non-spoilery sample from the prologue:

I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please.

I don’t mean to be difficult, but I can’t bear to tell my story. I can’t relive those memories — the touch of the Dead Hand, the smell of eel, the gulp and swallow of the swamp. How can you possibly think me innocent? Don’t let my face fool you; it tells the worst lies. A girl can have the face of an angel but have a horrid sort of heart.

I know you believe you’re giving me a chance — or, rather, it’s the Chime Child giving me the chance. She’s desperate, of course, not to hang an innocent girl again, but please believe me: Nothing in my story will absolve me of guilt. It will only prove what I’ve already told you, which is that I’m wicked. Can’t the Chime Child take my word for it?

In any event, where does she expect me to begin? The story of a wicked girl has no true beginning. I’d have to begin with the day I was born.

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers
Book Aunt
ALPHA Reader
Once Upon a Faye

This book is one of my entries in the Once Upon a Time challenge.

The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier

The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier is a booked that I bought based on the joint recommendation of the Book Smugglers. The premise was interesting and based on the Smugglers’ review, it seemed like the kind of YA fantasy that I could really sink my teeth into. Plus, I heard from both Charlotte and Chelle that they also enjoyed reading this one so that sealed the deal.

Here’s the summary from Rachel Neumeier’s website:

The Kingdom’s Heart is the City. The City’s heart is the King. The King’s heart is the Prince. The Prince is missing.

Ever since the Prince disappeared, nothing has been right in the Kingdom. Something has disturbed the strange, old magic that whispers around its borders… something cunning and powerful. And the disturbance extends to the farthest reaches of the Kingdom, including the idyllic village where Timou is learning to be a mage under her father’s tutelage.

When Timou’s father journeys to the City to help look for the Prince, but never returns, Timou senses that the disturbance in the Kingdom is linked to her – and to the undiscovered heritage of the mother she never knew. She must leave her village, even if it means confronting powers greater than her own, even though what she finds may challenge everything she knows. Even if it means leaving love behind.

The City in the Lake is a quest-type YA fantasy novel. The whole kingdom starts to fall apart with the disappearance of the young Prince. Magic starts to go awry and mages have no idea why. Timou is a young woman raised by her mage father in an isolated village. When trouble reaches even their remote area, her father goes back to the city to investigate. When he doesn’t return, it’s up to Timou to discover what happened and she knows that her quest is tied with her search for the mother that she never knew. I’m going to start with the things that I liked in this book. It was easy to fall into the world created by Rachel Neumeier, I didn’t have a hard time reading this book. I liked both Timou and the Bastard as characters, which is a good thing since the point of view of the story changes from one character to another. Timou isn’t your typical YA fantasy heroine because her strength lies in her powers as a mage. I enjoyed being inside Timou’s head because I think the author did a good job of portraying how a mage’s mind works – how a mage sees his or her surroundings and how that is tied to the magic in the world. I also liked the Bastard because he was such a subtle character – he’s powerful in his own way and the people aren’t sure what to make of him, they don’t understand whether he’s good or evil and if he has anything to do with the disappearance of his half-brother.

However, I was already halfway through the book when I realized that it wasn’t as compelling as I would’ve liked. I kept waiting to be blown away but it just didn’t happen. It’s really a shame because when I think about it, there isn’t anything wrong with the book, it’s just that I didn’t feel like it was strong enough to pull me in and hold me, you know? I knew it wouldn’t have much staying power and I guess I was right because it’s been a few days since I’ve read this and I can’t recall all of the details anymore. I don’t know if it’s because my expectations were too high but I’m sad that I didn’t like it as much as I was hoping to. As always, I encourage the rest of you epic fantasy readers to give this one a try even if I had a lukewarm reaction to it because based on the other reviews that I linked below, I’m in the minority with how I felt.

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers
Charlotte’s Library
Tempting Persephone

This book is one of my entries in the Once Upon a Time challenge.

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Today’s my birthday and I’m glad that I get to post a review of what has become one of my favorite reads this year. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta is a companion novel to Saving Francesca, which I enjoyed reading last year. I think both books stand well on their own so there’s no need to read one before the other. I can’t even remember the details in Saving Francesca while I was reading The Piper’s Son (which I regret. I will reread both books consecutively in the future). I love Melina Marchetta and Jellicoe Road is actually one of the books that encouraged me to read more contemporary YA.

Here’s the summary from Melina Marchetta’s website:

Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle’s death.

And in a year when everything’s broken, Tom realizes that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

How about that Aussie cover? I think it’s lovely and I wanted to get a copy of it. I feel like the US edition is marketed for a younger audience when The Piper’s Son doesn’t read like a YA novel. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to get it so I went ahead and ordered the US edition because I’ve been waiting to read this for a while now. Let me just say that it was totally worth the wait! There’s something about Melina Marchetta’s books and her writing that makes the characters come alive and it makes you want to squeeze yourself into each close-knit group and beg to be included. That’s how I felt when I read Jellicoe Road and again when I finished The Piper’s Son. I wanted to become a part of their world, I wanted to feel all that love and yes, even the heartbreak and the pain that go with it. I can’t get over how amazing Melina Marchetta is as a writer because she can really make you feel. Her books can make you laugh and cry and care about her characters to the point that you become fully invested in them. You feel like you’re experiencing everything that her characters are going through and even when they’re mostly difficult situations, you’ll still love every minute of it. The Piper’s Son is an achingly beautiful book that manages to do just that.

Tom is such a broken person at the start of the book and you just hurt for him and his family. The point of view changes from Tom to his aunt Georgie and the reader gets a clearer picture of each family member and most of their friends because of this. The Piper’s Son is about grief and the slow healing process that goes with it. The characters were fully fleshed out, even the secondary ones, and Melina Marchetta shows how a person’s actions and feelings affect the people around him or her. It reminds me of ripples in water and how they spread out to bigger areas. In my opinion, this book perfectly describes how complicated different kinds of relationships are. Family, friendships and romantic relationships – all of these are highlighted and illustrated in this book. Even if there’s a lot of love involved, people are bound to make mistakes that they’ll regret and it’s a matter of knowing when something is worth fighting for and when someone deserves to be forgiven. Music is also a huge aspect of this book because a lot of the characters are into it. I’ve never been a big music geek but this book made me want to make a playlist and look up all of the songs mentioned in it. If it isn’t obvious yet, I loved this book to bits. It’s all kinds of wonderful. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this up, I urge you to READ IT. After finishing this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I had one of those “THIS is why I read!” moments.

Side note: Does anyone know if Ben the Violinist in this one is the same Ben from Jellicoe Road? If yes, then that’s awesome. -> Adele and Nomes have confirmed that this is indeed true.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
Random Musings of a Bibliophile
Irresistible Reads
Persnickety Snark review and interview
ALPHA reader
Bibliophile Brouhaha