Fiction, Historical

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

UPDATED WITH SARAH’S REVIEW!

Laura: I found this book on my mom’s shelves and when she noticed that I had picked it up she told me I should absolutely read it. It is one of the few non-mystery type fiction books she has read in the past 10 years, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Knowing my love of all WWII related stories, she knew how much I would enjoy the book as well. And she was right, because I’ve told people I know well and people I’ve just met that they should read this book.

Sarah: Laura had been telling me to read this book since she finished it and became obsessed with all things Guernsey. As she has read just about every book I’ve told her to, I figured it only fair to return the favor.

Synopsis

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends–and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society–born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island–boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Laura’s Review

I loved this book. It was a relatively quick and easy read, partly due to the structure of the novel. It is an epistolary novel, and is split into two distinct parts. For the first half, Juliet is living in London having successfully accomplished a book tour for her collection of wartime stories, Izzy Biggerstaff Goes to War. The second half finds her on the island of Guernsey after searching for a new story to write and becoming pen pals with several of the island’s inhabitants.

I knew very little about the inhabitants or experience of the Channel Islanders during the Second World War. The islands are briefly mentioned in The Montmaray Journals’ final book with the comment that they have been under the “Nazi jackboot” since 1940. In this novel, Juliet begins corresponding with Dawsey Adams, a Guernsey resident, after the end of the war. Dawsey was in possession of one of Juliet’s old books that she had donated and was hoping she might be able to help him locate several other books. Thus begins Juliet’s introduction to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and the traumas that the Channel Islanders suffered under Nazi occupation.

This is a story about resilience, acceptance, and finding a place for oneself in an ever-changing world. It is not until Juliet travels to Guernsey and meets the literary society that she truly feels like she has a place where she belongs. Through Juliet, the reader learns about the horrors committed by the Nazis against the Islanders, their sufferings, and their ability to find solace in books during the time. Juliet meets members of the literary society who had previously shown no interest in reading until becoming a member of the society allowed them to forget about their island’s invaders for a few hours each week. After reading this book I decided I absolutely needed to visit Guernsey. As I am now in London, this will be easier than from the USA, so my wonderful sister and I have decided that when she visits, going to Guernsey is a top priority.

Laura’s Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Sarah’s Review

Continuing with my current audiobook obsession, I listened to the audiobook of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and it is definitely one of the best audiobooks I have listened to in quite awhile. Laura calls it an epistolary book, which means that it is written in letters. As an audiobook, this means that each letter is read by a different reader, based on who it is written by – the reader for Dawsey’s letters reads all of his, Juliet’s hers, etc.

While this is a wonderful change to the typical structure of novel writing, it can at times be frustrating because it is all clearly in the past tense (not uncommon for novels) but I found myself often wanting to get the big moments firsthand, as they were happening, not in letters. The second challenge, is that there are so many points of view with all of the letters that the plot gets a bit muddled, or the plot goes in a different direction for awhile as we “catch up” with certain characters.

All in all, I think Mary Ann and Annie pull off their unique format magnificently, and, like our protagonist/primary letter writer Juliet, I found myself fully immersed in the story of the one member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society who is not still on the island in 1946, the year the letters are all exchanged. It is definitely worth a read, or a listen, and takes the tried and true WWII novel and gives it an interesting spin.

Sarah’s Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Edition: Paperback • $17.00 • 9780385341004 • 290 pages • first published July 2008, this edition published May 2009 by Dial Press • average Goodreads rating 4.12 out of 5 • read in July 2017

Annie Barrows’ Website

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society on Goodreads

Get a Copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Guernsey 2

Bookish Friday

Characters I Would Want as Friends

This week hasn’t been the greatest, but my super awesome friends have made it better. And while I wouldn’t trade a one of them, if I had to pick 5 characters to bring to be BFFs with, these lovelies would be the ones!

1. Emilia in Salt to the Sea

As a character who didn’t even speak the same language as most of the others, she still managed to be a fiercely loyal companion who would do anything for her newfound friends.

Salt to the Sea

2. Penelope in Royally Matched

It’s not often that a character in a new adult romance makes me think too deeply, but Penelope is the best sister that Sarah could have ever had. She made her step out of her comfort zone, but also stayed with her and defended her when needed. Truth be told, I’m probably more like Penelope and my sister is more like the protagonist, Sarah.

43-Royally Matched

3. Maddie in Code Name Verity & Rose Under Fire

Without spoiling too much, Maddie committed the ultimate act of friendship – it doesn’t get any better than Maddie and how fiercely she fought to get back to Verity.

Code Name Verity (2)

4. Hermione in Harry Potter

This one shouldn’t need a whole lot of explanation – how many times did she save Harry & Ron’s lives?

Harry Potter (3)

5. Mor, Cassian, Azriel, Lucien, etc. in A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy

A Court of Mist and Fury is so crazy friendship heavy it is absolutely amazing. Probably the closest resemblance to me and my friends that I’ve found thus far, and boy am I lucky to be able to say that!

ACOWAR (2)

Essays, Non-Fiction, Sociology

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After reading Dear Ijeawele, I figured it was probably about time that I picked up We Should All be Feminists. Many friends and coworkers and customers at the store all raved about it, so time to jump on the bandwagon!

Synopsis

What does feminism mean today? In this personal, eloquently argued essay – adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now – and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Review

I think my comprehension is suffering of late, or I’ve inundated myself with so many feminist reads that they’re all starting to blend together. I read We Should All be Feminists just a few days ago, and I enjoyed it while reading, but now, a few days later, I cannot, for the life of me, remember details. Shorter works just don’t seem to stay in my head as long, I’m guessing because I don’t have the time to settle into the topic and really think about it for a few days – I read We Should All be Feminists in half an hour.

That being said, I apologize to anyone who was expecting a really in depth analysis of these 64 pages, but I have to admit, I sat down to write this review six or seven times in the last three days and nothing has come to mind. It didn’t leave a lasting impression, which is awful – I enjoyed it while reading, the subject matter is important, but it’s been lost to the thousands of pages of feminist prose and essays I’ve read in the last four months.

Does this mean I recommend it? Of course I do – it’s my next staff pick at the bookstore. But that doesn’t mean I have any idea what to say about it…

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Edition: Paperback • $7.95 • 9781101911761 • 64 pages • published February 2015 by Anchor Books • average Goodreads rating 4.47 out of 5 stars • read April 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Website

We Should All be Feminists on Goodreads

Get a Copy of We Should All be Feminists

Contemporary, Fiction, New Adult

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

A few years ago I picked this book up and thought it looked adorable and perfect for a friend. A perfect chick-lity read, a book about books, that she would love. Two years later, I found the audiobook on Overdrive I figured it was time I read it as well.

Synopsis

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to writer her own happy ending.

Review

About a year and a half ago, the big book club at the bookstore I work at read The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and told my boss, P. K., who moved to the US from India 40 years ago, that the main character, the bookstore owner A. J., reminded them of him. Needless to say, the rest of the staff were curious and had to read this book and it quickly became a favorite among us all. As someone who succeeded in landing her present job by telling said boss that my life goal was to be Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail, I wondered if there was a book about books with a main character like me.

Well, I’ve found her. Jenny Colgan, thank you for creating Nina and then letting her out of your head to play with the rest of us. There’s a certain amount of belief that has to be suspended to really embrace Nina’s story – there are definitely moments when you shake your head and think, really? That’s really how that situation unfolded? I have to think there’s a certain amount of magical realism at play in The Bookshop on the Corner to have Nina’s life work out so well. But her approach to life is almost always positive and with an air of Lizzie & Mr. Darcy strewn about the tale, it is an enjoyable one and got me out of my fiction slump! Seriously, in the last 7 months, I’ve read two works of fiction. Which is just crazy for me, lover of all things historical fiction and fantasy.

While I greatly enjoyed The Bookshop on the Corner, this is one of the few books I don’t think I’ll be enthusiastically recommending to all of my bookstore followers as it is fairly out of my ordinary reading habits, but also probably why it broke my slump! So, if you are in need of a bookish “palate cleanser,” The Bookshop on the Corner is for you!

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Edition: Paperback • $14.99 • 9780062467256 • 368 pages • published (USA) September 2016 by William Morrow & Company • average Goodreads rating 3.87 out of 5 stars • read in March 2018

Jenny Colgan’s Website

The Bookshop on the Corner on Goodreads

Get a Copy of The Bookshop on the Corner

Bookshop on the Corner

Bookish Friday

The Wonderful World of Fandoms

Imagine you are a person who loves your favorite books with a fiery passion and want nothing more than to share that love with others. Then, you’re scrolling through the world of Bookstagram (#bookstagram) on Instagram and you stumble across this really cool collection of bookmarks and posters celebrating classic books advertised by this company called Nerdy Post, and they’ve featured, in particular, the great Pride and Prejudice. What do you do? Obviously, you subscribe immediately and then ask them if you can write a blog post about them!

Nerdy Post 1
Image via Nerdy Post Instagram @nerdy.post

Authorial Note: I am writing this post because I genuinely love and enjoy subscribing to Nerdy Post. I am not a rep, nor have I been paid to post about this company. I genuinely love them and what to share their awesomeness with fellow booklovers!

Welcome to the Fandoms

When I used to think of Fandoms, I thought of groups of people who shipped certain characters, spoke to each other in a language those outside the fandom couldn’t understand, and cosplayed at as many conventions as they could. This description is also an accurate description of my and my sister’s love of Harry Potter, our first foray into the fandom world.

Favorite Fandom #1: Harry Potter

 

I have a friend who holds a yearly Harry Potter weekend at her house – everyone is sorted, plays house trivia, Quidditch pong, eats from the HP cookbook, dresses in robes, etc. I thought we were slightly insane, but when, over the course of the last 2 years, Nerdy Post has done 4 different renditions of Harry Potter from the original books to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I realized we are far from alone! When it comes to fandoms, the HP one can be very divided, particularly along house lines, but in general, as HP is the book of my generation, most set aside any differences and embrace what J. K. Rowling did to bring the Wizarding World to millions of children around the world.

Favorite Fandom #2: Sarah J. Maas

 

When I first started reading Throne of Glass years ago, I wanted everyone I met to read it. I’ve waxed eloquent before about how amazing Sarah is and while I kind of wish I could have kept the fandom to myself for a bit longer, I’m glad this one has attracted many wonderful artists, like Alexis of Nerdy Post, because the fan art for her two series, Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses is absolutely amazing! Now I just need some SJM Funko Pop figures and my life will be complete!

Favorite Fandom #3: Sherlock Holmes

 

But Sarah, you’ll say, you told us you didn’t like Sherlock Holmes back when you reviewed A Study in Scarlet. Ah, yes, this is true. However, I have loved just about every Sherlock Holmes adaptation I have found and read or seen, so I think I can count myself a member of the fandom. One of my favorite things about Nerdy Post is that if a book has been turned into a movie, both are included in the monthly box of that particular theme.

Favorite Fandom #4: Peter Pan

Peter Pan

I have loved Peter Pan for as long as I can remember. I’ve acted out scenes, forced my best friend as a kid (a dude) to play Wendy to my Peter Pan, obsessively watched Mary Martin perform on stage as Peter Pan, my obsession runs so deep, my husband bought me tickets to the Arden’s children’s theater production for Christmas. It was the two of us, and 100 families with small children. Needless to say, my love knows no bounds, even if Peter can be a bit of a twat. This is also my official pitch to Nerdy Post to do a Peter Pan themed box!

Favorite Fandom #5: Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings
Image via Nerdy Post Instagram @nerdy.post

As an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, I find it only fitting that I love the material from which the RPG draws a great deal of inspiration. I have tried many times to make my way through the books, but alas have yet to be successful in such endeavors. However, I have watched all the movies, repeatedly, and visited Hobbiton (aka Matamata, New Zealand) and I love what the other fans of Lord of the Rings have created. The Nerdy Post box dedicated to LotR was by far a favorite!

Other Past Nerdy Post Fandom Features

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Classics – Mostly Austen and the Brontes
  • Outlander
  • Game of Thrones
  • Pixar & Dreamworks
  • Marvel
  • Disney
  • Star Wars
  • Stephen King
Essays, Non-Fiction, Sociology

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

In my continuing quest to find the perfect audiobook, I decided to take a chance on a book I know I have an ARC for around my apartment somewhere… And I’d been meaning to read it for ages but then lost it. So the audiobook, perfect solution!… for the most part.

Synopsis

The Geek Feminist Revolution is Hurley’s manifesto and her call to arms, her life story and her moving personal experiences. Beyond addressing the ongoing conversations in the science fiction community, the core themes of her essays – fighting against the suppression of women, finding perseverance to thrive as an artist, and encouraging cultural change by critiquing its media – resonate with everyone. Her voice adds to today’s growing canon of feminist writing. Assembled herein are dozens of entries from her blog, including the 2013 Hugo Award-winning “We Have Always Fought,” and nine new essays written specifically for this collection.

Review

The audiobook needs a new reader. I don’t like being yelled at. I like being yelled at even less when I agree with what the yeller is saying. I think that The Geek Feminist Revolution is an important book for the post election, current #MeToo universe that we are living in today. And I really wish I had read it, instead of listened to it. However, I think it is also important that women remember that everyone is taken more seriously in their arguments when they maintain a level tone and refrain from screaming and yelling. But that’s not really the point of the book, just my point that it should be read, not listened to.

Feminist geeks come in all shapes and sizes. Today, the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs have started – I think it’s safe to call myself an ice hockey geek, I’ve been one from 2/3 of my life. But, as with most things when it comes to women liking things that have traditionally been “Male Things,” a heavy dose of sexism has accompanied it – how many times have I been called a “puck bunny” (a hockey groupie) instead of just being called a fan? More than I can count.

In The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley raises many points that a lot of geek girls can relate to – from the importance of Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road (my favorite essay) to how to effectively take criticism from the masses in a world of constant Twitter wars. What I didn’t particularly care for, were the personal parts of the book that I found had nothing to do with the content of the other essays. It felt like a pity party for the author, instead of furthering the geek feminist revolution.

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Edition: Paperback • $15.99 • 9780765386243 • 288 pages • published May 2016 by Tor Books • average Goodreads rating 3.93 out of 5 stars • read in April 2018

Kameron Hurley’s Website

Geek Feminist Revolution on Goodreads

Get a Copy of Geek Feminist Revolution

Geek Feminist Revolution

Comic Monday, Graphic Novel, Photography/Art

Cursed Pirate Girl by Jeremy A. Bastian

I have no recollection of how/why/where I discovered Cursed Pirate Girl other than to say, once I did, I knew I had to read it. And I loved it. Now I need more. Please Jeremy, give us more!

Synopsis

The Cursed Pirate Girl is on a quest in search of her father. It’s a journey filled with adventure above and below the mythical waters of the Omerta Seas. A nautical fairytale of strange creatures, whimsical characters, swashbuckling danger, and the most bizarre pirates you could hope for. It’s certain to amaze and captivate adults and children alike.

Review

Prepare to fall in love, and then have your heart crushed by this graphic novel.

The storytelling and artwork is absolutely amazing – intricate details and fancy lettering are always welcome additions to any work of fiction (or nonfiction) in my opinion. The Cursed Pirate Girl meets all sorts of creatures that could only stem from a creative imagination on her adventures from the docks to the bottom of the sea to try to find her father.

Sarah, you think, this sounds amazing! Why am I going to have my heart crushed? Because, gentle reader, who knows when you will get more. This is the first volume pictured, and back in 2015 we were promised 4 annual issues that would make up volume 2. Only one was ever released. Jeremy is still very active on social media, drawing often, and often characters from the series. But alas, there has been no update (at least that I’ve seen), about when our beloved Cursed Pirate Girl will return to us.

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Recommended for: Readers 12+, lovers of adventurous pirate lovers!

So Far: 1 bound volume, published by Archaia

First Bound Volume: Paperback • $19.99 • 9781608868339 • 144 pages • published April 2016 by Archaia

Fall in Love with The Cursed Pirate Girl

Cursed Pirate Girl

Business, Memoir/Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Psychology

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

#Girlboss has been sitting on my staff pick shelf at the bookstore for ages now. It’s not often I recommend a book that I haven’t read, and if I do, I generally admit that I haven’t actually read it. #Girlboss is an exception. I rarely, if ever, can tell you that I will definitely like a book before reading it, but I knew that I had to read #Girlboss when I was ready to – when I was considering what the next phase of my life might look like.

Synopsis

Sophia Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school – a job sh’d taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay.

Flash forward ten years to today, and she’s the founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal, a $250-million-plus fashion retailer with more than four hundred employees. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #Girlboss for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to succcess, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.

#Girlboss proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.

Review

One of these days, I’m going to go back to teaching full time. I don’t think I’ll ever really leave the bookstore, or the book world, but unfortunately, short of opening my own bookstore (which I’m not completely ruling out), there is very little opportunity for growth, or new challenges. And my brain gets bored and stale if I don’t have new things to with it.

While most bookstores would shelve #Girlboss in business, it is really for anyone looking for a life/career change, not just for people looking to start their own business as Sophia did. What I really appreciate about #Girlboss is the fact that Sophia offers advice without sugar coating any of it. It is practical and useful – when she talks about everyday magic and putting positive thoughts out into the universe, she delves deeper than You Are a Badass and The Secret. While those two books focus just on happy thoughts, Sophia presents practical ways to follow through on those positive thoughts.

One thing that did concern me, prior to reading, was whether or not I would think differently of Sophia’s advice knowing that she left Nasty Gal and the lawsuits and bankruptcy that plagued the company over the last few years. The good news – I did not. Sophia never claims to be an expert, quite the opposite in fact, and approaches #Girlboss with an attitude of “this worked for me, it might work for you” which I greatly appreciated. And if you’ve seen the Netflix show of the same name, well, it’s an interesting television choice – turn a business book into a narrative show – but it’s not half bad.

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Edition: Paperback • $16.00 • 9781591847939 • 256 pages • first published May 2014, this edition published September 2015 by Portfolio • average Goodreads rating 3.7 out of 5 stars • read in April 2018

Girlboss Website

#Girlboss on Goodreads

Get a Copy of #Girlboss

138-#Girlboss

Bookish Friday

Cozy Snowy Winter / Rainy Spring Reads

Apparently winter hasn’t had enough of the East Coast yet and we’re due to get another snowstorm tomorrow. In April. I’m sick of it. However, there are certain books that I will always revisit on a snowy day, because what is better on a snowy day than a large stack of books and tall mug of hot chocolate?

Traveler by L. E. DeLano

I love a fun traveling book when I am trapped inside and L. E. DeLano just happens to be one of my favorite local authors whose book launch for Traveler we happened to do in the middle of winter in the midst of a bit of snow flurries. Traveler is a great YA fantasy/science fiction hybrid that also includes characters with diverse abilities.

Traveler

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Literally set in the snowy wasteland of Siberia, Between Shades of Gray is a WWII story about what happened to the Baltic states during the war and their relationship with the Soviet Union. While Ruta is known better for her more recent book, Salt to the Sea, a companion to Between Shades of Gray, this one is my top pick for winter.

19-Between Shades of Gray

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

A dark, rich, fantastic fantasy is perfect for a snow day and it doesn’t get much better than Uprooted. Naomi’s personification of the woods around her main characters adds an level of creepiness that makes Uprooted perfect for reading this time of year. Plus, Spinning Silver is coming out in July and it’s always good to reread a favorite from an author before their next book comes out!

Uprooted

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I love an Agatha Christie mystery when I don’t have anything else to occupy my mind. Either reading or listening, there’s a reason most mystery book tropes are based off of her stories!

And Then There Were None

Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

A collection of short biographies about fascinating women throughout history, Rejected Princesses quickly became one of my all time favorite books. The sequel, Tough Mothers, just came out on Tuesday!

Rejected Princesses

What are you favorite cozy winter / rainy spring reads?

Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Reduction Duology by Diana Peterfreund

Diana Peterfreund is one of my most favorite authors. I first discovered her works when I was getting ready to head off to college in 2007 and I stumbled upon the Secret Society Girl series. It is one of the few series that actually covers college age activities and one I love dearly. Downside, it’s all but out of print and therefore I will not be reviewing it on here. So! I have decided to review my second favorite series by Diana, the Reduction duology.

For Darkness Shows the Stars Synopsis

It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, an Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth – an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret – one that could change their society… or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Reviews

For Darkness Shows the Stars is the first book, Across a Star-Swept Sea is the second and my favorite of the two.

For Darkness Shows the Stars Review

Elliot is dedicated to her family and the Reduced who live and work on their family’s lands. Her family, alas, is not. It is this unwavering dedication to her family and maintaining the health and livelihood of those whom she has been charged to look after, that lost her the first great love of her young life. Until he shows back up on her family’s estate a completely changed man and Elliot is once again torn between her desire to help her family and her desire to spend time with the one she loves.

Unfortunately for me, I do not identify with Elliot at all. Her quandary is not one that I have ever really had to deal with – I’ve never been responsible for the wellbeing of anyone outside of my family, I’ve never had a dependent whereas Elliot has many, most of whom are adults. The reduction leaves many with a reduced mental capacity and so it’s almost as if Elliot is taking care of a group of elderly dementia patients, which at the time, was hard for me to understand as I lacked a frame of reference.

Elliot is a strong character, unwavering in her beliefs and loyalty to those she loves and cares about. Kai’s departure was not wholly her fault and while she does feel responsibility, she doesn’t apologize for her reasons for staying behind.

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Across a Star-Swept Sea Review

In the world of New Pacifica, the genetic experimentation that led to the reduction of mental abilities in a significant portion of the population has ended. But there is a new medical scare facing those who were medically un-reduced, a darkening of the mind similar to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Persis Blake, the Scarlet Pimpernel of her people, known as the Wild Poppy, is facing the prospect of her mother’s darkening. To the outside world, she is a shallow socialite, confidant of the queen but vapid and unsubstantial, her true identity hidden from all but the queen and another of their friends. Her mission is to rescue those who are being subjected to a drug that causes the reduction, the aristocracy of her neighboring island which teetering is on the brink of civil war.

Persis, in the tradition of Peterfreund’s protagonists in her other series, Amy and Astrid before her, is a strong and resilient character, wonderfully witty and clever and always quick on her feet. Her adventures are marvelously depicted on the pages that fly by with intensity and ferocity. She cannot stand the hypocrisy of those around her and instead of sitting idly by, she takes matters into her own hands. Basically, I cannot recommend any of these marvelous books enough – Diana’s writing is simply fabulous.

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

For Darkness Shows the Stars Edition: Paperback • $9.99 • 9780062006158 • 407 pages • first published June 2012, this edition published July 2013 by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen • average Goodreads rating 3.88 out of 5 • read in July 2012

Diana Peterfreund’s Website

For Darkness Shows the Stars on Goodreads

Get a Copy of For Darkness Shows the Stars

137-Reduction duology - Across a Star-Swept Sea