Year 8, Book 52

52. Imposter (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker

The first book in what seems like it will be a YA series of some sort. It revolves around a group of people called Variants, and who remind me of the X-Men. They all have various powers, and in this case are rounded up and work for a special division of the FBI. In this particular story, Tessa is a Variant who has the power to replicate people’s DNA and thus seemingly become them. In order to catch a killer, she is sent to impersonate Madison, a teenage girl who was recently murdered though it is made to seem like she had a miraculous recovery so that Tessa can take over her life. Tessa not only has to try and figure out how to be Madison while determining who in her life she can trust, she also struggles with not growing attached to family that isn’t really hers as she has no family of her own. It wasn’t a hugely original plot, but I found it to be a solidly written one and think it would hold appeal with teens who are drawn to this sort of book. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 8, Book 51

51. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

It’s the summer of 1974 and a group of  six teenagers meets at a summer camp for kids interested in artistic pursuits. Sitting around one night they dub themselves the Interestings. The novel follows them back and forth in time over the decades until the present slowly filling in the story of what happened to each of them and how they have remained in each others’ lives. The bulk of the story is told by Jules, though not all of it. Some chapters are told from the perspective of other characters to fill in their back story, but mostly we see things how Jules sees them. She always felt like an outsider because the rest of the Interestings come from rich, important families while she is from a middle class suburb and attended the camp on a scholarship. Although she is adopted into the group you can see her feelings of inferiority color their interactions throughout the novel. I found this book to be really engaging while I was reading it, but after it was done I wished that more of the story had been told from other character’s perspectives, particularly Ash’s who although a centerpiece of the story always seemed rather amorphous to me because unlike the other major character she never got to tell the story from her view. Overall though I found it to be an enjoyable book and would say it’s worth a read. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 8, Book 50

50. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Kate and Vi are identical twins who were born with a psychic gift. While Vi has chosen to exploit her gift and become a professional medium, Kate has settled down in the suburbs with her husband and their two kids tamping her gift down so much that she doesn’t even know if it works anymore. Everything changes when Vi goes on national television to tell everyone that she has had a premonition that St. Louis is to be hit by a devastating earthquake on a specific date. Kate can’t stop thinking about whether or not it’s true and is sucked into the craziness that results from her sister’s pronouncement. It’s a great book about the relationship between two very different sisters and about knowing yourself and being true to who you are. I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 8, Book 49

49. The Measures Between Us by Ethan Hauser

Set in a suburb of Boston The Measures Between Us examines the relationships between a number of people many of them who seem to be only tangentially related but have a big impact on each others’ lives. The story also builds around an impending flood as chapters are interspersed with a report of climate data and the aftermath of said flood. It was an ok book. I really liked how all the threads of the characters came together, but overall I didn’t find it to be anything that special. I give it a 6 out of 10.