101. Falling for the Millionaire by Merrillee Whren
I’m not actually going to review this, nor is it actually the 101 book I read this year. I read it a few months ago and forgot to mark it down. It’s one of my mom’s books she asked me to read the ARC of for any final issues. I want credit for reading it, and only realized in talking to her over Christmas that I forgot to include to.
100. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
Toni and Gretchen were a couple for years in high school, but now they’re going away to different schools. Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU and they’re both worried about making their relationship work now that they’re not together anymore. Throw in the added complication that Toni has met and befriended a group of transgender students at Harvard and realizes that this something that she is coming to terms with herself and Gretchen and Toni find that their relationship may not be able to weather all the changes after all.
I really loved Talley’s previous book, but this one didn’t do much for me. I found the book to be very lecturey and not that interesting. I felt like the author conflated a whole lot of terms like genderqueer and transgender that at least from my understanding don’t mean the same thing. And I felt like she was making some of the characters decide that they were gay or transgender because it’s now the “cool” thing to do instead of who they actually are. Based on the other reviews I’ve seen on Goodreads I’m not the only one who thinks these things.
I give it a 4 out of 10.
99. Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup
Fifteen year old Frannie is facing a big change next school year when due to her father’s job loss she is going to have to leave her private school and start attending the mostly African-American public school in her Baltimore neighborhood. But first she has the summer to look forward to and it turns out that the cousin she has always looked up to is going to be spending the summer with her family because at least based on what she believes he has been kicked out of the house after his father discovers he’s gay. Truman introduces her to a whole new world in Baltimore that she’s never experienced and connects her with people will be attending her new school in the fall.
It’s a sort of coming of age story. I picked it up mostly because of the Baltimore connection. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to keep me super interested. I never really connected with the characters all that much nor found most of their adventures all that believable. I give it a 5 out of 10.
98. She’s Not There by Joy Fielding
Carole is looking forward to a romantic trip away in Mexico with her husband for her tenth anniversary, but things go horribly wrong when their 2 year old daughter is kidnapped from their hotel room. Now it’s 15 years later and a young girl contacts her saying she thinks she is the long lost Samantha. The book moves back and forth in time from the present to the past when the kidnapping happened as well as filling in some of the intervening years.
I thought the ending was a little ridiculous, but overall I found it an enjoyable read. I give it a 6 out of 10.
97. Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas
In my effort to make sure I crossed the finish line with my yearly goal to read 100 books I was looking for some light, easy reads. I seemed to recall some friends saying good things about this book, so when I noticed it available to check out as an ebook from the library I decided to read it. I admit that I am not much of a romance novel reader, so this book was fighting an uphill battle with me from the start. However it’s not like I’ve never enjoyed a romance novel before, and I did not think this was a good one at all.
The story revolves around a wedding planner in Houston named Avery and a rich bachelor she meets when she mistakes him for the wedding photographer at one of her gigs. He immediately begins pursuing her, she is gun shy from a failed relationship several years ago, but of course as these things go they eventually fall in love.
This is the worst kind of romance novel in my opinion. I know some people enjoy the whole idea of a big, strong guy overpowering them and taking charge. I just find the whole thing gross. Joe is supposed to be this strong cowboy type and he pretty much never takes no for answer unless of course Avery says yes and then he says no. I don’t find it sexy or romantic at all.
Plus I never really felt like there was much of a story here. They meet in the first pages of the book and there never seems to be any real reason that they aren’t together. I mean mostly they really are in some form or fashion for the entire book. This book was 100% not for me. I give it a 3 out of 10.
96. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles leaves behind his boring, virtually friendless life to go to boarding school where he befriends his roommate and a girl named Alaska. The three of them embark on many teenage adventures together and philosophize on life in ways that only teenage protagonists in books can.
I have heard a lot of criticism about the way John Green writes teenagers. The only other book I have read by him is The Fault in Our Stars, which I really liked so I never quite got it until I read this book. I found the characters in this book to be entirely unrealistic. They all had immediate seemingly required nicknames for each other and little quirks that somehow were meant to define who they were. Miles can quote any last words of famous people while his roommate can name all the capitals of countries around the world.
As much as the way these teenagers were written bothered me I also acknowledge as someone in her 30s that I am well outside the age range that this book is aimed at. Thinking back to my pre-teen and teenage years this book is probably something I would have eaten up. I definitely remember being drawn to totally unrealistic characters living some idealized, fantasy teenage life that doesn’t really exist. So although this book wasn’t great for me I can see it appealing to the people who it was written for. I give it a 5 out of 10.
95. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I enjoyed Kaling’s first book and this is book is much the same. It’s a book of humorous essays about her life this time focusing more on her adult life and work as opposed to many of the childhood stories she relayed in her previous book. I actually didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as the first one. It was a good end of the year read though as it was a light, easy read. If you’re looking for some mindless reading you could do worse than this book. I give it a 6 out of 10.
94. The Copyright Librarian: A Practical Handbook by Linda Frederiksen
This book obviously has a very narrow market, but it came along at the perfect time for me. I’m in the middle of figuring out how to more formally add some of the copyright stuff I’ve been doing at my job the past few years into my job description. This book has a lot of really great information about how other librarians working with copyright matters are aligned with their libraries and institutions. I can’t imagine it’s worth reading for most people, but for me it contained a lot of useful information. I give it a 7 out of 10.
93. Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes
Even though I am an unabashed music lover I rarely read music biographies. I find I care more about the music itself than learning all the details about the lives of the people who create it. I have been a longtime fan of Tom Petty. I heard an interview with Warren Zanes about his biography of Tom Petty. It interested me enough that I decided to read it even though I don’t normally read these kinds of books.
I obviously learned a lot about Tom Petty reading this book, but it sort of reinforced my thoughts about musician biographies. I ultimately just didn’t care that much I guess. It wasn’t that it’s a bad book because it’s not, but I just don’t think I need to know all the details of musicians lives. I doesn’t add much to the music for me. People who are actually into music biographies will probably enjoy this one though. I give it a 6 out of 10.
92. Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor
When he was 19 years old Shaka Senghor shot someone and killed him. He spent years blaming everyone else for his wrongs until he found writing as an outlet in prison and ultimately found himself. He accepted responsibility for what he did and attempts to use writing to help other kids avoid his same mistakes.
Senghor writes about his childhood in Detroit and how he got mixed up in drug dealing and what ultimately led him to spending much of his life in prison. He recounts his prison experiences and how reading and writing eventually saved him.
I really enjoyed this book and hope someone that it’s message can be shared with those who most need to hear it. I give it an 8 out of 10.