Whatcha reading? [On the] Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I started this one right after Miss Timmins' School for Girls, set in a boarding school in India, and here we are at a boarding school in Australia but co-ed, run by the state instead of by missionaries, and definitely a step down the dark scale, shades of Lord of the Flies. In classic YA fashion many orphans and abandoned children and teens live on their own here, flouting the school rules and even governing the Houses (dorms). I’m on page 64 and have had hardly a glimpse of an adult, other than the elusive Hannah, who might care about our main character, Taylor Markham, more than she lets on and for reasons unknown. Taylor herself has lived at the school for much of her life, abandoned by her mother, and now finds herself unwilling leader of the underground student movement, much to the other House leaders' upset, at war with the Townies and the seasonal military trainees (Cadets) for everything: territory, respect, air time, and possibly, life itself.

Plenty of unknown here: What’s with the turf wars? Who put the kids in charge? How many kids are dead or missing? Why does no one seem to care? Where is the presence of the state, which supposedly runs this institution? Is it a school at all or actually an orphanage cum warehouse until the kids come of age? What happened to Taylor’s mother? Who is the Brigadier? What events gave Hannah the idea for her novel, or is it a memoir? Does Taylor ever smile? Or laugh? Or have any fun at all? (She is one serious girl.) Sometimes too many questions or confusions put me off, but in this case I just want to turn the pages faster. Something tells me that I will be reading this one over again immediately, as soon as I finish.

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Whatcha reading? Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

If you had asked me before I started this book, I would have definitely said I don’t read erotica. Or maybe I am a total prude, and this doesn’t even qualify as erotica, but still! I thought this was straight-up YA, contemporary YA with two orphans on the run heading to Miami in search of a better life for themselves, and it is that, but it is also s-t-e-a-m-y (and not just because it’s Miami).

Kacey and Livie Cleary want to escape the horror of the drunk-driving accident that claimed their parents as well as Kacey’s best friend and boyfriend; somehow they rent an apartment in Miami online from Michigan and relocate there, despite Livie being a minor. There have been a number of “somehows” so far, to my view anyway, but once I decided to look past them, I do enjoy the girls’ adventures in their new city, including their eclectic neighbors and assorted employments. One of said neighbors, Trent, is the hottest, nicest, most mysterious guy on the planet and unaccountably interested in Kacey the scowler; have you guessed the mystery yet? I’ll have to wait and see if I’m right, while I get another cold drink. And plug in a fan. And maybe hit the showers.

If you want to see my rating once I finish, you can follow me on Goodreads. I rate every book I read.



Whatcha Reading? Miss Timmins’ School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy

The appeal here seems almost endless for my tastes: a coming of age tale, a school setting with a gaggle of impudent school girls in uniforms, a culture exotic to me but with a stiff-upper-lip British overlay, 70s counterculture experimentation, and for good measure a midnight murder mystery. The book takes place almost entirely in the rain, the monsoon season actually, and that sets the meandering, unsettling tone rather well. Charulata Apte (Charu), the new teacher and barely an adult herself, capers about in the rain as she always has, only to notice that not only the teachers but also the student body is slack-jawed at her free and easy, decidedly un-British approach to life. Charu finds herself at odds on all sides, in her family and the classroom and the staff room and even in town, whose name, Panchgani, for some reason was stuck in my head as Punch and Judy, go figure. And then she meets the Prince. Da da da dum.

What sets her apart, in her mind, and I firmly believe it is more in her mind that everyone else’s, is her blot. What’s that, you say? Her facial discoloration, which arose when she hit puberty, expands and contracts, changes color, and has sensations in response to Charu’s actions and feelings. I feel that the blot should count as a main character, if not actually THE main character. For me the blot blots out so much of what might have been Charu, such that she slinks along through the story as a shadow character. The blot, though, lives. Perhaps the blot will turn out to be the murderer? Not any time soon, but we shall see.

If you want to see my rating once I finish, you can follow me on Goodreads. I rate every book I read.



What Will Take You There?

Where? Anywhere. That's the beauty of reading: you can do it anywhere, and if given the chance, it can and will take you anywhere you want to go. It doesn't discriminate by sex or income or race or education (beyond being able to read, that is). I came across this article recently, and though it's from 2012, it could be from today or twenty years ago, because it is timeless and combines my favorite things, education and kids and reading. Read to the end, the second to last sentence, to see my favorite line http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-martin-phalen/the-joy-of-reading-can-ta_b_1247801.html

New Year, new resolutions, new plans, but here's an easy one: read more. That could be the answer to many of the others, whether it's to travel (read travel guides first), to meet new people (join a book group with similar interests at your local library), to learn something new (read about hobbies and then try one), or even the perennial lose weight or start an exercise program (the cookbook section, the human biology section, or the self-help section are good places to start). As always, happy reading!

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Suess