Best book of July 2010

Here’s my addition to Road Trip Wednesday #39.

I read a lot of books this month that I just really wanted to love.  One of them (Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones) had been on my Amazon Wishlist for ages, but I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed in it.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire suffered from the same problem I mentioned in June’s post.  Book of a Thousand Days was as well done as Shannon Hale’s other novels (audiobooks), but I liked Razo and Isi better, and the parts in the tower had trouble keeping my interest while I worked.  I really liked the beginning of The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but I felt it dragged in the middle as Jenna walked around angsting and not doing much else.

So that leaves me with Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Justine Larbalestier (check my spelling with that pic on the side; yeah I finished this book a bit ago, I just haven’t fixed the “what I’m reading” column)’s Liar.

Beauty is a beautifully told version of Beauty and the Beast.  I first heard about this book (despite loving another Robin McKinley book when I was a kid) in college, when a friend said, “Don’t talk to me about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  The best version is Robin McKinley’s.”  Okay, but here is the problem I had with it.  I don’t know how much detail the book and the movie share with the source material, but I kept comparing Beauty to Disney’s animated version.  Totally unfair, I know, because the book actually came first, but there were so many details that just reminded me of the movie, from blue velvet suit to the way the objects in the castle moved around to him showing her the library and her bringing animals to him (made me think of the birds in “Something There”).  So yeah, it’s totally unfair but I kept comparing, and while it was a beautiful book, for some reason I didn’t connect as much as I wanted to.

So here’s the winner: Liar.

I read Liar in two days, interrupting The Adoration of Jenna Fox because I was so excited I had bought it.  Here’s what I knew about the book: 1) The main character, Micah, is a liar telling the story of her boyfriend’s death, 2)the unreliable narrator is done well (I had heard), 3) there was a cover controversy, and, therefore, 4) what Micah looks like.  That was it.

So when I was reading it, I was completely drawn in initially.  I read through the first part, yeah, trying to figure out what was truth and what was lie and where certain things were going.

And then I got to part 2.  And the book was so different from then on.  Because suddenly it was no longer contemporary non-fantasy.  That’s right, folks.  If Micah is to be believed, there is a fantasy element, which I knew nothing about going into the novel.  Leading up to the reveal, I was wondering, but being under the impression that this was not fantasy (even though J.L. has a book about a parking fairy, so I don’t know why I never considered a fantasy element more seriously), I had dismissed the notion.  But once I got there, I kept waiting for the “gotcha,” certain she was going to reveal it was a lie because certainly someone would have referred to it as urban fantasy if she didn’t.  And I waited.  And I waited.

So that affected my reading, probably a little negatively.  By the way, the Amazon description and reviews do all mention a “supernatural element,” but none of the reviews I had read from authors, nor the blurb on the cover hinted at it.

But why Liar wins is that two days later, I was still thinking about the story.  Really thinking about it, while I tried to figure out what in the end was a lie and what was the truth.

Incidentally, I decided that the entire thing was a fabrication from page 1 by Micah (which is amusing when you think about it, because it is, after all, fiction).  But just the fact that I was still considering the book, and liking it more with every consideration, makes Liar this month’s winner.

Currently on NEW iPod: Keeps Getting Better by Christina Aguilera (H/V song)

Lots of love,

Sage

P.S. Sagelikethesister has requested I bring back Lots of Love Thursdays, so if I have time before I fly out tomorrow, I’ll post one.

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4 thoughts on “Best book of July 2010

  1. Liar hurt my head, haha. I like your theory and I really want to know the truth and wonder if there even is a truth and if it can ever be figured out? it’s a crazy book to write and I think JL must be some kind of genius

    oh, and I thought the same abut Jenna Fox, like, I really got into to it, then bored, then into it again, bored, etc, etc

  2. Liar sounds like an interesting book- definitely original with the second part being so different from the first. Thanks for the review Sage! 🙂

  3. Nice critique. I’d heard about Liar too, but I also didn’t know there was a fantasy element. I love books that make you think about them days afterwards. The Forest of Hands and Teeth did that to me and even though I didn’t like the ending after the first read, I was still thinking about it afterwards and ended up voting it as my favorite book of 2009. I’ll have to get this one.

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