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Month in review

Reviews
Across the Continent by The Lincoln Highway by Effie Price Gladding
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief by Maurice Leblanc
Baby Driver: A Story About Myself by Jan Kerouac
Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Buttons and Bones by Monica Ferris
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
The Colossus of Roads: Myth and Symbol Along the American Highway by Karal Ann Marling
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught
The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
The Inn Between by Marina Cohen
The Isle by Jordana Frankel Jem and The Holograms 1 by Kelly Thompson
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
No Ghouls Allowed by Victoria Laurie
Painting with a Lens by Rod Deutschmann and Robin Deutschmann
Photography of Natural Things by Freeman Patterson
Splat and the Cool School Trip by Rob Scotton
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley
Umbrella by Taro Yashima The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
The Ward by Jordana Frankel
The Woman-Haters by Joseph C. Lincoln

Miscellaneous
My life as a teenage book addict, or, Sarah becomes a reader
Playing Pokémon Go as a parent
The terrible previews before Ghostbusters

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Isle: 07/19/16

The Isle by Jordana Frankel

The Isle by Jordana Frankel is the sequel to The Ward. Ren and Aven have survived their ordeal in the Ward but now they are separated. Aven, having been cured by hidden spring has engendered the ire of both the governor and the Tètai, the guardians of the spring.

In The Ward the chapters are marked by the day and time, counting down to the amount of time Aven has left given the severity of her illness. This book does the same but there isn't the immediate need to race against the clock. Yes, the different sides are circling around the spring but they could have just as easily reached a stalemate. The countdown is one of narrative convenience than necessity.

The story this time is told from alternating points of view: Ren and Aven's. In the first book we come to know Ren intimately. She is the first person narrator. Here because Aven is recovered she gets her own first person perspective chapters. This does allow the narrative to cover more ground but narrationally, it's unnecessary.

You can read the book as written. Or you can skip Aven's chapters as everything that happens in them is relayed into Ren's. The Isle despite the parallel chapter structure is still Ren's story.

I read The Isle as a follow-up to The Ward because of it's location and it's dystopian rendering of New York and Jersey City as drowned cities. In a world where the starting points of the classic road trip narrative are underwater, there can be no escape. The city becomes a prison.

The means of egress from the Ward to the Isle where the wealthy live away from the brack and the threat of the virus (though it does exist here too) is through the old tunnels once used by cars or once used to carry water. But crossing the water to the old mainland isn't really much of a road trip and there's little sense of a world that exists beyond these two flooded cities.

As there is no outside threat to these two cities, The Ward and The Isle can't really count as "the road not taken" stories. The threat instead is a one that was manmade, one that took advantage of a natural disaster to put an already vulnerable population in a situation they could not escape from. It was population and resource control.

Three stars

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