Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two Short Novels

 Everyone knows how a dictionary is set up. A word is given, then it is defined, obviously. This is how The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan is told. It's like a dictionary, that is telling the story of a couple. Each word is defined through something in their relationship. It's really a fascinating way to tell a story, one that I've never seen before. And I still can't decide if I liked it or not.

The thing with telling the story like this is I felt that I didn't really connect with the characters well. Instead of getting a constant narrative, you only gets bits and pieces of their story, and you kind of have to make up the rest on your own. While this is fun, I wanted to get to know the characters that David Levithan created. He probably left that much up to the imagination on purpose, and it was really clever, I just wanted more of a story. I think that's really the only critique that I had for this book.

The other book that I read was called Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave. This is also told in a different way, but not quite as rare as The Lover's Dictionary. Unlocked is told in verse, which means that I was able to read it very quickly. It also helped that it was a fairly short novel. Anyway, Unlocked is about a boy just going into high school who is a social outcast and doesn't have many friends. There's a rumor going around school that says his only friend has a gun in his locker. So Andy (the main character) has to decide what to do about this gun. Does he tell someone, or just let it go? This is the conflict that drives the whole book, and it was kind of suspenseful.

Usually, I don't really like verse novels because they seem forced, or just a way to cop out of writing a complete novel. I didn't really feel like that for this one. The verse was pretty well written, though I have seen better. But it didn't just seem like sentences strung together, it seemed like it was meant to be written in verse, which is what I liked about it. The only complaint that I really have about it is I thought the main character seemed kind of young. Like, I didn't believe that he was in high school, he seemed like he was in middle school. I don't know if it was because of the verse, or if it was just the way the author writes, but it was a little annoying. I wish he seemed older. But other than that, it was quite a good book.

What am I reading next? The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

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