Friday, February 7, 2014

SHS Book Club--The Secret Keeper, 45 Pounds (More or Less), and Waiting to Be Heard

I am so behind in my book reviews for Goodreads. I decided that I better get on it! In 2013, I set a goal to read at least 24 books. I read 36! When do I find the time? That is a common question I get. I cut down on TV and that has bought me a lot of time. Blow drying my hair takes 10 minutes. I read while I brush and brush and brush. I chauffer my kids around a lot. While I wait for them to finish their various activities, I read. Just last night my daughter had piano for an hour and rather than drop her off, drive all the way home only to get back in the car to get her again, I just read. You'd be surprised how when you have a good book, you make the time.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton was an intriguing book. The book jumps back and forth between the past and present, which could be confusing but isn't in this book. The main character, Laurel, witnesses a horrific event when she was 16 years old from her treehouse. The event was life changing for Laurel and impacts her relationship with her mother. Sixteen year-old Laurel and present day Laurel tell the story. Without giving too much away, let me just say that you won't get the big plot twist. Even if you think you have it figured out, you don't. I love that about this book. I've got Kate Morton on my radar to read more books by her!

Next book that I read was 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson. This book seems more slated for the YA genre but that's ok. I love reading that genre on occasion. It was a super fast read for that reason. The main character, Ann, is overweight and 16. She has a very skinny mother and the book opens with them swimsuit shopping. I would encourage anyone who has issues with weight (who doesn't?) to pick up this book. Or if you know a teen struggling with weight, this book would really encourage them. It gives a greater understanding of what it is like to be an overweight adolescent. Tough. Hard. There are no words to what being overweight in this day and age as a teen must feel like. The character is genuinely likeable. You just want to take her in your arms, hug her and tell her she is good enough. No. Matter. What.

The final book I'm reviewing today is Waiting to Be Heard by Amanda Knox. I read this book before the most recent decision by the court to revoke her Not Guilty ruling. I must say, she gives a super compelling testimony of her side of the story. I can totally see how her actions were misinterpreted. Whether you like her or not or think she's innocent or not, you have to give this book a read before you come to a final conclusion. I recall listening to some talk show where the lawyer was saying that she must be guilty because of the DNA. She had me convinced because DNA is so definitive. Not so fast. DNA is only definitive when competent people collect it and when the justice system is impartial. Meredith's case will never be fully determined because the Italian officials botched the case so badly. This book is very cleanly laid out. You get a really good understanding of who Amanda really is, what her family is like, what her thoughts were behind some of her decisions, and how the justice system really did a number on her. If you like newsworthy non-fiction, this is a good one--especially now with the new ruling.

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