Category Archives: Realistic Fiction

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

A Modern Family is an incredibly well-written book. Even though the characters were all neurotic and Liv was downright unlikable, I found myself caring about them and wanting to pick up my Kindle to read whenever I could to find out what happened to them. The translator did an amazing job. The English flows very well (not the case with some other translated books I’ve read). The end was a bit shocking and left me both wanting more and slightly depressed that it was over. I think that indicates it’s a good book. I recommend it to adults who like literary fiction, particularly those interested in reading books that have been translated and are set in countries other than the US (this one was originally written in Norwegian and is set in Norway).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 27
Pages Read in 2020: 6453
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Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

Imagine the entire Mean Girls movie written out like a Shakespeare play complete with the language and rhythms you would expect from William Shakespeare. That’s Much Ado About Mean Girls. It’s utterly fabulous. It’s so funny and reads very quickly. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Shakespeare and enjoyed Mean Girls.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 16
Pages Read in 2020: 4155
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Filed under Play, Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Aven was born without arms and so she refers to herself as a cactus. Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus finds her at the beginning of high school where absolutely nothing seems to be going her way, some things her fault, some things not. She has to learn to trust herself and others and what family really means. For about the first half to two-thirds of the book I just couldn’t bring myself to care about Aven or any of the other characters. I found most of them insufferable. They were mostly just stereotypes. Aven was especially annoying and it’s never a good thing to be really annoyed by the narrator. The last few chapters were a lot better. Still a lot of stereotypes and caricatures, but better. Overall this was just a meh book. I’d only bother to read it if you loved the first book (which I did not read).

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 12
Pages Read in 2020: 3449
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Joss by Erin Falligant

Joss is the American Girl Girl of the Year for 2020. She likes surfing and cheerleading and can’t decide if she’s really a surfer or really a cheerleader because surely she can’t be both. Joss is the first book all about her. It’s a cute story of friendship and figuring out just who you are. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys American Girl books. It makes a great family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 9
Pages Read in 2020: 2741
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Murder by Plum Pudding by Lee Stauss

Murder by Plum Pudding is a lovely mind vacation. It’s short and simple with humor and fun scattered among the death. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 5
Pages Read in 2020: 1842
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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up, Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Mañanaland is a gentle story with an almost dreamlike quality to it. The imagery as well as the division into yesterday, today, and tomorrow are quite lovely and effective. I read it to my 11 and 13 year old boys and the 11-year-old, especially, loved it. I highly recommend it as a family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 4
Pages Read in 2020: 1734
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***This book will be released March 3, 2020***

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The author of The Color Purple is a genius at writing in dialect. There is a very obvious difference between the main character’s writing and the letters from her sister, who is described as more intelligent and better educated. The story is told completely through letters, some written by the sister to the main character and the majority written by the main character basically as diary entries. There are no quotation marks, but it works for this book due to the way it is written. Conversations are clear even with the lack of quotation marks. Sometimes the story is tough, but reflects the life of poor blacks in the early 1900s. I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 120
Pages Read in 2019: 30,979
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The Appointment by Herta Muller

The Appointment is pretty much just stream of consciousness random drivel. It jumps from one memory to the next with no real unifying theme. I suppose it is realistic in that that’s often how we think about our memories, but reading it in a book it’s just awful. There are no quotation marks. There are a lot of colons setting off what people said, but no quotation marks. It’s really a pointless and rather dumb book. I had to force myself to keep reading, thinking for sure it would get better. Nope. The end was just as bad as the rest. I do not recommend reading this book to anyone.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 119
Pages Read in 2019: 30,677
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Gangsterland by Tod Goldberg

With a gangster assassin main character who you can’t help but like, Gangsterland follows Sal Cupertine as he is shipped out of Chicago after making a huge mistake and becomes Rabbi David Cohen of Las Vegas. It’s a little bit slow to get started, but once I got into the story, I really started caring about many of the characters and what happened to them (side note: don’t get too attached because a whole lot of the characters die before the end). There is a fair bit of bad language, but no more than I expected from the author having listened to a bunch of episodes of his podcast, Literary Disco. If you like crime/mafia novels, you’ll love this one!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 118
Pages Read in 2019: 30,449
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Bruno’s Dream by Iris Murdoch

If you like books about tangled family relationships and lots of cheating, Bruno’s Dream is the book for you. I did not enjoy it very much. The characters were all unlikable and utterly depressing. I just didn’t care about nearly all of them and when one started swimming in the Thames during a storm that cause it to flood, I kind of hoped he’d drown. The storylines for most of them were ridiculous. I don’t particularly recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 103
Pages Read in 2019: 26,301
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