Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

The Sister PactThe Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Big time warning lights for parents and librarians screening books to put on shelves. Every character lacks a solid moral compass. Allie is a blank slate when it comes to morality. If someone passes her a joint, she'll smoke it. Hands her a pill, she'll take it. Ask her for sex, she'll give it. Some play the game of having one - they only smoke weed and drink alcohol. Uh, still illegal in most states and for minors. Want smoke weed but will drink and have sex on the first date. Even Allie's parents are messed up,

On the up side, the book illustrates the struggles of the sister that survives a suicide pact. Friends come out of the woodwork and admit their own feelings of guilt for possibly causing Leah to take her life, her parents reveal things, Allie remembers things. But in the end I didn't feel like anything was really resolved except that Allie had a better picture of what Leah was struggling with. She started making better choices for a few days but then it ends. The book paints the picture of a pathologically mentally ill teenager who has a brief intervention then ... Nothing. I thought it was incomplete.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake HouseThe Lake House by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Kate Morton's writing! She is masterful in pacing, story telling, and word choice. Although written in plain English, this book is wonderful to read on a Kindle with the dictionary option. Words not normally used pop up frequently. Contextual clues are enough to understand the meaning yet the dictionary feature makes it more delicious. Reading is not hampered by the use of words. Morton has a crisp, clear writing style and paints beautiful pictures with her words.

There are, essentially, two distinct conflicts and mysteries to be solved. The present day protagonist, Sadie, has had trouble at work and retreats to her grandfather's country home to regroup. On a hard run with his dogs, she stumbles upon the Lake House, abandoned decades before and shrouded with the mysterious disappearance of a baby boy named Theo. what happened to Theo?

I partially guessed the correct answer to what happened to Theo early in the book. I admit that with reticence because there was much, much more going on beneath the surface. As details emerged regarding the family, dynamics, and secrets, I admittedly wavered on my resolution. In order to understand what happened to Theo, it was necessary for Morton to slowly unspool the history in the many perspectives and possible culpabilities. Many carried guilt and believed to be at least partially responsible.

The heart of the stories have to do with family connections and the separation of child from mother as well as carrying the secrets and weights of decisions made long ago. If I am being cryptic, it is because I mean to be. The stories are intriguing and enjoyable journeys that eventually tie together to give the reader a bigger picture, answers, and even a moral to the story.

Book club worthy.