Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Everything, Everything vs. The Nest


Alright, I’m guilty. I judged a book by its cover.  I saw Everything, Everything and right away had it picked to be our winner (though The Nest has a beautiful cover design as well.)  Everything, Everything also seemed to have some buzz around it already, and has a compelling premise.  It tells the story of a brilliant and beautiful young woman who is confined to her house due to a rare illness that prevents her from having any contact with the outside world, or with any person other than her mother and nurse. BUT surprise, surprise, there’s a HOT BOY who moves in across the street, and... you can see where this is going already.

Well, at least we could see where it was going already.  We could see where the whole tale was going to end up, early on.  Too early. Dramatic irony, when done well, is delicious and delightful, but in this case, knowing the “twist” long before our protagonist was mostly just frustrating.

The Nest, however, kept us guessing right until the end. It tells the story of Steve, his sister Nicole, their parents, and the new baby. A sick baby. When a strange being comes to Steve in a dream promising to “fix” the baby if he cooperates with them, he agrees. But then what had seemed like a wish come true takes a sinister turn. As Shelley said, it’s a lovely, horrifying surprise. Peeking through the horror and gripping climax, however, is also the message that our pain, brokenness, and neuroses are what make us human, and that “there’s no such thing as normal anyway.”

The Nest moves on!  

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