- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
This fantasy novel is the first in a series, called A Song of Ice and Fire, which contains a total of five books. Although it was a long read, I never found myself bored. The style of this novel alternates characters each chapter, giving away different perspectives and personal stories that contribute to the overall story. Some characters, like Catelyn and Sansa, were less likable than other characters, like my favorites Daenarys and Tyrion. However, I was invested into each story and found myself empathizing and rooting for even my least favorite characters. The talented way in which Martin used characterization to drive his plot forward rendered me unable to put this book down. I cannot wait to start the next book, A Clash of Kings, to see what is in store for the realm.
2. Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
Sparks tells the story of a man going through an affair and a heart-crushing divorce while trying to raise his young daughter. There were romantic times, when an ex-girlfriend enters the picture, sad times, when a death is experienced in the family, and even angry times, when the custody dispute gets the best of the former couple’s humanity. The overall message of the story was to lean on family, to ask for help when times get tough, to trust in the power of love, and always do what is right.
3. See Me by Nicholas Sparks
This was another fun read by Nicholas Sparks. Set in Wilmington, this book tells the tale of two lovers, a lawyer and an MMA fighter, who face a perverse stalker together. Collin, the fighter, is the example of redemption because he went from hardened criminal to going to school to become a third grade teacher. Maria is the face of bravery. Whatever is thrown her way, she does what she can to keep her life in her own control. Although Maria and Collin are an unlikely pair, their strengths and weaknesses play well together to defeat their enemy. Another plus to this novel is that it features an interracial couple, Collin being white and Maria a first generation Mexican American. This wasn’t the hardest book I read all summer, but I did enjoy the story for what it was.
4. Room by Emma Donoghue
A fictional story, based on a true story, about this woman and her child who are trapped in an 11 square foot shed in a man’s backyard. The man, “Old Nick”, abducted “Ma” as a 19 year old college student, locked her in his shed, and raped her in the night until she became pregnant with Jack. From the perspective of five year old Jack, the harrowing tale of the duo’s great escape is told. Since Jack is only five, it can be hard at times to understand what is going on. I think that using the POV of Jack actually makes the story more impactful because Jack is living in a nightmare and is so accustomed to it that he does not even realize it. The contrast of his innocence with the horrors he experiences makes the novel even more heartbreaking.
5. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game was lying on my bookshelf for a while, but since my copy was old and withered, I haven’t read it until this summer. The story is of a child genius preparing for an intergalactic war, and it provides a commentary on the morality of war. War is fought by two sides, each with their own stories. This novel shows how the black and white perception of “us versus them” can lead people with good intentions into becoming the monsters they want to destroy.