Over the weekend I finished a couple books:
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
This book wasn't bad, exactly, but I don't really get how it won a Printz award and the Guardian Children's Fiction prize. I found the narrator to be pretty damn annoying -- kind of like a Holden Caulfield wannabe. The premise is interesting -- bratty anorexic 15-year-old New Yorker is sent to live with cousins in near-future England. War breaks out, England is raided, and the story takes it from there as the narrator has to cope with her world being turned upside down. I don't know . . . the execution just didn't speak to me. And I though the way the whole anorexia thing was handled was just stupid -- it felt too tangential, like it was supposed to be this big, important thing, but it didn't really fit in with the rest of the story very well for me.
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem.
I've been meaning to read this one for a while now. Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude has my favorite first page ever, so I was pre-disposed to like another book of his. This one has a premise that sounds ridiculous (The main character is a Tourrette's-afflicted small-time gangster investigating the death of his mob boss / father figure), but Lethem handles it incredibly skillfully. The book could have devolved into cheap laughs and gimmicks, but Lethem never treats his main character like he's laughable. Basically, he makes this ridiculous premise completely ordinary and heartbreaking all at the same time. I really enjoyed this one. It might even be one of my top reads of the year.