The Fault in Our Stars is about teens with cancer who fall in love with each other. And then everyone dies. Oops, spoiler. Younger readers will probably enjoy this book more than I did (parental note: story contains teen sex). To me, the characters seemed one-dimensional and while I occasionally enjoyed the snarky insights of the teenage mind, by the end of the book the teen girl narrator voice was wearing on my very last Mama nerve. Rating: 2.5 stars.
The Language of Flowers is the story of a newly emancipated foster child and her struggle to make sense of life, loss and love through her work in a florist's shop. This book unfolds as a story-within-a-story with us tracking along Victoria's current life and flashbacks to events from her childhood. The plot development kept me interested and the characters were beautifully drawn. But I found the ending a little disappointing. Rating: 3 stars.
The Last Brother tells the brutal story of a young boy growing up during World War II on a remote island in the Indian Ocean. His heartbreak and isolation are relieved by his friendship with an orphaned, Jewish refugee. In many ways this is the story of how larger, world conflicts affect the innocent lives of children. It was a quick read but vaguely depressing without any satisfying, redemptive takeaway. Rating: 3 stars.
Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West was a decent introduction to Pope John Paul II's writings about sex and the body. I found the first few chapters to be the most helpful but West's heavy-handed tone and egregiously poor comparative analysis had me cringing by the last chapters. Rating: 1.5 stars.
As a die-hard Dodgers' fan, 100 Things Dodgers' Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die is a fun, informative way for me to get into baseball season. Published in 2009, I've read it at the beginning of each season since then. Rating: 4 stars.
Where was this book when I was a young mom? In Desperate: Hope for the Mom who needs to breathe, Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson have done a beautiful job sharing letters and stories to encourage mothers as they raise their babies and maintain their own well-being. Rating: 3 stars.
The Language of Letting Go provides short, daily meditations on codependency. Each day is a simple reflection on topics like: healthy limits, nurturing self-care, accepting change, letting things happen and letting go of shame. Every time I read this book I experience a deep sigh of relief. Rating: 4 stars.