Title: Being Henry David
Author: Cal Armistead
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Shelf: Read-in-2013, Young-Adult, Contemporary, 4.5-out-of-5, Released-in-2013, Debut Author, DAC Challenge, Kindle-eBook, Netgalley-Read
Publication Date: 1 March 2013 by Albert Whitman & Company
Synopsis: “Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything –who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or “Hank” and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of–Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.” (Taken from Goodreads)
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Being Henry David is the first debut of 2013 I’ve picked up this year, and what a great start to the year! I’m so glad I picked this to start off the year because it was just such a moving and wonderfully written story. It follows a seventeen-year-old boy who wakes up at Penn Station in New York with retrograde amnesia. Armed with only a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau and a little bit of cash, he makes his way to Concord, Massachusetts, where Thoreau lived for two years and wrote Walden. As the book is his only clue of his past prior to waking up, he believes it’s the obvious place to go to.
Along the way, ‘Hank’ meets some important people that help him realise that the only way he can move on and remember his past is to face it head-on. Armistead presents us with snippets of Hanks’ past throughout the story – enough to keep it mysterious and intriguing without overwhelming the reader. Hank is a character that digs a spot in our heart and refuses to move. You become invested in him – in his past, present and future. Armistead has created a character so touching that you just can’t help but root for him.
I found the little snippets of Walden being thrown in fit perfectly with the voice and pace of the overall story. It’s a quick introduction to one of America’s great thinkers, and helps Hank come to terms with who he is. It really becomes his lifeline as his journey forward and backward is aided by this book. The people he meet in Concord is a result of this book being a clue for him to be there in the first place. His rediscovery of his past is a result of Walden. I think Armistead did a wonderful job incorporating these two stories about the intricacies of survival and life together.
What I really wanted to see more of was the development of the side characters. I wish we got to see more of Jack and Ness, even though I realise they’re side characters. And I really wished there was a scene where we saw Hank reunited with Rosie – but irregardless, the ending moved me to tears.
Being Henry David was such an emotional ride, but I loved every minute of it. If there’s one contemporary young adult fiction you’re going to read this year, Cal Armistead’s book is the one you need to invest in.
I think the song ‘Home’ by Phillip Phillips fits wonderfully with Being Henry David. The lyrics, the filmclip and even the singer just reminds me of this story! What do you think?
THANKS TO: Albert Whitman & Company for providing an electronic ARC to review honestly.
This year, I’ll be participating in two reading challenges to really whip my ass into shape with getting through my TBR pile – both physical copies of books and electronic copies on the kindle. I’m really excited as I’ve always wanted to read more over the year, and I hope this is a way that will help my mind expand.
1. 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge
My goal for this is to read 100 books by the end of 2013! I’m really crossing my fingers for this as 100 books is A LOT to read over the year because I’m usually pretty busy and don’t have that much time. But, I really want to change that this year!
2. 2013 Debut Authors Challenge
I’m SO excited for this challenge as it’s the first one I’ve actually attended. It’s being hosted by Tara over at Hobbitsies. Basically, I have to read debuts in the YA/middle grade category that are released in 2013 and review it. I’ve set a goal for reading 12 debuts this year, which I think will be pretty reasonable – one for each month. Here’s to hoping I will get there!
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I will be creating a masterlist for all the books I complete in each of these challenges, with links to their reviews once they’re up. Let me know if you’re participating in any challenges yourself! Happy reading everyone! x
Synopsis: “Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you’re close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner’s heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts…
Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister’s shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames…
Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Josh, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed…” (Taken from Goodreads)
Author: Yelena Black
Release Date: February 2013
Title: The Archived (Sneak Peek)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Shelf: Read-in-2012, Young-Adult, 4-out-of-5, Paranormal, Released-in-2013, NetGalley-Read, Sneak-Peek, Kindle-eBook
Release Date: 22 January 2013
Synopsis: “Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous-it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.” (Taken from Goodreads)