Monday, October 1, 2012

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

 I've been thinking about what I enjoyed about Shine Shine Shine, a first novel by Lydia Netzer. In Booklist Kristine Huntley says it's "whimsical" and "a unique and moving love story." Publisher's Weekly says that it's "[c]haracterized by finely textured emotions and dramatic storytelling." "[J]uicily wacky" says Barbara Hoffert in Library Journal. Even Kirkus praises the "charming characters."

Add in the currently hot topic of a child with autism, and a plot-line involving an astronaut husband that reminds me of Apollo 13 (one of my favorite movies), and it's no wonder that I checked it out! But what made this book difficult to put down was the main narrator, Sunny (a handful of chapters are from her husband or mother's perspective). I am a sucker for unconventional, sarcastic female narrators, who meet the challenges of life with dry, sarcastic wit. I also enjoy anything that explores questions of family and motherhood (see: Gilmore Girls).

In fact, three other new books I've read and loved this summer featured narrators that fit the description. Sometimes I feel guilty for preferring female strong female voices in my fiction, but then I'm reminded that most books reviewed in, and most of the book reviewers working for, the big publications like The New Yorker are, in fact, men, and then I don't feel so bad.

So as a bonus, here are the short reviews for those other three books from our group Pinterest Board.

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
Darkly humorous with wonderfully distinct alternating narrators,three generations of Southern women, who explore the questions of motherhood, destiny, and family.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
It seemed like a straightforward story of WWII, but it crept up on me and turned out to be far more clever than I expected. Highly recommended.

True Believers by Kurt Andersen
I liked the narrator, Karen Hollander, who decides to come clean about her youth in the '60s while still in her sixties. The big reveal wasn't a huge surprise, but the voice (and Chicago setting) made up for it.

~Sarah, Adult Services

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