Title: Washington’s Spies
Author: Alexander Rose
Page Count: 402
Publishing Date/Publisher: December 2007/Bantam
Review: I don’t have too much to say about this book, to be honest. I enjoyed it and I also didn’t. It was interesting but also not. It lagged a little too much to recommend highly, but I don’t want to discourage people from reading it at the same time, if that makes sense.
It was informative, that’s for sure. I learned a lot about the use of spy rings during the Revolutionary War, which is something I hadn’t even thought before: it’s not like we go into detail about it in school. But reading about how they developed their codes for letters and the danger they put themselves under was interesting.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about this book that makes it interesting and not at the same time, but it is. It’s the Schrödinger’s cat of books. So I recommend it, but simultaneously don’t recommend it.
Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Page Count: 391
Series: Letters to the Lost, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: April 4, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Review: I actually really enjoyed this book. The premise reminded me of the movie You’ve Got Mail in that the two main characters connect anonymously through letters. In actual life, they are initially at odds but slowly start to fall for each other.
This type of book can be infuriating due to all the near misses of “AHA” moments between the two characters, however, I never found myself feeling that way. It takes predictably long for the characters to realize that they are writing to each other, but I nevertheless found myself really liking the story.
There are a some twists in the plot. Some I saw coming from a mile away, but others caught me by surprise. I would definitely recommend this book to young readers because it is a very sweet story that handles topics like grief, trauma, and betrayal in a sensitive and relatable way.
Title: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life
Author: Rachel Cohn
Page Count: 352
Publishing Date/Publisher: December 18, 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Review: This is a cutesy Cinderella-esqe story about a girl who is lifted out of an American foster care system and whisked away to a faraway land by her absent until now, incredibly rich father.
It goes about how you would imagine, with Elle acclimating to a new life in a new place where she does not speak the language. Conveniently she is enrolled in an expat private school where classes are taught in English, but she still has to learn how to navigate through a nuanced culture that is vastly different from what she is accustomed to.
I like that fact that the author made Elle a multiethnic character, and it adds some conflict to the story as her “otherness” initially makes it challenging for her to ingratiate herself with her very traditional Japanese family members. It is also interesting to see how she adapts to a mostly homogenous world where customs and etiquette are a very important part of everyday interactions.
I felt like I learned a lot about Japanese culture (I am trusting that the author did her research), and I thought that overall it was an enjoyable read. I will be recommending this to readers who enjoy loose fairytale adaptations and gossipy teen dramas.