Summer Reading Book Reviews 2012

An Unfinished Life by Robert Dallek
Submitted by Linda Sutton at the Hilton Head Branch Library on Friday, June 22, 2012

"An Unfinished Life", is one of the most complete biographies of John F. Kennedy's life I have read. The book takes you through President Kennedy's early years to his tragic and untimely death in 1963. I was 16 years old then and remember the events vividly. It cuts through many of the myths of this Camelot era, and gives insight into his private life, and the secrets he kept hidden from the public. The book reveals Kennedy to be a complicated man whose private life was much different than what he wanted the public to see. John Kennedy was strong and courageous through his many adversities. A man who came close to death many times, but lived life to the fullest. His death changed our world and took away our innocence. Read this book about our 35th President. You'll enjoy it thoroughly, and have a deeper understanding of this brave, complex man.

The Wedding Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
Submitted by Leanne Bernardez at the Hilton Head Branch Library on Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Wedding Quilt successfully depicted the emotions and memories that come with wedding planning. The author quilted the pieces of the novel together, using stories from both the past and present to introduce each character and help the reader get to know them. However, at times, the "quilt" of the story seemed a bit too busy to follow; the transitions from past to present confused me and I spent a lot of time trying to piece the story together myself. I enjoyed the character development and the story in general, but do not suggest this for a quick read. If you have the time to reflect on all the details the author has presented and the willingness to piece them together, this is a book for you!

The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans
Submitted by Leanne Bernardez at the Hilton Head Branch Library on Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Sunflower caught my eye on the shelves because, well, I love sunflowers. After reading that the plot involved a mission trip, I had to read it since I, too, will soon be going on a mission trip. Even if sunflowers don't appeal to you and missionary work is not in your future, this book is worth your time. Both the story of the children the missionaries encounter while serving in Peru and the love story that unfolds are well-told, realistic, and inspiring. The journal entries at the beginning of each chapter give the reader a deeper look into the mind and heart of the main character. These elements encouraged me to reflect on the blessings in my life and increased my excitement for my own mission trip!

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Submitted by Barbara Mancini at the Bluffton Branch Library on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

After struggling through the first half of the book, which read more like a dissertation in creative writing than a suspense novel, the book picked up pace toward the end. I enjoyed the creative and unexpected twist in the mystery, the book did keep me guessing to the end. In all, I'm glad I persisted, though I would have found it a more enjoyable read if the author didn't feel the need to demonstrate her wide-ranging knowledge of literature and film.

Defending Jacob by William Landay
Submitted by Fran Atkinson DeGregoria at the Hilton Head Branch Library on Sunday, June 17, 2012

Although this book is a NY Times bestseller, the ending of the book is so awful that I wished that I had never read the book and wanted to throw it in the pool. The book is reminicent of "We Need to Talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver in that both books deal with boys who are apparently born with a predisposition to violence and lack of empathy. The book is told from the viewpoint of the father who is an assistant district attorney investigating the murder of a fourteen year old classmate of his son. The son is ultimately charged with the murder. Certain sections of the book were unbelievable and the book left the reader with more questions than answers. I would not recommend this book to anyone.