Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What We're Reading Wednesday! Plus A Murder Over a Girl Review

I'm currently reading:

This is one of my current reads for ARC April-this would be the one I have going on my phone for when I walk my dog. It's a cozy mystery centered around a pie shop, but I'm not loving it. There's more magic than mystery right now, but I'm going to keep reading to see if I end up liking it more.

Another read for ARC April (this one is my Kindle read), and I'm liking this one more. I'm not loving it yet, I think due mostly to the writing style being a little underwhelming, but the plot is a really interesting one. The book is centered around a girl who stumbles onto her exact dream house during a storm, and is invited to stay the night there. But when she wakes up, the other occupants are gone, and strange things start happening around her.

This is my last current read for ARC April (I've embarrassingly had this on my shelf since it was an ARC in 2012), and is my before bed book. It's nonfiction, and chronicles the case of a man accused of murdering the poormaster, who was in charge of handing out public aid in the 1930's. Metz examines not only the case itself, but the societal, political, and financial aspects of the time period as well. I'm almost done with it, and it's a well-written book.

Finally, this is my non-ARC April read. I just started it tonight and am finding it absolutely delightful. It's a modern retelling of the classic Emma by Jane Austen.

What are you currently reading? Is it something you would recommend?


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book, or my review itself.

This was a frustrating, heartbreaking, infuriating, tragic, terrifying read that I could not put down. 

It is the situation the readers must engage with-the murder of a young transgender girl, in her classroom, by a young male classmate-that brings up all these emotions. As a teacher myself, and an ally for LGBT rights, the idea that people could not only defend the murderous actions but make the victim out to be responsible for her own death, was at times almost more than I could handle. I found myself getting so angry the farther I got in the book, and I still feel that anger now, hours after I read the last page.

Corbett, a psychologist himself, does a good job of highlighting the complexities of the case. His research, courtroom observations, and interviews cover the childhood abuse the perpetrator suffered, the conflicting arguments for trying a juvenile offender as an adult, and the constructs of gender and racial identity in our modern culture. 

Where Corbett goes astray, in my opinion, is the sections where he starts philosophizing. When he is writing about what he has seen during the trial, his writing style is on point, making the reader feel like they are there with him. But when he allows himself to go off on tangents about what he personally thinks regarding the topics he is covering, his sentences become overly flowery, convoluted, and sometimes even preachy.

I reacted to this book the way I did, at least in part, because of what I bring to the table in terms of my own personal beliefs and experiences. Not every reader may respond the same way. But regardless, this is an important read, particularly as we live in a time when these questions of guilt, violence, culpability, and identity are at the forefront of our society.

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