THE GIVER (Lois Lowry) will stay with me always. It is set in a society where everyone is the same, where individuation is anathema, and memories are preserved for only one generation. When Jonas turns twelve, he is chosen to be the new Receiver of Memories. Only The Giver (the previous Receiver) holds the memories of the past. It is his role to pass them onto Jonas.

THE GIVER terrified me. It is our differences, whether cultural, political, or personal, that make us who we are. Too eliminate them is to . . . oops, starting to sound like a sociologist. Time to move on. Read THE GIVER. It is not to be missed.

For pure pleasure, my pick is BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl). The romance and historical interludes I could take or leave, but I found the wry voice of Ethan, the narrator and protagonist, absolutely captivating. Moreover, Ethan’s need to escape the tiny reactionary community where he was born and raised resonated deeply.

In short, AN ECHO IN THE BONE was overwritten and the ending felt undone. Still, I will likely to continue with the series if only because I’ve already invested so much time in it. My main issue with the book was the non-existent editing. It reinforced the need for writers to check for repeated words and actions in their manuscripts. Ninety-seven pages included a character blinking. That is a lot of dust in the air. Because it was so distracting, it’s my most vivid recollection of the book.

In THE SWAN THIEVES, brilliant artist Robert Oliver is arrested when he attacks a canvas in the National Gallery. Enter psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, committed to parsing out the mystery behind Oliver’s obsession with the painting.

I love art and books that revolve around art. Like AN ECHO IN THE BONE,  THE SWAN THIEVES was overwritten, but I found it to be a worthwhile read. It was also a reminder to writers like myself that description, no matter how beautifully written, can plod. I alternated between admiring Kostova’s lovely writing and pulling my hair out waiting for something to happen.