I want to start reviewing the books I read. Partly to help me remember them better and partly to learn how to recognise the good and bad in a story. As a reader I am not able to articulate much beyond the “feel” of a story and if I want to be a writer I want to be able to clearly pick out what works vs what doesn’t work.
This is my first attempt. Hopefully I will get better as time goes on.
Brontes Book Club
by Kristiana Gregory
pub. 2008. Random House
Recommended for age 8+
Bronte’s Book Club is about a book-loving young American girl who has moved to a new town and decides to make new friends by starting a summer book club. The gently-paced plot focusses on the five girls of the book club and how their friendship develops over the summer. A few twists and turns pull the plot along, making it nicely readable.
The characters were each distinctly drawn but not the most realistic. Nana and Lupe seemed the most like girls you might actually meet, but the others, including Bronte herself, didn’t seem quite pinned down to me. I did, however, enjoy reading Bronte’s nervousness about having to start over somewhere new. It’s something I had to do myself around her age. I saw a lot of myself in her.
Gray’s Beach, the setting, was almost a sixth main character. Gregory described the beach town, with its pier, lighthouse, and shorefront, in vivid detail. It inspires the book choice for the club – Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. There was no Note at the front or back of the book so I assumed O’Dell and his book were made up, but a quick Goodreads search proved me wrong. I wonder if Island of the Blue Dolphins is so famous in the USA it doesn’t need any intro? I’d love to hear from any US-based readers in the comments below.
Bronte’s Book Club is an enjoyable, interesting and well-written story of books, friendship and book clubs.