I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel, but with a southern religious protagonist I knew I needed to read it to see how the author handled this and I am glad I did. I was a little hesitant at first as the last two book I read from this publisher, 50 Shades of Gay and The Hunger Gays weren’t amazing, but this one was excellent. I received a copy of this book from Riverdale Avenue Books and this is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return.
Playing by the Book is the story of Jake Powell and his journey from Preacher’s Kid (PK) in small-town Alabama to an elite summer journalism program at Columbia University in New York City. This is the first time he’s away from home and needless to say it is the experience of a lifetime. Not only is this a coming out story, it is a true coming of age story. Many young adult novels over emphasis one or the other, but this novel intricately tied the two together.
I saw this book first on Sarah’s blog Sarah Reads Too Much and as soon as I saw the author and read her review I knew I wanted to read it. My first introduction to Bill Konigsberg was through his debut novel Out of the Pocket. It’s hard to believe I read it three years ago AND it was my very first book on my old Sony e-reader.The best part is as I did a quick re-read of that post Konigsberg answered quite a few of my critiques and he’s clearly matured as a fiction writer over the past few years!
As I read the book I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between this and Andrew Smith’s Winger which was a great novel I read last year. However, they are distinctly different and as much as I enjoyed Winger I would probably put this one ahead, not for the writing, but for the story and the subject matter.
As with my most re-reads of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire I’m realizing (once again) how much things change between re-reads based on where you are in your life, what you’re doing in life and any other number of uncontrollable factors. Looking back on my original review in September 2010, I see that my thoughts haven’t changed too much, but my understanding and appreciation of Collins’ storytelling/building has increased.
I’ll go ahead and get my major gripe of Catching Fire and Mockingjay out-of-the-way: these were not two books, they were one book that was split into two. They had to have been! And I can’t imagine the movie studio splitting the third book into two films unless they are going to add in a lot of additional information that is missing from the series. I mean sure, the books have contained beginnings, middles and ends, but the two books cannot stand alone because their plots are in essence the same plot. In comparison you have the encapsulated first novel. As with the last two reviews don’t read past here if you don’t want anything revealed! (AKA SPOILERS!)
As with my recent re-read of The Hunger Games and going back to re-read my original review of Catching Fire back in 2010, I realized how much my blog has changed over the past three years. (I’ve also realized how poorly proofed my old posts are. Seriously go back and read some of them and laugh at my horrible editing! I used ‘one’ instead of ‘won’ and have ‘wont” instead of ‘won’t’ at one point. As I said in that review, DON’T READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DON’T WANT ANYTHING RUINED.
If one of the novels had more potential than any of the others, this is it and this is most evident in the way the writers were able to create an AMAZING film out of a mediocre book. And as with the book itself I wished the movie would’ve spent more time in the arena itself rather than on the outside of the arena, but both the book and movie did have to set up the third book.
The Hunger Games Trilogy was one of the first books I reviewed when I started The Oddness of Moving Things and it was the first book recommended through my suggest a book page. I of course re-read this series with all of the hype surrounding the release of Catching Fire and I’m very glad I did. I blew through the trilogy in just over 72 hours (so similar to lat time).
What is most interesting looking back at my original review is how much my reviews/responses have changed. It seems like in 2010 I was more interested in providing a recap of the books rather than a response to the books. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it and honestly I’m sure it was exactly what I needed (something to organize my thoughts and keep me going while looking for a job), but it’s funny naturally things have changed to a regurgitation/thought explosion of my thoughts on a book, or series, or more often than not some random comment on Goodreads or Amazon that ticked me off.