This would be such a great book to read aloud to younger kids (I’m thinking 5-7 years old). It follows a silverback gorilla in a seedy animal show off the highway. He understands human speech and loves to make art but can’t communicate. His friends are a stray dog, an old, wise elephant who does tricks for the show, and a little girl whose dad works as a janitor there. One day, the show acquires a baby elephant, and the old elephant makes Ivan promise to help the baby elephant have a better life than she had. Ivan begins to remember more about his history and begins to do something extraordinary. Heartwarming, sad, joyous. I loved the audiobook narrator as well, if that interests you.
While this had a cool concept (Cinderella, except she’s a cyborg in the future! And there’s a plague and a horrible queen of a Lunar colony trying to take over the earth!), I wanted more depth in just about every arena. I didn’t love the main character or her love interest, the villains were way too garden-variety evil, and none of the twists surprised me. I’ve heard the second book in the series is much better, and since this was a debut novel, maybe I’ll give it a chance, but only as an audiobook, since I can listen while I do dishes or whatever.
The conclusion to the series, this did what it needed to to end everything on a high note. My only regret is that it wrapped up with too much of a happy ending. I don’t know what else I wanted. It is bittersweet, but John is so messed up that I kind of wanted something more like the end of Hunger Games. Which I hated at the time I read it. I don’t know. I’m conflicted. Anyway, I liked the book a lot and you should read the series, or your kids should if you’re not into YA.
Full disclosure: I really don’t tend to like books by Neil Gaiman. I’m pretty sure it’s a personal thing, since lots of other people love his work. I read Stardust after loving the movie based on it, and I preferred the movie almost from start to finish. I tried to read The Graveyard Book, but I couldn’t get into it. And I didn’t get even a chapter into Good Omens before deciding it just wasn’t for me.
That said, I loved Coraline. It’s cute, fun, and just the right amount of creepy. Quite a lot like the movie, if you like that. Very short, so it’s easy to read in a single sitting.
I love this book. It’s just all the things I want a book to be. It’s YA but approachable to late tweens and early teens, I’d say. A lady’s maid is locked in a tower with her lady because the lady refuses to marry a horrible man, claiming she’s already engaged to another lord. The lady’s father, enraged, says he will keep her there for seven years or until she changes her mind. Anyway, the lady turns out to have . . . issues, the horrible man has an even more horrible secret, the lord the lady is engaged to is super swoony (if a little too perfect), you get the idea. I love the character arc of the main character, and actually also of the lady she serves.