The next few things I read really bounced me around.
I started off with something I would definitely describe as melancholy with The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepard. This one is about a young girl in a WWII children’s hospital who can see winged horses in the mirrors and reflective surfaces of the place. The
important thing is that not everyone believes her and over the course of the story we begin to wonder, is what she’s seeing real or a hallucination? Is she that sick that she’s seeing things or is she really seeing and interacting with these horses? It’s a sad, but moving stories. One of those I don’t recommend if you’re feeling blue, but definitely if you want something childlike and dreamy.
I finished The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon sometime after that which was much different in tone and subject matter. This is a series of short chapters on animals and the weird, weird way they’ve developed to survive. It talks about stuff that are pretty common culture now, like the fungus that turns ants to zombies, and stuff that isn’t so much like interesting tidbits on angler fish or certain bird species. For the most part it’s super interesting though Matt Simon kind of ham-handedly shoves in his opinions on creationism and evolution in there. I don’t really mind reading either view, but the way this was inserted was very… awkward and often times not necessary. That was the biggest flaw I’d give it, and for that I wouldn’t recommend it for any younger audiences, which without that it would have been perfect for. More for adults who just really like animals or biology on this one.
I made another huge jump to A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. This was another one of those I read with my buddy read partner. I really, really enjoyed it as well. This took the exorcism story and gave it a new spin. Our main narrator is the younger sister of a girl who was filmed for a documentary as ‘possessed’. What you’re left wondering though is was she really? And did everything really end the way it’s presented? Paul Tremblay really did a great job in giving that tired trope a new breath and honestly there were quite a few places in this that wigged me waaaaay out.
And finally, at least for this volume of mini-reviews, I went back into melancholy land with The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. This was one of those books that I appreciated but I don’t think I read it at the
right time. It was a little sweet, a lot sad, and a lot of one of those I like to call ‘the sadness of growing up’ stories. It was very much a fairy tale for me, the story of a young boy looking for his mother and crossing into another world. If you like Catherine M. Velente or Neil Gaiman this will definitely be a read you could enjoy.