As many of you know, during the summer I challenged myself to read only books written by Swedish authors. I called the challenge going native. For years I’ve only read books in English, written by English speaking authors, which made me realize that I knew more about foreign writers than Swedish ones. I felt as if I’d lost contact with my country. Thus I created this challenge, and I recommend you do the same if you find yourself feeling this way. Here is a brief summary of what I read as a part of my going native challenge.
One is about two twin sisters that share everything, literally. They are conjoined twins, joined at the waist. Although they share the same bones and blood are two different people with their own thoughts, secrets, and emotions, just like any teenager anywhere. Due to their condition, they’ve been homeschooled their whole lives, but as their family can’t afford the twins to be homeschooled any longer, they are forced to start a regular school. Although this change brings a lot of difficulties, it also forces the twins to get out of their comfort zones in a positive way, making them experience things the haven’t been able to before. Grace and Tippy find their first friends, who help them deal with the staring and the whispers they are forced to face every day. But although they share everything they still keep secrets from each other and in the end they have to make an impossible choice.
Kornvägen 7, 1st Floor
136 38 Haninge
Sara has just lost her job in the city’s bookstore. To move on with her life and learn to live, decides to visit the little run-down town of Broken Wheel in Iowa to meet with her American pen pal, Amy. Sara and Amy have never met, yet she feels as though she’s always known her. When Sara arrives in Broken Wheel nothing seems to turn out the way she expected.
This is a real feel-good novel about the power of change, love, books, and to dare to live. A perfect book to read an autumn evening in the glow of lit candles.
As the book-lover I am, I really enjoyed the fact that the love of books was so prominent. I found myself smiling in recognition several times. Katarina understands perfectly what it’s like to love books, even when no one else understands.
What made the book extra special was the outline. The story revolves around Sara, naturally, and one gets to follow her development. However, one also gets to know Sara and what her presence does to Broken Wheel and its people through the eyes of others around her.The reader is shown how their lives change because of Sara’s presence, which really underscores the ripple effect of change. As a part of the narrative one is told about the relationship between Amy and Sara via Amy’s letters, which makes the reading experience more intimate.
I can say nothing more than that I read this novel with a smile on my face.
If you love to read books about books, and how they can change a life, you need to read this one.
(An attempt at translation: We are not the ones who get each other in the end)
”Jag är en enda natt. Resultatet.” (I am one single night. The result.)
Cassiopeja is 19 years old and doesn’t know what to do with her life. Escaping the small town where she grew up, she ends up studying law with classmates living on their daddy’s money in Stockholm. While everyone around her is falling in love and getting married, she finds herself rolling her eyes at love and trying not to make the same mistakes as her mother. However, deciding to take piano lessons changes everything and makes her realize the meaning of love and life. Läs mer
”There will be no awakening”
Trust no one. Those three words literally describe the whole book, trust no one. Earth has been invaded by aliens, determined to destroy humanity and take over the planet. Cassie thinks she’s the only one alive. With her brother’s teddy bear in one hand and her trusted M16 in the other, she searches for her brother who was taken by what seems to be the army.
Right, I know I’m a bit late to the party, but better late than never. Everyone has been raving about this book and I kind of understand why it might appeal to some people, but personally, I didn’t love it as much as I expected. However, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t leave me with something to think about. And no, it wasn’t the love story, it was the psychology behind the whole story itself. What happens to us when we can’t trust anyone except ourselves? What would we do if we don’t have access to the technology we’re used to? What would we turn into? Brutal killing machines? Would we try to help or would we only care for ourselves? So many questions.
I honestly found myself feeling nauseous many times while reading. There were so many parallels that could be drawn to the holocaust during WW2. It made me see humanity in a different light.
The only thing that made me cringe was the love story between Cassie and one of the other characters (no spoiling). You don’t just fall in love and stop thinking rationally as soon as you meet a person. But when I think about it now, maybe you do, especially when you’re scared, lonely and constantly in danger?
Even though I didn’t love it, it was well worth a read. If you like dystopias and playing with thoughts of alien invasions and what would happen to humanity, you should definitely give this one a try.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
”I’ve been locked up for 264 days”.
Juliette has powers which make her lethal and no one knows why. She can’t touch another human being without hurting or killing them. Everyone is afraid of her, her parents hate her and sent her to a mental institution where she’s been locked up for over 260 days and nobody cares. The word outside is too busy falling apart. Almost everything is poisoned and there’s nothing to eat and nowhere to live, and everyone is under surveillance by the Reestablishment. To increase their power and control, the Reestablishment wants to use Juliette and her powers as their secret weapon. However, Juliette has other plans.
I really enjoyed reading this one even though the storyline isn’t new in that sense, it’s like most dystopian fiction but with a dash of fantasy. And I like both dystopian fiction and fantasy, so I mean, I really couldn’t go wrong with this one. But what stood out the most for me was the language. It was amazing, very descriptive and full of metaphors and poetic in a way. Tahereh also describes broken characters very well.
Juliette is constantly battling with herself and who she truly is. She basically hates herself for being able to kill people by touching them and trust me I would too, and it’s easy to understand why Juliette acts ant thinks the way she does. Tahareh describes that hatred in a way true to human behaviour. She’s not a superhuman, she’s a human being with human behaviours and reactions. The only difference is that she’s been cursed (or blessed) with supernatural powers.
I can’t imagine how scared I’d be if I knew I could kill my family and friends by just giving them a hug. Imagine the anxiety. As you keep reading about Juliette and the world she comes from you can’t stop wondering how it got to be that way and how the Reestablishment could brainwash people so completely.
Another thing I both like and dislike about the book was how Juliette isn’t portrayed as the typical strong female protagonist (but she has potential to become one). I like that because she’s broken and has to rebuild herself and accept the way she is, therefore, becoming a stronger version of herself. I think that’s very true to real life. Some may be born strong others have to grow, fight and learn to find their place in this world.
However, even though I really liked Shatter Me, I can’t say that you should definitely without a doubt read it, but I think you might enjoy it especially if you like to become caught in a whirlwind of emotions.
If you like dystopias like The Hunger Games or Divergent I think you’d like this one.
Kaninhjärta (Rabbit Heart) by Christin Ljungqvist
”Mary betyder Maria, som betyder, man vet inte riktigt, men det kan betyda upprorisk eller bitter eller motspänstig och det stämmer precis för sådan var Mary”.
(”Mary means Maria, which means, you don’t really know, but it might mean rebellious or resentful, or intractable, and that’s true because Mary was like that”)
Mary and Anne are identical twins and completely inseparable. But they’re different from others, they can contact and be contacted by the other side, by ghosts. Anne is able to see ghosts and Mary lend them her voice. Usually, the ghosts give them warnings about something that’s going to happen in the future, mostly to other but one ghost warns Anne that she and her sister has to tread lightly because one wrong decision might lead to something terrible happening. By chance, they become members of a group of mediums trying to find a missing girl. Mary gets obsessed by finding the girl while Anne tries to follow the ghost’s advice.
All I have to say is, finally, for the first time in my life, I’ve read a book that’s set in the Gothenburg area. It’s a very peculiar feeling reading a book in which I actually know exactly where the characters are. I haven’t experienced that before. But as a whole, I really don’t know how I feel about this one. I like it, but I don’t love it, and I’d probably not read it again. What was interesting, though, was the mystery and the relationship between the sisters and how different they are from each other.
The story is told from the perspective of one of the sisters, Anne, the seemingly more rational, calm and caring one, who really goes out of her way to save her sister from herself. The sisters relationship is very complex and very true to real life in regards of how they act towards each other and people around them. It must be hard, being so young, trying to be normal, and have ghosts appear out of nowhere telling you all these things that are going to happen. The ghost element also made the story mysterious and sometimes very creepy.
However, I sometimes felt that it was a bit too much and the characters were a bit extreme. The language also made me feel really old. It’s hard to explain and I don’t know if you can relate, but, it’s like when you’re on a bus and you overhear a conversation between two fifteen-year-old girls, the way they talk and the words they use is very different from the way you speak yourself. They’re not very eloquent if you know what I mean? At the same time, it makes the story seem more real. The right age group would probably love it and find it very easy to read. All I kept thinking to myself was ‘kids these days’.
As a whole, I really enjoyed reading this book, but I didn’t love it. Yet, I’d like to read the rest of the series and see what happens.
I think those of you who enjoy mysteries and the supernatural would really enjoy this book. I haven’t read anything like it so I can’t compare it to anything.
Would you rather be able to see ghost like Anne or have them possess you to lend them your voice like Mary?