Between riding on planes and sitting at the hospital, and being quiet at Nikki and Tom's house while baby Alec sleeps, I've read three books since Tuesday.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan:
Absolutely loved this story, and want to read more of Rick Riordan's work. The mythology is pretty close to accurate and delightfully reinforces mythical characters and their characteristics; the only obvious discrepancy I note is that Percy (Perseus) is Poseidon's son in the book--which makes for great drama and waterworks--but in the mythical stories, Perseus is Zeus's and Danae's son. That mythical fact (is that an oxymoron?) disturbs me, but not enough to keep me from loving the book and intending to read the rest of the series.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman:
I have to admit, this is the first Neil Gaiman I've read. I'm sort of embarrassed about that, but I'm fessing up. He's so dark, it's hard to love this book, but still it haunts me, a few days after finishing the last page (sorry for that bad pun). At first, I was disturbed that it won the Newbery--wondering if the overly fantastical life of the dead wowed the Newbery judges into selecting it. By the time I was done, though, I truly loved Nobdoy Owens, and cared deeply for his welfare and success in life--in living, actually. His strange guardian Silas is a delightful character, but made me feel "What? Is the entire world obsessed with the undead and vampires?" Beyond that, it's a very good read. And Gaiman is an artist with language. No question about that.
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron:
I also have to admit (confessions on a Sunday morning?) that this was my favorite of the three. Lucky is an absolutely indomitable, lovable, bright and spunky character with "voice" bursting the seams of the book. This is one I could read over and over, and the hardscrabble life Lucky lives, and the way her life turns out within the story is one that can and should touch everybody of any age. Her spunk reminds me Clementine. This one I'll use in Children's lit another time.
I also heard Susan Patron speak at the SCBWI conference in New York after she'd won the Newbery. She was so funny and humble and wise that I did open this book with open arms. The story, however, far exceeded my hopes. "Srotum" on the first page causing the book to be banned is just as ridiculous as banning To Kill a Mockingbird.
Now, I need to read another adult book--on to Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs.