Ah, Don Tillman. He is one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. The author, Graeme Simsion, does a wonderful job at writing the perspective of someone with autism. His writing puts the reader in Don’s shoes and allows the reader to view the world through Don’s perspective. It’s seamless in that the reader can determine what is really happening in a scene, and compare it with Don’s interpretation.
The Rosie Result catches up with Don and Rosie who now have an eleven year old son, Hudson. The novel has a different tone than the prior two novels, as it covers important issues regarding identity, addressing mental health issues and growing up in a more accepting, diverse world. Don grew up without a diagnosis and has to determine if he should have his son formally diagnosed. He tries different methods in determining whether Hudson is on the spectrum but ultimately just wants his son to be happy. Don’s primary concern is Hudson having to go through the tough things that he experienced growing up, such as social isolation, loneliness and difficulty “fitting in”.
The Rosie Result is laugh-out-loud funny but also tender and heart-wrenching, giving all readers a fresh perspective on autism-spectrum disorder. I’m completely satisfied with the conclusion to this trilogy and I recommend the entire series to all readers.
Actual rating is 3.5/5
Made to Break Your Heart follows Nick Marhoffer, a reporter who struggles balancing his job during the global financial crisis of 2008, his family and coaching a little league team. Due to the pressures of his life and feeling a lack of support from his wife, he starts to find his eyes wandering to the mother of one of his little league players, Tess Sugarmeier.
The novel is easy to read and almost reads like a succession of diary entries. However, I found that I was never emotionally invested in any of the characters to the point of caring about their well-being. I feel like we were meant to root for Nick but most of the time I found him to be whiny. Also, I found he created a lot of his own problems. He doesn’t speak to his wife much about what’s troubling him and then he resentful when she doesn’t show him compassion. Instead he develops a crush and treads on thin ice, treading into affair territory. It just seems like a rash, childish move on his part. And it’s not like he has a big revelation where he realizes he’s been an idiot; at no point does he acknowledge that he was being foolish.
Overall, I didn’t mind reading this novel but I can’t say I’d read it again due to a lack of likable characters as well as the lengthy baseball chapters. I enjoy baseball and I understand that baseball was a big part of Nick’s character, but I found that the lengthy play-by-play chapters took me out of the story.
Things You Save in a Fire tells the story of Cassie Hanwell, a tenacious female firefighter, as she battles her past, deals with trials in her career, and confronts abandonment issues with her mother.
The novel is well-paced and the characters are relatable and likable. The main character didn’t fall into any overused tropes, either. For example, she is a firefighter and dresses for her job. She never refers to herself as a “tomboy”. When she dons formal attire for an event later in the book, you’d expect one of those dramatic makeover moments that are so overused in both books and movies. I LOVED that, instead, the character thinks, “I’m not ‘better’, just different”. She doesn’t have the typical transformation moment wherein now that she’s dressed “feminine” she realizes she was beautiful all along. She acknowledges the difference and moves on.
Another marking of a good novel is one that introduces you to a world you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. This novel contains interesting passages and explanations regarding the work of a firefighter without being overly technical.
This novel has suspense, mystery, emotion, romance, and humour…I can’t recommend it enough.
RELEASE DATE: August 13 2019.
Thank you to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for sending me the ARC of this book!