Last week I read toe very different but enjoyable books. One was The Vacationers by Emma Straub and the other was The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.
Straub’s Vacationers took a disgruntled New York City family on a brief respite to Mallorca. The characters and their different interactions were interesting to observe. Part of the pull of this book was the enticing landscape of a Mediterranean town. It would have been even better had the author incorporated more of Mallorca’s sights and scenes into her book, though when it comes down to it, the story is all about the characters.
I went back and forth between liking then disliking each character as they grew more complex and delved deeper into the story. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it keeps you guessing about how a character will continue to react in certain moments.
To be honest, the ending wasn’t for me. I’ve mentioned before that I often am not satisfied by a book’s ending. Without spoiling, I will say that I thought it ended a tad abruptly, taking something away from the characters’ development. In fact, I would say that I was disappointed, which is worse than liking or disliking. Overall, the book was a fun, end-of-summer read that I recommend. Hopefully you aren’t as picky as I am with stories.
Kline’s The Orphan Train hooked me from the moment I began. The book switches perspectives between a present day teen and the older woman’s history as a little girl who she befriends. Not knowing much of anything about the actual orphan trains in real life, I was fascinated to see such a thing represented in fiction. Those parts reminded me of reading Angela’s Ashes, which is one of my favorite novels. Though it’s important to read and understand actual history, I love reading about different times from a fictional standpoint because it helps better understand how a person back then would struggle.
In the end, I was a little taken aback because i was reading an Ebook and it said I had only reached 80% at that point. However, I guess there was a bunch of end of the book things and the story really was over. It ended in a good place though and I was okay with how it finished.
As embarrassing as it may sound, I actually finished both of these books in about three days. They were fairly short and for me, it’s easy to get swept away into a story. I am a fast reader so I will point out that I didn’t waste away my entire day reading. That’s not an appropriate phrase actually because any time spent reading is never a waste (unless it’s for schoolwork that’s boring, but even then you are learning something, I suppose).
If anyone has any book suggestions, I am always open to reading something new!