Book Review | Damselfly by Chandra Prasad

damselfly cover.jpgReminiscent of Lord of the Flies, Prasad’s latest YA novel details the events of teens surviving a plane crash on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. The high school fencing teams from an elite East Coast boarding school were in route to a competition in Japan when their private jet went down. As they learn to utilize the island’s resources to survive, they are simultaneously threatened by discord among themselves and an unknown enemy who wants them gone on threat of death.

Damselfly is an easy text to jump into. The story proceeds at a good clip, focusing mainly on the plot. While the cast of characters is not very likable, they aren’t off-putting enough to discourage the reader. Prasad includes social issues such as racism, eating disorders, mental health and environmentalism, perhaps making this text more relevant today than Golding’s classic. It could serve as a quick read for an adult seeking adventure, or be used in a teen book group to generate discussion. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.

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Book Review | The Room : a novel by Jonas Karlsson

the room book coverUnder less than perfect circumstances, Björn transfers to a new job at the Authority in Stockholm. He sees himself as a man of the future who is destined for greatness, though his coworkers think he’s quite a jerk. Björn thinks he is better than the lot of them and plots his rise to management. When his colleagues report him for improper behavior, he is forced to examine his own mental state and choose a new path to the top – and balance the time he spends in a special room at work that the others claim doesn’t exist.

Karlsson has penned a winner with The Room. Although Björn is an unlikable protagonist, he serves as an entertaining narrator. This quick read starts strong and keeps the pages turning. The direct writing style clearly depicts scenes and settings. The book takes place in Sweden, but could easily have occurred elsewhere, as the cultural references are limited. The Room is an enjoyable office fiction read and would work quite well for book clubs or to spark a dialogue about workplace ethics. Check out this new release from a library near you.

Book Review | The Last Magazine : a novel by Michael Hastings

last magazine book coverPublished posthumously, The Last Magazine introduces an aspiring, early 20’s employee at an in-print periodical in New York City. Narrated primarily in the first person by fictional Michael Hastings, the story gives a first hand view of the workings involved in putting out the Magazine. The power struggle between two top writers, the field reporting from an international correspondent in Iraq, and Michael’s daily deeds shape the book. The scoop goes beyond the simple day-to-day though, and is supported by racial tensions, sex and drugs and a human desire to stay afloat no matter the cost.

In the past I’ve found workplace fiction to be interesting, so I figured this was worth a try. Hastings’ writing style is conversational, informal and very readable. The book has a journal-like feel with short, dated chapters. The characters, thought not particularly likable, are appealing in their eccentricities. The story carries on smoothly, alternating focus between Michael and A.E. Peoria, an international correspondent. The hefty amount of blatant sexual encounters may put off some readers, but mostly they contribute to advancing the narrative. This novel was discovered and published after Hastings died in a car accident in Los Angeles in 2013. Some sources contend that book characters have real life counterparts with whom journalist Hastings worked. Check our The Last Magazine from a library near you. For an excellent workplace fiction read, try The Company by Max Barry.