5 Things I Look for in a Book + a review

I’ll tell you what, this is a big deal. I don’t do this often. Mostly because who has time to sit down and honestly list out her favorite books (innoparticularorder)? Only a mom who uses and abuses Netflix, my friends. Uses and abuses.

So, while I’ve got Straw-ba-ba-ba-ba-berry on loop, let’s do this. To be one of my favorites, a book needs to fit the following very academic criteria:

  1. have a unique, fresh plot line that I haven’t come across a hundred times (hello, unlikely friendships)
  2. be written well enough that I don’t feel like I could have penned it (not hard, but still)
  3. plot-driven rather than descriptive prose (because I like my brows low)
  4. doesn’t make me depressed or anxious or a sobbing mess (all the children must LIVE!)
  5. easy enough to read with two kids underfoot (talk to me like I’m seven)

You’d be surprised (or not). It’s not easy finding books that fall into all of those categories. Many times I have to compromise. So terribly sad, right? And, because I am so picky, my favorite of all time list is short:

  • The Giver
  • Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • The Homeschool Experiment
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  • Princess Academy
  • Pope Awesome and Other Stories
  • The Great Gatsby

And now I wanna adda anudder: Something Other Than God.


“But, you haven’t finished reading it yet, Jenna!” How did you know that? Because I know Jen’s writing. I know her story. I’ve read enough. This book is where it’s at.

And, honestly, it’s perfect for Summer. Jen has a knack for hitting the heavy and making you nod your head so vigorously that you consider suing her for whiplash, but this book still maintains a level of readability that pulls you along into the wee hours of the morning just so you can finish.

Humor. Catechism. Hope. Reality. Inspiration. Other noun. Order it.

And, have you seen Jen’s video trailer for the book yet. I’m just sayin’ you should watch it. Maybe pay special attention to 1:17. Just sayin’.



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  1. says

    Oh, but … not a fan of Gatsby. I read it many years ago, thought I just wasn’t old/mature/well-read/insert-adjective-here enough to appreciate it. Since I’d pretty much forgotten the entire plot, I decided to pick it up again a couple of years ago – I was no more impressed. Am I the only living being who disliked it?

  2. Marissa says

    um, so 3 out of the list I’ve read, and they are my favorites too. (I love Gatsby…sigh)

    So…did you know Princess Academy has a squel!?? I did not. I found it this week. I will commence reading it sometime this week.

    Gossamar. It’s light, airy, beautiful, different…not talked about a lot. Lois Lowry. Just saying. :)