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. I agree with Katherine- You are an awesome writer yourself!!

  2. “Because I know Jen’s writing” ditto. Ahh even the trailer got me sniffly. I loved seeing you read!

  3. 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. :)

  4. Ok, so the fact that you listed Pope Awesome in the same group as (indeed, listed it AHEAD of) The Great Gatsby means that I’m going to buy you a drink when we meet at Edel, you mad, mad woman.

  5. Mine is coming sooooooon!!!

  6. 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?

  7. One-third of the way through it this evening and I totally agree … will have to check out the others on your list (the ones I haven’t already read, that is!)

  8. “other noun” :) :) heehee. I’m pretty sure a book written by you would fit here too. ;)

  9. I’ll have to check it out. I’m always on the hunt for new good books. New to me, that is. not new-new.

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