POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy

Author: David Joy
Title: Where All the Light Tends to Go
Genre: Literary, Southern, Grit
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Random House)
Number of Pages: 272
Narrator: Jacob McNeely
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 59 reviews, the average reader rating was 83.05%.

Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy

What’s It About?

Jacob McNeely, the reluctant son of a prosperous small-town meth dealer, tells the story of the few weeks following the high school graduation of his childhood friend and lover. While he wants to reconnect with her, he tries to keep her at an arm’s length. He knows he is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, and he doesn’t want to hold her back.

As the story proceeds, Jacob gives us a gritty portrayal of what it’s like to grow up in rural, drug-ridden Western North Carolina. Working for his father, he sees firsthand the corruption of local law enforcement, the suffocating fear of those caught up in the drug ring, and the brutality of the business. All of Jacob’s observations and actions culminate in an overriding sense of hopelessness and feeling of being trapped.

When an a opportunity arises to escape his life in the rural south and go off to the city while his girlfriend attends college, he must tie up lose ends in the business in order to leave. Dealing with the deteriorating mental state of his drug-addicted mother, a murder investigation involving his father’s business, and his girlfriend’s own doubts about her potential, one question looms heavily across Jacob’s narrative: will he get out?

Should You Read It?

If you’re a fan of the grit lit genre, you’ll love this book. Where All the Light Tends to Go fits right into the tales of corruption, lawlessness, and desperation in the rural American south such as Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. The novel is graphic in its descriptions of the lifestyle Jacob is born into, and there is plenty of movement–a lot of things happening. For a literary novel, it’s certainly a page turner. But there is also a fair amount of introspection and internal dialogue. If you like something fast-paced and–at the same time–a little more high brow, you might enjoy this book.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Huffington Post, Kirkus Reviews

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books by David Joy: Where All the Light Tends to Go is David Joy’s debut novel, but he has written a memoir–Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey.


Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Title: Red Queen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 400
Narrator: Mare Barrow
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B+, Very Good; of the first 464 reviews, the average reader rating was 88.53%.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

What’s It About?

Protagonist Mare Barrow is a seemingly insignificant teenage girl living in a future world divided into two races. Mare and her family are “Reds,” the commoners of society characterized by their red blood. Ruling over her class are the “Silvers,” characterized by their silver blood. In addition to the color of their blood, the Silvers are distinguished from the Reds in that they possess supernatural abilities such as superior strength and power over the elements.

The Reds who are fortunate enough to learn a trade use their skills to enter into a career of service. Those who possess no craft, however, must enter the military and be sent to the front lines to die in the Silvers’ war.

Mare possesses no skill and believes she is destined to become another casualty of the Silvers’ war. Fate intervenes, however, and a prince from the Silver royal family takes pity on her. The prince, who becomes a mild love interest, hires her as a servant in the kingdom. As she enters into the world of the Silvers, however, she discovers that–even though her blood is red–she possesses a superhuman gift of her own.

To keep the peace between the races, Mare is forced to pretend she is a lost princess returned to the kingdom. Walking the line between becoming a Silver and remaining a Red, Mare struggles with her identity. As rumors of rebellion begin to circulate, she must decide who’s side she is on–and who she can trust to be on that side with her.

Should You Read It?

If you’re a fan of the young adult dystopian stories like Hunger Games and Divergent, you’ll love this book. The themes of class distinction and rebellion are strong undercurrents. If you’re into paranormal romance stories like Twilight, you may also enjoy Red Queen–although the romance is very light and the story has more to do with Mare’s struggle with her identify than it does with her love life. The writing style is fast-paced and to-the-point, with plenty of plot twists and teasers closing nearly every chapter. If all this sounds up your alley, I would give it a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Epic Reads (Publisher)

Book Reviews: USA Today, Kirkus Reviews

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books by Victoria Aveyard: Red Queen is Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel.