Five Sentence Reviews: Little Fires Everywhere and The Power

I just finished reading my 11th book (!) for 20 Books of Summer but I’m behind on my posts, so I thought I’d try a couple of short reviews.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

91twTG-CQ8LIntricate story, many layers of secrets, many points of view. Set in the planned community of Shaker Heights, Ohio in the late 1990’s (and Ng really nails the sense of time and place.) I was completely absorbed in this story of unknown interior lives and two mothers with diametrically opposed ways of living, thinking, and raising children. This was better than Ng’s debut, Everything I Never Told You. I absolutely loved it. (5 Stars.)

Favorite quotation:

Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less… Now, as a teenager, Pearl’s caresses has become rare – a peck on the cheek, a one-armed, half-hearted hug – and all the more precious because of that. It was the way of things, Mia thought to herself, but how hard it was. The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.


The Power by Naomi Alderman

51PUiZ2CfqL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This was a real page-turner for about the first 100-150 pages. Super compelling premise: teenage girls (and later grown women) develop a bodily adaptation (a power) to shoot electricity out of their hands, upending gender norms and relations all over the world. It was a neat idea – what kind of power would women wield? In the end, it sort of lost focus and fizzled and got incredibly dark, violent, and depressing, and there were only two characters well enough developed to care anything about. Would probably be a good book group choice, though. (3 Stars.)

Favorite quotation:

Tunde interviews a woman in the crowd. She had been here for the protests three years earlier; yes, she had held up her banner and shouted and signed her petitions. “It was like being part of a wave of water,” she says. “A wave of spray from the ocean feels powerful, but it is only there for a moment, the sun dries the puddles and the water is gone. Then you feel maybe it never happened. That is how it was with us. The only wave that changes anything is a tsunami. You have to hear down the houses and destroy the land if you want to be sure no one will forget you.”

Have you read either of these, or are they on your TBR? If you’re participating in 20 Books of Summer, how is it going?

(These are books 6 and 7 that I’ve written about from my 20 Books of Summer list.)

40 thoughts on “Five Sentence Reviews: Little Fires Everywhere and The Power

  1. I am glad that you enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere. I loved it. Really excited to hear that a TV adaptation might be coming soon. Power has a great premise, sorry to hear that it didn’t quite deliver though. Great reviews and all the best with the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved Ng’s first book, so I would love to read this one too! Glad you thought it was even better!
    The Power does sound like a cool premise, but I’m worried I’ll end up having the same reaction to it as you. However, I’m not ruling it out. Sometimes I want dark and depressing!

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  3. I read Ng’s book last year and loved it. It was so good and I loved the writing and especially the storytelling. She pulled me in right away. I loved that we got insight into all the characters.

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  4. Yay for reading 11 books so far!! Little Fires Everywhere is one of my 20 Books of Summer too, and I’ve been meaning to read The Power for a while now. I’ve heard the same criticisms you give it repeated a lot in the book blogging/booktube world; the concept is excellent but the execution is lacking. I’m sure I’ll read it at some point, but I’m no longer in a rush to pick it up. Good luck with the rest of your 20 Books of Summer reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read The Power and really enjoyed it! But like, yeah, despite my general enjoyment of it as a reading experience, I ended the book feeling that there was a lot the author could have done to make it a more deeply considered read, if that makes sense. I was really frustrated with the heteronormativity and gender binarism in particular. :/

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  6. My book club chose The Power for July, but I’m not going to read it. I feel like everyone is saying how unremarkable it is, and also I read a novel with a similar premise about changing global gender ideas that didn’t impress me.

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  7. The Power finally came in from the library for me. I really want to read it, but I am also hesitant based on your review. Lately, lots of what I’ve read has been dark and depressing, even if just in parts. I’m getting exhausted reading sad things! Perhaps I should hold off until I’m in a better head space? Then again, I’ve waited literal months for it to come in… hm. A quandary!

    Little Fires Everywhere I’ve heard great things about, but I’ve never felt compelled to pick up before now. Why are you so good at reviewing books, Laila!? You are always so persuasive. Perhaps I’ll pick it up now? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! Thank you, Jackie! 🙂 When I love something I can be quite enthusiastic about it.

      As for The Power, it can’t hurt to give it a try – if you’re not in the mood, just send it back to the library and let the next person in line have it. Maybe you’ll get it again, maybe you won’t. I totally get needing a different kind of book based on mood though.

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  8. I really enjoyed The Power. It definitely has some flaws but I like how it isn’t a story about how if women ruled the world everything would be better and all the problems would be fixed.

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  9. My expectations get in my own way ALL the time. Hah. I haven’t read either of these, but they are both on my TBR. At first glance, I thought you had promised five-word reviews and then you were just going on and on and ON. *grins* (Kidding.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am FINALLY getting caught up with your posts after a crazy couple of months! For Little Fires Everywhere – I’ve been avoiding this one because it seemed like a slow burn, and I just haven’t been in the mood for that lately. I also liked but didn’t love Ng’s first book. I’m glad to hear you thought this one was better, maybe I’ll be more into it.

    I think I have a more favorable impression of The Power than you. However unevenly developed the characters were (I can’t really remember what I thought about that I aspect), the concept was fascinating enough to keep me hooked until the end.

    Nice catching up! =)

    Liked by 1 person

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