re-read of The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer

The Knife of Never Letting Go - re-read thoughts:
Fell in love with the characters easier than before, but watching their evolution and growth was even more intense and meaningful. The slow, patient, development was clearly intentional and pays off in a huge way to sustain the interest of the reader.
Even with the sad parts I KNEW were coming…I couldn’t help but bawl. In fact, perhaps even more so because I knew the implications and the way the characters would internalize, but also grow, from that pain. I think experiencing the hope and disappointment with them all over again gave me – if possible – an even greater appreciation for the writing.
Something new to me this time was all the emphasis on becoming a man/being a man. Now, as a woman I am not inherently aware of this being a big issue, but the author certainly drives that point home as a major issue for Todd.  So more so than just a coming-of-age, it’s a becoming-a-man tale…which is something I think probably appeals strongly to male readers as something they can relate to/remember. 
I had forgotten, perhaps because of all of the other glowing memories of this read, the insightful musings of Todd. How he verbalizes life lessons, self awareness, and the way in which he processes is absolutely fascinating while being totally endearing. It’s not just that he’s experiencing “truth” for the first time, but it‘s how his personality interacts with that experience that take reading about him from enjoyable to downright incredible.

The Ask and the Answer - re-read thoughts:
I’ve heard that the Achilles heel of the middle book of a trilogy is that it often presents a problem that is resolved purely to keep the focus on ultimate resolution for book three, and doesn’t really impact any of the major plot points or character development.  While I will need to read book 3 to verify if the plot aspects are true, I definitely feel that the character development was crucial in book 2.  We find out more of who the Mayor (president) is, who Davy is, and truly who Todd and Viola are. 
I love that TAatA mirrors the holocaust or other similar events in history. Ness cleverly weaves a story that is so reflective of history, while immersing you inside it all.  The leaders are varying shades of gray, there are no clear decisions, and there is so much pain and frustration for those who just want it all to go back to what it was like before.
There are characters that act how you expect them to just as there are those you wish would act differently, and I really like that. I like being frustrated with the characters because it makes them so much  more real and the story so much richer.
The relationship between Todd and Viola becomes more mature, not merely romantic, but more developed and adult than in book 1.  Their thoughts on each other and their need for each other is beautiful to read about and to be a part of.

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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