Check out my giveaway for 3 copies of Waking Up in the Land of Glitter!
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter is a book that I have a hard time being objective about– both my positives and negatives are largely personal.
This is a relatively light book, the story of a woman figuring out who she is, and exploring crafts along the way.
From the Hachette Books website:
With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary . . . especially at La Pachanga. Owned by Estrella “Star” Esteban’s family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art. La Pachanga brings people together-even when it looks like they couldn’t be further apart.
One ill-fated evening, Star jeopardizes her family’s business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her future career. To redeem herself, she agrees to participate in a national craft competition, teaming up with her best friend, Ofelia-a secretly troubled mother whose love for crafting borders on obsession-and local celebrity Chloe Chavez-a determined television personality with more than one skeleton in her professional closet. If these unlikely allies can set aside their differences, they’ll find strength they never knew they had, and learn that friendship, like crafting, is truly an art form.
What I liked:
- The characters. This is a big one for me. While i was entertained by Star, I identified with Ofie– her escape into crafts, her lack of skill at them, her inadequacy with the housework, her plus sized figure. I enjoyed the full cast of quirky but loving family members.
- The craft aspect. I like crafts, and this gave me a hook into the story. I think the only other fiction I’ve read featuring crafts were cozy mysteries, and I haven’t encountered many of those, so that was unusual. I also liked the tension of arts vs. crafts, something I haven’t seen explored in fiction before.
- The arc of the story. I liked that path that Star took through the book. She had a journey of self-discovery to make, and she brought a definate flair to it.
- The setting. I spent my middle and high school years in Phoenix, but it was all in the suburbs, which are briefly described here. I never really saw the areas that had more personality, like those where this book happens. I think I missed out, although I doubt I would have appreciated that as a teen!
- The humor. I frequently found myself smiling (and occasionally giggling) at the characters and the situations they found themselves in. There were also sad and touching moments, but the humor stuck with me more.
- The cover actually glitters!
What I didn’t like:
- At first I thought I didn’t like the writing. Then I changed my mind. It isn’t that I didn’t like the writing, but that the writing had an unusual flow to it for me– almost like reading a translation. I think this might have been deliberate– the flavor of a culture subtly different than mine. Even if so, I found it distracting.
- The characters. I know, I’m listing them as both a plus and a minus. I really liked the outlines, but I wish they’d been filled in a little better. At moments they seemed like caricatures. They did learn and change as the book progressed, but it seemed a little too pat, too simple.
- The decisions the characters made. Particularly before the story started, all of the primary characters made some boneheaded choices. I know, people make those kinds of mistakes, and they were necessary to set up the story. I kept reminding myself they were young, but I still didn’t like it!
- How easy everything was. Once the characters figured out what their problems were, solving them was simple. I never find it quite that easy.
In the end, I enjoyed the book, even while being somewhat disappointed in some aspects of it. I’ll look for the author’s craft books at the bookstore– they sound like fun to flip through, and I could imagine taking one home with me. I hope she writes another novel– I’d certainly pick it up, whether it has the same characters or a whole new cast.
If you’d like to give this book a try, check out my giveaway for 3 copies of Waking Up in the Land of Glitter! You can also get a copy at Amazon, or most likely at your local bookstore.
Blog Tour Information:
I read this book as part of a Blog Tour for Hachette Book Group. They provided my copy of the book so I could provide this review.
For other reviews, check out
- March 8
- March 9
- March 10
- March 11
- March 12