Both these books are way out of my comfort zone. You know how once in a while one gets this urge to try something "else" or "different"... Like stop eating meat, or wear a dress instead of jeans. Or read a Jodi Picoult novel or something called young adult literature.
"My Sister's Keeper" sounded like an interesting premise enough to give it a go, a family of four has a child that is really sick, so new child is planned to basically become an organ donor for the older child. Once the new child develops some kind of ability to think for herself, she decides that is not the kind of life she wants for herself and decides to sue the parents.
The novel is written from the perspective of multiple narrators, and in this case, there were waaaayyy too many narrators. I couldn't see the need behind some of them at all, they didn't really contribute much anything. I wonder if may really be true in this case that the use of multiple narrations is a sign of lazy writing? So, that kind of started annoying me a lot by the end. I could also sense that this book had the desire to pull a lot of emotion out of a reader, but it just didn't happen for me. Possible "it's me, not you" situation here because I am a cold and cynical person to begin with (sinister laughter), but on the other hand there have been stories, way more subtle and with less shock-prone plots, which have made me have more tender feelings, so I am just not sure... Anyhow, I knew beforehand that there will be "a shocking twist" in the end, and I wasn't really a fan of that, or in this case it left me puzzled whether the twist was just there to add more shock value, or what.
On a more positive note, premise as such does make you think of a bunch of moral and ethical questions, and reading parents' thoughts on why they did what they did and what they were thinking was a bit more interesting.
End verdict: I got confirmed that such books are not for me. I don't need to be shocked through actions; I'd rather be shocked in a more subtle manner.
"Beautiful Creatures" was my first attempt to explore the fairly popular young adult sub-genre, and off the bat I want to make it clear that I had the best intentions for this book. So far, there has been nothing pulling me towards young adult novels (and that did not change with this book), but I was curious to see what is this kind of paranormal stuff so many people are talking about.
It's a romance, there are paranormal powers presented, and a family of witches, set in a small southern city in America (where nothing ever happens - of course). Writing was nothing special (or actually it was occasionally out-right bad towards the end), and I entertained myself trying to figure out how this kind of "two-people-working-on-same-book" could work. I didn't figure it out. There was awful lot of repetition (thanks, Ethan, we got it during the about first 10+ pages that Lena has black hair, it does not need to be repeated on every page). About half of the cast of characters was fairly stereotypical - the main protagonist who gets involved in odd happenings, his extraordinary and "different" love interest, the popular guys n' girls at school, the funny sidekick-best-friend, overprotective and narrow-minded soccer mums, the list goes on. Lena's bunch was actually more interesting, along with their house, uncle Macon Ravenwood and his dog Boo Radley. (Oh, right, Ethan was also "different" because he had read "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Catcher in the Rye" and probably a few other books - by the way it was described apparently no other people in the town didn't even know what books are). Lena was one of those girls who liked to express her thoughts in poetry, occasionally, and if it was a deliberate move by authors, then they succeeded in this outstandingly - the verses were awful. Which is actually believable, because that's how it tends to be with girls that age (yea I remember those days).
So, overall, I was not a happy reader with "Beautiful Creatures", but I would give an extra point for a few characters and especially for Boo Radley (who was truly awesome).