Quick Reviews: The Night Garden and Love and other Unknown Variables

Love and Other Unknown VariablesTitleLove and Other Unknown Variables
AuthorShannon Lee Alexander
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Published: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ 1/2 (4 1/2of 5 cups)
Beautiful, funny, poignant. It had me laughing and crying, face palming and trying to hide the tears falling, while at work or commuting or anywhere not in the safety of my room. Who knew that mathematical equations hold their own romantic poetry?  Or that Charlie and Charlotte are pieces of the same puzzle who just fit like so.
Or that love is one equation that holds infinite possibilities if you take the chance.

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck. 

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy. 

By the time he learns she's ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared).

The Night Garden: A NovelTitleThe Night Garden: A Novel
AuthorLisa Van Allen
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy
Published: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨ (5 of 5 cups)
Hauntingly beautiful, heartbreakingly poignant The Night Garden is truly a pleasurable reading experience. It has the making of an epic fairy tale, complete with an enchanted princess, isolated in her tower surrounded by her magical gardens, unknowingly a prisoner of her wizard father's love. Rescue comes at the hand of her Prince Charming, wearing a tarnished armor, fallible yet willing to fight for the love he lost once. Both Olivia and Sam, the main characters, are truly wonderful, multilayered and complex yet so simple in what they truly want. Combine this with the ever talented Lisa Van Allen's lush and vivid writing The Night Garden will truly transport you to the place called Green Valley where everything seems so common but so mysterious as well. The writing is lyrical,emotional and so evocative, as readers you can't help fall in love with it.


For fans of Sarah Addison Allen, Aimee Bender, and Alice Hoffman, The Night Garden is a luminous novel of love, forgiveness, and the possibilities that arise when you open your heart.

Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors.

Yet the labyrinth has never helped Olivia Pennywort, the garden’s beautiful and enigmatic caretaker. She has spent her entire life on her family’s land, harboring a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm’s length. But when her childhood best friend, Sam Van Winkle, returns to the valley, Olivia begins to question her safe, isolated world and wonders if she at last has the courage to let someone in. As she and Sam reconnect, Olivia faces a difficult question: Is the garden maze that she has nurtured all of her life a safe haven or a prison?