We Were Liars is one of the BEST books I’ve read in a LONG time. I’m not the type of person to proclaim every book to be amazing and the best and on a...moreWe Were Liars is one of the BEST books I’ve read in a LONG time. I’m not the type of person to proclaim every book to be amazing and the best and on and on because I try to reserve that for the books that REALLY mean a lot to me. I want you to believe me when I say THIS IS A BOOK YOU NEED TO READ. Everyone. I don’t care what you read. So please hear me when I say this: this book is beyond amazing, it blew me away and it is one of the BEST BOOKS I’ve read in a long time. This book deserves more than 5 stars -- it deserves fireworks and confetti and lots of recognition. I haven’t had a book really wreck me like this one did but I sobbed and I screamed and this is why I love reading…BOOKS LIKE THIS. A truly remarkable story from start to finish. Especially the finish. It’s just brilliant and my words are just paltry little things that can’t do it any justice.
It's rare that I read a book THIS early but I will carry the torch for this book right up until it is released and beyond.
Why You Should Be Saving The Date for Landline by Rainbow Rowell:
1. Rainbow Rowell continues her trend of being able to write poignantly and candidly about all sorts of love: Every book of hers I’ve read (all but Attachments) just perfectly captures some intricacy of love in different stages/forms and all the beautiful messiness that comes with it. I loved that, while this was partly a story about a love going wrong, it’s also a story about falling back in love and remembering the first time you fell in love with that person as well…especially in the face of maybe losing it all. She makes love just come alive and feel true.
2. GOD HER WRITING: I just love how Rainbow Rowell writes and Landline is no exception. I love her dialogue. The insertion of some humor. How it makes me feel. And these beautiful sentences that just make you stop in your tracks. I even read a passage to my husband and I NEVERRRR read him things from what I’m reading.
3. Lots of thinking re: my own marriage and really any relationship that’s important: It’s easy to be complacent and take people for granted. To not try harder to keep your love ignited and fall into bad habits. I’m early on in my marriage and things are wonderful but this was such a raw and honest portrayal of how one day you could wake up and be in a place you don’t want to be in your marriage because little by little you let it slip away.
4. She just keeps proving she can write anything: This is her 2nd adult book and 4th book total and everything of hers I read is so wonderfully different and I never know what to expect with her but each time I fall in love in my own way with the book and the characters. They are the books that linger for me and keep me up at night.
5. She makes this THING work: There’s an element to this book, how Georgie communicates with him in the past, that COULD be super corny and she just makes it WORK. So well. Never felt corny.
Who Should Save The Date: Rainbow Rowell fans, people who also read adult fiction, people who like love stories that are a bit messy but beautiful
A Sneak Peek: “You don’t know when you are twenty-three. You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten — in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems” (this is taken from the advanced copy and could be subject to change)(less)
It's 3am and I don't know HOW the eff I'm supposed to fall asleep after that?? OMG. SO freaking good. Not often I enjoy a s...moreThoughts after reading it:
It's 3am and I don't know HOW the eff I'm supposed to fall asleep after that?? OMG. SO freaking good. Not often I enjoy a second book more than a first.
ALSO. I didn't think it was possible to love Roar anymore. But I do.
From my "Final Thoughts" portion of the review:
I’m going to pretty much officially say I liked Through The Ever Night MORE which I rarely ever say about a book 2. Prepare to get your workout in turning those pages furiously because this was one of those books that are the epitome of words like “exhilarating” or ” riveting” (and ummm HEARTBREAKING at moments). But Veronica Rossi balances all of that action with truly incredibly characters who you just really fall in love with even more, some really tender moments and making your heart pitter patter with Perry & Aria’s romance. It’s just one of those addictive books that make me shut out Real Life in favor for an imaginative, dangerous journey with characters I wish were real. I love the worldbuilding, I love the characters, I love it all. This series is a favorite that I’ll keep on recommending for lovers of dystopian worlds with fantastical elements.
Everything about this book was flawless for me. I literally can’t think of one thing about it that could have been better. Trish Doller wrote a story...moreEverything about this book was flawless for me. I literally can’t think of one thing about it that could have been better. Trish Doller wrote a story that made my heart explode into pieces so small they shouldn’t have been able to been able to be put back together — but somehow she managed to put them back together with a moving story of family, second chances, love and facing your future despite your past. If you like amazing character development that feels incredibly real and makes you feel emotions so fiercely, pick this book up. The plot was immediately interesting to me and the characters just took it and ran and I didn’t want to pull myself out of the story because I was so immersed in it. Such a COMPLETE story that reminds me of why I love reading!
amazing & well worth it. I cried, I laughed, and I thought alot about it..the greater implications of this book. the words. it's a story of so many t...moreamazing & well worth it. I cried, I laughed, and I thought alot about it..the greater implications of this book. the words. it's a story of so many things..not just a little girl during the Holocaust..I assure you that. it might be a slow start but it is really amazing. i promise.(less)
1. This book is set in college: Since I was IN COLLEGE (I graduated in 2008) I often whined about there not being enough books set in this oh so HUGE step in my life and NOT UNDERSTANDING WHY. You learn so much about yourself and there is so many potential subjects to tackle in college — I mean KIDS are going off into adulthood — bound to be fun things or very life changing things that forge your way to adulthood. Thank you, Rainbow Rowell!
2. This book is everything I thought the “New Adult” subset of books would be but haven’t really found. Fangirl is considered YA but these were the kinds of things I imagined would be tackled in New Adult — college, how it seems like everything is changing around you, meeting all sorts of new people, figuring out who you are and reconciling that with the person you WERE, venturing into adult relationships, learning to be more independent, etc. Obviously I think NA should tackle many other subjects because our experiences post high school are vast but, what I mean to say is that, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell just seems to FIT the idea of what I thought “New Adult” would be without TRYING to be anything. It didn’t scream “HEY I’M NEW ADULT. I’M JUST MAKING THE AGE OLDER & MAKING IT SUPER SEXY.” Rather it was a real story about someone moving on from high school and having their first taste of adulthood in college. It just naturally satiated those of us looking for post high school stories that deal with issues so many of us can relate to.
3. EMERGENCY KANYE DANCE PARTY: I can’t tell you anything more but it was one of my favorite scenes in this whole book.
4. It was such a complete package for me: I couldn’t put this down. It just seemed to have everything — flawed but awesomely real characters, a story that moved along nicely, a heartwarming story, it made me laugh and just drew me in so completely with a tale of that first taste of adulthood that was such an important time of my own life that shaped me and helped me grow.
Who Should Save The Date: Fans of contemporary YA with really well fleshed out characters, people looking for a story set in college, people who are into the whole fandom/fanfiction thing (totally not a requirement because I’ve never read an ounce of fan fiction in my life and I still wholeheartedly connected and loved this), stories about sisters/twins, fans of Rainbow Rowell’s previous work
Warning: LONG fan-girly, gushing OMG review ahead.....every now and again they happen for me. I try to save that for my reading journal but I just can...moreWarning: LONG fan-girly, gushing OMG review ahead.....every now and again they happen for me. I try to save that for my reading journal but I just can't with certain books.
Let's just put this out there right now - I was hella excited about Lola and the Boy Next Door but I was a bit scared to actually read it because I loved Anna and the French Kiss something fierce. I kept thinking that, while there is a good chance I'll really enjoy Lola, I'm never going to feel the same way about it that I did with Anna. It would be like the replacement goldfish that your parents try to convince you is just as great as the one you had to flush down the toilet. It's not the goldfish's fault...but it's just not the same as the one you really loved.
The verdict? I'm going to boldly say that I loved Lola from my head down to my toes....I actually think I liked it even better than Anna. I can't believe I'm saying it but it's true. Stephanie Perkins brought the awesomeness and somehow created a story that could top Anna and the French Kiss for me -- the amazing characters, the romance, a compelling storyline, the great setting. It's all there. While the romantic city of Paris really propelled the story of Anna and St. Clair for me in ATFK, Lola truly is the shining star in Perkin's second novel.
Lola is just one of those unforgettable characters. I instantly connected with her -- she's different and I can appreciate that as someone who has always used clothing as a way to set myself apart...especially in high school. It was something I could control amidst the chaos that was my life. I can't say my wardrobe was even a fraction like hers but I still understand her mentality. I can truly say I felt like I was reading the character of Lola as a little sister. I was protective of her, I wanted to hug it out with her during both crappy moments and awesome moments and I just wanted to tell her what an amazing girl she was.
Ok...I'll address the big fat elephant on the blog. The Boy! I know...you want to know if the boy is as wonderful and amazing and swoonworthy as St. Clair. Yes, ladies. Eat your heart out. For those of you who loathed St. Clair (yes there are people out there that do -- one of my fave ppl of all time and I had a friendly banter about St. Clair at BEA when she revealed this to me), you will be so thrilled about the new crush that Perkins has handed to you on a silver platter. There are seriously not enough "nice guys" in YA lit...but Cricket is leading the army against all those douchenuggets that seem to be in the "in" thing. I want to see more guys that are super nice, but not pushovers, and actually have a personality. He was sweet and sensitive and honestly the type of guy I love and I truly felt as though he complemented Lola so well. The thing I loved most about him (aside from his adoration of Lola) was how he was SUCH a real teen boy to me. Sometimes I find that most of the guys I read are always written so much more eloquently and more mature than teen boys actually are. They always seem to take on these hot, underwear model characteristics and always are suave and dashing. But Cricket was just so real. He's got quirky hobbies and interests and, hell, he's got his awkward, stupid boy moments. So refreshing. I love me some Cricket.
All of the secondary characters really felt so lively and real to me -- Lola's parents were incredibly supportive and definitely NOT absent. I really liked Max in the beginning and even though my love for him fizzled...he still felt very real. I LOVED how Perkins incorporated Anna and St. Clair into the novel without making them centerstage. PERFECT roles for them and I was ecstatic to see what had become of them.
I don't want to give away ANYTHING about this book but I honestly loved the whole story, the romance, the tension that was present in different threads of the story, and the ending! I felt myself charmed by San Fransisco and swept up in Lola's life. Anna's story was somewhat dreamy and escapist for me but Lola's story felt so realistic to me and I really appreciated that. Lola persevered through a lot in the story and I really believed in her progress and the path that Perkins lead her on. Lola was not overwrought with emotion and drama but perfectly captures the complicated nature of love and relationships with family and friends. It also shows the joys that come with the pain, awkward moments and general confusion of being a teen. I love that about this book -- it captures the teen voice in a genuine way with out being too "OMG this is a teen book" that actually doesn't accomplish the teen voice...like when your mom or dad tries to act really hip and up on the lingo.
I typically don't make bold statements like this but I'm going to because I feel so strongly after reading Lola: Stephanie Perkins is on auto-buy for me now. If she writes it, I'm going to beat down doors to get it. If I were my 13 year old self, I'd be bedazzling shirts proclaiming the awesomeness that is Stephanie Perkins and making a shrine in my room dedicated to her. Um yeah, I totally did that for certain boy bands back in the 90's.
Stephanie Perkins, after two novels, has become my go-to for wonderfully written contemporary YA with swoonworthy romances and unforgettable characters. She infuses so many quirky elements into her books and the little details are so wonderful. Lola is certainly no exception -- from an awesome reference to one of my favorite bands (Phoenix!) to having an incredibly cute dog named Heavens to Betsy..I just found myself smiling at the smallest details and it added SO MUCH to my overall enjoyment of the story. Perkins rights the perfect contemporary novel for me. It isn't so distorted of a reality that it too far-fetched for me but it has just enough drama that keeps you reading....because, let's be honest, if realistic novels were TOO realistic we'd be bored and feel like we were reading about our own lives. She writes things I felt as a teen and still feel now at 25. And oh my gosh, PLEASE PLEASE read the acknowledgments at the end of the book to her husband. SO CUTE. I had to read it out loud to my boyfriend because I just was so moved by it...and then I proceeded to gush about it on Twitter. (less)
The story gracefully moves between the present and haunting memories from their childhood. The bulk of the memories take place in the span of the summ...moreThe story gracefully moves between the present and haunting memories from their childhood. The bulk of the memories take place in the span of the summer of 1947 when Milly and Twiss are teenagers and becomes the turning point to paving the path that leads to where they are now as spinsters. Immediately I was invested in the lives of Milly and Twiss and had such a desire to know how they ended up so alone when it seemed like they had a lot going for them. I think that was the most heart-wrenching part-- knowing how they ended up and needing to find out why. The details of the events that summer were revealed ever so carefully and evenhandedly that it kept you reeling until you are given the answers to what had happened. And let me tell you-- it was shocking, heartbreaking and beautiful -- simultaneously. I had goosebumps as we finally learned what happened in the most pivotal moment that summer.
Milly and Twiss are two of the most quirky and unforgettable characters that I've encountered in a while. They were developed so finely and with great precision and I just fell completely in love with them. I found a lot of the other characters to be interesting as well. Cousin Bett was that character that you just wanted to slap silly yet I kept wondering what her story was. The characters personalities were so perfectly melded together with the plot that I just kept thinking of how perfect of a book this was. Milly and Tilly are definitely the shining stars but what I loved is that they aren't always brave, or always right or strong...they were so real and were perfect in their own ways.
For the most part I can honestly say this book was flawless for me, but I must confess, there were a few parts where it took me a little bit to figure out if we were back in the past or in the present although I was able to deduce after a page or so. The parts in the present, in the heads of the older Milly and Twiss, were a little slower moving for me but it definitely balanced out the story well.
My Final Thought: I would recommend this to anybody looking for the perfect combination of unforgettable characters, a carefully crafted and revealed plot with a layer of surprises and undeniably beautiful prose that you find yourself savoring with each page. Seriously, this book charmed the socks off of me, broke my heart and had me mentally shelving this book under "books that remind me why I love the written word." It wasn't overwrought in emotion or drama nor was it the type of book that was trying too hard to BE something profound. It felt real and was definitely a breath of fresh air for me. (less)
I would say more like 4.5. I'm really stingy with the full 5 but 4.5 is just very, very close!!
From my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Open Ro...moreI would say more like 4.5. I'm really stingy with the full 5 but 4.5 is just very, very close!!
From my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Open Road Summer is one of two books I am hereby declaring as THE books you must have in your beach bag this summer if you love contemporary YA (the other is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson). It’s fun romp across country in a tour bus with two best friends and one absolutely heart palpation inducing Matt Finch that is funny, romantic, happymaking and explores how we let people in & learn to trust when we’ve carefully constructed walls against that. But seriously if you are looking for a fun, feel good read about friendship, has a main character who is real & flawed and an absolutely adorable romance…this is it! I promise! All the hype is warranted.
Spring has come and I decided to take this book and read it outside today in the sun. What more could I ask for after a tortuously cold and miserable...moreSpring has come and I decided to take this book and read it outside today in the sun. What more could I ask for after a tortuously cold and miserable winter besides a good book and sunshine?
Anyways, I digress. On to my review of the book rather than my review of my surrounding while reading the book.
This novel piqued my interest as I worked with 2 special needs children for 6 years. The one is severely autistic and the other has Asperbergers combined with some behavioral issues. Christopher, to me, was a delightful little cross between these two boys and I immediately found myself understanding him and taking a great liking to his precocious nature.
I read this novel in a matter of 3 hours whilst outside basking in the sun. It read very quickly to me and I couldn't put it down; even in the midst of his science and math related tangents which always prove difficult for me anyways because math/science is not where my talents lie.
I liked the style and didn't find it distracting. I always thought it really added to his thought process and to understanding it through the eyes of a kid with autism. The boys that I worked with relied heavily on visuals--picture schedules and the like.
I found the parents extremely real. Being a part of this family working with this kids, I have seen the frustrations, struggles, anger, confusion, chaos and love that goes on in a family with a special needs child. I've seen their lows in dealing with their child and I've seen the highs that result of the progress and success of their child. The parents might have annoyed me a tad and I felt like shaking them but 1) this is how I've felt in the past working with this family and 2) unless you are around it everyday, you will NEVER understand what it takes as a person. The part where it talked about the boy laying down and screaming and "groaning" on the floor while everybody stared was situation that happened many times in working with these children so I really understood the plight of the parents.
I found the basic plot interesting. Autistic boy tries to solve the mystery of a dead dog. I knew there would be all sorts of misadventures and real hurdles for the character. However, my thoughts of what the novel would be like took a drastic turn when the killer of the dog was revealed half way through. I thought it would be more of a mystery the whole time but it turned into something different that I was very much okay with and not expecting.
I don't want to give anything away plot-wise but I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a different kind of main character, a little bit of a mystery with an interesting twist, and a story that explores the relationship of a special needs child with his family and with the people around him which will be very real in regards to the social difficulties these children face and the struggles of a parent.
I absolutely loved this memoir and think I should read it again when I'm in my 30's. I love the way she writes. She made me laugh. She made me cry. Sh...moreI absolutely loved this memoir and think I should read it again when I'm in my 30's. I love the way she writes. She made me laugh. She made me cry. She taught me new things. She made me reflect. I really enjoyed this memoir so much and loved going through this journey with her. It doesn't bother me that she got pre-paid to write this book as first of all she is very upfront about this fact and secondly I think that her journey was still important. I realize that not everyone can fix their life by wandering about the world..but she was fortunate enough to be able to do that..and I think anyways it wasn't about the places where she was it was about where her heart was. I can't understand why everyone thinks she is self absorbed..I mean..you did know you were picking up her memoir right? If I wrote a memoir it would be ALL ABOUT ME and the things in my life! and when I'm really honest with myself..I'm pretty self absorbed alot of the time..I don't like to be..but at the core I think I really am. I think I related alot with her honesty about the fact that she wasn't the perfect person. I really appreciate that. This is definitely one of my favorites. I wish i could give it 4 1/2 stars. (less)
Ladies and gentleman, we have yet another David Levithan novel that I am absolutely and totally smitten with. This may just be my favorite yet. I’m te...moreLadies and gentleman, we have yet another David Levithan novel that I am absolutely and totally smitten with. This may just be my favorite yet. I’m telling you, I dogearred the hell out of Two Boys Kissing (don’t cringe..you already knew I committed this book crime) and read it in a single day! Incredibly thought-provoking, beautiful and so many passages that make me remember how words can just make my heart flutter. David Levithan is one of those special voices and this book is a shining example of that.
I’m not going to lie, as soon as I started reading I was not thrilled about the Greek Chorus narration but it quickly won me over and honestly I think MADE the novel. Their collective voice broke my heart but was also so, so hopeful. As much as I loved the boys, these men are the ones that will linger in my heart for a long, long time. I was tearful at times and completely mesmerized by them and their take on what was unfolding in the boys lives and also reflecting on THEIR lives and delighting in the PROGRESS that their own struggles and fight helped pave the way for. As much as it was the wise and thoughtful insight of the gay men of the past who died from AIDS reflecting on all this, it also made me think SO much of all the voices of the past that fought for us to have something or to make progress or give us rights in general. It made me weep for those people and what they went through and gave up for the sake of progress.
The main event of the novel is these two boys who are going to be publicly kissing in front of their high school to beat the world record for the longest kiss. Woven in are stories of various other boys who are gay and at various stages of coming out or in their relationships. There’s also another couple who are both out and dating, two guys who meet at a dance and are in the very beginnings of getting to know each other and a boy who isn’t out yet to anyone except the guys he meets in chatrooms.
There were many things these boys dealt with — being ok in their skin, approval from their family, first loves, coming out to their family and more — and it was easy to get caught up in all the story lines and be rooting for them. I was brought to tears, was reminded of first love, how hard it is to fight for love sometimes and accepting yourself first before you worry about others accepting you. Their stories felt authentic and embodied what it is to be a teen — gay or straight.
I love books that make me think, just want to squeeze all of humanity in for a hug and remind me why books are so, so powerful. David Levithan, you are a hell of a man, a very gifted writer, a wonderful advocate for gay teens and someone who has helped pave the way for more progress even in your own space in publishing by giving voice to LGBT teens who needed to see themselves in YA. Looking at this cover reminds me of how far we’ve come.(less)
If there were ever a book that I’d make a sweeping recommendation for, no matter if you read YA or if...more From the "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
If there were ever a book that I’d make a sweeping recommendation for, no matter if you read YA or if you aren’t into historical fiction, this is it. Despite the slow start due to an abundance of aviation type descriptions and the settling into the way the story is told, this book was knock-you-off-your feet incredible! The unraveling of this story and the deliverance of astonishing twists and revelations, accompanied by the most moving story of friendship I’ve encountered in a while, ensured this book has wound up on my very small ALL TIME FAVORITES list. I’m most stingy with this kind of recommendation and Code Name Verity certainly is deserving.
Taken from my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Golden by Jessi Kirby was a stirring and beautiful story with depth and emotion and I LO...more4.5 stars!
Taken from my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Golden by Jessi Kirby was a stirring and beautiful story with depth and emotion and I LOVED IT. I have this desire to reread it already. It was refreshing and one of those books that just is all consuming in the best possible way. I couldn’t stop reading as Parker read the journal of a girl who was the center of a tragic accident and finds her life become intertwined with this mystery — all while watching Parker’s growth. It’s my favorite novel thus far from Jessi Kirby and solidifies her as a go-to author in the contemporary YA genre. Don’t miss this one, friends!
This book was all sorts of awesome. I felt like I read this book all in one massive breath. It was utterly impossible to put down and I needed to find out what happened to Vera and Charlie along the way that lead to the present circumstances. I loved everything about this book--the writing, the style, the characters, etc. The majority of the book was written from the perspective of Vera in the time after Charlie's death and flashbacks shedding light on what happened between Vera and Charlie. Throughout the book there are interjections from "the dead kid," Vera's dad and the Pagoda. At first I was skeptical when these parts showed up but they ended up working really well. I love when authors succeed in something so risky.
This is me using authentic in a sentence.
Vera is one of the most authentic and lovable characters I've encountered this year. I think I can say that with a degree of certainty. Vera is just your ordinary, small town girl who just wants to survive high school and figure out what she wants to do with her life---and find love along the way. She is smart, sassy and has a sense of humor that I appreciated. She thinks for herself and is certainly wise beyond her years yet her struggles ring true to the teenage experience. She isn't perfect---she struggles with figuring out who she wants to be and has her fair share of mistakes. You will find yourself just adoring Vera and wishing you could pop in the book and be her bff so that she doesn't have to go through everything alone. I loved the progression of her relationship between her and her dad. I felt that it was extremely real as dealing with grief and these hard issues in life really does change that kind of a relationship. I know first hand and thought King captured that really well.
This is me using evocative in a sentence.
A.S. King has written a powerful and evocative novel that deals delicately with grief, regrets and moving forward from the unfortunate things we are dealt in life. The regrets and guilt that Vera experiences are typical in any sort of grieving situation but are absolutely heart-wrenching in light of everything that has happened. The "what-ifs" and the questions can be crippling but the way Vera deals with everything makes her all the more lovable. I loved dialogue that happens throughout the novel that deals with being so conditioned to ignore things--abuse, neglect, homelessness--and Vera challenges that thinking of just turning your head the other way because nothing can be done about these things.
My final thought: If you love contemporary YA, this should be on your to-be-read list. If you are a reader, like myself, who enjoys both adult fiction and YA--this should be one you pick up for sure. It is smart, powerful and completely gripping. You'll end up reading it in one breath like I found myself doing. It is truly unforgettable--I promise you that ignoring Vera Dietz will be near impossible.(less)
This book is the literary equivalent to the reality show Survivor for me--with the exception that children are actua...moreReviewed at The Broke and Bookish
This book is the literary equivalent to the reality show Survivor for me--with the exception that children are actually killing each other to survive and are there against their own will. Forget about that fact and throw in hunky Jeff Probst and I'm feeling like I don't have to wait until the next season of Survivor. Disclaimer--I'm a Survivor junky.
It isn't quite that easy to forget about the basic premise of this dystopian young adult novel. It is set in the future when North America, a nation in ruins, is replaced by the nation of Panem. Life in Panem is vastly different from life as it was previously on this continent. The Capitol is the ruling regime over 12 "Districts" and they rule with a strict iron fist and rebellion is not an option. To show their strength, they have set up the yearly Hunger Games in which a boy and a girl from each district must go to a remote location controlled by the Capitol and kill each other as *cue Jeff Probst voice* there can only be ONE sole survivor.
Enter our heroine--Katniss Everdeen. She comes from one of the poorest districts and knows a little bit about surviving. Poster child for the School of Hard Knocks. She, in a way I'll not disclose, gets put into The Hunger Games that she so despises and finds that her big heart and her street smarts conflict with her need to survive this disgusting "game" that is broadcasted throughout all districts. She is an altogether likeable heroine (despite on occasion some bad judgments & naivety ) and could easily outwit, outlast, and outplay ANY former Survivor contestants to date.
I found this one of the best YA books I've ever read. It's certainly different although some people thought it was cliched and predictable. I guess I haven't been reading any of the same books as them to feel that way. I felt it was well written and kept my interest so much that I read it all in one day. I feel like, for me, it was pretty thought provoking as I thought about the situation and how hard it would be to make the decisions that she had to make. How do you maintain who you are after something like that? How do you justify your own survival versus the lives of others?
I thought that the author did a great job with the little character development she was able to do. You get a sense of all the main characters but it's quite hard when most of the characters in the book are dropping off like flies. It the same way I feel with Survivor. You never get a sense of the characters that get ousted out in the first couple tribal councils and you forget who they are almost. In the book, you really start to get to know some of the other contestants that last a little longer and it makes it harder when they die.
Overall a great read. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the series. I'd recommend it to people who enjoy good YA, an adventure, and Survivor junkies like me just waiting for the next season! :) (less)
This book inspired my "WTF! Why is this book not more popular" shelf on here!
This was absolutely one o...moreFrom the "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
This book inspired my "WTF! Why is this book not more popular" shelf on here!
This was absolutely one of the most fun romps I’ve had in contemporary YA since I first read Sloppy Firsts. I fell in love with Audrey and all the rest of the characters (minus Sharon – ew!). It was LOL-inducing and I just couldn’t stop reading to find out what more crazy shenanigans Audrey was going to have to endure with her newfound fame. If you are looking for a TRULY fun and happy read with a hilarious plot and some swoony moments, then I’d definitely pick this up. I know many of you are Jessica Darling fans so I’d highly recommend this one as I think Audrey and Jessica are each other’s spirit animals. LOVED LOVED LOVED. It was definitely what I needed after reading so many heavy issue books lately.
I was supposed to read this in high school and I didn't yet wrote a whole paper on it and got an A. Then in my senior year of college I was assigned t...moreI was supposed to read this in high school and I didn't yet wrote a whole paper on it and got an A. Then in my senior year of college I was assigned this book in my contemporary lit class for a huge project. I couldn't get out of reading it. I'm so glad this book wormed its way into my life.
I thought this was just going to be a war story..it wasn't. I wish you could read my paper that I wrote about this book. This book really made an impression on me.(less)
**spoiler alert** Decided to not really write a formal review. Read my review of The Hunger Games if you are wondering if you should start the series....more**spoiler alert** Decided to not really write a formal review. Read my review of The Hunger Games if you are wondering if you should start the series. If you've read The Hunger Games and wonder if the rest of the series is worth it, I'd say go for it.
This one was good but weaker for me than the first two. It took a little bit more to get into as it was more politically charged and lacked the amount of action as the first two..which can be ok but I just felt like it was overkill a little bit. I did find it interesting though to see the political workings of the districts and whatnot. I liked the ending but I felt like I wasn't as enthralled with Katniss as I had been before. I felt sad for Peeta because she really never ended up choosing him because she loved him..it's just all that was left. I wanted to see Katniss grow in that way more but it makes sense that she was just so jaded after all she saw. I went back and forth from Peeta and Gale during this book. The whole Peeta gone crazy thing irritated me but ultimately I'm Teem Peeta all the way. This book had a lot of great twists and turns but ended super preachy. I know that dystopian novels should have that element but I feel like she went overboard on that. After seeing her speak at the National Book Festival, I know her position on war and that part of her inspiration came from watching the footage on the Iraq War. Knowing all that, I knew where she was going with it all. As a side note, I was really annoyed because the end seemed rushed and then freaking FINNICK (one of my favorite characters) dies and it's just brushed aside. I would have liked to see a little more emotion involved with all that. It just seemed so sad. (less)
I wished I would have read this when I was younger..like everyone told me to. I enjoyed it tremendously now..but I know it would have been something s...moreI wished I would have read this when I was younger..like everyone told me to. I enjoyed it tremendously now..but I know it would have been something super special and what I needed to read back in the day. I think I'm going to hold on to this copy and give it to somebody a little younger..like my little sister when she gets to high school in a year or two.(less)
this book was AWESOME! It wasn't something that I normally would have picked out but I kept hearing about it in a few of my GR groups. It was certainl...morethis book was AWESOME! It wasn't something that I normally would have picked out but I kept hearing about it in a few of my GR groups. It was certainly a page turner..a little slow in the beginning but it really started to pick up and was an exciting story with lots of twists and really great characters. (less)
NEW FAVORITE!! Never has a book made me LAUGH OUT LOUD sooo much...much to my boyfriend's embarrassment. It's witty and smart and Jessica Darling and...moreNEW FAVORITE!! Never has a book made me LAUGH OUT LOUD sooo much...much to my boyfriend's embarrassment. It's witty and smart and Jessica Darling and I would have so been BFFs.
Wow. What a haunting book. Definitely worth the 3.99 I paid for it :)
I literally couldn't put this down. I sat in bed and read this all day. I didn't...moreWow. What a haunting book. Definitely worth the 3.99 I paid for it :)
I literally couldn't put this down. I sat in bed and read this all day. I didn't plan on doing so but, my goodness, it was captivating and so powerful. I've always been the type to try and think about how I treat people and how you never know what is going on in someone's life and how everything you do affects people. This book illustrated this principle I've always lived by and even though it was a fiction book it reaffirmed in my mind how powerful the interactions you have with people are.
The premise is interesting in itself and the details of the story and the situations that unfold are all too real. A high school student commits suicide and sends a mysterious package with cassettes of her story on them to be passed to 13 people who all have had a hand in someway to why she did it.
Some of the things in the story made me think of things that were similar to things I heard or saw in high school. I wonder if some of the people that had bad reputations really deserved them. If everyone was really how they seemed. If I should have believed some of the things I had heard about people. We all know we shouldn't but we do.
I don't really read much YA so I don't know what is out there but I would venture to say this would be one of the most powerful books a young adult could read.(less)
One thing you should probably know about me before I proceed with my review. I suffer from wanderlust, the travel bug, or whatever name you feel compe...moreOne thing you should probably know about me before I proceed with my review. I suffer from wanderlust, the travel bug, or whatever name you feel compelled to call it. If I could explore the world for the rest of my life, I'd be a happy camper. That being said, you can imagine how giddy I was when this book showed up in my mailbox. I immediately got the goosebumps like I do before I travel caused by that feeling of exploring the unknown and the thrill that there may be an adventure in your immediate future.
I started this book and within a page or so I already had one question. Can I join this family? I mean, for real, this family is kickass. They spend 10 years meticulously planning and saving up for this "World-the-Round trip" (and yes, that's World the Round) in which they will travel around the world for 52 weeks with their two children that are 8 and 11. That would be enough to make most parents break out in a sweat and bring them to their knees with anxiety. And did I mention that for a good chunk of this time they will be cycling via tandem bikes from London to Istanbul with children and luggage in tow?
This decently thick travelogue is set up like an itinerary with excerpts of the family's personal journal entries placed in various parts of the stories. There are also added goodies that were included. The book is set up so that at different points you will come to a place where you an go on to Google Earth to visually be a part of their trip. You'll see pictures, videos, and additional text. I found myself checking out a few of them (and will probably check out more at some point) but found it a little distracting while reading to stop and get on my computer. And the likelihood of someone reading this all in front of a computer is pretty slim. Really cool feature to the book but the novelty wears off after awhile.
Anyways, this book is exceptional. I mean it. The Higham family adventure is one of the best vacations I've had from the comfort of my plush little chair. John Higham carefully creates a scrapbooks of sorts as he balances recounting the sights and the scenery (and some interesting facts along the way!) with the family's personal thoughts and experiences as they face the unknown and explore some of the most beautiful places in the world. He touches delicately on the frustrations and annoyances in traveling with one's family (such as how two adults can have alone time??) and shares the joys of experiencing the world and growing together as a family. Alot of travelogues I've read drag in places but he really knows when not to linger on one country for too long and how to balance reflection, descriptions of people and scenery, and insights on history and culture.
Whether he is describing eating ham sandwiches for months, the challenges of "luggage Tetris" or homeschooling kids on the road--be prepared to experience the good humor that the family maintains throughout. I'm not sure I could find the humor in French campgrounds with no toilet paper or being stranded in remote places. But somehow this family is able to face defeat, give it a swift blow to the groin and keep on pedaling through some of the biggest hurdles and trials that one could face whilst traveling.
The best part about this book, for me, is that this family seems to be navigating by the same principle of travel that I believe in. Traveling is so much more than snapping photographs in front of historic sites and staying in posh hotels. True, those are all elements that can make a great trip, but traveling is really about the rich experiences with other cultures and viewing the world as one gigantic classroom. It's, as John Higham points out, "about discovering how people all over the world are similar, yet different in profoundly subtle ways, and how because of those very differences we were always able to find something to eat, something to wear, and somewhere to sleep."
It helps you to realize that at the end of the day "humankind in all its wonderful weirdness is the same all over the planet."(less)
How I Got This Book: Tahleen got an ARC of it and was so kind as to let me read it since I'm a HUGE fan of Nicole Krauss. Why...morePosted it on my blog too.
How I Got This Book: Tahleen got an ARC of it and was so kind as to let me read it since I'm a HUGE fan of Nicole Krauss. Why I Read This Book: I'd read anything Nicole Krauss wrote--be it cereal boxes or appliance manuals. Rating: Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. Leaning towards four as I couldn't stop thinking about it for two weeks straight.
I have been dying to get my hands on this book as I'm a huge of fan of Nicole Krauss (and her hubby Jonathan Safran Foer). I honestly didn't even know what this book was about but I immediately added it to my TBR list as soon as I knew about it.
Krauss writes an interwoven novel of four different story lines of individuals and families who are inextricably bound together by a enormous desk with many drawers that bears a heavy history of its own, similar to the histories of those whose hands this desk has passed through. The people in the story are deeply affected by this desk in negative and positive ways, even after the desk has left their possession, and the mysteries and memories of previous owners echo in the deep recesses of these ominous drawers just waiting to be released.
This novel, although History of Love is still my favorite, does not disappoint. It is honest, beautiful and at times heartbreaking. It isn't just Krauss's ability to construct an intricate story the way a great craftsman would a building; it is also the way that her beautiful prose can resonate in the deepest caverns of your bones setting aflame some feeling that you have known that you have felt before but have never been able to put into words. It is haunting in the way that deja vu always is.
Great House, like The History of Love, contains some of the most heartfelt character development I've seen in novels. The observations of the human condition are spot-on and the characters just come alive in all their despairs and hopes. It is one of those books that remind you just how fragile and complex humanity is. The theme of loss is ever present in this novel--the loss of loved ones, of possessions, of the world you knew and the loss of something that might have never been at all. The desk, to those connected to it, represents some semblance of permenance as they grapple with how how to deal with loss and how to reassemble ourselves---a process I am sure we all can relate to.
I only had a few problems with the novel. Some places were kind of slow in certain storylines. I think she did a good job weaving the stories together but sometimes I got bored with a storyline or forgot something from another. I also felt like I still had a few questions after the novel that I didn't feel were addressed. I felt they were important so it kind of irked me. Another thing that was hard for me was that I felt like Krauss maintained the same tone throughout each story. I got a good sense of the characters and who they were but I never get a sense for the "voice" that was telling the story. I don't know if that makes sense but it does in my head.
One thing I really appreciated about this novel is that even though the storylines were bound together by this desk, these people were not strongly linked. Sometimes you read a novel where people were bound by a person or event and then you have five random people all coming together all linked by this one thing and it seems like it was just fate for them to find each other. I liked that there were brushings with people but they were sometimes far removed from the actual person. You'll see what I mean when you read it.
I'd recommend it to most people--especially those who already love Nicole Krauss or fans of her husband. If you haven't read anything by Nicole Krauss, I'd recommend you reading The History of Love first and then this one. Go by this on Tuesday when it comes out!!