I've been trying to think of the best way to review this book, because I feel like the first review I wrote for The TruthOriginal post One More Page
I've been trying to think of the best way to review this book, because I feel like the first review I wrote for The Truth About Forever did not do it any justice. The thing is, I don't know how to write a proper review for this book without squealing or "sa-woon"-ing so much. Because believe me, I know I did that so many times when I was rereading this book.
But let me try again. Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever is one of my favorite books of all time. It's not my first Dessen, but it's the book that made me love Dessen and made her one of my auto-buy authors. It's one book I've reread multiple times and still get all swoony and happy and wishing for a romance like Macy and Wes did. Yes, even with their drama, because it made the ending so much satisfying in the end.
The Truth About Forever is about Macy Queen, whose life spun out of control when her dad died in front of her. Macy tried to hold it together for the sake of her family, hiding her grief and seeking perfection, thinking that this would help her mother who seeks perfection in everything she does as well, her own way of dealing with loss. The story starts with Macy's boyfriend, Jason, leaving for Brain Camp and Macy facing a long summer with her strict schedule and routine. She's okay, she always thought. Until one day, she meets the Wish Catering crew. One bad afternoon at her summer job, with a bad email to boot, she joins Wish, makes new friends, and meets Wes -- the seemingly perfect guy with his own not-so-clean past, who likes flaws. Things turn interesting for Macy as she gets to know these people, and as she realizes that maybe it's not so bad if her strictly-scheduled life unravels and she lets chaos in bit by bit.
Ah, this book. I think what makes me love this book more than I loved This Lullaby is how much I could relate to Macy. I'm fortunate enough to have my parents here with me so I can't relate to Macy at that front, but the schedules? The need to be as perfect as I can be (sometimes, anyway)? Oh, I've been there. At the next rereads, I found that I wanted to shake Macy so hard -- she needs to cry! She needs to snap out of the illusion that she needs to be perfect to hold things together. She needs to let go and reach for her mom so they could grieve together! Ah Macy, why do you frustrate me so much?
But it served as a good starting point. If there was anything that Sarah Dessen really knows, it's how to write a story that seeps into you and hooks you, pulling you in up until the last page. There's no need for magic or any supernatural creatures -- just plain everyday things magnified, with added significance. The conversations could be just any normal conversation, but somehow they pack a punch. For example:
"Honestly," I said.
"Come on. You have to admit it's sort of ridiculous."
Now that I had to define it, I found myself struggling for the right words. "You know," I said, then figured Kristy had really summed it up best. "The sa-woon."
"Wes, come on," I said. "Are you seriously not aware of how girls stare at you?"
How cute is that?
There's really nothing new with the story, but thanks to the writing and the vivid characters, it becomes a little bit extraordinary. This book is one of the reasons I appreciate characters more, why I believe that even the most common storyline can be interesting when the roles are played by strong, well-developed characters.
And then there's Wes. Dessen boys are well known among readers, and Wes is definitely my favorite. He just seems so...perfect. Strange to see a seemingly perfect guy in a book that tells the main character that perfection isn't everything, don't you think? Believe me, I'm still trying to find some kind of flaw in Wes. But I guess that's what crushes are -- it's so hard to find a flaw in them. I think I'm not that infatuated with Wes that I'd try and look for someone exactly like him (but hey, I wouldn't mind, haha), but I would like to have the same kind of development that Macy and Wes had. Their relationship is one of the most authentic ones I've read -- built on shared experiences and conversations. Now where is that guy I could play a game of Truth with?
So yeah, even on my third reread, I still loved The Truth About Forever. It reminds me of why I started reading YA and why I like the contemporary genre. If you're looking for a good contemporary YA novel you can sink your teeth into, or if you're looking for a good Sarah Dessen novel to start with, I highly recommend The Truth About Forever. Read it and sa-woon. :)...more
Note: Just this once, I'm trying a different way of reviewing. This may get a bit personal, but I hope you'll ride it ouOriginal post at One More Page
Note: Just this once, I'm trying a different way of reviewing. This may get a bit personal, but I hope you'll ride it out with me -- I just really need to try this out. :) A short, yet proper review will be at the end of the post.
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Dear Future Tina,
I'm not sure when you'll read this again, or if you'll even be able to ever read this again in a few years or decades from now. I don't know if this blog will still exist, or if this entry will exist because you can always delete and re-write this sometime in the future. But let's assume that you won't do any of the two things I said above and you will eventually read this again, with a surprised smile on your face.
Your brother got married exactly a week ago, and that was the very reason why you picked up This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen once again. This was a so-so book during your first read, probably because you read it during the New Year and you weren't really feeling the characters nor the situation back then. If you need a reminder on why you picked this up, it's because all the mushiness in the wedding put you in the mood to read something that had a little of romance in it, and not the paranormal kind.
You are not like Remy. You are not like her at all. Okay, maybe in some ways you are, particularly in the way you are both so obssessive-compulsive with everything (but she is more OC than you are)...but in other aspects, you are not. Let's state the most obvious: Remy is a dating machine. You are definitely not.
I think that's one of the reasons why you didn't relate to her when you first read it. You can't understand how someone can do what Remy does: date a guy for a while, be sweet and all, sleep with him and then when the relationship heads for some semblance of seriousness, break it off. I don't really understand it either, but I know we know some people who are like that. And I know both of us wonder: how could they do that? How could they jump from one guy to another and not feel exhausted at all the emotional trauma? How could they even attract so many guys when you can't seem to attract some?
But Remy has her own reasons, of course. I guess when you see your mother get divorced and married for more than five times, you'd think the same thing: love is a joke. It's not real, and if you fall for it, you lose. Remy said it very well: "The fate of your heart is your choice, and no one else gets a vote...I just think that you have to protect yourself...you can't just give yourself away." (p. 265)
You know what's strange, though? As different as we are to Remy with regards to how you date (or not date), we're pretty much the same with how you handle your heart. True, Remy has much more experience than us, but we both handle our hearts in the same way: closely guarded, and walls up, and no one could get in close enough to really hurt us. Not that we have been really hurt before (of course I'm not sure about when you read this, but as of this writing, we're both single since birth and there's still no one on the horizon -- but only God knows what's in store for the future), but we've definitely seen enough people get hurt so much that we don't want to experience that, ever.
But remember your brother's wedding? Remember the feeling you had as you watched your brother tear up and how your sister-in-law looked so happy and beautiful? Remember all the love in the air as everyone celebrated their blessed union? I know you know in your heart that you wanted the same thing. I know that despite all the fear of getting hurt, despite everything that you've seen, heard and read, that you still want to experience the kind of love that would make you see the reason for all those love songs.
I hope that we both find an ending similar to Remy's in This Lullaby. There are no guarantees, really, but there is an assurance that everything will be okay. Yeah, it's fiction, but hey, there's nothing wrong with hoping, right? If in case you haven't found our Dexter yet when you read this letter sometime in the future, I hope that we will find him sometime soon. Or he'll find us, just as he found Remy in the book. :)
The proper review: Suffice to say, I liked this book more the second time around. Perhaps it's because I understood it a little bit better, and related to it more despite my differences with Remy. Dessen is very good with writing stories that resonate well with the target audience, and as always, I like her strong characters, especially the minor ones who still manage to leave a big mark in the story.
This isn't my favorite Dessen, but I see why people love it so much. This book left me witha goofy grin on my face after, and a hopeful feeling that someday, my own Dexter would come. :">
Note: This is a very late review, I know. This was meant to be posted at Pinoy Pop, but because of some events, I'll jusOriginal post at One More Page
Note: This is a very late review, I know. This was meant to be posted at Pinoy Pop, but because of some events, I'll just post it here. Plus I need to have this up before I finally write my Mockingjay review. So...yay, finally this is up. This review is written without much references to Mockingjay so let's assume I don't know how the trilogy ends as you read this review. :)
Whenever the word sequel comes to mind, I know a lot of people often cringe. More often than not, people only have one question about sequels: how will it measure up? Sequels – be it in books or movies – are either a hit-or-miss, usually because of the high expectations set by its predecessor. Will the sequel live up to the fans’ expectations? Will it be everything that we loved in it and more? Or will it just disappoint?
Catching Fireby Suzanne Collins is one of those sequels. Released a year after The Hunger Games, Catching Fire was one of the most anticipated books to be released in 2009. While other fans who got the first book when it was released had to wait a year before they got to read it, I was lucky enough to be able to get a copy of Catching Fire at the same time that I got The Hunger Games. Call me a late bloomer, I guess, but it was a blessing in disguise because even if the first book didn’t end with a huge cliffhanger, the waiting time was reduced and I could just get into the action immediately.
If you haven’t read The Hunger Games, then this spoiler warning is for you. Catching Fire starts with the heroine Katniss Everdeen preparing for the Victory Tour with her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark after winning the 74th Hunger Games. Katniss thought winning the games would bring her life back to normal, but instead, it changed everything: Peeta remains cold to her after he found out that Katniss was just playing their romance for show, and her best friend Gale is aloof with her for reasons he knows why. Unknown to Katniss but revealed soon after, her final act at the Hunger Games that meant to save herself and Peeta has fueled the unrest in the other districts, and these rebels have made Katniss the symbol of their rebellion. Just in time for all this unrest is the 75th Hunger Games that is also the Quarter Quell: the rules of the games are changed, raising the stakes higher to remind Panem – and ultimately, Katniss – that the Capitol still owns them, no matter what.
I really didn’t have much doubt that Collins would deliver a great sequel, especially after some of my bookish friends have praised Catching Fire, but I tried to keep my expectations down as I read the book. I think that might have helped because, personally, I thought Catching Fire was all kinds of awesome. Katniss is back, and she was still as great as she was in the first book, fighting against fear and the people that threatened the safety of her family and friends. I liked Katniss more in The Hunger Games, but the sequel shows us a different side of Katniss now that she is thrown into a situation she did not expect would happen if she won the Games in the last book. Her confusion and fear is palpable, and I liked all the moments when she found strength somewhere in her to protect the ones she loves. It's almost like a maternal instinct, which I wouldn't doubt if it is given that she practically raised her family after her dad died. Katniss is still surly and not too charming here despite how she was being packaged to Panem, but she is still that same protagonist that fans of the first book would definitely root for.
This book also gave us more of a glimpse of the people around Katniss, particularly the two guys in her life, Peeta and Gale. In Hunger Games, there was more screen time for Peeta that people tend to gravitate to him instead of Gale. In the sequel, Peeta still gets more screen time but we get to see more of Gale, as much as Katniss sees him, anyway. Here we see and understand a bit more of Katniss and Gale's relationship, as well how Katniss depends on Gale. It's kind of hard to read Gale here at first, but we get a glimpse of how he has been hardened by what he has went through, and even more after what his best friend (and love, perhaps) has gone through. Peeta, on the other hand, really becomes the golden boy here, by the way he manages the pressure and invisible (at least to him in the early story) threat to Katniss. Later, he becomes the "most" protected, which puts him more on spotlight -- again. No wonder more people liked Peeta. :P These two boys provide good contrast over Katniss’ character in the story, and set the dynamics of their relationships is what set the scene in Catching Fire. These boys aren’t perfect, which is a breath of fresh air from all the seemingly perfect YA male leads.
The Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle is also one of the big ones that divided the fans into separate teams, akin to -- yes, I dare mention it -- Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. Personally, I didn’t make a choice between the two. I like Peeta, but I’m (always) very partial to the best friend. In the end, though, I didn't really care who Katniss would choose, if she will choose. I felt like Katniss doesn’t feel the need to make a choice here. I don’t think she even really understood the weight of the affections of the two guys had for her, which can be frustrating to read, especially since she kept on swinging from one to another. I agree with Adele: Katniss can very well make a choice, but the thing is, will she? Can she make a choice? Does she have enough strength to choose one and let go of the other? Or will she just let romance go altogether? In a way, I can sort of understand Katniss' indecision. More often than not, it's easier to just not make a decision than decide and think of the what-ifs after the choice has been made. I'm pretty sure that is going on in Katniss' mind, and it didn't help that the Capitol is making it hard for her. Talk about really making it hard for her. Love is already hard, and life in Panem for Katniss just makes it harder. :P
But I think the real star of this novel in my opinion is not Katniss or Peeta or Gale, but the Capitol. All throughout the novel, I was trying to think of a justification why the Hunger Games was happening, specifically, why there was a need for a Quarter Quell. I know it’s already been introduced in the first novel, but the cruelty of the Quarter Quell just seemed too senseless that there has to be some kind of good reason why they had to do it. Perhaps I was just being naïve, but I wanted to find something good in the Capitol, to give some kind of justification for this...horror. But as I continued reading, I am always struck by how evil they really were, how senseless the games really were. This realization made me not only really hate the Capitol (and President Snow as the face of the Capitol) but also understand what The Book Smugglers said about dystopian novels having one unifying factor: the Truly Villainous Government. Think your government is bad? Wait till you live in Panem.
True to its title, Catching Fire is a fiery read. I think this may be the first time that I have loved the sequel more than I loved the first book. Re-reading it in preparation for Mockingjay didn’t change my initial opinions of it – in fact, it was even better the second time around. Catching Fire is truly a heart-pounding, explosive, adrenaline-inducing, page-turning read. Definitely my favorite among the three books. :)...more
I was never a fan of dystopian or post-apocalyptic literature. The thought of reading a book where the world I know has been dFull review at Pinoy Pop
I was never a fan of dystopian or post-apocalyptic literature. The thought of reading a book where the world I know has been destroyed by natural or human forces (or both), or one ruled over by oppressive totalitarian government is depressing. With all the bad news on TV and in the papers, I don’t need to escape to another reality that pains an even bleaker picture of the future. So when I first heard of The Hunger Gamesby Suzanne Collins from a fellow Filipino book blogger, I just skimmed over her review. Kids killing other kids--dystopia and gore? No, thanks.
Then, at last year's Manila International Book Fair last year, I stopped at the central display of National Bookstore. There was a huge display for The Hunger Games and its sequel, Catching Fire, and a TV interview of Suzanne Collins playing on loop. The lady beside me was so enthusiastic about the books and, not wanting to waste my trip to the fair, I ended up getting both books despite my apprehension. Book-wise, that choice was probably the best I made last year.
The Hunger Games is set in the future in a nation called Panem, formerly known as North America, before a series of disasters decimated the once successful nation. Panem is ruled by the Capitol and divided into thirteen districts, each with a specific industry that sates the Capitol's lavish needs. Seventy-four years ago, the thirteen districts revolted against the Capitol but were defeated. To prevent further uprisings, the surviving 12 districts were punished through the annual Hunger Games: each district provides “tributes” -- a boy and a girl between the age of 12 and 18 -- through a lottery called “reaping.” The tributes, after much pomp and ceremony, are sent to the Hunger Games arena where they are made to fight each other to the death in a televised extravaganza, until only one remains. The last remaining survivor is declared winner, ensuring that his/her family and neighbors will have enough food for the rest of the year.
We meet the heroine, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, on the morning before the reaping, with her best friend Gale, in the woods outside of District 12. In the course of the first few pages of the book, we learn a lot about her family background, her role as provider for her family, and the fact that her entire existence revolves around keeping her sister, Prim, safe. When Prim's name is drawn in the reaping, Katniss volunteers in her stead, knowing that her decision likely means her death.
Katniss has to compete not only against tributes from the richer districts, many of whom have been training to participate in the Hunger Games all their lives, but with Peeta Mellark, a young man she has a history with. As the Games go on and the tributes fall one by one, Katniss has to draw both on her learned skills and rock-hard determination not only to survive, but to make the hard decisions necessary to make it back to her family.
The premise may seem a bit complicated, but Collins weaves it into the story in a manner that makes it comprehensible and unobtrusive, as readers are plunged right into the action. The first thing readers will notice in The Hunger Games is the solid world building. Panem, the Capitol and its Districts, were described in such a matter-of-fact tone and detail that it felt real. It wasn’t exactly the numerous details that made the world so convincing, but the way that Panem was portrayed not just as a place, but as a living, breathing character in the novel. The contrast between the rich Capitol and poor District 12 was stark, and disturbingly familiar, almost a mirror to the societal division between the rich and the poor here in the Philippines. Click here to read the rest of the review....more
If there was a book that the last page literally saved, it was this one. And not only because it was ending.
I wanted to like this book, really, becausIf there was a book that the last page literally saved, it was this one. And not only because it was ending.
I wanted to like this book, really, because I thought it was fun. But I didn't have fun with it, and it didn't teach me anything that I didn't know already. I don't know if women really become *that* desperate when they reach a certain age and they are still single, and I really would rather not believe so. I wanted to smack all the characters silly for being so...well, pathetic.
But I'm giving it two stars if only for the last page of their "learning". Otherwise, this book went against a LOT of my beliefs, and I sure pray to God that I won't lose my senses if I ever get to that stage....more
The characters in this novel were strong and unique, each of them having a different voice, even if it’s just a minor character. The supporting characThe characters in this novel were strong and unique, each of them having a different voice, even if it’s just a minor character. The supporting characters, Lena and Marjorie, were fun, and convincing, while Kimmy, the main antagonist, was just as hateful. The story was painted over a setting that was very believable, and I could actually imagine where they went at this party or
I think the strength of My Imaginary Ex is not just in its characters, but in how the story was told. The jumps back in time is enough to show us how Jasmine and Zack’s friendship grew, and how he met his exes and how things changed. The transitions between the past and present were straightforward so it wouldn’t leave you wondering where you are in the novel’s time line. And I absolutely loved it when Jasmine came to an epiphany — I felt like I was with Lena and Marjorie, heaving a sigh of relief when Jasmine finally agreed to their plan.
My Imaginary Ex is the type of story where you’ll find yourself rooting for the characters to get together in the end, because if they don’t…well, what’s the use? While I didn’t really liked a particular scene in the book (sorry, I’m just conservative, I guess), the ending was still very satisfying, and would make you want a Zack of your own. I know I did....more
I thought it would be shallow, and would have a happily-ever-after ending, but it didn't, and I liked it. It was poignant, and I found myself rootingI thought it would be shallow, and would have a happily-ever-after ending, but it didn't, and I liked it. It was poignant, and I found myself rooting for Jennifer/Jenna and Cameron all throughout the book. :)...more
I really have mixed feelings about this book. I had a really hard time going through it, and most of the time I was wondering, "What's the point?" TheI really have mixed feelings about this book. I had a really hard time going through it, and most of the time I was wondering, "What's the point?" Then somehow, it started getting better, and I found myself actually starting to like it.
On an overall scale, the book was beautiful and sad at the same time and I found myself rooting for Henry and Clare all throughout the book. I liked it, but honestly, it's not really an OMG THIS BOOK IS AMAZING kind of book. I guess I'm just really more of a lighthearted romance girl. :P...more
Loved, loved, loved it. :) I couldn't put it down! Trish was crazy and amusing, Spenser was just sweet. Spenser is probably my favorite guy characterLoved, loved, loved it. :) I couldn't put it down! Trish was crazy and amusing, Spenser was just sweet. Spenser is probably my favorite guy character in the entire Sushi series (Venus is still my favorite among the cousins). :D This book is just as awesome as the first and the third. :)...more
It's...okay. The present tense style really had me confused a bit. The story was cute, nothing too monumental, and I have to admit that at some pointIt's...okay. The present tense style really had me confused a bit. The story was cute, nothing too monumental, and I have to admit that at some point in the book, I was starting to get bored with the entire thing. But it's a good, light read, just nothing I'd rave over. ...more
It didn't have the same satisfying ending as Thr3e did, but it contained the same thrill and creepiness and surprise up until the end, especially in tIt didn't have the same satisfying ending as Thr3e did, but it contained the same thrill and creepiness and surprise up until the end, especially in the final twist. I so did not expect that. I thought for a moment that there would be a longer "what happened next" story after...when I got to the last newspaper article, I was sort of disappointed that there wasn't.
True enough, this book was creepy in more ways than one. It didn't make me sleep with my lights on, but it certainly made me think. I'm a big fan of CSI, and I like how everything there in the show is done methodically and there's medical and scientific explanation for almost everything, but Adam brings in a whole new dimension into the crime scenes and the motives and yes, the spiritual factor. It's really something no one should dismiss.
I liked this, but give me a short time before reading anything like this. I need to catch my heart first. ;)...more
**spoiler alert** It's a quick, fun read, kind of reminded me of Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. I liked it, and the characters are pretty decent eve**spoiler alert** It's a quick, fun read, kind of reminded me of Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. I liked it, and the characters are pretty decent even if Dylan annoyed me like hell on the first few chapters. The pacing of the story is just right and even if I wanted for Dylan and Josh to get together in the end, it's okay that they didn't. After all, it's more of a self-discovery and friendship story than a romance. :)...more