I devoured this book! I seriously did not want to put it down, which surprised me given the hokey cover and the fact that I could not stand Kiersten WI devoured this book! I seriously did not want to put it down, which surprised me given the hokey cover and the fact that I could not stand Kiersten White's bubble gum Paranormalcy Series.
And I Darken has it all…an original and intriguing story, a heroine that I can respect, a little bit of swoon, well developed characters and great, well-paced writing.
And Lada, our heroine is beyond amazing.
I would even say she is reminiscent of Quintana of Quintana of Charyn, though Lada is slightly less insane than Quintana…though maybe not by much.
“On our wedding night," she said, "I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”
I appreciated Lada's struggle to reconcile her ambition with the very real limitations presented to her by virtue of being born a woman. And I admired Kiersten White for writing such an honest portrayal of a women in such circumstances. Lada is not willowy. She plots, she rages, she endeavors to best every man in her path, and she is blinded to the power she is giving up thru her disdain of her own gender and denying her own femininity. She is flawed.
But Lada isn’t the only amazing part of this story. And I Darken contains well drawn secondary characters as well. They enrich the story as this book is split on being driven by characters as well as plot.
The story White depicts is enthralling and action packed. But I would be remiss if I didn't also voice my appreciation for the unconventional setting, Eastern Europe, and the fictitious portrayal of very real historical figures within the Ottoman Empire. I’ve not yet read a book that tackles this time period, or geographical location and I for one, am fascinated.
I cannot wait to get my hands on book two. ...more
My feelings of Like a River Glorious are mixed. Overall, it was a decent sequel, and many of the components that prompted my love of its predecessor cMy feelings of Like a River Glorious are mixed. Overall, it was a decent sequel, and many of the components that prompted my love of its predecessor can be found within this story. However, I felt that Rae Carson did a disservice to her story by not adequately addressing the plight of Native Americans in the same vein as Lee's struggle navigating a male dominated world in a time when women had no rights to claim. I think that would have made for a much more compelling story that would not have had to rely on the reader hating Lee's Uncle Hiram with a fire of a thousand suns to move the plot forward. Because let's be real, at this point, Hiram's character has become so villainous, he reads as borderline cartoonish.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story overall, and I believe Rae Carson has accomplished what many authors hope to achieve when writing the second book of their series, which is to propel the overall arc in a way that will enable the final book to tell an entertaining story that will provide a realistic resolution. ...more
What's that saying, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?
I can't fault Maggie for my dislike of this book. All the signs were pointiWhat's that saying, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?
I can't fault Maggie for my dislike of this book. All the signs were pointing to my inevitable disappointment. I struggled to read the series from the onset. The story was very gripping at the start of the series, allowing me to overlook the things that would ultimately consume my reading experience. The story was so unique that I didn't mind that these teenage characters talked like overly educated and somewhat demented old men with all their use of non-sensical metaphors, Ill timed prose, unrelated use of simile and annoyed me with all their angst. But as the series progressed, the story became thin. The things I enjoyed became increasingly sparse and all the PURPLE that this author is known for became more and more abundant. I have never read so much PURPLE!
Frankly, I didn't understand much of this final installment. Why devote so much time to Henry, the strangest teenage boy ever written, and then write in a magical bee as his side kick. I mean what the what? I can deal with dream weavers. The Beatles sang about them, but I draw the line at magical bees past the age of 5.
And what about Noah? Did he become possessed at the time of his murder? Will this be on repeat forever?
Since when is Adam gay? I don't mind at all, except for the fact that he pined after Blue for three books and now, suddenly he is gay. I think that is doing a disservice to teens grappling with their sexuality. I don't think they flip a switch one day and decide to be gay, so I kind of think it's an extremely disrespectful thing to write into a story so thoughtlessly. That is something you develop. And let's face it, Ronan, was her best character and he deserves a better love interest.
I have so many more questions. Is Blue really part tree? (I could not imagine I would ever write such a question) How can a person mate with a tree? And produce a half tree entity? How did Blue's dad, the tree, get out of his magical prison to mate with Blue's mom, who, as a psychic, has demonstrated an extreme lack of foresight, only to get locked back into the magical prison again?
Is Adam real? If Cabeswater was mostly dreamt, how in the hell did Adam get suckered into doing its bidding at book 1? Couldn't he have just asked to be woken up? Or asked Ronan to dream him free?
And Ronan...who started out as my favorite character, was ruined. Per the author- he has always known what Cabeswater was which means his character has known what I should have known all along...this entire misadventure was for nothing!
But still, I have questions.
What was the point of introducing Gwenallian or whatever the hell her name was? She sing songed riddles throughout book three, making it appear she would have a purpose and proceeded to do NOTHING in book 4.
What about the ladies at 300 Fox Way? What did they see and why were they so damn useless?
Why did the demon need Piper if it had Neeve? At least Neeve was magic.
Is Gansey now part tree? Are he, Blue and Henry now a threesome?
What happened to Matthew? Was he unmade?
Why was the demon a hornet? Does that mean that it was the demon that killed Gansey when he was a child?
Did Maggie seriously set this series up to continue?!
Honestly- this story left me with more questions than answers and annoyed the shit out of me in the process. It was pretty clear that the author didn't have the end in mind when the first book was written and that irritates me.
But, I should have known better, so more than anything, I'm irritated with myself for picking this series up in the first place.
I don't always learn my lesson after a reading 1 disaster, but I learn after reading 4....more
A tremendous start to what will surely be a winsome series.
I am extremely fond of Carson’s writing ability having read and loved her Girl of Fire andA tremendous start to what will surely be a winsome series.
I am extremely fond of Carson’s writing ability having read and loved her Girl of Fire and Thorns series. She has a unique knack for creating extraordinary female leads without bestowing uncommon characteristics upon them such as model like beauty and extreme wittiness. Rather, Carson’s female characters present themselves to be of average looks and intelligence, with a grim resolve to succeed. These combined characteristics make Walk on Earth a Stranger’s female lead, Leah AKA Lee, a relatable and inspiring force to ”reckon with”. I was gripped by her story from the onset and enjoyed every moment of her journey.
Additionally, I found Carson’s approach to the Western-genre unique and exciting. I love to read epic journeys and have always felt a sense of awe towards early settlers who dared to better themselves by traveling into the great unknown. Throw in a magical “gold sense”, murderous uncle and slow-burn love story and you have a gripping tale of betrayal, murder, death, friendship and adventure. ...more
Red Queen could have greatly benefited from an editor. This book is filled with inconsistencies and details which are never explained. Example #1: WheRed Queen could have greatly benefited from an editor. This book is filled with inconsistencies and details which are never explained. Example #1: When Mare, our female lead, is coerced to disguise herself as a long lost Silver, her family is told that she is now a servant to the royal family. Later, Mare visits her family; she is posing as a servant still. However, news is shared with Mare, and suddenly, as if by osmosis, Mare’s family is aware that she is a Silver imposter, and princess in waiting???
Example #2: Queen Elara is a mind reader. Mare is plotting to overthrow the royal family. Mare’s narration declares her need to not think about her plot to overthrow the royal family. So what does Mare do? She walks alongside the queen and proceeds to think about her plot to overthrow the government.
There are many more examples, but to reveal them here would lead to spoilers. However, I will say that I somehow managed to enjoy the story enough to complete my reading of it in spite of the poor editing, and dare I say poor writing. Red Queen is brain candy and an overall quick read, once you stop searching for what you somehow missed when you encounter a plot hole. Just accept the glaring hole, and move on. ...more
TheKingdomofLittleWounds is not for the faint of heart. The subject matter is beautifully, albeit grotesquely, told and contains many scenes I was shoTheKingdomofLittleWounds is not for the faint of heart. The subject matter is beautifully, albeit grotesquely, told and contains many scenes I was shocked to read, including but not limited to anal rape. But this book is more than a sum of explicit scenes. It is a wonderful character study that sheds light on what life might have been like for those individuals who lived in the mid to late 1500s.
If you a fan of history, enjoy reading historical fiction, and are not repulsed by dark content, you may enjoy reading TheKingdomofLittleWounds as I did....more
It took me 94 agonizing pages to even like this book. I set it aside several times assuming that the remaining pages would be much the same. Tedious aIt took me 94 agonizing pages to even like this book. I set it aside several times assuming that the remaining pages would be much the same. Tedious and without structure or depth. I could not understand how TheWinnersCurse had won over so many of my fellow readers. Readers who I know to be discerning. They do not waste their time with crap. So why then had these very astute readers insisted I read a trilogy? (I'm trying to boycott them). Finally, I succumbed to peer pressure and read on...and around page 102, the tide turned. I became interested in the story. I began to like the characters, understand the universe and without my recognizing, I started ravenously reading each page.
My liking of this story is beyond my understanding. It isn't AMAZING but it is entertaining and not at all as vapid as I initially thought it to be. And heaven help me, I actually want to know what happens....more
If wide spread readership of Grasshopper Jungle reflects that of my reading group, this book will have a polarizing effect. It's frequent talk of hornIf wide spread readership of Grasshopper Jungle reflects that of my reading group, this book will have a polarizing effect. It's frequent talk of horniness, sperm, and repetitive nature annoyed a lot of folks. But I for one found this book to be extremely amusing and oddly thought provoking.
*Kudos to Andrew Smith for allowing his narrator to be horrendously flawed. So many YA books shy away from writing their characters in a way that may make them unlikeable, but not Andrew Smith. The end result was a relatable character, even to those who were never "horny" 16 year old boys....more
Fiona Wood, and her Australian YA counterparts, are an integral part of why I continue to read YA. Many YA characters are so perfectly constructed thaFiona Wood, and her Australian YA counterparts, are an integral part of why I continue to read YA. Many YA characters are so perfectly constructed that they become unbelievable. While this can be amusing and even entertaining, I would hardly consider it relatable. Not so with Wildlife.
Don’t be fooled by the cover, this isn’t a cutesy love story. It’s a story about navigating life’s uncharted territories including disingenuous friends, misleading boys, and being true to who you are regardless of how popular or unpopular that might make you, all of which is fleshed out amidst outdoor camp setting.
I was impressed with so many aspects of Wildlife from the way characters were described, the issues they grappled with, and especially how the topic of sex was addressed, unflinchingly frank and honest.
A great read for anyone wishing for a witty, humorous, and humbling look at those final teen years. ...more
TheInfiniteSea clearly suffers from middle book syndrome. I struggled thru it, and cast it aside several times. I both loved and hated the multiple poTheInfiniteSea clearly suffers from middle book syndrome. I struggled thru it, and cast it aside several times. I both loved and hated the multiple points of view. However, I don't much care for the character of Ringer, and given that her POV is the most substantial, I found myself skimming thru a majority of the book. Those who enjoyed her character are bound to have an entirely different reading experience.
For those of you who haven't yet read this sequel, I feel confident in saying you could easily skip it as everything and nothing transpires over the course of the book. You could wiki the spoilers and be fully prepared to jump into book 3. What should have been a major reveal was mostly underwhelming, which is a shame, because the concept is fabulous and right in my reading wheelhouse. Ultimately, I fear this trilogy will not end well. And by well, I mean in a manner that will justify the reading of the series. Figners crossed I am proven wrong....more
Oh to be young and feel the thrill of experiencing love, lust and miscommunication for the first time. Bitterness hasn't taken hold, nor have the lessOh to be young and feel the thrill of experiencing love, lust and miscommunication for the first time. Bitterness hasn't taken hold, nor have the lessons learned from past mistakes as those mistakes have yet to happen. It's an awkward, exciting and vulnerable emotional/mental state...and it has the tendency to make us more than a little stupid. I'd like to say it gets better with age, but adulthood does not remedy the idiocy of love's keen sting.
The Infinite Moment of Us does a great job of displaying all the mental trials and emotional triumphs that coincide with falling in love for the first time, or even with someone new. It’s a quick read that personifies what it means to be young, in love, and full of hope.
I give extra points to Myracle for refusing to fade her scenes to black. The sex scenes are tastefully descriptive....more
I had no intentions of reading The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. I gave it a wide birth once I began reading its comparisons to One HI had no intentions of reading The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. I gave it a wide birth once I began reading its comparisons to One Hundred Years of Solitude. I was not a fan of Marquez's most lauded work. While I found the concept intriguing, my interest waned as I slogged through seemingly endless amounts of description. It took me a year to finish. I was pretty pissed at myself for my stubborn refusal to cast it aside. I sold it to half priced books out of revenge. So why on earth would I endeavor to torment myself further by reading a YA version of the time suck?
Then, as luck would have it, my resolved weakened. It began with a yearning for a reading experience that was slightly out of the ordinary. One that would ward off boredom, while weaving its own brand of magic within my mind. I wanted to read a story with lovely, lyrical language, that told a tale of tragedy, and love. Courage,fear and heartbreak. I didn't desire a particular ending. It was the journey I craved. I found it in The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.
Walton's debut reads like life. A life filled with tragedy, wistful bravery, love only plausible when you were untouched by heart break and chances that are recognized as miraculous to those who endeavor to earn back opportunities wasted in youth. These concepts would cause many of us to weep till our eyes bleed if it wasn't presented with a slight hint of implausibility. Que the magical realism. The tales of the Lavender women are wanderously devastating. They will also cause you to crave a puff pasty like no other. I say that last bit in all seriousness. Either read this book with a baquet, slice of brie and a glass of wine OR a latte and chocolate croissant. Otherwise you will surely regret it.
My feelings towards Blue Lily Lily Blue are mixed and befuddled. This series has always been…peculiar; however, those indescribable peculiarities areMy feelings towards Blue Lily Lily Blue are mixed and befuddled. This series has always been…peculiar; however, those indescribable peculiarities are part of the reason I have enjoyed this series thus far. But having now come to the third installment of this four part series, I’m beginning to wonder if what I was initially chalking up to uniqueness is in fact, poor writing.
I’m not a slow reader. I can clear a 400 page book in a few short hours, but each book in this series has left me exhausted and weary. The language is lovely. The story is intriguing, but the content often makes little to no sense. I find myself reading a passage, and becoming confused upon reading the following paragraph as the content does not follow any form of logic. Perhaps this is due to the un-knowable nature of the book’s universe, but I have found, especially with this author, that vagueness is often used to cover a great deal of writing sins. The only way to know for sure is to press on, and press on I shall. For though I am at a complete loss as to what is happening within this story, I have enjoyed the ride and am curious to learn how all these loose threads will be tied.
Will Gansey die? If so, what will facilitate his demise? True loves kiss? Or Adam’s actions, or Gansey’s own wish to restore Noah’s life? Will Ronan now understand how to awaken his mother and ensure his brother’s future survival? Who put the animals to sleep? Was it another Graywaren? What is Blue’s talent? Is she a witch? Or some other oddity, and just why exactly was that information withheld from her? Where is Glendower? And how was Gansey able to wield a king’s power? What exactly did Piper awaken? And how was Neeve able to return? But most importantly, How did Persephone die and what do the women of 300 Fox Way see?!?!
These are questions that remain to be answered, and I for one, am expecting to learn in the final installment. Stay tuned. ...more
I won’t lie, reading this book was exhausting. The moment I was introduced to a new character, Eliza, and her POV, I was peeved. It signified that inI won’t lie, reading this book was exhausting. The moment I was introduced to a new character, Eliza, and her POV, I was peeved. It signified that in order to tie up all the loose threads presented in the first two books, my much loved story was going to become all the more convoluted. There were many times that I would come to this new POV and I would set the book aside. I didn’t like or care for the character and I often found myself wishing her away. There were also numerous times that my desire to read a happy ending for Karou and Akiva was the only thing that kept me reading. Thankfully Ms. Taylor provided one.
Having said that, I did enjoy the journey that Laini Taylor has written.
The world is imaginative, as are the characters with whom I had become deeply invested. How Ms. Taylor was able to fathom such a world blows me away. It’s Cruel, grotesque and wonderous.
The writing is lovely.
“Liraz had heard it said that there was only one emotion which, in recollection, was capable of resurrecting the full immediacy and power of the original - one emotion that time could never fade, and that would drag you back any number of years into the pure, undiluted feeling, as if you were living it anew. It wasn't love - not that she had any experience of that one - and it wasn't hate, or anger, or happiness, or even grief. Memories of those were but echoes of the true feeling. It was shame. Shame never faded, and Liraz realized only now that this was the baseline of her emotions - her bitter, curdled "normal" - and that her soul was poisoned soil in which nothing good could grow.”
And the woman can drag out sexual tension like no one I have ever seen! It’s borderline cruel.
“Akiva felt the tilt of the world trying to tip him forward: to be nearer to her--nearer and touching--as though that were the only state of rest, and every other action and movement were geared to achieving it.”
“But let's not be casual about this body, okay?" She nuzzled him back. "It may be your soul that I love, but I'm pretty keen on its vessel, too." Her voice had dropped lower as she spoke, and his response was low and husky in kind. "I can't say I'm sorry to hear that," he said, and brushed his face past hers to kiss a place beneath her ear, sending instant, electric frissons coursing through her body.”
It’s difficult to delve further into a review as this story is rather complicated, and the task seems daunting, for me at least. It’s clear that while Akiva and Karou’s story has been “wrapped up”, the stories from this world are far from over. I only hope the next adventures are told from Liraz and Ziri’s point of view as I have become firmly invested in them. I’d love to see how their roles within this world progresses, and their relationship unfolds. ...more
I don’t understand the impulse that lead me to read Just One Year, especially given my extreme dislike for its predecessor Just One Day and my loathinI don’t understand the impulse that lead me to read Just One Year, especially given my extreme dislike for its predecessor Just One Day and my loathing of Willem. Some book fairy must have been whispering in my ear as I was perusing books at the library or perhaps I was the beneficiary of time’s passing. In the year since I first read Just One Day , I was able to forget how much I wanted to cut Willem. I could no longer recall the behaviors that made me dislike him so vehemently and was left rather emotionless about both he or Allyson by the time I sat down to read this installment. I’m so very glad that I didn’t attempt to refresh my own memory because I loved reading Willem’s journey of self-discovery.
Aside for the few passages where Willem recalls events that transpired the day he met Allyson, aka Lulu, she is completely absent from this book (omitting the last two-ish pages). Therefore, if you are looking for a reconnection and kindling of romance between these two, you will not find it here, and will be wholly disappointed. Just One Year is Willem’s story. We are finally allowed to see why he acted like such a douchebag when he was with Allyson for that one life altering day in Paris, and I have to say, I ended up charmed by him. I would never date him, much less pine over him and search the planet for him, but I was charmed. With Allyson gone, we are truly able to understand Willem’s head space, learn about his past, understand his actions, and accept them. Upon learning about his parents love story, and the subsequent loss of his father, I was able to more easily accept how he could allow himself to become so invested in a girl he didn’t even attempt to learn the name of. While I still grapple with whether or not it is possible to love someone after so little time, I can very easily believe that spending even just a few precious hours with a person can set you on a course that could lend itself life altering revelations, which could further lead to life changing choices.
At the end of the day, I very much enjoyed following along as Willem traveled to Amsterdam, Mexico, India and beyond. I appreciated the life lessons he learned, the sense of self he discovered, the family he pieced back together, and the purpose he chose to pursue. The fact that his 18 hour attraction was validated was simply icing on the cake. I could and would have been just as satisfied had he and Allyson never found each other again after so much time, because Foreman, restored to her former writing glory, was wise enough to show us that both he and Allyson would have been happy, fulfilled individuals with or without one another ...more
HalfBad tells the story of Nathan, a witch born to a beloved white witch mother and the most notorious black witch known to exist. At the start of theHalfBad tells the story of Nathan, a witch born to a beloved white witch mother and the most notorious black witch known to exist. At the start of the story, we are unaware of the circumstances pertaining to his conception, but we are made fully aware of the fact that his half bad status is a tremendous liability, for himself, his three half siblings, and his white witch grandmother.
Throughout the story, we witness Nathan's subjection to segregation, isolation, torment, etc. all inflicted upon him by the good and honorable white witch population that live in fear of Nathan's potential to transcend into black witch territory and become yet another mighty foe. While I'm certain most readers are convinced of Nathan's goodness, we remain unsure of whether his goodness is a product of nature or nurture. Nor are we certain that his "goodness" will remain in take as he comes of age, and his witch ability is awakened.
What follows is a tale about a boy who grows up in initially trying circumstances that ultimately become despicable examples of human depravity. It will make you question everything and everyone, shout out in indignation, tear up in horror. ...more
The story of Peter Pan never intrigued me as a child. I was always day dreaming about what I would be, see and do when I grew up; therefore the concepThe story of Peter Pan never intrigued me as a child. I was always day dreaming about what I would be, see and do when I grew up; therefore the concept of living in a realm where you could forever remain a child was not appealing. It is only in adulthood, that I understand. But even still, the story of Peter Pan is not my favorite. I say this so that you understand my love of Tiger Lily was unexpected.
I can't even put my finger on what prompted me to glance at Tiger Lily, but I was a goner within the first few pages. Told from Tinker Bell's point of view, we are enabled to see a broad view of the underbelly of Neverland and the host of characters that reside within the magical realm.
Tiger Lilly's Neverland wasn't what I imagined it would be. It's dark, lonely and dangerous. The woods are only a place to romp and play within for those that are extraordinarily brave or oblivious. The residents themselves live with a constant undercurrent of fear whether it be of their fellow villagers, pirates, wild beasts, Englanders, or most fearsome of all, change.
We are also shown the characters we all recognize, though new, colorful sides of them are presented. Captain Hook, for instance, is a drunken, desolate man, who no longer recognizes himself as he was when he was a young, eager man searching for eternal youth.
On the other hand, Peter Pan, is everything we have known him to be, adventureous, impulsive, and charming. However, we also learn that his playful, seemingly spontaneous actions are driven from fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of growing up and the responsibility that coincides with adulthood.
But the biggest treat of all is a character barely referenced in the tale of Peter Pan, Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily is a lonesome character with a fierce will and a deep sense of compassion that she carefully keeps hidden. Adopted at infancy by the village Shaman, she is taunted and teased mercilessly. Many believe she is cursed. Her story is not a happy one. Yet it is evident from the onset that Tiger Lily has a thirst for exploration, and eagerness to discover the world and her place within it.
In spite of my knowing that Peter ultimately winds up with Wendy Darling, I couldn't help but feel the wrongness of such an ending as I became immersed in their story. The characters of Tiger Lily and Peter called to one another, each possessing characteristics the other lacked, delighting in all the traits that made them the same and failing in their ability to express either.
Ultimately, it was the choices of each of these characters, and those closest to them that made this book both heartbreaking and joyful. It's truly a beautiful and surprisingly haunting tale....more
To say I was hesitant to read a book written by a YA writing duo would be an understatement, Garcia and Stohl anyone? But I must say that These BrokenTo say I was hesitant to read a book written by a YA writing duo would be an understatement, Garcia and Stohl anyone? But I must say that These Broken Stars was certainly one of the stronger YA debuts I’ve read of late. No glaring plot holes, solid writing, fun plot, etc.
Told from duel point of views, These Broken Stars tells the story of Tarver, a poor but highly honored, soldier and Lilac, the sole heiress and only child to the richest man in the Galaxy. The story begins with these characters meeting each other for the first time during a party hosted on space liner, the Icarus. Their meeting is short, but sweet. However Tarver and Lilac are quickly thrust together when the fastest and largest liner in the galaxy falls to its impending doom and they are stranded upon an unknown planet. It doesn’t take long for us readers to presume that Tarver and Lilac are sole survivors (pretty sure it says as much on the dust jacket) and so the story truly unfolds. We read as Tarver and Lilac fight, traverse foreign land, encounter unknown species, fight for their survival and ultimately, fall in love. Think Titanic, only imagine it was set in space and Jack doesn’t die and is significantly less animated. At its heart, These Broken Stars is a romance with a survival tale woven in to prevent it from appearing too sappy. ...more
This is book for anyone who had less than stellar high school experience. I for one despised high school. In fact, I hated school from first grade on.This is book for anyone who had less than stellar high school experience. I for one despised high school. In fact, I hated school from first grade on. This was is no way due to the required learning. That part I loved. It was the evil little turds known as my class mates that made school so miserable. To this day I can’t pin point why I was the target of so much ridicule. I wasn’t the prettiest, or the most unfortunate looking. I wasn’t rich, but wasn’t dirt poor either so it’s not as though I had the best or worst clothing (which is sadly a driver to fitting in). I was athletic and I was intelligent, but I hardly boasted about either and it wasn’t as though several others couldn’t say the same. The only discernable difference I can ever recall having is that I was “mature” for my age and cared way too much about the opionions of others. This combo may have made me an odd child. Regardless, school was a horror. I often cried myself to sleep and dreaded having to attend school each day. The impending doom would make my stomach clench and the sense of dread didn’t ease until I arrived home each afternoon. In grade school, the girls would exclude me, whisper about me, tell troubled boys I liked them, would pretend to befriend me, only to embarrass me on the playground, and while the boys would gladly allow me to join in on a game of kickball, they would hardly defend me, or invite me to be a part of their inner circle. I spent lunch alone, and class time withdrawn. As I grew, the ridicule evolved. By middle school, I continued to be ignored, yet gossiped about by the girls, but my relationship with the boys changed. They started noticing I had boobs, and curves in places that some of my female classmates did not. They stopped allowing me to find solace in recess kickball, and instead opted for trying to lure me under the bleachers to make out. While I refused, it didn’t prevent them from telling others that I hadn’t, only adding fuel to the fire. By the time high school rolled around, I had a reputation for being “easy” even though I had only kissed one boy and he went to an entirely different school and was known by no one in my school district. I couldn’t trust anyone enough to bother with befriending them. Past experiences with girls made me believe that any female who was nice to me for more than a few seconds was just trying to get me to let my guard down long enough to make people believe whatever dirt she intended to invent and spread about me, and guys assumed I was an easy lay, so after accepting two dates with two different guys who only wanted to suggest parking at a local boat access as our date, I began turning down the attentions of any guy who bothered to show an interest. Needless to say, school was lonely, and I was miserable. So it probably goes without saying that I related to Elise and her story. I could understand how she felt before her attempted suicide because I felt that way myself. Sad, angry, hopeful that something miraculous would happen to turn everything all around or that if I said or did the “right” thing, I could turn it all around for myself. Praying to meet one person who bothered to look past all the untruths being said about me and attempt to get to know me for whom I was, and like me. That didn't happen for me until senior year, and it required an event that I'm not going to recount here to transpire in order to make it possible. So, I understood why Elise did what she did when she realized it wouldn't happen for her either. And while I personally didn’t resort to an attempted suicide as a possible escape (my coping mechanism took shape in the form of bulimia), I can more than sympathize with a need, dare I say necessity, for an outlet.
It’s hard to describe my reading experience of This Song Will Save Your Life. It brought back feelings and memories I never really cared to revisit. But there was a comfort that came from reading it as well because I can’t imagine that anyone could write about such a wretched school experience if they themselves hadn’t suffered the same thing, and for any of you out there that may have also been taunted and teased in such a way, you know the kind of hope and comradery that can form among fellow misfits. This book is so unabashedly honest in the truths it unveils. That telling someone doesn't help, in fact, it is often more harmful than not, and the only respite comes at the end of the day when you can leave your classmates behind for a few waking hours. I’m so so glad that Leila Sales had the courage to write such a book and I hope that those who are suffering from miserable school experiences read this and feel a little less alone. I promise you, it gets better, but I’ll be honest, it requires graduating. A song, or talent for music, doesn’t always save a life, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many endless hours I spent listening to music. It was an extreme comfort to me then, as were books, and continues to be to this day. I could say more about This Song Will Save Your Life, however, I’ve rambled on long enough. Just know that this book is a gem, and I am thankful to have read it. ...more
E.Lockhart is an amazing writer and a great story teller...but We Were Liars did not speak to me as her other works have. Perhaps it was the deviationE.Lockhart is an amazing writer and a great story teller...but We Were Liars did not speak to me as her other works have. Perhaps it was the deviation of her normal writing style (this book possesses a slight verse style) or the overly cerebral use of nouns that served a character description.
“He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.”
How one becomes strong coffee, I do not know, but I endeavor to find out!
But more to the point, due to Lockhart’s particular use of prose, I often found myself being taken out of the story. I could not reconcile the characters within my reader mind. One moment we are to believe that these privileged 15 year olds are young enough to still seek and find pleasure in the solitude provided by an island where no technology, such as cell phones can be used, and the only company to be found is that of their cousins, whom they have nothing in common but DNA and memories, only to see that they have thoughts such as these…
“Here is something I love about Gat: he is so enthusiastic, so relentlessly interested in the world, that he has trouble imagining the possibility that other people will be bored by what he’s saying. Even when they tell him outright. But also, he doesn’t like to let us off easy. He wants to make us think—even when we don’t feel like thinking.”
In my opinion, a 15 year old still innocent enough to not yet realize the social implications of reclusion, will not be able to personify a trait, such as the one in the quote listed above, so acutely. I’m 29 and I am not certain that I could!
Overall, the writing is superb and the story is a good one, though I guessed at the ending rather quickly. NonethelessWe Were Liars is still a stronger book than most of what it being currently published within the YA genre and one that I am certain many readers will love to read. ...more