I'm torn. This book has many of the things I hate about NA. But, you know what? The author has the characters come out and admit the shit about4 stars
I'm torn. This book has many of the things I hate about NA. But, you know what? The author has the characters come out and admit the shit about themselves that I didn't like and then they fucking evolved.
A fun little book as always and as always everything was easily resolved. If Mary Calmes could work on tension and make her resolutions hard won, herA fun little book as always and as always everything was easily resolved. If Mary Calmes could work on tension and make her resolutions hard won, her books could be amazing and not just entertaining....more
I grudgingly liked this one. The first half is filled with cliches and Rowan is such a girl hater. But the last 100 pages where so much fun I forgaveI grudgingly liked this one. The first half is filled with cliches and Rowan is such a girl hater. But the last 100 pages where so much fun I forgave them for the first 100 or so....more
Lila is a thief and she enjoys it, because she is a very good thief. She’s quick, smart and agile. In Cloudburst Falls where monsters roam the streets and mob families fueled by magic control everything, being quick, smart and agile can save your life. Especially, if you keep your head down. Lila is a pro at keeping her head down. She has no friends and she has no family. Chances are, you wouldn’t even remember being in a room with her. She’s that good at keeping a low profile. She minds her own business and stays out of trouble.
That is until she sees Devon Sinclair get attacked. She tries to stay out of it. But, she just can’t stand by and watch him killed while she does nothing. So, she helps and her life changes drastically. Suddenly, people know who she is and have an idea of what she can do. The Sinclair’s want her to join their family as a bodyguard, the very last thing Lila wants as her mother doing that very job, but now that she’s stuck her neck out she has no recourse. She is on the radar of powerful people and needs the protection of the Sinclair’s name as much as they need the protection of her magic.
And, so begins a topsy turvy, magic filled adventure. This book is fun. It literally has everything I could need: organized crime, reluctant romance, action, intrigue and magic. Always magic. This book is very Urban Fantasy. It has all the elements of things like Kate Daniels and Charley Davidson. It’s dark and action packed with a heroine that kicks so much ass. The only difference is that Lila is a minor.
The lore of COLD BURN OF MAGIC is very interesting. It’s very fairy tale with paying trolls to cross bridges and not speaking the name of certain creatures. But, then it has mutant abilities where someone has the skill of compulsion, someone else can have strength and speed or the ability to use glamour and change their appearance.
This world is dangerous. You can either be killed by monsters or taken down by a rival family. It’s The Godfather meets X-Men meets the brother’s Grimm and yet has it’s own unique flair.
Then there is Lila. She is confident and independent and loyal, even though she tries to hide that part. The last time I enjoyed being in the head of a badass teenager this much her name was Rose Hathaway. They both just have this sort of I can do it all by myself, cuz I’m that awesome, but if you must help I’ll allow it, vibe. Lila is funny and filled with all these secrets. She’s got things inside her that she has carried alone for so long she doesn’t know how to share it with Devon and the other friends she gains in this book. Reading as she goes from loner to belonging to this makeshift, dangerous family adds heart and emotions to an action packed story.
Jennifer Estep does an amazing job of building the world and setting up what I anticipate as being a wildly entertaining series. There’s all this mystery surrounding Devon and his father’s death. Devon is a powerful young man from the second most powerful magic family and has no power. Because of this, he’s being hunted. He works hard on his body, on his physical skill, but without the use of magic he’s a sitting duck and needs protection, which he hates. But, Devon has secrets of his own and someone has discovered his secrets and wants to rip it out of him. Literally.
There’s a lot of intrigue in this book as Lila tries to figure out who is on her side and who can be trusted. When you’re dealing with power and money, everyone is up for grabs and anyone could be a potential enemy.
I liked this one. It kept me on the edge of my seat.
Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal YA....more
Scarlett is smart. As in, has graduated from high school two years early and spends her days working as a Private Detective for clients that no one else will listen to. Like a middle school kid who is pretty sure her older brother is responsible for the suicide of a local teenager. Other people would say, “of course he’s acting weird, kid, his best friend just jumped off of a bridge,” but Scarlett is good at reading people and she sees that her new client is afraid. So, like any 16-year old private detective with to much time on her hands, Scarlett takes the case.
The first time I saw the cover of this book I had to read it. Diversity is a huge deal for me, especially in YA. And, here we have a story about a Muslim American girl who is a young, competent and a badass Gumshoe. Picking up SCARLETT UNDERCOVER, I expected a cool Veronica Marsesque story. I got that and so much more.
On the surface her case seems to be about a bunch of rich kids, with too much time on their hands, but Scarlett quickly stumbles into a danger where her culture, her religion and her family are mixed in the middle. Not only does this case lead back to people in her life, but it is also a major lead on the case she’s been on for years….who killed her father.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s engaging, smart and action packed. Without giving anything away or spoiling the book, this book does a really good job of mixing detective story with myth and legend. Something like Maltese Falcon or the Da Vinci Code. Scarlett goes from investigating the death of a teenager to dealing with legends and stories from Islam.
I know more about the muslim religion from reading this book than anything I learned in school. Jennifer Latham does a great job of explaining aspects of Scarlett’s culture without ever seeming like textbook or like I’m sitting in a class. It seamlessly mixes in with the mystery that Scarlett uncovers.
This is going to sound like a left field reference, but my favorite show is Breaking Bad. What I love most about Breaking Bad is that Walt’s brother in law Hank isn’t a DEA agent just because Walt is a drug dealer as a cool aha twist. No, Walt is a drug dealer, because Hank is a DEA agent. Walt gets the idea from Hank’s job. Scarlett’s story is similar. Her background and religion make her unknowingly the best possible detective for the case. And, that’s why this book works. It’s one of the best integration of a character’s culture, I’ve come across. It’s super cool.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that Scarlett doesn’t really know what she believes. I liked that, because I think that’s true of most teenagers who grow up in religious families. When I was a teenager I had no idea how I felt about Christianity, even though I would acknowledge myself as a Christian, because that’s how I was raised. Scarlett is figuring it all out. It was really smart of the author to not bang it into our head that “look I’m writing diversity. Look, my character is muslim, look she’s got brown skin, etc etc.” Because, yes, Scarlett is of color and she’s muslim, but first she’s just a girl. And, she’s got a crush and she worries about her family and she wants to hunt down the people who killed her father.
The reason this book isn’t 5 stars is a personal thing. I am not a huge fan of the film noir in modern day adaptations. I liked Scarlett, but at times she had that kind of like too cool, I’m setting up the scene in a certain way just to fit the genre and my observations are super smart, because I’m a detective. I personally am not a fan of that. It’s a bit too stylized for me and often took me out of the story.
Add to that the fact that the story doesn’t seem done and yet is a stand alone, I had some issues. Done for me would have been a 100% confirmation of whether or not the legends were true. To be honest as a fan of fantasy I wanted them to be true. There’s talk about luck, but luck is a tricky thing. Luck doesn’t have to be magic it could be right place, right time. I wanted a Jin to jump out of a bottle and start doing magic. Perhaps it could have happened. Perhaps not. The story isn’t about whether or not these things are true. It’s about who believes it and what they are willing to do for that belief. Which is fine and is done very well.
I just personally would have preferred an ending that involved wishes and magic.
In a genre filled with pretty popular girls in gorgeous gowns, "Made You Up" is that really cool girl with colorful hair and painted chucks who is whoIn a genre filled with pretty popular girls in gorgeous gowns, "Made You Up" is that really cool girl with colorful hair and painted chucks who is who she is and doesn't give a fuck.
The synopsis of this book doesn’t give a clear summary of what this book is about. Like, at all. MAKING PRETTY is about one of the most messed up families I have ever encountered. Which is a feat considering there is no drugs or obvious abuse. Montana wasn’t raped and isn’t hiding in closets from her father, but still calling this family dysfunctional is putting it lightly.
Montana and Arizona are two years apart in age, but have done everything together. Except, for College. Being two years younger Montana just can’t go off to university like her older sister. She’s left behind in New York with her useless father. Their father loves them and he provides for them, but he is one of the worst dads I’ve ever read, because he’s a horrible parent. He’s the kind of guy who brings work home, literally. As a plastic surgeon he spends his time making people “more beautiful” and he doesn’t stop at the office. He looks at every woman around him and sees flaws he can fix. Even on his own daughters. For their 13 birthdays, their dad gave them gift certificates for plastic surgery! Way to tell your child that they are not good enough or beautiful.
The other horrible thing about their dad is that he can never be alone. Never. Which has lead to dozens of girlfriends and 4 ex-wives. Think about that. Montana is 17 and her father has already been divorced 4 times. The selfishness of a parent who brings that many people for his impressionable daughters to lose is beyond my comprehension. It’s disgusting and rage inducing.
Rage inducing is a good description for my relationship with MAKING PRETTY. I hated so many characters. Hated all the things they said and all the things Montana didn’t say to them. Especially, after her dad tells her that he’s in love again and that it’s different this time! The moment we meet the new girlfriend, someone that Montana knows intimately, the book spirals into an uncomfortable coming of age family drama that kept me on a roller coaster of anger and pity.
Corey Ann Haydu is a talented author. Her style is smart and rhythmic and pulls you into every detail of the story. I was pulled in. I felt for these characters as if they were real. As if Montana was my friend telling me the story. The author pulled emotions out of me like a puppet master.
The problem is that I believe that I hate this book. Not in the way that I hate offensive or condescending books. It’s not bad. The characters are developed and the story clear. There is the small problem that Montana does not sound 17. She sounds 15. She doesn’t have the voice of someone who has the pressure of SAT’s and the big choices ahead of her. 17 year olds have to decide on colleges and begin the path of who they want to be and what they want to do. Nothing about Montana tells me she has that kind of stress. I say 15, because by then you’ve been through a year of high school which is a life of its own. You’ve had some life experience and some struggles, but the hard choices are still ahead of you. Montana was an immature 17 which worked for the dysfunction of the book.
I hate this book because it pulled emotions out of me and then left me hanging. The ending is no ending at all. One of those pretentious books where the ending is all open ended and nothing is resolved and nothing is concluded.
It’s not that I need things wrapped up in a pretty bow (though that would be nice). No, it’s that Montana doesn’t get to grow. I don’t have any idea what will happen to her on the other side of the last chapter. I have no idea how she will deal with the choices she’s made. I have no idea if her and the boy she falls in love with, will stay together for awhile or if they will break up. Then there’s the fact that no one changes. In the beginning of the book, Montana thinks “I should tell him this. I should say that. I should voice my opinions for once in my life.” At the end of the book, Montana thinks “I should tell him this. I should say that. I should voice my opinions for once in my life.”
That is what I found most frustrating. This is a girl who received such bad parenting she literally doesn’t know what it means to be in a family. She doesn’t know what it means to love. Her parents have screwed her up and she never gets a chance to express herself! When there are small moments of arguments it’s never completed.
I guess that’s supposed to mimic real life, but really it’s b.s. Why did I read a book where people make the same choices. Then, Montana and Arizona begin a journey at the end of the book which is just a cheap ending for me, because I have no idea where it’s leading them or how it will help them. I don’t think it will help them. I think it will break them and the author gave me no clues that their world will have any kind of satisfying or happy conclusion. In fact, their journey probably will make a better story than the one I got.
I can’t quite figure out what the message behind this book is. Here is a girl who doesn’t have a real family life. Who has been left behind and abandoned more times than she can count. Understandably, she latches on to people like her boyfriend or Karissa the young woman she idolizes. But, she never learns what it means to be in a family besides the glimpses she sees of other families. Beyond her sister, she never grabs on to a healthy relationship. In all honesty, I think Montana is going to get knocked up a few times, divorced a few times and still search for a place to belong, because the author gave me no concrete evidence that it will end any other way.
A very weak ending. Disappointing, because I sincerely believe you should read her other book Life by Committee. ...more
I’m a picky reader. I notice every flaw. Every plot hole and every cliche. Friends hate recommending favorite books to me, because I’ll critique it in my heavy handed way. Sometimes, it makes people feel as if I think they’re silly for liking what they like. I don’t. I’m just picky. Legendarily picky. I’m judgmental and I have high standards.
So, when I tell you that “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” was an absolute pleasure and joy to read, you have to believe me.
Simon Spier has a secret. He’s gay. He’s not ashamed of being gay. He doesn’t think the world will end if he tells the world he’s gay. He just wants to tell everyone when he feels it’s right. It’s his life, his secret, his timing. So, when class clown and virtual stranger Martin discovers Simon’s secret identity and his emails with the mysterious Blue, it’s kind of a big deal. More, when Martin implies that he’ll only keep the secret if Simon helps get him close to pretty girl Abby, it becomes an even bigger deal. Because, Simon wants to keep his secret and Blue’s secrets, but he also wants to be a good friend to Abby.
This conflict is just the beginning of what is ultimately a funny, charming and romantic coming of age story. “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” is one of those books that you just smile while reading. Simon is witty and smart in that way that is just so teen. He feels so real, as if we’re reading his diaries. His feelings and thoughts and inner conflicts are so vividly brought to life by Becky Albertalli, it’s a little bit shocking that this is not a memoir.
Becky Albertalli does an amazing job of making everyone in this book very human. Even though we’re completely in Simon’s POV, we’re still able to see when he messes up, or see the other side of people who are villains in Simon’s story. Like, Martin. As the blackmailer of the story, he could easily be the most hated character. But, there were moments where I understood him and I saw into the boy who is as confused and as out of place in the chaos that is high school as Simon was. That’s a rare talent and Becky Albertalli has a skill that will make me look out for all her future publications.
The diversity in this book is just great. Sure, Simon is a white boy. But, his world is not white. Abby, the it girl, cheerleader, that all the boys want is from DC and is African American. His friend Noah is jewish. There’s a soccer team and a room full of the high school drama department that ranges in race. This school is like a real school in the actual world. Everyone doesn’t look alike, everyone is not from the same background and it’s totally ok. No one freaks out that all the boys love Abby and scream, “but she’s black!” It’s not a thing. Because, for most teens, it is not a thing.
The relationship between Simon and Blue happens entirely via email. And, it is so charming. They flirt, support each other and open their hearts to each other via words on a computer screen. And, this works, because there’s an openness to anonymity. Simon and Blue’s relationship comes from a place of shared isolation and they carve a little space for themselves. Sure, it’s via the internet. It’s on the computer, but it’s real. Their connection is genuine and unique…just like all first loves.
Two of my best friends are gay. And, when I say best friends I mean they were the only people to chat with me daily & weekly when I studied abroad in Ireland. When I say best friends I mean I moved to Los Angeles six months ago and they’ve already spent a week with me. They know the deepest things that I’m nervous to even to tell myself. And, here’s the thing, my bffs are amazing, they are talented, they are courageous and they are normal.
Normal is something I believe YA books take for granted. Because, our society has spent centuries treating heterosexual as the norm, gay teens are often portrayed as other. They are portrayed as a symbol or martyrs. As a woman of color I know how unfair and off putting it can be to see yourself portrayed as “other.” What I love about this book is that Simon is normal. He is funny, sarcastic and charming. He has friends, he makes mistakes, he worries what other people think about him. And, he’s falling in love for the first time and that person happens to be a boy. The author digs into the heady nature of first love; the fast beating hearts, the obsessive thinking and the nerves. Simon feels all of these things as he thinks about Blue and these feelings are normal, because Simon is gay and being gay is normal.
I loved this book. Please go out and read it immediately! ...more
There are two different types of comedy. There’s the type where situations are presented to us in a humorous light and we all laugh together in amusement. Then there’s the type where people and lifestyles are put on display and we laugh at the display, not with it, not together, but at it. THE VIRGIN ROMANCE NOVELIST is the latter. The author puts everyone from virgins and fans of historical romance to cat lovers on display and makes them something we laugh at. If I am being honest, this is one of the most condescending books I have ever read.
Rosie Bloom (of course her name is Rose Bloom, because Rose needs to be deflowered and of course she’s a late bloomer, how clever) is dissatisfied with her job. Rosie wears glasses. Rosie is uncomfortable in her own skin. Rosie is completely ignorant of male anatomy. Rosie is so prudish she cannot say the word vagina. Rosie doesn’t try new things. And Rosie is a virgin.
Obviously, because to be over the age of 21 and a virgin, you have to be an uncomfortable, ignorant and prudish failure.
Rosie is the kind of female character that has ruined the once great movie rom-com. You know, the girl who walks around all day with tissue at the bottom of her shoe or splits her pants at the slightest bit of activity. She’s the kind of girl who can’t play sports, who kicks guys in the crotch when she dances and puts soooo much baby powder on her vagina she causes powder storms when she walks. The kind of girl where all the embarrassing things from our nightmares happens to her in a 48 hour period. In short, this is the kind of book where a woman literally has to completely demean herself to be funny.
Rosie is one of the most annoying characters I have ever read, because she is willfully ignorant. I don’t care that she’s a virgin or if she has self-esteem issues or if she’s been secretly in love with one man for so long, she hasn’t put herself out there.
I care that in the first few chapters Rosie got a vibrator stuck in her vagina. I don’t know the vibrator accident rate or how often women get sex toys stuck inside their bodies. No, I care that Rosie got hers stuck, because she’s an idiot. She finds a bullet vibrator, a gift from her straight male roommate (because that’s not weird at all). He unpackaged it and left it without instructions. She has no idea what kind of sex toy it is. She doesn’t know if it’s for insertion or for stimulus, but she uses it. She has never seen porn or explored her body in anyway, but for some reason she doesn’t think hmm let me google this. Nope. Rosie inserts a bullet in her vagina. She thinks, “oh this should be bigger!” And then continues to push it inside and then is SHOCKED when it gets stuck!
I guess that’s funny to some people. Like, yes of course a virgin would get a vibrator stuck haha. So, what if she is a college graduate and living on her own and paying her own way, virgins are so silly, they don’t know not to stick something up your vag that doesn’t have a way of getting out. She wears tampons and it doesn’t even occur to her that tampons have strings for a reason!!!!!
Some shining examples of Rosie’s intellect:
When given instruction on blow jobs with the help of a banana: "Dear God, where do you guys stuff them?" "We just tape them down to our legs." "Seriously?" I asked, as my gaze swung up to his. No you imbecile!!! Not seriously. She’s 23, how does she not know about erections!!!!???
On sticking pencils up someone’s ass. "I don’t know," I shrugged and laughed. "I just learned how to suck a dick on a banana the other day. How am I supposed to know that people aren’t supposed to stick things in buttholes?" Really?! I wish she would dig a sharpened number 2 pencil up her butthole.
Also, ladies, when you decide that you are ready to lose your virginity men will fall from the sky. That’s right. You will run into men at work. Yup, you’ve worked there for years and haven’t noticed a single man anywhere, but once you decide to lose your virginity they’ll be all over the place. You will literally be climbing over the opposite sex on your way to lunch, because suddenly you are a magnet for penis. And, if you are dumb as nails? Doesn’t matter, because just deciding to lose your virginity makes you an instant knock out. And, the men may be different, but they’ll talk and flirt exactly the same so the minute you figure out how to flirt with one, you’ll be great, because every guy on the planet flirts exactly the same with the same level of intelligence and intensity.
Yes. This book is so stupid. You know how some books have so much sadness it in it, it becomes melodrama? That’s THE VIRGIN ROMANCE NOVELIST. It has soo much ridiculous in it, I can’t even call it a comedy. It’s like the melodrama of comedy.
Then to top it off, the main love interest is her male roommate and best friend, Henry. Henry is a cliche. A man whore, who gets all the girls. Usually, the guy doesn’t recognize that he wants his bff until she has a makeover. No makeover needed. He learns she’s a virgin and BAM he wants her. The book charmingly dubs him a “cherry chaser.”
He begins training her in the art of lovemaking, hands off of course and then loses his mind when he finds out that she has dates and may use her new “knowledge” on other guys. He turns into a total stalker, showing up at her dates, etc.
He’s also an asshole.
"Charlene? No, she’s just fuckable. No substance to her." My God!!!!! How can you dig someone who talks about other human beings that way? Oh and let’s not forget his insistence on calling a character named Alejandro “taco man.”
I kept pushing myself and pushing myself, because early reviews of this book are sooo good. But, this is just not for me. What a ridiculous waste of e-ink.
So, a lot of people asked me why I couldn't finish the book and so I jotted down a few thoughts..... It became kind of a mini review of the parts of tSo, a lot of people asked me why I couldn't finish the book and so I jotted down a few thoughts..... It became kind of a mini review of the parts of the book I read. I gave up really really early though.
In the midst of my book burnout, I wondered if the books were the ones that were burnt out and not me. I quickly realized that no, it was me. So, you'll believe me when I say "sorry Solitaire, but I have to quit and it's you not me."
I am beginning to believe in YA by numbers. Publishers give authors a set of numbers to be put together.
1. A pretty girl who is a loner and doesn't belong even though she has a good group of friends.
2. A new guy who is quirky and is all seize the day! Or has no problem talking to strangers as if they are best friends. Literally, this guy walks into a room where the heroine is and her entire life changes.
3. Kids from a nice middle class neighborhood always complaining about the lack of excitement seemingly unaware that in other neighborhoods kids are dealing with poverty, hunger and violence.
4.Some kind of Internet social media connection. Blogs and groups pushing people to seize the day and do things they normally wouldn't is popular right now. Probably because of Tumblr,blogger and wordpress' presence in the world, especially in the book community.
Still, I would suggest you guys pick up any of the other books with a similar theme. I highly recommend Life by Committee instead of this.
From page one the writing seemed to slap me in the face. The author was a little too heavy handed with Tori's voice.
By chapter 2, I decided that Tori was a bitch. Not in the Before I Fall, The DUFF, Life By Comittee way where you are dealing with a heroine who is not the cookie cutter, straightlaced or virginal. With lines like "I very much disapprove" when referring to classmates or "these girls sadden me greatly, because often I feel like they could be very normal if they put in some efforts," there is no denying that I would never want to hang out with this girl, never mind be inside her head.
Tori's feelings feel more like the author on a soap box and less like the authentic musings of her character. Don't get me wrong, because I was an awful teenager. I thought I was smarter than everyone in the room, but Tori's view on life is a little to outside looking in. Like respecting her best friend for being a virgin and judging everyone else for wanting or having boyfriends, but not in a jealous way. She's very much like "there's time for all of this later." As if she were a teacher looking at her students.
That's what's problematic. Not only does the book judge the very audience it's written for, it also decides what is normal and what's not.
I also question the choice to add references to High School Musical and Juno into books. Do authors not want their books to be read in 10 years? 20? People probably won't remember those films. They'll have to do a google search to find obscure posts on something their parents used to be obsessed with called Tumblr. (Admittedly Juno did win a screenwriting Oscar, maybe that one will be known, but do you know what Father Goose or Tender Mercies is? Probably not.)
The writing made this book kind of impossible. I kept rolling my eyes and just hated everything I read. ...more
Everyone knows Sage. Not, because she’s the most popular girl or the prettiest or the one with the worst reputation. No, everyone knows Sage, because she is a nice and good person and she likes to pay it forward. At the worst and most embarrassing moment of a classmates high school life, Sage can be relied upon to step in and lift their spirits. Even if it’s just a little. Because, Sage is the post-it Princess. Did the cheerleaders make fun of you today? That’s ok, your clothes may not be stylish, but Sage will leave a post-it on your locker reminding you and the world that you have the best hair. Sage does this kind of charity daily, because she is the queen of bright and shiny things and it is all a lie.
THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS is simple and sweet story about high school, secrets and how important it is to have people in your life that understand you. It’s about a girl who hides her darkness behind a veneer of positivity and kindness who meets a boy who wears his darkness heavily on his sleeve.
Shane walks into Sage’s classroom so intent on being invisible, she can’t help but notice him. His grungy clothes, the way he consumes free food and the fact that he is the most talented musician she has ever heard. Not only does Shane need a friend, he appears in her life just at the moment where her carefully structured world wobbles and she needs a friend as well.
The truth is that Sage has secrets. She had a life before she moved to her town small enough that all she needs is a bike to get from one end of it to the other. She had a life before she stuck that first positive note to that first locker. She had a past filled with pain and heartache. She had a world that she ruthlessly suppressed under her smiles, positivity, and her green projects.
I liked the slow unraveling of Sage’s secrets. She’s the narrator and we’re in her head and she kept it from us. That’s how good she is at hiding.
I found the character dynamics in this book to be interesting if strange. There’s the girl who just up and decides that she’s going to be bffs with Sage and then becomes just that. There’s Sage’s long term BFF who has been lying to her about himself and their relationship for months. Even her relationship with the story’s main antagonist is complex.
The love story just kind of happens to Sage and Shane. They didn’t expect each other and they really didn’t know what to do once they’d entangled themselves in each other’s lives, but they couldn’t help it. They couldn’t resist each other and it makes for a sweetly intense first love between two young people. The kind of love that seems like forever and makes two characters who have ruthlessly structured their lives, do crazy and risky things.
At the end of the day this is a pretty good read. It was fun and quick and had likeable characters.
Recommended for fans of The Beginning of Everything and Life by Committee....more
Why do I continue to read these books when they have no conflict whatsoever? I just get a weird entertainment out of them despite the fact that they aWhy do I continue to read these books when they have no conflict whatsoever? I just get a weird entertainment out of them despite the fact that they are horribly written. This author has all these chances to have a fulfilling story filled with personal conflict and never uses it. People just fall into place like dominoes without any stepping stones....more
This book made me think about one of my favorite quotes. It comes from Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally, "Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire."
Theodore Finch saves Violet Markey’s life. They stand on top of the bell tower on either side at their lowest moments. They both have the idea of ending it, but another person ending it at the same time? Completely ruins the moment and makes them think…wait, do I really want to do this? They help each other off the literal ledge then lead each other off the emotional ledge.
Having saved her life Finch feels responsible for Violet. He wants to know her. He wants to know more of her secrets. He wants to know who she was before the accident with the aftermath that sent her up to that ledge. He wants to know who she is after and if she can be halfway between the two versions of herself.
Violet Markey serves as a distraction. A distraction to the fact that he’s afraid of not being asleep and is struggling to stay awake.
I hate doing this, because I try and like both male and female characters equally. And I liked Violet, I liked her a lot. Violet is a fantastic, layered and beautiful character, but it’s all about Theodore Finch. It just is. Even in the note the publisher sent to go with the review copy goes on and on about Finch. I knew his name before I even read the book. There’s just something about a guy who is named Theodore Finch or Augustus Waters. It’s like their name fits their personality like Beyonce or Kanye West, with names like that how could they be anything, but extraordinary?
Sometimes I wish it was Theodora Finch or Augusta Waters, but these characters are almost always male. (Except for Cassidy Thorpe from the amazing novel THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robyn Schneider) There’s just something about a loud personality meeting a great, but average personality and adding color to their life that intrigues me.
It’s like Dante enlivening Aristotle or Adrian getting past Sydney’s barriers. It’s just one of those things that explodes off a page …except when it’s a manic pixie dream girl, because that’s overdone.
In truth Violet and Theodore are a lot like me. Violet is a writer, she wants to go to NYU and spends her days writing narratives about life. I am a writer, I went to NYU and I spend my days writing narratives about life. Theodore is loud, he doesn’t care when people call him a freak (or at least never lets them know if it does), he changes his style often hoping to change his life and he’s smarter than most people realize.
The story of Theodore and Violent is crazy entertaining. They meet on the roof and he saves her, but the story that goes around is that Violet talked Theodore off the ledge. So, the entire school is talking about a moment in her life she wants to forget. But, she can’t forget it, because Finch won’t go away. He pushes his way into becoming her partner in a class project to discover their state’s wonders.
They go on adventures that bonds them and unites them beyond being on the tower. Beyond that moment where they wanted to end it, they connect through their differences, through the secrets they keep from the world and the simple knowledge that someone wants to truly get to know them. I liked that despite their over the top meeting, their relationship was simple. Two kids getting to know each other.
That being said, this book destroyed me. Absolutely destroyed me. It destroyed me, because of the many people, not teenagers, but people that these characters represent. Violet is living through the aftermath of death. Everyone wants her to be who she was before. The girl before the tragedy and she simply is not that. She’s someone new and she has to discover who that person is and what she wants. Dealing with grief is always difficult in books like this but Jennifer Niven manages to be honest and real about what it means to be the survivor. The one that is left.
As I read this book I recognized myself in Theodore. From page 1, he was just me. His loud personality, his zeal for life and the darkness that raged inside him. I knew his highs and his lows. I knew the demon that fought inside him, because it’s the same one that fights inside me. When the word is finally said and the label is finally thrown out, I fell into tears. Because he was me, is me and I have never come across that before.
I have to thank Jennifer Niven for that. Because, this is the book I wish I had when I was 16 and I am pleased that 16 year olds who struggle with the high and lows and the struggle that is mental illness may see themselves in Theodore and hopefully they’ll get help.
This book reminds me of my great YA contemporary loves…Pushing the Limits, The Sea of Tranquility and the behemoth itself The Fault in Our Stars. Where two broken teenagers (in TFIOS it’s sick) attempt to put each other back together again.
“‘Let me worry about what I want.’ And then she kisses me.”
"She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can’t help thinking she’s more than that and she’s got other elements going on that no one’s ever heard of, ones that make her stand apart from everybody else.”
"It’s also me exactly—buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then falling deep into mud, so deep I can’t breathe. The Asleeps and Awakes, no in-betweens.” (Quoting Virginia Woolf)
“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”
“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”
“The great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.”
There’s more, but those are my faves.
Read this book. I cannot stress it enough. I just can’t....more
Richard Kenworthy has a secret. And, that secret has him on the marriage mart searching for a wife. As is only right, Richard finds himself at the Smythe-Smith's annual concert. And, while the unmarried ladies kill classical music, Richard notices the one who's not. Iris, the only girl in the quartet that has an ounce of talent and of course is the one that everyone looks over.
Iris disappears in rooms and she knows it. Eyes wonder over her as if she doesn't exist. Which hurts, but ultimately works out, because Iris likes to people watch. From her place beside the wallflowers, Iris studies the ton and the different scandals and politics of England's upper class
She watches, she is not watched. Which makes Richard's nonstop attention during the musical so, unsettling. She knows that she's not beautiful or interesting, so what could he possibly want with her?
What ensues is horrible music, a fumbling attempt at courtship and secrets. Well, a secret. The behemoth of secrets.
This isn't my favorite Julia Quinn book. In fact it's probably my least favorite. The problem is that I figured out the secret pretty early on and it tainted the book for me. I couldn't forgive Richard for what he was doing. For what he was going to do. That's the thing about secrets it changes people's opinions of you and what the world knows about you.
Lots of historical romance novels are about arranged marriages where the characters learn they are in love post marriage, but this entire situation was abhorrent to me. He married her out of necessity and then was like oh wait! I like you!!
Julia Quinn is my favorite historical romance author, but this time that's just not enough for me and frankly Ms. Quinn can and has done better. There's just something about this story that says "I love you, because you are there," that I can't get into. And, "no one else will have me, so you'll do," stories are not much better. I read romance to be swept away. I love that emotions run high and actions are over the top. People falling placidly into love is just boring.
This story has Julia Quinn's normal whit and charisma it's well written with funny scenes, but the story just isn't believable. Richard has no real plan and character motivations make absolutely no sense and how they possibly thought they'd get away with it is beyond me. I don't like books a out idiots.
I recommend every other Julia Quinn novel, but this one. Honestly, she is great. This was just a dud....more
I thought this was a stand alone!!!! How could they do this to me?!!!! The ending left me so devastated. Why?!!!!! Why?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????????I thought this was a stand alone!!!! How could they do this to me?!!!! The ending left me so devastated. Why?!!!!! Why?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????...more