Oh wow, this book! From the start I could barely stand to put it down. It's instantly gripping and really gets under your skin and argh, I just lovedOh wow, this book! From the start I could barely stand to put it down. It's instantly gripping and really gets under your skin and argh, I just loved it.
Madeline has SCID, otherwise known as the "baby in the bubble" disease. Luckily for her, her "bubble" is her entire house, with its airlocks and everything, so she's not just confined to one sterile room. She lives with just her mom, as her father and older brother were killed in a car accident when she was only a baby, and has a nurse, Carla, who is there pretty much from dawn to dusk. She does classes online and reads voraciously and is kind of okay with her lot, until a new family move in next door... and of course there's a cute guy her own age as part of the parcel.
(view spoiler)[Olly's an awesome character. He and Madeline spy on each other a little through the windows before managing to swap email addresses, and they email and IM for a while and it's super cute.
And then, with help from Carla, they meet up. Olly goes through the whole decontamination process and they spend a half hour in the same room, and of course you know there's no going back... when her mom finds out she fires Carla and bans Maddy's internet access, this all culminating in Maddy fleeing the house in the middle of the night and running away to Hawaii with Olly because dammit, she wants to live a little!
She pretends to him that she has some trial pills that she secretly bought on the internet, and they should hopefully get her through the long weekend away, but unfortunately she does get horribly sick in Hawaii, complete with trip to the ER.
When her mom gets her back home again she's under even more lock and key than before. She also withdraws from Olly because she's realised that being as horribly sick as she was in Hawaii really sucked and maybe inside her bubble is the only way she can live.
BUT THEN. Omg. She gets an email from the doctor in Hawaii who says... hey, I don't think you have SCID, and don't think you ever did.
And yep, it was ALL a fabrication of her mom's to keep her safe. WHOA. Because Maddy DID get very ill when she was a baby, not long after her dad and brother died. And her mom did some research and... kind of made up her own conclusion. And stuck with it for 18 years. The illness Maddy got in Hawaii was just a particularly bad virus, not SCID related. Her immune system IS weaker than it should be because she's been in the bubble and not been exposed to, well, anything... but she's not sick. And never has been.
Talk about a mindfuck. I was wondering where this book was going, was she going to die in the end? Or end up with Olly living inside her bubble too? But nope, she ends up free and outside and visiting Olly in NYC (he and his mom and sister moved, finally fleeing their abusive father) and sure, she has to be cautious and careful but nope, she's not sick. No SCID.
Wow. This one is going into my kindle's "awesome keepers" folder. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I thought this was a really awesome post-apocalyptic story, very harsh and graphic at times... a fascinating pioneer journey across America too, fromI thought this was a really awesome post-apocalyptic story, very harsh and graphic at times... a fascinating pioneer journey across America too, from Pennslvania all the way to Oregon. It's short and moves at a rapid pace, if I hadn't had to sleep I would have finished this in one sitting!
(view spoiler)[Basically, Mother Nature goes nuts and sets the world on fire to "start fresh", but she spares a few people she deems worthy... our narrator Jackie and douchebag fellow camper, Xander, are amongst the chosen few, and they set out west together to hopefully find Xander's family in Montana (nope - all dead! I was not expecting that.) and Jackie's in Portland - yay happy ending, her mom and best friend are alive and together.
I wish at least one of Jackie's camp girlfriends had been spared as well, it was just so harsh.
She first meets Deb, who lives off the land and teaches her a few survival skills, then meets up with Xander who has zero skills and is a jerk, but at least he's company (and of course he grows on her)... on their journey the pair actually stumble upon an Amish order so they get a decent feed and bed for a night, but can't stay.
At one point early on Jackie notices all these bubbles, and in the bubbles are tiny trees and the like, and when they pop - suddenly there's a fully grown tree! The earth is being repopulated with flora and fauna, some of which has long been extinct. It's a really neat idea.
And then... the unicorns. Omg I was totally buying the apocalypse and the bubbles, so it's a bit funny that unicorns made me go "wait what". I mean it's not exactly realistic to begin with!! Ah well. The unicorns are scary and blood-thirsty, but Jackie saves one from a barbed wire fence and it becomes their noble steed across several states, which is a good help.
Lol it's a good thing no dinosaurs were brought back to life!
It ends with Jackie and Xander arriving in Portland at last and finding Jackie's mom and Bernard, her gay bff. I'd have been interested to have one more chapter, about what happens next - how people rebuild and so on. Everything "unnatural" was burned, all synthetic fibres and technology etc.
I was so shocked when Xander found his family in Montana, all burned up :( He was so sure they'd still be alive, and so was I! Harsh, man. (hide spoiler)]
I just read The Chameleon, after we saw an ad on TV for a documentary on the guy, and Amber mentioned she'd read about him... and found the book in thI just read The Chameleon, after we saw an ad on TV for a documentary on the guy, and Amber mentioned she'd read about him... and found the book in the other room so I could have a read too. Totally insane that a 30-year-old guy could actually fool people into believing he was a young boy! Multiple times! ...more
Very interesting, easy to read and informative. I'd never heard of the molasses flood in Boston before, so this was fascinating to me! Gave all the deVery interesting, easy to read and informative. I'd never heard of the molasses flood in Boston before, so this was fascinating to me! Gave all the details very succinctly, with just the right of human interest....more
Omg this book was amazing AND MY REVIEW IS ABOUT TO SPOIL THE HELL OUT OF IT.
I think I was about eight pages in when I went and added Fiona Wood to myOmg this book was amazing AND MY REVIEW IS ABOUT TO SPOIL THE HELL OUT OF IT.
I think I was about eight pages in when I went and added Fiona Wood to my favourite authors list! She's such a gem and I want more in this "series". I love how it's NOT a series though, she's just following characters who are a little connected but not all like a group of bffs or anything. So I guess it wouldn't matter if you read them out of order or anything because there's only slight references to incidents of past books.
Van Uoc is basically the poor scholarship kid of immigrant parents who barely speak any English and live in a housing commission flat. She's at a private school for IB and, in English class at the start of the year, they're having a creative writing class and the "prompt" she gets from the box is a little glass vial that says "wish" inside it... so she wishes for Billy Gardiner to notice her, and not just notice her but be fascinated by her above all others...
...and suddenly, the wish comes true. Billy, who has never noticed her before, is following her around like a lost puppy. He's the star of the first eight, a total rowing god from a rich family, kind of the Aussie equivalent to the quarterback I guess.
I LOVE how this was in parts cute boy meets girl high school romance, but it's so much deeper than that too, it doesn't shy away from talk of class, of racism, of asylum seekers and "boat people" - super topical right now. Van Uoc's parents fled Saigon in 1980 in a shitty little boat and made it to Australia via Malaysia. They had mandatory English lessons when they arrived, but those didn't last long and weren't very good. Van Uoc has to act as translator to both her parents, which often works in her favour.
Her parents don't talk of their journey but Van Uoc eventually learns some of the truth. This isn't just fluffy teenage fare, there's a lot of sadness in her parents' story, and in her story, especially the realisation that the culture gap between her and her mother is too wide to ever let them be as close as her mother and grandmother were.
There's also a brilliant moment when Billy goes off at mega bitch Holly, because it means nothing when someone's parents have nothing and someone else's are loaded; that's the PARENTS, not the kids. Van Uoc works in a Vietnamese take-away joint (which is fictionally on Chapel Street AND WHY IS IT NOT REALLY ON CHAPEL STREET I WANT TO GO THERE), Billy has a housekeeper and thinks nothing of grabbing a $16 sandwich for breakfast.
Oh and the best part? When Van Uoc gets ahold of the vial again and unwishes the first wish, because she can't bear the thought of Billy not actually liking her and it all being magic... she cries herself to sleep at having lost him, then turns up at school the next day to find him waiting for her and nothing has changed AND IT WAS ALL REAL :D
It's so beautifully Melbourne too. The streets are all ones I know, the boatsheds along the Yarra, Birrarung Marr... I just want to find out if the street with the orange trees is real...
And bonus points to Van Uoc for liking the pineapple Snack pieces best. If only Cadbury just made a whole block of pineapple! Although if they did I think my flatmate and I would put on about ten kilos like *that*....more
Absolutely wonderful, thank you Curiosity Quills for letting me read such a lovely book! Definitely one of my favourites of 2015 :) There's a bit of aAbsolutely wonderful, thank you Curiosity Quills for letting me read such a lovely book! Definitely one of my favourites of 2015 :) There's a bit of a Cinderella storyline going on, with a gorgeous steampunk touch, and it's set in Philadelphia - I've not read much steampunk but it all seems to be Victorian London, so I loved this being set elsewhere. Funnily, I kept forgetting that it wasn't in London until suddenly someone would mention Philly, or New York, or something else American, and I'd be reminded!
I loved how cohesive the story was too. I think I've recently read a few things that had a fantasy and/or dystopian element that didn't quite make sense, so it was really good to read something where it all made sense, it all worked and fit together, I was never left going "wait, what?"
There's magic and a curse, an evil stepmother, a stepsister who is a LOT more than she seems, the first motorcar, danger and excitement, and a lovely romance plot, complete with lost shoe :) (view spoiler)[I loved that Ellie ended up with Hamilton too, that as much as she loved Ben it was more in a sisterly way - and it was obvious from very early on that Rebecca would be a very good match for him. (hide spoiler)]
Hideous cover, but awesome book. A very quick and compelling read, set in a small town high school just after a student shot and killed five other stuHideous cover, but awesome book. A very quick and compelling read, set in a small town high school just after a student shot and killed five other students, two teachers, and then himself. New boy Paul - whose father moved to Hamilton because he could get a big house really cheap! - gets shooter Caleb's old locker... and gets intrigued about the guy.
(view spoiler)[I liked the mystery here, Paul putting all the little pieces together and eventually finding Caleb's journal - on a USB drive which he'd hidden in a statue of an angel in the local cemetery, the monument for a lady from the 20s who'd had a child out of wedlock - that child growing up to be Caleb's beloved grandmother.
BUT. Then we get to read Caleb's journal... and it's the most awful read ever because EVERY SINGLE WORD IS SPELLED INCORRECTLY. Caleb was 15 or 16, not six! You practically have to read it all out loud - and it's about a quarter of the book, not just a few pages - to sound all the words out to figure out what the hell they're meant to be. Argh!!! It drove me crazy :(
Luckily the story is interesting enough, but if it hadn't been... phew. Turns out Caleb was easily led by wannabe-quarterback North, who planned the whole thing.
I thought it was pretty stupid of Paul to email North at the email address he gave Caleb - seriously that almost got him killed! That was when he should have turned the USB over to the cops. I felt the book kind of fizzled out at the end though, after Paul shot North (before North could shoot him - he was damn lucky North didn't just do the job straight away without all the banter!) but I like how the ending still kept things a bit up in the air. Not enough for a sequel, but just enough to know that maybe things aren't all over now. (hide spoiler)]
Gorgeously illustrated! A lovely picture-book about how being an only child can be a pretty awesome thing. I'm an only child and I'd have loved a bookGorgeously illustrated! A lovely picture-book about how being an only child can be a pretty awesome thing. I'm an only child and I'd have loved a book like this when I was little, instead I got my fill of the "older sibling prepares for the new baby" stories! Which of course I loved, but they made ME want a sibling. I like how this book shows the main character's friend with a big family as well as his own only child-ness, and how there's good and not-so-good in both....more