Caitlin is working through the grief of losing her best friend Ingrid to suicide. She finds Ingrid's journal hidden beneath her bed. She is surprised,Caitlin is working through the grief of losing her best friend Ingrid to suicide. She finds Ingrid's journal hidden beneath her bed. She is surprised, anxious, afraid, mostly clinging to the idea that she has one more way of holding onto Ingrid's memory within the journal's pages. So she reads it slowly, savoring every entry.
High school is hard. Teenaged years are very difficult. Without difficulties in our teenaged years, we wouldn't have the strength to get through the rest of our lives- adulthood and everything that comes with it.
Hold Still is beautiful. I couldn't get enough of it. It isn't just about suicide. It's about overcoming grief, moving forward, holding onto moments and memories while still forging through a life of complete unknowns.
Every character is alive, except Henry. I loved Taylor, Caitlin's crush, and identified with Caitlin's character, Dylan the new girl at school, as well as her Art teacher Ms Delani. There is so much human passion within each character that I don't think I could choose a favorite. Everyone seems real. Like I've passed them on the streets or have ordered a coffee from them at some point in my life.
Like this? Try Catch by Will Leitch, Okay by Katherine Marple, and Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers...more
I've read a lot of books this week, all similar in their themes. Death, overcoming, moving through grief & finding answers to questions that rarelI've read a lot of books this week, all similar in their themes. Death, overcoming, moving through grief & finding answers to questions that rarely have one.
I've dealt with death in my own way. I've come within seconds of Mr Reaper multiple times through a diagnosis of my own. My death won't come as suddenly as the narrator's as I've lived for fifteen years with my disease, but it's something that I think about often. Afraid to go to sleep, afraid all the time, but putting on a smile to not allow my uneasiness to travel through my friends and family.
She puts together a list of things she wants to do before she dies. She's sixteen and knows she doesn't have much time left. She wants to have sex, drugs, break the law, say "yes" to everything for a whole day. She wants to squeeze in all of life's moments into a few short months- that's all she has left.
It's a quick read. A heavy topic. A sad premise. It will make you reflect on what's truly important in your own life. Immediately after finishing this story, I gathered my daughter into my arms and told my husband that I love him more than anyone else in the world. I grieved with her and discovered the little pieces of life that would normally go slightly unnoticed.
This is a good book. I wouldn't say it was great because I didn't get very attached to the characters like I would have wanted, but it was a very good book.
Try books like this: "Hold Still" by Nina LaCour, "Okay" by Katherine Marple, "Fall For Anything" by Courtney Summers, "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman...more
Fault Line is about a 17 year old girl who is trying to make it through her senior year in high school, fill out college applications for her future,Fault Line is about a 17 year old girl who is trying to make it through her senior year in high school, fill out college applications for her future, launch her stand up comedy career & figure out this relationship thing with the new-comer Kip. Kip is sensitive, handsome, passionate, observant of Becky's every detail. Kip is everything a teenaged girl thinks she wants in a boyfriend.
Five months into the relationship, he's editting her comedy skits (getting upset when she doesn't use his punchlines), pushing her closest friends out of their circle (saying they're lame or holding Becky back), and waiting outside her two jobs after her shifts to drive her home. He calls her ten times per day (or more), IMs on the computer when she's working on her homework, texts her throughout the day... and it's endearing at first because she is so excited to talk to him all the time too.
It slowly starts to get even further out of control and she struggles to keep it a secret and to figure out if it's LOVE she has with Kip, or if it's OBSESSION. I've been at the crossroads myself. It's very confusing when you're inside. Many times, the answers aren't clear until you've been removed from the situation for many months, sometimes years. Most girls go back time and time again because they think "he will change" or "it was my fault that time" or "he didn't HIT me, so it's not abuse".
This is a serious topic for teenaged girls and I recommend it being read by teenaged girls. The flow of the story was a bit rushed. I didn't believe Kip would do what he did the first time... I felt like it was pushed in order to move the story along too soon. But, otherwise, it was a decent story....more
Santa Maybe is Mace's third novel. I've read the previous two as well. She always has a way of bringing the reader into the story and care for the chaSanta Maybe is Mace's third novel. I've read the previous two as well. She always has a way of bringing the reader into the story and care for the characters within a few short pages.
Santa Maybe was a sweet story about a good girl who has been done wrong by past loves in her life, thus swearing herself off of men completely. Her sister convinces her to write a note on Christmas Eve to Santa, asking for a worthy man for a husband. She is surprised when in the midnight hours of Christmas, a man is found passed out under her Christmas tree. He turns out to be a generous and kind, not to mention handsome, man, claiming to have amnesia. They quickly fall in love, but she will not allow herself to move the relationship forward in case his wife whom he can't remember comes in to claim him eventually.
The ending was a bit predictable, but it was fun and entertaining to read throughout anyway. She owns her own bakery in the novel and I definitely found myself making a few batches of cookies right after I finished reading the novel. Sweet, funny, and well worth the read. Put me in the Xmas spirit quickly....more
Take Me There was a story about a 17 year old boy who grew up without a father because his father was states away in prison. Growing up, noone talkedTake Me There was a story about a 17 year old boy who grew up without a father because his father was states away in prison. Growing up, noone talked to him about his father or why his dad was locked away. He grew up knowing nothing about his family's past. As he travels down the "bad" road, winding up in juvie and struggling to break out of the gang crowd, he makes a last ditch effort to figure out who he is by running to meet his father who is waiting his execution date just two weeks off. Half of the book is about Dylan Jr trying to piece his family's life together to get answers... and then trying to decide what is the "right" thing to do. Because what is the truth and what is right don't always measure up against each other.
Jess is a beautiful rich girl who wants people to like her for who she is, not for how much money her father has in the bank. Dylan Jr and Jess met as young adolescents and as Dylan was in and out of schools because his mother moved him all across the Californian state to outrun her memories, Jess lived a good life in the sense that she was gorgeous, had friends, had money. They meet again as Dylan is a mechanic and her Beemer has is busted. But Jess is smart and can see through the rough exterior to Dylan's heart of gold. He would do anything to feel worthy of Jess's love, but has trouble letting himself feel enough to take her into his heart.
Take Me There is about letting love rule, forgiveness and doing what you believe is right in the face of death- no matter what. It's an easy read, though the topic is heavy. And the ending leaves some unanswered questions. ...more
Amy moves through life with the knowledge that she killed her best friend Julia. She agonizes over it, sorts through her emotions, explodes her griefAmy moves through life with the knowledge that she killed her best friend Julia. She agonizes over it, sorts through her emotions, explodes her grief onto a select few people and goes about daily life noticing a world where Julia no longer exists.
It's a good storyline and the lesson learned is fantastic: Everyone makes their own choices and must deal with the consequences of each decision. The book itself, though, was just... I don't know... maybe too much in Amy's head. Or maybe too much about her obsession with drinking or not drinking. Or maybe too much of the same chapter using different words about how she's a "murderer" who "doesn't care" who "is sorry" who "wants to drink".
I enjoyed reading the story because I liked the characters. I liked Julia (her memory), Amy, Patrick, and even Corn Syrup. Beth was annoying, as was Mel, and even the chapters about Amy's parents.
I liked the characters, but I didn't love the character development or the story itself. I guess in the prose that it was written in, it needed MORE of a story to satisfy my reading itch. By the time the book ended, I felt as if we were just beginning to graze the surface. ...more
"Fall For Anything" was beautiful. It started slowly and I almost quit after the third chapter because I felt like the pacing didn't match what I was"Fall For Anything" was beautiful. It started slowly and I almost quit after the third chapter because I felt like the pacing didn't match what I was hoping for... but I'm very glad that I stuck with the story.
It's more than about a seventeen year old girl, coping with her father's suicide. It's about the power of friendship, growing up, and finding your place in a world where nearly everything is not quite what it seems.
I felt for Eddie, the girl telling the story. I felt her questions and laughed when she joked. I loved her relationship with Milo, her male best friend. I was entranced by Culler, her newly discovered father's only student. The ending surprised me a little, and that rarely ever happens when I read books. When the story ended, I was sad. I wanted to know more about Eddie and what happens next in her life. I wanted to read about her growing up and how she came to terms with everything that happened that fateful summer. I related to her. I understood her.
I will definitely read this story again and again.
If you liked this, try "Okay" by Katherine Marple or "Catch" by Will Leitch. These two books are not well-known, but carry the same style of writing as "Fall For Anything". ...more
"After" has a very serious topic. I was disgusted with Devon at the beginning, having just a three month old baby girl myself. I wanted to strangle he"After" has a very serious topic. I was disgusted with Devon at the beginning, having just a three month old baby girl myself. I wanted to strangle her. I wanted to vomit. But, I also could understand how something like what she did could happen to a woman, under specific circumstances.
Devon hid her pregnancy for the entire 9 months. Not only did she hide it from her mother, her friends, but she also hid it from herself. She discreditted everything her mind was telling her about her own body, saying weight gain was due to the holidays, her tiredness was due to her increased training for soccer, her nausea was over some stale food she'd eaten, etc. And then when her baby came out of her in the quiet of her apartment while her mother was at work, she freaked out, took the child, put her inside the bathroom trash bag, tied it up, carried her outside to the dumpster, and threw her away.
I know, it's disgusting to think about. "After" brings you through the events leading up to Devon's daughter's birth, explores what was going on inside her head while she was pregnant, how she rationalized it away, how she denied even having had sex that one time, how she could possibly discard a newborn baby while it was crying for its life... in a trash bag, tied, and in a dumpster.
I felt compassion for her about halfway through the book. Once I started to see what was happening to Devon herself, what her thought processes were, how she was trying to figure out what had happened that day, how she truly did not understand, I felt empathy for her. In the end, I wanted her to have a chance to hold her newborn daughter. Women suffer for Post Partum Depression all the time. I wanted Devon to be diagnosed with PPD so she could come to terms with what she did to her child.
The ending surprised me a little, even though in the back of my mind I would probably have done the same. Good book. Stays with you....more
I get what this book was supposed to represent. I understand what it was trying to say. But, like the book "Before I Fall", which is also receiving aI get what this book was supposed to represent. I understand what it was trying to say. But, like the book "Before I Fall", which is also receiving a lot of un-warranted buzz, this weapon was shooting blanks.
Here's Why: - The main character was a whiny brat. She couldn't stand up for herself... ever. She made excuses for everything she did. If you want to score with a book like this, especially if you're target audience is "12 years and older", then you need to give them someone worth looking up to. Someone to emulate. This Hannah was NOT it. Teenage girls are NOT helpless. Every one of us has been put in the same positions as Hannah was as far as boys go. The first time it happened to me, I didn't say anything... because that's how I read in books that that's the way teenaged girls are "supposed" to act. The next time it happened...and the time after that, the guys got a violent shove and a visit from my boyfriend's fist. I understand not reporting to police, but I don't understand allowing something like that to happen over and over without doing anything about it. When your target audience is so young and girls are reading this story when their ideas about relationships and boys are still forming, why not give them a stronger character to want "to be like"? I hated Hannah.
- If I had received those tapes, I would have thrown them away (if I was anyone who didn't "do" anything), like some of the girls on the tapes. Reputations will follow you where ever. And if someone wants to believe your reputation instead of getting to know you, then that person is not a friend you'd want in your life anyway. EVERYONE has a reputation that follows them around. Not only that, but suicide is the biggest cop-out in life. It is the lowest thing you could possibly do. I am so tired of media making suicide out to be something that's so dramatic and worthy of sorrow. Everyone has thought about it. Most kids have practiced it. The ones who realize that high school DOES end (you know, the intellegent ones) work through high school, like everything else in life, and focus on the bigger picture. High school sucks for EVERYONE. Why did Hannah think she was so special? And why would kids who had nothing important to lose (aside from Bryce & Clay) complete her last requests? If suicide is the person giving up, they relinquished their right to have their voices heard when they swallowed that handful of pills.
- The prose was really distracting for the first three chapters. Yes, it took me half of the book to get used to reading Hannah's italics versus Cliff's present day thoughts and conversations. The book was written like a screenplay. But, those types of things don't go over well in book format. If you wanted to write a movie, you should have done just that.
- There was no one to love in the story. No character that made you say "I want him/her to get through this" or "I want a happy ending for him/her." There was no one worthy of your heart racing. And not once did I shed a tear through this whole story.
Look, suicide is a serious topic. It is something that has always existed, but is getting ever-increasingly committed by younger and younger kids every day all over the world. If you're going to have your target audience so low in age, maybe you should be focusing on giving them reasons to understand that suicide is the stupidest, unworthy of respect, disgusting thing that you can do. And if you're going to commit suicide, you no longer have the right to carry out last requests. Your voice dies with you.
For a good book like this one, check out "If I Stay" instead. (and no, I'm not a Twilight fan) ...more
Textual Healing is referencing the book group Ace is a member of (guilted into joining)- not the song "Sexual Healing". As far as fixing anything withTextual Healing is referencing the book group Ace is a member of (guilted into joining)- not the song "Sexual Healing". As far as fixing anything with this book, I'd recommend a new cover image as the photo of the girl made me believe this book was about texting during some high school drama. This book was WAY better than I thought it was going to be based on the cover art. Try it on for size.
Andrew "Ace" Connor is appealing in so many different ways. He is not too attractive, not too smart, not too creative, not too ambitious. Why does this make him appealing? Because of the way he handles the situations he somehow gets himself into.
Ace once-upon-a-time wrote and published a bestseller. He has a tidy bank account due to this, but still insists on living low-key with his bookstore and college kid employees. Ace is 30-something and trying to find the love of his life. Well, he thought he had found her at one point in time, but the women in his life seem to keep trampling him. This pressure these girlfriends put on him to write the next bestseller (and please include a version of me as the main heroine) makes it so Ace can't concentrate on the writing and nothing comes out. For years.
Until he is set up on a blind date with the most unlikely of women. She is funny and exciting and doesn't seem to give a hoot that Ace was famous at one time (even if it is a little bit to his dismay).
Ace is an idiot. Luckily for Smith, so am I. I loved Ace's character. I've been in many situations outlined in the story- from the sugar glider incident which had me laughing out loud, to the costume beerfest, the absurd sudden attraction to someone you've known for forever, and the pride in having a stranger recognize you on the street due to your author photo and newspaper interviews.
Quirky is a great word to describe this book. The characters all seem to be a little bit strange in their own habits and tendencies. This book is also endearing and funny to the point of pain. I laughed out loud at many moments described and then read them outloud to my husband. He didn't get it (he didn't know the context), but I didn't care.
Recommend to all how enjoy stupid humor, ridiculous co-stars (like Haiku Ninja flower shop owner), idiotic friends and utterly lovable characteristics. If you like Catch by Will Leitch, you will love Textual Healing. ...more
**spoiler alert** Heart of the Matter was a book I pre-ordered. I very rarely look forward to novels, but when it comes to Emily Giffin, I respected h**spoiler alert** Heart of the Matter was a book I pre-ordered. I very rarely look forward to novels, but when it comes to Emily Giffin, I respected her work in Something Blue, Baby Proof and Love The One You're With.
I didn't read any of the descriptions of the book nor any reviews prior to reading Heart of the Matter because I didn't want to go into it with any presumptions.
Basically the book was about forgiveness. It was similar to Love The One You're With, except I really felt like LTOYW was filled with a better plot with much more dynamic characters.
Being curious about whether or not your life is the best that it can be is normal. Trying to improve yourself is good. Keeping your lovelife interesting is fantastic.
I "liked" Tessa, but had a really hard time relating to her. Other than being a mom, who was she? I understood that she left a man that she spent a long time with a few days before her wedding to go on a date with Nick and a "possibility" of falling in love with him. That takes balls. That takes hope, and wonder, and strength to be able to do that. Where was that woman? Why was she such a pushover just because she had two kids? I don't even see that type of woman becoming friends with the "uppity" women that she did. But, maybe that was Giffin's point. Maybe that was what she was trying to show that Nick did not approve of the type of woman that Tessa became, once they settled into the rich neighborhood. I'm questioning whose idea it was to move there in the first place.
Valerie was a weak character. I almost put the book down for good when she drove by Nick's house in the middle of the night. I tried to see if I could picture myself doing something like that... and I couldn't. I don't understand Valerie's character or her state of mind. It's understood that she was in a vulnerable position, worrying over her child and knowing that Nick was a capable surgeon who could put her child's face back together. But, I can't understand why she would fall in love with him? I didn't see that part forming. I deal with nice doctors all the time. I have never looked at any of my doctors, even though some have helped me a great deal, in the light of "maybe we could fall in love some day". And it's my opinion that only the weakest women would fall for a married man, in the hopes that he will leave his wife for them some day. For a powerful lawyer who raised her child on her own, she sure was stupid.
Nick baffled me the most. One minute Tessa was his world, and the very next Valerie batted her eyelashes at him and he was spending more and more time with her instead of being at home with his family. I didn't understand his character at all. I didn't "see" the moment when they fell out of love with each other. It was unbelievable to me. I tried to reason it out, but couldn't. Then the fact that Nick had two beautiful children at home, but he'd rather sneak away to spend hours with Valerie's child? He was trying to father her child, at the expense of NOT fathering his own children. Even on the weekend when Tessa escaped to gather her thoughts, Nick couldn't even spend the weekend simply loving his kids. He had to sneak away. Nick's character disgusted me. It's not a matter of him cheating. I've seen people cheat and I've seen people forgive the cheating and things worked out fine in the end. But, Nick's reasons and the things, the PEOPLE, that he neglected for his own ego boost was unforgivable.
The strong woman who left her fiance at the beginning of the story at the off chance that she would fall in love with Dr Nick some day... THAT woman would not have tried to reconcile with him after what he did.
I was thoroughly PISSED OFF at the end of the novel. It didn't make sense, and it wasn't a deserved ending for any one of the characters. Not ONE of the characters had any sense of worth at the ending.
Not to mention the roles that Dex and Rachel played. I liked Darcy's character way better than Rachel's. Rachel was mousy and introverted and, frankly, annoying. I like when Giffin cameos her own characters in follow up books, but Rachel was not a pleasant surprise for me.
If there's another novel, I'd be pleased to have Tessa and Nick make a cameo just long enough for them to do the right thing and divorce. I'm not a big fan of divorce, but once something as selfish and absurd as what Nick did happens, there is no longer going to be any sense of trust in the relationship. And that is what is going to affect their children in the end....more
**spoiler alert** I received this book as ARC from St Martin's Press. I do hope they are going to comb an editor through the story again before it's r**spoiler alert** I received this book as ARC from St Martin's Press. I do hope they are going to comb an editor through the story again before it's release in March 2011.
This is the second Kristin Hannah book that I've read and I'm thinking that maybe I just am not agreeing with her style of writing. I also read Firefly Lane and it, too, fell flat for me.
In Night Road, we spend the first third of the book getting to know rich Farraday twins, Mia and Zach... as well as foster care girl Lexi. Mia and Zach have both parents who love each other, a mother who dotes on them, and all of the materialistic gear they could possibly want. Lexi has been tossed from house to house after her heroin addict mother finally died, and finds out her has one blood relative- an old aunt who lives in a trailer.
Lexi is beautiful, meek, deep and the only redeeming character in the book. As with many real-life people, the really good ones have been through some serious crises in their lives to humble them.
Halfway through the book, we're watching as Zach and Lexi's relationship very VERY swiftly deteriorates after Mia's drunk driving accidental death. I was grateful it wasn't with a cliched death of Zach. I couldn't get over just how quickly Zach turned his back on Lexi after he claimed to be completely and totally in love with her. It wasn't believable. If there maybe was some way for us to read inside Zach's thoughts, maybe I'd agree with what happened more. Especially under the circumstances, it was hard to believe the way the emotions turned around.
And why wouldn't Lexi stand up for herself, dammit?
Jude's grief was understandable... but there was something about her that just irked me. I disliked her character the most. I didn't understand her. I know grief is hard to come out of and everyone handles it their own way... but I found Jude's character to be vindictive and annoying. I hated the scenes with her in them. I couldn't place exactly what it was about her that I didnt like, but she was my least favorite character.
I couldn't understand why her husband allowed Jude to react and to run the show the way that he did. He seemed like a strong person, yet he allowed Jude's emotions to take over on just about anything dealing with Mia. That was frustrating to read.
I also couldn't understand why Zach claimed to love Lexi, yet couldn't keep her from reacting the way that she did... or at least visit her in prison. If she wasn't taking his letters, he knew what type of person she was... he could have visited her in prison, tried harder. After all, she was serving for his crime.
Basically, Night Road frustrated me. I didn't agree with any of the character actions, and hardly even liked any of them either....more