I read this book back in high school for my Independent Study Unit and the only reason I picked t was because I thought it looked really nice. I have...moreI read this book back in high school for my Independent Study Unit and the only reason I picked t was because I thought it looked really nice. I have never been so glad for judging a book by its cover. This was a moving story, difficult at times but ultimately rewarding. Its about family and the power to persevere and the love you have for each other.
I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a great book. Here's one.
Classic tale. I'm a firm believer that every little girl's childhood is incomplete without reading this book. At the very least watch the film directe...moreClassic tale. I'm a firm believer that every little girl's childhood is incomplete without reading this book. At the very least watch the film directed by Agnieszka Holland (produced by Francis Ford Coppola, written by Caroline Thompson and composed by the awesome, the great Zbigniew Preisner). The movie is magic, I swear it.
Note: Also, Alfonso Cuaron's A Little Princess(less)
A close friend gave me a book by this author for Christmas and I was hooked. This one I bought on my own and its my favorite. I read it in 9th grade -...moreA close friend gave me a book by this author for Christmas and I was hooked. This one I bought on my own and its my favorite. I read it in 9th grade - in one night! It is sweet, cute and totally heart breaking.
Read it. It'll make you smile even when you're crying.(less)
I read this a few years ago for my Canadian Lit course. Bernice Morgan's Random Passage is the brutal and depressing depiction of the lives of the ear...moreI read this a few years ago for my Canadian Lit course. Bernice Morgan's Random Passage is the brutal and depressing depiction of the lives of the early settlers of colonial Newfoundland, when families lived in isolation and whose survival depended on a bleak and sometimes unforgiving climate.
Reading this is a journey. Many times I felt like I was dragging myself along the very barren land the characters themselves tried to make livable. And truth be told, I don't think I enjoyed reading it, I don't know if you're supposed to. It is a sharp and jolting display of the harsh realities of the past. It allows us nothing but admiration for what these characters had to go through, laying the foundation on which we now live. It is not a fun read but it is definitely the kind of experience you'll be thankful for having gone through.
This is not a perfect novel. It could do with a bit more editing. There were quite a few chapters and subplots that I felt were excessive and unnecess...moreThis is not a perfect novel. It could do with a bit more editing. There were quite a few chapters and subplots that I felt were excessive and unnecessary to the story.
This is an example of the power of great characters. If characters are as likeable, funny, well-developed, well-written and admirable as Libba Bray's in the Gemma Doyle series, its easy to forgive technical errors.
Thank God for Gemma. This is a young female protagonist worth looking up to. She's relatable, not just because she's the not as pretty as Pippa or as wealthy as Felicity or as clever as Ann or as popular (in a pompous way) as Cecily, but because she's a girl with good intentions who tries to do well in life but makes mistakes along the way. Gemma also doesn't start out as a heroine, she has to work her way there. She doesn't have that impeccable moral compass. Throughout her journey she has to compromise between the responsibility she owes to her mother and the Realms and her own selfish needs. What I loved about her so much, especially when considering the other young female characters encountered in the YA genre, is that when it comes down to the end, when it really matters, Gemma understands that there are things going on in the world that are bigger (and more important) than her. She doesn't avoid duty. She doesn't get caught up in Kartik or wanting to 'just be normal'.
Gemma voices her fear and doubt like anyone else in her situation would. She expresses her anger and the untimely unfairness of it all: why does it have to be her? And at one point she even almost abandons her goal. But she pulls through. The difference I noticed between Gemma and other female characters was how brave and un-annoying she was. She complained but she didn't whine. She has a romance with Kartik but she doesn't let it turn her into a desperate creeping clinger. This isn't a book about getting a boyfriend, its about a young girl becoming a woman and making her way in the world. There aren't enough of these.
The five stars is not for how technically impressive this book was. As mentioned, its a little too long and so sometimes digressed from the exciting main plot. The five stars is for the emotional impact it had on me. This was such a surprise. I don't think I was really expecting anything great but when a work is good, it doesn't matter what your expectations are (or lack thereof).
What else is there to say but echo the sentiment everyone else is expressing for Between Shades of Gray? If you've been listening in on all the hype t...moreWhat else is there to say but echo the sentiment everyone else is expressing for Between Shades of Gray? If you've been listening in on all the hype that surrounded this book prior to release, you'd know it focuses on the plight of innocent Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians affected by the Stalin regime during World War II. And if you had been just as denied any knowledge of their struggles, you would have thought, huh?
I think it's a shame that not a sliver of their past is studied in schools (for that is where we go for a thing called History Class), but curriculum is so skewed and selected that young people miss out on very important issues. I remember reading in high school, when on the subject of Stalin, that he took over the countries in the Baltic region...a mention, no more than a footnote. We hardly learn about our own contributions during the War here in Canada, what were the chances my teachers were going to tell us about these people? So, you've heard the hype, you've watched the video on Sepetys' site and you expect an intense, painful rendering of the life of these forgotten souls. I think Sepetys delivers.
Hers was a major undertaking; a great honor but so much promise to live up to. This isn't just a fictional story about a young girl who is hauled into a train cart marked thieves and prostitutes one innocent night; who, with her mother and brother is sent to labour camps to work in the mud, the biting cold, the sleeting rain with only a piece of bread and rainwater to relieve her hunger; whose future is stolen away, with no justification except for that a man believes she is a sveenya, a pig. Sepetys has to depict the horror these people experienced, accent the dignity and courage they maintained, all without cowering under emotion and the inevitable urge to spurt too much personal convictions. Because even though you are the writer, you must still keep some distance, no? Let the story tell itself, and in this case, let history be exactly that. She is a translator of forgotten memories; she is merely bringing back what history has misplaced.
This is, if you haven't guessed yet, a moving story. The suffering here isn't anything new. We've read it in other books, seen them in movies, learned them from documentaries. As crass as this might sound, they're all the same: people working to the bone, people being shot for being born wrong, people starving, people living in dilapidated conditions, women being raped, children dying off, men being hanged. Inhuman is the word. But what sets this apart is the turning of an extra page we didn't see before in the book of monstrosity that was WWII. This was a new set of suffering; of broken toys we never knew were stashed away in the attic.
The characters are full and clear and well-loved by me. They have pride, they have guts and what really touches me was how at their weakest, at their moment of almost breaking down, Lina and her friends decide to hold onto that thin thread of spirit; and of endurance. Instead of surrendering, Lina hardens her heart. When in the end, (view spoiler)[after losing her mother, shortly after discovering she had also lost her father (hide spoiler)] Lina expresses guilt over wanting to live, in the face of so much loss, I just lost it. Hearing her say that she never questioned it once; that surviving was her purpose and home her destination, this amidst death, is a true impression of will.
So, why a slightly less than perfect rating? Well, it's because despite how much this book had me clutching it to my chest, just as Lina clutches at her drawings, there are several editorial decisions I would've changed...so much so that I couldn't get past it, no matter how much I wanted to. Some minor, and some that I think would've changed the weight of the story...perhaps emphasized even strongly the importance of keeping up hope, the role of art within Lina's journey, and made it even more searing with pain. So its more technical, rather than emotional (although the technical would've ultimately affected the emotional). The story I was given satisfied me in the deepest, most craving part of my self. I suppose the real issue with the book is that it's too short. I saw that I was running out of pages and kept thinking that I was nowhere near ready to let go. But who am I in all of this? Just a lone spectator bowing in apology to any soul who's ever been overlooked.
When I finished Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, I thought, God help who sits beside me when I find out this isn't a series. But when I read it is, I realize...moreWhen I finished Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, I thought, God help who sits beside me when I find out this isn't a series. But when I read it is, I realized I'd have to wait until 2012 for the next book's publication...then I realized the possibility that the world might end before I get to read it and now I'm just a mess.
This book is awesome. It's YA so I'm not ashamed to admit that I absolutely swooned because, of course, while the writing was great, the characters well-developed and the plot interesting and well-paced, it was the romance that brought me to my knees impressed me. Let me point out how the romantic relationship(s) in this book show what other YA romance books are missing out on: these characters take time to get to know each other; they don't glimpse each other in a crowded hallway and fall in love, flinging their all too willing bodies at each other as soon as the opportunity comes. When you invest time in a courtship, or even just a friendship, the moment of romantic revelation is all the more powerful. I felt them fall in love, and thus in turn I fell in love with them. Writers, if you don't want uptight, book snobs like me on your tails, take heed. Give me the goods and your safe. Like your friend Cynthia Hand.
But this is a four star book because I felt the book to have been missing a little something, something.
Concern #1: why didn't Clara and her family attend church? That boggles me. They're angel-blood, so shouldn't they be all about God?
Concern #2: the first (and only) time we meet Clara's father, it seemed like he had something very important to discuss with her but we're never told. He just kinda lives in NY and apparently believes that new cars substitute for an absentee father...well...
Concern #3: this book isn't like most series books because it didn't feel very conclusive even for the first of a series. It felt like it ended mid-action. And the last 50 or so pages were very cramped. But then again, it is book one. Okay, forgiven.
Concern #3.5 did Tucker have to wear cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and belong in a rodeo? Like, did he absolutely have to?
Concern #4: (view spoiler)[the plot (action-wise), I felt lost its pace (and it pains me to count this as a negative because I absolutely FREAKINLOVEDTHISPART) during Clara and Tucker's summer adventure. Because that took a chunk of space, by the time the action resumed, I was all like, Uh, fuck this! I don't give a crap about no angel-purpose shit! Give me some Tucker! ...You know? (hide spoiler)]
Concern #5: Was her vision/purpose supposed to be as confusing and vague as it ended up being? Cause I understood none of that.
But all this is irrelevant at the end of the day because this book has way more good shit than bad. I think this book actually takes it's time but as readers, we're given information punctually and provided with enough entertaining scenes to pleasantly pass the time. (view spoiler)[Also, I cannot express my extreme delight on how Hand took a step back from Clara's purpose to give us those extensive yet fleeting days with Tucker. I cannot. Cannot. Normally, I would hate that and accuse the writer of being too indulgent but everything about it was so good I was reduced to romantic sighs and giggles. Seriously, the whole book could've just been about them hiking, fishing and getting to know each other and I would've kept reading forever (hide spoiler)]...by the by, I read this in ONE sitting. When I finally got up, I was empty of stomach and dizzy of head. True story. The characters are all likeable; endearing in their unique, subtle-sometimes-not-subtle ways. I even found the bitchy, pretty cheerleader quite complex...like, when does that ever happen?
The book fits its genre snugly, with most of the regular tropes expectantly placed within the tapestry of the plot but its the way Hand rearranges them and flips them over our heads that marks this debut novel's true accomplishment.
CANNOT FUCKING WAIT!
Can you sense my excitement?
UPDATE: Screw it, I'm giving it a 5. My heart throbbed too fiercely for it to deserve a 4.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I don't know if I can put my feelings and thoughts into words, such is the gravity of my love.
Take Me There takes you by surprise. The cover and summa...moreI don't know if I can put my feelings and thoughts into words, such is the gravity of my love.
Take Me There takes you by surprise. The cover and summary leads one to expect an ordinary, yet another young adult novel about a bad boy with a troubled past falling for a good girl with a bright future. But any preconceived judgments readers might have are immediately dispelled by, not the first chapter, but the dedication. Dean dedicates the book to individuals who actively make a difference on the "youth of today who will become the leaders of tomorrow." I love that. It shows that she's trying to do something with this book (other than entertain).
I really don't mean to be such a hater or a downer but we all know that right now, in the book business, YA is where its at. I don't think this genre has ever been more popular - not to mention lucrative. I look around and I swell with excitement knowing young people are reading so much. But then I read the books and think they might as well go back to being illiterate...okay, I'm exaggerating but you get my point. I read the array of mindless characters they try to throw at us and the inane storylines where the emotional crux of the plot is whether or not they get together.
I like books that has more at stake. I like complex characters that have more going for them other than a romance. And I feel this book achieves that. I felt for Dylan as a young man in love, yes. But also as a young man neglected by his mother; really, who lacks any guiding authority other than the authorities. As a boy who deserves better friends. A boy who tries to do good but seems so out of luck. A boy trying to escape a fate he feels has been set before him long ago by the father he lost. So much more. I'm just not articulate enough to explain it all.
This book is heartfelt and heart-wrenching; it is yearning and sad; angry and tired. It suffers inner turmoil but stands resolute. It is brave and afraid. It is desperate but not without hope.
I didn't fully understand just how invested I was in the story until I got to the end. I suddenly felt this grip on my soul, my heart, my lungs, what have you, which I then realized had been there for a while, getting tighter and tighter the further I read. It was a very deep and filling breath gathering inside me.
Its so unfair sometimes. Just when you wish a book is the first of a series, its a stand alone. Carolee Dean, please continue this story. I need more.(less)
But I am so glad I read this book because Game of Thrones is one hell of a story. George Martin is something else. When...moreI need a rest. I'm exhausted.
But I am so glad I read this book because Game of Thrones is one hell of a story. George Martin is something else. When people say this book will do things you don't expect, they're right. It wasn't an uncommon thing for me to read a chapter and sit there blinking. Regardless of how frustratingly questionable his decisions may have been at times, I trust him. I follow him blindly because the pleasure I get from reading his story surpasses any pain I might have to suffer along the way.
His writing is wonderful. The world he creates is vast and vivid. It is most certainly a whole other world, fantastical but believable. His characters are strongly written. They each have their personality, which might be weird to hear because doesn't every character have a different personality? Not necessarily. Many characters are bland and fall flat on the pages. But from the Stark family, to the Lannisters and the Baratheons, to the Targaryens and the Dothraki, each is so present they really do feel whole (I'm serious, for example, a close guard to Eddard Stark is killed and I was devastated...a guard and I was like, "George, whyyyyyy!!!").
I can understand, however, why many might not get into this book. The sheer volume of it is enough to scare most people away. Only the brave souls are willing to dive in and tackle what might be an epic waste of time. I told a friend to read it and she stopped after 7 chapters because "nothing happened." Don't worry about her, she's been taken care of. Which is fair enough. Game of Thrones is over 800 pages long but in terms of actual action, it's quite minimal. Its a lot of talking, debating, politics and plotting and searching, a lot of back and forth. Martin is not afraid to take his time, to really flesh out all the details and introduce characters and have them mingle with each other. Narrative marinating, you might say. Its scary because you risk your reader's patience but I have faith it will all pay off. There was one big battle scene near the end but it was hardly a war (it wasn't meant to be, this is, after all, only book one). But it was still less than what you might expect of a novel that takes two weeks to read.
The thing is, its the people. That is what the books are about; its about these people from different lands and how they intermingle with each other. That's where the true drama and action lies, not in war. It is the choices they make that are shocking, not the clash of their swords. They themselves are their weapon, not their steel. Doesn't that teach us something about ourselves? Many of us are not at war, many of us will never know what that feels like but everyday we fight our own battles either within the family, among friends, at work or society and ourselves. And so the characters compelled me.
I was never an epic fantasy reader. Harry Potter was probably the closest I've come to the genre...I know, I know. But I am now.
The only reason this is getting a 4/5 is because I felt that because there were so many perspectives, it impeded our opportunity to emotionally engage with the characters. So when the heartbreaking moments came, they were more like really heavy thuds rather than shattering blows. Don't get me wrong, they hurt but it left me dizzy instead of rendering me unconscious. Too much?
But let's see. I'm sure George Martin will surprise me.
A Song of Ice and Fire: One down, Six to go.(less)
It seems almost improper to have such a short review for such a long book...but what are you gonna do?
So, what have I learned thus far from reading Ge...moreIt seems almost improper to have such a short review for such a long book...but what are you gonna do?
So, what have I learned thus far from reading George Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series? I think, perhaps, he overestimates his readers. I mean, truly, all joking aside the sheer amount of information in these books is ridiculous. The names, the places, the schemes, the histories...it is all too much. I am but a humble mind and my memory capacity is ordinary. And having finished school, my brain has since regressed to a peaceful slumber...from which I hadn’t planned on waking it– until grad school, and maybe even that. And so reading Martin’s books have been a...task. But, a fun one.
Oh, Martin, what do you do to meee! Martin teases us then punishes us. He dangles the goods then takes it away. And if his shit weren’t so damn good, I’d hate him. To say that his imagination, his vision and creation, of this world is vast would be an understatement. There are multiple perspectives telling multiple sub-plots within the sweep of one major plot. That would turn many readers off, but Martin doesn’t care! He likes to introduce characters that readers grow to love and kill them off...or so he would have you think. That would anger and hurt many readers, but Martin doesn’t care! He likes to take his time; his narrative is like a stroll where most writers aim for a jog, but Martin doesn’t care! It’s like he doesn’t even care if we read the damn books at all! But you see, his aforementioned shit is just too awesome to turn away. And so we sit and take the punches. This review isn’t making sense...
I will say, though, that I love how this series is a tale of unsung and unlikely heroes: a eunuch, an imp and children. The characters drive this story...I can do without battle scenes, thanks, I’m good. Their lives are ripe enough of drama and intrigue to satisfy my appetite.
I’m not going to go into any more detail because, well, my brain is dead but I do know, from what I’ve gathered from its remains, is that these books are quite worth the tears, the hair-pulling, loss of voice from constant one-sided arguments with Martin who isn’t there, sleep deprivation, social hermitry...the usual. (less)
I can say this for certain: this is the first book that has ever made me feel something deep and raw; the first to make my eyes and heart well up; the...moreI can say this for certain: this is the first book that has ever made me feel something deep and raw; the first to make my eyes and heart well up; the first book to make me realize reading was serious. This book should be read in every elementary school.(less)
I've tried to write this review a few times, with articulate choice of words, a structure, intelligent observations and supporting facts to back me up...moreI've tried to write this review a few times, with articulate choice of words, a structure, intelligent observations and supporting facts to back me up. But I found voicing my feelings about this book difficult. So I gave up. And now I'm just gonna wing it.
First thing's first - Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses absolutely broke me in all ways a reader can be broken. I was walking around trying to enjoy my time in the ever spectacular show that is Times Square but found my mind retreating back to my hotel room yearning for Callum and Sephy. I sympathized with them at the Met, I cried for them at Central Park and I hoped with them in all the places in between...now I understand why you should only read happy books while on vacation. Serious.
This is the story of Callum and Sephy. Callum is white and a nought. Sephy is black and a Cross. Noughts are second-rate citizens. Crosses are the ruling class. There is a very strict, very clear divide between the two groups. But Callum and Sephy are in love and they try to fight against the enduring tide that is race and prejudice. Justice and oppression. What we feel is rightfully ours and what society say is rightfully ours. Self-conviction and the labels that are thrusted upon us. The need to make ourselves heard and the danger of speaking up.
But the battles they face are not only of politics but also within themselves. Callum wants to make something of himself. He believes he is capable of more than what the Crosses give him chances for. He's angered and insulted by the Cross government's "attempt" at "integration." He wants equality but struggles to find the right course. He can't join the Liberation Militia because they're brutal and believe that the "end justifies the means", even if victory means leaving devastation and death at its wake. And how does he reconcile all that with the feelings he has for Sephy when she is a member of the people who oppress him? Not only that but her father is instrumental in the mistreatment of his kind. To love Sephy means to to love the source of all his pain, hatred, anger. To Callum, it is like defeat and failure; as if he were giving in to them. He hates himself for loving her. And yet, Sephy isn't like them at all. Sephy sees the injustice and her inner struggle stems from her shame of being a Cross. Her people's inability to see their crime and her desire to fight for Callum's rights becomes a full time job. Unceasingly she persuades correct perspective to Crosses but is brushed off as ignorant. She continually tries to extend her hand to the noughts but is denied when her sympathy is falsely taken for pity and mockery. Callum himself is tired for always being in her debt. There are so many things working against their happiness that there is tension even when they try to help each other.
What I really appreciated in this book is that while the concept (of black and white reversed) is not new, Blackman spins a unique twist in her presentation. The novel is based at the present time (I safely assume as there is the internet) but the atmosphere, the feeling in the book, is primitive. When we begin the book, it has been a while since the abolition of slavery so noughts are free but only barely. They still suffer severe discrimination that which surpasses our own time's condition on racism. Noughts are only now being allowed to enter all-Cross educational institutions. There are only a handful of noughts with professions worth boasting about. There are still public executions. And the idea of a nought and a Cross being together is unthinkable. All these events have taken place but our progress has moved along much more gradually than Blackman's fictional society. Its like a really clever history lesson in the guise of a young adult novel.
Blackman tore my heart out. I related to Callum's sense of unfairness; how he wanted to do some many things but is never given the opportunity or the resources. I also related to Sephy in how she sometimes felt guilty for being a member of the elite, how she had so much when so many had so little. Contradictory, I know but we're all in the same position. We all want more than what we have but then we turn on the television and see images of death, suffering, corruption, famine. That's why I loved the way Blackman presented her characters. We can side with both. We root for Callum and Sephy as one.
Blackman's point on the absurdity of racism is stark and jolting. By reversing the situation of black and white, where white is bad and black is good, Blackman is appealing to our psychological tendencies and unhinges the false principles we are subconsciously conducive to. To watch a black man racially subjugate a white man is more unusual to digest than if it was the other way around. It fights against all that we know. The image of a black man suffering because of his color is accepted because of what history has taught us (and that in itself is heartbreaking). But every time Callum is attacked, it takes a second for us to remember he's white and they're black. And we realize how serious racism is.
This is a powerful book. It has powerful writing, powerful characters and a powerful message. It is layered and things like lines and boundaries aren't always clear. Its complicated and complex with confusing emotions and that's exactly how it is in real life. I love it when characters don't always know what to do because most of the time, no one really does. I love it when they're scared, doubtful and frustrated because it makes them real and when they emerge from their darkness, their triumph seems all the more attainable, which in turn inspires and motivates the readers and isn't that what its all really about? To make us better? When you see someone just as ordinary as you achieve something, it feels possible. Better that than a character who is already right off the bat bad-ass and confident. I don't have a problem with overtly strong characters with strong personalities but true strength for me is when someone feels like they can't fight but fights anyway.
The thing with this book is that it doesn't necessarily have to do with race at all. It imparts encouragement to fight for what you believe in, to be brave, to do the right thing, to be compassionate, to never judge a person before you know them, to be understanding, to be fair...
In the end, I remember putting the book down, thinking (view spoiler)[Callum's dead, Callum's dead, Callum's dead (hide spoiler)] and decided I was too devastated to read the rest of the series. But my book came with An Eye for an Eye, a short sequel to Noughts and Crosses and just like that I was hooked all over again.
I'm in for better or worse.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Rating: As close to a five without being a five. --- As I read Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca I began to think how maybe we readers are sometimes f...moreRating: As close to a five without being a five. --- As I read Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca I began to think how maybe we readers are sometimes fooled by beautiful writing. Impressively lavish phrasing designed to play smoke and mirrors to a more than mediocre perspective. How maybe sometimes we forgive a not so clever argument so long as the voice that delivers it is coated in romantic icing. Because how often have I thought a book was "okay" but boosted its rating because "well, it was beautifully written?"
What Marchetta reminded me was that these embellishments, while nice, are not really all that necessary to make a book good. Her writing is straight-forward. Its quick and to the point; you'll find no excessive descriptions or indulgent characterization. She doesn't spend any narrative space on anything that isn't absolutely relevant to the story she's telling us. Not to say her writing isn't "good" because of course it is. She got me to LOL, literally. She got me to OMG. She got me to BRB on sleep and everyday life obligations. I was surprised at how deeply she got under my skin with such a quick read of a book (this took me a day and a half).
Marchetta doesn't need fancy words or long, decorative paragraphs because she has her characters to rely on and, as you have already imagined, her characters are good enough that they don't need all the make-up because they're already so damn great on their own. She trusts her characters and she trusts us; she trusts that we'll get each other. And we do. The genius of her writing is how much meaning she can pack into so little words. She gives us slices at a time but they are so potent that they are all we need. Does this make sense?
Marchetta has crafted a young girl in Francesca/Francis/Frankie that portrays, pretty much, us. She has problems. We all do. We might not have an overbearing mother who is unbearable whether she's in full health or suffering from depression, or a father who seems to be alarmingly flippant as his family falls apart. But we have problems. And its how her pain and anxiety and fear manifest themselves that struck a chord with me. She doesn't cut herself, turn to drugs or sluttify her rep. She just deals; she might not have the most positive outlook but she isn't self-destructive. She's quiet, not shy but with just nothing to say most of the time. She doubts herself, her family, and even whether or not she really likes her friends. She feels like a background even though she feels she has a light brighter than most people; she wants to shine but she just wants to blend in. She's tired of waiting but is scared to act or doesn't know how to. She gives up but hates herself for being a coward so decides to be brave. She's lonely and confused and all over the place. She wants to be left alone but she needs people. She's not a loser but somehow can't pretend to be anything else. Its all of this and so much more. I fit her mold and I'm sure we all do to some extent.
It is all these doubts and self-conviction melded together that makes her so relatable because what character is more relatable than a complicated one? One who doesn't know herself but desperately wants to so she can be the person she wishes she was...then I realize we all wish to be the same kind of person. Don't we all aim to be better, stronger, more independent? To have the strength to be ourselves no matter what people think. To have the courage to go after our dreams, once we figure out what they are exactly. There are more of us who question our identity and wonder endlessly what we want to do with our lives than those who seem to have been born already cool and already knowing what they'll be when they grow up. Different stops but the same direction.
I don't even know if this is a review anymore...but I loved Francesca. That much is clear.
"I feel a wave of sadness overcome me. I want the bus driver to turn the bus around and I want to spend the rest of my days in a whirlwind of that last few days. Of flirting. Of laughing. Of ridding the world of evil. Of folk songs. Of piggy backs. Of hip hop dancing. Of foolishness.
And most of all, of forgetting.
I look past them to where Will and his friends are sitting, and he catches my eyes for a moment and smiles. Its a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that's kept right next to my soul. The one that holds Mia's scent and Justine's spirit and Siobhan's hopes and Tara's passions. Because if I'm going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I'm going to need everything I've got to fight this bastard of a disease that could be sleeping inside of me."
If that's not strength, I don't know what is.
This book is so full of truth. Truth I already knew, truth I deny and truth I have yet to understand. I only regret I hadn't read this sooner.(less)