On the melodramatic side, but I think that just makes it more amusing. There were a lot of recycled character traits (Red Sox fan, trauma, flawed but...moreOn the melodramatic side, but I think that just makes it more amusing. There were a lot of recycled character traits (Red Sox fan, trauma, flawed but indisputably charming, the like) that I saw from the President's Daughter series, but I love White's style too much to care. (less)
The best way I can describe this book at this time in the evening is like watching one of those movies that restore your faith in humanity even though...moreThe best way I can describe this book at this time in the evening is like watching one of those movies that restore your faith in humanity even though the film didn't align with reality by a long stretch.
The angst levels in this book are record-breaking. But it's bearable, because if it's a steady leak of angst, and not a hurricane, I think I can handle it. And besides, this whole book is made of leaks of brute force feelings from people trying desperately to hold them back.
Did that make sense? Of course it didn't. It didn't even make sense to me.
The lowdown is that this book is two very messed up people who fall in love. Mm, tastes of bran and unoriginality. Boring.
Except the side characters are awesome. And even though the writer loads up on way too much angst, the sweet side characters and their messed up stories to follow and way less macking out and way more actual dealing with relationship stuff without getting stupidly cliché, which is kind of a plus.
I don't know. The book's good, not great, and still worth reading. It's an unsolvable paradox, but one that's fun to mess with, just because you can.
I have no idea what I'm even trying to say anymore.
The title's pretty cool, though. The Sea of Tranquility. They talk about it in the book -- they thought it was a lake on the moon but really it was a shadow and it really goes to show how much of everything is just what we want to see and not what it actually is.
So I'm looking at what I've got so far, and all I can see is that I'm implying that this book is a Sea of Angst and the whole point of this book book is to transform it into a Sea of Tranquility, just by looking at it from a different angle.
One thing I did realize, though, as I smirked at yet another romance in yet another summer with yet another sad tint (see The...moreUnashamedly predictable.
One thing I did realize, though, as I smirked at yet another romance in yet another summer with yet another sad tint (see The Summer I Turned Pretty), was that corniness and bad puns was not an excuse to brush something off. Surprisingly, I learned a thing or two from Second Chance Summer.
1) Don't run away from things when it gets hard. Life is about making bad things better, not about letting things go from bad to worse.
2) As if you couldn't piece it together from the title, give people second chances. It makes the world less sucky.
3) Raspberry sorbet and coconut ice cream. Must try sometime.
Those are my thoughts.
EDIT: There is this quote in the book. "You want to know something about gymnastics? . . . The things is that people only get hurt -- really hurt -- when they're trying to play it safe. That's when people get injured, when they pull back at the last second because they're scared. They hurt themselves and other people." Corny but deep.(less)
I got the warnings. You're reading Code Name Verity? Better bring some tissues. Except I only legitimately shed tears o...more So many feels from this book.
I got the warnings. You're reading Code Name Verity? Better bring some tissues. Except I only legitimately shed tears once, when the smushing of "I have told the truth" and "after a while, all children tell the truth" made a feeling come up that I don't have a word for. Good books are more like lasting pangs in the chest for me.
No romance, either. This is a writer - someone who makes reader feel less alone without telling them that the only way of doing so is to hook up and get married. Maddie and Julie are a sensational team.
I didn't quite grasp the abbreviations - SOE, WAAF, ATA, etc. - because I was too busy mulling over things like Julie-during-interrogation saying, "I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid . . . I desperately want to grow old."
So many feels from this book. I'm still in the muddle of feelings, actually. Finished it this morning.
I'll cut it short here, because I'm afraid that if I go on I will turn into a blubbering fool. As Julie would say, "careless talk costs lives." (less)
My love for a particular book can be counted by the number of paper slips I have used to mark my favorite parts. There are so many...moreTore out my heart.
My love for a particular book can be counted by the number of paper slips I have used to mark my favorite parts. There are so many paper slips in my copy of The Piper's Son that the book seems to have doubled in thickness.
"The world goes on, stupid and brutal." (Jennifer Donnelly, if you're wondering). But it only takes one good book to see this world as a slightly less sucky place. Somebody back me up on this. Please.
The Piper's Son is a good book. It makes me want give a hug to a stranger, just because they might be feeling lonely. It makes me want to get hugged by strangers, because sometimes I feel lonely too. So hugs to you, stranger. Can I have a hug too?
I would blurb the book right around now but I like to imagine diving into this book headfirst. But if you're looking for a blurb, then here's a good one. I avoided this book for the longest time and held it at arm's length and the whole nine yards, and I am an idiot for not reading it sooner but I still got to it eventually. So I can't really force-feed this book down your throats when it took me so long to read it myself. So take your time. But when you get around to reading The Piper's Son, comment. I want to hear that I'm not alone and that there's somebody out there who will talk to me about this book. (less)
I know I'm the outlier, but I'm always a sucker for those tortured/grief-stricken/depressed/spiteful/unstable protagonists. So while the better reader...moreI know I'm the outlier, but I'm always a sucker for those tortured/grief-stricken/depressed/spiteful/unstable protagonists. So while the better readers of this generation complained of how depressing and sluggish the first half of Revolution is, I was listening to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" like it was the greatest song ever written, waiting for when David Gilmour got sadness down in four notes.
This book is easily some of the best historical fiction ever. Especially because it is so deeply connected to the world today. I want to read it again, but I know that reading it a second time will never match up to the wonderful feeling that I got from reading it the first time. France and Romance and rock music. Is there anything sweeter?(less)
This book made me feel so alive. I've never really seen this sort of writing before, not even in Melina Marchetta's other book (Saving Francesca). Thi...moreThis book made me feel so alive. I've never really seen this sort of writing before, not even in Melina Marchetta's other book (Saving Francesca). This writing is the seriousness of the past and the excitement of the young and the optimism and the pessimism in all our lives are all smushed together in a truly disorienting way.
From this distance everything is so bloody perfect.
That plot. You have no idea how much I am in love with this plot right now. It's so many drastically different things that all smooth together in writing so beautiful that it seems like something more than just prose. It's got everything, from a slightly insane female protagonist to a boarding school to a territory war (that reminds me of Camp-Half Blood's capture the flag, for all you Rick Riordan fans). I don't think I'll ever get over the amazingness that is this plot.
Oh, and heads up: when you read this book, expect flashbacks that will throw you off from the main storyline. It's kind of disorienting, but it really is relevant to the rest of the story. Oh, and the flashbacks are always italicized. Just so you know.
Hold my hand, because I might disappear.
Jellicoe Road is a shared experience. What I mean by that you can't read this book sitting alone in a corner, isolated from the rest of the world. This is the kind of book that you have to give to every single literate being on this planet, hands-down, no questions asked. I think that this is the kind of book that can only be truly understood when discussed with other people. It's the kind of book that sparks those amazing one-hour classroom discussions where everyone and talk about life-love-death-everything in a way that gives things so much more meaning than they had before. This book brings people together. This book tears down walls.
And everything I ever say here or anywhere will never even come close to properly describing the book in it's purest form. Be disoriented. Love the plot. Bring people together. Tear down walls. Read Jellicoe Road.(less)
Conor is breaking. His mother has terminal cancer, the kids are bullying him at school, and he's having the same terrible nightmare nearly every night...moreConor is breaking. His mother has terminal cancer, the kids are bullying him at school, and he's having the same terrible nightmare nearly every night. But then comes the monster. This monster is not the one from his dreams; it is old and ancient and wild, and it has come to tell Conor three stories. And when all is done, the monster will demand one thing from Conor, and one thing only: the truth.
A monster, Conor thought. A real, honest-to-goodness monster. In real, waking life. Not in a dream, but here, at his window.
Now see, look here. This monster is an amazingly effective plot device. He collects three contrasting stories and doles them out one by one and gives them to a hurting Conor, which in turn, gives the book a more real-life application. The monster moves everything along at a nice pace because it chooses when to give the stories, and so on and so forth.
Stories are important. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.
I really like morals to be present in my books. It gives them more depth. But I'm also painfully impatient, so I don't like to waste time digging around for them (the morals, that is). I like how Ness fit these moral plot elements together using the monster. It made the book more digestible, and reminded me of equally intriguing morals in Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy.
Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn't expect.
Heads up: I'm going to go off on a tangent here and start talking about the illustrations on and inside the book. The outside cover is ominous yet intriguing, and the picture under the jacket really fits with the story. It all works together to make a wonderful book. The illustrations inside are a more black-and-white mixed media thing, usually on the edges of pages. It made the book feel like some subdued version of Hugo Cabret.
SOUNDTRACK MUSIC: I've been on an indie-folk thread this past week, and there are two songs that I really think play well when reading this book. And they even sound good without the book. Listen to Tiger Mountain Peasant Song by First Aid Kit (Fleet Foxes cover) and Little Talks by Of Monsters And Men. Lots of acoustic-y guitar strumming and duet-harmonizing.
But even with all of these nice attributes, A Monster Calls is probably best suited for people looking for some seriously profound commentary on human nature. There is a lot of that in this book. It seems to be what Patrick Ness does best. (less)
And, you know, suicide. How do you explain it when it is so unexplainable? It's a tricky business, but Jennifer Hubbard is pretty good at it.
There wa...moreAnd, you know, suicide. How do you explain it when it is so unexplainable? It's a tricky business, but Jennifer Hubbard is pretty good at it.
There was never a magic moment when I knew why dying had called to me, just like there was never a magic moment when I decided I wanted to live instead.
This is one of those novels that touches on the stuff that goes unsaid during rickety occurrences. People hear about suicide, and they think that it happens because those people had a bad environment. Jennifer Hubbard really stresses that suicide is all about inner workings, and holds a certain clarity when she's explaining it in this book. In other words, her writing makes me feel like she's telling me, "Here's how it is."
I wanted to push myself again. To find the edges of things.
Ryan is fresh out of a mental hospital and still trying to figure out his life after a suicide attempt. His mother worries over his every move, as if it would signal where he stands on the crazy/sane meter. The only one who seems to really see him is Nicki. But even as Ryan tells Nicki everything, they're both holding back. All of this makes Try Not to Breathe a really strong contemporary voice. The book isn't overly emotional; it didn't make me cry. But it holds a candid insight to a more taboo subject, kind of like a more downplayed version of Barry Lyga. This book feels so real that I don't really remember why I ever hesitated in picking it up.
These were the kinds of secrets I had. Not the big secrets where anyone would feel sorry for you, would understand your pain - like losing a parent or getting a serious illness. Mine were the shameful, horrible kind. The grubby little twisted secrets, the ones where people would shrink away from me if they knew how pathetic I was.
Try Not to Breathe looks like one of those rickety proceed-with-caution books. The plot seems almost too simple, and a lot of the grown-ups are a bit, well, flat. The funny thing is that these blatant shortcomings actually contribute to accentuating the real theme-slash-message of the whole shebang - "Things happen, but it gets better." (less)
The perpetual angsty narrative was familiar to me. Probably because I listen to angry classical music (Prokofiev) and loud, fast and overused pop song...moreThe perpetual angsty narrative was familiar to me. Probably because I listen to angry classical music (Prokofiev) and loud, fast and overused pop songs (I blame radio). But after so much undirected anger, I grew weary of it. Don't get the wrong idea. Where She Went is still a good book, but it lacks the gut-wrenching punch of its precursor, If I Stay. (less)
One of the first books I've read about domestic violence, this thought-provoking YA novel lives up to the emotional ache of Hate List, also written by...moreOne of the first books I've read about domestic violence, this thought-provoking YA novel lives up to the emotional ache of Hate List, also written by Jennifer Brown.(less)
Perfect. Perfect in a dark, chilling kind of way. Every point, every emotion, every part of this book was spot-on. So believable you can't help but br...morePerfect. Perfect in a dark, chilling kind of way. Every point, every emotion, every part of this book was spot-on. So believable you can't help but break down and cry over. So devastating you can't help but freeze and wonder why. The book is about a game. A cruel game seemingly born of good intentions. Created dark by its maker, its controller, its puppetmaster. Retold by the game's player. Shattering Glass is one of the best books I've read - ever. (less)
I'll be honest. It didn't take me a long time to finish this book. But it DID take a long time for people to convince me to read it. I generally assum...moreI'll be honest. It didn't take me a long time to finish this book. But it DID take a long time for people to convince me to read it. I generally assumed that it was some sappy story where he got himself saved and stood up for himself. The real tragedy is that Dave stood and took it. Everyone should read this, or at least hear David Pelzer's story, of the childhood that was taken from him.(less)