I'd advise reading the Author's Note at the end for context for why she wrote Amanda the way she did.
This book has it's ups and downs, emotionally andI'd advise reading the Author's Note at the end for context for why she wrote Amanda the way she did.
This book has it's ups and downs, emotionally and in the storytelling. I haven't been through what Amanda's been through and I haven't read a lot of stories from the perspective of trans people. There are still some parts that felt universal -- falling in love for the first time, trying to fit in at a new school -- but are definitely different from anything I've experienced because of the secrets that she's keeping.
If you've been following me for long, you know I love it when the parents and other family are included in the story. It definitely added more to the story that both her parents were involved, both in present and flashbacks. Even though her mom had her snarky moments, she did seem like she had the perfect response to things.
BEE. Oh, Bee. She had some good lines, but then some lines that felt like a handbook on how to talk about and to a trans person. She isn't a robot or a perfect character by any means, but it was definitely a weird scene. She has other weird scenes, but they're spoilery.
This book does involve two characters who have been sexually assaulted. Amanda's assault in the mall bathroom was one of those things where it was done in flashbacks and it took me a while to get that she had been assaulted, not just beat up. Bee doesn't recount hers as much as says who it was and the guilt that she didn't report it.
The way things "resolved" after the dance was rather odd. It was almost as though the ~problem kids~ just disappeared or whatever. Hmmm. I did enjoy the conversations Amanda has with her dad. And I'm glad she had a solid group of girl friends. (And yes, it passes the Bechdel test)
I do feel like there were more micro-dramas than an overall arc with a big conflict and resolution. It's almost like the reader waiting anxiously for someone to spill Amanda's secret is supposed to be the climax? I'm not sure. I'm definitely open to discuss anything I've written in this review. It just didn't feel like there was anything big to be resolved. There was her dad coming to terms, whether or not to tell her friends and love interest, and hoping the jerks on the football team didn't find out. Especially Parker. ...more
(Heads up: Probably not a good idea to read this review before you've read The Summer I Turned Pretty as this is Book 2 in the Summer series. Cheers!)(Heads up: Probably not a good idea to read this review before you've read The Summer I Turned Pretty as this is Book 2 in the Summer series. Cheers!)
I was warned that I would cry, but MAN I was not expecting that.
It's very apparent in this book that the relationship between Belly and Conrad is not a healthy one. It's mentioned at least 3 times that she would come running if he called her. Add the fact that Susannah's passed away and it adds another layer of sadness and darkness. They're both heartbroken over her death and over the fact that they can't quite seem to be in a good relationship.
I haven't reviewed the first book as I write this post, BUT I really love the friendship between Susannah and Laurel (the moms) and how Laurel steps in at the end of this book. BEACH HOUSE 5 EVER, PLZ.
That prom scene broke my heart. And the scene when Belly and Jeremiah show up at the beach house. And anytime Belly ran to the beach/water and sat in the sand.
I feel like it's super important to keep in mind that Belly is a teenage girl and she is dealing with her long-standing crush/love. She's dealing with feelings and emotions. She's dealing with grief, too. She's dealing with who she thinks her mom is.
Although super heartbreaking, I loved the theme of being supportive of people through trying times. I'm not saying that Belly needed to stick around Conrad as he was going through some terrible stuff and was treating her in a way that was not healthy for either of them. I think Jeremiah made a good point of, "You didn't come to see me. I only got a few texts." These people are family and he needed her just as much as she needed someone, too.
Also, Jeremiah needed to chill on the, "But I'm the nice guy!" bit. Chill. Out. You know she's loved your brother since she was 10, I think. He doesn't go overboard with it, but he does make his feelings very clear with her, which I appreciated. Even though she was very confused about her feelings for these two boys.
Overall, loving this trilogy so far. Definitely recommend for people who love Contemporary YA that is somewhat cute, somewhat ALL THE FREAKING EMOTIONS, family, and a bit of grieving. ...more
I'm not totally sure how I feel about this book as a whole. I did love the examination of fangirl/fandom culture. The characters definitely spoke likeI'm not totally sure how I feel about this book as a whole. I did love the examination of fangirl/fandom culture. The characters definitely spoke like true tumblr users.
Although the terribleness of the characters was probably meant to be just that, sometimes it crossed the line. Thankfully, characters like Erin stood up for herself. Apple just seemed to be a caricature of a rabid fan. Isabel was the dedicated blogger who had all the updates about the Ruperts.
There were some hilarious parallels between the fictional band of The Ruperts and a real life famous band, down to the tweets about his band mates being happy about his supposed split from the group.
Overall, a lot of shenanigans ensue and they're mostly hilarious, but sometimes show how we can tear each other apart in some dangerous ways. ...more
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher for review and publicity purposes. All opinions are my own.
I read God Loves Ugly after I came toDisclaimer: I received this book from the publisher for review and publicity purposes. All opinions are my own.
I read God Loves Ugly after I came to terms with the fact that I had been sexually assaulted. I read Heart Made Whole after I told my testimony and after God had already given me a dose of peace about it.
This is one of those books that within the first chapter, you know it's going to challenge you and your relationship with your heart. You know it's going to change the way you view pain, your monsters, and how you live your life. It's going to change the way you interact with God on a daily basis. It's going to change your relationships. It's going to change your worship.
Although I had a few breakthroughs regarding my assault such as learning that I had blamed myself, but not forgiven myself and that God did want to release me from the burdens that come after such a tragic event... God still had more healing in mind and more ways to grow our relationship together. This book was one of the ways God helped me. What He teaches others through Christa is SO important and so worth digging into, no matter how long or short it takes to get through this book. I did read it faster because I wanted to be able to review it before/during release week, but I know I'll go back and re-read it more in-depth.
Something I really dug was the Open Heart Surgery sections at the end of each chapter. It's like doing emotional and spiritual inventory of "What the heck is going on in my heart?" Through reading this book, I learned that I had built up walls and let my Guardian Heart take over. I shut people out, I already knew that, but I didn't realize how much I had pushed people away -- people who were my best friends!
I also like every part of this book so much that I found myself underlining SO many things, so many truths. I have those Papermate Flair pens (felt tip pens, basically). It looks like a bag of Skittles attacked the inside of my ARC! Anyway, Christa is such a talented writer and such a conduit for God to speak to people.
Ooh something that I ALMOST forgot... I have friends at church who say things like, "God is a gentleman." And Christa goes into the fact that God isn't going to force us to let Him in. Our free will is so that we make that conscious decision to chose Him.
There is more that I want to cover, but GO PICK UP THIS BOOK. There is so much that God wants to tell you and heal you. He wants to be close to you! He wants to imagine with you! ...more
AH YES. So good. If you're looking for a book that has some grounding in Indian folklore, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. I don't have a lot of knowledge of IndianAH YES. So good. If you're looking for a book that has some grounding in Indian folklore, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. I don't have a lot of knowledge of Indian folklore, but I love books based in folklore. I don't know what it is that sets it apart from other Fantasy novels for me.
Anyway, I loved her inquisitive mind and the idea that the heroine of the story doesn't always feel like the most powerful person. I mean, there's a point in which she literally loses her powers and has to gain them back. And there's a talking, flesh-eating horse.
I also love stories that involve the heroine doing something that may involve her own deception, but she takes responsibility and action. And she doesn't need someone else to save her. ...more
5,000 stars because this spoke to my spirit sooooo much! She wrote each part as a "season" which I loved. I also loved the prayers and the places to w5,000 stars because this spoke to my spirit sooooo much! She wrote each part as a "season" which I loved. I also loved the prayers and the places to write stuff. I could see someone using this as a devotional, even if it isn't actually a devo book. She also had bits called "beautiful certainty" which are like God's promises and whatnot.
And that ending/epilogue! Love love love.
Mandy is the kind of writer who makes you feel like she's sitting across with you, encouraging you. Possibly with coffee. Okay, definitely with coffee.
This book is PERFECT for single Christian ladies, whether you've never been on a date or a seasoned veteran and haven't found ~the one~ yet. ...more