First, I think I should say two things: a)This review is going to be really cheesy, and b)that horrific cover does in NO WAY this book justicTerrific.
First, I think I should say two things: a)This review is going to be really cheesy, and b)that horrific cover does in NO WAY this book justice. I don't care if this is a 'boy' book aimed at middle schoolers, it made this seventeen-year old girl cry and laugh and cry some more to the point that everyone else in my house was a little worried (thank goodness I didn't read this in public).
I can't even quote the best parts in this book because each line builds upon everything you know about that character and their relationships with who they're talking to; it's so rewarding in the end because almost every conversation made me laugh and love the characters even more. Mrs. Windermere's (Skinny Delivery Boy, what ice cream did I order?), the science teacher (oh Clarence), the librarians, Doug's brothers (and there was a beautiful part where.. agh I can't, just read this book), the BIRDS, the play at the end where I was laughing like a maniac, I'm sorry, this review isn't very informative for people wondering what this book is about. You know those 'a-HA!' moments you get when you're reading and something brilliant happens? Like when Jellicoe Road actually starts making sense, or the entire ending to Unwind, or when Harry realizes where that Horcrux was all along, or when you realize who Lucy actually went on a date with in Graffiti Moon? OKAY FOR NOW has tons of these, in a brilliant, subtle, everyday way.
One thing that always makes me love a book, especially a book you can say is aimed for a younger audience, is not dividing the characters into Evil and Good. Yes, Doug gets bullied and is treated unfairly, but those same bad guys are people too, and they have depths that extend past being an antagonist for the main character. One thing that I did notice, however, was that the good characters actually don't work vice versa; they're pure and good through and through, so it'd be nicer if they could venture into that gray area as well. Not that I want Doug's mother to start beating people up or anything, but the characters that start out kind don't develop throughout the story.
The emotion that Doug's simple narration got out of me... I don't even know. Every time he says 'Do you know how that feels?' I needed to take a break because WHAT DO YOU THINK I FEEL?!?? I FEEL WEIRDLY PROUD OF YOU YOU IDIOT AND it was like I could physically feel my heart... not breaking, because I was just so happy
Yeah, it was like I could actually feel my heart physically constricting in happy-sad feelings. So yeah. This book is amazing. If you enjoy being punched in the heart with great characterization and turning into a crying/laughing/generally hysterical mess over a bunch of words than read this book, and if you don't, too bad, read this book...more
You may have noticed that it took me approximately 9 months to finish this book. And that's because: you never want something Melina Marchetta has wriYou may have noticed that it took me approximately 9 months to finish this book. And that's because: you never want something Melina Marchetta has written to end. You have to bring yourself to put it down for a while because it's like some decadent bittersweet dessert that has a billion flavors of it and it turns out that the flavors are accented with your tears and emotions and the writing and characters that are so good that it's too much and if you keep going you'll faint a little after a few bites and what happens when there's no more left and bc you ATE IT ALL NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO AFTER THIS. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH YOUR CHOICES because now you've had a taste of something so good that nothing will compare and all you want to do is sit and stare at a wall forever oh wait this is the second book there's one more that's going to wreck you even more ok but for now all you do is sob and think Froi and his stupid perfect family and that crazy wild gorgeous abrasive Quintana and brothers and curses and darkness and family and sisters and mothers and love, characters that love fiercely or hide it or long for it without knowing they already have it, dozens of characters from everywhere and every age, impossibly different but connected and the same, who all are just dying to have their turn at making you love them, and hate them but it's also because I have a bad habit of being easily distracted and procrastination but w/e read this book and sign away your soul and weep comrade because soon you'll turn into the same raving lunatic as me, and I didn't even like Finnikin of the Rock that much
(view spoiler)[Anyways, I am barely coherent after finishing this (THAT ENDING) but here's some attempts at expressing my undying love for this book and the emotional torture it put me through
-Gargarin and Arjuro. I love them so much. They've been through so much and they can barely show it anymore but you can still tell how important they are to each other. The entire cast of characters is exceptional, Lirah and De Lancey just adding to the tangled web of relationships between people who are ripping my heart out right now
"‘Three warnings?’ Froi asked with disbelief. ‘Three? There are to be no warnings. If someone touches you again, Quintana, you grab the first thing you can find and hurl it at them.’
‘No. Not exactly what I would suggest,’ Gargarin said. ‘It would help if this kingdom didn’t see us as a family of savages.’
There was silence after that. It was too strange a word for Gargarin to use. Family."
-Froi. FROI. Froi, I was almost a little skeptical about a book with you as the lead, and I couldn't have been any more wrong
"Tippideaux held a hand out to her. Quintana studied it. Froi feared she would bite the fingers off to the bone. ‘Will Quintana of Charyn be beautiful in your play?’ she asked, quietly. Tippideaux thought for a moment. Just say yes, Tippideaux. ‘She’ll be strangely intriguing,’ Tippideaux said, her eyes faraway. ‘With a touch of mystery and savagery that will bewitch only the bold and courageous amongst us.’ Froi and the lads held their breaths. After what seemed an eternity, Quintana took Tippideaux’s hand."
-Phaedra and Lucian and the way that their storyline speaks volumes about things that are relevant in the world at present, too -
uggggghhhhadsasdfas I'll try to write properly about this later because I just need to lie down and cry for a while at how perfectly unperfect the characters in this book are (hide spoiler)]["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"]>...more
This was absolutely amazing. Beautiful and brilliant. By the second-last paragraph I had chills running down my spine.
It doesn't happen very often, buThis was absolutely amazing. Beautiful and brilliant. By the second-last paragraph I had chills running down my spine.
It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes you'll open a random book to the first page and know that it'll be good. By the first sentence the writing draws you in and never lets you go. I can't even start to describe how great this book is written, but it flows seamlessly, lyrical and haunting, funny and down to earth but filled with emotions and vivid images. It's like a work of art, but not so put together that it doesn't seem believably unperfect.
I don't know how to say this, but the story and the characters really subvert the typical things you'd expect of them, and there's never a completely bad character, just a bunch of people drifting around in various shades of gray. And it's not just a perfect happy ending, it's well-earned and... I couldn't see it any other way. You could say everything fell into place, but it's not that easy. Well, anyway. I was wondering which loose ends weren't tied up, like Lawton's whereabouts, but it seems better this way, not knowing. ...more
Stories about suicide aren’t the type that I’d pick up right off the bat– it can feel like I’m just being manipulated if the plot is nothing but griefStories about suicide aren’t the type that I’d pick up right off the bat– it can feel like I’m just being manipulated if the plot is nothing but grief and pain. And so when I saw HOLD STILL sitting on the YA shelf of the library, I glanced at it briefly before putting it back down. Which was a mistake, because this book is beautifully written and achingly gorgeous, and the ultimate message (I hesitate on calling it a ‘message’, because you don’t just come across messages in real life, and Caitlin’s story is too down-to-earth for that) is not about grief, it’s about hope.
The writing is deceptively simple, a little like If I Stay, except I could never really believe the characters in that book; impossibly talented musicians and perfect families and all. The characters in Caitlin’s world, and Caitlin herself, feel like people you could meet any day, walking down your street or carrying on with their lives, just regular, ordinary, realistic people. Which makes the tragedy that much more affecting.
In 200 or so pages, I experienced more emotions than I’ve encountered in books with much more time to develop their characters. Caitlin has hobbies and interests, but they’re not just tacked on for the sake of a trait; her photography, writing, and woodworking is meaningful. The story is a little fragmented, but the small moments here and there, but it’s painfully realistic. It’s still sitting on my shelf, as it has for a month or so. Every now and then I flip through certain pages and scenes, marveling at the writing. (It’s also very overdue, but nanana oh well) All the little moments come together so wonderfully in this book; small details play larger roles later on, until you reach the ending, which will make you cry. (In a good kind of way, I promise.)...more
I have to admit I was a little wary of this at first. But after finishing this in almost a single day, all I can say is that UNWIND is almost perfectI have to admit I was a little wary of this at first. But after finishing this in almost a single day, all I can say is that UNWIND is almost perfect in many ways: the plot is outstanding, and the buildup gets more and more exciting as the book goes on; there are answers to the questions it raises, and shocking twists that feel… right.
Characters are introduced who seem like stereotypes, and that’s all I expected them to be– but they turn out to be so much more three-dimensional than they initially appear. And it’s not as simple as that, either. The Admiral, in particular, is one of those characters. He’s set up like the one-sided dictator, and there are even subtle hints that he’s more evil than he appears, then everything changes again, flipping your perspective over and over until you don’t know anymore. Almost every event plays some sort of role, has a significant effect on the plot as a whole or the characters.
Connor and Risa nearly bored me to tears. (Why do I always feel like main characters can’t even compare to the complexity of minor ones? I adored CyFi and Hayden as well. Even Roland was more interesting…).
This is a dystopian society done well. The issue at hand is one that we deal with today, and it’s taken to a shocking extreme that is still somewhat believable (there’s definitely some willing suspension of disbelief though, too). But everyone has a reason for what they’re fighting for. There’s so much grey on gray morality, not the simple black and white you might see in Hunger Games or Matched. Unwinding is despicable, but it does save lives… it gets you thinking.
UNWIND is impossible to put down. It’s everything I could want in an action-packed thriller which brings present-day moral conundrums into perspective. It toys with your preconceived notions so expertly, and I didn’t start tearing up (i.e. bawling) until the second-last page. You probably know what scene I’m talking about, if you’ve read it already. That’s the one scene where I know that this is, and will be, one of my all-time favorites....more
The Ask and the Answer is still my fave though. If only for Davy. DAVY EFFING PRENTISS. I've never been so emotionally manipulated*foams at the mouth*
The Ask and the Answer is still my fave though. If only for Davy. DAVY EFFING PRENTISS. I've never been so emotionally manipulated by a book to feel sorry for someone so loathable. WTF these books MESS WITH YOUR MIND. ...more
“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted. It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen.” - Jellicoe R“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted. It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen.” - Jellicoe Road, Prologue
And so begins Jellicoe Road, one of the most frustrating but rewarding books i have ever read. Jellicoe Road contains many stories; the book weaves together past and present, family and mysteries, loyalty and friendship, and at times it is heartbreakingly sad.
Taylor Markham has lived at a boarding school ever since she was abandoned by her mother many years ago. The story is hard to explain; one narrative takes place in the present, with Taylor trying to figure out where her closest friend and guardian, Hannah, has disappeared to. The second story is set in the past and follows four friends. The prologue is part of this second story.
The flashbacks were a breath of fresh air and the way they tie in to the present-day story is simply amazing. I had figured out the twists behind When You Reach Me because I had heard there were secrets lurking in the story; I didn’t think that Jellicoe Road would have any plot twists, but when they were revealed not only was it shocking; it felt right. Not like “What the heck was the author thinking?” but “Ahhh, it makes sense.” Just what you want in this little puzzle of a book.
I could barely read this book when I first started it. Actually, that’s not totally true; the introduction is simply amazing. I read the first few pages and thought that the rest of the book would be just as gripping- but instead, the plot became incredibly convoluted and confusing.
The story springs right into Taylor’s life without any exposition whatsoever. Usually I love these types of stories; figuring out what’s happening is usually fun. But in this book, I was just frustrated.
I couldn’t seem to care about the characters; the back story to the plot was either to brief or vague; some plot elements made absolutely no sense until the very end. I found Taylor to be an unsympathetic lead; she seemed so caught up in her teenage angst.
Reading it began to feel like a tiresome trip; I tried to encourage myself to stay with it (it won the Printz award! That prologue was breathtaking!) but I eventually just gave up and put it down for a while. After wondering if the plot actually got anywhere, I picked it up again to read the ending (it’s a bad habit).
And I decided to give it another try. And I was completely blown away. I couldn’t put it down; I cried like i had just read the ending of The Book Thief for the first time (well, almost).
Thing is, it didn’t get that good until i was 3/4 through the book. Once I was about to read the final chapter, I actually decided to read the entire book from the beginning again to see what I had missed; it made the epilogue all the more powerful. Reading it the second time through, it almost seemed like another book. There are a whole bunch of little details that you miss the first time (mostly because what the heck is going on?!?!) but you can take the time to get to know the characters the second time through. And the characters, I find, are one of the most important elements of a novel.
Final Verdict: An amazing book. The way the Marchetta ties together the past and present is nothing short of genius. The frustrating confusion at the beginning drags the book down but it’s all worth it for the ending.
--- Apparently I read and reviewed this book when I was around thirteen. Every time I re-read Jellicoe it never loses its power; although I've fallen harder for Melina Marchetta's characters in other books since then (and she's easily become my favorite author), I still marvel at how everything falls into place so skillfully here. If I had to pick one novel that really stands out in being a gateway to the stories that shaped my high school years, this would be it....more
let's just say I picked this up randomly, started reading it on a whim before going to sleep, and ended up staying up all night until I finished it. tlet's just say I picked this up randomly, started reading it on a whim before going to sleep, and ended up staying up all night until I finished it. there were a lot of tears...more
It's one of those books that you don't expect much from but ends up surpassing any preconceptions you had before reading it. This is a collection of sIt's one of those books that you don't expect much from but ends up surpassing any preconceptions you had before reading it. This is a collection of stories that are all heartbreaking and real but never truly preachy, as I had feared. The first six or so stories are the strongest, with the titular Lunch With Lenin blowing all the others completely out of the water. (The last few were rather weak.) But those first stories were perfection. They each ended on an open, thought-provoking way. All The Pretty Flowers was also breathtaking.
The fact that each story is so brief and fleeting only makes them more emotionally affecting. There were approximately twenty-one pages in Lunch With Lenin, and that was all it took for me to become more emotionally invested in the characters than I ever thought possible. So much that I just couldn't forget it.
Then I started a blog and gave it that title that never quite left my mind.