When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He...moreWhen Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He's determined to protect and defend her, to play Batman to her Robin, whatever the cost. But when you're fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it's hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a "normal" relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that's not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam's mother has started to receive.
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B is an honest and realistic look into a young teen's life as he struggles with everything. With being a teenage boy and falling in love with a teenage girl, with parents and divorce and a curious brother, and with every day facing the challenges his OCD provides. His complications and complex thoughts are the foreground to a background highlighting a curious mystery. Will Adam be able to overcome everything?
Adam is a very curious character. His thought are very candid, without artifice, but he keep those bottled up inside, feeding lies to anyone who will ask how he's doing or what his home life is like. He doesn't share his anxieties or worries, and because of that, he slowly ends up in a spiral, circling downward and downward.
His interactions with the other members of his group were interesting. Real names are rarely used, only code names taken from different superheroes. There are certain parts we share with people, certain things we expose to the world. These secret names form a barrier between them and the outside world, separating everything from what they're discussing during those meetings. Except for Robyn, her real name is always spoken, always thought about by Adam. Because he's in love with her and wants to be better for her.
Slightly in the background is an increasingly worrying situation with Adam's mother. Someone is sending her letters filled with horrible words. As her worry escalates, so does Adam's, and so everything escalates. Including their complicated home situation.
It's very clear that Toten by no means intends to ridicule or offend those who suffer from OCD, especially teens. Clearly, a lot of research has been done on her part in order to portray Adam as accurately as possible. It's interesting to read this book and to see how, in one circumstance, a person would think and rationalize certain mannerisms, rituals, and ways of thinking when they have OCD. To me, it seems to be about control, completing the rituals and counting and doing whatever it takes until the person feels that they have control of the situation, of the world around them. That they're no longer lost.
If there's one thing about this book that I didn't like, it would be the pacing. I felt so much was happening, but when I looked I was barely a third of the way in. Things keep happening to Adam, over and over and over, until it all comes together it one massive explosion. I just wish it could've happened faster.
I love how there's a part of Canadian-authored literature for children and teens that isn't afraid to tackle the big issues, the topical and important issues. Relationships, rape, violence, drugs, death of a family member or friend, and mental illness. Not talking about it, not reaching out and connecting with teens won't make it go away. I'm not sure how big it is in other countries, but I've found it to be a big part of Canadian literature. We seem to write to tell stories, to tell the story of someone who could be anyone, who could be any one of us. We write these stories to connect ourselves, to make sure no one is ever alone. Adam isn't alone. Another thing I've noticed is, with Canada being such a big country, our stories are often about one person's journey. This is Adam's journey.(less)
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conv...moreMaking friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
This Song Will Safe Your Life is both refreshing and brutally honest about what it is to live as a unique semi-misfit teenager who's slowly figuring out who she is. This book is about finding friends who will actually be friends, about connecting with other people, and about coming to terms with being different.
At the beginning, Elise is depressed and ready to give up on life. She doesn't see the point in being special or being different because of the ways her classmates have reacted to her during their school years. Basically, what Elise does isn't cool/is different from how they do it and they don't like it/she should change everything about herself. And so she gives up on being different. It never got her the friends or the popularity she thought she would get.
Elise's problem is that years of bullying have left her with the inability to like herself, to appreciate her quirks and interests. Getting over that big a hurdle will be difficult, but she'll have to do it if she wants any kind of opportunity to make friends and finally be happy. If she really wants Vicki, Pippa, and Char in her life. If she really wants to DJ.
The book is peppered with flashbacks of the bullying Elise suffered during her school years. Classmates laughing at her for using complicated words, talking behind her back, stealing her things. This kind of bullying is all too familiar and common. It seems to be part of being a kid that, when someone does something different (meaning not the way they do it) it's funny. Talking different, wearing different clothes, liking different music. Elise's differences unfortunately make her an easy target, both as a child as as she attempts to navigate the complex social cliques that make up high school. Their bullying leaves her to see life as hopeless. It's sad that it hurts her so much as a child, and it's sad that it still hurts her as a teenager, but unfortunately, bullying like that is common.
It's all about Elise figuring out who she is and where she fits into the massive train wreck that can be life. It's not necessarily about fixing all of her flaws because they make her the weird, honest, precocious, confused, music-loving girl she is, but more of her understanding them. More of her understanding that popularity isn't all it's cracked up to be. More of her realizing that maybe she's okay the way she is. More of her learning how friendship can be messy with all its unwritten rules and the ways it can save you.
I found this book to be complicated and sad and painful, but those are the teenage years. As unfair as they are, as torturous as they are, as revealing as they are. It wasn't hard to see bits and pieces of my own high school experience in Elise's, which meant it wasn't hard for me to follow her so closely throughout this book, from the first page to the last. For everyone who felt like a misfit in high school, I would recommend this book.(less)
A sweet and sad book about two misfits who find a place to belong when they're together. Not my cup of tea when it comes to contemporary romance, but...moreA sweet and sad book about two misfits who find a place to belong when they're together. Not my cup of tea when it comes to contemporary romance, but I'm sure those who enjoy contemporary YA will enjoy it more than I did.(less)
Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She'll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her famil...moreColette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She'll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family's French roots. But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette. Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger.
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is an entertaining journey across Paris, shining light on its famous landmarks, giving glimpses of a possible murderous ghost wandering along the cobbled streets. Both the city and the mystery keep the book exciting, but Colette's reliance on her shallow friends and their own terrible personalities bring everything down
Colette is in Paris to sight-see, to take in the history and the culture and the sensation of being the city. And she does, but she never expects to find herself involved in a string of murders. It's certainly something that would cause caution, being told right after landing in a foreign that young people are being murdered, their heads sliced from their bodies. As scared as Colette is when she sees the ghost of what looks to be Marie Antoinette following her, she's just as serious about looking back into the past to see what secrets were covered up during the Revolution.
The best part of the book is Paris itself, the history surrounding the city, the landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Palace at Versailles. The city's past is so well-known, a past glittering with royalty and drenched in suffering and blood. The sights and sounds of the European city come across so well on the page.
As I read on, I wondered what purpose Colette's friends served beyond filling the 'friend' role, because they don't seem like friends. Colette's using them to remember what her life used to be like before her parents split, when they had money and weren't living in a small apartment, but they're also using Colette. She needs them to make herself look good, and so she'll go along with almost any plan of theirs to party or sneak away from the tour. I wondered if her friends were supposed to look like modern-day versions of French aristocracy, the influential figures that wasted money on clothing, jewelry, and exotic food.
The city of Paris and the dangerous ghost story kept me reading, but I was constantly annoyed by Colette's vapid and self-centered friends. I thought this would be an interesting ghost story, and it was, but it also turns into more of a chance for Colette to 'learn the lesson of friendship,' that real friends wouldn't care about your wealth or status and that they would care about you for you. It felt a little more like a middle grade book issue than a young adult book issue, but I suppose figuring out who your true friends are happens at any age.(less)
Best friends and 7th graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they w...moreBest friends and 7th graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward). At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets. But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something, and they’re determined to find out what it is. Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. They might solve their case, but will their friendship survive?
The Wig in the Window is an entertaining and exciting mystery, complete with two inquisitive girls and some curious secrets newly discovered in their quiet neighbourhood. Both girls are ready to put their spy skills to the test and uncover the truth, but they uncover something far more complicated than they expected and they'll have to work quickly in order to bust everything out into the open.
Sophie and Grace are smart girls, curious girls, girls who speculate and hope to discover the hidden truths behind their neighbours' strange actions. Of course, sometimes it's just their imaginations getting the best of them, but this time it isn't. This time it's something big, something with secret codes and a car that wanders around constantly. This time they've hit it big and it's time to get to work. But spying and uncovering mysteries isn't always fun and games, sometimes real life gets in the way.
Because of the first person point of view, the reader gets more of Sophie than of Grace. At times, Sophie appears to have more reservations than Grace, she wants to be more cautious, she wants to do things a bit differently than Grace. Grace seems to be Sophie's only friend. Sophie's varied interests, including those in tai chi and fung shui, make me wonder if Sophie is trying to be someone else, if she's trying to appear interesting. It's like she doesn't think she's interesting enough on her own.
Friendship is a big part of this book. Sophie and Grace have to stick together, have to work together, or else the big secret they're hoping to expose about Dr. Agford is going to fade away in the night. But they both have their own personalities, their own lives away from each other, their own way of going about life. They're bound to clash and argue, but can they get past it? Will their friendship survive?
This book plays on the dream that almost every kid has had, and that's the dream of exposing the weird secrets of his or her neighbours. Behind closed doors, behind drawn curtains, kids just know there's something going on next door or down the street. And then they can investigate to their heart's content. But what if they end up in over their heads? What are they going to do next?
This is a mystery filled with twists and turns and a danger that begs to be revealed. I can only hope for more.(less)
Celia Door enters her freshman year of high school with giant boots, dark eyeliner, and a thirst for revenge against Sandy Firestone, the girl who did...moreCelia Door enters her freshman year of high school with giant boots, dark eyeliner, and a thirst for revenge against Sandy Firestone, the girl who did something unspeakable to Celia in eighth grade. But then Celia meets Drake, the cool new kid from New York City who entrusts her with his deepest, darkest secret, who makes her look at things a different way. When Celia's quest for justice threatens her relationship with Drake, she's forced to decide which is sweeter: the revenge she craves or the friendship she never knew she needed.
The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door is a clever, honest, and insightful look at one girl's entrance into high school and all it entails, including a reunion with the girls from middle school who made eighth grade painful. Celia is an interesting sort of character, funny and clever but sad and confused, and her experience will resonate with anyone who'd ever felt alone and bullied by their peers.
One thing that stands out the most in this book is Celia's voice. She's creative, she's wise, she's knowledgeable after reading book after book from the public library. She has her own way of seeing the world around her, seeing her parents' marriage stagnate and turn into something else, seeing Drake struggle with the secret that only she knows, seeing Sandy Firestone and waiting for the day she'll get her revenge. There's a mention of Celia studying the high school's yearbook so she could prepare for her freshman year, but there is no studying. It's a jump into the deep end for everyone, we just have to hope we can tread water or that there are people nearby willing to help keep us afloat.
Celia's poems are a coping mechanism, a way for her to express what she's feeling when she's keeping it all inside. She doesn't tell either of her parents, her forgetful mother or absent father, how she feels, she doesn't tell Drake the truth behind how she feels, and so it's all building up inside her, escaping in little bursts of poems that no one is ever meant to see.
At fourteen, Celia is a young narrator for a young adult novel, but the message of this book is no less powerful or important. She's been bullied, she's become Dark, but is getting her revenge on Sandy Firestone worth it? Is revenge ever worth it? With revenge, Celia wants Sandy to feel exactly how she felt, she wants her to feel the pain and the shame that she was put through, but she never considers the end. Those who plan revenge plots rarely consider the aftermath, the whispers, the additional pain that could surface. If Celia goes through with her revenge, she might lose the only friend she has.
Those early years of high school, the first year or two, they're the start of you discovering what you want to be, who you're going to be. You don't want those times to be sad, to be painful, to weight you down until you're about to buckle under the pressure. It's not about becoming who other people want you to be, it's about figuring out who you want to be. Be the best you you can be, hang out with who you want to hang out with. Maybe then high school will be pretty sweet.(less)
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism....moreZach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing. And stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll, who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.
Doll Bones is a curious, haunting, and moving look at growing up, an inventive and complicated story of a boy at a crossroads with the desire to keep having fun with his friends and the pressure put on him by his father to act his age. This book looks at those tough decisions we faced as children when we were told by adults to stop playing childish games, and whether or not you can grow up and keep having fun with your friends at the same time.
Zach is pushed into a difficult situation, both by his father and by his own feelings of shame. Playing with Poppy and Alice, creating new worlds filled with adventure and intrigue and pirates, those are the best moments of his life. But playing with dolls and action figures is for little kids, in the mind of his father, and it's time Zach grows up and focuses on what twelve-year-old boys should focus on: homework and sports. The dynamic between Zach, Alice, and Poppy was very interesting, they all had their roles to play, their times to speak up. Their dangerous risks to take.
Growing up, moving on. It's not something any kid looks forward to when they realize it's on the horizon. When it comes to playing with toys, dolls, and action figures, how old is too old? Must we follow the recommended age printed on the side of the box? When are you supposed to grow up and leave fun behind?
A big part of this book is imagination, how children can create anything out of nothing, how boundaries don't exist and everything is possible. How the word "no" doesn't have a place of its own anymore. The imagination of a child is a wondrous thing, filled with possibility.
This book highlights so many important and unique things about being a kid that adults either forget or take for granted. When you're a kid, anything is possible. You can do anything, be anyone. You can go anywhere you want while never leaving the side of the road. It's moments like those that should be remembered and encouraged, and books like this that remind us that, as kids, the entire world was our playground.(less)
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. And she’s really good at it. She and her t...moreCath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. And she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Fangirl is a humourous, entertaining, emotional, and compelling book. It's all about growing up, moving on, and living your own life instead of someone else's. It's okay to wonder what would happen if you could live inside the world of a book, if you could re-write it, but you can't forget your own life. It's the only one you'll ever get.
Cath is a very curious but very intriguing character. I fell for her awkwardness and her bookishness. This time at college, this time away from her sister and her father, is supposed to be about change. She's (sort of, because she's in a dorm) on her own, living her own life, but is she really? Can she move away from constantly spending time away from her twin and their father? Can she move away from Simon Snow and fanfiction? What intrigued me most about Cath was her staunch unwillingness towards most kinds of change. As the world around her changes, she retreats into herself, finding solace in fanfiction, in a world already created that she can manipulate. It's a coping mechanism, something familiar to turn back to when everything is frightening, when she can't control things. Like her sister. Like her father. Like her strange roommate and her boyfriend.
Fandom, being part of a fandom, is something I know, and so the book felt rather personal. I never lived in a dorm during university, I was never devoted enough to write fanfiction, but I've escaped from reality in order to immerse myself in books about world not my own. There's a certain kind of joy in having so much fun in a world someone else has created and meeting people who feel the same. It lessens the sting of feeling alone. Currently, it feels like fandoms are bigger than what they used to be, that the immediateness of the internet and social media has changed things. That science fiction and fantasy and comic book conventions (San Diego Comic Con, Fan Expo Toronto, WonderCon, LeakyCon, World Fantasy Con, Dragon*Con) are growing at a rapid rate. With this growth and popularity, it's no longer 'nerdy' or 'geeky' to be part of a fandom, no longer just for nerdy guys living in their parents' basements watching reruns of Star Trek over and over.
But being part of a fandom, living vicariously through fanfiction, isn't healthy. As a way to escape, to calm down after a stressful day, as entertainment, as a creative outlet, yes. For Cath and Wren, it became a coping mechanism for them after the abrupt departure of their mother. About a third of the way through the book, one character suggests that if you fall in love with the world you discover in a book, you can just write fanfiction in order to keep on living there. Another character replies, saying they "wouldn't call that living," and they're right. It's not. But sometimes it's hard to draw the line and separate fandom from reality.
When you hit college, when you're living in a dorm away from your parents, when you're suddenly gifted these new freedoms, it can be rather overwhelming. New routines, new people, new ideas, new places. Sometimes, it's new everything. Some can handle the change, some leave, some self-destruct. Everyone's time at college is different, and this is Cath's time.
This book is all about Cath, Cath figuring out the strange new world that is college, Cath figuring out boys and how they work, Cath figuring out that sometimes identical twins aren't that identical, Cath figuring out that change sucks and hurts but it has to happen. It's time to grow up, time to take that next step towards the rest of her life.(less)
Ezra believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular trage...moreEzra believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his athletic career, and his social life. No longer a front-runner for homecoming, Ezra finds himself at the lunch table of misfits where he encounters new girl Cassidy. She's unlike anyone he's ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures. But as Ezra dives into new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one's singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
The Beginning of Everything is an intelligent, clever, and heartrending coming of age about teenage life and tragedy, about what's left behind after tragedy strikes and what we become, about sudden stops and fresh starts. Ezra is left broken, literally, left to piece together some kind of life after his accident, a life he never expected to live with people he never expected to meet. But sometimes those people can show you a different sort of life.
What resonates so much for me is Ezra's voice. It's very clear who he was before the accident: Eastwood's golden boy with pro tennis aspirations and a pretty girlfriend. He sounds popular, entitled, and stuck-up. The accident is like his fall from grace, and he's been left behind in the mortal world with all the other misfit children. At times he's witty, at times he's smart, at times he's stupid, but he's always honest. Honest in how he didn't want this new life, how he didn't want to be shunned by his 'former friends,' how now he has to figure out what to do after high school. At least he's got Cassidy, crazy, intelligent, wonderful Cassidy. Cassidy with her own tragedy.
This book is filled with teenagers, and what do teenagers do? They go to school, they mess up, they throw loud parties, they do weird stuff, they hang out, they watch movies, they eat burgers, they go out on dates, they play video games, they drink, and they have sex. Not all at the same time, but they do it. There's no sugarcoating of what teenagers can get up to in this book, which is refreshing. Some teens are proper and polite while others are crass, rude, and foolish.
Tragedy comes in many forms, be it an accident, a break-up, a screw-up. When tragedy strikes, what's left? What are we supposed to do with ourselves? After the accident, Ezra doesn't do much. He's drifting, trying to grab hold of something he recognizes, and ends up caught in this massive riptide created by Cassidy, Toby, and the debate team.
From somewhere around the midway point of this book right past the end, I reached some kind of indescribable epiphany. It grabbed hold of me so quickly and with so much force, but I didn't know why. Was it that this was how I remembered high school after I left it? Was it that it's the kind of book I wish I had during high school? Perhaps it's that this is how I see high school, how I still see it, how my perception of it has been warped from TV, film, book, and other pop culture representations of it. This is how I see high school to be like with its cliques and groups, with its jocks and cheerleaders and geeks and bullies, with its crashes and flickers and flames.
This book was completely unexpected and completely engrossing. I knew going in it would be a tragedy, that it's a book about tragedies, but I didn't expect to be hauled around on such a journey with Ezra, a journey with such awesome highs and such crushing lows. It's intriguing to see what's born from tragedy, what Ezra faces, and what he becomes on the other side.(less)
You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team and Nate is the neurotic, scheming presiden...moreYou wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders. At stake is funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms, but not both. It's only going to get worse: after both parties are stripped of their funding on grounds of abominable misbehavior, Nate enrolls the club's robot in a battlebot competition in a desperate bid for prize money. Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving to illicitly enter a televised robot death match? Of course!
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is a fun and entertaining look at how everything can, in fact, go wrong when a plan that makes sense to one person makes no sense to anyone else. How you think you can plan for every contingency only to have everything blow up in your face. How you enter the mad rush to fix it to salvage what you've worked for. How friendships help you through hard times.
In high school, there are different kinds of teenagers. Jocks, nerds, goody-two-shoes, (snobbish) cheerleaders. But they're all the same in a way. They all have their plans and their schemes, their hopes for the future, their interests, their weird family situations. In a place deep down on the inside, they're all the same. Even the cheerleaders that are a bit more threatening than the average cheerleader.
Nate and Charlie seem to be two opposites, two different sides of the high school social spectrum, but they're still friends. They don't have to be the same person, they don't always have to agree. This book is an interesting look at friendship, how important it is even when you've drifted apart a little, how it sticks around after so many years, and how it keeps you together through some really hard times.
It's a learning experience for everyone, mostly (I'm not sure if the cheerleaders learned anything, as creepy and dangerous as they are), and especially for Charlie and Nate. Stuff happens when you're in high school, things in and around your life change and you think everything is ruined, but you have to move on and home everything will work out. And you never go along with one of Nate's plans ever again. Ever.
The story was entertaining and hilarious, their were impossible hijinks but also some serious consequences, and the artwork was clear, all the characters had their own little quirks and differences and ways of expressing themselves. A must-read for graphic novel fans.(less)
There are a few things Grace knows for sure. One is that nothing will come between her and her best friend, Kya. They have a pact. Buds before studs....moreThere are a few things Grace knows for sure. One is that nothing will come between her and her best friend, Kya. They have a pact. Buds before studs. Sisters before Misters. But in the summer before senior year, life throws out challenges they never expected. And suddenly the person who's always been there starts to need the favour returned. Grace and Kya are forced to question how much a best friend can forgive, and the answer is not what they expected.
How I Lost You is a complex look at friendships and secrets, at dealing with pain and moving on, at knowing when to help when it's difficult to stay away. Friendship ties teens together, but any kind of strain on that connection is hard to deal with, especially when the source of that strain is an extremely painful secret.
Grace has goals for after high school, for college. Paintball is her life, she'd give anything to make a college team, but Kya is also her life. They share everything. Buds before studs, as Kya puts it. But Kya has her demons, her secrets, her way of coping that threatens their future plans, and it's getting harder and harder for Grace to stick by her. Because of Kya, Grace is something of a mother figure, a caregiver, but sometimes Kya doesn't want her help and goes off on her own, leaving Grace to deal with her aftermath. Some parts of Grace's life are also changing, separating the two of them. It's hard for Grace, but also for Kya. Both aren't quite sure how to move on from this secret.
This book highlights how complicated friendships can become, especially those between teenage girls. Once teen girls become friends, they will stay friends for the longest time, or they'll try to unless something big happens. Grace and Kya are always together, they're been friends for years, they've made plans to be together after high school and to be friends forever. But something big and secret hangs over them, weighing one of them down, and the other could be forced to make the hardest decision: to stick with her, even though it could mean being pulled down into her dark world, or to let go and live her life, continuing with her dreams.
As much as this is about friendship, it's also about moving on. About coping, about accepting. Kya has the darkest secret, suffers from the darkest pain, and struggles to find a way of moving on. Grace finds her method to be unconventional, to be dangerous, and wishes Kya would stop changing.
Heartbreaking and emotional, both girls also have their exciting moments. Both come alive when they compete together, when they are together, but something is slowly pushing them apart, slowly pushing them to accept that both of them are changing. Great insight into teenage girls and how valuable that best friend really is.(less)