Definitely loved it! Some parts made my heart beat too fast because as with other books that deal with some pretty messed up situations, I have a hardDefinitely loved it! Some parts made my heart beat too fast because as with other books that deal with some pretty messed up situations, I have a hard time pushing through all the bad to get to the resolution. I feel Doller did a beautiful job making Callie and Alex feel real and genuine, as well as their behaviors and reactions, despite if they made me feel uncomfortable or upset sometimes. ...more
As a social worker, Holly’s main focus is mental health patients. To get through her long, long days wh[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]
As a social worker, Holly’s main focus is mental health patients. To get through her long, long days where she often feels overworked and under-appreciated, she has her best work buddy, Nick. He’s clever and understands her, and often they are paired up together to visit patients. At home, Holly lives with her supportive, kind, geeky boyfriend Tim. She’s excited for all the things they get to experience together and enjoys spying on her next door neighbors.
Holly balances present day (as a young 20-something) with flashbacks from the past. It’s a bit difficult at first to figure out what’s happening in her life, but I settled into the rhythm of Buzo’s intelligent writing quickly. Holly’s battling a lot of things. She’s still reeling from the death of her father who died when she was 15 years old. Her mother is difficult and their relationship isn’t the best. She feels more connected to her high school best friends than she does to her own family, especially since her mother tends to favor her younger brother, Patty.
To avoid dealing with the past (in which there’s a vague story about a boy named Liam that Holly was in love with for a long time), she throws herself into her work. All of her attention and effort are focused on her job. She’s a perfectionist and feels like she can “fix” everyone else.
But what she doesn’t realize is that she needs to heal.
She’s never allowed herself time to properly grieve any of the big circumstances that have happened in her life. She’s always pushed forward. She pretends that life will just carry on. She struggles with accepting change, especially when she begins to realize that her friendships are a blurry version of what they used to be. But what she wants is for her friendships and the people in her life to stay the same, for no one to ever change. It throws her off kilter when everything begins to shift.
Holly’s story, while a simplistic one, is very realistic. As a 27 year old lady, I could very much relate to what Holly was going through. In my personal life, I’ve absolutely struggled with severed friendships and moving on. I’ve cried on countless occasions over people that I no longer see or talk to because we’ve just grown apart. Change is evil. I also fear a lot of things for the future; I have personally never lost a parent or grandparent, so anytime someone is sick or hospitalized, I freak out and go crazy. My family is very close and I just shut down. Essentially, Holly was so focused on fixing everyone else that she didn’t even realize she had all these barriers built up around her to protect her from anything bad that could happen.
This was my second read by Laura Buzo and while the writing was sometimes a bit abrupt when I was sorting through changes in scenery or flashbacks, I still felt incredibly connected to Holly. I really, really enjoyed reading about someone I could relate to so well. Holly is just an ordinary girl going through ordinary life things. I felt very involved in her well-being, and had such a good grasp on her friends, family, coworkers, and even clients. Buzo did what she does best in Holier Than Thou – she explored the life of someone who’s extremely relatable and told her story in a way that causes you to step back and examine your own....more
Kate Elliot is a girl who found her identity when she allowed her friend Annie to give her a makeover.[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]
Kate Elliot is a girl who found her identity when she allowed her friend Annie to give her a makeover. Despite her mother’s blatant disapproval over her new gothic look, Kate won’t falter from dressing this way. While nothing ever seems to please her career-driven politician mother, Kate’s behavior and an unknown mishap (the mystery is unraveled throughout the book) eventually lead her to boarding school. She is no longer welcome in her own home and her parents decide she needs more structure; the time away from her family (they hope) will improve Kate’s attitude and allow their broken relationships to mend.
Kate is forced to room with three very different girls — two popular girls and one rule-breaker with a reputation, Mandy. Kate goes through periods of absolute resentment and distances herself completely from the three girls. Mandy eventually breaks the barrier and forces her way into Kate’s life. They’re an odd pair — Kate stands out because she’s got multiple piercings, dies her hair black, and intentionally wears makeup a few shades paler than her skin tone; Mandy wears skimpy clothes and has a reputation for being a bit slutty. Their friendship was one of the most beautiful aspects (other than Harry’s lovely writing) of I’ll Tell You Mine. Their conversations are full of snark and laugh-out-loud funny moments. Their antics (or rather Mandy’s plans) often lead to trouble.
Mandy is honest and upfront about how she’s feeling; she isn’t afraid of the front Kate puts up to dissuade people from befriending her. Mandy seems utterly naive to Kate’s insecurities and solitary ways. As Mandy begins to strip away the walls Kate has built around herself, we get to know Kate in a whole new way. She’s distraught over the events that occurred with her mother. Why does it seem like she’s always messing things up and doing something to irritate her mom? She misses her dad (who understands self-exploration and calls her mother out on her hypocrisy). Her little sister is one of her favorite people in the world; she wants to set a good example for her.
Kate feels stuck between making new friends and maintaining the old friendships; her two best friends (pre-boarding school) Annie and Noah seem to be moving on just fine without her. She’s heartbroken when she learns that Noah is dating someone new. Will he never see that she’s in love with him? Kate goes through many a transformation and the separation from her life outside of school allows everything to shift into focus. She sees what she was doing wrong, how she could be better, and what she could change.
The question is: Will she ever be given the opportunity to prove she’s a different person or will she just continue to mess things up?
I’ll Tell You Mine is a story I didn’t want to end. Pip’s writing is concise and packed with punch, every word very intentional. I connected to Kate on so many levels — struggling to become your own person but feeling like you’re always coloring outside the lines, being a bit insecure about how you look and what you weigh, and wanting that boy you’ve loved for oh-so-long to finally take notice. The friendship and family aspects were so thoroughly explored and impeccably written; I projected more drama into the book by not always trusting Mandy’s intentions or assuming the worst. Time and time again, Pip proved me wrong and restored my faith in her characters.
Pip’s writing is authentic and realistic. She flawlessly developed a story that everyone should devour. There are a few wonderful surprise gems hidden within the pages of I’ll Tell You Mine (possibly including a love story that made my heart go pitter patter). If you’re interested in a story that’s very true-to-life and will sweep you away, definitely take a chance on Pip Harry’s debut novel.
(Thank you very much to Mandee at VeganYANerds for gifting this incredible book to me!)...more
Officially finished listening to my first audiobook. Such a different experience listening than reading; I was so tearful at the end when Finley was sOfficially finished listening to my first audiobook. Such a different experience listening than reading; I was so tearful at the end when Finley was sorting through all of the things going on in her life. Felt very realistic and authentic. Thoroughly enjoyed the story. ...more
Ever since I read Harry Potter, I’ve wished I had the opportunity to go to a boarding school when I was[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]
Ever since I read Harry Potter, I’ve wished I had the opportunity to go to a boarding school when I was growing up. My little hometown didn’t have anything more than our tiny public school, but I yearned for the strong friendships, the lifelong bonds, and the living away from home experience. (I suppose this is what a lot of people gain by living on campus during college, too, but alas, I didn’t do that either.)
When I saw Viola in Reel Life at my library, I read “boarding school” on the flap and immediately added it to the stack of books in my arms. Viola’s parents are being sent to Afghanistan to to film a documentary; she has no choice but to go to the all girls boarding school her mother attended in South Bend, Indiana while they’re away. Viola, too, loves making films and feels the Midwest won’t be very inspiring considering she’s a NYC girl. How could things compare?
Viola leaves her best friend, Andrew, behind in New York. As a way to stay connected with him, she decides to film pieces of her life so he can join in her misery. She makes little to no effort to mesh with her three new roommates and chooses to be withdrawn and mopey until they confront her. I greatly admired these three girls, Marisol, Romy, and Suzanne, for reaching out to Viola to prove that the experience didn’t have to be as gruesome as she was allowing it to be. They force her to become more involved so she can walk away after the year is over with new friendships and outlooks.
While I overlooked the fact that Viola was only a Freshman when I checked this out, a much younger character than I typically read about, I did enjoy that the focus of Viola in Reel Life was different because of her age. The story was much more about friendship (than romance) and Viola, an only child, stripping away her independency to rely on new friends with very different upbringings and backgrounds. She had a lot to learn about herself, but she gained a new perspective: circumstances are what you make of them. You have to sieze the day and make the best of things.
Viola’s new friends became a sounding board for her as she navigated choppy waters when her friendship with Andrew became strained (oddly enough, right around the time she begins mentioning her first crush). They were her support group when her parents couldn’t make it home for the holidays. They became her film crew when Viola decided to enter a competition. The camaraderie was a definite strength for Viola in Reel Life and I happily reflected back on my days as a mere high school Freshman.
I wasn’t aware Viola was part of a series. I haven’t yet read the follow-up novel, Viola in the Spotlight, but I’ll be placing it on reserve at my library when I need a change of pace and want to take things back to basics — strong friendships, loving families, and innocent, first love....more