I had heard so much buzz over this novel and I was anxiously waiting to get my hands on it from my library. I definitely loved this book. Alex is a go...moreI had heard so much buzz over this novel and I was anxiously waiting to get my hands on it from my library. I definitely loved this book. Alex is a good girl, not one to drink and definitely not one to go home with a random guy after a party. But at the beginning of this novel that's exactly the situation Alex is in. She has woken up in a strange bed, aware that something happened, but unsure what exactly. When she sees the strange guy with her she knows something terrible happened. After piecing together the events that took place she is left with options. Forget about what took place, go to the school who will look away from it seeing as the boy in question is a star athlete, or go to The Mockingbirds, the secret society the students at her school created to act as a disciplinary board since the school cannot be relied on.
This book handles a sensitive subject perfectly. I could feel the emotions Alex was feeling right along with her as she dealt with what happened to her and then struggled to decide ultimately what to do about it. Secret societies are often played up by Hollywood to be evil and cult-like so it was interesting and fun to read about one that was for the side of justice. Sadly, schools are known to look away from things like assault and bullying if the person accused is a star athlete, even if the school claims to have a zero tolerance policy. I loved that this society was formed to protect students when the school wouldn't. Can you imagine how many lives may have been saved if there was a society like this for teens today to utilize at their schools. In an age where bullying has become an issue heard about daily and most suicides are linked to bullying then a society like this to help bullied, assaulted, and used students would be wonderful. Who knows, maybe somewhere there are teens who read this book who have created something like the society in this book. If so, kudos to them.
The Rivals, the sequel to The Mockingbirds, comes out in 2012 and I know I will be waiting anxiously for it. I can't wait to read more about this society.(less)
I took sometime with this book because it's different than what I usually review and I wanted to be sure to give it the attention it deserves. Essenti...moreI took sometime with this book because it's different than what I usually review and I wanted to be sure to give it the attention it deserves. Essentially there are so many different stories all about men and women describing how they lost their virginity. Not in extensively graphic detail, this is a book for teens to read after all. Also discussed are the emotions felt about the act. There was such a wide variety of stories in this book. One of a now 77 year old woman who lost her virginity at 15. That one really surprised me because when you consider life back then all you hear about is how conservative people were and how everyone waited until marriage. But that story proves that the want to have sex is completely natural no matter what day and age you live in. Everyone acknowledged that they knew the risks associated and I am quite surprised at how many stories featured a lack of birth control. I was just waiting to read a story that resulted in a pregnancy and was a bit disappointed that there wasn't one. Well, one did but the girl in the story miscarried so there was no child involved. I would have liked to see at least one story that did involve a pregnancy just so that teens could see that it is possible. Putting that aside though, I think this book is an asset for teens. Parents have a problem accepting that their child is growing up and I think teens and parents of teens should read this book. Teens so they can get advice and parents so they can face the facts: teens think about sex. Teens want to have sex. Some of the people in this book lost their virginity as early as 12 or 13. While it seems so young, and in truth it is, it still happens and parents need to realize that when their child is that age they will have those thoughts and instead of ignoring it and staying in denial they need to acknowledge it. I know when my daughter turns 13 in ten more years I plan on giving this book to her and I hope we are comfortable enough with each other to discuss what she reads in it. I really cannot say enough that I think this book is wonderful. School libraries should all have a copy and it should be in every health class as well so that teens have access to it. Thank you to Kimberley A. Johnson and Ann Werner for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.(less)
Wow. I had been dying, I mean completely dying to get my hands on this book since I first heard about months and months ago. This right here is my ide...moreWow. I had been dying, I mean completely dying to get my hands on this book since I first heard about months and months ago. This right here is my ideal novel. Right up my alley and it did not disappoint. At all.
I remember when chat rooms and AIM where the cool things and people were talking to strangers from all over the world. I have never been the type of person who connects with people easily so thankfully I don't have a story about meeting someone in a chat room. But I know that I am in the minority there. But my best friend growing up did talk to a lot of people online. One guy I remember well because she gave him her address. He only ever sent her things and they would voice chat with each other. (These were the days before video chatting was standard. It was cool to be able to hear each other, we never in a million years would have thought we could see each other too) The reason I remember it so well is because this guy told my friend that he was from New Zealand and yet when we voice chatted with him he had no accent at all. Not even an accent that would make it seem like he was from a different part of the US. Now at the time I was 13 and thought nothing of it but now, and I brought this up with my friend and she agrees, it seems to us that he was most likely from somewhere close to us since we didn't hear even a hint of an accent in his voice. And I thank my lucky stars that he never came after my friend. He had her address. He easily could have. Let's face it, she was a lucky one.
Abby's story could easily be found on a survivor's message board online. If someone had handed this book to me with no idea of what it was I would think that it was a true story. Littman holds true to life in such a way that I walked away from the story hoping Abby was ok. She became real to me while reading the book and I connected very well with the character. I was a lot like Abby in high school. I didn't connect well with my peers. I am different from her in the way that it never bothered me that I was a misfit. If I had a little bit more Abby in me when I was 14 who knows. I may have wound up in a chat room talking to a stranger. That's the beauty and also the chilling truth about this novel. It could be anyone of us in her shoes. Even with the internet safety programs out there kids are still kids. They don't think it can happen to them. And predators are so good at what they do that they know how to be convincing and enticing to these minors. The one thing I liked about the book is that "Luke" didn't even pretend to be Abby's age. He came out and admitted right away that he was older. But he did it in a way that made her comfortable with the fact. And that is a way of earning the child's trust. Kids think "If he is a predator he would be pretending to be my age. He wouldn't admit to being so much older than me." And without knowing it they are playing right into the predator's hand. It's downright chilling to think how smart these people are.
This book belongs in every school library in the country. It belongs in classrooms and it needs to be featured in teen sections in libraries. Parents need to read it so they can be educated on this very real threat. The language is strong in this novel. But parents, please. Put that aside. Your teen needs to read this. I urge all parents of teens to buy this book for their child. You will not regret it.(less)
I know that summary doesn't really tell you much about this book. But trust me, it will blow you away. I know I have mentioned it before and I will sa...moreI know that summary doesn't really tell you much about this book. But trust me, it will blow you away. I know I have mentioned it before and I will say it again. There is something in the water amongst YA authors writing about the death of a sibling, be it by suicide or accident. But each time I read a novel where that is a key plot point it is done differently. Sometimes it is done extraordinarily. Saving June is one of those books. It pulls you in from the opening scene during June's wake and it keeps your attention the whole way through to the end. I felt an immediate connection with Harper. It wasn't exactly that I felt for her because she didn't even know what to feel. She was sad, angry, numb. Name a negative emotion and I guarantee Harper was feeling it during June's wake. Her older sister, thought by all to be happy go lucky, perfect all the time had just curled up in the backseat of her car and swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. How would you feel? During a brief repreive from the houseful of mourners Harper runs into Jake, a mysterious boy who seems to hold a grudge against Harper though she has never seen him before in her life. Though he seemed to have known June. After a series of event unfolds Harper winds up deciding to travel cross country with Jake and her best friend Laney in an effort to come to peace with her sister's death. But she never intended to fall in love along the way. A huge factor in this book is the saving grace of music. How it brings people together and also brings peace to the soul because a song can take every emotion you have bottled up inside and express it in a way that you yourself never could. There is even a playlist at the end of the novel of all the songs mentioned in the book. Instead of most books, which talk about bands that don't exist and songs that the reader can never hear, this book features real bands and songs that you will most likely hear if you switch on the radio right now. It makes the book more relateable that it already is. What didn't I like about the book? Nothing major. I didn't connect well with Harper's name for some reason. You know the feeling. Where you love the character but halfway through the book you can't for the life of you remember what their name is? Yeah, it was like that for me. And that's really the only issue I had. The characters were well developed and I fell in love with each one of them. I would definitely read anything else by this author. (less)
I have read a lot of stories about domestic violence. If I come across a book about it I have to read it. And yet, I have never read one quite like Bu...moreI have read a lot of stories about domestic violence. If I come across a book about it I have to read it. And yet, I have never read one quite like But I Love Him before. At first the style was confusing to me. Not that it made it difficult to follow, just that I felt it was needless. I mean, why write it in reverse? I was afraid that it would start with the first entry which was exactly one year into the relationship with Ann incredibly hurt and upset and then just flash back into the relationship without ever letting us know what happens to Ann. Fortunately that is not the case and while it is written in reverse it does flash to "present day" so to speak so we know how Ann is feeling while she is flashing back to the relationship.
Connor is different from most of the abusers in the books that I have read. I felt for him. He really hated what he was doing to Ann. He desperately wanted to control it. But luck just was not on his side. He grew up seeing his alcoholic father abusing his mother and Connor found himself stepping between his parents to end the abuse on numerous occasions. Even now that he has his own apartment his mother still calls him when his father attacks her. And despite himself he has become as abuser himself.
Ann was raised by her grief-stricken mother after her father died of cancer when Ann was young. She never felt a connection with her mother who never seemed to get over Ann's father's death. She meets Connor and immediately falls in love him. She loses herself in him so quickly and before she knows it she has moved into his apartment with him, quit the track team, and started to ignore her best friend. Connor always told her that he hits objects, not people and she believed him. That is, until he slapped her for the first time. But Ann knows he doesn't mean it. The second Ann starts to cry Connor seems to wake up from his anger and immediately apologizes to Ann. She feels trapped but she can't turn her back on him either.
After finishing this book I read an interview with the author in the back of the book. One of the questions asked was why she chose to write the book in reverse order. She explained it by saying that most books about domestic violence follow such a predictable pattern. The reader can see the abuse before it happens and therefore not understand why the person stays with the abuser. In But I Love Him, Amanda Grace wrote it so you were hurled into the abuse from the first page. You know he abuses her and now you get to see, in reverse order, how it progressed. You can't pinpoint in your head where it started, why it happened, etc. I also feel that in this way, Connor doesn't seem like the bad guy. I actually felt for him. He so obviously didn't want to be an abuser. He mentions getting help on numerous occasions. Usually I am adamantly against the abuser in books on domestic violence but this one was different. There is almost a connection felt with him as well as with Ann.
I flew through this book and I loved every minute of it. It's exquisitely written and I hope to see more novels written like this. I would love to see this book be required reading for high school students. I think it would open the eyes of teens to see an abuser relationship in a new way and possible save some lives.(less)
I have read a lot of books about addiction and rehab facilities and this has to be one of my favorites. I really liked the structure of it, how you go...moreI have read a lot of books about addiction and rehab facilities and this has to be one of my favorites. I really liked the structure of it, how you got the perspective of all of the characters, not just the main one. The book revolves around five teens in a drug and alcohol rehab center located near Seattle. There is Kelly the coke addict and alcoholic, Christopher the meth addict, Eva the painkiller and weed addict, Jason who is strictly an alcoholic, and then Olivia, the new girl, who is addicted to diet pills but also has some very serious other problems that brings all the characters together to try to help her. I loved seeing the characters transform and having their stories laid out in the form of chapters separated as either Group sessions, Personal Essays and a Drug and Alcohol History Questionnaire. Kelly and Christopher also have their own chapters told in their points of view as well. So there is a chance to get to know each of the characters. As you read the chapters, especially the personal essays the reasons behind their addictions become clearer. It was almost like being a detective, trying to find what they were trying to run from in their lives that made them turn to the substances that landed them in this place. I think this book will open the eyes of teens who may have problems with drugs. It really goes into what the difference is between being a “Normie” who can drink one drink and take one hit and be done and an addict who needs their substance of choice daily. It can help people who know or are friends with addicts to understand what they are going through. A true to life look at teen addiction. A great read. (less)
A mind-blowing read. This is such a fast paced read, I read it in one day. I would have read it in one sitting if not for the 3 year old running aroun...moreA mind-blowing read. This is such a fast paced read, I read it in one day. I would have read it in one sitting if not for the 3 year old running around my house. My point is that when I had to put it down, I regretted it. I finished this book a few days ago and I still find my mind drifting back to the way it ended. It all starts on what appears to be the best day of Will and Asheley's lives. Will wins the local golf tournament and Asheley helps her softball team win a game against their biggest rivals. Unfortunately their day, and lives, all goes down hill from there. Will returns home to find their mother drunk after 4 months of sobriety. After the worst blowout he has witnessed from her, which is includes his mother attacking Will with his the trophy he just won from the tournament, his mother is sent away to a local rehab facility. Meanwhile, Asheley is out to a celebratory dinner with her teammates and is finally being included in the conversations going on around her. Then her boyfriend shows up and is very disrespectful to her right in front of the team. She drags him out of the restaurant and is so embarrassed she heads home. Things do not improve from there. For a while things appear to work out. Will and Asheley are able to take care of themselves while their mother is in rehab. Things take a turn for the worst when Asheley decides to have a party that gets wildly out of control. This party is the beginning of the end for this team of "wonder twins", as they call themselves. To give a thorough review of this book would mean revealing things that could ruin the book for some people. So instead I will just say that this book had me guessing until the very end. There were so many twists and turns. I could imagine this being adapted into an episode of Criminal Minds or CSI. A great book for those who like the Young Adult thriller genre.(less)
A truly wonderful tale full of freaks of all kinds. I received an ARC of this from Shelf Awareness a while back and it took a while for me to get to i...moreA truly wonderful tale full of freaks of all kinds. I received an ARC of this from Shelf Awareness a while back and it took a while for me to get to it in my TBR pile. I wasn’t sure I would like it but decided to give it a chance and I am glad that I am. Who in the US has not heard of Coney Island. We all are familiar with at least the name but this book makes it feel like you are there. As well as being a fantastic fiction novel, it brings up the issues of Coney Island, how it appears to be falling apart and the various plans to fix it up. The books revolves around Jane after she and her brother inherit their grandfather’s house on Coney Island. Her mother, who grew up on Coney, died when she was five or six and Jane and her brother Marcus have been living with their father, a roller coaster designer, ever since. They traveled from country to country and only plan to stay on Coney for a year, enough time to clean out the house and sell it. Jane’s grandparents were sideshows on Coney Island. Her grandfather, whose name was Preemie, was part of a show about premature babies when incubators were first invented and her grandmother, Birdie, was- you guessed it- the half bird half human lady. So Jane must have some type of quirk, right? Wrong. Right from the start it is plain to see that Jane is perfectly normal. Her wardrobe consists of mainly the color grey and when they first pull up to their new house the first thing she notices is a grammar error on a sign posted to the fence. So naturally she expects to make friends with normal kids at Coney Island High, but for some reason she is drawn to the freaks. Her first friend is Babette, a goth midget, followed by Legs, a giant, H.T., a boy with no legs, Rita, a contortionist, and of course Leo, a beautiful tattooed boy whose tattoos are strikingly familiar to Jane. She knows they only plan to stay for a year but the more she learns about Coney the more she begins to care about it. Add on top of that a secret set of keys she finds hidden in her house, an attic that may as well be a Coney Island museum, and signs for a secret club that her mother was the founder of popping up around school and Jane is sure that whatever she expected out of Coney Island, she is getting much more out of it. I fell in love with the characters. They were all so unique and I kept thinking about how I would react to going to school with someone like H.T. who has no legs or someone like Legs who is seven and a half feet tall. The only issue I had was that I found myself getting confused when certain characters were mentioned. For example, Jane’s lab partner, Venus, is mentioned in one scene when they first meet and then maybe twenty pages later she is mentioned again and I had no clue who she was. I had to skip back to find where she was first mentioned to figure it out. And with Legs and I was confused as to what his “freak” quality was. It’s not told straight out so I kinda had to infer it. But I loved how the story was part mystery of Jane finding out things about her mother. Also, I loved the scenes when she was exploring the attic and the descriptions of the artifacts on Coney Island. It made me want to visit there. Actually, it made me feel familiar with a place I had never been before. Only a special kind of book can do that and this book more than qualifies. All in all, the characters were well written, the story line magical and the pace fast moving. An excellent book about not only looking past a person’s appearance but also about the politics behind one of the most famous places in the United States. Not to be passed up. (less)
This story hit me hard. There were times in this book that I had to put it down and walk away. I received this in the mail about a week ago and it has...moreThis story hit me hard. There were times in this book that I had to put it down and walk away. I received this in the mail about a week ago and it has taken me that long to get through it. Not because it was a bad book. On the contrary, Laura Wiess has done it again by creating a startlingly honest novel about something people know happens but choose to ignore. I am sure we have all seen the kid in school with the dirty clothes who seems to never bathe and most people, at least at my old school, blamed the kid for the way they appeared. But this story brings up the point that it's not the child's choice to live that way. You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. In this story the main character, Sayre has lived with her mother and her mother's addictions her whole life. Her mother is an alcoholic and has been addicted to meth and is now addicted to pain pills. She has never taken care of Sayre, and spends every cent they have on her addictions. To say this girl had an awful life is not even the half of it. At one point her mother's best friend tried to kill her with a hammer. A neighbor called the police and her mother was arrested but as soon as her mother was released, Sayre was made to live with her again. That's one of the most disturbing thing about this story. Though no one knew everything that was going on, people knew enough and yet they never did anything to stop it. Now, Sayre is 17 and her mother is in the hospital dying of liver failure. Sayre is determined that before her mother dies to find out the truth once and for all. A question no child should ever have to ask. Did my mother ever love me? This book is haunting. For me on personal levels. My own mother was an addict. She gave me up and I lived with my grandparents and then after they fell ill, I moved in with distant cousins. But reading this book was like reading the way my life could have turned out. The fact that things like this happen, that there are children out there living a life close to how Sayre lives is heartbreaking. There is not one person out there that can read this story and not be haunted by it. All in all, a breathtaking, haunting, amazing story. Laura Wiess has done it again.(less)
I have read many novels about eating disorders before. The subject fascinates me so I never pass up any book about them. This one was different than w...more I have read many novels about eating disorders before. The subject fascinates me so I never pass up any book about them. This one was different than what I am used to. Usually the novels are about the suffering that the person goes through, the denial of having a problems, and ends with them in the hospital beginning to overcome their disorder. With this book, the main character, Janie, is already in rehab. The denial is still there but we learn her story of how she ended up in rehab through her counseling sessions and also through her journal, which she writes in every day. I loved this way of writing. It gave the story a sense of mystery, making the reader piece together the little tidbits that Janie gives us as we read the story, trying to figure out what events led up to her being placed in rehab. Janie has a humorous way of recording her thoughts and I found myself chuckling to myself, something I have never done while reading a book that featured eating disorders before. This book gives a fresh look at a problem effecting so many of our youth these days. Not one to be missed! (less)
One of the most touching books I have ever read. Julia has just graduated as valedictorian of her senior class and is preparing for her summer interns...moreOne of the most touching books I have ever read. Julia has just graduated as valedictorian of her senior class and is preparing for her summer internship at the courthouse to prepare her for her future career as a lawyer when her older sister Sophie shows and up just like that, everything is changed. Sophie drops a bombshell that makes Julia question everything about her family. So when her sister goes home to Vermont, Julia follows her, making the trip from Ohio to Vermont in one long dark night. And when Julia gets there she unravels the truth about a dark family secret that has been kept secret from her since birth. I read this book in three hours, start to finish. I could not, would not put it down. When I had to, the story stayed with me, haunting me until I finally picked the book up again. This is truly a beautiful story that had be in tears numerous times. The entire book was perfect, well written, all of the characters so well developed, there is no way this book could be improved upon. Everything from the title to the cover to the plot and everything in between just fits wonderfully. The mystery surrounding this family’s secret and then as the secret is slowly, bit by bit revealed is perfect. Everything flows together so well. The town, Poultney, Vermont, sounds like a picture perfect place to be. When I read the description of the town I wanted to pack up my suitcase and move there. So picturesque and entirely the perfect place to set a novel. It reminds me of the town from Gilmore Girls, and really, who wouldn’t want to live in a place like that? I have no criticism for this book. It’s perfect as is. It’s been a long time since I read a book that brought tears to my eyes and the feeling is oddly refreshing. If you don’t read this novel you are really missing out. (less)
Sara has wanted to be with Ryan for years and just when she thought she would get her chance, her best friend Brianna starts dating him instead. Sara...moreSara has wanted to be with Ryan for years and just when she thought she would get her chance, her best friend Brianna starts dating him instead. Sara tries to avoid seeing them together but after one fateful ride home, Ryan kisses Sara and her world is turned upside. Forced to decide between her best friend and the boy that she has wanted to be with since the 8th grade.
I really liked this book. I could connect so well to the characters, though I have never been in the situation described in the book. Sara really wanted to be a good friend to Brianna, and I felt for her each time she had to watch him kiss her best friend. In Brianna's defense, she didn't know Sara even wanted to be with Ryan before they started dating. And after they started dating Sara couldn't tell her. But still, Brianna rubbed me the wrong way. She is the type of friend that says things that make you wonder why you are still friends with them.
The book was a lot shorter than I thought it would be. I finished it in only a few hours and I was sad that it was over. I will say that I wasn't left wondering what happened with the characters though. Not that I didn't get attached to them, just that it was well written and there were no loose ends.
Overall, a quick read that won't disappoint. Elizabeth Scott hits another home run with this book!(less)
Can I just say that I have been waiting to read this book for forever, it seems. Honestly, I featured it in a Waiting on Wednesday post last year in,...moreCan I just say that I have been waiting to read this book for forever, it seems. Honestly, I featured it in a Waiting on Wednesday post last year in, like, September. And then I requested it from the library and waited another month for it to finally come in from interlibrary loan. I even read it slow so I could savor the moments of finally having the book in my hands. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
Jane is at the top of the food chain in her high school along with her two best friend, Langley and Kate. So it's a mystery as to who would want her dead. But there she is, lying in a hospital bed after a hit and run accident left her for dead in a rosebush. Though the police say otherwise, Jane is sure she was target of a brutal attempt on her life and she is sure that the killer won't stop until they get what they want- Jane dead.
This story was the perfect thriller. My mind was constantly working, trying to figure out who it might have been that tried to kill Jane. And it's a perfect mystery because no matter how many clues were given, I never would have guessed the ending. A fantastic novel and I can't wait to read what else this author has in store.(less)