“Terra, a sensitive, artistic high school senior born with a facial port-wine stain, struggles with issues of inner and outer beauty with the help of“Terra, a sensitive, artistic high school senior born with a facial port-wine stain, struggles with issues of inner and outer beauty with the help of her Goth friend Jacob.
I was initially dismayed by the first few chapters of this book because of the intense amount of references to maps and cartography, of which I was not well-versed in, making it feel like I was reading an encyclopedia and in need of constant referencing with a dictionary to find the meaning of certain words. The cartography metaphors slowed down my reading and almost turned me off from continuing on. But with the encouragement of fellow ‘goodreaders’, I trudged on and gladly that I did. Because once I’ve finished peeling the top layers of map metaphors, I was gifted with such beautiful ,smart, and heart-warming prose. I realized that the use of cartography references in the beginning and throughout the book was Justina Headley’s way of mapping and building Terra’s story. I felt that Justina Headley was ingenious in writing this book, in picking out her heroine’s name (Terra: ), in breaking the book in three parts according to the protagonist’s journey into finding herself (Terra Nullis, Terra Incognita, and finally Terra Firma). “Dad has done his damnedest to do that, to steer me to Terra Nullis, that godforsaken empty land where one might survive but never flourish. To keep me in Terra Incognita and remain a girl as undiscovered as Unknown Land itself.”
I-love-love-this book!!! Reading Terra’s story made me wistful. It made me long to be with my mother and brothers. It made me shed a bucket of tears. I might not be the most objective reviewer of this book because I could only sing praises for it. This book hit too close to home for me. There were times that I was left speechless and stunned as I felt that Justina Headley was talking about my life: about me, about my family. How could she know? It was like déjà vu, over and over again. The reading experience was just too personal, too painful at times, but therapeutic. There’s much to learn from reading this book as it touches different topics: poor self-concept and low self-esteem, abuse from a spouse and parent, divorce, mother and daughter relationship, teenage romance, and self-discovery. Though it touches such deep and emotional topics, the mood of the book is not depressing at all. Instead it is touching and heart-warming especially when each of the characters of the book discovers themselves and overcome their personal struggles.
The story: Terra struggles with low self-esteem due to a port-wine stain on the left side of her face. Her concept of beauty has always been skewed as she was teased early on about her face. It didn’t help that her father was not the most encouraging parent in the world, often condescending and belittling Terra and her mother and brothers. Her father’s disgrace from the cartography world has made him an a$$h0le, elevating his ego by trampling on everyone else around him. Terra, her mother, and brothers all suffered from verbal and emotional abuse from her father. As a result, her brothers had all left town and hardly visited, and her mother took refuge from food and became very overweight, taking all the abuse without standing up for herself or for her kids. It was heartbreaking to read about Terra and how low she thought of herself. She hid behind thick make-up and behind a relationship of convenience with one of the popular guys in school. It never occurred to her how she could be beautiful just by being herself. She never thought that she was good enough to be with someone great or that her artwork was good enough for a show. She couldn’t learn to love herself until she met Jacob. “You know what’s funny?” Jacob asked. He didn’t wait for my answer. “You can see beauty in everything, except for yourself.”
Jacob is a 17-year old teen whom Terra happens to literally crash into while driving on her way home from a doctor’s visit. Jacob is Chinese-American who was adopted when he was 3 years old from a Chinese orphanage by his adoptive mother, Norah. Though a boy and valued in China, he was left at the orphanage by his birth parents because he had a birth defect: a cleft lip and palate. Norah adopted him and brought him back to the United States where she had his cleft lip and palate surgically fixed and raised him like her own. Jacob grew up being different, having a scar on his face due to the cleft palate and having Caucasian parents. He dealt with the prejudices by deflecting under Goth clothing and personae. Because of Jacob’s life experiences, he was more appreciative of Terra and found her beautiful despite her port-wine stain and her low self-esteem. Through Jacob, Terra learned to accept herself and understood what True Beauty is. "Some things are meant to be kept – what you learn from experiences good or bad, smiles from an orphaned girl, a boy who is your compass pointing to your True North. So I look Jacob full in the face with nothing obscuring him. Or me. And then I step closer to him. And closer. And closer yet." “Here I am,” I tell him. “Here I am.”
A book that makes me cry always gets a Five from me. And this book wasn’t lacking in that arena. There were so many parts in the book that made me cry: I cried tears of pain when the book mentioned about t how Terra’s older brother, Claudius purposefully got into accidents to distract the father from their mother when the father got upset. I cried tears of relief and joy when Terra’s mother finally stood up to the father. I cried wistful tears when I read about Terra and her mother and their self-discover together when they traveled to China.
Other note worthies: Geocaching! Now that’s fun!!! Am I alone into thinking this is such a smart and fun hobby to pick up? Is it because I’m a nerd that’s why I find this so interesting and exciting? It’s the modern day version of treasure hunting using a GPS! How could treasure hunting not be fun?!!! And Terra and Jacob did it in China to boot! Now that’s crazy exciting! And what about tobogganing at the Great Wall of China? Who would have thought?! Now the Chinese definitely know how to have fun! Just thinking about it gives me the butterflies! Boy, I would love to do that! Two exciting activities! Two things I’ve already added to my bucket list!
If I had the opportunity, I would have read this book with my Mom or with my girlfriends who wouldn’t mind being emotional with me. I went through so many emotions reading this book. It is such a touching and empowering book! I highly recommend!
Thanks to Saving Francesca's sequel/companion book, The Piper's Son, arriving in the mail, I finally convinced myself tTBR Pile Reduction Challenge #4
Thanks to Saving Francesca's sequel/companion book, The Piper's Son, arriving in the mail, I finally convinced myself to pick up Saving Francesca from the library. Little did I know that Saving Francesca was a gem of a book in itself. Here I was thinking that it was just a prequel to the greatness of The Piper's Son. Now I know I should have listened to all my Booker friends when they recommended I read Saving Francesca because the book is pure awesome! How does Melina Marchetta do it? She has to be one of the greatest young adult contemporary fiction authors out there! I loved the very first book I read of hers (Finnikin of the Rock) and I should have known that I'd love another one of her books as well!
Saving Francesca is a definite new favorite of mine! The characters are just so alive and so real that I could find a part of myself in each one of them. Melina has a way of drawing you into the lives of these characters at first read and you can't seem to take your eyes away from them, afraid that you'll miss something if you just close your eyes and put the book back on your bedside table. At least, that's how I felt. I couldn't get enough of Frankie's story. The supporting characters are interesting on their own and adds color and flavor to Frankie's story. Thomas Mackee had me smiling and laughing from his ludicrous and uncouth remarks and behaviors. I was so entertained by him and by Jimmy's cool and pretentious ways. People watching me while waiting and reading for my car to get washed must have thought I was crazy, smiling and laughing to myself one minute, and then looking miserable the next as I try to hold my tears in. I know next time to just let open the flood gates because I got a headache trying to keep the tears at bay. How could you not when you read about Frankie and Luca holding onto each other crying their hearts out and holding for dear life? Or Frankie's moments with her Father after all the yelling and the blaming but still feeling as empty and helpless as ever? Or when Frankie realizes that she was not alone, that her Father has always been there for her and for her family and has always been the family's savior? Or when she comes home to find everyone there, all her friends she thought she lost, waiting and concerned for her more than ever? Maybe I'm just too soft-hearted but these moments pulled on my heart strings. I've always had a soft spot for these sorts of things: daughter-parent relationships or even brother-sister relationships. There's just so much about Frankie and her story that resonates with you. You can't help but empathize with her and feel the confusion and frustration she's going through.
We find a corner in the library and we hold on to each other tight and he begins to cry. I feel the sobs racking his body before I hear them. I can cope with my misery, but not Luca's. His pain makes me ache, and I'm crying so much that my whole body is hurting. "Don't be sad, Luca. Please don't be sad."
Melina is such a wonderful writer that she does not need a romance or a love triangle to draw in her readers and to hold their interest. Frankie is gorgeous (she has to be if she looks like Sophia Lauren) but not perfect and she's not sought out by all these guys in her school despite her beauty. Her male friends even said that she could sometimes be a bitch, a butch, stupid, boring, and whatever else. But she's human and she makes mistakes and that's what makes her so likable and interesting in the story. But the thing I like about her the most is that she's strong. I like that Marchetta made her heroine though flawed, strong, despite of it all. Her love interest is Will who is not perfect in any way. He's just a regular guy, perhaps smart and athletic, but not the superstar athlete that attracts the few women in their co-ed school. Rather, he's this sullen, bordering boring because he's so serious, and proud prefect of the school. But, as Frankie has described him, there's just something about him that makes her heart skip a beat. Their interactions are few and awkward but leaves the reader wanting more and hoping for more.
It's not as if he's good-looking, because he's not. Sometimes he's so plain that he looks bland. But it's his voice and his mannerisms that fill him with some kind of color. I listen to his voice and its resonance hooks me in. The worry lines on his forehead, his expression when he twists his face into a smile, and the way his whole face lights up when he laughs those short bursts of laughter.
Despite the issue of depression, of Frankie's and her family's struggles with it, of Frankie's personal struggles with herself and in making sense of her new life at her co-ed school and in search of friends and people she could trust, Marchetta did a wonderful job balancing the sad parts with the happy ones that I don't feel a total sense of hopelessness and helplessness in the end. But, rather, I feel so much hope for Frankie, that she could be saved, and that she could find herself and her way out of the confusion and the obstacles in her life. It's a great coming of an age story and so freakishly entertaining! And they said the sequel is even better? How could you possibly top this? This is definitely a book I could read over and over again and never get tired of. Five stars all the way!
And how could I not like an author who thinks Filipinos are attractive?! :) ...more
You crossed the water, left me ashore It killed me enough, but you wanted more You blew up the bridge, a mad terrorist Waved fromTBR Reduction Challenge
You crossed the water, left me ashore It killed me enough, but you wanted more You blew up the bridge, a mad terrorist Waved from your side, threw me a kiss I started to follow but realized too late There was nothing but air underneath my feet "BRIDGE" COLLATERAL DAMAGE, TRACK 4
Collateral Damage is the album that brought Adam's band, Shooting Star, to stardom. Collateral Damage was a collection of 15 songs that Adam wrote from the aftermath of Mia's departure for Julliard, leaving Adam lost and broken. Adam was obviously referring to himself as the 'collateral damage' from Mia's sudden loss of communication and presence in Adam's life. His story, his perspective, was just heart-breaking! It's the most I've cried over a book and I'm sure I felt the rainbow of emotions Adam described and went through in the book. I admire guys that cry, actually 'men' that cry, and Adam is definitely a man. I admire men who aren't afraid to be vulnerable around the women they care about. This sequel definitely felt more powerful to me. I felt more of an attachment with Adam more so than Mia's character in If I Stay. The emotions that Adam went through in this book felt more genuine, more powerful, more raw. I liked this sequel better than its predecessor. But then again, I've always found books with male POVs more interesting.
Even Mia's character in this sequel feels more real and not too distant or detached. I could relate to her better in this one than in the first book. I found Mia more admirable in this book as well. I admired her courage, willing to take the less paved road, rather than the easy way out. Though initially in the story, Mia seemed selfish as we saw her through Adam's eyes, we find in the end that it was actually the opposite. She wanted to be untethered from Adam's safety net and comfort because she wanted Adam to rise and become the great musician and the rising star that he is.
Barrel of the gun, rounds one two three She says I have to pick; choose you, or choose me Metal to the temple, the explosion is deafening Lick the blood that covers me She's the last one standing "ROULETTE" COLLATERAL DAMAGE, TRACK 11
The ending reminded me of a scene in the movie, An Affair to Remember, a total 'Aha' moment, that pulled at my heart strings. This scene (view spoiler)[where Adam walks into Mia's room and finds a stack of magazines with his face on the front covers on her bedside table and is presented with his old guitar that he's auctioned for charity (hide spoiler)]just made me cry buckets full of tears. It was bittersweet and a sweet relief for Adam to find that not all is lost and that there is hope to be had and that all the heartache he's gone through for the last 3 years was all worth it for this moment!
"You know, I thought about that a lot these last couple of years," she says in a choked voice. "About who was there for you. Who held your hand while you grieved for all that you'd lost?" It's my turn to see you through," she whispers, coming back to me and wrapping me in her blanket as I lose my shit all over again. She holds me until I recover my Y chromosome.
What a book! I would have loved it even more if the band was not named, Shooting Star. The name just doesn't fit the person or the band especially if they are more of an emo punk rock! The name is quite ironic. But, I still find you amazing, Ms. Gayle Forman. Where She Went is such a great and memorable book.
Alexa, thank you for sharing this wonderful book! Albie, thanks for sending it to me all the way from New Zealand! I loved the book to pieces! Who's next in line by the way?
I have a terrible feeling that I am the only one who didn't fall in love with this book. Almost all of my Booker friends gave Anna and the French KissI have a terrible feeling that I am the only one who didn't fall in love with this book. Almost all of my Booker friends gave Anna and the French Kiss 5 stars. And here I am giving it 3 stars. It is nothing against Ms. Stephanie Perkins of course. I found her writing almost flawless and thought the dialogues were witty and funny and the setting was of course beautiful and romantic. So, why a 3 and not a 5?
I had very high expectations for this book and I think that's one of the reasons why it fell a little short for me. The expectations were much too high perhaps because it came so highly recommended. I couldn't help compare it to other books with the same frame and similar plot lines and unfortunately found the other books resonate with me better. Again, it's more of a personal preference rather than the book or the author's fault.
The main characters, Anna and Etienne St. Claire, were both flawed and made countless mistakes in the book. I wished both of them were made of stronger and sterner stuff. I wished Anna has more self-respect and showed self-preservation rather than allowing herself get hurt time and time again for a year! I wished Etienne had a back bone and wasn't such a coward so he could stand up for his true feelings for Anna sooner than later. It annoys me to hear him say towards the end that he's been cheating on E for a year as he thinks of Anna everyday while still with his gf. Was that supposed to be romantic and make me swoon? Well, it didn't. I lost more respect for him after that. And for Anna, were was her self-preservation? Was she a masochist to love to be in pain and heart-broken for a year? First there was Thanksgiving, then Christmas. I thought for sure Etienne will finally sever the ties and pronounce his undying love to Anna...but oh no! He goes back to wanting to be the best of friends as if! Grrr...I think by the time this love affair was resolved and loose ends tied to a nice pretty bow, I was exhausted from the hot and cold, and the back and forth from friendship to more-than-friends, and back. I have to give it to Stephanie Perkins though for she did incite some deep emotions from me, there's no mistaking about that.
And, I did love Paris! I still dream of the crepes, the paninis, and the macarons! And Perkins has definitely inspired me to put Paris on the top of my list of places I want to visit before I die! I would love to visit Notre Dame, Point Zero, and Shakespeare and Company.
I also did like a bit of the vocabulary introduced in the book, both English and French. It gave me a few laughs for sure. But the one that caught my eye was 'callipygian'. Lucky for Etienne, he's a callipygian! Don't get me wrong, I thought Etienne was a handsome and sexy bloke. He has an English accent and speaks the language of love after all. I also liked that he was smart and loved to read books and history. There's so much I liked about him. But I just like my heroes brave and strong. And that, he was neither.
I did enjoy reading about the time Anna and Etienne shared together. I liked the walks, the email exchanges, and phone calls everyday, their time together during Thanksgiving. That all inspired some swooning and hoping until the days after, and just like that cold water hits you on the face and I have the strong urge of throwing the book out of sheer frustration and annoyance at both of them, but especially towards Etienne! Oh the drama!
But enough of my ramblings. I will definitely read another of Perkins. I doubt I'll read this book again. I might pick up the audible version just so I could hear the French words spoken and hear the bloke's English accent. I might just find that version more appealing. ...more
I hear everything he's ever painted in his voice. I hear that person on the beach, looking at the waves. I hear hearts rockAussie Reading Challenge #3
I hear everything he's ever painted in his voice. I hear that person on the beach, looking at the waves. I hear hearts rocked by earthquakes and disappointed seas. I make myself look at him because he needs to be looked at. He needs to be seen. I hate that he's been on his own for so long, painting graffiti moons and bricked-in-birds and keeping quiet about who he really is.
I heart this book. I heart it because of Ed, the male protagonist of this book. I feel that though it's of alternating voices, I think Graffiti Moon is truly more about Ed. Even Lucy's voice, the alternating point of view in this book, talks about Ed mostly. I think IMO Ed makes this book and thanks to Cath Crowley for creating him. She's a wonderful writer, writing the book as if it sings to you. As if Ed's reaching out to you for help.
I think if you enjoyed the likes of Saving Francesca by Merlina Marchetta or Good Oil by Laura Buzo and is a big fan of Aussie goodness, then you'll love Graffiti Moon as well. It is one of my favorite 2011 reads from Down Under! Fortunately, Nic (irresistiblereads.blogspot.com) and Missie (theunreadreader.com) hosted and started the Aussie Reading Challenge and Book Tour for these unobtainable Aussie books so we U.S. residents could also enjoy these treasures that aren't available for sale in the U.S. at this time.
Graffiti Moon starts with the story of Lucy and her friends celebrating their last day of Year 12. They are determined to party into the wee hours of the morning and celebrate the end of high school. Lucy however is more concerned about finding the elusive graffiti artist, Shadow, whom she's been pining about and imagining to be her Mr. Perfect and her first boyfriend. As she starts the festivities with her girlfriends, Lucy encounters Ed and his friends and somehow all end up in search of Shadow and his partner in crime, Poet, who accompanies Shadow's graffiti with poetry. As Lucy spends more time with Ed looking for Shadow, Lucy begins to question her feelings for Shadow, a guy she's never met and is only a pigment of her ideal notions of her perfect guy. Their night together becomes a journey of growing up, of finding oneself, and how each of them fit into each others' lives. A revelation of revelations.
I love the idea of Ed. He's a conflicted and an imperfect young man with a good heart ready to put others first like his Mom and best friend Leo, before his own future. He's scared and he's lost and has the worse confidence in the world. He thinks he's dumb because he can't read or write well enough to put together an essay and therefore doesn't deserve to be with a smart and beautiful girl because he can't provide her a future. All this time Ed's felt like a failure when all the while it's been everybody else who's failed him. His mother can't find a job that'll pay for rent. His school let him fall through the cracks and not provide him the help he needed to be successful in school. He is not dumb, he's learning disabled and poor. It pained me to read about his story and I just wanted to hug him and help him and tell him that everything's going to be all right. And all he wanted was a break. A job. A chance to go to college. A girlfriend who'll accept him as he is. He's put his heart and soul into his artwork because he didn't have the words to say how he felt. He pulled at my heart strings every step of the way.
'In your head, Shadow was this great person and I'm nothing.' Her eyes keep pinning me down. 'I can barely even read.'
Then there's Lucy, our idealistic and intelligent 17-year old girl who's in love with the idea of love and falling for someone like Shadow, a fellow artist. She's been in search of her perfect guy who wouldn't grope her but would sit down with her and have meaningful conversations about art. Ideal love, blah, blah, blah. But I love her character because she's smart and spunky and could beat up a boy to defend herself! Hmmm...she reminds me of someone...like me.
And if you're liking what you're reading so far, you'd enjoy and will be entertained by the rest of the cast. Just like in Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son , this book is also teeming with savory secondary characters that it'll keep you glued to the pages. I personally liked Leo and his penchant for poetry and how he made this book look beautiful and lyrical with his poetry. I also found Daisy's character appealing especially with her tough personality. I thought she was quite funny especially when she put her boyfriend, Dylan, in his place. And then there's Bert, Ed's Yoda and mentor. I liked how he was there to guide Ed to be his voice of reason, to give him the push he needed and the opportunity he never ever gets. Jazz was fun too, the psychic wannabe best friend of Lucy, as well as Lucy's parents and Al. Cath Crowley, just like Melina Marchetta, made these secondary characters stand out and color these pages with their grit and personalities making this book fun and real and relevant.
If you are looking for a quick comfort read, Graffiti Moon's it. Ed made me cry and Lucy made me hope. It's a book you could definitely hug in the end. I highly recommend! ...more
I highly suggest that if you ever decide to read this book is to pick up the audible version of it. With the simultaneous narratio** Audible Review **
I highly suggest that if you ever decide to read this book is to pick up the audible version of it. With the simultaneous narration and alternating points of views between the protagonists, Hannah and Clay, it is just a better way to get the clarity and distinction of these two characters. The narrators for this book were also wonderful: Joel Johnstone for Clay and Debra Wiseman for Hannah. It is the first time I’ve heard Joel narrate and I thought he did a great job of giving Clay’s character a life. The voices they lent to these characters made their stories seem more real and believable.
Listening to Thirteen Reasons was heart and gut wrenching. I often found myself in tears in sadness and helplessness for both Hannah and Clay. I know for some people who have read Hannah's stories find themselves confused how her 13 reasons could push her to ending her life. But like Hannah, I knew how it felt to be the new kid in school. I lived through those anxieties and the prejudices everyday of my high school life. At 16, I was transplanted to a foreign country, oceans and oceans away from my home. My everyday of high school was a day of prejudices and discrimination. I didn't have any true friends like Hannah because I didn't know whom to trust especially when everyone snickered or talked in hushed voices as I passed by them in the hall ways. But at that age, every little thing could seem so big, every little problem means the end of the world. And it doesn't help when you have no one to turn to. It feels like the best way is just to give up just to stop the hurting inside. And when you're in this state of mind, suicide feels like the only answer to end all problems. But unlike Hannah, I was able to find reasons to keep going. Mine was I didn't want to disappoint my parents as they poured all their hopes and dreams into me. How could I take that away from them, right? Live the American dream they said. We're too old to do it but you are young...and you can do it. So, yes, somehow I found the strength to keep living and somehow just didn't care about what everyone at school said about me. High school is tough. Teen hood is tough. A smile and a kind word here and there go a long way in high school. And that's why those compliments that Hannah so hoped for was so important. One kind word can mean the world to someone who is so hungry for a reason to keep living. (Sorry for the spill. I just feel like I have to justify these 13 reasons of Hannah).
I think Jay Asher is a creative genius in choosing to write about a tabooed topic in this format. Using cassette tapes in this technological era where our teenagers are so tech savvy was quite refreshing. I don’t even think I own anything to listen to cassette tapes. In fact, I’m sure I don’t. I know for me reading this book was a personal ride but I’m sure for the others who haven’t still felt some connection to Hannah's story and still felt that frustration, anger, and helplessness from Clay. I know I did. I’ve never been in Clay’s shoes but I felt the anxiety and fear he felt when he waited to hear his part in the cassette tapes. I literally had to stop the audible when I thought I was about to read Clay’s name. His emotions transcended through the CDs and his part of the story left me feeling bereft and speechless…and in tears.
I don’t know why Jay Asher wrote about suicide and the ugly truths about high school life, but for whatever reasons he had, I have a feeling that he somehow did it to help and bring awareness about suicide in teens. Just in my city, we’ve lost two teenagers to suicide in the last two months. And every time I hear about it, it always leaves me feeling sad and empty. I know that if I had this book to read during my high school, I would have coped with high school hardships much better because I would know then that I was not alone in feeling this way and that there were others out there who were going through the same thing. And if not for this reason, I hope that the teens who do get a hold of this book would at least come out getting some insight and perspective and will at least try to be nicer towards their peers.
Whatever your reasons were Jay Asher, thank you for writing this book. I know that every little bit of awareness and kindness helps. ...more
Let me warn you before you read on ahead. This review may be filled with swooning and embarrassing teen-like behaviors from an adult. If you4.5 Stars
Let me warn you before you read on ahead. This review may be filled with swooning and embarrassing teen-like behaviors from an adult. If you can't stand such behaviors and think it juvenile, I advise you to keep going. This might be the most embarrassing review I'll ever make all because of Cricket Bell!
I didn't have high hopes for Lola and the Boy Next Door because I wasn't all that impressed with Anna and the French Kiss, which is its predecessor and companion. Boy was I surprised on how much I loved this book! It's almost embarrassing how I adore it thanks to Cricket. Cricket is THE boy next door to Lola and the male protagonist. He is Lola's old neighbor who came back to live in the same old house next to hers. Cricket was also Lola's first crush and first love and the first boy to break her heart into little tiny pieces. So just imagine Lola's dismay when Cricket and his twin evil sister, Calliope, decides to live next door again after she's been able to move forward, put her fragile love life back together again and date a hot rocker and older guy! I don't know about Lola but I know I won't forget. I still remember that boy who was first to break my heart and whenever I look at his picture on Facebook and how he looks now, body rotund and head balding, I smile and say to myself...sweet revenge! I still look back and think of my first crush and wonder how he's doing now and how he looks like. This book definitely put me in a wistful and sentimental mood.
And if your first crush and love is someone like Cricket Bell, how could you even forget him?! He's like my dream man come to life! He's intelligent, kind, thoughtful, and generous, not too bad to look at, and oh so TALL! I loved how awkward he was especially when he was around Lola and how nervous he got when he talked to her. I was impressed of how innocent he was about relationships but how much more mature he was about life overall compared to Lola. He was strong and self-sacrificing and a big nerd! There's just so much I love about him but I'll stop so you can know him for yourself. The only thing I want to change about Cricket is his too-short of a pants! Whatever fashion statement he's trying to make with these, I am not buying! If you want short pants, get some capri pants, please!
And what about our MC, Lola? The ever flamboyant dresser and creative 16-year old Lola. I'm still baffled with how she dresses. It's okay to be different and original but I think Stephanie Perkins overdid it especially with the glitters and the wigs. Oh the wigs! What possessed Lola to wear all these wigs?!! Much too much for my taste. I initially felt bad for her when I found out about how her heart was broken. But, just like Etienne in Anna and the French Kiss, I wished she was made of stronger and sterner stuff and did the honorable and the right thing though it was hard to do. Either way someone will get hurt. BUT leading someone on is much more cruel and anyone deserves better than that. She should know, she's been there. I also thought that Lola needed to be a better friend to her ever loyal friend Lindsey. I do admire her being a good daughter to her two dads, Nathan and Andy, and how she didn't rebel against their sometimes strict rules. But then again, if you are dating a 22-year old and you're a young impressionable 16-year old, I'd be strict with you as well!
That brings me to Max. I think there's something wrong about Max wanting to date a 16-year old when he his 22. Seriously! And I know I'm right when he starts calling Lola, Lolita! I won't be surprised if he finds himself in jail if there's ever a sequel. To him I say, good riddance. Cricket's a better man than you'll ever be!
I adored the window scenes between Lola and Cricket and just found them so romantic! And what about those not-so-coincidental walks they took together when they were just starting to get to know each other? Those were heart-melting moments for me! I think it was during these walks they took that their feelings for each other bloomed and they got to know each other better. I found it adorably cute how Cricket timed his walks the same time Lola took Heaven's to Betsy for a walk. If I were Lola, I'd be swooning each time and flattered by the attention from Cricket! I think knowing that the guy you like likes you back would put me in cloud 9 and it'll take a lot to tether me back to earth!
I think Lola was very lucky to have two supportive Dads who raised her well. Though not so admirable all the time, Calliope's loyalty to her twin brother, Cricket, was touching. I was rather a hag at times towards girls that went after my brothers as well. You can't help but be protective and I'm still very protective of my little brother even now that he is married.
Lola and the Boy Next Door was just one of those books that brings you back to your first crush, your first love. I don't know how long I hugged it as I again reminisced all those first times. A feel-good book through and through!
Special thanks to Arlene, my very good friend over at Street Corners for touring this book!!! It was so fun and entertaining to read everybody's comments and predictions! Tina and Flann, you guys were right on the money! I didn't feel so bad swooning and squeeing because I knew my fellow bookers were there right along with me!!! Fun, fun and heart-warming book!!!
This came highly recommended and it more than delivered!
What makes Split so remarkable and memorable is how raw and real it*Audible Review*
This came highly recommended and it more than delivered!
What makes Split so remarkable and memorable is how raw and real it is. The realism of this book is so unnerving and so mesmerizing! And I can tell from first hand experiences how Jace's story is so close to the real thing. Swati Avasthi is either a great writer and researcher or a magnificent storyteller who shares her own life experiences as if writing her biography in this book. But, either way, she has touched me and captivated me with Jace's story and I've never felt such a connection with a literary character as I do now.
Jace is a teenage boy who leaves home after being kicked out by his father after finally standing up to his abuse and beatings. He leaves beaten up and battered with only $3.00 and some change in his pocket and drives to New Mexico to find his older brother, Christian, who ran away from home years ago to avoid the physical, verbal, and emotional abuse that he took for him and his mother that left him hospitalized with a punctured lung. Jace hasn't heard from Christian in years since he left. He only had with him the address on an envelope that his mother gave him and a promise from his mother that Christian will help him out once he arrives there.
Jace gets to New Mexico and finds Christian. Christian helps him and lets him stay in his one-bedroom apartment upon the insistence of Miriam, Christian's girlfriend. Jace attempts to start a new life in New Mexico and waits patiently for the arrival of his mother who promised him that she will leave their father and move to NM with him and Christian, and the three of them will start a new life together, like a family, void of the abuse that they all suffered in the hands of the Judge.
In reading this masterpiece, most readers find themselves angry at best. The emotions that filled me while reading Split were feelings of sorrow and despair instead when I read about the abuses. Even the horrific scene in the garage left me feeling aghast and broken but not so much of anger towards the abuser, the father/husband! What pervaded me most was the feeling of helplessness and brokenness for Christian, for their mom, and for Jace. Being angry with their father just didn't change anything for me because he is a Judge and knows how to work the system and will never be indicted or be found guilty for his crimes against his family. Wasting any emotion though only anger just felt indulgent for me.
The mother. I don’t know what I feel about her. It wasn’t anger. It was more of a disappointment and sadness. She was too paralyzed by fear, fear that if she left and was found by the husband that he would finally kill her. And after what he did to her in the garage, I wouldn’t doubt it. Can I blame her, no. But I wished she had more faith than fear; Faith that her sons could finally free her; Strength that she could start a new life and welcome the unknown.
Christian. I didn’t feel angry with Christian either. Perhaps only in the beginning when he didn’t welcome Jace with open arms upon seeing him after so many years. But once I understood him, once I knew how damaged he is inside from all the abuse he’s suffered from his father, then I accepted him as he is now. Broken. Scared to death that his father might find him again and beat him to a pulp. He’s tried so hard to forget his past so he could bury all the pain and the guilt of leaving his little brother Jace and his mom behind. And even now, because of what he’s gone through, he couldn’t let people in his life, even his little brother. He is the ice king and he needs his heart melted and his armour taken away. His unfolding is a heart-wrenching but worthwhile subplot in this book.
Miriam.She's an inspiration to women. She's the example of a strong woman that the mother nor Lauren wasn't. And unlike Christian, she didn't give up on Jace. And unlike Christian, she was willing to give Jace a chance and an opportunity to change. She was there for Jace when everyone else gave up on him. I admired her relentlessness and her objectivity.
I am not my Dad.
Jace. His courage is a bright beacon in this book. It is what makes this book a feel-good read in the end. It is him who brings the balance, the light amidst all the darkness filling this book. His character is charming and so smart and his retorts and comebacks are so witty and snarky that they leave me grinning. However, when he lets his temper get the best of him and he starts feeling the backdraft, it frightens me of what he might do. I find myself yelling at the CD and saying, “Don’t do it Jace!”. “Hold that temper in!” It’s not worth it!” But, could you blame him? Growing up with his abusive father and getting beat up for anything didn’t really teach him healthy coping strategies. I was a little disappointed but not surprised when it was eventually revealed what all happened the night he left Chicago. Yes, we knew about his boxing match with his father but we didn’t know about the other thing that happened before that. I was so heart-broken when I found out. But that’s the thing with abused kids: 1) they turn into abusers too because it’s the only way they know how and live a life feeling guilty and make excuses for their actions, 2) they accept their fate and accept the abuse and find themselves having relationships with abusers, or 3) they fight to not turn into abusers themselves no matter what the cost. Jace accepts what he’s turning into but fights to become his father. Unlike his father, he doesn’t make excuses for his behavior and asks for forgiveness for his transgressions, no matter how hard it was. His courage is his redemption. And it’s Jace’s story that makes this story so real for me. He is a success story and is a story that is no fairy tale. I’ve seen it happen first hand. Just because your father is an abuser doesn’t mean you’ll turn out just like him. There’s this thing called a clean slate. Tabula rasa. Jace somehow knew this and believed he could change and could live his life differently. His maturity was also refreshing and admirable especially when his character had more a maturity than his brother.
Narrator: Joshua Swanson: Joshua's voice was perfect for Jace. He brought Jace's character come to life and made him even more interesting and appealing. His voice was young and fresh and so believable. I just found out that he's narrating Shipbreaker and I can't wait to listen to that as well!
I hope that in reading Jace’s story that people out there bound by chains of abuse will find courage as well. This is such a powerful book and I highly recommend it to anyone.
The tears did it for me! I have to give it 5 stars!
Good Oil = Australian slang for useful information, the truth, a good idea. Courtesy of the http://The tears did it for me! I have to give it 5 stars!
Good Oil = Australian slang for useful information, the truth, a good idea. Courtesy of the http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian.... I have to thank my Booker friend Arlene, who shared this very helpful website to get me through the slang in this book, which were numerous IMO. But that just adds to the authenticity of this book, which I enjoyed and appreciated!
Now, let us see if I have any Good Oil to give.
This book might just appear to be another coming-of-age book and young adult romance at first glance but it's so much more especially when we read about the subtle and secondary themes of feminism and how that affects the dynamics of Australian families (which was surprising to me), the pressures of a twenty-something guy to make a living and make something out of himself when his chosen major is not as lucrative if he chose to be an engineer or an accountant. Just tidbits about life as a teenager, a young adult, or a parent in Australia was so interesting and introspective. I especially love the parts of the book where both our protagonists become vulnerable and open up to their Moms. Both so powerful and heart strings yankers that I couldn't stop the tears from falling! But that's what I love about this book. It comes off being understated when it truly is a powerful book once it takes a hold of you. But then again, my introspection of any book I read is sometimes over the top so what I saw and felt in this book might be different from someone else's.
Our female protagonist is Amelia, who just turned 15 and just started working at Woolworth's, a grocery or a supermarket in Australia. There she meets her love interest, Chris, who's 21 and her trainer. Chris takes her under his wing and gives her the 'good oil'. Amelia of course falls in love head over heels with Chris. And who wouldn't at that age when someone older like him gives you his time and attention and shares his perspective on life and such. Amelia's never been in love or has never been in a relationship with a boy so this is all new to her. Chris becomes her sun and everything about her revolves around him. That's first love...and we've all gone through that so we know how it is to be like Amelia.
So, Chris, our male protagonist, doesn't really notice Amelia's feelings for him because he's still getting over an old flame and is heavily pondering of what he should do with his life. He feels like his life's in a rut and he's in need of a change but just doesn't know how he could affect that change. Chris is not your typical male protagonist. He's flawed, an alcoholic, and weak most of the time. He's Pip I think (from Great Expectations) living in an illusion that someday he'll be with that old flame of his again and needs to find a way out of that. Sometimes I wished he could just move forward, to stop wallowing and just get a move on with his life. He's not the typical protag you swoon about but you're still attracted to him somehow because he is vulnerable and he does care, perhaps too much that's why he's in such a predicament. I thought it was quite endearing the way he cared and looked after Amelia and how he tried to protect her. But is this love or brotherly love? We learn about Chris in this book through his perspectives in his journal entries and of Amelia's accounts of him.
The book makes a lot of references to Great Expectations and the Great Gatsby as well as other English classics and contemporaries that I found very enlightening since I haven't read any of them but was compelled to do so after reading Good Oil.
There's definitely themes in this book that I could relate to. The themes of feminism for one. I grew up in a patriarchal family where my mother did everything. She worked and still took care of us and the household where in my father just worked and came home waiting for his meal. That's the Filipino culture for you and I disliked it. I vowed that when I got married that I would not marry a man who's raised in this type of culture! I just don't agree with it and I would never live it if I have any say in it. My parents are senior citizens now and my mother still answers to my Dad's beck and call! It still drives me nuts to this day! I was actually surprised that the Aussie families are similar. But is Amelia's family the norm or are they an exception to the rule?
But what tore me up the most in Good Oil were the revelations by Amelia's and Chris' feelings over each other. Could a 15-year old and a 21-year old could really be a couple? Could this really work or were they just asking for heartbreak and heartaches? Be romantic or be realistic? I know I was delusional when I was 15 and I swooned over my older brother's friends, who were 5 years older than I was. They thought me cute...but cute to be a little sister no less! So when Amelia said those 3-words, the only thing going through my mind was..."Oh no you didn't!" But, we've all been 15 and we've all had our first loves. Mine broke my heart and I would always remember. Now I laugh to myself when I see him...balding and unhappy. I know, I know it's mean. So sue me! Revenge is sweet indeed! Hahaha! But...I digress.
I wept and I couldn't stop. My heart was breaking.
Good Oil made me cry without trying. I wept and I hoped. Now I want a darn sequel!!!
I have to thank my special friend, Arlene, for sharing her wonderful book to me! I have to thank my Booker friends for such an awesome recommendation! Bring in the Good Oil!