Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere has been one of those books that don't quite leave my mind when I'm thinking of books that have stayed with me. S Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere has been one of those books that don't quite leave my mind when I'm thinking of books that have stayed with me. Sometimes when people debut with such memorable books, most follow-up works don't quite match up. Sometimes that happens. And sometimes that doesn't. Sometimes it only gets better.
Jandy Nelson is a magician. I want to write that across the skies. JANDY NELSON IS A MAGICIAN.
I'll Give You the Sun is the kind of book that made me want to climb out of earth and bring the sun for her, because SoMuchBrilliance. This book is a stunner of a read. The writing is gorgeous, so gorgeous I felt like I was drowning in it. Although, yes, I do admit it might not be the kind of writing that everybody will like. If you didn't like the prose-style of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, erhm, you should maybe just read a sampler of this to see if it's your thing and go ahead, because if you're going by this review, HOLY YES, I WANTED TO EAT THE BOOK. (This happened with The Sky is Everywhere as well, but it happened double-times with this)
So much of the feels. So much of it that feels isn't even the right word. So much of the feels and this is why:
1. Siblings. Can there pleaaaaaase be more books about siblings? And siblings who aren't trying to kill each other and aren't just hanging around the background scenes just so they could be there but real-life, living, breathing siblings that have that pull which is the thing about siblings anyway (which is also why I loved Imaginary Girls so much *breathes heavily*). Noah and Jude are more like NoahAndJude and Jandy Nelson doesn't just tell you, she shows you how. It's brilliant how she managed the dual perspective throughout the book, giving the two of them such distinct voices that you don't have to go check the chapter head to see whose portion you're reading, yet you just know that these two are two sides of the same coin. Throw brother and sister and love and art and jealousy and guilt and love and more love and you will get NoahAndJude.
2. Family. The family you want to run away from and return to. The family that isn't just the people that are alive but the ones who've died and are still there because you decide if you want to keep them there or let them go. Yup, Jandy Nelson nails that. (PS. For ghosts and other such things that you-don't-really-see-happening-around-you-because-you-don't-notice, I'll Give You the Sun often reads like magic realism and even though it's not the specified genre, I'm starting to think, maybe it is.)
3. Art. 'What is bad for the heart is good for art' is something one of the characters says in the book (I won't say who because I don't want to give away anything), and that is more or less the basis of all great art in this book. It captures the essence of the artist so well, I had to stop for breath (which was difficult, considering that I read most of the book on the metro, on the way to and back from work, and the metro is at that time so crowded that it hardly leaves you space to stand, let alone, stand and read). You get how the description of such art comes from the soul, because the author apparently wrote this book over three years, shutting herself in darkened rooms, with just the light from the laptop giving her company, because things like that come from, I don't know, somewhere within, and when you read or see the book or the sculpture or the painting, you can feel where it comes from.
4. Love. Oh man. The Beatles probably wrote All You Need Is Love for Jandy Nelson to write this book. Love spills from the spine of this book. There is not a single person who hasn't been affected by love here. All kinds of love. ALL KINDS.
5. Romance. I could have clubbed this with Love but there's so much of Love already, I realised this kind of needed highlighting of its own. And What Happens With Noah is probably my favourite Romantic Story of the Year.
6. The Ones Who've Died and are Still Around, Like Really, Because (you remember how Sirius Black said that The Ones That Love Us Never Really leave Us) They Don't Have To Be Ghosts, you see.
7. Metaphors. I like metaphors, okay? Don't judge.
8. Title. I officially think this is the Coolest Title of the Year. I got lost in this book. Like, literally. I can't tell you the number of times I've walked into the wrong metro because of this book. Oh yes.
Just read the book, okay? I don't know what else to say. I'm bursting with words and I feel like I'm coming up short and stupid and I just want everyone in this world to read this book because it's that good. Yes, that good....more
It was this crazy, crazy ride through the lives of psychotic teenagers with very, very dark secrets that are so disturbing, theThis book? MIND. BLOWN.
It was this crazy, crazy ride through the lives of psychotic teenagers with very, very dark secrets that are so disturbing, they'll leave you breathless. Keep an inhaler handy.
So, what we get from the book description is that Archer's a sort of teenage Dexter who is killing people (actually killing the people who've hurt his friend Vivian), thinking it's the right thing to do. It's twisted. It's creepy. And it heightens your curiosity quotient. Because any thinking person will want to know 'why' Archer is so crazy twisted. And what is his deal with Vivian, that he would go this far for her. And what on earth had happened to Vivian. What? Why? How? Hushed quickly raises numerous questions, and while you flip through the pages at phenomenal speed, it spinballs into a black hole of anticipation that might just give you a mini heart attack. And then, it'll hit you back with answers. Answers that will make you squirm and bite your lips till they bleed.
Hushed made me go through a range of emotions. Dark emotions, mostly, but dark has its range - rage, jealousy, despair. There's a lot going on there.
And oh man, Kelley York writes killer characters (no, the pun wasn't intended). She turns convention on its head and gives you brainsick teens in parasitic relationships, trapped in the role-plays they have created for themselves. Goes without saying, they are not your usual guys-and-girls-next-door. No.
Archer - Going into the book I had no idea what to think about Archer. Except for the fact that I'd be scared around him. Come on, the guy kills! (even if he's doing it for the benefit of his friend). And the book opens with a rather graphic-of-sorts scene of Archer murdering someone. But, you know, as with skillful storytelling, this man-killing-antisocial grows into somebody who deserves your sympathy. Archer is amazingly written. There's no black-and-whiteness about him. Archer walks in smoky grey haze, wanting so desperately to be loved by Vivian and doing all the wrong things to make things right that he sometimes makes your heart bleed a little.
Vivian - WHERE DID THIS GIRL COME FROM? I don't remember having detested any contemporary character (besides the mother in Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden) as much as I detested her. She's so manipulative, so unstable, so emotionally abusive and misguided, most of the time I wanted to slap her left, right and centre. But as with Archer, I could tell where she was coming from. I never liked her, but I didn't hate her as much as I started out doing. And that's where Kelley York scores. Because Vivian wasn't meant to be a character to be liked (at least I don't think so) but not understanding where her motivations and insecurities arose from would have totally defeated the purpose of her presence. It's no surprise, perhaps, that she felt like the most REAL among the three main characters. She breathed right out of the pages.
Evan - Good heavens, I LOVED this guy! And his family. And the things he did. And the things he said. He is the reason his pair-up with Archer has moved into my list of Favourite Contemporary Couples (right next to Tessa and Adam from Before I Die and Lennie and Joe from The Sky Is Everywhere and Anna and St. Clair from Anna And The French Kiss). I loved how their relationship progressed. Not love at first sight, but gradually, unwinding layers and layers of each other, sometimes accidentally, sometimes with that intent. And, OH DEAR LORD, there is a Shower Scene which is probably the hottest thing I've read in ages. (Read, I tell you, READ!)
What. Can. I. Say. I've never finished another book on netgalley as quickly as I did this (I hate reading on the computer). Characters that creep you out but make you remember them, taut writing that keeps you flipping and flipping pages, Hushed is a stellar YA Contemporary Thriller. READ.
Be warned: this ain't your bedtime fare. It'll keep you up ALL night. I speak from experience. ...more
I LOVE THIS BOOK WAAAY TOO MUCH TO REVIEW IT. Right from the first to the last sentence. And yeah, that last sentence is my favourite of all last sentI LOVE THIS BOOK WAAAY TOO MUCH TO REVIEW IT. Right from the first to the last sentence. And yeah, that last sentence is my favourite of all last sentences.
I read this when I was 9. And GAH, everything by Enid Blyton gets a 10-star for me. Erm, not quite possible here, but you get the drill. I adore her toI read this when I was 9. And GAH, everything by Enid Blyton gets a 10-star for me. Erm, not quite possible here, but you get the drill. I adore her to death. She's my author idol. Even now....more
Oh didn't I just adore this novel. It has to be one of the most open-minded novels written. And I'm not saying so because of the issues embraced and Oh didn't I just adore this novel. It has to be one of the most open-minded novels written. And I'm not saying so because of the issues embraced and talked about. There are a lot of issue based books out there but what the open-mined aspect of it really comes through because of the characters, I loved them. Every one of them. Even the mean girl. Yes, can you believe that? I didn't start out loving her. I mean, she was a meanie and a bully of sorts but Lauren Bjorkman does such an amazing job with all the characters, they all have rich backstories to them and it worked out oh-so-well for me as a reader.
Roz is a most endearing protagonist - fickle, impulsive, overtly imaginative with an odd tendency to insult in Shakespearean slangs (!) Don't you just love her already? She is out and ready to pretend to be gay to help her sister come out of the closet - who she believes is really gay after finding a book about lesbian lovers in her possession. It starts as a trifle dare spurred on by impulsiveness that sets off a a random set of events that make up this book. And it's a hell of a ride.
The thing about My Invented Life, is that the atmosphere of the book is light and pleasant in spite of the difficult things the characters have to face up to. It doesn't bog you down. Yet keeps you hooked so you can't stop reading and then makes you wish it didn't end so you could keep reading it. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again.
The writing is utterly delightful. You know the author's done a fine job when the writing, the story, the characters are all handled skillfully. And really, Ms. Bjorkman's characters are indeed ones to be boasted about. Roz, Eva, Jonathan, Bryan, Nico all had distinct personalities and the collison of them all in the school production of As You Like It is insanely amusing. And Andie. Eyeliner Andie has to be one of the most dynamic characters ever created in YA fiction. Oh, how I loved her. She may only be a supporting character but she is a genius in creation. It shows a lot of responsibilty on the author's part to create someone like her. Because books and what you portray in them send you signals, and they may be wrong ones or right ones. And authors have such great influence over readers it is important to portray things in the right light. And Lauren Bjorkman's handling of Andie's sexuality...wow, just wow.
Way back last year, I interviewed Lauren Bjorkman but I didn't get to read her book till now. And, for me, this is a book to hold on to. My Invented Life is clever, outrageously hilarious, big-hearted and has that funky vibe which just makes it very, very cool. I adored it to bits. And I had a lot of Shakespearean fun doing that :) ...more
This was my first Jennifer Echols. And I was SO eager to read her! And what better way to start than with an older YA that takes place in college where This was my first Jennifer Echols. And I was SO eager to read her! And what better way to start than with an older YA that takes place in college where the protagonist is a creative writing major?
I knew this story was right up my alley. And no surprises there, it was :)
Some random facts about Love Story:
It's written in first person past tense. Which was pleasantly surprising, because I'm on a present tense binge almost all the time, so it takes a while to get into the past tense thingy now, but this worked really, really well for me.
Interspersed with excerpts from stories written by Erin and Hunter. And which besides being entertaining also serves the purpose of hinting at the history between these two characters. The stories range from the frivolous and giggly-ish to the dark and serious and very sexy ones to the outright hilarious -- and do a fine job of peeling back layers and layers of their complicated relationship till you're left with the bare bones of it.
The main character has a nose-piercing, which looks just so cool on the cover. Yeah, it sounds a bit cheesy, but I can't help mentioning it.
There's an eclectic mix of characters. And one of them has a fascination with 'cutting heads' :D
I have to say, Jennifer Echols does relationships just so, so well. It was complex and unpredictable and at a point I just stopped wondering what might happen and just allowed myself to go with the flow. Friendship and gorgeous chemistry fall into place like a jigsaw and you realise how necessary they both are in depicting a credible love story. And did I tell you how much I loved Hunter? He was SEXINESS. Seriously, I swooned every time he spoke and gah...major crush-in-the-making ;)
And Erin? I fell into her story quick and easy and loved the ride. Lots of things happen in this book. There's family history and domestic complexities and a lot of crazy things which make it rather difficult for these two.
And there's so much snazzy, sexy dialogue between Erin and Hunter it made me giggle and laugh and want to use use them as pick-up lines. Heh.
So, I've heard things being said about the ending. Well, it's ambiguous in the sense that it doesn't exactly tell you what's gonna happen, but there's a lot of optimism and that gives the readers a lot of freedom to think out their own endings. Well, my only complaint is that it happened a little too quickly, but once I got past that, I liked it.
All I can say is that, I'm floored. And I can't wait to get my hands on the other Jennifer Echols books asap. If you want a fun-yet-a-bit-serious love story, with the older YA vibe, and drama that makes you giggle and twists your heart a bit, you might want to pick up Love Story. ...more