This book made me rage! I was listening to the audio book in my car and literally yelling "you jerk! Don't give him money! Get a job! No, quit whining...moreThis book made me rage! I was listening to the audio book in my car and literally yelling "you jerk! Don't give him money! Get a job! No, quit whining! OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?!" And yet at the same time part of me loved her parents. I honestly don't know how to feel about it. They seemed like such intelligent people, but without a drop of common sense. In the beginning I was like, ok they're weird but they're teaching their kids and they love them and while they might not have anything very rich, overall their life is ok.
I think it was once they moved to West Virginia that things went to hell. I spent a lot of that part of the book wondering why they stayed there; surely they were all more happy in Arizona? Alcoholism is a horrible disease, and my heart just aches for Jeannette's father, because I really think if he'd never gotten addicted their lives would have all been so much happier. The mom I think was a lot more emotionally scarred than we knew. We only got the story from Jeannette's perspective, and she seemed much closer to her father. I think if Maureen or Lori had told the story we'd understand their mom a lot more.
I feel bad for Maureen, but in a way her story makes sense. The other kids had their desert childhood to remember, but Maureen only knew West Virginia and the horrible conditions of their life there. She didn't know the lovelier parts of their lives, before dad fell completely into his disease and mom checked out.
There's a quote from Brian that really sums up this whole book. "You know, it's really not that hard to put food on the table if that's what you decide to do." Brian realizes that it's not too difficult to to provide for your family as long as you work hard and make the welfare of your children your first priority. His parents sadly didn't do that and no matter how much you argue for their loving and spiritual nature makes them, in my eyes, failures as parents. (less)
ok I can't do it. This book is just awful, and I can't finish it. I made it about half way and while a lot of people told me it would get better in th...moreok I can't do it. This book is just awful, and I can't finish it. I made it about half way and while a lot of people told me it would get better in the second half, I'm sorry this book is almost 900 pages. If you have literally zero plot in 400+ pages then it's not worth finishing. I think this book needed a much firmer editor. Just in the first half I'd say 50-100 pages could easily have been cut, largely due to the complete lack of story. The whole first half of the book goes like this:
Claire - 'Cuz we are living in a post WWII world, and I am a 1940s girl....
****MAGICAL TIME TRAVEL ROCKS ACTIVATE****
Evil Englishman - ARRRR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape save!
Claire - 1700s Scotland!? dafaq?...ooh a kilt...OK!
Other Scotsmen - ARRRR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape Save!
Roadway Bandits - ARR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape Save!
****300 pages of them living in Scotland doing nothing except living in Scotland****
Sexy Scotsman - Now we have to get married because...reasons!
Claire - but I'm already married...oooh a kilt...OK!
Evil Englishman - ARRRR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape save! Wife Beat! ARRR RAPE!
Claire - I'm mad I hate you...ooh a kilt....OK!
****Loch Ness Monster (no really)****
That's literally it.
The thing about this book that really grinds my gears is the general acceptance of rape. Basically the main character lives in constant threat of rape from everyone. The villainous Englishman, the Scottish clansmen, and even her (second) husband. It's one thing if the villain is doing the raping, it makes him more evil. What I completely don't understand is when the romantic interest does the raping or threatening of rape and we as readers are supposed to find it manly and sexy. I'm sorry, but threatening your wife with assault is NEVER attractive.
ANOTHER THING. So many people have defended the rape in this book because it's "historically accurate" and "that's just how things were back then". It's true that women didn't have many rights and were treated like property, but that DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT. Rape is ALWAYS wrong, even if it's the 1700s and even if it's your husband. For Claire to be so accepting of it and for other readers to still find Jamie attractive and heroic is just disgusting. We need to stop making excuses for rapists and abusers, regardless of time period, culture, childhood, or whatever else you want to try and use. (less)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a teen classic. It's paved the way for many novels with its take on drugs, sex, abuse, friendship, and growing up w...moreThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is a teen classic. It's paved the way for many novels with its take on drugs, sex, abuse, friendship, and growing up while told through the letters of a fifteen year old boy whose innocent view of the world charms the reader. It's not so much that subject matter is unique, but the voice in which it is told is delightful. It's Charlie's observations of the world, simple though it may be, that makes this story so intriguing and relateable.
Yes there are certainly aspects of this book that may be difficult for some people to read, in particular the ending, but I think that these difficult elements all make Charlie the way he is, both the things that happened to him in the past and what he experiences over the course of the book.
While I doubt I'll become one of the rabid fans that swear by this books genius, I still really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to kids in high school who might be feeling a little "uncool". I know that I do wish I had read it when I was a freshman, I probably would have really loved it then. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is already over 10 years old, but I still find it extremely relevant to today's young adults. It is a timeless tale of finding yourself that all teens experience. (less)
I don't think I've ever read anything like The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. It is amazing, horrifying, and both a work of magical fiction and b...moreI don't think I've ever read anything like The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. It is amazing, horrifying, and both a work of magical fiction and brutal honesty. I felt like for the first time I had found someone who could understand how I feel. I identified on so many levels with this book, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I appreciate Emilie as an artist so much more now because I realize just how much of herself she puts into everything she does. This is one of a kind, and is well worth every cent I paid and more.
The Asylum is a book, I think above all else, about women's rights. Women's rights to do whatever they want and have freedom over their bodies, minds, and lives. This includes the right to harm their bodies and to even end their life. Emilie is all about fighting like a girl and being a total bad ass, and I love watching Emily-with-a-y grow into a Victorian warrior queen. It's just totally awesome.
I also totally loved Emilie's story as well. I think it was such a perfect blend of fact and fiction that I really couldn't tell what was true and what was bleeding over into Emilie's story. The decent into madness was so slow and subtle that I found myself thinking very odd things were perfectly normal and destructive behaviors were really the only option available. And the ending? Amazing beyond belief.
On a more practical note I loved the overall presentation of this book. It is absolutely beautiful. Every page is glossy and full colored with photos, drawings, and cut outs from journals. It really adds to the story and makes it more than just a book.
I cannot recommend the Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls enough. It has so many fascinating topics. Abuse, mental illness, historical fiction, self mutilation, suicide, friendship, women's empowerment, music, photography, art, and of course muffins, tea time, rats, and leeches. So spread the plague little rats because, as we all know, dead is the new alive!(less)
The ending saved this from being a 1 star book. At least 75% of this book is just stupid mean girl drama. Marcie isn't even a character, she's a chari...moreThe ending saved this from being a 1 star book. At least 75% of this book is just stupid mean girl drama. Marcie isn't even a character, she's a charicture. Her bullying was just so over the top and Nora and Vee's gossiping about Marcie's sexuality was so cruel that I came very close to quitting. I really hated all of the fat-shaming Marcie did and all of the slut-shaming Nora and Vee did. So much of the book's focus was on Marcie and Nora's cat fights that I often found myself wondering what was the main plot of the book.
I actually liked the plot twist with the parents (though I figured it out long before Nora (not suprised really)) but a lot of the angel lore is rushed and therefore confusing. I think a lot of this was stretched out too thin to force a trilogy. It feels like an afterthought, like the author wrote all of these relationship drama scenes and then went, oh crap I need to actually have a story.
Also, Patch and Nora have an abusive relationship. It is not healthy and they should not be together. You shouldn't be trying to make him jealous by kissing other boys, he shouldn't be sneaking around with other girls, and he should never say he literally could kill you. Seriously kids, don't get your relationship advice from this series.(less)
I didn't really like Wither, but I didn't hate it either. I was put off by the lack of scientific support for the world building but I was interested...moreI didn't really like Wither, but I didn't hate it either. I was put off by the lack of scientific support for the world building but I was interested in the characters and the drama that unfolded. I thought Wither presented some interesting topics on forced marriages and human trafficking as well as the ethics of genetic manipulation and that in Fever we were going to explore these themes in greater depths. Unfortunately these topics were barely touched on in this weak follow up.
Fever really suffers from middle book syndrome. It's almost like the wordiness and overly poetic writing is trying to make up for the lack of character development, world building, or any real plot. I feel like everything in this book, from the main character to the writing to the world building to even the book itself, is very surface level. Everything is pretty and shiny, but there's no substance, no meat, to anything. It's like this book is saying "Look at how beautifully I described these girl's dresses and hair! Ignore the fact that they are child prostitutes, let me wax poetic about the fabric of their sex tent!" The writing is very wishy washy, to the point where I wasn't sure what was happening (specifically with Gabriel and the cage and with Vaughn and his testing). We're never told clearly what is happening, and instead of creating tension, it only creates confusion.
It's all very disappointing because I really liked the idea of the sex carnival and I thought it was an interesting setting to talk about tough issues like child prostitution. But it's almost like the author presents these terrible situations but doesn't fully commit her writing or her main character to those situations. Rhine gets exempt from abusive situations again and again (not having to consummate her marriage to Lindon, not having to prostitute with strangers). Instead Rhine watches other children be victimized and doesn't do anything to help them other than feel kind of bad. I feel like there is some indirect victim blaming going on here, that the child prostitutes are dirty and bad for having sex and that Rhine must stay pure and good because she is the main character. I do not know if that was the intention, but that is the road Fever heads down and it is a very damaging and dangerous path.
Fever is a truly disappointing novel not just as a sequel, but as a missed opportunity to actually say something of value. It just flits from topic to topic without fully committing to anything. (less)
I can't really say I liked this book, because who really does like a book about such a horrible topic? However Scott treated this subject well, and wh...moreI can't really say I liked this book, because who really does like a book about such a horrible topic? However Scott treated this subject well, and while she didn't shy away from the graphic and horrific aspects of the story, she did it in a way that doesn't exploit or glamorize the situation. It's raw, dirty, and painful.
The best part of Living Dead Girl is the writing style. I normally don't care too much about writing style, but in this case it's what makes the novel. It's almost like reading poetry and I feel like it really lends to the narrative. I can completely understand Alice and why she thinks the way she does and why she can't "just escape". The mental and physical abuse has completely drained her will to live. Alice has comes to believe that she deserves to live with her captor. I think fans of Ellen Hopkins books will really like Living Dead Girl.
Overall Living Dead Girl is a very dark story about a young girl's horrifying kidnapping that could have easily felt exploitative but was handled very well. It is a heart breaking story that will haunt you for a long time. Sidenote: I would say that this book is for mature teen and adult readers only. (less)
Wow, this is an intense book. I want to say it should be read by older teens, but no. This is a book middle schoolers need to read because the dangers...moreWow, this is an intense book. I want to say it should be read by older teens, but no. This is a book middle schoolers need to read because the dangers really do start that young, as much as I hate to admit it. I went onto a chat room for the first time when I was in 5th grade (I was only 10 years old, I was put in school early). The dangers are out there, and not only do parents need to educate their children, but they also need to educate themselves. I was worried this book was going to be all shock factor, but it really covers a lot of facts and offers some very useful insight into internet predators. I was very impressed.
Sidenote: I've read reviews on here that say that Abby was asking for it for being so stupid and she deserved to be raped. No girl deserves to be raped, and no girl ever asks for it. If you believe that then you can go fuck yourself.
(view spoiler)[My only complaint was the fact that Abby seemed to trust "Luke" way too early. She was private chatting and telling him her bra size after only three conversations. But then I remember that she was only 14 and children that young really do have an invincibility mindset. That can never happen to me.
I also didn't like how they didn't give her the plan B pill. She goes through a rape examination and they say she needs an STD test (duh) and a pregnancy test. Abby was recovered after a couple of days, what would a pregnancy test do? That's my only major problem because I don't know if that's a standard but I think if I was raped I'd want that pill more than a pregnancy test. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I am a literature sadist. I don't know why, but I have a sick need to finish every book that I've started, no matter how painful, stupid, or rage-indu...moreI am a literature sadist. I don't know why, but I have a sick need to finish every book that I've started, no matter how painful, stupid, or rage-inducing. I really did not like Sever, nor the Chemical Garden series as a whole. I think this story could have definitely been a stand alone because all of the plot really happened in the first book and the second and third were full of pretty prose of little consequence. I was particularly disappointed with this series because there were so many really interesting ways this story could have gone and a lot of great topics that could have been explored but none were really committed to which just left for a weak series that didn't say anything.
Sever was a very monotonous ending to the series where nothing really happened and none of our questions were answered. The first third of the book was Rhine hanging out at Lindon's uncle's house (did we know about this uncle before book 3? I don't think so, and this character suddenly living just down the road was very convenient) doing nothing. I thought finding her brother was really important but she's really not in any hurry to do anything other than putz around. I also was wondering what was going on with Gabriel, but Rhine must really have an out of sight, out of mind personality because I don't think she spared one thought for him for at least 200 pages. But you know what, Rhine and Linden should have stayed together because they're both as exciting as a bump on a log covered with a wet blanket. I seriously don't think I've read two more wishy washy characters in my life. The only semi redeemable character in Sever is Cecily (I know I was surprised too). There was some character growth there and Cecily actually took some action in this book. I couldn't believe it.
I also had huge problems with the general plot of Sever and how the big issues of the world were glossed over or just not addressed at all. I don't want to post too many spoilers, but the big revelations about Rhine's parent's work on genetics or Vaugh's motivations behind his terrible abuses or how the world because the messed up society felt so contrived, like the author didn't know how to tie things up so she just brushed it under the rug with the barest of explanations. The plot of this series is so sloppy, it's laughable. All of the pretty prose in the world can't replace a well thought out story.
The other aspect of Sever that is really damaging is sex, namely the lack of sex that our main character has. I mentioned this in my review for Fever, but to have a world where young girls are forced into marriage and prostitution as basically broodmares, and then put your main character into situation after situation where all of her peers are forced into sex but somehow miraculously she doesn't have to have sex is so ridiculous I can't even properly form words. This is the biggest cop out I have ever seen. If you're going to create a world like this and put your character in those situations (I mean, she was in a prostitution circus FFS) then you have to follow through, even if that means bad things have to happen to that character. If you don't back up your world building the entire series falls apart and I won't be able to take the story or the characters seriously. That's a problem with YA in general I think, writers don't want to do anything really bad to their characters so they put them in dangerous situations but don't actually put them in any danger.
Sever, and frankly the entire Chemical Garden series, is just a hot mess. Weak characters, weak plot, and very weak world building makes up this train wreck of a series. Flowery prose cannot make up for this pile of pseudo scientific drivel.(less)
Naked in Death is an ok mystery but it has some major flaws. I enjoyed Eve, the main character, and eventually grew to like Roarke the love interest....moreNaked in Death is an ok mystery but it has some major flaws. I enjoyed Eve, the main character, and eventually grew to like Roarke the love interest. I really liked the side characters of Mavis and Feeney, plus there's a cat who is awesome. I listened to the audiobook and I loved the reader's voices for these two characters, espeically Feeney.
However I didn't like some of the writing style choices, the graphic descriptions of child abuse, and Roarke's alpha male bullshit. I would consider reading the next book in the series, but am in no hurry to do so.(less)
Do you ever just randomly pick up a book without knowing much about it and it's just the perfect thing for your life? Well that's what happened for me...moreDo you ever just randomly pick up a book without knowing much about it and it's just the perfect thing for your life? Well that's what happened for me. I wandered into the bookstore with the goal of just getting a coffee but then Dr Bird's caught my eye. I had no idea what it was about, but I saw the blurbs from Matthew Quick and Jesse Andrews and thought "I need to read this".
Turns out Dr. Bird's is about a boy with depression and anxiety. The synchronicity is rather freaky because I've suspected that I have depression for years but I've never really taken action to get some help, I've always tried to deal with it on my own. Dr. Bird's helped me realize that I cannot do it alone and I've started taking steps to find a therapist. I really appreciate this novel and the perfect timing in which it came into my life.(less)