Yes, I liked this a lot. I really like Lauren Oliver's writing especially. So many YA authors try so hard to write all purpley and pretty, it's nice tYes, I liked this a lot. I really like Lauren Oliver's writing especially. So many YA authors try so hard to write all purpley and pretty, it's nice to see a more in your face, IDGAF attitude. Full review to come (maybe)...more
The acknowledgments say it all "I wanted to write something edgy". yeah, I could tell. Perhaps this book would have been more successful for me if youThe acknowledgments say it all "I wanted to write something edgy". yeah, I could tell. Perhaps this book would have been more successful for me if you worried less about writing edgy characters and more about writing complete and complex and honest ones.
Ok, time for the longer review.
For those of you who think The Fault in Our Stars romanticizes terminal illness, All the Bright Places romanticizes mental illness. Depression is not cute. Being suicidal is not quirky. Being in a codependent relationship that encourages harmful behaviors as "mysterious and sexy" is not a relationship status anyone should want.
I felt like these characters were personifying text book mental illnesses and that they weren't people on their own. Violet in particular was very flat, and Finch was such a manic pixie dream boy it made my eyes hurt. This book was so full of indie rom-com tropes it was really tiresome to read. I thought my eyes were going to roll right out of my head.
However the biggest complaint I have was the ending. It's a spoiler but suffice it to say I hate when any character's pain, abuse, or death is used as a point of growth for another character. It's dismissive of that character's pain by making it all about the main character. (view spoiler)[ I absolutely hated the way Finch's death was a literal teaching moment for Violet to learn to live life to the fullest. I find it so emotionally manipulative. Finch's pain doesn't matter, the fact that literally every person in his life, including Violet, fucked him over doesn't matter, because Violet learned a life lesson at the end. The "treasure hunt" she goes on at the end is frankly, disgusting. (hide spoiler)]
This book is incredibly misleading about how to help someone with a mental illness who is struggling with suicidal thoughts. This book heavily implies that no one could help Finch and that his death was "tragically beautiful". The thing is, no matter how hopeless it seems you can get help. A suicidal person is never truly alone, if friends and family won't listen there are hotlines and services in place. Someone will help you. Books like this that romanticize mental illness and suicide as a "tragic but beautiful flaw" are incredibly damaging and dangerous.
"The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park" fuck off.
I really enjoyed this, but didn't have some life changing realization or a deep emotional connection. It's a sweet book about a kid who's a little difI really enjoyed this, but didn't have some life changing realization or a deep emotional connection. It's a sweet book about a kid who's a little different, but it did seem a little simplistic. I didn't like the changing perspectives, there wasn't enough variation and we didn't really get new insight. It felt repetitive. The overall tone was too "happily ever after" for my taste. ...more
I think I've discovered a genre love I never knew I had. I love reading contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Some of my favorite books such as JohI think I've discovered a genre love I never knew I had. I love reading contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Some of my favorite books such as John Green's Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, Jesse Andrew's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Evan Roskos's Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets feature hilariously awkward and endearing main characters. I can now add Andrew Smith's Winger to that list. Ryan Dean, the main character, is charming and vulnerable and very authentic.
Winger tells the story of Ryan Dean, a 14 year old kid who has the book smarts to already be a junior at a private boarding school, but still has the street smarts of a 14 year old kid (ie, not many). This leads to some hilariously embarrassing interactions because all of his friends are 2 years older than him and are often exasperated at his antics. His immature 14 year old mouth often gets him into trouble. Even though Ryan Dean spends a lot of time thinking that he's a loser, don't believe him. He's athletic, smart (maybe not the most wise but what 14 year old is?), and very charming. He is a complete joy to read.
I really loved the character Joey. He was like the great voice of reason with Ryan Dean. Ryan Dean would go off on some crazy tangent or get himself involved in some crazy scheme and Joey was there to slap some sense into his head. I absolutely loved the friendship that developed between these two characters, it was so endearing and cute and (without spoilers promise) made the ending even more sad.
I am very excited to read this for a second time. There is a lot of subtle development underneath all of the jokes about balls and I'm really excited to re-read it and see what I can catch. It's very artful storytelling and I think the words chosen are a lot more deliberate than they seem. That's very difficult to achieve, and I think Andrew Smith is brilliant for it.
So overall I loved Winger. It's funny and touching and has a great balance between poignant moments of friendship, love, and personal growth and jokes about balls. I highly recommend Winger and I think it's a perfect addition to your YA collection. ...more
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 meDo 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....more
Butter is the story of an obese boy looking for acceptance and normalcy. It's a story about how tough high school can be if you aren't perceived as o Butter is the story of an obese boy looking for acceptance and normalcy. It's a story about how tough high school can be if you aren't perceived as one of the perfect popular crowd.
I could completely relate to Butter and his struggle with depression, self loathing, and his addiction to food. I think that people try and self medicate in a lot of different ways, and for a lot of people food is their security blanket. It's what they turn to when they are sad, lonely, bored, or scared. Butter just wants acceptance, I think he's afraid to allow himself to be happy. He eats to create a literal barrier between himself and other people because he's afraid to let people in. His weight stops people from trying and he doesn't have to worry that they might get to know him and not like him for who he his, not just his appearance.
I've read some reviews that say that Butter's classmate's reaction to his suicide plan as unrealistic. Well, I disagree. Maybe I have less faith in today's youth but it wasn't long ago that I was in high school and I could totally see my classmates egging people on. I was an outcast too, and I could completely see someone doing anything to get the popular crowd's attention, and in turn the popular crowd taking full advantage of that.
Butter is an extremely difficult book to read, and I think it will strike a deep chord with any person who as ever felt desperate to fit in. It is equal parts heart warming and breaking, but handles some extremely sensitive topics with care and grace. ...more
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is Fantastic (yes with a capital F)! It's so hilarious I was literally loling through the entire book. It's kind of likMe and Earl and the Dying Girl is Fantastic (yes with a capital F)! It's so hilarious I was literally loling through the entire book. It's kind of like if John Green was a sarcastic a-hole (and I mean that in the most affectionate way possible). Most of the time I find rambling tangents kind of annoying, but I loved the humor, even though sometimes it got to a place that made me more than a little shocked.
No seriously. I was mostly cracking up, but every now and then I'd be like "Oh dear God!"....but mostly laughing hysterically. A word of warning, the humor is a major part of the book, and it is NOT kid friendly, so if crude humor and swear words aren't your style, approach with caution.
One of my favorite aspects of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the stylistic choices. The story is told in a variety of ways including bullet point lists and screenplay style, which makes it so much fun to read. I also just really enjoyed the writing style. Greg is very self deprecating and there are a ton of silly interjections that just made me laugh out loud.
However, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl isn't all dirty jokes (I promise). I think there's a pretty deep message too, maybe not a happy one, but a message all the same. It talks about how not everyone is a fighter, and not everyone has profound moments when faced with death. Sometimes people just die, and even though you may know that person, it doesn't mean your life will be all that changed. There's a lot of pressure on people to feel SO SORRY that someone is dying, that everyone has to drop everything because they know someone who is sick, even if that emotion is fake and forced. And a lot of times people care more about the guilt they feel about not caring then they do about the actual dying person. We make a person's death about us, and we'll do things we think they'll want (such as make a movie commemorating their life) without really considering who the dying person actually is and what they would want. This message isn't hopeful or heartwarming, but it's way more honest than a lot of other illness and death books out there.
So basically, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl will appeal to a select audience. If you're looking for a sentimental coming of age story where the MC learns a profound lesson through the death of a manic pixie dream girl, move along, this is NOT your book. However, if you're looking for a realistic view of how effed up death can make you and how it's not something that can be tied up in a neat little package of revelations and self discovery told in hundreds of pages of laugh out loud ridiculousness, then run (not walk) and get Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. ...more