WOW. Never have I read a book that came with a warning label (in the form of an editors note, essentially saying: YOU WILL GET A BOOK HANGOVER).
But “W...moreWOW. Never have I read a book that came with a warning label (in the form of an editors note, essentially saying: YOU WILL GET A BOOK HANGOVER).
But “We Were Liars” had one and they weren’t kidding. I finished it last night and I am still reeling.
Cadence Sinclair Eastman is born into a family of wealth and luxury, distinguished Democrats whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower. They have a lot to live up to and as the pressure builds, one thing becomes clear: everything about the Sinclair family is about to change.
Told alternately between prose, poetry and fairytales, “We Were Liars” breaks all of the conventions of classic fiction. Cadence’s development as she slowly uncovers what really happened one summer is artfully unveiled along with each new secret.
Some people say the narrator is unreliable. But I think those people missed the point. There’s a reason she’s unreliable and nervous. There’s a reason we get so lost in the tunnels of her mind. You must read the book to fund out!
I don’t want to say too much because this book is so easy to spoil! And telling any secret (or even any aspect of the plot) would truly hinder the novel’s suspense, which is so carefully and wonderfully mastered.
Instead, I will leave you with this: “We Were Liars” is so superbly crafted that it will leave you in a daze. Lockhart has created a dazzling, thrilling novel, full of rich suspense, friendships, romance and rebellion.
It comes out May 13, 2014. KEEP AN EYE OUT! In the meantime, check out this book’s sick tumblr page, detailing the family relations and geography of the island. It’s very cool.
First Impressions: I loved the cover, which is partly why I picked it up. It’s a sweet and simple love story. Characteristically YA, it is exactly wha...moreFirst Impressions: I loved the cover, which is partly why I picked it up. It’s a sweet and simple love story. Characteristically YA, it is exactly what I love about the genre. Falling in love, discovering the truth and finding yourself. I read it in a day and I know it is going to be one of those books that I routinely go back to for comfort and laughs. Definitely a good one.
Honestly, I bought this book mostly because it takes place in London, and I’m so excited to go that I’ve been trying to read as much about it as possible. So when I read the back cover, I instantly added it to my list.
Julia is a straight-As-making, rules-following, risk-avoiding type of girl who loves Austen and Shakespeare and is waiting for her MTB (‘Meant to Be’) Mark to finally get around to noticing her. When a cruel twist of fate lands her partnered with the resident class clown (and class jerk, is Julia’s opinion) Jason Lippincott, she thinks that her London trip is destined for doom. One drunken party later and she starts receiving mysterious texts, making her think further about what it means to be an ‘MTB’.
I really liked this book. It is short and just what I want from a Young Adult book. To top it off, the writing is hilarious. Not often do I literally laugh out loud at words on a page, but Morrill writes with such wit and comedy that I was laughing the whole way through.
It also doesn’t that Julia reminds me a lot of myself. If I think about it hard enough, I can almost always find a way to identify with a character. But with Julia, it was easy. She’s just like me. You know, she wants big things for herself. An awesome education, a good job and a nice guy to be with. Who doesn’t want that? But she has this tendency to get a bit too wrapped up in what is ‘safe’. She doesn’t take risks. She doesn’t break the rules. Then, she gets partnered with Jason.
Jason was interesting to read. He is unlike many YA leading boys. He’s goofy, obnoxious and embarrasses Julia much too frequently for her liking. Jason’s just that kind of guy and that is his way of communicating with her.
As I traveled with Julia and Jason on their mystery texter chase, I watched their characters develop and become more emotionally complex. The best part was seeing Julia actually doing something with herself, pushing her limits and doing what scares her.
It’s all about setting yourself free. Julia has her whole life planned out, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s restricting. By putting too much emphasis on her plans, she squishes herself in this relentless box and it’s preventing herself from actually living. It’s preventing her from experiencing what and who her life throws at her. And that’s not what being a young person is about. When you’re young, you should be open to everything and everyone. That’s the only way to learn about yourself and who you are ‘MTB’. It’s awesome to see Julia slowly break down some of her self-constructed walls and it’s awesome to see Jason right next to her, helping (and bugging) her along the way.
The Dark Unwinding sat on my shelf for a whole year while other, more anticipated novels filled my days. That is until about a week ago, when I found my copy wedged between two textbooks from my fall semester of sophomore year.
Katharine Tulman is the unwanted niece of Alice Tulman, a bothersome old woman set on making Katharine’s life a nightmare. She sends Katharine on a mission to Stranwyne Keep, an estate run by her suspected insane uncle where he has apparently depleted the family fortune. Katharine must confirm her uncle’s lunacy so that the rest of the fortune can be salvaged and preserved for her fat cousin.
When she first arrives to the estate, she is met with scorn and hate, for doing as her aunt wishes will ruin the lives of the thousands of men, woman and children that her uncle has employed. But eventually, she gets to know and understand her uncle, and begins to forge relationship with the peculiar cast of characters charges with the care of her uncle and his estate.
Met with sudden twists, the right amount of suspense and romance, and a nice dose of familial companionship, The Dark Unwinding is sure to be a hit with fans of the young adult genre. It has everything a good book should.
That’s not to say there weren’t a few bumps in the road.
I struggled through the first 150 pages or so. It’s set in the 19th century, so Cameron used older, more elaborate language, which I found to be overdone and just struck me as trying too hard. Like, the language definitely needed to be historically accurate, but to a certain degree. I think she took it a bit too far, and it almost made it less believable. To top it all off, none of the pieces started coming together or making sense until the 200 page mark, so it was kind of hard to get really into it.
It took me ten days to finish this book (10!), which is a lot compared to the last book I reviewed (Shadow and Bone) which only took two to finish. That being said, when you get to a certain point, you just can’t put it down.
Bottom line, this is a story about one girl trying to overcome her position in the world, and learning that, sometimes, overcoming your position means forgetting about your own problems and using your assets to help someone who can’t help himself. It’s about learning to be selfless, dealing with guilt, falling in love and sacrifice. Definitely a keeper.
PLUS, there is a sequel in the works! Always fun. (less)
From my blog refutingtheintolerablystupid.wordpress.com...
I firmly believe that a girl is the sum of her parts. Her parts are her friends.
I grew up al...moreFrom my blog refutingtheintolerablystupid.wordpress.com...
I firmly believe that a girl is the sum of her parts. Her parts are her friends.
I grew up alongside two really cool girls, Ashley and Victoria. We met in Pre-K when we were three years old and now, twelve freaking years later, we’re still best friends. We’re all very different. Ashley is kind of quiet, but thoughtful and humble and a realist, which I really appreciate because I spend my days up in the air. She loves to read and she’s really funny. Victoria is funny, crazy, stylish and has big, exciting aspirations for herself that she is, of course, going to realize. And we’re all dreamers. I could go on for a while talking about them, but that’s not the point of this post.
The point is that you are (or I was, at least) shaped by the people you surround yourself with. These two girls have lived my life with me and I’m lucky. They make me scream and laugh and love, but mostly, they make me better. They are probably the people who have contributed the most to who I am. You don’t get to choose your family, and, contrary to popular belief, I don’t really think you get to choose your friends either. I mean, we were three. And we found each other. And we stuck with each other for sixteen years. I don’t anticipate ever not being friends with them and I don’t think they do either. We became who we are together and that’s something that we will always have.
Friendship. That’s what Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham is all about. Alice, Summer and Tiernan are ex-best friends. They grew up together, obsessed with the transcendent boy band Level3. Then, in freshman year, something big went down and they stopped talking. Four years later, they’ve graduated from high school and Level3 has planned a reunion show. Impulsively, Alice buys three tickets for the show, even though she hasn’t spoken to Summer and Tiernan in ages. She just has a feeling and goes for it.
I loved this book. I think that too often, YA literature is only ever about falling in love, and rarely about your real soulmates, your friends. I love a good YA romance as much as the next girl, but sometimes I wonder about the other people that occupy a teenage girl’s mind. This story was the answer to my wonderings.
Graham tells a vivid story about what it’s like to be a girl in a three-person friendship and the complications that go hand-in-hand with that. There’s this one paragraph where Graham describes this kind of friendship that I thought was just spot on:
“Even during the glory days of her friendship with Summer and Tiernan, it was a rare moment when all three were equally close. There were always shifting allegiances, always an odd one out. It wasn’t like any of them did it on purpose. It was just part of the package deal with a three-person friendship. That, and the fact that if only two of you were together, chances were you’d talk about the third. Nothing you wouldn’t say to her face (at least that was the unwritten rule).” -Graham. 207.
I mean, come on. That is just incredibly accurate! Because friendship is great, but it’s also intense and complicated sometimes. And Graham knows that and while she beautifully writes about the good stuff, she also writes about the not-so-good stuff. No one is perfect and no relationship is perfect, but they can be so good, and that’s what she communicates in this book.
As a side note, there was this other part that I feel is just awesome. Summer spends her time writing poetry. She loves the English language and it’s just a cool facet to her character. But there’s this one moment when the three of them shared this look that communicated everything they were feeling:
“For someone who loved the English language as much as Summer, she realized that some of her favorite moments in life came when words were superfluous. The silent exchanges, those were real life poetry.” -Graham. 281.
Side note aside, Graham tells the ever-true story about what happens if you break up with your friends. How horrible it can feel. How it will follow you for years, wherever you go.
Summer is the popular one, Tiernan is the rebel and Alice is the glue that holds them together. As they journey from New England to Texas in a big green bus to see Level3, they rediscover their friendship while simultaneously trying to hash out and ignore the past. Memories of the good times they shared as friends resurface, along with the memory of the thing that broke them apart. As they rush to deal with who they are today, they figure out who they were four years ago and how they’ve changed. They’re not the same people who used to sit in the big, green bus and listen to Level3 all day. They’re different as individuals and they’re different as friends. But the question is, can they ever get back to the place where they used to be friends? As they struggle to come up with an answer, Graham entertains with hilarious storytelling about a destined-for-doom road trip.
The whole time you’re reading the book, you’re constantly wondering what it was that broke these girls apart. It’s this big suspenseful thing. And then, when Graham finally tells us what happened, she does it in a way that still leaves some stuff to be imagined. And at first that really bugged me. But then I realized that it’s not about why they broke up, it’s about why they found their ways back to each other.
What the three girls come to realize is that, no matter how much you want to, you can never get back to where you used to be. But you can go forward and you can move on and grow together. And that’s what friendship really is, right? It’s finding and accepting each other no matter what. It’s growing up together and discovering who you are. It’s being there for each other and loving each other.
At least that’s what I got from Graham’s Reunited.
9 out of 10. Go read it. Also, look at the cover. It’s so darn cute.(less)
So excellent. I was a bit disappointed when I learned that Fire was not a sequel but a companion to Graceling because I love Katsa and Po. But oh my g...moreSo excellent. I was a bit disappointed when I learned that Fire was not a sequel but a companion to Graceling because I love Katsa and Po. But oh my goodness! Fire, and the Graceling series, are the most exciting, most enthralling series that I have read probably since Harry Potter. Just so good. (less)
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson tells the unknown story of the mysterious native girl Tiger Lily.
Personall...moreFrom my blog datingliterature.wordpress.com
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson tells the unknown story of the mysterious native girl Tiger Lily.
Personally, I have never thought about Tiger Lily that much. The story of Peter Pan (at least in all of the movie versions) really doesn’t focus on Tiger Lily; it’s all about Wendy and her brothers and fighting the pirates. And I loved those stories and Wendy and Peter Pan and that’s why I never thought much or cared that much about Tiger Lily.
But man, am I glad that Anderson did! The idea to tell Tiger Lily’s story is a refreshing angle on the tale of Peter Pan. Told from Tinker Bell’s point of view, a faerie who can hear people’s thoughts and feel people’s emotions, readers gain a new understanding of the characters. We feel the solemn and rough life of a fifteen-year old girl who is treated like an outcast by the members of her tribe, just because she is not classically “girly”. While most girls in her tribe would rather sew and cook and stay out of harm’s way, Tiger Lily associates herself with more boyish pastimes, preferring hunting to sewing and fighting to cooking. We discover that Peter’s cool and confident façade is really just a front that he puts on to mask the innocent, scared and anxiety-ridden boy who is at the core of Peter Pan.
The cool thing and unusual thing about Tiger Lilly is that, because it is told through Tink’s point of view, we know everyone’s feelings and thoughts. In other stories, you really only completely know the main character’s, or the narrator’s, thoughts and feelings. In Tiger Lily, you know almost everyone’s. This aspect makes it easier to connect with the characters and harder to let them go once you’ve finished the book. When I read a book with a really relatable, loving and toxic main character, it always feels like I’m breaking something inside or like some huge part of my life ends when the book ends. That’s what reading Tiger Lily was like, except multiplied by a thousand because I had to say goodbye to at least 5 more characters that I felt I knew personally.
I think that is what marks a good book: when it’s hard for a reader to say goodbye or move on from the people within it. When, two weeks after having finished the book, you still can’t shake them from your mind and you find yourself thinking about them and what the story meant for who they are. That’s a successful book.
I really do like Tiger Lily and I still carry the characters with me, but there are some parts of the story that I wish I could change. I don’t think that readers see enough of Tiger Lily’s heart. I mean, we see all of Peter’s; we know what he wants and who he loves and how he needs to be loved in return. We understand and are able to empathize with Tinker Bell’s position in the world: the person she loves can never, ever love her back and the girl she holds closest to her heart doesn’t completely reciprocate that friendship. We even understand Wendy’s feelings a bit. We see these things and we feel them. But when it comes to Tiger Lily, we really only glimpse small parts of her heart in moments of weakness, like when she’s conflicted with Peter, or her father Tik Tok or her friend Pine Sap (who is my favorite character, hands down). And maybe that’s the point: her inability to completely express her true feelings drives away any chance at complete, iridescent happiness. That is her fatal flaw. In that sense, this fantasy book is closer to truth than many other “high-school-romance-conflict-resolution-happiness” books that characterize the Young Adult section in many bookstores. In those kinds of books (which, admittedly, I love), the characters often find ways to overcome their biggest flaws, and are better for it. That doesn’t really happen for Tiger Lily, and that doesn’t really happen for real people. In real life, you can almost never totally overcome your biggest character flaw. You learn to live with it, instead. And that is what Tiger Lily does. She does open up a bit as the story builds, communicating her feelings through actions rather than words. In some ways, this is enough for her and the people who love her. But in other ways it is not.
All in all, Tiger Lily is a must-read for anyone who wishes to discover more about themselves from a book. It may be labeled “Young Adult”, but this is a heartbreakingly close-to-truth story that I think everyone can sympathize with and enjoy. (less)