NOTE: Please do not hit the spoilers if you haven't read the book. It will completely ruin the ending for you!
It's the season of innocence, fu...more NOTE: Please do not hit the spoilers if you haven't read the book. It will completely ruin the ending for you!
It's the season of innocence, fun, laughter, all the things it means to live. For Chase McGill, summer is his constant in his ever changing life. When everything is falling apart, he feels he can always count on summer to be there. Taking place over four summers at his family's beach house, Chase finds that even his summers can not go untouched by change. It is during those summers that he looses friendships, his innocence, and his ideals of a family.
I don't usually read a lot of contemporary novels. Most just don't seem to fascinate me like fantasy or paranormal does. Though, maybe this may have something to do with the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat. Any who, this book really spoke to me. I could entirely relate to Chase and what he was going through, mostly due to the fact that I myself have experienced it (view spoiler)[ The tension between his parents, ultimately leading up to their divorce and the death of his young brother (hide spoiler)]. I cried because the emotion was that raw for me.
The setting was entirely convincing. I could picture the beach, the boardwalk, shops, the sand, and the beach house. Hannah Moskowitz made me feel the summer.
The characters were also well written. By the time the novel was halfway done, I could easily tell who said what without being told. They were pretty realistic for the most part. However, there are two things that bothered me. (1) Chase and Noah quoting Albert Cumas. One or two quotes here and there I could believe. But these teenagers were, at times, quoting paragraphs. Word for word. I just can't wrap my mind around the fact they would actually do that on summer vacation. I don't even remember attempting to use that part of my brain during summer break. But I just let that slide and went with it. But then Gideon, their deaf, younger brother asks Chase to read him some Cumas as a bedtime story. At age 8. At that point, I'm like, "C'mon!" (2) At times Chase didn't feel like a male POV. Most notably when it came to the relationship with his older brother Noah. He seemed a bit clingy at times. However, it was refreshing to read a male POV.
Those two issues are relatively small and the book is still a really good read. I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the book that really spoke to me:
"When you're grieving, the times you're happy are so much more tragic than the times that you aren't. Because being happy feels fake and it feels temporary and it feels meaningless. And hating being happy is a shitty way to live."
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There are so many great things about this book. How Hannah manages to cram them all into 272 pages is just amazing. After falling in love with Invinci...more There are so many great things about this book. How Hannah manages to cram them all into 272 pages is just amazing. After falling in love with Invincible Summer I was excited to read this. It's the first LGBT novel I've ever read so I didn't know what to expect. All I can say is that I loved it.
This book takes place during the Beltway Sniper Shootings, almost exactly a year after 9/11. The story follows Craig and Lio while they deal with the aftermath of the terrorist attacks and the current threat.
I remember exactly what I was doing September 11th, 2001. I was in 8th grade in my science class waiting for the bell to ring. I hated that class. Except that day, the bell rang and my teacher told us to stay put. Over the next hour, the PA system received an extensive workout when student after student was called down to he office to go home early. My teacher looked scared, but they weren't allowed to tell us anything or allow us outside of the classroom. Thankfully, my classroom was located right above the main entrance to the school and I was able to see loads of parents running in and out the school. I seized the first opportunity to yell out the window and ask a man what was going on while my teacher wasn't looking.
Me: "Hey! What's going on?"
Man: "They are attacking the U.S.!"
Me: "WHAT?! WHO?!"
Man: "I don't know. They hit New York and The Pentagon."
My heart literally sank. My first thought was, "OMG. My father." I ran from that classroom to my mom's (she worked at my school) and she immediately told me, "He's fine. He didn't go into work today."
I have never been so scared in my life.
And then the Sniper Shootings started one year later. My school cancelled all outside activities. Maryland lived in fear of white vans. I asked my dad not to go to work every morning. In hindsight, that was actually an unrealistic fear, he would be fine traveling to D.C. But we were scared. It was a scary time. Even though I didn't live in Montgomery or Prince George's county, we all knew it was just a 35-40 minute trip up the beltway for it to happen in our county, our neighborhood.
Hannah, you rock. I felt it.
Craig: Craig is black, sensitive, and loves his animals. You can't help but to love this guy. He over analyzes everything, but I didn't find it annoying. He was simply endearing. I wanted to hug Craig every time he cried. I loved his "voice" in this book. He thinks in run-on sentences. And you would think it doesn't makes sense, but there is something about Hannah's prose that makes it perfect.
Lio: Lio is a quiet, cancer surviving boy. It's too bad he doesn't talk because, man, this kid is funny. Thankfully, the PoV switches back and forth between Craig and Lio. I'd venture to say, he provided most of the comic relief in this book.
A few funny quotes from Lio: "I hang up because I sound like a jackass and that shit needs to end."
"He's babbling on about his first date, and his first car he drove to go pick her up. And how in his day they didn't have these fancy electric car window openers, you had to crank them down by hand. God, I want to crank my head off right now."
"Maybe she doesn't have any friends? At least that's something we have in common. That can be our conversation starter. Too bad I'm the official conversation finisher."
"I'm not even sure if there are any fabulous Jew or homosexuals at our school, but rest assured that if there are, I will find them. By Friday they will be my babies. Mark it."
"Plus, I'm a tough little son of a bitch, and don't you forget it."
SIDE NOTE: Lio seems to be the only character who realizes that they are in Maryland and not D.C. For whatever reason, I really appreciated this. Perhaps its just my Maryland pride (Go Terps!).
What's interesting about both boys is that regardless on how 9/11 screwed them up, they were not initially afraid of the sniper shootings. Craig essentially thinks he is invincible as many teenagers at his age do. He just doesn't believe he will get shot because he is *Craig*. Lio, on the other hand, counts on statistics, believing it is almost impossible that it will be him that gets shot. In fact, he measures tragedy simply by the amount of deaths. At first, I couldn't understand this logic. I mean, I was *scared* and I didn't even live in that county.
However, as the novel wears on and their relationship grows their perspectives change. Craig fears for Lio because he realizes anyone at anytime could get shot regardless of who they are or how invincible they feel. Likewise, Lio fears for Craig because he realizes you can not measure a tragedy by numbers. A life is a life and when it happens to you, it is 100% every time.
Beautiful. Craig is left so broken after his last boyfriend, Cody, went nuts and treated him badly. He struggles with allowing himself to heal and allowing himself to give away his heart to Lio. At the same time he is afraid of breaking Lio. Lio fights for Craig. He is much stronger than Craig gives him credit for at first. Hannah wrote this so well. She had my heart breaking in all the right places.
It flowed so well. Little things like words repeating three times reminiscent of the title (ie, "Lio, Lio, Lio" or "maybe, maybe, maybe") added charming character to the novel. Craig thinking in his choppy run-on sentences and Lio's short fragments were perfect. I found that very special and realistic because honestly, who speaks in complete, full sentences in their head? It was perfect and helped me get the full impact. Even though Craig seemed like a jumbled mess of words he somehow never said too much. And though Lio didn't like to talk, somehow his short phases were so profound they hit home every time.
I feel so honored to be able to read this a full year before it comes out. But you can bet your bottom dollar I will most definitely be purchasing a copy when it hits shelves April 17, 2012. And so should you.
ARC was received through Simon and Schuster's galleygrab program.
I did it. Fury crossed my threshold. I finally read Fury. I FINALLY READ FURY!
Do you know what that means? No. I don't think y...more Actual rating: 3.5 stars
I did it. Fury crossed my threshold. I finally read Fury. I FINALLY READ FURY!
Do you know what that means? No. I don't think you do. Story time!
This book is so incredibly hard to come by and I swear IT'S CURSED. Whenever it attempts to cross on over America's border it mysteriously gets lost or stolen. Don't ask me why it's always this book. I don't know.
All I know is this: I tried to order it from Fishpond.com and they cancelled my order due to publishing issues.
So I did what any book lover would do: I threw a miniature pity party, complete with black party hats and all. Then I heard of a book tour on GoodReads and I was super excited! I rushed over to the book group to sign up only to discover that they had closed the entries only hours before. I had a sad. Well, actually, it was more than a sad. I was starting to get angry.
After my little rage-fest, I found out about another tour that was held by Wendy Darling. My excitement was climbing! Until it was lost in the mail. I felt my pressure rising. I mean, this book was legitimately avoiding me. Why? Why did you hate me so much Fury?!
I got so angry I felt my biceps growing in size, there was suddenly wind in my hair and my fro was turning a nice shade of golden-yellow. If I didn't read Fury soon, I knew the transformation was inevitable and all in my path would suffer the wrath of my black soul.
Half Unicorn. Half Saiyan. True Facts.
I did the only responsible thing I could think of to save my neighborhood: I fired up my computer and Googled images of Ryan Gosling. Instantly, I felt my fury subsiding. And then, just like that, my hot husband walks through the door with a package in hand. I couldn't believe it. I quickly tore off the paper and hugged Fury close. I thought, "It was you Ryan! I knew you wouldn't fail me!" and I lapsed into a daydream:
My husband cleared his throat at that awkward moment and walked away muttering something that resembled, "Get a room." Then I looked down at the envelope and realized it was from Kat. Damn. Daydream over.
So yeah, the review. Fury is what a few of my friends (real life, not the ones that live in my computer) would call an ILC (Interesting Little Creature). Why? Because I both loved and hated this book. The main character, Eliza is everything I usually dislike in a heroine. She's rich beyond belief, spoiled, bitchy, ect. And for most of the novel I didn't like her. We didn't get along and I really wanted to shake her. Hard. In fact, I pretty much felt the same way about all the characters. Poor little rich girls with their poor little problems. *eyeroll* I couldn't understand understand why these girls were friends in the first place or the dynamic of their relationship. I just couldn't relate to them for most of the book and Eliza's attitude wasn't helping. However, somewhere along the way as Eliza poured out her soul in the police station, I felt a fierce protectiveness for her and her best friends. I love when books do that. Make me feel like I hate everyone and then change my mind by the end.
So besides my love/hate relationship with the characters, there was the plot. Marr built the anticipation just right in Fury. The story flips back and forth from past and present as Eliza reluctantly tells her story to Dr. Fadden. I really enjoyed that method of story telling and was incredibly eager to find out what happened during the crime and who was killed. But at times it did leave me frustrated because Eliza would be in a middle of a flashback and the scene would flip back to the present. It's almost like when you're watching your favorite TV show and just when something good is about to happen, it cuts to a commercial. But I coud tell Marr had a plan. She allowed me to see Eliza's other side - the broken side - and I began to appreciate those momentary gaps. Clever.
The ending was interesting because I really wasn't expecting it to go down like it did. At one point in the novel I was worried because I could easily guess one of the plot twists. I thought the ending may go in similar fashion, but it didn't. It was then I realized two things: 1) how much I liked Eliza or how much she grew on me and 2) how much I loved when Eliza went into a fury!
Sweet, sweet revenge.
My feminist side was rejoicing. It was a good ending, but it also made me sad at the same time. *sigh*
All in all, while I wasn't blown away, I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to read Fury. I finally can join in with the cool kids now and chat about this coveted GoodReads title. Now can we all please cross our fingers and toes that this makes its way back to Australia in one piece, preferably to Kat? I really don't want to go back to her dungeon of doom and gloom. 'Kay, thanks.(less)
Contemporary is nota genreI usually read. It’s not because I think any less of the genre, but few seem to hold my attention as well as something...more Contemporary is not a genre I usually read. It’s not because I think any less of the genre, but few seem to hold my attention as well as something supernatural or science fiction related. What normally happens is that I’ll get distracted and find myself re-reading the same sentence or paragraph over and over again. That never happened with Wanderlove. Unfortunately, lately I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult for me to find time throughout my day to sit and read. And I felt myself getting angry for not having more time to finish this book. But, in a way I’m kind of happy I read it as slowly as I did because I savored every minute alone with Wanderlove. This book was so amazing, so deep, so beautiful and I’m very happy I stepped outside of my comfort box to read it.
Wanderlove tells the story of Bria Sandoval, an 18-year-old, newly graduated, high school student, as she travels to Central America. At first we aren’t told why she decided to take this trip, but what is clear is that she has given up her art and despite her friends backing out of the planned trip at the last minute, she decides to go alone. It isn’t until she begins journeying with backpackers Rowan and Starling that we are privy to Bria’s layers. It is then that we, and Bria herself, discover how truly broken she is. This book covers a myriad of topics such as emotional abusive relationships, letting go of the past, forgiving yourself, gaining self-confidence, but ultimately, self-discovery.
The Setting and the Plot: I’m not in any shape or form a travel savvy person. In fact, the closest I’ve ever come to leaving the country was a family vacation where we drove to Canada’s Niagara Falls in an RV. I’ve thought about traveling to different countries, but I often run into to same problem: How will I get there? Going anywhere would require either a plane ride or traveling on a boat. Considering my first experience with a plane involved watching a lightning storm over the Chesapeake Bay, I’m not exactly rushing to my airport. Yet, when I think of sailing on a boat I can’t help but to think of this:
*Gives reader a meaningful look* And we all know what happened after that scene…
I think it’s safe to say I’m no Global Vagabond. Regardless of my unrealistic travel fears, I love hearing travel stories. Kirsten Hubbard’s careful descriptions of Central America were vivid, easy to visualize and allowed me the ability to live vicariously through Bria. I could picture the Mayan culture, the jungle, the heat, the rides on the chicken buses, and the bluest waters. From the moment Bria stepped off her plane I could picture it all.
I really loved how the setting went hand in hand with the plot. When Bria first arrives in Central America, she is immediately disappointed in her tour group. Everything is planned out for her from the group’s activities to the food they eat. Once an opportunity to ditch them arises, at first she is apprehensive, but she wants to prove herself to all her doubters back at home that she can do this. Each new location she visits brings back flashbacks from her past describing her reasons for giving up her art and going on this trip. I didn’t realize how engrossed I was with the story until the climax hit and I felt my heart miss a beat. It was easily the best scene for me because it made me incredibly happy and then immensely sad shortly after. Those two extreme emotions back to back nearly did me in. I hope Hubbard is happy… secretly I think that was all a part of her plan. Well done!
The Characters: The true treat for the reader lies with the beautiful drawings found scattered throughout the story all drawn by Hubbard herself. It was interesting because not only does the reader see Bria’s character growth through her narration and actions, but also through her art. At first, they start off very delicate-like as Bria begins the journey. But, as the trip wears on, you can see the art changing, evolving into more complex drawings with more time spent on shadowing techniques and other details. Bria goes from uncertain to a confident renewed person by the end of the novel. You can’t help but to feel sorry for. Yet, at the end I felt proud of her. She’s the type of character you want young girls to read about and learn from.
Rowan, the love interest, too was a lost broken character. Throughout most of the novel he retains his philosophy of Wanderlove, which basically entailed running from your past. And Rowan definitely has a darker past he constantly tries to avoid. There was a certain sweetness to watching Rowan and Bria’s friendship blossom. Hubbard took her time developing it. There was nothing rushed about their relationship because as they fall for one another, they healed each other as well.
Starling was an interesting character. Though she leaves Rowen and Bria early on in the story, she maintains a certain presence too. I can’t really talk too much about her character without giving away spoilers, but she was a crafty one.
The ending: The ending was so very fitting. I love how things are tied up, yet remains open at the same time. One thing you are sure of is that Bria has emerged a new person ready to move forward with her life and finally shed herself of past issues. I was sad when it ended and I have a pretty good feeling I’ll be revisiting this book soon again.
Between the witty writing, beautiful illustrations, and deep messages, Wanderlove is not to be missed in 2012.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. No money or merchandise was exchanged for this review. Kirsten Hubbard is a GoodReads friend of mine, but you can count on these being my absolute, honest views of the book!
I spent an entire year mentally preparing myself for The Fault in Our Stars. I read some terrible books, awesome books and your classic "meh" books. A...more I spent an entire year mentally preparing myself for The Fault in Our Stars. I read some terrible books, awesome books and your classic "meh" books. And whenever I'd go to decide which book I wanted to read next, I'd glance at The Fault in Our Stars' spine and simply turn my head away. To be completely honest, I don't think I have ever truly went out of my way to avoid a book like this and it's unlike me to do so. I usually tackle things head on, showing no fear, but with this book I had to approach things differently due to its subject matter. But then Jenn from The Bawdy Book Blog threw this in as a review suggestion, because obviously I needed some John Green edumacation. And I'm so happy someone finally pushed me to read this book because it did not disappoint. Well, not exactly...
It's easy to see why John Green has the following he does. There is just something magical in the way he strings his sentences together that I can't help but admire it. It's simple, deep and humorous all at the same time. And the biggest thing I worried about when diving into this book was the sadness. You go into the book knowing the characters are terminal and I didn't know how I would fare connecting with a character, loving a character, to ultimately have them suffer and die. I'm a really easy crier and I don't like seeing people (fictional or real) suffer. But somehow John Green manages to take a cancer book and fill it with the sweetest memories.
For a good portion of The Fault in Our Stars, I found myself chuckling at Hazel and Augustus' dry humor. The first half was generally light-hearted despite the grim situation the characters were in. Even when things got more serious, the humor was subtly there as a convenient ice-breaker of sorts. If I could describe it, I'd liken it to a grandparent making a joke about their impending death. It's awkward and uncomfortable, but oddly reassuring that it's possible to joke about something so morbid. Life goes on.
The plot was simply "ok" for me, never wowing me or keeping me on the edge of my seat. It, at times, seemed to just float by with occasional things happening. There weren't many plot twists or "ah ha!" moments because you could tell from the beginning how it would end. You knew from the subject matter that it would be sad, and yet... I did not really cry. I did shed The Lonely Tear, but it wasn't for the characters. It was because of the situation they were in. It was because cancer sucks. Don't get me wrong, this is a beautifully written book, but the problem I ran into was the questionable authenticity of the protagonists. They never felt like teenagers. I get that they were intelligent and spent a lot more time contemplating life than your average teen, but they never felt real to me. Now, I'm not exactly a stranger to John Green himself. I religiously watch his history webshow on Youtube and I'm often amazed at this guy. But it was like he sat down and created mini-Despicable-Me-minon-like John Greens for this novel. They are all witty, super intelligent and too pretentious for their own good.
Further, it was almost like Green relied on the severity of the ending and the character's intelligence to jar emotion from the reader. Clearly, this worked since two weeks after finishing, I cried while making pancakes just from thinking about Augustus' letter to Hazel. But again, this was not for the characters. It wasn't remotely similar or as powerful of an emotion that I'd felt after I read A Walk to Remember where I cried in my 8th grade English class under my desk. I'm talking about complete and utter sorrow for Landon and everyone else. DON'T JUDGE ME. :P
Anyway, while I remain conflicted on how I feel about the characters, it doesn't negate the fact that this is a fabulous, smart read that I'd recommend to others.