**spoiler alert** Everyone seems to be hating on this book, but I totally liked it. Yeah, it's not for those who need a perfect happily ever after. It**spoiler alert** Everyone seems to be hating on this book, but I totally liked it. Yeah, it's not for those who need a perfect happily ever after. It's 900's era Northern Europe- she gets kidnapped by Russian slave traders and sold to Vikings. But it's not particularly violent, and while the sexual debauchery is addressed, it's not exactly detailed. It's actually really moving. The whole book is. It's an emotional look into what it might have FELT like to be a slave/concubine, the hopelessness but the wanting to have something to live for...
I thought it ended well, but it gave me book hangover! I want to know more. I want to know the immediate parts of the story after the ending, and long term: how does she tell Hoskuld? Does she even tell him, or just wait for him to figure it out on his own? How does he feel? What does Hoskuld's wife think about Mel? What sort of living arrangement do they make? What's Iceland like? Does Mel like it? Is she happy? Does she start talking again immediately, or does she wait? Does she like being a mother? Does motherhood give her the hope and peace she thought it would bring her? Would Hoskuld ever marry Mel if the opportunity arose? Would Mel marry him? Could they ever be happy together, or would she always resent him? What does he think when he finds out about her heritage? Does he do anything about it? Does he free her at least? I mean, it's the least he could do. But then he couldn't guarantee she'd stay with him, so he probably wouldn't... Jerk....more
I think we were all stoked to learn that Simon was going to get his own Bane Chronicles spin-off, especially after his bittersweet (but mostlySIMON!!
I think we were all stoked to learn that Simon was going to get his own Bane Chronicles spin-off, especially after his bittersweet (but mostly bitter) fate at the end of City of Heavenly Fire. So going into this, I was super excited. I mean, who doesn't love Simon? I, for one, am a big fan.
So when he wasn't anything like his normal funny, charming self at the start of this novella, I was upset and concerned. Really concerned. Was this a product of co-writing issues? Was it sloppy writing neglecting characterization because they were on too-strict of a deadline? What was happening here? Simon was bland and, dare I say, sissy. What was happening?
But alas, I should not have doubted. Simon had been stuck in a strange, tough situation of not being the person his friends remembered and wanted him to be, and it was only when he got away from that environment and was surrounded by people who were as much a stranger to him as he was to himself that he began to blossom. And you know what? He's becoming a lot like the same Simon he was before: kind, has integrity, not afraid to stand up for things he believes in and say what he thinks, and is entertaining in a not-always-on-purpose way. I'm excited to see how he'll grow to be different in this new environment without his old memories, while I love to see the core virtues that make Simon Simon show themselves in these new situations.
So, yay! Started out rough, first half was discouraging and didn't bode well for the series, but it ended quite well and satisfying. Hooray for extra Simon! And new characters! I do love George quite a bit already, and can see a great fondness for him growing in near future.
I loved returning to this world and reuniting with these beloved characters! Can't wait for more!...more
This one really got me. Meaning it both really shocked and upset me, and it also got the real essenceWell. This book. This book, this book, this book.
This one really got me. Meaning it both really shocked and upset me, and it also got the real essence of my life, my mind, my past trials with mental health issues.
Typically, I say that those with mental health issues shouldn't read books about characters struggling with mental health issues. It just screws you up. Even if you're doing perfect in your life, the struggle of the characters really brings you back to low times and it can be really emotional and simply tough to go through. But, you know, I saw the cover, and I thought it would be more about getting over grief and learning to live and happiness and sunshine, and, well ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES in life.
But no. No, no. Finch is bipolar. He has manic depression. And I was mystified and so full of awe at how the author was able to perfectly portray the feeling of OTHERNESS and restlessness that comes with being bipolar. It was like seeing my teenage self come to life on the pages, the risk taking, and the searching for and obsessing over mysterious concepts that don't quite make sense, the feeling that there is some OTHERNESS to you. That you have to run, you have to go, you have to DO SOMETHING. Regular existence is simply not enough. You have to search for more.
I desperately want to know if Jennifer Niven has manic depression herself, because it was so spot on. I was completely enthralled by the accuracy, and it was pretty scary. I mean, I was Finch as a teenager. Only I was Finch on the inside, and was secretive, and I hid it a lot better. But I eventually got help. And I'm NOT Finch anymore. I still have depression and anxiety and all the normal issues of life, but I don't have that crazy OTHERNESS driving me anymore. And I haven't thought in a while just how horrible it was to be ruled by it, and how grateful I am now that I'm okay, that I can go through a day and feel satisfied with my existence. That the restlessness is gone.
Sorry, I'm rambling. But I want you to know how affected I was by Finch and his character.
And then he committed suicide.
Because that could have been me. I was Finch, and I had that choice of stick it out or end it myself, and I CHOSE TO KEEP GOING.
But Finch didn't. And it really shocked me. I suppose I really had faith in him and thought he was going to tough it out. I thought his "attempts" were the OTHERNESS wanting to do things no one else does, be on the edge, feel the feeling of ALMOST. Because that's how the book opened-- Finch was on the bell tower, and I was convinced that he wasn't actually going to do it. But then again, I guess I'm an awful judge of other's suicidal choices. I don't know, it's just a sort of emotional electrocution when a character that you've identified with, a character you've decided represents the teenage you KILLS HIMSELF.
So as I finished the book last night, I used up a box of tissues as I reflected. I guess I was so upset because I was remembering how awful it was. Because Jennifer Niven was able to describe what I felt to a T, which means that other people feel the same way-- that not only I experience this. Because nobody should have to go through this. If you can't trust your mind, the world is the loneliest place. Because this happens, in real life. Because people do feel like there is no other option but to end it all, and they do. Because people get left behind, wondering what they could have done. Because they COULD have done more. Because of the stigma mental health has. Because people don't want to be labeled. Because there ARE things and people out there that COULD help, but they aren't taken advantage of. Because we don't have ENOUGH resources to help teens and (and adults) with depression and mental health issues and people suffer because of it. Because people are killing themselves, and that's just not right.
So, the book was good. It was a good description of what it's like to be bipolar. The plot was alright. The characters were decent. The emotional level was intense. But the ending helped pull things together emotionally (so I was able to pull myself together and stop bawling into the side of my cat). But it brings up a real life question: there are kids out there who are thinking about killing themselves. Who are you to them? Are you a peer egging them on? Are you a teacher not paying any attention? Are you a family member refusing to see the signs? Or are you a friend who tries to do something? Are you someone who sees the signs? If so, don't just wait to see if it gets better. You may not have any time left to wait. Say something. Show them how much you love them. Show them how important they are to the world. Just be there for them. Ask them questions, let them talk. You just may save a life....more
I never knew courting a best friend was such a PROCESS. I mean, no wonder I never had a best friend growing up. It's worst than catching a boyfriend:I never knew courting a best friend was such a PROCESS. I mean, no wonder I never had a best friend growing up. It's worst than catching a boyfriend: I've never seen so much DTRing in ANY relationship, let alone a platonic friendship. Man, have I been doing it wrong my entire life....more
So, it's safe to say I bought this book because of the cover. Sure, the inside synopsis sounded alright as well, but that was just a bonus. This coverSo, it's safe to say I bought this book because of the cover. Sure, the inside synopsis sounded alright as well, but that was just a bonus. This cover is gorgeous, and in person it sparkles and the dust jacket has the texture of watercolor paper. I mean, come on. Serious cover lust.
The book itself did not live up to the beautiful outside, let's just get that out there. But it's decent. It's a tale of the conflicting emotions of teenage love. Whether it's the first love of Wren with Nolan, or her friend's affair with a much older artist, or her bestie falling in love with her brother, or a fourth friend's constant flirting conquests of boys that aren't hers to flirt with. It was a strange mix of realistic-- the emotions and excitement-- and unrealistic-- like her friend's scary affair with the artist. So it's fluffy and dramatic but it's interesting.
And although it's understood that Wren and Nolan will break up before the end of the book, I was really, REALLY disappointed in him. Like incredibly. The way they ended pissed me off. Totally shrouded whatever good feelings I felt for the first 3/4 of the book with disappointment. I guess it wouldn't have been so disappointing if Wren hadn't been so forgiving. I mean, come on, girl. Have some self respect. I'm all for embracing the positive in life and such, but it's possible to forgive without EMBRACING BETRAYERS BACK INTO YOUR LIFE LIKE THEY'RE TOTALLY BLAME-FREE. Ugh-ugh. No. If you have to, forgive the backstabbing witch but don't put them back in your life. Not with the same significance....more
So. Basically: I liked the girls. I liked the ghosts. I liked their interspersed stories. (Although I wish we had seen at least a few glimpses of theSo. Basically: I liked the girls. I liked the ghosts. I liked their interspersed stories. (Although I wish we had seen at least a few glimpses of the OTHER ghosts-- we know they existed, but we saw no existence of them).
But it was sorta predictable. I mean, this is a cliched story, so I knew what I was getting into when I picked it up. There were a few unique aspects.
But, I'm still not convinced I understand everything about the Wickhams and "healing the world" and exactly how the Victors worked. You sacrifice a girl, and bam, everything is good? The world is going to be healed? And everyone who ever attended the school goes to the Elijah hell that was in Malcolm's dream? That's pretty awful for all the students who had NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS. And exactly what happened when they trashed that book in the fire? The ghost girls were able to move on... but what about all the other kids in Elijah's hell? Are they all released, too? And does everything just go away? Everything's all good now? There's a few loose threads that were picked at without being solved....more
To All the YA Contemporary Romance Books I've Loved Before: You've been replaced. This book is the shiz, and my new love. You better believe I'm downloTo All the YA Contemporary Romance Books I've Loved Before: You've been replaced. This book is the shiz, and my new love. You better believe I'm downloading any and all other books Han has written in the next five minutes. This book is the sort of book I would write-- fun and not taking itself so seriously while still making a statement about first love (or, actually, as a major point of the book, first RELATIONSHIP vs. just love from afar) while including interesting and meaningful relationships between characters, especially between the Song girls and with their father. I loved it. Total and complete love. Sincerely, Holly...more
Basically: the premise was fantastic, the idea was great, but the execution was long-winded and under-achieved. That being said, I'd say I liked it moBasically: the premise was fantastic, the idea was great, but the execution was long-winded and under-achieved. That being said, I'd say I liked it more than I didn't. ...more
I really enjoyed this book! There seemed to be a lot of moving parts, a lot of layers to it that made it more than just your typical fantasy-school-atI really enjoyed this book! There seemed to be a lot of moving parts, a lot of layers to it that made it more than just your typical fantasy-school-at-a-castle. Naturally, in the castle boarding school scenario there's always that unconscious "Harry Potter? Hogwarts?" moment, where you can't help comparing them. But this is high fantasy-- and it's awesome! ...more
You know, if you ever had a hankering to see The Great Gatsby mixed with John Green's Paper Towns, you're in luck! Cause that's exactly how I would deYou know, if you ever had a hankering to see The Great Gatsby mixed with John Green's Paper Towns, you're in luck! Cause that's exactly how I would describe this book.
Here we follow Charlotte, dubbed "Charlie," who enters a new world of the rich, political class of society when she enters an obsessive like friendship with an odd, clearly damaged, seeking-a-better-reality girl named Julia. Charlie falls in love with Julia and her lovely family of fun characters, and half lives a life with them for a year or two, and even begins- and complicates things by- dating Julia's brother, Sebastian. Soon, however, she realizes that Julia's family, while truly loving her also, depend on Charlie to be a caretaker and guardian for Julia, and when Charlie fails to do so, their relationships crumble. How much of their affection was love for her, Charlie, just as herself? How much was for their appreciation for her and what she does for Julia? How much was for what she represented- the hope and idea that maybe, just maybe, Julia would be able to move past the tragedy in their family's past, and they might be normal once again? And what, exactly, does Julia appreciate of her? And will she push her away, like she's done to her other friends, like she's done to Charlie before?
When the answers are not what she'd want them to be, she decides that the Buchanan's world is one she doesn't fit into, one she doesn't WANT to fit into. Despite the love and friendship and wonderful, yet flawed, relationships they shared, moving on and drifting apart and no longer depending on each other is the best decision. The Buchanan's need to regroup and learn to rely on each other. They need to open up about the pain they're holding walled inside, and fix it along with the new pains that have found them. They need to find strength within each other, not relying on outside sources to take care of their family members. And Charlotte needs to find herself and her own way in the world, not be the add-on to another lovely, damaged family. And perhaps once she's done that, has become her own person, she can go back and pick up some of the pieces with the Buchanan's. But only when she can be with them, but not try to be a part of them. Was that the fatal flaw of their relationships? Possibly. Could they have survived the tragedies and psychotic breaks if Charlie was more of a friend and less of an obsessed admirer? Who knows. All that matters is that Charlie herself says that even if she got the chance to do it all again, to never meet Julia, to never experience it at all, she'd do everything the same. She says loving them all, taking the flaws and heartbreaks with the joy and fun was worth it....more