This was a story with well developed characters and a great examination of a non-traditionally dysfunctional family. I thought I had the story line fiThis was a story with well developed characters and a great examination of a non-traditionally dysfunctional family. I thought I had the story line figured out several times but thankfully the author avoided the obvious paths and gave me an interesting and fulfilling ending. A major theme of the book is being overshadowed by a more accomplished and lopsidedly celebrated family member. The expectations and accommodations surrounding this person's success and their even anticipated success was an interesting backdrop to analyze family dynamics. The friendships of the book were also well done and the romantic aspect of the story was subtle and unobtrusive. The saga of the Truth Commission ended up being lighthearted and never overly weighty. A fun read with a satisfying conclusion....more
An enjoyable book and a must read for fans of the 1980's. This is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets the Goldbergs. 80's nostalgia is riding highAn enjoyable book and a must read for fans of the 1980's. This is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets the Goldbergs. 80's nostalgia is riding high at the moment. The characters were very likable if not wildly fleshed out. The overall plot was compelling. The main character of the book is ... the 1980's, especially the video games. If that was your thing, this will be an amazing read. I will say, hopefully without sounding sexist or something, but this book definitely felt like it was written by a dude. And I'm a dude saying this. There were just lots of opportunities where feelings and emotions and stuff could have been expounded on a little and the result would have been a more immersive reading experience. In some ways, diving into the book was a bit like being in the OASIS (it's like the Matrix). It was enjoyable, but lacked a certain multi-dimensional quality. Still, a fun read and I'm very interested to see what the movie looks like.!...more
I've seen this book listed on many people's favorites lists for a while. After reading it, I can understand why. There is a lot to like about this booI've seen this book listed on many people's favorites lists for a while. After reading it, I can understand why. There is a lot to like about this book, even if it wasn't an absolute home run based on my personal tastes. It's very much a romance book and it really does well doing that thing. It's also a bit of a travel book. Paris is very much a character in the book. I'm not always too crazy about an author trying to show off everything they know about a foreign location, but this didn't feel that way at all. I enjoyed Anna's experience in Paris right along with her. I never felt excluded or like I was looking in from the outside. Main characters often have a hobby or interest that dominates their personality and Anna's interest in becoming a film critic was also handled nicely. The characters of the story were well written and multi-dimensional. The conflicts didn't feel manufactured and the will-they-won't-they was balanced in a realistic way. The author has an authentic voice. I cared about Anna and St. Clair pretty equally which can be difficult to accomplish, especially in a first person perspective.
My only minor complaint is one of personal preference. Even in a purely contemporary, romance, YA book, I like a little action. The stakes were never much beyond getting that kiss in by the end of the book. There were some secondary conflicts but it was easy to see they would be resolved happily by the end. Fortunately, the writing was such I could overlook the linear story line without much trouble because Anna was a very appealing character and her adventure in France was one I was glad to tagging along for....more
Great read. Has influences from some of my favorite books, such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and even Hunger Games. I immediately picked up theGreat read. Has influences from some of my favorite books, such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and even Hunger Games. I immediately picked up the next book in the series, which is rare for me. I have to really love a book to want to continue on with the series. I felt the ending wasn't a cheap ploy to get me into the next book either, which I appreciate. Although I could see where the author was planting seeds for the next book, I never felt like the current story was falling short in doing so. On to Siege and Storm!...more
What a masterfully crafted story. So often, the little clues and connecting points in the first part of the book feel obvious and wedged in, but by thWhat a masterfully crafted story. So often, the little clues and connecting points in the first part of the book feel obvious and wedged in, but by the end, everything had a purpose and felt right at home where you discovered it. The way the three main character's stories dovetailed was so natural and believable. This really is three stories in one. Unlike so other books that use this storytelling device, I never found myself bored with one of the three. They all held my attention equally, with a minor exception near the end when a critical moment in two of the stories finally developed. Only one minor complaint is the epilogue. While interesting, I found it a little heavy handed and almost apologetic for some of the edge in the book, but not enough to sour me on any of it. Great read from an author who can fill a story with the minutia and detail of ordinary lives while still keeping you spellbound....more
This book came highly recommended by a friend, and I was not disappointed. It’s a young adult, first love story without false angst. The angst is warrThis book came highly recommended by a friend, and I was not disappointed. It’s a young adult, first love story without false angst. The angst is warranted, purposeful, and understandable. The characters are perfectly unique without being at all cartoony. Eleanor and Park are real people that could easily exist somewhere. Within just a few quick chapters I was heavily invested in both characters. About halfway through the story I reached that critical point: the book had potential for greatness, everything was lining up. Would it make a huge mistake, just finish well, or become one of those stories that will affect you for days? I would say it finished well and stayed with me for a few days. The last fourth of the book moved along like it needed to and kept me up late reading it. And the finish was quick and not drawn out. Without spoiling anything, I will say the ending was satisfying if not as impactful as it had the potential to be.
I really love these two characters equally, which is not that common. Usually one of the two main characters in a book like this comes across as more complete or more relatable, especially when both of them are quite different. In this case, I felt compassion for both Park and Eleanor. Their story did an amazing job of capturing the uncertain, awkward, exhilarating first pangs of new love. ...more
This book really got my attention early on and never lost it. It’s a relatively short book, and that works well until the end when I felt like there cThis book really got my attention early on and never lost it. It’s a relatively short book, and that works well until the end when I felt like there could have been a little more time spent in the aftermath, but I could be wrong about that. The story is wonderfully creepy but it’s really the broken, damaged, and mostly demented characters that are the strength of the story. I’ve only read a few Stephen King novels, but I would favorably compare this work to what he does, only in fewer words and with less characters. Flynn really used the characters she had very effectively and you never felt like you met someone you didn’t need to. There was a great build to the suspense and the payoff was very satisfying, even though I thought a little more time could have been spent exploring the revelations. I highly recommend Gillian Flynn’s works, including Gone Girl. I went out and picked up Dark Places upon completion of Sharp Objects: the highest compliment I can offer....more
This book started out with a very typical YA beginning but found its own way about a one third into the story. I liked the characters. One small complThis book started out with a very typical YA beginning but found its own way about a one third into the story. I liked the characters. One small complaint would be the maturity level of the little brother character. He seemed either very mature or too immature depending on the needs of the scene, but this didn’t distract from my enjoyment of the story very much. The book requires you to accept that the two main characters can fall in love really fast. I mean, like less than a week fast. My personal preference is to see the romantic feelings develop over a longer period, exploring the little moments that lead up to that connection, but love at first sight happens too, and I guess you have to be open to that to accept the premise of SLAMMED.
The author obviously likes to write poetry, and while what the characters wrote was fine, I was a little jarred by how much they supposedly memorized so quickly to present during the poetry slams on which the book is titled.
All in all, the story is solid, the characters never really annoy, and the ending is satisfying and avoided any cheap gimmicks or overly Lifetime movie moments that could have been exploited.
When going to find the book at Books-A-Million (I subsequently bought the e-book anyway) I was told by the helpful worker that the book was located in the “After 50 Shades” section and categorized as erotica. I had never been so glad my ten year old son had wondered off as I was at that moment. There is nothing erotic in the book and it was easily found in the standard fiction section. SLAMMED really is about poetry and you can’t judge a book by its title. ...more
Great read and quite a bit different from the movie. Many of the key characters were portrayed differently. Basically, it wasn't as much a sunny shinyGreat read and quite a bit different from the movie. Many of the key characters were portrayed differently. Basically, it wasn't as much a sunny shiny, wrapped up with a bow at the end story as it was portrayed in the movie. I did enjoy it though. My only complaint would be the repetition. Some things happen over and over again without much of a payoff in the end. Still great, and I was very sympathetic to Pat and was rooting for him at every turn. I think the silver lining of his life he is always looking for is a little more implied than spelled out at the end of the book, but it's ok not to have happy endings spoon fed to you sometimes....more
Right up front, I’ll say I really enjoyed Looking For Alaska. My first John Green read came with a lot of expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. ThatRight up front, I’ll say I really enjoyed Looking For Alaska. My first John Green read came with a lot of expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. That’s a lot right there. I will also say, I came right off of reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower which was also a strong book and had some similarities to this one. There were times when I compared the two, but by the end, they both stand as their own books and I would recommend reading both.
I can’t help but read books with an eye for what I might have done differently. If I’m thinking of what I would do differently early on and frequently, that’s probably not a good sign. As long as I only come up with a few things, and mostly after I’ve read the whole story, that’s fine. That’s the case for this book. In my mind, I kept thinking the title of the book was Finding Alaska. I had to correct myself many times as I thought of the book, and I think I know why. I wanted to find out something about Alaska Young. Minor spoiler here, but something happens midway through the book that gets the characters looking for Alaska. The big question for me was, “Will they find what they’re looking for?” The answer is, basically, no, but the author got me to a level of acceptance about that by the end. Feeling what they felt was a key point of the book, and that was accomplished. We did learn something about her before the end, but it was easily guessed long before it was finally revealed.
This is not a book of happenings, it’s a book of character relationships and introspection. The characters are very well developed and the relationships are very believable. Look elsewhere for an adventure.
I will waste a little more space with a pet peeve of mine, something that started developing with Perks and has intensified with this book. Why do authors feel that in order to make their teenage characters interesting and deep they all have to be chain smokers? I’ve read so much about people smoking in these last few books I’ve got sympathetic emphysema. Obviously, people make bad choices in life and teenagers are especially apt to pick up bad habits without concern for long term effect. But come on. Couldn’t we do a little better as authors to set a healthier example for our readers and stop using smoking as a crutch to provide self-inflicted harm on our teenage characters to show how ‘invincible’ they believe they are? Early in the book, I was convinced one of the main characters was going to develop lung cancer before the book was finished.
I guess I’ll just have to wait for the sequel : Looking for a Tracheotomy ...more
I wasn’t sure who to write this book review for, but I heard someone talking in the cafeteria about you and that you liked books, and althDear Friend,
I wasn’t sure who to write this book review for, but I heard someone talking in the cafeteria about you and that you liked books, and although you don’t know me and I don’t really know you, except for what I heard in the cafeteria, I thought you might like to hear about this book anyway. It’s called The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I read somewhere that the author had great ‘voice’ and since I’m always interested in improving my writing ‘voice’ this sounded like a book I should read. I know you are supposed to give out stars or thumbs up or things like that when doing a review, but I don’t really feel like that applies so I’m going to skip that part. I hope this doesn’t ruin your enjoyment of this review. Even when I do think about giving this book stars, I always want to give it fractional stars, like four and a half instead of five or just four. Some reviews do that and others don’t, and since I’m not sure which kind of review this is, I’m going to just leave all that up to someone else. I think the author of this book did a lot of drugs, or does a lot of drugs. He likes to drop in names of books and songs, and if you don’t know anything about them, it makes you feel a little left out, or ignorant. I don’t think this is on purpose, but that’s what happens anyway. I also think he smokes and drinks, probably all while he’s writing. It’s on his mind a lot. Some of the best writers in history did this, so I guess that’s ok. I don’t really do any of them, so I wonder if I can be a great writer. People say, “There’s a first time for everything.” I’ve heard that before, so I can hope that can apply to me. The first great, sober writer. I’d like it if that could be possible. I thought the last third of this book got slow. It started to feel infinite, but not in the standing-in-the-back-of-a-truck-in-a-tunnel kind of way. There was more drama in the first and second half than there was in the third, and it was a little bit of a letdown. It finished in a satisfying way, and I was glad to have read it when it was done, and I think that’s probably the best thing you can say about a book anyway. You may not agree. There is a good twist at the end of this book, but by the time it comes around, things have slowed down so much, it doesn’t have the impact I think it could have. Also, I suspect the way a certain relationship ended was designed to allow for a sequel, which cheapens the whole thing a little in my opinion. I hope this last thought doesn’t discourage you from reading the book. It really was quite good.