I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Sarah Dessen is one of those authors that I tend to read immediately without even thinking about it. Though her last couple of books haven't been my favourites by her, Saint Anything not only showcases just why I love Dessen's writing, but it also proves that Dessen still has that something that makes her such a favourite.
Saint Anything is incredibly addictive and introduces moments that are both disturbing and heartfelt. Much like Dessen's past coming-of-age tales, she introduces characters that are flawed and situations that may mimic reality for various readers. The tone is a bit dark, but not as dark as some of her past novels. It's got the romance, the friendships, and the self-discovery/growth that we always crave from Dessen's books.
Sydney, the protagonist, starts off a little bit shaky. Her introduction is set in the past as she recounts the consequences of her brother's illegal actions. At first, I was a bit confused as to why it would start this way, in such a choppy and admittedly confusing matter, but then it hit me: Sydney is putting her brother, Peyton, ahead of her because everyone has always looked to him first rather than her. From the very beginning, Dessen is showing us her protagonist's personality. This whole novel is a bit of a struggle for Sydney as she tries to leave behind the shadow of her brother's large personality.
Sydney is also the kind of character that you can't help but like as well as kind of dislike. I mean, some of the situations that she's in could be solved if she just spoke up. The dangers of character development come in when the reader is forced to patiently wait for the character to get their crap together. As a very outspoken person, I would have kindly told Sydney's mother to shut up and listen to what she's telling her daughter. But of course, sadly, we have no way of entering these fictional worlds and slapping jerky characters into shape. That Dessen can make me feel such intense emotions is brilliant.
So, going off of that, Sydney is a great character because she grows into a sure character who understands that life may never be perfect, but she can still have a voice during the imperfectness of it all. Even with her new budding friendships, she learns to be the kind of person she's never allowed herself to be. Sydney is also the embodiment of a lot of issues plaguing teen society right now, such as depression. Also, I loved her relationship with her brother. Peyton is obliviously not the kind of sibling one should idolize, so it was obvious that Sydney wasn't going to follow in her brother's footsteps. The reason why I loved the relationship so much was because of how he didn't push her to connect with him. He didn't want her to see his new reality, but he let her come to him on her own.
The one main thing that I wasn't too keen on was the dramatic way her mother behaved. Understandably, everyone deals with things differently and everyone has their flaws, but I still extremely disliked her mom--which goes back to Dessen being skilled at bringing up these emotions in readers. Keeping that in mind, the difference between Dessen and other contemporary authors is that she doesn't pull any punches. By the end of her novels, there's no magic moment that makes everyone into a better person. Sure, there's character growth, but the basic aspects of a character's personality isn't changed for the sake of having a happily ever after. A character who started out with a major flaw, ends up with the same flaw, just slightly tamed and more aware.
There's a specific topic in this book that creeped me out and there's an article that Dessen wrote for "Seventeen Magazine", which you can find here, that kind of explores said topic. This issue is probably the real dark part of Saint Anything and I actually had to stop for a moment to kind of pull myself out of that dark situation.
I was so happy by the end of this novel because I finally had that book glow that only a Dessen book can give me. The romance was sweet and occasionally unpredictable, the secondary characters were great (whether I liked some or not), and the story itself was intriguing and very compelling. It was almost impossible for me to put this down and just near-perfect. So. Good.
I recommend Saint Anything to fans of contemporary fiction. I always recommend Sarah Dessen books to readers who enjoy John Green, especially because of how good Dessen is at taking the every day and making it into something special in her novels.
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Keep Me Safe is the first MayaShort review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Keep Me Safe is the first Maya Banks novel I've ever read and I'm thinking that if her other novels are like this one, then I'm probably not going to read anything else by her. While the idea of the novel is pretty cool and promising, the characters are predictable, annoying, and way too dramatic, the romance is forced, obsessive, and too instant, and the storyline was rushed and full of plot holes.
Banks's novel is told from two perspectives: Caleb and Ramie. I had so many issues with these two characters because it was like Banks just needed to write a last minute story with two characters that fell completely flat. Caleb literally falls for a girl he forces to do something horrendous for him. Then, he spends a year pining for this mysterious girl, who holds no grudges against him. And even though she helped find someone Caleb loves, his family still hates her. Seriously.
Ramie, on the other hand, is one of those characters who the author tries very hard to make an example of. She's supposed to be tough, independent, and brave. What I saw, however, was a girl who thought someone she'd seen a year before could be her saviour. She's the type of girl who, though she knows she's going to just end up hurting herself, does whatever she can to both a) appear heroic and brave and b) move the storyline along. She was infuriating. There are characters who are written as weak as one of their character traits, and then there are characters, like Ramie, who are weak because they are written weakly. The overbearing "I must protect you at all costs because you're a fragile creature" act was made worse by Ramie allowing Caleb to not only continue his smothering of her, but enabling him by acting like a damsel in distress, when she's the one who got herself into certain situations in the first place.
The dialogue was overdramatic, the constant use of the descriptive phrase "bruise the skin" (or along those lines), and the translucent skin covering the final twist, made this such a blah book. I got through it because it was a quick read, but I was seriously disappointed.
Maybe if you like Maya Banks you'll enjoy this one, but this wasn't for me....more
Sweet baby Jesus. Let the records show that I read Three other books and started reading two other books while trying to fI finally finished this book
Sweet baby Jesus. Let the records show that I read Three other books and started reading two other books while trying to finish this one.
I don't know if I'll write a review for this, all I know is that I'm not surprised at how some things happened and I'm disappointed with how some things were handled. It was all a bit of a mess and while it was cool to finally see the rest of Meira's world, it also felt like a severe case of "and then this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened, etc." And that ending chapter, where Meira was just...ugh. I get impatient when something needs to happen quickly because, you know, time is important in a crisis, and yet the character takes his/her sweet, precious time deciding what to do.
I swear, if the amount of time characters take to think something through during a crisis were real life, we'd be awkwardly standing in silence for half an hour or so.
I was so excited for this, even though the first book was good but not great.
Okay, time to ponder whether I'll read the third book or not.
I'm finally sitting down to properly review this after a week or so of careful consideration (okay, mReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I'm finally sitting down to properly review this after a week or so of careful consideration (okay, maybe more out of laziness than thought processing.)
Armada by Ernest Cline quickly became one of my most anticipated books of 2015 after I finished and fell in love with Ready Player One (Wade is a great guy, okay?). The day it was released, I made sure to get a copy and devour it. The good news is that I DID devour it, the bad news is that I lowered my rating from five stars to four stars.
The great thing about Cline's writing is his apparent addiction to everything 1980's. I loved the references in his first novel and enjoyed them in this one as well, but I feel like he might have overdone it with his latest novel. While I was super happy to recognize some from RPO, there were a bunch of new ones that I knew nothing about. This would normally not be an issue with me because I research pretty much all of them, but the POP culture references felt doubled in this. But this is hardly a reason for me to lower the rating, especially since this is probably one of Cline's greatest attributes.
What I think lowered the rating for me, after much thought and moments of begrudging acceptance, was the at times slow pacing. Don't get me wrong, Armada is a super cool novel with a clever concept, but the delivery of the story sometimes lacked the driving force to have me constantly glued to the writing. I think it took me a handful of chapters to truly get intrigued. I mean, I've been dissecting the synopsis ever since I decided that Cline was a new favourite, auto-buy author for me, but even so, it took a while to truly let myself fall into the story. The narrative also felt a little childish. Sure, the protagonist is just a teenager and it's probably part of his personality, but some of the things that were revealed to him were done in a slightly immature way. For example, it's pretty clear that two people are hooking up if neither answer the phone and they're hot for each other (I know this isn't always the case, but in this book it sure is.)
The characters were fun and I really liked the protagonist because he's relatable. He's not perfect or super smart or super popular. He's the nerd that is destined to save the world. I guess it isn't fair for me to make this comparison, but I liked the characters from RPO more. I mean, yeah, they're different stories, but I can't help it. This is clearly a case of having higher expectations than would probably be seen as healthy. That being said, I DID like some of these characters, I just didn't love any of them. There just felt like I didn't 100% connect with any of them, though I WAS intrigued by their stories.
The shock-factor in Armada is definitely high. Cline felt like the George R.R. Martin of Science Fiction in this book. I'm not going to say a lot for fear of spoiling anything, but man, DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO THE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK. I loved this though because I saw it as a fearless way of writing and probably endeared me more to the book. I liked that no one was secure just because they were prominent in the protagonist's life. Real life doesn't hold back, so why should an author?
I don't know if this was done on purpose or what, but this felt a lot like Ender's Game in certain parts. I mean, I think Cline alludes to the classic Sci-Fi novel, but I'm not sure. The whole gaming thing, aliens, and saving the Earth felt a lot like Ender's misadventures. If this was done on purpose, then awesome because I loved that book.
Okay, my last point is going to be about the cover. Holy jebus, is this book beautiful. That dust jacket. Holy. Slow clap to the amazing designers. Thank you for creating such a beautiful book.
I would recommend this to fans of alien invasions and video games. If you like lighter science fiction books, then you might like this one. I recommend you go into Armada without any expectations so you can thoroughly enjoy it.
Holy crap. This was nothing like what I was expecting. The only thing I regret is taking so long to finally pick it up. This was AMAZING. Definitely oHoly crap. This was nothing like what I was expecting. The only thing I regret is taking so long to finally pick it up. This was AMAZING. Definitely one of my favourite books of the year. So, so good.
The characters, the situation, the execution: Near-perfection. Loved every second of it. I recommend this a million times over.
"You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you" (Bracken 465).
To think that Passenger, an AleReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
"You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you" (Bracken 465).
To think that Passenger, an Alexandra Bracken novel, would be one of my favourite books of 2016 would've been a ridiculous concept to my 2014-15 self. I was so taken aback by the pure beauty of this book that I'm still feeling the waves of awe washing over me. Let's just say that Etta and Nicholas aren't the only people to go on a journey in this book.
Throughout Passenger, a lucky reader will find incredible quotes that may or may not leave you speechless. Said reader may also find a romance that's slow burning, and challenges the norms of what we're used to seeing in YA lit, simply because it asks the questions we never try to ask (when this kind of romance is even introduced). Lastly, the reader may also be surprised to find a great, original story that seems to be as well thought out as it is complicated.
Etta is the kind of character that can go two ways: she can either be the helpless maiden waiting to be rescued, or she can be the badass hero that refuses to let others decide when and if she needs rescuing. Yes, she falls in love and she feels emotions because characters are people that we want to connect with while reading. A character who feels isn't an automatically cliche one--it's what the author does with the character and the decisions said character makes that defines the character. So, while Etta could have been a cliche character (all of the ingredients were there), she ended up being this incredible character who, despite her upbringing, found herself and learned from her mistakes. She had a male co-star, but these two characters were each fighting their own internal battles rather than one being the hero of both stories.
Etta is complex because she has all of these mysteries surrounding her and as the story unravels, she's the one that has to come up with the answers. In a world full of deceit, she is the only one she can truly trust. So, as Nicholas strives to keep her safe as her self-appointed protector (she doesn't want a protector), she is the one that has to figure out the decisions that need to be made. I loved her character growth from this naive girl, to this woman whose story is much more complex than the synopsis makes it appear to be. She's not just a successful violinist, she's also a woman who embodies what we want to see in young adult literature. I'm happy to see a character like this one starting the 2016 trend of young adult time travel.
Bracken's portrayal of Nicholas is absolutely brilliant. Like Etta, Nicholas is a character with a lot of depth. He's not just a handsome, mixed raced pirate. He's not just a badass and a "rogue". Nicholas is real because through him, we are offered questions of race, equality, and how mixed race couples may be portrayed or seen by the general populace, no matter the time period. Yes, mainly Nicholas deals with blatant racism in his time, but his fears of his and Etta's differences in the world are well founded.
Being the daughter of a mixed raced couple, I know how difficult it can be and how people just assume I belong to one group over the other. Not only is it refreshing to see a character self-analyze his position in society, it is also refreshing to see a character that other readers may be able to relate to even more. We definitely need more people of colour in YA lit, but, in my opinion, having a character who's both black AND white will resonate strongly with readers because he's not just one race or another.
There's a quote made by Nicholas that stood out to me, both because of the writing but because of how poignant it is:
"Ah, yes. Here it was, a hundred years' worth of justifications for the wrongful enslavement of human beings, gathered into a tidy, single breath of hot air. These sweeping lies about the minds of Africans, the denial of every opportunity to advance themselves by reading and writing and thinking, kept them not only in physical chains, but insidious invisible ones as well. It didn't matter that none of it was true[...] What mattered was that these beliefs had swept through the souls of everyone else like a plague" -Bracken 132
The quote also gives a bit of foreshadowing to the way Nicholas thinks and what might keep him back from being his true self. Much like the quote states about insidious thoughts poisoning those unable to think for themselves, I found that these same thoughts poisoned Nicholas and that he spends a good chunk of the novel fighting off these prejudices he carries like chains around his neck.
But like I mentioned, Nicholas is more than just the colour of his skin. Nicholas is flawed, human, and realistic because he doesn't have ideas of grandeur. Nicholas is a brilliant character mainly because of how realistic he is. Bracken could have easily had a character who spoke a more modern form of English because, as a time traveler, he could have learned 20th century English. Instead, Bracken took on the task of staying true to the time Nicholas was born in. The fact that his beliefs, his thoughts, and his outlook on life weren't changed just so this book could fit into the new "expected" way of writing male characters in YA lit, is incredibly impressive. Bracken took a risk in introducing a character born in a time when women weren't allowed to do most of anything, and where men were expected to be their superiors, and somehow still made us love him. That's impressive writing.
Time travel, like I've mentioned earlier in this review, is going to be a huge trend this year and I'm sure this is not the only amazing time travel book coming out this year. What I find might make Bracken's novel original compared to the other time travel books is her ability to comment on socio- and political conditions of the separate times mentioned. Also, the portrayal of side characters and the countries/scenarios introduced were very, very good (for lack of a better phrase). I'm not a historian, but I found myself entertained with this read.
Passenger has this lyrical feeling to it that suggests one could read this while listening to Etta's music. The writing style and tone surprised me so much that I couldn't stop marking down quotes and memorable lines. It always amazes me how an author's voice could change so much in between books.
Despite my slow reading this month, the pacing of this book was great. I had an off month and had read this at any other time in my life, I think I would have devoured it. The one small drawback was the length of the chapters. But I think that was more a case of impatience than anything else.
The pacing is great, the writing is memorable, and the story and characters are definitely unique in this literary age group. Keep in mind, however, if you've read Bracken's more recent series and expect the same writing style, you may be disappointed. I honestly think this is a career-making book (though she's already successful), because this could easily be a story promoted as a step forward for the YA age group. Bracken's latest novel breaks stereotypes and shows that beautiful writing doesn't have to be entwined with cliches to be successful.
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
First thing's first:
Dear Michelle Falkoff,
I would like to thank you for writing such an intensely honest novel about the after-effects of teen suicide. Thank you for giving us a character who dealt with his best friend's death in his own way and not in the way expected of him. Thank you for showing us how there are various ways of dealing with the unexpected and sudden death of someone that is loved (even if he didn't believe so), and how grief can affect everyone differently.
Thank you for the ridiculously honest quote from Sam, the protagonist, when he is faced with multiple people claiming that Hayden's death was their fault--"Because if none of us is a hundred percent responsible, then it's probably just as likely that none of us could have stopped this from happening" (Falkoff) is probably one of the most honest and raw quotes I've read regarding teen suicide and survivor's guilt.
Lastly, thank you so much for a playlist that not only helped me understand what Hayden and Sam felt while the music shaped the story, but helped me understand Hayden in a way Sam might never be able to.
A very pleased reader
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff was obviously something that struck a cord within me (just look up.) I felt like it was such a relevant story, not just because teen suicide is a very serious issue right now, but because of the book I read not to long ago: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. While the latter dealt with living with depression that could potentially lead to suicide, the former was the story of life as a survivor of someone else's suicide. I particularly liked the uniqueness of how the story was delivered and how it helped in setting the mood.
Sam is a brilliant character because though he flirts with the line that separates the expected and the unexpected, he still manages to deal with his grief in a way unique to him. After his best friend's death, he is like a ghost wandering the halls--which really isn't any different than before. He doesn't lie about the fact that he is angry and that he blames himself (which is normal), but he also doesn't suddenly change the way he is in order to forget everything that's happened. Sam treats his situation like it's a mystery to be solved and while this is clearly a way of dealing with his loss, I find the idea of him actually trying to see why his best friend is dead so different than the usual "We will never know how he felt and why he chose to end it all" approach. Like Sam, at the beginning of the novel we're faced with this horrible situation and a cast of characters that all have something to say. While Sam tries to find a voice for Hayden, he hears the voices of other people who could one day love him.
The romance is unconventional, given the timing, but then again one has to consider that this could also be something that is unique to this story. Though the romantic aspect of the storyline just kind of happens, it does help in giving Sam's story a bit of hope and lightness. The progression is a bit awkward and quick, but again, it kind of adds to the whole recklessness of Sam trying to find out exactly why Hayden did what he did.
The synopsis comments on The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and I totally see it--especially when you consider that the people Sam meets could be classified as misfits. But again, like Charlie, the budding friendships that Sam encounters are full of the mystery and sadness that can only be brought on by a shared loss, or a hidden and unspoken pain or longing.
The playlist was awesome. Of course, I didn't like all of the songs, but there were a few specific ones that really got to me. The idea of songs as title headings for each chapter is an awesome idea, especially when the reader is being shown a storyline sparked by a playlist. By being the title headings, the songs are also more obvious and carry more weight than the other songs featured within the chapters. It's like Sam is reaching out to the reader to help him solve the mystery, which turns out to be a nice little twist at the end.
I would definitely recommend this book to readers looking for a thought-provoking, albeit slightly depressing read. The characters are quirky, but the messages are clear.
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Parallel by Lauren Miller is a younReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Parallel by Lauren Miller is a young adult sci-fi debut that explores the “what-if” theme. It is a very unassuming novel that begins like many other young adult novels with fluffy story lines. But when we get accustomed to Miller’s fictional world and begin to guess at what will happen next, we are literally lifted from one place to another, which is quite mind-bending—and oh, so, so brilliant!
Okay, I admit that this plot change came more of a surprise because I didn’t read the synopsis again before reading Parallel (which I strongly recommend!). But hey, it paid off. I was happily surprised and very intrigued as to what would happen next. Miller’s protagonist is relatable, goes through terrific character growth, and finds that sometimes the most obvious path isn’t always for us.
Perhaps one of the best messages that Abby, the protagonist, can ever share with her reader is that things happen for a reason, and while one choice may work for someone else, it doesn’t necessarily have to work for you.
And of course: You can’t escape/outrun/evade the past. That’s the tricky part.
Oddly enough, Parallel reminded me of Pivot Point by Kasie West—another novel that I simply adored. What makes these two novels so successful? Well, for starters, they both challenge the norms of young adult literature. Whereas other novels who blatantly showcase love triangles, both Miller and West give us two separate stories that show the protagonists becoming closer and closer to both love interests. So, rather than having two guys fighting it out, or one telling the other to back off, we have one girl experiencing multiple lives with both guys. But even so, when it comes down to choice, we see what one version of the protagonist picks, while we guess what the other version does.
I just really love that we’re given two love stories, rather than having to choose sides. Parallel, however, has its own delicious twist, which will tie everything in neatly together.
Abby’s character growth is gradual as she comes to terms with the idea that the past is literally deciding her present. We don’t get a protagonist who immediately knows what to do (unrealistic), but someone who makes errors and learns from her mistakes, someone who stands up for what s/he wants, and dares to do something from outside her norm.
Abby’s inability to accept that her parallel self is just an extension of herself shows that perhaps there are two stories, and not just one continuous story, being told. We feel Abby’s worry for an unstable present, but much like how Abby treats her past self as someone wholly separate from herself, we too see the two girls as two different characters we can’t help but connect with—which side should we take? Or, should we view both sides as a means to a common end—occasionally alluded to as “destiny”?
Parallel is an addicting read that makes you question whether we live in a parallel world and how the choices we didn’t make would have affected us. It is a cautionary tale of how sometimes we take for granted what is given to us, and how we don’t realize everything we have until we lose it all.
I recommend Parallel to readers of young adult romance and low-key sci-fi. Miller’s debut is an intelligent mystery/adventure waiting to be read.
We often wonder if there are other worlds, but what if our choices are not only ours to make?...more
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
My review might contain spoilers (OneReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
My review might contain spoilers (One person's spoiler is another person's non-spoiler). Proceed with caution.
Julie Murphy really surprised me with her latest novel, Dumplin'. I honestly had no idea that this was the same writer of Side Effects May Vary. While I couldn't get past the first few chapters of her debut, I couldn't really put this book down once it had its hooks in me. The thing about Murphy's writing in her latest release is that it's so brutally honest that I couldn't help but relate and feel like this was a great way of approaching a topic like body image and accepting our differences.
Dumplin' had a lot going for it. Willowdean, henceforth "Will", is a protagonist that introduces the story on a slightly different footing. Rather than having a protagonist who's insecure and unable to see herself in a certain way from the get-go, Murphy introduces a character who thinks she's got life figured out, only to have herself be challenged to ask herself what she really feels.
My favourite quote from the book, hands down, is actually from the beginning of Dumplin' and is the kind of quote a reader might find near the end credits because it's so confident: "The word fat makes people uncomfortable. But when you see me, the first thing you notice is my body. And my body is fat.[...]But that's me. I'm fat. It's not a cuss word. It's not an insult. At least, it's not when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way?" (Murphy 9--ARC edition, may be different in publication) This quote says so much and should prepare the reader for the story ahead. The quote basically embodies what Will struggles to accept throughout the book. She is confident sure, but when faced with life issues such as dating a cute guy, she begins to question herself. The fact that she mentions in the quote that the word fat isn't a bad thing "at least, when [she] say[s] it" is a hint that perhaps, she's not as confident as she wants to believe. She believes that calling herself fat isn't a big deal, but the real issues begin when she considers the thought of others thinking about her as fat without her permission.
The reason why I love that quote and why I wanted to share that in my review is because it says so much without Will even knowing it yet. Murphy's writing is so great in this, that I'm really excited for readers to explore her world. Here is a book that features a heavier protagonist who isn't perfect, but she at least doesn't try to conform to the expectations of those around her.
One major thing I liked about Will is that her self-esteem issues and character growth that she goes through is produced by her own thoughts. Why is this something I liked despite the negative aspects of it? Will is a character who is intriguing and it is her job to find out how wonderful she can be. She doesn't need someone else to confirm her awesomeness and self-worth. There may be nay-sayers in her world, but despite her insecurities, Will stands up against any potential bullying. It's incredible, but Murphy not only wrote a book about a strong plus-sized protagonist, but she did it without using fat shaming as a way of creating drama and suspense. If fat shaming was even hinted at in this book, Will shut it down real quick.
I also liked that Will didn't have one of those personalities that shut down skinny people either. Sure, she noticed skinny people, but she didn't take them down verbally as a way to bring herself up. She did have moments of jealousy, but that was because of milestones she thought she'd never reach--all confidence issues. There are quite a few reasons why this book can potentially be really important in our changing society, but the greatest, in my opinion, is the ability to introduce a relatable protagonist who doesn't need to ride on the back of shaming to grow as a character.
The side characters were awesome. Murphy has created a cast of memorable characters who all went through their own personal growth. This cast of misfits are spotlit for the reader while the rest of Will's world treats them like crap. In a way, Murphy is like Will in giving these three girls a chance to have a voice. Honestly, though, much like Will, a couple of these characters refused to play victims and I liked them all the more for it. Why have characters, who all have a chance to grow as people, who complain about their lives when you can have characters who focus on enjoying life instead? These characters also help show us that Will isn't perfect. She's a person who can feel jealousy, fear, envy, hate. She's human and she makes mistakes.
The pageant thing was something else entirely. By the end of Dumplin', I found it interesting that the pageant was advertised as the major selling point for this book. There is so much more going on in Murphy's novel than a fat girl entering a beauty contest. In fact, the idea of signing up for the pageant doesn't even happen until halfway through the novel! Instead, anyone considering reading this novel should focus less on that and more on how complex human relationships can be, the trouble with how we want to see ourselves in a society that expects something else, and how imperfect familial relationships can be.
Will's mom is another issue that some readers may find relatable. She is the kind of character that you begrudgingly like, even though you have a love/hate relationship with her. Keeping in mind that we are seeing the world through Will's eyes, we're a little biased regarding the mom issue. The constant comments about Will's weight and the hurt that Will feels at her mom's lack of mothering because (and this is Will's assumption) of her being overweight, make it almost impossibly hard not to hate her. But when you take into account that Will's aunt, who's just passed away--not a spoiler, you're told early on--played a dominant, almost motherly role in her life and may or may not have died because of her size, her mom's awkwardness and lack of filter regarding her weight might make a bit more sense. In fact, most of, if not all of, Will's positive memories as a kid are with her aunt and not her mom, which introduces the idea that they're not exactly a close pair in the first place. There's a bit of separation between the two characters that suggests that Will's actions may be a bit harsh in regards to her mother. This brings into sharp focus how limiting it is to get a story from just one perspective. Again, I'm not excusing the mother's actions, I'm just speaking from experience with my own mom.
All I'm going to say about the love interest(s) is that Will's got game. Go, girl.
I liked the conclusion and how Murphy decides to end it. In the words of Forrest Gump and fearing that I will spoil anything without meaning to, "That's all I'm going to say about that."
I would definitely recommend this to other readers. Like I said somewhere in my rambling review: I think this is going to be a very relatable book for many readers facing all kinds of different confidence issues. Though my biggest issue with Dumplin' was the predictability of certain situations, the pacing is great and the story is captivating. Definitely looking forward to seeing what else Murphy will explore next.
I received a copy via my work in exchange for an honest review
My exact, non-flowery thoughts after fiReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via my work in exchange for an honest review
My exact, non-flowery thoughts after finishing this wonderful, crazy, and so completely relevant piece of literature: Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap.
Jennifer Niven's young adult novel All the Bright Places is one of those books that treats you just like the female protagonist. By this, I mean that you are so caught up in the moments that it almost, almost makes you forget the darkness that lingers on the outskirts of the brightness of a day. I'll be honest: I almost didn't even take this book seriously because of the characters. I thought, "Hm, these characters are a bit much in their make and model" but then I realized: that's exactly what's going on. This is what Niven might have been intending to do. At the end of the day, both of the protagonists are putting on a show. They are both pretending until they get to their destinations.
Violet and Finch are such intriguing characters that from the first conversation they share, you know that whatever they might have in the future won't be ordinary. They won't be your typical teenage couple with a typical happy ending. They are worth so much more than the cliches we automatically place on contemporary couples. They show the complexities of romance and how sometimes in order to love the good, you have to be able to love the bad, the weird, and the quirky. In a way, they don't exactly romanticize their relationship in typical Hollywood fashion: they are flawed and addicted--to the point of overdosing--on each other.
Both characters have demons they're battling throughout the book. While one is grieving the loss of a sibling and a past self, the other is mourning the loss of what he never really had. This story was both about the power of healing and the power of destruction. As a result, it made me so incredibly sad to read about these two teenagers, but at the same time I was so hopeful that they could heal each other. However, in the moments of happiness, there were moments of foreshadowing that cast dark clouds over everything. Deep down, you wish and hope that this couple, which you might have previously lumped in with all the other happy couples, have a happy ending of their own. But to quote the kids that tormented Finch, "You never know what he'll do next," so, in a way, you become like the other gawkers in the novel waiting to see what will happen to Violet and Finch next.
At the beginning of my review I commented on how relevant this novel is to current events. Suicide and depression is a massive problem going on right now. It is so sad to see the events of this novel unfold as the story progresses and seeing so many signs and opportunities missed, both by the characters and the people who love them. At the risk of spoiling anything important in the novel, all I can say is that Niven brilliantly portrayed a character whose greatest feat was, perhaps, his ability to act. Fake it 'til you make it, right?
I would recommend this book to so everyone, not just people who have either battled depression, or are currently battling depression.
A book like this could change your life, whether you expect it to or not. Sometimes we think, if only s/he had said something, if only s/he had opened up--but the thing is, that sometimes (as is portrayed by Finch) people know that they should say something, but then the darkness makes you unable to speak. The pain makes you unable to open up. Jennifer Niven's novel tries to pierce through societal's bubble of what we expect depression to look like. Her story tries to tell us that hey, maybe what you're expecting isn't really it.
Violet and Finch knew love, yet the darkness still existed. Nothing is perfect in real life. Not even in fiction.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I remember seeing Surviving High School by Lele PoReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I remember seeing Surviving High School by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz at the bookstore I work at and being excited because it looked like a fun and quirky read. Well, I finally got my hands on a copy and the book is definitely quirky, but in no way fun.
At first, I wanted to give this book the benefit of the doubt. I know, from my limited knowledge of her videos, that Pons is an awkward comic who puts herself in certain situations for a laugh. This translated strangely into her novel, but rather than being endearing and comedic, it was just plain awkward and frustrating.
The first thing I want to focus on is the protagonist herself, who is also named Lele. When the first line comments on her physical appeal, I thought that she was being ironic or obviously joking, but as the novel continues and fails to change all the way through to the end, I realized that maybe, just maybe (and I mean 99.9 %) this character is completely full of herself. Instead of appearing quirky, the character acts completely conceited before she's famous and even more so afterwards.
You might say, "But Dayla, that's part of the character growth!" But here's the bit that I just can't believe: there is basically no character growth, whatsoever. The only way we can distinguish any change is by Lele mentioning that she's the 2.0-9.0 version of herself, but honestly? She's just as conceited and immature at the end as she is at the beginning.
The immature nature of this novel only brings to focus the attempts at humour. Lele (The character) prides herself on being different and weird and acts accordingly, but instead of seeing someone adorable or charming, I saw someone who was trying way too hard to be funny. I honestly couldn't understand how her crush didn't react more realistically to her random outbursts. I also don't honestly understand how someone like this character can become so popular--but hey, fame, right?
The side characters were treated as just that--sides. We barely get any information regarding Lele's friends, other than that one is hot, foreign, and has a little sister, and the other is black, smart, and sassy. This is truly a one-girl show. Her so-called rival is someone who is explained away using Latino stereotypes and petty jealousy, while the other girls are shown to be self-centered, sex-obsessed, rich girls. Don't even get me started on the amount of shit Lele got away with when it came to her parents. At the risk of countering a point I just made, I will pull from my own experiences as a Latina: I find it interesting that the common stereotype of us liking Reggaeton is introduced, but not that of strict parents. If I did half the stuff this girl does at her age, my parents would have had me locked up for life. It's just so unrealistic and strange.
One of my main concerns with this novel is that it has no apparent storyline. Events happen, but what are they leading towards? Yes, she gets a bunch of followers, but what is actually happening? Where is this going? There is no real character growth, there is a barely there climax, and there's laughable conflicts. Even the romance is lackluster. The whole story felt like it lost steam before it began and was just a series of "then this happened, then this happened, etc." Each chapter read like a Vine: a few pages of randomness that struggled to be cohesive. I know that this book is introduced as a fictional memoir, but holy hell, even those have basic storylines--especially because it's fiction.
Surviving High School is a very quick read, but mainly because I spent most of my time scanning the pages. I was so bored at one point and frustrated that I just wanted it to end.
Everyone has different interests and should read whatever the hell they want, but I strongly recommend either reading the first few pages at the bookstore before you buy it, or borrow it from the library. This is an expensive book with very little story told from the perspective of an entitled and self-centered teenager.
I’ve never read a Ruta Sepetys novel until Salt to the Sea and I crossed paths. I don’t know if I reReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I’ve never read a Ruta Sepetys novel until Salt to the Sea and I crossed paths. I don’t know if I regret never reading her stuff before this, or if I’m glad I haven’t yet because then I can savour the fact that I have more of her work to read. To say that Salt to the Sea was a really good read would be doing it a disservice. Sepetys’ latest isn’t just a good read, it’s a fantastic and unapologetic read.
Told through various narratives, we are giving a story that refuses to sugar coat or hide the truth about death and how acts of war were brutal affairs. Four different characters with four different stories allows us to view the world through four very different points of views, which can often lead down some dark and creepy roads that we were not exactly anticipating.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of Sepetys’ novel is the uniqueness of the storyline. I’ve seen a short online clip of how she wanted to tackle an event that hadn’t received the same amount of attention as other tragedies during the Second World War. This coupled with the jarring imagery of death being introduced into the story as if it were a truly normal thing to die in such horrific ways, made for a very beautiful and sad read.
The pacing was quick thanks to the short chapters and continuous change between narratives, aiding the desperate tone of the novel and the characters’ need to escape their hell. If anything, I’d say that Sepetys’ ability to use her pacing as a way of keeping the reader hooked as well as portraying the ideal tone to go with this bleak storyline made this one hell of a powerful read. If not for the storyline itself, I would recommend this book for Sepetys’ writing style.
I’m going to be honest and say that I went into this book with a completely different idea of what I was about to encounter. For some reason, the cover made me think that this would be an ocean survivalist novel. I was wrong in some ways, but I was right in thinking that this was a survivalist book. These teenagers are aching to survive something much larger than any words can possibly portray, but Sepetys manages to give voice to their stories by not mincing any words.
If you’re not a history buff, but you want to try reading a historical fiction novel, then I think this might be a good one for you to begin with in your journey. I’m not much of a historical fiction reader, but even I found Salt to the Sea impossible to put down. This was just such good story telling. This is a mastery of literature that I urge everyone to check out.
It took me a while to read this and I regret nothing.
I had the pleasure of meeting Pierce at one of his signings and he gave me invaluable advice, anIt took me a while to read this and I regret nothing.
I had the pleasure of meeting Pierce at one of his signings and he gave me invaluable advice, and as I read his latest novel, I know that I will forever be a fan of his writing. Brilliant, intelligent, and completely unexpected, the Red Rising trilogy has not only changed me as a person and my view on the world, but it's also changed my writing life and how to approach the written word. This series goes down as a favourite and if you've been following my reviews, then you know that I'm not one to finish a series. Exceptions like this make my reading habits completely worth it because when I find a series that's well-written enough, or intriguing enough to capture my attention, I cherish it more than if I were to force myself to read on.
Wow, I absolutely devoured this book! It was delicious, fed my craving for high fantasy, and was mature enough to intrigue me without any necessary drWow, I absolutely devoured this book! It was delicious, fed my craving for high fantasy, and was mature enough to intrigue me without any necessary drama.
This was truly something great to read after I realized how hungry I was for high fantasy.
Also, just wanted to state that this is one of the only times where a love triangle is so subtle and contradicting that I had no problems with it whatsoever.
I received a copy via my work in exchange for an honest review
I don't know what is going on with me lReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via my work in exchange for an honest review
I don't know what is going on with me lately. Every book I pick up, I grow tired of by the last couple dozen pages or so. I was hoping that All Fall Down by Ally Carter would be that one book that got me off my lazy reading butt, but alas, I still found myself dragging my feet near the end. Perhaps it's my inability to focus on something for longer than ten minutes, or maybe it's the fact that Carter's novel features a storyline that isn't all that original. While yes, it is so cool that this is set in a place where a bunch of embassies sit in a row, the whole concept of possibly crazy girl running around looking for some answers feels a bit overdone. Despite all of this and my waning attention span, I did enjoy most of this novel and what it has to offer.
Don't get me wrong. If Carter's intention was to have her readers both empathize and distrust her protagonist, then she succeeded. Grace, the protagonist, is one of those characters whose narrative twists so much that we are constantly struggling to keep up with her. Though this type of story feels a bit overdone for me, that's not to say that I didn't like Carter's ability to make the reader question what's real and what isn't. I loved the fact that I was always wondering what would happen next once Grace found something to back up her story. Grace also embodies a fantastic example of character growth--or anti-growth. Her slow descent into madness (or clarity) is only rivaled by the reader's inability to tell whether she is actually going insane, or if she is just becoming more lucid.
While the narrative did capture my attention, what I didn't like so much was everyone's obsession with telling Grace that she was wrong. I felt bad for her because the anxious person inside of me hates being told what to believe and when to be "fine". I also felt helpless because all this character wants is a little belief and hope that was taken away from her the moment her world fell away.
The good news, though, is that there is no "insta-romance" in this.
The story focuses so much on the mystery and Grace's growing paranoia of what's real and what isn't, that though there's a hint of romance as small as a fingertip full of sand, the story doesn't stray from what matters and what is actually on the protagonist's mind. I respect Carter for allowing any romance that may happen in the future to slowly build through the series (if the rest of the books follow the same route as this one.)
The other characters in this novel were all a mixture of okay and annoying for me. I feel like some have awesome potential, others don't really need to be in this novel, and others are barely given a shot before they're taken away--which leads me to something that always infuriates me about series books: this was so clearly written as the start-up for a series. Do we get a sense closure in this book? Somewhat, but with this supposed closure, we also get a ton of new and unanswered questions.
The pacing is okay, but sometimes I felt like it was rushed, than slowed down for some effect that I completely missed. I was hoping to finish this in a couple of sittings, but that clearly didn't happen. Maybe I'm just not in the mood?
I've heard great things about Ally Carter, so I probably will keep going with this series, but I'm not a huge fan of how the conclusion basically forces your curiosity to stay alert for the second installment--even if, OKAY, it was a good cliffhanger.
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, I would because it's a fun read full of twists and with a narrator like Grace, you never really know what will happen next. By the way, some characters call her gracie...rhymes with crazy, right?
I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review. #indigoemployee
This book was justI received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review. #indigoemployee
This book was just. Wow.
As a geek myself, the references made me fall in love with this book in ways I never anticipated. The writing was so well paced and the humour was so well done, that the pages melted away, especially the second half.
Besides the awesomeness of all the fandom jargon, this book also features some awesome representation and the important issue of characters being whitewashed in Hollywood. There are POC characters; there are LGBTQ+ characters; there's a strong female protagonist that shows that it's ok to be quiet and shy and just a little different and still be a strong personality in this book; there's a male protagonist who shows that despite outward appearances and expectations placed on his gender, it's okay to have and show emotions. Side note: as I write this, I am reminded of this one 9-12 book I found at the bookstore where the first literal sentence was about a boy saying he couldn't be emotional because he was a boy. So incorrect.
Ashley Poston's writing is fantastic and I can't wait for everyone to get their hands on this. My nerdy friends fangirled along with me as I gushed about this read and I can't wait to see the same thing happen with future readers.
As an adaptation, this was fantastically original. The portrayal of the sisters was both expected and a little surprising. I cringed and hoped and bit my fingernails waiting to see what would happen next in regards to Elle's horrible adopted family. But like everyone expects Cinderella to lose a slipper at the most pivotal moment, I knew that horrible actions were just around the corner. My anxious heart beat for Elle all the way through the ordeal.
I just simply really loved this book. I'll admit that the unassuming and slightly simple cover made me hesitant at first, but I'm so incredibly glad and thankful for the opportunity to read this book. My life is forever changed. Thank you, Poston for writing such an original and fun adaptation. Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.
I'm fascinated by the fact that this already has a 2.75 rating. Must be pretty controversial for someone to already have their knickers in a twist. ThI'm fascinated by the fact that this already has a 2.75 rating. Must be pretty controversial for someone to already have their knickers in a twist. The last two books with ratings this low before the books even debuted that I read were rated badly by reviewers because of the controversial content...I'm more intrigued than put off now, to be honest.
It all started with a movie trailer. I was mindlessly checking out posts onReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Phew, what an experience!
It all started with a movie trailer. I was mindlessly checking out posts on Facebook when I came across a list of books one should read before the movie is released in 2015. I found Love, Rosie and watched the trailer. I thought, "Hm, this looks like it might be an interesting read!" Then after a mildly extensive search, I found that I owned the book and read it the next day (all of yesterday). From the moment I read the first page, I was hooked.
Where Rainbows End is my first book by Cecelia Ahern, so I had no idea of what was waiting for me. I was very surprised (and intrigued) to see that this novel was done up as a series of emails, letters, notes, texts, and instant messaging chats (remember those?!) This originality, paired up with such a genuinely touching storyline had me wanting more. I ignored the fact that this was a brick of a book and proceeded to not have much of a life for the next 10 or so hours.
Rosie, the protagonist (though to be honest, this felt like the kind of story that belonged to everyone who knows Rosie and Alex) is a woman who isn't exactly afraid to speak her mind, and this is done exceptionally well through her conversations with other people. When she finds herself in a situation that changes her life forever, we feel all the more connected and empathetic with her situation because of how personal the writing is. The same can be said of Alex, her counterpart, who also experiences his own personal struggles throughout his adult life.
If this novel was written in first or third person, I probably wouldn't have connected to the characters as much. Using emails, letters, and other forms of communication other than straight up prose made it so easy to connect with this fun group of characters because it felt so personal and intimate. Usually, when we're told about a character, it is the immediate things that are pertinent to the storyline (i.e. looks, hobbies, etc), but to read the little details and still be able to see, hear, and feel for these characters through mere chats is amazing. Ahern takes the old writing lesson and uses it to its full extent: Don't tell us, shows us. She does so by giving us only chats to shows us these characters' personalities, rather than simply stating overused descriptors.
The progression of time in this novel made me feel like I was growing with these characters. I was so sad to see all of the missed opportunities, mistakes, and spoiled chances, but then again, isn't life sometimes a collection of what we could have or could have not done? Ahern gives us a picture of life, even if it follows two friends (or soul-mates), without even trying to. After all, she's just giving us these snippets of time in these characters' ever-changing life. To put my point into perspective: this story could have easily been about the readers' neighbors, or friends, that's how random the storyline could appear if it were in fact nonfiction--this is a collection of moments in a random family's every day life, but we connect with them because there are instances where we relate to them; they feel like a real family that is actually living somewhere out in the world.
As a result of being with these characters over the span of decades, I found myself feeling their moments of discovery, joy, pain, wonder, and grief. I watched these characters grow and age and mature before my very eyes, like some warped timeline set on hyper-speed. Though I know it is a fictional storyline, I basically watched the progression of various lives take place in the span of a few short hours. This, I believe, is the beauty of Ahern's writing. This and the fact that despite what people say, men and women can be friends, love doesn't always happen when we want (or need) it to, and it's okay to make mistakes because we all are just living. Rosie and Alex are beautiful and though they frustrated me with their missed chances, imagine being them and not knowing the ending that we were sure would eventually come. Their reality is fiction to us, but their problems and setbacks are all too real.
I would recommend this book to everyone who likes chick-lit and romantic novels. Also, I would recommend this to anyone who wants a unique take on contemporary life. I feel like this is the kind of book I will carry with me for a while and I am so excited to see how they fit its grandness onto the big screen.
On the outside, The Giver by Lois Lowry looks like such a simplReview also appeared: Book Addict 24-7
I don't even know where to begin with this book.
On the outside, The Giver by Lois Lowry looks like such a simple, thin book--it almost makes sense why young children are told to read this in school. Almost. But the thing about Lowry's book is that it's like reading Romeo and Juliet when you're still twelve and not entirely sure about what's going on, and entirely dependent on your teacher's very censored ideas of the themes and morals told by Shakespeare. The Giver is the type of book, that yes, can definitely be discussed in a young reader's school (because almost any book can be discussed by young readers and their teachers), but it definitely harbors some very dark themes.
First, I'm going to briefly touch on the religious representation of Jonas, the protagonist. Though I am in no way proficient with bible verses and such, I did come across the story of Jonah, which is pretty damn close to Jonas, and how he "originally ran from God before delivering a message of repentance to the nation of Nineveh", which could be the community that Jonas lives in (which is emotionless and content in its ability to "let people go") Jonas, as the receiver of memory, is kind of like a prophet who receives the wisdom of humanity's past--which I guess, in a way, would be seen as a Godly attribute since it is something that only one powerful person can have. I don't know if that made any sense, but it did in my head.
Second, I want to mention the idea that even if we lived in a Utopia (which I think is impossible--especially if Utopia means being an emotionless drone), there will always be one person who sees things differently. Jonas and The Giver are these outcasts who choose to live outside of this supposed Utopia that allows you to believe the world is perfect. The further Jonas goes in his training, the more he becomes alienated, and though the idea of being different than others is exhilarating, it is also terrifying, tiring, and lonesome.
In my opinion, Lowry's view of a dystopic society is the kind of view that so many of today's dystopian novels are missing. For example, if what appears to be perfect proves to be something severely imperfect, and you have the power to bring to justice the crimes of this imperfection, would you ruin this dream in exchange for the nightmares of reality? Dystopian should be less about rebellion and more about the human condition and how one or more people start adding colour to their black and white sight. Okay, so it does have some rebellion, but this is more of a personal rebellion (internal struggle between ignorance and knowledge), then a societal one.
Thirdly, and probably lastly, I want to note that though Jonas's world is marred with the seemingly perfect imperfection, the community isn't the only thing to be ruined by the "sameness" that stripped everyone of individuality. It is Jonas and all of the kids who turn twelve who are forced to relinquish their childhood. Imagine being twelve and suddenly knowing exactly what you're going to do for the rest of your life. Sounds terrifying? Now imagine being completely unaware of the fact that all choice and childhood innocence has been taken from you. There is no privacy, there is no true creativity, there is physical punishment that teaches you to be docile, and there is even control over how you speak--to the point of condescension. After all, isn't the worst kind of abuse the one where you're not even aware of it? This is another way that Lowry's dystopic world works so great--her storytelling tries so hard to convince the reader that this should be the norm, yet Jonas's active fear of his twelfth birthday shows that this is indeed not normal, or standard behavior. Even if society changes to suit the greater need, choice is needed, even if humanity's downfall can be the power to choose.
But the idea of choice also plays into the conclusion of the novel: Does choice lead Jonas where he ends up, or does humanity and the ability to feel govern his actions? Is he simply a victim of the emotions the community has forced out of its residents? Or is he being rebellious by allowing himself to choose something for the first time in his life, no matter the consequences?
See? This is why I'm all in a tizzy after reading this book. One hundred and eighty pages and I'm completely contemplating every single chapter in this book. Also, let's enjoy the fact that one of the rules is that he's allowed to lie. I loved this rule because I think it's what made Jonas realize that his life just completely changed. It was probably, in my opinion, another huge aspect of the conclusion and how we lie to ourselves when things are beyond our control.
I definitely recommend this book to everyone and I don't even know how I went this long before reading it. Will I read the rest of the series? Honestly, I probably won't. I'm content with this book and its very philosophical and slightly haunting ending.
The bad news is that it psychologically screwed withReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The good news is that I'm done reading this book.
The bad news is that it psychologically screwed with my head.
Horns by Joe Hill is a very messed up dark tale of a young man wrongly accused of murdering his long-time girlfriend. Ig (even his name is just abnormal), the protagonist, is the kind of character that you hate to love--not just because of his slightly dull personality and how he is unable to say, "I didn't do it!" every time someone accuses him of murder, but because of the devil he becomes.
In some ways, reading this book is like watching the defragmentation of a story. Rather than tell you a linear set of events, Hill weaves a tale that gives you all angles of the crime that was committed before the story began, especially since, at the heart of the novel, Merrin's murder is the catalyst for everything.
Hill introduces us to all of the major players, then slowly lets us into their minds. The effect of getting to know all of these people is twisted, since they completely overshadow what you previously thought of them. For example, there are characters that have disturbingly dark secrets/lives that you would never have been able to guess at face value, while others' sins contain dark secrets that make even the reader cringe--after all, sin makes devils of us all, right? But for this, there was a great quote, "It was, perhaps, the devil's oldest precept, that sin could always be trusted to reveal what was most human in a person" (Hill 300).
Kind of makes you think about the people around you and what they truly think of you and others.
The psychological trauma comes from a) being inside a killers mind and seeing both how methodical s/he is (NO SPOILERS!!!), and b) seeing all of these sins come to bloody life. There is a scene that involves a snake that just had me gagging. Also, this could be traumatizing for anyone who is very sensitive about the topic of religion, since this book shows neither a penchant for atheism, nor Catholicism/Christianity--it critics religion in a way that is meant for the reader to draw back, or for the reader to see that even the greatest of light has a corner of darkness. Horns basically makes you question whether this is a book about the devil and his effects, or if this is about humanity and how savage we all truly are when driven to our worst.
Despite its shock value, Horns was kind of a great story that not only showed that there were two sides to the same coin, but also the depravity of humanity. Basically, these sins that Ig brings forth from others are a comment on how everyone, even the people you would never suspect, have a basic instinct to commit something horrendous. Those voices that sometimes whisper out horrible things to you are shown in this novel as metaphorical (and literal) representations of our basic humanity. If that even makes any sense.
Ig's town also introduces the idea that no one is purely good. Everyone has a dark side to him/her. Neither the protagonist, nor the victim are purely good people, which simply makes Hill's novel more authentic and terrifying. Rather than haloing any particular character, Hill simply shows us the truth: no one is truly good. The conclusion is pretty much a great example of this, I guess. If you like protagonists who crap rainbows and sing metaphors of enlightenment, you won't find them in this book--though Ig DOES make some good points.
I recommend this novel for anyone who's interested in a dark tale that messes with your head and your stomach. Though there are instances where the story drags a bit, I love the fact that my hatred for some characters was constant. I ached for some form of conclusion to not only Ig's suffering, but his downward spiral.
Percy is so stinking cool. I didn't believe that not having him in a Riordan book would affect my reading experience so much, but I flew through thisPercy is so stinking cool. I didn't believe that not having him in a Riordan book would affect my reading experience so much, but I flew through this one because of him. Loved!!!...more