[I read this book about two years ago due to class assignment. I wrote a review back then but decided to put it up justTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG!
[I read this book about two years ago due to class assignment. I wrote a review back then but decided to put it up just now. This was written two years ago, and I still haven't changed my mind.]
“Do not judge the book by its cover” can actually apply to me in this case. At first I thought To Kill A Mockingbird would be a dull, boring and unentertaining book about racism that I did not want to know about. I am one of those people who fall for books simply because of their covers. But now I know better. I was mistaken about this book but now I can honestly say that To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the finest books I have ever read so far.
At the very first page I could not understand it when my teacher said it was intense. But who would have known? When I got to page 3 or 4, I got hugely hooked up. I could never have thought this book could be so fascinating that I could not possibly put it down until midnight of every day. And before I knew it, To Kill A Mockingbird showed up somewhere between the top 5 of my favorite books.
I love pretty much everything about this book. I love the way Harper Lee reveals more of the story backwards from the end. It portrayed racism at its time and the white people’s hatred and prejudice on the black ones at its best. Meanwhile, it represented many kinds of people; the poor Cunninghams, the Ewells who lived by the rubbish dump of the town, the Radleys who were full of mysteries and the Finches. I am not usually a fan of books with too many characters, but this book is an exception. I think these characters are what make the book one of the best classics ever. It is what makes the book different, makes it beautiful and outstanding, and shining out all those books about racism that exist.
I love the fact that To Kill A Mockingbird depicted the co-existence of good and evil really well. As I can see, Jem and Scout had both gone through a transition in the society as they were exposed to more evil, a transition of innocence that must be adapted to the evil of the world to a more of an adult perspective. Other than that, what I adore about this book is that it shows the result of co-existence of good and evil as some people are destroyed by the glimpse of evil such as Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, Dill and Jem, or as defined by the books as ‘mockingbirds’ who ‘don't do one thing but . . . sing their hearts out for us,’ (according to Miss Maudie) while some still maintain their faith in goodness and learn to be able to come to understand and deal with evil like Atticus Finch and his daughter Scout.
My favorite character from this book would definitely be Atticus Finch. He came so clear and real to me, but at the same time he just seemed so idealistic. He was the most outstanding character in this novel, as his characteristics and points of view were uniquely shining through. He accepted and understood evil in people, all the while he was still maintaining and holding on to his faith in human goodness. Throughout the novel, he taught me that we should appreciate the good in people, understand the bad and treat others with understanding and sympathy. When he told his children that they could never understand a person until they put on his shoes and walked around in it, I was stunned. There was no better way to put it. And at the end Scout did as his lesson told her. She finally saw Boo as a human being, and not a childhood mystery. I love the way Atticus stood for what was right, which was Tom Robinson, knowing in his heart that he may not win the case. And when Walter Cunningham tried to kill him, he still said Cunningham was a friend and would always be. For a second I wondered if a person like this still exists in this world today because as I’ve stated, he was so real, yet so idealistic, too good to be true.
Overall, I think this book is for the win. I am not surprised why it was assigned to high school students in many countries. Books like these should be noticed by the world, because there is even more to them than just meet the eyes. It is definitely one of my favorite books that I will always reread.
I don't really feel like writing a review for this book because it bored me so much. But there are a few things I'd like to say.
1) Holden Caulfied isI don't really feel like writing a review for this book because it bored me so much. But there are a few things I'd like to say.
1) Holden Caulfied is a helluva whiny sonuvabitch. 2) The story isn't going anywhere. 3) Holden annoys me. 4) His helluva's, sonuvabitches, ...and all's, ...or anything's are so overused that they annoy the hell out of me. 5) THE STORY IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Oh, I said that already?
After sitting around for about an hour or two, trying unsuccessfully to figure out why I didn't love this book, and whether something could possibly be wrong with me for not loving it, I finally decided that the only way I'll ever get an answer from myself is to start writing. Things figure themselves out as I write, usually. It's one of the few ways I get to think and say what I really feel, after all. So I see no point in postponing this review anymore. And oh, HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's 3.45 am of January 1st, 2012.
The Hunger Games' rating is spectacular. I mean, an average of 4.54 stars, with 352,384 ratings! Before I read it, I saw the rating and I was sure I was going to love it. I admit I judge a book by its rating. Happy with a promise of an amazing book, I dove right in. I actually liked the first few chapters of the book. I thought they were quite interesting. But then I got to the 46% of the book and decided I was disappointed. Because nothing was really happening. However, I have to add that the book is addictive as hell. I read on and when they were some more actions, things were looking up. I enjoyed it from then on, until the moment I thought the author pulled a goddamn cheap deus ex machina (view spoiler)[by announcing that there can be two winners if they are from the same district (hide spoiler)]. I was enraged! I had to rant it out to someone! (view spoiler)[Apparently I had expected some sort of kickass rebellion against the Power That Be, and not a SUDDEN CHANGE OF RULE to be in the hero and heroine's favor! I thought it was so cheap I was offended! But then it wasn't a deus ex machina after all -- just part of the plan to make the show more dramatic. Whew. I cooled down then. (hide spoiler)] After that, I very much enjoyed most of the rest of the journey. The book had me so hooked! There's no denying that!
But then let's face my true feelings... I didn't love it. No. I was convinced something was wrong with me. I didn't love this book the way I'd thought I would. I didn't immediately shelve it as a favorite. I looked at the awesome shelf and thought the book wasn't good enough to be on there. I considered taking it off my wishlist. WHY? WHY WAS I NOT IN LOVE WITH IT? WHY????????????????? I felt so lost.
Apparently I don't think it is amazing like the majority of people. I mean, it's good, it's great, but it isn't amazing. Reading it wasn't breathtaking. I remember holding my breath a few times. Not most of the time. I don't have that heart-beating-fast sensation after I finished it. Most of the time I had a blank expression on my face. I was even aware of that, yes, because as I read, I wondered why it didn't trigger anything in me at all. I just can't explain it. All the time I was reading it, I braced myself to be hit with surprises. I expected to be blown away. I expected to feel amazed. I expected the author's genius to show. Didn't happen. I wish I'd loved it. I don't want to have to justify myself, but I guess I will have to now.
I liked that the book is one of the most addictive books I have ever read! It kept me wanting more, turning pages, unable to tear my gaze away! I liked the excitement, although it wasn't quite enough to make my facial features move. It did manage to make my heart pound at some points, though. I liked the romance! It was cute in the cave! I liked some characters: Katniss, Gale, and Caesar. Katniss for being strong and single-minded, and of course, smart. Gale for some reasons I can't explain. He just sounds perfect. Rebellious, strong, hard-working, caring, perfect best friend. And Caesar for making me smile a few times.
I'm not sure if I liked Peeta. He's pretty naive, but also kind, and kind of cute, but he seems weak to me. With a heroine as tough as Katniss, it's bit weird to have a weaker hero. I don't know. I admit he made me squeal, but not often. Another thing is the writing. It's fine, as far as writing goes, but it's not gorgeous. The descriptions aren't too gory, which is good. However, I think the story telling doesn't quite work. I personally think it would be more interesting if it was told in the third person point of view. Maybe. (But I've heard that the author rewrote her third-person-pov script and resulted in this first-person one.) And from multiple perspectives too, not just from Katniss, that way we know exactly what's going on, and not just what Katniss knows, which seems limited.
I didn't really like 1) (view spoiler)[that Katniss isn't even sure if she loves Peeta. What the? But I guess this will make sense in book two. Still, I'd love to know for real what she's thinking, since it's told in her perspective and all. (hide spoiler)] 2) The way Katniss and Peeta's romance works. I'd expected some sort of fierce battling, the fighting-for-life-against-and-falling-in-love-with-each-other thing. Didn't happen. Instead, they just stick with each other. And most of the time one must take care of the other, because he/she is injured or sick. Nothing heart-wrenching ever happens between them, no tension. Only some cute stuff in the cave. And that's it. And 3) THE ENDING. Could it be more abrupt and forced? I mean, I'm fine with how it ends, but NOT the way it was written. I can almost say I hated the ending.
To think about it, there's really no part in this book that I loved. Sigh. I'd expected so much. I hate falling down from high expectations. It hurts. Why is it doing this to me but come out as amazing to others? WHY AM I NOT IN LOVE WITH IT??????????????????
Anyhow, I'm totally going to read book two and three. See if they're any better. I want to know how this story ends!
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I had to read this book as a Hauslektüre for my German class. I find it thoroughly enjoyable. The setting of the story is East Germany (DDR: DeutscheI had to read this book as a Hauslektüre for my German class. I find it thoroughly enjoyable. The setting of the story is East Germany (DDR: Deutsche Demokratische Republik) in the time after World War II. The story is about the lives in East Germany, and focuses mainly on the protagonist Michael (aka Micha). Michael Kuppich is in love with a girl called Miriam, whom he describes as the most beautiful girl in the world. Throughout the book we'll see how Micha is trying to get the girl, how the lives of teenagers there are like, and how the 'system' works in the DDR. It's a story about going through life and growing up. I really like this book. ...more
Oh my god. Something's definitely wrong with me. Long ago I believed that I would love this book when I finally got to read it. But now that I've readOh my god. Something's definitely wrong with me. Long ago I believed that I would love this book when I finally got to read it. But now that I've read it, I don't. WHY?????????????????????????? While it's not disappointing, it's also not amazing.
Guys, something's wrong with me. I've got to re-read. ...more
I used to be a huge fan of Meg Cabot when I was in secondary school and high school. She could do no wrong in my eyes. BTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG!
I used to be a huge fan of Meg Cabot when I was in secondary school and high school. She could do no wrong in my eyes. Back in those days I would re-read The Princess Diaries series over and over and over and fantasize about meeting my own Michael Moscovitz, whom Meg Cabot successfully made me believe is the perfect guy -- my dream guy (he still is!). Those were the days... But then I grew out of teen books, and so Meg Cabot fell into my history.
I've been meaning to read Airhead since it first came out in 2008, but high school (as well as my disgusting Twilight obsession) was taking up all my spare time. And now I'm thinking that if I'd read Airhead when I was still in high school, I would've loved this book. As I told you, Meg could do no wrong in my eyes. But now that I've grown out of Meg Cabot and read and seen a lot and learned to love and hate a lot of books, I can judge this book without being biased. I didn't love it. I didn't even really like it. I found it okay and enjoyable, and then that's it.
Airhead is a story about Em Watts, who accompanies her sister Frida to the opening of a new mall, and has an accident there. Basically, a giant TV falls on her and kills her on the spot right in front of her best friend and crush Christopher and her sister. Nikki Howard, a supermodel who happened to be near the scene, fainted and hit her head so hard that it killed her brain. Em woke up in the hospital about a month later (if I'm not mistaken) in the body of Nikki Howard. A brain transplant happened. Em's brain survived while Nikki's body was still functioning. And Nikki is too precious to lose. Businesses will die if she dies. So that's why. And now Em has to live Nikki's life.
I find this brain transplant idea pretty cool. I think the story has a potential to turn out great, but sadly it didn't. Meg Cabot killed it with Em obsessing over trying to impress Christopher with her Nikki body, wondering how much impact her death has on him, and dealing with Nikki's boys drama. And when the book ends, nothing happens. Hmm, I don't like this.
I realized that this book is a part of a series, but I think that a book should be able to have a good story while standing alone too. This book simply doesn't.
Another thing I didn't like about this book is the writing. I loved Meg Cabot's style in The Princess Diaries, and I still see it in Airhead, but unfortunately it doesn't work in this. She could pull it off with Mia because Mia is always obsessive and panicked and funny, so the style of writing suits her character extremely well, whereas with Em it's just annoying. I don't see why Em has to constantly remind the readers that she's in Nikki Howard's body, she's in Nikki Howard's bedroom, she's looking at Nikki Howard's dog, and she can't believe how huge Nikki Howard's walk-in closet is, blah blah blah. I mean, come on, I get it. The excessive repetition of this name is very off-putting.
I also didn't feel connected to any of the characters at all. I don't particularly like anyone.
Sounds negative, eh? Why 3 stars then, you might ask. Well, I did enjoy parts of it, though it's quite difficult to recall what those are. It's a love/hate thing. Usually when this happens, it's just either 1 star or 3. With The Time Traveler's Wife, I ended up giving it just 1, although it did have a potential to be great, just like Airhead.
What's more, there are a lot of unanswered questions that I suppose will be answered in the second or the last book. However, I'm not sure if I want to continue with this series. The first book didn't impress me.
Just Listen is the second Sarah Dessen book that I have read in my rather short reading life. I was blown away by the fiTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG!
Just Listen is the second Sarah Dessen book that I have read in my rather short reading life. I was blown away by the first, Dreamland, and I have to say I like Just Listen just as much. I found this gem in the library, and now want to own a copy of it. I went through all the 383 pages in 24 hours, and 3 sittings, and that says a lot for a slow, impatient reader like me.
This story is basically about a high school girl named Annabel Greene. Annabel is a model, and from the outside looking in, she looks perfect, so people usually jump to conclusions that her life is perfect. But yes, looks can be deceiving. Annabel is scarred. She has a story she would never tell, and by keeping it in, she decides to hurt herself, rather than let it hurt the people she cares about. She has lost two best friends, Clarke, by ditching her just one night for the girl who later became her new best friend, Sophie. Apparently, Sophie wasn't a very good friend, but Annabel stuck with her because she thought tolerating Sophie was worth this entirely new fabulous world she was now a part of, the word she would otherwise never come across had she still been best friends with Clarke. And then their friendship ended one night, I'm not going to say what happened because that's the biggest mystery of the book. Sophie jumped to conclusions and then their friendship was over. Afterwards Annabel is still haunted by what happened that night, and her life changed. She has no best friend now, no one. Until that day Owen reaches out his hand and saves her.
I love the complexity of Annabel's life. There isn't just what's going on with her life at school, but also her life at home. All the falling out and conflicts, the sisterhood and family. They make this book seem so real. Most characters have voices of their own, and they're very believable. I had vivid pictures in my head as I read. As the pages went on and on, I came across a lot of things: modeling, music, eating disorder, family, friendship, loss, sadness, anger, secrets, therapies, etc. I personally understand Annabel. She's not good at confrontation, so she doesn't confront at all. She keeps all these things inside, she never talks about it, so when she tries to, she can't exactly say it. I also love the concept of the glass house. People look at it and think they see everything, but they don't. They see a family sitting together at a dinner table and think they're a happy family, but they aren't. Everything looks too perfect to be understood as something else.
I love Sarah Dessen's writing. I do. She's excellent. She has that power with words that always keeps me reading even if it's 3 am in the morning. She did that to me with Dreamland, and now also Just Listen. I would read a hundred pages on end and found it hard to put the book down. Dessen's descriptions are outstanding. She's great at describing feelings, her words are perfectly strung together. Her writing flows on and on, making it hard to stop at one point, and not read the whole book in one sitting without moving. There are some pages that set butterflies loose in my stomach, there are pages that made me cry. And you know how I feel about books that make me cry.
Without any doubt, this one is another excellent Dessen book. Looking forward to reading more of her work! She might as well just be one of my favorites now. :-)
So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose4.5 stars
So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.
Honestly, I don't know how to begin to write this review, so I'm starting it with this lame sentence just so I can finally start it after thinking about it for over a week. Normally when I leave a book unreviewed this long after finishing, I won't bother anymore, because I'll have forgotten what I want to say anyway. But not this book. I guess I have a lot of things to say about The Perks of Being A Wallflower but no ways to say them. None that I find good enough anyway.
Through a series of letters addressed to an unknown recipient, 15-year-old Charlie tells his story. It involves a lot of problems, I think all of the problems, that teenagers go through. It's interesting how this book was first published in 1999, and now thirteen years later these problems are still relevant in today's society. What he goes through isn't much different from what teenagers these days encounter. Fitting in, drugs, sex, homosexuality, psychological issues, suicide, you name it. A lot of readers seem to think that the author crammed too many issues together to fit into one little book, but it didn't feel that way to me. And it's true that the problems aren't given much depth, but it didn't bother me either. It didn't feel forced or too much; it felt just right and natural to me. This may be because I felt connected to Charlie as if it was me Charlie's talking to, as if I was that recipient of those honest heart-felt letters. There's something in his voice that grabbed my full attention; a voice tinged with such sadness that it broke my heart over and over.
I found Charlie to be a great character. I knew from the beginning that he's autistic, and that only added to how much I liked him and made him awesome by default to me. (I should mention that I have a strange liking for books told by an autistic character and I don't know why exactly that is.) The honesty in his letters allowed me to be close and connected to him and let me feel what he feels. Charlie's sensitive, he sees, he listens, he understands, he pays attention to things around him and sometimes gives those things too much thoughts that he ends up hurting himself. He suffers from the past that's haunting him, partly making him the way he is. But I found beauty in his being this way. A lot of times I just wish I could tell him that it's alright and give him the tightest hugs possible just so I could absorb some of his sadness and alleviate his pain.
The secret of Charlie's past, when it emerged, came as a huge blow to me. I didn't see it coming. I even missed it the first time; it only hit me when I re-read the last few pages. It rendered me completely speechless and I could only sit there and think about it and let the pieces fall together. The clues were all there, I just didn't look deep enough to think they would mean something. I asked my friends who have read this and 80% of them missed it and were shocked to learn the truth, so I guess this is just very subtly included in the story. Miss one negligible sentence and you can miss the whole thing. I'm not going to spell it out for you and ruin the shock. I just want to say that after I learned about this, it made everything much clearer about Charlie. I truly felt sorry for him; he's in no way deserving of what's been done to him, and the person it made him become.
Besides Charlie, I really liked almost all the other characters too. Especially Patrick, Sam, and the English teacher Bill. Patrick and Sam really shine in all their crazy moments. And I love Bill for his attentiveness. They reach out to Charlie and let him in, and be his friends. I don't think Charlie can ask for friends better than them. They're lively characters with their own voices and I love all of them.
This book made me sad. In a good way. The good kind of sadness that makes me think about things. The kind that gives me teary eyes and a ghost of a smile that would tremble as the tears roll down. It didn't make me cry all the time, but it did when I read really good parts. This is what I love about this book. If I were to describe it in one word, "poignant" would be it. That, and also "beautiful."...more
“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking how you'll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps yo“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking how you'll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
Thus began my John Green book marathon (I finished this and Katherines, am reading Paper Towns next). I'd been meaning to read Looking for Alaska for so long, but 1) I couldn't really find the time to and 2) no, actually, I was afraid of ending up not liking it (kind of like the quote I put above; I kept thinking I would read it one day and it would be awesome but I never did it because I was afraid of being proven wrong—brilliant quote, by the way, John Green). Well, now that I couldn't resist it anymore and finally read it, I feel so stupid for having putting it off all this time. We're only about 2 months and 2 weeks into 2013, and this is the best read by far. Dang! I really should've read this much sooner! I hope 8 years after the publication date isn't too long. Still, better late than never, right?
It's one of those times again when a book affects me so much that I don't know how to begin talking about it properly. Here goes nothing.
Looking for Alaska is divided into "before" and "after," and by looking at it I kind of knew what was to come. This is not a subtle foreshadow, but rather blatant, and I was really happy and looking forward to the heart-wrenching parts because God knows I live for tearjerkers. In the "before" part, Miles "Pudge" Halter leaves home to attend a boarding school in order to leave behind the same old things and seek "the Great Perhaps." Not having any friends before, Miles surprisingly makes a few friends who totally kick ass: "the Colonel", Alaska, and Takumi. Miles gets pulled into their pranks and become a part of this circle of great friendship. More than anyone, Miles is drawn to Alaska—the reckless, unstable, unstoppable, impulsive, loud, fun, beautiful, rude, unhappy, bookish Alaska Young, the girl who "embodies the Great Perhaps" and changes everything in his world in the "after" part.
I enjoyed the story, the characters, the writing, everything. I loved how this is a coming-of-age story with heartfelt heartbreak and love and loss and sadness and misery and friendship and nostalgia and mistakes and regrets and longing for a better future. This book has everything that I love to read about, and it blends all these things together perfectly. About halfway through the book, I couldn't feel its amazingness yet, and I thought it was just okay. But once it goes into the second half of the book I just couldn't stop the tears from coming. I felt so much, and yet too little; I couldn't get enough of the sadness the book drowned me in. I felt alive.
Like I said in my Katherines review, John Green's characters are brilliantly crafted. I loved them. Even though I don't have much in common with Pudge, I respect him greatly. Not a lot of people realize that they've had enough and that they need to change, or have the courage to leave things behind in hope for a better unknown. I feel like a total loser in comparison to him; I always complain about how I hate it and how I'm so full of it, and I dream about leaving all of it behind but I never really do anything about it (again, like the quote above). And Alaska, she's so full of hope and misery that she reminds me of myself (this is not to say I'm as cool as her, but I think we're both similarly "deeply unhappy" with our lives). I'm known for my unpredicatable ups and downs, and with a little trigger, I can freak out for the longest time about things I have no power to change. I feel like I get her, and she gets me. The way she sees life and the world is heartbreaking. Even with all her flaws, Alaska is a perfect character the way she is, and I love her with all my "crooked heart."
I don't think any more needs to be said other than that Looking for Alaska is just what I've been looking for to get me out of my epic reading slump. In the time when hardly any books move me, Alaska managed to get a hold of my heart and wrench it, wrench it so hard it hurt all over, and made me once again susceptible to feelings besides boredom. I submerged myself in the overwhelming floods of emotions, in which there was some sort of illumination about life and suffering. John Green's writing enveloped me with warmth on top of all that. Although my first reaction when I finished the book was to give it 4.5 stars, I changed my mind as I slept on it these past two days. This book is glorious and deserving of every praise. ...more
It hurts, but it's supposed to, because that's what it means to be alive.
As soon I finished Saving June with teary face and and runny nose at 2AM of June 2, I wanted to write a review, but I was far too distracted by the grief I was feeling to do anything but cry. I didn't intend to wait this long to review this wonderful book, but things have been hectic for me after that night. After uni started, this is the first time in a week that I can just quietly sit and write a review.
I don't remember the last time I gave 5 stars to a book, but I have a feeling it must've been some time ago. Yes, I just checked, it was April 27, Divergent. So yeah, that was some time ago. I don't normally rate YA Contemporary books 5 stars, but Saving June definitely deserves it. I can't recall why I waited so long to read this book, but whatever reason I had, it was stupid. You all should read this book. I loved this book. I love it, I love it, I love it.
Harper Scott, aged 16, is devastated after her sister June's suicide. She doesn't know where to put the blame. June was perfect. She was the girl who had everything. Everyone preferred perfect, pretty, smart, kind and sociable June to Harper, who's always in the shadows of her sister, always second best. This is the reason why Harper can't figure out why June would end her life. Because she misses June, she often finds herself in front of June's bedroom door. After spending some time there, Harper discovers mysterious CDs that were given to June. She follows the trace and finds that there are a lot of things she didn't know about her sister, a lot of things she didn't care enough to notice. With determination to do something right one last time for June, she decides to take June's remains to the place June longed to be most--California. And so begins Harper's road trip, accompanied by her best friend Laney, and Jake, someone who knew June the way Harper didn't. At the end of the day, Harper will find that this road trip isn't just about June, but it's what she needs as well.
Have I already said I love this book? I can't say it enough times. I still remember how it made me feel. I was lying there on my bed, refusing to go to sleep even when it was way past midnight, taking in every word, every emotion, everything. Re-reading passages I found beautiful. I was crying so hard. I love beautifully written books that involve death and heartache and teenage angst and fear and self-discovery that can tug at your heartstrings and turn your eyes into running faucets. Saving June is the perfect blend of all those elements.
Even after 6 days, I still haven't forgot about it. I still constantly think about it, re-read highlighted passages, quote it. How can you forget lines like: "I have sixteen years' worth of memories, and they mean more than bone and ash ever could." No, you can't. I can't. I lost my father when I was fifteen, and that's pretty young, so I really knew what she was talking about. When I was reading, Harper's grief became my own. I really love when this happens. I love when I can emotionally connect myself with what I'm reading, with the main characters. Attaching myself to them gives me an entirely new and awesome experience which almost always includes emotional roller-coasters and a lot of tears and a bunch of nostalgia. Loss, death, heartache--these are topics I love to immerse myself in. This book speaks of all these sad emotions with a wonderful, raw voice of Harper Scott. I think you know what I'm talking about if you've lost someone you love once in your life. I think Harper speaks for everyone when she says: "If God does exist, then He's just an asshole, creating this world full of human suffering and letting all these terrible things happen to good people, and sitting there and doing nothing about it." I could sense hatred, sorrow, disappointment, guilt, and frustration in her words. They haunt me. This book is so heartbreaking, so real, so raw, so honest.
I love the characters. Harper really tries to be strong, but there are times that she just breaks down and lets herself be overcome with sadness. She lives with the guilt of having said terrible things to June, not knowing that those would be the last words. This really hit close to home. That's a huge thing to live with. You know, when you want to take back stupid things and terrible words, it's far too late? You don't realize how much you believed in the future until there is no future. There was always "tomorrow" to tell someone you love them, until there wasn't. Then there's really nothing you can do except to accept that you'll "end up a footnote in the life she left behind." I often found her saying the words I have been trying to find but couldn't put together myself. I want to give her the tightest hug in the world. Apart from Harper, I also love Jake. Jake is really someone I want to know in real life. He's sweet and a gentleman but he doesn't always show it. He's passionate about music and lives through it. And Laney is also someone I'd want to have for a best friend. She's supportive without asking questions. I think the author did an amazing job creating these characters. They all have their own problems but they fit together perfectly. They made me felt like I really knew them, and in a way, I really did.
I can say I love everything about this book, and there's not a thing I can think of that I want to change. I'm so glad that I finally read it. Not a lot of books can make you both laugh and cry. I marked it as my favorite, meaning it's a book I'm definitely going to read again and again and again. I can't get enough of this book. I'm already looking forward to the next time.
In the book there are a lot of references to music, which I really liked. And at the end of the book, the author gave us the playlists that are talked about in the story. Here are Saving June playlists:
“I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tape“I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why.”
I read according to my mood. You can probably tell something about a person's state of mind at the moment by observing what they're currently reading. And as you can guess, I was feeling pretty damned depressed when I picked up this book. Long story short: I was (have been) feeling like I was getting nowhere with my life and I felt trapped with no way out and I'm constantly falling short of my own expectations. The idea of suicide crept into my head and I played around with it, and then came to the conclusion that I wouldn't mind it if I were to not be alive anymore the next minute. Now, don't be alarmed, I'm okay now. I wasn't even contemplating suicide; it's just that I happened to be in the right state of mind to be thinking about it (and I was only thinking).
Growing up in a Buddhist country, I was taught that suicide is an unforgivable sin. And I don’t mean to go into details about this, but I’ve had my lapses of depression and thoughts about suicide. Sometimes my brother would ask what the heck is wrong with me, and most of the time I’ll just ignore him because socialization is just too much of an effort to make when I cannot care less. Sometimes, though, I’ll tell him I don’t feel like living anymore, just so he can stop nagging me. In my family, the suggestion of suicide triggers an incredibly automatic response: the caring look is gone from my brother’s eyes and every word that he utters is tinged with accusations. Anger replaces sympathy. Mine is a society that condemns anyone who commits suicide as a cowardly, selfish, worthless piece of shit who craves attention and acts upon superficial and stupid impulses. And let’s just say that this is just one of countless other opinions that Thailand and I don’t share.
Before this review turns into a rant fest, let’s talk about Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. It’s been sitting on my shelf for years, so when I suddenly needed it, it was already there waiting for me: the first book on the YA shelf, because I arrange my shelves alphabetically according to authors. (This is a real benefit of hoarding books– you always have the right book at hand when the mood hits.) The book is just as I expected: dark, heartbreaking and extremely suspenseful. For someone who has to get up at 7.30 to be at work at 9.30, staying up to watch a World Cup game until 1 am says a lot about dedication and loyalty. And what do you think it says about a book when that someone, instead of collapsing in bed, sacrifices some more hours to finish that book? Yup, that book must be friggin’ awesome.
And it is. Thirteen Reasons Why, while not exactly a mystery book, works the mysterious charms so well. From the first page where the main character Clay Jensen receives a shoe box full of 13 cassette tapes from a dead girl whom he’s had a crush on, we can’t help but wonder what exactly that he’s done to make him deserve such a torturous punishment. The fact that he keeps wondering the same thing and that he’s oh-so-sweet add even more to the suspense. And what are her 13 reasons? How are they so horrible as to drive a girl to kill herself? Opening this book is like opening a box of questions that can’t demand answers immediately enough, and I love that about this book.
The narration switches between Hannah Baker’s recordings and Clay. The interaction between Clay’s narrations, interspersed into Hannah’s, gives the book a sense of real-time urgency, which in my opinion is better than keeping them in big, separate chunks. Sometimes, it doesn’t work so well, as his responses tend to be too frequent, thus interrupting the flow and keeping me from fully immersing myself into her story. When that happened, I would be like: will you just calm your shit and let her finish, Clay? This would be followed by an unhealthy amount of exasperated eye-rolling. But then again, this didn’t happen often. Most of the time I would be too engrossed to notice.
Personally, I believe that feelings and pain are always real, and the magnitude of suffering may vary from person to person. Have you ever had someone tell you the pain you feel isn’t a real pain because what causes that pain doesn’t “seem” like a legit pain causer? I’ve had that shoved in my face one too many times. They would sometimes say they fail to sympathize with me because my problems are so small that it’s rather impossible to be suffering as greatly as I am; I must be overreacting and need to quit being such a drama queen already. How about people feel differently about different things? And how about some people feel more intensely than others? Sure, it might just be a spur-of-the-moment-thing, but that doesn’t make them overly dramatic and their feelings any less real. I never doubt the “realness” of the pain suffered before a person chooses to commit suicide. It’s unfair to judge unless you’re in their shoes, but the thing is you can never pretend to be in anyone’s shoes and understand them, because no two pairs of shoes have been through the exact same shit and taken the exact same roads leading up to that spot where suicide is decided. I’m in no way glorifying it; I’m just trying to point out that since we can never know to what extent a person must be suffering, it’s not our business to judge the legitimacy of their motives and call them cowardly or selfish or stupid or whatever. (Family and friends, please take notes.)
That said, I wish Hannah would’ve reached out to her parents. It’s like they’re not even a part of her life. All her decisions are made without taking her parents into consideration. Because they’re not a part of her problems, I think it’s a bit unfair for her to actually be bothered to meticulously make maps (and secretly drop the maps into lockers weeks before she kills herself—such a planner, huh?), tapes and a second set of tapes for those who make her life miserable, and leave not a single word for her clueless parents. While these people get explanations they might not even care to know about, the parents might be asking themselves “why” for the rest of their lives and getting no answer. Ouch.
For those who don’t like books that sound preachy, be warned that there are didactic messages like:
"You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything."
"No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same."
I’m not recommending this book for its lessons. (I think books shouldn’t focus primarily on lessons. Yawn.) Rather, read it for the story. Explore how pretty amazingly one event leads to another to another like a “snowball effect.” This book is such a page-turner. It’s safe to say that I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long, long time.