^ i spelled it like that because frankly if i wrote goooooooooooooood it would look like go for a...more**STARRED REVIEW**
^ i spelled it like that because frankly if i wrote goooooooooooooood it would look like go for a really long time and that's mentally confusing. not sure if gawd is better.
anyways! wow. amanda effing sun is trying to murder me. i have no effing idea how i survived the wait for RAIN (hint: i didn't. i had to get an ARC or else i would've died. thank you first reads thank youuuuuuu!!!) but RAIN makes the wait for the third book f****** IMPOSSIBLE. GOD(S). THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK. I CANNOT ACCURATELY DESCRIBE MY FEELINGS.
I love this book so much i wanna eat it and let it settle in my stomach and then do some weird book dance or something idk i just gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
^that was really weird. but anyways. onto what i liked about the book: (SPOILERS FOR INK BELOW, BUT NOT FOR RAIN)
-I had thought the ending of INK was a bit anticlimactic, but oooohhhh boy am i glad she stayed. -TOMO TOMO TOMO TOMO TOMOHIRO COME HERE YOU -^ i swear i'm not that shallow. Tomo undergoes a lot of growth in this novel and we get to see him depending on Katie and realizing that he isn't alone. And that is just a phenomenal shift. -Katie has to figure out her priorities and must struggle through lies and facades to protect herself and those she love, and that means she gets in some pretty deep trouble with some people you reeeallly don't wanna mess with. -What Tomo says to Shiori about the thing. When you get there. Ahhhh yes. I was just like OH TOMO YOU GO TOMO YOU TELL HER. YES TOMO -We find out some INSANE history and hypotheses in this book and it is FABULOUS. I cannot overstate how happy I am about Japanese (and accurately described.... *cough* "City of a thousand dolls" and my billion hatred seeds for it) culture and mythology being so thoroughly described in a YA book where the market is saturated by white gurlz. Nothing wrong with Caucasians, just.... DIVERSITY MAN. Now we just need someone to do that for the Chinese... like I know there are some out there but most of them take place in the US... hmm... I should get on that.
Annnnd I could go on and on. But the thing is, I loved how I could smell the cherry blossoms and hear the furin and see the ink flow and feel the earth rumble and live with the characters as they despair and evolve and realize that they aren't alone.
I love it. I love it all. And now someone PLEASE for gods' sakes give me the third book as soon as Amanda Sun is done writing it and stuff.(less)
Note: Read the original here. Due to copy-and paste, some formatting and links have been lost.
I adore Rainbow Rowell. I adore Cath....more**STARRED REVIEW**
Note: Read the original here. Due to copy-and paste, some formatting and links have been lost.
I adore Rainbow Rowell. I adore Cath. I adore Reagan, Levi, Wren... I so very much adore this book.
It is a beautiful thing, to be in love with someone. Maybe that's why we are all fangirls/fanboys to a certain extent, because whether that someone is fictional or real, they give us something we don't give ourselves: a purpose. I'm not saying that you need someone else to be fabulous, but I think all the book nerds out there know what I mean when I say that reading a good book feels as fulfilling to us as an embrace might feel to a lover's heart. So with all that said, it's pretty clear that Fangirl was written for fangirls. And Cath's love for Simon Snow, for a life that is not her own, is a sense of desperation and dependency that we've probably all experienced at one time or another.
That's what makes this book such a successful coming-of-age story, I think. Because it explores common themes of growing up and letting go and finding yourself that everyone can relate to. Rainbow's spear-like wit and melodramatic but certainly real characters make this adventure.
Fangirl is a wake-up call, a bubble bath, a barrel of Butterbeer, a view through the Hubble Space Telescope half-blocked by someone else's arse.
It's that sweet stingy freezing real sun-speckled composite of being yourself, but also being more than yourself. Because that's what growing up is, isn't it? To become more than yourself. To be a superhero, really. I mean, why else would you be asked to calculate the wave function of the Schrodinger equation????? (Seriously though, fml.)
In the end, Fangirl is worthy of its title. With an incredible cast of characters who each vary in personality but all hold the same, so very human depth of hurting, and writing that is both refreshing and complementary--the setting flares to life and the dialogue drips of sarcasm and weary, hopeful naivety--I couldn't be prouder to call myself a Fangirl fangirl. (less)
"Eleanor..." "Stop. Don't say my name like that. It only makes it worse." "Makes what worse?" "Everything," she said. He was quiet. She sat up and wiped he...more"Eleanor..." "Stop. Don't say my name like that. It only makes it worse." "Makes what worse?" "Everything," she said. He was quiet. She sat up and wiped her nose on her sleeve. "Do you have a nickname?" he asked. That was one of his tricks, whenever she was put off or irritated--changing the subject in the sweetest way possible.
I think I live for this book. (Read the book. You'll get it. What I just did. But also, why I did what I just did.)
You know, there are plenty of faults with Eleanor & Park. In the beginning there was a lot of switching back-and-forth between current events and reflections of past circumstances, but it was all written in a way that I couldn't tell where one began and where the other ended. It was a bit confusing, and once I got the POVs (Point of View) switched up because Eleanor and Park, in spite and perhaps because the book was written in third-person, sounded so similar. Not their personalities, of course. Just the narration.
But that only happened once, and honestly, I don't freaking care.
You know, it's weird. I used to think that the St. Martin's editors and I had really drastically different tastes, because all of the past books I've read with St. Martin didn't exactly top my favorites list. But you know what, that was stupid of me to judge an entire imprint by twenty or so books. And what better way to prove myself so so stupidly wrong than with Eleanor & Park?
I had insanely high expectations for this book. As in I couldn't touch a book for three weeks while waiting for E&R to arrive on my doorstep because I wanted it in my heart so badly, I'd already carved out a little nook for the characters, and I didn't want other protagonists stamping their ways into my heart, into that little home for Eleanor and Park, before they could. I'd heard raving reviews from friend after friend, so I knew this had to be at least as good as Anna and the French Kiss, because otherwise those weeks of coveting these two characters I hadn't even met would've been another shameless stupidity of mine.
But god is this book beautiful. Like I love it so much I want to soak it up and eat it and drink it and roll myself in it. I know, I sound like a pig. But there's this... magnetism about Eleanor & Park, a story so real and alive that there is no way I could possibly refuse their love or their sincerity.
This novel isn't just a flourishing, exotic punk love story, though. The book would've been that much duller without Eleanor's rad stubborness, or her family's fight and collapse, or Park's defiance, or his family's acceptance, or the comics, or the music, the music. There's something kicking and punching in the heart of every character, and if you listen close enough, you'd hear the heartbeats of Park's dad, or of Ben, of Maisie, even Tina and Steve, the bullies. There is so much to be discovered between the pages of Rainbow Rowell's masterpiece that it would take years for a cartographer to chronicle Eleanor and Park's love and their beautiful, terrible--absolutely irresistible explosion.
You have to let yourself go with this book. You have to let it get to you in places you don't even dare peek within yourself. That's the only way to feel the softness of Eleanor's hands, the wild green eyes of Park, the chemistry that lights something on fire even if they simply looked at the other. The strings that thrum beneath the book's skull and the sappy love songs that pound at nodes of perfection, here and there.
I am so, so glad and privileged to have read this book. So, so glad.(less)
I really enjoyed this, and the author's writing--it's so beautiful I can't. (that's right. ending sentences with verbs!)
I thought the story was very w...moreI really enjoyed this, and the author's writing--it's so beautiful I can't. (that's right. ending sentences with verbs!)
I thought the story was very well-crafted, but when I reached the end I thought for sure that I was only halfway through the book. I would've loved to see Carey develop more and see her and Ryan grow, as well as Nessa, but it's like the story just suddenly halted for no reason. It kind of disoriented me and I don't find myself wishing this often, but I do wish that this book was longer. I guess that just means I can't get enough of Emily's words. :)
Despite the times the book made me shed tears and made me "aww", there was... something about it that distinguished it as a debut novel. I'm not sure why. The writing is, like I said, truly fantastic. I think it's because this book lacked an antagonist. Maybe it was their mother, maybe it was the world, but there were so many possibilities and obstacles that none really got developed, and so when Carey overcame an obstacle, I didn't really feel the impact of it. I mean, the biggest hurdle for her to jump over is telling people the truth about Nessa, but that's barely touched upon until the last 30 pages or so (I might be estimating this wrong, but it's approximately that length, I think). Thus this constant shifting of dangers rendered the plot a bit flat, a bit bland. This is exacerbated in that none of the obstacles really get solved. Adapting to the new world? We see hope, but we don't really see how it turns out. Telling the truth about Nessa? Once more we see hope, but not what results. The mystery of the mother? No actual conclusion as to where her life led her, just a simple nod of acknowledgment that disappointingly did not create the impact and emotional strength that I had expected.
So I guess I do know why this book felt like a debut novel despite its great characters and amazing writing: the plot was too unfocused and sporadic.
Still, I highly recommend this book. It retains a haunting, melodic quality to it that I will be referring back to for years when in such a mood. And the characters are truly remarkable and realistic, if not a bit predictable. (But that's what to be expected with contemporaries, right?)(less)
So good. SO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...moreQuick reaction:
So good. SO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
also oh my god my name was in the acknowledgments holy crap thank you so much SJ i<3you
Original will be posted onto my blog on January 3rd, 2013, here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, the following review does not contain...more
Original will be posted onto my blog on January 3rd, 2013, here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, the following review does not contain the formatting and links the original review on my blog does.)
Everyone loved this book so much that I was both frightened and buoyed to pick this up. It seems that a lot of reviewers knew Rachel Hartman before they read the book, but I've never had any acquaintances made with Rachel (though seriously? I'd love to). So if you didn't buy anyone's review because you thought they were all biased--well, I'm telling you now that I had no qualms against liking this book.
Of course, I didn't need to worry about bias and whatnot--Seraphina was absolutely tinkling.
It's very elegant, I think. That's the word to describe it: elegant. But also very true, and very subtly honest, at that. So no, the word to describe Seraphina is eureka. It's an epiphany smashed into beautiful words plastered into inky lines trilling on the flimsy disguises of a thin page (not to mind you, though, that it is indeed a very long story, but definitely too short of a time to spend with the flamboyant characters).
Actually, I take that back. The characters aren't flamboyant (though hmm, some are, I suppose). What I'm trying to say is that they are incredibly multi-dimensional, and that I absolutely want to be Phina's best friend, but that I also love Kiggs so very much and I want him to manifest into real life and marry me or something. Wait, no, I can't have both, can I? Darn. But see? The thing with these characters is that they are so utterly impressionable that you can fester up their responses even if they aren't there--their personalities and actions are so completely unforgettable that I don't need an exact wording in an existing scene to tell me what they want or need.
The best part about this whole masterpiece, though, is the absolute fascination with beauty that seeps through the spine of this book. Not beauty as in one's own vain reflection, but beauty of music, of emotions, art, acceptance, friendship, etc. etc. etc. This book explores some of the closest subjects to my heart (such as philosophy) without making it inconsistent, unbelievable, bland, or mad. Rachel writes like a pro and her words and ideas flow so easily over the pages and the reader that it's almost impossible to realize that you're adapting to this amazing, aesthetic view of life until suddenly you cannot imagine existing without it.
Seraphina may be "just another epic fantasy about dragons", but I assure you, it's original and gorgeous in its own right, and contains a brilliance too bright to conjure without reading it, and too vast to rest in until I hold the sequel in my eager hands.(less)
Quick Reaction: I had a few issues with this book (some character development stuff, some plot stuff), but overall I very much enjoyed it. Though I fe...moreQuick Reaction: I had a few issues with this book (some character development stuff, some plot stuff), but overall I very much enjoyed it. Though I felt as if it lacked a bit of sustenance (nothing really Ba-BAM happened in this book except for at the very end, and I think it could've used some more showing instead of all the telling Anna does), I still really liked the characters. Also, Kope!!! He's such a great guy. I hope he finds his happiness. *sighs* Gotta stop getting so attached to characters! T.T
Also, Kaidan and Anna have PLEEEEENTY of steamy scenes. Not that I minded. Those two are so sweet they give me cavities.
I didn't love it the way I loved the first book, but this is definitely still a series I highly, HIGHLY recommend. ^.^
The whole time I was reading this I couldn't help but remember this one friend of mine who, as Norah so perfectly describes Nick, is no way 100% strai...moreThe whole time I was reading this I couldn't help but remember this one friend of mine who, as Norah so perfectly describes Nick, is no way 100% straight. Which just added to the charm of Nick, might I say, because he really was a nice guy, and that's hard to find.
Norah was awesome, for the record. She reminded me a lot of me, personality-wise, and it's kind of awesome to go on this crazy ride with her.
The only thing I have to say that's negative is that the two voices sounded so similar that often I couldn't distinguish between who was talking, even though this was a co-authorship thing. Which wasn't really what I was expecting, but eventually I got used to it.
+1 for the music.
No, + 1000000000 for the music.
So yeah. This was fantastic. I recently got uveitis so I can't really see anything, so the short length of this book was a relieving compromise. I shall report back to the book world when my eyes finally get better. Hopefully.
-Also I'm slightly afraid of hotel ICE rooms now.-(less)
The thing about these books is that you have to suspend disbelief. Some of the plot twists don't make that much sense, at least not when you link it t...moreThe thing about these books is that you have to suspend disbelief. Some of the plot twists don't make that much sense, at least not when you link it to other seemingly disconnected events, but that's Ally Carter for you: her writing and characters and world and just plot in general is so engaging that it doesn't matter whether or not one little thing doesn't fit in. Of course, there was something pretty major towards the end that made me cry in choir, but then a Maggie Stiefvater is pulled and... well, let's just say that I was a bit disappointed. It felt like my tears were cheated, you know? That's what the loss of a star is for. But of course, if what I thought had happened really did happened, I might've still taken that star off out of pure woe. So... it's a lose-lose situation? o.O
But that's not my point. My point is that when people see me reading these books, they look at the cover, tilt the head, and crinkle their foreheads because it doesn't seem like something I'd read. (Okay, so that wasn't really my point, but please bear with my tangent for a quick moment.) And so I seriously suggest you don't label this book as "girly" or "chicklit" or anything like that just because of it's cover. It's actually got real emotional value to it that makes you feel, cool plots that are actually just mindblowing, and characters that are completely real. (Although, I do feel like the large family that Kat has is a bit... too convenient. But I'm willing to let that go for now just because so far, it makes sense.)
Either way, my REAL point is that this book was fun, awesome, and emotional. Which isn't something you'd expect, I don't think, at least not the latter, but Kat and Hale go through some real personal issues here and it's beautiful to see their characters grow.
I absolutely cannot wait for (though also dread the Gallagher Girls finale) Ally's next book.(less)
Original posted here on my blog. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links are not available.)
What is it with madness?
Why is it that everyone is so burdened and broken that the only perfection that exists is a product of our own imagination? Splintered is pure madness, insane and twisted and sinister and completely seductive. You see those vines caging Alyssa's hair? Those same vines trap you, too.
Splintered is so heartbreaking it makes you want to weep an ocean of your own. Everyone is flawed and impossibly real and emotionally tumultuous. And that's the way it is: tumultuous. But Splintered is just what it is: the rock that splinters your exterior. It's not the type of book that crawls into your heart, per say, but more like the type of story that robs your breath and frightens you when you realize that its craziness is paralleled inside you.
A. G. Howard brings out the darkness in you and sprinkles it with doses of light--just enough to keep you afloat, but not enough to obscure the fear of drowning under.
The magic of Splintered, is, cliché or not, everywhere. The writing is beautiful and haunting. The words create such a flamboyant atmosphere, and the world-building is so thoroughly fleshed out that even the most illogical sequences somehow make sense. It's as if Ms. Howard smashed the world into pieces and rearranged it upside-down and backwards and all wrong all over the place, like a puzzle that fits in a darker, creepier way.
Splintered, at its heart, is a turmoil unsettled. Madness or tranquility? Self or community? Eccentric or accepted? But it's all those questions amplified to a degree that is unimaginable but by the mind of Ms. Howard and her ambient words.
There are retellings, and then there are retellings that twist everything around. Splintered is the epitome of the latter: what you thought was Alice in Wonderland is the original puzzle, and Splintered completely rips it apart. But that doesn't mean it doesn't pay homage to the classic--in fact, it is not so much that Splintered isn't Alice as that Alice cannot be Splintered. They are like twin souls wedged into one body. There are similarities, but there are differences that cannot be ignored.
Wonderland, it seems, is nothing that it seems. This journey is harrowing and completely phenomenal.
Hold on tight--the rabbit hole is as twisted and deadly as ever; even a potion can't keep you immune from Splintered's alluring charms. (less)
Actual, full review: Review will be posted on my blog at 12 AM PST February 7th, 2013, here. Note: due to copy-and-paste, f...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Actual, full review: Review will be posted on my blog at 12 AM PST February 7th, 2013, here. Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.
I've heard people say that the best books are the ones that make you homesick for somewhere you've never been.
I don't think I've ever felt so much yearning to be in Japan than I have while reading Ink.
Amanda Sun is my new hero. So often--too often--you read books in foreign settings that are under-researched, not fleshed out, extremely stereotypical, or just plain misleading. But it's clear from the details in the streets to the careful dialect all the way to the food, the culture, the education, the clothing, the style, that Amanda knows what she's talking about. It's amazing. I was listening to the furin wind chimes the other day, and it, among with a few other things I searched up on Google while reading the book, was exactly as Amanda described. Honestly, I don't think I've ever read a book set in modern Asia so well researched.
Not only that, but Amanda's prose is effortless to read. It's not overwhelmingly purple, and it's not disastrously bland. It has the same impact as Rick Riordan's: often humorous, often serious, and too commonly heart-stopping, with the masterful ease of a storytelling guru. I loved the plot and characters so much. Katie is an amazing heroine. In the beginning, there were a few problems with the book that I had, mainly surrounding Katie's almost unrealistic irrational responses to Tomohiro's actions, and the ending was a bit too anticlimatic for my taste. But I got to really see Katie as a real person, and this book reads like an epic soap opera that is just stunning and savory.
Of course, we can't forget Tomohiro. Ahhhh Tomo. TOMO. AHHHH!!!!! I'm sorry, excuse the flailing for a moment. But- OH MY GOSH. I love Tomo so much I can't stand it. He's a jerk, a giant jerk, and that's not cool, but he has extremely good reasons for it and he makes up for the jerkiness with bravery, selflessness, and a desire to change. The number one thing that makes unlikable love interests is their inability to recognize their flaws, and also their unwillingness to change for the better. But Tomo is the complete opposite. And it's just- HE IS SO ADORABLE. AHHHHH. I wish I have a quote to show you, but since I mailed the ARC off already I can't. :( But there's this one part where Katie and Tomo are together and Tomo was injured, and he was talking about how Katie wasn't helping his blood flow recover. A few pages later he's falling asleep, and he just looks at Katie and smiles and says, "the blood flow." It's so cute I think I'm going to die from the adorableness. ^.^
Basically, I loved Ink so much I could probably just blissfully tumble off a cliff just for the sequel now. Hopefully it won't resolve to that...
There are books that you like, books that you love, and then books that make you so happy you just want to drown in chocolate. Ink is that last one, plus a few cherry blossoms just for hints of poison and beauty. It's truly a remarkable book. You absolutely must should check it out. Preferably now.(less)
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled...more 4.5 Stars
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled across it today and finished the book. It reminds me of Gilda Joyce, which was one of my favorite series back when I was a kid. I just adore this book. Lawrence is so sweet, and Victoria is awesome in that feisty girl-power type of way. I look forward to anything else that Ms. Legrand writes!(less)
Excuse the cursing, but... I. FUCKING. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I LOVE IT SO MUCH IT LITERALLY PAINS ME TO LET IT SLIP FROM MY FINGERS.
IT'S SO GOOD. SO SO GOOD. I CAN'T EVEN.
Definitely one of my top 3 all-time favorites, right up there with TIGER LILY.
I love this book more than words can say.
-nonono i don't want this to be over please no-
-the writing is so beautiful I want to wrap myself in it and let it sing me to sleep-
-small bone to pick: the cover is awesome except for the White Hands. I get the relevance, but :( it's so badly photoshopped in that it looks just strange. Ah well.-
Actual, full review: (Full, original review here. Note: Due to copy-and-paste, some formatting and links may have been lost.)
Sorrow's Knot is a woeful, poetic tale with a dew-dazzling quality to it, hypnotic in rhythm and unrelenting in emotions. Erin Bow's writing is beautifully quiet, with words stringed together like charms on a bracelet without ever stealing the story away from its original purpose: to give us some sense of hope, of peace and serenity, even when we know that not all is well.
I think what Sorrow's Knot does exceptionally well is its delicate balance of romanticizing sacrifice and spearing freedom. It raises such profound questions, and in a way that never makes you feel as if its suffocating you with its morality. How free is freedom, and how far are we allowed to go to protect freedom before we've gone too far? Is sacrifice a smudge of weakness or is it heroic and insurmountable?
Besides the phenomenally crafted themes and writing of the book, the worldbuilding is superb as well. The world is reminiscent of Native American culture, and some parts of it reminds me of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (Evil Forest, etc.). But that's not to say the world is a parody; if it is based on any sort of Native American or African culture at all, it is safe to say that Sorrow's Knot is more of a corollary, a refining of such traditions rather than an imitation. And the world is rich and believable and immersive, and it's almost impossible to not forget yourself when you're wallowing in lakes with Otter or hiking through mazes of crooked branches.
The characters, finally, are commendable for their depth and realism. Though they live in a world so completely different from ours, there never was a doubt in my mind that they weren't fleshed out. Every character had its own identity and even the most seething, hateful ones had qualities that allowed us to glimpse their humanity. It is truly remarkable, how incredible each character is developed.
Read this book. There's nothing else I can say but ask you to read it. It is, quite simply, breathtaking.(less)
Quick Reaction: I thought this book was incredible, but there were a bunch of inconsistencies that I discovered--which ultimately led to the loss of a...moreQuick Reaction: I thought this book was incredible, but there were a bunch of inconsistencies that I discovered--which ultimately led to the loss of a star.
I have examples of what I mean. They are spoilers, though, especially the first one, so you might want to be careful.
1) (view spoiler)[Echo heard Taylor and Sheridan talking the first night they went to sleep because of the record function. But when Echo questioned them about it, he didn't mention that Taylor had brought up Tyler Sherwood and seemed to know about him. Tyler Sherwood is such an important character in the story, it's just inconsistent that Echo would overhear it and forget. (hide spoiler)]
2) (view spoiler)[ this one is a very minor spoiler, but during the part when Sheridan is dying her hair and wanted to dye it red, but Echo said that red was out-of-style, and she thought since when did primary colors get out of style?...well, Echo's hair is blue. So um, blue is a primary color..... (hide spoiler)]
There are other inconsistencies to be found throughout the book that kinda irritated me, but since I don't have the book with me I can't dwell too much in it. Also, be prepared for some insta-love.
Even then, though, when you look at the book on a full, bigger scale, it's actually quite amazing. The world is the most realistic dystopian setting I've ever read, because the word evolutions and (view spoiler)[loss of democracy (hide spoiler)] are all current blessings/catastrophes/events, and they are certainly conceivable concepts in the future.
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Erasing Time is the most realistic dystopian novel I have ever read. There are word evolutions, government changes, but not only that, they make sense. I'm not saying other dystopian stories aren't conceivable; simply that the changes utilized in Erasing Time are already ones we can see building today.
Starting with a bang and ending with one, Erasing Time is certainly a thrilling dystopian novel that does justice for the over-littered genre. Its characters are well-developed and have an authentic sort of relationship. I have these friends who are twins, and they are so very different from the stereotypical "twin" ideals. It made me extremely glad to see Sheridan and Taylor portrayed in a way that is natural yet does not invade the dreaded stereotypical property. Not only that, but these girls are clever as well. However, that raises one problem, which is pretty much the only one I had throughout the entire book:
Sometimes the twins, or Echo, or someone else, would figure out a twist lightning fast with no preceding reasons.Often, these plot reveals acted more like a tool to enhance and speed up the story rather than to enhance a character. While it's good to progress your plot, I didn't feel like sudden, out-of-thin-air explanations were the best idea. Of course, maybe I'm just not bright enough for these things, but considering I self-learned college-leveled ancient Latin in two weeks over the summer and got an "A" on a test that my college friend gave me, I figure I have a good enough reason to suspect inconsistency. (That was not, of course, meant to brag in any way. I only mentioned it because I thought it would be relevant to the improvement of this review.) Not only that, but there were these moments where Taylor and/or Sheridan actually revealed major plot points (and in a quite obvious way) that the others didn't ever mention about. I've listed some of those spoilers on my Goodreads review, but mostly it's simply a matter of distribution and how information is utilized that didn't work out in the favor for this book.
Overall, though, Erasing Time was fascinating with it theories and palpable with its dangers. It's one heck of a thrill ride and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Hopefully, you will, too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Three things. 1) This is a review of both Eon AND Eona. 2) Original is here on my blog. 3) Due to copy-and-paste, SOM...more**Actual, full reaction/review**
Three things. 1) This is a review of both Eon AND Eona. 2) Original is here on my blog. 3) Due to copy-and-paste, SOME formatting and links MAY have been lost.
Too much is lost in our greed and ambition to be recovered.
Eon and Eona are different beasts coalescing in the same form, the same thoughts, the same ideals all slammed together until there’s just this giant wall of steel. These books are unbreakably vulnerable and cracked with dirt. They are not perfect; far from it. But they are entertaining and they make you think, and that’s all that really matters.
Eona is a frustrating character who I found incredibly aggravating in both books. But while she was just plainly—forgive me, but—stupid in Eon, in Eona she had every reason and pressure to make such choices. So, I hereby declare Alison Goodman the Queen of Conflict. Not because I have some sort of immense, evangelical power that creates an instant verdict of black and white, but because her characters suffer so much I cannot even fathom how she could possibly have the heart to write the stories. But then maybe that’s why I’m too soft for these things; the harder the journey, the sweeter the ending, as the saying goes.
I can’t help but think that while that’s true on the surface level, the sweetness is but a crumbling disguise beneath Eona’s words.
This series shudders with cruelty: there are harassments and there are threats; new lives lost and old lives gained; bursts of shallowness and too much selfishness; and disguise and lies and punches and wars and executions and death and it’s not even just a surface thing, not something that is happening but I cannot sense—the characters are so frustrating that they have etched their way into my skin, so that every time another bone snaps, I can only cringe.
Eon was entertaining; Eona was crushing. I’m not sure how I forced my way through Eon: it was certainly wonderful, but I hated the characters’ decisions so much I wanted to snap the book in half. But still I bought the Nook copy when I realized I left my paperback at home, and I was on a plane to Chicago. That must say something; I hate spending extra money I have no need to expend.
These books are obsessive and gripping, but as your grip slips they clench you again, harder each time until you are stuck in their prison but you do not realize it until the last word of Eona has breathed.
Eon and Eona are so convoluted and developed, I am in awe of Alison Goodman (despite my anger at previously mentioned predicaments). There are plots—numerous of them—and then subplots, then sub-subplots, then sub-sub-subplots, and so on and so on until the only one who can see light in this blinded rabbit hole is Alison herself. And what an epic she has written; I was completely emerged within the Empire of Celestial Dragons. The world swarmed with authenticity and was so real I sometimes was lost in the real world, wondering where I was. It is the details: every word, thought, action; they all pertain to the world, not a thread of modern Anglicized influence through it all, except a few curse words.
One last thing: High Fantasy is my favorite genre. Not because of its beauty and ability to transport the reader to worlds previously unfathomable, but because it is like a dream: too desirable to escape and much too burned to stay.
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell w...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell was exactly the type of boy and love I want in my life. Not anymore. Sean beats him. Gosh he and Eva are so amazing: Eva's passionately a dreamer and rebelliously strong, sort of like me, while Sean is quietly ferocious and intellectually witty. They are freaking perfect together.
You see reviews all over the place and they usually start with some tagline among the lines of "The Lost Girl was a disturbingly beautiful, unconditionally sorrowful, and fascinating story weaved (pun intended) with threads of the strongest characters and most tragic flaws."
Then the review continues, discussing voice, character, plot, pacing, what worked and what didn't work for the reviewer, etc. I do this all the time. We bloggers do this because it's the way a review is written, right? You review by letting the readers know what to expect and when to hang on; who they can anticipate they'll love and just how many tissues they need to prepare beforehand.
For the first time in my over-a-year blogging experience, I am at a loss for words.
I'm staring at this seemingly pointless page of review and I just don't even know anymore. I can't describe it. There's no way to transcribe the immensely emotional and staggeringly heart-breaking idea and soul behind The Lost Girl. I can't talk about the boy, the girl, the story--I can't even think about it without succumbing to the verge of crying.
This book... Well, let me put it this way:
You know how there are all these different types of instruments, how they're all so different and powerful and how, when they all clash together, the noises and sounds merge into this tinkling, spine-chilling sound? Imagine those instruments as essential parts of a book. The piano is the plot, the characters the violin. The flute is the emotional depth and the drums the pacing. These all sound beautiful on their own, but often the drums and the flutes clamor or the piano and violin are out of sync and the end product, though delightful, feels often... insubstantial. As if there's something missing and it's incomplete even though all the needed plot elements are there.
The Lost Girl is the song that meshes everything together and emerges with a masterpiece--one deserving waterfalls of tears and thousands of standing ovations. It's the arrow that snags you right in the heart. It's the poison you swallow with love. It's the air you breathe when you're desperate and a raging mess.
It's just... so hard to review this wide, haunting vision. I feel like I'll just rant on and on and I won't ever say anything remotely meaningful because The Lost Girl is indescribable. It's the feeling of a million contradictions flying at you and, in the end, it somehow makes sense. It makes sense out of the nonsense and it makes music out of the imperfect.
By no means is anything perfect, but The Lost Girl wins a medal for being one of the closest books to ever achieve it.
Maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll love it. But no matter what, there's one thing I can guarantee:
You will feel. This book will yank out all of your emotions and smear them side by side so that when you finally finish it, you will feel.
And that's an entire masterpiece in itself. (less)
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted here on my blog on January 22nd, 2013. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and...more**STARRED REVIEW**
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted here on my blog on January 22nd, 2013. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Darn it, Marie. If I actually cussed, I would be throwing out a firecracker of expletives right now.
I read this book a while ago, so I don't remember every nook and cranny of it. But here is what I do remember: every time I think about it, I just want to weep and simultaneously punch a wall. I still freeze every time someone mentions it because I just. freaking. can't.
Gosh, Marie, why do you keep doing this to me?!?!? The writing was so concise yet impactful that it was actually more than beautiful: it was unforgettable. The plot was SO action-packed it was like watching a James Bond movie while experiencing Inception. It was so insanely fast-paced and heart-robbing that I couldn't even move until I finished the book. It's the ultimate definition of unputdownable. And also, I'd like to think, unforgivable, because it gave me such immense amounts of pain that I just- no no no no no I'm going to cry again no no no
ARGH. MARIE. Y U KEEP HAUNTING ME LIKE THIS.
You think I'm not being serious, but I really am. I just can't make any sort of "serious" sense right now because I'm so emotionally distraught. I feel very compromised. Like if I say one more word I'll topple back into the hole of GIVEMEBOOK3NOWNOWNOWNOWNOW-
Oh wait. I'm already so deep in this hole, I've forgotten about the world above.
Prodigy, though, in a word, is lost. So many sacrifices, so many fears, so many character developments, so many plot twists, so much genius that even a hundred Hershey's bars wouldn't stack up in comparison. This book was not a rollercoaster: it was a freaking cannonball. You don't even get the time to prepare with the proper goggles before Marie pushes you into the waters from a height beyond Shangri-la. Then the words wrap around you like air currents and slam you down into the water with a splash that hurt more than a hundred million bombs setting on fire.
Okay fine, so I'm exaggerating, but you know what? This book had me sobbing more than I did for my ma back as a wee lad, so if I'm gonna make some exaggerations, at least they're made out of honest sadness.
Rest assured: I plan very much on surviving this new year, lest I miss the conclusion to this tear-jerking, me-making-it-sound-extremely-melodramatic-when-it's-really-just-ugly-heart-breaking saga of unparalleled epicness. (less)
Helen! Lucas! Don't you dare do that to me! I've suffered through enough of that darn drama with Cassandra Clare...moreQuick Reaction: WHY!!?!?!?!
Helen! Lucas! Don't you dare do that to me! I've suffered through enough of that darn drama with Cassandra Clare already. T.T And this time, we readers know the truth, which makes it that much more unbearable! And how come there's going to be a love triangle in Dreamless? Don't do that to me!!! D: D: D:
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I love this book so much I hate it.
To paraphrase the fantastic Phoebe North: I hate it because I hate its ending. I hate it because I hate how obsessed it made me feel. I hate it because I was such a fan-girl that I wasn't even like my usual quiet, slightly cynical self.
But hey, I don't want to talk about the rest of this book, at least not just yet. Because, HOLY GODS OF THE WORLD, Lucas Delos!!!! Ohhh holy hedgehogs, please help me. I am DYING over here over my swooning. Ahem. No, like, seriously? Didn't I warn you about the fan-girling? Because Lucas is pretty much perfection. (quick note here: some people refer to Lucas as "Edward," but someone please explain that to me because I see no connection whatsoever. What Lucas does it actually for a legitimate reason, and he tries his best to work Helen's preferences into the things he has to do, so that she won't have to suffer as much. You call that Edward? Really? Since when did Edward become so... amazing?)(But that's just my opinion. You tell me.)
Well, now that that's out of the way...
No, not really. Because I have something else to say, and this is slightly spoilery, so I've highlighted it. Only drag your mouse over the highlighted text if you've read Starcrossed or don't care about spoilers!
Anyway. I know that this review isn't how my reviews usually are, but this is one of those books that didn't consume me emotionally, but was so freakin' entertaining and brilliant that I resorted to my fan-girl voice. But let me address some other awesome elements in this book before someone puts a restraining order on me: the mythology. That was just fantastic. I absolutely love love love Greek mythology, so this was like a home run for me. This book was also very understandable--even though it weaved complex back story with a charging front line, it never became confusing or dragging. Though, I suppose the highly relatable characters had something to do with it. I once saw someone call Helen "ditsy," but that's the last word I'd use to describe her. She's a bit clueless and very sweet, I think, but not ditsy. Though that's just what I think. I'd love to be friends with her. And of course, how can I not mention the beautiful setting of Nantucket, or the heart-warming relationship Helen has with her dad that has become almost extinct in the YA world nowadays?
Overall, Starcrossed is ambrosia for everyone yearning for row after row of gourmet delicacies and a cast that entertains, enchants, and inflames.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Finally finished this book. I have no complaints for it. The writing is gorgeous and even though I usually hate heroines like Mary, she made me love h...moreFinally finished this book. I have no complaints for it. The writing is gorgeous and even though I usually hate heroines like Mary, she made me love her, because we dreamers gotta stick together, yanno? But I really do think there should've been an epilogue or something because I have NO IDEA what happened to (view spoiler)[Jed, Cass, Harry, Jacob, and Argos (hide spoiler)] AND the whole thing with (view spoiler)[Travis dying (hide spoiler)] was so heartbreaking.
Overall, though, I really, really loved this book. I think it's one of my first zombie books--if not the first, I know!--and it definitely won't be my last with the likes of Carrie Ryan around.
**full review to come... maybe...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sorry 'bout that. You see, I have quite the fetish for Maria V. Snyder's books now. In fact, I'm dyin...moreQuick reaction: YEAH, KICK SOME BUTT BABAY!
Sorry 'bout that. You see, I have quite the fetish for Maria V. Snyder's books now. In fact, I'm dying to read the rest of this brilliant series. Problem: my darn homework. Ah, well, Jaime, kudos to you. This book was amazing.
DID I MENTION HOW AWESOMELY KICK-BUTTING AND ROMANTIC AND EPIC IT WAS?!?
Original will be posted on my blog on January 17th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lo...more**Actual, full review**
Original will be posted on my blog on January 17th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I liked Unravel Me. There isn't much in my memory about how exactly it impacted me, but I remember that I liked it.
But I don't remember that I loved it.
Tahereh's writing is quite gorgeous (but also very egregious and takes a lot of patience to read and get used to, and isn't exactly everyone's cup-of-tea), and her metaphors perfectly represent a mentally unstable girl who's been hated since her first touch. But sometimes writing isn't enough to masquerade the fact that just because the heroine hates her life doesn't give her the privilege of acting (or, rather, not-acting) stupidly while everyone else is putting their lives out on the front line.
I get it, I get it. Juliette is a mess. Thank goodness Kenji yelled at her to stop being a mopey TSTL protagonist right before I shut the book, though. Man, Kenji, I gotta give you props. You're awesome. We should be friends.
Anyways. So, let's talk about the romance really quick. Adam, it seemed, had little impact on me in this book. I prized his and Juliette's relationship, but soon he became to tumultuous and emotional for me to really connect with him. He was too... unruly. Not in a lucid sort of making-you-blush-ness, but moreso that he was... ah, yes. Unraveled. He and Juliette were both unraveled. Granted, I felt sympathy for them, but it's hard to feel much when your feelings are put next to the melodramatic proclamations of a mentally loose girl.
I feel like I'm a jerk for not sympathizing much with Juliette, but then again, people were furious over Tris in Insurgent (I had no problem with it, actually). I'm not angry at Juliette for being mentally crooked; I'm angry because it took her a long to realize that she had all the help and support she needed right by her side, all servile and patient and understanding until it was all too much to wait for.
Overall: I am now Team Warner, despite the fact that he disgusted/amused me in Shatter Me (which my starred review of is here, by the way). Juliette earned back my trust in the end. The writing still conforms me to Juliette's fear more claustrophobically and talentedly than many authors I've read. And the story is incredibly engaging, if unoriginal and predictable. Unravel Me fell a bit short of the phenomenon that is Shatter Me, but that's largely due to the fact that my feelings about the writing has slowly changed and faded over time. Yet, it's not a story to be missed, especially if you're in for some fantastic action scenes.
It's going to be a long wait until Book 3, but I'm starting the countdown now. (less)
Ending was a bit rushed, but I really don't care. My heart feels like it's going to explode, this story is over--but just as...moreBeautiful. Just beautiful.
Ending was a bit rushed, but I really don't care. My heart feels like it's going to explode, this story is over--but just as how an author always keep their characters TUCKed into a corner of their brain after a series finishes, a reader, too, CHRISTsens the memories.
Okay I'll stop with the puns.
But wow, I'm also so very satisfied with the ending. And Web is just <3.
This isn't the type of conclusion that makes me shudder in horror or weep with inconclusiveness. This makes me so happy and so sad at once, happy because I am so content with it all, with Clara receiving the life she worked so hard to receive, and sad because this whole thing is so completely over that my eyes burn even as I think about it.
(Also, random note: I went to Stanford for a debate tournament, and that was the first time I went to Stanford. That was in February, so reading this after that experience was really just fantastic, because I could picture all the places and almost feel the Oval, the grass, the fountain--all of that all around me again.)
Quick Reaction: I should make it clear that there are many different ways to judge a book, and I'm judging Dreamless in relativity to Greek myths. Som...moreQuick Reaction: I should make it clear that there are many different ways to judge a book, and I'm judging Dreamless in relativity to Greek myths. Some pet peeves we see abundantly in today's literature are common and incredibly vital to Greek plots, and I must say that in both that aspect and Angelini's soothing narrative, this book certainly deserves 5 stars.
I thought I would hate Orion, but he actually turned out okay. Though Helen annoyed me a bit at some parts, she never crossed the line that made me hate her like Kill Me Softly because at least she was sacrificing for others, instead of being a selfish b-witch.
Anywho, this book was just fantastic. It's gripping and quite addictive and, honestly, filled with tension that Greek fans are sure to fall head-over-heels in love with.
Actual, full review: This review has been scheduled to post on my blog on 5/15/2012. Here it is, specially early for Goodreads followers and friends! :D (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Josephine Angelini has the uncanny ability to tread uncharted waters and come back with loads of gold in her hands. In other words: what was an aggravating tale of insatiable love, a tale that spanned centuries with infamy and worship--the epic of Helen and Paris, has been transformed completely by Josephine Angelini into an addicting series gleaming with beauty.
It has been established, hopefully, that I am as big of a Greek mythology fanatic as they come, and I am not the first to say that this book is not for everyone. It's entertaining and fascinating, of course, but the true core of this novel lies within its ability to reincarnate lost characters into ones radiating with compassion and believability. For fellow geeks of Greek mythology, and others who yearn for a world fastened with gods and weaved with power, Dreamless captures and re-captures the fulfillment of that wish numerous times.
This book is obsessive and gorgeous. I just couldn't stop reading it; it was as if I myself was stuck within the lines smothered between words, trying to claw my way out of Helen and Lucas's mesmerizing world yet failing to do so without much care at all. It's Josie's prose, I think, that makes this book such a gripping one: she tells you everything you want to know, but the characters don't know it, and you're just sitting there waiting for them to just freakin' wake up already and see. But it's not the type of frustration that results from annoyance: it's a frustration comprised of your own desires as well as the characters; a concoction that truly glues the reader to the page, I believe.
Before I wrap up this review, let's talk about Orion. Ah, yes, Orion: the boy I hated from the moment I read the summary--how could I not, when Helen and Lucas's love was so fragile and so, therefore, also beautiful? But within pages of meeting him, I couldn't help but understand Helen's attraction to Orion as well, for Orion is a charismatic boy who tries so hard to help everyone else; he's altruistically brave, but he's not stupid, and he's understanding as well. So I must say that, even if you believe in Helen and Lucas's love ferociously and fiercely, please don't let it deter you from opening your eyes to try and understand. It's difficult, but I believe that there are roads you never would've seen once you let Josie carry you away in her words.
Greek mythology has constructed a vital and irreplaceable contribution to our very society and government, no matter where in the world you are; Josephine Angelini is a storyteller mastering the YA mythological world, and wherever we travel with her next, I know the ride will be as at ease and thrilling as one could dare to dream.
P.S. Check out my review of the first book in the trilogy, Starcrossed! (less)
It wasn't perfect or anything, but I liked it a lot! :D
Quick Reaction: I. Freaking. Love. This. Book.
Where Leigh Fallon's Inkpop novel h...moreIt wasn't perfect or anything, but I liked it a lot! :D
Quick Reaction: I. Freaking. Love. This. Book.
Where Leigh Fallon's Inkpop novel had definite and transparent flaws, Sweet Evil is smooth and brilliant and beautiful, and Anna is such a sweet gal! Oh, and please don't get me started on Kaidan. Seriously. *flails/fan-girls* But seriously, I'm floored by the way Wendy handled the taboo subjects addressed in this book. She made ordinary extraordinary. Everything out of nothing. Just... amazing.
Quick Reaction: holy wow. I can't type much right now 'cause I'm out of town and on my phone, but this was awesome. I can think of reasons why some of...more Quick Reaction: holy wow. I can't type much right now 'cause I'm out of town and on my phone, but this was awesome. I can think of reasons why some of the peeps I know might be turned off by this (Audra's intensity, for example) but I strongly suggest you hang on tightly and storm through! (Pun intended. Also, I realize that this is incredibly morbid, but it just occurred to me that this book has hurricanes and sand and we just had Hurricane Sandy. Hmm, leads to some windy apocalyptic theories. Oh man, I hope no one thinks I'm making light of Sandy. I just thought the irony- ah, I'll just shut up now.)
Actual, full review: Original will be posted on my blog on February 5th, 2013. You Goodreads peeps get an early look. Yay! :D
If your state doesn't have In-N-Out, that seriously sucks.
Something interesting: While I was reading this, I was on "vacation" in Palm Springs. Which was awesome, because I drove past many of the places in the book while I was "vacationing". And during that time, there was a scene in the book that involved **EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILER AHEAD** an Animal-style Cheeseburger at In-N-Out. **EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILER OVER** I always knew In-N-Out had a "secret menu", but I didn't realize it was called Animal Style. So last weekend, while I was out at a Debate Tournament and happened to stop by an In-N-Out, I bought an animal-style cheeseburger.
Oh my gosh. Sorry to all the vegans out there, it's just, OMG HOW CAN SOMETHING TASTE SO GOOD. But anyways, back to the point: Let the Sky Fall is somewhat like that amaaaazing cheeseburger, in that it is delicious and awesome and also wields a secret, unique power of its own: something really original.
Let me just start with the characters: Vane was such a boy. Seriously. I used to think that, oh, boys surely don't think *that* much about, you know, mind-in-the-gutter stuff
, but once I got to high school... wow. How much more ignorant could I have been? The thing is, Vane's behavior is sort of like that. He's a bit immature, a bit foolish, so very much a boy, and sometimes I was frustrated with him. He had such a big responsibility to uphold and he kept messing around. But thank goodness for Audra. Audra is like the polar opposite of Vane (which, by the way, made differentiating the characters in this mutliple-POV book so much easier). She's stern and fierce and very very serious. I think some people would find her to be a bit too intense at times, but I think 1) if you factor in her situation, it's understandable how she came to be such a tightly-coiled person, and 2) Vane seriously needed someone like Audra to snap him back into where he needs to be.
The characters' juxtaposition flared them both to life, and the intricate subplots (especially of Vane's "love life") adds doses of authenticity to their personalities as well.
Let the Sky Fall also won me over with its originality. I haven't ever read a book about windwalkers, and maybe that just means that I have narrow taste, but it is true that this LtSF utilizes some seriously awesome mythology. The world is a easy one to understand, and an easier one to immerse into.
If you've never tried it before, you'll probably be hesitant to grab a taste, and you might not immediately like it (both the cheeseburger and the book). But once you halt the early questions and just go along for the ride, you might find that, sometimes, those extra calories are worth it, and that soon, you just can't help but admit that you're a fan. (PUN INTENDED. ^_^)
Quick Reaction: This book was so real that it plagued me like the bubonic. A drastic comparison? Not really.
Honestly, I've been through what Noelle's...moreQuick Reaction: This book was so real that it plagued me like the bubonic. A drastic comparison? Not really.
Honestly, I've been through what Noelle's been through. I still am, sometimes. But I'm more like Simon--I don't give a darn. I really don't care what others think of me. And that's what I love about this book--Noelle's character transformation is so believable and complete that I can't point out a single flaw in it.
This is the book to read if you hated high school. This is the book to read if you loved high school. This is the book to read, whether or not you're in high school.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
The picture you see above is a rainbow-spewing fish. It's a blurry picture, as I took it with my webcam up close, and it's not colored. I assure you, though--it is indeed a rainbow-spewing fish.
"Um, Juli," you might be thinking, "What the heck does a freakin' fish have to do with Keep Holding On?" That's a great question. And so allow my quasi-philosophical explanation to fathom for a second or five.
Our lives are blurry. They pass by us faster than we realize and slower than we desire. Things don't work out right; they turn upside-down; colors degrade to black; brightness fades to a dimmer white; what was once a promise is now a dread. Through it all we're still fighting to find a better life, and even if that means sacrificing certain values, most of the time we are willing to do it.
So why, then, is bullying such a problem? And suicide?
I have been bullied. My friend has been bullied. In fact, this generation's (and I believe what I'm saying is accurate, considering I am in this generation) idea of "bullying" and such is so drastically different from our parents' that if an adult saw some of the jokes we share, they'd probably be appalled. But that's just how evolution works, isn't it? To slowly progress and then stop and then progress and then backtrack and go on and on in this never-ending pattern, always dependent on something else?
Keep Holding On is like a giant stop sign screaming, "WAIT!' STOP! DON'T YOU SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING? DON'T YOU SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING?" Susane's words leap off the page in an array of promise and hope, desperation and authenticity. She's encapsulated a common teenage life into one of the shortest--yet fullest--books I've ever read. And the entire transformation of Noelle's character is so believable and complete that I am in awe of Susane's obvious understanding of both the topic and her talent.
This book incarcerated me. I'm out at dinner, eating hot pot with my parents, waiting for the food to arrive and reading this and BAM it's like everything I try to forget just drowns me again. I was addicted and terrified of Susane's words. They crippled and crushed and dared me to hope. They were so real I could barely stand it. Of course, my situation is not even close to how badly Noelle gets treated, but I can relate to her, and I even pronounce it almost impossible to not relate. There are some feelings that are too hard to ignore--too rare to be immune to--and one of those is sympathy. Sympathy and a eagerness to understand. (Though again, some people's qualities and actions continually surprise me--though they shouldn't. I should probably be used to them by now.)
Funny. I'm more like Simon--I don't give a darn what you think about me--I just live life because I don't think there's a point in wasting it on not-being-awesome. But we all have times when we just sink until we can't breathe, and Keep Holding On is it. It's beautifully heartbreaking and tragically sweet, subtly raging and fabulously daring. I'm in love with it and Noelle and Julian, and this book gives me so much strength--so unbelievably much--I'm still rocketing around on a I-CAN-DO-ANYTHING! high.
Life's weird. Life's stupid and gorgeous and obnoxious and endowing. Keep Holding On will guide you through the storms and find the rainbow. Maybe you'll even see a fish on your way there. A rainbow-spewing one, at that. (less)