This book is raw. It’s empowering. It’s beautiful and reckless at the same time. It made me feel emotions that no other book has ever made me feel before.
Wintergirls pivots around a girl named Lia who’s suffering from anorexia and coping with the death of her bulimic ex-best friend Cassie. I never had doubts on whether I would enjoy this book or not, because it’s painful from the very first pagel. As someone who looks in the mirror and sees all of the things wrong with her body, who steps on a scale five times a day (no matter how unhealthy that habit is) and feels even more worthless every time, Lia spoke to me immediately. As someone who watches everything she eats, as someone who feels lonely daily, Lia’s struggle and her spiral into darkness tugged at my heart. Anorexia and eating disorders are serious diseases, ones that I feel are easily dismissed as a “cry for attention” in society. However, Laurie exposes anorexia for what it truly is, a reckless disease that corrupts the brain. Lia measures the calories of everything she eats, vowing to only consume 500 calories a day. Where outsiders see a skinny girl, Lia sees a bulbous waste of space. Her days are measured in the amount of weight she can lose, how small she can possibly get.
I lift my arm out of the water. It's a log. Put it back in and it blows up even bigger. People see the log and call it a twig. They yell at me because I can't see what they see. Nobody can explain to me why my eyes work different than theirs. Nobody can make it stop.
Teens struggling with their body image and self-esteem will find solace in this book, in its powerful message to its readers. There were times where the hopelessness of Lia’s situation affected me, forcing me to put down the book and think about what was happening. Being in her mind truly made me uncomfortable, but almost relieved in a sick, morbid way. In seventh grade, I underwent a week where I stopped eating, taking in 500-600 calories a day, and I lost five pounds in a week. But during that week, I was always hungry, irritated, and tired. To imagine Lia going through the same thing every day of her life finally solidified my feelings towards this book. Laurie nailed Lia’s character and her struggle with disease.The character development blew me away, with Lia’s ups and downs. She went from “doing okay” to “spiraling downwards again” to “binge eating” to “feeling horrible about myself I’m a disgrace to mankind.” Her character was unpredictable, her inner dialogue reflecting that. She battled her body’s desire to eat a certain food and starved herself to the brink of death, and nowhere along the way did I fail to recognize the storm of thoughts churning within her.
085.00 is possible. I've been there before, in dangerland, sweet buzzing high gingersmoke air, crafty trolls hiding under bridges. But 085.00 makes me want 075.00. To get there I'll need to crack open my bones with a silver mallet and dig out my marrow with a long-handled spoon.
I almost never highlight the writing style of a book, but the writing was gorgeous. It perfectly mirrored Lia’s emotions, crossing out her traitorous thoughts of eating, and exemplifying her perception of herself and her guilt over Cassie’s death. Paragraphs would be left open ended so Laurie could insert phrases like “stupid/fat/bitch/stupid” to bring out Lia’s perception of herself. The metaphors used in Wintergirls are beautiful, and I imagined a wispy ballerina floating through the book, dancing and dropping comparisons like feather-light bombs. The language is breath-taking, propelling the book forward and keeping its reader captivated until the last twisted page. Wintergirls is dark and bleak and desperate, but Laurie balances all of those aspects deftly with the power of her words, finishing the book with a wholesome feeling and wonderful ending. My only advice to those who choose to venture into the depths of this book: good luck, because you’re in for a wild, wild ride.(less)
So I’m a little late to board the Jenny Han train, and seeing as this is my very first novel by her, I’m a little surprised by how little emotion I felt by this one. at first, I went in with an open mind, ready to experience Belly's relationship with the two brothers. I’ve always enjoyed rooting for the boy who’s darker and more mysterious than the other choice, and in this case it was Conrad, Belly’s childhood crush. He was aloof, which immediately appealed to me. However, throughout the book all he did was blow off Belly and act like a total jerk. There was no chemistry between Belly and Conrad, which was what I was expecting. But then he was supposedly supposed to have feelings for Belly, which he never showed. He continually chose to be a complete jerk to everybody around him, and it was hard to continue rooting for him. From the flashbacks that Jenny wrote about, Conrad was a decent character that sometimes could care about Belly, but there was no trace of him as an 18-year-old.
Another issue I had was with Belly. She was so childish all the time.She never stopped thinking about herself, and she whined about Jeremiah, Conrad, and Cam all at the same time. What’s the point of the time flashbacks if they don’t at least show her character progression? But instead, her 16/17-year-old self sounded exactly like her 11/14-year-old self. She didn’t grow up at all from who she was as a child. and her immaturity bothered me. She had three different guys gunning after her, and her personality made it hard to believe that so many people would like her at the same time, especially two brothers. Also, the way that Jenny wrote the book made it seem like Conrad and Jeremiah only started liking her because she grew up and became “pretty.” They never seemed to like her until they saw her this one summer and were all, “Oh my God you’re hot now!”
The Summer I Turned Pretty, not only lacks in characterization, but it also lacks in plot. I feel like the only substance was Belly whining about her life and stringing Cam along. All three of her romances popped out of nowhere, with absolutely no development, and it almost seemed like we were expected to follow along and blindly accept their romances. I felt that it was kind of forced at certain points, and I couldn’t relate to their emotions. There was no connection between me and any of the characters, which was the biggest flaw. With contemporaries, I’m pick about how believable the romance is as well as how well I can relate to each individual character, which unfortunately didn’t happen here.(less)
Love and Other Perishable Items is a book that demands attention and, more importantly, time to bask in its glory. With this book, I wasn’t captured by it to an extent that I fell in love, but this is a book that requires appreciation above all else. Laura Buzo’s writing style is simplistic, but requires a certain level of thought behind it. This book is split into two perspectives, one of Amelia’s narrative, and another excerpts from Chris’s notebook. Even though these two points of views are split into chunks, for example the first one hundred pages Amelia’s point of view, the next Chris’s random scribblings, these voices are distinct and telltale. You can feel the innocence and quiet admiration of Amelia, the desperation and recklessness of Chris. By the format of the words alone you can tell who’s speaking, but there’s a telltale difference in the two narratives.
Reading this book also gives you a feeling of inadequacy. Amelia and Chris are such smart and eloquent characters, discussing Gatsby on their lunch break, calling each other to lament over Great Expectations, recommending each other books at their leisure. They’re the kind of characters that made me want to strive for something greater in my own reading selection. They reminded me of hipsters in the modern world who have the best taste in music, can name the most obscure bands that produce the best music. Amelia, being only fifteen, had already immersed herself into this world of classics and fine literature. Chris, in his final year of uni, had this respect for Amelia for reading these books, and she often ranted to him about her distaste for certain characters and endings.
Something that I must point out is how simply gorgeous their discussions were. Feminism became a theme through a certain section, and they had a scintillating conversation about how it actually seemed to hinder the working class of women. Amelia reasoned how after women got rights and the ability work and vote, they were expected to work and support the house as well as take care of the kids and household. They gained freedoms but also gained a larger workload, something that made me put down the book and ponder what she meant by it. Her passion for feminism and the ideas she circulated in her head never failed to intrigue me and capture my appreciation.
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo is reminiscent of Eleanor and Park as well the writings of John Green. Told from the two perspectives of each character, this book is insightful and intelligent, exploring the ups and downs of love and literature. Being in Amelia and Chris’s minds was truly a pleasure. (less)
The recommendations concerning The Catastrophic History of You and Me were not received without praise, leaving me confident in my decision to read it. Luckily, I did like it, although not as much as I had originally anticipated.
The beginning certainly started out strong with an immediate hook, introducing us to Brie Eagan, dead because of a broken heart when her long-time boyfriend did not reciprocate her feelings toward him. The premise alone was enough to keep me reading; I expected it to recap Brie and Jacob's epic love story, but it was actually a poignant tale on dealing with the fact that she was dead. Watching the life around Brie move on and crumble without her in the midst of it was an interesting approach to her death, but what was even more interesting was the fact that it was told in the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, and Acceptance. Grief was another fascinating way to tackle Brie's predicament, as none of us knows what there is beyond death: if there even is a heaven or an in between. Seeing her deal with watching her loved ones have to move on from her, and also getting an omniscient point of view to her family's secrets was heartbreaking.
Never having had to go through these five stages—thank goodness—I didn't quite know what to expect and how to react to Brie experiencing them. That being said, the transitions in between the five stages were a little rocky and abrupt to me, and it was more like events that influenced her development along the grief cycle. The heaven-earth situation wasn't explained very well either, leaving me confused as to what was going on. The Catastrophic History of You and Me wasn't a paranormal book, not necessarily. The issues described were certainly contemporary-worthy, so the lack of "world building," so to speak, wasn't a real issue, although a little more explanation as to what was really happening to her certainly would have added to the overall quality.
My biggest issue was how melodramatic the plot was. As I mentioned earlier, Brie's death meant she got to look over her family in an omniscient point of view, following around her family members without being detected by them. This led to a lot of secrets, some of which were never resolved, some of which were by the end. I, personally, found the overused plot twists so melodramatic, especially considering how many they were. Some of them were added to enforce Brie's current stage of grief and purely for that purpose, and others were interwoven through the whole plot. Some of them were really easy to spot from far away, some of them just ridiculous, and some tolerable.
A fresh and interesting spin on heartbreak, The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg will tug on any reader's heartstrings as they watch Brie let go of her life and embrace the last stop on every human being's inevitable journey.(less)
How do I describe Crash as eloquently as I possibly can? This is Crash. Crash says, "Hi!" this is Crash when the car comes by. *smacks hands* It was chugging along. tooting happily, and its passengers were content.
And then the train was derailed and fell sideways into a bush. I don't want to be overly harsh, and I see why some people absolutely loved Crash, but I just wasn't one of them. I honestly don't even know where to start, other than the fact that the book was a walking cliché. The good girl fell for the bad boy, the bad boy pushed the good girl away, the good girl pursued—turns out the good girl isn't so good after all. My first major issue was with Jude Ryder. He was completely possessive and creepy, I honestly didn't understand what Lucy saw in him. There is a fine line between the "Be still, my beating heart" bad boy, and the "Get away from me and my future daughters" bad boy. Guess which type Jude was? You guessed it! The kind of bad boy that literally sends girls running in the opposite direction. He beat up guys, got arrested maybe three times in the book, "borrowed" cars, and it just didn't appeal to me or make me swoon at all.
Then came the issue of Lucy, who I have now dubbed the Hot Mess. She was a complete pushover and a total hypocrite. Her voice was just so snobby, Jude always thought she was sweet, and everybody perceived her as an innocent girl. But then she would turn around and insult a guy just because she wanted to, and she purposely tried to hurt his feelings, because she randomly decided to start hating him. Yet, she still trusted this guy more than Jude, her supposed boyfriend, even though she had made no indication of that before. It got so confusing, because all of a sudden things would happen that weren't set up properly at all, and it felt like they were all just randomly thrown into the plot just to keep it moving forward. There was no build-up to this one plot twist, and there was no originality behind the twists, either. They were just so random and melodramatic, making me cringe on the inside.
Not only that, but Lucy was a complete pushover, saying at one point that she would never, ever come back to Jude and then taking him back a few hours later when he followed her to her dance studio. Because that totally is not stalkery! And who even remembered that she danced until that point? Like, she never went for a single practice session, and it was maybe mentioned once or twice that she was a dancer until halfway through the book, when she decided to go to the studio. Coincidentally, as soon as she came home, her mother had an envelope for her from a prestigious dance college. Wow. That part really irked me because if Lucy wasn't going to college, or if she was a sophomore, then she probably would have completely ditched her sights on "becoming a ballerina." Honestly, if her dream was to dance, then she would have thought about it way more than she did. As a singer, and I know it's kind of unrelated, I think about singing all the time, because I want to do that for the rest of my life. But she completely obsessed over Jude instead, and she never even thought about her dancing, even though the original cover has a tutu and ballet slippers on it.
Speaking of other under-developed topics, this was one issue that pressed at me for the longest time: the fact that Lucy and Jude both had broken families but neither of them seemed to care about them. There was no development at all. I was so infuriated by it because I just wanted Lucy's parents to at last grow a little bit, or at least fix their dysfunction. But nope. They were really absent throughout the entire book, and in the moments they were present, they made some vague reference to why they acted the way they did, and then Lucy started obsessing over Jude again.
Honestly, there is so much more I can say, so I will just copy and paste the rest of my Goodreads updates because I can't even properly put my thoughts into words that would make any kind of sense.
Page 158—GIVE ME YOUR NECK.
Page 160—"...but I can't and I won't tolerate someone, male or female, talking about my girl like that." I give you, the possessive, possessive, and possessive Jude Ryder.
Page 228—So this is when her dancing finally comes into play. She like never practiced and it was only introduced because she got a letter from dance school like a few hours later
Page 245—HOW MANY TIMES ARE THEY GOING TO MENTION LUCY'S ABSENT BROTHER WITHOUT GIVING IT HIM PROPER DEVELOPMENT GOD SAVE US ALL
Page 246—"I'm avoiding you because Jude told me to," Lucy said to Sawyer, who, a few weeks earlier, gave her a LEGIT reason to stay away from Jude and then Jude just tells Lucy on a whim that Sawyer is bad news and she believes him? YOU ARE SO LUCKY THAT 365 SHEETS OF PAPER IS SEPARATING US RIGHT NOW LUCY
Page 267—I quote from page 243: "...because you're sweet and innocent" this is Jude talking to Lucy Page 267: "I don't like the way you saunter down the halls like you own the place, and I really don't like the way you throw corn kernels at the band table every day. You're pretentious, sneaky, and rude." This is Lucy talking to Sawyer REAL INNOCENT ONE ISN'T SHE? Also the dialogue is so unrealistic I want to cry right now
Page 248—THAT IS A CLICHE LINE DO NOT MAKE ME GO THERE
Page 250—WHEN DID SHE JOIN THE DANCE TEAM? WHAT
Page 274—Why do you jump into a new relationship for no reason with a guy you claimed you hated? lol Lucy did you take your meds?
Page 279—Do you use the word disdain in casual conversation if you're a teen? No. Do I? No. Does Lucy? Yes
Page 335—You couldn't come up with a more original plot twist? I'm not even surprised at all and the fact that we learn almost nothing about her brother is idiotic everything is so under-developed
The ending was completely random, everything was so under-developed that I couldn't even begin to care about the characters or the plot or anything. Just, everything popped out of nowhere, and was awkward because there would be no introduction to that point. Making up a random example, let's just say that someone told me not to cross the bridge without any reason. They just told me, "Don't cross the bridge. It's not good." And then five years pass, I see the bridge tons of times, but that same person never tells me again to never cross the bridge. So one day, I have to cross the bridge and I do. And then there happens to be a curse on the bridge and I'm doomed to never fall in love or something ridiculous like that. And I never make the connection that they were just protecting me by telling me not to cross the bridge.
It's out there, but honestly, everything was so messy and disorienting that I can barely tell anybody my issue with the ending without making it sound confusing. It was just a mess and it felt like Nicole was randomly adding parts because she felt like it would make the story better, when in fact it just cluttered the plot and pushed the important things—*cough* character development—out of the way.
This is going to possibly be the weirdest statement you will ever read in a review, but I honestly kept reading just because of the imaginary sex scene. It's weird, I know, but Lucy and Jude kept almost doing it before some stupid problem got in the way of their relationship. But they would be like, "I want you so bad right now" and they kept putting it off in the stupidest of ways, so I realized that this was what was moving the plot forward, the need for that sex scene. And it was obviously going to be that pivotal moment, and just imagining what would happen afterwards made me want to keep reading, because it was so set in my mind that the relationship would fall apart after that. But guess what never happened? Seriously, dude, I just wanted to strangle them, because at the end I kind of kept reading just so they could stop dragging out their obvious want for each other, and it's still going to be dragged out so wonderful.
Just. Please turn around and walk away before this rant becomes any longer. There was just so much wrong and I can't even begin to describe it, and obviously my review is a mess and incoherent, but imagine reading 365 pages of that and you have Crash by Nicole Williams.(less)
Shades of Earth has the smallest font I have ever seen in my life and my eyes have been permanently killed.
You see it too right? Aside from that unfortunate bit, my eyes adjusted quickly, even if I must already need a new prescription of contacts already.
I must say, Shades of Earth is one of the pure science fiction novels that I've actually really liked. While I did have my issues with the story, overall, it was really enjoyable and it would probably be one of the first I'd recommend to friends who enjoy science fiction. There aren't many young adult novels that would be so brave to create a whole new planet from scratch, full of monsters and dangers, but Beth manages it surprisingly well. Centauri-Earth reminded me a lot of both a prehistoric Earth and the moon. I don't know why, but it had that feeling to me. Centauri-Earth was so vividly imagined and described that I couldn't even begin to comprehend where Beth was going to take us next in this wild journey for survival.
While the plot was beautifully done and I found it to move at a fast pace, I also felt detached from it for other reasons. Amy was a completely flat character. She just sat there all limp while the story moved on and pushed her along, and sometimes without her. I never believed her and Elder's romance as well, and whether it was because I didn't understand it or because it wasn't as interesting as I would've liked it, I don't know. However, I did think that a bunch of the other characters were really well done. The amount of sacrifice in Shades of Earth was emotional and awe-inspiring, which was a definite plus.
I adored the mystery incorporated into Shades of Earth, but there were way too many convenient plot points. Without even trying, Elder and Amy fell onto them without consequence or incidence. Even though it progressed the plot and pushed it forward, everything felt peculiar because of how minor conflicts were resolved. The cases that led to Amy and Elder's temporary survival would probably never happen in real life, if we were put under that same circumstance. For example, let's say Amy and Elder were in a tunnel at the exact time that a bomb exploded outside of the tunnel, and Amy and Elder were one of the very few that survived. It was kind of unrealistic once it happened so many times.
A fitting story of survival, sacrifice, and braving the unknown, Shades of Earth will sweep any science fiction fans off their feet with its adventurous and engaging contents.(less)
After review after review of glowing words and high-sung praises, I knew I needed to get my hands on it, and get my hands on it I did. However, it didn't take me long before I retracted.
At first, my heart bled for Anna and her broken life. She had no concept of a family nor a concept of a strong, healthy relationship. Erica built us up to the point where Anna was so deep in the trench I had no idea how on earth she was climbing back out. The issue was, she didn't. During the first half, the only thing that happened was Anna's toxic relationships, between both the boys in her life and her mom. By the end, she hadn't developed as a character at all. Anna still did the same messed up things, she never healed or mended her relationship with her mom, and she never really found the meaning of love. She went through boyfriends like they were plastic bags. Really, would she be that stupid to have sex with the first person she met when she wanted to? Then, there were so many time jumps that literally paragraphs after a sex scene Anna was moving in with the guy. She was going on a date prearranged sometime in the middle of the time jump, and everything was just really incoherent.
Another issue I had was also along the lines of the characters, and that was my ability to connect with them. I felt so detached from Anna and the boys she dated, because she never really talked to them. This is basically how her conversations with her boyfriends went:
*This is the really spoilery part if you're still looking forward to this book*
Example number one:
Desmond: I'm not going to talk to you I'm just going to slap my hand onto your boob in the middle of the bus for no reason.
Anna: Well, this feels nice. I'm just going to sit here now and feel his hand on my really pointy boob that I'm self-conscious of.
Desmond: Now, Anna, this is the part where you put your hand onto my penis.
Anna: Okay! I don't know why I'm doing this, I just like the feeling of it. I'm supposed to be a broken character but I'm not going to tell you why I'm touching his private square.
Desmond: Now I'm not going to talk to you anymore. Because I've lost interest in you.
Anna: Whatever. People are going to make fun of me and I'm going to lose my current best friend. But what. Ever. We never really talked all you did was slip your hand under my shirt and cop a few feels and you made me rub you. Okay.
Does anybody else see the things wrong with this? I mean, she barely knew anything about him, and had I not scrutinized the synopsis before reading, I wouldn't have understood why Anna had even done what she did in the first place. The trend continued throughout the entire book, to be fairly honest.
Example number two:
Joey: I just met you and let's have sex!
Anna: Thanks for teaching me how to have sex, Joey!
Joey: Yeah, whatever. But we're going to do it every day after school.
Anna: Wow, I have such experience now!
Joey: Okay so now I'm moving away, and I'm not going to, like, talk to you anymore is that all right?
Anna: Whatever. I had sex with you like every day of the last year and you taught me how to have sex, and now you're leaving and I don't really care. We never really talked; you just did me every day after school in my huge, empty house. So what's your favorite color?
Again, she met this guy, and they had a lot of sex. We still don't know why she's doing it. She doesn't communicate with these boys. We don't know why she still hangs on to them. Their entire relationship is glossed over in a chapter of "I have sex with Joey every day after school. Sometimes we go to my house, sometimes we go to his."
I'm not going to talk about Todd or the multiple one-night stands she had, OR another guy that wasn't mentioned in the synopsis, because it would take way too much time and spoil pretty much everything except what Anna looks like. (For the record, I don't know.)
Example number three:
Sam: Hi girl I've never met before at a coffee shop! Want to go out?
Anna: Here we are, on a date that was never prearranged until now and technically I met you a page ago. And now we're on a date. That nobody knew anything about. Until right now.
Sam: Hey, Anna! Want to meet my parents? We're on our first date but you should come meet my parents. We're a family that does our dishes together and plays cards!
Anna: Wow! Yeah, we aren't moving too fast at all! It doesn't matter that you're supposed to be kind and innocent; I'm going to go to your house and I'm going to go over and over again but I'm not going to tell anybody why. Or hint at it. I'm just coming over.
Sam: Hey, Anna! Let's have sex! Even though I said I wanted to wait at first. I want to have sex with you. And I'm a virgin. And we just met like a week ago, since in our story, the concept of time is completely gone and random time jumps that are never indicated are totally fine!
Anna: Of course! I have tons of experience when it comes to sex, and we can do it a lot.
The biggest issue with Sam and Anna's relationship was the fact that this one was supposed to be real. Anna was supposed to heal and be a better person; the only thing she did was have a lot of sex with Sam. I didn't believe an ounce of their relationship, and it was insta-love. What didn't help was the fact that there were a lot of these random time jumps that I couldn't wrap my finger around. As soon as something rocky happened in Sam and Anna's relationship, Anna would go running off to another guy and she'd have sex with him. Just because. We don't know why. She just runs out to the nearest bar, grabs some guy, brings him home, and screws him.
I'm starting to think my mom was right when she said this book wasn't appropriate for me. (Mothers are always right, except when it comes to who you share your blog link with. Obviously.)
Uses for Boys was a huge disappointment. Between Anna's character, the romances, and the incoherency of the entire book, I couldn't bring myself to enjoy this one. It's not even that long; it could've been easily lengthened and developed during some places, but otherwise, I was really disappointed.(less)
I had a feeling that I would be a black sheep when I read Eleanor & Park, and I was most-definitely right. While it had so much promise, it eventually flattened out, leaving just a so-so book.
Easily one of the must frustrating characters in all of Eleanor & Park, Eleanor made me want to smack her. It wasn't the fact that she made bad decisions rather the fact that she was so insecure. As a chubby, wild-haired girl, she didn't make many friends within the first few days of moving to a new school. Eleanor's mind was a dark abyss of self-doubt and self-pity, one I found achingly realistic and heart-breaking, because who doesn't ever think to themselves, "I'm horrible at this I should give up now" over and over and over again? The pressing issue of her dysfunctional, broken home also called a lot to attention. As a privileged child, I'm so happy to say I've never been in that kind of environment like Eleanor, where she doesn't have a toothbrush, where there was an abusive figure, where she shared a room with every single one of her sibling. Rainbow depicted Eleanor's plight so vividly and so well that my heart broke a little bit more for her every page.
However, there's a fine line between being realistic and being too much. Eleanor kept trying to change herself for Park, sucking in her gut, sitting up taller. She got embarrassed when Park saw her in a bad place, and I was so frustrated with her. Why would you change yourself for or shy away from the person you were in a healthy relationship with? Why would there be anything to be ashamed of? If Eleanor and Park loved each other like they allegedly did, Eleanor wouldn't feel the need to close herself off from Park every time he saw her in an embarrassing situation. I felt like every time this happened, I stopped believing their relationship was true more and more. One could argue that this made their relationship more real, but I honestly couldn't see it.
Another thing I found unbelievable was how quickly Park fell in love with Eleanor. You have to realize that Park said "I love you" to Eleanor around page 110—page 117, if I do remember correctly—and while that can happen, there's more to the story. Park and Eleanor first started talking around page 60 or so. A few pages later they were holding hands, and then Park was in love with Eleanor. Perhaps this is something that only people who have fallen in love previously can truly sympathize with, but I couldn't understand why the romance moved so quickly.
While I seem to be one of the very few not being interested by Eleanor & Park as much as I should be, I can see where people found to love this story. I did cry a little at the end, but whether that was because my night contacts were drying my eyes out or I was truly moved, I don't know.(less)
I had difficulty rating Out of the Easy. On one hand, I really enjoyed it. On the other hand, I felt indifferent to it at the same exact time. I most certainly feel like the biggest black sheep because of how disappointed I was.
The atypical thing about Out of the Easy is the prominent lack of something going on. I noticed that Jo's life was that of a fairly boring one, and there was a lot of random things going on. Additionally, there was a startlingly large set of characters, which kind of made everything seem sort of anticlimactic later on. I can remember some of their names, but their significance is a whole other story. And I read this less than a week ago. I appreciated the effort taken to make the novel seem more real and represent New Orleans in the 50's, but it still didn't have much of an impact on me.
Out of the Easy concentrates mostly on the characters, which got me excited to see how some of the characters would grow and change as we progress. I don't think any of our characters really changed, as I was hoping for. Left feeling anticipation, I read the last page with dread, because I wanted so much more to happen. As life gets thrown at our characters, they don't really change. If Josie wants to go to college, she's going to keep that dream until the very end. If her mom is going to be a prostitute, then she was never going to change her ways, and Josie was never going to stop trying to protect her from danger like Josie was the parent. This is a natural instinct for all of the people you love, but I wanted to see Josie get pushed and shoved a little more when it came to this.
My favorite portion of Out of the Easy was, oddly enough, our eclectic group of characters. Even though as a whole they were a setback, individually, they were assets. We really got a taste for how different New Orleans was in the 1950's with all of our characters, ranging from an upper-class family to a bunch of bookshop keepers to prostitutes. We have the help and we have the elite. We have a budding romance between two young teens, a poisoned romance between two adults, and a secret sort of romance between two other individuals. These people were all inexplicably tied to different sides of Josie's life, which was refreshing, because she had such a different group of close friends to guide her through the tough spots in life.
While slightly disappointing, I did enjoy Out of the Easy in the end. This is a sure-fire hit with all historical fiction fans interested in the mid-1900's!(less)
After countless glowing reviews of Gayle Forman's most recent novel Just One Day, when I found it at my library I had to borrow it. Needless to say, my expectations weren't let down, but they weren't shattered, either.
Just One Day explained in great detail the contents of one day, which involved Allyson and Willem's adventures through Paris. It's basically a whole relationship squeezed into one day, because of how detailed Gayle made the experience for us. When I started Just One Day, I was worried. From the summary, it sounds a lot like insta-love, but it wasn't insta-love. They had something like a one-night stand, and afterwards Allyson was kind of left hanging, which triggered the normal responses and emotions that any girl who experiences this will feel: betrayal and hurt. Luckily, the second part of this novel revolves on Allyson's growth as a person, and her drive to find Willen isn't because she supposedly "loves" him, but because she wants to be the person that Willem helped her be.
As we round into the second portion, where the real journey begins, I grew increasingly irritated with Allyson's actions. She was so much of a pushover, because whenever someone told her to do something, she just went along with it or changed her mind to fit the confines of someone else's. Even as Allyson found her way, she needed the help of a lot of people to help her, rather than her realizing everything for herself. Furthermore, the people who restrained her kind of faded into the background as we went on, and there soon was nothing else that held Allyson back. She didn't confront these people or lay down her terms; she pretty much let them give up so she was free to do as she pleased. At least, that's how Just One Day's protagonist came off to me.
Even if I felt Allyson wasn't the strongest person at times, I still admired other parts of her, like her determination, persistence, and passion. She wanted to change and be better. She wanted to experience all these things in life that someone had never let her do before. That, to me, was her defining point, the thing that made her a character who regained herself. And, her self-discovery journey was pretty big, in the end, all things considered. Allyson didn't change in that drastic way, but with a lot of pushing, she definitely got to the finish line. Her attitude toward changing and becoming a new person was just so inspiring, in general.
Endearing and inspirational, Just One Day will most certainly appeal to all fans of coming-of-age novels and fans of Gayle Forman's previous novels.(less)
A tale about three "nerds" deciding to take a stand against social invisibility Smart Girls Get What They Want isn't just regularly amazing; it is epically amazing. It's cute, funny, and totally realistic, with just a hint of romance thrown in.
What Sarah Strohmeyer captures so eloquently in Smart Girls Get What They Want are the nerds. As a nerd myself, both academically and also outside of those confines, you all hopefully know that I'm not a monotonous drone that buzzes "School. School. Must. Do." 24/7. Yes, school is a very important factor in my life, as with many other people, but it doesn't dominate my life and I'm not one to say that my grades are something that I stress about the most. Gigi, our protagonist, is exactly like me when it comes to the nerd department, which made her very personable and relatable. She was funny, she cared about how she looked, and she valued things other than school and getting straight As.
Another thing I loved about Smart Girls Get What They Want was the romance in itself. It was that kind of sweet high school romance that had everybody "Ooh"ing and "Ah"ing over it. We don't go through a case of insta-love, and the love interests change throughout the story, like most high school romances do. Gigi originally had a crush on Will, but then started to develop feelings for another boy who wasn't who she thought she was. In my opinion, that just made Gigi an even more endearing character because of the way she learned things about herself and the people around her.
In fact, most of the time the romance sits on the back burner while Gigi, Bea, and Neerja went through their journeys as teenagers and found their way through their lives. Gigi conquered her fears, Bea faced her past, and Neerja confronted her feelings for her all-time crush while participating in what she loved most. The thing about Smart Girls Get What They Want is not only the romance aspect of it, but rather how these characters grow and change throughout the novel. We see them change from invisible beings to socially accepted, with friends.
A compelling story where finding oneself and reevaluating one's thoughts on his or her peers are closely related, Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer will not fail to completely lure you in and keep its grip on you until the very last page.(less)
Okay so the romance seemed a little artificial because it happened so fast, but I absolutely LOVED Noelle's character arc. She went from the timid gir...moreOkay so the romance seemed a little artificial because it happened so fast, but I absolutely LOVED Noelle's character arc. She went from the timid girl who wanted to speak up to the girl who actually spoke up and found out who she was. Full review coming soon!(less)
It's not unknown knowledge that I simply cannot read most historical fiction books I come across. But, Belladonna seemed to be that one exception because Fiona Paul completely enraptured me and I really did love it.
Belladonna begins shortly after Venom ended, with Cass trying to pick up the pieces of what happened previously. She had her heart shattered, and when a series of crazy things start happening again, she's sent all the way to Florence where people were accused of being vampires, and it was just totally insane. Those Florentine people were absolutely out of their minds. Seriously. They were listening to these crazy old bats, who kept screaming, "This person is a vampire! This other person is a vampire! DROWN THEM!" If I could hate one whole group of people more, I'd definitely take this entire town. They were so...annoying, but I absolutely loved watching them be complete idiots, because I definitely got a few laughs out of it. So for the record, this isn't a bad thing. It was definitely a positive point.
Additionally, another person I found increasingly annoying was Cass. A reason I'm usually impartial to historical fiction novels is because I find the main character to be a little petty and/or weak. Cass, for the most part, stayed away from this category, except for a few unfortunate moments when she started obsessing over Luca and Falco. She wouldn't stop whining about them, and she sometimes starting going, "I wish Falco was more like Luca. I wish Luca was more like Falco." It really got onto my nerves because she had these two adorable guys who would do anything for her, and she was trying to change them.
Like any well-done historical fiction, Belladonna brings on the visual imagery with gusto. Even if you've never been to Italy and haven't gotten an inkling of what the scenery is like there, it doesn't matter because Fiona describes it so vividly and fully that even if you've never even heard of Italy, you can imagine this beautiful place. And then take it back to the Renaissance period, and you have beautiful dresses and secrets, and you have your characters (FALCO!) and your mysteries, all wrapped into one pretty, little package.
Belladonna by Fiona Paul, the sequel to Venom, is both even more mysterious and romantic as you thought it could be. Fans of historical fictions everywhere will adore this one!(less)
I fell into Grave Mercy's trap, even though I'm not a usual fan of historical fiction. However, despite my many protests, I still managed to ensnare myself in its intriguing premise and the hope that it would exceed my bad rep with historical fictions.
I have to admit, I was ensnared. I loved Ismae and how strong she was. She was fourteen when she was first went to the convent, I believe, and she was there for three years before the real plot of Grave Mercy began. As flighty that I am, I didn't realize that Ismae was seventeen (I assumed she was still fourteen) and when I realized that Duval, our love interest, was, like, twenty-three, I was seriously creeped out, but it turns out that a lot of time had passed in between. Speaking of Gavriel Duval, I couldn't get enough of him. I wanted to love him so much that I was itching to get to know more about him. He was a fine, upstanding man, don't get me wrong, but I didn't feel their romance lived up to my expectations.
For one, it was kind of on the underdeveloped side. I didn't buy it at all since they never really learned much about each other. I felt like the most I knew about Duval was his approximate age, and that he was loyal to his country and those around him. Maybe he was tall, too? There wasn't a true chemistry between them, even though I fell in love with him as soon as he was introduced. He sounded mysteriously alluring, two things I love in a love interest who's meant to be tough, but then I got to know him. Or, rather, didn't get to know him.
Another thing that began to irritate me after a while was how the plot dragged down. The book is, like, 550 pages! I thought it would action-packed and intense. But it started to slow down like a train preparing to pull into the station. We had this exciting historical fiction premise, and knowing me, I am not a big fan of most historical fictions based solely on the fact that it usually drags on when it begins to talk about corsets and government issues. So Grave Mercy began on a high note, because of the promise of assassin nuns, and then it slithered back down.
Although I would definitely recommend Grave Mercy, I found many things wrong with it that prevented me from fully loving the story.(less)
I'm rereading this for the Authors ARE Rockstars tour since I have the wonderful Veronica Rossi and she'll be guest posting on my blog :)
***UPDATE: So...moreI'm rereading this for the Authors ARE Rockstars tour since I have the wonderful Veronica Rossi and she'll be guest posting on my blog :)
***UPDATE: So I finished this now, and I absolutely LOVED it all over again! I mean seriously, I think I love Perry the most. Le sigh. So dreamy. And I can't wait to see what happens in Through the Ever Night! *sets up calendar so I can cross the days off*
But frankly, it's kind of awkward HE knew that SHE was on her period...I mean, it's awkward enough when you DO get it, but do you have to have your future love interest point that out and go "Hey, Aria, you're not dying, you're just on your period like a normal person is and now people can impregnate you. Fun, right?" Yeah, not really.(less)
We're finally here. We're at the end of a coveted and treasured trilogy, again, and are we happy? Said? Wistful? What emotions could possibly describe Clockwork Princess?
I definitely felt a lot of emotions. Cassandra Clare has this way to envelop her readers in the story and have them personally sympathizing with our characters. I loved Will's angst and monsters; I loved Tessa's love and passion; and I loved Jem's vulnerability and honesty. They were such a fantastic and admirable trio, and with all of our supporting characters, I loved them even more. They each made each other stronger, in a way, and they were all so close. These characters were the kind that were good and pure characters, but they didn't to get on our nerves with their good and perfectly imperfect personalities. Especially Will. I love Will so hard it's not even funny.
However, I did not like something about Clockwork Princess, and that was the world-building. Yes, the descriptions and the world-building was lush and beautiful, but once I discovered entire pages were dedicated to describing the countryside as Tessa passed it in a carriage, I skipped ahead. Overall, all the of the settings were handled with this complexity, when really it was just a simplistic thing. I get how people who enjoy this kind of thing would love this aspect, but for me, it ruined my reading mode, and it made me almost want to put the book down because the first half was all description and maybe two major plot points. I feel like the hugest black sheep for not loving this part of it, but it's definitely true.
My favorite part of Clockwork Princess was the romance. I bet you're all familiar with the Jem-Tessa-Will love triangle, with Tessa being the obvious mutual point of attraction. They were practically brothers, Will and Jem, and they loved each other so much that they themselves would me miserable just to keep the other happy. And, while they both protected Tessa, it was partly because of their own love for her and the other one's love. I loved Jem and Will both so much that even if Jem ended up with Tessa, no matter how much I loved Will, I would still be happy, and vice-versa. Although I'd be slightly more happier if Will got the happy ending because Team Will! Not that Tessa ends up with Jem. Or Will. I'm using it as an example, so just go with it, and read it for yourself!
A fantastic and fitting ending to the Infernal Devices trilogy, you'll be crying or cheering for the entire thing, no doubt. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare is romantic, endearing, and wholly satisfying.(less)
Having not seen the original play Hamlet or read it, I had no idea what to expect from Falling for Hamlet. I did anticipate a tragic novel, but I was really surprised by the outcome of the Falling for Hamlet. Full of tragedy, lost romance, and angst, Falling for Hamlet is definitely a contemporary novel that will tug at your heartstrings. I was close to crying at the end of Falling for Hamlet, even though I knew of the tragedy that was going to happen. Honestly, I am still absolutely stunned.
It was really interesting to read a modern retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view. It brought into light a really new perspective to the classic tale we were so used to. However, that perspective did have its drawbacks because Michelle had only a very minimal drawing board to start with Ophelia's point of view. I do feel that Michelle took what little information she was provided with for Ophelia's perspective and wrote a very substantial story. What I didn't like about the way Michelle chose to approach the story were the names. They were the same that they were in the original play, but I felt they were too outdated and clunky for modern times. I felt like maybe Ophelia could have been renamed "Lia" or even "Phoebe" since Hamlet's nickname for her was "Phee."
Another thing that sat unwell with me throughout Falling for Hamlet was Ophelia's choices throughout the novel. The way that Falling for Hamlet played out hinted that if Ophelia had said one extra sentence, the entire ending would have been avoided. That resulted in me mentally kicking Ophelia and trying to urge her to say one thing, so the tragic part of Falling for Hamlet wouldn't have been so tragic anymore. When you look at the plot of Falling for Hamlet that way, you believe that the ending could have been altered, but Shakespeare's Hamlet was written for tragic purposes, so Michelle Ray's Falling for Hamlet ended on a tragic note.
The writing in Falling for Hamlet was executed flawlessly. I really felt for the characters, no matter how many times I wanted to scream at Ophelia. I understood Hamlet and Ophelia's on-off relationship and I really believed that they loved each other, no matter how many times they ended up in "a lover's spat" and broke up. Michelle Ray took an old tragedy and revived it in modern times. Falling for Hamlet is certainly worth the read if you loved Hamlet and want to see this contemporary twist on it.
And, just to entertain you a bit throughout this most-likely horrible review, I came across an interesting quote. "When he finally pushed himself inside me, I started to cry." Yeah, that's exactly what you think it is, no more, no less. I started laughing and cringing at that sentence, because it's kind of ingrained in my head for all eternity now. (less)
In The Body Finder, Violet has started to kindle feelings for her long-time best friend, Jay. She's also dealing with the murder and disappearances of various teenage girls who Violet are associated with somehow. Whether they're classmates at school or if Violet is has heard of that person somehow, she knows them, which only makes it worse. Violet wants to get involved, by using her gift to track down these girls, however, that requires putting her friends and herself in danger, and Violet doesn't know if she wants to take that risk. Or if her friends will be willing.
At first, The Body Finder's plot was all over the place. I thought one thing was happening, but really something else was happening, and I think Kimberly wanted to evoke some suspenseful feelings in her readers, by using a writing style that foreshadowed a certain event, but it really was something else, and that confused the heck out of me. Think of it this way (I'm using an actual example that's been altered slightly so there aren't spoilers): The killer is driving and sees a crying girl on the sidewalk and thinks that she's perfect to be her next victim. Then, told in Violet's point of view, she's crying on a sidewalk, a car pulls up, and "he" gets out.
I thought it was the killer, but then Violet hugs him, and by that point I was both bewildered and frustrated with the book. It turns out it was Jay who went to find Violet, but I didn't know that because Kimberly kept referring to Jay as just "him" and when Violet got into the car with "him," I was going absolutely berserk and freaking out over it. Also, Jay really annoyed me. He had this sort of possessive streak going on with him and it made me really frustrated at times, but I got over those two problems I had because the rest of the book made up for it.
While reading The Body Finder, I most certainly had a sense of foreboding and mysteriousness. Although Kimberly may have left me a little confused, she also created this thick fog around the story, where you wanted to see through it and get a glance at the story clearly, but you also didn't, because you relished the idea of trying to guess what the story will look like when the fog clears out. I definitely did not expect that as the resolution. The Body Finder was unpredictable and thrilling to read.
Also, I really enjoyed the short scenes that let you think what the killer was thinking. You were with him as he targeted the girls he would kill, you discovered why he felt this need to take girls, pretty ones, too, and how he did it. I really appreciated the inside look at the villain, and it created even more mystery and that fog sometimes grew deeper and sometimes it thinned to a fairly thick mist while I was reading the killers' point of view in specific chapters.
I'd definitely recommend this novel for anybody who likes a really good suspense and mystery novel, and although that mystery can lead to confusion sometimes if you're not careful, it's still a great read and I was definitely feeling shocked when I was supposed to, on edge when I was supposed to, and all my fair share of emotions. It was the last week of school when I had started this book, and I read it during school instead of doing all those fun things teachers usually have planned because of how caught in the story I was.
At first glance, The Duff seems...normal. A contemporary. Intriguing. Good, even. It seems like a great tale on finding yourself and dealing with a br...moreAt first glance, The Duff seems...normal. A contemporary. Intriguing. Good, even. It seems like a great tale on finding yourself and dealing with a broken family. But that, unfortunately, is not the case at all. I came into this book with very high expectations and at first, I enjoyed it, and I even gave it 4 stars. But, however, soon after, I did some thinking, and it just felt...wrong. And so I decided to go back and change my rating to "2 stars." Some of you might be mad at me for doing this, but I felt like I had to. These are my reasons why I had to go back and change my rating to such a low one...
The Duff starts off with cynical yet self-conscious Bianca Piper. Familiar right? Where have I heard that before? Oh, I know. Almost every other contemporary romance. There's a cynical girl who doesn't believe in love, and then they fall in love. Other books do a creative spin on that tale. I didn't see it in Kody's book, the Duff. It's like a rendition of the Scarlett Letter. Actually, there's a metaphor comparing it to the Scarlett Letter here and there, and then they studied it in class. I haven't read the Scarlett Letter, but that's basically what was happening in the book.
Not only was there an originality problem, since the idea is so washed out, and it's not just Bianca's character idea. I was at first fine with her character, but at the end, I was really feeling peevish at it all. I also really couldn't stand her attitude. She was keeping things from her best friends, friends who obviously could understand her predicament. However, her friends weren't even mentioned that often in the novel. There wasn't any focus on the supporting characters, other than Bianca's dad, with a tiny little bit of development there.
The Duff's plot was certainly interesting. I couldn't understand Bianca's reasoning for anything she did, especially when she literally swore on her grave that Wesley was a manipulating womanizer, and then she goes and does "it" with him! Yes, I know it was to escape her hardships in life, but honestly? I found it a little to be hypocrisy and annoying. You know, like where you swear off this specific food, but then the next day you have a whole bowl of it. It was kind of like that to me.
The Duff's ending was even worse. You had the traditional walk-away scene, one I didn't really care for, and then the cheesy apology. The words in the apology didn't make me feel sorry. They didn't make me feel like sympathizing with the character. I didn't feel an overwhelming need to envelop Bianca and Wesley in a bone-crushing hug. The ending, as well, provided me with absolutely no emotion. I was reading it and thought, "Okay, that's great. Moving on now."
I did feel an overwhelming need to throw something across the room. I felt like while I'm a sap for cheesy love stories, that Kody brought out the cheesy in this and stretched it as if it were string cheese. The cheap kind you get at Shop Rite. Not an expensive aged cheese that a cheese-maker would cut right out of the wedge. Shall I reenact the cheesiness level of the last few scenes of The Duff? (The next part's pretty spoilery, but I'll try my best to redact those parts.) This, in my words, is basically what happened:
"Bianca [really hate that name, by the way. Don't know why, I just do], I'm really sorry for what I did. You aren't afraid to set me straight and tell me what's wrong with me and that I'm screwed up. [Insert eye roll]." Wesley said.
"Okay, I accept your apology! But you're still a womanizing jerk." Bianca said. Wesley laughed. I wanted to die.
So, while I liked what Kody was trying to do here, I didn't think she did it right. The characters annoyed me, the plot aggravated me to hair-ripping, and the ending was cheesy enough for an extra-large pizza. I've read books like this before, ones that are a lot better, and I will probably forget this book after a while, and it is definitely going back to the library.
Review The List was something I saw a lot of bloggers were getting so I put it on my TBR list, and in a stroke of good luck, it came to my library! I w...moreReview The List was something I saw a lot of bloggers were getting so I put it on my TBR list, and in a stroke of good luck, it came to my library! I was so ecstatic to get this book and I started it a few days ago and finished it in record time. I love the cover, first of all. You can't really see the cover when you go on Goodreads, because it's so blurry, but in real life, the cover is just amazing. The girl to the very left I know for a fact is Sarah, the junior years' ugliest girl. I don't really know who everybody else is, but still, it's an amazing book cover and it's perfectly suited for a light contemporary read about eight girls' journeys in a week of high school up to their homecoming dance.
The List is about eight girls who end up on the list. The list is a list composed of eight girls, two from each grade, one named the prettiest, and the other the ugliest. Four girls every year are named prettiest, and four girls are named the ugliest. The List is about those eight girls' journeys in a week after being put onto the List. When the list is posted a week before homecoming, the eight girls go through major changes in a week until it homecoming arrives. I hope that made sense, I'm trying to tell you a basic feel for what the book was about, and I hope I didn't just slaughter any eagerness you may have had to read this.
In the beginning of The List, I was a little reluctant to get into it because of the lack of romance there was probably going to be. But as soon as I started, I ditched all of those reluctant thoughts and dove right into the book. I love how Siobhan featured all the girls on the list, and they each had a separate, unique story to tell. It wasn't a feature on one specific person, it covered everybody, which wasn't confusing because not only was it told in third person, Siobhan made it so everybody had their own unique voice.
What I loved about it at first was the fact that it was real. It wasn't a contemporary where the main character was perfect and she didn't have those major flaws that many people suffer from today. They weren't all beautiful. Some of them were ugly. The pretty people had their own monsters chasing after them. Bridget, the prettiest person for the junior class, went anorexic for an entire summer, dropped a whole dress size, gained it back, and then lost two dress sizes again. In a week. Siobhan delivered an edgy, realistic novel that faced the hard truths of high school.
The List is a great fictitious exposé on high school and the drama that goes with it. Everybody has their baggage in high school, and these 8 girls have more. "Once you're on the list, you're never the same again." Siobhan Vivian really outdid herself in The List and I will be anticipating her next novels and definitely checking out previous novels, if she ever published any.
I wish the ending had more closure; especially with Honor and Rusty's relationship. I have no idea if they're still friends or if their relationship e...moreI wish the ending had more closure; especially with Honor and Rusty's relationship. I have no idea if they're still friends or if their relationship escalated out of the friend zone by the end of the book. But I loved the road trip and everything and it was awesomeee
After countless glowing reviews surrounding My Life Next Door and its cheerful cover, I knew I needed to investigate further, especially with the stunning contemporary books I've been reading recently.
My Life Next Door was not ostentatious nor was it flashy. It was understated and modest, which made it instantly likable. Samantha was your typical protagonist, under the scrutiny of her mother and she was by all means restricted and reserved. I enjoyed seeing her develop from a quiet girl into an independent one, one who could go up against her mother even if she was scared to do so. Jase was, obviously, our boy next door, who was sweet and awkward, yet totally endearing. His whole demeanor simply melted my heart, the way he naturally cared about everything and everyone. While Samantha was like a geyser getting ready to burst, Jase was a fireworks display, popping with color and life. They were a well-matched pair, all things considered.
The romance was tender, but it could be fiery and passionate at times, too. Their relationship explored the early stages of meeting all he way to full-out falling in love. I felt like the stage that transitioned Samantha and Jase from the friend zone to the relationship zone happened a bit too fast, before I could actually grasp their mutual attraction for each other, but afterwards, they were a perfect couple. They made each other better people, and they weren't afraid to let their true colors show around each other. The moments where Samantha was just full-blown awkward warmed my heart—it melted when Jase didn't judge at all, and vice-versa.
As it suggests in the synopsis, there was a pretty massive bombshell that definitely put a block in the middle of Samantha and Jase. I found myself urging them to forgive each other for their mistakes, because somehow from the time I was complaining about how fast the romance progressed in its earlier stages to the stage where they where in love, I fell in love with them, too, and I was rooting for their resolution. *proudly wears "I SHIP JAMANTHA" T-shirt*
My Life Next Door is a book you need to read for the summertime if you haven't already, and if you have, then it's a perfect time to start rereading. Focusing on two teens' love story, Huntley Fitzpatrick effortlessly delivers the best of both worlds with character development and a stunning romance.(less)
Really liked beginning an all that and most of it, but the third person sounded off and I had no idea what was going in the last half. Full review com...moreReally liked beginning an all that and most of it, but the third person sounded off and I had no idea what was going in the last half. Full review coming soon.(less)
I am not by a long shot going to be able to remember 1996, since I was born three years after that. And I don't remember most of my life up until age...moreI am not by a long shot going to be able to remember 1996, since I was born three years after that. And I don't remember most of my life up until age 8. Before that it's always just bits and pieces, nuts and bolts. I obviously then won't be able to tell you guys: "The Future of Us was an exact mirror replica of the 1990s and it was like somebody had transported me back to the era where people went to people's houses to talk, instead of firing up their cell phones and shooting off a text." Obviously, that would be all lies, since you know I just crossed that threshold from 12 to 13, but I felt like I did know what it was like back then.
The Future of Us doesn't dilly-dally in getting into the problem. From the very first moment, I enjoyed the pacing of this novel and Carolyn and Jay really were able to capture the feeling of 1996. Even if you didn't see the synopsis, you could obviously tell just from the writing and the environment that it was the 1990s. I understood everything that happened immediately that I never had to grapple for the meaning of a phrase, or have to read something over excessively until I figured it out. Carolyn and Jay did an awesome job explaining what the 1990s were like, and people who do remember that time, they will definitely reminisce while reading this book of CD-ROMs, cassette players, and chunky land line phones.
Josh was definitely one of my favorite characters in the Future of Us. I could relate to him and I thought it was extremely sweet how he still had feelings for Emma even after they had stopped talking for years. Emma was also an extremely dynamic character, but I wanted to rip her head off at times. Emma's personality, the way she dealt with relationships, was just completely and utterly cowardly at times. I definitely saw Emma's strong points, when she was an amiable character and personality, but other times, she went through life with a naivety less than me that I was seconds away from strangling somebody.
The whole concept of Facebook that wasn't invented, and two teenagers stumbling upon it, thus knowing what their future would roughly be like, was completely ingenious. I loved how Jay and Carolyn wrote a contemporary book that wasn't like the normal contemporaries: a romance or finding yourself after a whole series of unfortunate events (like the series by Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I hate that series, by the way). It was something different and refreshing. It wasn't overdone, like young adults sometimes are, and I'm always hunting for a new concept to read.
I'd definitely recommend the Future of Us to people who lived through the 1990s for that potent reminiscent factor of what everything was like. Obviously, I can't tell you for sure that you will be brought back to 1996, but many bloggers who're a lot older than me have been able to tell their readers that, and I'm going to play off of that and what I read in the Future of Us and say that it will definitely bring you back to the good old days, where we were much more social with each other physically, instead of virtually.
Many people have already fallen in love with Thirteen Reasons Why and you could say that I agree with them. It wasn't an extremely emotional novel that I fell in love with like Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, but Thirteen Reasons Why was definitely a roller coaster full of different feelings. The idea of set of tapes depicting why a girl killed herself circulating through a number of people was absolutely gripping and so original that I had to read it and see for myself if I loved it. I definitely really enjoyed it but it didn't make it to my "favorites" shelf.
When Clay first got these tapes, I was so ready to see what Clay did to get on the tapes, because he was made out to be a really great and nice character. However, that's all I ever knew about him. I felt so disconnected with the characters in Thirteen Reasons Why mainly because it was mostly just the tapes talking and I never really got to know who Clay really was. I wanted to be able to understand his character, his personality, but I wasn't able to and he was a really flat character to me.
However, I really did love Hannah's story. Hannah was sort of like the dominant narrator in Thirteen Reasons Why and you sort of understood why she went through with suicide. Suicide is such a serious subject and you can't joke around with it anymore, since so many people are going through with it. And you can't go through with something this serious without having a solid reason and I could tell all the pain and suffering that Hannah was going through and what finally pushed her over the edge.
Every story that was discussed in Thirteen Reasons Why enchanted me. I really wanted to hear every reason why Hannah ended up committing suicide, and I even went onto the site, Hannah's Reasons, that was set up so you could hear the tapes yourself if you wanted to. The story as a whole was actually extremely gripping and got you engaged. You really wanted to go back and keep reading. You really wanted to hear all thirteen reasons why she died. I know I did.
Although the characters fell a little flat for me, Thirteen Reasons Why was a twirl-a-whirl (is that what they're called?) of emotions and sorry feelings. Trust me when I say that Thirteen Reasons Why will be an amazingly emotional novel for anybody who enjoyed Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.
Trust me, when I started this book, I wasn't very willing and I wasn't expecting much. But, by the end of the book, my pulse was racing, my palms were...moreTrust me, when I started this book, I wasn't very willing and I wasn't expecting much. But, by the end of the book, my pulse was racing, my palms were sweating, and I had a goofy grin plastered on my face. Twenty Boy Summer exceeded my expectations in basically every way possible. It started as possibly a three-four star book, and then things took a turn for the better. I was introduced to Anna's insecurities, and Frankie's, over Matt's death, which, if I have it straight, Anna believes is her fault.
Last year, Anna, Frankie, and Matt got into a car crash, and Matt met his untimely death. The doctors said he'd died of a broken heart, right after Matt had kissed Anna and told her that he'd miss her when he went to college. Anna believes that it's her fault that she kissed Matt and got him so wound up during that summer when they were having their secret romance with each other. I could see where Anna was coming from then because of how she didn't want to let go of Matt. She wanted to cling to that memory of Matt, because she thought, that when she forgot about Matt, Matt would truly be gone.
Twenty Boy Summer literally does break your heart and then puts it back together. The broken sea glass on the cover is actually extremely meaningful. Matt always collected sea glass, and red sea glass is extremely rare, hence the one little piece. But while at Zanzibar Bay, Anna found a piece, the red sea glass she promised she'd find Matt. I won't tell you how meaningful that little scene is, but it plays a big part in the healing process.
Twenty Boy Summer is a novel that explores the emotions of those surrounding the one who had passed away earlier. It's gritty and real. It doesn't sugarcoat what life is like a year after a loved one has flew by. Matt's family is still in turmoil, even though at first they seem like they've almost fully coped with the situation that had happened. Twenty Boy Summer is not your normal novel dealing with death. It's a thought-provoking novel that has equal parts romance, and equal parts heartstrings-tugging.
The romance in Twenty Boy Summer isn't just a subplot, it blends together into the main plot, and the subplot is a key role in helping Anna cope. Anna isn't using the guy, Sam, as a fling, but Sam is actually helping Anna get over her grieving, help her talk, and help her finally come clean to Frankie about pretty much everything Anna had ever done with Matt. Sam was a sweet, really thoughtful character that I couldn't help but fall in love with immediately right after I met him.
At the end of the novel, yes, it doesn't fully give you a happy ending, but I feel like it was still an amazing book. It's so much different from every other contemporary novel and it is one of Sarah Ockler's best novels, by far. Everything about Twenty Boy Summer was unique and magical, real and absolutely gripping. Even if you don't read contemporary, read it anyway, because trust me, this may be the book that just may change your mind.