"Tell her it’s okay (it’s okay, it’s okay) Tell her it’s all right (it’s all right, it’s all right) And our time is now, we can do anything we really be...more"Tell her it’s okay (it’s okay, it’s okay) Tell her it’s all right (it’s all right, it’s all right) And our time is now, we can do anything we really believe in. Our time is now — here in the morning of our lives."
Is the song Park plays Eleanor in his bedroom, sat the the floor, mix tapes stacked up between them.
"I don't think it's a tragedy... they think they want each other...They don't even know each other."
Is what Eleanor told us, and her English teacher, at the beginning of the novel when discussing Romeo and Juliette. The signs were there.
I'll be honest. I'm struggling to star this, as much as I'm struggling to review it. Eleanor and Park have absolutely and completely infiltrated my mind. I'm walking around thinking about them. I'm listening to playlists of songs talked about by them.
I'm writing this review in the hope I will get them out of my system. Because I don't want this... this pain with me. I was in love all the way through, every moment. The stacks of comics. The sneaking out in the freezing cold. The inscrutable awkwardness of saying the wrong thing. The laying on your back in your bed and not being able to think about anything other than one person. The stark contrast between love and loathing in two very different homes. The feeling of belonging and being safe with someone. The not wanting to give yourself over. The not really knowing anything about someone but knowing them entirely. The big boned, red headed female. The skinny looking, smart, sensitive male. I loved it all. Every moment. Until the end. Because the end broke my heart into pieces that can't be fixed. Because this was a tragedy. This was always going to be a tragedy.
Park is the believer. Eleanor is the skeptic. He jumped in two feet first. She fell slowly and steadily. He wanted to do nothing but protect her till the end. She could only figure out how to best protect herself. End of the book spoilers under here. (view spoiler)[She left him. She ceased all communication for a whole year, and I still can't figure out why, and I still can't work my way around to liking that ending. But that was always going to be the inevitable ending. Every time she had to creep back home she feared she would never see him again. There was always going to come the time she would never see him again, but WHY. I'm trying to console myself with the postcard she sent him at the very end with three little words. i love you? i miss you? i am sorry?
What were the words?! For my sanity I'm going with I love you. (hide spoiler)]
I will say I think this novel should come with a trigger warning. There is child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, sexually threatening behaviour. There were some heavy topics in here, and as someone with friends who still battle with the consequences of these things, I know they wouldn't want to pick a book up and be hit with them.
I loved them both. I loved the portrayal of a 15/16 year old girl who thinks she is far fatter than she most likely is. I loved the honest portrayal of a 16 year old boy who struggles to view himself as anything other than Other. I loved that they fell in love slowly and quietly with books and music.
I just loved it. And I'm so upset by the end. And now I need to go and listen to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' over and over and over and over and over and over.
I have never done it before. But. SEQUEL. Please. There has to be a light that never goes out. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["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)
Do not be fooled by the cover art. I know what you are thinking, because I was thinking it myself. Romance! Teen! Girl meets boy! Cute! NO. This little...moreDo not be fooled by the cover art. I know what you are thinking, because I was thinking it myself. Romance! Teen! Girl meets boy! Cute! NO. This little novel packs a punch, and it will not be anything like you are expecting.
If anything it is a novel about friendship, family, at it's core I guess I would have to say community. And it does it with an almost gritty realism in parts. There is unemployment, alcoholism, illness, death, all treated under a magnifying glass of Tiffy's relatable observations.
Which leads to Tiffy, the main character. I really quite loved her. She's got a smart mouth, she makes a joke out of most things, she thinks more than she says - she is so believable as a character and so well constructed I found myself missing her when I wasn't reading. The novel deals with her at a time in her life where she doesn't really know what to do next. She has finished school and got an internship at the local newspaper, which as the story progresses she doesn't know if she wants to continue with or not. It is a time of great opportunity, but also great uncertainty.
And believe me when I say the uncertainty is everywhere. In her work, in her relationships, even in the weather that changes throughout the novel.
Her family situation is unique for a YA novel. (The same goes for her best friend Kayla.) We're exploring things here that don't involve a mother, father and siblings. The scenes between her and her adopted family, Reggie and Bull, are heartwarming. And funny. Brief moments scattered throughout the novel that really tied the whole thing together. Making breakfast. Tiff trying to tell Bull something and him wanting to watch the TV. Friendly name calling. All of these things and more, culminate in a tale about belonging, and family, and what it means to love people daily.
This is a super quick read. The chapters are short, the dialogue so smooth you will whiz through it, but by no means is this a fluff, shallow novel. There is depth of character here that takes a skilled author to construct in such a short space of time. The over arching theme of uncertainty is buffered by the constant awareness of family and friendship. Perhaps best summed up by Zoe, Tiff's adopted brother's girlfriend:
That's how we get by. We talk and share and eat cake and giggle in the dark, even when we're scared - no, especially when we're scared.(less)
Because I don't like giving a book such a low rating without an explanation I will just refer to theseotherreviews, who sum up my feelings perfectly...moreBecause I don't like giving a book such a low rating without an explanation I will just refer to theseotherreviews, who sum up my feelings perfectly about this novel.
The book felt far more like attempted historical fiction than anything, yet I have to question how well a white woman raised by a black maid can truly understand the feelings of being a black person in the 60's. In Mississippi. That may well be a simplistic interpretation of this novel, but as a white, British woman the novel just didn't sit right with me.(less)
Boarding school setting: check Foreign land: check Really good looking female protagonist: check Equally good looking and charming male lov...moreYA Check List:
Boarding school setting: check Foreign land: check Really good looking female protagonist: check Equally good looking and charming male love interest (bonus points for an accent): check, check A group of witty and interesting friends: check A ridiculous evil enemy: check Over blown romantic gestures: check Daddy issues: check Shout outs to novels and poems not on the standard high school reading list: check
Despite this. Despite the cliches one can predict are prevalent from the full and over flowing check list above, this book was actually really really good. As good as Etienne St Claire is really really good looking.
I dated a boy who was shorter than me once. And by date I mean he asked if I wanted to 'go out' with him, and by 'go out' we went nowhere and only saw each other at school and when we were making out. (Wherein I would have to stand in a ditch, yes a ditch, so we were the same height.) Why is this necessary information? Well it's not, but for the whole time I was reading this novel I just kept thinking, 'He's shorter than her. Why is this not an issue? It was an issue for me, it should be an issue for Anna.' We were never really told how much shorter he is, maybe 3 inches were mentioned at one point, but it became a bit of a bug point for me. The whole time I was imagining them wandering around Paris, laying in bed, sitting on the stairs, sexy dancing on the dance floor... I just kept thinking about his height. Where exactly does he come up to?! Her forehead?! Her eyes?! Heaven forbid, her shoulders?!
That's when I realised, that is the point, isn't it? His height I mean. And his crooked lower teeth. (Which, yes, I too sport.) And his inability to actually stand up for things throughout most of the novel. He is a flawed character. He has ridiculous tiffs with his friends, and gets drunk and vomits on people, and locks himself away in his room when things get tough. Stephanie Perkins has created a cast of characters that are so meticulously written they could be real.
Etienne is gorgeous and funny and charming and loveable because that is how Anna sees him. Not because he actually is perfect. The power of love and lust to distract from reality play throughout this novel.
In Anna and Toph. Mer and Etienne. Ellie and Etienne. Anna and Dave.
Yet Stephanie Perkins also manages to bring out this whole strand of belonging. The idea of finding your self and knowing yourself and feeling at home in yourself with the help and support of those around you. Despite what reality verses expectations might be.
The feeling of being 17/18 and away from home. Of falling in love. Of being in love. Is just so perfectly depicted in this novel it is hard to find words for it. Bonus points for a female lead who is as much in charge of her sexual desires and feelings as any male.
"Suddenly I want to touch him. Not a push, or a shove, or even a friendly hug. I want to feel the creases in his skin, connect his freckles with invisible lines, brush my fingers across the inside of his wrist."
And bravo to Stephanie Perkins for writing the funniest, most thoughtful, butterfly inducing YA novel I have read for a while. I didn't want it to end!(less)
2.5? I'm at a loss as to what to really think about this book. It should be made clear from the beginning this text is trigger worthy. There are vivid...more2.5? I'm at a loss as to what to really think about this book. It should be made clear from the beginning this text is trigger worthy. There are vivid scence of incest, rape, molestation, and at some points perhaps even beastiality? Because of this I have so much to say, and no clue as where to start. Which I do believe was the problem with this text in the first place. Lanagan had so many subjects she wanted to touch upon, I ended up feeling like none of them came together.
Clearly Lanagan has some strong feminist ideals, but at points I almost felt like they took over the text. Every man, bar one main male character, was a grotesque, hyperbolic creation who had no control over his sexual desires. Literally likened to animals at specific stages during the text. I'm not sure how I feel about this, living as I do within a society plagued by rape culture; where the female is to blame, because there are certain things men 'just can't resist'. I can't work out if Lanagan was supporting this misogynistic theory with her vile, uncontrollable male protagonists, or if she was critiquing a society that bowed to these systems. In Lanagans make believe "real" world, women do not go anywhere alone, they certainly do not even walk out in pairs after dark, and they are never to talk back to men. Much like the society we live in, where women are advised to stay in groups after dark, not to wear too revealing clothing in case they should attract the attention of a man who just wouldn't be able to help himself from raping.
Despite my confusion in the reading of this, the underlying tale of this text lays in the mother-daughter relationships. Till the very end I was hoping for more of an explanation as to how Liga created her paradise make believe world, but it never came. We were thrown the continuous bone of the 'spirit-babby', and that was supposed to have been sufficient. It strikes me, that Urdda actually takes after her mother, her wants and desires were so strong that she brought them into being. The explanation for her was that she was a witch. Unfortunately, poor Liga had no such explanation, and was eventually left to fade away by a window at the end of the text. Still under the belief that she deserved nothing, so whatever good she did get was good luck. Sadly, by about mid-way through, it started to feel long, monotonous, and dare I say it, predictable. Predictable you cry! How can a book about magic, and witches, and human bears be predictable!? This is the question I am still asking myself. And aside from a strange male rape sequence towards the end, which I found positively disturbing, I felt this book languished into a reviveless, boring state. (less)
**spoiler alert** I thought the premise of this book was brilliant. Following two friends, a boy and girl, who had a romantic encounter of sorts on th...more**spoiler alert** I thought the premise of this book was brilliant. Following two friends, a boy and girl, who had a romantic encounter of sorts on their final graduation day, and seeing a glimpse into their lives every year on the same day after. I loved the detailed pop culture references, that maybe you can only truly appreciate had you grown up in London, and that made me yearn for my home town more than usual.
That is where my like for this book ended. Because in general I thought it was quite monotonous, it dragged in places, there was unnecessary exposition and dialogue, I personally felt all the characters were unlikeable (bar Dexter's mother) and terrible stereotypical creations; last but definitely not least, there was a ridiculously pointless death. A death, may I add, that was the second most interesting character, (I guess... at a push.) But aparently Nicholls doesn't like to allow his female protagonists to live. No. He likes to strike them down in the prime of life, like a sadistic god who has nothing better to do with his plot and character development.
But really, rather than rant for longer than this, because I am tired, and bored, and hot and have run out of ice lollies so am also a little cranky, and already feel like I wasted too much time on this book, and and and... I direct you here , to this brilliant review. Because it says it all and more. Other than the City of Angels love. That's just a little weird.(less)
Hmm. There was some truly beautiful language in this book. But there was also some pretty horrific scenes. Since my Trauma Literature module at Uni, I...moreHmm. There was some truly beautiful language in this book. But there was also some pretty horrific scenes. Since my Trauma Literature module at Uni, I have avoided books dealing with real life trauma at all costs. I know about myself that I can't handle it. Nevertheless, this book has a relatively relaxed pace, with some thoroughly interesting characters. It has some trigger worthy scenes, so read at your own risk.(less)
brilliant brilliant brilliant. i loved this book so much i don't want to review it for fear of ruining it. so just read it. i picked mind up in charity...morebrilliant brilliant brilliant. i loved this book so much i don't want to review it for fear of ruining it. so just read it. i picked mind up in charity shop for 50p! best 50p i've spent this year so far.(less)
This book is a gothic delight set in a Barcelona I have never encountered before. Fermín Romero de Torres may well be one of my favorite characters of...moreThis book is a gothic delight set in a Barcelona I have never encountered before. Fermín Romero de Torres may well be one of my favorite characters of this year. But it also may well be a little early to decide that.
It was cheesy in parts, over the top in others, yet there is something about this text that draws you in, forces you to fall in love with the characters, and sweeps you away in the mystery and love of books.
It misses the 5th star because, for me, the reason for everything was just far too soap opera, which ruined it just a little. However that is easily overlooked because this really is a tale of connection, rumour, and a love of literature.
This book is perhaps not quite as amazing as I though it was going to be, which is why I didn't give it the full 5 stars. But it is still a brilliant l...moreThis book is perhaps not quite as amazing as I though it was going to be, which is why I didn't give it the full 5 stars. But it is still a brilliant little read. Simple, quick and easy, yet completely endearing. We really are all the same, it's just a shame we don't seem to realise it.(less)
What a clever little book. And when I say little, I really mean little; it is just over 100 pages. Don't be fooled though, this is the kind of book you...moreWhat a clever little book. And when I say little, I really mean little; it is just over 100 pages. Don't be fooled though, this is the kind of book you wish you had written. Well, o.k- the kind of book I wish I had written. It's quirky, witty, and oh so clever. Recommended for a train/bus/plane ride to anywhere. (less)