"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)
**spoiler alert** I really, really like Jenny Trout. Her 50SOG recaps have been nothing short of genius and I have the utmost respect for her persiste...more**spoiler alert** I really, really like Jenny Trout. Her 50SOG recaps have been nothing short of genius and I have the utmost respect for her persistence in continuing with them. Heck, I read all three books, wrote a couple long reviews, and this shit gets under your skin. You find yourself wandering into WHSmith's book aisle and wanting to punch the women talking about how hot Christian Grey is. Never has a book elicited such an (angry) physical response from me.
The things I love about The Girlfriend, and the first in the series, are the specific shout outs to the absolute monstrosity of 50Shades. The flip reverse of Ana hating every female character that appears in the novel to Sophie being secure enough in herself to describe a beautiful air hostess/nurse/whatever with no worries. The security of Neil not only not minding other men looking at/touching Sophie, but actively encouraging it. The mature, considered discussion and portrayal of a pregnancy termination. The almost imitation of Sophie to Ana, realising she wouldn't change a thing about the however many months she had spent with Neil. That he was her lover, best friend, love of her life, and that the realisation actually carried some weight due to the situation in the book. Unlike 50Shades.
There is a lot to love in this series. Sophie is mature, witty, strong. Neil is kind, likeable, human. There are an array of interesting, funny secondary characters. Who, quite frankly, I am having issue describing as secondary in the first place! This novel dealt with things I didn't think it would. For lack of a better description, it is a BDSM cancer novel. Has this ever been done before? F**k knows. Was I expecting it? No way, it made me cry quite a bit. Yet at the same time, there is humour in this novel. I laughed out loud at some of the dialogue.
I would be remiss if I didn't say there were things I wasn't comfortable with. However, this is more based on my own personal preferences than bad writing. I thought some of the descriptions of the various properties were a little tedious, we get it, he's rich. It is actually Neil's wealth that I am least interested in in this series. Although, here's hoping in the follow up to this there will be many tedious descriptions of Sophie's trailer park upbringing. I'm looking forward to what I'm hoping will be a juxtaposition of environments in the next one!
Just please let there be more Holli and Deja.(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)
So there is a growing worrying trait in these books. And possibly it is because of what happened in Stubenville that I am extra aware of it, but I don...moreSo there is a growing worrying trait in these books. And possibly it is because of what happened in Stubenville that I am extra aware of it, but I don't think keg parties where girls are groped and routinely date raped are the imaginings of a good time.
The second novel dealt with this culture of frat boys gang banging for fun a little bit, and it is part of this third novel too. I think a discourse on rape culture and female objectification is vital; especially in light of Stubenville. But it doesn't feel like this is what is happening here.
Claire almost got raped in book two. The answer was for her to be rescued by a vampire.
A random unconscious girl was having her panties removed by a group of boys in this novel. The answer was for Shane to rescue her.
When they arrived at the party, the things that were described were given as examples of a great party, a party to be respected. A list of things: * A mob of drunken frat boys stumbled down the walk carrying a couch. * A girl ran by dressed in the top half of a bikini. * Drinking games. * People making out in full view of everyone.
Eve and Claire dressed up for this party, and were pleased when drunken frat boys wolf whistled at them. Claire only decided to get dressed in the outfit Eve provided for her because she wanted to see Shane's reaction. She dressed up specifically for someone else, not herself.
I don't know, you guys. What I'm saying is, this doesn't seem to be fodder for open, vital discussion on the dangers of rape culture. This seems to be Caine portraying stuff that she thinks just happens. There is not enough autonomy of female character for this to be a feminist depiction. If the biggest way in which your female characters are displaying control is to choose to wear clothes that are going to make boys gape - that is just not sitting well with me.
There's a troubling dynamic of the male characters either being bad or good. Either you can get stuck in a room with a rapist, or you can be rescued by a good man. Either you can be threatened by a creepy boy who has just been let out of jail, or you can rely on one of your two male housemates to protect you. You are either a bad cop who carries out vampire slayings, or you are a good cop that is available to give you a ride home at the drop of a hat.
The character of Myrnin here, is the physical portrayal of a man battling between his good and his bad side. He can't be both, he has to be one or the other. Unfortunately for him it is going to end up being bad, as that is the illness he has.
Add to this we are routinely told Claire is some child genius, but she consistently makes the most ridiculous and stupid decisions. She goes off to find a mentally ill vampire who has already tried to kill her twice without telling anyone. She acknowledges to the person who tried to kill Sam that she knew he was the one whilst she was in a moving vehicle that he was driving.
There is only one thing that I require in a female protagonist to make it bearable for me to read; common sense. Her complete lack of foresight or self protection is detracting from what isn't a bad idea for a world.
I am told these books get better, and I'll be reading on because it is one of my GCSE pupils providing them for me. But I'm just sayin'. They're not great.(less)
It feels like it has been an age since I read a 5 star. I will review this one soon, I spent a while thinking it was a 3. And then it wasn't. And it w...moreIt feels like it has been an age since I read a 5 star. I will review this one soon, I spent a while thinking it was a 3. And then it wasn't. And it was glorious. (less)