Every Day is David Levithan’s latest novel. The narration was in the point-of-view of the main character, A, who lives every day of his life different...moreEvery Day is David Levithan’s latest novel. The narration was in the point-of-view of the main character, A, who lives every day of his life differently from how it was yesterday and the other day and the day before that. A has inhabited different bodies since Day 1, and the body can either be a male or a female, but the thing is that A can only inhabit a body once and that person should be of the same age as he currently is.
I personally call this book as the YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife, because it poked the right places and gave similar frissons as to when I was reading Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. A definitely does not have Henry’s genetic clock illness, but their experiences are almost the same. The only good thing for Henry is that he can still go back to the present. A, on the other hand, cannot do so. As I have mentioned earlier, once A inhabits a body, he cannot return to the same body again.
The story picks up when A is sixteen years old and follows the typical routine of his not-so-ordinary life until he comes across Rhiannon. From the moment A met Rhiannon, he knew that there was something in her that made him want to see her every day. That’s when he grabbed every chance he can in order for the two of them to see each other.
Aside from A and Rhiannon’s story, there were other stories that were woven in this great read. Nathan finding A’s email opened on his browser, another person who is like A but can stay in the same body for as long as he wants, and all the people that A inhabited, most specially Alexander Lin.
As I go from one body to another with A, I get to see life as to how it is viewed by different people and I find myself sympathizing with A. I cannot help but feel bad about what he is going through, he goes on from one body to another but he takes the knowledge with him.
David Levithan presents a lot of recurring themes in this book, such as individual differences, perspectives, and religion. The novel offered great insights, but there were times where it felt like it was not A anymore; rather, it was already the author talking. I admit that the tone sounded a little preachy, but it does not destroy the beauty of this novel, and I commend David Levithan for coming up with such a wonderful story.
There are a great number of books that are being published today, most of them decorated with the words From the Bestselling Author of… or New York Times Best-seller, but only a handful can leave a mark, an imprint, a scar in your heart, in your being that you will bring with you everywhere you go. Every Day by David Levithan is one of those books. It tugs at your heartstrings, it leaves you with a bittersweet feeling that you get the chance to meet A and know that you cannot do anything to make his situation any better. All you can do is sympathize and it gives you some sense of guilt in the end that you know his condition but cannot do anything about it.(less)
The Little Prince is about a pilot’s interaction with a little prince when his plane crashed in the Sahara Desert. It was a light read but there were...moreThe Little Prince is about a pilot’s interaction with a little prince when his plane crashed in the Sahara Desert. It was a light read but there were a lot of insights that a reader can get from it.
The book gave much emphasis on the things that we do not normally perceive with our eyes, things that are visible only to our hearts and minds. The Little Prince revolved on a few themes, like: narrow-mindedness and relationships. Narrow-mindedness was depicted through the grown-ups. Relationships, on the other hand, were shown via the different interpersonal relations found in the book. The prince’s relationship with the rose is an example of which.
Also, there were a lot of symbolisms in this book. The rose and her being vain and naïve. The fox and taming. The grown-ups and their narrow-mindedness. The stars, the desert, and the trains.
Overall, it is a great read. I regret having abandoned the book a few years ago. Well, I was reading it on the computer, so I guess that contributed to why I stopped reading it.(less)
I have read a few of Lois Lowry’s novels already, and so far, I can say that I have never been disappointed with any of her works yet. Gossamer is act...moreI have read a few of Lois Lowry’s novels already, and so far, I can say that I have never been disappointed with any of her works yet. Gossamer is actually the third novel by Lois Lowry that I have read.
Gossamer is a story about dreams, dream-givers, nightmares, Sinisteeds, a lonely woman who has a dog, and a broken family with an abused child.
Dream-givers are assigned to different households where they collect fragments by touching objects that are found inside the house. These objects carry fragments that the dream-givers use to conjure a dream to bestow on the inhabitants of the house that they were assigned in.
Sinisteeds, on the other hand, are the opposite of dream-givers. Instead of bestowing dreams on people, they inflict nightmares on them. As a group, Sinisteeds are called The Horde. According to Most Ancient—leader of the dream-givers, there had not been any records of The Horde visiting a house for years. I personally felt chills run down my spine as the Sinisteeds were being described.
Littlest One, the youngest dream-giver, is being trained to bestow fragments. She was assigned to the house of a woman who has a dog named Toby for a companion, and later on adopts a child named John who was abused by his own father. With the supervision of Fastidious Thin Elderly, Littlest One discovers how to touch and collect fragments and bestow these fragments on people. She also discovers that her touch is gossamer—extremely light, flimsy, or delicate.
When John moves in to the woman’s house, the Sinisteeds have been inflicting nightmares on to the boy. Littlest One’s task is to strengthen John by bestowing great dreams on him. This continued for days until The Horde came and inflicted a significant damage on John. The task of strengthening John drained Littlest One of energy.
Later on, Littlest One gets assigned to a new house and is given the name Gossamer. She also gets to meet New Littlest towards the end of the narration.
I found Gossamer really gripping. The imagery was very vivid, especially when the dream-givers and the Sinisteeds were described. Also, I loved how each character was built up as the story went on, specifically Littlest and John.(less)
Number the Stars is the fourth Lois Lowry novel that I have read this year. The story focused on how life was during the Second World War, particularl...moreNumber the Stars is the fourth Lois Lowry novel that I have read this year. The story focused on how life was during the Second World War, particularly in Copenhagen where our protagonist —Annemarie Johansen— lives.
Everything seems just how life in Denmark is supposed to be when the Nazis occupied the place, until the German troops started to “relocate” the Jews. This is when the Johansens do whatever they could to save Annemarie’s best friend—Ellen Rosen, and her family from getting “relocated”.
This book immediately got to me because of it is tied with history, though Lowry revealed in the Afterword where “fact ends and fiction begins”. Also, the Holocaust was presented in a simple manner as compared to other books that had the same theme.
The way how the development of Annemarie was presented was fantastic. From being the girl who just wanted to outrun her best friend to the corner of the street to being a wise lady doing what she can do to help the people in the Resistance.
Peter Neilsen and all the members of the Resistance reminded me of the Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Aside from Peter and the Resistance, Kim Malthe-Bruun, who was mentioned in the Afterword, got me reminiscent of Elias who is a character from Noli Me Tangere.
The excerpt from Kim Malthe-Bruun’s letter to his mother is similar to one of my favorite lines from Noli Me Tangere.
Kim Malthe-Bruun’s letter to his mother:
…and I want you all to remember — that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for, something every little peasant boy can look forward to, and with pleasure feel he is a part of — something he can work and fight for.
A line from Noli Me Tangere:
“Mamamatay ako na hindi man lamang nakita ang maniningning na pagbubukang-liwayway sa aking bayan, kayong makakakita, batiin ninyo siya at huwag kalimutan ang mga nalugmok sa dilim ng gabi.”—Elias
Towards the end of the book, the war ended and Annemarie and her family are safe, and also the Rosens and all the Jews that they helped. Lowry ended the book in such a way that there were no indications that Annemarie will be seeing her best friend again, but there is hope that the two of them will meet again. (less)
Wendelin Van Draanen presents a cute story about a girl named Julianna “Juli” Baker and a boy named Bryce Loski. The first time Juli sees Bryce, she f...moreWendelin Van Draanen presents a cute story about a girl named Julianna “Juli” Baker and a boy named Bryce Loski. The first time Juli sees Bryce, she flipped, and that’s where the story picks up. The two were in second grade, and the Loski’s just moved in to Juli’s neighborhood.
Bryce spent most of his stay in school avoiding Juli and constantly failing at that. Juli seems to have a knack of knowing where Bryce is, and this goes on until they reach sixth grade.
The book was narrated in two points-of-view—from Bryce’s and from Juli’s. The two have distinct voices, so the reader would know which one of them is talking. Aside from it being indicated that it was already Bryce who was talking or Juli, there were other elements too. The tone definitely is one of the major bases for distinction between the two. Also, the font used for Bryce is different from Juli.
I initially disliked how the book was written, because: (a) the voices of Bryce and Juli seemed forced, and (b) it sounded like they were not really the age that they were supposed to be. Fortunately, towards the middle part of the book, their voices did not appear forced anymore, or maybe I just got used to it already.
Superficially, Flipped is about the story of how Juli flipped when she first met Bryce and Bryce feeling the same by the end of the book. But Flipped is more than that, I found it very philosophical. Also, the main theme is very much related to one concept I learned in psychology: Gestalt—the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This was greatly emphasized in this book.
Other things that tugged into my heartstrings were the sycamore tree, Juli’s father, Chet, and Uncle David. Each of them added a significant taste to the story.
Being a person who values quality over form, there were a lot of realizations and insights that this book offered. I totally agree that we can never truly know a person if we dwell only on what is superficial; it is what is within that matters.(less)
James Frey was an alcoholic and a crack addict and A Million Little Pieces depicts how he struggled to get himself sober.
My first encounter with this...moreJames Frey was an alcoholic and a crack addict and A Million Little Pieces depicts how he struggled to get himself sober.
My first encounter with this book was when I was in High School. One of my friends recommended the book but I never got the chance to read it because we graduated already. It was a good thing that the shelves at Book Sale started having copies of A Million Little Pieces.
As soon as I started reading the book and devoured every word on its pages, I knew that I would definitely love it. It may be faced with controversies and criticisms about James Frey stretching the truth and changing the names, but I could not care less because the story was great and that is what matters for me—it was able to touch and influence a lot of lives.
I think that an author or a writer has the right to alter a few details to pave the way for an awesome reading experience for his readers. Well, James should not have claimed it as a memoir.
The book was narrated in the first person point of view—James Frey’s. It was the first time that I have read a book in this format: texts aligned left, not justified, and does not use quotation marks for the characters’ lines which confused me initially. I often got lost in conversations so I had to read them again.
It is divided into three parts: the part where James did not have any sense of direction, the part where he started having sense and struggled to start being sober, and the part where James and Lilly started to defy the rules.
I personally think that A Million Little Pieces is a good read for psychology students like myself because it gives a glimpse on how an alcoholic conducts his life. Also, there were things that I found interesting, like the use of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Joanne—James’ therapist-slash-counselor, and the Family Program.
What James and his parents did in the Family Program was the most interesting part, because it was when James started to show changes in his behavior. Making James talk about how he became an addict and the last part of the therapy where he was asked to list down every bad thing that he did were forms of catharsis for him.
What Lilly did by the end of the book is what scarred me the most. Lilly showed signs of low locus of control and high emotionality, but I did not expect her to end her life by hanging herself. And she did that on the day that James was supposed to be released from jail.
By reading this book, I was able to have a broader understanding of alcoholism and how an addiction is formed. I also want to read the Tao Te Ching book that James’ brother gave him because the snippets used in the book were really lovely.
Lastly, I loved how James Frey used the eyes as symbols. Lilly’s deep water blue eyes. James’ pale green eyes.
I would definitely recommend the book to everyone. One does not have to be an alcoholic in order to relate with the theme of this novel.(less)
Gathering Blue is a companion to Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The novel focused on the life of Kira and the village or community she belongs to.
Kira was bo...moreGathering Blue is a companion to Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The novel focused on the life of Kira and the village or community she belongs to.
Kira was born with a twisted leg in a community where the weak had no place in the society. People born with deficiencies were considered weak and are brought to the Field to die. Kira was spared because her mother had seen how strong she was as a child, and her grandfather had power during that time. She was left an orphan when Katrina, her mother, died.
As soon as she got back from watching her mother’s soul leave her body, she discovered that the women from her village were already planning to take the land where her old cott stood. They wanted to build a pen for their tykes. Vandara, a scarred three-syllable woman, headed the group. She filed a complaint to the Guardians saying that Kira is unfit to live in the village and should be sent to the Field of Leaving. This is where it gets better, and I am not going to spoil what happens during the trial.
I admire how simple Lowry’s style in writing is, and how she came up with her dystopian societies. Kira’s village is totally different from that of Jonas’ community in The Giver—not as technologically advanced and not as sophisticated.
Matt and Jo are the most adorable characters in the book. Well, I am fond of children, is why I loved Matt and Jo.
Another thing that struck me was the part about Kira’s father. Her father was believed to have been killed by beasts during a hunt before Kira was born. I could somehow relate to her situation. The part where they met each other for the first time was bittersweet and touching. That part really got me.
Overall, it was still a good read, though it was not as good as The Giver. But I still think that it is a very good companion to it. (less)
Coraline is a creepy yet well-crafted story by Neil Gaiman. It was written in such a way that the language is not that difficult for children to under...moreCoraline is a creepy yet well-crafted story by Neil Gaiman. It was written in such a way that the language is not that difficult for children to understand, and not too simple for young adults and adults alike.
Coraline and his parents live in a very old house, but they do not own the entire house. The flat below is occupied by Misses Forcible and Spink who were former actors, while the flat above is occupied by Mr Bobo a muscled man with a mustache. Misses Forcible and Spink and Mr Bobo kept calling Coraline “Caroline”. Coraline is not at all pleased and tries to correct them every time they call her Caroline.
Coraline’s parents are too busy with work that they do not give much attention to her. She explores a lot and likes to spend quite a lot of time outdoors; but when it rained, her mother forbid her to go outside. She also asked for her father’s permission. He refused to allow Coraline after she told him that her mother did not allow her. Coraline’s father suggested that she explore the house instead—count the number of doors, find out how many blue things there were, and whatnot.
That was when she discovered the door. It does not open so she asked her mother where it leads. Her mother opened the door with a key and she showed Coraline that a brick wall is behind the door. That door is where she will find the world of the Other, the world where she will meet her other mother and other father.
The story revolves around her other mother giving her everything that she wanted and longed for, and eventually asking her to stay and sew buttons onto her eye sockets. Now, Coraline needs to get back home, but she has to free the souls of her other mother’s victims and rescue her real parents.
I have seen the film adaptation before reading the book, but I do not regret doing such, because the two are different from each other. The film was visually wonderful and the storyline was the same as the book, except for a few minor changes. The novel, on the other hand, gave me an eerie feeling whilst I was reading it because the images it fed me were very vivid.(less)
I am really impressed with David Levithan. Having read a few of his published novels, I have not been disappointed in any of his novels yet. Levithan...moreI am really impressed with David Levithan. Having read a few of his published novels, I have not been disappointed in any of his novels yet. Levithan always gives his readers something fresh with his works and he is a writer that has written novels in different forms. Aside from the traditional format with chapters and regular paragraphs, he also has a book that is written in verses, and now The Lover’s Dictionary, which is much like a dictionary as its title suggests.
The Lover’s Dictionary depicts the ups and downs that people in relationships go through. The gender of the person whose point-of-view it was written was not mentioned. I think that the main character was intentionally made to be genderless so that the reader could really be in the shoes of the narrator regardless of gender.
It is not at all hard to relate with what the character is saying or describing, it was ultimately relatable. I cannot even describe the feels that this book caused me. I finished it in a day, less than a day, actually. I wanted to choose a favorite word from The Lover’s Dictionary, but I ended up taking note of a lot of words so I did not anymore choose my favorite.
David Levithan did not concentrate only between the couple involved in the relationship, but he also focused on the people around the couple—both their families and friends. It is a good thing that he did it that way because relationships really take place in a bigger milieu. But he did in such a manner that the other characters did not steal the spotlight from the main characters.(less)
Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River was recommended to me by Geordane, whom is a fan of Lehane. As soon as I started reading it, I understood why he loved My...moreDennis Lehane’s Mystic River was recommended to me by Geordane, whom is a fan of Lehane. As soon as I started reading it, I understood why he loved Mystic River. I personally think that Dennis Lehane is a genius for coming up with such great story. I definitely want to see the film adaptation of it.
Mystic River was about three childhood friends: Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle, whose lives changed after a very significant event when they were eleven years old. When a couple of men who drove a car that looks like the one that detectives drive pulled over in front of them whilst the three of them were arguing. One of the boys got in the car and escaped four days after his abduction—Dave.
What interested me most is what happened to Dave Boyle after he climbed the car with a couple of child molesters in it. I have encountered the theory that when a person experienced being molested during his childhood, he is more likely to become a child molester himself. I just forgot where I came across it. Dave’s character clearly shows how great an impact our childhood can be for our adult personality.
Another interesting thing is that of human’s innate evil, our capacity to do evil, which was shown through Jimmy Marcus’ character, and aggression exhibited by Johnny O’Shea and Jay Harris Jr.
I absolutely admire Dennis Lehane’s style of writing. It appeared very spontaneous in a way that I, as his reader, felt like what I was reading were trail of thoughts. Everything was solid. As a reader, one thing that I look into is the ability of the author to evoke vivid images out of words, and Lehane managed to do that amazingly. There were words the reader could hold onto.
Also, I think that his way of keeping his reader in the dark is pure genius. Occasionally letting slip a few details that will really get those neurons firing. Dave was my primary suspect for the murder of Katie Marcus, Jimmy Marcus’ daughter, until everything started to make sense.
This is a well-thought and greatly woven story. If there is one word to describe it, that would be “mindblowing”. The twist in the end and how the story builds up. Plus, all the characters had a very distinct personality that the reader would clearly see the distinction among them.(less)