There are no words, really, to fully express my love for this remarkable, beautiful, tragic book. It has everything--EVERYTHING--I love in a good storThere are no words, really, to fully express my love for this remarkable, beautiful, tragic book. It has everything--EVERYTHING--I love in a good story. It has vibrant characters, emotions so loud it's impossible not to feel them too, pain, hurt, love, forgiveness. A beautiful, perfect full circle, symmetry. This book is a masterpiece. ...more
Wow, this book—it's a book that you'll pick up and find the time to read in one day. No matter how busy that day might be.
FIRST IMPRESSION The writingWow, this book—it's a book that you'll pick up and find the time to read in one day. No matter how busy that day might be.
FIRST IMPRESSION The writing strike me first—how great it is, how easy it flowed, how vivid the voice was. Contemporaries without a thriller edge or a murder mystery or some kind in it don't usually draw me in as quickly as this book did. It's a straight-up contemporary, and it's interesting from the very start.
PLOT The book centers around the life of Skylar Evans, a girl who is from a broke family—both financially and emotionally. Her dad did in a drunk driving accident when she was young, and her mom has been suffering from alcoholism and depression ever since. After losing her job, her mom lapses into one of her worst episodes yet, leaving Sky to figure out how to pay all their bills herself. Right after she graduated from high school.
Her goal had always been to get away from the small, crappy town she grew up in. She has a full ride scholarship to San Fransisco University, but with her mom not looking for work and falling back into the bottle, Sky's whole plan might be derailed.
Worse, a coworker of hers and recently returned—and injured—Marine, Josh, makes her life even more complicated. Back from the war sans one leg, Josh is a mess. Surviver's guilt among other things plague him, but Sky and Josh have a connection neither of them can fight.
SKYLAR is an awesome girl. I really liked her from start to finish. I loved her struggle with staying or going—forsaking her family and securing her future in San Fran or forsaking her future for her drunk, pretty neglectful, mom. She was understandable, relatable, and interesting. She did occasionally do something stupid, stupid things that just made me shake my head, but mostly she was a smart kid.
JOSH is possibly one of my favorite leading men. I absolutely loved him. He was messed up, and understandably so. With Sky, he never seemed to be able to do the right thing—but he kept trying. The chapters that were from his POV were just so heart-wrenching.
CHRIS was a really great secondary character and one of Sky's best friends. Together, they made a Pact. No romance while they were in their shitty small town, so that they wouldn't get sucked into staying there and could focus on studying, studying, studying. Thanks to that, Chris is heading to Boston for college and represents everything Sky could have, if she's willing to let go of her family.
DYLAN was amazing. I was a little border-line on whether or not I would like her. She's Sky and Chris's age, but has a kid and is kind of a crazy chick. But in a good way. She always had Sky's back, and I loved their dynamic.
MARGE is the most awesome mother figure. She owns the motel that Josh and Sky work at, and always had their backs, even when they didn't know it. I loved this lady.
Just wow. The romance was so there and amazing and edge-of-your-seat amazing. Plus, some of those make out sessions? Whoa. Steamy stuff.
This was my favorite part of the book. But I won't say more, since I don't want to spoil any of the fun!
This book will go on my Favorite Books of 2015 list for sure.
I was lucky enough to get one of the "hand written" letters from Josh on top of this book (because of the time frame in which I ordered it) and let me just say: that letter PERFECTLY finished off the book. Totally satisfied with the entire reading experience. I am a big fan of Heather Demetrios now....more
As a literary agent intern, an editorial intern, a freelance editor, and the executive editor of a literary journal I can say without a doubt that thiAs a literary agent intern, an editorial intern, a freelance editor, and the executive editor of a literary journal I can say without a doubt that this book is WELL EDITED AND HAS POLISHED WRITING, contrary to what the one-star review says below. I hate seeing ridiculous reviews try to ruin new books. Especially when they "quote" a passage by adding in typos and missing words...
FIRST IMPRESSION I love a good mystery, and the creepy atmosphere is set up right away in the first chapter of this book.
PLOT There's a solid mystery pace—there's a great start to the book with a creepy event in a graveyard that sets of a chain of events that lead Leo to her mission: finding out what happened to her mother. I enjoyed the twists and turns, the romance was as important to the story as the mystery was—which if you like books like HOW WE FALL then you'll like this.
There are a couple good suspects, enough that you'll keep wondering is it him or her or him again? Or maybe the other him?
CHARACTERS Leo: She's a flawed heroine, and that's the way I like them. She makes some poor decisions along the way, particularly at the start, but considering the trauma of seeing her mother murdered—I totally understand. I like how determined she is to get an answer to her mother's murder, and I liked her relationship with her dad too. It is interesting that Leo is a cheerleader, but isn't your typical sort—she's got an edge to her that I loved.
Becket: He was the type of guy you'd want to date. He's kinda cliche in the sense that he's the quarterback, but since Leo isn't a nobody—she's a cheerleader herself—it makes sense that they would be on each other's radars.
Henry: He's the one I couldn't really sort out during the story. He's either a good guy that's damaged, or a bad guy who is trying to be good. It was fun trying to figure that out throughout the story.
ROMANCE I was really into the Leo/Becket, and kinda into the possibility of a Leo/Henry too. It wasn't a real love triangle or anything—Leo had her sights on Becket from the start, but Henry had his sights on Leo. It made me feel bad for Henry, and the two were kinda good friends—in a very dysfunctional way. But in the end, Becket had more pros than cons and was a charming cute guy. (I'll always take the good boy over the bad boy.)
CONCLUSION If you like creepy atmospheres, but nothing drastically frightening, and a good murder mystery with a hint of romance—this is a good book for you. ...more
Wow. This book. I got it today, and finished it today. It's that good—no, it's better than good. It's remarkable, amazing, brilliant, beautiful. A necWow. This book. I got it today, and finished it today. It's that good—no, it's better than good. It's remarkable, amazing, brilliant, beautiful. A necessity. You might think, "Oh, that looks cute, it'd be a fun little book to look at" but it's so much more than that. It's not just some cute little guide to read over.
This book explores what it means to be a fangirl and what it means to be a feminist in a brilliant, easy-to-relate-to way. It celebrates geekdom and encourages you to embrace you fandoms and never, ever be ashamed of what you love.
This book is so amazing, I can't even. Everyone needs it in their life.
"Getting invested in a fictional world means you have a wonderful imagination, a big heart, and the capacity for endless creativity. No one can say anything bad about that." p. 38
Some guys might wonder why the movement isn't called "equals", if it's about equality. A fair question! This is, women are generally moralized compared to men, so naming the movement "feminism" helps keep women's right a priority." p. 159
I absolutely loved this book. I wish that I had read a book like this when I was a teen living in a small Midwestern town not unlike the one Etta liveI absolutely loved this book. I wish that I had read a book like this when I was a teen living in a small Midwestern town not unlike the one Etta lived in. Everything about this book—the voice, the writing, the concept, the issues it deals with—is pure brilliance. I really, really love how Moskowitz dealt with the unique issues that bisexual teens face—and that's why I wish I read it when I was a teen. Where I grew up, you were either gay or straight. It was black and white, no in-between. It would've been hard enough to be gay, but to be into both you would've been a freak—like Etta was treated at her school.
This book is truly powerful. I said it already, but I'll say it again, I really wish I had a book like this when I was a teen. It would've helped me deal with a lot of issues about liking both girls and boys and how YES that is okay!.
So thank you, Hannah Moskowitz, for this gift. ...more
As Maren would say, I made friends with this novel. It's so good, you'll devour this book in one bite (yes, I just went there.)
FIRST IMPRESSION EverythAs Maren would say, I made friends with this novel. It's so good, you'll devour this book in one bite (yes, I just went there.)
FIRST IMPRESSION Everything about this premise intrigued me. I absolutely love HANNIBAL so all things cannibal catch my attention. And as a devoted YA girl, how could I pass up the chance to read this one? I was in love from the first page.
PLOT This is a story about self-discovery for Maren, the main character. She doesn't really know what she is—or why she does what she does. Whenever someone shows her affection, she gobbles them up—bones and all. Ever since before she could remember. Her mom helps her cover it up until she is sixteen, where they move at the drop of the hat after she does "the bad thing".
When she is sixteen, however, her mom leaves her. She can't take care of her anymore, or cover up what Maren does anymore. So Maren has to learn to make it on her own, in a world that is confusing and dark. It's her goal to find her father—a man she never knew—and along the cross-country journey, she meets new people who are just like her.
CHARACTERS MAREN is my favorite leading lady ever. I love her. She is so sympathetic and amazing, even considering she's an eater. Her struggle to accept what she does and learn to live—or whether or not she should just give up—is so heart-wrenching.
LEE is the love interest, and I absolutely loved him. From the moment he entered the story. He's cold, but it's necessary considering what Maren does. He's sweet though, and he goes above and beyond to teach her how to survive in this world by herself, which he has been doing for the past two years since he left home at seventeen after doing his own very bad thing.
SULLY is a weird yet wonderful character. The first other eater that Maren has met, and a man of true mystery.
ROMANCE Oh gosh, THIS PART. I love Lee/Maren. I love the shyness of first love. I love how they were both so messed up and confused about what they are, what they did, and how they helped each other accept both the light and dark in them. This part. Loved. It.
This book will, without a doubt, be my all time favorite book of 2015. I loved every single page, every single word. I loved every character, and each of their flaws.
This book has earned its spot alongside of IMAGINARY GIRL by Nova Ren Suma as my favorite book of all time, actually. And if you know me, you know how I love Nove Ren.
I received an ARC as part of the StreetTeam and for an honest review....more
I don't laugh out loud when I read books — I really don't. Even when something is funny, I just think 'Oh, that's clever/funny/cute', but this book? II don't laugh out loud when I read books — I really don't. Even when something is funny, I just think 'Oh, that's clever/funny/cute', but this book? I laughed out loud. Multiple times.
This is by far my favorite John Green book. It's so different and original than his others. Yes, he has a sensitive male leads — par for the course for him — but Colin is different than the others. He has specific goals and ambitions. He has experiences with girls even — eighteen Katherines to be exact. This book was written in third person POV, which was different, and it has footnotes throughout that are really interesting. They are such a unique way to convey information, and it's so perfect for this book, so very Colin to include footnotes like that.
Math is not my thing, and that's one of the aspects of this book that had made me reluctant to pick it up. But the math is really small, and you don't have to be a genius to understand what the concept is and what's going on with it. There's an Appendix at the end for those who love math and want to learn more about the math used in it though. So that's cool.
Overall, definitely a worthwhile read. My brothers would even read and enjoy this book. I'll be giving a copy to one of them next holiday. ...more
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book to review by Maria Ann, and am so thankful!
I absolutely loved this book, it was so creative and interestinDisclaimer: I was given a copy of this book to review by Maria Ann, and am so thankful!
I absolutely loved this book, it was so creative and interestingly written. There is journal entries and third person POV mixed in throughout the story. Usually, third person POV seems so stiff and hard to connect with the characters — but Maria Ann Green has a talent for third person POV. It had voice and it was easy to connect to Meagan and her journey.
Meagan struggles with doubt and depression, and finds her only source for relief through cutting. It was interesting to get into the mind of a character that thought this was a good idea — even though she kinda already knew it wasn't. The journey from deciding to cut, to cutting, to deciding not to cut was a painful one for Meagan, and the reader. She's a nice girl, who has flaws and brilliance both. I wouldn't say she made a mistake, this book isn't about judging the habit, but about trying to break free of it for Meagan.
Poor Meagan, when she finally does, her high school experience continues to have ups and downs. This is one of those interesting books that flows from MG, when Meagan is in middle school, to NA — when she is in college. Due to this, a lot of moments and sometime a whole year will be skimmed over. I kinda wish I could have known more about what happened then, but since the book is spanning such a large period of time I understand why the author wouldn't stop for these moments if nothing important to her journey was really happening. I kinda would've liked to see more of her relationships as well, because it's not until the last one that we really get to see what it's like for Meagan. Otherwise, it is in the journal entries that they are skimmed over. Again, though, since this isn't a romance book I understand that aspect.
Overall, I give this book my seal of approval. If you are looking for a dark issue book, this debut is for you.
OOOOOH! By the way: THERE IS POETRY! I love poetry, but I can't write it worth anything. I loved that aspect about the book. Meagan's journal entries were broken up by her poetry, and you learn so much about what she is feeling and what she has gone through/is going through with her poems. Some are short, some are long, but all are beautiful. There are so many gem lines and poems, I started to keep a list for my favorite quotes:
BEAUTIFUL QUOTES: “I felt less vulnerable putting pen to paper than putting words through my lips.”
“This is the story of working through my problems, pending against them, and choosing to cope instead of giving up.”
“Sometimes I even worry I’ve become a robot or a type of pod person. Somehow, maybe while I was sleeping, someone came into my bedroom, cut out my heart, and replaced it with mechanical hardware. Or my whole soul has been taken out and replaced with an unhappy replica.”
“She can no longer see what is truly in front of her mirror like she used to. Her perception has morphed. It’s deformed. her self-perception is as dysfunctional as our cutting.”
“She hated to acknowledge the darker side of her curiosities, but even ignored, they gnawed at her conscious, begging to be free. This was her opportunity.”
“It starts with a tiny, dust sized, speck of an idea that floats by, sometimes triggered, sometimes without nay waning or reason. It moves around, just a nuisance, circling for a spot to land and infect. You can try to bat it away, but that means acknowledgment of the problem you want so bad just to pretend does’t exist.”...more
I absolutely loooooove this book. Daniel the Drawer is S.J. Henderson‘s debut MG. There are so many things to love about this novella. Let me sum it uI absolutely loooooove this book. Daniel the Drawer is S.J. Henderson‘s debut MG. There are so many things to love about this novella. Let me sum it up in list format:
1. It’s a quick read. Not just because it’s a novella, but because of the non-stop action. At no point does the pace lag or the plot slow down. Daniel is on one adventure after another. 2. The voice is amazing. Really, truly stellar. S.J. has nailed the nine-year-old male voice. I absolutely love the way Daniel describes his world, his drawings, and the people in it. 3. It’s hilarious and adorable. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds. Daniel is a funny kid and gets himself into some pretty sticky situations. Not surprisingly, can you imagine what you would have done if you were nine and discovered a magical pencil that brings everything you draw to life? 4. There’s a very subtle, but good message, underneath the story. I hate it when stories are so blatant about the message. It happens a lot with kids stories. Parents are trying to teach the audience a lesson, and when they are they go a little overboard. But with this story, the message is there, but it’s important to the plot so it’s not blatant. 5. The voice!! I know, I already said it, but seriously. I am a sucker for a vibrant voice, and there’s a very real, very awesome voice to this story. 6. The drawings. They’re so crazy inventive. I could totally imagine a nine-year-old boy drawing Octobear — a half octopus, half teddy bear creation. Or Pi-zzabot, a robot that makes pizza and solves your math homework. Loved it.
I could go on and on, but really the bottom line is this: buy the book. Read the book. Especially if you have kids around Daniel’s age.
I absolutely love this book. As someone who is dyslexic, I can relate to the events of this book. I would often fake being sick just to stay home fromI absolutely love this book. As someone who is dyslexic, I can relate to the events of this book. I would often fake being sick just to stay home from school. I was lucky enough to have a few Mr. Falker's in my life....more
I've loved the Giving Tree since I was a little girl. Shel Silverstein's story can teach us so much about what it means to love and the price of givinI've loved the Giving Tree since I was a little girl. Shel Silverstein's story can teach us so much about what it means to love and the price of giving. It's so sad that the boy keeps taking, taking, taking and never gives back :(...more
I have to say: I know Lexa. I even read this pre-agent/pre-book deal and loved it. Lexa gave me an ARC before the book was published (though I’ve sincI have to say: I know Lexa. I even read this pre-agent/pre-book deal and loved it. Lexa gave me an ARC before the book was published (though I’ve since bought one as well). When I first read this book though, I didn’t know Lexa very well. So my opinion of it wasn’t based on how awesome of a person she is :)
Now, on to the review …
Élan has a rather horrible mother. Her mom spends all her time away from home on TV as part of a psychic duo. To fill her time, Élan goes around exposing fake psychics with a couple of her friends. When her mom goes missing in Egypt, Élan feels like she has no choice but to go to Egypt and look for her. Her mother doesn’t have all the time in the world either — she’s diabetic. Without her insulin, she’ll die.
The pacing is ideal, in my opinion. Élan doesn’t just sit around waiting for someone to help her: she takes action and searches for clues. It doesn’t take long for the creepiness to start either — and wow, does it get creepy. The whole premise of the SOUL CUTTER is so remarkably original in my opinion. There’s twist and turns. I was in agony as the story continued on because of how much I wanted Élan to succeed — to survive.
Élan is a heroine I can get behind. She’s strong, sensible, and willing to do what’s needed to get done. She’s loyal too. If I were in her shoes, I wouldn’t go to Egypt to find my useless mother. My favorite aspect of Élan is how she can be petrified, but still keeps going. She doesn’t like her fear get the best of her. I also liked how, even though there was a boy involved, she was got things done on her own. She wasn’t perfect, of course no one is, and when she needed it she would accept help, but she didn’t relay on others.
Ramsey *swoons*. Ramsey, Ramsey, Ramsey! Smart, savvy, handsome, sensitive, and sometimes a little arrogant — gotta love him. I admired how complex of a character Ramsey was. How I thought I finally understood all of him, but then another layer of him would come undone.
Soul Cutter — another complex character. Another filled with twists and turns. When I thought I understood him — thought I knew what he was up to — Lexa would throw me for a loop.
Élan/Ramsey — yeah, this needed to happen in my opinion. I liked how the romance was developed slowly. They didn’t fall for each other instantly, but only after they started to learn each other’s secrets. Only after they witnessed each other at their worst — and best. It was really endearing.
Excellent. Third person POV is something that’s really difficult for me to connect with and so often I find there’s no voice in third person. There’s exceptions: Neil Gaimain and Laini Taylor are honestly the only ones I can think of right now. Other than Lexa Cain, that is. Élan and Ramsey both share POV in this story, and each has their own voice. I can’t imagine this story working as well in first person POV.
And the setting! The setting was so vivid in the story. Lexa has a skill at setting the atmosphere. It’s so captivating. To have a horror story succeed, the atmosphere has to be set just right — and that’s what happened in the story. Plus, have I mentioned it’s set in Egypt? I’ve always been fascinated by Egypt, and I loved all the new aspects I learned about the country and its culture through this amazing book.
I absolutely loved this book. I had to read it during Toddler Time today. The artwork is lovely, the way the story weaves together and connects at theI absolutely loved this book. I had to read it during Toddler Time today. The artwork is lovely, the way the story weaves together and connects at the end is impressive, and the concept is perfect for a kid struggling to go to sleep at night. I wish they had this book when I was still young. ...more
I don’t know how to talk about this book. It’s such a complicated, interconnected, and brilliantly plotted boYou can find my review here at YA Asylum.
I don’t know how to talk about this book. It’s such a complicated, interconnected, and brilliantly plotted book. The characters are AMAZING. Seriously, I loved each of them. Nora was perfection. Hopper – oh, Hopper — how could you not fall a little in love with this horribly broken boy? Scott was a really amusing main character. I was on his side from the start. I really, really hoped he could redeem himself.
Cordova. I can’t not talk about Cordova – for a character that’s not really in the book, he’s such an extremely interesting and well developed character. Same goes for his daughter, Ashely. They are just such amazing, large, characters.
There were actually some frightening moments in this book. I was never really sure what was going to happen next. The way everything connected in the end, though, was very satisifying and I can honestly say — when I started this book — I didn’t really see the ending coming.
There are photos, articles, and webpages throughout this book so you can see what Scott’s seeing while investigating Ashely’s death. These were amazingly done. I absolutely loved how detailed and full of information they were. It blows my mind that Pessl could do this. She had to have everything thoroughly detailed to make those articles, web pages, and so much more.
This is the first book, I think, that really embraces the possibility of interlacing books with social media. Without it taking away from the power of the book. You don’t need to stop the book to look at what the photos decode (there’s a decoder app from RandomHouse to unlock hidden content), but after you’re done, it does deepen a few of the subplots by doing that. But if you don’t ever touch the decoder, it’s still a very amazing and well plotted book.
Does that make sense?
I really can’t say much more. All I can say is this: READ THIS BOOK.
This is one of my favorite books of 2013. No contest. It’s remarkable....more
That said, I didn't really care for the graphic design of this book. It was all over the place and it's hardGreat advice. Fun message. Inspirational.
That said, I didn't really care for the graphic design of this book. It was all over the place and it's hard to read the light blue on white background. I didn't mind it when the words were upside down or in reverse order -- as a dyslexic, I can read through that with ease, sometimes I didn't notice it until it was pointed out -- but the color scheme wasn't my favorite.
The price you pay for this book is for having a copy of Neil Gaiman's speech. ...more
You can find this review here at YA Asylum. I didn't know what to think when I started to read this book. I knew it was dark, and middle grade, but IYou can find this review here at YA Asylum. I didn't know what to think when I started to read this book. I knew it was dark, and middle grade, but I didn't know much else. I liked the illustrations, and how perfect they were for the book. Dark, ink, and fantastical -- just like the story.
Poor Conor has it rough. His father is a total waste of space and mother is very ill -- and his grandma and him don't get along. They are from two very, very different worlds. At school he is being bullied. There's really nothing good in his life, and this is so sad because he's so young.
And then the monster comes.
Something he should be terrified of -- something that's threatening and huge. Guess what? He's not scared. He has a nightmare that's way scarier than this evil creature. So, to try and inspire fear, the monster plans to tell Conor three stories.
This is a very short story. It's 215 pages, but most of it is illustration, so it can be read in one sitting. Which is what happened with me. I didn't intend to read it in one sitting. I actually picked it up and thought: I'll read one chapter before bed and then that didn't happen. Bed came late that night, but it was totally worth it.
This book is amazing.
It's earned a place as one of my favorites. I know I haven't sad much in this review, but I can't without ruining it for you. You'll just have to trust me. Conor is a character that you'll love. Below all the sadness and pain, there's a story of beauty and hope in it. And the ending! I dare you to read this book and not get teary-eyed.
If wish this monster visited me when I was a kid....more
I had huge expectations for this book. Almost everyone I know that's read this book really loved it. I heard things like it's beautiful! and a perfectI had huge expectations for this book. Almost everyone I know that's read this book really loved it. I heard things like it's beautiful! and a perfect contemporary YA! -- so how couldn't I have high expectations?
Here's the thing ... when I first started to read it, I wasn't too terribly impressed. It read a lot like Amelia Anna's Dead & Gone to me. A lot. Both MC's were seniors, super smart and perfect students, and attached to mysteriously gone girls. In Amelia Anna's Dead & Gone it was a girl the MC didn't know, who was killed and left in town. In this book, it's a popular girl from town no one knows what happened to.
There's nothing wrong with two books being so alike. It happens. Sometimes authors have the same ideas. But ... I just kept thinking that this is so alike and I couldn't really enjoy it for itself because of that. I was positive I knew what was going to happen. I knew as soon as the coffee shop owner was introduced what his connection would be (lucky guess) so I figured I knew the rest. It was going to be just like Amelia Anna's Dead & Gone....
Until it wasn't. At all. Once Parker stops reading the diary and starts actively searching for the truth, everything changed. It got so, so good and things happened that I didn't see coming. At first glance, this is a typical YA Contemporary and similar to other coming-of-age mystery stories. But the deeper you go into it, the deeper the book is. Parker's insights could apply to anyone in high school -- not just the overachiever.
The ending was perfect. I loved all the poem tie-ins. I loved how Parker's character came alive and grew. I also really liked the romance element. It was slowly developed and completely believable. I only wish there was more of that :)
Overall, stellar book! Can't wait to read ore of Kriby's books!...more
Please note: I got this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review. And an honest revieMore of my reviews can be found here on YA Asylum.
Please note: I got this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review. And an honest review I will give. For more information refer to my Review Policies & FTC Disclaimer.
I loved this collection of short stories. They were all beautifully written and creepy in all the right ways. World-building is done fabulously in each of the short stories, along with character development. I really liked all the main characters and each of the concepts are really interesting.
This is the first short story to appear in Girls & Monsters. I would say it's a fusion of YA & NA. The characters are seventeen, then later nineteen in the story. To be honest, I've never held an interest in mermaids before. They've always seemed cuties and whatever -- just not my thing, this might have to do with the fact that the first (and only time) I saw the Little Mermaid, my aunt's evil freakin' Chihuahua bite the crap out of me. Since then, I've been pretty sour towards the idea of mermaid anything. When I saw the opening for this story: Limnade: Greek mythology, mermaid living in fresh water. My reaction was: uh-oh.
Luckily, I really enjoyed this short story. Mermaids are best like this, in my opinion. Evil, disgusting creatures. I loved the way the Limnade mythology warped the town of Lakeside View. Elizabeth, the MC, was a really relatable character that I felt for and I instantly got attached to the Jo/Liz relationship. There were authentically creepy moments in this story. I have never enjoyed open bodies of water, particularly lakes and rivers, and this just justifies that dislike all the more. Who's to say the next lake someone begs me to go to doesn't have a Limnade?
The ending broke my heart a bit.
Horror Level: I would say this is horror-esque. There are generally creepy things going on in this story and the atmosphere is set right for a horror story. There's nothing gory or grotesque about this story though -- so if you're reluctant to pick up a gory horror, don't worry.
This story can be interpreted in a few different ways. It could be a dark paranormal tale of a girl trying to find herself, only to be hindered by the spirit of a black dog that won't leave her alone. Or it could be the story of a girl battling mental illness, trying to find a way to fix herself. It depends on which you prefer and what you take out of the story, which is something I really like. I love stories that have double meanings, that you can twist to fit what feels right for you.
Scarlet is a protagonist I can really sympathize with. She knows something is wrong with her, that she's different, and wants to badly to be normal. She's not one of those girls that keeps thinking: Oh! If only I can be normal! and goes off and laments about it in a quiet corner. Scarlet puts herself out there. She goes, alone, to London for a group tour. That's a really scare situation to place yourself into, if you're an introvert like Scarlet (and me, and I know how scary this can be because I've done it myself, in London no less).
My favorite part of this story was the voice. It's third person present tense with some flashbacks in first person past tense. Usually switching up POV like that bothers me, but not in this case. The voice was so dark and vivid in the third person present tense -- I was thoroughly impressed with this. I also thought it was really clever for the evil voice to nickname Scarlet Scars.
And the way this story ended? Yeah, that's how I like 'em.
A BLUE STORY
This is a Bluebeard retelling. I'm not a huge fan of this fairytale. Generally speaking, the girl who is supposed to stay away from a certain room is always so stupid. Every retelling I've ever read, I figured the girl kinda got what was coming. If you're dumb enough to find yourself in that situation, am I going to care when you finally do the equally dumb thing of going into that room? Particularly when ever Bluebeard in the retelling is a huge creeper? No. I'm not going to care. Please knock yourself out. I enjoy a good character death.
Hence why I was so relieved this wasn't the usual Bluebeard retelling. The MC, Katherine (I'm partial to this name to start out with), isn't an idiot. There's twists in this story that are a different take on the fairytale. I must warn you there is animal deaths. I know that's a deal breaker for some people. This might sound horrible, but I generally care twice as much for an animal that dies in a movie or book than when a person does. How can you not love a dog? Seriously? And what could that poor puppy ever have done to anyone else?
I'm off topic. The writing was really good in this story. There were two or three lines I could've lived without and this ending wasn't my favorite out of the Girls & Monsters collections. But I still liked this story.
I love that this story takes place in Europe (Germany, to be exact). It's always interesting when the characters are in a different environment. This story was a little bit like a sci-fi fairytale, if there could be such a thing. The main character, Chris, lost her parents and now lives with her older sister. One day, they lose their only living relative, their grandmother, who lives in Germany.
They have to go clear out her place, which is the very last thing Chris wants to do. In fear of the monster she knows that lives under her grandmother's bed. It's an interesting story and there are some creepy moments. Girls & Monsters as a whole is a collection I really enjoyed, but this wasn't my favorite story. It seemed to rush together at the end. Plus: bugs. I just really don't like them.
WE LEFT AT NIGHT
Zombies. Need I say more? I suppose. I love zombies and this short story was put together so very well. The tension and the wtf is going on moments. Brooke comes alive as a character, as does her family. Her dad is kind of useless, since he breaks down and says some pretty harsh things and her mom is kind of crazy in my opinion. She's a nurse so she goes out of her way to help people, which made me feel sorry for Brooke and her little brother, Rory. (And, yes, Whovians, I thought Rory Williams too.)
This was probably my favorite short story in the collection. Brooke's voice was vivid, the tension was brilliantly executed, and there are zombies....more
It took me about a week to read this book, which is fairly long for me. That usually means one of two things: I love it too much or I’m forcing myselfIt took me about a week to read this book, which is fairly long for me. That usually means one of two things: I love it too much or I’m forcing myself to finish it. In this case, I didn’t want it to end. The writing was brilliant, I really didn’t want anything bad to happen for Helen, James was so sweet that I feared what would happen to him (and Billy’s family), and so I read slower. I treated myself to a few chapters a day.
Yes, it was a little agonizing, but there’s nothing like reading a book for the first time. I enjoyed this book so much that either I could ramble on and on about all that I loved — and spoil it for you — or say very little. I’ll just point out some of things I loved and use quotes to show you how fabulous the writing is.
The. Writing. Is. Beautiful.
Helen’s spent 130 years clinging to a host to stay out of her hell, which she so elegant explains as:
“Icy water was burning down my throat, splintering my ribs, and my ears were filled with a sound like a demon howling, but I could hear her voice and reached for her.”
The plot, while interesting, is not what really shines in this book. It’s the characters. Mr. Brown is Helen’s host and. I swooned over this man. Why? Here’s Helen’s words:
“I chose him partly because he loved literature so very much, but I also chose him because he had a king heart, an honest tongue, and a clear honor and yet seemed totally unaware of the fact that he was virtuous.”
James is the other ghost Helen meets. I was suspicious of him and what his motives were — was it really out of love? But my heart did break a little when I learned his backstory. Helen — probably should’ve mentioned her first, huh? — is the main character. She was in her mid to late twenties when she died and can’t remember how it happened or why she was cursed to hell. I felt so bad for her, being stuck for 130 years without being able to do anything — to talk to anyone.