I had some problems with this book, but that doesn't change the fact that I really liked it. The romantic interest is such an asshole, but still so swI had some problems with this book, but that doesn't change the fact that I really liked it. The romantic interest is such an asshole, but still so swoony. And the book just captures the anger at being poor and having rich friends say stupid things to you, and it all just really seems like a bunch of dumb underhanded shit a group of 18 year olds would do to each other. Plus, flying!...more
This book reminded me a lot of About Schmidt - the movie, I haven't read the book. There's a scene in the About Schmidt where Jack Nicholson's charactThis book reminded me a lot of About Schmidt - the movie, I haven't read the book. There's a scene in the About Schmidt where Jack Nicholson's character is putting on his wife's cold cream after she has died that is funny and pathetic and heart-wrenching all at the same time, and Lost & Found has a lot of moments like that. Really moving and absurd and just so good....more
One of my favorite things about this book is how it captures that sense that, as a teenager, you could literally fall in love with anybody at any momeOne of my favorite things about this book is how it captures that sense that, as a teenager, you could literally fall in love with anybody at any moment. Nora, the main character, has crushes on at least four different boys in the book and she 1. never ends up with any of them and 2. isn't made out to be erratic or fickle or "boy-crazy." This is so true to my experience as a teenager, and is almost never a part of YA novels, which tend to focus on "true love" (which is fine, I love those books too).
Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls is a beautiful, atmospheric, and quiet book. It's the perfect kind of book to turn back to when you need a comforting kind of reminder that your fears and questions are valid and that the world is terrifying and cruel but also warm and full of possibility. (I think those are called "coming-of-age" novels.)...more
This book is a delight. It is so well-crafted, it manages to maintain two distinct and satisfying stories while also containing commentary for miles iThis book is a delight. It is so well-crafted, it manages to maintain two distinct and satisfying stories while also containing commentary for miles in each story and in the ways they intersect. ...more
I read this in pieces between other books because I wanted to finish it but didn't find it engaging enough to just sit down and read. Adam Strand is aI read this in pieces between other books because I wanted to finish it but didn't find it engaging enough to just sit down and read. Adam Strand is almost wish fulfillment for anyone who has ever lost someone to suicide. It's not that Adam can't get hurt or die, exactly, he just can't do it to himself. This gives his family and community seemingly infinite opportunities to intervene, though for the most part they lose interest, seeing Adam more as a nuisance or a joke. The ways in which people do or do not try to help Adam are interesting and sad. When, toward the end of the book, a video of Adam jumping goes viral, inspiring several suicides around the country, he can't muster any emotion but jealousy and it seems he really doesn't see the value in life, not just in his. By the end he seems to have grown out of it though. ? As a mediation on suicide, I think this works, but as a novel it doesn't quite. The timeline jumps all over the place, there is no plot, there is no character development, and only a few small moments of relationship development....more
I think my main problem with this book is that the whole premise is built around the relationship histories of all these people: Alice and Harvey, AliI think my main problem with this book is that the whole premise is built around the relationship histories of all these people: Alice and Harvey, Alice and her mom, Alice and her ex-boyfriend, Alice and her arch nemesis, but those relationships aren't built or explored, they are just there. It could be, though, that I was expecting the wrong things out of this book. Like, I was expecting it to be more like The Fault in Our Stars, when really it's more like Gone Girl.
For the most part, we can see Alice as a sociopath. She doesn't think of other people as people in the same way that she is a person. She has no understanding that people can be flawed as she is and she gets angry with people when they don't behave the way she wants them to behave. This is why Harvey is so easy for her; he always does just what she wants.
Harvey is also pretty terrible. He obviously thinks of himself as some kind of love-martyr for his devotion to Alice, and this is really only possible because he objectifies her so completely. She is like a storm to weather or a mountain to climb, and if he succeeds he wins. He doesn't care that she treats him badly, he doesn't really wonder about her motivations or emotions. It's just important that she say some love words to him, and that his devotion is validated in some way.
The ending, I think, reinforces all these things. Again, Alice plays with Harvey. She gets him to do what she wants, follow all theses steps, play him so he thinks he's important and will come back to her for her further use. Harvey again is swept into her force of will, all "how did she know I wanted to know who my father was?" (uh, you mentioned it, like, several times), and is ready to recommit himself to climbing the mountain because he will feel all so big and important when he gets to the top.
Do I think these characters actually care about each other? No. If this is a love story, I am completely unconvinced. (So not really like Gone Girl, then.)
The narrative style is pretty interesting. It does dual character perspectives and dual time perspectives, and both characters tell their parts in a way that is aware of what the other character has said. A few chapters started with something like, "after the incident you just heard from the other character, this happened," instead of relating it through their own perspective. Whether it was deliberate or not, each time it took me out of the story. The chronology is also a bit confusing. For example, Alice gets sick in the fall, she shaves her head at Christmas, but then the story goes back to mid-December for them all visiting the abandoned amusement park and she doesn't have hair then? I think overall I would have felt more satisfied with the novel if it was told linearly. ...more
I am in the tiny minority that does not care for this book. I couldn't ever get into it. Forty pages from the end I actually tossed the book down andI am in the tiny minority that does not care for this book. I couldn't ever get into it. Forty pages from the end I actually tossed the book down and exclaimed to my dog, "ugh, so boring!"
I actually did enjoy the beginning when they are in school but it lost me when they started on the journey. I couldn't connect to Early, especially how he is always supposed to be right. Like not only is he a mathematical savant, but he is also psychic or something too. There are so many elements to the story and they are all really crammed into one another. I could feel the novel trying to come to this revelatory moment and it just wasn't happening. It's like M. Night Shyamalan tried to write a children's novel and didn't do a very good job at it. ...more
There are a few moving scenes in this book, but they couldn't save it from being tedious overall. Emma spends about 80% of the story furious at her stThere are a few moving scenes in this book, but they couldn't save it from being tedious overall. Emma spends about 80% of the story furious at her step-father. Her anger is extremely repetitive and I just couldn't connect with it. She claims she's angry because he didn't include her in any decision-making regarding her mother (though I think asking a teenager to make that kind of decision would be cruel) and he won't talk to her about her mother or whatever, but she's the one always walking away from him and shutting him out. By the time near the end when Emma finally has a real conversation with her step-father it is a bit too late for the story, especially since everything she claimed about him ignoring her didn't mesh with everything else she'd said about him standing and talking outside her bedroom door while she ignored him, etc. Mostly though, I couldn't understand her anger because I don't get what's so horrible about keeping a pregnant women on life support for the sake of her baby (Emma doesn't present any ethical or religious reasons for this, she's just angry). If I died and was pregnant and the baby was still alive, go for it. Keep me plugged in. Keep me plugged in for as long as you want to, what do I care? I mean, other than preferring it. Any usefulness anyone can get out of my dead body is fine by me.
I didn't really care for the romance in this book either. It seemed really rushed and I don't think "only you can see my pain" is an advisable way to start a romance. ...more
The Wrap-Up List has basically the same premise as Shaun Hutchinson's 2010 novel, The Deathday Letter, which is that sometimes people get letters tellThe Wrap-Up List has basically the same premise as Shaun Hutchinson's 2010 novel, The Deathday Letter, which is that sometimes people get letters telling them they are going to die, and the main character is one of those people. Steven Arntson takes this in a completely different direction though, one that is lighter, younger, less serious, and less funny. *not that there's anything wrong with that.*
The Wrap-Up List is a cute story that is easy to recommend to younger YA readers. It dances on the surface of the idea of knowing when you will die and that it will be tomorrow, but there's no real depth explored here. Gabriela, the MC, doesn't believe that she will die. She knows she will get her "pardon," a convenient way out of death (not present in The Deathday Letter), and it's no surprise at the end when she does and the whole story ends happily, with a lot of kisses and a silly dance party....more
Harper's older sister June, the family's favorite, has killed herself just before her high school graduation. Harper's parents, wrapped up in their owHarper's older sister June, the family's favorite, has killed herself just before her high school graduation. Harper's parents, wrapped up in their own lives and grief, have decided to split June's ashes between them and have left their younger daughter to grieve alone. This is how Harper does it: She takes off across the country, from Michigan to California, with her BFF and her sister's stolen urn, in the black van of a handsome, young, music-loving stranger called Jake Tolan, who was her sister's secret friend.
To be honest, I found the first part of the book to be a bit annoying. The author does this thing that many authors do, which is try to be cool by making references to pop culture and political events (which actually make me confused as to when this book took place. It was published in 2011, but the references make me think it took place about the time that I was Harper's age, 2002ish. It's definitely after 9/11 and the invention of the ipod, while Bush is president, when people protested using the phrase 'no war for oil,' when it wasn't unusual for a teenager to use a discman, and when a teen could reference Full House and Lorena Bobbitt) and by lyric-dropping (i.e. "and then he sang a song about the day the music died"). Erg.
About halfway through, though, this method of story-telling was dropped for a more emotional narrative, and I liked the book a lot more. Lyric-dropping is replaced with more thoughtful use of music - with playlists at the back. The romance was pretty nice, actually, and the not-quite-a-resolution with June was satisfying and realistic. ...more