I Have Lost My Way was surprisingly such an emotional read. Unlike mostThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
I Have Lost My Way was surprisingly such an emotional read. Unlike most YA contemporary-romances, which usually focus on the perks and positives of romance in characters' lives, this book left me as an emotional wreck. Gayle Forman's newest novel focuses on the struggles each of us face, and how it is okay and acceptable for each of us to lose our ways. This is a story of hope and friendship and it provides us with a sense of reassurance that everything will be okay, even if we encounter a bad day or two. As long as we have people in our lives who are there to support us, everything will be just fine.
I am a GIGANTIC fan of Gayle Forman's work. After reading and falling in love with her If I Stay duology, I knew that her writing truly interests me and has a way to my heart. This book absolutely did as well. It focuses on three teenage characters who are all struggling, but in different ways. And somehow, Forman moulded these characters into figures who each reader will form a connection with. The characters seemed so real that I was ready to pick up my phone at times and give them a call to reassure them that I was there for them. That's how realistic this story is. I don't think there's a single person in this world who wouldn't want to read a realistic story about realistic characters. It's truly a major highlight.
Gayle's recent story focuses on the lives of three main characters: Freya, a singer who is becoming more popular, but hides a major secret about losing her voice, Harun, a boy wanting to run away from home to hide his secret of being gay, and Nathaniel, a boy who flew to New York City to escape the trauma he left behind in Washington state. Somehow, the three meet each other and find that they each have lost their ways.
And here comes the main message of the story which I feel that many contemporary stories these days (especially for teens) lack: it is okay to be imperfect and to be sad. I find that all chick-lit stories are fluffy and cute and showcase the perfect lives of characters. But, here, Gayle Forman shows, especially through Freya's character, that your dreams can come true and that you can have what you've always wanted, but that doesn't mean that your life is perfect or that you're always happy. This book was a literal shock to me especially because of that message. Each character seemed to have what they always wanted most: Freya: her singing career, Harun: a boyfriend, and Nathaniel: the best relationship possible with his father, however, that doesn't mean that they were always happy. This story highlights how life is unpredictable, and how things may instantly change, altering your opinion on the things that have always made you happy. This story really hit home.
While I can admit that the story did include some romantic aspects, it wasn't the main focus. I loved the raw writing and burst of emotions that this book gave me. It really was a special one; I rarely form this kind of connection with characters, so this shows you that this one is a keeper.
I Have Lost My Way was one of the most realistic books I've read in a while; I finished it in a sitting and it left me feeling happy and sad and all of the possible emotions out there. It's rare for a book to do that to me; I guess that is why I love Gayle Forman's writing so much.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
A Girl Like That was a shock. That is probably the mosThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*4.5 star rating*
A Girl Like That was a shock. That is probably the most important sentence I will state in this entire review, as it's the complete and utter truth. I was really excited about reading it, as I heard about the book through a blogger event held by Raincoast Books, the book's Canadian publisher. However, when I began reading it, I automatically felt as if it would be disappointing. All of the perspectives got me really confused from the first few pages, and I didn't understand what the purpose of the story would be. From its summary, I was aware that this wouldn't be a typical contemporary story, and I was aware that it did produce a ton of emotions in readers. However, I was not ready for this story to showcase the struggles of females in the Middle East, due to the harshness of governments and laws. I did not expect to adore this as much as I did, either, as I was really confused for the first fifty pages or so. I expected this to be about the car accident in which the protagonist, Zarin, and the male character, Porus, end up in, however, Bhathena's story is really about what leads up to this accident. And, it really helps us answer the book's main question: who is Zarin Wadia? Who is she really?
So, as mentioned, this story follows Zarin Wadia, a sixteen-year-old girl living in Saudi Arabia. She is an orphan living with her strict aunt and uncle, and is not native to Saudi Arabia, as she is Parsi. Throughout the novel, we readers see her outlook on life as she encounters many relationships with boys, exploring her femininity and personality. However, when she meets Porus, who also comes from the same culture as Zarin, she is intrigued with him in a different way than most boys, which leads to them both being killed in a car accident. This story shows us readers what happened before this accident, and what major event stirred this.
A day after I closed the book's spine, I still cannot get the characters and story out of my mind. I cannot help but wonder what happened next, and how each of the characters were doing in reality, as if they existed. Tanaz Bhathena did an outstanding job at creating three-dimensional characters who seemed so realistic. This rarely happens in novels, though Tanaz successfully achieved this, and I felt as if they were so real. I cannot wait to see what other ideas the author has in mind, and to see if her future stories will be similar to this one.
I found the book to be quite fresh, in the sense that I finally found a story which took place somewhere else other than America or Canada. (Though honestly, Canada's even difficult to find). I learned so much about the Saudi Arabian/Middle Eastern culture through this story, and I wish that more YA authors would pick up on this idea and continue the legacy which this author has begun.
THIS BOOK JUST SCREAMS OUT FEMINISM. Our protagonist, Zarin, is a true advocate for women's rights, and based on the tragic event that happens to her in this story, there is no better way to build on feminism than the way Tanaz Bhathena did. Zarin was so kick-butt and memorable, unlike many of the weaker females I've read about who let boys take advantage of them. The relationship she developed with Porus was a rare one, that's for sure. How often are we readers truly able to see a relationship blossom through friendship? They usually form very quickly from characters seeing each other for the first time -> flirting -> dating. NOT IN THIS CASE. Thank you, astonishing author, for defying the stereotypes
It is time for more diverse books in the YA genre. Sure, we do get our fair bunch, but I find that those books usually fall under the fantasy/sci-fi genre. A Girl Like That was a difficult book to read, in that it messed with my emotions and really was devastating. It's an important read for everyone to pick up, as it touches upon many tough issues that need more addressing. Grab this one and love it with all of your heart.
*An advanced review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds was an exhilarating, eThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*3.5 star rating*
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds was an exhilarating, emotional read that really left a mark on me. It left a huge mark on me; it triggered sadness and emotions that I never knew existed. What must be also kept in mind is that it's written in verse, with miniature poems used as the form of writing and presenting the story of Shawn's. What I loved best about this story is its pacing, and the fact that I was able to finish reading it in about an hour and twenty minutes or so. Don't believe me? Go pick it up for yourself; it's unbelievable how quick its pacing is and how fast the entire story comes and ends.
The book focuses on a fifteen-year-old named Shawn and the aftermath of the shooting where his brother was killed. His character then spends the rest of the novel in an elevator, slowly making it towards the lobby/bottom floor as he meets people from his past, who have also died due to gun violence. It's really moving and touching, and a kind of story I will never forget. Especially in this time and age when these topics are popping up more and more in the media, it is important to read this kind of book. Even more importantly, it is necessary for teenagers to read these kinds of books.
Long Way Down was enjoyable, but that's simply it. It wasn't amazing, but it was a really special, unique read everyone should pick up.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Occasionally, I enjoy reading graphic novels and comics just because ofThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Occasionally, I enjoy reading graphic novels and comics just because of the format. Why not choose to read a supposed "gorgeous, moving memoir" that's a comic, which will help one boost their Goodreads reading challenge? Why not read a beautiful comic story filled with gorgeous art that will make you swoon and not be able to sleep at night, because, in addition to words that stunned you, there are astonishing drawings included? Why not read a book that you will finish fairly quickly? There are so many positive things I see about reading a comic book—and this isn't your typical Archie or Looney Tunes story. Instead, Thi Bui, the author of The Best We Could Do, stuns us readers with a true story of her childhood, and the lives of her parents when they decided that they would leave their hard lives in Vietnam and move to America during the Vietnam War. We learn about things that our history teachers may have not told us otherwise, secretive things right from the perspective of someone who has been through it all, and someone who has researched like crazy to put this story and her drawings together.
Throughout her memoir, I learned that Thi Bui was on a mission: to find out the truth behind her culture and family. Some people simply do not care or have an interest in their family's heritage and what their home countries really stand/stood for. Although Bui was a child when she was in Vietnam, barely remembering anything, she went back, for the sake of readers and herself, going to her parents, who, afterwards, have built a better relationship with her, asking for answers about the past that is forbidden to mention.
Bui's artwork is unstoppably beautiful. When I say beautiful, I seriously mean beautiful, not in a light way whatsoever. It makes her story come more alive, allowing readers to get a real feel for how the people she loves look like, and how Vietnam looked like, from her perspective, because I simply believe that everyone has a different outlook on what a place really looks like from their own eyes. I appreciated Bui's, because honestly? It hurts to look at how much people suffered in that country in the past, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to visit the country and learn about their history otherwise. Bui did that marvellously in a three-hundred paged memoir that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
Sometimes, I enjoy leaving the young-adult genre and head out to explore books in a more realistic way. In adult fiction/non-fiction, I find that there are so many more opportunities of novels explored that the possibilities are simply endless and no one will ever be able to explore every single novel that they would like to explore and read. I really enjoyed taking a break from life/YA to read this memoir. It's something new, heartbreaking but lovely to read about because we barely get to from the perspective of a survivor or someone who has looked for a better future in a place that promised that. We see Bui's family's struggles, even their struggles in America, whether it was getting a job, staying away from illnesses that they never knew they were prone to catch, or being able to have enough food on the table. Bui illustrates the fact that us humans never stop struggling, but that we could minimize the struggle if we look up at the sky and be grateful.
I cannot, in any way, summarize Thi Bui's story. That's absolute blindness from my side if I chose to do that for my fellow reviewers/readers. That's Thi's job to do, and you will simply adore reading this story of hers, and now I have decided that I just want to find out more about Vietnam, its struggles with communism, and discover more stories from people who just want their struggles to be shared, but not to be felt sorry for, but to teach others about their histories, to give them information and to have them feel.
Once I began reading, Bui's images honestly captured me—I was thrown into the past, in the last century where the world was hit with the most violence ever in history, and I had tears in my eyes and in my heart. Inside, I was crying hysterically, but outside, I felt strong, because I just wanted to keep reading and not be disturbed by my excessive crying and feels. Sometimes, I must admit, crying is not the way to feel a book—reading it and adoring it is, instead.
The Best We Could Do is a stunning, truly impressive story written about a stunning family who I would love to meet and just have a chat about history with. Thi Bui is an amazing artist and writer, who, during the period of time I read every page, made me feel as someone more important than just a reader of her upcoming debut memoir. Her story is one in a million, although thousands and millions of citizens of her nation, Vietnam, encountered some similar events as her family, the Buis, had. On release day, March 7, 2017, take a visit to your local bookstore and support this electrifying story.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Gertie's Leap to Greatness was first introduced to me before I attendedThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Gertie's Leap to Greatness was first introduced to me before I attended BEA this year, and I just adored the old-looking Winnie the Pooh-like cover that easily seems like my kind of read. My sister read it prior to me, adored it, and handed it straight over, saying that I would really enjoy it. The final outcome? I sure did enjoy it! Kate Beasley is a remarkable author, and for a debut, this was pure awesomeness. It seems as if she has done this a million times with so much experience. I loved reading about Gertie's struggles to greatness and how she was such an ambitious little girl who would do whatever it takes to achieve her dreams and more, and impress the people around her. This wasn't a book about a girl who carried so much envy that she needed to leap to be even better than the other person. This was about searching for greatness, but Gertie has her own uniqueness where she was able to do whatever it takes to just be her, and achieve better grades and so on.
I read this many weeks ago, but my memory is still clear about all of the greatness of this story. We immediately meet Gertie, who is living in Montgomery, Alabama, with her great-aunt and her father, who is occasionally home when he comes back from working at the oil rigs. Gertie is really fond of her father, who works so hard to support Gertie and her aunt. On Gertie's first day of fifth grade, she immediately meets the new girl, Mary Sue, who is the daughter of a Hollywood director (or something like that). She came from California, and thinks that she knows EVERYTHING. Also, she steals Gertie's seat immediately and Gertie tries to make sure that she could redeem herself, especially for her teacher.
This book is just touching. There are so many issues covered here that many middle-grade authors fail to cover because nobody wants to imagine a poor ten/eleven year old kid dealing with those kinds of things. The only thing that I was upset with was how the story with Gertie's mom was handled. I was extremely upset. Back to the "nobody wants to imagine a kid going through that" thing. I felt extremely confused with how Gertie and her mother's relationship was handled. Gertie's mother left when she was young, and she lived in the same neighbourhood. SAME NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH HER NEW FAMILY. Gertie was so heartbroken and I felt so bad for her.
I adored this because it was so easy to read. Everything about it practically was so amazing that I could just jump for joy. It reminded me so much of myself of when I was a fifth grader, being an overachiever, ambitious and a perfectionist. Gertie was adorable, relatable and I just wanted her to achieve everything, and have the best in life. When this story really began, I was unable to put it down and I slowly felt all of Gertie's life/friends pouring into me. You will get to know her so quickly—including her obsession with Twinkies and her family's quirks. There is seriously no better way to fall in love with a character than to adore their family.
Gertie's Leap to Greatness inspires me, a sixteen-year-old, to go leap for greatness and try to do my best, including school-wise and beyond. I adored Gertie, her family, and her HUGE personality. I just want to fall in love with Beasley's writing all over again, and hopefully, that'll be real soon!
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Baby Doll was absolutely mind-blowing. It was not youThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*4.5 star rating*
Baby Doll was absolutely mind-blowing. It was not your typical story about a kidnapper/kidnapper victim situation; it was more than that. This was about the aftermath of a woman being kidnapped and what happens next as she strives to prove who her kidnapper was. At the same time, she is left stranded and abandoned in the real world with her daughter, Sky, who was born and held captive. This was definitely a novel full of emotions and is written and full of emotions and EVERYTHING SAD. However, I must admit that it was a really quick read that I got through in a day because it was just so amazing. At the moment of reading, I constantly had shivers rolling down my spine, and it was just a traumatizing read in its entirety. But at the same time, it was a gorgeous read I would recommend to everyone. If you're a teen, this is for you - if you're an adult, this is also for you.
The writing and premise which Overton showcased in Baby Doll was unique and absolutely memorable. Although I don't remember every portion of the plot, I can tell you that I will remember the emotions this book gave me forever. *heart eyes*
READ THIS. I promise you it's not like Room. It's different, more thrilling, and even features protagonists who are twins!
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Holy gumballs and watermelons. (Excuse me, but I'm currently chewing onThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Holy gumballs and watermelons. (Excuse me, but I'm currently chewing on a piece of watermelon gum, so don't mind me) I'm trying not to sob and break down all over again in front of my computer again, so let's just get this started once more. Never did I ever expect to adore Lara Avery's The Memory Book as much as I did. Seriously? It is the best 2016-published book I have read, yet. It is one of my most favourite books ever. Why? Because it changed my life and made me want to write, aspire to follow my dreams, fall in love, appreciate life and appreciate memories, because they don't always last. And I'm not referencing diseases necessarily. Yes, our heroine, Sammie (who I adore and want to be my best friend and antisocial activist), does have a disease, also known as Niemann-Pick Type C, but not every person needs to lose their memories like that. I love books that are researched, raw, real and emotional. Lara Avery just explained Sammie's story well, and not in a 50-50 scientific-emotional split for YA readers. It was more than that, perhaps more emotional or more scientific and I can't even imagine how this was all constructed.
I rarely (okay, occasionally) say this, but this book is perfection. There is not a single thing wrong with it, there are no flaws. Okay, perhaps I missed a grammar mistake, but even though I read an uncorrected proof, I saw no flaws. The Memory Book left me aching for something more, something to turn to the next day (I finished this at midnight) when I felt sad. Okay, this book was already sad, so I don't think things can get sadder.
This book is a teenager's worst nightmare. Or at least, my worst nightmare. We have a protagonist (Sammie) who has her whole future planned out, kind of like I do. She wants to go to NYU (well, it's happening), become a lawyer and live in New York City. She's valedictorian, has worked so hard for that role, and things are becoming the way she wants. Most of all, she wants to leave her small town outside of Hanover, New Hampshire. (DARTMOUTH, GUYS!) It's our worst nightmare when something gets out of hand and your life automatically changes and heads in the worst direction. I felt so much pity, guilt for Sammie, knowing that her future is at stake, that things that she wants to happen won't ever happen because of her condition.
This book is what you think it is: it is a memory book of Sammie's. She unexpectedly discovers that she has Niemann-Pick Type C after being unable to move her eyes up, and this book is written from her perspective where she records her daily life in a document in her computer. She falls in love with her longtime crush, Stuart, and becomes friends with her old friend again, Cooper. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE, THOUGH. The plot was fast-moving and things couldn't stop happening. There were moments where I had to take a breather and actually calm down after what was happening all the time. I read this in a sitting or two (because of interruptions), GUYS. THIS IS A GOOD SIGN.
"Sometimes life is really terrible. Sometimes life gives you a weird disease. Sometimes life is really good, but never in a simple sort of way. And when I look back, I will know I have tried" (70).
So yeah, there's a love triangle: Sammie is torn between Coop and Stuart. I kind of saw what occurred coming, but I wasn't sure. I WOULD BE TORN, MY FRIENDS. Coop is the adventurous, hot, caring guy who will always be there to give you a ride somewhere and make out with you on the way there. *twiddles eyebrows* Stuart is the mysterious writer (who I also love) and he's so smart, philosophical and agh, I'm in love.
The Memory Book is written so lyrically and so realistically. I felt Sammie's strong voice speaking to us readers. Avery informed us about Sammie's condition in such a way that is not like reading an article on the internet; it's coming out of a victim's heart/mouth, being written with so much realism. I also loved the setting of this whole story—it makes me want to go to Vermont/New Hampshire even MORE. I've always been thinking about Dartmouth University, and this is the best experience of reading about a university—in a YA novel.
We see this transition of Sammie's condition throughout the book. She undergoes these scares that literally scares us readers too, because we know that the worst is yet to come. Things became drastic, and my feels went out of control. I was so intrigued/tired by the time that I finished this book that I couldn't cry even when I really was in the mood for. MY LIFE WAS OVER. I COULDN'T DO IT ANYMORE.
"It's like, take my body, fine. I wasn't really using it anyway. I've got this enormous butt on ostrich legs, the hair of a "before" picture, and weird milky brown eyes like a Frappuccino. But not my brain. My true connection to the world" (12).
The Memory Book has been anticipated by me for a long time, and I can see why everyone is awing over the emotion. This is simply gorgeous, perhaps the most gorgeously written book ever. It's poetic, and has this vibe that many emotional books struggle to maintain. John Green and his lookalike authors (by means of writing, I mean) need to take a few tips by my new favourite, Lara Avery. I need to read A Million Miles Away. STILL SOBBING HERE.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
All is Not Forgotten is a novel that I would normally want to pick up aThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
All is Not Forgotten is a novel that I would normally want to pick up and devour instantly. It definitely is "my kind of read," especially because it is a psychological thriller slash mystery. There are so many good things about this genre that I usually am unable to imagine anything horrible about it. However, this time around, I feel pretty confused or mixed-feelings-like about this novel, and I feel quite upset over the fact that I am writing this review NOW, maybe seven months after I first read it.
This was basically the best book gone wrong. I had so much hope for it because I expected a read that would be more about the actual mystery instead of the aftermath of this all. In a few words, I would describe this as a PTSD book. It's heartbreaking to read stories like these when you know that they have the capability of being so good or enjoyable.
I honestly am not able to remember what this book is even about. What I can tell you is that it was readable—I was able to enjoy some of it and pick up on some of the important/captivating parts where I couldn't stop reading, but there were other points of time where I just felt like saying "meh." That is the best way to describe this whole book.
This definitely incorporates some graphic violence so I would keep my eye out for that if you're not into stories that are really depressing and difficult to endure. All Is Not Forgotten is an average mystery novel that hits you a little, but leaves you shocked because you completely expected more.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Everyday, I take steps, leave my front door (most of the time, haha), eThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Everyday, I take steps, leave my front door (most of the time, haha), eat, drink (WATER PEOPLE) and do homework. That is my reality. Everyday I like to pick a book up and devour it, reading a different author's perspective on a different subject every single day. Life goes by, things happen, good or bad, and we have to move on in order to stay sane. Last week, I received a beautiful, pristine copy of Jewell Parker Rhodes' Towers Falling in the mail, after anticipating it so long, not only because it is set in my favourite place in the world, but because NO middle grade author has ever conquered such a magical, difficult situation in their stories: 9/11. I have rarely even heard of fiction being based off on this tragic massacre that stunned the world on an "ordinary day" in September of 2001. I was only a year old, but after I discovered this particular moment of history, watched the videos, read survivor stories, and was immediately introduced to this event that changed the way our world rotates today, I was changed myself. Imagine how a class of ten year olds, who, if they look out of their classroom window, can see the remaining reflection of the Twin Towers, react to finding out the truth. It's remarkable, and Jewell Parker Rhodes stunned me with this middle grade, beautiful poignant story.
Towers Fallingis not just for ten year olds, like my sister. It is not just for teenagers who decide that they would like to read a book (with a beautiful, precious cover) that falls under the middle grade category. It is not just for librarians who will surely recommend the story to their young visitors. It is not just for parents who will like to read about an exemplar of what to tell their own children. This story is for everyone, young or old. We see so many current issues exemplified and implied in the two hundred and forty pages that I am still mindblown to this current moment.
"We all bleed red. And all good stories are, by their nature, diverse because they are about individualism, uniqueness."
This is quote, quoted by the author in a speech of hers on the importance of diverse books. I firmly believe that it is true, that it makes so much sense. This is not only a diverse book, formed with three main characters (Deja, Sabeen and Ben) who all have different ethnicities, but it is also a story of belonging, hope, commemoration. I have so much praise for it and I believe that every child deserves a copy of this story. It impacts you as a reader so much, giving you emotion for Dèja, who has dealt with homelessness in the past, being a young girl who does not understand much about the world. It is so difficult for me to even try to compare this to any other middle grade book I have read; it is truly one of a kind, and those kinds of books come in one in a million chances.
This is not the book for a parent to give their child to have them understand 9/11. No. I would say that in order to really feel the impact of this story, a reader must have a little knowledge of this event. I am going to have my sister read this story and see how it impacts her, checking to see if it hit her the same way as me. That'll be some kind of psychological study for me to research. It is so easy to feel smitten with the characters that Jewell Parker Rhodes incorporates to this story. We know that in the end, it is about Dèja, her family's story, and what they have overcome, but we also receive an equal amount of screen-time between Sabeen and Ben. I love this trio of characters.
I like that this is real, that this is not a story that seems fictional to any extent. This is as real as stories go. I love the values and the emotions that I endured; tears were brought to my eyes several times and this was absolutely captivating. Knowing that there was a big secret in Dèja's family, I knew I had to keep reading, and instead of going to bed, I would be able to understand what really happened.
"I turn away from the screen and look out Ben's window. It's beautiful. Birds, trees, sky, and clouds. What would it be like having a plane crush through like a missile? Destroying the world?" (98)
Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a copy of this glorious novel. This is truly inspiring, for authors to write like, and for readers to feel gratitude. With a perfect EVERYTHING, Jewell Parker Rhodes deserves the highest possible award for this beautiful story. You cannot go wrong or point at anything. It is as nourishing as a cup of water after being in the Sahara Desert, although I do not even know what that is like, I can only imagine, and that's what Jewell did with her vision here: imagine, but form a real story.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Wow. It's rare for me to get hit by a book so much and feel so bad thatThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Wow. It's rare for me to get hit by a book so much and feel so bad that I just want to hop on a plane to the country and help everyone out. But that's only because there are not many books out there like A Long Way Gone, not many books out there about child soldiers or children in Africa who are being affected by poverty, dehydration, violence and abuse constantly. We are so hidden from the rest of the world in our big suburban communities, in our huge cities with blazing lights, billboards that show the newest music, restaurants with the most exotic foods, and most of all, we are hidden from people like Ishmael Beah, and there are probably hundreds of thousands of Ishmael Beahs in countries like Sierra Leone. It just hurts me so bad, and this book really did hurt me. A Long Way Gone seems so fictional because it is so difficult for us readers to put ourselves in the shoes of our protagonist, Ishmael, who writes about his personal demons and battles as a child, being taken by foreign people, thrown into a truck with an AK-47 and being taught to kill, taking drugs and losing his family. There is so much that this book contains that is unimaginable, although Ishmael gives us the chance to believe that this is reality, for many young children and people who are constantly struggling, without the rest of the world knowing.
We are always told that we could make a difference. I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to visit these poor African countries. I don't know if I'll ever make it to the United Nations and speak for them (most likely, not). But because of all that Beah had done and conquered in his life in Sierra Leone, I'm going to state a very cheesy point here: our dreams could most definitely come true. This memoir, this novel, from all of the books that I have ever read, has given me the chance to have hope. Because when we look at all that Ishmael had to deal with and how he ended up where he is now, speaking for the United Nations in the best city in the world, New York City, writing a book and becoming famous for his courage, we can only have hope that all who are suffering will eventually not suffer anymore.
It's hard to retell Ishmael's story as a summary, because it all occurred, it is all true. I am not summarizing a story, but his life. Life in Ishmael's small village was normal when he was ten years old, until his village got attacked and he and his brother were on the run for it. They didn't know where, but they were on the run. Eventually, they get separated and Ishmael meets a new group of friends, and they all undergo struggles for food and clean water. Ishmael's story expresses all of the troubles that children and people in Africa undergo all in a year or so, or perhaps, a little more than that.
There were moments where I felt that I was being forced to read this book, and others where I just enjoyed it so much that I couldn't stop. I had to read this book for school, and I was supposed to compare it to other works I read in that semester, like Life of Pi. Both differ, this being a solemnly true story, while Yann Martel's being fiction, but they compare at the same time. I enjoyed this because my emotions kept exploding all over the place. I was happy when Ishmael was safe, being helped by the United Nations Peacekeepers, but then remembering that Ishmael lost his whole family in a few days.
I just have a warning for you readers: this is a really harsh read. You see, I never have issues with gore or blood, so I was okay with the vivid imagery. It certainly wasn't pleasing, but that didn't leave me enjoying the book less. Many reviewers did not enjoy the book for the fact that the goriness was very harsh. So, I would advise to keep caution, but honestly people? This is non-fiction. The book wouldn't be the same without this realness. We readers would not be able to feel what Ishmael had gone through, you know?
A Long Way Gone literally took me a long way away to Sierra Leone, and this book seriously is energetic, heart-breaking, raw and full of feelings that many books have difficulty providing readers with. Ishmael Beah is the kind of person who will inspire you and make you so interested with the culture that he is writing about in the novel. After reading, I had to do a presentation on Sierra Leone, and I immediately felt so comfortable with its facts and information that this book felt like home. I just wish it had that extra push in the beginning—I had no knowledge of where Beah was going to take us....more
Night was a beautiful read. It was heartbreaking, of course, but Elie WThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Night was a beautiful read. It was heartbreaking, of course, but Elie Wiesel's writing was beautiful. It made me emotional, depressed, and experience such a broad variety of emotions that I can't simply comprehend it. After visiting Auschwitz and seeing it in person, imagining the suffering that was held within its walls, reading this book was even more emotional. I shed some tears, and left my heart with this story. It's a special one, and what I love about reading Holocaust stories is that each is different. You can't possibly ever get tired of reading these kinds of books.
I read this book a while ago, so I cannot really summarize it (and it's too emotional to do so), but let's just say that it's a must-read. I honestly feel like like it's a book that everyone should be required to read.
Night was stunning and a special read that should be implemented in more schools (preferably high schools). I am so happy that Elie was honoured with so many prizes for his work, including a Nobel Peace Prize....more
The Cellar is the scariest book that I’ve read in agThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*4.5 star rating*
The Cellar is the scariest book that I’ve read in ages. And by scary, do not expect horror or anything of that kind. Natasha Preston delivered the most thrilling, action-packed, adrenaline-churning story, more crazier than her cult-based Awake, more life changing than any psychological thrillers I have read… ever, practically. Get ready to pee to your pants, ask for more, and even perhaps never look at flowers the same way anymore. Yes, it is one of those scarring stories. Only stories like these seemed to just come out of the movies. This is freaking reality, my friends. You never know what kind of people that the world contains until you confront them, and after that, you just cannot look at the world the same way anymore. Geez… I literally sound creepy myself.
The Cellar features our outgoing main character and protagonist, Summer, who is living a great life with her happy family and boyfriend, Lewis. Everything is going swell until she goes out to a party, looking for a friend in the park where a man confronts her, throws her into a white van, and next thing she knows, is thrown into a cellar in the basement of his house and is named “Lily,” living with three other girls with similar names. Violet, Poppy, Rose―some of them seem possessed by the actions of this guy―Clover, and her world collapses around her. In the meantime, her family and boyfriend are mourning, trying to search for clues, knowing that their daughter/sister/girlfriend would never leave without saying anything. As the days pass, Summer would never let Clover touch her, or even look at her. Little does she know that her world is going to change forever.
The ending was corny, okay? But then again, I cannot imagine another ending to come about in any other way. It is just not possible for a beautiful, abrupt story to destroy readers’ emotions to the biggest case possible. No spoilers, I promise. The rest of the story flowed in ways that I could not have imagined or pictured in my head again without picking up the book once more. It was fast-paced, but had those little itty-bitty moments during scenes where the author knew that readers would want more detail and inside gossip on the truth. I always adore reading a book where I know the answer, the answer to the mystery while there still is a group of people who do not. In this case, it was the loved ones of Summer. I couldn’t help but squeal and scream to tell the people what to do. It was seriously a glorious experience.
“He kicked her hard in the stomach, making her scream in pain. Something cracked, and I pressed my fist to my mouth as a wave of nausea hit me. I slumped down on the sofa and crawled back, curling back into a ball.” (248)
Summer seemed to be talking to me. Just me. Not to sound selfish or anything, that was the perfect reading experience. I felt her fear, her longing for Lewis and the life she once had, the way she wanted to get out of there, the courage and strength she kept throughout to know that she will eventually get out. I loved her character. It is hard to realize that she is not out there, that her story does not exist because it seemed the most realest novel ever. And with the mix of the mystery, thrill, plaguing of suspense, it all made complete sense and there was no mystery at all.
I even began to like Clover by the end. Not for his psychopathic behaviour, but also for his character and what he contributed to the story―his weird doings made it all fifty billion times better. (Not that I would promote his doings or anything. HE IS OUTRAGEOUSLY INSANE.) This story turned out fantastic by the end. I found myself continuously surprised with everything that occurred in the novel, never having to seek for more. Lewis was adorable, I loved his personality and not being able to distinguish what he’s feeling since he’s so secretive but… CARING. It all works out, I tell you.
You will pee your pants. You will not be able to sleep at night. And there's also a slight chance that you will go ahead and buy every book that this amazing author has written. Did I also mention that there's a sequel out that's supposed to be (not as) good? I am still debating whether it is the right thing for me. But seriously, this contained so many themes that are found in realistic stories, and it was ultimately perfect. (My favourite flower was Poppy. She was so kick-butt. But then we saw where that went.)
It's sad that you cannot live with a specific book forever and have it contain the same dosage of romance, mystery, whatever it is. I want my wishes to come true, and only (at the moment) with this precious story by Natasha Preston. It is not your typical mystery-thriller, but more importantly, it is not the expected. In fact, it is the unexpected but in a perfect way, and I would recommend it to all forever and ever. I will never, ever, head to my basement ever again without holding someone's hand. But that someone's hand will definitely not be Clover's hand....more
Stacie Ramey literally stunned the heck out of me with this gorgeous, lThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Stacie Ramey literally stunned the heck out of me with this gorgeous, light but heart-felt story that confronts the problems of the aftermath of a suicide in a family. We read about a suicide pact, two sisters who have completely different personalities and secrets, betrayal, romance and problems in a teenager's life, which seems rather general but beautiful. This is the realest story of the real. I cannot help but freak out and wish that there are many more contemporary stories out like this one. You know, I have read many suicide stories about a teenager (and her friend or sister) who is undergoing so many problems and battling some kind of mental illness. Stacie Ramey, with this precious story, decides to take a different route and remind readers of traditional feelings that are kept inside of a person. There's no therapy sessions, no cyberbullying or bullying in general. There's so much depth through this and I want to hand it to everyone like a heart of gold.
"What's the easiest thing to paint? Still life. The words come to me. Not from Leah but from my mind, like it's taking over for me in this chess match. Still life. Still alive. Leah. It always comes back to her." (92)
The Sister Pact is about two sisters who lost each other. Allie is living and Leah is gone. They promised to do it together if they ever wanted to, but Leah left before Allie could even say goodbye. Allie is trying to move on, trying new things, maybe kind of falling in love and trying to deal with everything, all on her own, in a way.
I recommend this beautiful story to everyone. It touches the heart in many ways—different ways for each person. A reader who even cannot relate to Allie's situation feels a connection somehow. We all undergo our dark moments where we feel like we have nothing left. Allie felt that, and throughout the work, she tries to configure her future and see where and how she will move on afterwards. Allie is the kind of person that you want to be friends with. She has a selfless personality where even though she undergoes so much in her life, she puts her parents and friends first. She's such an interesting character. It's easy to wish something great to occur for a character, but for Allie, I felt like I was in this journey with her.
What a transformation, too. This whole novel was formed and crafted together beautifully. I couldn't stop reading when I began, and it all turned into one sitting. It's a story that grows with you as you read, and it could come into your life at any season, month or day of the year, whether you feel depressed or not. NICK AND ALLIE FOR LIFE. *shakes* There may or may not be a love triangle included. Just saying. Beware. I was okay with it, at least.
The Sister Pact is such a charming story. There's a touch of romance, a touch of touchy-feely stuff and context that will make your heart squirm and wish for more from this new debut author. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, MY FRIENDS.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Thankfully, I've never been bullied. Thankfully, I've found this book bThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Thankfully, I've never been bullied. Thankfully, I've found this book by the inspirational Aija Mayrock. I'm thankful for a lot of things that this book gave me and other readers, and as I'm writing this review, it's Thanksgiving which also leads us in this awesome grateful, thankful spirit of the year. The Survival Guide to Bullying is witty, interesting and captivating. It teaches you how to find yourself with adorable roems (Aija's version of raps and poems that she personally wrote herself) as well as quizzes, step-by-step tutorials and her personal experiences. It's rare to find out about someone's inner experience of bullying since it sometimes is so tragic, but I believe that we should all be thankful for this book.
Although it is written by an amazing teen, this book is for everyone. It could be for someone who had dealt with bullying in the past and would like to read about what they should've done when things were happening and changing their lives, it could be for kids or for teens. There's something in this beautiful guide that's for everyone, even if you're just curious about the writing and what to do kind of thing that I'm here for. It's such a remarkable, interesting guide.
In case you haven't noticed already from what I told you about this book, Aija is a fabulous writer, you could seriously tell. From this guide/novel, you'll discover her true personality and see why she's an amazing person and author. She puts all of herself into this novel and isn't just here to tell her story, she's here to help others. She's motivational and I'd definitely eventually like to see fiction being written by her, because her attitude is positive and different. More people need to discover this story.
The Survival Guide to Bullying may not exactly help you, but it's definitely there for you to help others. Being a bystander is horrible, and this guide is motivational and inspiring, as well as interesting. We don't usually get to read about a first-hand experience of young people getting bullied except in fiction, but that's plain fiction. This is non-fiction and like a memoir with so much more. Aija's story is here, waiting for you to pick it up and recommend it to everyone you know, young or old. Woo!...more
This book was actually a 'National Book Award' finalThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*3.5 star rating*
This book was actually a 'National Book Award' finalist, and I really do believe that it deserves that specific award. With Carrie Arcos' short but defining tale, Out of Reach gave me an understanding of what it's like to be in the place of someone, a character, with no hope or faith left inside of her when everything slowly begins to fall apart from her angle. It's not everyday when we get to see an experience like this, even in literature, but I can tell you that it's so magical to read about a story like this when we've never seen anything like it beforehand. That's the utter power of writing.
Arcos immediately throws readers into a pile of something special—a risky story. Writing something that may be upsetting to some readers or may be totally difficult to write because it takes time for a story like this to build up and strengthen. It's a story of belonging, of friendship and finding the right person to make you feel welcomed and loved. By looking at its simple cover, the mood reflects a darker, deeper story that might sadden readers, where it kind of did, in a way.
"Just like a tapeworm, sometimes a lie has to be physically removed. The problem is, most of us still carry the lie around inside a jar like a souvenir." (14)
You see that quote above? It speaks to me. Carrie Arcos' writing contained so many relatable phrases like that throughout this whole novel, and I could literally feel the pain that the characters were giving off, especially Rachel's. Her story may not be the most unique and divergent in the YA lit world, but it was nice to read about a good sister-brother relationship like she and her brother, Micah, once had. It's not everyday when you read about a sister wiling to do anything to save the person she looks up to the most in her life when he's gone.
No, this isn't about death. It's more of a mystery, kind of like John Green's Paper Towns, where Micah has left the clues for Rachel, begging for her to save him in ways that us ordinary people cannot even fully comprehend. That's a big part of the novel, with a hint or two of romance between Rachel and Tyler, because hey—she has to be happy, too. It would've been so miserable if the story just focused on her finding her drug-abused brother somewhere living on the streets. *cries*
This was written in a super high pace and something was missing. Are stories not supposed to be written with slow-moving paces and beautiful writing when they are about these kinds of subjects? Something was missing here. Yeah, I finished the book in a matter of hours and ended up pleased, but I needed a little more from this whole situation to give it a great rating. The writing is quick, meaningful, but I bet that the romance and all of the other themes used kind of jumbled up together to give readers something less than ordinary. (And not in a good way, either.)
Yes, there could have been improvements. Yes, I would have liked a better love interest. Yes, there were issues! But, guess what? I really do not care because I enjoyed reading my first Carrie Arcos book so much. There is a lot in this story that many teens can relate to, and was a total interesting journey that made my heart jump at some moments of fear and/or happiness. I would definitely, definitely recommend this to you if you are a contemporary reader, as I am myself. A perfect read to have with a hot coffee by your side during the autumn season!...more
I like books about taking chances. About people taking risks and discovThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
I like books about taking chances. About people taking risks and discovering something new about themselves. Obviously, I didn't want any horrible outcome of this novel and its main character, Rose Levenson. Rules for 50/50 Chances is not your average contemporary romance tale that some people compare to anything by the works of John Green and The Fault in Our Stars. This novel can save a life, more specifically the life of a bookworm who feels like there isn't anything good anymore out there to rave about or recommend. At least, I know that it saved me in a way and I can never look at the cover the same way anymore since I know what it did to me. Kate McGovern throws in a reader's dream—a contemporary tale that shows diversity, an unique concept and a romance that is seriously gorgeous and meaningful.
I'd say that there is a greater than 50 percent chance that you will adore this book. Much, much more greater than 50%. I have not been able to give out many five star ratings this year, and when this novel came around, it changed my perspective of great reads. WE NEED DIVERSITY. 2015 and much of 2014 were years of diversity, where new books all featured characters who fit in their own skin and were proud of who they were. Then... it kind of stopped. I haven't read a diverse book in a while. After flipping through the last pages of this beauty, I headed off to my Goodreads shelf where I realized that I haven't checked off too many books in the "diverse" category. That kind of shattered my heart. I didn't expect this to be diverse. When it was mentioned that Caleb is African-American, my heart crumbled into happiness. This is such a precious read! (I keep telling myself this continuously, actually.)
"'Let's face it,' I say finally. 'There are more ways to die in this world than to not die. There are exactly zero ways to do that.'" (115)
Do not try to contradict that quote. Don't even implant that thought into your mind! I know you just did because I threw the idea to you, like if you caught a ball. Ugh. Geez. That is what Kate McGovern's writing was like. There were quotes implanted throughout the novel at random times (but those that made sense) which caused me to think. To think about life and all of the things that I as a teenager have not yet learned or discovered in this glorious world. This kind of was, in a way, philosophical and heartbreaking. My heart crackled and popped at times where something unbelievable happened or when I felt Rose's agony and heartbreak.
So you just keep seeing me blabbing about how this novel hit me. But really, you're inwardly asking, what is this about? Sadness. A girl named Rose. A boy named Caleb. Two families hit by different genetic illnesses that has begun to cause them to crumble inwardly. Rose's mother was diagnosed with Huntington's disease, where her fourth chromosome is mutated and causes her mental condition especially, to deteriorate. Rose discovers that she has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the disease. Her life falls apart as she realizes that the things that she loves to do and see might not even be worth it if she inherits the disease one day. Her father panics, tries to warn her to stay away from the negative thoughts and not take a test just yet. Rose dreams of going to a prestigious ballet academy in San Francisco and to ride trains all over the world, seeing things that she has never seen before. But Huntington's is on her mind. When she meets Caleb, who is also dealing with his two sisters and mother carrying the sickle cell, she feels like she is not alone.
Of course, a person cannot always rely on another person for too long. I've seen this in my own life. It's kind of like human nature. Rose and Caleb's relationship is emotional, and relatable, because the two could relate to each other so well and understand the hardships that they both have to encounter in their daily lives at home. They had very alike personalities that made their own relationship seemed flawed at some points because inwardly, Rose knew exactly what Caleb was trying to say, but she couldn't let the truth slip out at all.
"Because it's a slippery slope from kissing to boyfriend-ing to falling in love. And falling in love is like getting a dog: You're pretty much guaranteed to end up with a big loss. Loss. It stops sounding like a word if say it enough times." (138)
I read this in a jiffy. One sitting. The minimum amount of time that you can imagine. I adore it so much. It's a refresher, honestly. My life is complete because of this book. And when everything came together and the ending hit me, I was more than satisfied. This is a tragic, coming-of-age novel about a girl who is torn between changing her life forever or not. Because of a test. The ending kind of killed me inside, I saw it coming, but I loved it anyways and it didn't change my opinion at all. Zero. Nada. I want to keep gushing and freaking out over the romance and everything else that came to mind here.
Rules for 50/50 Chances is seriously one of the best books I have ever read. I have never read anything like this—at all. My life has become better because of this story (not that it sucked before or anything) and it's going to be one of those stories that you won't have to pick up again because its magic still sticks inside of you. You won't be able to forget Rose and Caleb's story and their relationship... ever. I guarantee that you will build some personal relationship with this beauty.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review! Thank you so much!*...more
Until We Meet Again is a time-traveling, racing taleThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*3.5 star rating*
Until We Meet Again is a time-traveling, racing tale that all could fall in love with from the first moment when they spot the gorgeous cover. Renee Collins is a great author and this spooky story could definitely land on the favourite you-all-must-buy Goodreads shelves for ages. Until we meet again, fellow beautiful book, was the last thought I had when I shut the light pages of the novel. Want romance? Want a mysterious story that is not your ole average "help me I'm in another world" kind of traveling story with a time machine. This has nothing to do with science-fiction whatsoever and I really, really want everyone to take a peek at this story, even if it wasn't the best thing in the world.
The plot of the book is wild... or at least, it tried to be. I felt the effort put into the story to make it as interesting as other tales where characters go back in time, like Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children trilogy. Romance does not seem to work with this kind of story a hundred percent. Fantasy? Absolutely. I am all in for powers and paranormal, weird aspects like Riggs added in his story, except a little different for obvious reasons. I became often bored because the story wasn't moving anywhere. Cassandra continued to argue with her feelings and with who she really loved.
It's not believable in any sense. What person would fall in love with a guy from the past and know that they have no chance with them? Now that I've put that thought into your head, you might be thinking it too. The truth is, Cassandra doesn't know, and I don't understand how she could have not seen it coming when the signs were there. I don't prefer a character to be dumb or stupid when the answers are right in front of them for the story to condense longer. Ugh.
Collins made Cassandra's life turn upside down. She fell in love when it was least expected and wanted, and the plot and concepts turned upside down because of it. Cassandra was a weak character who didn't have much going in her mind when she really was supposed to—she was the main character, after all. Her relationship with Lawrence was cute and all, but something large was missing.
Lawrence and Brandon were utterly lovely. THEY WERE ON TWO SIDES, EVIL AND GOOD AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHO TO PICK. Honestly in this case? I would've loved to pick the bad boy now. Maybe to create some chemistry with me, since it didn't work out too well between any of them and Cassandra.
Until We Meet Again could go either way for people. It's interesting, yes, and totally racing and new compared to anything else we have read for ages. Sourcebooks Fire has published a novel that deserves the biggest amount of buzz possible because it wasn't bad at all—it was pretty good. (Brandon's mine, girls.)
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
You know, I've always seen these books around at theThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*4.5 star rating*
You know, I've always seen these books around at the bookstore. Go Ask Alice has been on my TBR for ages. Ages, literally. Letting Ana Go was actually one that I never even heard about until my local library's catalogue received it. Anorexia is a sensitive subject that not many modern YA novels touch upon on excluding Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls, a favourite of mine. This anonymous author has hit it perfectly, in a tiny novel that keeps readers guessing.
I love making predictions when reading. Not every novel can obviously leave you with an endless amount of questions that surround the protagonist or plot, but this sure did. Although it has an unattractive cover, the title and premise sounded so relatable (not to me, but to teenagers everywhere) and I found myself in the mood for a novel that's just surrounded with one thing. After reading, I've come to realize that the author adds more than just an anorexic character; there are many more issues including divorce, keeping fit and drinking at a young age. Go multi subjects!
"Me: I feel like I am my best friend. When I'm able to get through a meal without eating too much, there's this thing I feel inside of me—this strength. It's like a place of power, and when I don't eat too much, or when I exercise enough, it makes me feel invincible. It keeps me company." (Hardcover, page 228)
Now that I even think about it, this title doesn't even seem to make sense, unless the heroine's name is Ana. Through the end of the novel where the protagonist goes through an even tougher situation, her name even gets blacked out and she seems to have no identity. And at the same time, all of the characters are just classified by their first name. When things get hectic by the end, everyone is just by their name. IS THIS NON-FICTION? IS THIS REAL? WHAT? WHOA. If I found it to be actual non-fiction, I'd totally shriek because it's a total crazy story. My life depends on knowing the truth. *stays determined*
You'd think that this has a pretty easy plot, but it doesn't. This book is surely complex. The author makes TWO girls anorexic and it starts off small, just wanting to lose a few pounds and some body fat. But eventually, it becomes like an addiction, probably something even like taking drugs. Your whole mindset is suddenly changed and your life just depends on getting skinnier and skinnier. And then eventually, you have no more goals for yourself and you just collapse. Sure, a diet can be helpful for some, but starving yourself? This is completely ironic because the heroine even told her mother that she had to organize her meals correctly, but then all she's eating is rice cakes. O_O
The writing of this book was utterly fabulous. It was simple, easy-going and easy to follow. A lot of these stories have all of these complications where everyone's trying to help the troubled character out and it just gets chaotic. Because we had an independent young teen as our main character, she kind of blew all of the troubles out and sticked to her own plan. These kinds of books have a broad message that everyone just wants to help out with in reality. I bet that raising awareness for anorexia and eating healthy in a healthy way is the most effective when a person reads a fictional story that deals with the subject. Letting Ana Go left that impact on me and I'm now afraid to eat less than I'm supposed to. *grins*
PLOT TWISTS? SUSPENSE? A MAD ENDING? You've got it. I never saw that coming, I'll tell you that. I totally got freaked out in the end and was completely shocked. Yeah, picture an "O" shaped mouth on my face.
Heck yes, I need all of the books that are written in this tradition. I'll just head to my local bookstore, grab a basket, and slide all of the books off the shelf and head to the cashier, not even caring how much it'll cost me or affect my book buying ban. I can't get enough of this book and the romance and practically EVERYTHING. The perks of being a teenager and having troubles? This is it, and shows that every single teenager has some kind of issue, with some people having a bigger one than others. This is one of the realest contemporaries that I've ever read....more
Mad Miss Mimic sounds awfully similar to another historical romance I dThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Mad Miss Mimic sounds awfully similar to another historical romance I devoured and adored last year, A Mad Wicked Folly, and I was actually hoping for this one's outcome to be quite similar, too! In the end, I saw it as a definite historical book that dealt with politics in Victorian England, finding your love interest and finding yourself, especially from Leo's perspective, who stuttered when she spoke.
Cheers to Canadian authors! As Canada Day is tomorrow, I feel like this was a perfect debut to celebrate our authors, who are always there to standby their literature through our country's name. Mad Miss Mimic is a debut novel that I only had just discovered, and I'm very proud to say that I've enjoyed yet another historical novel, as that's usually the genre that I find it difficult to enjoy... or even find a good book out of the bunch that stands before me. I don't have much to say but positive things, so let's actually get started!
"How had he come to Hastings? And where did he go at the end of each day when his work at surgery was done? Tom was right: I knew nothing. And I found that, yes, I was curious—very curious indeed."
What I mentioned above is basically what this novel holds. It has a great premise that must've taken so much time to organize and make perfect. Henstra even noted in her Author's Note that she went to numerous libraries around Toronto to learn more about stuttering and all of the facts which came into Leo's character. The fact that many people in her life made fun of her for the way she spoke was awful, and this is a big part of the book that many people don't even realize. She's just an ordinary girl who's rich and has a disability which doesn't even affect her at all, basically. What is there to say? She's such an intelligent young woman who proved readers and her people wrong of her capability. Confident characters who have power and are able to do extraordinary things are actually the rulers.
The beginning scenes especially are what captivated me: Leo's sister did make some kind of sisterly relationship minimize and go to a minimum. Usually—usually, YA literature is filled with relationships that help readers relate, and are barely formed out of jealousy and hunger for power as well as bloodlust, but what Leo had with her servants or her sister is just plain sad. I can't even admit that I'm able to empathize at all, since times back then are all about wealth and what we have over everyone. These scenes, especially where Leo met her love interest (I won't spoil the name, I promise!) are what developed the whole story wonderfully.
Throughout the plot, I found that it was kind of boring at times, but it wasn't a big deal for me. I enjoyed the book throughout and that was a small disruption that sent a perfect rating down, but whatever, I guess. You can't always enjoy every single thing that a book has to give out, and that was mine. But really, the characters are what made me smile, especially Leo. Who doesn't want an imaginative girl filled with so many dreams and wishes to fulfill? That's our perfect example right here.
Romance and just about all of the awesome stuff that we try to discover in YA historical fiction is all packed in this book. Whether you're looking for romance, mystery or great characters, it has it all and I'm so excited to see Henstra's other work, because everyone wants it in their lives. Brace yourself, this is a fast paced read that's super rad, and will only take you a matter of time to go through. By the way, it's nothing like a pure Victorian magical read either, it's just its own concept and premise packed for readers in an enjoyable matter. Enjoy, my friends, you won't let this one go!...more
Huh. I don't really know how to organize my feelingsThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*2.5 star rating*
Huh. I don't really know how to organize my feelings after this one. Shusterman's Challenger Deep actually was a huge challenge for me, and I'm certainly surprised to see most of the bookish general public adoring and continuously raving about the book with high hopes. To me, this was a huge let-down and filled with mostly negatives. To sum it all down, I'm just going to state what I liked and what I disliked because this is just an annoying mental-illness read. AND I USUALLY LOVE THEM.
"The thing is, I never had social anxiety before—I was always pretty confident and outgoing. They don't know—I don't even know yet—that this is the start of something bigger. It's just the dark tip of a much larger, much deeper, much blacker pyramid." (Hardcover, page 35)
Before I actually get started, I'm just going to let you know that it's a very eerie, strange book. It's written in two perspectives, both of the same character, our protagonist, Caden. Though in one, it's actual reality and the other talks about him being on a ship headed to Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Marianas Trench. I guess that kind of makes sense in the way Caden's struck with a mental illness that he just can't comprehend and realize, but it's just plain weird. In the real world, he's so monotone and doesn't have the attention span to look upon positive things, join a sports team to disfigure his anxiety and make friends. He can't do none of that, instead he spends most of his time in his imaginary world with the ship, captain and other people. Childish much?
What I Disliked About the Book and Shusterman's Writing:
-Again with the weird thing. This book seemed so childish, and I certainly hadn't come here for a pure middle-grade novel. I just can't bear to see the importance of the ship, the artwork, just about everything. This book lacked a real plot that would make readers learn and enjoy the symptoms of mental illness, all in my opinion.
-Caden's perspective. Most of the time I grow to have a relationship with characters who suffer from anxiety and depression. Caden? Not so much. It's not that I didn't feel sympathy or anything like that... I just couldn't get what he was trying to tell readers about his story. It's like there was some mega-huge wall barrier between readers and his inner thoughts, and I grew bored. Everything he mentioned seemed super dumb, and this wasn't the time to go deep with the meaning. At least, the mental illness was broadcasted nicely, which we'll soon get to.
-The constant questioning of the right thing to and flashbacks. The flashbacks which Caden brought readers back to were nice... but he made them look so negative. The happy moments he shared with his parents—those were like hell to him when nothing was wrong. Although he has a mental illness, I wish that it wasn't looking like something that he understood too well. He seemed to "know the right thing to do" but would question the wrong.
"I try to relax, but I can't. My reflection looks worried. Am I worried? That's not quite what I'm feeling today—but lately my emotions are so liquid, they flow into one another without my noticing." (Hardcover, page 67)
Um. Well that was a little awkward to rant about, but it's the truth, my wonderful friends. I'd actually would like to explore the Marianas Trench, which leads me to my next point:
What I Actually Liked About the Book and Shusterman's Writing:
-The information that wasn't actually supposed to be facts. Caden's imagination leading him to basically 'hallucinating' the Challenger Deep thing was really cool, and the ending especially shocked me as he went to explore his destination that Shusterman meant readers to get introduced to from the start. It was really interesting to read about, and the ending probably was the best part of the book.
-The philosophical view of life presented. God and death are continuously mentioned throughout the ending, and I liked the way it all gave the book a fresh closing. Who would've seen that coming?
When seeing this book at my local library's catalogue, I requested it right away because I was sure that it'd impress. And here I am, ready to bawl my eyes out because I'm disappointed. The cover was promising, the other reviewers' remarks of this being the new It's Kind of a Funny Story were promising, I just knew that I'd love it. In conclusion, after it all, this is one of the only mental illness novels that failed to impress me. It's a very sensitive subject found in YA that only certain writers can pronounce perfectly, and from my viewpoint, Shusterman was not an author who expressed it amazingly, though there were some positive aspects. I do recommend it to some who prefer a lyrical kind of story. (Not me.)...more
A Million Miles Away was a raw, realistic, gorgeous story I will neverThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
A Million Miles Away was a raw, realistic, gorgeous story I will never forget about. That's the honest and wholesome truth in one sentence. After reading Lara Avery's other novel, The Memory Book, I had this urge inside of me to pick this one up as well and read it and bawl as I read it and feel like I'm connecting to the story, you know? Let's just say that this book was a gorgeous masterpiece I recommend to everyone. If you enjoy chick-lit romances, this book is for you. If you usually enjoy mysteries and thrillers, this book is for you. If you enjoy fantasy, this book is for you. This book is literally for everyone.
This time around, Lara Avery focuses on a main character named Kelsey, who has an identical twin sister, Michelle, who tragically dies in a car crash. She is finding it extremely difficult to move on, and the worst part is the fact that Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, is in Afghanistan for the military. He doesn't know that Michelle passed away, and Kelsey doesn't want to tell him the truth... yet. So in the meantime, she pretends that she is Michelle, though as she begins to form a relationship with Peter, she realizes that she has feelings for him, too.
I love the way Lara Avery had this story progress. You see, it wasn't cheesy or generic; this was one of the most raw and emotional books I've ever read. From the beginning, we immediately form an emotional connection with the characters in the way that we briefly meet Michelle, Kelsey's twin, before she passes away. We can immediately tell that they didn't always get along; Michelle is more artistic while Kelsey focuses on popularity and cheerleading. However, when times are rough, Michelle did tend to fall to Kelsey to solve her problems. Already from the first few chapters I was able to tell that this book wasn't one of those cliché chick-lit stories with characters whose lives are perfect. It was the complete opposite of that. Both sisters had their own problems, with each other and with others, and that just made the book so much more believable. I kept imagining a girl in Kansas struggling to move on after grief has succumbed her.
What I especially adored about this story is the fact that it was easy to understand why Kelsey pretended to be Michelle. That's where the emotions that correspond to this story come in. I loved Peter as a character, and it seemed that from the start, Kelsey loved him too for keeping her sister happy. Kelsey is a character who didn't want to disappoint others, and by interacting with Peter, she was given the chance to learn more about the person her sister really was, instead of Michelle just being Kelsey's twin. This just exemplifies the fact that each individual is different, no matter what family or group you come from.
A Million Miles Away is a memorable story that I recommend to everyone. I truly imagine this becoming a movie, and it can be compared to the stories of Nicholas Sparks, but more mature in the sense that it's not just about the romance. It's about the emotions generated in both the characters and readers that make this story so special. I feel that Lara Avery's writing is really underhyped and more people should become aware of this fantastic author.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
This might just be the cheesiest and well-known way to start a review about tThis review can also be found on Key to Book City, check it out for more!
This might just be the cheesiest and well-known way to start a review about this book but... Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything was seriously everything. I can't stop thinking about it after putting down and there are millions and trillions things that I simply adore about it. You know how every bookworm has many favourite novels, not only one? I kind of now believe that this one may take that special spot, fellow friends. And that the most amusing, happiest thing that has happened to me in a while.
Everything, Everything took a whip and journey around your unusual, unique contemporary-romance plot. It's compelling, different and flawless. Nicola Yoon's writing is some of the best I've seen, and I just keep wondering: Where did that gorgeous premise and plot arc come from? Some may compare it to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, a totally recommended novel that's one of my favourites, but this takes its own compelling route and is more unique. No one can simply weave another storyline like this one.
"I keep picturing myself floating high above the earth. From the edge of space I can see the whole world all at once. My eyes don't have to stop at a wall or at a door. I can see the beginning and the end of time. I can see infinity from there. For the first time in a long time, I want more than I have." (80)
Maddy, our African American-Japanese mixed protagonist has SCID. It's a disease where she's basically allergic to everything. (What a coincidence with the title, right?) She's beginning to get depressed onto why she has to have it and the fact that she can't live an ordinary life. When a new family moves in next door, Maddy is compelled to watch them and imagine what a great life they must have. But they have issues, too. The teenage boy in the family, Olly, begins to talk to Maddy through IMing and over notes seen from each other's windows, and slowly fall in love though they both know it's kind of impossible to be with each other. What happens when the extraordinary occurs and all your life has basically been a complete lie?
I'd get pissed and raging, that's for sure. NICOLA HONESTLY KILLED ALL READERS IN THE END. Our book-loving, reviewer protagonist used books and her lovely unique self to promote her message to the one she loves. Without spoiling, that was one completely messed up truth. Not that it was horrible or anything. I'll just state that I was left shocked with my jaw wide open, not being able to even remember my name after this trauma that hit me. I seriously wanted to punch Maddy's mother as well as her nurse, because that was kind of messed up. Okay, never mind, it was messed up, but when looking at the amount of enjoyment, it's a good thing that it happened, because I never thought that it would.
Alongside All the Bright Places, this is definitely the most hyped up contemporary of the year, and I can totally see why. I SUPPORT THE HYPE THROUGHOUT AND THOROUGHLY. Let's get Team Everything, Everything t-shirts and be the best bookish fangirls on this planet for bookish sake. Contemporary-romances are practically my most favourite genre and finding an unique one with a tall tale is difficult to find. I'd really like to promote an award to Nicola, for everything, and to the person in Penguin Teen's department who decided to hand copies of this beauty out at BEA. You rule, friend.
"I think of Olly, decontamination-cold and waiting for me. He's the opposite of all these things. He's not safe. He's not familiar. He's in constant motion. He's the biggest risk I've ever taken." (69)
I'm this book's Daddy/Mommy.
FIVE (THERE ARE MORE) REASONS WHY YOU'LL ADORE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BEAUTY:
1. HAWAII. I had to note that extraordinary trip of a lifetime, right? I've always wanted to go, and Maddy has routes from there. She's been there when she was a kid, back when "everything seemed to be okay." She wanted to rebel, have an amazing life and be with the person she loves the most, as well as see the state fish. *giggles* That's freaking adorable and I wish I could go on that trip.
2. OLLY, DUH. Olly's the cutest guy that you'll read about for ages. HE TOOK RISKS, HE DIDN'T GIVE A SHIZ ABOUT WHAT DISEASE HIS GIRLFRIEND HAD. He acted like it hadn't existed because Maddy wanted him to think about it in that way. It's amazing.
3. DIVERSITY. Woo for diversity! Maddy's background is African American and Japanese, which is the strangest yet coolest mix I've ever read about. Yoon really did add everything in this book to make it perfect and stick out to all readers, readers of contemporary or not. Plus, many readers hadn't enjoyed contemporary until this book popped out to them.
4. SUPPORTIVE CHARACTERS WHO ARE THERE FOR MADDY. Maddy's nurse, Carla, was always there for her when her mother wasn't. It was like she was her only friend and that simply added thousands of tears to my eyes. She understood teenagers unlike any other parent or bookish character.
5. THE WRITING. Nicola Yoon is my new favourite author. Her words are compelling, intriguing and I read this all in a sitting. Agh, I can't stop thinking about that beautiful feeling, that's for sure. The feels kept flying over me and I couldn't stop myself from giggling or being afraid for Maddy, as she was a character who reminded me of myself in a way. Relatable main characters are always keepers. I'm this book's keeper. ;)
This is something special. You're probably rolling your eyes right now, but I'd seriously like to say it once more because Nicola Yoon has changed my life with this gorgeous thing. It's not just a thing, either. It's a symbol of literature that wins all of the positive medals. I don't know how Nicola has created this story, but I'd love to creep into her mind for a little bit and hear some of those other perfect stories, because this sure is. Every teenager needs everything that this book gives to readers. September 1, you'll one day be marked as a special day in history where literature's best novel was first released.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
For years and years, I guess I can say that I haven’t been theThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!
For years and years, I guess I can say that I haven’t been the brightest person when it comes to be reading classics. I just read the basics that was essential for school and my classes, or what everyone else has been reading. Just kidding—I adore classics. But until reading and coming across Romeo and Juliet for my English class, I feel like I was the sore loser of reading. I’ve tried Jane Austen, and it wasn’t as good as THIS WAS. Shakespeare is my love, my friends.
Before reading this, I’ve barely read a play before. I’ve always thought that it’s a lame way of actually reading a book since there are different roles and things like that. But now, I feel that it’s a whole different experience and way of reading since there’s fifty times of more emotion. Isn’t that what matters—the feels? This play, yes, was a tragedy and all, but there was so much more to the story than what the eye meets at. No, for me it wasn’t a story about stupid teenagers who are willing to kill themselves over the loss of not being able to be with each other, but it instead was a story with many themes and events that created and shaped literature.
“Towards him I made, but he was ware of me, and stole into the covert of the wood; I, measuring his affections by my own, which then most sought where most might not be found,” (I. i. 120-124)
I think that if one hasn’t ever read a Shakespeare play before, they haven’t ever experienced classic literature. It doesn’t matter if you’ve read Brontë before, this IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. You may have been caught in the stereotype of Shakespeare being difficult to read, but it actually isn’t. If you have a few translations by your side and if you’re willing to spend some time analyzing it all, then I believe that you’ll be perfectly fine. It’s the meaning that counts, no?
I guess I really don’t have to recall and reenact the whole play and describe it scene by scene since you most likely already know what it’s about. Even if you haven’t read it before, everyone knows the story. *asks 9 year old* 9 year olds even know what the story holds! But yeah, this goes through the story of two feuding families, the Capulets and Montagues. Romeo is a Montague and Juliet is a Capulet, and they meet at a Capulet party hosted by Juliet’s father. Juliet’s supposed to marry this other guy named Paris, who is actually kinda in love with her. But she hates it, and she falls in love with Romeo instantly when they meet and he the same with her. BAM. I’m not going to spoil anything more, but I bet that you can already guess what happens next.
Though it took me about a month to read this since we had to read it (and actually perform it) at school, it was a quick read looking at the majority of it. The whole play is separated into five acts, with about 3-6 scenes in each. It’s about 120 pages in total, especially by looking at my borrowed edition. Each scene was basically separated with importance, and some kind of big important event was written in each. *thinks of the gorgeous balcony scene*
It’s so interesting to find that with this play, Shakespeare was the first writer/poet to actually bring romance with tragedy and make it work. I read that he was the one who took the risk in literature during the Renaissance period in England, and this is truly magnificent. I wonder what the world of literature and books would be if his genre of poetry hadn’t existed. *cries* I’m so thankful to have discovered this play at the perfect time where I can actually understand it to the fullest extent. Hey, I’m also 14 as our protagonists are! But don’t worry, I don’t want to think about falling in love at first sight, so it’s all okay. Haha.
This is a classic love story, and I’m sure that some people don’t realize that. It has so many spiritual connections that have to do with God and their marriage. When we actually think about it (without really knowing the answers to all of the questions), Shakespeare knew what he was doing here. People think that it’s stupid that this is full of teenagers who don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s the story that revolves around the characters that makes this possible. What if this was a 40 year old man and woman falling in love? They obviously wouldn’t be together since this has to do with their feuding families! We should all think about the story that lies behind it all, just saying.
THE ROMANCE WAS SO REAL AND MADE ME GIGGLE CONSTANTLY. Okay, there was some unrealistic elements revolving Romeo’s side of the story, since he just had been heartbroken over Rosaline, his ex, but it’s a story. Why do people assume that everything has to reflect reality and contemporary stories? I know some people who actually disagree with the fact that their love was real and everything, but I just feel like smacking them in the face. *face palms self*
“Then have my lips the sin that they have took. Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg’d! Give me my sin again.” (I. v. 107-109)
Romeo and Juliet were both spectacular characters. When a scene came around and it only reflected one of them, I felt that us readers were able to gain a better connection and relationship with them that would eventually lead to our feelings of the end of the book, and that’s another reason for my perfect rating in this case, by the way. I preferred Juliet, but Romeo sure was a cutie, though I rather not think about Romeo since I think about the guy who played him in my class. *shivers* Gross. THOUGH THE CHARACTER WAS MY TRUE LOVE.
Looking at the themes and messages Shakespeare shot at us readers, it is like a modern story. Hey, we’ve all seen the remake of the film with Leonardo DiCaprio, and that was done in the 90s, trying to forget about the ballroom dresses that we all imagine when we picture the setting of the novel. There’s feuding families, issues between parents (like Capulet cheating on Lady Capulet and the thing with Tybalt) and it reflects the lives of many. All readers can definitely think about the story as REAL somehow. I ADORED IT SO MUCH.
Some people say that they wouldn’t read Romeo and Juliet because of the predictability of the ending. YES, everyone knows the ending of the play. But that ending isn’t what forms the novel into something wonderful and memorable, it’s the things in between that makes schools want everyone to read this. Hopefully, my school wasn’t thinking of getting us to read this to prove us a lesson of not falling in love too early or whatever. That’d be a whole other story, but I’ll save that story for another time. *winks* Yeah, now I’m going to go online and order a gorgeous copy of all of Shakespeare’s plays, and devour them just like I did with this gorgeous beauty. GO AND FALL IN LOVE, EVERYONE....more
Let's play a wondrous game of 'Never Have I Ever.' Of course, yThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!
Let's play a wondrous game of 'Never Have I Ever.' Of course, you've all heard of this game in those cute, cheeky contemporary novels... but many few have played it. Here's a first for me, too. But my main point here is: Never have I ever read a play before. Stepping into a new kind of writing format and learning the basics of the great scripts, The Diary of Anne Frank brought back memories of when I actually read Anne's diary back in the day, and it gave me a whole new experience to love and devour for ages to come.
So here's the thing: I have an obsession with Anne's diary. Since I was young and once decided that I might write a speech on the inspirational young girl herself, I've read her diary and researched all about her, continuously. When's Anne's birthday? June 12. And trust me, I did not search that up. *winks* Until reaching the smitten age of 14, I actually had not known that there was an amazing playwright of her story, and that I'll be getting the chance to read it in Grade 9. This was a true memorable experience for me, from start to finish.
"We don't need the Nazis to destroy us. We're destroying ourselves."
All I feel like doing right now, right here, is banging my head on my desk repeatedly and sob. I wish that I could sob for a whole eternity. I feel that with a play like this, readers are more prone to understand Ms. Frank's story even better, and in the end, the actual ending may not be exactly correct when looking at the way her life ended in reality, but you feel everything. The emotions are present, the feels, and throughout the whole two Acts, I felt that I was actually imaging the wonderful real personalities playing these roles. It hadn't been a play all along for me, there were moments when this was realer than ever, and since there was dialogue between the people Anne spent years with in annexation, I have gotten to know their personalities much better than I ever would have if I just reread her diary over and over again for fifteen times. There's a true difference, my friends.
For those of you crazy weirdos who don't know Anne's story at all, you must be living under a rock or a shoe and have no access to wonderful books and history novels. But since I'm that much of a nice person, then I'll surely give you a mini-recap, so you can continue to read this review and get what I'm saying. *grins widely* Anne Frank was just a normal girl living in Holland when her life turned upside down... just because she was a Jew. Anne's father, Otto Frank, was a hero to his family, and his decision to bring the Franks into annexation and hiding in a dusty attic hiding spot on top of a warehouse saved their lives... at least for a couple of years. Anne and her family went into hiding in 1942, and the Van Daan family also joined them with a surprise visitor afterwards. All of these people's traditions and ways of living were disrupted to the highest extent, and they spent their days without a peep and no talking or heading to the washroom. It was all about fear, and if the slightest noise was heard, someone ought to find out.
I just can't even explain to you how much this play and Anne's story means to me. Yes, it's completely tragic and worrisome for readers, but the fact that Anne and her crush-afterwards Peter Van Daan were just two normal teenagers crushed me even more. I bet that if Anne was put into our modern day society just the way she was, she'd be normal. No one would suspect that she's a historical figure who died in the 1940s because of the Second World War. No one would suspect that she spent years in hiding or that she went into a concentration camp. And this is the aspect that makes this the most memorable: amazing playwrights brought her legacy and story back to life once more. I've never heard of this play actually turning into a production on stage and everything (like Broadway), but just having readers given the chance to see a reenactment of this all brings tears into my heart.
"I only know it's funny never to be able to go outdoors... never to breathe fresh air... never to run and shout and jump. It's the silence in the night that frightens me most. Every time I hear a creak in the house, or a step on the street outside, I'm sure they're coming for us. The days aren't so bad. At least we know that Miep and Mr. Kraler are down there below us in the office. Our protectors we call them."
What the playwright had done perfectly was making sure that the facts weren't 100% correct. This is Anne's story to tell, and as we can tell, she didn't write this play, so they couldn't make sure that everything was left open as her story was and still is today. The ending of the whole play was different than to what actually had happened. In reality, nobody knows who told that the Franks were hiding there. In the play, it was the thief who wandered in the office building and blackmailed Mr. Kraler. The play and the audience had to be left leaving the play with answers. Some are still not complete, but at least you can say that you've seen/read the play and understand it all. And that makes the fixture of the plot perfect.
Since I had to read this for school, I read both Acts at separate times. But in a matter of a week, I had the play done, and all of the discussion questions that we had to answer on this were done and scribbled on to with loads of thoughts that got me thinking. I'm telling you, this review wouldn't even be half as long if I didn't have the discussion questions to answer. They really got me thinking, thinking about the characters, the development, the ending, and everything in between.
Anne... Well that was a perfect example of her. The diary scenes, her attitude and personality, everything, all of the aspects gotten readers to understand and know her better. It's obvious and easy to tell that there was a lot of research put into writing this play so the writers could get Anne on the dot and know her in and out. Her character just made me realize how young she really was, and all of those playful moments that she shared with her parents, Peter or with Mr. Dussel just shattered me because at the moment when she was taken away by the Germans, it was easy to tell that the world had just lost a great soul. She was optimistic, and she always felt that she would have a great future and would become someone big, but she never thought that something like this would happen to her. Her fame is a legacy, my friends.
Some people have argued with me over the romance of Anne and Peter, and I have to tell you that it was adorable, but puppy-love at the same time. I don't care about the difference in ages of them, which was about 3 years. The audience can tell that throughout the play, Anne was seeking for a person to talk to and understand. Margot, her older sister, was completely out of the picture, and I can only wish that her character was brought out more. Thankfully, her mother and father's crazy but funny moments were constantly brought up and we got to know who Anne really came from strongly.
Looking at my liking of this dramatized story in an overall matter, I can tell you that I am able to go on forever with how much I enjoyed this. Although this was only 'based' on the real thing, it was done perfectly and it didn't go too far or not hit the exact point of the book. The message was so deep and it made me smile and break out into a sad face continuously, but the most important thing that I saw was that the writing and the descriptions were set to the exact point. And it did. *smiles* This was everything I could ask for and more, and I recommend this TO YOU, whether you've read Anne's diary or not, or even if you haven't heard of my inspiration, her. Just walk into reading this play with a huge smile, because you'll be left quivering and slowly dying of sadness and pathos inside....more
My English teacher seriously rocks. Without her, this novel wouThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!
My English teacher seriously rocks. Without her, this novel would've never in a million years hit my heart. Eric Walters is a Canadian author whose books I've actually heard of quite frequently where I actually gave them a chance. Genocide was the only word slash subject that described this novel what I prejudged and had heard of before, and I'm honestly so surprised with the outcome.
This isn't a middle grade novel. Don't expect it to be. Walters will give you the view of a total different lifestyle where everything that happens is real and you feel Ian's hope to change himself as a person. It's unbelievable to look at the way I actually ended up loving this book, as I never saw it coming. I guess prejudice is a huge thing in this world at the moment when it comes to judging a book beforehand, hm?
The storyline follows what you kind of expect it to and not at the same time. Here, we have Ian Blackburn, who is a rich fifteen year old getting forced to do community hours for his tenth grade Civics class. He decides to volunteer at a soup kitchen called, "The Club." On his way there, he meets Sarge, a man who saves him from getting mugged. Little does he know that Sarge will actually save his life and he will do the same for him vice versa...
I'm not saying anything people, as this is a book FULL of amazing things. Your mind will be blown and you'll be unable to think and I'm not going to spoil anything, anything at all since there are tons of plot twists that are so unspeakable of that you never saw them coming. Keep in mind that "Sarge" will keep on changing his name as well, just to catch to the chase and since Walters wants to give him some sort of secret identity to make it look like he's not who we all think he is.
First of all, let me just say that the writing Walters portrays throughout this whole standalone novel is impeccable compared to any other book I've had to read for school. Usually, books that are read in school are seemed to be meant to bore students (at least, that's what it looks like) but have tons of symbolism and a strong message to gain people's thinking all throughout. This wasn't boring, nor was it a tough book to read. In fact, as we are reading Lord of the Flies at the same time, this seemed like a piece of cake to understand, and I fell in love with this fictional world right away.
“You got a smoke to spare?” (4) was the question that began this story and started an intimacy that every reader will feel connected to by understanding the situations that the characters have to deal with. No, really, this is what began the most intense character relationship that I've read of in a while. To be honest, you saw that there was a wide chance for Sarge and Ian to become friends. Of course, fate somehow made them be in each other's lives. The both need help as they both have their own personal conflicts that are sure to break and shatter some of the happiness that they've ever known, but together, all of those pieces are surely bound to heal from each other's remedies. You see, Sarge has PTSD and is an alcoholic. He has witnessed the genocide in Rwanda as he had been a peacekeeper there, and he's scarred for life, feeling that he didn't do enough to help the people there. But Ian knows that it's not his fault, and there was surely nothing else he could've done in his job and in his own situation. But Sarge hadn't realized that until Ian brought it up, and he helped him.
Ian had his own personal conflicts too, no? You see, Walters created a world that made the rich and the poor, or the poverty and the wealth bond. The conflict between the two "cases" got closer and closer as Sarge and Ian made more of an attraction, and in the end, everything popped and you never saw the difference between the two. Ian felt embarrassed of his wealth and made sure to keep a low profile and look "poor." This is modern day, people, and Walters made the whole setting look like it, where everyone is following what the trend is.
This book can absolutely bring out a discussion about the homeless and through many subjects: altruism, family relationships, violence and injustice, optimism, the list seriously goes on and on. I obviously won't go through this all as it's eventually your turn to read this and become obsessed with the fact that your life is bound TO BEGIN when reading this book. So really, go ahead and become obsessed, pick up your first Eric Walters book and soak all of the realism in, without any teeny-bopper romance or cheesiness. This is reality....more
Yeah, I can surely tell you that I've never read a book like thThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!
Yeah, I can surely tell you that I've never read a book like this. This was eerie, absurd but super-symbolic and written beautifully. Thank goodness I didn't read this on my own or else I would've gotten so confused and absolutely lost in my own mind. Everything would've been a blur and I wouldn't understand what the conch actually represented symbolically.
William Golding's Lord of the Flies is a book that I feel has always been there. It's a classic that's constantly spoken about, whether the person is young or old, and many read it at school since teachers "adore the complications of it." It's also a novel that's imperfect, where the movies were horrible and I feel that nothing is able to showcase it back to its original form. I have mixed feelings with the outcome, but I feel in an overall matter, it's mostly positive, especially looking at the facts that I've never read anything else like it.
Crash-landed on a mysterious island, Ralph, Piggy, Simon and Jack and the choir boys were on a plane heading away from the war when an atom bomb struck the plane and got it to crash. They don't know where they are or who are their acquaintances, but all they know is that they have to survive. At first, things are going pretty smooth compared to later, where animals are killed and the boys go against each other at their own personal war.
The emotion that I felt throughout wasn't like any other that I felt in other books. Some of my friends from school feel that this wasn't a book that's very emotional, but I did shed tears here and there and I wanted to run to some of the boys, and help them and let them know that things eventually would turn out for the better. Golding got us to understand the dark side of humanity, the savage side that every person who has walked the face of the earth has somewhere inside of them, where some can bring it out quicker than others.
"Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy."
Can you understand that quote if you haven't read the book already? I would predict that you cannot, and I'm secretly high-fiveing you there, my friend. This is such a difficult book to read, and although it's short, I felt that when you read it, you'll need tons of time to analyze it and go through it all with complete understanding. I bet that if I go back and re-read it all over again, I would spot some things that I hadn't the first time. Shocking, right?
I have to say that when I began this, I wasn't all too happy with me having to read it. Until about the sixth chapter, this was pretty boring and I felt that it was just a simple story about many boys trying to survive on a stranded island with hallucinations and paranoia. That's it. Until the sixth chapter, the plot was horrible but the writing was fantastic, and I knew that things would eventually get better but I didn't have high hopes at the same time. After that, HOLY SHIZ.
Yeah, then all of the religious allegorical shit came and we were all left with tears and my teacher even cried and the war-party between Ralph, Jack and Roger came along and I died. I was addicted after that, and I forgot about all of the theoretical symbolic stuff and went on with the storyline and plot because I just couldn't believe what the hell was happening. APOCALYPSE? I do seriously think that that's what Golding was trying to stuff into our minds, people. But in the end, I believe that everyone can have a different opinion on what this book meant to them. To me, it was something like the Stanford University experiment that was taken place in 1971 where people went mental after being put into the situation of authority all around them. It just took a matter of days for the prisoners to begin going mad.
And that's what happened to the boys on the island. They began killing and seeing things. A pig for godssake spoke to them. This isn't fantasy, people, it was a mental illness that everyone seemed to get and they slowly turned barbaric. I believe that if you're put into a situation where your whole life is actually taken away from you before your eyes, your whole sense of civilization is actually able to dissipate in a matter of moments when you don't expect it.
My favourite character? Piggy. Most would say Simon, as he was represented as a Jesus-like figure, and I surely loved him too. But Piggy was someone who actually had his head on his shoulders. Yes, he was unconfident because of Jack, but he knew what he was doing, and I admired him for that. He was hilarious and brought some fun and a sense of humour into the book. Although Ralph hadn't known it by the end, but Piggy was the only one who'd provide him with a real friendship and a connection. Without him, Ralph would've never survived and since Piggy was intelligence and the conch was law, you can't have a government (Ralph) without intelligence and law, right?
Next off, the ending. Yes, I did love it, but it surely was too predictable and cliché. We obviously knew that Ralph and the others would get into a war-like situation and have their lives at stake, but then that happened and they all lived happily ever after. I can't tell you the exact situation, but I expected Golding to add in something more symbolic and suspenseful, though we actually should've known more about the conditions of the war and what their lives turned out to be later. A companion would surely be appreciated by yours truly. Jack and Roger went to an asylum, I'm sure, though.
All in all, although I despited Jack and Roger and had problems with connecting to the plot in the beginning, I was really impressed with the outcome of this classic. You can seriously have a discussion on the themes and meaning with just about anyone, even if they haven't read the book. The message hit me hard, and now I'm really considering to look into more psychological learning stuff, because hey, studying the effects of a ruined civilization and its effects on humans is pretty wicked if you ask me. GEEZ, I'm saying, because this book was messed up, but awesome at the same time. It's really cool to look at stories that authors can come up with, just with a snap of their fingers. Is there more to this than what we see at eye-level? Hah, I'm not sure, but then you'd have to meet up with the Lord of the Flies then, and risk the paranoia....more
I'm always a fan of those novels that deal with shooThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
*3.5 star rating*
I'm always a fan of those novels that deal with shootings and what happened afterwards. Amana Panitch's debut novel, Damage Done, is incredibly written and there's something in it that everyone can fall in love with. Whether you're the one who's completely obsessed with psychological thrillers (ahem, that's me!) or you long for a protagonist who sees beyond the negative points of a person. Julia's character truly shows that it's never too late to catch a killer.
Can I even explain my previous expectations? I had a feeling in my guts that this would be an ultimate new favourite read. The cover intrigued me, the summary left me ready to start the book wherever I was sitting, and I just longed for a kind of read like this. I can tell you that we barely are able to find a mystery like this that's associated with thrill and adrenaline at the same time, together. I adored the concept which Panitch focuses her book on, though the novel as a whole definitely isn't a favourite, or anything close to one.
"Ryan assured me later as I cried that I must have been imagining that glance, because he was my twin, my other half, and he would never do anything to hurt me. I was a female version of him, after all. We shared the same genes. Had been tied together before we were even born." (Hardcover, page 8-9)
What the cover and its catch-phrase tells you is exactly what the book's promotion is trying to tell you. Julia was the lone survivor of the shooting attack which her twin brother, Ryan, created. It was in the music room of her school, and her teacher, best friend and boyfriend all had been killed, with others. Now, Julia keeps her identity as Lucy Black and has moved to a new town to get a fresh start. There, the memories of that very day still haunt her as she tries to see the good in her brother, and believes that he's trying to contact her somehow.
Julia's character frustrated me. I mean, she was the worst part of the novel. Although it does seem nice that she saw the good parts of her killer brother (he also had mental issues which kind of changes the story), she can't just love him. I wouldn't, at least. And please don't call me a bad person. I guess that this is Panitch's way of having readers provoking some thoughts after reading. We try to think about the themes which were introduced throughout the novel and how they may affect us. Loving your brother when he's done that? That wouldn't be something that I could stand up to.
She seemed too gullible and sad all of the time. When she was trying to prove her brother right and the cops wrong, she did it in the weakest way possible—by falling in love. I understand the connection between her and her brother (and for the fact that she didn't get injured, really) because they seemed to do everything together before the incident, but I was like "meh" with the idea of Julia/Lucy trying to keep her thoughts on a positive note while he parents didn't even want to mention the horrifying event ever again. For some people, that fresh start doesn't work at all, just like it didn't for Julia.
The idea of changing your whole identity to stay away from the media and keep your family's secrets burdened was extra cool. I've never read about anything like that before, to tell you the truth. You know, you usually hear about different situations where characters want a fresh start—because their pasts may be so overwhelming. But to me, they did this for a completely different reason. The Vann family is one intelligent family, and it's like they exactly knew what to do when hell broke loose. I was kind of sitting there, smiling when they did the right thing, you know?
"Love, Julia. I paused and stuck the end of the pen in my mouth, considering whether I should scratch out Julia and write Lucy, who was, after all, who I'd been for over a year. I left it as it was. Lucy had never really existed, and she certainly didn't exist anymore." (Hardcover, page 137)
Amanda Vanitch's writing is fabulous. She certainly knows how to intrigue a reader and leave them reading until the book is actually over. And as for a plus, I'm a huge fan of these deep standalones where I can't think about anything else other than the mystery. She spends a huge chunk of time looking over friendship and romance, which went hand in hand with the rest of the novel. For a person who was totally supposed to be depressed, Julia did make some memorable friendships that changed the way she looked at things. She fell in love in her new town, with a guy (whose name I can't even remember, which tells you how much I actually cared) and made a friend who initially looked 'weird.' Yay for that.
Damage Done probably won't stick in my mind for the rest of the year, but it is a great read overall. Julia's lacking of personality kind of disrupted my whole reading experience, but hey, at least I got to take a peek at some nice 2015 debut writing, right? Julia Vann will become: your best book friend or your enemy of the lack of being able to relate to her. For me? A little between both, but that's the damage done to this read.
*A finished copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*...more
Every once in a while us humans are prone to be lurking for somThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!
Every once in a while us humans are prone to be lurking for something tragic and heartbreaking. I find that it's human nature that we always will be longing for something that's hurtful and upsetting, although we don't want it to happen to us. It's a temptation to want raw and enforcing objectives that will hurt our minds until we're incapable of reading these kinds of books any longer. After hearing about this one and its upsetting message, I knew that I wanted to get kicked into it, another temptation of my life.
Words and Their Meanings lacked a meaning. For me, there was a lack of just about everything, and there was an imbalance of good romance. Books with a romance to help the protagonist heal are too cliché, and we see them so often that our heads begin to shake out of frustration. Here's another example of that typical story.
"Because here's a universal truth: You never feel more aware of what it means to be alive than when you're falling in love. Or dying."
Five stages of grief? Ms. Bassett, what on earth are you possibly talking about? So this is a book that's probably supposed to show you mourning and the total "typical" act of what to do when in this situation. Anna O'Mally's uncle Joe (who happens to be a few years older than her) has died from something tragic and she's in complete sorrow and grief. It's difficult for her to now communicate with her friends and family, and she feels completely lost. She makes discoveries and falls in love.
I guess that some people are probably able to enjoy this more than I did, for the sake of the origami cranes and the coffin yoga stuff. It seems too absurd for me, and I just don't feel like making any connections or using my time to read this, for the sake of the concept. Maybe, just maybe, if there were some sort of interesting plot twist according to fate or better characters, then this would've made it to a four star rating.
I began off with high expectations. Okay, that's usually how the story goes since I usually trust the reviewers and pick up the books that they recommend. I actually did discover this book a while ago during the summer where I was bored out of my mind and was all caught up with blogging and reviewing and... well that's another story. But I was completely satisfied and anxious to read this book as I had heard that it was like the new Gayle Forman book and we all needed it in our lives. My local library got it in their 'New Arrivals' section and... I couldn't resist! You see, there's another thing about the temptations.
When I began reading, I was thoroughly enjoying the grieving part of it. Don't get me wrong—it did shatter my heart into a million pieces and I did have a lot of sympathy towards the characters... but I just couldn't feel everything. There was no anticipation for any romance, there wasn't any happiness or crying. After I finished reading, I just dropped it into the overwhelming pile of books that I need to review on my desk, and I completely forgot about it. That shows the care that I have for books, huh?
"Dead people. Joe is a dead person. Joe is a dead person because of me. 365 days later, those words don't seem real. Time's up."
You see, this book doesn't seem real to me. Anna as a protagonist was interesting and completely wicked, though she lacked something raw and sweet. She seemed too whiny and I didn't feel all of the grief inside of her, instead I saw whine.
Cry me a river. I WISH I COULD'VE CRIED A RIVER! Crying in books really does show the majestic-ness that a book could possibly give you and that the author's words are unbelievably gorgeous. I felt like Bassett could've gotten that to happen to me, though we would've needed a ton of good stuff, like a purpose. Yes, the romance between Anna and Mateo was cute, but I can just shrug it away with no problem, if you know what I mean. He was a sweetheart, but it seemed like their attraction wasn't applicable for this sort of novel. *shrugs again* But Bassett's words were gorgeous and pretty, so you can take that as a positive remark.
No crying, no feelings, no purpose. You may be thinking that this is an all-negative rant review, but I have to tell you that I liked it, but not too much. I've read tons of better grief-tragedy books, and this one can't even compare to them. Anna, as a protagonist, was bittersweet, and sympathy was all over the place coming from me, but really, romance? It's like it was added in to make her feel better, not like fate made it come for her because it's what was supposed to happen—you know what I mean? Overall, I've seen better, but I love this genre, so you should go ahead for this treat as well....more
Have you ever read a book with romance, but looked upon by readers in aThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
Have you ever read a book with romance, but looked upon by readers in a darker way? What about one with thrill and secrets? If you haven't, or if you have anyways, Emmy and Oliver is surely a book for everyone. And by everyone, I mean every teen reader, young or old. Robin Benway's two distinct protagonists surely have changed my viewpoint on contemporary romances so much, because they seize the day and do the unstoppable, even if no one wants them to.
I can't even shine upon my love for this novel. From the moment when I saw its cover back in the midst of the year, I added it to my TBR list immediately, without even knowing who the author is or what other novels they've written, because I can tell you that I've read SO many books. This my utter-most favourite Robin Benway book. And it definitely hits one of the top spots of my 2015 favourites list. It's something that you'll find yourself reading slowly but all at once to devour its beauty. Brace yourself for something unlike any other book.
"An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you're shaking." (Hardcover, page 6)
I actually can't get over everything. ALL OF THIS BOOK KILLED ME. Oliver's been missing for ten years, and he was Emmy's best friend. By missing, his dad kidnapped him and now when they're seventeen, he has been found and is brought back to their Californian small town. Emmy fears that Oliver doesn't remember who she is or the friendship that they once had, but as they spend more time together to bring back the old times, they may fall in love once again, and never look back onto the dark times that horrified them both.
One expects the dark times to be some traumatizing moments that left you scarred for life, like hallucinations or nightmares. But Benway's contemporary magic persists of just plain, normal things that doesn't really apply to an actual thriller-mystery read. It's all about the aftermath of the events, and the heartbreak that Emmy has gone through, which she hasn't really recognized until they fall in love again. This includes so much pain and tears, and they actually sprawled out, especially in the ending.
You will cry, you will smile and you will feel like this story was made to be written for your likings. Not all authors have that ability to make readers feel like their characters' perspectives speak to them, but Robin surely does. She has written such an unforgettable story that will sneak into my mind when I need it the most. It will, for you too.
Wouldn't you like some delicate, fresh writing that's just simplistic but lyrical at the same time? Yeah, I always did and some books are just too stumpy and straight. on. with. periods! The plot and writing was magnificent, and by magnificent, it's a huge compliment. I can picture this being some kind of story taken place back in the day without thinking about social networking or any of that. There's surfing, sneaking into each other's houses and finding your soulmate next door. I long for this kind of love story, but in my life as well. Damn, Oliver made everything ten times better.
HE'S MYSTERIOUS, ADORABLE AND CHARMING. Emmy had that kind of kickass, don't-give-a-damn personality that really made the two click. Usually and stereotypically, it's always the male who gets the rebellious side out of the girl, but it was the opposite case here which I love in a story. And the fact that Oliver has been missing out on real life for ten years and falling in love makes him so lost, and Emmy's there to help him find his way. SQUEALING TO THE MAXIMUM LEVEL, PEOPLE. The connection and relationship between them dealing with their own personal demons makes me cringe in happiness, trust me.
Whether you're searching for friendship (Drew, Caro and Emmy had the coolest group ever, just saying) or a clean cut romance that's awfully similar to that of Eleanor and Park, I think this is exactly what you're searching for. I freaking need a copy of this masterpiece in my shelves right now or else I'll burst. I want to stay up late, have a romance with the hot guy next door, teach him about reality, and surf. What else can a typical teenage chick ask for? Robin Benway's gorgeous fifth novel is all about that, as well as a shining 2015 couple of literature that we all will never forget about. Marvellous!...more
I love books that deal with subjects that have some kind of mental illnThis review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!
I love books that deal with subjects that have some kind of mental illness-theme in it. OCD is something I've never read about before, that's for sure. I used to think that I might share some aspects of it, but after reading about Sam's experience with it and how she found love and began to see herself as more crazier than she thought she was, I am nowhere near that. I seriously praise Tamara Ireland Stone for writing about a story that is so true and realistic that I just imagine Samantha in real life, maybe being in my school or living in my community. It's interesting, relevant and realistic, leaving you wondering about what life will actually bring to you.
Every Last Word makes sense. It's not a fantasy or paranormal story with ghosts as readers may initially think from when they were introduced to Caroline's character. It's a contemporary story that is more real than anything else. It features love, poetry and love for things that can help teenage girls like myself forget about everything else for a while. Did you ever wonder what it's like to be a teenager in modern day 2015? This book will give you the answer, more real than anything else.
I loved this book. I finished it in a quick nip of time and I can't stop thinking about it until this very day. It's wild, unique and pretty damn sexy at times. Sam and AJ are adorable and no, I don't care that it was instalove-d and that they had a happy ending. Of course they did. But are we really expecting some kind of unpredictability where a plot twist will kill readers and make them have trust issues? I didn't expect or want that at all. Yes, this is a pretty positive look at OCD and Sam's perspective of it all, but I don't think that a dark, moody look at it would've provided any kind of better rating.
Sam has had a tough life, yes. She was diagnosed with OCD at the age of eleven, and she realized that her life with her friends basically ruined her positivity, or the lack of. She does everything in threes, and feels that if she doesn't, something bad will happen. She was popular, in a group of stupid girls who only cared about themselves and which guy they'll kiss next. They treated Sam like she was nobody, caring about what other people think. And Sam kept this secret. She let them treat her like trash and let them make assumptions. That's what us girls do. It's horrible, actually.
I love books where girls are having a tough time in life and love basically saves them. If poetry and AJ hadn't come to Sam at this moment, then I imagine her going into straight depression and not knowing what to do with herself. She'd think things are real when they aren't (I'm hinting you at something here), and I imagine Sam doing what I would do. It's physically difficult to gain this kind of connection with a character and a reader, but that's exactly what happened in my case.
Tamara Ireland Stone is a majestic, easy-going writer. Her novel is very hipster, and in the way of poetry being Sam's saviour. I totally understand that. I could go on and on about how writing and literature could help a person out, but I guess that you understand that since I continue to ramble on and on about books everyday of my life. *inhales sharply* This story is so relatable, even if you're not dealing with any mental health issues. Every single reader could find something to enjoy and obsess over.
Sam finds a friend named Caroline, who loves the same kind of movies that she does and has dealt with depression in the past. The thing is, she relies on this girl too much. And Tamara then handed me a plot twist that made me internally scream and rip all of my hair out of anger. I could not believe it. I cannot even state if that was a good thing to have been added into this story, or a bad. But the clues did add up, and AJ's reaction didn't seem like the best for Sam's situation.
YES. This one was perfect and I can't stop thinking about the ending and how this made me feel. Every Last Word is interesting, special and life changing, just like how some of my most favourite books in the world make me feel. If you're looking for a book that will add that extra spark into your life and make you happy since I promise that it's stuck with a happy ending, then this is it. Since I own one of Tamara's other novels, you'll see me heading to that one soon because I need more, pronto....more