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Book Review – Holding Up The Universe

Title: Holding Up The Universe

Author: Jennifer Niven

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 388

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank Penguin for sending me this book for review!

Now before I get into the actual review I sort of feel like I need to put a disclaimer on this review. I look on goodreads and I see so many people raging about this book, which seems ridiculous to me, but here we are. These are my opinions from the perspective of someone who is not seriously overweight, has not been home schooled, has no physical issues, and has NO RESEARCH on any of the issues that were discussed in this book to compare and see if they are in fact accurately portrayed.

Now that we have that rubbish out of the way, lets move on.

Much like her other book I really enjoyed Holding Up The Universe. I really enjoy Niven’s writing style and I think that she covered the topics within the book very respectfully in terms of how serious they are.

I really liked the overall theme of the story which was basically to just love yourself, and to improve yourself if you feel you need improvement and not because of what others may think would be the better you. Not only that, it also has great message that I think we as humans tend to forget a lot of the time and that is to not judge or torment or follow along with the wrongful treatment of another human being because they are different to us.

I enjoyed our main characters Libby and Jack. and thought they were very well developed and flushed out. However these were really the only characters where I thought this. All the other characters were just sort of floating around them, coming in and out of the story when something needed to be said or something needed to happen then they would fade back out again. They were not bad exactly, just not really important to the story as individuals.

Libby was a very strong characters and I loved how she was okay with herself most of the time. She was able to see how far she had come as a person and then be able to love what she had and flaunt the hell out of it despite the comments of others. Jack I liked but a lot of his issues I think could of been solved if he had of just opened his mouth about his condition at any point in time. The things he has to deal with are hard, and I cannot really related to it on that kind of level, but I feel as though he was just making it so much harder on himself by at least not telling his family. In this regards though I did like how he referred to his mum as “mum with hair up” or “mum with hair down.” Even he and Libby’s falling out at a certain part in the book would have been avoided if he would have just gone oh yeah Libby I remember who you are from before! There, so many problems solved.

This was another book I picked up as an audio book because I needed to just get it done. I didn’t mind the actors and the only real issue I had with it was that the lady who was doing Libby put on a soothing voice for her and she just sort of took it way too far. It was so ‘soothing’ that she sounded like she was heavily medicated for the whole book, but I did get used to this by the end it was a good listen.

So I think this is where I am going to leave you today. For those of you who read ATBP and enjoyed it I think you will also like this one and pick it up! For those of you who haven’t read her other book yet I think you should probably pick that one up first before this one. That one was a bit more interesting with more things happening and its probably a better place to start to get used to the topics and writing style, where this one is much more mellow.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Sun Is Also A Star

Title: The Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 344

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank the Penguin for sending me a copy of this book for review!

I am of two minds about this book. On one hand I didn’t mind the story and don’t regret reading/listening to it, but on the other if I had of known prior to going into the book that it was just about a day filled with insta love I probably would have given it a miss.

We only really have two characters worth mentioning because all the rest barely mean anything to the plot of the story and they are our main characters Natasha and Daniel. Two very different people that are both on the verge of life altering events and through a collection of random events end up spending the day together in the city and pretty much instantly fall in love. Specially on Dan’s part. In saying that though I think I liked Daniel more as a character because I felt he was more honest and a upfront and generally happy character.

While the insta love plot annoyed me greatly, i did really like the way this book was written. We get perspectives from a few different people other than just our main characters throughout the story. In these perspectives you get little tid bits about the random people Nat and Dan encounter in their day of travels and how each of them are connected and how each one of their days is potentially going to affect Nat and Dan’s and why. I found this really interesting because if it had not of been for these moments I would not have given any of the other characters any thought, and it made the story much more interesting to get these random bits of knowledge.

Now because this book was given to me by publishers and I had taken so long to pick it up i decided to get myself an audiobook of it so I could listen to the story while I drive, which is a lot of time. For the most part I liked the audiobook, the actors did a good job of distinguishing between characters. However it took me quite awhile to get used to the characters that were heavily accented. I just don’t find them easy to listen too and it was so sort of forced that it kept getting me out of the rhythm of the story. This was something I got over by the end though.

The ending of the book is really what made the plot for me though. I won’t go into in detail, but for a moment there I didn’t think it was going to end up where it did and I was internally (and a little externally) screaming because of it, but it got there thank goodness.

I think that is where I am going to leave you for this one. For those who are not yet totally sick of insta love, I think you will enjoy this book. For everyone else though I think you will be alright just picking up a different book.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – Everything I Never Told You

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Title: Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 304

Rating: 1 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

‘This ghostly novel calls to mind The Lovely Bones,’ well while I have only seen the movie at this point I am fairly confident in saying, no. This is nothing like The Lovely Bones. TLB is a magically sad story which is also about accepting things, with diverse characters and feeling. This story is filled with just horrible characters on every front. I say the alternate title for this story would be “How to be a disgusting person and a bad parent 101.” Do not compare this book to TLB.

Because this book review will be more rant than review, there will be spoilers. I cannot recommend this book to anyone, so this will be my only warning.

The plot of this book, was just not what I was looking for I think. This combined with the just wretchedness of the characters did not work for me, but I shall talk more about them later. This book deals with a family whose oldest daughter went missing and was found dead in a lake by the families home. It focuses on how they come to terms with her death, and all the things that lead up until the moment they found out she was gone. I think one of the biggest issues I had with this was we never actually found out how she died. If we did, I missed it, but to me with was all left up in the air. Did she go out onto the lake despite the fact she couldn’t swim, fell out of the boat and then drowned? Was she taken out there by another person and then was killed? Was it an accident with another person there and they were too afraid to say anything? Was it suicide? I don’t know.

In this points defence though, it was realistic in the sense that people who suffer this kind of loss don’t always get closure like this. I cannot accept it though when I hated everything else. I guess when I was going into this book too, I was expecting it to sort of be from the dead girls perspective because of the title. I guess it did mention some things that none of the family said to each other, because this family doesn’t talk, but yeah. Wrong footing from the get go.

Now onto the part that was probably the most painful, the characters. I think the only ones I liked were the children. The way they were ‘acting out’ or less than stella people were because they were just trying to come to grips with what has happened. The parents on the other hand seemed to be making the worst decisions even before everything went down.

The children state at the very start of the book that the daughter who died was the favourite child, and they very rarely actually get any of their parents, specially the mother’s, attention. We then go back and get some backstory as to why this is. This is because the mother was so against being what her mother wanted her to be, which was a stay at home cook and wife and to pump out kids. Then after her mother dies and she goes off the clean out her house, she realises that she has done exactly that and freaks out. So then she makes the wonderful decision to, instead of discussing her issues with her husband and explaining things and organising to do the change as a family, decides to abandon her family in the middle of the night and leave without saying a word, and only comes back when she realises that she is pregnant again. When she is forced to come home she decides that she will live through her oldest daughter, putting much pressure and stress on her. I also believe that when she dies that she moves on to doing the same thing with one of her other children.

Then there is the father, who pretty much leaves the family after his daughter dies, going off and sleeping with his students. He also has the huge issue of being ashamed of his family, that they were poor and Asian, hating the fact that people stare at his family because his wife is white and his children bi-cultural, and really hating anything that makes him or anyone around him stand out in anyway.

I could go on all day. But in conclusion, I felt the children were much more mature and just straight up better people and I felt for them and what they have and were going through in their lives. The parents on the other hand I cannot get over how much they disgusted me, so I will end this rant here. I am sorry for the way this review turned out, I generally just don’t have anything nice to say. I know other people have loved this book, reviewers I admire, but for me this was obviously not my thing.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review & Event – Our Chemical Hearts

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Title: Our Chemical Hearts

Author: Krystal Sutherland

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health

Length: 313

Rating: 3.5 to 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Principal Valentine walked past at one point and spotted me, my forehead pressed flat against my desk, and said, “Page. Aren’t you supposed to be in class?”

To which I replied, without sitting up, “My teenage hormones have rendered me too emotionaly fragile to be in a learning environment right now.”

Valentine was silent for a few seconds, then she simply said, “Carry on.”

So I did.

I would say a big thank you to Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a copy of this book for review!

The way I came about getting this book was really… sort of like the universe telling me I had to read it. I was looking around at author events happening in Brisbane since I had such a pleasant time at BWF and I saw an event for Krystal Sutherland to talk about her debut book Our Chemical Hearts, a book I had yet to hear anything about at this point, at Riverbend Books and thought it sounded interesting so if I had the time then I would probably go. Then a couple of days later I received the Penguin email with the books available for review over the next couple of months and there it was! And its publicist just happened to be the very first publicist to give me a chance as a reviewer and send me a physical ARC. At this point the decision was pretty much made for me at this point so I sent off an email requesting the book and the Monday before the Friday event I had the book in my hands.

Now anyone who has sort of been on here for awhile that Mondays and Tuesdays are pretty much ride off days for since my schedule is filled the the brim so I was actually quite worried that I would get the to event and not have finished the book. But I managed to fly through this book in a two day stint. The writing style was very easy to read and it flowed. If I were to compare this book to other debut YA books by other authors I would not have guessed that this one was a debut.

I also thought the characters were nicely diverse and had depth to them. The only one that annoyed me (sometimes) was the only Aussie character Murray. Sometimes his slang was nauseating, but other than that everyone was fine. I think all the actions taken by each were things that people would have actually done, and none of dialogue felt forced or pointless at any point. Each character also enhanced the story or served a purpose and they didn’t feel like fillers.

I’d been truly drunk only once before, when I was sixteen. Murray had coerced me into drinking tequila with him, to test the legitimacy of the ‘one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor’ theorem. Over the course of the evening I discovered that ‘one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor’ is wildly inaccurate. It’s more like one tequila, two tequila, three tequila,vomit all over your clothes, cry while your father puts you in the shower, vomit some more, cry and ask your mother to cook you ‘salmon eggs,’ whatever that is, be put to bed by your mother, decide you’re going to escape your parents’ totalitarian regime, vomit in the garden while escaping, be put back to bed by your father, floor.

Now here comes my big issue. While I loved the plot and I thought it was really interesting to read about a story that was different from the other YA books I have read, I also didn’t like it because the entire time I was just screaming at Henry. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! IN WHAT WAY DO YOU THINK THIS WILL END?! THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! I loved the idea of becoming more beautiful after being broke, but that takes much time a and willingness to be fixed and Grace had no interest in any of that. I would like to take this moment to tell anyone is you are in a relationship in anyway similar to this one RUN FOR THE FUCKING HILLS.

The event was amazing and I am so glad I went. I love hearing authors talk about their books and lives or influences and Krystal had us all laughing at a few points. I of course got my book signed as well which is always a plus. Riverbend Books was also a very lovely bookstore that I has never visited before, and has inspired be to do a tour of Brisbane book stores at some point.

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The part I really enjoyed though was once the event was over. I got to finally meet the publicist (who I will leave unnamed just encase people try to hassle her) who gave me my first shot and sent me so many books since then, talk with the author, the bookstore owner/manager, as well as the moderator Rhianna Patrick. All of whom were lovely lady’s and were so enthusiastic about everything. Rhianna was very offended about my lack of twitter usage so now I shall have to try and become better at twitter haha. In all serious though is was amazing to be able to talk to these ladies for as long as I did :)

I think this is where I am going to leave this here. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes sad YA books, and I would recommend everyone to go to as many author events as possible!

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – My Heart And Other Black Holes

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Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health

Length: 302

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I am going to put a warning here like I do at the start of any book I review that revolves around suicide. I have very strong, negative views on the matter. If you, or anyone you know, or even if its a topic you sympathise with, you may not want to read my review. I will do my best to not sound like a jerk, but I generally cannot understand and have little sympathy on the matter. I apologise in advance. If this sounds like something you will not handle reading about, give this review a miss.

But just because it’s cowardly doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be easy.

I like the plot of this book, despite the rant I just gave. I think it was an interesting way to have people meet each other and take their journey together. The ending for these kind of books is generally predictable and I knew at least part of the result even before I cracked open the book, but learning how they came to be where they were at the start of the book, and how they changed between then and the end is something that interests me. I read these kind of books to try and get a better understanding on why some people commit suicide, but sadly this book didn’t help change my opinion or enlighten me in anyway like All The Bright Places did. There were a number of things that annoyed me too much to really make me have a better understanding about what people with depression go through, and it was really very predictable.

In these moments, it always feels like my skin is too thin, like everyone can see right inside me, can see my empty and dark insides.

The writing style was probably my favourite part of the book. I am sure that you can see that by the number of quotes that I snuck into the review. I found many of the words to be very captivating and they were the things I connect to the most in terms of understanding. If the plot and the character development had of been more of to speed with the way things were explained or written, this book would have gotten a higher rating from me.

Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.

While I felt for Aysel and understood why she had the kind of feelings that she did, I didn’t connect with her like I did Roman. Roman to me, was genuinely suffering to the point where he was drowning, his issue was that he was unsure of how to swim in his emotions. Which ones to let go, which ones to hold on to, and whether or not he was allowed to feel any different. Aysel, while still having to deal with really traumatic things, I didn’t feel like they were things couldn’t let go of. That if she had just opened her mouth, things could have been better for her. There were things people go do and say to help her through what she was going through since a lot of her issues stemmed from other people, unlike with Roman where he had to come to those conclusions on his own because his issues where with himself.

Saying all that though, Roman made me far angrier than Aysel did at times. The way he acted because of his feelings, made him a manipulator, and just generally an complete selfish ass for the most part. He needed Aysel for his own reasons, and didn’t much care about hers for a long while. Confusing isn’t it? In terms of who I think I liked better as a person, it was probably Aysel, but in terms of actually understanding why they had come to the decision that they have to die, its Roman.

SPOILER – I didn’t like the way Aysel got over her issues really either. Yes, love can help you overcome many things and can help you get through dark times in your life. Did it have to be the romantic kind of love? It would have been much better story to me if it was just his friendship and his understanding that helped. If it lead to more later, that could have been cute, but it wasn’t gradual enough for me. – END SPOILER

I think I will end this review here before it gets much longer. I am not sure really who I would recommend this book to. If you want a romance book, this is not for you. If you want something that is a good representation of how depression actually is, I do’t think this book covers that really either. But I suppose that the book did raise some interesting ways to think about life and death. If these kinds of books interest you, I would read for the writing and the pictures it creates, just go into knowing that its probably not the best one out there.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – Looking For Alaska

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Title: Looking For Alaska

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 271

Rating: 3 (3.5) Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I have to say, I am not following this John Green banned wagon that everyone else besides me seems to be partying on. Besides The Fault In Our Stars, I have not really liked any of his books that I have read. I did round this book up to a 4 star but upon further reflection put it down to a 3 because I have read better things on the 4 scale. I hold up in hope though that when I get to Paper Towns I feel some of the love again.

This review will contain spoilers.

I like the overall plot of this book. We meet this whirlwind of a girl, Alaska, and get swept up in her just over-the-top behaviour and then she dies in a car crash and people are left remember. Our main character Pudge is then left to deal with his feelings for her which never went anywhere other than one stolen kiss the night before she dies. Because in his mind he had built her up to this wonderful goddess like creature, and then after her death he realises she was not as perfect as he was making her out to be.

This is the part I like. The dealing with the realistic aspects of human nature, how we are generally not all good and bad, and just because you may love someone, or that someone has died, doesn’t change those things and we need to remember and love them despite those aspects. The parts of the plot which were very generic and cliché to ‘how teenagers act out’ were less than desired though.

I think my biggest issue with this story was the fact that I didn’t connect with any of the characters. Don’t get me wrong, around the middle of the book I was really feeling for them and connect with the struggles they were having, but it was the same kind of feeling that get when I hear a news story about something bad has happened to people I don’t know. It doesn’t last.

For me the writing style was fine. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t so bad I wanted to claw my eyes out either. There were a few things I would call ‘try hard’ where they seemed to be through in there just to try and force the story to be more exciting or edgy and ended up failing. But I did like the last sentence thing that popped up throughout the book. I don’t know if any of them were actually true, but those kind of things I find interesting anyway so I liked the way they were weaved in to help tell the story.

This is the second book from a males perspective that I have read of John Green’s work, and thus far I don’t think I like the male perspectives from him. I loved TFIOS, but I hated An Abundance of Katherines, and this fell in the middle. Does he have more books from a girls perspective? I would like to pick one of those up next if he does to see if that makes a difference, or if TFIOS is just on its own.

I would recommend this book to people who have read other John Green books and have liked them so that they can see where he has come from, because I believe this was his first book, correct me if I am wrong though. If you have read a few Green books though and haven’t really been interested in what was going on I would give this book a miss.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

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Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 188

Rating: 5 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I am having such a good run of books lately and this book is no exception.

I found this to be a very honest telling of what high school can be like for some. Its  great big mess no matter who you are, you have dramas that you sometimes don’t even realise you have, and everything is just really hard in ways you don’t understand. Charlie has all these issues in his own way, and it is him dealing with these issues that makes up the plot. I use he word plot kind of loosely because there isn’t really a plot to the book in the sense that there are no huge and dramatic things that push the story along.

The story is presented to us through letter format where Charlie is writing to a friend who is unnamed throughout the book. I have no idea who this person is supposed to be. I think I missed some clue in the listening/reading to of this book because it seems like others worked it out but I am still in the dark. Despite me not getting the hints I really liked the way it was presented. I don’t normally like letter type stories, I am currently failing at reading two separate ones, but I found this super easy to follow and I enjoyed it.

Character wise I thought everyone had depth and were interesting in their own ways. I liked Charlie but I found him a but frustrating and just could not understand why he did some things the way he did them. The ones I liked the most were Sam and Patrick. I ADORED these two characters. Their energy for life and the way they feed off each other and breathe life into Charlie is just awesome. I could have just read a book about them.

The only negative right now that I can think of other than some stupid Charlie choices, I would suggest not doing the audio book for this one. The voice that was used is really annoying and ‘geeky’ voice while suiting, I found it very distracting at times and think it would probably be more enjoyable to just read the book.

I would suggest this book to anyone who likes a high school based book about people coming to understand themselves. While it was amazing, I don’t think this book is for everyone.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – Speak

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Title: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 208

Rating: 5 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Ok, this book is going down as 1 of the top 3 books I have read this year. I basically breathed this book in and I hope to never ever let it go.

When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.

Its so brutally honest about the way life can be in high school, and deals with a very serious topic without undermining it or making light of it. You can feel the main characters strength grow as she learns to deal with what has happened to her life and you just never want her to stop talking. I cannot accurately portray my feelings in such a small place. It more than moved me. So please forgive me if this review doesn’t accurately tell you anything, and its just me going on about how it made me feel the entire time.

All the characters had their purpose. No matter who you were/are in school, you can recognise each of the characters that were presented to you. The friend who for reasons beyond your knowledge, have undergone a personality change and no longer speaks to you. The friend you know is only with you until someone they consider better comes along. And then of course the pack mentality of the group, going along with a story and accepting it as fact without ever knowing for sure all the details because they have not spoken to all the people involved.

While not all characters in this book are featured a lot and then could be considered ‘underdeveloped,’ they all serve a purpose and are not just in the book to build word count. So to me this provided a book of well developed and interesting characters.

The plot of the story is what really got me going. The entire time I hurt for our main character. Being so widely hated and tormented, even by people who were supposed to be there for her, over something she was completely in the right for. But from memory no one she would have told because they were supposed to be there for her even asked her why she called the police to come and break up the party. Of course then one outcome is her probably feeling guilt about and shame about what had happened and then not speaking up about what happened.

The writing style was also very very powerful. Melinda’s voice as the narrator goes from being someone who is just as ‘normal’ as everyone else. At no point does she try to sway you really like or hate herself or anyone else more than the other, she is just getting through school the best way she can think of. But then at other parts of the story the narration/writing goes spiralling down with her in her moments of panic and fear that she has yet to really work through. As someone who has in the past and will probably will for the rest of my life, suffered from panic attacks, I felt for her. Most her moments happen in public and I cannot imagine feeling something like that coming and trying to make it so no one notices how badly you are struggling for breathe and your heart beating so fast it hurts.

I am getting better at smiling when people expect it.

If it was not clear I think everyone should read this book. Some of you won’t like it. You may think the topic is over done and that Melinda is freaking out over nothing. Well she isn’t and you should get a new perspective. This is a topic that needs to be read about in this way. The subject matter isn’t in there to try and add ‘depth’ or something to our main character. Its there to tell a very true portrait of how these things can be, and thusly everyone should at least give the book a go so that people can be that little bit better educated about not jumping on the voice of the crowd without knowledge, about how this can effect people. Its a quick read and very worth it.

Read it.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – An Abundance of Katherines

an abundance of katherines

Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 213

Rating: 2 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a blood-thirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun – bit no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I am going to keep this review rather short and to the point, because I really don’t have that much to say about it.

I really didn’t like this book, and after all the good things I hear about John Greens writing and the fact that I really rather enjoyed TFIOS, this book was a huge disappointment.

There are a couple of things that kept this book from being dropped to a 1 star for me. The first one is that there were a few moments that made me laugh out loud, and I really liked the relationship between Colin and his one and only friend Hassan. They had a really easy and relaxed back and forth that made me believe they have been friends since the moment they met, and together they were really quite funny and nice to read about. This is where my enjoyment ended sadly.

I hated Colin as a character. Everytime he opened his mouth he was complaining about something. He reeked of self loathing that came from no where and had no justifiable to be crying like a little ****. It was just self pity. He had no real troubles. He is probably one of the most annoying characters I have ever read about. If I was a girl dating a guy like that and he just blurted out all that rubbish all the time but then didn’t make any effort to fix any of his so cold problems or seek help for his apparent issues, like Colin, I would leave him too! The rest of the characters I never really formed any kind of attachment to. Hassan was probably the character I liked the most, because he was just so happy most of the time. Great balance to Colin.

The plot line of the story could have been a great kinda easy ready story. You got dumped buddy? Ok then lets go on an epic road trip and hook you up with some randoms! Thats like a summer romance kinda story, and I like good summer romance stories. We didn’t get this though. We just got a lot of math. So much math. We had the road trip adventure story was floating around in the background, but everytime I was actually getting into the story Colin would be like I HAVE TO WORK OUT LOVE WITH MATH. I have to do a math graph for every one of my failed relationships. I have to create a formula that works out when a relationship will end because they all will! It was completely disorientating and just plain not interesting.

I am going to end this here because if I talk about anything else or let myself go on more, it would just be ranting. I already deleted some rants that were not needed. Encase it wasn’t obvious, I do not recommend this book, even if you have liked other John Green books. I feel there are far better ones to try.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – Saint Anything

saint anything

Title: Saint Anything

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 417

Rating: 3 Star rounded down from 3.5

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Description/Synopsis:

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I was sent this book from by the wonderful people over at Penguin. Thank you so so much! This is another book I probably would not have picked up if not for you guys. You are always making me expand my reading base and I love you for it.

Contemporary books are a huge thing right now and each of them seem to be taking on their own little twist in telling their stories. This books little twist is that is is on the more normal side of lifes drama. Yes, it has a character in there that goes to jail, but each family has its own drama that is just as much an issue as something else is to another family. You cannot compare dramas if you haven’t experienced it. But its more the after effect, how the little things function from there on out.

I really liked this book. I did. I found the writing style to be super easy and quick to get through, and I the characters to me were all really well developed. I connected with Sydney and her conflicted emotions on all the situations she was going through. I completely understood all her feelings and every action she did. I also completely agreed with everyone else in their thoughts and actions too except her parents. I can understand her mother, and think her dad was a bit useless right up until the end, but I still think her mum was just crazy. An understandable crazy and a needed drive for the overall plot but still. I loved every member of the Chathams family. Layla is an awesome friend.

The plot though nice was where this story lost me a bit. It was slow and for me, just too mellow. Remember that comment I made about not being able to compare situations unless you have had them yourself? I am in that wonderful situation where I can. A member of my family, one in the inner circle, went to jail for six months for use, making and selling of drugs. The before, during and after of my life were greatly affected by this as well as for people outside my family. This person took someone who was pretty much a stable clean person, put them onto drugs which then destroyed their life, which they then ended. Something they had to do twice because the first time just left them in a wheelchair. Unlike Sydney though, this wasn’t something I felt much guilt over.

So as you can see, the plot for me was just a tame reflection of some of the things I have gone through so to me the plot just wasn’t gripping enough. I can fully see this book being more interesting to others though so I suggest it to anyone who likes a bit of contemporary.

 

Till Next Time…