3 May/June Releases I Read

Summer has been busy and my attention span has been that of a gnat to actually sit down and write a ton of book talk type stuff. So mini review time for some books that were released in May and June that I just really would like to talk about sooner rather than later.

Made You Up Francesca Zappia

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

About In A Sentence (ish): Alex is starting a new school her senior year after an incident that got her kicked out of her last school. She wants to make it through the year with no trouble which is hard considering she has schizophrenia — something she tries to keep to herself and she’s trying to keep in check until she meets a boy who looks like someone from her hallucinations.

Thoughts: This one was really interesting as the main character is a little bit unreliable to us as readers. She has schizophrenia so as things are happening within the story you are constantly wondering if it is real or not real. I really loved Alex and how tough she was. I could feel how frustrating it must be for her to be unable to always decipher reality from delusion but I loved the ferocity in which she lived in spite of that and how she really tried to take control of it in her own way. I loved her so much and my heart broke for her in those moments where she was so confused no matter how much she tried to manage it. There’s a pretty great cast of characters in general — like Miles, the love interest — and I just couldn’t put it down because of my desire for Alex to persevere and to find out what is real/not real especially with some conspiracies. There is a moment, a thing that I guessed and ultimately turned out to be true, and the realization of that moment just broke me down. Made You Up was just a very fantastic read that I recommend. I can’t say how accurate its portrayal of schizophrenia is but, to me, I found Alex’s schizophrenia to feel so real and like while a big part of her…it didn’t at all DEFINE her.

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know By Trish Doller

About (in a sentence-ish): Cadie has spent a lot of her time going to school, working and taking care of her dad and sister so when she has a chance for adventure with two boys she meets at a campfire she takes it. All is fun until it’s not because one of the boys might not be what he seems.

Thoughts: This is the saddest thing — to not mark a new book by a favorite author as a new favorite book — which is not to say I didn’t like it. I loved Trish’s first two books but I didn’t LOVE this the way I loved them. I think it’s more of a “me” issue and my deal with mystery/thriller/suspense kind of books. Unless I’m shocked or the mystery is super elaborate or all sorts of mindf*ckery, it never gets like super high ratings. If I completely guess it without any wavering or found it to be obvious, no matter how objectively good the book is (which I can still enjoy those parts), I have a hard time rating it high because it kills some of the enjoyment for me. While it got super creepy and twisted at times, I didn’t find it to be all that mysterious or hard to crack what was going on. I didn’t feel the suspense or exhilaration to because I was certain what was going on  even though I DID fly through this book. I just kept waiting for something to happen to make me be like WOW OKAY but in the suspense/thriller department it didn’t.  But what it didn’t do for me there,  there was so much GOOD. It had Trish Doller’s signature writing which is always so fantastic and a main character who is just SO complex plus she owned her sexuality and her life choices which I loved. I loved reading about her family dynamics and could feel the weight on her shoulders so I just so understood her desire to just be free and a bit reckless when she gets the chance to do something that ignites the desires of her heart that have been kind of locked away. I’m sad I can’t give this higher marks but it just didn’t make me fall in love like her other books Something Like Normal and Where The Stars Still Shine.  All the things I found great about it are so typical of those books…I think it just comes down to the genre being a hard one for me.

Rating

 RATING-LIKED

 

 A Sense of the Infinite Hilary T. Smith

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

About In A Sentence-ish: Annabeth and Noe have been best friends for years and even have planned their future endeavors together until Noe starts dating a guy and their friendship shows signs of drifting apart at a time when Annabeth needs Noe because her personal life is complicated and doesn’t know what to do without her.

Thoughts: What a great and complicated book about friendship! I’m all about books that have really strong friendships but I also really love ones that explore that fragile nature of friendship and those friendships that slowly start to crumble as two people go in different directions life-wise but still want to hold on for whatever reasons. It was such a great portrait of a friendship breakup, especially a really like exclusively close bff duo, and Annabeth’s story was really compelling to me especially with her family dynamics and secrets. Plus Hilary T. Smith’s beautiful prose strikes again! I loved Wild Awake and I could tell she was a talented writer, and while very different kind of style compared to Wild Awake, it’s equally as stunning. I will probably write a whole post devoted to all the things this book brought up re: friendship soon!! It’s a quieter contemporary YA but it explores a lot of things very poignantly.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

 

 

 

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith | Book Review

Wild Awake by Hilary T. SmithBook Title/Author: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Publisher/Year
: Katherine Tegan May 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: None

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Kiri’s parents are cruising around the world for most of the summer — leaving Kiri alone to devote her time to playing piano, practicing for Battle of the Bands and hanging out with Lukas — her best friend and bandmate and maybe something else. Her summer plan is in full swing until she gets a mysterious phone call that brings her into a seedy part of the city to retrieve some stuff that belonged to her older, and now deceased, sister whom she looked up to. Her perfectly planned summer suddenly spirals into something she couldn’t have planned for as she learns the truth about her sister’s life, relives her loss over again and meets someone who helps her to live and learn to be free.

OH MAN. This is easily one of my favorite reads of 2013 and I think it could be a pretty high in the most memorable FOR LIFE category. I read it back in February, did my Save the Date for it and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I just keep longing to reread it so I can just absolutely lose myself in the beautiful prose (and of course Kiri’s story). It’s one of those books that made remember me why I love words. Hilary T. Smith just has this ability to just light them on fire and let them explode in my heart. It’s got the sort of lyrical, dazzling prose that makes me dog-ear pages like mad. (You know dog-earing is my dirty little secret..shh).

quote2

It’s not just that Hilary T. Smith’s writing is something pretty. It’s that she writes in a way that makes you FEEL everything. The writing matches the energy that Kiri exudes. It’s chaotic, frenetic and sometimes deliriously mad. The writing in Wild Awake is vivid and definitely is more of in Kiri’s head and just streams onto the pages from it. Everything Kiri feels is INTENSE — her joy is so high and her sadness just plunges — and that energy just pulses through you and holds you captive. Even the CITY Kiri is traveling around in just felt ALIVE. I noted back in February that her writing reminded me a bit of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, a hint of Jandy Nelson’s THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE and a good dash of some of my favorite Aussies like Cath Crowley or Melina Marchetta.

I feel like I’m talking a lot about the writing in this review but it’s the way it is written that makes Kiri’s story so stunning. The plot itself was quite interesting and moved well enough. I thought it was going to be a very straightforward, cute contemporary novel but this is not what you are going to get, just so you know. As Kiri learns more about her sister she plunges more into her grief and chaos — getting lost in her own head. Her story is electric and the writing is what makes it feel so special.  Written without the sort of qualities Hilary T. Smith infuses, I think it wouldn’t have had SUCH an effect on me. It would have been a good story but the plot is so much wrapped up in the writing and the very unusual and alive Kiri. I loved the people she met along the way on her journey though I can’t say the romance was swoonworthy for me but I really LIKED it in the scope of the novel.

It was a very emotional book in a lot of unexpected ways and in unexpected places. It’s so hard to read sometimes because you feel Kiri and her story weighing on your heart and you are watching her be reckless, obsessive and mad as she is learning the truth about what happened to her sister. Losing a sister is obviously emotional but Wild Awake had quite a few scenes that took me by surprise and were extremely tear inducing for me unexpectedly. It wasn’t obvious but the crying just visceral. That book was like a magnet attracting my tears to it. I also wanted to rage a lot at her parents and sometimes at Kiri herself. It’s intense to read about someone having this breakdown but to really FEEL it while you are reading? WOW.

However, as I noted back in February, this book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea BECAUSE of the writing. It makes me sad but I accept it to be true. Some people also, as the reviews started coming in after my Save the Date, brought up the use of marijuana in this novel and, I gotta be honest, it didn’t bother me. It felt real, rather than gratuitous or for shock value, and it seemed to me Kiri was just trying to FEEL something other than what she was feeling. I saw some reviews that felt all the “madness” was a result of her being high and I 100% feel differently about that. It goes beyond that.

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith is ONE OF MY FAVORITES THIS YEAR!! If you like vivid, dazzling prose that matches the energy the character exudes in all its frenetic and chaotic glory definitely give Wild Awake a chance. It definitely was a special novel to me and not at all what I was expecting which was a cute albeit a little emotional, straightforward contemporary novel about a sister finding out some secrets about her deceased sister. Sure, that’s what it is about but it is SO MUCH MORE. If you loved  The Sky Is Everywhere or the writing style of Aussie authors like Melina Marchetta, Cath Crowley etc I’d say you might like this, too!

 

 

 Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
And because this book is just so quoteable another quote:

Quote1

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five-stars
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