Book Talk: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Talk: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer DonnellyThese Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers on October 2015
Genres: YA Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Jo is part of NYC’s high society in the 1890’s and knows she’ll soon be done with finishing school and married off — even though she aspires to follow in the footsteps of a trailblazing female reporter hero of hers. And then her dad dies — it’s ruled an accident while cleaning a gun but Jo knows her dad would never have had an accident like that. When she hears something that confirms her hunch, she sets off with the help of a reporter named Eddie to find out the truth of her father’s death and sets off on a twisty path that will forever change her world.

a2tumblr_mdhuvuEo3q1r4bgkv[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Talk: Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers on September 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Madeline hasn’t been able to leave her house for the past 18 years as she has a rare disease that basically makes her allergic to the world. The only people come in her house are her mom, nurse and sometimes a tutor who all have to undergo a long decontamination process. One day she looks out her window to see a family moving in and she makes eye contact with a boy her age. They start communicating from the window and email and she knows she’s falling in love and she knows it’s pretty impossible considering she’s stuck in her house.

a2WOW.

a4

I really liked this one but am having a hard time figuring out just WHAT to say about it. I want you to know that the main character has lived a bubble basically her life. She’s had this really super rare disease that basically makes her allergic to the world because they don’t know what triggers these deadly attacks to her body. She lives in her house with her mom and the only two people who come in besides her are her nurse and sometimes a tutor — and they have to go through major decontamination. I want you to know that she meets a boy that moves in next door and that they start talking via email. And they fall for each other. That’s what I want you to know. I don’t want to give any hints on if they end up together or how they have a relationship given her disease. I feel like any reactions I have will give too much away.

Things I’m willing to say: it’s such a cute and heartwarming book but also it’s deeply heartbreaking in ways. I loved how it explored how, once she tasted what having love and a boyfriend would be like and experienced things she never had, she could never go back to the life she had. I loved watching her trying to wrestle with that even though it hurt my heart — watching her realize all that she has missed out on and FEELING it.  I will also say the writing was excellent and I totally shipped them even though it felt like an impossible ship.

I have some conflicted feelings that I honestly keep waffling back and for towards regarding aspects to the ending but overall really enjoyed this!!

If you’ve read it, here’s what I’m going back and forth over. SPOILERS.

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ plot, writing, romance
–  unsure how I feel about a thing


a5contemporary YA fans, people looking for a romance that is unique

a8Everything, Everything is a book with a unique romance that felt impossible but I still totally shipped. I had a lot of FEELS for the main character and her situation especially as it played out. It was well written and I every much enjoyed that it wasn’t like anything I’ve really read before.

review-on-post-it

Everything Everything Nicola Yoon

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
If you’ve read it, did you expect what happened?? (mark spoilers please)

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Book Talk: All The Bright Places by Jennifer NivenAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Knopf on January 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Finch and Violet meet on the ledge at school — both wondering what it would be like to jump. One becomes a hero and saves the other — but only the two of them know the truth of what happened up there. When they are paired together on a school project that leads them traipsing all over and exploring natural wonders in their state, the two feel alive together and like themselves. But can that feeling last? Is it enough for the boy who always thinks about death and is called a freak? Is it enough for the girl who lost her sister and has let fear get in the way of living?

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anna paquin ugly crying

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Oh MAN you guys. OH MAN. This was our book club pick for April and I have so many thoughts and feelings about this one. This one had to simmer a bit in my head because I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the whole of it. It was a very feels-y book and I spent a long time SOBBING by the end. Like, had to put the book down and listen to Will say, “Why do you read books like that if they make you do this?” BECAUSE I AM LIKE TO INFLICT PAIN ON MYSELF, K?

I have to say that I had a rough start with this one. I was getting a little frustrated in the beginning because I’m like OKAY BOOK. We are meant to be. If we were on a dating website together we would have totally been matched together with like 100% compatibility. WHY ARE THERE NOT FIREWORKS AND SPARKS? I mean, this book screamed Jamie (promises of major heart-wrenching things, kind of dark subject matter, quirky characters, romance, etc). And the writing was really good! SO WHAT WAS THE ISSUE?

Despite that, I was smitten with Theo’s voice IMMEDIATELY — he made me laugh and he was just this bright spirited person that felt like they were living life in full color at some times. But at the same time he made my heart quake with sadness and that deeply rooted brokenness so much so that it was a little unnerving. He seemed quirky and alive but as you keep reading you realize that, yes it is part him, but also some of those eccentricities are part of his mental illness…the things others in his life didn’t recognize. His voice just took over for me and at times seemed to make Violet fade into the background a little for me. Her voice just wasn’t as strong for me and I was sad about that because I felt like I should have been able to connect with her.

But then it DID happen for me halfway through the book. Suddenly I was emotionally connecting with this book (and both characters) in a real way. I felt like I was soaring but I also had that anxiety just growing in my chest as the book progressed. I was really loving the relationship between Theo and Violet, coming from two different social stratospheres,  and how he was showing her how to live again yet there was that deepest darkest black hole of sadness within him. It made for some confusing and intense emotions. I loved their adventures and their wandering. There was just a certain electricity when they interacted — that pinch that reminds you that you are still alive. I was nervous this was going to be simplified to an “oh a romance saves all” sort of story but I was really pleased, FOR THE MOST PART, to see how mental illness was explored in this one.

By the end I was gutted. I mean, I don’t think a book so far this year has truly emptied every tear from my body like this one did. I felt everything. Like I lived it right with them. I felt hopeful but I also felt like I just wanted to collapse because my muscles and my heart and everything within me had been overworked while experiencing this one. But I also felt conflicted which I’ll try to explain before.

 SPOILERS

And now I need to talk spoilers sooo if you have NOT read this and do not want to be spoiled…don’t click this and just move to my rating and other non-spoilery things below!!

View Spoiler »

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, emotions, characters, plot
–  lack of connection until about half way through

Re-readability: I don’t know if I could handle a reread.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I did buy it because I heard good things & it was for book club. Because I won’t reread it nor is it an all time favorite, I will be donating it to my library.

a5fans of contemporary YA, readers looking for books exploring mental illness, readers who like books that will wreck their hearts, fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell (though I really do think you can like this even if you don’t like either of those but fans looking for comparable titles I think this is a good one)

a8It took a while for me to really fall in love for this one, despite how drawn I was to Finch’s voice, but once I did connect it just took off for me. This was an emotional story that made me sob uncontrollably and made me thankful for the bright places I am in now compared to the dark places I once have been. However, I’m still here trying to decide how I feel about some things at the end. I’m really conflicted about those things. So while I was emotionally moved by the story I had a lot of things to think about at the end. I am always thankful for a book that can make me think about it deeper.

review-on-post-itAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
How did you feel about the portrayal of mental illness/suicide in this one?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Series Send Off: The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

I just finished the 4th & 5th books of the Jessica Darling series FINALLY…seriously I read the first 3 forever ago. I just didn’t want to let go (plus I get distracted by ALL THE BOOKS). So, as per the usual format, I’ll talk about the series as a whole for those who aren’t familiar and then give my thoughts on books 4 &5 as I say goodbye to this series.

jessica-darling-seriesmm

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

READ IT. It’s one of my ALL TIME FAVES. There is just nothing like it out there. THEY WERE JUST PERFECT FOR ME. There’s just something about following Jessica from high school through adulthood — she voices the struggles, triumphs and confusion of adolescence and that transition into adulthood SO WELL. Everything is so raw and real and the characters feel like real human beings that make mistakes and have flaws. REAL. That’s the only way I can think to describe this series. Also, HELLA funny. Jessica’s inner monologue slays me every time. Her voice is UNPARALLELED.

 

 

What The Series Is About:

The Jessica Darling series follows the charming (and sometimes not so charming) Jessica from high school through adulthood as she chronicles all those life-changing moments with SERIOUSLY razor sharp wit. From falling in love (and out of it), to going to college, to trying to pay your rent as a broke twenty-something, Jessica’s voice just captures perfectly the highs and lows in the journey to and through adulthood in a way that is just so realistic and in a way that is easy to relate to. She puts the difficulties of growing up into words that will make you laugh, reflect and nod along with her. Seriously, she goes through it all!!

 

 

Recommended For People Who Love:

Series that span YEARS (ie from high school into adulthood), contemporary YA (this is a classic!!), hilarious and brutally honest MCs, epic romances

 

 

Thoughts On Fourth Comings & Perfect Fifths
(Skip below to the next section if you haven’t read the series yet!)

 

jessica-darling-series

MAN, Megan McCafferty just captures that awkward “I’m an adult but I don’t feel like an adult” feeling SO WELL in Fourth Comings. I felt like I kept nodding my head like YES IT IS SO HARD TO BE A TWENTYSOMETHING OUT OF COLLEGE. Why do I feel like I’m a fake adult?? Why is it so hard to get all the things you thought you’d have by this point??  The job, the glamorous life, the feeling that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, a romantic relationship that just feels right, etc.

Fourth Comings, man. I thought my heart was going to break with Jessica and Marcus. I mean, there love story has been up and down and I was so happy they were finally back together….and now Jessica is questioning it?? And then he asks her to marry him??? MY HEART WAS NOT OKAY. But I got it? I did. They were in different places in life. How she talks about that made so much sense to me even though I was like NO NO NO. Basically when it came to their romance, this book DESTROYED MY HEART. Like tore into two. But as I watched her try to figure out her answer to him…I realized I admired how honest she was about the whole thing. She loved him BUT. Love is so tricky and I just think sometimes we want something to work out so much because you love someone but it’s not REALLY working yet it hurts so much to let it go. So, even though I was like NO NO NO NO you need to be together..I really understood. She had to be honest about what she wanted for her life. Where she saw it going. Was her love strong enough for him to give up what she wanted? We see a wiser and more honest (in a more self-aware way) Jessica in this one. And it hurt, but it was TRUE. She really saw the whole picture.  GOD I COULD JUST CRY THINKING ABOUT THIS BOOK!

Perfect Fifths — I was not ready for this one. As I started I was immediately like WAIT WHAT IS THIS THIRD PERSON NARRATION??? I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but it was perfect as I read on. I loved getting this complete story with her AND Marcus’s thoughts. Jessica and Marcus and their chance meeting after years of not speaking?? That nostalgic, awkward FEELING it is to be in the presence of the one you loved once? MY HEART. BE STILL. It was definitely a slower conclusion that revolves around their conversation as they meet and a lot of jumping back in time but I enjoyed every minute of it. Every minute of kind of re-living their epic love story that spans all these years (god, I’m reminded of Veronica and Logan here from VMars). There were points where I wanted MORE from this book in terms of fleshing out the adult Jessica and Marcus since they last time we saw them. I felt kind of distanced from their lives. But ultimately, I really loved this conclusion as a fan of this series. It wasn’t necessarily AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER which I kiiiind of wanted for the sake of all that they have put my heart through but I just felt like it was SO fitting for their love story. My love for Jessica and especially Marcus grew even stronger in this book. I just cried as I read the last words because this series was EPIC. I wasn’t okay with it being over because I felt just so attached to them.

 

 

Rating Broken Down By Books
(Links to individual reviews)
:

Sloppy Firsts: 5 STARS!!
Second
Helpings: 5 STARS!!
Charmed Thirds: 4.5 stars
Fourth Comings: 5 STARS!!
Perfect Fifths: A solid 4 stars!

 

 

Farewell Jessica Darling! Growing up with you was a pleasure. I feel like YOU GOT ME and I can’t tell you how many times I nodded like YES YES YES  or THAT’S SO ME or YOU ARE PUTTING WORDS TO SOMETHING I CANNOT DESCRIBE. We would have been bffs if you were a real person. Your honesty and reflection was refreshing and I know I will never meet anyone like you again. Thanks for the major LOLS, the tears and for being you. YOU. YES. YOU. (forever).  (Seriously, I’m really emotional right now because this series is EVERYTHING).  WHY WHY WHY is it over????

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it?? What did you think of the series overall?? If you haven’t read it, have I piqued your interest?

Book Talk: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Book Talk: Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Published by Knopf on September 2014
Genres: Adult Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

 

 

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One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
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a2Truthfully it made me scared of some super flu (ALSO NOT FUN READING THIS WHEN PEOPLE ARE FREAKING ABOUT EBOLA). But, aside from THAT, I was also like BRAVO BRAVO, BOOK.

a4Have you ever read a book that you truly just wanted to give it a standing ovation after reading it because it was such a masterpiece that it seems like the only appropriate response? That was this book! It was just all around an amazing story that was flawlessly written and I honestly don’t even know where to begin with it.

I love me a good post apocalyptic story and this is a lot different from most I read which are more fast paced, action-y post-apocalyptic books. It really explored that “what next?” question when 99% of the population dies quickly. It’s that bare bones survival but it’s also about rebuilding and figuring what the new normal IS, in light of the past and what happened,  because just surviving becomes not enough — it’s not a life. It’s about how resilient the human spirit is. I loved how the Symphony and the Museum of Civilization were so perfect to show that about humanity. It was just so reflective and I felt it deep in my bones.

I think what was so scary and unsettling about this story for me was how EASILY this could happen. How some superflu can just spread and spread and suddenly 99% of the population is dead. The “after” seemed so realistic. There were just so many moments for me in this book where I realized how thin that line is between TODAY and a future like that. It also was super thought-provoking in that way. You see how useless the things that are attached to us (phones, tablets, computers) can be rendered so quickly.

I loved how we got to see glimpses of the moments the epidemic was unfolding and also 20+ years out from when it all happened. I loved seeing how one moment life was normal and then THIS happened and how people survived. But I also loved seeing what it was like 20+ years out. Where there was a whole generation who has never even seen the old world. And then the contrast with the past memories and the story playing out in the BEFORE was just so PERFECT and startling compared to what people were facing in the now. How different people become. What becomes important. What remains the same in the human spirit.

I grew really attached to the characters and loved how they were all connected by the same actor, Arthur, who died on stage the night when everything went to hell. I loved the perspectives and the reflections they all had in the face of all this and it just came together so marvelously.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ Story, writing, characters, uniqueness, thought-provoking qualities
Took a teeny bit to figure out what was going on with shifting perspectives.

Re-readability: Potentially!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I really kind of want to get it.

a5EVERYONE?

People who want a more reflective & less action-y post-apocalyptic, people who like more character driven stories

a8Station Eleven is a book I want to recommend to everyone! There’s something so deeply unsettling about it — more than any crazy post-apocalyptic tale I’ve ever experienced. I think it lies in how REALISTIC it is. It paints a world that is terrifying to the bone but there’s also budding hope. I loved the way the story kind of centers a character and his story in the past but is so finely connected to the other characters who show us the scary bits of WHEN the world as we know it ended and then 20+ years in the future. It was brutal, thought-provoking and just a real masterpiece.

review-on-post-it

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
* If you’ve read it, did you figure out some of the connections as the story went on?
*Any recommendations for post-apocalyptic books in this vein?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Book Talk: Saving Francesca by Melina MarchettaSaving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Published by Random House on May 2006
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Jellicoe Road, The Piper's Son, Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles // Quintana of Charyn
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

book synopsis

Frankie gets sent to  St. Sebastians while all her other friends go to the school she was SUPPOSED to go to. St. Sebastians was formerly an all boys school but they’ve opened it up as coed though the boys aren’t very welcoming and there is little offer to accommodate the girls. To make matters worse, aside from the awful boy/girl ratio, the only people Frankie has to associate with are a couple of classmates she never would have talked to before — a mega feminist, a quiet “loser” and the girl who used to be Frankie’s best friend before her friends “saved” her from her. And just as she starts her new school, her mom suddenly won’t get out of bed and Frankie is left to try to keep her family together.

good books to read

Things I’m learning? That, for me, there are BOOKS and then there are Melina Marchetta books. I don’t know if I can even begin to describe why this is so but it just IS. This is my second Marchetta book (the first being Jellicoe Road) and I’m just astounded by her and Saving Francesca was no exception. There’s just something about her books that make you step back and go, “WOW.” Jellicoe Road was more WOW WOW (if you’ve read it you know why) but Saving Francesca was a more understated kind of WOW because of how she just characterizes so much humanness. I don’t know. She puts me at a loss for words. It’s strange because Saving Francesca isn’t one of those stories that is like super revolutionary or standout but she just GETS it. It being a lot of things. I wouldn’t even say that Saving Francesca is a new favorite book but it’s just so remarkable and gahhh I can’t even try to explain it. If you are a Melina fan you just know what I mean, right? Or maybe you should use your words and explain the greatness that is MM for me in the comments??

So let’s talk about what I loved about Saving Francesca:

1. I love stories where outcasts/unlikely friends band together! Okay, so Frankie come to this all boys school the first year they decide to integrate girls in and the boy/girl ratio is just BAAAAD. All her friends go to another school and she is one of a small group of girls from her previous school to come here. They are girls who all hung out in vastly different circles (one being Frankie’s former bff whom she ditched) and it’s a bit uncomfortable for them to hang but they have nobody else because the boys certainly are NOT welcoming. I love watching the barriers break down amongst Frankie and the girls as they come together in their strange way and become ACTUAL friends. It made me a little misty eyed. And then it was fun to slowly see some of the boys come around. I just loved Frankie and her rag tag group of friends!!

2. EFF THE MAN!!: A big part of this book is about all these gender issues within the school. The boys don’t want them there and everything is SO not girl friendly. Frankie would be just as well to just not say anything but get through the year but one of Frankie’s former classmates, Tara, is a feminist and she will NOT stand for the crap that the girls are dealing with. I loved watching these girls come together to stand up for the gender issues as they integrated to the once all boys school.

3. Will Trombal: You just need to meet him, okay? You’ll want to kick his stubborn little ass sometimes but he’ll make you smile and warm your heart for sure. Very great character!

4. The storyline with Frankie’s mom + family stuff just made my heart ache: Melina Marchetta knows how to just write convincingly. While Frankie’s mom was just really suffering severe depression I could FEEL her confusion and her anger and her fear and ALL THE THINGS. The tension within the family just broke my heart and I just wanted everything to be okay…for her mom to get better! I loved Frankie’s family and Marchetta just nails the family dynamics and I could feel this crack within the family while Frankie’s mom is just so incapacitated by her depression. MY HEART. Frankie’s dealing with these normal pressures + the issues at her new school all while her world is just falling apart at home. It’s heartbreaking and done SO WELL but also isn’t overwhelming because this book is FUNNY!

book reviews

Saving Francesca is another beautiful book from Melina Marchetta and now I can’t wait to go read more. Her prose is absolutely to die for and the way she writes characters is remarkable. It’s a poignant coming to age story about a girl whose life is in flux amidst the usual teenage issues — she’s sent off to a previously all boys Catholic school without her friends and her mother, the vibrant woman who always seemed to be the glue of the family, is gripped by severe depression one day. I think it’s less confusing than Jellicoe Road so if you weren’t sold on that popular title than I suggest this one! If you loved Jellicoe Road, I absolutely suggest you read this one!

 

 

short book reviewSaving Francesca book review Melina Marchetta

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt | Book Review

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt | Book ReviewTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Published by Random House on June 2012
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
four-stars

 

 

 

 

book synopsis Fourteen year old June’s uncle Finn, her best friend and the only person who gets her, passes away from an illness that her parents are hush hush about and seem ashamed of. As she tries to grapple with the loss of the one person that means everything to her she finds a stranger reaching out to her — a stranger who knows Finn almost as well as she did..maybe even more so. June reluctantly spends time with him and together they try to heal from their mutual loss.

good books to read

Oh, this book! My heart. Do you ever read a book and feel like the weight of the world is just sitting on your heart the whole time? One of my favorite expressions to describe how I feel, from one of my all time favorite books, is as having “heavy boots.” Tell The Wolves I’m Home was excellent and completely made me feel a whole array of emotions.  Thank you, Margot, for letting me borrow it and pushing it on me!

It’s an adult fiction novel but the narrator is 14 years old and I found this just to be a most beautiful and heartbreaking coming of age story set in the 1980’s. There were so many things about this book that I loved that I feel like I can’t even begin to tell you about it all — the characters, the writing, this weighty grief that June has to work through and so many other little aspects of the plot.

Watching June deal with the grief of losing her Uncle Finn was so emotional because it was just all so complicated within the family and the public perception of Finn because of how he died! Finn died of AIDs and it’s back in the 80’s so everything is very hush hush and not as much public knowledge about it. Her and Finn were so close and June’s feelings towards him are kind of complicated and intense. Then she meets Finn’s boyfriend Toby, whom her parents kept a secret from her because they blame him for Finn dying, and from Toby she learns even more about her Uncle Finn — to the point where she feels like she didn’t even really know him in some ways and she hates having to had shared him with someone. I loved learning about Finn through June but also through Toby and Finn really became such a real character to me. I could feel the love just emanating from them.

While June and Toby’s friendship was one of my favorite parts of this novel, I also really loved the relationship between June and her sister even though I wanted to kick her sister in the face so many times. I love complicated sisterly relationships and this one was a thread throughout the story I was fascinated by.

It’s honestly just so hard to explain what I thought about this novel. It was just brilliant, touching and got me all choked up. I loved it! It’s a quieter novel but it moves along at a good pace and hooks you with the compelling characters and their dynamics.

book reviewsI loved Tell The Wolves I’m Home. It was just one of those really touching, complicated stories that broke my heart but also mended it in ways. I think it could be a good novel for YA readers who also like adult fiction — good crossover material! This book left a searing impression on my heart and I won’t soon forget it.

short book reviewTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

 

for-fans-of-bookadult fiction, character driven books, coming of age stories, family dynamics + secrets, stories about grief, books that make your heart explode

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

four-stars

Before I Blogged I Read: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things. Check out PAST “Before I Blogged I Read” posts.

 

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The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads
Date I Read it: October 2008

1. I was MEANT to read this book. So gather around, friends, for a little story. I was assigned to read this book in high school, looked at the cover, said GAG and managed to write an A+ report without reading it. So years pass between 2003 and I never think of that book again until my last semester in college in 2008 when I’m assigned this novel to do a HUUUUGE paper on. I had to laugh. Like, world, you must REALLY want me to read this book. So I did. And I EFFING LOVED IT. I am so glad this book wormed its way into my life because it was one of the best books I’ve ever read on so many levels. And I’m not going to lie, I wrote one of the best papers of my academic LIFE because of this book. I had so many thoughts and feelings. I had never been so excited about discussing the themes of book before. EVER.

2. This book was not at ALL what I judged it to be. I thought this was going to be JUST as war story or something. NOPE. I can’t even pin down what this book is. True, it involves war stories but it is SO MUCH MORE. It’s amazing, honestly. Thought-provoking, wonderfully written and has left this lasting impression on me the way it captures just the humanness of war and the intricacies of what it is to be human.  It was the type of book that I dog-eared the crap out of because there were just so many awesomely profound things. I hugged it, I laughed, I shouted at it and I cried. I actually want to do a re-read of it.

3. If you love truly amazing writing, you have to read this one. Seriously. The way this story was told. MAN. Makes me feel like the way I write is the equivalent of a 3 year old. It’s not just the particular way he strings together a sentence that is remarkable but it’s the way he makes you FEEL like you are there in the trenches or the emotion that exudes from the pages that grips you entirely and makes you want to weep for these men. It’s also the WAY he tells the story. The story truths and the happening truths and the always wondering what is real and not real. How it all is interconnected. It’s genius.

4. It is fiction but is also very based on the author’s own experience. Sometimes I forgot this book was fiction to be honest. I felt like I was reading someone’s very vivid and compelling accounts of the war and it really ties into his theme of truths and how sometimes story-truth is truer than happening truth. Through these interrelated stories from different angles of the war, we get glimpses of the happening truth and we feel that so devastatingly so, like sitting down with an old vet, but we get the story truth that helps us feel emotionally connected to it and to ache and feel raw alongside them.

Favorite Quotes:

A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.”

 

“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”

 

 “I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.”

 

“He wished he could’ve explained some of this. How he had been braver than he ever thought possible, but how he had not been so brave as he wanted to be. The distinction was important.”

 

 

Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Tell me what you thought! Was this required reading for anyone else??

five-stars

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book Review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book ReviewLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Published by Knopf Books For Young Readers on December 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

 

 

 

book synopsis Amelia is 15 years old and has gotten her first job at Woolworth’s — a supermarket. She immediately encounters Chris, who is 21, and trains her on checkout and becomes her friend at work. It doesn’t take long for her to fall for him and his witty demeanor and his ability to make everyone smile. She feels like there is something there because they can talk about everything and anything — from the serious to the absurd– and there is always a constant banter between the two of them but the big hurdle is the 6 year age difference which, at times, feels like it’s a lot more than that. Amelia tries to show him that, despite the age difference, she’s right for him after all.

good books to readLove and Other Perishable Items was not at all what I pegged it to be! The cover made me just think it was going to be this ooey-gooey, will-probably-cause-cavities kind of sweet romance. Not the case! NOT AT ALL. And you know what? I loved it!! It was heartbreakingly real and honestly quite different — didn’t feel like something I’d ever read before.

It was really just one of those coming of age stories that perfectly captures that awkwardness and not always perfectly reciprocated feelings that comes with crushes and first loves. There’s that uncertainty in what the other person is thinking and the overthinking and the longings and Laura Buzo made me remember all that in Amelia’s story — especially as a girl who had a knack for picking older boys to set my sights on. Seriously, I had my own Chris situation with an older guy who was a good friend. We could talk about everything, we found each other super interesting and everything just clicked. But that pesky age difference.

Amelia’s crush on Chris really tugs at your heart. You see why she finds him so wonderful and you understand her longing. You get it. You do. But you also see the improbability in it and the fact that he might not love her in the way she would want in this time. I’m really happy that Chris wasn’t just seen through the lens of Amelia though — especially as the targets of our affection sometimes make us skew how perfect we see people. Having the Chris chapters helped to balance out my view of him and really made me see him as a PERSON and see the other side of the encounters and his motives in everything. It honestly made me crush on him a bit even knowing all his flaws.

But I loved that this book was only half about the romance and the other half was really Amelia coming of age (which essentially the “love story” was just really woven into that). She’s smart, witty and very observant and I loved being in her brain sometimes because she made me think as she tries to grapple with things like feminism and what it means (a little reminiscent of Frankie), her mother’s unhappiness, her family, etc. I loved the conversations she and Chris would have about quirky things and about the messiness of life.

That ending was perfectly satisfying and made tears well up in my eyes big time but, at the same time, I selfishly wanted MORE. I need a crystal ball to see the future of this story for sure. Not just for the romance but because I want to see the kind of extraordinary young woman I know Amelia would grow up to be. I’d read a novel about her as a twenty or thirty something for sure!

 

book reviewsLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo was a quietly beautiful coming of age story about the stickiness of crushes and first love but also just about all the facets of growing up –finding your place, seeing the imperfectness in the world and your family, etc. It’s a slim and unassuming book whose cover might lead you to believe this is some ooey-gooey, sweet as candy love story but it was definitely more than that. I really, really loved it and highly recommend. It was surprisingly emotional and will have you reminiscing back to your first crush/love — especially if you ever felt something for someone a bit older than you like I did!

short book review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

 

books you may also likeGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley | The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read Love & Other Perishable Items? Heard of it? Did you love it like I did or have different feelings? What did you think about the ending? Was it satisfying to you or no? And because I’m curious, did any of you, like me, have your own Chris situation??
The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

four-half-stars

Before I Blogged I Read: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things. Check out PAST “Before I Blogged I Read” posts.

the Book thief by markus zusak review

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads
Date I Read it: January 2009

1. The Book Thief is one of my all time favorite books ever. I just reread it in October with book club and it still held up for me. While there wasn’t the rawest emotion of a new read, I still felt like I was punched in the gut. This book just has everything — the writing is phenomenal, it’s unique, the characters were so important to me and it wrecked me. 5 years later and I can’t say I’ve ever read anything like this book.

2. While this book is set during a war it’s not at all a war book. I do tend to enjoy historical fiction set during WWII but this book was way more than that and it makes me sad that people might dismiss it because of that. I love that the perspective was different than so many books I’ve read before — it focused on a normal German family during this time. So often I read books where it’s the Jewish perspective and I always wonder what it was like for just your every day people who didn’t necessarily buy in to everything Hitler was about.

3. Death was a most memorable narrator. I think this is why I can’t get this book out of my head after 5 years. Personifying Death and using him as a narrator for the book? Totally risky business but it paid off for me! SO MUCH. Very unique and very effective for me.

4. It is definitely a more slow moving book but very powerful and amazing. I like slow, more quiet books personally but I’ll be real: It moves slow. It does. And it might take some people a little bit to get into it but it’s WORTH IT. The payoff is big. It’s very character driven and these characters are AMAZING. Some of my favorite characters ever and that is what makes me so nervous about seeing it translated on the big screen. WHAT IF THEY DON’T GET THESE CHARACTERS RIGHT??

Favorite Quotes:

““I am haunted by humans.”.” 

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 

” Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief’s kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.”

 

 

Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Tell me what you thought! Are you going to see it in theaters?? Book club is going this weekend! EEEE!

five-stars
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