Book Talk: Friday Never Leaving by Vikki Wakefield

Book Talk: Friday Never Leaving by Vikki WakefieldFriday Never Leaving (aka Friday Brown) by Vikki Wakefield
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on September 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Friday Brown has been used to never have one permanent home as she’s traveled here and there with her mom but she’s always felt like that’s where she belonged — on the road with her mom. When Friday’s mom passes away, she finds herself presented with a new home but she can’t give up feeling like she needs to be on the move. So she leaves the security she could have and decides to go in search of her own place to belong — which ends up being with a group of other street kids who is held together by Arden, a girl who has a strong hold on the group and who likes to play games — especially when anyone challenges her.

a2*adds to list yet another Aussie novel that I love*

a4If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know I love me some Aussie YA (here’s a Aussie YA 101 list to get you started if you don’t know the magic that is Aussie YA). Vikki Wakefield was one of those Aussie authors I’ve yet to read yet so I grabbed Friday Never Leaving (titled Friday Brown in Australia) to give her a try.  The verdict? I was impressed by this quiet yet moving novel! It was a gritty, emotional novel about what makes a home and a family and that never-ending quest to find where you belong.

Some things I loved:

  1. The rag-tag group of street kids: I don’t typically read a lot of books about young adults who are homeless or runaways. I enjoyed learning a little bit about their heartbreaking stories and, even though there were some toxic aspects of their little family they made together, I really enjoyed seeing they came together to make a family and a home out of their situation and how they looked out for each other. The dynamics are complex, no doubt, but I really loved following this group and coming to care about these characters who have slipped through the cracks of society. Their personalities were so distinct and honestly I wish I had some sort of novella followup so I can know what happened to all of them!!
  2. The writing & emotions portrayed: Oh just that Aussie magic that runs deep over there apparently!! There is this paragraph about grief and losing someone that just SLAYED ME.
  3. How it so perfectly balanced character and plot: I love how it flowed  — memories of Friday’s childhood and life with her mom intermingled with Friday’s journey trying to find her own way after her mom passes away. It had all the character-driven qualities I love in a novel and was wrought with emotion and these stirring passages and then there are these super charged and intense situations that had me biting my nails. I felt the intensity of life on the street, the dangers, the uncertainties. I think the plot went places I didn’t expect which definitely upped the intensity and actually was a pleasant surprised though at times I was like WOW IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING.
  4. How home, family and belonging were explored: It’s always been Friday and her mom. The stories she knows are stories told by her mom. All the history she knows from her mom. She belonged — on the road going here and there with her mom. When her mom dies Friday finds herself alone. She has family that she never knew. She could have a home. But her sense of belonging has disappeared. I loved how the book explored this idea so beautifully and emotionally as all these kids, Friday included, are trying to cobble together some semblance of belonging — something they all share.

 

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, plot, characterization, the ability to surprise me
–  nothing really just missing that SOMETHING to make it be a fave


a5Aussie YA fans, fans who like character-driven novels (that still have plot but it isn’t apparent at first), fans of gritty stories, people who like quiet novels

a8Friday Never Leaving was such a gem and I wish it got more love here in the States when it got published. I cared about the characters and couldn’t put it down with the tension and intensity heightened. It was heart-wrenching and beautiful and quiet but the sorrow and grief and loneliness rattled my bones…and the sense of hope I did feel amidst it all sent me soaring.

review-on-post-itFriday Never leaving vikki wakefield

 

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?
What other Aussie gems should I have my eye on??

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Aussie YA 101

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books I’d Put On My Aussie YA 101 Syllabus (should someone entrust me to teach them anything)

I don’t know what it is about Aussie YA but they are some of my FAVORITE books in existence. They have some of the best and most unique things I’ve read plus I always feel like their characterizations are just THE BEST EVER. I can’t even tell you.

So if you are wanting to dip your toes in the Aussie YA waters…here are some of my favorites as of right now that I’d put on my “syllabus” if I were teaching an Aussie YA class.  Basically this class could be just Marchetta and Marchetta alone but I DO super love other Aussie books!

Australian fiction YA

All the Melina Marchetta contemporaries: Seriously, her books are some of my ALL TIME FAVORITES — Saving Francesca, The Piper’s Son and Jellicoe Road. (I have not read Looking For Alibrandi yet but I have no doubt it is amazing).

The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: As of right now this is my all time favorite fantasy series that is finished! Melina Marchetta is just my queen. (my series review)

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: Ah I loved this book so much! From my review:Graffiti Moon is one of those that hit me over the head and yet subtly invaded my heart all at the same time with its dazzling prose,  heartwarming (and at times heartbreaking) story of love in its many forms and a strong visual sense of the adventure they are having all across the city in a single night.”

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager: Oh this book. MY HEART. Also the beach setting and the surfing. YAS. (My review of Raw Blue)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: One of the best books I’ve ever read!

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak: His lesser known book when compared to The Book Thief but I loved Ed Kennedy and this story! (My review of I Am the Messenger)

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell: This one just got published her last year and I really enjoyed it. It was a quirky read that I adored! I need to read Simmone’s other books because all my Aussie friends love them. (my review of Girl Defective)
Wildlife by Fiona Wood: Another Aussie book I had been wanting and finally got published here! LOVED this one so much and the outdoorsy setting! Can’t wait to read the companion novel to it (that weirdly was published FIRST in Australia…but this one was published first here and Six Impossible Things is being published soon). — My review of Wildlife

Love & Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (also loved her book Good Oil aka Holier Than Thou): If you need a pretty strong plot, I’d skip this one. But oh man did I love this one. Such a great character driven book that made me FEEL SO MANY THINGS. (my review of Love & Other Perishable Items)

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty: This is such a offbeat, quirky fantasy novel and I really enjoyed it. I’ve heard AMAZING things about her other books which I think she is MORE known for than this one.

 

So tell me…what Aussie books MUST I read?? What books have you read from this list??

Book Talk: Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Book Talk: Wildlife by Fiona WoodWildlife by Fiona Wood
Published by Poppy on September 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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”

 

A1

Wildlife is told from the perspective of two girls who are doing a required semester at an outdoors camp. Sib gets a little boost of popularity as she gets her face on a billboard (as well as some scrutiny) right before she comes leave for this semester and finds herself in her first real relationship and navigating some choppy waters with her best friend Holly. Lou is a new student and is thrown into this experience not really knowing anybody and with a heavy amount of grief that is closing her off. She observes her new peers and starts to witness some unraveling in Sib and Holly’s friendship and also starts to feel more drawn in even though she wants to stay an outsider.
.

a2Another Aussie win! Also, I kind of want to go camping or something and get my outdoors on?

a4

I really enjoyed this one!! I’m telling you…I keep waiting for the day that I won’t like an Aussie YA book and today was definitely not that day. Wildlife was just an altogether great read for this contemporary YA lover! Apparently this is a companion novel to Six Impossible Things but I haven’t read that and I wasn’t missing anything (especially since when it was talked about BEA there was no mention of the companion. I do want to read it and read more about Lou even knowing what we learned happened as this novel starts.

So here’s what I liked:

1. The setting : I loved the idea of this semester at an outdoors camp! It’s required so it’s interesting to see everyone adapting to the things they have to do — the chores they are assigned, having no technology, camping and hiking. They had to do this crazy solo hike and camp by themselves which scares the beejezus out of me because 1) obviously and 2) OMG THE WILDLIFE IN AUSTRALIA SCARES ME. I was waiting for her to be eaten alive by some snake or crazy spider. But overall I just loved the outdoors-y element to this and how it contributed to their growth and took a lot of them out of their comfort zone. It sounded like a really GOOD experience to build character and really LEARN about yourself in a different way — minus that solo hike where you camp by yourself in the Australian bush. I would never survive.

2. How it explored friendships: I love reading books about friendships because they are SO complex and honestly such a hard thing to navigate sometimes — especially as you are coming of age and really finding yourself. We see kind of early that Sib and Holly are pretty different in ways and their dynamic is interesting. Sib is just passive and lets Holly be a douche and walk all over her. At first you are like ehh Holly sucks and is kind of mean but then you suddenly are like okay is this toxic? It feels toxic right? I love that it explored how hard it is to be honest with yourself about a friendship that has kind of turned into something not so good — how Sib tries to reconcile the good vs. bad and the memories of Holly and has to decide if the friendship can be salvaged or if, as we grow, that sometimes we have to let people go. But even outside of Holly and Sib there were some other relationships that I enjoyed watching grow and mature! They all just seemed very realistic and had the kind of complexities and messiness I have experienced in my life.

3. The alternating chapters between Sib and Lou: I really liked Sib and watching her grow  and her perspective (maybe because I could identify a lot with her) but Lou was such an interesting character too. She’s a new student and she’s out here with no friends and, not only that, she’s grieving so deeply which makes her even more lonely. Her perspective is truly as an outsider and I loved watching her observe Sib and Holly and everything going down at camp as she keeps her distance but also gets drawn into it all and starts to make connections and open herself up to start to figure out who is after this tragedy.

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, characters, themes explored, setting
nothing!

Re-readability: Maybe!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I want one!

a5fans of Aussie YA, contemporary YA readers, people who like boarding school/camp settings, people who like books that explore friendships

a8Wildlife was just a really damn good character-driven story — interesting characters, great setting, thought-provoking and incredibly well written. I loved watching Sib start to, through the outdoor experience and relationship issues, start to really grow and learn more about herself. It was nice to watch her be less PASSIVE and start to learn to be more independent. I loved watching Lou grow from this experience to — to confront her grief and to open up a little bit rather than keep herself so closed off.

review-on-post-itWildlife by Fiona Wood

 

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?
I’m curious if any of you have read Six Impossible things!
*

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Book Talk: The Piper’s Son by Melina MarchettaThe Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Published by Candlewick on March 2010
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca, Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles // Quintana of Charyn
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”

 

A1
The Piper’s Son takes place 5 years after Saving Francesca. It’s a companion novel but it can TOTALLY stand alone though I do think reading Saving Francesca is a GREAT idea anyways. It focuses on Thomas Mackee and his family who have endured a tragedy. This tragedy has ripped the family apart and Tom himself has quit all the things he loved and pushed everyone else away and is pretty much at an all time low. He’s forced to confront the brokenness when he gets kicked out of his apartment and has to live with his pregnant aunt and gets a job where a couple of his former friends work.

a2I NEED TO STOP READING HER BOOKS BECAUSE THEY DESTROY ME FOR ALL OTHER BOOKS.

a4

I’ve said it before in my Melina Marchetta reviews but I’ll say it again — there are books and there are Melina Marchetta books for me. I don’t know what energy of the universe she harnesses to write these amazingly perfect books that make you feel like you’ve never felt these feelings before but at the same time they resonate so, so deeply. I DON’T KNOW but, like always with her novels, I’m completely rendered speechless after reading The Piper’s Son and it just keeps simmering in my mind long after I finish.

1. I loved returning to Frankie and the gang: This takes place about 5 years after Saving Francesca and the main focus is on Tom’s life rather than Frankie’s. Some of the group is still around and some of them are off in different places. I loved the bits and pieces we got that filled in the pieces of what went down in those 5 years. Selfishly I wanted more to know every last detail of those 5 years but alas that would be a series now wouldn’t it? Tom has been outside of the group after losing his uncle Joe and has pushed them away and made some really bad decisions. I loved watching the group try to rally for Tom like they did Frankie in Saving Francesca but also show him tough love that he needed. This group has my heart!

2. I loved learning more about Tom Mackee: Oh my god I love him and I was always so curious about him in Saving Francesca as we got to know him. We learn of his romance with a familiar character from the group & we learn what he had been up to when the tragedy happened to his family. We see the effects of all that and how he’s given up everything that made Tom, well, Tom. I loved learning more about his family background and how he saw things from back in the Saving Francesca days and how he interacted with the others/saw the others. I fell in love with Thomas Mackee for sure even when he was unlikable and downright hard to deal with.

3. The brokenness of Tom and his family GUTTED me: The brokenness of Tom’s family was just so heavy on my heart the whole time I read. The tragedy that befalls Tom’s family is one that just collides with their world and shatters everything into a million places. I could feel the weight of this fractured family especially when juxtaposed with all these memories of the family BEFORE. They are THAT family that you wish you could be a part of. So close, so beautiful. I also loved that we got chapters from Tom’s aunt which filled in some of family history but also told of her pain and loss and how it still affects her.

4. I’ve read a lot of books dealing with grief but few come close to the layered and gut-wrenching grief in this book: The layers of grief in this book, man. My heart feels a bit differently after finishing this one because I feel like it was hammered and twisted and punted across a field. Grief is a really, really hard thing to explain, as someone who has grieved a devastating loss myself, but somehow Marchetta just nails it. Just brilliantly and right through the heart.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ EVERYTHING
NADA. So close to a beyond loved but I’m so very stingy with that rating. It’s SO hovering right on that line.

Re-readability: Oh yes.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Of course.

a5people who read Saving Francesca, fans of Gayle Forman/Trish Doller/Cath Crowley, people looking for a great male POV, people who like books about family

a8The Piper’s Son is yet another Melina Marchetta masterpiece. A beautiful and gut-wrenching story of loss, the enduring bonds of family and friendship amidst tragedy and the kind of healing that can only come with the help of the ones we love. Thomas Mackee, you will not recede back into the pages of the book ever.

review-on-post-it

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

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?
*

 


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

 

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

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Book Review

Jellicoe Road Melina MarchettaBook Title/Author: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen 2010 (first published in 2006)
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Saving FrancescaLooking For Alibrandi, The Piper’s Son, The Lumatere Chronicles

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I bought this with my own cash money!

 

 

 

 

When Taylor was eleven she was abandoned by her mother who always seemed to really struggle in life. A woman finds her and enrolls her in a boarding school where she lives but one day, when Taylor is 14, she tries to go find her mother and meets Jonah Griggs on her way. They embark on the journey together, despite all of these kidnappings happening nearby, until someone shows up to bring Taylor back to school out of the blue. Now Taylor is a year 12 and she’s been passed down the torch to be the leader of the school’s secret underground society that deals with the territory wars between the neighboring Townies and the Cadets (led by none other than Jonah). When Hannah, the woman who had been sort of taking care of her, disappears Taylor struggles to deal with the pressure of the territory wars as well as trying to figure out where Hannah went and why she would leave her.

WOW.  This is one of those situations where I felt like I was the last person to read this book after SO many people I trust said IT IS A YOU BOOK.  The only three things I knew about this book? That it was from a beloved Aussie author, that all people I trust implicitly said it was AMAZING and an all time favorite and that it was going to be a slow start but I should stick with it. I didn’t even know what it  was ABOUT. I just bought it blindly years ago because of the incredible love it was getting.

Jellicoe Road was devastatingly beautiful but it definitely was a little bit of a slow burn like everyone says. You aren’t hooked right away but, if you are like me, by the end you find yourself with a steady stream of tears falling for the last 30-40 minutes of reading it without realizing you are really crying.  On the surface, as you begin reading, it’s hard to see how this is all going to come together as it seems liked it was just this story of these kids in boarding school and their silly territory wars with the Cadets and the Townies. I was definitely intrigued from the beginning, I mean the first sentence of this book is WOW, but I definitely didn’t FEEL anything and felt confused as I patiently waded through some of it. I felt confused as it switched from this part in italics and then Taylor’s part and I kept not remember who characters were but then it slowly comes together and I understood what was going on with the italicized parts.

The thing is even though I didn’t really connect at first I was intrigued, as I said before, but I could just FEEL like something was bubbling under the surface to really bring this together. It was a lot like those rides at amusement parks where you ascend slowly to the top of this tower and then you wait and wait and wait and then you get to the top and you are just dangling there knowing you are going to be dropped at any moment and the anticipation in your gut feels like it could kill you. That’s what reading this felt like — I knew eventually the bottom was going to drop out and my emotions were just going to be in freefall and out of control….it was just the wait that put my stomach into knots.

The mystery and the two stories came together in an amazingly crafted and heartwrenching way. It was a double slaying as we started to put the pieces together because I felt like I was always one to two steps ahead of Taylor in putting the pieces together (but kind of sidestepping and unsure) and it a swift punch to the gut but then when I had to watch Taylor find out the things that I already put together it completely annihilated me and finished me off. My heart felt like a demolition site — the wrecking ball and the dynamite just leveling me completely.

This book really was such a me book. There was such emotion and heart. The writing was beautiful and haunting. I connected to the characters and I just can’t stop thinking about them. A swoonworthy boy! An interesting story that is so layered and perfectly plotted! All these things just came together so amazingly and just felt like one of those perfectly constructed stories for me — the heart and emotion and the friendship and the love just making me FEEL SO MANY THINGS.

Jellicoe Road is a new favorite for sure and now I must get my hands on every Melina Marchetta book ever. I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype but it did that and more as I was reading it before I even realized it. My husband had to point out that I was crying consistently in the end of the book. My emotions just forced themselves out but I was too absorbed in the story to notice. It was just so amazing that I feel like I never want to read another book again but at the same time I just want to devour every story ever just to feel like this again.

 

jellicoe-road

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Did you find it slow in the beginning or were you fine? ALSO, did you put the pieces together before Taylor? Which Melina Marchetta book should I read next??

 

 

 

 

five-stars

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley | Book Review

Graffiti Moon by Cath CrowleyBook Title/Author:  Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Publisher/Year
: 2012 Knopf Books For Young Readers ( Originally published 2010 Pan Macmillan)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: No!
Other Books From Author: A Little Wanting Song, The Gracie Faltrain series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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

 

 

 

.On the last night of her high school career, Lucy finds herself looking for Shadow — the amazing graffiti artist she’s never seen but has fallen in love with through all his art throughout the city. She also finds herself spending this night with Ed — a guy she went on a date with two years ago that ended with her breaking his nose. — all because her friend Jazz wants to celebrate the end of the school year by having a wildly fun night and finding a cute guy. The guy she sets her sights on happens to be Ed’s best friend, Leo, and Lucy hesitantly decides to hang out with them just for Jazz. When Lucy mentions she is searching for Shadow, the boys let on that they know him and will try to help find him which catapults Lucy into a crazy night of running about the city with Ed in search of Shadow and his art, contemplating its meaning and learning more about Ed — a person who she thought she had pegged after their one failed date but perhaps didn’t really at all.

You guys I LOVE AUSSIE FICTION. I don’t know what is in the water over there but they seem to write some of the BEST BOOKS I’VE EVER READ — like brilliance just seems to fly off the pages of every Aussie book I have read. Graffiti Moon is one of those that hit me over the head and yet subtly invaded my heart all at the same time with its dazzling prose,  heartwarming (and at times heartbreaking) story of love in its many forms and a strong visual sense of the adventure they are having all across the city in a single night. The FEELINGS that radiate from this book and their stories and the ART just are still making me feel jumpy as I type this.

There are just amazingly thought-provoking passages, supremely sweet moments and a love story that doesn’t feel like I’ve read it before but, at the same time,  feels familiar as I experienced the beautifully wonderful and confusing madness that is falling in love. The love story wasn’t annoying or insta-lovey but resonated with me as they learned about each other through both trivial and deep conversations about everything and anything and their romp through the city that all tumbled together to produce that flicker of recognition of something that feels like it could be more. I can think of so many instances in my life where I had nights like this. It wasn’t even really a book about a love story between a boy and a girl but so much more. To say it’s a love story seems to simplify its essence to me.

Graffiti Moon is told in alternating perspectives from Ed, Lucy and Leo.  This is one of those books where alternating perspectives work SO WELL and provide the perfect insight. It was this perfectly coordinated dance whereby we see the night unfold through these different perspectives and it flows in the most natural way. Sometimes we see a specific scene that overlaps just a little bit through the eyes of both Ed and Lucy and I loved seeing these little overlapped parts and their own, often differing understanding of it.  It never seemed repetitive when those tiny overlapped parts happened because Lucy and Ed had so much to give us as readers to make us fall even more in love with their story.

I also really loved their night of adventure — it felt wild and free and reminds you of how amazing it is to be young with all that potential and those dreams just ready to burst out of you. It was an extremely fun and exciting adventure brought to life by these flawed, complicated, quirky characters who express themselves and make sense of the world through art and just shine so bright even when they don’t realize it themselves. I didn’t want to end my night of fun and reflecting with these characters EVER but I know that they’ll take residence in that special place within me reserved for my favorite characters (whom I totally imagine all hang out together and have the best time ever).

Graffiti Moon is a gorgeously written novel that is definitely an all-time favorite. Its effective and natural feeling use of alternating perspectives really works to draw you into this night of adventure and makes you fall in love with these magnificent characters — you can’t help but feel like you are running alongside them or staring up at beautiful art on an abandoned building. There’s a beautiful budding love story and it never felt cliched or familiar but true to the complicated and beautiful nature of falling for someone…and it NEVER seemed like it forced itself into the forefront and drowned out the other amazing aspects of this book. If you like a romance but get turned off by how some seem a little one dimensional and the only thing the story is about, this is PERFECT for you.  A new favorite for sure!

You May Also Like: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (unfortunately not out until June)
For Fans Of: Beautiful words, thought-provoking books with many themes, slow burn romance that isn’t the only focus of the book, books that take place in one night, people who appreciate art, really well done alternating perspectives, a fresh contemporary YA novel with more mature characters

 

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you feel like I did or feel differently? There is just SO MUCH TO SAY about this book — more than I could even capture here. I loved the different kinds of relationships and family and instances of love. Besides Ed and Lucy, which relationships did you find to be your favorite? I really loved Lucy and her parents and how she learned to see them differently. And Ed and Bert! AH!!! And I loved the friendship between Ed and Leo. GOD I LOVE THEM ALL.

five-stars

Review: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager

Title/Author: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Publisher: Penguin Australia
How I Got The Book: Linds from Bibliophile Brouhaha let a bunch of bloggers  borrow it for an imformal blog tour because it’s that awesome!

After a horrific event happens that will alter Carly’s life tremendously, she drops out of university and spends her days surfing and working at a local cafe as a cook. She’s found her rhythm in this life away from her family and her old friends and has put up a wall to meeting new people. When Carly meets Ryan, a fellow surfer, she struggles to deal with the past and to decide if she’ll let those walls crumble.

Raw Blue. Wow. I didn’t know what to expect with this one. Right away I knew it wasn’t going to be a light beach read despite it’s amazing setting in an Australian surf town. It’s gritty, raw and will make you think a lot about why people build up the walls that they do. I think it also does give you some glimmer of hope in the end that things will change and get better. You can work through even the most horrible of circumstances. Hidden under the pain and emotion of this book, I think you’ll find that hope I think.

First, I loved Carly. I love that she was a real person to me.  Most of the book is really in her head but I think that’s what made this story so powerful. There was some action that moved the story around and really added to it…it was all very intentional and essentail to the story. I think for some people it could move slowly if you are more into fast moving stories but I found myself moving through it very quickly and really cared to know what happened to Carly. I also love that she is dating someone who quite a few years older than her. I feel like a lot of YA lit (at least what I’ve encountered) doesn’t ever show really healthy relationships with an older guy when it really is not that uncommon to have an 18 year old date a 26 year old. Speaking of that, I freaking loved Ryan. I can see him being the apple of many a YA readers eye.

I think the setting was so unique. I love when I read a book from a perspective that I’ve never personally seen before. I know nothing about what the life of a surfer is like but I really found myself believing her passion and being interested in the surfing culture. Sometimes during the surf talk and the descriptions of things made my eyes glaze over but for the most part I truly enjoyed them and felt like it added to the story. The world that Carly created around her surfing was her safe haven..and I could feel that and understand how she threw herself into that after what had happened to her.

A few things to note: there was a lot more sex and swearing in this book than I’ve encountered in most YA. It didn’t bother me but I know that it might bother some people so I figured I’d point that out. I’d definitely recommend this for older YAs.

My Final Thought: I would definitely recommend this for readers who are looking for a little bit of more mature YA read. The two main characters are 18 and 26 so it’s the perfect read for those looking for somewhere in between the young adult and adult perspective. Raw Blue was one of those books you’ll find yourself emotionally invested in without even realizing it. There was just the right amount of “drama” and love and growth…it really was just such a fantastic YA read. It’s a shame more people haven’t read it as it hasn’t been published in the US!

 And now I’m curious…what other YA books have you read with older protags?

*Will add my Review on a Post-It later…it’s not loading here at work!!*

four-stars
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