Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book Review

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book ReviewAshes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker
Series: Ashes #1
Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegan- December 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA, Supernatural YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Small Town Sinners, Unbreak My Heart, Violet on the Runway series, Lovestruck Summer
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

book synopsis Callie dies in a tragic accident and finds herself in the afterlife which is not at all what she pictured. She’s stuck in a realm called the Prism which is where one goes after they die and before they go to heaven. The point of being at the Prism is that you learn to move on and let go of your former life and help the loved ones you left behind to heal and be at peace. Her guide Thatcher helps her to deal with her feelings and tries to help her learn about the Prism and the whole haunting process on earth. She struggles to see her dad, best friend and boyfriend in so much pain and she has a hard time letting go. Soon she meets some ghosts who are angry and have not yet moved yet and they will do whatever they can to stay on Earth. The things they tell Callie conflict with what Thatcher has told her and she struggles with letting go and moving on or trying to cling to her old life.

good books to read I’m familiar with the author’s contemporary novels, though I haven’t read them, and my interest was certainly piqued to learn she was writing something a bit more supernatural. The premise seemed interesting to me because I’m fascinated by “after life” kind of stories so I picked it up when I was in a pretty bad reading slump. My feeling overall was that it was an “okay” to “good” book but it was perfect to get me out of my reading slump because it’s so out of what I normally read. I read it all in one day and just COULD NOT STOP. It’s hard to explain because I know that it sucked me in but it wasn’t necessarily because it completely blew me away. I’ll break it down:

Things I enjoyed

 + the world building: I was very fascinated by Melissa’s version of the afterlife. After you die, you kind of hang in this balance and you are supposed to “haunt” your loved ones to help them move on and then you move on yourself. The way Melissa wrote the afterlife just completely set the mood and I enjoyed learning how the “moving on” process went and how things work in the Prism. We learn everything through Callie’s guide, Thatcher, and it really started to get interesting when some characters emerged who DIDN’T move on and started telling Callie conflicting things from what Thatcher was telling her. I kept wanting to figure out the truth and see if Thatcher was keeping things from her about the whole process.

+ Callie’s own moving on story: Callie’s death actually became more devastating to me as she went and haunted her old life. The scene with her dad really choked me up. Even though Callie was a bit much to handle for me personally, I did cut her some slack because of the fact she’s dead and has to watch her old life  — especially when she starts to find out something about someone close to her. I enjoyed watching her try to grapple with the fact that she’s in this afterlife and decide what to do with the information she’s presented with. Her emotions were very strong and I couldn’t even imagine having to watch your loved ones mourn you and feel so connected to your life. It got even more complicated when she starts hanging out with some of rebel type ghosts because we watch her struggle with the idea of moving on or staying like that forever so she can be “a part” of her old life still in a way and not let go of it. ALSO, part of the story was that Callie seems to have more energy and be a bit “special” comparatively to the others. THAT was pretty interesting and I was dying to find out why.

+ how the ending sets up for book 2: MAN. Game changer kind of ending and I think the story has the ability to be super interesting because THINGS.

Things that were MEH

+ the pacing: While I was interested in the worldbuilding personally, it was just very uneven. It was pretty slow moving in the beginning, which I don’t even mind, but it seemed like the end just because VERY break neck. All of this info came at us and all of these things happened and there was just so much. Wish it had been a little more even. I was intrigued from the beginning so I was committed but it definitely had pacing issues.

+ Callie: I couldn’t figure that girl out. It was hard to get a sense of who she was before and all I knew of her was what we got to know in her time of grief when she was dead. I didn’t feel like she was all that developed for my taste and I really didn’t like connect with her. I think her confusion and grief over dying stood out to me and leapt off the page but that’s about it. Something was off with her voice but I couldn’t even begin to try and explain that. I also found her very naive in ways to an almost unbelievable point. I mean, CLEARLY there was something different with her and she just shrugged it off.

+ The ending: As much as I said I LIKED it up there because of the potential it brought with it, I totally had an inkling about it and thought it was maybe a bit predictable.

book reviewsAshes to Ashes was the sort of book I needed to get me out of my rut because it was a different kind of read for me being paranormal. I read it all in one day because I was fascinated by this version of the afterlife and thought the mood of the afterlife and Callie’s grieving was written really well. However, there were things that definitely detracted from the story like pacing and Callie herself in ways. I wouldn’t say this is a MUST READ but I found it to be an entertaining read. I’ll be reading the conclusion to this duet for sure though!

short book review

Ashes to Ashes Melissa C Walker

for-fans-of-book
afterlife stories, books like Touching The Surface & The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, paranormal/supernatural books

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you read it, what did you think? Did you find the setup of the afterlife interesting? Did you guess the ending? Any predictions for book 2? Have any of you read any of Melissa Walker’s contemporary novels and do you think I’d like them?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers | Book Review

Some Girls Are By Courtney SummersBook Title/Author: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Publisher/Year
: 2010 St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Cracked Up To Be, This Is Not A Test, Fall For Anything,

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

Borrowed from a friend!

 

 

 

 

 

Regina is best friend’s with the most popular girl in school and the keystone of their group “the Fearsome Five.” They have the reputation for being super popular but also being really nasty and being capable of ruining people’s reputations without even blinking. A nasty rumor that isn’t at all true starts to circulate that pits Regina and Anna against each other and Regina finds herself being ignored and on the outs. Soon enough she finds herself the target of a major revenge plot and bullied relentlessly. Regina doesn’t find much pity in the rest of the student body, the same people she has terrorized, but begins to find a reluctant friend in a guy who had a hand in destroying socially. As she fights back against her old friends she also fights to be forgiven.

WOW. Courtney Summers, I will be reading all of your books. Some Girls Are was one of those most venomous mean girl stories I’ve ever read and made me want to dive into these pages and drop kick these girls. I love the “popular mean girl fall from grace” kind of stories for some reason (I just read Speechless by Hannah Harrington recently which was great) but this one was the most powerful, authentic feeling one yet. I read most of this while on vacation for 2 hours in the TUB because I couldn’t put it down long enough to get out. I kept having to blast hot water and I ended up looking like a pruny old lady but Courtney Summers pulls you in, friends. I never knew what was going to happen!

It was such an interesting experience to watch Regina fall from grace because you feel so conflicted. On the one hand, you can tell she is a mega biotch who has been a HUGE bully and so you kind of hate her from the start. But early on you have sympathy pangs for her because something terrible happens to her and it all gets twisted into an AWFUL rumor by someone in her group. But then you think, (about the rumor aspect… NOT about what happened to her), “pshh girl got what is coming to her with all HER nasty rumors she’s started.” But then as the bullying gets worse from everyone in school you feel for the girl. Having a heart…it’s a bitch sometimes! I can’t stand to see anyone get bullied and what happens to her is TERRIBLE and nobody deserves it. I felt really emotional and sick about it because it felt so real. I’ve never been bullied before but I’ve heard about terrible things and seen stories about kids being bullied to the point of suicide and it angers me. Courtney Summer made sure your heart would flip flop over whether to like/dislike Regina but you could agree she didn’t deserve THAT.

I loved the characterization and the arc of Regina. For these years her identity has hinged on being the second most popular girl in school…part of the Fearsome Five (what a lame-o name to call yourselves lol). That’s who she is. She’s done a lot of things to a lot of people and now starts to understand what it is like to be in their shoes. What I loved is that, even though I was pulling for her, she left a bad taste in my mouth a lot. She really did. Just because somebody becomes an outcast doesn’t mean they automatically change or stop THINKING the way the used to and I loved that Courtney Summers didn’t try to sugarcoat her for the sake of making her more “likeable.” I felt like the glimmers of goodness in her that I saw really came from somewhere that was buried and I was rooting for her to dust it off and BEGIN to see that she could be a better person. She had to endure a lot to learn things about herself and about how she wanted to live and I felt like that’s true of life a lot. We don’t learn things easy most of the time thus I don’t expect a character to suddenly be this different person when their circumstances change.

I also love that Regina didn’t have these characters who were, no questions asked, just NICE to her and felt bad for her. Sometimes I feel like there is always, in books, that ONE person who automatically scoops them up and is nice to them and that CHANGES THEM FOREVZ. It felt realistic that Michael and others would be skeptical of her and not so welcoming and she had to do a lot of the CHANGE herself and make amends for what she has done. I also thought it was really realistic that she DIDN’T tell anybody like her parents or a teacher. So often, teens feel like nobody will believe them or it will cause them to be ostracized even more for telling. Plus a lot of times people think it will go away if you endure enough.

Color me very, very impressed. Where have you been all of my YA reading life, Courtney? You gave me a plot that I couldn’t resist that delivered on so many levels. At the very height of the bullying I was appalled and ready to dive in and kick some mean girl butt with Regina even though she herself was not entirely forgiven in my mind. I had very intense and conflicting feelings towards Regina most of the time, Summer’s intent I’m sure, which was actually awesome because it’s a testament to that struggle we have in our head and our hearts where we feel conflicted about justice, compassion towards people who you feel don’t deserve it and second chances. Courtney Summers lets us grapple with that while reading the most page-turning, appalling story of mean girls and bullying. It was so addictive but I feel weird saying that because of the subject matter?

 

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers Book Review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what did you think? Did you like it as much as I did? Did you like Regina and find her redeemable? What are some books you’ve read that deal with the “mean girl fall from grace” trope or bullying?

The Program by Suzanne Young | Review

The Program Suzanne Young Book ReviewBook Title/Author: The Program by Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year
: Simon Pulse – April 2013
Genre: Dystopian I guess? It has a very contemporary feel minus that suicide is an epidemic and the way that society deals with it.
Series: YES! This is the first book!
Other Books From Author: A Need So Beautiful series, The Naughty List 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!

 

In The Program by Suzanne Young the world is experiencing an epidemic — teen suicide. To combat this epidemic a program (called “The Program”) was created to help anybody who failed at committing suicide or anyone who is flagged as being depressed or suicidal. The Program basically erases all memories that they deem to be associated with what is making you sad or depressed. Then you leave The Program and are integrated back into society without those memories and start anew. Sloane and her friends who haven’t yet entered the program have tried to stay under the radar and keep their emotions in check so as not get flagged and taken to the program. Despite the fact they have watched so many friends and family commit suicide or come out of The Program like zombies, they know they can’t let those emotions or feelings surface.  As Sloane and her friends are slowly starting to succumb to those feelings they’ve ignored and the pressure to keep it together they know The Program will be their next stop if they can’t keep it together.

Oh my goodness — this is a series I am so excited about after finishing The Program. I know it sounds trite because we say it a lot but I SERIOUSLY could not put this book down. One of those “OMG IT’S SO LATE AND I’M NEVER GOING TO WAKE UP TOMORROW BUT I MUST READ” books. The Program was the ultimate kind of page turner for me because it had suspense, tension, an emotional investment and I was never sure what was going to happen despite picking up vibes about certain things. I appreciated its uniqueness and how Suzanne Young took a subject that really IS an epidemic in our society and amplified it — it felt unsettling and frighteningly REAL to me.

The Program is broken up in three parts — I don’t want to tell you what those three parts consist of even though you could maybe guess from the summary — but each part made me more and more invested in the story and layered that suspense even more. Each part opened me up to more emotions and explored a lot of things about this society and I became more and more invested in this story. I cried, I smiled, I felt like somebody took a cleaver to my heart and I felt extreme ANGER sometimes.  There is just SO much to this story and, aside from being wholly invested in it, it made me think a lot, too!

It was seriously scary to be thrown into this world. I immediately felt unsettled — teen suicide is like your every day thing here and, while they’ve grown numb to it in a way, you can feel the profound pain and agony of those left behind. I was emotional just thinking about my friend who committed suicide and then thinking about how in this society it is perfectly NORMAL to have lost lots of friends and family to suicide & it just made my heart hurt and gave me that “this is going to be an intense book” feeling. It broke my heart at how they had to keep a lid on their emotions because ANY sort of sign of sadness or anger or anything, even if it was healthy, was enough to get you flagged. To watch them slowly start to succumb to the FEELINGS they’ve been holding in towards those who have died and those who have come back not themselves is so painful. You just feel the weight on their shoulders. My heart was in an absolute frenzy.

And if that wasn’t hard enough, Part 2 and 3 really were equally as compelling and painful in their own right. There were absolutely agonizing moments where we got to learn how The Program operates and what goes on inside and how they “fix” you. It was anger-inducing and scary and heartbreaking. And then Part 3 is where it got bittersweet but also hopeful and intense in more of an action-packed way towards the end. It got me excited for book 2 until I remembered WAH I DO NOT HAVE IT.

Book 2, I MUST HAVE YOU because there is still so much to learn — like HOW society got to the point where suicide was this bad? Or why people were okay with this solution? Can you fully get your memories back? And, book 2, I need you most because I haven’t felt so INVOLVED and intrigued by a series in a while.

The Program by Suzanne Young was such an interesting, frightening and suspenseful story with the power to poke and prod at my emotions in the intensest of ways. Each of the three parts of this novel heightened the suspense and really added layers to my emotional connection. One of the most exciting and page-turning books I’ve read this year and I cannot even contain myself for book 2. Very unique and unsettling and I highly recommend it for fans of all types of genres as it is set in a world very much like our own but with the fact that suicide is an actual epidemic and society has allowed something like The Program to exist to “contain” it.

 

 

The Program Suzanne Young Book review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, what did you think? Did you enjoy it as I did or did you feel differently? Let me know what you thought!

Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

12851538Book Title/Author: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Publisher/Year
: Disney-Hyperion  2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: No
Other Books From Author: The Lion Hunter’s series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I borrowed this from my local library!

 

 

I don’t want to give too much of the story away but basically Code Name Verity is set in the midst of WWII and the narrator has been held prisoner by the Gestapo and forced, by interrogation and force, to write down everything she knows about the war efforts even though she knows they are going to kill her when she’s done what they’ve asked. She weaves in what she knows about the war effort in with how she even ended up involved in the war and her current condition and happenings while being held captive. I swear it’s so much more than what I’ve described but you need to just not know ANYTHING so you can get swept up into it all!

This is one of those books that I almost wish wasn’t labeled YA because I know that deters some people from reading books and this book is one I know that could be enjoyed by SO many different kinds of readers. I have friends who only read adult fiction and I am going to be shoving this in their hands because this is one magnificent and heartachingly wonderful story that is well written and will for sure have a spot on my top ten of 2013 list. Without a doubt.

I’ll be honest with you. If it wasn’t for trusted friends recommending this with high praise, I would have probably put it down for a bit. I mean, I love historical fiction set during WWII so I was just itching to read it! The beginning was a bit hard to get into for me — the way it’s told is a bit jarring at first and there were so many descriptions of aviation and locations and things I just felt were just making it hard for me to get into it or see where the book was going. Felt like I was really excited to get into this wonderful story I’d heard about but it was like trying to run in a swimming pool for me, with the things I named above, the resistance to me immersing myself into the story. So if you’ve tried to read this one and really couldn’t get into it. PATIENCE. It’s worth it! And I started to really find myself unable to turn the pages faster the further I got into it. It’s a slow build but the payoff is hefty.

I don’t want to give ANYTHING away plot-wise because this is the type of story that’s brilliance is in the careful reveals and the sharp unraveling of the story that demands you keep reading just one more chapter. Told in two parts by two different narrators, Code Name Verity is a poignant and impressive novel about friendship, survival and courage with the sobering backdrop of the war. Infinitely more than “just a war story”, Code Name Verity is one of those books that will be seared into my brain and heart with how tremendously moving it was and the way Elizabeth Wein delivers blindsiding twists and breathtaking revelations I could never anticipated nor have expected their impact to move me so profoundly. I’m a sucker for books with unique and all around masterful storytelling and this is one of those books that just soars in that department — from start to finish.

Also, KISS ME HARDY!! Three words that will always make me burst into tears now.

If there were ever a book that I’d make a sweeping recommendation for, no matter if you read YA or if you aren’t into historical fiction, this is it. Despite the slow start due to an abundance of aviation type descriptions and the settling into the way the story is told, this book was knock-you-off-your feet incredible! The unraveling of this story and the deliverance of moving twists and revelations, accompanied by the most moving story of friendship I’ve encountered in a while, ensured this book has wound up on my very small ALL TIME FAVORITES list. I’m most stingy with this kind of recommendation and Code Name Verity certainly is deserving.

 

For Fans  Of: moving stories of friendship, historical fiction, beautiful stories that make you ache and give you so many feelings, WWII stories
You May Also Like: The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepytus, Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum  — all three of these books are not only among my favorite historical fiction books but just, in general, all time favorites.

code-name-verity-review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Did you love it like I did or feel differently? Was it hard for you to get into it in the beginning or was it just me? (My book club was split!). Did you also bawl just thinking about KISS ME HARDY?? Please tell me all the things you thought about this one!!

 

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys cover Maggie StiefvaterBook Title/Author:The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher/Release Date
: Scholastic – September 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy/Supernatural
Series: Yes, The Raven Boys is book 1 of The Raven Cycle series
Other Books From Author: The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, The Scorpio Races, Book of Faerie series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I checked this bad boy out from my local library!

 

 

Blue has always kept her distance from boys as she’s been told by her clairvoyant mother that she’ll cause her true love to die. When she accompanies her mother, as she always does, on St. Mark’s Eve  she is able to see, for the first time ever, one of the soon-to-be dead walk on the Corpse Road as her mother days. The spirit, a young boy her age, reaches out to her and directly communicates with her. She crosses paths with the boy, Gansey, and find out he attends the wealthy private school — a Raven Boy. She finds herself curious about Gansey and soon finds out he and his best friends — Ronan, Adam and Noah — are on a mysterious quest that she also finds herself wrapped up in full of myths and magic and darkly strange things.

WOW! This is one of those books that I’m going to have to reread FOR SURE before the second book comes out because there is just SO MUCH TO THIS BOOK. It almost borderlines on TOO much to my brain but seriously these pages were bursting at the seams with WONDER and IMAGINATION and MYSTERIES I NEED TO KNOW. I read The Raven Boys in a single day — a single, very stormy wrapped-up-all-in-my-blankets kind of day and that is how I recommend you to read it. For that day, I pretty much could not pluck my brain and my heart out of this mesmerizing and fantastical world where there is magic, psychics, kings and ley lines and other supernatural things that just were so intricately woven in to the contemporary lives of our characters. Dishes were not done, the husband felt neglected (psh not too badly because that meant a whole day of video games) and I don’t recall getting up too much. One of the most absorbing books I’ve read in a long time!

This story was just SO unique and fresh. I’ve only read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater but both of these books are the two most unique novels I’ve read in a long time. I found The Raven Boys to be much less poetic in nature (but still gorgeously written) as The Scorpio Races but The Raven Boys captured the same captivating storytelling ability I found in The Scorpio Races.  OH my stars can Maggie Stiefvater tell a story!  And the characters! I LOVED Blue and just found myself wanting to go on adventures with the Raven Boys — Gansey was definitely the most memorable for me! I just felt how confused Blue must feel knowing how that she’ll kill her true love with a kiss and then she sees Gansey walking on the Corpse Road and then later actually SEES him as a living and breathing human. I felt her curiosity and I understood why she wanted to spend her time with Gansey and the boys and became so enamored with their mission to find Glendower — just as enamored that I, as a reader, became with this journey and all the mystery! There’s just so much depth to these characters and yet I still feel like there is so much to learn about them!

I will say, while this wasn’t a HUGE problem for me, if you are the type who doesn’t like to wait a while for the story to come together..this might be hard for you…but just keep reading and then the story will really start to come together. And at times there is SO much going on — so many different threads to this story — and it can kind of be overwhelming that it borderlines on confusing at times. You’ll find yourself immediately taken to this story but it’s definitely a slow burn type of book.

Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller and I tumbled into these pages and stayed there until I finished it in one day. There’s a lot going on on in this novel but I found myself breezing right though it because of Maggie’s knack for just sucking you into the pages whether we are reading about Blue & her clairvoyant family or the Raven Boys search for Glendower. There’s magic and kings and psychics and ley lines and all sorts of mythological and supernatural intrigue worked right in there with the contemporary lives of these truly memorable, fleshed out characters! It takes a little bit to get into the story and there IS a lot going on but it’s just such a unique and wonderful story that is worth being patient for.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Did you enjoy it or feel differently than I did? Which Raven Boy was your favorite?? I loved Gansey the most though all of them have a place in my heart!

Save The Date For: When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!


when-you-were-here-daisy-whitney

* Release date according to Amazon

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Pre-Order It | Add to Goodreads

What When You Where Here Is  About: Three weeks before Danny’s graduation, his mom loses her battle with cancer and Danny becomes an orphan.  Amidst his grief and hopelessness, a directionless Danny has to try to make it through his graduation and deliver a hopeful Valedictorian speech while trying to make adult decisions about what to do with their home and his mother’s things. On top of it all, the girl who broke his heart by just shutting him out of her life suddenly reappears in his life. When the manager of his family’s apartment in Japan, where Danny’s mom had spending some of her final months for treatment, sends a letter that reveals to him that maybe he didn’t know all about his mother’s final months and why she seemed so happy in them. With nagging questions and sense of purposelessness that has made him numb, Danny takes a trip around the world to Japan to if he can find the answers and reconnect with his mother through these memories.

Why You Should Be Saving  The Date:

1. This book is BEAUTIFUL though it will steamroll right through your heart. It was an intensely emotional book in so many ways. I knew going into it I would connect with it on a personal level having lost my mother to cancer  but there were whole other levels that I found myself connecting to it and I certainly don’t think you need to have experienced a loss like this for this book to shake you up. So don’t be frightened and think it’s just another “grief” story. It’s much more than that though obviously the profound loss is a big part. Luckily Daisy Whitney has this ability to so subtly make sure, upon finishing, that your heart is in tact; stitched back up by Danny’s story of loss and love and how it takes strength and courage to get through both.

2. Danny’s time in Japan stirred up the travel bug in me. I loved that part of his very emotional journey was also a physical one set in Tokyo. As he looks for answers and tries to feel the spirit of his mom in a city they loved so much, Daisy Whitney makes you feel like you are at the fish market, or ambling along the twisted streets or smelling the cherry blossoms. I loved exploring the city through Danny’s eyes and especially with Kana. She was such a bright and spunky character that just added this whole lightness to the dark that Danny was feeling.

3. Daisy Whitney’s writing is flawless. Whether it was the dialogue or the descriptions of Tokyo or passages showing Danny’s grief — it was just so flawless and natural and I just floated right through the story. I just really love the way she writes!

Who Should Save The  Date: Fans of contemporary YA, Fans of stories that seriously give you ALL OF THE FEELS — not just make you cry but make you feel hopeful or in love or intense mourning alongside the character.

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list? Have you read Daisy Whitney’s previous works? I have them on my shelf but haven’t yet read them! Be on the lookout for my FULL review coming closer to the release date.

Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner

Book Title/Author: Skinny by Donna Cooner

Publisher/Year: Scholastic 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: The World God Made (children’s picture book)

Amazon| Goodreads |Donna Cooner’s Website

 

 

 

Ever is a fifteen year old girl who weighs over 300 pounds. She’s the girl who can’t fit in the desk at school or who can hear her thighs rubbing together. She already knows what everybody thinks of her — her dad, his wife, her stepsisters, the kids at school and her childhood crush — because of the voice, Skinny, who lives in Ever’s head telling her just how disgusted people are with her. After an incident at school Ever decides she is going to undergo gastric bypass surgery so that she can get rid of Skinny for good and become healthier, show everyone how talented of a singer she is in the school musical and get her childhood friend and crush, Chase, to look at her the same way again. The one constant who has been with her through it all has been her friend Rat who helps Ever try to change her life after the surgery.

I’m not going to lie — I didn’t know what to expect with this one but I’m so glad I read it. Even if you haven’t struggled with weight to the extent that Ever has, I feel like it’s not hard to relate to this novel. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to connect with Ever at first but I quickly realized I could. My struggle with weight was different (I was too skinny and got made fun of for that  up until high school where I become a little more normal weight) but I still agonized over my body. Every day. I saw all the flaws. I can’t imagine what Ever must have gone through. But mostly what I most related to was that voice of Skinny inside Ever’s head. The one telling you that you weren’t smart enough, not pretty enough, not cool enough, not talented enough. It just made me really connect with Ever because I know how unwavering and unrelenting that voice can be. I was really happy I connected with her because it made me super invested in her journey.

Ever was an interesting character. You easily could feel bad for her because of how she got made fun of and because of things that happened but at the same time there were points were I didn’t at all. There were times when I just wanted to smack her and be like OMG ARE YOU BLIND?? As a reader you could see just how much “Skinny” had made her bitter and disillusioned and even selfish. You’ll feel frustrated with her sometimes but I think we all can relate to her to some degree. There were moments of definite heartbreak for me — the school assembly scene or just even the moments when she realized how much her life was going to change post-surgery. I rooted for her through it all — that she’d lose weight, that she’d get the guy, that she’d make real friends and show everyone her amazing voice. As an aside, I LOVED the characters of Rat and Briella!

Her journey — both physical and mental — after the surgery was one that I was so invested in. While it may seem like a dream come true to lose all that weight, there were a lot of things that she had to give up and it was hard. I appreciated that Skinny just didn’t “go away” — that she had to realize that as much as this process was physical it was also even MORE mental than anything. You really grow to love Ever and how she starts to reveal her true self — the one that we saw a little bit through her old memories and some of her humorous commentary. There are still moments in her journey where you know she’s not quite there mentally because she is caring too much about the physical changes and all that it has brought her. It truly was a battle and I didn’t want to put the book down. Sometimes I think it did ring a bit predictable and follow the type of teen makeover story you see in so many movies but it was super compelling nonetheless.

My one qualm with Skinny by Diana Cooner was that, while it didn’t portray this surgery as this magical and easy solution because she clearly had to work at it, I just struggled that it seemed like it was her first real solution. The book talks about how she had tried to lose weight but, to me at least, it just felt like it was some half-hearted attempts rather than really seeking some HUGE lifestyle revamp with the help of professionals and work at it consistently. Maybe that’s just me but that’s the impression I got from where she was at up until the event that led to her getting the surgery — eating bad food, eating big portions, no exercising, just really being content with herself. I wanted some other options more explored. I just don’t want teens to think that it’s the BETTER option than exercise and diet/lifestyle changes that should be really the first thing you try. Obviously that might not work for all but this is such a SERIOUS and extreme surgery so I was kind of hoping that it would talk more about the root of her issues too (obviously her grief was a large part of it & then it just spiraled into an emotional coping mechanism). Especially with her being so young.

Skinny by Donna Cooner was a really good read dealing with self image and that nagging voice inside of your head that whispers all of the things that makes you self conscious or feel like you aren’t good enough through the story of Ever — an extremely overweight teenager who undergoes gastric bypass surgery. Ever is easy to connect with in her highs and lows and I found myself easily immersed  in her journey. I do have some reservations with how she so quickly went to gastric bypass and how her situation is portrayed (explained above) but ultimately it was a really good read with a main character dealing with something that I haven’t encountered too often.

 

You May Also Like: She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb; Food, Girls & Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff, Teenage Waistland by Lisa Pazer

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Did you connect with Ever? Did you find that you wished that they would have explored her other options or address the emotional component to the reason why she became that obese like I did?

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Book Title/Author: Every Day by David Levithan
Publisher/Year: Knopf Books for Young Readers 2012
Genre: Contemporary + maybe magical realism? Really defies genre.
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: The Lover’s Dictionary, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, Love Is the Higher LawWide Awake, Every You, Every Me, Are We There Yet?, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Amazon| Goodreads | David Levithan’s Website

 

Every day A, a teen who is neither male nor female, wakes up up in another body and experiences another life for twenty four hours. The teen has no control over it and never knows what body will be next nor the rhyme or reason to it. All A knows is that the best way to get through the day is to just go through the motions of the characters life and try not to do anything out of character or that would really interfere with their life. A has successfully been able to do that until Justin’s body where A meets Rhiannon — Justin’s girlfriend — and makes a very real connection with her.

As somebody who is normally overly verbose and always has something to say, I’m at a loss for words when it comes to Every Day by David Levithan. I will try to explain why I loved it so much but just know this, because I’m afraid my words will just get in the way, I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. One of my favorites of this year and pretty close to being an all time favorite. If there was ever a time for you to listen to me and read a book I loved, please make it be this one because it is just so beautiful, unique in EVERY sense of the world and just a book that will touch your heart.

The plot itself was just so fascinating. The idea of someone jumping from body to body every day just intrigued me from the start and I loved learning all about how A has coped with it and how it must feel to exist in a completely different way as other people. Life as A knew it was way different than we see life.  I was so in I loved getting these little vignettes of the people’s lives and how A related to them or tried to assert themselves. Some of the lives were just incredibly sad. And then once he formed this relationship with Rhiannon I was already invested in A’s life and was so intrigued as to how everything was going to work out considering he was never in the same body. Right from the moment that A made the choice to act differently than he did with all the other bodies I KNEW I was in for a complicatedly good story. I have to say that I SO wished that we knew the WHY/HOW it happened to A but I was completely satisfied not knowing and just accepting it as it was.

A is one of those characters whose presence didn’t just linger for a few hours after I finished but seems to be nestled within the folds of my heart somewhere. A’s story was just incredible. I instantly felt how lonely A was having to switch bodies day after day and be basically rootless. A’s love for Rhiannon was just so overwhelming to me as I could feel ALL OF THE FEELINGS that came with making a real connection with somebody for the first time.

What I found most interesting was how A was gender ambiguous. To be honest, I had the hardest time writing this review because I wanted to keep saying “he” but then had to stop myself. It was interesting because I kept thinking of A as a male even though it was clear that A didn’t know what gender he/she was since A didn’t exist outside of the bodies, both male and female, that he jumped in and out of each day. I found it interesting that I kept thinking of A as a male. I don’t know what it was that kept me hearing A’s voice as male.  It challenged me to think a little bit about why that was and if Rhiannon was actually a male would I have seen A as a female? I didn’t have any answers but I thought it was interesting that Levithan was able to challenge my own notion of making A fit nicely into a box of either male or female which was sort of an issue Rhiannon had.

 

As per usual, David Levithan’s writing is beautiful and gets straight to the heart. He’s really outdone himself this time though making this my favorite David Levithan book thus far! This book is imaginative, will dazzle you with its beauty, make you fall in love with A and make you just want to promptly start it all over again. Every Day defies genre and age — I will recommend this to EVERYONE I know — regardless of what they typically read. Both beautiful and page-turning

 

For Fans Of: Incredibly unique stories, books that make you think a bit, books that defy genre

Every Day by David Levithan - Best Book of 2012

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? LOVE it as much as I did? Did you think of A as male or female in your head?

Review: Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Book Title/Author: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
Publisher/Year: Feiwel & Friends – October 2nd 2012
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Not sure! I’ve heard yes and no!
Other Books From Author: The Gone series, The Magnificent 12 series, The Animorphs series

Amazon| Goodreads |
I received this on NetGalley from the publisher. Though kind and much appreciated, this did not sway my opinions in any way.

After getting hit by a car and sustaining life threatening injuries, Eve thinks she is going to die and by all means she should have died based on her injuries. Before she even has been at the hospital for a full day, her mother — the powerful figure behind a bio/pharmaceutical/research corporation  — has already demanded that she be released and transferred to her own facility to be taken care of. Eve thinks this is strange but even stranger is this boy Solo and the way she feels after the accident. While Eve is healing, her mother lets her play a simulation in which she is able to create a perfect person so naturally, like any girl would, she starts to build her dream guy from head to toe. As Eve works on her mom’s project, she starts to realize she has NO idea what idea secrets abound at her mom’s super secretive corporation….thanks to someone else who KNOWS the secrets and wants revenge.


Man, you guys. I was really excited about this one and was expecting this really fascinating science fiction book where morality and the “Frankenstein/Creator” notion would be really interestingly woven into this story. But, while entertaining and a fast paced read, I felt more frustrated by this one honestly. I really kept waiting to like it more than I did and it just never happened. I know it was supposed to be more lighthearted and not super serious (I read somewhere the authors said that) but I just thought I was getting something else from the summary. The premise failed to deliver, for me, what I thought was just going to be a really riveting science fiction novel.

I read this in pretty much a day so obviously there were some really great things about it that kept me reading! It was VERY fast paced which was a perk but, as I’ll mention below, also a drawback. There were some incredibly interesting aspects and I just couldn’t wait for Eve to finish creating Adam so I could see what would happen and I was just reading with bated breath until the moment when THINGS would be revealed to Eve or when Solo was in a sticky situation. Also, it was very unique and there was a lot of pretty funny parts in this…which I was not expecting in the least. I can’t say I’ve read anything like it really! I also really enjoyed some of the characters — Eve, Solo and surprisingly Eve’s mom even though she was pretty much the worst mom ever. She kind of reminded me of Mrs. Grayson from Revenge but more humorous.

While there were some really great characters, there were also some really flat characters and characters I felt were so overly cliched (Aislin). I mean, I was expecting Adam to play such a big part in this novel but he was so boring and all I gathered was that he was so super hot and people stared. I mean, I know he’s a “creation” but he just seemed flat to me. Maybe that was the point? I don’t know. My biggest thing, aside from my expectations of what I thought this book would be, was that there was just TOO MUCH GOING ON. I love a fast paced, page turning book but there was just too much. It was kind of like when you see somebody on What Not To Wear and they have an outfit with just TOO MUCH GOING ON especially too many accessories. And your eyes and your brain cannot process or take it all in. And if they just stripped a few of the gaudy necklaces, the arm’s length of bracelets and the crazy patterned separates and just stuck with one or two focal pieces it’d be a really cute outfit. That’s really how I felt. There was just so much going on that it distracted me and some things I felt were out of place and didn’t mean much to me (the whole thing with Eve’s bff’s dead beat boyfriend) and sometimes things were weirdly wrapped up or not wrapped up. I don’t know. There was just too much in a short space and it didn’t jive well with me.

 

Eve and Adam just wasn’t for me apparently. It might have been a case of my expectations of the book versus what I got. I was expecting some really crazy science fiction story with deep meaning and exploration of mortality and playing God and I just didn’t really get that at all. It was less serious and more funny — which is fine but just not at all what I was hoping for with an AMAZING premise like that. I don’t know..by the time I got to the end I just felt very unsatisfied. Like eating a salad when you really just want steak and potatoes.

While it wasn’t necessarily a win for me, others really loved it. Check out other reviews of Eve and Adam from Kindle Book Love Blog or Live To Read.

 

You May Also Like: Beta by Rachel Cohn, The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna, Origin by Jessica Khoury, Bumped by Megan McCafferty (like Eve & Adam, Bumped takes a lighter, more humorous approach to a subject that could be heavier — Bumped was very much satire).

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Did you like it better than me? Did anyone else think it was going to be a lot more science fiction-y and maybe more ‘serious’? I was really surprised/taken aback by how light and funny  it was.

YA’s Got Talent!

I’ve always been super envious of all those people who were so talented — mostly people in the performing arts realm but also other things (sports, writing, etc). Probably because I am the opposite of talented in these areas.

I can’t sing — seriously it’s a whole hot mess of screeching and off key madness that is reserved for my shower and my car when I’m alone. And unfortunately sometimes when Will’s around and I swear he must be deaf by now. I took tap and jazz class when I was little and I was GOOD but not good enough long term to get on all the super competitive dance teams. I hated practicing. I can’t play an instrument unless you count the clarinet that I terribly squeaked Ode To Joy out of over and over again in the 5th grade. I had one drum lesson and got frustrated. I”m just not very talented except in my dreams or maybe in the shower when I pretend that when I sing Someone Like You that I actually sound like Adele.

I think that’s maybe why I love watching shows like The Voice and America’s Got Talent — I love watching that talent. I’ve noticed I’m also really drawn to stories about characters who are really super talented when it comes to the performing arts! There’s SO many great novels out there and I love learning about all the work that it takes to MAKE it at that level of talent and all the sacrifices they have to make to pursue their passions.

So if you also enjoy this type of story, I wanted to share some of MY favorite books that deal with talented performers or ones that are on my TBR LIST! This is not by any means a complete list; just ones that I’ve read or that are on my radar.

PLEASE RECOMMEND ME MORE! I need to live vicariously through talented characters in books! Click on the book covers to learn more about each book!

 

Virtuosity by Jessica MartinezTake A bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Amplified by Tara Kelly

 

Pop Princess by Rachel Cohn

Rival by Sara Bennet WealerBunheads by Sophie FlackAudition by Stasia Ward KehoeA Company of Swans by Eva IbbotsonIf I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Books Listed:

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
Amplified by Tara Kelly
Pop Princess by Rachel Cohn
Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Have you read any of these? Any on your TBR list? ALSO, please recommend anymore books in this vein!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...