Book Review- Everything, Everything

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Pages: 310
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Goodreads

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black: black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, but decided to finally pick it up because the movie is coming out (and the trailers look amazing!!!), and I don’t like watching a movie before I read the book. Honestly, for a book that I’ve wanted to read for so long, I went in with relatively no expectations, which I think is why I enjoyed the book as much as I did.

The story is told in an interesting way: there is text, and then there are IM conversations and drawings and logs and emails and medical reports (I might be missing something here, but you get the point). Maddy, the narrator, had a strong voice, and was easy to relate to (which is pretty remarkable considering her “bubble boy” condition). Olly, the male protagonist, was very entertaining and kind of perfect. And the two of them together were straight up adorable.

So did I enjoy this book? The short answer is yes, even though I did have quite a few problems with it. For one, the relationship between Maddy and Olly seemed very unlikely. But, that doesn’t really bother me that much… because it’s literally the biggest plot arc of the book and without that there would be nothing (well, maybe not nothing, but certainly not a story). What bothered me more about this book was the end.

Obviously I’m not going to give any spoilers, but I’m just going to say that the whole second part of the book and especially the major “twist” at the end kind of ruined the whole book for me. It felt too out there to be possible. Like, yeah, I get it, happy ending and all, but it just wasn’t realistic. I didn’t buy it. And it just made the whole book go from yes-okay-this-is-adorable-and-I-can-maybe-imagine-that-this-is-real-in-some-world to what-just-happened-this-is-not-possible-please-just-erase-the-last-hundred-pages-and-make-an-ending-that-I-can-believe.

Everything, Everything was definitely interesting and cute, and a very fast read. I would recommend it if you are big into contemporary and YA romance, but if you are not that into it (like myself) then you might have the same problems with the book that I did.

I am going to give Everything, Everything three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

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Book Review- Letters to the Lost

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury on April 4, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
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Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

This book was all kinds of beautiful. First of all, let me just say that going into this book, I didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t usually love contemporary books (even though some of the ones I have read lately have been surprising me), and I’m usually not big on romance either. But somehow Letters to the Lost pulled it all together in a heart wrenching, page turning novel that left me lying on my bed for hours wondering what I should do with my life.

Juliet, the female main character, was surprisingly relatable. She felt real, and her pain felt real, and the whole time I was reading I just wanted to reach into the book and hug her and tell her that everything was going to be okay. And, even more surprising than my attachment to Juliette, I felt the same way towards Declan. AND, on top of that, THEY WERE SO OBVIOUSLY THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND HAD COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORIES.

If I had to pick one thing to love about this book (which is really hard to do, believe me), it is that every character was individual. They all had depth to them, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I bumped into one of them while walking down the street (read as:  walking through the grave yard).

I also love the complexity of the characters emotions. And not just of the main characters emotions. I mean EVERY CHARACTERS emotions. Yup. That’s right. ALL THE CHARACTERS HAD EMOTIONS. And pasts. And futures. I cannot explain to you how refreshing that is. It was wonderful.

Also, I have to say that the amount of romance was perfect. It just melted my heart. It was too beautiful. Just too beautiful. I need more.

I am going to give Letters to the Lost 5 out of 5 hearts (or 10 out of five, but I don’t think that’s possible). If you haven’t already ordered this book, I seriously suggest you do it now. Just do it. You won’t regret it. I promise.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Toward a Secret Sky

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Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
Published by Blink on April 4, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 368
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Goodreads

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

Toward a Secret Sky was a thrilling read. There was never a dull moment, from the first chapter to the last, and I couldn’t help but pick up the book every time I had a spare moment.
Not gonna lie, starting to read this book was a bit of a struggle. I loved the secret organization aspect of it (which is what made me go for this book in the first place), but the writing style took a little while to get used to. It’s not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s just different than what I am used to, so it shook me up a little. I also didn’t love how boy crazy Maren was, and how she ogled over Gavin every time he was around. But again, I’m not big into romance-y stuff, so having a character that was so vocal (in her head at least) about her feelings for him was kind of jarring.
I did however love the book itself. It was full of demons, angels, and a whole lot of action. Every chapter was action packed and so full of twists and turns that I had no idea what was going to happen next.
I definitely went through a whole range of emotions while reading this book, from giddiness to heart break to shock to relief (and many more… and not necessarily in that order). I would recommend this book to people who love the supernatural and a good bit of boy ogling.
I am going to give Toward a Secret Sky four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

*I was given an ARC of this book by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review- Alice in Tumblr-land

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Alice in Tumblr-Land and Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation by Tim Manley
Published by Penguin Books on November 5, 2013
Genres: Humor, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Fiction, Retellings, Short Stories
Pages: 265
Amazon
Goodreads

The Ugly Duckling still feels gross compared to everyone else, but now she’s got Instagram, and there’s this one filter that makes her look awesome. Cinderella swaps her glass slippers for Crocs. The Tortoise and the Hare Facebook stalk each other. Goldilocks goes gluten free. And Peter Pan finally has to grow up and get a job, or at least start paying rent.

Here are more than one hundred fairy tales, illustrated and re-imagined for today. Instead of fairy godmothers, there’s Siri. And rather than big bad wolves, there are creepy dudes on OkCupid. In our brave new world of social networking, YouTube, and texting, fairy tales can once again lead us to “happily ever after” — and have us laughing all the way.

Alice in Tumblr-land took classic children’s book characters and put them in the modern world, creating some pretty interesting situations. A lot of these situations, as I’m sure you can figure out by the title, have to do with social media and the internet.

This book was definitely written for adults. It had its fair amount of R rated content, and though some of it was entertaining, most of it just felt unnecessary and forced. The stories were split up into small paragraphs that rotated, so each of the individual stories ended up feeling disconnected. The stories, besides being set in modern times, really had no connection to each other.

The characters were very one dimensional and not engaging. It felt like each story took the most stereotypical view of each character that was possible and created these unrealistic situations around them.

Alice in Tumblr-land is a very short book, and took less than an hour to read (which tbh is probably the only reason that I finished it). If you are looking to kill an hour, reading this book isn’t the worst way to do it. That being said, I’m not any better off for having read it, so I guess it just comes down to if you enjoy this type of book or not (which, as it turns out, I do not).

I am going to give Alice in Tumblr-land two out of five hearts.