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.

♥ ♥ ♥

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
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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.

Book Reivew- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Published by Penguin Books on August 25, 1977
Genres: Classics, Fiction, Literature, Psychology
Pages: 320
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Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was definitely an interesting read. It was a bit out of my comfort zone when it comes to books, so I wasn’t very surprised when I didn’t end up liking it that much.

The book was split up into four parts that were sort of like very long chapters. The first part was very confusing, and I didn’t know what was happening for most of the time. The narrator, Chief Bromden, was not easy to understand, which I think is kind of the point, but I found it more annoying than anything.

After the first part was over, the book started getting a lot more interesting, and I began to enjoy it more. The plot started to pick up and the characters began to differentiate and become their own people.

The end was a bit disappointing, and I wish I got a bit more of an explanation of what happens. Overall, the book was not bad, but I don’t think I am going to be reading it again any time soon. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes classics, and has time to sit down and spend some good time reading.

I am going to give One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Gideon the Cutpurse

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Gideon the Cutpurse (also published as The Time Travelers) by Linda Buckley-Archer
Published by Simon & Schuster on January 1 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Pages: 404
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1763.

Gideon Seymour, cutpurse and gentleman, hides from the villainous Tar Man. Suddenly the sky peels away like fabric and from the gaping hole fall two curious-looking children. Peter Schock and Kate Dyer have fallen straight from the twenty-first century, thanks to an experiment with an antigravity machine. Before Gideon and the children have a chance to gather their wits, the Tar Man takes off with the machine — and Kate and Peter’s only chance of getting home. Soon Gideon, Kate, and Peter are swept into a journey through eighteenth-century London and form a bond that, they hope, will stand strong in the face of unfathomable treachery.

Gideon the Cutpurse was full of adventure. From the moment Peter and Kate were thrown back in time, there was not a second of rest. The narrative follows both the events of 1763, where Peter and Kate meet Gideon and set out to find a way to get home, and present day (or not so present because the book came out in 2006), where the police along with Kate’s father and NASA are trying to find the children.

Although the events had all the promise to be a five star read, the actual story fell a bit short. I felt bored at times, like there was a cycle between excitement and boredom throughout the book. Then there were parts that could have been so much better, but weren’t. I feel like there could have been so much more done with the characters that would have brought the story to life. The reactions I read didn’t feel realistic, it felt like a bedtime story.

I also found it a bit strange how there were pages at the end of some chapters from Gideon Seymour’s personal journal. They felt a bit out of place, and didn’t really add anything to the plot. I don’t know if they evolve into something more in the rest of the trilogy, but I can only hope that there is a greater reason for them being there.

There is so much I wish I could add to this book, but at the same time, I can’t say I didn’t like it at all. It was a fun read, even if I had to read it in little chunks at a time. I do however think that an elementary school kid would eat this book up, and I definitely recommend it for preteens and younger who love time travel and adventure. I just don’t think this book was quite for me.

I am going to give Gideon the Cutpurse three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Passing

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Passing by Nella Larsen
Published 1929
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, African American, Literature
Pages: 122
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Irene Redfield, the novel’s protagonist, is a woman with an enviable life. She and her husband, Brian, a prominent physician, share a comfortable Harlem town house with their sons. Her work arranging charity balls that gather Harlem’s elite creates a sense of purpose and respectability for Irene. But her hold on this world begins to slip the day she encounters Clare Kendry, a childhood friend with whom she had lost touch. Clare—light-skinned, beautiful, and charming—tells Irene how, after her father’s death, she left behind the black neighborhood of her adolescence and began passing for white, hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. As Clare begins inserting herself into Irene’s life, Irene is thrown into a panic, terrified of the consequences of Clare’s dangerous behavior. And when Clare witnesses the vibrancy and energy of the community she left behind, her burning desire to come back threatens to shatter her careful deception.

Passing was an interesting book. It followed Irene, an African American woman in the 1920’s, and how her life changes when an old friend named Clare comes back into her life.
As the title suggests, the book is about “passing” race. In this case, African Americans passing as whites. The characters were certainly intriguing. Clare was unpredictable and a little scary. She didn’t really care about anything except her own desires. Irene, on the other hand, believes that she cares about her family, and she does for the most part, although there are some things that she can only see her way.

The book takes place over several years and is written in three parts. The layout almost reminds me of a play, which is an interesting way to lay out a novel. The first part sets up the characters and the idea of “passing”. The second delves deeper into the issue and establishes who each of the characters are, two years after the first part. The third part is like a finale. Everything spins out of control until it comes crashing down in the end.
Passing deals with issues that we are still dealing with today, no matter how far we think we have come. It is interesting to see how the characters in this book regard racism, and what it actually means (for them at least) to pretend to be someone (something?) they are not.

I didn’t necessarily love this book, but it was a very thoughtful story, and I am glad to have read it. I would recommend this to lovers of literature, and anyone who wants a new perspective on racial issues both today and in the past.

I am going to give Passing three out of four hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson
Published January 1892
Genres: Classics, Short Story, Fiction, Horror, Gothic, Feminism
Pages: 16
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First published in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper–a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, “The Yellow Wallpaper” stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

The more I think about this book the deeper my mind wanders. This book has such a powerful message and a shocking execution. The book is written like a diary by a woman (who is unnamed, but I suspect her name might be Jane because of something she says near the end) who goes to stay in a state house. She says from the beginning that she is ill, and she hopes to get better, but does not say how she is sick. She does say however that her husband is a physician who is taking care of her.

From the first page the short story is dark and gripping. It spirals down into insanity as it goes on, and it becomes hard to differentiate between what is happening and what the woman believes is happening. She keeps talking about the yellow wallpaper in her room, and as the story progresses she begins to see it differently, which I found extremely interesting.

This story touches on many types of imprisonment: that of the mind, of the physical world, of society, of her husband, etc. As the story progresses and the woman begins to loose her mind, the story gets a bit confusing, although it is still very interesting. The only part I had a problem with was the ending, considering it’s not quite clear what happened. However, I do highly recommend this book. It is a short read and definitely worth the time.

I am going to give The Yellow Wallpaper four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- A Lie For A Lie

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A Lie For A Lie by Robin Merrow MacCready
Expected publication by Henry Holt on February 28, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 208
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Amazon

Kendra Sullivan loves taking pictures. But when a photograph reveals that her father is leading a double life, she sets out to investigate the situation. Before long, Kendra discovers her father’s second family, which he has hidden for years. Kendra’s knowledge soon turns into power; she is torn between exposing her father and destroying her family as she’s known it, or looking deeper for the truth and suffering that outcome. This emotionally charged mystery pushes the boundaries between truth and deception, and the consequences one faces when dealing with life-changing information.

A Lie For A Lie was predictable. Was it good? Yes. Was it original? No, not really.

After reading the first page or so, I already knew what was going to happen in the book. Yes, the whole book, not just the main plot. I easily guessed what Kendra was going to discover, who she was going to end up with, and just about everything else.

That being said, the book was enjoyable to read. It was short and well paced, and I do happen to like most of the characters (all the ones I’m assuming readers are supposed to like). Kendra was an interesting multi-dimensional character that overcame a lot in the story, and in my opinion, really achieved her desired “break-out summer”… even if it is nothing like the summer she planned.

Each of the characters in A Lie For A Lie was unique, and each  brought an interesting aspect to the story, even if I was able to guess their role from the moment they were introduced.
I would recommend this book for younger teen readers, who like a little bit of mystery and characters that overcome an obstacle that is holding them back. The book wasn’t quite for me, but I do feel like it is a book many people would like.

I am going to give A Lie For A Lie three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

*An ARC of this book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected or influenced my ideas and opinions of the book in any way.