Tag Archives: Contemporary

All The Bright Places

Read from 13-14th June, 2015

Author: Jennifer Niven

image

image

5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am so emotionally drained right now it’s not even funny…

All The Bright Places had me tearing up, laughing and full-out crying. I don’t usually dog-ear pages, but…

image

… See that? Those document all the times where I laughed, cried, or just read something that I really, really liked.

At first, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to connect with the characters – but that fear was thankfully squashed reasonably early on in the story.

I loved how unique both Finch and Violet were and that their voices were distinct from one another as the story was told from a dual point of view. I also appreciated how their characters had such depth to them – going beyond the surface level and how everyone else might see them or expect them to be. Also, Violet loves to read.

Most of all, I loved (I really need to stop repeating that word… oh well) how Violet and Finch challenged each other to be better versions of themselves. From strangers to friends to something more, it was apparent that their relationship helped both characters grow in themselves and in each other. It was believable and heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Aside from a rare few, (I’m looking at you Roamer, Mr. Finch) I either loved or somewhat liked all of the characters.

There was a strong family aspect to this book, which I really appreciated and – I’m sure many others would agree – is something that is extremely lacking in YA.

I adored the wanderings! They were so fun and awesome and unique. I loved how both Finch and Violet went about it and it was just so fun! (One of the first dog ears is a shout out to book fans everywhere). Even better, these are all actual places that exist in the world (i.e. Indiana).

Reading the acknowledgements, I found out that All The Bright Places is actually a rather personal story and it comes from some of Jennifer’s own experiences, which definitely shows.

“I wanted to write something edgy.
I wanted to write something contemporary.
I wanted to write something though, hard, sad, but fun.”

Congratulations Jennifer, you did just that.

_________________________________

All The Bright Places is June’s book pick for The Book Club of the Opinionated Hufflepuffs.

Advertisements

Love, Rosie (Previously Published as Where Rainbows End)

Read on May 4th, 2015

Author: Cecelia Ahern

image

5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A story about love.
And how life gets in the way.

Best friends since forever, Rosie and Alex have shared their hopes, dreams, awkward moments – and firsts. But their bond is threatened when Alex’s family move to America. They stay in touch, but misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck seem to be conspiring to keep them apart. Can they gamble everything – even their friendship – on true love?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a mess.

I honestly believe that I have never cried in a book more than I have today with Love, Rosie. My eyes are actually hurting now… Make no mistake about it, Love, Rosie is way more emotionally taxing than any Nicholas Sparks book.

For those of you who are unaware, this story is written entirely through correspondence – be it emails, instant messages, letters, cards, texts, you name it. At first I was slightly wary of this fact, but it had absolutely no impact of the quality or fluidity of the novel. In fact, because of its unique format, I believe that it may be easier for someone who doesn’t read that often to pick up and immerse themselves in the story.

Filled with angst and touching on issues such as teenage pregnancy, growing up, friendship, adulthood, love, marriage, relationships, parenthood, childhood, divorce, dreams and simply life in general, Love, Rosie is so real and touching and unique. Spanning over approximately 50 years, we are able to really get to know and connect with a large cast of characters from what is essentially three different generations. Patterns become evident and I really enjoyed the somewhat cyclical nature of this novel. I loved being a part of the characters’ lives, and I became quite attached to them all (aside from the notable morons who deserve a hi five… in the face… with a brick).

The silence. I just – that was certainly the best part for me.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to seeing how well Love, Rosie has been translated into film (I refused to allow myself to watch it while it was in cinemas as I had not yet read the book). However, I do warn you that while it does come highly recommended, you should prepare yourself for  frustration and tears – while it does have its high points I, at least, found this story to be quite emotionally taxing.

The Moment Collector

Finished on 5th March, 2015

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson

image

5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A haunting mystery, romance in the vein of The Lovely Bones by New York Times bestselling author.

“The yard of this house is a graveyard of moments and everything left behind is a clue. And I am here to dig.”

There’s a ghost haunting 208 Water Street. She doesn’t know who she was, or why she’s still here. She does know that she is drawn to Maggie, the new girl in town, and her friends – beautiful, carefree Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.

But the ghost isn’t all that’s lurking in Gill Creek… Someone is killing young girls all across the county. Can the ghost keep these three friends safe? Or does she have another purpose?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“We are souls at a common cause. We are only here to love. That was my great story all along. We are here to take chances, and fail, and keep trying.”

I received The Moment Collector from my friend Little Nerdling for my birthday last year and I’m honestly not sure what I was expecting – it didn’t seem like something I would have picked up if left to my own devices.

So, after five months of having it in my to-read stack, I can gladly say that The Moment Collector is a hauntingly beautiful, emotional (at least for me) novel and I am so, so happy to have encountered this book. Despite having a supernatural element (the ghost), it read more like a contemporary than anything else. One might also name it a mystery. If I were to categorize this, I would class it as plot twisting contemporary with a ghost – not necessarily as a paranormal book.

Right from the start, I was  attached to the characters. They were each so well crafted that I either fell in love with them or loathed them with a passion. I mean, there were some really minor characters that were kind of meh, but as a general rule I was emotionally invested in pretty much all of the characters – which made it even harder when the Anderson took those emotions and mercilessly yanked them around.

The Moment Collector enthralled me, drew me in. So much so that as I was reading (and even when I wasn’t), I was constantly theorizing possible outcomes and if something was really foreshadowing or if I was just delving too much into it.

If I had had the time, I could have consumed this book in a single sitting, but in a way reading it at several different times made the book all the more well read – at the back of my mind several different outcomes and theories were playing out at any one time.

The Moment Collector is one of those books that you can’t talk much about in fear of accidentally spoiling someone. So I will leave it there with my highest regards to this book.

If anyone has already read The Moment Collector or is planning to read it, please drop a comment and we can discuss.

Falling into Place

Read from 25-26th January, 2015

Author: Amy Zhang

image

5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect?

Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Falling into Place is a hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking novel and is the saddest book I have ever read – more so than Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Victoria Roth’s Allegiant combined.

I cried continuously throughout Falling into Place – I don’t think I ever quite stopped. I loved getting to know all the characters and my heart kept breaking for them. Over and over again.

All of the characters were great, but Liam and Ms. Greenberg stuck out in the best way.

I love Liam. Totally and completely. He vaguely reminded me of Liam from Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in that they were totally understanding, cute, forgiving and embraced the fact that they were misfits. They were both so pure and true to themselves and underrated.

Ms. Greenberg, although she only appeared briefly, was totally awesome and reminiscent of McGonagall. That speech? Wicked.

I went through several theories about who the narrator was, but it only became apparent about three quarters through, and only conformed at the end. When I got over the frustration of not knowing, it was kind of cool – after all, they had perspective and insight that no one else could.

Falling into Place outlines the stark realities that a lot of people face and challenges you not to judge or take people for granted; to not leave unsaid what ought to be said. It is the tale of a girl who attempts suicide, and pieces together her life and what drove her down that road. It mentions anorexia, bulimia, depression, drug abuse, sex and alcohol consumption. It is a story about mistakes, and lives interlocking with one another but never truly connecting.

There is more to life than cause and effect.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)

Read on 25th January, 2015

Author: Stephanie Perkins

image

5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her attention. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking of word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken—and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I love contemporaries, and Anna and the French Kiss is up there with the best of them.

Fluffy, cute, beautiful, real, brilliant and imaginative; Anna and the French Kiss is an absolutely adorable read that will have you hooked and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

I love how Anna and Étienne didn’t just have chemistry, but friendship too. They are absolutely adorable together and I just following their relationship – all the little things he would give her, the way they laughed together and confided in each other, the days out and movies – brought tears to my eyes. They were each other’s rock. If I had a relationship, I’d want it to be like theirs (minus the complications with Ellie).

I love how Stephanie made every character important. The “side” characters made you love them (or hate them, it depends) and were brilliantly well developed. They were deep – each with their own story to tell. The beauty of it is that they weren’t just there, a prop the author needed in order for the protagonist to do something or get somewhere, but they were important – they could tell their stories and they did. Not one character was overlooked.

I just – it was perfect. The scenery; the character development; the giggly, mushy feeling in your chest as you followed the story, and which you were left with; the overall ease of reading.

Anna and the French Kiss isn’t just about romance, but family, friendships and life – dealing with it, enjoying it, finding people who will stick by you no matter what and making mistakes along the way. It is about endings and beginnings, possibilities, the future, relationships and practicalities and forgiveness. Anna and the French Kiss has lessons in it for us all.

Fangirl

Read on 23rd January, 2015

Author: Rainbow Rowell

image

5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

“Touching and utterly real.” —  Publisher’s Weekly

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Forget what I said about Champion. I did not know how badly I needed this book until I’d read it. But oh my goodness every fangirl needs to pick up this book and read. Now. This is not an option, it is a direct order. Go. Now. Or else you will regret it for the rest of your life!

Fangirl is a beautiful, brilliant, relateable, easy read. It is also completely believable and full of fluff – plus everything else.

Although Simon Snow and Harry Potter don’t have much in common, I pictured Cath’s world to be an AU where Simon Snow was Harry Potter – except, three quarters in, Levi made reference to Harry Potter. So, essentially, either Simon Snow is just that good, or this is an AU when Harry Potter simply didn’t really take off and/or Simon Snow just stole the spotlight. Either way, The Watford School of Magicks sounds pretty cool (not as good as Hogwarts, but close).

Fangirl read beautifully. Nothing was overdone, the characters, the plot, the sub-plots and story arcs, the relationships (not just the lead romance), Simon Snow, The Fandom, Levi, Baz and Simon… It was all breathtaking and perfect and real. Fangirl is just so real – I don’t believe that there’s ever been a book that I can relate to so strongly and for that I believe Fangirl has earned a permanent spot in my heart.

I’m really not doing a great job pitching this, so I’ll leave it to you with a heavy recommendation. Fangirl is real life plus fluff plus a fandom as strong as (if not stronger than) J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Edit:

OH MY GOODNESS!! RAINBOW ROWELL IS ACTUALLY GOING TO PUBLISH Carry On AS AN ACTUAL NOVEL – THIS. YEAR. *faints*

Special A (Volume #1)

Read on May 2, 2014

20140502-175834.jpg

5 Stars!

URG!!!! I AM SO ANNOYED!!!! I absolutely LOVED this book but my stupid library DOESN’T HAVE ANY OF THE REST OF THE SERIES – AT ALL!!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! *murderous glare at library* And – get this – NEITHER DOES MY SCHOOL LIBRARY!!!!!!! No. Just no. WHY??!!!!!!???????!!!!!!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

I have to say that this is my favourite manga by far so I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM GOING TO DO!!!!!!!!!!! 0.0 *sigh*

I really liked the characters and the whole plot line. It’s something I can really relate to and I can just imagine her frustration!! As Celaena from “Throne of Glass” by Sara J. Maas was told by her mentor “second place is just a fancy name for first loser”. No true exactly, but it’s pretty much the mindset of everyone who comes second… Don’t tell me you haven’t thought it before! 😉

In fact, I liked this story so much I missed my bus stop coming home from school today because I was so engrossed in it… Not fun. I just loved everything about it!! XD I remember being recommended to watch the anime but didn’t because it wasn’t dubbed (to my knowledge), but now I really want to!! Especially if I can’t get the manga… But I feel I can only really follow it if it’s dubbed… 😦

Anyway, I love this book and I highly recommend it! 6 Stars for the win! ^_^