Megan Abbott is a Goodreads fan-favourite so I picked up this book on a whim between another book that I’d been struggling with.
Devon is a teenaged Olympic Gymnastics hopeful. Her parents are heavily involved with a very tight-knight group of gymnastics community, but no other gymnast is as as talented as prodigy, Devon and Kate and Eric Knox have stopped at nothing to help pave her way to success.
The gymnastics community is rocked when the young, good looking boyfriend of an assistant coach meets a violent and mysterious death and suddenly Kate and Eric Knox are finding out things about each other, their friends and their children that they are shocked to learn.
Honestly, I didn’t even know what this book was about when I started to read – I actually thought it was going to be a young adult novel but I was wrong. It was a beautifully written mystery thriller that was from the perspective of Kate Knox, Devon’s mother. I wasn’t sure that I could keep track of the large circle of characters at first and it did take me some time to figure them all out — most become periphery characters and the main ones become quite clear very quickly.
You Will Know Me was a great little surprise and my introduction to Megan Abbott as an author. I have heard a lot of buzz around her work and have generally tried to keep low expectations when it comes to hype — but I feel like her writing style was fantastic and kept me wanting to know what was going to happen. Even if I had all but figured out what was going on before it unraveled, I was still able to enjoy the wrap-up of the mystery.
This is a very short review, but there was really nothing bad that I had to say about it.
I would recommend this book to anyone except for maybe my friend, Belinda because her line of work would just leave her picking at plot holes that might not be obvious to anyone else reading 😉
Let it be known that I have since purchased three other Megan Abbott books.
If you are looking for a thrilling bit of book that sucks you in and takes you in to a world of whimsy and slight oddness, than this book is something you should run away from, stat.
In 2015, my friends bought me this book as a late birthday present. I loved the visual aids and thought it was going to be so good.
I decided I would make it my 2017 first read and I was totally let down. Totally.
I don’t usually bitch and complain about books because I like to acknowledge that it’s a difficult process and well, let’s face it… no one like’s to have any old nobody come and take a giant shit on their hard work and hours of effort…
It started off soooooo good! Jacob’s grandfather is the only surviving member of his family during the holocaust and is sent to stay in a home where he was protected from the Nazi’s. Jacob has a close-knit relationship with his grandfather who told him stories of his peculiar friends from the home. Jacob eats it all up until he is at a coming of age and realises that none of it could possibly be true.
Jacob is a poor little rich boy who has no friends (and I’m not surprised, because he’s a snivelling little shit) and hates his mediocre life even though he obviously has two great parents who love and care for him.
When Jacob’s grandfather starts making gibberish comments and stops answering his phone, Jacob finds him at his house after dark, dying in the scrub behind his house. Jacob sees monsters and his grandfather’s dying words become a riddle which he spends the next 100 or so pages trying to decipher.
Honestly, it was kind of dragging by that stage. I downloaded the audio book to listen to to and from work because its harder to stop ‘reading’ when you’re driving.
All of it turned in to a mess of time travel, time loops, odd children with forced dialogue and odd storylines. (The grandfather’s sweetheart turns in to Jacobs…) he decides to stay in the 1933 time loop and his dad is totally okay with it all. He realises after time that he’s also peculiar and has special powers or some crap…
To be honest, I stopped paying a lot of attention because I was either raging out a Camry driver or I got lost in the excessive plot.
Honestly, the book could have been a thousand times better. The peculiar characters could have been better and I could have felt less underwhelmed as the book came to a close.
My friend told me that perhaps the movie would be better in this case – especially given that it’s a Tim Burton film. Makes sense right?
The movie was so much worse. Jacob was the most emotionless character I’d ever seen. His acting was terrible. Mrs. Peregrine was smug and almost evil. I hated it. I watched about 45 minutes before deciding that it missed so much of the actual detail that without reading the book one would probably be confused.
So, not only was money spent on the hardcopy, but I also had a Kindle version that I read from bed. I also bought the audio companion from Amazon … and then spent $6.99 on the movie rental.
Wrong Girl by Zoë Foster-Blake is your average enjoyable rom-com chick-lit book for those who aren’t looking too hard to find purpose in a very, very fictional story.
I’m by no means a book snob. Sometimes I want to read the way I watch TV: without having to think too hard.
What I mean by this, is that sometimes I enjoy watching the Kardashians or The Vanderpump rules show – not because the people are likeable or that the story or characters are incredibly thrilling, but because it serves it’s cheap purpose: entertainment.
Chick-lit books are all similar in storyline and purpose and The Wrong Girl was really no different.
Girl is self-deprecating. Girl has model-looking girlfriends and is considered the odd one out in a circle full of otherwise carbon copies. Girl is quirky, clumsy but apparently also adorable in her awkwardness that is supposed to be the one thing that sets her apart.
Hot, strapping, beautiful species of male turns up and crazily enough has the personality and perfect amount of mature communication skills to boot.
Man sees the beauty in girl and takes on her annoying emotional self-loathe and turns saves the day and turns her in to some strong, independent (lols) take-no-shit woman that because of the way her man builds her up, manages to overcome subplot; this could be kicking away the dead weight friends that make her feel so bad about herself, give up drugs, shopping or other “cute” addiction or even a career advancement.
I pretty much summed up The Wrong Girl in this summary which happens to be the same formula for most chick-lit books. This is written in a characteristically Australian way which sometimes made me cringe and other times made me feel like I was proud of Foster-Blake. It was a cute story that I struggled for a short while to get in to which may have not been due to the writing, but perhaps more to do with personal circumstance.
I liked the characters in The Wrong Girl but couldn’t help but to wonder why her best friend (from the first few chapters) was just long-forgotten after the plot began to unfold. Did the author forget him? Given that they were supposed to be friends for 10 or so years, I was surprised by how quickly the MC gave him the heave-ho. Seemed odd.
This Wrong Girl has been transformed to an Australian TV show that was vastly different to the novel. Given that most books far outweigh the TV/Movie adaptation, I was pretty happy with the TV show. I have to admit I liked it better than the book; perhaps the beautiful hunk that is Jack was played by a stunning indigenous man which doesn’t happen to often on Australian TV.
Overall, I enjoyed the light-hearted book. It wasn’t my favourite read of 2016, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at another book by Zoë Foster-Blake in the future.
Under Rose Tainted Skies is a unfiltered look at a life consumed by the rigours of mental health issues.
Norah has OCD and agoraphobia. This book chronicles her daily struggles and turmoils of dealing with invisible medical issues.
This book resonated with me for two main reasons:
This is not an overly-dramatic, tragedy-on-top-of-tragedy style novel.
Mental health issues aren’t always caused by a specific trauma or event that you can connect right back to the first time you encounter anxiety (not saying it doesn’t, but its not even nearly always the case). I hate to read books where 62 thousand awful things have happened to the main character that has led them to the point where they’re dealing with issues only when the author can be bothered delving in to them.
In Under Rose Tainted Skies, Norah’s initial mental health issues were not brought on by some kind of tragedy. Even during the small positive moments that run through her subconscious, she is ruled by her illnesses. They never fleet far from the story and are written so acutely and finely that I found myself crying within the first few pages. I have never read myself so accurately before.
“I stand at the top of the stairs, close my eyes and try to make my mind go blank.
Don’t go back. Don’t go back. You don’t need to go back.”
“I march back to my room, push the book in to its rightful position and then hate myself.”
It is very hard to find some kind of ‘entertainment’ medium that I find relatable to what I’m going through so when I come across it, I take hold and clutch it close to my chest and treasure it. Maybe it’s the whole misery-loves-company thing or maybe its the relief of finally being understood — either way, Under Rose Tainted Skies hits that chord with perfect precision. Louise Gornall is genius.
And, I’m not talking like, one of those flimsy Apple Fake Geniuses either…
the other main reason I loved Under Rose Tainted Skies so much;
Norah, the character of this book is not saved by a boy/man.
I read one book about agoraphobia and anxiety recently (I won’t mention titles, you can read it and work it out if you like) and I wrote what I felt like, was a very kind review when I actually wanted to convey sheer irritation.
Boys cannot solve our fucking world of mental health illness. If anything, they generally bumble for the right thing to say and end up making it worse – much less, teenage boys. In the other book I read a boy came along and pretty much resolved the main character’s entire worldly issues including the deeper issue (the mother) as a subplot.
The boy that comes in to Norah’s life doesn’t serve as her saviour. He serves as her friend; someone to speak to, someone to inspire her to take very tiny baby steps toward recovery. Luke is awkward, Luke says a couple of stupid things and he even does a couple of stupid things — but at least it’s realistic and Norah doesn’t suddenly seem to shed her OCD or agoraphobia the second she sets her sights on him.
Even touching hands with Luke for the first time proves to be traumatic and true to someone who suffers all of the issues that encumber Norah.
Impressively, Luke isn’t a means to an end of Norah’s mental health issues, he is helpful in terms of showing her that she is still worthy of being loved and proves to her that not everybody is going to label her or judge her for what she is going through.
I think what I loved the best about this story is that perhaps recovery is possible for some; but usually not for everyone and this story holds true to that. Norah does not magically get better. There is no skipping to the future to see her running outdoors with Luke to fly a kite or some shit, but the reader is left with a tiny grain of hope that the main character is taking all the positive steps forward to get along with life and cope with her illnesses the very best that she can.
This is what we all hope to be able to do when we feel debilitated by our very, very bad days — to just be able to cope.
Under Rose Tainted Skies is going to get a five out of five for me. Louise Gornall is my new hero.
Amy Schumer – I wasn’t even sure how I felt about her before I read this book. In truth, my most instant thought association was her appearance on Lena Dunham’s stupid podcast or whatever it is. In that podcast, Lena Dunham talked shit out of her asshole again and made offensive, self-serving comment about an NFL player that didn’t make googly eyes at her and went on to ascribe her own feelings of sexism upon him – when he, an innocent party, had no idea that he’d even done anything wrong.
Anyway, that aside, I felt like Amy Schumer has been a little hypocritical in the past.
That being said, haven’t we all? We’re human, we’ve all got our short-falls, and Amy Schumer is not an exception; so if something she has said in present, conflicts with something she said off-the-cuff a zillion years ago, is it really fair to judge her solely upon that?
So I bought the book from my trusty, fun friends over at K-Mart (Goodness me, I love Kmart). I decided to give it a go.
I was not sorry.
Amy Schumer opens the book stating that if one is to look for advice, they will not find it stuck inside the pages of her book.
I felt like she was selling herself short dramatically; especially when I read things like this;
“There are a lot of firsts like this in life, little flashpoints here and there when you’re unknowingly becoming a woman. And it’s not the cliched shit, like when you have your first kiss or drive your first care. You become a woman for the first time when you stand up for yourself when they get your order wrong at dinner, or when you realise your parents are full of shit.
You become a woman the first time you get fitted for a bra and realise you’ve been wearing a very wrong size your whole fucking life. You become a woman the first time you fart in front of a boyfriend. The first time a heart breaks. The first time you break someone else’s heart.”
Throughout this book, Amy made me both laugh and cry. She talked about her childhood, her lessons in trust, her relationship issues – coming from abuse and breaking the pattern of behaviours that can be too hard to shake.
Amy shared excerpts from her diary with footnotes (and one or two that, I am not shitting you, I laughed so hard I could breathe and had to call my best friend and share it with her so that she could hear me laugh so hard that I couldn’t breathe) which show that she too, had a dramatic teenage and young-adult life just the same as any other girl reading the book.
Her self-deprecating humour really appeals to me because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how I joke about life too. Her funny-yet-tragically sad chapters about her father’s batter with MS made me cry and also laugh.
Over-all, I feel like on paper she’s incredibly witty, smart and just like me, she is an introvert and basically that makes me like her.
In all seriousness, I judged unfairly. I loved this book and I read it very quickly.
And after this book I watched some stand up, she is brutal — but hilarious. I have a newfound respect for her. I might even go to see her stand up over Christmas! Who knows!
Oh, September, I promised I wouldn’t buy anymore books while you were visiting…
But oh well, I lied.
Really though, I have no reason to purchase anymore books for as at least the month of October and November … unless they’re at a bargain price…
I’m not the kind of person who reads to a schedule. A lot of book bloggers have their month mapped out in terms of what they plan on reading — but that’s not me, I’m not the ordered and organised type. My blog schedule is a mess, I don’t stick to my own plans, my social media is always in shambles — quite frankly, I’m surprised I can put my pants on the right way round in the morning.
And yet, somehow I manage to.
For that, I think we can all be thankful.
For the past few months I’ve been actively reading two books at a time – ask me a year ago and this would have been unheard of! Mixing characters and plots, sounds so… dirty. And yet, there is a method to my madness.
I use an e-Reader (Kindle, actually) when I read in bed at night so as not to keep company awake (my dog hates it when I leave the lamp on, she can’t sleep) and my vision in dim-light becomes even more impaired (and really, have you ever tried to wear your glasses laying down? Its actually not even an option, ridiculous!) and in the harsh light of day (hisssss!), I read my hardcopy book so as not to annoy anyone or destroy my vision.
I’ll tell you what, though, I bought “When The Moon Is Low” by Nadia Hashimi despite the fact that I’ve already read it (it is a beautiful story regarding Afghani refugees)… but all of these books here cost me well under $100.
So, fact about me; I am a really big fan of anything Wizard of Oz related. I mean, I liked the movie as a kid, but as an adult I’ve really appreciated the simplicity of it. We recently watched it and my boyfriend made fun of how ‘stupid’ it was and I had to point out that 1939 was a much different time – the Wizard of Oz was considered incredible for its time as was Judy Garland. I pointed out that he’s been ruined by movies full of blood, guts, sex and debauchery. Aside from that, I also love any other sub-stories that have been spun from the Wizard of Oz alternate universe.
Wicked by Gregory Maguire is my #1 favourite book. It was one of the first books that allowed me to understand that awful feeling of book grief that many people complain about.
So… imagine how I felt today when I had a quick browse through a local bargain bookshop and saw these three books for FIVE DOLLARS EACH.
While I said that I don’t read to a monthly / September schedule or a pre-determined TBR list, I will probably read these three books next (maybe with something in between each, I am a glutton for everything that I love, I need to learn to pace myself).
I really, really hope that these will be wonderful books. I have read mixed reviews over at Goodreads, but those reviewers also tried to tell me that Irvine Welsh’s, Sex Lives of Siamese Twins was bad and that John Green’s Looking for Alaska was ah-may-zah-hing, so heh, I know not to trust most of them.
So I’ve read three books already this September and right now I’m in the middle of reading the Amy Schumer biography, Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo. On paper she’s witty, intelligent and interesting – but I find her sometimes to be quite hypocritical in terms of her feminist views and practical approaches to certain issues. However, thankfully that’s not currently distracting from the book. On the kindle, I am reading The Time Travellers Wife finally after it has been recommended to me for years.
While I was on my bargain book shop, I also picked up this coffee table book for my Mum. She loves these comics and she doesn’t use the internet as much as she used to, so I figured a hardcopy version might give her a laugh or two.
After all that, I suppose more than posting about my book haul for September, I really probably just wanted to talk about how much I love Wizard of Oz alternate universe-based books/media.
Fun fact: I went through a stage where I was so obsessed with the Wicked Soundtrack, I made my fantasy Broadway actor cast for it in my head every day as I drove to work and of course I’d be the leading role of Elphaba and would choose the beautiful Fiyero to be played by the one and only Rent / Law & Order / The Flash broadway sensation, Jesse L Martin, and we’d sing the entire soundtrack together over and over and over — and ultimately fall in love on set and fly away on a broomstick together… and I’d stay home raising our children while he went back to the Central City precinct to help catch more Meta Humans with The Flash (yes, reality and Oz universe collided, made love and then took a giant dump here, I honestly don’t make a lot of sense of the fantasy either…).
Jesse L Martin
What I am basically saying, is that I sang the soundtrack to an audience of no one on a daily basis as I readied myself for work, drove to work, drove home from work and ultimately cried tears of, my life is so very, very small.
So yeah, there’s my September book haul that got kind of weird toward the end.
I read a really important book this week: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and I recommend it to anyone who has the will to learn about history and to become engulfed by some purely wonderful reading.
Three girls from three different lifestyles from three different countries cross paths during the rigours of World War II.
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.
An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.
For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.
The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten
I could not put this book down – I read 350 pages of it in one Sunday afternoon sitting (it did help that I have been sick and almost bed-ridden). I am a sucker for a good historical fiction any day of the week, but Martha Hall Kelly smashed this one right out of the park.
This book was written beautifully and from the perspective of all three women throughout important and poignant stages of their lives. As I read this book, I began to realise, without knowing too much, that this story was built on true events and actual people. I began to read some, research some and so on … I was so excited to realise that socialite, Caroline Ferriday was a real person!
I felt so connected to each character and so entranced by each of their stories and felt the heart break of both Caroline and especially Kasia. I had to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next, as well as cross referencing the actual historical version of events.
Martha Hall Kelly wrote the horrors of what the Nazi’s had subjected the Lilac Girls to, how the healthy young body’s were defiled and violated. She added colour and tone to facts and events that took place at Ravensbrück concentration camp as well as the Neuremberg Trials where Herta Oberheuser met her fate for the crimes that she had committed against humanity.
The portrayal of Caroline Ferriday was beautiful and easily imaginable. At first her chapters felt a bit dry, but as her plight began to unravel, I fell in love with her heart – the way she used her social standing for her cause and her unrelenting loyalty to those who were in need. I learned the most about Caroline Ferriday while researching for myself and saw that who she really was, is very accurate to how the author of Lilac Girls portrayed her.
The real Caroline Ferriday with the real Lilac Girls
I feel like this book was so cleverly put together and have an immense respect for the commitment and research that Martha Hall Kelly put in to make this book as beautiful and as brilliant as it is. Not only did I become engrossed in the story, but I also learned things about World War II that I didn’t know without it feeling like an overwhelming block of wordy information.
Over all, this has got to be one of the best books I have ever read. I was so grateful to receive an advanced readers copy from the legends over at Penguin Random House Australia – probably my most favourite book that I’ve received since beginning this blog. I don’t generally give books 5 stars, but I’ve been incredibly lucky to have read what have been two consecutive five star books.
I am going to recommend this book to everyone starting right here! Thank you Martha Hall Kelly for bringing the story of Caroline Ferriday and the Lilac Girls to light — another important story of devastation, bravery and heroism from the past that really needs to have more of a spotlight.
You can check over my reading history – you’ll see that it’s rare that I give anything a 5 star rating.
I don’t give things five star ratings in most cases because I am a no-shit, hard-to-please bitch.
I have so many things to say about this book and I’m not gonna lie to you, they’re mostly good and they’re real things and maybe it’s going to be personal, so if that’s gonna make you uncomfortable, stop reading now.
To quote the words of the only woman that I would ever truly turn officially gay for, Mariah Carey; Thank God, I found you I was lost without you. My feelings for Girl in Pieces are that real.
Kathleen Glasgow is amazing. She is amazing for a whole bunch of reasons, but I think we should celebrate the most important reason and it is this; she was brave enough to write something so raw and what would be so personally challenging and probably emotionally exhausting.
Girl In Pieces was about a young girl, not even an adult, who by circumstances, finds herself in situations that no person should have to endure; her coping strategies are self-harm which is where the book begins, 17 year old Charlie’s stay in a mental health facility, trying to deal cope with all of her issues and struggles.
This book reads like the mind of anyone going through a mental health illness and I have read similar books of the same nature that are written in the same way — it is pretty much an accuracy of dealing with mental health issues – it’s how the mind works; fleeting thoughts, repetitive feelings, anger, sadness, upset, calmness; rinse, wash, repeat.
I have read a few previous reviews for Girl in Pieces that angered me; I’m not looking to disrespect anyone, but all I’m saying is don’t do the book a disservice by rating it low because you don’t ‘connect’ with it. You’re not ‘connecting’ and you’re pulling it apart and saying that it’s too much bad stuff, because you haven’t dealt with real, debilitating and serious mental health issues because if you have/did, you would understand, that as Glasgow put it to me over twitter (yes, I know, I was a little fangirly about that) ‘some girls do not have an easy life.’
Girl in Pieces was realistic and an accurate portrayal of someone who is struggling with and who has struggled with mental health illness and still requires help after the hospital stay is over, after the doctors have concluded that you are no longer a threat to yourself. Girl in Pieces is about how sometimes we think we are going so well but can’t see the tiny bits of backsliding that are slowly but surely happening. This book is about the process of recovery – about how it isn’t and will never be perfect and that a cure is not within the realm of possibility.
Thank God for this book.
It brings truth and comfort to those who suffer mental health illness.
I have been on the search recently for fictional books that will accurately describe mental health issues and I have read a few that I didn’t bother reviewing based on how disappointed I was. Mental health isn’t a journey whereby the person is only sick until someone comes along and saves them and carries them off in to the fairytale sunset.
Whatever struggles encumber you, you will endure probably for a long time — it is just that with constant care and recovery, your coping skills become better and you live on the hope that all the things that you see in others will become a part of your life too; calmness, joy, happiness, laughter and a rational sadness that won’t spiral out of control.
As if it couldn’t get any better, I came across this quote and almost cried with relief;
“There’s nothing wrong with you, Charlie. Not one thing. Can’t you see that?” “But that’s a lie, isn’t it? Because there are so many things wrong with me, obviously and actually. What I want Mikey to say is: There are so many things wrong with you and it doesn’t matter.”
Sometimes this is the only reaction I want. For someone not to disregard flaws or fears or imperfections; to address them but to accept them unconditionally anyway. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is wrong; it’s truth, it’s not okay to pretend they’re not there to avoid discomfort.
This book had a realistic ending; not a fairytale ending.
And the personal authors note at the end of the book sealed the deal. Kathleen Glasgow was honest about her own experiences and offers hope and advice to those who are struggling.
Girl in Pieces is a hard read, its a dark read and it probably isn’t the book for some; it could even present as a trigger to someone going through something; but if you have mental health illness and you want to feel like you’ve been understood and fairly represented in terms of thoughts and feelings; I recommend this book to you. Maybe it won’t speak to you the way it spoke to me, but I hope that it will.
You know you’ve made it in the blogging world when someone thinks to tag you in one of their posts! .. Okay, maybe I haven’t made it and maybe no one sends me as many ARCs as the next blogger nor do I get lots of stuff for free, but I do love a cute little tag from one of my beautiful blogging counterparts.
So, Lys from over at The Mad Reader has tagged me in her post and so here I go… completing this tag using only Chelsea Handler gifs to convey my feelings.
Pick a book that started off bitter but got better
The Girls by Emma Cline. I read a lot of snarky and bad reviews about this book but I was determined to give it a go. It was slow to start. It was unnecessarily flowery and some of the metaphors really just made me want to punch myself in the groin.
But overall, as the book progressed and the plot unraveled and the character’s developed, I enjoyed it more and more and was able to look past the flowery descriptiveness.
Pick a book that made you smile beyond compare
Funny that I chose Chelsea Handler gifs to convey this post because all of her books make me laugh and smile. It’s rare that I laugh out loud at a book– but her books are absolutely hilarious. Some chapters I have had to screen shot and pass on to friends so that they too, can share in the hilarity. Chelsea is dry-humoured and funny, that is probably the best thing about her. So, for this one, I choose her second book, Chelsea, Chelsea Bang Bang – Chelsea Handler
Pick a book set in a foreign country
One of my favourite ever books — Girl At War by Sara Novic. This book is set in the Yugoslavia during the 1990s war between Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Croatia. It was a beautifully written book that describes this area of the world for exactly what it was before the war and what has taken so long to build back. For me, its slightly personal given my Croatian heritage.
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
Pick a book in which a mysterious or shady character was first introduced
The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh.
Hilarious, fucked-up, twisted, psychopathic, brilliant. From the beginning of this book, Lucy Brennan the MC is a total sociopath and she only unravels quickly as the plot begins to develop. As with most Irvine Welsh books, the plot is crazy but its so incredibly good! And FYI, the book has absolutely nothing to do with the sex lives of siamese twins (everyone always raises an eyebrow at me when I mention this book).
Pick a book that was grainy and the plot barely developed
Ugh. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This book took me an entire year to read. It was so slow, so shit, so not what all the Goodreads reviews promised me. I understand that this is an incredible controversial view to have — but it was just such a misrepresentation of fans in general.
Close second to this was My Favourite Manson Girl — I turned the pages and kept waiting for the exciting, amazing and spectacularly unique story to unravel and then I got to the last page and was like, oh? that’s it? right. And then I went back to Goodreads (on both accounts) to see that maybe I’d read the reviews wrong or got the books confused — but no, apparently these two books are front runners of YA.
Pick a character(s) that was full of life and made you smile
As much as she was really irritating in some essences of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes — I would have to say that Louisa Clark was full of life and made me smile especially in the sequel, After You. She could sometimes be over the top and embarrassing, but she had a beautiful heart and a lot of things that could have really kept her kicking a rock about and I always look for that kind of positivity and warmth in people in my own real life.
Pick a book that had some juicy secrets
I really can’t think of a book where a character or plot held a secret… Maybe I’ll give an honorable mention to Attachments by Rainbow Rowell — I disliked this book but mostly I think I dislike anything this author has to offer (no offence, its just that her books seem so vapid and simplified for me) but in terms of secrets, this book was full of them, mostly some creeper dude going through two people’s emails and reading everything about them like a peeping tom staring through a window every night — but just like, the technology version of invading someone’s privacy to that degree (and then the MC falls in love with him and is okay with all of this!?)
Pick a book that had a vast, big universe / setting
Wicked by Gregory Maguire.
I love this book, I love this book, I love this book! The alternate universe of this book is spectacular and descriptive unlike the unnecessary way that The Girls was written — I have such a brilliant imagery of the universe of where this story takes place! There is nothing snarky to say about this book imo. It was perfect.
Pick a book in which a character was portrayed as a hunk
Pretty much any novel where a male is involved, they’re a hunk. Its a bit boring. What about the guy who’s maybe not iron man, but who is kind, generous and loyal AF?! Honestly, its unrealistic for the school dork to be good at listening, good at being a supportive boyfriend and be incredibly hot — not to mention smart enough to be a Dr or a computer hacker.
I couldn’t figure out how on earth Jojo Moyes could possibly follow the story of Louisa Clark and the tragic romance with Will Traynor. I thought that it would be one of those attempts at squeezing as much out of a done-and-dusted story as possible, trying to continue the ride on the success of Me Before You…
Yep, now I’m just being a bitch.
But honestly, I couldn’t see how this was going to work.
But you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. I actually had to go back and re-rate Me Before You, because upon reflection, I realised how clever the novel truly was and despite a few of Louisa’s annoying quirks, I actually thought it was a beautifully written, emotive novel.
So Jojo Moyes brings us back to Louisa Clark around a year after everything that transpired with Will. She is struggling with her grief and is just going through the motions of life. She feels as though she hasn’t quite kept up with her promise to Will. She’s traveled, she’s lived abroad and been to all the tourist attractions that were on her list, but still feels a void.
“I loved a man who had opened up a world to me but hadn’t loved me enough to stay in it.”
She ends back in England, living in London and living a mundane life.
After a chance encounter, Louisa meets Sam, the attending paramedic who has just lost his wife and is surprised by a visitor who she could have never expected on her doorstep.
This book is a book about dealing with grief more than much else and for this reason I found it to be incredibly emotional and even at times upsetting, as certain elements seemed to hit me, personally.
“I think people get bored of grief,” said Natasha. “It’s like you’re allowed some unspoken allotted time — six months, maybe — and then they get faintly irritated that you’re not ‘better’. It’s like you’re being self-indulgent hanging on to your unhappiness”
Honestly? I think Jojo Moyes is a genius with this one. It is so succinct.
I think this is my favourite quote from the book. It is so accurate in life. People give up on you if you can’t shake your sadness within the quota of time that they have privately allotted for you. They stop asking, they take a step back and they are so afraid of being polluted by your grief that they disappear from your life until you have recovered.
Louisa was far less annoying in this novel and her parents weren’t as bad, but her Mum is still a basket-case. There was also an impressive character development of Camilla Traynor that I was pleased to see as she was painted as an evil, sterile bitch in Me Before You.
I read 78% of this book in bed last night because I couldn’t put it down. I would probably venture to say that I liked it more than Me Before You! Crazy, right?
There was only one quote that made me laugh/cringe;
“I wanted to resist him, but I couldn’t. I was giddy, diverted, sleepless. I got cystitis and didn’t care”
Ummm… I was sure she was referring to the fact that she had so much sex that she developed cystitis. Let me tell you something, as a chronic cystitis/UTI sufferer, anyone who develops an infection to a degree of cystitis is definitely going to care. That shit is no joke and if you are too careless with it, you’ll end up with a nasty kidney infection like that of what I am actually trying to get through.
Very odd sentence, indeed!
Besides that, I feel like Jojo Moyes did a truly fantastic job with this novel conveying the stages of grief and how there’s no true coffee-cup, over-night solution or recovery.