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.
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.
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.
Michael Jackson was everything to me from the time I became old enough to acknowledge him, right up until I was about 25 years old.
When I read posts about other people’s fandoms; of other people writing about someone or something as a ‘lifeline’, I cringe and feel embarrassed for them, so I’ll try not to do that.
However, being a fan of Michael brought very many special things to my life — the most important being friendship. Its no secret to most people that I had traveled to see him live (or at least, in person) on occasions — through those travels, I built friendships with other people who I had a lot in common with – the type of people that I wouldn’t/couldn’t encounter in my everyday life.
Aside from that, my experiences meeting Michael Jackson face-to-face are treasured memories that not a lot of people were able to experience. At that point in my life, I didn’t ever think anything could ever be more exciting than seeing the person that I had looked up to for decades right in front of me staring back at me welcoming, friendly, loving and kindly. And honestly? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such excitement since — I was right to revel in it.
Michael Jackson, as his son put it today, the day of his birthday, was to most a legend and myth– someone who became known more for the media’s portrayal of him — the target board of a playful game of darts over at the office — he ceased to be human to most; a personality rather than a person – and the kind of water-cooler fodder that most took glee in poking fun at.
Honestly, those reasons alone are probably one of the reasons why Michael Jackson died a very slow victimised death. From the rise of the top, to the fall that was carefully constructed at the hands of the media and those who sought to profit from the sincerity of his soul.
For me, personally, I will never forget the time in my life at 19 years old where I felt stuck and without confidence or plans for the rest of my life – where Michael Jackson took my hand in his, took the time to ask about my life, asked questions with interest before telling me that I had a brilliant future ahead of me and that all it takes is one person to tell you that they believe in you to give you the faith to move mountains. I will never forget the way he added that he truly believed in me. He told me that if I was going to be a writer, I was to do it well, to do it fairly and to always have heart in my work.
And again, he believed in me.
It seems so corny perhaps to some, but at 19 years old, I walked away holding the world in my hands.
He was special and people knew it — unfortunately even those who were unkind.
It is easy to forget that while he was not only a musical legend and entertainer, he was also, most importantly, someone’s father, someone’s brother and someone’s son, someone’s best friend – and none of those people deserved to lose someone so tragically – especially not his children who I will always remember watching him parent with love and kindness and good-humour.
This is my birthday dedication to someone who became the king of my heart – who always remains there in a very special place with a love that feels unique that I couldn’t replicate for anyone else. It has been seven years since he’s been gone and while I have grown up and moved on from that part of my life – I have a life here planted in Australia with my partner and dog and a job, I still have my friendships that he left me with; I still have the music and most importantly, I have unique, special memories of my teenage years and early adulthood.
Along with his life, this also deserves to be celebrated.
Happy birthday, Michael Jackson. I always loved you more.
I am not a trail-blazing feminist the way I felt like I was in my early/mid twenties, but I still like to call out sexism as it is when I see it or when I am the subject of it– in that case it is especially hard to ignore. This post is going to be about the daily sexism I have encountered in the past few months.
Sometimes I go to sleep early — around 8-9pm if I’m tired enough. As a result I can be up as early as 5:30, but usually at least just after 6am. I like to work out before I go to work because I find it helps my moods and my anxiety for the day. Last week, I woke up at 5:40am, ate breakfast and put my work out clothes on to go do forty on the treadmill and then my circuit work out. Sometimes after a work out, I am absolutely ravenous. On this particular day, I spent a further 30 minutes making my lunch for the day and faffing about on the internet before work. I realised when it was too late that I needed to eat something before work.
I got to work and found that I had a packet of potato chips sitting on my desk from the day before that I had bought and forgotten to eat. With no other food options, I opened the bag and began to eat them. I know, I know — a lady of my age and my size (14), I could probably have stood to go without, or at least eat something that would allow me to be more of a proper lady.
I opened the door to someone and was met with a funny look from an older gentleman. He said, “are you eating chips?” (gasp, shock horror!)
Cheerfully, I said, “Yep! Want one?” offered. He declined. He said, “It’s a bit early, don’t you think?” (It was after 9am).
Still cheerful, I said, “I’ve been up for almost 5 hours now! I’m starving!”
Then, I got a lecture on how unhealthy it was to be eating potato chips at ‘this time of morning’ (or at all) and that I should try a piece of fruit.
Fuck off. Firstly, I’m sure he wouldn’t have commented on my dietary condition if I was a guy. Also, if I chose to eat chips at 9:30 or fucking 8pm, it would still be unhealthy. If I had a fucking piece of fruit handy, I still probably would have unapologetically enjoyed the salty snack.
And all that aside? How about you just mind your fucking business, mate?
I usually find that men who are roughly the same age as my father don’t understand just how smarmy and patronising their comments and remarks can be.
I try not to be too hard on people, sometimes they may not even realise how or why what they’ve said can be taken the wrong way, but if no one ever tells them, then how can they correct their behaviour?
One that I hear almost often – in every job I’ve ever worked and also outside of any job I’ve ever worked; “good girl”.
How arrogant, how patronising — how fucking insulting. I am not a dog. I am not your pet (I’ve been called pet, it burns me right fucking up!) do not praise me as if I am one. I am also not a girl, I am almost 33 years old. All you need to do is say thank you, that will be enough. No pet names, no back-handed insults. Oh, and no I don’t want to call you fucking Adonis (yes, that was something that happened on another occasion) at all — ever.
I opened a door for someone the other day while the woman struggled to leave the shop where I was coming in from and once she was out, she said, “good girl!” — and honestly I wanted to let the door slam on her. I understand the intention is not cruel or patronising and in fact, its probably just gratitude, but it feels condescending and when it comes from a man, it feels like sexism at it’s finest.
In another situation outside of work, a man I knew continually referred to my friend as “the bitch”, based on a stupid misunderstanding on both their parts — both had spoken politely to one another since the occasion and it was only behind her back that he continued to call her a ‘bitch’ until I finally spoke up. What makes a person think that it is actually okay to continually refer to a person in an insulting way after a situation had been resolved?
Next time someone calls me a “good girl”, it’s going to go down like this;
“Good girl!” “Yes, I am a good girl, may I have a treat?” “Huh? A treat?” “You said I was a good girl like I’m a fucking obedient animal, now where is my fucking treat!”
Because honestly, if I hear it one more time I’m going to lose my shit.
…. Actually not really. See what I did there? I totally excited you for a moment and you thought you were going to read something that would shatter everything you know and thought about scientology right here in this review right?
And that’s kind of how I felt about this book. Got me all excited to read things that I didn’t already know about scientology and how exposing this would be– and don’t get me wrong, there were things that I read in this book that made me furious and confused and frustrated — but never shocked.
I feel a little bit bad saying negative things about someone’s biography because you’re basically bitching about their experience. What you’re saying is, “your life experience is boring, make it more interesting!” so I’m not going to do that. This book is not boring by any means, but given the title, I think I expected to be shocked.
The thing is, what we as a collective community already know about Scientology is this; L Ron Hubbard is a fraud. Scientology is a giant pyramid scheme whereby the people at the top are the only ones seeing the money. Celebrities buy in to Scientology because they have entirely way too much money and didn’t spend enough time at school discerning shit from clay. Tom Cruise is an idiot. L Ron Hubbard reckons that some Xenu from the planet he made up in one of his books is going to come back and help them all out. They don’t believe in psychiatry (I know this because Tom Cruise said so, lol).
The rest of it seems far less ridiculous in comparison.
Jenna Miscavige is the neice of Dave Miscavige who had the job of taking over when L Ron Hubbard died. This book is the account of her moving with her family to become a part of the secretive “Sea Org”. Jenna and her brother were split from their parents from a young age and were forced to do manual labor as part of their contribution to the sea org and in most ways become responsible for themselves.
Children were give adult jobs and responsibilities and no real compassion was afforded to them from the higher up members.
This was probably the most alarming part of the book for me — children forced to grow up like little robots without all the things that children require to become well-adjusted adults. Given that Jenna and I are the same age, I was especially angry and frustrated reading how atypical her upbringing was from mine.
The clear and most evident thing from this book is how the church of scientology play divide and conquer among people who are not complying to their every whim and rule. The self esteems of those who didn’t follow the rules were entirely eroded until they had no choice but to ‘recognise’ the error of their own ways.
Given that I have grown up from my late teens and in to my adulthood as a mostly practicing Christian, I find it strange that this church is so secretive. If something is so wonderful and so good, why are the members so unwilling to speak loudly and proudly about the church? I don’t necessarily like get-in-your-face-preaching Christians, but I am not ashamed of my faith nor have I ever been unopen to critisism where it is due.
Jenna Miscavige was an incredibly strong-minded individual who had to be such in order to endure and accept the treatment that she was given within the church. She was equally lucky to meet someone within the confines of the divisive walls of the church who was able to see it for the fraud that it was.
I admired her will and her ability to stand up to those in charge in times of turmoil and solitude.
If you are looking for explosive stories, this probably isn’t the book for it, but if you are looking to read about whole the secretive sea org functions and are interested in learning about the church, then it’s a good read.
I liked it, but I felt at times it was a little tedious — as I said though, this is someone’s experience and it’s not really my right to critique that.
And lastly, can we revisit that scientologists think psychiatry and medicine is not a real thing? And that they know better? That they know that more than what we do when it comes to mental health? (And by we, I mean scientists who dedicate decades to their work on helping those live with mental health illness?)
My name’s Dane Cobain, and I’m an indie author, poet and musician from the UK. I’m here today to talk about indie authors, money, and how the two of them rarely come together. The truth is, it’s almost (almost, but not quite!) impossible for an indie author to make any money from their work, and I think that’s a shame.
And the problem isn’t really down to the readers – after all, there are a lot of keen readers out there who are buying, sharing and supporting the work of indie authors. The problem is with the process itself – you see, it’s not easy to release a book. You might think that the hard work ends after you’ve spent a couple of years planning and writing the damn thing, but that’s not true at all.
For a book to be ready to go to market, you need to work with a professional editor to make sure that your manuscript is perfectly polished, and you also need to find a good cover designer to make the book stand out. Both of these require a cash investment, unless you’re lucky and you’re able to cut a deal with someone. But you can’t cut corners and edit your own work – even if you’re an editor yourself. You need that level of objectivity, and you need to get a second pair of eyes to look at it.
Cover designs also cost a little extra because you need to cover the usage rights for the images. And then once that’s done, you have to think about the cost of ISBNs etc., as well as some of the other little bits and bobs that are associated with publishing costs.
And then there are marketing costs – for example, if you send your books out to bloggers, you need to cover the basic cost of the book and then the postage, which all adds up. If you run competitions then you need to worry about the prizes. Even paying for web hosting and a domain name can add up, over time.
Oh, you make a little money back, of course. You earn a percentage back from each sale, and you can sell physical copies at events for a profit. I’d estimate that I make somewhere in the region of £30-50 per month in profit from royalties and sales, but I spend around £50-75 on sales and marketing.
And it’s not just me, either – I’m friends with literally dozens (if not hundreds!) of authors, and I only know one or two who are able to support themselves through their writing alone. Even then, they’re supplementing the income that they make from book sales with freelance writing work and other consultancy services.
The fact is, unless you already have a huge social media following – YouTubers, I’m looking at you – then you’re always going to struggle to sell enough books to make a living from it. And unfortunately, new publishers are starting to focus on marketing potential rather than on the ability of the author when they sign new people to the books (no pun intended).
It’s capitalism in action, and it’s just the way that the world works, but it does make it more difficult for indie authors. As for myself, I work from 9-5:30 at a marketing agency, and work from 6:30 until midnight most evenings, as well as 14-16 hours a day at the weekend, if I’ve got nothing planned.
It’s hard work being an author, and it’s often financially unrewarding. But we don’t write for the money. We write because we’re compelled to write. That’s just how it is.
But it’s okay, because you can do your bit – buy a book from an indie author. The royalties will almost give them enough money to buy half a pint of beer, and you’ll get a book out of it, too!
You can check out Dane’s social media and website by clicking on the following links:
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.