Skip to main content

Weekly Review and Recommendations: Week 7

The beautiful chaos between organization bouts. Thank you finals.

Hey guys! This week I only got around to two books (sorry), but I've had a busy week. This week looks like it's gonna be busy again, so I'm not going to push myself to finish my current read tonight. But that means I can guarantee at least one great book next week: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowe. Not only have I heard great things about this title, I'm halfway through and so impressed. As for my books this week, I had one good read and one not so much. It was unfortunate, but you have to read a few every once and a while. Enjoy!

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (https://www.amazon.com/Every-Last-Tamara-Ireland-Stone-ebook/dp/B00RY6YX56/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1493051209&sr=1-1&keywords=every+last+word)
Overview: Every Last Word is the story of Samantha McAlister member of the popular group The Crazy Eights. But things with the popular girls are starting to fall apart. How can a friendship where you have to hide your biggest secret last? That's when Sam discovers the secret world of Poet's Corner and its members. With help from her new friends and her therapist, Sam learns to own her OCD, cope with the symptoms, and find people she can feel free to talk to. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 4 I thought that the protagonist, Sam, was well crafted and multifaceted character. Stone's expression of Sam's OCD was well done, and her inner conflict about change, even healthy change, is quite relatable. I also liked AJ and Sue's characters. The poets were all well developed and contributed positively to both Sam's and the story's growth.
The Eights are not the most well rounded group, and Stone does not work hard to show us all their angles. Which is fine, but I felt it was a bit off from Sam's character to give them a one sided approach. Stone's offhanded tries at giving them a humanity seem forced and out of character.

Plot: 4 The plot showed the evolution of Sam's life and the space of time she grows more comfortable with her OCD nicely. I thought that the story served the characters, but I didn't find it in any way spectacular.

Writing: 4 I thought that Stone did a great job representing OCD in the story. She stayed very honest to the emotions and presented them in a way that displays them but also discusses them and shows them as a person faced with this disorder would. Otherwise, I found that the writing blended into the background and wasn't particularly remarkable. Which is just fine. My only thought is that the story didn't sparkle as much as it had to potential to, but overall, it is was still a satisfying, worthwhile read.

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (https://www.amazon.com/Life-Fishbowl-Len-Vlahos-ebook/dp/B01M2BO90I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493419941&sr=8-1&keywords=life+in+a+fishbowl)
Overview: Life in a Fishbowl, in a back of the book description, is about a family who becomes the center of a reality show when Jared, who is dying of cancer, attracts attention of a television producer by putting his life on eBay. While the eBay listing gets shut down, Jared gets a $5 million deal to film his final months for reality television. Something that feels like winning the lottery quickly turns sour when the family finds that the intrusion of the cameras and the lies of the production department become too much. This book has a promising premise, but with too many points of view, far too many offensive comments and ideas to ignore, and an overexploited, down-talking voice of a middle grade novel paired with the language and one liners of a YA novel. Overall: 2

Characters: 3 The only characters that I liked were the Jackie and Deirdre Stone. Coincidentally, or maybe not, they were the only characters who weren't exploited stereotypes or insensitive, off color portrayals. There was the psychotic Simon Knightsborough who decides he wants to purchase and kill Jerad Stone. He is written as a rich man who has always been rich and used his money for plenty of heinous and outrageous escapades, some of which cross the life too far to joke about. It is clear that Knightsborough must have some kind of mental illness but it is all used as comedic fodder. Then there is the crazy nun who is a blogger and terribly self absorbed and overly exaggerated. I'm not religious, but it was even offensive to me. Then there was the over the top television executive who is entirely self centered and does his receptionists. Also, giving the brain tumor a point of view, a ridiculous one at that, is terribly insensitive. Cancer is a very serious thing. You can bring levity to a sad situation without exploiting it. So, ya, even though I do have cancer, a mental illness, practice Catholicism, or any of the farther number of serious topics this book uses for a cheap laugh, I am somewhat offended by how they constructed this story.

Plot: 3 The plot was what made me not give up on this story. Both the concept of putting your life up for sale on eBay and the then concept of the a reality show and the reality of a reality show is intriguing. Unfortunately, the execution never was so amazing I could look past all the other flaws. I liked the subplots about exposing the producers tactics and Jackie working with everyone to outwit the company, but that was pretty much where it ended.

Writing: 2 I take many issues with this. First, the way the story is written, every detail is over explained to the most frustrating degree. This works when you're writing for middle school and under, but with YA, you need to give the reader more credit. If it wasn't so offensive, filled with curse words, which I don't care about but wouldn't give to my fifth grade brother, and innuendo filled, I would have handed it to him.
Also, this is written in third person personal with nearly ten points of view that switch multiple times over six chapters. This makes the whole narrative not so much confusing as impersonal. Either use first person and choose a few key characters to make POV characters or use third person omniscient . Because of this, I feel like I never got to know any of the characters enough to care about them.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn Cover Reveal

Today is a very special post because I get to show you all a first glimpse at More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn's sophomore novel. I've been excited about this book since I finished You'd Be Mine, and I'm so happy to finally be able to see the cover and learn a little more about Luke and Vada. Before I get to telling you about MTM and showing off the cover, I just wanted to talk a little bit about how I first found and fell for Erin's work. I randomly stumbled upon You'd BeMine on Netgalley and decided to give it a try, and from the second I read the first page and heard Clay's voice so clearly in my head, I was hooked. After I finished reading, I wanted to know more about the book, the characters, and how the story came to be, so I reached out to Erin, and she was sweet enough to agree to do an interview. I know I'm not supposed to pick favorites, but her thoughtful answers and complete sincerity makes my interview with her one of my favorites of them all. I…

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

Permanent Record Review

Permanent Record by Mary HK Choi
Overview: Pablo's life is a mess. He works at a bodega or a "health food store" depending on who you ask, which is about the only thing he has going right at the moment. He dropped out of NYU, though that debt still follows him, along with the credit card bills from some ill advised buying sprees. He has a good group of friends that he lives with and a family that genuinely does love him, but he has no clue what he's doing. What's the end goal? Who knows... Overall: 5 

General Thoughts: This is not a normal part of my reviews, but I had some things I wanted to say that don't necessarily fit anywhere else. 1) I love this book, but I feel like it's for a very particular set of readers. You MUST be a lover of character driven stories because a lot of this book is exploring Pablo's mind. I love that. I honestly don't care about plot if I love your characters, but I know a lot of people aren't like that, so fair warni…

Goodbye, Perfect

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard (January 29)
Overview: Eden has always been the irresponsible one with poor grades, a loud mouth, and a general air of irresponsibility, but it's her friend Bonnie that takes over the headlines of every major news station in the UK. Bonnie disappears with her ,music teacher and parent boyfriend, Jack Cohen, better known to everyone at Kett as Mr. Cohen. Eden can't believe that a friend would do this, but, suddenly, when she gets a WhatsApp message from Bonnie, she's clued in to their runaway mission. Pressured by her family, Bonnie's, and the cops, Eden refuses to tell them what they know because she made a promise to her best friend. Overall: 3.5 

Characters: 3 Okay, I guess I can see some of the thinking behind these characters, but it wasn't articulated very well. Eden refuses to tell on her friend even though she knows how wrong and serious the situation is. I can see making a promise and being hesitant, but I can't see a sixt…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

You'd Be Mine Review

You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn (April 2) To Purchase From Your Local Bookstore (Affiliate Link)
Overview: Clay Coolidge is the new hotshot in country music, but his tour hinges on him signing his opening act, Annie Mathers. While they doubt Clay can keep his cool on the summer tour highlife, they know that Annie has a promising career ahead of her because she's the product of two of countries hottest, and most infamous, country superstars. Even though the door starts as a business deal, it winds up being a journey of self discovery and a love story of its own. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Annie and Clay are more than just celebrities or musicians. They're real people, and, while you get a glimpse at their larger than life sides, Hahn never lets you get swept up in the glitz and the glamor. They are two brand new adults in a brand new world, still mourning losses from their old one.
Annie has been trying to outrun her parents, and their famous double suicide, since she found their b…

Into YA with Laura Silverman

Today I'm posting an interview that has been a long time in the making. I reached out to do this interview with Laura before You Asked For Perfect came out, and then things got busy so it's been a minute since doing this interview, but YAFP is one of my favorite books all year. If you haven't read the book, it is an absolute must read for anyone involved in high school, heading to senior year, in education, or is a parent. I've never read a book where I yelled "That's me!" so many times. Here's my review to catch up so that you can have a little context for that. 

1. Where did you get the inspiration to write a book about the reality students today face? I love how you delve into the intense pressure to take as many APs as possible, and, as the title implies, to be perfect.
I went to an academically competitive high school where we were encouraged to take as many AP classes as possible and to sign up for extra electives, which led to things like zero pe…

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Nice Try, Jane Sinner Lianne Oelke (420 pages)
Overview: Jane wants to forget the past. Forget the high school that expelled her. Forget the people that watched her fall from grace. Forget her family who thinks that prayer is the answer to everything. Facing community college at Elbow River as a last resort graduation option, she signs up to be on House of Orange, a new web reality show, to solve her housing problem. Though she knows to expect the unexpected, House of Orange and its inhabitants test Jane in ways she never imagined. Maybe the year won't be as bad as she imagined. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 I LOVE Jane. There are very few main characters I can say that I appreciated more. Her sarcasm, dry humor, and outlook on life echoed my own thoughts, and I loved how she was so introspective. It is fascinating to listen to Jane work through her own thoughts and recognize her behaviors as masks for other feelings. I also thought that Oelke did a wonderful job with her depiction of Ja…

Spin

Spin by Lamar Giles (387 pages)
Overview: Fuse and Kya have lost their best friend. #ParSecNation lost their leader, and the Dark Nation has decided to do something about it, even if it means terrorizing those who were closest of her. DJ Paris Secord, or ParSec was murdered at a warehouse she planned to throw a party in. Fuse and Kya found her when they'd come to make amends for different issues they'd rather the public, or the cops, not know about. But they both want to see Paris's killer caught, so they might have to overcome their differences and work together. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 Fuse, Paris, and Kya all get a turn to narrate the story which I enjoyed. They each have their own voices and personalities that really shine through and bring a different angle to the same storyline.
Fuse is rich. Her dad runs a successful marketing company, and she shifted what she learned from him to making Paris's music and brand famous. She helped Paris climb the ranks, but, at t…

Izzy and Tristan Review

Izzy + Tristan by. Shannon Dunlap (324 pages)
Overview: Izzy and Tristan have a love story. When Izzy's family renovates a moves into a new house on a Brooklyn block their lives change. Her twin brother Hull almost immediately gets into a fight, pulling a knife on some neighborhood kids after a gambling chess match goes wrong. Izzy falls for Tristan, the boy who won Hull's match. With Hull away at a rehabilitation center, Izzy and Tristan are free to fall for each other until Marcus decides that he wants to take revenge on Hull by dating his sister. And even when that battle is overcome, police brutality draws a permanent line between the couple. Overall: 2

*Okay, I'm not really sure how to write a spoiler free review of this because the shocker ending is what I take the most issue with. I'll keep it spoiler free in the characters and plot section, but I will talk about the ending in the writing section. I still recommend you read it, even if you plan on reading the boo…