Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 34 Part 2

Hello, everyone! Today I have a review of one of the classic YA novels, The Perks of Being a Wallflower which I read over the summer. Later, I watched and greatly enjoyed the movie. I'm excited to get back to my favorite library in the world in a week, and I'm hoping that will wake me up from my reading slump!


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky (213 pages)
Overview: Charlie is starting high school, and he's scared about going to a school where he has no friends. He's always been a bit of a loner and an outcasting, observing the world instead of participating. When his new English teacher Bill to "participate", Charlie starts working harder to talk to people, which is how he meets senior step siblings Sam and Patrick who bring him into their friend circle. This exposes Charlie to a world that he couldn't even imagine from his sheltered life. Through a series of letters to an unknown an recipient, Charlie details his entire freshman year slowly revealing the trauma of his past. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Chobosky does a great job of making Charlie's voice so clear in these letters that you instantly get a sense of who he is as a person. It is interesting to follow his voice and experience, though sometimes the simplicity of the writing (though it was great for the character development) made it feel a bit flat, or something I just can't put my finger on. As I read, I got the impression that Charlie was somewhere on the Autism spectrum based on his great intelligence and social outlook, so I did some research, and though I wasn't the only one with that thought, others definitely made plausible assertions that it could be a mix of social anxiety and high intelligence. Reading all the different opinions in the Goodreads forum was very interesting.
As for the other characters, I really liked almost every one of them. Chobosky did a great job of shaping these characters and making them multifaceted through the biased lens. For everything he went through, Charlie really found a great group of supporters outside of his family in his life. And reading about his English teacher, Bill, who gave him advanced books to read and write about reminded me of a very special teacher in my life which was really great.

Plot: 4 Charlie's ups and downs and general experience came off as honest and engaging. I never wanted to stop reading, but there was never a time where I desperately had to keep reading because I just had to know what happened next.

Writing: 4 I felt like, craft wise, Chobosky executed what he set out to do well. The character building, letter structure, and plot were well executed. At times, I feel the book overextended itself trying to touch on all the issues out there instead of focusing on a few, but it was never a major issue.

General Thoughts: I had a really hard time scoring this book. I never disliked reading this book, and I don't think that there was anything particularly wrong with it, but I have some urge to score it lower than I ended up doing. While I did not do that because I could not justify it, I believe that came from the fact that when I finished the book, I had no feeling. It didn't make me happy or sad or feel some kind of greater understanding. And not every book has to deliver some great feeling, but usually there is at least something. I identified with certain parts on Charlie's anxieties and feelings, but I never felt a connection with him.
The more I think about it, I think it was that I could just never connect with Charlie. His unshakable innocence I found a bit off putting and would be bordering on unrealistic if Chobosky had not crafted Charlie in such a way. I guess the other part that was difficult for me was how elementary the writing in Charlie's letters were. He's lauded as a highly intelligent character and he could have had the same level of social naivety with writing ability that allowed for complex sentences and a wider vocabulary.

Links of Interest:
Week 34 Part 1: Will Greyson, Will Greysonhttp://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/11/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_9.html

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and check out our other articles ranging from book reviews to poetry and short stories to editorials. To get updates about new posts and extras, please follow us on Instagram (@readingwritingandme), Twitter (@readwriteandme), and Facebook or sign up for email alerts by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the sight. Also, please leave comments or email us (readingwritingandme@gmail.com) with your thoughts or review requests. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pride

Pride by Ibi Zoboi (September 18)
Overview: Though it's billed as a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, this story is all its own. Zuri is a proud citizen of Bushwick. She loves her family, her neighbors, and the character that surrounds her. She and her many sisters have spent months speculating about who is moving into the renovated home across the street. They don't expect Darius and Ainsley Darcy, wealthy, private school boys that don't fit with the vibe of the neighborhood. Despite their differences, Darius and Zuri grow closer, and between dealing with her sisters and mounting college applications, they find a spark that might be too hot to ignore. Overall: 4 

Characters: 5 The characters are very well formed. Probably because they are so steeped in the vivid world Zoboi paints, we feel their essence from the very first page. From the refined Darcy twins to the chaotic group of four sisters all cooped up in one bedroom, the people in Zuri's world help us learn about …

Radio Silence

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (496 pages)
Overview: Frances has always known her across the street neighbor Aled Last in the periphery. He was Carry Last's sister until she disappeared. Now he's head boy Daniel's best friend. When she and Aled are thrust together on a drunken train ride home, Frances learns she's a lot closer to Aled than she thought. He's the mysterious creator of her favorite narrative podcast, Universe City. But when his identity surfaces on the internet in connection to Universe City, it all starts to fall apart for their friendship, and  Aled's life. Overall: 5

Character: 5 Frances, Aled, and Daniel are all extremely real people. France lives her life caught up on the dream of getting into Cambridge. If it's not helping her admissions prospects, she's not doing it- unless it's under a pen name and involving Universe City fan art. Over the course of the book, she realizes that the Frances in her head that she projects and the Fran…

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (360 pages)
Overview: Five kids are in detention. Only four come out alive, and they become the prime suspects of the most botched police investigation ever. They're the beauty, the jock, the brains, and the slacker. They barely know each other, but they're all tied together in one way or another to Simon, the school gossip leader with a severe peanut allergy. When all their secrets come out, the police investigation become the least of their worries. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved McManus's cast. We get to see prospective from all three of them which is a nice touch. Each of them are a take on a classic stereotype. While they fulfill almost all of the regular archetypes, she makes them deeper, more human and relatable. I particularly loved Browneyn and Nate who are in the classic good girl/bad boy relationship, but somehow she makes it cute and irresistible not tired and cliche. I also loved the sister relationships that get explor…

Spotlight Review: Heretics Anonymous

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry (August 7)
Overview: Micheal has moved four times in ten years. This time, the move has landed him at a prestigious Catholic school instead of the local public school. This does not go well with his atheist beliefs. On his first day, he meets Lucy, an outspoken Catholic girl who's frustrated that she can't change anything about the flaws she sees in the church she loves. She introduces him to the underground club, Heretics Anonymous where students of other faiths come to vent about the unfair policies of the school. Spurred into action by Micheal's fire, the atheist, gay, Jewish boy, pagan girl, Unitarian boy, and Catholic leader make changes in the school that no one will forget. Overall: 5+++

Characters: 5 This book carries a deeply complex narrative that is driven by the amazing detail put into each characters. One of the great tenants of writing is understanding that every character has their own wants and motivations. This is one of the…

Spotlight Review: 500 Words or Less

500 Words or Less by Juleah de Rosario (384 pages)
Overview: Nic Chen is not whole. Starting senior year, she's a fragment of parts she doesn't know how to reconcile. She's at the top of her class. She's Kitty's best friend. But she's also the girl with "whore" written in bright orange lipstick across her locker. Who's missing her boyfriend. And her childhood best friend who's abandoned her. It isn't until she's tasted with writing everyone else's college essays that she starts to piece together who she really is. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 I loved Nic. She sees the world in an interesting and beautiful way. She's critical and analytical, but she is also full of longing and emotional connection. She challenges the double standard and inequality. She questions the people around her and how they've changed- how some have been allowed by the world to change more than others.
The parsing of the parental relationships is also intere…

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.…

Warcross

Warcross by Marie Lu
Overview: Emika is a bounty hunter with $13 to her name and an eviction notice on her door. Then she's the hacker girl who glitched into Warcross. And then she becomes Hideo's personal bounty hunter who stands to win ten million dollars. Emika's life has changed a lot, and it only gets more complicated as she gets deeper and deeper into the world of Henka Games. Overall: 4 

Characters: 5 Okay, it's hard to go into this much without getting spoiler-ey, but I'll be vague. First off, I loved Emika. She's a great main character with the right amount of sensibility and emotion. What was really impressive though, was how Marie Lu plays with character evolutions. At the end of the book, there will be a moment where you put the book down and go wow at how Marie is able to twist shades of good and evil making us think about the grey.

Plot: 4 I finished this book in a few days thanks to its fast pace and urgency. While some of the game descriptions were…

Into YA Interview: Eric Smith

Today I have an extra awesome post for all of you! As part of my new series, Into YA focused on giving you a look into what goes on before the book gets into your hands, I'm talking to rockstar agent Eric Smith (who is also an author himself)! If you don't follow him on Twitter over at @ericsmithrocks, then you should be. He has one of the best Twitter accounts.

1. How did you decide to become a literary agent?
I'd been working in publishing for a number of years, at Quirk Books, an indie publisher in Philadelphia known for books like Pride & Prejudice & Zombiesand Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, when I decided it was time to really focus on books that I wanted to work on. I loved everything we did at Quirk, but I wanted to focus on more Young Adult books, as well as the kind of literary fiction I loved. So... along came my colleagues at P.S. Literary, and it's been a happy place for the past three years. 
2. Like me, many of my readers are author…

Why I Write Mostly Positive Reviews (Also Why It's Okay To DNF a Book)

You may or may not have noticed, but the reviews I post on the site have shifted a lot in the last few months. The average star rating of books I post about has shifted from a 3 to a 4, and the reviews are overwhelmingly more positive. I have lots of standout books, and 5 stars are no longer a rare occurrence like they were before.
This isn't because I've gotten less critical or careful with my reading and ranking. I still want to give the most honest content and only pair people with books I love. It's happened because I don't read books I'm not enjoying anymore. While I used to feel obligated to finish every book I picked up, I no longer feel tied to that seeming "reader rule."
I used to figure I had to give books at least to thirty or fifty percent or just barrel all the way through. This made me only pick books I was sure I would love. Even with that test, you can't know whether you'll like the voice or the writing.
It took school getting bus…

The Lake Effect

The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan (391 pages)
Overview: Lake Michigan is beautiful. That's why the town of South Haven draws so many tourists, or in this case, seasonal workers. Briggs gets the chance to return to the lake for a summer to work for an old woman looking for live in summer help. Though the lake promises beautiful days and abundant fun, it also opens him up to many new worlds. That of his Serbian employer oozing with spunk, the unintentionally mysterious girl next door, Abigail, and the whole crew of townies who fill his afternoons with beach volleyball. The time away also offers a fresh prospective on the family he left behind and his future priorities. Though he knew about the weather, the Lake Effect was something much greater than he anticipated. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Wow. So, I have to  say that when the book started, I was fine with Briggs but nothing special. He was the kind of guy who came from a somewhat privileged background that was a machine towards wealth …