A BOOK : All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

 

B L O G M A S  D A Y  13

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Today we are talking about All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. You know how after John Green got SUPER popular suddenly every book that was young adult and contemporary had a little statement claiming it was EXACTLY LIKE BOOKS BY JOHN GREEN?

Well good news! I’ve heard little blurbs talking about THIS book saying if you like books by John Green you would like this, and I think that is SUPER accurate.

And I’m trying to figure out what it is about this one that seems like that is a very true statement. Because yes, in All the Bright Places you have two very smart seemingly very different from each other teens start becoming friends (and possibly more-ooh-la-la). You also have tragic stories mixed with humor.

On the surface all of those ring true, but that rings true for a lot of books that I wouldn’t say capture the same feeling and voice. Niven’s book speaks to that same feeling and voice though. It is of course completely its own story….

[SUMMARY TIME.

Finch is notorious for his weirdness and how different he is. Violet is notorious for her popularity. They are on polar opposites of the social structure, yet somehow they both end up on the roof of the school at the same time with possibly a similar idea… the book is told in alternating view points as they navigate their histories, trying to live in the present, and the possibility of a future.]

So even though the core of the story is definitely different, what Niven seems to do similarly is to put to words the yearning and emotion in life when you’re feeling stuck physically and emotionally that Green also seems to do. It’s idealistic in certain ways, yet grounded in harsh realities.

I will say, similarly with The Fault in our Stars there is an interesting tension between the lightness of the book with the seriousness of some of the situations being discussed.

Is it fair to spend so much time comparing one author to another? Probably not. But I think that was my strongest review reaction– especially because is has attained a similarity that a lot of marketing people seem to be striving for.

So if you’re looking for something that simultaneously somehow draws from your happy and giddy emotional pool and your my heart is breaking emotional pool, add All the Bright Places to your to-read list!

Heads up though- the book does discuss suicide a lot.

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A BOOK : Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty
by Rosamund Hodge
Published January 2014
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Photo and summary from Goodreads

I ended up really enjoying Cruel Beauty for a smattering of reasons:

1.  I listened to the audiobook of this Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I have to say it was one of my best decisions in the last week. It’s narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden who exactly fits the tone. She has a smooth, flippant sounding voice and perfectly fit into the Gothic feel.

2.  Nyx is just awesome. She is a young girl given away to fix her father’s mistakes and she is angry. So angry. Yet, still determined. I love that she admits to feeling certain ways, and also admits to the flaws of those feelings. It made her more complex to me and thus more interesting.

3.  There are plenty of romantic bits, but the romance isn’t necessarily the main story. It’s more about duty and maintaining yourself even while in a bad situation. It’s about trying to figure out the truth, when your entire life you have been inundated with different information.

4.  This goes slowly, yet still keeps moving. There were parts where I was pretty ready for something new to happen, but thankfully just when I started feeling that, something new DID happen. Some things got a little repetitive, but I think that is mostly because the bulk of the book was set in the house Nyx is trapped in.

5.  This is a retelling of The Beauty and the Beast story and as a fan that likes Beauty and the Beast but doesn’t know much about the main story and the variations of it, I enjoyed trying to figure out in what ways Cruel Beauty would be similar and what ways it would be different.

If you are a fan of fairy tale re-tellings, dark romances, interestingly built new worlds, and complex characters, you should take a gander at Cruel Beauty.

A BOOK : I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ll Give You the Sun
Jandy Nelson
Published September 2014

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Photo and Summary from Goodreads.com

I. Loved. This. Book. So much.

The narration is split between twins Noah and Jude, Noah’s sections being when they were 13 and Jude’s sections being from “the present” when they are 16. Both of the characters are poetic messes of people, struggling with parental attention, growing up, and trying to figure out how to live in the world. Maybe it’s through the use of the dual narration, but Jandy Nelson does a good job of breathing these two into real life, giving me a good idea as to their inner worl, and how they interact with the outer world.

I am trying to put my thoughts into words, but my ability to string them together is FAILING today. Instead I am just going to throw fragments at you.

-Jandy is a good writer. Really good. She uses a more unique style from what I’ve been reading recently, which to me personally was a breath of fresh air. Having just read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart I would say the language and the that were tools used come from a very similar place. I loved it.

-The family dynamics were really interesting, because from the two different narrations of siblings you end up getting two perspectives of the same thing. I found it really enjoyable that as a result of this you get to see the tension between perceptions the characters have versus reality in the book.

-The characters that fill up Jude and Noah’s life are really interesting. From a mysterious gruff stone sculptor to a boy with a mismatched face to a kid that searches for space debris- these characters shine in their own ways on their own. Sometimes it feels like all of the characters in a book are just created to build up the narrator and progress the story. This book didn’t feel like that. It felt like I had zoomed into a town, and then just chose to zoom into Jude and Noah’s lives.

I’ll Give You the Sun is all about art and creating things and understanding people and understanding yourself and falling in maybe love and being okay with who you are and guilt and responsibility and it is just bursting with beauty. Bursting! Plus, the cover. Look at that! Plus plus, I love the title even more now that I understand how it relates to the book. So read it. Okay?

Add it to your to-reads shelf on Goodreads!

A BOOK : Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

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Bright Before Sunrise
by Tiffany Schmidt
Published February 2014

When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother’s first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real… until she breaks up with him. 

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance. 

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.? 

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself

Summary and photo from Goodreads.com

SCHOOL IS ALMOST OUT FOR A LOT OF YOU HIGH SCHOOLERS! You know what is the perfect thing to do? Read Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt. Why this one specifically? It takes place one night 17 days (I think)  before the last day of school. It’s told from the perspective of Brighton, who is popular, pretty, a people pleaser, and volunteer-a-holic, and Jonah, a new kid in school, angry, frustrated at life, and outsider. I will be honest, at first I wasn’t so sure about the characters. They both were on the surface seemingly ordinary, but had secret layers no one knew about. I was worried that this would end up being a feel good, campy story where the Miss Perfect Character meets the Mr. Nobody Character and they live happily ever after, but this was wayyyyy more than that. I though Schmidt did a really good job of not just peg holing Jonah, Brighton, and the supporting characters, but instead developed real characters with all of their own positives and negatives. I especially enjoyed Brighton’s story line with her dad.

I also loved that it took place in one night, and it felt like both of the characters were on the cusp of a greater change not only in their understandings of each other, but also their place in life and themselves. I’ve had plenty of magical nights not quite like this one, but where it felt like my entire world shifted. Sometimes in the morning it had. Sometimes in the morning I’d find it hadn’t. This book however is just filled with possibility and beauty and I am getting kind of sappy right now, but I can’t help it.

I think one of the reasons why I liked this story is because I felt like it so easily echoed the thoughts and feelings of my own heart, while still maintaining the unique perspectives of the characters. I noticed this especially with Jonah’s relationship with his mother and step father. You definitely see these characters through HIS eyes, and not how they might actually appear to be on a third party onlooker. I loved that this was subtly done, yet also a little noticeable just because it was done well.

If you want more books that take place in one night check out…
I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan (I haven’t read this one but it has a lot of praise!)
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (I have read this one and I say READ IT)
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (I haven’t read this, but it’s Cohn and Levithan writing so that’s reason enough)

Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Do you have any suggestions?

And of course, as always: Add Bright Before Sunrise to your to reads shelf on Goodreads.com!

 

 

A BOOK : To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

So Jenny Han broke my blog. That is not really true, but do you ever read a book that you fall in love with and you want to write about it, but you have no words to express it? To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, published this past April (2014!) is that book for me. I read it towards the end of April, and you will notice, I have been silent here since- ha!

I don’t know what it is, but Han manages to pinpoint exactly the type of book I want to read, the characters I want to read about, and then completely debilitates you, because you kind of want to just lay in bed and pretend this entire book is real so you can never leave it. To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before filled me with butterflies, but not the anxiety-inducing kind, but the happy fluttery ones that just make you want to prance around on a warm summer night chasing after fireflies. If you liked Han’s summer series (The Summer I Turned Pretty, etc) then I definitely urge you to read this one, her newest novel out currently. I also have to say, I think Lara Jean is one of my favorite main characters ever. I love her unsurety, I love her love for fashion, I love how she keeps accidentally putting herself in messy situations, I love her relationships with her sisters, I love that she grows yet doesn’t, and I love how strong her voice was in this book. So yea.

Check it out:

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Summary:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Add it your to-read list on Goodreads.com!

Just a heads up! My entries are probably going to be shorter this summer like this one! I have read a LOT of really good books lately (at least I like them) that I would love to share, so keep your eyes peeled. I also have been planning a few other entries about things (reading schedules, goodreads ratings, etc!) those will be coming soon as well. SO. I hope you are all having good days, and I look forward to the coming months!

A BOOK : The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

I am back from my trip! On this excursion I finished two books (we had some delays in traveling) as well as did a bunch of other fun stuff. I finished Dorothy Must Die (which I will talk about later probably) and The Here and Now which I will be talking briefly about today!

18242896The Here and Now
Published… TODAY! (4/8/2014)

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

Summary and photo from Goodreads.com


Based on the summary, I wasn’t so sure if I would be into The Here and Now mainly because of the romance story line. That hasn’t been my personal cup of tea recently, so I was starting off this book fairly doubtful that this would be the best choice for me. But you know what? I ended up really liking it. The main reason? TIME TRAVEL.

Yes, there is a romance line in the book that is one of those heartbreaking kind of ones where you know it can’t work out but there is hope that it might but maybe it won’t and the guy is extremely smart and sweet and very friendly and is kind so you really really want it to, but who knows what would happen and yes. If you are a fan of books with romantical story lines? This one definitely has one.

However, if you are someone who is looking for something other than romance, this definitely does not revolve around the love story. As you know if you read from the summary, Prenna is from the FUTURE. And it is fascinating. I loved how Brashares shared snippets of the future and the disastrous turn life on the world took. It is dark and sad, but that was my personal favorite part of the book.

This book addresses the larger theme of how the present affects the future.

I was left with a lot of questions about why certain things happened in the book and a lot of questions about that future world, but I am good at turning that part of myself off while reading so it didn’t bother me. Now that I am done I kind of wish there was either a guidebook to the future available or some sort of “prequel” planned, because I really just want to know more about the future land. But I can’t discount the book for that– all of that is part of a different story, not part of Prenna’s current story.

So if you are looking for a fast whirlwind sort of story that is about a futuristic world, time travel, an intense romance, and so much more- The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is available now!

Hahaha, I just sounded like a commercial. But seriously:

Check it out on Goodreads.

Note: This copy was obtained through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Book: OCD Love Story. Two of my favorite things!

As the title suggests, I would LOVE to share two of my favorite things about OCD Love Story. Okay. Make that 2.5.

OCD Love Story

Add me to your goodread’s shelf!

1) I love love love how you have to question the reliability of the narrator. I would imagine that is a super hard thing for a writer to pull of well, and Ms. Corey Ann Haydu does it beautifully so. I can see the main character’s version of reality so clearly, but then I can also see the reality everyone else sees just as clearly. It is awesome.

2) This novel is such a shining example of how books help to teach empathy. A part of me was exhausted after reading this, because Haydu did such a wonderful job getting into Bea’s head and showing what life is like being her. If anything, it was a neat experience 🙂

2.5) THE COVER. It is extremely awesome.

If you’re looking for a cute love story grounded in the heartbreaking reality of life, OCD Love Story would be perfect for you.

If you’d like to know more about the book, here is the summary from Goodreads:

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic… and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.