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 : Binge by Tyler Oakley

B L O G M A S  D A Y 7

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This is a memoir that does not need extra promotion really, but I still wanted to talk about it. 🙂 Tyler Oakley is a large internet personality and has also made his way into mainstream media through appearing on talk shows and red carpets.

I’m a fan of Tyler Oakley’s podcast and truly this book felt like him. His voice definitely carries over and it has a very similar feel to the content he has already created– just written down. He covers the same type of stuff, just spends a little more time in his childhood and school years going deeper with those stories. You pretty much get what you expect– inspirational stories, funny stories, and a lot of innuendos.

Which brings me to the thing that I liked the most about the memoir– but also shows off this weird sort of tension that exists in the book. What I like is seeing how Tyler Oakley is just so… Tyler Oakley. He is himself and is bold and is messy and is fun and is just him. All day every day.

And the tension lies where at the end of the day he is trying to be his 26-year-old self while reaching an audience that is VERY diverse in age/skews super young in the bulk of the numbers. So there’s this thing where he is sort of walking the line of sharing these details from college and beyond of more… adult situations- haha- but still be able to connect with readers that are 12, 13, and 14– basically a lot younger than him. As a result, there is a story literally for every age and it’s neat to see that bundled up in one collection. But at the same time, I almost wish he would have split the book in two and just focused on one batch of ages per a book. As someone super close to his current age, there were things I would have loved for him to expand upon from his later years, and there were sections I definitely skimmed from his earlier years.

Do you have to be a “fan” of Tyler Oakley to read this? I wouldn’t say so! It’s essentially a really interesting person that’s done a lot of really interesting things talking about his life so far. It has a lot of wide appeal. 🙂 It’s goofy, yet filled with heart. Although clocking in at 300-ish pages, it’s a pretty quick read with short chapters and a lot of jumping around that keeps you going.

Did you read it? How’d you like it?

Add it to your to-read list!

A BOOK : Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs

Breakfast Served Anytime
by Sarah Combs
Published April 2014

When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn’t know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend, Gloria resolves to make the best of her new circumstances. But some things are proving to be more challenging than she expected. Like the series of mysterious clues left by a certain Professor X before he even shows up to teach his class, Secrets of the Written Word. Or the very sweet, but very conservative, roommate whose coal-industry family champions mountaintop removal. Not to mention the obnoxious Mason, who dresses like the Mad Hatter and immediately gets on Gloria’s nerves — but somehow won’t escape her thoughts.

Summary and photo from Goodreads.com

This is one of those titles that really show me the power of blogging and sharing books. Wayyy back in April I read GRead’s post raving about Breakfast Served Anytime and since then this book has been sitting on my mental “READ THIS ASAP” list. FINALLY, I did.

And I’m really glad.

Breakfast Served Anytime is seriously one big emotional treat. Soon to be senior Gloria is at Geek camp for the summer and is at the cusp of trying to figure out where to go next in life. Should she go to New York with her best friend and try to become an actress as they had originally planned? Or should she stay in boring old Kentucky because she will be getting a really good scholarship? And of course, just because you have your eyes on the future doesn’t mean every day life stops. There are still infuriating boys to deal with, surprising friendships, and  trying to figure out your stance on the world.

This book largely exists in Gloria’s head, and as a result, I feel like it is a ball of EMOTION. She is gloriously sentimental and nostalgic. I think that is what stuck out to me the most, especially as an adult reading this. There are times when she seems to love the moment she is in so much, that she starts to fret about when it will be over. I get that. I really, really get that.

And that is pretty much the sum of my experience reading Breakfast Served Anytime. I kept saying, “I understand. I get that.” It’s one of those books that is very unique in some ways, and because of that it I can see this as very divisive emotionally. It’s either “I get that!” or “What the heck is she on about?”

Bonus: There is something really enjoyable about reading about someone that isn’t afraid to love things. Gloria loves things passionately and shares that love. She loves her dad, she loves the anticipation before things, she loves reading, she loves To Kill a Mockingbird, she loves music, and so many other things. One of my favorite quotes about reading:

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes you can love a book not so much because of what it’s about or what happens in it, but because it belongs to a certain time or person in your life- like you’ll always remember where you were when you read it for the first time, or who gave it to you, or what season it was, or who you were before you read it and how you were different when it was over.”

So for those looking for a quieter book about interacting with the world and change and growing up or for those looking for a young adult novel that strongly stands on its own, you should check out Breakfast Served Anytime.

Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads

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 : Scarlet

11983940Scarlet
by A.C. Gaughen

Published February 2012

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. 

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

Summary and photo from Goodreads.com

I started Scarlet with high hopes and I instantly fell in love with it in the first few pages. Scarlet’s dialogue takes a minute to get used to, but I personally had no trouble falling into her style of speech. For some reason I love characters that end up dressing up and pretending to be someone they’re not, and while some people do know that she is a girl the majority of the people don’t, which leads to some funny encounters. I also love the tension of having a girl in an all boys “band of merry men” or whatever the Robin Hood clan is called. Not like the romantic tension- but the tension between the boys wanting to protect Scarlet and Scarlet having none of that. I think that was my favorite part of Scarlet. One of the guys would say something and then Scarlet would say the exact thing I was thinking of.

It did end up being more about romance than I had originally wanted it to be, but I thought overall Gaughen balanced it pretty well and it felt natural to the characters. I loved that Scarlet could prove that even though she is this headstrong tough woman, she still had feelings. I love that we were in her mind and we were able to see her struggle with getting used to the idea that she might have feelings for one of her friends no matter how much she tried to squash them.

Scarlet has her own past and her story of how she became known as Will Scarlet was scattered throughout the story. I was a fan of how slowly Scarlet’s story trickled out as she was forced to deal with her past and finally began opening up to her friends. Some last thoughts:

  • Much was basically my favorite character ever.
  • I loved the explanations behind the names
  • Scarlet is a thief and that is just pretty much awesome.
  • I just love how angry Scarlet got when it comes to men vs. women, noble folk vs. commoners, and judging people for what they do. There is a line where Scarlet makes a comment about how she tends to see things others don’t around her and it definitely is true. I love that she spoke strongly about these things even though people didn’t usually listen.
  • I also love how Scarlet was religious. I found it interesting to read about her faith especially since she is a thief.

So, if you can’t tell, I ended up really liking Scarlet. The next book is Lady Thief. I am personally excited to read this book especially after how the first one ended. I can’t wait to see how Scarlet has or has not grown.

Add it to you to read shelf on Goodreads!

 

Waiting on Wednesday : #scandal

I went on a look to see what is coming out this summer rampage recently and as a result I have a whole list of books I am eagerly waiting to read. Thankfully, a bunch of them have already come out! (I can’t believe it’s already April!)

The following one doesn’t come out until June, but I am ready to read it right…. now!

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Summary:

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…


This word screams DRAMA. Which is funny, because I have been in such an anti-drama mood in books, but I really really really want to see how Ockler integrates the social media in with the story. I also love the element of trying to figure out the Facebook hacker and I am excited to learn more about Lucy. Just from the summary she seems awesome and ready to stand up for herself.

#scandal comes out June 17th

Add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads.com | Pre-order It

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted every week by Breaking the Spine to highlight books that are not quite out yet, that an individual (such as myself or you!) are anxiously waiting to be released. Check out what she is waiting on!

A BOOK : Dorothy Must Die

18053060Dorothy Must Die
Danielle Paige
Published April 2014

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.
I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I’ve been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

Summary and photo from Goodreads.com

I have been looking forward to this one since it was first mentioned on the Epic Reads Tea Time! This novel takes place after Dorothy has left Oz, and has come back from. Amy is thrown into this world that she thoughts was imaginary, and quickly learns everything that she would expect out of the Land of Oz is completely different.

Everything you think is good is bad, and everything you think is bad is good. Or it might not be good. No one really knows anymore.

The things I ended up finding really intriguing while reading Dorothy Must Die include:

  • Mysterious characters. You know you aren’t getting the whole truth from certain characters, and I enjoyed trying to figure them out. Can Amy trust them?
  • The new Oz. The way Dorothy is described is creepy. As is the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. Paige definitely plays with your expectations.
  • The visuality of the book. Maybe it’s because there is already a Wizard of Oz movie, but I found myself being able to see this book in my mind quite nicely. This series definitely would be a shoe in for a movie.
  • The twists and turns. There are a lot more surprises in Dorothy Must Die than I expected there would be! Some of them I completely didn’t see coming, some of them I felt like I had at least a little bit of a hint.
  • The stakes are high. The book starts off with a bang pretty early on and proves that no one is really safe. Paige doesn’t just say that terrible things happen in Oz now, but she makes you live through it.

If any of this sound remotely interesting to you, I suggest you pick this one up. I myself am not that big of a Wizard of Oz fan, but I ended up getting quickly swept up in this story. This is quite long (clocking in at 452 pages) and I will say, the middle for me dragged a bit but I do encourage you to push past it and shoot toward the end if you start to feel the same.

Add this to your to be read shelf on Goodreads.com

So after writing the above review, I ended up doing a little research and found myself in a conundrum. I read the book. I liked it. I stalked Danielle Paige on Twitter a little bit. She seems quite awesome. However, just a heads up, this book does come from the book packaging company James Frey owns Full Fathom Five, which is not the awesomest sounding company to put it simply. You can read a little more about it here at Snuggly Oranges and here at Bibliodaze. If you are curious about book packaging and literary development companies, check out Kelly’s explanation at Stacked. She does a great job explaining how they work.

As a result of this am I telling you not to read Dorothy Must Die? Obviously not. I liked the book. I am personally interested in this stuff, and as a reader I would want to know this, which is why I am sharing it with you.