Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. Continue reading “Book Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody”
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
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It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.
I knew when I saw the cover of this book that I had to read it. I first saw it when doing a bit of research on the authors that would be attending the Ontario Teen Book Fest. Something about this cover just jumps out at you and you can’t help but think…what is this book about? I put it on my TBR list and left it at that.
The next time I had encountered it was after Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels had acquired an e-ARC and reviewed it for her site (which you can read here). She really loved it, and she blew through it, and so I knew that I had to get my hands on it.
Then this past Tuesday, she had her launch event at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove, with Stephen Chbosky, and Sylvia and I ventured down the freeway to go and meet her. She read from her book, answered some questions and signed some books. You can find out all about that fun stuff in my vlog about it here.
The bottom line is, as soon as I came home from enjoying the book signing and cupcakes (because you can’t go to the Grove and NOT get Sprinkles), I dove into this book and was immediately sucked into this absolutely beautiful novel. It is hard while reading this book to realize that this is a debut novel. She writes like she has been doing it for so long and I felt so connected to the book.
The first time I ever picked up The Perks of Being a Wallflower and read “Dear Friend”, I knew that I was in for something special. When you open this book, you get “Dear Kurt Cobain”. Flip through the pages and you see all sorts of names: River Phoenix, Judy Garland, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, and more and that is enough to make me dive into the book. Each person chosen for a letter seems so perfect to what Laurel is going through in her life. They match perfectly and you find yourself comparing Kurt and Laurel or Amy and Laurel. Its beautiful. Its beautiful that the way Laurel found solace and found herself through writing to others.
Grief is a difficult thing to deal with. I’ve barely stepped my toe in it. When I was in 8th grade, two of my classmates died. One the week school started and another just a couple days after “graduation”, both in car crashes. Not long after, I lost my grandfather, which was incredibly rough. But I’ve never lost a sister, not like Laurel, and I can’t imagine what I would be like if I lost either of my sisters. That kind of grief is unimaginable and going on this journey of grief with Lauren is incredibly emotional and aching and just flat out beautiful. There are times when it feels so familiar and other times, it doesn’t but you still feel the pain and emptiness that she feels.
Because Ava has a way of connecting with her reader. Laurel is not speaking to us, she is speaking to dead people, dead famous people to be exact. But she feels so real, and even though you’re not the person you’re writing to, you feel everything she feels and its incredible. To be able to reach out to the reader like that and pull them in is just an amazing thing to do and I admire Ava for accomplishing that.
Bottom line: its an incredible, one-of-a-kind read. Its hard to believe that this is a debut novel because its so GOOD. She captures you from the very first page and pulls you through the story. You finish each letter with the immediate urge to read the next. This book is nearly impossible to put down. Its emotional and has beautiful romance and fantastic characters (god all those secondary characters are just fantastic!) and its a wonderful coming-of-age story about a girl dealing with the loss of her sister. This is a book I will definitely read again.
Plus, Emma Watson totally recommends it and you can never go wrong with Emma ;)
5 out of 5 Stars
Cress by Marissa Meyer
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Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
It took me a thousand years it seems to finish reading this book but I finally did. This is not to say anything about the book though. That was all my doing. I bought this book the day after the release and I’m in SUCH a slump right now, reading wise, that I just couldn’t make myself read ANYTHING. But I pushed my way through because I was loving the book and I love these books, and the last 100 pages flew by because it just was so great.
I honestly think that Marissa Meyer is a genius, and she is able to weave fairy tales and science fiction and even a little dystopia so perfectly that everything about it is so genuine and so real to me. Its so easy to accept so much of what is going on in her novels and it just flows so beautifully. Her writing is beautiful, and her story telling is incredibly compelling. She is such a talent and I honestly can’t wait to meet her in April so I can tell her how unbelievably amazing and inspirational she is as a writer.
Moving on though, I loved how long the novel was and yet took place over such a small span of time. I thought that was beautiful. Marissa was able to introduce the character of Cress into the story, and creating her own path and her own journey and growth while sticking super close to the other characters and the story she had already created. I think that’s brilliant. She did that in introducing Scarlet in book two, and she does it so effortlessly in introducing Cress in this novel. She also (this gets a little spoiler-y, sorry), sort of matches characters up in the novel. Now, normally that sort of thing would bother me, like…really, there’s a person for everyone? Come on, now. But in the book…everything is so gradual and so realistic and she’s very good at building relationships between characters. I never really thought about the matchy-matchy of the people after the first initial thought of it.
Plus she just ROCKS at writing really great science fiction. Not even just young adult, but just good science fiction, and she blends the fairy tale stories in so well. One minute, I’m caught up in the story of Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood, or, as in this novel, Rapunzel, and the next, I’m holding my breath, wondering what the alien queen Levana is going to do to the earth or laughing at the ridiculous and lovable android, Iko. She takes this incredible world of aliens, and space travel, and Lunars, and androids and cyborgs and weaves it with these familiar fairy tales, and it all feels so real and so smooth. I also love that she takes the stories that we know from the popular Disney version and mixes them with the classic stories, that can be a little more gruesome than what Disney shows us. She puts a lot of time and effort, obviously, into building incredible stories.
I can’t WAIT to read Winter next year and I’m not too fond of having to wait until it comes out haha. She’s left us in an incredible position with the Earth pitted against the Lunars, and its absolute chaos and I reached the end in shock, awe and excitement. I also love the beautiful way that she introduces Winter (I know, that’s a bit spoiler-y, sorry again!) and I already know that she’s going to be an incredible character because she’s already blown my mind. Can it be time for Winter already?
5 out of 5 Stars