Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – I FEEL you!

amyandrogerAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

Genre: YA, Contemporary 

Published: May, 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback

Rating: Blew me away. 5 birdies.

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way 

 

  Such an adorable coming of age, grieving, healing, adventure, romance book! It was light, but serious. And I could totally and completely empathize.

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My first Morgan Matson book! Can I just say, I’m really happy that Kayla from The Thousand lives recommended this? Such an adorable coming of age, grieving, healing, adventure, romance book! It was light, but serious. And I could totally and completely empathize.

The book starts at the beginning of a road trip with college boy Roger, after a horrible accident splits Amy’s family apart. I honestly had no idea what to expect going into this book. I first thought it would just be a cute, fun romance. But oh, was I wrong. It was so much more and loved it all the same.

I’ll begin by saying that I was surprised at how much I could not only sympathize, but empathize. I’m lucky in that I have never had a close family member or friend pass away. Only a few pets, which I suppose is still traumatic. So whenever I read a book that deals with extreme grieving, I get a little wary. Because I almost never, ever quite understand. I can imagine it, but without ever having gone through it myself, I never fully understand what people must be going through.

This book was different though. I found myself crying uncontrollably and I felt like I understood Amy. The way in which she acted was totally believable. I feel like I might act in a similar manner if this happened to me.

Matson, what have you done to me?

I was so surprised by this. Especially since the rest of the book was so distracting. Like, I want to travel to America just so I can go on a road trip. I just don’t think it would be as fun in Aus.

Along with Amy, I really liked Roger’s character. I didn’t understand him as much, but he still felt real to me. Kind of like that elusive, but laid back, down to earth boy. Dreamy.

And I loved how little a role the romance played in the end. I was worried that it would be one of those cases where “love healed me”. But no – Roger certainly helped, yes, but it was not because they had some epic romance going on. He was just supportive. The detour is what really aided in Amy’s healing. All the people she met, places she had seen, state motto’s she recorded. She discovered life again through the simple things.

And I adored the scrapbooking parts between chapters. Such a cute addition!

SPOILER – highligt paragraph to view. 

I just wanted to add that the “accident” really resonated with me. Ever since I started driving, I have this fear of lights. I hate them. I hate coming up to a green one when it changes because I’m so bad at judging distances and if I have enough time to stop. I’m scared of being the one that runs the light. And I’m scared of leaving the intersection and colliding with someone else running the light. Maybe that’s one reason why I cried so hard. It was like, my worst fear come to life.

SPOILER End

My emotions are so mushy about this book. There isn’t really anything I can fault. I loved the characters and concept, and for the first time, can emphasize with grief.  And I now have a strong desire to road trip it. In America.

Thanks a lot Morgan Matson </3 >.< ❤myrating

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I beg all of you to read Ask the Passengers by A.S. King!

askthepassengersAsk the Passengers by A.S King

Genre: Contemporary, YA,

Published: October, 2012, by  Little, Brown BFYR

Format: Paperback

Rating: A big, beautiful gust in a storm! 

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

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This. This book. It’s just so perfect. I barely have words to describe how I felt after reading this.

Ask the Passengers is commonly labeled as an LGBT – which is true, but it is so much more than that. I guarantee, just about everyone will find something they can relate too in this book.

The story follows Astrid as she struggles with the fact she has feelings for a girl. The book is filled with cute, sad and humorous quirks, including the habit Astrid has of sending her love to people on planes, because she is confused about where her love belongs.

I’ll start with characters, because I truly love Astrid. She sometimes comes across as bland and boring, but I believe that is because of the unique way King has written it. This story is literally first person, as if Astrid herself was sitting down and relaying the story to you. In consequence, Astrid gets the attention off herself and makes her less interesting. That’s what most people who don’t want attention on themselves would do. When I realized this bit, it made me love her more.

I feel like the town and family issues were exaggerated, but I also feel like that has part to do with Astrid’s perspective. A.S King shows it to us as Astrid sees it. She focuses attention away from herself, exaggerates her parents and the small town atmosphere and creates imaginary friends. Despite this, It also feels very real – like even though some things are exaggerated, she’s telling you the truth; exactly what happened.

Even though I said that Astrid comes across as bland, she is such an interesting character! She’s smart, for one. High fives for intelligent characters. She idolized philosophers and questions their theories. She even has an imaginary philosopher friend. Her inner voice is intriguing. Her outlook on life and the place she lives is fascinating. She’s so relatable! She is a completely ordinary, teenage girl with family problems and trouble fitting in – even though she doesn’t necessarily want to fit in.

Moving on, I liked the representation of love in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Astrid give her love to the people on the planes, and how her view on this changes as the plot progresses. The story even goes the lengths to include what happens to the passengers she gives her love to. Though it’s slightly cheesy, it was a very acceptable amount of cheese and adds to the beautiful quirks of this book.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of complex metaphors and such; I loved them in this book! Not only did they add to Astrid’s character, but it really changed the overall feel of the book. It’s constantly making you think and question everything, and never has any solid conclusions.

This is such a beautifully written and amazing story. Everyone can relate to this. I’m not an LGBT teen, but I can so easily relate to the issues Astrid brings up. Labelling and boxing people into groups being one of them. So thoughtful, thought provoking, captivating and very, very special. I highly recommend Ask the Passengers!

myrating

storm

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown blows me away!

bii

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Genre: Contemporary, YA,

Published: May, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 4 birdies

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole — a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her — she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.

As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose — between her “true love” and herself.

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If you read my goodreads comments while reading Bitter End, you would think I absolutely loath this book. But really, I’m sitting on the other end. I adored this book with all its frustrations. My hateful and frustrated comments show others reactions to real accounts of domestic violence. Combined with great characters, inner trauma and sub plots, I was brought on a very emotional journey that I recommend to everyone.

Bitter End used a combo of realism and idealism to really demonstrate the effect of domestic violence. This book covered not only the act itself, but everything such a relationship can effect in a young woman’s life; in school, at home, work and other relationships. I do feel as though some things were over-dramatized or cheesy, though they were in the minority.

An example of idealism to exaggerate the issue is the perfect friendship in the book. Three friends from childhood growing up together, practically inseparable and very close to eachother. It’s idealistic, what we all dream of having but rarely ever happens in real life. Our MC Alex has this, but it is damaged and broken through her abusive relationship with gorgeous Cole. The destruction of a perfect friendship really highlights the extensive effects of domestic violence. Though it makes things a little unrealistic, I enjoyed the exaggerations.

Despite the exaggerations, I thought the story was very real and covered all aspects of an abusive relationship. The whole process from beginning, to end and her recovery (with some minor cheesy moments) was believable.

I also found this book eye-opening. Before now, I’ve always thought that people suffering domestic violence were naïve to their situation. But Alex was very aware of what was happening to her, she was more concerned about ruining her relationship with Cole, because she loved him. She was also more concerned about what people would think of her if they knew, again delaying her from telling anyone.

Aside from the domestic violence aspect, I though the rest of the book was well thought out and the characters well developed. Although, there were quite a few characters in the book, leaving some as no more than names and a face. I loved Alex (even though I cursed her and called her an idiot multiple times) I liked her poetic nature and how this was explored. It got a bit stunted towards the end, though, and I wish the author followed through and drew upon her writing talents in the story. I thought the family situation was a bit much, even though it added to her relationship with Cole. You might as well add the she was also suffering from neglect.

I have no complaints with the writing. The story flowed really well, even though there were time lapses, the writing was easy to read. There were too many characters to fully develop them all, though I feel as though the major ones were covered. Though exaggerated and sometimes cheesy, I found Bitter End to be a very well-rounded, believable story that explores domestic violence extensively, portraying it’s exact effects to a young adolescent.

myrating

justbreezy!

Julia Hoban’s Willow makes me weep

willowWillow by Julia Hoban

Genre: Contemp, YA

Published: 2009 April, by Dial

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought my own copy from Booktopia 


Seven months ago on a rainy March night, Willow’s parents drank too much wine at dinner and asked her to drive them home. But they never made it–Willow lost control of the car, and both of her parents were killed.

Now seventeen, Willow is living with her older brother, who can barely speak to her. She has left behind her old home, friends, and school. But Willow has found a way to survive, to numb the new reality of her life: She is secretly cutting herself.

And then she meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is. When Guy discovers Willow’s secret, he pulls her out of the solitary world she’s created for herself, and into a difficult, intense, and potentially life-changing relationship.

I was so excited for this novel. Depression and cutting is not something I read very often, for fear of it been done wrong. Sadly, I didn’t think it was done right at all. There was so many cringe worthy moments in this book, with sickly romance and a weird writing style. I didn’t like Willow.

Willow’s story starts after an accident that left her parents dead, and her deep in depression. We follow her road from cutting to forgiveness with the help of Guy (very original name), our love interest.

That was probably the biggest turn off for Willow. The romance was shocking. Let me tell you why.

–          Insta love. At times, I could definitely see a connection between Willow and Guy. They liked a lot of the same things and had plenty to talk about. BUT. That didn’t happen very often. Nope. The majority of their conversations focused on Willow’s cutting situation. What a romance buzzer. I’m sorry, but how can I believe love is in the air when all they ever talk about is cutting and other depressing topics? I can’t. I just can’t.

–           Love conquers all. A boy can fix all of you problems because he constantly tells you how ugly your scars are. Because your biggest conversation starter is the price of razors.  Because having someone love you for those reasons alone makes you feel better, even when you are all sorts of messed up. Ugh. I can’t stand it.

–          Sex can redeem and change you. Yup. Our love interest says so himself (in more subtle words).

P.S The sex scene is REALLY AWKWARD and un-romantic. It was the most cringe worthy thing I have ever come across in a YA novel. Not exaggerating.

Okay, moving on from the god awful romance, the way this was written was really odd. It was third person, present tense. It took me two thirds of the book to get over it. It was just the weirdest combo. I constantly had to re-read sentences because at times, they sounded wrong and I was constantly being disconnected from the story. Very jarring, and prevented me from properly connecting to the story and characters.

Another problem I had, was that I didn’t agree with the way cutting was portrayed. I’m probably going to sound really insensitive here, especially since I have never experienced the kind of depression that urges me to harm myself. But I found it really odd how carefully she looked after her cuts. I did understand and agreed with a lot of it – her reasons for doing so, her worry of someone finding out, the great lengths she goes to keep it hidden. It was just the cynical way she acted about it that felt wrong. I needed something a little more frantic and less logical. It’s hard to explain, but while so much of it felt real, there was just a little something that didn’t sit right with me and left me judging it the entire time.

Okay, so I touched on something there that I actually did like – a lot of the time, Willow’s emotions were very believable. Her train of thought and reasoning was often very relatable and understandable and I could totally picture myself thinking like that if I were in her position. Again, though, it was missing an edge of urgency and pain. It felt almost too logical for something so traumatic.

Sadly, that isn’t enough to redeem itself. I couldn’t connect to the characters, even though Willow was relatable, the writing just ruined any chance I had with her. I disliked the entire romantic aspect of Willow, and I cringe just thinking about it. I can only recommend this book if you can ignore tense and enjoy corny romance. For those more like me, I wouldn’t recommend Willow.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

Not Fangirling Over Fangirl

fangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA, Contemp. 

Published: September 10th, 2013 by Pan Macmillan 

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought my own copy. 

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words …And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible …

Oh I can already smell the controversy this review may cause.

WHY do I not like the books everyone dies hard for?

Again, as I do for most popular books, this will not be my typical style of review.

What I didn’t like:

Simon Snow.

I didn’t like the Simon Snow bits in-between chapters or when Cath read out her Fan Fiction. WHY? It felt so pointless. I GOT that Simon Snow is Cath’s life, okay? I didn’t need to read a book inside of a book to understand that. I barely coped with the snippets at the start of each chapter, but when Cath started reading her fan fiction? I have one word – boring. It was boring, useless, didn’t really add to the story. I read Fangirl for Cath NOT SIMON SNOW. I DON’T CARE about Simon Snow. I just needed to understand that Cath does, but I didn’t need to read pages and pages of pointless Simon Snow fan fic to understand that.

I actually didn’t find Cath all that relatable. Sometimes, she would say or do something and I was like AH, THAT’S ME! But it didn’t happen very often and it wasn’t all that spectacular. I can find a little of myself in a lot of fictional characters. She wasn’t something special for me like she is for a lot of my bookish, fangirl friends.

I didn’t like Levi all that much – in saying that, I probably related to him more than anyone else in the book. I also didn’t believe Cath and Levi’s attraction. They were a weird couple and I just couldn’t invest myself in it because I didn’t believe they liked each other.

I DID like Raven, though again, I thought Cath and Raven’s friendship was really weird. I just didn’t get it.

I liked the other components of the book – it was told really well, all the characters were unique and real (ish), I followed the story easily and enjoyed it! Though it didn’t make me feel anything. I didn’t get emotional. It was entertaining, but didn’t reach that spectacular level because it didn’t get me, the girl that can cry over anything to feel anything.

So… 3 breezy birds from me.

asoftbreeze

REV GIRL by Leigh Hutton! Dirt, Bikes and Girls galore

revgirlREV GIRL by Leigh Hutton

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Published: May 25th, 2014 by Leigh Hutton Books

Format: Paperback

Source: I received a free copy from the author to review 

Inspired by a true story

It’s hard to be the new girl, but it’s even harder being the new girl who races dirt bikes . . . 

Ever since her parents forced her to move from Canada to Silvertown, Colorado, Clover Kassedy hasn’t fit in. So how do you deal when everyone hates you?

Focusing all her energy on racing her motorcycle did it for a while, but now that Clover’s managed to find a bestie and a boyfriend, the pressure on the sixteen-year-old is worse than ever.

She’s determined to get to the World Championships, where she could finally meet her idol – an Australian, the World Champion – and have a shot at becoming a professional dirt bike racer. But with her super- competitive dad, workaholic mother and relentless bullies at races and at high school, Clover is struggling to make her dreams a reality.

Will it be her scheming ex-best-friend who shatters her world? Or will she let her ‘perfect’ boyfriend – the guy who has finally made her feel like she belongs in their school and their town – stop her from becoming an international racing star?

A big thanks to the author, Leigh Hutton, for providing REV GIRL for review! 

REV GIRL by self-published author, Leigh Hutton, was a very intense, exciting and empowering read. I did have some issues when it came to dialogue and certain events throughout the book were hard to connect with.

REV GIRL follows Clover, a very real, teen girl who loves to dirt bike race, as she sets out to follow her dreams. Let’s start with the fact that I loved Clover! She is a little steam ball of motivation. She’s very emotive and I can relate with a lot of her feelings. Plus, she was empowering. I loved her more and more as she matured from the girl who nearly wanted to give up dirt bikes to dedicating everything she’s got to what she loves. I loved her growth, her attitude, everything.

Sometimes, it felt like REV GIRL was a bit rushed. There is so much packed into this 300 page book, that at times I hardly knew what was going on and it was over before I could make sense of it. It wasn’t a quick read, but “fast paced” can certainly be used to describe REV GIRL.

Even though REV GIRL is inspired by true events, I personally felt like a lot of what happened was unrealistic. This affected how I connected to the story at times. For example: making best friends in 2.5 seconds. As a girl who has serious trouble making friends, I found this annoying. It just doesn’t happen, okay? Not for someone like me, and not for someone like Clover, and not really for anyone. Yeah, you can connect with people quickly, but not like that. Not on that level. It felt way to optimistic and wishful. Like Clover rubbed a lamp, found a genie and wished for a bestie.

I also had some trouble connecting to the story when I was made aware of the differences in geographical location – this can’t be helped, obviously, but I feel as though I have to point it out because it is something that nagged on me whilst reading. These are little things, like wearing high heels to school. I mean, I’ve grown up here, in Aus, where I wear a uniform to school with some seriously strict policies. And when I see things like this I’m immediately shocked at the difference. I kept thinking, “pft, who on earth would do that?”. But what would I know? Maybe American girls DO wear high heels to school, like they do in Mean Girls and Clueless.

In turn with feeling a little unrealistic, the dialogue was a little cheesy at times. Like texts, declarations of love and “boyfriend hunting” just felt weird. Again, this stopped me from connecting to the characters and story.

I’m iffy about the romance. At first, I groaned, because it was most definitely insta-love. But then as the story went on and it was upsy downy for the love struck couple, I began to feel okay about it. Because young, fast, first love is real – it happens. It’s awkward, fun and beautiful, and I feel like the book explored this well.

Even though some of the socializing and dialogue is cheesy and awkward, I was thoroughly impressed with the description of dirk bike racing! For someone who’s never even touched one, I actually felt as if I had after reading one of the racing scenes. I’m a visual and sensual person, so this was brilliance! Every time Clover was on her bike, I felt like I was, too, and the adrenalin would start pumping. No doubt my favourite thing of the entire book!

So, I had some connection problems with the story for various reasons, though a lot of them were personal and won’t apply for everyone. I thought the dialogue was a little on the cheese side, though I had no problems connecting to Clover and really enjoyed watching her grow. This got my heart pumping with the racing and I totally applaud Hutton for making a girl like me who will probably never touch a dirt bike, dirt bike race in my mind. Fast paced, fun, energetic are just some of the ways I would describe REV GIRL. I recommend to anyone who likes a story about first love, growing up and a little action.

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asoftbreeze

Schizophrenia at it’s best – A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

abluesodarkA Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Published: May, 2010 by Flux

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought from Booktopia  

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura’s dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

 

A Blue So Dark is one of those books that stays with you. What really stood out for me the most is its honesty. Brutal honesty. It was thought provoking, insightful and beautiful. It explored so many issues – not only of schizophrenia; but the effects it has on everything else. It looks at loosing friendships, broken families, mending relationships, poor socio economic area’s, teen pregnancy, health effects, stress. There is just so much packed into 300 pages that I’m a little overwhelmed.

A Blue So Dark follows Aura as her schizophrenic mother descends into a dark place. Aura is striving to keep her mother’s condition a secret, while still look after her. In turn, Aura goes through things no girl should at her age. We see her develop and learn from her experience, and I loved watching her mature as the story progresses.

In fact, all the characters were just great. Every single one was layered, individual and Schindler does not turn the blind eye at the bad stuff – she embraces it and makes her character real.

In saying this, there is an exception. A Blue So Dark included romance, but it was the most minor part of the book, you can hardly notice it. This is a great example of where the main character gets their act together before going into a relationship. And the love interest is nothing more than just that – a cute guy that pops up every now and again to remind us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He gives us something to look forward to in Aura’s future. We really don’t know much about him at all.

Schizophrenia isn’t something I know much about, which is why I found this book really insightful. I had no idea what to expect or how the characters were going to react to the different situations posed to them. I found it really intense and I was shocked – actually shocked that some people live with this, like this. It was definitely eye opening.

I also enjoyed how art plays such a big part. I love reading about artists. It’s close to home. My Mum’s a painter, and I think my mind sways more to the artistic side at times. It’s interesting to see how Aura’s interpretation of art is tainted by her mother and her illness, and she begins to shun that part of her.

Not only does it talk about artists, but the whole book is an art piece. The way it’s written is beautiful. The descriptions were just enough to satisfy my need for visuals.

Plain and simple – I just really enjoyed this book. To the amount of issues it explores, to art, to descriptions, to being just a real, honest book that opened my mind to something that I once shrugged at.  I got really emotional towards the end, because there are still some loose ties. But otherwise, I was really blown away by this little paperback I bought on a whim. I highly recommend!

myrating

 

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P.S – I just learnt that Holly Schindler is releasing a new book called Feral, that’s tagged to be like The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan. GIMME GIMME GIMME. 

Review: Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Published: To be published on the 18th February by MTV Books

My Rating: 4 thumbs up!

12989100

Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl’s journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding—in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.

Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?

Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.

If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.

Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again? – From Goodreads.

My Thoughts 

I received Me Since you form the Publishers via Netagalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I don’t know where to start. Me Since You was absolutely beautiful. It was heart breaking. It was tragic. It was unfair. It was heart warming. It made me FEEL like no book has done in a long time.

Wiess has created a story to follow the journey of grief, from beginning to end. From the middle of the book onwards, the tears where on and off. It was just so emotionally draining that I had to eat some chocolate and lay in bed for a while to recover.

The main character, Rowan, is just so relatable. She is the typical, though dynamic vision of a teenage girl, with a rebellious attitude, very influenced by her friends, boys, and parent problems. I love how she grows and develops as grief changes her. In fact, I love how all the characters are developed and how we see the different ways grief effects them.

I love the perception and exploration of grief in Me Since You. I find grief is a really hard thing to write/read about, so I wasn’t sure about going into this one because it focusses around grief. I believe the Wiess has done a very realistic depiction of grief that explores all the facets that come about. Not just the internal pain but all the other factors of life it effects. I really applaud the author for this. It was so insightful, detailed and realistic. The journey to moving on and healing was also very relatable and honest. I really just can’t get over how well it was done.

I also liked the theme of the “ripple effect”. I liked how the story explores how one person’s actions can affect the lives of many. How a course of events can change the future of people forever. And I love how this is bitter sweet – how it explores that both good and bad can come from any situation.

Another thing I loved about Me Since You was the romance. It was in no-way the main focus of the story. In fact, it was very minor, and I love that. I like how the two characters didn’t heal themselves through love. I liked that they kept their distance until they were both emotionally available and ready for each other. Yet, it kept the story pushing, and the distance gave us a light at the end of the tunnel. Something to look forward to in their future. This kept it more realistic than ever.

If I had to be really picky, then I would say the pace felt off at times. Though I think that may be because of the jumps and lapse in time, plus the fluctuating size of the chapters. I think one was about three words long? I did think this was really clever though. And I liked the addition of quotes and poetry throughout the book. Sometimes, they fit the story so perfectly, that I got all teary over them.

Me Since You is an amazingly written, realistic, heart wrenching story that explores grief beautifully. It will make you cry. It will make you smile. It will absolutely immerse you in the lives of the characters. It will make you feel as though you are experiencing everything they are going through. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book with depth and really wants to feel something. For me, it’s up there with Gale Forman’s If I Stay. 

4 thumbs up

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Author: Katie McGarry

Published: 1st June, 2012 

Series: Pushing the Limits #1

Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA

My rating: 4 thumbs up!

pushing the limits

4 thumbs up

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again. 

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My thoughts

I did things the Brea way, and read Crash Into You first. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read Noah and Echo’s story. Overall I wasn’t disappointed, though I didn’t like it as much as Isiah’s story. Maybe it’s ‘cause he was my first (see what I did there? *winky face*). But anyway, I still loved the story for the same reasons – excellent character development, story line, using the plot as a driving force, ect.

Again, McGarry has blew me away with her excellent use of multiple narrative. The voices are always distinctive. Actually I think if all the characters had their own voice we could still tell the difference. She is that good at keeping them separate from each other. Other aspects of the narrative I loved was the pace – maybe a bit fast, but still able to read easily, and how the characters are developed without telling us a thing. For example, Echo never had to say she has a knack for art. She never had to say “It’s the only thing I’m good at” or “this is how I express myself”. We just know through showing and her personality. Also because most of her memories come back though visual incentives. Everything about her screams “artsy”!

Echo is greatly developed in this, and I just love that we know her story (I had quite a few questions after Crash Into You).  However, I don’t feel as though I have Noah worked out yet. Nothing really happens for him until the end, and by then we don’t have enough time to grasp the change (in my opinion), and I never once got the bad guy vibe from him, even though that’s how he is portrayed in the beginning. For him, I just feel as though there is something missing – like he was so love struck for the majority of the book for me to grasp what he was really like.

Another negative I have is that the book appears to be separated into two parts – before Echo and Noah got together and after Echo and Noah got together. It was really disorientating when I realized I still had half the book to go. Another problem I had was that towards the end, to many things were happening at once and it was jumping time. I was confused for a while there.

I liked that in this book, there was a plot that helped to pull it, but I feel that this was better done in Crash Into You (proving that Katie has grown in her writing abilities). In Pushing The Limits, it feels as though the major thing bringing the characters together was more of a side plot to come back to than something to urge onwards.

Despite the few problem I found, I still had an extreme emotional response to Pushing The Limits. The end suited the story perfectly, and (spoiler alert) I love how Noah finds himself a family. That bit made me tear up (a lot). And after seeing Beth go from wild tigress to domestic cat, I have to see what made that change come about. Come at me Dare You Too!