@YesItsNicolaC, #Coming_of_Age, #Historical, #Fantasy, 4 out of 5 (very good)
@YesItsNicolaC, #Coming_of_Age, #Historical, #Fantasy, 4 out of 5 (very good)
Today's book is a classic that I have wanted to read for quite some time but never got around to...until now. Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage covers the American Civil War from the point of view of a Union soldier. It's the gritty portrayal of life at the front and just what it's like to lay down your life for a cause that you don't fully understand. In fact, our protagonist has almost no clue what it is that he's fighting for or against. He joined up because it was the done thing which seems to be the case for the rest of his regiment as well. There are those that brag about their bravado but when the time comes for the bullets to fly they are the first to turn and run. At first, our soldier is condescending towards these 'cowards' as he sees them but he very quickly sees the futility of their regiment's actions as they seem to be merely feinting and arbitrarily gaining and losing ground. It is a gritty, raw description of battle and defeat which is undercut with confusion and fear. These are children playacting warfare but the injuries and death are very real. Crane's insistence on not holding back lends a realistic, deadening of the senses feel to what it's like on the battlefield when you are surrounded by death and horror at every turn. He was making a commentary on the futility of war and how those who are a part of the 'war machine' are generally lost as to the meaning of why and who they are fighting. I am immensely glad that I finally picked this book up and gave it a read. I encourage ya'll to do the same. It's a slim volume and will take no time at all (though I don't promise you'll want a break every now and again from the bloodshed). 9/10
Here are a few more covers which I thought were worth sharing because they tell slightly different stories (and illustrate the point that covers do matter):
|This one screams patriotism. Source: Goodreads|
|Yes, that is a bald eagle. [Source: Waldina]|
|Just so you get the message. [Source: Goodreads]|
|And my fave because RAINBOW. [Source: Amazon]|
What's Up Next: Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers by Matt Kaplan
What I'm Currently Reading: Slightly Foxed: Issues 50-53
Vanna White in Playboy that is how it all started. All Billy and his friends, Alf and Clark, wanted was to get their hands on a copy. Simple… not at all. You have to be eighteen to purchase Playboy and they are always kept behind the counter at Zelinsky’s store. After several failed attempts to lay hands on the coveted prize, they hatch a plan to steal a copy. All they need is the code to the security alarm. The plan involves Billy cozying up to Mary, the shop owner’s computer nerd daughter, and getting it from her. Billy, a computer geek himself, ends up falling for Mary. What is a guy to do? Betray his friends or betray Mary?
Oh, the nostalgia! The Impossible Fortress, by Jason Rekulak, brought back a lot of memories for me. The story was great and I kept rooting for Billy even though I could see he was heading for trouble. The characters were flawed but in a good way. The story was paced well so you never got bored and it did not feel rushed either. Great coming-of-age story and thoroughly enjoyable! I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.
Dave and Julia are two high-schoolers who have decided to make a list of all the high-school cliches that they would become a part of. A list of "Nevers". Never attend a party with the Kapoors. Never hook up with a teacher. Never become prom king/queen. Never date your best friend.
The twist? Dave is in love with Julia, and has been as long as he can remember. So he's technically already broken that last one on the list.
Gee, I wonder how THIS could turn out.
The problem with this book is that, despite these two teenagers being so determined to stay out of cliches, they're literally a walking cliche by themselves. Teenagers already rebel against the norm. If this is all there is to the book, then you're already going to get bored - but wait! Romance! Love triangle! Just like...every other YA book ever. God. I'm sick of this shit. I mean it, I'm sick of it.
Strangely enough, the romance is what kept me reading the book. There was even a twist at the end because I assumed that Dave was always to end up with Julia.
However, here's the main problem of the book: our protagonists are really, really, really fucking boring and uninteresting and I don't give a monkey about them.
They're just written so simply and to sound like ordinary teenagers - which is fine - except that almost every other character is more engaging than they are. Dave was your typical protagonist, thoughtful and kind, never stops going on about how much he loves Julia in his internal monologue. I wanted it to end. He would not stop.
Halfway through the book, we get Julia's POV and discover that actually she was in love with Dave the whole bloody time. Wow. Really? She also got on my nerves a lot. She is always being a smartass, cracking jokes, being irritatingly sassy - and not in an endearing way, but in a really annoying way.
There's a part where they throw a party at their house. Julia finds out that Dave has kissed this other girl who isn't her and gets pretty pissy at him. When he's gone, she breaks a few things, punches the wall, smashes the window, etc. There's vomit on the carpet, the place is a mess.
When her parents turn up and demand to know what's happened to their house, the way she talks to them is just atrocious. I swear, I wanted to slap her. Even worse, her parents just seemed to take it in their stride. No grounding, nothing. They gave her a lecture and then it all went away.
I mean what is this? What IS this? It's really irritating when you write the parents as being "cool, so hip, so down with the kids" - because they're not! You want them to appeal to the target demographic, is that it? It just makes them seem incompetent and lousy role models! This is hardly the first time I've seen this in a YA novel...
I wish the book had developed the side characters. We meet a jock at some point and he has more personality than anyone else, really. But no, the only other person who is really developed is Gretchen, the other girl pushed into the love triangle.
I really liked Gretchen, actually. Apparently, she's supposed to be a blonde popular girl, but the use of the name Gretchen made me think of that girl from Recess. You know. The nerdy girl with glasses. I mean come on.
Still, she was much more likeable than that smartass Julia. Mainly because she wasn't Julia, and thus better to read about.
There's a part in the book where Dave wants to ask out Gretchen to the prom. He does so by creating a stupidly drawn-out treasure hunt where she has to find all these roses. All twelve of them.
Twelve?? Twelves fucking roses?! Just to ask a girl out? It's literally like a treasure hunt, leading her from rose to rose. He serenades her at the end. For god's sake, just ASK her without resorting to this madness.
I mean...what if she had said no? Imagine that. Imagine spending hours and hours putting all these shitty roses in different places, leading your crush to each one (one of them was high up in a tree), only to have her say "Sorry, I'm actually not into you." I mean come on!
I fully expected her to say no to him because the entire thing was absolutely ridiculous. I was amazed when nothing actually went wrong.
The love triangle goes on from there, and one of the girls ends up forever alone because Dave was her only friend and she didn't bother to think of getting any other friends because she avoided everyone else in school because she's a stupid cliche. The end.
It's not a terrible book, I guess, but it is really REALLY bland. It's really not worth wasting your time on. Even the title should be evidence of that enough. I just started skimming over the last few chapters because it was just mushy stuff between characters I couldn't stand.