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review 2017-05-26 06:02
Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
The Whole Thing Together - Ann Brashares

Quick review for a somewhat quick read for me, though it felt like I had to push myself through this novel several times. "The Whole Thing Together" has many issues, but I would echo concerns that much of this novel suffers from rampant cliches, insensitive references in the measure of racial attribution (considering it uses a racial slur casually and struggles constantly to accurately and sensitively portray the multiracial character who struggles with her identity) and sexism (slut shaming and odd fixations on physical details of the characters). In addition to those issues, I think the biggest downfall of this novel really came in that I just couldn't find a space to connect with the characters. Not as much as I wanted to, because there were parts of the narrative that had the potential to go interesting places, but never quite reached that point and abruptly halted in places where the development could've provided more intimacy than the narration allowed.

At its heart, "The Whole Thing Together" is a family drama, showcasing teens as well as young adults in a separate sections of the same family struggling through multiple phases and revelations in their lives. Think "Parenthood" or "Brothers and Sisters" in terms of TV dramas, only I think the characters in this novel were far less fleshed out. As ambitious as this narrative sought to be, it tried to take on far too much in a narrow scope, to the point where nothing really worked well. The narrative voices blended far too much for me to truly connect to them (I don't mind third-person omniscient POV, I read it quite often in many genres). I would hesitate to call this YA, it feels more like it straddles the line between YA and New Adult (at least if you think about certain themes tackled in this book).

The surprise revelation towards the ending was emotional, but I honestly think that it could've had more impact if the character constructions were stronger. In the end, it's a narrative with strong intentions, but the execution leaves an unmemorable and sometimes offputting portrayal that doesn't showcase the best of what Brashares can do, and as someone who liked the Sisterhood series, this left me greatly disappointed.

Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.

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text 2017-05-26 03:51
Reading progress update: I've read 253 out of 418 pages.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

Ugh oh 

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review 2017-05-26 02:26
Book 31/100: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

This is one of those books that inspires complicated feelings. Is it possible to write a book about teens and suicide that doesn't inspire complicated feelings? I've certainly never read one -- but it's something writers need to keep writing about, and that we need to keep talking about.

My biggest qualm with YA suicide books is that I always fear they run the risk of romanticizing the issue, and that is particularly true when the suicide is contextualized within a romantic relationship as it is here. And so what made me most uncomfortable about this book was that Finch and Violet's suicide attempt in the same place on the same day was essentially reduced to a "meet-cute" (this isn't a spoiler, it's the opening chapter.) And the road-trippy aspects of the story also made the whole thing seem kind of fun and sweet and exciting rather than truly harrowing. The book didn't make me cry, which considering the subject matter seems like a bit of a fail.

At the same time, the things that I can be most critical about in this book can also be interpreted as some of its greatest strengths. Dealing with mental illness does not mean your entire existence is bleak, or that there aren't moments of beauty and adventure and wonder. It doesn't mean that life doesn't continue to unfold around you. I thought that Niven handled Finch's mental illness in a way that was believable and nuanced. I was less impressed by her depiction of Violet. Violet was damaged in her own way, still grieving the loss of her sister, but I kept feeling distracted by the fact that her parents didn't seem to be grieving along with her. In some ways they seemed too "perfect" and "together" for parents who had gone through the tragedy of losing a child, but at the same time it was nice to see some responsible, competent adults in a YA book.

My book club spent a lot of time dissecting how things could have been different if this or that circumstance might have been changed, and although the book loses points for not tugging at my heartstrings the way it maybe should have, it gets those points back again by being the kind of book you keep chewing on for quite a while after the final page has been read.

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review 2017-05-25 12:06
Born in midnight by C.C Hunter
Born at Midnight - C.C. Hunter

 

This is the first book I have read by this author I liked this book. This book is about kylie Galen has been having not a good summer her parents’ divorce and her boyfriend dumps her than she was caught at a party with alcohol present her mother than send her to camp, the camp is called shadow falls, kylie than find out the camp is for supernatural. Then she embarks to find out what she is

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-25 08:38
Book Review : The Raven king Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4) - Maggie Stiefvater

April 26- May 21 All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore. Review : The final book in the raven cycle I loved it one of my favorite Series . Gansey knows he's going to die . Cabeswater is having problems Noah almost killed Blue . The Character Henry I didn't like him at first but he grew on me he's an odd character . Blue and Gansey at the toga party was funny . Gansey tells Adam and Ronan about him and Blue I'm glad he did so they can be open with each other . Ronan's dream person came out Orphan girl . OH my god Ronan kissed Adam I'm so freaking happy for them and Adam kissed him back ahhhhhhh . They found Gledower and he's just dead that was disapointing there is this demon they have to get rid of . Gansey goes to the place where he dies and Blue kisses him and he dies but Cabeswater brings him back . Noah finally moves on I cried I loved this book I cried I laughed this series is one of my favorites I loved the characters and the storyline .

Quotes:

“His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he'd let them overflow and now there wasn't a damn place in the ocean that wouldn't catch fire if he dropped a match.” 
 
When Adam kissed him, it was every mile per hour Ronan had ever gone over the speed limit. It was every window-down, goose-bumps-on-skin, teeth-chattering-cold night drive. It was Adam’s ribs under Ronan’s hands and Adam’s mouth on his mouth, again and again and again. It was stubble on his lips and Ronan having to stop, to get his breath, to restart his heart. They were both hungry animals, but Adam had been starving for far longer.”
 
 
No homework. I got suspended,” Blue replied.
“Get the fuck out,” Ronan said, but with admiration. “Sargent, you asshole
 
You're asking me to define an abstract concept that no one has managed to explain since time began. You sort of sprang it on me," Gansey said. "Why do we breathe air? Because we love air? Because we don't want to suffocate. Why do we eat? Because we don't want to starve. How do I know I love her? Because I can sleep after I talk to her. Why?” 
 
 
Trees in your eyes ... Stars in your heart.”
 
“It'll be OK. I'm ready. Blue, kiss me.” 
 
He wordlessly crossed the floor and sat beside Adam on the mattress. When he held out his hand, Adam put the model into it.
“This old thing,” Ronan said. He turned the front tyre, and again the music played out of it. They sat like that for a few minutes, as Ronan examined the car and turned each wheel to play a different tune. Adam watched how intently Ronan studied the seams, his eyelashes low over his light eyes. Ronan let out a breath, put the model down on the bed beside him, and kissed Adam.
Once, when Adam had still lived in the trailer park, he had been pushing the lawn mower around the scraggly side yard when he realized that it was raining a mile away. He could smell it, the earthy scent of rain on dirt, but also the electric, restless smell of ozone. And he could see it: a hazy gray sheet of water blocking his view of the mountains. He could track the line of rain travelling across the vast dry field towards him. It was heavy and dark, and he knew he would get drenched if he stayed outside. It was coming from so far away that he had plenty of time to put the mower away and get under cover. Instead, though, he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the grass flat, he just stood there. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him.
That was this kiss.
They kissed again. Adam felt it in more than his lips.
Ronan sat back, his eyes closed, swallowing. Adam watched his chest rise and fall, his eyebrows furrow. He felt as bright and dreamy and imaginary as the light through the window.
He did not understand anything.
It was a long moment before Ronan opened his eyes, and when he did, his expression was complicated. He stood up. He was still looking at Adam, and Adam was looking back, but neither said anything. Probably Ronan wanted something from him, but Adam didn’t know what to say. He was a magician, Persephone had said, and his magic was making connections between disparate things. Only now he was too full of white, fuzzy light to make any sort of logical connections. He knew that of all the options in the world, Ronan Lynch was the most difficult version of any of them. He knew that Ronan was not a thing to be experimented with. He knew his mouth still felt warm. He knew he had started his entire time at Aglionby certain that all he wanted to do was get as far away from this state and everything in it as possible.
He was pretty sure he had just been Ronan’s first kiss.” 
 
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