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review 2017-09-20 18:41
Love is Both Wave and Particle/Paul Cody
Love Is Both Wave and Particle - Paul Co... Love Is Both Wave and Particle - Paul Cody

This achingly beautiful novel considers how to measure love when it has the power to both save and destroy.

Levon Grady and Samantha Vash are both students at an alternative high school for high-achieving but troubled teens. They have been chosen for a year-long project where they write their life stories and collect interviews from people who know them. The only rule is 100% confidentiality—they will share their work only with each other. What happens will transform their lives.

Told from the perspectives of Levon, Sam, and all the people who know them best, this is a love story infused with science and the exploration of identity. Love Is Both Wave and Particle looks at how love behaves in different situations, and how it can shed light on even the darkest heart.

 

This is one of those books for which you have to roll your eyes a few times and remember that it's YA lit, so it's not necessarily supposed to be realistic sometimes, but if you can get past this, it's a stunner and a great exploration of relationships.

 

The biggest selling point of this one for me was the various interspersed chapters from other perspectives, and the way it felt like it really could be the project of high school seniors. I loved that. I loved the way other people put their opinions on our two main characters in and how these offered intriguing insights.

 

This story does throw you slightly in the deep end, starting off with an ambulance incident which already had my mind whirling with various character names, but I think that this style pays off, and that it's worth getting through the first few chapters and becoming oriented with the direction that it's taking.

 

I think that it could have benefitted by breaking away from the norms a bit more and focusing on the development of other relationships, but perhaps I ask too much.

 

Overall though, if you tend to enjoy multiple narrators or the traditional boy/girl alternating voice, this is a solid story.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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review 2017-09-20 18:18
A Short History of the Girl Next Door/Jared Reck
A Short History of the Girl Next Door - ... A Short History of the Girl Next Door - Jared Reck

This book is worth reading, so go read it, but stop reading reviews because they'll probably spoil something. Don't read the description; it'll spoil something. (Those author comparisons… come on, whoever did jacket copy!) If you like YA, go read it.

 

Okay, that being said, now I will talk about this book in ambiguous terms that jump around the major event that happens a third of the way or so through. No apologies if you're intelligent enough to guess what happens. Here's the blurb:

 

Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this unrequited love story will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews. 
Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it’s different? You see that goofy grin a thousand times and just laugh. But goofy grin #1,001 nearly stops your heart? 
Right. That sounds like a bad movie already.
Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her, he implodes on the JV basketball team, and the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about pissed-off candy-cane lumberjacks.
If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and would fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain.
But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse. 
After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, on the verge of spiraling out of control and losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.

 

So this ends up being a premise I've totally thought about in a different fashion--the idea of who is important to you, but how many other people even know that you're important to them? Who has the right to grieve? Who has the agency to speak after certain events? (I told you there'd be spoilers. There's no way to do this.)

 

Matt is lovely and so very real and such a great boy character! Am I the only one who feels like boy characters are often one-dimensional in YA lit? I loved the way he interacted with all of his friends and especially with Tabby, and I loved the way that he dealt with the circumstances and lashed out and was vulnerable and real.

 

While a lot more YA deals with this than proportionally is realistic, I felt like I could see this community reacting and I could see the events playing out. From Matt's parents and family to the way he plays basketball and looks up to his teammates, I felt like Reck had really delved into the personality of every character.

 

This is so much better than All the Bright Places, and I highly recommend it for those who love tragic YA romances.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-09-12 20:09
The One That Got Away/Melissa Pimentel
The One That Got Away: A Novel - Melissa Pimentel

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren't.

Now, ten years later, Ruby is single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There's barely time for a trip to England for her little sister's wedding. And there's certainly not time to think about what it will be like to see Ethan again, who just so happens to be the best man.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can't help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there is nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past.

This was a super enjoyable book, but I think it's just got a great premise and was easy to read more than it actually being spectacular in itself.

 

I'm a hopeless romantic (when I'm not busy being a cynic) and I find the idea of one having a true person absolutely magnificent, so the idea of returning to one's true love is absolutely delightful to me, and that really got me through the book. (So should I read Persuasion now? Maybe. Maybe not.)

 

But I couldn't help feeling like I'd read this book before. The characters were all familiar--the overworked New Yorker girl, struggling to find love, the rich husband, the sister in love--but this wasn't necessarily a good thing. It just felt vaguely tired. And formulaic.

 

This is enjoyable and a very easy read, but I could have stepped away halfway through and not felt as though I was missing anything.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-09-08 01:36
Love and Other Consolation Prizes/Jamie Ford
Love and Other Consolation Prizes: A Novel - Jamie Ford

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off--a healthy boy -to a good home.-
The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known--and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.
But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.
Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.
Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion--in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.

 

I was quite enchanted by the setting of this book and the amount of historical knowledge I gained reading about the World's Fair.

 

Especially as Ernest is an immigrant coming from nothing, Seattle is mystical to read about and I very much enjoyed all of the details of the politics of the time and the influence that various people from different backgrounds had, especially when hypocrisies were exposed and future implications highlighted.

 

The timeline worked quite well. The book is in a manner a mystery, as our view of Ernest's wife flipflops and evolves. One of Ernest's daughters is a journalist which adds a fascinating aspect also. While the meat of the story is in the 1910s, the elements from the present day that are included serve to give the book a little more momentum.

 

I felt like most of the characters had their own motives and desires which made the story all the more intriguing to read. I loved how characters that I thought I would never read about popped up again and grew up in their own manners.

 

At points this was a slow read, but it was solid nonetheless. This book was worth reading simply for the historical aspects and for the way that the World's Fairs were brought to life, and that an intriguing exploration of characters and growing up was included made it even better.

 

To know this was based on a true story makes it all the more charming and romantic.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-08-21 13:50
The Other Girl/Erica Spindler
The Other Girl - Erica Spindler

From the NYT bestselling author comes a chilling new thriller about a ritualistic murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her.

Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from Jasper, just south of Hammond, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to leave the girl she used to be behind and earn respect in her position as an officer.

However, when Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the gruesomeness of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about a terrible night from her long-buried past. Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop, and not just any cop—Clint Wheeler, the cop who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda. 15 years ago.

And when her fingerprints turn up at the scene of the first murder, Miranda once again finds herself under the microscope, her honesty and integrity doubted, her motivations questioned. Alone again, the trust of her colleagues shattered, Miranda must try to trust the instincts she’s pushed down for so long, and decide what’s right—before it’s too late.

 

While this dealt with the important topic of sexual assault and was a quick read, there was nothing in this that really stood out to me from other thrillers.

 

Unlike with other bokos, this one didn't have me on my toes and I was always kind of sure that everything would work out. I mean, 95% of books have everything work out, but normally I'm not entirely sure. Because of that, I never really felt nervous or tense or anxious about how the book would end.

 

This might be because I never really felt connected to Miranda. Sure, she has a tragedy in her backstory and a stubborn personality, but I couldn't quite bring myself to really care about her. The subplot of romance was more a subplot of sex and not something I entirely appreciated, perhaps because I felt like she was settling.

 

I did very much appreciate the statement that the book made about sexual assault and how commonly it goes unreported. Power and influence in the hands of a perpetrator create a serious problem, and this book is not afraid to examine these subjects. This is the biggest strength to the story.

 

This book is worth your time if you're looking for a decent book to fill some time, but it's not one I'll be raving about.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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