One of the drawbacks of reading so many books is that I have extremely high standards since I've read some truly excellent pieces of literature...and also some major duds. I say all of this because I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 2 years ago and so I know she has the capability to write amazing young adult fiction. I chose Fly on the Wall specifically because the review that I heard on BookTube led me to believe that it was a retelling of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and because I had enjoyed Lockhart's previous book. What I didn't expect was for it to be chock full of really explicit sexual content. Why on earth did she have to describe penises in such revealing detail? And why did she keep referring to them as gherkins?! (And if I ever hear someone call them that or refer to breasts as biscuits I'm going to slap them across the face.) The main character and the person who we view the story from is named Gretchen Yee and she is the prototypical teenage girl filled with angst. She attends a high school that focuses on the arts and her specialty is drawing comic book style characters (hence the cover imagery). Her obsession with a boy in her school leads her to make a foolhardy wish to be a fly on the wall of the boys locker room so that she can find out how he really thinks about her. (And this is where she begins to ogle the boys as they undress for gym class.) I guess the story is supposed to be a character study or a revelation that what we think we know about people can be turned on its head if we see them at their most vulnerable. However, for me it was a letdown and vaguely nauseating. This was a 0/10 for me and I'll have to give serious thought to reading anything else from this author in the future.
PS There were also a lot of plot holes in the storyline and the ending truly fell flat.
What I'm Currently Reading: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
The Marvels is his newest work and combines two stories into one. The first half is told entirely through pictures and is incredibly moving and beautiful. If I didn't convey this before, I find Selznick's art highly compelling and capable of telling a story without words being necessary. That didn't stop me from loving the second half of the book which is told from a different perspective and through text alone. The ending is a delightful mixture of the two which makes total sense with the narrative. It's difficult to explain this one without giving anything away but I'll give it my best shot. There's a boy who runs away, a sad man living in a house which has its own lively spirit, a girl chasing a dog, and the pangs of first love. Selznick touches on topics such as abandonment, homosexuality, AIDS, death, and ultimately coming into one's own. It's all about the choices that we make and the people that we want to become. It's phenomenal and maybe my favorite of the lot. 10/10
Source: Booking Mama
The following book was kindly sent to me by the author, B.C.R. Fegan, who requested a review. This book is out now and you can get a physical or ebook copy by visiting the publisher's website, TaleBlade Press, or by checking out Amazon. :-)
The Grumpface by B.C.R. Fegan with illustrations by Daniela Frongia is told entirely in rhyme. It's the story of Dan who is a clumsy dreamer inventor who is simply trying to win over the affections of the girl he's loved from afar. The Grumpface is a creature determined to thwart anyone he comes into contact with no matter how earnest or good-hearted. It's not a huge leap to learn that the main character and Dan have a run-in and shenanigans ensue. If you're looking for a sweet book about a character that never gives up no matter how insurmountable the odds then you should look no further. Added bonus is that this book is told in rhyming verse which hearkens back to the fairytales of old (and which little people especially enjoy). This is one that I think they'll be requesting over and over to read. 7/10
Source: TaleBlade Press
Not too very long ago, I read and reviewed Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. As mentioned in that post, Vampire Academy is the first novel in a young adult series about the Moroi (vampires) and dhampirs (guardians of Moroi) who attend St. Vladimir's Academy. Specifically, it's about Lissa and Rose who are shadow kissed and trying to figure out just what that means as there's nothing officially documented about the use of spirit. (I realize this will make no sense unless you read the first book in the series so you'd better go and do that first.) In the second book, Frostbite, Lissa and Rose are continuing their studies so that they can learn how to survive while the Strigoi begin to organize their attacks on Moroi royals. However, the biggest problem that Rose is facing is not against the Strigoi but against her own traitorous heart. (I hope that came across as dramatic as I imagined.) There is not one, not two, but three men in her life and she is very conflicted about her feelings. Ah, that teenage angst! If you were fans of the first novel in the series then undoubtedly you will enjoy this continuation because more of the mythology is unraveled and the characters continue to be fleshed out. It's still bordering on a bit too racy for me but it's the vampire lore which I'm here for primarily (although I am definitely team Dmitri). I'm most likely going to continue reading this series but I'd love to hear your opinion on the books, the reviews, and what you'd like to see me read next. Basically, I just want you guys to talk to me. :-P