book review, young adult

Review: Annie John

I was afraid of the dead, as was everyone I knew. We were afraid of the dead because we never could tell when they might show up again

Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid

annie-john

Click on the image above to purchase on Amazon.

I was assigned to read this novel in class, but I was already familiar with Jamaica Kincaid’s short stories, which are, quite moving. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed with my introduction to her novel writing.

AUTHOR: Jamaica Kincaid

GENRE: Young Adult, Fiction, Coming of Age

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: Amazon

RATING: 4.5 stars/stars

SUMMARY: Annie John is your typical girl who grows up on the island of Antigua. Her life is dominated by a couple of things; fear of the dead, her undying love for her mother, and her affection towards her friends. However, as she grows older, the nature of the affectionate relationship between her and her mother shifts. Suddenly, Annie John finds herself the victim of lectures about what it means to be a young lady and on the other side of childhood that she never thought she’d find herself on.

THOUGHTS: The theme of the English class I took, the one that assigned me this novel, was coming-of-age. This theme is heralded throughout Annie John and is dealt with a truthful and unapologetic way that makes me love the book even more. There are all sorts of emotional complexities that accompanies one as she makes the transition from young girl to young woman, and these are laid bare in this novel. It was a delight to share in Annie John’s pain and struggles for me personally, because it is a stark reminder that a) I’m not alone and b) maturing into a woman is significantly different than maturing into a man.

Coming-of-age novels can often be a hit and miss with me (The Catcher in the Rye was a total miss) and Annie John was a hit. Maybe it is because I identify so strongly with parts of Annie’s narrative: her urge to leave her home for the greater world beyond, her struggle with the aspects of her identity as a woman-of-color and what expectations that identity entails, and her rebellious side. There are also aspects of female-female friendships throughout the book that are so strong, as those bonds typically are in young girls, which is amazing to read from a feminist point of view. However, there are also rivalries between girls, though not over boys as other young adults might espouse, but over academic achievement. This subject is also broached in a respectful way (because the girls attend an all-girl school) and enhances the truthfulness of the narrative.

Kincaid’s language, as per usual, flows well from one chapter to the next. Annie’s voice as a narrator is easily identifiable as youthful, though wise beyond her years. Annie is smart, she is snarky, she has attitude and she has pity and is capable of humiliation. She goes through all the awkward struggles that comes with those early teenage years, and all of this is made clear in Kincaid’s diction. Annie is sometimes identifiable, sometimes sympathetic, and sometimes not. All in all, her humanity- the best and the worst of it, are on full display in this novel.

Those of us who like novels that end neatly and with no lingering, unexplored topics waiting at the end might not enjoy this particular novel. It is true that the character of Annie progresses from girl to adult, from naive to seasoned, and from full of love to full of other, more complicated emotions; however, the book only ends with her as a young adult. As as many young adults can attest, just because one makes it through physical puberty does not mean that the emotional journeys started in puberty also come to an end. However, this open-ended ending does all the more to make the novel believable, and the character of Annie John identifiable as a young woman with more still to figure out as she continues to mature.

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book review, book tour, young adult

Book Tour: Transcend Time

Author: Michelle Madow

Narrator: Andrea Emmes

Series: The Transcend Time Saga, Book 1

Length: 7 hours 5 minutes

Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing

Released: Jul. 31, 2017

Genre: Clean Romance

They’re reincarnated soulmates. So why is he pushing her away?

Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from 1815, England … but she doesn’t know it until she meets her soul mate from the past and he triggers her memories to gradually return.

When Drew Carmichael moves to Lizzie’s town, Lizzie feels a connection to him, like she knows him. But he wants nothing to do with her. She knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, but that gets harder and harder as memories of her past life return. And the more Lizzie remembers, the more she’s determined to unravel the mysteries of the past … no matter how deadly those secrets might be.

A romance with a fantasy twist that listeners of all ages will love!

Michelle Madow is a USA Today bestselling author of fast paced fantasy novels that will leave you turning the pages wanting more!
She grew up in Maryland and now lives in Florida. Some of her favorite things are: reading, traveling, pizza, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

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Narrator Bio

Audible Best Selling Narrator, Andrea Emmes was born in Hollywood, FL and grew up in both Tennessee and Rhode Island, started her career in musical theater. Cutting her teeth at The Trinity Arts Center in Rhode Island, Andrea eventually made her way to Orlando and began her eclectic career singing/dancing in various shows at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Pirates’ Dinner Adventure, performing as a magician’s assistant, headlining on the Las Vegas Strip and touring Los Angeles as an L.A. Award winning artist with her album, “I’m On My Way”.

Having worked in tv, film and video games, Andrea, a total Book Nerd, now enjoys narrating audiobooks at her home studio in San Jose, California.

Her wide range of character voices and dynamic/emotionally invested performances has reviewers and listeners alike commenting on how she effortlessly pulls listeners in, and has versatility and charisma.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Andrea Emmes. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

RATING: 3.5/5 stars

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and young adult! It has your classic tropes: the love triangle, the dark and handsome love interest, the conflicted girl, etc. It is a feel-good, kind of book that I’m sure many people would enjoy.

I liked listening to this book rather than reading it ( and not just because the narrator, Andrea Emmes, did a terrific job) because it was a lot easier to imagine the details of setting while listening to the book.

The book did a great job in sticking to the historical accuracies of the other time era it was describing other than present day, though I was left wishing that more of the book was spent in the “past” because that era is truly one of my favorites to study and know more about.

Lizzie, the protagonist, navigates through the classic high school issues: whether she really likes her current boyfriend (he’s a class-A jerk, which was nicely done), whether she should be taking AP classes when she is struggling in the subject, and whether she should be loyal to her best friend or loyal to her love interest. These struggles took up most of the book and that is why I would recommend this book to readers who like young adult. Many of Lizzie’s issues are valid ones that many a teenager deals with, and her immaturity in dealing with some of these issues only goes to show that she is the age she is supposed to be in this book. I believe anyone who remembers being a confused teenager will have no issue in relating to the protagonist.

There are also many, many references to Pride and Prejudice, which I enjoyed because it is truly one of my favorite books. If these elements sound appealing to you, then I would definitely recommend this series to you!

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Audible

Q&A with Narrator Andrea Emmes
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • Well, I kind of fell into audiobooks in 2014 and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been a professional performer (actor/singer/dancer/VO) for over 20 years but in 2006 I got hurt in a stunt show and had to retire due to a disabling pain disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy aka CRPS. I’ve always been an avid reader and during my recovery I read about 8-12 books a week. I went back to college and got a degree in Game Art and Design and was a game designer for Disney Interactive for a couple of years After the layoffs, I had to figure out what I should do next as I can no longer dance, etc. anymore and my husband suggested I look into audiobooks. He’s brilliant and I researched it, set up my equipment, studied with coaches and have enjoyed every minute of it!!
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • That’s a great question. Yes and No. When looking into how to get into audiobooks, I found ACX. Audiobook Exchange which is owned by Amazon/Audible. It’s a really great marketplace for self-published indie authors/small publishers to put their books up for auditions and for narrators to find work. This is where I got my start. It was great cutting my teeth on the amazing books that were listed but since this is a full time thing for me, I’m always looking how to grow my business and extend my reach as a narrator. So, I started looking into how I could work with the big publishers. This takes some time as there are a ton of amazing talent out there that are vying to be noticed and cast. So, I immediately starting coaching with Sean Allen Pratt, who is an incredible coach and began learning techniques for Non Fiction and narration in general which really gave me a solid foundation moving forward. I still hear Sean’s advice in my head while in the booth 3 years later!! I’ve also studied with Paul Alan Ruben, Patrick Fraley, PJ Ochlan, Joel Froomkin, Andi Arndt. Each one offered such nuggets of wisdom that has made me a better narrator and I look forward to learning from other coaches as you should always be honing your craft. Each book I do, I learn so much and finally this year, after networking, working on my technique and studio sound, I’ve started working with some publishers and am so excited to see what lies ahead!
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I, too, have a background in theatre and though I think that it was 100% helpful for me in bringing those acting techniques to my narration, it’s not a MUST. But it does help. Audiobook Narration is an acting job. You are cast to not only bring the book to life audibly, but you must vocally and emotionally embody each character, the tone of the book and entertain at the same time. It’s no easy feat. So for those who don’t have any acting background and want to be a narrator, it can be learned with really great coaching. I know many successful narrators who didn’t come from the acting world but put in so much work to be the best at what they do.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • I’ve been studied the art of acting and performing for more than half my life. I’ve taken singing lessons to not only bring a higher quality to my singing voice, but to help with breath control, mic techinques and vocal upkeep. I’ve studied with the best of the best for voice over work for commercials, animation, video games and of course audiobooks. What’s interesting is that the technique for voice over (commercial/animation/videogames) is different for audiobooks. There is a different approach you need to take with NonFiction (which is still acting) and with Fiction. How you approach different character voices but not be over the top cartoony, keeping the narration genuine and engaging to keep the listener immersed. Sometimes, I enjoy the training just as much as the actual narration.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • That is a great question, but narration can be tedious. Especially because you have to learn a ton of tech and engineering besides just speaking into the mic. It’s important to take lots of small breaks. Especially because it’s not good to be sitting or standing for too long. Because of my disability, I have to narrate sitting down, so it’s important for me to stretch or lay down every once in a while. Also, it can be hard to maintain your enthusiasm because, yes, I have a wicked cool job that I LOVE, but sometimes it’s hard to get into the emotions of the book. But I remind myself that I’m so blessed to do what I do; to have authors and publishers who believe and trust in me to bring their book to life and I don’t take that honor lightly. If I’m struggling or just not feeling it, I’ll step away, play some video games or watch TV or go for a walk and then come back fresh and get back to work!! As long as I hit my deadline, my daily schedule is flexible.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I AM! I love them. I’ve always loved story time as a child and in a way, it brings me back to when my parents would read to me. Audiobooks allow you to dive into the world of a good book and amazing characters, hear them come to life with the different voices, etc. and just let your imagination soar. When I’m listening, I can see the world that the narrator is describing. Also, it’s great to keep me entertained while I’m driving, cleaning or going for a walk. I’m a book addict and a total audiophile!
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • Hmm. I think my favorite parts of narrating is when I first read the book, make all of my notes and really work on the characters. I also really love emotional stories, where the characters are going through a hard time, some kind of trauma, or whatever and I can dive into what they are feeling. It can be hard emotionally on me as sometimes I’ve had to stop recording because I have to ugly cry for a moment, but it’s so fulfilling to actualize these moments in a hopefully genuine manner that will touch the listener. The best feeling is when the book is complete and gets approved ☺. My least favorite part of narration would be if I have to edit/master my own book. That is a very tedious process and whenever I can afford to high a professional engineer I jump at the chance. (plus, they do a way better job than I do so they are worth every penny!)
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • Wow. That’s a hard question. I think for me, really getting into the mindset of a character, especially an angst-y young adult character and bringing them to life in a believable way is something I feel confident with.
  • Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
    • I honestly am happy to narrate any genre, but because I have a youthful voice, Young Adult and Children’s books are a strength for me and what I do mostly. And I love it. I read young adult books for pleasure so it’s pretty awesome to be able to narrate them! I have declined a few projects because I didn’t feel I was right for it. And often times, I’d submit other narrators that I thought would be better suited for the book.

The Transcend Time Saga Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card

Remembrance, Book 1

Oct. 22nd:
The Audiobookworm

Loves Great Reads
Lisa Loves Literature

Oct. 23rd:
AudioSpy
The Writing Train
Lilly’s Book World
Hall Ways Blog

Oct. 24th:
Jazzy Book Reviews

Oct. 25th:
Literature Approved
Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Oct. 26th:
Haddie’s Haven
It’s Novel to Me
The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Oct. 27th:
Chapter Break
Here’s to Happy Endings

Oct. 28th:
The Book Addict’s Reviews
Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest
My Creatively Random Life

Vengeance, Book 1.5

Oct. 29th:
The Audiobookworm

Haddie’s Haven
Lisa Loves Literature
Lilly’s Book World
Jazzy Book Reviews

Oct. 30th:
AudioSpy
The Writing Train
Chapter Break
Here’s to Happy Endings
The Book Junkie Reads . . .
Hall Ways Blog

Oct. 31st:
The Book Addict’s Reviews
Literature Approved
Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest
My Creatively Random Life

Timeless, Book 2

Nov. 1st:
The Audiobookworm

AudioSpy
The Writing Train

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Lisa Loves Literature

Nov. 3rd:
Lilly’s Book World
The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Nov. 4th:
Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Nov. 5th:
Haddie’s Haven
Jazzy Book Reviews

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The Book Addict’s Reviews
Literature Approved
Chapter Break
Here’s to Happy Endings
Hall Ways Blog

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book review, young adult

Review: We Are Okay

There are degrees of obsession, of awareness, of grief, of insanity.

We Are Okay, Nina LaCour

GENRE: Young Adult

WHAT FORMAT: audiobook

RATING: 4/5 stars

SUMMARY: Marin is a freshman in college, stranded in the dormitories for winter break. She has not talked to anyone she knew back home since her grandfather had passed. Her best friend, Mabel, comes to visit her at her school in New York. Though the two friends had spent months not talking to each other, they rediscover and re-map out their friendship during Mabel’s three-day visit. Also, Marin explores what it might mean to be “okay” for the first time since she lost her grandfather.

THOUGHTS: This novel is so surprisingly poignant. As I started to read, I grew bored pretty instantaneously because not a lot was happening. However, by the last words of the books, I was left in more tears than I really care to admit on the Internet. Something should be said by the fact that I finished this book in less than 24 hours. I will also mention a small spoiler: this book features a biracial, LGBTQ relationship so yayyy diversity and representation!!

I always prefer carefully constructed characters over an exciting plot, and this means that We are Okay was just my book-type. Marin is so complex, and so relatable to me personally. She is a girl that finds every aspect of her life reflected back to her in the novels that she reads, and she has a special and deep relationship with Jane Eyre (as I definitely do). Marin is also the kind of girl that would rather flee from her issues and use coping mechanisms rather than talk about them and deal with them in concrete ways, which is too relatable.

I adore LaCour’s use of setting to advance her plot and her characterization, which is something that is pretty lost in Young Adult, or even Contemporary Adult novels. And no, this is not English class where you have to search out the significance of every little description. The aiding of the setting of snowy New York City, of a desolate dormitory room (where I know melancholy can reside so easily), of a sketchy motel, of foggy San Francisco, and of sunny Southern California enhanced the story so much that if setting was left out, the story would lose much of its meaning. LaCour achieves this effortlessly though.

This is definitely not a feel-good, Young Adult novel. It is filled to the brim with melancholy, and explores the topics of the grieving process and loneliness in depth. This endeared the book to me, because of its relevance in my personal life and because I think that grief is a topic that should be tackled more often in contemporary literature. Normalizing grief and death in media is so important because it is such a universal experience and yet no one ever seems to want to talk about it.

If you enjoy a thought-provoking, entertaining, and heartbreaking read, then I would recommend this novel to you!

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book review, young adult

Review: If I Was Your Girl

You can have anything once you admit you deserve it.

If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo

I am still venturing into the genre that is LGBTQ YA fiction, and it’s because of books like these that I want to keep reading this genre.

AUTHOR: Meredith Russo

GENRE: Young Adult

BOOK FORMAT: audiobook

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

SUMMARY: Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school and has one goal: survive high school as a transgender teen and graduate, then move to the Northern states for college where she might have a better chance at living her truth. However, her plan becomes skewed when she meets a kind, nice boy named Grant and she can’t help but let herself become closer to him. However, she struggles with how close she wants to be to her new boyfriend and her new group of friends…and how much she wants to let them know about her. Trigger warning: outing scene of multiple lgbt characters, sexual assault, bullying, suicide

THOUGHTS: Okay so first of all, I want to say that I am a cisgender individual so if you’d like to know how a transgender person felt about the representation in this book, I would point to On Wednesday’s We Wear Capes for a co-authored review in which one of the reviewers is a transgender individual and can speak to the representation accurately.

I loved this book, and not because it was perfect. It was far from perfect- it fell into some of the many cliched traps that YA books often fall into. The whole plot line in which the new, quiet, kind, Southern, and charming girl moves into town and instantly gets the boyfriend on the football team and the gaggle of popular girl friends felt a little unrealistic to me. It’s the kind of thing that you’d expect from any other YA book. BUT this might have been intentional on Meredith Russo’s part, because that whole traditional storyline is subverted by the very fact that Amanda is transgender. So the normal events in the book, such as going to church with her Southern Baptist friend and dating an athlete in high school, suddenly became events ringed in tension and potential danger.

One thing that I really valued about this book is that it is an own-voices novel, as Meredith Russo is also a transgender woman, and this meant that she could speak to all of the small things about the process of getting surgery, taking hormones, and learning to inhabit the gender that people truly are but were not born into. This story could have easily and rightfully been a narrative full of drama, since the life of a transgender individual is inherently more dangerous than the life of a cisgender individual, especially in an environment such as the American South. However, Russo based most of the novel in ordinary teenage girl experiences, which I really admired. It speaks to the potential for the future of transgender teens in a more accepting society.

One thing that I absolutely adored in this novel, even though it played a minuscule role, is the treatment of religion. Church was a place of danger for Amanda- she was in the presence of many Christian fundamentalists, after all. However, Amanda learns to come to terms with religion with her own faith in a small way; she chose to believe that God still loved her no matter what society told her. I loved this because I feel like the subject of religious LGBTQ individuals is not represented enough- in literature as well as in media in general. LGBTQ religious individuals’ stories are important too.

I had to give this book such a high rating because of how emotional and touching it was. It made me laugh multiple times, it made me freeze with fright and it made me cry. It was so realistic that it made the story so touching. It was also of some personal value to me because I have been at a loss several times in conversation with a transgender friend because of my misunderstandings of their experiences, and this novel allowed me to better educate myself so that I can be a little more prepared in the future. I am grateful for that and for being able to hear a perspective that is so different than my own.

I’d recommend this to everyone.

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book review, reading recommendations, young adult

Review: Two Boys Kissing

Ignorance is not bliss. Bliss is knowing the full meaning of what you have been given.

Two Boys Kissing; David Levithan

I ticked another book off my extremely long TBR list…and managed to pick this delight of a book. I am making an effort to read more LGBTQA books or books about the LGBTQA experience.

AUTHOR: David Levithan

GENRE: Young Adult Fiction

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK / WHAT FORMAT: local library / audiobook

RATING: 5/5 stars

SUMMARY: The novel is narrated by the general gay man that died during the height of the AIDS crisis, and in this novel, the gay men of the past narrating observe the gay boys of today. The novel follows seven different gay boys: one (Cooper) that is dealing with the depths of despair and feels unaccepted by the community around him, two  (Avery and Ryan) that are trying to navigate a new relationship, two (Peter and Neil) that are trying to navigate an older relationship, and two (Craig and Henry) that are trying to break the world record for the world’s longest kiss. In doing so, Craig and Henry are trying to make a statement to the world: that two boys kissing is not scary, that two boys kissing is normal and acceptable. Their feat touches on the lives of the rest of the boys in the novel in some way, whether in a minuscule way or in a way that is meaningful and lasting. Ultimately, this novel maps out the past, the present, and speculates on the future of the American gay experience.

Trigger warnings: There is an outing scene, and talk of suicide.

THOUGHTS: Okay so I absolutely adored this take on the contemporary gay generation. I am familiar with the AIDS crisis and its victims through fiction and theatre only – the men that were wracked with disease are only those that I have seen on stage, on screen, and in cherished books. This approach to the perspective of those men was unique and gave their story more hope than others would have by allowing those men to see how radically the gay experience has changed in America from the realities that they had known. At first I was a little hesitant about how this approach would work out but it played itself out beautifully.

This was my first novel by David Levithan, and I will definitely be reading more of his work because his writing was sublime. This novel had a tone of breathy wonder, of saddened acknowledgement, of weary resignation, and of renewed hope. I honestly just want to brew tea with Levithan’s prose and drink it all day long, it is that good. This book is so well written that even if I had not liked the storyline or the characters (and to be clear, I LOVED both), I still would have enjoyed the experience of reading it. The prose is heart and tear jerking, full of universal truths and general musings on life and existence itself, and the narration was so wonderfully done that even though this book is Young Adult, it lacks the immaturity that other Young Adult books are subject to because they are narrated by teenagers.

I also think Levithan did a good job of captivating the general contemporary gay experience- some of the minor prejudices approached in everyday life, what it means to be a person of color as well as a gay boy, what it means to have a supportive or unsupportive family, what it means to hate your sexuality or love it, etc. All of these gay characters are approaching their sexuality from a completely different background and mindset, which makes the novel that much more honest. Of course, I can only talk about this with the authority that a straight, not-gay-boy, person can have so please keep that in mind.

I adore how this is an own-voices novel, as Levithan himself is a gay man that was born in between the generations that he writes about, so he is in the perfect place to discuss each different and separate experience while still having a degree of separation from each generation as well. It is a lot more powerful to know that an author is drawing from his own experiences and his own interactions to draw inspiration for a book, especially for a book as relevant and significant as this one is.

I would absolutely recommend this book for anyone and everyone, no matter your reading preferences. It is a short read, and I’d be surprised if you managed to make your whole way through without feeling the prick of tears at least once.

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book review, young adult

Review: Fangirl

To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

fangirl_coverdec2012

I have checked off one book from my insanely long TBR list! 126 more to go…

AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell

GENRE: Young Adult Fiction

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK / WHAT FORMAT: local library / ebook

RATING: 3.5/5 stars

SUMMARY: Cath is one of the biggest Simon Snow fans in the world, and a popular fanfiction writer in that fandom. She is about to start her freshman year of college with her twin sister and best friend Wren, but things go amiss when Wren declares she’d rather not room with Cath. Cath, who deals with crippling social anxiety, struggles to thrive in the social atmosphere of college without her socialite sister to guide her, and also struggles to reconcile the real world that she lives in and the fictional world that she would rather inhabit.

THOUGHTS: Okay so the worst thing about being a book blogger/reviewer is that as you read a book, you start to determine what its rating will be from the very outset. I began hating this book and evolved to like it. I enjoyed Fangirl, although I probably liked it a lot less than those who read Young Adult exclusively. A lot of YA reviewers gave it a 5/5 but honestly I didn’t love the book like that, nor did I not like it.

I found Cath to be kind of immature, even though I know this is an aspect of Young Adult fiction, it sometimes got on my nerves. Cath isn’t that young- she is a freshman in university. I am going into my second year of university, so Cath isn’t that much younger than me, and there are a lot of aspects about Cath that I could appreciate and relate to: her preference for books over parties, her reluctance to partake in overwhelming social activities, and her love for fictional worlds and characters. However, the way that Cath just shrugged off some of her school work or even her important relationships in order to tend to her literary commitments seemed ridiculous and acts that belonged to an angsty sixteen-year-old rather than an eighteen-year-old. Other characters comment on Cath’s pettiness and immaturity throughout the book, so Rainbow Rowell had made a deliberate choice there, but honestly? I wasn’t the girl’s biggest fan (see what I did there?)

Other than that, the rest of the book was enjoyable for me. I liked the family drama it encompassed, Cath’s journey to breaking a little more out of her shell, and her experiences with the harsh realties of real life breaking her out of her fantasy-induced stupor. All in all, the characterization was done quite well- none of the characters were too tropey, not even the introverted, fangirling nerd that was Cath. The relationships between characters, and how they broke, mended, and strengthened is what really gave this novel its life.

Also, I was LIVING for the frank portrayal of mental illnesses, self-medication, and family drama. This could have easily been a super fluffy, cute book, but instead, it also incorporates some serious subjects that fiction exists to take us away from sometimes. If anything, this book speaks to the self-medicating powers that fiction writing and fiction reading can have- for a few short moments, it can give us a place to hide from ourselves and our own issues.

If you like YA in general, I’d recommend this to you.

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