Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
I remember the large amount of hype behind this book when it first released, and then the very average ratings it seemed to be getting. I had been interested in it, hearing through the grapevine that it was about a cult, and that seemed very interesting and thrilling to me. But university started and time slipped away and I never got around to it.
The last semester, we just so happened to read a short story by Emma Cline in a class, and it ended up being one of my favorites. When I saw that they had this at my library, I decided to check it out.
First, let me start this off by saying that Cline is a very strong writer. She most definitely has a long career ahead of her, and her prose are extremely impressive. I’m going to share a few of my favorite quotes that I highlighted throughout the book:
All that time I had spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you—the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.
The feeling of exposure gave me an anxious pleasure that made me stand straighter, holding my head on my neck like an egg in a cup.
“Fuck,” I said, then said it louder. I wanted to kick the bicycle, silence something, but that would be too pitiful, the theater of upset performed for no one.
The last one is, perhaps my favorite.
The beginning of this book started off very promising. It was very elusive in the way that it was chilling, a sort of hidden provocativeness behind growing up and figuring out your own skin.
When “the girls” finally entered, it seemed like the book was finally getting to the gritty. And, oh, it got gritty. But, when it got down to it, there never really seemed to be a point to any of it. It wasn’t a coming-of-age. And there was definitely no moral, at least for me. (Unless don’t join a cult is a moral?)
This “cult” didn’t seem to be as scarily portrayed as I seemed promised, and the main character, Evie, soon became this shell to highlight what would end up almost being nothing. Needless to say, the book bored me as it progressed, and when it finally got to the moment that everyone had been waiting for, it really lacked. I can be a fan of slow burns, as The Witch Elm has been one of my absolute favorites this year.
In the end, the writing is strong, I just did not see a single point to this book minus the overuse of the word “pink” and the rape of a fourteen year-old girl, both of which are not good points in the first place.
What book has disappointed you the most this year? Let’s chat in the comments!
lol I’m like 90% positive this description is longer than the book ahhhh . . . (you already knowwww what kind of review this is about to be)
At the Manhattan School of Art and Music, where everyone is unique and everyone is ‘different’, Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. It doesn’t help that she’s known as the girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of her favourite superhero, just so she won’t have to talk to anyone. Her best (and only real) friend is there for her, but that’s only if she’s not busy – she’s always busy!
It’s no surprise that Gretchen isn’t exactly successful in the boy department. Her ex-boyfriend is a cold-fish-sometimes-flirty ex who she can’t stop bumping into. Plus, she has a massive crush on a boy named, Titus but is too scared to make the first move. One minute he seems like a sensitive guy, the next, he’s a completely different person when he’s with his friends. She can’t seem to figure boys out!
Gretchen has one wish: to be a fly on the wall in the boy’s locker room. What are boys really like? What do they talk about?
I haven’t really talked about it much since I started blogging on here, but me and e. have a long history:
We Were Liars came out when I was in high school, and I just remember the huge buzz about it (nonono, not in my school, on the internet — our school YA section consisted of around 20 books because, like, three people read in that school while the rest either played football or pretended to be interested football, anyway . . . all of our school funding went to football because why not). WWL was one of the few books my high school library acquired. So, I was bored. I didn’t want to buy a book that was barely 100 pages and decided to check it out.
Little did I know that WWL would be my absolute, least favorite read of my entire high school career, if not my entire life up to this point. There are a million reasons why I hated it (yes, it takes a lot for me to hate a book, but I sure do hate WWL!), but that’s for another time. Because today, boys and girls, we’re reviewing Fly on the Wall by e. lockhart (all lowercase for maximum edge, of course).
Did I think it would happen? Did I think I’d ever pick up another one of her books? No. But do to the prodding of the amazing Sara, I am here now . . . writing you this rant review. So, enjoy. Or not. I don’t really care at this point, I’m so frustrated with this book.
WARNING: This is going to be ranty and have spoilers. Be advised.
Let’s start off with the positives:
It’s short (and not being advertised as a novel, which a lot of these 25pt font, double spaced YA books seem to be doing these days)
So, essentially the plot is of a girl who is the “awkward” one in an “all awkward” school, so you know she is definitely “not like other girls, but even more so” (none of those were direct quotes, but you get my point).
Oh! And did I tell you she likes Spiderman? BeCausE if I DIDn’T aLreadY, I’m sORrY. SHe liKES sPiDErmAn, okay? do NoT foRgET tHaT SHE IS A SPidER-LoVIng gIRL WHo DRawS aNd iS nOT liKe ThE OthER giRLs bEcause SHE liKEs spiDErMAn sO MUcH AnD cAN draW OkaY? (And if you forget just read the book and they’ll remind you every paragraph.)
So, this girl. Wants a boyfriend. Wishes to be a fly in the boys locker room. Becomes fly. Throw in a little divorce, and you’ve got yourself a published story. BOOM. (not a proven method, kids. please DO NOT try at home.)
Yes. That’s it. 66.6repeating% of the book is her watching naked boys in a locker room.
Okay, I can get behind a book making people comfortable with talking about their body and sexuality. I get it, okay? But, of course, to make the audience aware and actually learn we’re going to call all of the body parts by their anatomical names, right? Because surely “penis” isn’t a bad word or a word we should avoid because the main character claims to have seen 110 of them, right?.
No? No? Just me? Okay.
I made a key for you, so when you read this book (please do not) you don’t get confused:
gherkin = penis
booty = butt
biscuits = breasts
Besides the fact of what it’s trying to do (and ultimately, very badly, fails at), it’s essentially
about a stalker girl watching
guys get naked and knowing everyone’s
dick size and personal problems
by the end in order to get enough
confidence to ask her crush
(who is also awkward and not like the other kids).
(Sorry about that part up there being so broken up! I was just taking some inspiration from how 50% of the book is written.)
The end, guys! That’s my review!
Oh wait, the book is also about Title IX and unequal sized locker-rooms in a New York City school, and dealing with divorce, and a mom that randomly goes on vacation and who we never meet again, and Bean Curd something dolls, oh and coming out, and building confidence when you’re skinny, and bullying — all in a matter of 182 pages. But of course I don’t want to try and cram too much in such little space here! So, I’ll end it there.
What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Let’s chat int he comments!
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. 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.
It’s needless to say that I’m a little, if not a lot, behind on getting around to this one. All I’ve ever heard about this series was good things, and, since Stiefvater will be at Bookcon this year, I figured I’d finally give it a go.
A few thoughts:
The writing style was very odd. In the beginning, I found myself getting confused at times. A lot of Stiefvater’s modifiers are very out of place then what would be typical, I feel, in the English language, but as you get further and further into to the story, I believe it adds character and highlights the oddity that is surrounded by the raven boys and Blue. So, it works.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked this up. There’s always been this sort of mystery behind this series for me, as I always knew everyone raves about it, but I never fully understood what it was about. And when I finished it, I almost felt the same way, but in a good way, I think?
While, in the end, I have a very neutral opinion about this book — that is I didn’t dislike it, yet I’m not raving over it — there is one thing that I just couldn’t get over. I just felt that the whole ending was very sloppy. When I got to the final chapter, one of the shortest in the book, it was just like “okay ‘x’ amount of time later this this and this happened and now we’re here.”
In the end, I enjoyed this book’s peculiarity. I’m exited to try and meet Stiefvater at Bookcon. But I’m not knocking down any doors to read the next one.
Have you read The Raven Boys? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!
Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.
But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love.
This book is an absolute emotional rollercoaster.
First off, the characters are absolutely brilliant. Bliss is an expert at showing their bond and their impoverished situation that you can’t help but sympathize and find someway to relate to them.
I want to start out talking about the “twist” in the book. I’m here to say that while I feel it is easy for the reader to figure out what is really going on early in the beginning, Bliss wasn’t trying to create this HAHA FOOLED YOU moment, but rather write about the strong bond between two boys towards the end of high school. How hard it is to figure out where you stand in this adult world when you’ve already been forced to be in that situation for so long.
Bliss notes at the end how he felt this was mainly written to make a statement about death row, but I really felt that the story took a step to the back, as Luke and Toby’s characters where just so strong that it really made it about the trials of growing up and the unexpected that can happen with friendship and time.
The prose in this book are very strong, very compelling, and very emotional. I was very surprised when I saw that not many people are talking about it, as this book needs to be read more. I was very moved, and I loved every page.
What’s the most emotional book you’ve ever read? Let’s chat in the comments!
Sequel to You. Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.
In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…
I felt the ending to You (read my review here) was perfect. When I found out there was a sequel, I was skeptical — was this just a money grab?
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a review of a SEQUEL; if you haven’t read the first one, be strongly cautioned. While I will try to keep this review entirely spoiler free of the first one, I cannot make any promises.
I’m happy to report, that when I picked this up, I fell into a similar rhythm as I did with You — it was very hard to put down.
On the good notes, Joe is a character you just can never get enough of. He’s a character that you can also really never make your mind up about. He’s pure evil, pure crazy, yet you can’t help but feel sorry for him and want good things to happen to him.
This novel overall was action packed, sexy, and filled with many things that I loved about the first one.
Now onto the reasons why I just can’t give this a full five stars like it’s predecessor.
While there was an overall sense of not being able to put the book down, there were a couple moments and chapters that I felt added absolutely nothing to the main plot. It felt as if Kepnes was trying to figure out where she wanted to go next with Joe, but just wasn’t quite sure.
I also feel that the story, as a whole, was very unplanned, very unrealistic. The one thing that made You so thrilling was that it felt so real. At times, however, some of the situations Joe was finding himself in just seemed so absurd that it pulled from that realness.
As with the people who don’t . . . survive. I felt that in the first one, you built a rage with Joe — that these people deserved their fate, as Joe was just so convincing — made you hate them too. And I just wasn’t getting that with these victims.
But, even with those critiques, I still felt it was a strong sequel. Do I really think it was necessary? No. But, it entertained me, and I got to spend more time with a character who I really enjoy.
Answer as many or as few of the questions as you’d like.
Feel free to use any of the graphics in this post.
Tag however many people you’d like at the end!
I tend not read many books that “break my heart,” so I’m going to stray a little for this answer. Hamlet is probably my favorite Shakespeare play out of the right I had to read for university this semester. Hamlet’s character is just so easy to feel sorry for, and the inevitable doom he brings upon himself is just sad.
This book . . . goodness. This book does not get the credit it deserves! It is one of the most, if not the most, psychologically thrilling books I’ve ever read. This is a true, modern-day, literary masterpiece. You can read my review of it here.
To be honest, I wouldn’t care for *any* book to become a movie, because they always seem to mess everything up. But I feel that Ask the Passengers would be a great one — it’s light and coming-of-age. You can read my review here.
I believe this came out my first year in high school, and I just remember thinking of how beautiful it looked! (P.S. This is definitely one of my favorite Ellen Hopkins books, so if you can, check it out! It’s a quick read! She’s definitely an author I don’t see too much on WP!)
I’m going to have to take Sara’s answer for this one. This is one of the very few books I’ve re-read. And this is the ONLY book I’ve re-read more than once. A true masterpiece.
WHY IS NO ONE STILL READING THESE?!?! I was so obsessed with this trilogy when I was younger! Ugh! Sooooo underrated!
Still remains as one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read. The second I picked this up, I couldn’t put it down. Rothfuss manages to just bring you into his world and never let you go.
Refer to “Shake It Off.”
While there was never any defined “romance” in Renegades, I absolutly loved the tension between Nova and Adrian.
This could also fall under the category of “a book I still think about after reading it.” I just wasn’t expecting so much from this, as I’m usually let down by “hyped-up” books. But everything was just done so well in this — it dragged me through all of the emotions.
Eragon is the book that got me into fantasy. Unfortunately, I DNFd Eldest 150 pages in because it bored me to death.
I love tags and Taylor Swift! So, if you love those two things, consider yourself tagged!
What’s a book series where you loved the first book and hated the sequel? Let’s chat in the comments!