October Reads

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Book 31:
"This Is Where It Ends" by Marieke Nijkamp
"This Is Where It Ends" is a story about a school shooting, told from the perspectives of four different students. That's pretty much all there is to say in regards to the summary.

I'd give this one only one star. Maybe 1.5 because I think it's a good/interesting topic for the Young Adult genre to address. But... dang. I really didn't like it that much. Of course I can't say for certain how a person in a situation like this would react or behave, but I think pausing to have a moment with your best friend slash crush to flourish a romance among the absolute chaos around you is not it.

I also felt like there wasn't enough depth to some of the characters for me to really feel for them. For such a serious topic, the emotion in it really only scraped the surface. Some of the writing was actually cringey.

Overall, this felt insensitive to people who've been through such a traumatic experience like this. I hope to find a book that deals with this same topic but with a better approach.

Rating: 1/5

Book 32:
"Before Everything" by Victoria Redel
Anna, Molly, Caroline, Ming, and Helen have been friends since childhood. "The Old Friends," as they refer to themselves. They've been with each other through it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Now, when Anna is diagnosed with cancer (again), she decides to enter hospice, and her old friends are still there by her side.

"Before Everything" is poignant story about life and friendship, as Anna's friends gather around her and reminisce on their fondest memories. The narration switches back and forth between flashbacks and present day. The transitions aren't explicitly labeled nor are the flashbacks in any particular order, which felt very much like someone's mind wandering to various memories.

The group's love for Anna was so sweet. I do wish we got to see more of their relationships with each other as a group. I enjoyed learning the backstories of each individual character but there wasn't much of a plot to give anyone else any depth. Though I suppose that was the point, to solely focus on Anna. I hope I spend my life with a circle of friends as loving as Anna's.

Rating: 3/5

Book 33:
"This Will Only Hurt A Little" by Busy Phillipps
"This Will Only Hurt A Little" is a memoir full of stories and events that made Busy Phillipps the person she is today, from childhood through her teen years and into adulthood. I loved how much you could hear her voice through the pages. For fans of her Instagram stories, the tone of her book will feel familiar; it's a conversation with your friend.

A lot of her stories have the same underlying theme: She just wants to fit in and be seen. Don't we all? Yes, there are certain parts where her privilege shows, but (A) what do you expect? She's a celebrity. At least she isn't arrogant about it. And (B) there are also plenty of parts where she's a regular person, with regular feelings and emotions, just like the rest of us.

I have a feeling that people who don't like this book might feel that way because they just wanted to read a celebrity's memoir spilling all the deets on other celebrities. This doesn't read like a celebrity's memoir. This reads like it's a woman telling her story, because it is. It's a testament to women's strength. I loved it.
No one is going to tell you all the things you want to hear all the time. You have to know them yourself."
Rating: 4/5

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