Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – Book Review

Title: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA Fantasy / Dystopian
Publication Date: January 2018

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames. Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out. Realizing she cannot do this alone she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I JUST READ. That cliffhanger?!?!?!?!

Seriously, I don’t know why I was so surprised by this but it BLEW ME AWAY. I should have been expecting it after the cliffhanger Shusterman dropped at the end of Scythe but little ol’ me thought Shusterman was gonna be nice this time. I couldn’t have been happier to have been wrong.

Thunderhead picked up a few months after Scythe ended and was heavy hitting from the very beginning. Shusterman’s ability to jump straight in to the action is what makes these books such a hit. It felt like I’d never really left the Scythedom despite there being a year between the first and second book. Too often the lustre and appeal of the worlds we read in books get lost in the chasm of time between the first book and its sequel but that (thankfully) wasn’t the case here.

While I adored Citra and her moral compass, Rowan was the character that really captured my interest in this story. Citra seemed weighed down trying to fight against the politics and tactical games associated with being in the Sycthedom and it was Rowan’s vigilante role that seemed harder-hitting. I liked how this provided a comparison of their lives and growth as they became wiser and more confident in their actions.

What I really enjoyed from this book though, was The Thunderhead. I have a big soft spot for likeable AI characters and the Thunderhead has firmly put itself in that category. There’s just something so innocent and wholesome about its love for the world (despite its omniscience) that put it high up on my list of fav AIs (right next to AIDAN).

The separation between Citra and Rowan, as well as the middle of the book that seemed to drag, were the main reasons this was only a 4-Star read for me as opposed to being a 5. I know these books don’t need any romance but I loved the one developing between Citra and Rowan. I would have liked to have seen more of that throughout the book.

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G Drews – Book Review

✰ ✰ 1/2

I was surprised by how dark and gritty this YA contemporary read was. I mean, the synopsis had hinted toward a darker tone and yet I still felt like it was going to be (mostly) a happy tale of young love, music and the pursuit of dreams.

These elements were present however, a much darker tone was placed upon the book with the frequent (and quite graphically written) domestic violence that was occurring in young Beck’s life. This is a story for those seeking a darker YA contemporary that bares all and ultimately inspires hope for a better future. Despite this, I had a lot of difficulty figuring out my overall feelings on this book. Unfortunately, the ending really altered my rating of this book from a 4 star to a 2 star.

Synopsis:

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Characters:

BECK – was a character that I found very hard to dislike. He had a rough exterior, hardened from years of abuse, that had formed to preserve his softer core that was intrinsically good and kind and wonderful. I adored him to bits. The suffering we had to endure, and it felt like we as the reader had to endure it too, was brutal and uncalled for.

JOEY – Beck’s younger sister, was a fire cracker that reminded me of a younger cousin. Full of energy, spirit and a will to overcome any obstacle. Beck’s suffering in a vain attempt to protect Joey broke my heart. He was a child that had been forced in to an adult role too early in life. The support between the siblings was the most heart-warming aspect of this book. Together they could survive.

AUGUST – Beck’s ‘saviour’ and love interest was a good intentioned, whimsical character that was hard not to like. Her endless support of Beck gained my respect. However, she felt like the least developed character. Even toward the end, there wasn’t much to her two dimensional character other than stereotype. It seemed almost naive to assume that a young woman with an inclination for saving wounded animals was the answer to fixing Beck’s years of abuse. When she was given pure evidence of Beck’s abuse at the hands of his mother, she did nothing. I know this is what he wanted but it still didn’t sit right with me. Their relationship felt a bit stale and stretched for my liking.

Why I only gave it 2 stars:

By just analysing the bare grit and bones of this book, it’s hands down a 3 star. The pace, characters and setting were done (mostly) well. The writing was beautifully descriptive, flowed well and kept me intrigued until the end. Unfortunately my emotional connection to Beck meant that I was deeply unsatisfied with the ending. This had all the hallmarks of what should have been a great YA contemporary. Unfortunately, I was left deeply disappointed and almost angry with the negligent ending that assumed everything was going to be okay if things appeared so, when the whole book had been preaching the opposite.

The brutal nature of the abuse in this book was quite harrowing to read about. It wasn’t always the detailed description of physical violence that got me emotional. Rather, it was the obvious neglect these kids carried around like neon signs that I found hard to read. Nobody seemed to care. They weren’t unaware, they just didn’t care. It’s frightening how similar this can be to the real events that take place so often in the world.

I also felt, in connection to the abuse Beck and Joey suffered, that an exploration of how their mother deteriorated into such a violent, abusive individual should have been further explored. At the very least, Beck and Joey’s future without their mother should have been explored further. Rather, the ending felt more like the beginning of a new story. There was so much that wasn’t quite answered or resolved. I would have liked more peace of mind in this regard considering the extensive emotional abuse we had just read. How can we be expected, as a reader, to take an outside appearance of normality as a sign of good will or intention? The book had taught us that appearances could be deceiving. After all, Beck’s mother was a ‘perfectly fine’ woman in the public eye. It felt as if the author had told us to just have blind faith that Beck and Joey’s new home situation would be a better scenario. I’m all for hoping for the best, but I would have liked some more clarity in this area considering what we had just read.

Overall, it was a good book with an ending that should have been extended and a lot of naive assumptions on the author’s part. I’ll be reading Drews’ other book, The Boy Who Steals Houses because I enjoyed the writing style.

// have you read this book? what were your thoughts on it? //

Jen

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – Book Review

✰ ✰ 1/2

The hype for this book was what convinced me to give it a try. With an average rating of 4/5 with over one hundred thousand ratings, I was intrigued. YA mystery/crime is not normally a genre I read often but I was excited to delve in to this book and see for myself if it held up to expectations. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.

Synopsis:

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder.  

I had expected something outstanding and instead got… a lot of unanswered questions and a book that I didn’t really feel an urge to pick up again after having put it down. The premise and ending were intriguing however, it felt like a significant portion of this book was written with the intention of creating drama and intrigue in to who had committed the crime. Unfortunately this just didn’t gain my interest.

The attempts to create doubt and drama fell short for me. I didn’t find myself invested in the outcomes of the characters and the speculation of the murderer’s identity fell a bit short for me. I would have preferred more insight in to the lives of each suspect. We were exposed to a significant portion of their home and family lives and yet it still felt like everything was just being told, rather than shown, for their predicaments.

I enjoyed the snippet of romance that was included in this story, which also attempted to show the value of a person as opposed to their past or family’s reputation. The development of the romance was a let down for me though. I wasn’t able to feel much of a connection between the characters in love and the ending left a lot unanswered in regard to their relationship status. It felt like there had been so much build up… for nothing?

I feel like my review is just a rant… but I did enjoy this book. The pace was decent and the story was still moderately interesting. It was enough to keep me entertained and get me to the end within a day of reading. So many others have loved this book, so perhaps it’s just me. I’m not entirely sure yet if I’ll decide to try another of McManus’ books.

// have you read this book? what were your thoughts on it? //

Jen

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – 1-Star Book Review

Buy it on AMAZON

So I was really, really looking forward to this book. Not only did the premise sound promising (and a bit unique) but I’d read so many good reviews on it. My anticipation for it was high. Unfortunately, it just didn’t resonate with me. The characters felt stilted and I wasn’t able to connect with them at all. Additionally, the romance aspect didn’t seem healthy nor did the story adequately deal with the suffering of slaves. It was a decent, if average, read but not a series I’m likely to continue with.

Blurb:

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Characters:

Kestrel – Oh man… I hated her so much. This sounds exaggerative but I’m being honest here. I really wanted to like her as she seemed like a strong character. Her inability to think about how her actions affected others was something I just couldn’t get behind though. On the one hand she performed actions that made her seem like she was in support of a modicum of freedom and dignity for slaves but on the other hand she was so naive and insensitive in regard to the abuse they suffered daily. Case in point (and without revealing too many spoilers) when the tables were turned on her powerful status and her freedom was taken away, she was afforded much better care than she had provided her slaves and yet she still wouldn’t see how the Arin’s actions were justified. She seemed personally affronted that he might want freedom. How in the hell does that make sense to her? She honestly annoyed me so much and made me really dislike this book.

Arin – The only saving grace of this book. He was such a strong-willed character that had seen so much hardship, pain and abuse. The fact that he could still feel empathy, kindness and (misguided, in my opinion) loyalty to Kestrel was phenomenal. Rutkoski’s writing of him didn’t make this emotional growth seem unrealistic or trite though. Arin’s warring loyalty and guilt for his conflicted emotions was heart-breaking and made him the sole reason I kept reading. While I couldn’t understand how he could come to love a heartless gal like Kestrel, I still respected him for it.

Side characters –They were there. That’s all I can say. None of them appealed to me or seemed to add much to the story at all. They were under-developed and just seemed to drag out some chapters unnecessarily.

For me, the characters really let this book down. The world-building was decent and the history concerning the Valorian colonisation and oppression of the Herrani was interesting but it all just seemed like superficial information. Just enough to make the story-line between Kestrel and Arin make sense but nothing else was built on to this. I was also expecting a fantasy element… which was not there? It had the average dystopian feel to it though, so that provided some much needed tension and atmosphere to keep the story going.

While I’m not always a fan of the slave trope, I’m not opposed to a story that respectfully covers it. The romantic element in this story that dealt with the slave trope felt unhealthy and uncomfortable to read at times. Kestrel’s ability to ignore Arin until she wanted something tipped the power scale a bit too far, despite their slave-master relationship. Additionally, their lacklustre chemistry just didn’t justify how they came to fall in love. Around half-way through the book they were suddenly in love and all they’d done was play board games…??? This just didn’t make any sense to me.

// have you read this book? do you agree with my thoughts on it? //

Jen

First Line Fridays – #6

Hi all!

Welcome to another First Lines Fridays! I’m excited to share my chosen book with you this week – I think some of you should be able to guess it. This is a weekly meme for book lovers to judge a book by its opening lines rather than by its cover, its author or its prestige. I saw this on Mani’s Book Corner but was originally hosted by Wandering Words.

Rules:

  1. Choose a book from your shelves/ current read.
  2. Open the book to the first page.
  3. Copy the first line on the page, making sure you don’t give away the book title.
  4. Reveal the book.
First Lines:

What he wants most in the world is to cut off his own hands. At the wrist would be best.

The hollow tiredness that stretches from fingertip to elbow would be gone forever. How sick is that?

There must be something seriously – dangerously – wrong if he can lie on his rock-solid mattress at night and think about lopping off limbs and using bloodied stumps to write ‘HA’ on the walls. It would be a scene out of a horror movie. And he’d be free.

Do you recognise which book these gruesomely yearning words come from?
This week’s book is: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
Buy it on: AMAZON

An emotionally charged story about the power of dreams, and how passion can turn to obsession.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Thrilling and powerfully written, this is an explosive debut for YA readers which tackles the dark topic of domestic abuse in an ultimately hopeful tale.

I’ve wanted to read a book by C.G. Drews for quite a while now. This one had such an alluringly gruesome beginning that I knew I had to give it a try! Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it?

Jen

Realm of Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis – Book Review

Buy it on AMAZON. ARC provided by Reign Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2 STARS

Realm of Knights was an empowering delight to read. Rich description brought to life a medieval setting that inspired my recent obsession with historically-set books. Well-developed characters were also at the forefront of my reasons for liking this book. This story vividly portrayed the internal conflict of being forced in to harsh situations for the sake of one’s family. Realm of Knights was an advocate for female power as well as gender equality in a time setting that was not known for either.

I adored the main character Reid as she was a comforting sentimental reminder of my childhood obsession with Alanna from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series. I grew up reading and fantasising about being a strong warrior maiden as a result of Tamora’s books. Realm of Knights started out with a similarly well-written and descriptive tale of a woman’s plight to save those she cares about most.

While I thoroughly enjoyed majority of this book there were however, a few aspects that negatively caught my attention and brought down my overall rating. The mystery entwined with this story was intriguing at first, yet the consistency of it throughout the book without providing any answers to the reader became tiresome. I was left with SO MANY questions, half of which I had formed during the first half of the book. I had been expecting at least some of them to be answered by the ending, to no avail.

In addition to this, a dramatic alteration in pace from the beginning’s action-filled moments to a slow trudge through the middle was quite jarring to the reading experience. When paired with some questionable decisions from Reid, of which I couldn’t quite reconcile with my version of her as a character, I was left feeling a little bit lost. The inclusion of more ‘bread crumbs’ and consistency throughout the book would have made it worthy of the story’s highly impactful beginning.

Characters:

REIDWas my favourite character in this HANDS DOWN. She was intelligent, brave and deeply loyal to her family. She commanded respect from everyone she met and earned mine within the first chapter. The sacrifices she had willingly made throughout her life for her family’s safety were commendable. I loved that at heart she was adventurous and progressive. Reid had experienced the freedom given to men and refused to accept any other treatment as a woman, which made me happy! She was definitely not easily manipulated nor weak of inner strength.

PRINCE ACKLEYWas an intriguing and quiet character. He had considerable impact in this story though, despite his dislike of revealing any personal information. If I had to describe him at all it would be… cunning. Nothing about him seemed straight-forward or genuine. Instead I was constantly looking for an ulterior motive in his intentions.

PRINCE GORDONWas the fiercely loyal army commander and as straight-forward as they get. He came across as brutish (in a good way) and of sound moral fibre. The prospect of him being related to Prince Ackley seemed almost unbelievable. The brothers could not have been more different. This was a captivating dynamic as their first loyalty was essentially to each other and yet despite Prince Ackley’s position (SPOILER… so I won’t reveal it) it seemed like only Gordon fought for the good of all in the Kingdom.

SIDE CHARACTERSHarlan was an absolute and utter gem! There’s no other way to describe him other than to say he’s loyal, intelligent and Reid’s supportive best friend. Her other friends Royce and Knox were well-meaning but their attitudes altered for the worst when they discovered she was in fact a woman. Gone was their high esteem of her (at least in Knox’s case) and in its place they felt the need to constantly overpower and restrict Reid’s actions in a way that they hadn’t seen fit to when she was considered a boy.

Overall, this story was a very pleasant read and part of a series that I will continue with. I loved that the ending was not as I had predicted it was going to be and nicely set up some intrigue concerning Reid’s future. I look forward to the next book and hope the series continues to surprise.

// have you read this book or any other by this author? what were your thoughts? //

Jen

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – Book Review

Buy it on AMAZON
☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2 STARS

Before we start with the review, just a little warning. It’s long. I rant a lot. Read only the top and middle sections if you want to avoid the ranting. But really… why would you want to miss all of the good bits??

I went in to this book completely aware of the spoilers and I think this ruined the book for me, in some essence. On the other hand there were quite a few issues that I had with Everything, Everything that wouldn’t have redeemed its rating, even if I hadn’t been aware of the surprise ending. While I’m aware this sounds SUPER VAGUE… I hate spoilers and don’t want to inadvertently give too much away for those of you who haven’t read/or watched this!

Everything, Everything follows the lives of Maddy and the boy next door, Olly. Maddy’s chronic illness with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) means that she has not been able to leave her house in seventeen years. When Olly moves in next door, things begin to change in Maddy’s previously structured life. Their budding friendship, with the hope for MORE, sparks a new joy that Maddy hasn’t experienced since she was a child. In a reckless effort to escape the monotony of her daily existence Maddy embarks on an exciting, yet dangerous adventure with Olly in the hope to LIVE and not only EXIST.

Characters:

MADDY – A bookworm (YES!) who has experienced a great deal during her short life. The limitations that SCID place upon her life are extensive. Most people would have difficulty with the monotony and restrictive elements involved with this lifestyle but Maddy takes it all in stride. She’s considerate, kind and intelligent with a flare for subdued creativity. That is, until she meets Olly. Suddenly, the restrictions begin to feel like a cage and her life more like an existence rather than actually LIVING.

OLLYIs compassionate, mysterious, athletic and loyal. The story provided a wealth of background on Olly’s family circumstances and the issues associated with them however, we didn’t learn a lot about Olly himself. I know his hobbies and his loyalty but other than that there wasn’t a lot of development for him as a character.

CARLAWas my FAVOURITE character in the book. She was quietly rebellious, innately kind and incredibly supportive. She made Maddy’s life just that LITTLE BIT more bearable and I couldn’t help but adore her for it.

Nick Robinson and Amandla Stenberg feature in Everything, Everything the film.

While this book had decent pacing and was easy to read (I read it in one sitting) I did have quite a few issues with it overall. The first being, the pacing near the ending needed A LOT of work, in my opinion. Considering the bomb shell that was dropped I thought that there should have been at least an extra twenty pages added on to really deal with the issue. Quite frankly, I would have preferred to see this happen in the middle of the book with the second half spent exploring the emotional, medical and LEGAL implications associated with it. When something that big happens so close to an ending, I expect a bittersweet finale. Things this big don’t get solved overnight, not even slightly, and the book seemed to just roll with the punches and move on like NOTHING had happened.

Without trying to give away spoilers, the chronic illness and medical aspects in this book didn’t seem to be believable or realistic at all. A young woman with an illness like this would be seeing a host of medical professionals on a very regular basis. Instead, Maddy was primarily treated by her mother. This strikes me as strange as I’m pretty sure it’s against the Code of Ethics. At least in any situation that isn’t an emergency life or death situation.

Lastly, I felt like this story didn’t have enough substance. I was expecting a deeply emotional story that really went in depth into Maddy’s mental health and the long-term implications of someone living with SCID. Rather, it felt like this book only provided a small insight into her daily classes/medical observations with Maddy’s mental health being ‘fine’ until she fell in love with a boy.

I just can’t seem to… believe this. I don’t suffer the same restrictions or limitations in life, not even slightly, and yet I struggle with contemplating the future. With my mental health. I understand that not everyone may struggle with these issues but a great majority of the population do. I would have liked to have seen something more in this area. Without it, the story just seemed to state that as long as you weren’t in love you didn’t have anything worthwhile to live for, therefore you didn’t really miss anything and would be happy to just plod along monotonously. Uhhh… no. Just no.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick and easy read this is for you. It’s why I’ve rated it as I have. If you’re after something gritty and emotional then unfortunately I think you’re in the wrong place.

// have you read this book? what were your thoughts on it? //

Jen

HeartStopper by Alice Oseman – Book Review

Buy it on AMAZON
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ FIVE STARS

THIS BOOK. What can I even say, other than it’s SO SWEET and makes me want to melt like a puddle of ice-cream? As someone who hasn’t really read or enjoyed graphic novels before, I’ve challenged myself to start branching out. My first pleasant experience was reading Mooncakes (my review) which was so freaking adorable.

Heartstopper was even better though! Charlie and Nick stole my heart completely. Be prepared, this review is pretty much just going to be me GUSHING about how much I LOVED IT. I couldn’t really find a fault (other than my NEED for MORE).

Me while reading all of the cute-as-pie moments

Heartstopper follows the story of Charlie, an out and proud popular student, when he meets Nick in their new homeroom. As they’ve been assigned seats, Charlie and Nick soon become friends. What starts as a supportive friendship soon begins to blossom in to something more. The slow-burn nature of this story really does it justice. Oseman has perfectly captured the confusion, longing and excitement that make up teenage sexuality and exploration.

As much as I adored Charlie, I’d have to say Nick was my favourite character. His vulnerability and confusion really pulled on my heart strings. We can all empathise with these feelings from our own youth. What really made me ADORE him was the way he never let his confusion get in the way of doing the right thing. He was so loyal and supportive of Charlie, regardless of how it impact on his own feelings, social status or made things more complicated. He was a down to Earth, wholesome guy that deserved to be happy and find love.

This story struck a chord with me. Not only was it adorable but Oseman created a masterfully artistic, yet respectful story about two individuals falling in love. The story had great pace and seemed realistic. I’m completely smitten and CANNOT WAIT for volume 2. I’ve put in a reservation at the library and am counting down the days… but unfortunately I’m WAAAAAY back in the line. It’s gonna take a while.

In the mean time though… I think I’ll re-read Volume 1 again to get another boost of adorable FEELS. This book certainly has it in spades. I read this in one sitting in around an hour and a half. If you’re considering whether to give it a try nothing should convince you more than that. It’s SHORT in length but SO SO WORTH IT!

// have you read Heartstopper? what were your thoughts on it? //

Jen

The Poet X – a grippingly honest and emotional coming of age verse

Buy it on AMAZON
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2 STARS

I read a sample of this book a little while ago and was completely immersed from the very first page. I knew then, that this would be a book I’d remember for a long time. My prediction was right. Although this is a verse novel and you may not expect much, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It packs a MIGHTY PUNCH. The verse paints a heart-wrenching story of a young teenage girl struggling to establish her own persona in the face of a pushy mother, a religion she’s unsure about and a genius of a brother who constantly needs saving.

Who is Xiomara in all of this? She’s strong, fierce and has a loyal streak a mile wide. She’s also unsure, scared and lost. What follows is a poignant story told from Xiomara’s journal entries. Her life in a book of poems. They’re the only thing that truly set her mind and past free. This is a stunning book that really brings to light all of the confusing emotions encountered during the teenage years. The Poet X really touched my heart and was full of well developed side characters that I soon began to adore. You don’t just fall in love with Xiomara’s plight, but also those of her friends and Twin. This is a story I’m going to be re-reading for years to come!

I had to share my favourite verse chapter with you… as shown above. It really sums up Xiomara’s loss of her support system and hero in her life. Its replacement is a cold mother who only sees flaws. One that picks apart things Xiomara has no control over. This novel showcases perfectly that quintessential teenage experience of no longer feeling close to your parents. The divide that occurs with age, physical maturity and separation of beliefs. With independence comes free thought and Xiomara’s lack of piety was a divide that mother and daughter could not seem to cross.

Despite the heavy tone of the story, it was very well paced and I was able to read this in one sitting. It was INTENSE and ANGSTY and everything I wanted it to be! The only thing that I found an issue with was the ending. Without spoilers, I can just say that it felt a little rushed and unfinished to me. I still had questions and wanted to see a longer, more detailed resolution to Xiomara’s issues with her mother as well as her aspirations as a poet. The ending didn’t provide many answers in these areas and as they were at the core of the book, I would have liked more closure on them.

Overall, The Poet X was a stunningly beautiful and emotional coming-of-age read. It took me back to the angst-filled years of my teens when I wasn’t sure who I was and what I stood for or believed in. Xiomara’s strength and struggle for independence stole my heart. If you haven’t read this book yet, you definitely should!

// have you read The Poet X or any similar books? what were your thoughts? //

Jen

First Line Fridays – #4

Hi all!

Welcome to another First Lines Fridays! I’m excited to share my chosen book with you this week – I think some of you should be able to guess it. This is a weekly meme for book lovers to judge a book by its opening lines rather than by its cover, its author or its prestige. I saw this on Mani’s Book Corner but was originally hosted by Wandering Words.

Rules:

  1. Choose a book from your shelves/ current read.
  2. Open the book to the first page.
  3. Copy the first line on the page, making sure you don’t give away the book title.
  4. Reveal the book.

First Lines:

I’VE READ MANY more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more.

Believe me. I’ve had the time.

In my white room, against my white walls, on my glistening white bookshelves, book spines provide the only colour.

Do you recognise which book these enigmatic, book lover’s words come from?

This week’s book is: Everything, Everything

Buy it on: AMAZON

My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

This is a book I recently picked up from the library and the intro has me intrigued! I’ve heard a lot about this book in the last few years and I’m excited to finally give it a try.
Have you read this? Share your thoughts down below!

Jen