Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover 

It’s taken me a while to process this book and write this review. If you would rather not be spoiled, or if you are sensitive to content that can be triggering  in books, please don’t read this unless you want to.

A couple of weeks ago I received the new and very much-anticipated, novel from Colleen Hoover. Before I received my copy, I heard a few blurbs here and there concerning the subject matter of the story and I admit I had my reservations. This book is so heartbreakingly good and beautiful and disheartening all at once. There were a few times I needed to take a break and walk away from the book, despite finishing it in only two days.

I just want to say this: I have, nor could I ever imagine or hope to be in the same situation that the main character, Lilly, or her mother, are in. That being said, I know that if you are reading this review and if you have read this story, if you resonate with this story in ways I cannot and if you’ve ever been in a situation this heartbreaking, please know that I do not know what that’s like. And therefore, I cannot put into words exactly how hard a situation like this is.

This is a story about love and the forefront. It’s also a story about hurt that is both mental and physical. It’s also a story about second chances and new life.

When we first meet our main character, Lilly, she is on the roof of a building in Boston. She just had to give the eulogy for her dead, abusive father. She is thinking about killing herself. About jumping off. She doesn’t, because she knows her strengths. She also knows her weaknesses. One weakness, she finds, comes in the form of a voice. A voice belonging to a tall, dark, and handsome neurosurgeon, who joins her on the same roof.

His name is Ryle. Ryle, Lily comes to find, is sweet, charming, and successful. Ryle lets Lily know when they first meet that he doesn’t do relationships, they just never worked out for him. Lily is the one to change this.

They go on a few dates and hit it off very well. When Lily’s mother comes to Boston for a visit, Ryle insists on meeting her, something Lily takes as a good sign. They decide to have lunch at the hottest restaurant in town. It’s at this restaurant that Lily runs into someone from her past. His name is Atlas. Atlas is the once homeless teen Lily helped and took in when they were teenagers. He is also the first boy Lily loved. The novel goes back and forth from the past to the present. Atlas recognizes Lily at once and when he comes to take their orders. Lily is struck with flooded memories from their past. Little does she know that what Lily did for Atlas will come back to her.

Told in the form on journal entry-like letters to a celebrity Lily credits for helping her keep her sanity amongst her father’s abusive moments growing up. Who ever knew a daytime talk show celebrity could be the glue that helps to bind Lily and Atlas together?

Lily and Ryle see more of each other. Lily finds herself falling in love with Ryle. Ryle is sweet, charming, spontaneous, and tender. Ryle is also jealous, angry, and abusive. Lily knows she can’t be like her mother, but it’s Ryle’s begging for forgiveness and incessant declarations of “I’m so, so sorry!” and “Never again Lily, never again.” that keeps Lily from leaving Ryle for good. She also doesn’t want to admit that it’s harder to leave someone who is different in your mind than who they are right in front of you. It’s easier to say you’re going to up and leave an abusive person than it is to physically leave them, removing them from your heart once and for all.

Lily comes to find out that a relationship with Ryle is not all flowers and flirtation. Heated moments both passionate and angry lead Lily to a crossroads of questions. Lily must decide if it’s truly worth it to find the good in everyone, despite their demons. If it’s wise to accept forgiveness, or let go and realize that you can’t change anyone or their actions. Does she let go of her Atlas-filled past once and for all?  Or jump headfirst into the future, a future with Ryle, whose demons seep out little by little the longer they stay together and see each other’s true selves?

This was 5/5 stars for me. This novel was an eye-opening account of abuse in a relationship. It taught me that when you see or know someone in an abusive situation, your words to them need to be chosen very carefully. It’s important to know when your boundaries are within that. It’s easier for the person on the outside looking in to a situation like that to simply say, “Well, why don’t you just leave them?” It’s not that easy, and it only gets harder from there on out. Colleen Hoover is no stranger to writing heavy subjects in her novels, but it was the fact that she had her own personal experience with abuse that made this novel even more difficult to read. After growing up and seeing the abuse of her mother by her father, firsthand, she drew a lot of those personal and difficult memories into this novel. This is an important novel to read. Especially if you don’t have a personal history with abuse.

This novel does have a lot of light moments as well. It balanced out the heaviness within the core subject. The parts that went back to Lily’s past were my favorite. I loved getting to know Atlas. I do wish Atlas had been featured more, especially in the parts that took place in the present, but at the heart of it, the present was focused more on Lily and Ryle ‘s relationship.

I do have to say, I didn’t really like Ryle from the beginning. He just seemed douche-y from the moment I met him. He had his moments, but his character filled me with such an uneasiness, it wasn’t difficult for me to believe who he really was when things between him and Lily started falling apart.

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Review: ‘Everything, Everything’ by Nicola Yoon 

 

I haven’t posted a review in a bit, but I’m back again! Just enjoying the summer and reading away! I’m 22 books away from hitting my 2016 Goodreads Challenge goal of 50 books for the year! I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve always been a big reader. The kind of person  who’s always got a book on their desk or bedside table. But compared to last year, I’ve read more this year alone than the past 3 years combined!

Now onto my review:

A couple of weeks ago I read ‘Everything, Everything’ by Nicola Yoon. I loved it! It was that kind of first love story that makes you sigh. I only hope one day I’ll be able to relate.

This story is about an eighteen year old girl named Madeline Wittier. Maddy for short. Maddy has an extremely rare disease, called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or (SCID). it’s a rare, genetic disorder that disturbs the function of B and T cells in the body, which puts victims extremely vulnerable to infectious diseases. Basically having this permits you to living in a sterile bubble.

Maddy doesn’t remember very much before her disease took over her life. Her father and older brother died in a car accident years before, leaving just Maddy, her overbearing, albeit, loving mother, a doctor, and her nurse, Carla. Maddy doesn’t know what it’s like to be outside, play sports, go to the movies, or have any friends outside in the real world. She desperately wants to be a normal teenager,  but instead she’s trapped by the fear brought upon by both her disease and her over-cautious mother.

Maddy takes classes online, communicating with her teachers through email or over Skype. One tutor is allowed to visit Maddy, but in order to do this, he needs to completely disinfect himself before setting foot in her heavily filtered house. One day, though, Maddy notices a moving van parked outside the house next door. Peering through the curtains of her room, Maddy sees a family consisting of a harried, timid mother, an overly dominant father, an angst-ridden teenage girl, and an older teenage boy who seems to be her own age. Maddy feels drawn to him. The only thing pulling her away from her clean, hypoallergenic curtains, is the moment they lock eyes.

After countless curious afternoons spent looking through her bedroom window for the boy next door, Maddy is smitten. Her nurse Carla calls her out on it, and while she pleads that Carla keep it from her mother, she doesn’t refrain from memorizing his schedule. Soon Madeline learns that his mom and sister call him Olly. His dad, she realizes, calls him Oliver.

One afternoon, shortly after Olly and his family are moved in, Maddy hears the doorbell ring. Maddy runs toward the door only to be held back from Carla. Her curiosity gets the best of her when she hears a boy and girl’s voices at the front door. She realizes it’s Olly. And he has a cake. Him mom baked it , but Maddy’s mother must refuse. Instead of giving the true reason behind her refusal, Olly’s sister calls Maddy’s mother out for her rudeness. Following the cake incident, Maddy retreats to her bedroom window, and sees Olly and his sister met by their father on their front lawn. Their father looks angry. The next thing she knows, Olly’s father takes the cake and throws it on the ground. Maddy watches as Olly ‘s father yells at him to clean up the broken plate, as the cake didn’t crumble. From this Madeline learns a bit more about Olly and his home life.

Soon Maddy finds herself communicating with Olly through their adjoining bedroom windows. From there they begin emailing one another after learning one another’s email addresses written across their windows.

From their smitten and coy emails, Maddy decides she wants to meet Olly once and for all. She proposes the idea for Olly to come over to Carla. After several “no ways”, Carla submits. Declaring to Maddy that love could be a good thing. They keep their plan between them and arrange for Olly to come over as long as he and Madeline do not touch and stay on opposite sides of the living room.

After several secret visits and emails, Maddy finds out that she likes Olly very much. And he really likes her.

One day when Olly comes over, they kiss. And when Maddy is left waiting for the worst to happen to her, she realizes that Olly touching her did not hurt her. It’s only when Maddy is woken in the middle of the night to Olly’s father drunkenly screaming at Olly his Mother out on their front lawn that Maddy discovers that her condition may not be all that she thought it was. Soon Maddy finds herself out of her bed, out of her house, and running through her front door with her mother at her heels when she finds that she’s breathing the outside air and she isn’t dying.

This moment is what brings Maddy to the decision to take a giant leap of faith and finally live the life she’s always wanted. To experience the normal, teenage moments she’s always wanted to, with Olly at her side. When Maddy and Olly decide to take an adventure together, she discovers that her disease and her mother won’t hold her back  much longer, not if she can help it.

This one was a solid 4/5 stars for me. TI enjoyed the format. The email messaging format of Olly and Maddy’s early conversations. Her doodles were cute and had me shaking my head and saying “Same!” in agreement. The end had me speechless. There are a lot of questions I had about the ending. I’ll discuss them below, because if you haven’t read this yet, I don’t want to spoil it for you, Hence the condensed review.

 

 


 

 

 

 

So when Maddy runs away to Hawaii with Olly and she tells him she bought pills online that will help her function outside her sterile living environment. But she’s lying. And then Maddy begins to realize that hey, she’s not dying! Then she passes out. But what she assumes the reason for her passing out is her condition, the doctor tells her that she’s never had the condition in the first place. That her mother was lying to her for all that time?! I was like, “WHAT THE WHAT?!” I couldn’t believe that this girl’s own mother, a doctor, by the way, would keep her daughter locked up in her house, fully convinced that she has this extremely rare disease. Basically knocking on death’s doorstep and prone to be taken to heaven at any time. How are you not taken to jail? How would Maddy forgive her mother for that?! I understand her mother was hurting from the deaths of her husband and Maddy’s brother, but, honestly, WHAT THE FUCK?! She needs help. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I truly mean it in an honest way. She needs help with her grieving. Maybe let’s not lie to your now, only child, that she has this rare disease in order to ensure her safety! Does she not understand how mentally damaging that would be for her daughter?

That’s really the only thing I couldn’t wrap my head around in this novel.  Other than that I thought it was sweet. A beautiful novel of first love and discovering who those who love you really are.

Triple Review: Throne of Glass | Crown of Midnight | Heir of Fire |


Throne of Glass: 4/5 

 From the minute I was introduced to Cealaena Sardothein I liked her a lot. She is cunning and smart and lethal, but also very passionate. She loves her friends and fights  for who she really is.
I’ve wanted to start this series for a while, but I don’t think I would have done so if I didn’t just finish reading ACOMAF. Maybe I’m still recovering from that series, because there were times I kept waiting for Rhys to show up, lol. Overall I enjoyed this. I don’t think it’s one of my favorite books/series YET, but I’ll only know that if I continue on with it, which I will. I liked the characters. I think I was hoping for a bit of romance, but after reading something like ACOMAF and then reading a book about an assassin, I figured that wouldn’t be so. I am glad, however, that the romance was light in order to direct the focus on Cealena and her abilities and story rather than a partial romance with a Prince. I liked Cealena a lot. She’s a strong character.

Crown of Midnight: 4/5

Overall this was a strong second installment to the series, but there were times where the plot went in so many different directions I got a little lost. Each plot line was tied together at the end for the most part. The ending reveal though, although kind of obvious, it still made me smile. Cealena grows a lot in this one. I liked her romance with Chaol. When I found out about Dorian and his power, I have to say I was surprised considering his father’s kingdom hasn’t had magic for so long. I also found it to be a little expected.

Heir of Fire: This was more like a 3.5/5 for me.

I do like these characters. I like that Celaena is a strong, independent character. Ultimately, the more I read in this series the more I feel like I can’t connect with it. It is good, but I don’t think it’s drawing me in as much as I was hoping it to. I did begin this shortly after finishing ACOTAR/ACOMAF and I know these two series are very different. I don’t want to feel like I have to like this or continue with it because it’s a favorite among a lot of readers. But not every series is going to grab you and want you to say ” Just one more chapter!’ before drifting off to sleep. I like Sarah J Maas a lot as a writer, and my feelings about this series do not affect that in the least. In fact it makes me glad that I loved and connected with ACOTAR/ACOMAF like I did. The one part in this book in particular I didn’t fully understand were Manon’s chapters. I felt like she as just put into the series without being properly introduced. I spent every chapter of her’s wondering if/when she was going to meet Celaena. Maybe she will in the next book. I’m sure they will.

All in all I’m glad I gave this series a try. ‘Throne of Glass’ alone will be a favorite of mine, but as for this series as a whole, I couldn’t connect with it. I hope someone else will pick it up and love it and enjoy it where I could not.

Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

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This was a nice, quick-ish read. I liked the whodunnit aspect of it. I love any book that deals with crimes that need to be solved and cause the reader to think. I enjoyed the interviews and the blog/internet forum format of some of the chapters as well. I do feel though, that the reveal towards the end was kind of an easy one to figure out. The truth passed through my mind right after the instance was first introduced. This really had me questioning each of the character’s motives and truths. I think that’s important in a novel like this. If it has you questioning who to believe, it’s usually pulling you in like it’s meant to. The other big reveal, although believable, I felt that it could have either been twisted more or harder to figure out. This did have me a bit on edge toward the end, however. I liked being on the journey with Jill to remember what she had initially forgotten. The sessions with her therapist felt honest. Dr. Weeks was a really nice character because she was honest with Jill. She didn’t sugarcoat Jill’s “revelations” in terms of her memories of the accident. I liked being able to get inside Jill’s head and kind of figure it all out and piece it together. The end was kind of abrupt. It had me questioning if Jill was truly a malicious character in spite of what happened in the end or not.

“Why is it they say that you always hurt the ones you love? Because you know exactly how to do it.” -Eileen Cook, ‘With Malice’

4/5 Stars

Bookriot.com: Librarians Don’t Read All Day

Ain’t that the Truth!

I thought this piece on Bookriot today was so spot on about working in a library. As someone who does work in a public library, I can attest to what the writer is saying here when she says she could fill a book with how many times people ask her if all she does at work is read all day. Today, libraries are so much more than places to just come and read. Yes, it is filled with as many books as one can get their hands on, but it’s also a place where people come to use the computer for children’s programs, tutoring, clubs and organizations, schoolwork, job opportunities, or simply because their printer stopped working. The library is a good place to work if you love books, but if you think that’s what you’ll be doing all day while you’re standing/sitting behind a desk, think again. Check this out if you’d like! Bookriot is also a great site filled with book recommendations, author profiles and interviews, and even giveaways!

I also wrote a couple weeks ago about what my experience has been like working in a library in response to another Bookriot post about being a librarian.

Review: Night Owls/ The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennet

 

Last week I read “Night Owls’ by Jenn Bennet. I bought the UK version of this book 1) because my friend/co-worker had this copy as well and compared to the US version, titled: ‘The Anatomical Shape of a Heart’, seen here: on  Jenn Bennet’s websiteNIGHTOWLS_LANDING_2016

the cover is so pretty. The graffiti-like spray paint font fits in so well with the story. Not to mention the gold coloring *inserts heart eyes emoji if she knew how to do it on the computer*. And 2), I also just love the tagline on the UK version which reads: “Feeling alive is always worth the risk”. I just love that, it speaks to me on so many levels.

‘Night Owls’ is the story of  an eighteen year old girl, named Beatrix, or “Bex”, Adams, who resides in San Francisco with her divorced mother and her older brother. It’s the summer before Beatrix’s senior year of high school and she plans to spend it getting a scholarship for college. Beatrix loves to draw, but not just anything. She likes to draw human bodies and their different parts. Beatrix plans to become an artist for medical textbooks. Beatrix’s mother, however, isn’t all too fond of her future plans. Instead, she’s rather Beatrix draw anything but the human body, or at least what’s inside of it.

Against her mother’s wishes, Beatrix takes the bus into the city to the local medical school so she can have a meeting with a professor about possibly drawing one of the cadavers being studied by the students. Until the professor cancels their meeting, leaving Beatrix to take the Night Owl bus home, which is the latest running bus in the city that doesn’t have the greatest reputation and one she tries to avoid riding at any cost. While waiting for the Night Owl, Beatrix sees a boy she’s never seen before. She’s automatically taken by how handsome he is, and can’t stop staring at him. And he can’t stop doing the same. The boy strikes up a conversation with her, in which she learns that his name is Jack.

After they tell one another about who they are. Bex admitting she likes to draw dead people and Jack admits that he’s both a Buddhist and a lousy vegetarian. Bex can’t helping thinking, however, that there’s something about Jack that seems familiar. When the bus comes to a sudden halt, Jack’s backpack is knocked over and out of it rolls  a can of gold spray paint. At this Bex instantly realizes just who Jack is. She picks up the spray paint and watches as Jack immediately looks nervous. She’s heard of him before. He’s the notorious graffiti artist who’s been spraying single words all around the city.

When Bex gets home, she immediately sits down to research this infamous “Jack the Graffiti Artist”. She finds little information, other than multiple sources attempting to put together what all of the gold, spray painted, words mean. Bex decides to let it alone for the time being. The following morning however, Bex learns that the world “Bloom” has been spray painted in gold atop the Golden Gate Park entrance. She realizes that the park is not far from stop where Jack got off of the Night Owl the night before.

A few days later, on Bex’s birthday, she goes to the local art museum with her mother and brother to see a heart diagram by a famous artist she likes. While there, Bex is caught off-guard by the world “CELEBRATE” spray painted in gold across the top of the heart diagram exhibit. Bex takes a picture and can’t help wondering if Jack had done it for her.

I’m not going to go too far into the story, only because I really adored this. It’s a very sweet read about love and going as far as one can for others. This touches a bit on mental illness and coping with it. The characters are relatable and interesting. The pacing was done very well and each event and situation came and fit together nicely. This is just an all around sweet novel about meeting someone who can not only make you feel alive and new, but others around you as well.

4/5 Stars for this one.

Double Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses / A Court of Mist and Fury

 

It’s time, my friends. After taking some MUCH NEEDED time to gather my thoughts about ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ and ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ by Sarah J. Maas, I’m finally ready to dump those thoughts out of the basket that is my head. That was a weird analogy, and I apologize.

Okay, first thing’s first, ACOTAR. Before I discuss my likes and dislikes, I will say that overall I enjoyed ACOTAR. On a 1 to 5 star scale I would rate it as a 4. The story pulled me in and it was easy for me to follow along, save for a few issues I had with name and location pronunciations. I know when I like a story when I begin to become emotionally invested in the characters and the relationships that develop between them. I’m gonna call it the ‘Shatter Me’ effect. If you haven’t read the ‘Shatter Me’ series by the wonderfully talented and beautiful Tahereh Mafi. First of all, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL YOUR LIFE?

(Just kidding, kinda)

Second, what I mean by the ‘Shatter Me’ effect is that in the ‘Shatter Me’ series, there is a love triangle between three of the main characters. Kind of trope-y, yes, BUT LEMME TELL YOU, actually I won’t really tell you, because you need to read it, but I WILL SAY there is a love triangle wherein you may find yourself rooting for one ship but then abandoning and commandeering the one you  told  yourself TO NEVER GET EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED/INVESTED IN  and yet, here you are.

Like I said above, in terms of the ‘Shatter Me’ effect, that’s what happened to me, and may happen to you, if you so choose to read the ACOTAR series and if you’ve even made it this far into this review to even care to consider yourself doing so.

Okay, I really need to stop rambling and just get to it. I don’t want this to be spoiler-y, but some things may slip out unintentionally because FEELINGS, and also, I may just lose control of my thoughts and vomit spoilers everywhere. So this is your warning that that may happen. Continue reading

Being a Librarian

I stumbled upon an interesting article posted on Bookriot.com today. The writer, named Kelly Jensen, discusses what it’s like to be a librarian along with tips about how to become one. I couldn’t agree with the article more. As an employee at my local library, I’ll be the first one to say that yes, I work with books and yes, I get to recommend books to other people. However, contrary to popular belief and or, assumption, I do not get to just sit at a desk or on the library floor surrounded by piles of books, and read all day. There’s actually so much that I have the opportunity to do. I did not go to school for this, nor do I have a college degree for my position. Do I wish I did? Of course! However, college is expensive and I made it my decision to put that on the back burner for now, or when the time is financially right for me.

The first thing about working in a public library is that it’s just that. A public place. People from all walks of life have the opportunity to come in and use our computers and read/check out books. As a librarian, your first and most important job is to be patient. Second is to be courteous. Patrons for the most part are very nice and understanding of our policies, however some are not, but as employees we do our best to be understanding and informative when issues arise such as: late fees, technology, or simply locating a certain book or author. Sometimes patrons get angry, but we do our best to listen and offer alternative solutions to their problems.

I consider myself and introvert. And when I was first saw the opportunity to work at my local library last year, I admit I assumed I would just stand and check out books all day. Yes that’s part of it, but another part of the job is making signs for library events, displays for featured books, and ordering books that we don’t have in our county’s system from outside of the county for our patrons. The job isn’t easy. No job is, really. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Since I started working at the library, I’ve read more books this year alone than I have in the past three years put together. Part of that is due to being surrounded by books all day and being able to read some new releases before they’re catalogued, and also because in this job, I’ve formed connections with patrons and fellow employees who are just as voracious about reading as I am who also always have something new to recommend.

Libraries are important and so are the people who work in them. We’re not just a bunch of people sitting behind desks, scanning books. We’re so much more than that. We work hard to endure our patrons get warm customer service as well as a great literary experience when they come in. If you want to be a librarian, it’s great to love books and to read them, but it’s even better to understand that it’s not a job reserved for “old ladies who like to hush people”. I’ve actually never “shushed” anyone while I’ve been working there. There’s so much more to the job than people think and those things should be considered upon one’s decision to venture into the position.

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Review: Thanks for the Trouble

Last week I finished reading ‘Thanks for the Trouble’ by Tommy Wallach. The story is about a teenage boy named Parker Santè. Parker likes to skip school and hang out in hotels. He spends his time there observing the guests at the hotels, sitting alone with his notebook. However, Parker isn’t so much as observing their wealthy lifestyles in envy as he is  scoping out their pockets and purses to steal. As Parker sits in the hotel lobby, he notices a girl nearby, sitting alone. And she has silver hair and a huge wad of cash by her side. Parker immediately begins writing a story about her and her beautiful silver hair. It’s also good to mention that Parker hasn’t spoken in five years, since his father died. Since then he hasn’t wanted to speak. Especially not since he stopped going to speech therapy, which in turn aided in Parker losing his ability to speak. Instead ,Parker fills his notebooks with responses to people’s questions and answers. 

When the silver haired girls leaves her table, Parker immediately notices she forgets her wad of cash. Hit with a dilemma to either take the cash and run, or wait for the beautiful silver haired girl to return for her money, and a chance to maybe get to know her, Parker decides on the first. What ensues over the next few days of Parker’s life is more than he could have imagined. The silver haired girl turns out to be a young woman named Zelda. Zelda has lived a pretty broad life. With enough experiences to fill a stack of Parker’s notebooks. 

When Zelda returns to the table she confronts Parker about taking her money. From there they converse about why each other is at the hotel alone in the middle of a random afternoon in October. When Zelda reveals to Parker her plans for her wad of cash and what she plans on doing with herself after the money is gone, Parker is perplexed by what he hears. To halt Zelda’s decisions, Parker agrees to let Zelda feel like a teenager again in exchange for Parker to apply to college. Their next few days together are short but open up new possibilities and means to an end for both of them. 

I don’t want to spoil anything about this book because it was just so lovely. It read and flowed like a Wes Anderson film, whose films are my FAVORITE, by the way. The way the characters were developed was very Wes-like. At the end is a hidden lesson and wise takeaway. Please read this gem. If books could be like indie films, this one would be like one very much. 

My review: 4/5 stars. 

Review: We Were liars

Hello there! Okay, this review is late, because I literally finished ‘We Were Liars’  by E. Lockhart, A WEEK AGO TODAY, BUT, last week I was in a meh mood, still am, if I’m being totally honest, but I knew I should at least take those meh feelings and use them to write something. Alright, enough rambling. I need to talk about this book because OH MY GOD.

I did enjoy reading this. The chapters were short and sweet, but laden with loads of story. But I will be honest in saying that there were a few things that bugged me. So the story is told through the point of view of a preppy, wealthy seventeen year old girl named Cadence. The story  opens up with Cadence reminiscing about the summer of her fifteenth year. Something happened to her, and she doesn’t quite remember what that is. The only thing she lets us know in the beginning is that one night, during that summer, Cadence wakes up on the beach alone.

Throughout the novel, Cadence goes back and forth between summers current and past. She tells of spending her childhood summers at her grandparent’s summer beach homes on the island of Beechwood in Windmere. For some reason they have three beach houses which is like, MUST BE NICE, but also, how would you not feel small like a piece of furniture, barely used knowing you have 3 beach houses to occupy? (That’s just me) Well, Cadence comes from a pretty wealthy family so that’s why.

Cadence lives in Vermont with her mother. Her father left them a year before. Cadence spent her all of her childhood summers with her cousins Johnny, Mirren, their younger siblings, and Johnny’s friend, Gat, whom comes along with Johnny the summer of their eighth year and returned every summer since. The flashbacks to these early childhood summers reminded me of my summers growing up, spent at the local pool with my cousins and sisters or spending a week at my aunt’s mother in law’s lake house.  Those summers will forever be engrained in my brain because at the time I thought they would go on forever. It always seemed that the closeness of our relationships with one another would stay the same way forever. Sadly, they haven’t and it’s something I wish for and reminisce every day.

Okay, back to the book. Cadence takes a liking to Gat over the years. When they’re fourteen, Gat and Cadence kiss for the first time even though Gat has a girlfriend back home in New York. I really liked Gat. He’s a very honest character and he didn’t shy away from talking about the truth. One day Cadence’s grandfather sees Gat and Cadence kissing in the attic and he tells Gat “to watch out for his head on the way down the steps”. Gat realizes he is saying this because Cadence is the oldest of the family and she is the one to inherit the money and estates, something her mother reminds Cadence of constantly throughout the novel. Cadence assumes he means the low ceiling, but Gat knows what he really meant: “stay away from my privleged, white, granddaughter you poor, Indian boy!” (this part made me angry and was the straw the broke the camel’s back in terms of my dislike of the grandfather in this story)

Another thing I liked about Gat was that even though Cadence was pretty clueless about what her grandfather said to Gat in that moment, Gat knew that her grandfather didn’t really enjoy him being there and he tells Cadence later in the novel that she doesn’t know him or about his life back home in New York. They’re from different worlds, and she needed to understand that who he is on the island is not who he is in New York. Cadence takes time to process what he says and she eventually confronts her grandfather about this which I loved.

I did like Cadence’s character a lot because she come to the realization that she is a member of a very privileged white family. There’s a moment where she decides to give away a lot of her things, partly because her mom hates when she does so, and also because she realized that she has so much and that not every teen her age is in her position. The feeling of realzing who she is from a privleged standpoint and not wanting to turn out like her mother and family is an inducement for what happens towards the end of the story.

Cadence suffers from bad migraines due to a brain injury. Cadence spends the present summer back on the island. Only half the time she spends it in bed taking painkillers and trying to remember why things are different from they used to be. Her mother and aunts spend every day drinking and fighting over the houses and her grandparent’s things. Her grandfather can’t seem to remember her name. He keeps calling her “Mirren” as if Mirren weren’t there too. I don’t want to spoil anything in the novel. But I will say that a few things are not as they seem. And the ending is kind of twisty. All in all, I’ll give it a 4/5 stars.

The writing was good. The only part that annoyed me a bit was how Cadence talked to and about her cousins and Gat. It was too polished and refined for a seventeen year old girl in my opinion. However, I did enjoy this and it is a good, quick read, especially for the lat spring/summertime. I reccomend it if you like tories that make you think and twists at the end.