The Chase Is On… (The Gunslinger – A Book Review)

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)
Author: Stephen King
Published: 1982

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt

Rated M for a complex, multi-dimensional mindfuck that you just can’t put down because you really want to figure it out more than that puzzle box from Hellraiser.

 

“The man in black fled across the dessert and the gunslinger followed.”

In a desolate reality that mirrors ours in horrifying ways. A lone gunslinger going by the name of Roland makes his way across the desert land with Jake from our reality. As a gunslinger, Roland is charged with protecting good, or whatever is left of it. His world has ‘moved on’ and the only way to salvage what’s left of it is to catch the man in black.

While the journey has been a long one already, Roland knows that the man in black has all of the answers and secrets that will guide him. See, this is only the beginning of the gunslinger’s journey toward the Dark Tower.

 

The Dark Tower series is one of the series on my New Year’s resolution and this is book 1 of 7 (technically 8, but I’m not including The Wind Through the Keyhole, though I will be reading it.)

 

How do I begin with this one?

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This really was a complex mindfuck. With the utmost originality that can only come out of the mind of the King, this is a series of some epic fantasy. It doesn’t touch Lord of the Rings or any other fantasy series because it’s a league of its own. I don’t say that because this is better than them. It’s not. It’s on the level. I say it because it lives on a plane all its own with its own mythology, language, world. It has a universe all to itself that doesn’t touch anything else. It’s an original work.

I both enjoyed and disliked The Dark Tower. When I finished it, I decided that this came across as a primer/prologue than it did a book in series. You spend more time getting to know Roland and his world and what his journey will entail thden you do actually moving in any form of progression.

So, here comes the downside. While taking in what this series would entail, I found the book to be drawn out in detail. There were times where I thought I could fall asleep from boredom because it was so lengthy. I love attention to detail. It makes the story extremely immersive, but it felt overdone, like a burnt piece of barbeque. It comes across as dull at times and I just wanted to move forward.

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Racing to catch up with the man in black proved to be tricky for Roland. There were many obstacles, some of which were put in place by the man in black. Dark and totally on the mark, Roland didn’t let anything get in his way to get to his objective. For me, it was haunting. I wonder if everything he did was worth what he got.

Side Note: I have seen the film for The Dark Tower and I must say it didn’t live up to what I imagined. One day, I hope to see this picked up by HBO or Starz or even Netflix so it can receive the amazing glory and following of that like GOT. It deserves to have the time it takes to tell an intricate tale like this.

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Consequence of Sound

 

Overall

Reading this book was like starring at a piece of artwork, in a museum, that you don’t understand. But, you’re going to stand there and stare at it until you discover it because it’s beautiful and it whispers some kind of secret and meaning. That’s kind of how it went down. Not a bad read, but damn if I wasn’t enthralled with semi-glazed over eyes. Don’t mistake that for me thinking this book royally sucked. It didn’t. It was fantastic. It’ll definitely need another read though.

 

Quotables:

 “Nineteen would open the secret. Nineteen was the secret.” (p. 56)

“While you travel with the boy, the man in black travels with your soul.” (p. 141)

“Time’s the thief of memory.” (p. 177)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Aron Wright.

 

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Who’s Into Who? (M or F? – A Book Review)

M or F?
Author: Lisa Papademetriou & Chris Tebbetts
Published: 2006

On Goodreads

M or F - Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated C for quirky cute with a side of crazy and a sprinkle of boy trouble.

 

I’m thinking this whole thing will make a good movie someday.

Frannie has a crush on Jeffrey. Frannie is really shy. So, Frannie gets her fabulous (and gay) best friend, Marcus to help her, by having him chat online as her because she’s too terrified to do it herself.

In the chat room everything goes well, she even gets a date. But, as Marcus keeps chatting the more he’s sure that Jeffrey likes him, not Frannie. His best intentions to help his best friend goes down a shady path. If he doesn’t turn back soon, his and Frannie’s friendship could be over.

But he really likes Jeffrey. What will he do?

 

I plucked this up because it was bright and mysterious, like a bright beacon that said, “READ ME”.

This book was cute, filled with awkward teen spirit. Frannie and Marcus are best friends. Frannie is the shy one while Marcus is the outgoing one, making them two peas in a pod of sorts. They really encompassed friendship and I loved that, especially their telepathy. Everybody wants that with their BFF. I’m VERY lucky to have that with mine. These two were inseparable and it made me all mushy.

I really liked these two’s chemistry, but I also liked the way all of the characters interweaved together. Granted, Frannie was sometimes annoying and Marcus was a little obnoxious, but that’s what made them them. There was a lot of individuality.

I was kept guessing as I read. The way that everything got mixed up between everyone was comical. Plus, all of the drama made me antsy. It really made this book a fast read.

Thumbs Up

This book had one of the most unique styles of writing I’ve ever seen. It was creative and kept me invested with its occasional chatroom structure. That really added to the story. It was entertaining and had me hold my breath from time to time.

And the title complimented the story so well. Not only does the POV move between Frannie and Marcus, but the book is also open about sexuality and how difficult and tricky it can be in high school. I think it’s great to address this factor. Dating is awkward enough in high school, but the hardships and pressure that it can have is stressful.

There were many little surprises even though the whole book was pretty predictable. I really like when a book does this. It’s like sprinkles on a cupcake. Simply delightful. The best part for me was the Coda aka the Epilogue. It perfectly rounded out the whole book.

 

Overall

A fun book to read and fast too. However, it wasn’t memorable. It got a good pass for being entertaining and filled with high school drama, but that’s about it.

 

Quotables:

“If silence speaks louder than words, right then Frannie’s silence was saying crush, crush, crush, which is different than hot for, hot for, hot for.” (Marcus, p. 5)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? One Love by Mariana’s Trench.

 

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NO Vacancy (All the Little Lights – A Book Review)

Hey, my precious!

I hope you are all well. I want to take a moment to apologize for my tardiness lately. I was pretty sick with a nasty head cold that had me weak, dizzy, and a whole lot of other nastiness, so I wasn’t doing much of anything, but being a blob. I’m sorry, I do still love you and still love ranting about books. I’m starting to get back on track. 

I also want to give a shoutout to my mum, though I’m not sure she reads this. LOL. While I was utterly blobby, she was being mum and helping me take care of me. Love you, mum.


All the Little Lights
Author: Jamie Maguire
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

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Amazon

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated S for sweet and strange, with a plot twist that’ll sneak up on you and leave you gobsmacked.

 

Everything buried will come to light.

Elliott Youngblood is just a boy with a camera, and he captures Catherine Calhoun in his lens on a sad summer evening. After that, he had to know her, make her smile. They have an amazing summer together, but then tragedy strikes in Catherine’s life and Elliott is nowhere to be found, she’s heartbroken.

When Elliott returns, everything has changed. He and Catherine are not the same people they were. He’s a football star and she’s a pariah that helps run her mother’s secret bed & breakfast. Elliott will do anything to get Catherine to forgive him for leaving her alone. And, just when she starts to come around and trust him again, he becomes a prime suspect in a missing person’s case. She refuses to believe he has anything to do with it. But, the dark secret she keeps threatens to dismantle happiness she has with him.

 

The relationship this book gave me was on-again-off-again. It was good and it wasn’t. The main characters, Elliott and Catherine, come with their own unique POVs. I found them to be realistic, but at times they both came off a bit over-dramatic. BUT!!!!! The further I got into the book, the more I got to know each of them, the more that was divulged about why they were the way they were. I find that perspective to be incredible. The author writes so that the characters surprise you, not them. And I was very surprised by the time I got to the end.

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Catherine was more surprising than Elliott. He came across as the great Prince Charming that was unexpected and in some cases pushy and unneeded. It’s totally sweet that he wanted to protect and be there for Catherine. He had a way of saying “I’m in love with you just because.” and it was such a peeve. There’s got to be more, and by the time I got to the more part I didn’t believe it.

I did admire Maguire’s attention to the world she built up around the characters. An old town, filled with nothing but a couple of shops and boarded up spaces is very common. The additional extra of the town being poisoned was shocking. The visual was vivid and strong.

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Bustle

I love Maguire’s storytelling. She does such a fantastic job. I just don’t think it reached my inner bookworm. The book started out slow for me. Some places felt rushed. There were parts that sparked my interest and then the ending was a total BAM! SHOCK! But in some places, it just didn’t reach me. There wasn’t enough to keep me invested with intrigue.

EXCEPT: there was a moment, a split second, that left me confused and ever curious. At the very end. And I will leave this open for discussion because I would very much love to talk about it. So, SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t read this book. à Catherine goes to visit her mother after the Juniper closes and they talk about her going to college, but then her mother says the strangest thing that make alarms go off in my head. You know, those flashing red ones that spin? Okay, so it goes,

“I think it’s nice that you still talk to him.”

Mama looked around and leaned in. “It’s okay. We won’t tell anyone. You don’t have to worry.”

“What do you mean?” (p.406)

That’s what I want to know. What the hell did her mother mean? Do any of you know? Was I just blind? Was it just super creepy and that’s all? GAH!

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Gfycat

If you’ve read the book, let’s talk!

 

Overall

Jamie Maguire is an author I very much enjoy to read from. This book was good, but I won’t say it compares to the others that I’ve read by her. I just didn’t get hooked this time. It was good. Definitely glad I read it, but sadly, I think this will be the only time I read it.

 

Quotables:

“Haven’t you figured me out by now? You go where you want. I’ll follow.” (Elliott to Catherine, p. 267)

“Pain…Love. Can’t really have one without the other.” (Catherine to Mrs. Mason, p. 358)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

 

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Some Secrets Are Best Stay Hidden (Secret Brother – A Book Review)

Secret Brother

Author: V. C. Andrews

Published: 2015

On Goodreads

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Amazon | V. C. Andrews

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated T for teen outrage and attempted rebellion with a tad-heavy petting that goes absolutely nowhere.

 

The most unexpected Dollanganger story of them all…

Arnold loses his grandson in the same ER that a mysterious boy was dropped off and left for dead from poisoning. The poisoning left him with amnesia. Moved by the possibility of fate, Arnold, grandpa Arnold to most, brings the boy home. Not everybody is thrilled with this.

Arnold’s granddaughter, Clara Sue, feels like her little brother is being replaced by this boy and she’ll do whatever it takes to be rid of him, even try to help him remember what happened to him before he ended up in the hospital. But, when the his story is uncovered, can she really send him back to the life he before, or will she finally move on past her brother’s death and welcome the boy into a new home?

 

So…

This was unexpected.

I’ve read the previous books of Flowers in the Attic (go ahead and take a read of the reviews if you haven’t) and I didn’t know what would be happening here. Starting out with loss right from the get go is hard. Not hard to get across. Hard because it’s tragedy and that’s heavy. On the bright side, the only direction to go from tragedy is up and to better things…unless it gets worse, which is possible i.e. the saying, “It’s not like it can get any worse.”, because we all know otherwise.

Sorry, spoiler here, even though at this point you should’ve read the Flowers in the Attic books before this one, so, not really sorry. LOL. Corey Dollanganger was the brother who was thought to have died in the very first book and now this book confirms he didn’t die. He got a second chance. But, I felt really sad, too, because his twin, Carrie killed herself, in part because of the bullying, in part because of her mother’s rejection of her, and also because of the loss of Corey. This book did make me think back to her and feel even sadder for her.

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After losing her little brother, Willie, Clara Sue feel lost and angry and sad, and you know what? I was TOTALLY with her on that, even though I already know Corey’s story. She loved Willie to pieces. Then suddenly her grandpa brings home a little boy and nearly replaces him. If that happened to me I’d be just as pissed. She was right to act the way she did. You can’t replace family with strangers.

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And that boy that was chasing Clara Sue, who I won’t even give a name because he wasn’t worth remembering was a nozzle of douches. That’s all I’ll say about him. He really got me disliking him. Pfft. The definition of a F-boy. Gross.

So, all in all, each of the kids’ feelings are understandable. Clara Sue and Corey are both in their own right to be emotional. They went through a lot of tragedy.

The emotions rolling through this book were pretty realistic. So much change after such a tragic change will make a person blow a major gasket. Sometimes it came off a little too dramatic, but this is from a teenager’s POV. So, whataya going to do?

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The world building was pretty basic and predictable for V.C. Andrews. Rich family. Big mansion with multiple wings. Family trauma with a side of effed-up dysfunction. Predictable.

The style of the writing was pretty good, though the tone came off bland. I was getting a little sleepy in places and then I’d jolt when something juicy happened.

 

Overall

I was actually surprised that I enjoyed the book as much as I did. It didn’t move me to tears, but it did stir up some emotions. It was the kind you get for family. Protective and annoyed and a love that can really toil in the heart. Definitely one of my favorite books out of the Flowers in the Attic books. Will I reread it? Honestly? No. The family feels are nice, but they don’t screech, ‘read me again!’. I enjoy an intense read that grips me tight, much like Castiel did to Dean during that season 4 premiere of Supernatural. I say give it a good read, get your family drama out, and then donate it.

 

Quotables:

“Looking messy in public says a lot about how you live your life…” (Clara’s mother, p. 72)

“…Life is like a relay. When good people die, they pass something important of themselves on to those who continue…” (Grandpa Arnold to Clara Sue, p. 89)

“Your grandmother used to tell me you can’t fight city hall. City hall is a piece of cake compared with a woman who makes up her mind about something or someone.” (Grandpa Arnold to Clara Sue, p. 279)

“Love has a way of making memories sticky.” (Dorian, p. 345)

“A good-bye is just the curtain closing for this evenings performance. It will open again.” (Bobby to Clara Sue, p. 362)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Secrets by OneRepublic.

 

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Are There Polar Bears On This Island? (Echoes – A Book Review)

Echoes
Author: Alice Reeds
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Echoes

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

Rated: T for teen with mild themes that barely approach a teenager’s actual hormone level.

 

Trust no one.

Fear everything.

Fiona and Miles wake up on a deserted island with no memory of how they got there. These two high school enemies will have to work together to survive. As they move forward toward finding a way to escape the island, they discover that they’re not alone. There’s something out there and it doesn’t want them to leave.

 

Both intrigued by the blerb on the back of book and enticed by the cover, I plucked this book up, excited to read. Sadly, this book didn’t fully live up to my hopes.

It started out pretty good. I was dying to discover why Fiona and Miles were missing their memories and what the important reason for them being put on the island was. Miles was the rich kid with the credit card and no real survival skills while Fiona is graced with epic kickboxer skills that she’s extremely proud of, but also feels like it’s a burden. For those of you who have read this, I can’t be the only one who got some MAJOR Lost vibes.

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So I kept reading. But as I read I started to lose interest. After the reason for Fiona and Miles becoming enemies, but not really, was revealed I was left deadpanned. He’d called her pathetic. It wasn’t some shaming kind of name calling or even a physical altercation. He just called her pathetic. It seemed so much less than what she made it out to be. More so, I was getting major whiplash from her. It was like flipping a light switch really fast to create that strobe light effect. One second she was scared the next she was fiercely declaring how fearless she was. It really drew me away from the characters. Their chemistry felt forced and otherwise non-existent.

But I kept reading! I wanted to freaking know what was up because I was beginning to get a little lost! Their memories of everything that came right before their mysterious crash was bit by bit revealed. I give the book kudos for keeping me intrigued. However, the big Ta Da wasn’t so Ta Da.

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After the build-up and all, I felt let down a bit.

The world-building was very nice with the little sprinkles here and there, divulging the main plot. This was also a fast read, but I can’t say that it was because I was so engulfed in this book that I couldn’t get enough. It was just a fast read because the attention to detail was lagging. So, it was quick because there wasn’t much.

 

Overall

While I lost interest in the characters, I still wanted to know what happened. The characters made me cringe on and off as they spun me around in the chair of confusion. Now, this is my own personal review. This book just didn’t really garner my attention the way I hoped. For those of you who did enjoy it, I’m glad. Truly. I wish good books on every reader.

 

Quotables:

“We are going to die.” (Fiona, p. 1)

“Own your fear; don’t let them own you.” (Fiona, p. 73)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Blurry by Puddle of Mud.

 

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Wet Hot Vampire Summer (The Traveling Vampire Show – A Book Review)

The Traveling Vampire Show
Author: Richard Laymon
Published: 2001

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Traveling Vampire Show

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated: M for mature themes.

 

See.

Watch.

Tremble.

Scream.

A hot summer of 1963, there are flyers tacked up all over Grandville, advertising for the Traveling Vampire Show for one night only. The main event: the alluring and blood-draining Valeria.

After a bet is made, three teenagers: Dwight, Slim, and Rusty, are determined to get in to see the show even though only those who are over eighteen are admitted. The day is long and after a dog attack, deceiving friends, and strange break-ins, they wonder if they should go and what might await if they do.

 

This was a pretty good book. Definitely not your typical summer adventure. I’ve never read Richard Laymon before. I’m glad I got too.

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Slipping into the paranormal/horror genre, this book takes place in the small town of Grandville and everybody knows everybody’s business. By the end of this book, hell, not even, a good quarter of the way in, I knew the ins and outs of this town. The description, imagery, and world-building was superb! The entire book took place during the course of an entire day and it was so in depth and extended without a boring drag. It was warm, dry, and breezy during a time when you didn’t have to be afraid that somebody would break into your home. It was safe.

Pretty campy and fun and even humorous at times; yes, these are a few of my favorite things. Such a good Fright Night vibe. I was digging it.

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I really liked Dwight and Slim, but found Rusty to be a horrifying little troll I wanted to shove off of a bridge. His little sister was a needy little imp too. They both made my jaw drop to the ground with horror. Cruel, liars, and completely spineless, the two of them are vicious and I couldn’t believe that Dwight was friends with them. Slim however, was so kick-ass. Tomboy with the curves, she’s gone through her own hell and is so strong for it! And she’s so smart. It’s is my absolute favorite thing about this book that she takes up the names of literary characters over her own name. I am in complete awe of her.

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This book really took me for a ride. There was nothing cut and dry about it. Shockers and sharp turns were around every page and really got me feeling paranoid. Laymon really got my skin creeping with goosebumps on the way to the book’s main event. Fantastic with the build-up and extra side stories that allowed me to get to know the characters so much more. I love it when there’s side stories, and he wrote them so well! I’m mind-blown. So fantastically done without breaking the flow or steering away from the main story i.e. getting to this vampire show.

 

Overall

A pretty good read. I was addicted. It’s not like it was some life-defining read, but it was a good book. Great for a summer time read. Certainly, for mature audiences too.

 

Quotables:

“Most of us tell ourselves we don’t believe in that sort of stuff, but maybe that’s because we’re afraid to they might exist. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens from outer space, black magic, the devil, hell…maybe even God.” (Slim, p. 43)

“And even if you could somehow sort out the whys and find the truth, maybe it’s better if you don’t.” (Dwight, p. 51)

“The blood’ll bring vampires like chum brings sharks.” (p. 352)

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

Song today? House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

 

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The Truth is Supposed to Set You Free (That’s Not What Happened – A Book Review)

That’s Not What Happened
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

Six survived to tell the story, but who knows the truth?

It’s the three-year anniversary of the Virgil County High School Massacre. The reporters are long gone. The blood of those lost is long gone. The memories still walk through the hallways of the school. Lee’s best friend Sarah, one of the victims, is still hailed as a martyr by the town, but Lee knows the truth. She didn’t die proclaiming her faith. Lee was there, next to her, when she died.

She didn’t say anything then, but now, on the eve of graduating from high school, she wants to tell the truth about what really happened that day. She’s ready to. With the contributions of the other survivors about that day and how it’s affected them, she hopes to enlighten everyone to the real feelings and stories of that horrific day.

Except Sarah’s martyrdom is important to the town. It’s even driven one of the massacre survivors away. Lee knows that when she starts this journey to share the truth about that horrific day that still gives her nightmares and sleepless nights every year around the anniversary, she runs the risk of being driven out as well. But, the guilt of having remained silent has been heavy. She can’t be silent any longer, even though every new piece of information makes her question whether she should speak out.

 

This review is info/possibly spoiler worthy. Just letting you know.

I’ve been a fan of Keplinger since I read The DUFF. I think that’s the book that makes everybody a fan of her. I got excited when this book came into our bookstore. It’s so different from other books she’s written. There’s a darker, more tragic layer to this high school ride.

A school shooting. The most popular one we know and always flash back to is Columbine, and since they’ve grown in frequency.

West Nickel Mines Amish School – 2006

Virginia Tech – 2007

Sandy Hook – 2012

Santa Monica College – 2013

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – 2018

Santa Fe High School – 2018

And so many more have impacted our country and how safe we feel in a place of learning and a place that nobody ever imagines being targeted for such violence.

This book took a POV that was—what I believe to be—touchy. Our main character had a front row seat to the shooting and her best friend died right next to her. By all rights, she should be dead too. The only POV that could’ve possibly beat this one out and made me feel even more emotional and heartbroken would be that of the shooter’s. Also, Lee broke the fourth wall by talking to me (the reader). It was her and everyone else’s story. And there were parts she could share and some she just couldn’t bring herself to get out because it was too hard.

Lee made this experience, one that people who’ve never been through something like this, personal. Her emotions and those of the other survivors were intense and real. An event like this isn’t something you glamorize and I don’t think Keplinger did that. She approached a school shooting with perspectives of kids who had suffered from it and were trying to survive its aftermath. The way she explored that aftermath was gut-wrenching with no holding back. Everybody deals with tragedy differently and she did well expressing that by using Lee’s project to get letters on their feelings about the shooting and those lost from it.

The trauma of the shooting wasn’t the only subject approached either. Sexuality had a place here, with Lee’s asexuality and Eden being gay. It’s not that it was up front, made to look just planted in. Not the case at all. It was completely natural and in Lee’s case, still being sorted out. I was so there for it! Well done! Bra-freaking-va! Sexuality is diverse and isn’t something to be given gold stars or special treatment. It’s just a part of life we need to address for ourselves, and it doesn’t need mass amounts of attention from the world. The only people it should draw attention to are those involved on a personal level. That’s just me though. Keplinger did a fantastic job with the way she wrote it into the story.

Another subject addressed? The setting of the book. Virgil is a poor town. It’s not said outright, but sprinkled throughout the book and I am so glad! I’m from a poor, shitty town that struggles economically and it was nice to see something real like this. Many towns across the country are this way. Many books I’ve read express a sense of endless monetary means. That’s not the case here and I really liked that.

Heart

The style was really unique. While we are following Lee’s POV for the most part, we get glimpses into the lives and thoughts of others—Denny, Miles, Ashley, Eden, and Kelly. This was well spread out and concise. The support system they had for each other was astounding. The writing was filled to the brim with emotion reflecting hurt, selfishness, desperation, and guilt. I was wracked.

 

Overall

This book was pretty moving for me. This was a book I wasn’t expecting. Keplinger has always surprised me. With perfectly timed humor and swelling emotions, she got me good. It was so different than many books I’ve read. Struck me like lightning with many emotions at once. Dark, scary at times, and brave.

 

Quotables:

“I wake up every morning with death on my mind.” (Lee, p. 3)

“Maybe some truths are better left buried.” (Lee, p. 2)

“Look, you don’t have to see things to be traumatized them…” (Lucas, p. 54)

“Maybe I looked normal, but so had the guy who brought a gun into my school.” (Lee, p. 152)

 

I credit these sites for informing me:

www.vox.com

The Washington Post

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls.

 

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