Less Alone in the World (we all looked up – A Book Review)

we all looked up
Author: Tommy Wallach
Published: 2015

On Goodreads

We All Looked Up

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

The best thing we can give people is a moment of true connection before the end.

Before Ardor, the world kept spinning. People kept on living their lives as if there’d be a tomorrow. Now there are only two months to live…maybe. A 66.6% chance of Ardor, an asteroid, hitting earth. Rules are broken. Laws become irrelevant. There is no longer enough time to do everything that you had a lifetime to do. The only thing that matters is what you do with the time that’s left-the time that could be left.

Follow four teenagers as their lives crisscross each other and they leave their mark on one another and the world in eight weeks. They’ll fall in love. Face tragedy. Most importantly, they’ll leave behind what everybody else labeled them and find their most true selves. There’s no time for labels at the end of the world.

 

There aren’t enough words, and I’m sure I can never find the right words to truly describe how amazing book was. I cried more than once. From beginning to end I was anchored in. There was no putting this down. Thanks for the Trouble made me smile and laugh and seek out the good things no matter how big or small. Now, end of the world books normally don’t attract me because they all end virtually the same way, with the end of the world. YET! This book was so much more than that. It split me wide open with the way it showed just how much other people can sway you knowingly and unknowingly. And in this short time to do everything you ever wanted in it, they got a chance to turn it all around, get rid of it, and have what they wanted. I was so overwhelmed and in a good way! This book truly made me feel not so alone.

WALU

Peter, Eliza, Anita, and Andy all have these depths that truly reach to depth of people at heart. The part of us we wish would come to the surface, but just can’t because of internal fear. This is the end of the world Breakfast Club. They’re the jock, the slut, the overachiever, and the stoner, but together they’re just four friends looking for the right way to spend their time before Ardor comes down on them. They’ve all got these parts of them that struck my vulnerable spots. Other people dictated these kids’ lives because these people had gotten into their minds and hearts, the most powerful and vulnerable places within us. These four characters were deep and were the more immense and non-whiney side of teenagers. Their problems are relatable and powerful. I was a complete mess. I can’t say I relate to any of them, but I know people who do. I was just sucked in to their stories. Each have their own story and each story intertwines with each other.

  • Eliza is just trying to show the world the end of the world because hopefully she won’t feel as alone as she does.
  • Peter just wants to do something good and finally admit his feelings for Eliza. Feelings that he’s been hiding for a very long time.
  • Andy just wants to find himself and he’s afraid that it means being a coward.
  • Anita wants to be herself, not what her parents want her to be. She’s done hiding and living a life that’s not her own.

The minor characters like Misery, Bobo, Chad, and others were also very interesting.

The way this book broke down into sections based on a countdown until Ardor could hit earth, which made me increasingly anxious. In each section was a chapter by each character from their POV. And GRRRR on that! Each chapter left me wanting so much more. They were incredibly written. I was superglued to them. Eliza was my favorite, which brings me to tell you, I lied a tid-bit. I relate to her, but not in the sense of what she does or how people label her. I relate to her in how she feels and thinks about the world. She expressed everything she felt through her photography and through writing. Also, she love Mazzy Star and SO DO I! Her tastes are equivalent to mine as are her worries and emotions.

Anyway…back on track because I ramble more than Bugs Bunny. Each character was surprisingly personal with each chapter. Granted two guys chasing one girl–not good. But both for different reasons. All four characters were chasing something. The somethings just tend to be out there. Thank goodness the end of the world makes those kind of things seem not so out there.

WALU

The twists and turns were gut-wrenching, not because they took me by surprise. My heart was just taking so many emotions! This is not a Nicholas Sparks kind of feel This is its own special kind of feeling. I told you, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to find the perfect words. I’m struggling hardcore. When something stuns you, surprises you, makes you feel unlike anything you’ve ever felt then it happens. And it did happen with this book. It’s going up on my special bookshelf with all of my major favorite books.

 

If you’re wondering whether or not I recommend this book, I do. TOTALLY. It does more than pull heartstrings. It reaches out to your weak spots and pushes you. Makes you think about the right now. So, I hope I convinced you to go pick it up and read it because I’m so glad I did. Wallach is so amazing! ALSO, there is a soundtrack that goes with this book! That’s freaking exciting. It’s not every day that a book gets a soundtrack. It’s also been optioned for a movie. I can’t wait to see how it goes.

We All Looked Up, the album – iTunes

 

Quotables:

“The best books, they don’t talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you’d always thought about, but that you didn’t think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you’re a little bit less alone in the world.” (Mr. McArthur to Peter, p. 11)

“The prospect of rescuing someone from death itself—what was more compelling than that?” (Peter, p. 92)

“Sometimes I forget that death existed before Ardor.” (Anita to Doug, p. 264)

“Do you ever wish you didn’t look the way you did?” (Anita, p. 333)

“Your mind could tell you who to hate or respect or envy, but only your body—your nostrils and your mouth and the wide, blank canvas of your skin—could tell you who to love.” (Anita, p. 358)

 

more to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Cry Cry by Mazzy Star.

 

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The Worst Disasters Can Have Wonderful Consequences (Thanks for the Trouble – A Book Review)

Thanks for the Trouble
Author: Tommy Wallach
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

Thanks for the Trouble

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

7/25

I’ve got some questions for you. Was this story written about me?

Parker Sante doesn’t speak, hasn’t since the car accident he and his father were in five years ago. He hangs out in Hotels while his classmates plan for their futures. It’s his favorite thing to do. Then he meets Zelda Toth who has silver hair and claims to be a little over 200 years old and decides being with her is much better. She tells him that she’s waiting for a special phone call that’ll tell her to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, which is completely crazy. So Parker is determined to change her mind by finding things she hasn’t yet experienced in all her life, which proves more difficult than he thought. He didn’t expect to fall for her and he didn’t expect this to show him

This book marks 7 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve heard so many great and amazeballs things about this author, that he springs some real shit on you. Oh man, yes. I’m so glad I read this.

I fell in love with this book right from the get-go. Five bolts across the board from me. I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it in five hours. I was laughing and crumbling and feeling way too many emotions. This is the kind of book that leaves you fulfilled. It really is. There are many parts that make you laugh because it feels brutally honest in a way that isn’t offensive at all. That humor also serves to help guide our main character Parker through his tough times as he grows closer to Zelda. To put this to a cheesy metaphor? This is like watching a cherry blossom bloom and wake up in the world…except it doesn’t wilt away later. It flourishes as does e everything around it. LOL.

Parker meets Zelda in a Hotel and while he’s straightforward and sarcastic, she is wispy and wise. Such a clash of opposites, yet not, was very interesting and just drew me in. And personally? Parker’s level of thinking is pretty dead on with mine. Check out some of the quotes below! I guarantee, and ask my friends, this is how I sound half the time. Parker is so refreshing and raw. Parker doesn’t speak, so when I started this I was nervous. How was he going to sound in my head if he didn’t speak? But, that nervousness vanished so quick. He was easy to latch onto and I didn’t want to let go of him. And Zelda, oh sweet Zelda, she was so beautiful. The further I read, the more I noticed the light she carried in her. It’s the kind of light that draws people in.

Thanks for the Trouble

I’ve always wanted to see San Fransisco, and Wallach did a wonderful job in setting the story there. The imagery wasn’t heavy, but flowed with the characters. I saw what Parker saw and the way he saw it. This story is done from his POV as if he’s writing this story, which he is technically. The way he sees the city and where he grew up isn’t from some wondrous perspective as if the place is shiny and magical. It’s just the feeling of meh you get when you’ve lived in the same spot your whole life. You know what I’m talking about. The lack of specialness and that’s so relatable because it’s just your hometown. I really liked that because it was so natural and real.

And speaking of stories, the addition of small short stories written by Parker was so awesome. It truly added to who Parker is and was so personal. And I get super giddy when the structure of the story is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It truly adds style and originality. Here, it made this book so unique! I’m not going to tell you what these stories were about because he does break that wall, but I will say that they’re fun and fantastical. Each chapter led up to the inevitable end, which still caught me by surprise.

Thanks for the Trouble

So, I’ve shared a couple of the tidbits I loved about this book, but no serious spoilers. I’m not cruel. I didn’t expect to love the book as much as I did. My emotions were put through the ringer. So much happiness with a dash of sadness. This book will do something to you. It’ll make you look at the world from another angle, one you never thought about.

I must say, too, I’m beyond excited to start We All Looked Up soon, so be on the look out for a review on it soon.

Quotables:

“Fuck me. This is turning into a disaster, isn’t it?” (Parker, p. 2)

“They say God gave us two ears and one mouth because listening is twice as important as talking. That makes a lot of sense to me. Of course, God also gave us two nostrils, one butthole, thirty-two teeth, and ten toes. So I’m not sure where that leaves us.” (Parker, p. 28)

“Coke without rum is like toast without butter—utterly pointless.” (Zelda, p. 44)

“Thinking of your parents being young is like is like thinking of Winnie-the-Pooh going to the bathroom: just fucking weird.” (Parker, p. 62)

“Why is it that the bad shit in our lives always seems to take up so much more mental space than the good stuff? Is that part of being a person or just part of being me?” (Parker to Zelda, p. 123)

“Live fast, die young, eat pepperoni. That’s my motto.” (Tom, p. 228)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Break Free by Ariana Grande feat. Zedd.

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The Seven Stages of Grieving (the thing about jellyfish – A Book Review)

the thing about jellyfish
Author: Ali Benjamin
Published: 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

2/25

 

A jellyfish, if you watch it long enough, begins to look like a heart beating.

Suzy “Zu” Swanson knows a lot of things. A lot of things that most people don’t. Like there are 150 million jellyfish stings a year. That’s 411,000 stings a day. 17,000 stings every hour. She also knows that on some technical level, everybody is made of stardust. What she doesn’t know, doesn’t understand, is how Franny Jackson’s life was cut so short before she could make up for that bad thing she did to her. It doesn’t make sense that her best friend is gone.

To make things right, Zu is determined to figure out how this could’ve happen and who the villain is. To do that she forms a plan to travel across the world to figure out the truth about how she died. But, maybe all of the answers are closer than she realizes…

Sometimes when we feel most alone, the world can open up in mysterious ways.

 

This book marks 2 out of 25 authors, from my New’s Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I was very excited, too. This is actually Ali’s debut novel and she has a few more on the way and I’m looking forward to them.

the thing about jellyfish

I can’t express enough how much this book made me feel. I was incredibly moved to tears, both happy and sad. So much happened on Zu’s journey of grieving the loss of her friend. This story was so spectacularly moving. My heart was deeply moved. The style, the setting, the characters, all of it was perfect.

It’s been a long while since I’ve been in the mind of a kid. So long that I forgot how inquisitive and determined they can be and that’s exactly what Zu is. She’s strong-headed and deeply intelligent. She’s motivated by facts, particularly science. Her way of going about grieving was so interesting because it wasn’t ordinary. I learned so much from her and was greatly reminded how straightforward kids can be.

the thing about jellyfish

The setting of this book does follow Zu to school and other places, but mostly we’re in her head. We’re drawn back to flashbacks of important events between her and Frankie as they were growing up, moving to the present. Each flashback clears up the fog of this mystery about how Zu feels so guilty and why she must find a villain to blame. It was incredibly heartwarming and wrenching. Her entire mind is based on facts that she learns more than emotion because she doesn’t understand this kind of loss and it’s experienced it with her firsthand, through her eyes. The entire style of the novel follows the scientific method, which emphasizes how Zu’s thought process works.

During this journey of Zu’s, she meets two others who, unlike everybody else in her class, find her to be very interesting and try to break through her thick exteriors, which was entirely sweet. I seriously could stop the “AWWWWWE!!” that came spewing out of my mouth so loudly. They helped make the story even more relatable. For those who remember how hellish it was in middle school, remember what it was like to feel completely on the outside and understand how special it was to have those couple of friends that could and would sit on the outside with you and be all weird like you, too. It’s how you found your crew, the people who going to be with you through thick and thin and make school bearable.

the thing about jellyfish - Giphy

This book struck me on such a personal level. Like Zu, when I was in seventh grade there was a boy who died. I remember he was in my science class. We weren’t close friends, but the feeling that Zu has throughout the book was the exact same. He was a nice person so I was confused when I found out about his death.  It was a complete disillusionment. How can someone so small and young be there one day and not the next? I still think about him from time to time and wonder what it would be like if he were still here.

 

I couldn’t get enough of this book. I cried, laughed, and was even jumping around with the giggles as I read. I have to say, I truly hope this book comes to the big screen. It’s so special and I really believe that it delivers such a moving message about grieving; that it isn’t easy to understand how a child works through it. Sometimes it takes the Scientific Method.

 

Quotables:

“During the first three weeks of seventh grade, I’d learned one thing above all else: A person can become invisible simply by staying quiet.” (Zu, p. 7)

“The stars themselves were inside up. We were made of stardust.” (Zu, p. 228)

“Who knows. Maybe everybody’s end isn’t the day they actually die, but the last time anyone speaks to them. Maybe when you die you don’t really disappear, but you fade into a shadow, dark and featureless, only you outlines visible.” (Zu, 278)

“Humans may be newcomers to the planet. We may be plenty fragile. But we’re also the only ones who can decide to change.” (Zu, p. 312)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Fireflies by Owl City.

 

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