Poetry: Cursing at Jaywalkers

Three girls, sitting on a bench

Cursing at jaywalkers

 

Don’t they see

The danger

That could come roaring

Out of the small-town darkness?

 

Why do they risk it?

Don’t they know that

Bad things happen?

Even here.

Even to the best of us.

Even to the strongest of us, the bravest of us.

 

They are asking for the pain

The three girls already feel

And the insult is too much

To watch silently

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that this book is incredibly albeist. Although I already did not enjoy the book very much, understanding its ableism has only made me more fed up with this novel. I do not recommend it and would strongly urge other bloggers to listen to the voices of those that have been hurt by the ableism before gushing about it themselves.


A cute love story, but the ending didn’t stick the landing.

3/5 stars

cover everything everything

Amazon Description

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my 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.

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.

My Review

I was fascinated by the premise of this book: a love story involving a girl who can never leave her house. I knew that it would be cute and bittersweet, and in that way, Everything, Everything was exactly what I wanted it to be.

Maddy was an interesting protagonist who clearly grew throughout the story. In the beginning, I had a hard time connecting to her, simply because I do not know how you could possibly stay so positive when you can never leave your house. I liked her character enough, I just couldn’t understand her completely. Once she started looking out her window and wanting more from her life, her character got more complex and relatable.

Throughout it all, I loved her optimistic spirit and her semi-poetic voice. Her identity as a mixed-race character was interesting–it didn’t have a massive effect on the book, but it was prominent enough to add diversity to the story.

The main plot of the book surrounds Maddy falling for her new neighbor, Olly. Olly was a cute love interest: an energetic, daring boy with a math nerd side–everything that book-loving Maddy wasn’t. Watching the two of them fall in love was freaking adorable, though I never fully understood what drew Olly to Maddy, besides curiosity. Their relationship progressed very quickly, but it wasn’t quite instalove; for the most part, I was swept away by the romance and didn’t mind the pacing.

Everything, Everything’s plot is simple, but it touches on a lot of deeper themes. Olly’s father is abusive; some of the most heart-wrenching scenes were when Maddy had to watch Olly’s family be attacked, unable to go outside and help. Nicola Yoon handled the issue of domestic violence well, and it added needed depth to Olly’s character.

With a clear theme of living life despite the risks, Everything, Everything is one of the more inspiring books I’ve read this year. The story is an excellent kick-in-the-pants for anyone afraid of taking risks and living life to its fullest–this is the kind of book that will make you want to travel, to go to museums, to explore. The writing is poetic without overpowering the story, and I loved the simplistic sketches woven throughout the story.

My only complaint is that this book felt underdeveloped. It is a short novel made up of shorter chapters, and I wish Nicola Yoon had lengthened the book to explore more of the characters and conflicts. We never got to meet Olly’s family, which disappointed me because I felt like Olly’s sister would have been a really interesting character if she had gotten any scenes at all. As a character-loving reader, I was let down by the lack of depth the characters had. Maddy is the only character who the reader really gets to know–even Olly and Maddy’s mother are sparsely characterized. Also, the story ends suddenly, almost feeling cut-off, like the last chapters got deleted by accident.

Overall, this is a cute love story with humorous and heart-wrenching moments alike. I would recommend it to fans of down-to-earth contemporary stories who enjoy poetic writing and emotional stories.


Spoiler alert: I have to talk about the ending. If you’ve read the book, keep reading–let’s discuss that crazy reveal! 

If you haven’t read this book yet, STOP READING!

I actually saw the reveal about Maddy’s illness coming. I was talking to my sister about how I saw no possibility of a happy ending…unless Maddy wasn’t actually sick. I realized that Maddy’s mom might just be traumatized by losing her husband and her son and that the SCID diagnosis could be a fraud. The scene in Hawaii convinced me that I was wrong…but then I was right. As someone who NEVER sees plot twists coming, I feel pretty damn accomplished having guessed this one.

Though it gave the story a happy ending, the plot twist frustrated me a bit. Going into this book, my biggest question was how Nicola Yoon would be able to give a girl who can’t leave her house a chance to live a fulfilling life–and the answer, apparently, is you can’t. Maddy only got to love Olly because she wasn’t really sick; it felt like the author was saying that a person with SCID is still 100% screwed, and that was pretty depressing.

The message of living life despite your fears still stands, but I wish that Nicola Yoon had been able to give “sick Maddy” a happy ending as well.

What did you think of the ending? Did you like it? Was it a let-down? Were you surprised?

Top Ten Characters I’d Dress Up As For Halloween

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

I haven’t actually dressed up for Halloween in a while, but I still love the idea of going all-out and becoming some of my favorite book characters for a night. These all assume a perfect world, where I have enough money and resources to do these costumes justice, of course.

  1. Blue from The Raven Cycle
    • This costume would be easy to make, comfortable to wear, and adorably quirky.
  2. Vin from Mistborn
    • Just imagine the feeling of power you’d get walking around in the dark with a Mistcloak billowing out behind you. #costumegoals
  3. Adina from Beauty Queens
    • Or really, any of the beauty queens. Taking a dress, ripping it up, tossing on some palm frawns and maybe a “It’s Miss Teen Dream, Bitches” banner would be so much fun.
  4. Verity from Code Name Verity
    • This isn’t a happy book, but whatever costume I came up with would be dramatic and bloody (literally) and shocking. Definitely a statement piece. It’s the alternative to dressing as a zombie, if you don’t want to be mainstream, but you already have the stage makeup.
  5. Shazi from The Wrath and the Dawn
    • Who wouldn’t want to wear the outfits Shazi gets to wear? Plus, she’s a queen, and she takes no shit from anyone.
  6. Liz from The Gallagher Girls
    • The Gallagher Girl uniform would be pretty fun to wear, and to be Liz, I’d just carry around some crazy math textbooks and trip over everything in sight (so you know, my life anyway).
  7. Gen from The Queen’s Thief
    • This would be a genderbent costume, but I love Gen too much to not go for it. I’d wear the most ridiculously bejeweled jacket I could find, soft boots, carry something in my hand (*trying to avoid spoilers here!!*), and spend the night jumping over things and sneaking up on people
  8. Fire from Fire 
    • Just imagining the crazy wig I’d get to wear for this is making me smile. Merida x10. Plus, I’d get to carry a bow and arrow, and who doesn’t want that?
  9. Attolia from The Queen’s Thief
    • For when I just want to wear pretty dresses and be the supreme ruler of the land.
  10. Aelin from Throne of Glass
    • Because, heck yeah, I want to be the Fire-Breathing Bitch Queen!!

Are you excited for Halloween? Who would you dress up as?

Book Review: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

I seriously loved this book. It was exactly what I wanted from the series, and I need the next book right now.

5/5 stars

cover queen of shadows bigger

Amazon Description

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

My Review

SPOILER ALERT: I don’t think I can do this book justice without spoilers, so this review is spoiler filled. If you haven’t read this book, don’t read this review (SORRY).

(My notes for this review involve a lot of capital letters…)

My favorite part of this book (let’s be honest, this series) is Aelin. She is badass to the extreme, but she still has a personality and complex emotions. In the category of strong female characters, she is definitely at the top, and I freaking love every minute of being inside her head (even if it can be a scary place).

I loved seeing Aelin turn back into Celaena during this book. Until I saw the massive character transformation that occurred when she returned to Arobynn, I didn’t understand how much she had changed in the last few books. Though I liked Celaena the assassin, Aelin is a more raw and loyal character, and I am so glad that she (eventually) rejected her past with Arobynn.

Seeing Arobynn again was definitely disturbing. While I’d never been sure what Arobynn’s intentions toward Celaena were, QoS made everything he did creepier. I hated that I couldn’t tell how much of the plot he had control over–it was some seriously amazing plotting on Sarah J Maas’s part. Finally getting closure (you know what I’m talking about) was one of the most satisfying and relieving moments of the book (and I feel awful for writing that).

QoS pulled off having multiple plot lines better than HoF. First of all, the Aelin/Rowan plot line merged with the Chaol/Dorian plot line, which made the story feel less disjointed. As the main plot of the book, I really enjoyed seeing all of these characters come back together after so much time apart. I loved that Lysandra came back–and joined the ranks of ToG BAMFs–and seeing Aelin and Lysandra befriend each other was one of the sweetest parts of the plot. Aedion and Chaol were annoyingly arrogant at times, but for the most part, it added to the story. I liked seeing Chaol with a new love interest–but I also appreciated that they didn’t share anything close to instalove.

I missed Dorian as a character. I know that he couldn’t be a character in this book, but I don’t like that his character was absent for an entire installment of the series. While everyone else was growing, he was essentially stagnant, and even at the end of the book, I never reconnected with him. Also, I wanted to punch Chaol for being so asinine to Aelin when she said he was gone; even though I knew he was still there, Aelin had a 99% chance of being right.

The witches’ plot line was more gripping in QoS than in HoF. I loved the addition of new characters, and the fact that the plot line wove together with the other ones more clearly this time. Manon is becoming one of my favorite characters, though I wanted to beat humanity into her for most of this book.

And then there’s Rowan. I freakin’ love this guy. I am ecstatic that he is an official love interest, and I will cry if anything separates him and Aelin again–I’m not even joking. The romance between Aelin and Rowan developed at a perfect pace for me, just slow enough that I know they are meant for each other. They are my favorite couple in ToG so far–definitely one of my OTPs.

The ending of QoS set up the next book SO WELL. I need it. Like, yesterday. I need this series to have a happy ending. I need more Aelin. (I need more Rowan.) I cannot wait to see all of the moving parts that Sarah J Maas has created collide.

Weekend Words #8

weekend words picWeekend Words showcases inspiring quotes from books, about writing, and about life. This feature will happen every weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday, depending on my schedule. While this is a reading/writing centric blog, this feature doesn’t have to be focused on those areas–it is intentionally open-ended to give bloggers a chance to say what’s on their mind.

Everyone should feel free to take part–it would honestly make my day! Complete instructions can be found on the feature’s page. 

1. A Powerful Quote From a Recent Read

quote growing up

“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.” — Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything

I want so many of my friends to believe this quote. I’m not exactly planning on disappointing the people around me, but I love this quote for reminding me (and everyone else) that it is allowed.

2. A Quote that Inspired or Influenced Me This Week

ignorance and growth

“How can we remember our ignorance, which our growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all the time?” — Thore

Confession time: I got this quote from an SAT prep essay that my English teacher made us write. While I didn’t love the essay that I wrote, I do think that this quote is important. Getting answers wrong or messing up on a test isn’t the end of the world; in fact, academic perfection can actually get in the way of personal growth. Something I wish everyone at my school believed.

3. Something I’ve Been Wanting to Say

I know it sounds cheesy, but forcing yourself to focus on the small things that make you smile each day can go a long way toward staying positive. I’ve been keeping a “Happy List” in my locker each week of funny and/or uplifting moments that happen, and it has definitely helped.


I hope you’re all having a great weekend! What quotes have inspired you recently?

Play Review: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Wow. Just wow. This play destroyed my heart from page one, increasingly so until it was a bleeding, traumatized mess on the last page.

5/5 stars

cover a Streetcar Named Desire

Amazon Description

It is a very short list of 20th-century American plays that continue to have the same power and impact as when they first appeared―57 years after its Broadway premiere, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is one of those plays. The story famously recounts how the faded and promiscuous Blanche DuBois is pushed over the edge by her sexy and brutal brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski.Streetcar launched the careers of Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden, and solidified the position of Tennessee Williams as one of the most important young playwrights of his generation, as well as that of Elia Kazan as the greatest American stage director of the ’40s and ’50s.

My Review

This book doesn’t get five stars because I like the ending, or because the story is positive. It gets five stars for how completely it destroyed my emotions. Everything about this book is powerful and vivid, and that what makes it like nothing I’ve ever read (for school) before.

Normally, I don’t care for trigger alerts, but this book needs, like, twelve of them. I had no idea what the plot would be like, so every time a new emotionally charged issue appeared in the plot, it freaked me out. This book pulls no punches, so if you’re planning on reading it (which you should be), just know you’re in for a blunt examination of domestic violence, rape, gay shaming (the book isn’t homophobic, just certain characters), suicide, mental illness, and abusive relationships.

The characters of ASND are complicated and imperfect to say the least, but all of them felt real. I was fascinated by Blanche’s manipulative personality, and I empathized with her need to escape the trauma in her past and get back to the magical life she’d had as a innocent Southern belle. The discussion of female sexuality that develops as we learn more about Blanche’s past is complex, with no right answers.

Stanley was downright terrifying for much of this book. His bursts of violence were vividly written, his control over Stella was as obvious as it was fucked up. He’s a womanizer through and through, but no part of his character is overplayed or unrealistic. That’s the awful part–his character is 100% believable, even half a century after the play was written.

Stella was one of my least favorite characters, but I understood her. She lets herself stay with Stanley and his abuse, but in a way, she had no where else to go. I was frustrated at her for most of the book, but she was an important character for the plot’s message about domestic violence. Getting out of abusive relationships isn’t easy, and though I wanted to grab Stella and shake her, I also understood the difficult psychological situation she was in, especially caught up with someone as expertly manipulative as Stanley.

ASND’s plot is simple, heavily reliant on flashback-esque reveals as the reader slowly learns more and more about each character’s past and inner selves. Every scene added a new layer of depth (and creepiness) to the story. The backbone of the play comes from the bluntness with which Tennessee Williams displays social issues; as a reader, you are forced to look at traumatic and horrifying issues through the eyes of characters you hate and empathize with all at once. I’m glad that I read this book with my class over a couple of weeks, because if I had read it on my own, I probably would have burned through it quickly, and I’m not sure my emotions could have survived that.

If you haven’t read ASND, you should. Even though this play was written in 1947, the issues that the plot discusses still plague our society today. Though ASND doesn’t propose exact solutions–and does not have the happy ending most of us long for–it provides an incredibly important look at the victims and perpetrators of these crimes. The emotional power of ASND will continue to move readers toward action, and hopefully a new generations of readers and viewers will feel compelled to finally take a stand and solve these issues that continue to haunt modern society.

Reread Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Yep. Just as good the second time.

5/5 stars

cover heir of midnight

Amazon Description

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life-and her future-forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

My Reread Review

SPOILER ALERT–If you haven’t read this book (or this series) yet, stop reading this review and go read them instead.

I originally reviewed Heir of Fire in January. I gave it 5/5 stars, and still do.

Rereading that review, not much has changed. I LOVED the plot line with Celaena and Rowan, and was iffy on the other two plot lines. It might just be that I care about Celaena more than I do the rest of hte characters, but the other two plot lines’ chapters dragged, while Celaena’s chapters flew by.

Also, Celaena’s chapters have Rowan. Not gonna lie, he is a big part of why I loved this book so much. Book boyfriend goals.

Watching Celaena grow past her identity as an assassin and into her much stronger, and more likable (in my opinion), Aelin identity was amazing. I loved watching her train, but I also understood her reluctance to give into her Fae identity. The scenes between Celaena and Rowan were powerful and fast-paced, and the “scar reveal” scene between them is to die for. In terms of Celaena’s character growth, this book is the most impressive of the series.

The witches’ plot line grew on me this time. Manon is honestly and interesting character, and I see a lot of potential for her to become one of my favorites. The wyverns are adorable and viscious–like at lot of things in the series.

Chaol is super annoying in this book. I hated how he sat on the fence, working with the rebels but also being loyal to the king. The wall that he let come between him and Dorian was frustrating. Honestly, I just didn’t understand his actions.

Dorian’s plot was more interesting. He’s always been one of my favorite characters of the series. His romance with Sorscha was one of the sweetest moments in the series, and my heart broke for him when she was killed.

I love how diverse the fantasy elements of this book are. The monsters Celaena ran into are terrifying and creative; the witches and the wyverns are classics, but brought to life well. I love the personality and culture that Sarah J. Maas created for the Fae warriors.

Overall, this book is amazing. I honestly couldn’t put it down (and some homework suffered) and it left me desperate to pick up the next one. Celaena is still one of my favorite characters…ever…and this series holds a special place in my heart. For fans of badassery and magic, there is nothing better.