…and it’s only okay so far. But halfway through this thought occurred to me that I thought I should share, especially since I haven’t posted here in a while.
—SOME SPOILERS AHEAD. Proceed with caution—
So the basic premise of this book is that Hadley is travelling from Connecticut to London for her father’s second wedding. She misses her flight and ends up having to get the next one, causing her to meet Oliver: a charming guy with whom she immediately bonds with (and develops a bit of a crush on).
And so the book’s title is probably in reference to her love story with this boy. But what I think would be brilliant (and what I hope happens) is if the title turns out to be in reference to her father’s love story instead, and how it was like fate for him to meet the woman he’s marrying. So the story was never really Hadley’s at all.
I think that ending would maybe redeem this book in my eyes a bit. We’ll see what happens.
Truth Be Told by Tom Williams is the first novel I’ve reviewed by request. It tells the story of nineteen-year-old Jack Beckett who, following a messy breakup, decides the best course of action is to attend a speed dating event under the pseudonym Gordon Bennett. This leads to an often hilarious, often frustrating journey as Jack’s and Gordon’s lives become more and more entangled. The novel plays on - and takes to an extreme - the idea that we all put on masks during our every day lives.
Just enough goes wrong in Jack’s second life to keep it believable while still urging you to read on and continually yell at the pages “just tell her the truth!”
(I know it’s not generally in my nature to use gifs on this blog, but this one was too appropriate to pass up.)
Most of the characters introduced are likable without being boring. One, Isabella Fazzari, seems to at first fit the bill of ‘manic-pixie-dream-girl’. It seemed to me that Jack saw her as more of an object, or tool for getting over his ex. It seemed on a number of occasions early in the novel that he only liked the idea of liking her as a means of moving on, even going as far as to refer to her as “the prize of the night” a couple of times. Additionally, he sometimes had trouble pinpointing exactly what it is about her that he likes when asked. This is of course remedied as their relationship moves forward and the reader finds out more about Isabella’s life.
Jack was the only character I found hard to like. He was increasingly selfish as the novel went on, which made it very hard for me to root for him at points. In fact, to me, he remained quite selfish until the very end of the novel, even avoiding telling Isabella everything himself and instead leaving the unpleasant task up to her best friend, not out of any belief that it would be easier for Isabella, but out of a fear of the inevitable confrontation. He also had a habit of blaming his predicament on anyone but himself, most frequently, his ex-girlfriend.
Overall, Truth Be Told was an excellent debut novel. The text was sprinkled with often subtly witty lines, and the story was only slightly hindered by an occasionally awkward style. The speed-dating scene and the colourful characters introduced during it - not to mention the awkward small talk - was more than entertaining.
do you ever finish a book and then close it sort of reverently and just hold it close to you for a moment
and then for a while you see the world a bit differently because you’re still half in and half out of that book
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs tells the story of a teenaged boy who, following his grandfather’s death, travels to Wales in a quest to uncover the mysteries of his grandfather’s past, and separate fact from fiction. Riggs’ world is one of in-betweens: life and death; past and present; and Jacob, caught between two worlds, neither of which he feels he can truly belong to.
Immediately and continuously captivating, with it’s romantic references to Poland and fascinating tales of strange children and war-time Europe, the novel takes the reader on an extraordinary adventure filled with magic and great and terrible creatures.
Riggs keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout the entire novel, without once giving away too much information at a time. I was kept asking questions right until the last page, where Riggs leaves just enough room to wrap everything up while still leaving a solid conclusion up to the imagination of the reader. The story is appropriately stretched out, leaving the reader begging for more at the end of each chapter.
My all-time favourite thing about the novel is that it is peppered with old black and white photographs. I was surprised to discover that these are all genuine, vintage photographs, many of which did not undergo any manipulation. Creepy doesn’t even begin to describe them. I’ll admit right off the bat that this book kept me, with my overactive imagination, up quite a few nights, half expecting some terrible monster or peculiar child to creep out of the dark. What I especially liked though, was that Riggs doesn’t use the photographs as a crutch; each image is described in beautiful detail before it is revealed.
Overall, this is an excellent debut novel and I would recommend it to anyone who didn’t mind a bit of a chill creeping over them as they read.
I did it again. I said I was gonna keep up this blog and then I didn’t and I’m SORRY.
Start fresh? Pretend the past… what, year? didn’t happen?
I just finished reading Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (Potentially better known under his penname, Lemony Snicket).
I originally picked up this book because I loved A Series of Unfortunate Events growing up. Seriously. Ate them up.
Halfway through this novel, I realized that it wasn’t quite as compelling as I thought it would be. Not bad, just less compelling than I expected. Handler writes as Min, a teenage girl writing her ex-boyfriend a letter telling him exactly where everything went wrong at each turn of their relationship. It’s very different from Handler’s childrens’ series, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing or good thing.
Handler’s characters, as well as the story, are somehow simultaneously cliche and brand new. The high school’s star athlete falls for a girl who’s “different”, “arty”. But Handler breaks through this cliche-like exterior with minor details: Min compares every aspect of her story to scenes from old black and white movies, her obsession; Ed, with his usual high barriers guarding him from everyone around him, breaks down and almost becomes sensitive around Min at multiple points in the novel.
Min gives Ed a box, filled with everything that she ever associated him with. Each item, beautifully illustrated by Maira Kalman, gives new insight to the story behind Min and Ed’s breakup. It’s a fresh take on an old story - we know the effect before we know the cause.
I’d give it about 4/5 stars.
I first read this book in the original French as part of the curriculum for my grade 12 French class. I instantly fell in love with Saint-Exupéry’s story and characters and bought the English translation.
On the surface, Saint-Exupéry’s novel appears to be a fluffy read meant for young children, but as older readers dig deeper, they realize that it’s much more than that. Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince views the world through a child’s eyes, seeing everything simply with the logic that only a child possesses. Colourful characters and worlds are brought alive through Saint-Exupéry’s simple (often sarcastic) prose.
This, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is one of those books that really make you think about things, often changing your perspective on life. Saint-Exupéry scoffs at an adult’s way of living and viewing the world, favouring the child-like wonder of the young Prince, who shows the old Pilot everything he forgot with growing up.
I feel that this novel makes you re-evaluate every aspect of your life, from your values to your morals to you priorities. Each planet that the Little Prince visits presents the reader with a common adult problem with a simple, albeit oftentimes child-like, solution.
I definitely recommend that everyone read this book at least once in their life, whether they’re old or young when they do. It’s a fantastic read for all ages, and is just as entertaining with each read.
Books are seldom useful unless they are also beautiful.