Ben and Arthur have a chance meeting in a post office. Arthur stumbles over his words, completely out of his element. Ben is just trying to mail his ex-boyfriend his things back. What is the universe trying to tell these two? Can you be destined for the one you run into for a moment? How can they make this work? Should it work?
I had to get this book the moment I heard about it. I adore Adam Silvera. His books are among some of my favorites. He has a way of making you feel deeply for his characters. Normally his books are extremely emotional, while Becky Albertalli’s book are sweeter, cuter romances. I was very interested to see how these two could create one story.
I liked that you couldn’t tell this was written by two different people. Sometime when a book is coauthored you can hear the different writing voices. I have been able to tell before just by word choice and way the story flows. In this book everything flows right. It probably helps that each of them wrote one of the characters. Silvera wrote Ben and Albertalli wrote Arthur. They were each able to give the characters their own personalities while keeping the story as one complete and whole story.
I will say I liked Arthur better in this book. Arthur was just adorable. He was this guy who had no idea what he was doing. He kept describing himself as having “no chill,” and there could be no better way of saying it. He was always stumbling over himself and his words. He was a lost little puppy just trying to figure out this new world around him. I thought he was adorable. I loved the way he tried so hard.
I liked the theme of this story, that the universe had some part in the relationship of these two. They meet in a post office but don’t exchange numbers. They then have to go through an elaborate scheme to find each other. I am someone who constantly talks about how “the universe,” needs to do this or that. I liked that they equated parts of their relationship to being done for them.
As the story moves forward you realize it is the work done by them that makes this work. For all their talk about the universe they do what needs to be done to make this whole thing work. I liked the way these two idea flowed into one another.
All of the references to Harry Potter, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen were awesome. As a lover of all three of those I adored the shout outs and references. It was nice nod to those popular things.
I know that the end of this book is a diverse one. I will say that I adored the end. The end, to me, fits perfectly with this story. It is real. It makes sense for their age. It also fits perfectly with the theme of the universe having a controlling force in their lives. I don’t want to go into too much more detail but the end works well because of how real it felt.
I wasn’t as thrilled with Ben’s character as I was with Arthur. While he did end up growing on me at first he was a bit annoying. He seems a bit self centered and that was bothering me. You could tell that at first he didn’t quite want to be with Arthur. I felt like he was so hung up on his ex that he was being a jerk to Arthur.
I wanted him to just give Arthur a chance. I felt like he was acting like he was obligated to be with him, even though he searched for him. In the beginning I had a lot of trouble reading him and I didn’t like the way he talked with Arthur. In the end he did grow on me and I thought he was good for Arthur but it was that start that made me a bit unhappy with his attitude.
There was nothing in the book that threw me out of the story. It flowed well. The characters were good, Ben grew on me. The story made sense and I felt ended just as it should have ended.
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads because I loved the sweet story. It was just a nice story to read.
“We’re not old-school Catholics who live by the Bible and convientienly ignore all the verses that contradict the hate coming out of their mouths.” (pg. 67)
“You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.” (pg. 148)
“Except it’s not over, because Arthur and I have to carry this around.” (pg. 242)
“I don’t like that the same world that brought us together is also scaring him.’ (pg. 243). (This scene in the train is what ultimately changed my opinion of Ben).
“Maybe it’s all about people coming into your life for a little while and you take what they give you and use it on your next friendship and relationship.” (pg. 328)
“I don’t know if we’re a love story or a story about love.” (pg. 414)
It is almost that time of year again, National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge to write a full novel in a month, or at least 50,000 words of a novel, in the month of November. The idea is to use the month to put yourself into overdrive and get out that first draft.
I have done NaNoWriMo since 2012. In that time I have only ‘won” twice. I tend to get stuck in the middle of the novel and fizzle out. I do enjoy the challenge though and this year the challenge is going to be much bigger than usual for me.
While I do plan on participating I know that my odds of even coming close to winning this year are very slim. Not only do I have a major work even, a Poetry SLAM for 26 teams with 400 kids that I am primarily in charge of planning, it is also my birthday month (I am turning 30), Thanksgiving and I have also decided to buy a house.
So the fact that I am going to add “write a whole novel in 30 days” to my list of a thousand things to do is a huge hurdle to jump. While I know that my odds of getting close to 50,000 words in the month are low, I do want to use this time to get as much down as possible. I like the challenge. I love the shared feeling of pushing towards a goal.
I do want to try to go to a few write ins though not sure when I’ll make time for that. NaNoWriMo for me this year is a more of a challenge to prove to myself that I can make time to write. I know my life is much busier than it has been in the past but that does not mean my writing has to suffer. I can make this work and I plan on showing myself that in November.
I also am going to try something else. Instead of handwriting everything I am going to try typing and see where that gets me. I will probably still handwrite pieces of it because I just love to handwrite when I write but because of time I may do most of it directly in typing in order to get closer. We will see if that gets me anywhere close to the story I have in mind.
If you are doing NaNoWriMo be sure to add me as a friend and maybe that will help me stay on track better! My name is on the site is Shmibby.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo?
Starr and her childhood friend Khalil make their way home from a party. The night takes a tragic turn when Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. Starr is the only witness. Starr must decide how she wants to handle the situation. How she wants to speak out about what happened and who Khalil is as a person. She learns she has to use her voice, her weapon to make the changes that are necessary.
I have had this book sitting on my physical TBR shelf for a long time. I knew it was going to be a tough read, one that I had to be in the right mindset to read. It was just recently that I decided that I was in the right head space to be able to read this book and take in everything it was presenting.
Starr was a great narrator. I felt like I was close to her. I felt like I could easily understand her and her choices. We are presented with a young woman who is stuck in-between worlds. She lives in an impoverished neighborhood but goes to a wealthy private school. Her parents are making ends meets. They hold a devotion to their neighborhood and culture but also want to keep their children safe.
Starr states multiple times that she has to wear different masks depending on where she is. At her schools he has to be careful of how she speaks. She can’t use certain slang or a certain tone. She doesn’t want to be labeled as one type of person. She is very conscious of how she presents herself in that world.
At home she has to do the same thing. She is careful of what she says and how she acts, trying to not let out anything she talks about at school come out. She knows she has to be a certain person in this neighborhood too. She can’t be fully herself anywhere.
This was a tough part for me to read. She is always oscillating between different forms of herself. Reading about her trying to contain her emotions at school because she doesn’t want to be labeled as the “angry black girl,” was tough. I felt sympathy for her. No one, especially a kid, should have to always be watching themselves so people don’t label them as one way.
One of the things this book does so well is show you that there are so many different sides to a person and story. We have seen this story so many times in the news in the last few years. We always get the same way of interpreting the situation. The media gives us one story and doesn’t gives us the whole picture.
One of the things this book does so well is force to remember that you don’t know anyone in these stories. You don’t know these people and thus you do not get to pass judgement on them. A life is lost and that deserves to be respected. A few pictures do not tell a whole story. A few actions do not determine who a person is. What this book does is remind us that those who have been killed in these tragedies are human, just like anyone else. They deserve the same respect and dignity, period.
I also found the storyline with Hailey interesting. I know people who are similar to her. They make jokes, make comments not thinking about what they are saying. They think that if they don’t “mean” it, it doesn’t matter. They frame their actions through their own lens. They see their comments from their side but refuse to listen to the other side. They refuse to ask if what they said may hurt, refuse to see that they might have to change their thinking.
I thought this storyline was well done. You see Starr try so hard to make exceptions for this girl. You see Starr do all the work and finally realize that she doesn’t need to be the one doing the work. She doesn’t need to keep around a person who is narrow minded and refuses to realize that changing their thinking is needed.
There as nothing in this book that didn’t feel like it didn’t fit. It was a full story, it flowed well. I felt like I was sitting on the edge of this family’s life, watching as they navigate this complicated world. Their bound was strong and great to see. There was no forced happy endings. There was no forced ways of fixing the issues that weren’t realistic. You felt the connection between not only Starr and her family but also the neighborhood.
There nothing that did not work in this book. It was done so well.
I am white. I don’t live this life but I do work with kids who do. I work in an inner city at the schools. I hear these stories from their lips and this book helped me understand them even better. I gave this book five stars because it is one of those books that everyone needs to read.
“….people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice.” (pg. 59)
“It is easier to find some crack than it is to find a good school around here.” (pg. 169)
(This line hit me hard. As someone working in after-school programming in these schools in order to try to help these type of situations this one really did hit hard).
“My bad. I didn’t know shoes determined somebody’s race.” (pg. 235)
“I wish people like them would stop thinking that people like me need saving.” (pg. 246)
“We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us.What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” (One of the main points of this whole book)
“They with a capital T. There’s Them and then there’s Us. Sometimes They look like Us and don’t realize They are Us.” (pg. 343)
I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought. I liked the idea of going through my shelves and thinking about some of the books that stick out in my mind. I have fun going through my shelves and picking out books. I found some that I want to reread soon.
Memorable Titles that Start with “B”
Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire – This was probably my favorite of this series so far. It was a fun, twisting story that I felt connected me best to the characters.
Blind Faith – Ben Eaton – I bought this when I was in London years ago. I remember it being about following a government without thinking for yourself. I need to read it again now and see how it relates to our time.
Because You Love to Hate Me – Various Authors- This was an interesting short story collection. It told stories from villain’s POV. Victoria Schwab has one about death that is just fantastic.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak – This is a classic and it is as good as the reviews have said. It heart-breaking but in the best way possible.
Books Starting with “B” on my TBR
What are your opinions on some of these books? Any that you love?
I am going to do a mini-review for the rest of these books. I have looked at things like the writing and the plot progression in depth before and I think at this point there is nothing too new to say about any of it. I want to concentrate some of these reviews on the development of the characters. This is where this series excels and I am curious how I see their progression now. I don’t think I need to do a longer review with these anymore, because it will just get repetitive.
This is Jalil’s book. I was having trouble remembering what Jalil’s story was. I knew some of David’s, April’s and Christopher’s but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what Jalil was doing in the story.
I forgot that Jalil has OCD. We see it from the first pages. He is enslaved to his mind and he hates it. He can’t fight it and he doesn’t let anyone know what it does to him. In Everworld though he is free. Senna gave him that freedom which makes him appreciate her but also hate her.
I most curious about how his story grows. Jalil is very logical. He loves science and everything has to have an explanation. He is trapped in his own mind in the real world so he uses knowledge to control everything else around him. He is going to change, take on the idea that things are different in this world and that is okay.
I still like watching Jalil try to make sense of this new world he is in. He is slowly realizing that magic is real here. That science is not the same. I am want to see how he begins to rethink his two worlds. One he is trapped in a disease he can’t free himself from. In another world he is free of that disease but he has many more dangers to fight. I think he whole story is going to revolve around this fight and I am eager to see how it comes out.
This book also introduced Hel which is who I thought abbot when I was reading Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology book. I remembered she was in this book and I wanted to see how she compared. I really like how close these books are to the real stories and how Applegate makes them her own as well.
Being an EO sounds great in theory. You get awesome powers and can do anything that you want. But you have to die in the process. You have to experience you breath stopping, your heart beat going silent. You wake up and then have to live with those memories. What if your death is caused by someone else? How do you live day to day with that memory in your head? What if revenge is all that you want and need? Can you be stopped? Should you be stopped?
(This is a review for a second book in a series. There will may be spoilers from the first book.)
I have been waiting for this book since it was announced. I love V.E. Schwab, she is one of my favorite authors. I liked the first one because of how it concentrates on anti-heroes. Victor and Eli are not good people, they destroy what is around them and enjoy watching the world burn. Yet you are drawn to them, you understand them. I was curious how their story could and would continue.
This book picks up five years after Vicious. We see the results of Sydney bringing Victor back from the dead. We learn that bringing people back from the dead doesn’t always goes as planned. I enjoyed Victor’s journey throughout this book. He is desperate to find a way to save himself. As he dies over and over again he looks for anyone who can save him.
It was interesting because Victor is still his selfish self. His first concern is about how to save himself. He wants to live and he wants to survive. Though there is this small piece of him that really cares about Sydney. This is his saving grace. We see him trying to find a way to save himself without harming her.
I like how Schwab is able to make us care about these characters even though they are not good people. All of them kill at one point or another. They destroy lives yet I wanted them all to win. She does a great job and giving us a sympathetic side to them, giving us something to latch onto and relate to. Victor wants to keep Sydney safe. He wants her to not turn into him.
The new characters Marcella and June are two people who have been broken down and are now standing on their own two feet. Marcella was treated like a side piece. She was nothing but a figure to admire and use. After she rises again she takes her power back. She is no longer weak but a strong woman you can’t fight or deny. She is easy to relate to.
Once we see how she was treated, especially at a certain party scene you want her to win. You want her to kill and destroy those who hurt her. You want her to show that she can be just as strong as any of the men. I didn’t despise her. She was a woman wronged and she found a way to make things right for herself.
I loved June, she is my new favorite character. June is mysterious and I want to know everything there is to know about her. She has a past were don’t quite know. She was killed, but we don’t know how. She is a shape shifter who refuses to use her real face. I want to know why? I want to know what destroy her self image. I need to know why she is hiding.
Even though she is hiding though she still is strong. She is able to stand on her own two feet and she doesn’t let anyone tell her who she is. She can be anyone and she can take on any form. She is hiding but she is also showing the world who she can be. I want a whole book about her.
I had this same issue with Vicious, the end was quite quick. I felt like the book was setting up this huge fight. There were so many players and we saw them setting up so many elements. But the end fight was done quite quickly. I pictured a sort of cinematic fight, with all the people going after one another. In the end we got a quick fight with a definite end. I just wanted a bit more.
There was nothing that threw me out of the book. I loved the characters. I was impressed how much I felt connected to these despicable people. I thought the plot kept things moving.
I have this book five stars because I adored the characters so much. The end fight left me wanting more but the end it self left room for more and I hope to see these characters again.
“Eyes were fickle. Minds were weak.” – pg. 57
“But there was, it turned out, a crucial difference between destroying things and destroying people.” (pg. 132)
“‘What does normal look like?'” (pg. 165)
“Men ahead of their time were always, by definition, outside of it.” (pg. 215)
“How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?” (pg. 266)
“People can see an awful lot, and believe none of it.” (pg. 275)
“Every end may be a new beginning, but every beginning had to end.” (pg. 460)
I am close to a month since the last one of these. I am almost done with my current book but not sure when I will have time to get the review out. So I figured I would do another addition of this one in the meantime.
This was originally created by Lost in a Story .
It works like this:
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!
Dress Codes for Small Town – Courtney C. Stevens – A book exploring sexual fluidity while also questioning how to understand what you want despite the labels laid on you? Yes, please.
The Bookseller – Cynthia Swanson – I love the idea of not knowing what reality is real.
Love is the Higher Law – David Levithan – I do love David Levithan’s books. This one seems super emotional so it will be one I have to be in the mood for, but I do want to get to it eventually.
Of Breakable Things – A. Lynden Rolland – I like the idea of choosing to stay in the spirit world instead of coming back to life.
The Lantern’s Ember – Colleen Houck – Love the idea of a deal with the devil and a defiant woman who won’t listen.
The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly – Whispering books. I am in.
If You Could Be Mine – Sara Farizan – Wow, this seems intense. Two women in love in a country that could end in their death if found out. A decision to change sexes to be together? I am extremely interested.
Nothing is Strange – Mike Russell – It seems alright but nothing really pulls me in.
The Culling – Steven dos Santos – Sounds a lot like the Hunger Games
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy – Nova Jacobs– A mystery that is kind of vague and generic sounding but there is also something pulling me in. I’ll leave it on for now.
Keep – 8
Remove – 2
Didn’t do the best job clearing anything out this time but I was reminded of some books that I want to move up my list!
Andrew should be dead. He was supposed to die in the accident that took his parents and little sister. He now hides in the hospital where they died. He is intent on evading Death, who is after him. That is until the night a boy his age comes through the door. Now he must save Rusty. But how do you save someone else when you have no idea how to save yourself?
The characters in this story were compelling. Andrew was interesting because he acted beyond his age. He was able to take care of himself in the hospital. He was smart and clever enough to hide from the authorities. He wasn’t afraid of being alone. He showed wisdom beyond his age.
Normally this would throw me off. I would wonder how a child could manage all this, even a teenager. But it is well established that this kid has been through a trauma that allows him to grow up fast. We see that what happened to his family threw him into a whole new world. One where he had to learn to sink or swim.
I also really liked Rusty. This wasn’t his story per se but it felt like his story as much as Andrew’s. We learn what happened to him and why. The details that Andrew gets give us a clear picture of what is going on.
I also really liked that Rusty connected to Andrew so quickly. He saw a kindred spirit in this lost boy. Both of them were lost kids who needed someone to understand them. They saw that in each other and connected over it.
The addition of the comic Andrew was working on was great. I really liked being able to see and read the comic. I think something would have been lost without that addition. I don’t think just describing it would have been able to give the whole picture. With the periodic looks at the comic I felt the connection to the story as a whole. I liked the mix of these types of story telling to give one full story.
I felt like there were some stories missing. Each of the characters had a tale of their own and you got hints of them from everyone but never the full story of anyone. I wanted to know more about all of them. There was definitely something missing from Father Mike’s story as well as Aimee’s story.
I found myself anticipating what was coming for them and was disappointed when we didn’t learn what was going on. I could discern most of it but I didn’t want to guess at it. I wanted to know that these people all had problems just like Andrew. I think each of them revealing their secrets would have helped Andrew grow and find his way.
I adore Shaun David Hutchinson’s other books. I know this was written before those and you can see him finding his way as a writer. While this book is great it is very heavy handed with its message.
You didn’t have to guess at the message even a little bit. There was no room for interpretation in the message. It was plain and written out over and over again for you. I am used to his much more subtle way of telling you something in his later books.
I think that if I read this book first before the other ones I wouldn’t have had an issue with this way of telling the message of the story. But I know what he can do and am glad to see how he grew as a writer. You can see he found his groove with We are the ants and it is great to see.
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads. While I enjoyed it it was missing the punch that his later books have.
“It begins there because it’s important to know that a superhero with no past began as a man with no future.” (pg. 8)
“Maybe hell is seeing the lost loved painted over the faces of the strangers we meet.” (pg. 58)
“Maybe our beliefs decide our fate after death.” (pg. 99)
“No one unravels all of life’s many mysteries. They grow older and become better liars.” (pg. 123)