Saturday, June 30

June Book Reviews


I was originally a book blogger. Back in the day, when the grass was greener, and the days longer, when I created my first ever blog post, I declared that I would write about books! So although both my blog and I have gone through some mega changes, we agreed we still like talking about books.

My Old Blog ^ first post I ever wrote ( did not look like this back then )
And seeing as it has been a century since I last wrote a book review I shall give you a few of them in one post.

Alas, because time has an annoying effect on memory, there are some books I read and just cannot for the life of me remember what they were about, or if I liked them all that much... oh well.

Wonder

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.


I was expecting a children’s book, a story far too immature to keep me engaged, a light-hearted tale, a book I would fling to the side not long after finishing. But I was wrong. In reality this is a book for any person, young and old. A story that is very real and will touch many people. A tale with a heavy topic but conjures hope and love from the reader. A book I still love many months after reading it. 

Wonder is about a boy who looks different to everyone else and how he copes with starting school for the first time at the age of 10. Told from various characters’ perspectives, you get to see the bigger picture and the different sides to the story. It is both heart warming and heart wrenching and I recommend this book highly.

Almost Love

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.

So it doesn't matter that he's twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she's sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.

Sarah's friends are worried. Her father can't understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she's on the verge of losing her job.

But Sarah can't help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.

And love is supposed to hurt.

Isn't it?

I am a big fan of Louise O'Neill's books ( and her articles in the Saturday paper ) and I have become accustomed to her horrifically negative endings that leave me distraught for weeks. With this expectation in mind, I was ready for the tears of rage, the oppression of women and the deafening silence of the last page.

I'm not going to turn around and tell you that I received the exact opposite. There are no happily ever afters in Louise O'Neills book. However I actually found the story rather uplifting in parts. Now the character is quite difficult to like - almost damn impossible - but I couldn't help feel like I was looking in the mirror. I saw aspects of myself in her. Things I did not like but accepted that I also acted that way from time to time. I was appalled that this character that I didn't like had such similarities with myself, but I think we can all see parts of ourself in this book. It's so real and familiar.

Changing perspectives from "now" to "then" and vice versa was confusing at first and it was hard to keep track of all those names but once I got into it, Almost Love was hard to put down. A fascinating read about the self-destruction from obsessive love and how perspective on a situation means everything, as I shouted from the sidelines at Sarah to see what was blatantly obvious to me but clearly blind-sighted by her.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Jenny Han was one of my favourite authors growing up. Her trilogy “The Summer I turned Pretty” had me madly in love with Jeremiah, Conrad and of course, Belly. As a teenager these books were definitely in my top 10 for many years. So of course when I came across this book by the same author, the nostalgia hit me and I couldn’t help but pick it up. I knew I was going to be well past the age for this story but I had seen a lot of hype from some bloggers I follow and decided it could be well worth it.

Unfortunately I didn’t get hooked. Within two days I finished the novel but that is solely because it was an easy read. The characters were lacking something and the plot line was predictable. I knew the ending just from the first chapter. I think if I was 5 years younger I would absolutely be head over heals for this book. But at 22, teen romance can make me cringe.

I also want to mention that this is actually being made into a film by Netflix. You can watch the trailer here, and although the book was a bit disappointing for me, I am looking forward to watching this. I have a bit of a guilty pleasure for sappy teen romance movies.

This book is part of a trilogy and would be more suited towards teenagers and possibly some young adults.

Farenheit 451

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic novel of a post-literate future, ‘Fahrenheit 451’ stands alongside Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

This is one of those books that should be on everyones to-be-read list since the dawn of time. It is a classic and I would be very surprised if you have never heard of it. Fahrenheit 451 is grouped with Orwell’s 1984 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale because of the timelessness dystopian that has uncanny similarities with the world today.

The thought of books being illegal and actively sought out to be burned is a very intriguing ( and repelling ) idea to a reader. Mesmarised by the world Bradbury had built in the story, I could't help but recognise aspects in our own world - particularly with notion of our reduced attention spans, how we want things faster and faster with technology. I was blown away by the book and cannot get over that it was written in 1953!




Have you read any of these? What are you currently reading?


Always, M