19 February 2014

Books of 2014: Part 1

That's right I am continuing this in the new year!  One slight change though, I will be doing this throughout the year every time I've read 5 books.  This should make it less stressful for me then last year when I tried to cram 42 book reviews into one month (and failed miserably).  It also shouldn't clog up my blog so much so it should be much more fun and interesting for all of us!  With that in mind, it is already the 19th of February and I've already read 14 books so we are running a bit behind.  So without further adieu, the first 5 books I read in January 2014!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.



I started this book immediately after I got it for Christmas and I really enjoyed it.  It's an easy read and despite the title it is hilarious, easily one of the funniest books I've read.  I loved the fact that the characters seemed real, and have honest reactions to situations rather then the Halmark style you often find in these kind of novels.  The characters aren't perfect, they struggle through life, they fail a lot but this makes them more interesting, and dam funny to boot.
****

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her. 

This effected me deeply.  It is not a happy story, and it deals with a lot of internal turmoil.  I like these kinds of books as I am always more interested in characters rather then action.  I have, in the past, lived with an eating disorder and it's still something I have to battle with everyday and as such I related to this book perhaps a little too much.  I found some of the things she said and they way she spoke very triggering, it took my head into bad place and I had to be really careful with it, which just shows how well researched it is.  Anything that has that deep an effect on me has to be marked highly.
*****

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Alice could be anyone - she could be someone you know, or someone you love - and Alice is in trouble ...
Being fifteen is hard, but Alice seems fine. She babysits the neighbour's kids. She is doing well at school. Someday she'd even like to get married and raise a family of her own. Then she is invited to a party, a special party where the drinks are spiked with LSD and Alice is never the same again.
This tragic and extraordinary true-life story shows the devastating effect that drug-abuse can have. But the big difference between Alice and a lot of other kids on drugs is that Alice kept a diary . . 

This was nothing more then a piece of anti-drugs proper-gander, and not even a good one.  It's completely unrealistic, if this ever was a 'real' diary I will be very much surprised.  Maybe when it was first released people could believe that this would happen if you ever went near drugs but I feel like these days people are much better informed which just leaves this looking ridiculous.  Even if they were willing to admit that this was a work of fiction it wouldn't be a very interesting one.  The moral of the story is, if you ever even look at drugs once, you will become hooked and die.
***

Fuck I'm in my Twenties by Emma Koenig

F*ck! Everyone has that moment—the realization that adulthood has arrived, like a runaway train, and there's no getting out of its way. In attempt to express the contradictions and anxieties that come with being over-educated, minimally employed, mostly single, and on your own, Emma Koenig turned to the blogosphere. In this collection of her most popular posts from her blog of the same name (along with over 50% new material) Emma harnesses the power of illustrations, graphs, checklists, and flowcharts to explore this twenty-something life. 

I got this as a gift for christmas from Amy and I was just being funny and a little silly.  It was all of these things and more, relatable in way's I kind of wish it hadn't been at times, its defiantly an honest reflection of all the dumb stuff you'll do in your twenties!
***

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose

If you've been reading my blog for a while you will know that I am not one for romantic novels, I usually find them bland and boring, this however turned all that on it's head.  I asked for it for Christmas as despite all my reservations, I had heard good things.  I have to admit this took me by surprise, talk about a roller-coaster of emotions!  I loved that the characters seemed real, not perfect by and means, and you really felt for them.  It wasn't overly sweet or sentimental but good I did care for these characters, Park is such a sweet dork and Eleanor is such a strong character, standing out in her own way.  I actually started to feel sick towards the end of reading it as I felt so upset but it was also really funny in places.  It melted my steel heart.
*****
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