Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky book review

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Blurb

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Charlie is at school, writing to an unknown person and the book is from his perspective through the letters he writes. It starts as a normal boy whose nervous about starting as a Freshman and how the death of his friend Michael and his beloved Aunt shaped the way he was today.

Charlie is kind of a loner, until he meets Sam and Patrick at one of the school’s football games and he becomes apart of there lives, despite the fact that they are older than him.

From there, through his letters, we see how it chronicals his life. From his love for Sam, from seeing Partick and the football guy, Brad, making out, how he drinks, smokes and teakes drugs, the first time he “touches himself” (haha) to making out with one of his friends Mary Elizabeth and how the world around him doesn’t seem like its good to him anymore.

Charlie cries quite often in this book and it became apparent to me that he was either a manic depressive or was bi-polar. He didn’t seem interested in life as much as he should have. He had experienced death, he’d already been to the hospital when his Aunt died and he sees a therapist.

Growing up in High School’s is not the best experience for some people and for Charlie it really showed. There were some things I could relate to with Charlie.

Like Charlie I was not one of those kids people notice immediately, I was, and sometimes still am, insecure. I was never a popular kid, I had a few friends who I hung around with but unlike the one’s in Charlie’s life, I no longer speak to them.

I also understood how Charlie felt sometimes. How life didn’t make sense, how life was unfair at times and how nothing made sense. Being depressed myself made me really want Charlie to get better and I really wanted to reach into the book and tell him that everything was going to be okay.

I loved how the book was written though letters. I really wanted to know who this ‘friend’ he was writing to was and whether or not he actually read them.

Stephen covers alot of themes in this book; suicide, depression, domestic abuse, homosexuality, drug use, mental issues, first sexual experiences, rape, abortion etc.

It was different, it covered issues that some people still think are taboo subjects but they were only touched upon briefly. All these characters in the book had suffered from one thing or the other and I think that’s why Charlie, Sam and Patrick became such close friends.

It all came to a head at the end of the book when Charlie clearly wasn’t coping anymore and everything finally came to a head and he was hopitalised for two months. That’s when people learnt about his problems and how they were all blind to what was happening. But that’s what depression is; its an unknown illness and this book touched on it so well.

I really hope Charlie had a better life and learnt how to deal with things more. It really was a coming of age book and dealing with every issue going.

Stephen Chbosky, I do love this book and thank you for writing it

5/5 stars

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Before I Die by Jenny Downham book review

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Blurb

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.

Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

THIS BOOK!

I really don’t know why I torture myself by reading sad teenage dying stories I really don’t.

Tessa is 16 and dying of leukemia. She knows that she has only a few months to live and struggles to come to terms with her fate.

Trying to make the best of the time she has left, Tessa comes up with a list of things she would like to experience before she dies. Some items on the list are silly – to try drugs, to commit a crime, to become famous – but one desire overwhelmes Tessa.

She wants to experience love, but knowing that there is no way it is possible in her circumstances, she settles for having sex. This is how the story starts. The first sexual experience doesn’t make Tessa feel any better, in fact, she is crushed more than ever.

But things change when she gets to know her new neighbor – an 18-year old boy Adam, who has a heartbreaking story of his own…

They can’t help but fall in love with each other, even if that love will only ever be short lived…

Oh my god this book.

It broke me.

Much like TFIOS and If I Stay did.

It was heartbreaking and heart warming and made you want to take life by the balls and grab it because you really don’t know when your time is up.

I loved Tessa’s list. It was a mixture of stupid things that I suppose most teenagers want to try in life. But love was her main one, despite the fact she was dying and I can understand why she’d want that. Everyone wants to be loved, everyone wants to feel special with another person and just becasue she’s dying that doesn’t mean she can’t have that right.

Then along comes Adam, her 18-year-old neighbour, whose suffering from loss himself, so the last thing he wants to do is get involved with a girl whose dying. But these things can’t be helped and even though Tessa does push him away sometimes, they fall in love with each other.

Adam is perfect. He’s kind and honourable and loving and he knows that there time together is limited but he wants her anyway. He makes her last few weeks on earth the best she’s ever had. Making love to her, taking her on motorbike rides, supplying her with drugs, being there for her when she hates being alone at night despite the fact he doesn’t like leaving his mother alone.

I couldn’t get on with her friend though, (I’ve forgotten her name haha) she wasn’t really there for Tessa, she was too wrapped up in her own life to worry about Tessa’s and even though she said she’d help her with her list, she didn’t do much. I found her quite spiteful at times and I wanted to shout; “Your best friend is dying, be there for her!” She did redeem herself slightly though and spent most of her days with Tessa at the end.

The ending though.

I’m glad I’m single becasue that was some ugly crying I did haha (Not as much as the TFIOS crying… I couldn’t see out of my eyes for that!)

When her time was finally coming to end, it was spent at home because she refused to be in a hospital. Her conscious was spent between dreams and reality. Dreaming of a normal life with Adam and her family, with having children and getting married. The reality was hearing her family telling her it was okay to let go, that they loved her and they wouldn’t forget her. It broke my heart.

The book was well written and Jenny had really brushed up on her understanding of Lukemia and how it effected other people. I loved it.

5/5 stars

Trouble by Non Pratt book review

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Behind on reviews again!

I was finishing writing my book though so I got a bit behind… Never mind here they all come now!

 

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Blurb:

Hannah is smart and funny.

She’s also fifteen and pregnant.

Aaron is the new boy at school.

He doesn’t want to attract attention.

So why does Aaron offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby?

 

This book covers the duel narrative of both HannahSheppard and Aaron Tyler, both are fifteen-year-old students, attending the same school and studying for their GCSEs, yet they couldn’t be more different.

Hannah is quick-witted, smart and loves to have a good time (although not quite as much as her peers like to think she does), but school work is rarely on her mind as much as boys are. She lives with her mum, dad and Step-sister, Lola, who she dotes on. Her Step Brother, Jay, has recently gone to University. She’s close to her Gran, who lives in Cedarfield nursing home.

Aaron is a quiet boy who prefers to keep to himself, hiding from the world, trying to overcome what happened at his old school. He can barely think about it himself, let alone tell anyone else. He avoids making friends and instead volunteers at a retirement home, looking after an old man, Neville, who doesn’t even seem to like him very much.

Hannah and Aaron are unlikely friends, but when Hannah falls pregnant, Aaron steps up and tells everyone that he’s the father.

While he does all this, he and Hannah become closer and its clear that they are fast being close friends but things aren’t quite going as planned.

Hannah’s ex best friend tells the whole school about her being pregnant, she has to deal with her peers nastiness towards her, Aaron comes clean about what happened in his past which in turn the whole school manages to find out and Aaron soon learns the truth about who the father is to Hannah’s baby. But through it all one thing remains strong; Their friendship.

The book is told from alternating perspectives which I really enjoyed and it was definitely the best way for Hannah and Aaron’s story to be told. I didn’t have any trouble telling them apart and they both had their own distinct voices, which was good because sometimes dual perspective books can get really confusing.

I also thought that Hannah and Aaron were really great characters, and I loved their relationship.

Aaron and Hannah end up being best friends, and it’s much more about how they sort of end up keeping each other going and supporting each other. And I really liked getting to find out about Aaron’s backstory and his guilt and to see how he worked through that alongside Hannah being pregnant and trying to figure that all out.

The ending to the book did feel a little rushed and the first few pages were a little slow in getting to know the characters but other than that I couldn’t really find any fault with it.

Hannah and Aaron were both strong charcaters and I loved how Hannah’s true self showed through. Everyone saw her as the girl who slept around when in reality she’d only had three partners (okay its not that great for 15 but she was careful, bar that one time!)

I think I had an inkling as to who the real father to her baby was and when it was confirmed I knew I was right in thinking what I did. The real baby’s father (I’m not spoiling it!) was sort of an idiot. I could understand why he wanted it kept a secret but he needed to step up and be a man. Like Aaron had.

I want more of the story though! I want to know what happened to the ex best friend and I want to know if Hannah and Aaron became anything more than just friends becasue I think there was real potential for them to be something more than friends.

This book was a really great story about friendship and how people can surprise you and how you shouldn’t judge people by what you see and hear.

4/5 stars