Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Top Ten Fictional Booknerds!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! 


This weeks topic is ten fellow booknerds! I'm sure everyone who loves books also loves characters who love and cherish books! I know I do. Here are some of my favourites and a bookish quotes from each! 

   

Cath Avery from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 
'To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.'
Cath loves books so much she even writes fanfiction! 

Ruth and Nao from A Tale for The Times Being by Ruth Ozeki
'I find myself drawn to literature more now than in the past; not the individual works as much as the idea of literature—the heroic effort and nobility of our human desire to make beauty of our minds—which moves me to tears, and I have to brush them away, quickly, before anyone notices.'


Pretty much everyone in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin 
'We are not quite novels.We are not quite short stories. In the end, we are collected works.'

Clay Jannon from Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
'Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines -- it's hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.'

  


Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
'Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.'

Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin 
'A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.'

 


Amir from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
'Sad stories make good books.'

 Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
'I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.'

 


Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
'The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.'

Marie-Laure from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I couldn't find the quote I was looking for. Marie-Laure is blind but that doesn't stop her from reading (or anything really) She reads and rereads her books in braille. She receives books for her birthday and even finds her books in a real time of need. 

Thanks for reading! 
Who are your favourite book loving characters!? 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales 
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: October 2013
Genre: Contemporary//Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: 
All her life, Elise Dembowski has been an outsider. Starting a new school, she dreams of fitting in at last – but when her best attempts at popularity fail, she almost gives up. Then she stumbles upon a secret warehouse party. There, at night, Elise can be a different person, making real friends, falling in love for the first time, and finding her true passion – DJ’ing.
But when her real and secret lives collide, she has to make a decision once and for all: just who is the real Elise?

Trigger warning - This novel also deals with some topics such as depression, suicide (attempt and thoughts) and low self-esteem issues.

In a nutshell: This was so good it gave me a book hangover.  Character development, a book with music in its spine, friendship, identity, and self-acceptance

I deserve to be here, No one can take my dance space away from me, I don’t care if anyone thinks I look stupid.

Elise stumbles upon an underground disco, named Start, which changes her life and throws her into learning curve. Elise is a character who grows. She grows throughout the novel as a character and she grows on the reader. In other words, the character development in this novel is strong. At the beginning of the novel, Elise is in a bad place- she’s bullied,  socially excluded, and  after her attempt to become popular fails, she becomes quite depressed - I felt a lot of sympathy for her. 

Often, when someone is in a bad place, they can become bitter and consequently seem a bit stuck up and annoying.  Elise comes across as a little annoying but she learns and evolves throughout the novel.  It’s quite understandable that she has become a little bitter, as no matter what she does she doesn’t get to where she wants to be. She’s obsessed with popularity and it’s quite understandable, considering her lack of friends and the relentless bullying she experiences; however her obsession with popularity is more of a desire for friends rather than popularity, as Elise later realises. Elise learns to accept herself, become more accepting of others and finds her passion for DJ’ing.  Ultimately, over the course of the novel she learns, evolves and grows as a character, a friend and a human being. She undergoes a journey of self-discovery and it’s beautiful to read. 

Identity, friendship and acceptance are overarching themes in this novel, which I really enjoyed and think a lot of people can relate to. Sales drives home a really uplifting messages about what it means to be yourself and self-acceptance- that how others label you, and who you are, are two very different things. Elise’s night life of DJ’ing and the new friendships she forms contrasts with the misery of her school life and she gradually has to come to terms with her self and accept that she is not defined by the labels others assign to her. 

One character who perfectly encapsulated this was Vicky. Vicky who made up the rule, ‘I deserve to be here, No one can take my dance space away from me, I don’t care if anyone thinks I look stupid,’ and sees herself as a rockstar despite her career as a musician not quite reaching that level yet. Vicky is a character unashamedly herself and such a positive influence in Elise’s life. Believing in yourself and your abilities is another positive statement Sales explores and a sentiment that is important for young people (and everyone else) to hear.

Sales also explores friendship and what it means to be a friend. Elise gradually learns that you don’t have to have everything single thing in common with someone to be friends, you just have to have something; whether that something is attending secret warehouse parties or just being unpopular and average together.  Elise makes real connections and friendships which are so heart-warming and exciting to read about.  Another definite stand out point of this novel was the romance. The romantic elements were very realistic, complex and a bit messy. For a young adult novel, I really appreciated this quite refreshing take on romantic relationships and their complexities.

Music is a really big part of this novel and I cannot express how much I loved this. If you’re a huge music fan this is definitely a novel to read.  There’s even a suggested listening list at the end of the novel.  Music is really appreciated throughout and it binds the story.   Start, and music bring people together for different reasons. Whether like Elise, they use music to escape their miserable life, or like Vicky, they feel truly themselves on the dance floor, everyone in this novel is brought together, in some way or another by music. Elise finds her passion for DJ’ing and even her Dad is a part time musician who works in a record store.  Music is everything, and music does save and transform Elise’s life.  

Sales writing is very simple but manages to convey a lot of emotion and the voice of Elise distinctively. For a novel that deals with some very heavy and serious topics, the simplicity of the writing and Elise’s voice allows these topics to be explored in an approachable and engaging way. 

Overall, the overarching message that I took from this novel – that you are not defined by the labels others assign you is such an important one and one that I think Sales expresses wonderfully. Elise is a character who grows and evolves this novel and delivers some great messages about hope, identity and friendship. This novel made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and left me with a book hangover. If you want a contemporary young adult novel with some uplifting sentiments and musical inclination, definitely pick this up! 

And finally, I will leave you with this quote:
‘You think it's so easy to change yourself. You think it's so easy, but it's not. True, things don't stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions-- but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn't that - just you – enough’ 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity and Diverse Characters!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Be sure to check out everyone else's posts!



Over the last few years I've become increasingly aware of the need for diversity in books (and in pretty much everything) and the representation of diversity. There are so many reasons to be aware of minorities and topics which do not receive much representation in books and in society. I've found the We Need Diverse Books campaign really helpful in broadening my reading scope and just the other day I stumbled upon this list of books and resources about people of colour in books! 

I've divided the books into books I've read and books I want to read, as despite being aware, I haven't read that many. This is definitely something I want to change and I've found that especially over the last couple of months, I've become more aware of how much diversity there is in the books I'm reading and the books I want to read. These books mainly focus on the representation of mental health and representation of race. 

Books I've Read





Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
This deals with mental health, depression and anxiety mainly. This book follows fourteen year old Audrey whilst she is recovering from some extreme anxiety after a bullying related incident. She suffers from social anxiety as well as general anxiety, to the point wearing sunglasses to avoid eye contact and finds it difficult to leave the house. The mental health elements are presented both realistically positively. Kinsella also reaffirms that Audrey's mental health condition should be taken seriously and emphasises that it is real. It's a really positive portrayal of a character dealing with their mental health and removes a lot of the stigma surrounding mental illness.

No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! by Nico Tanigawa
This is a manga. I actually watched the anime first but I've read the first volume. This follows Tomoko, an fifteen year old girl who, although it is never stated, suffers from severe social anxiety. She struggles to even say more than a sentence to other people and celebrates quite simple interactions, such as managing to say a simple goodbye to her teacher. It's quite dark and might be a little hard to read for some people, but I think it's a very realistic and sharp portrayal of severe social anxiety (coming from someone who has experienced severe social anxiety.)

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer 
Another book that portrays a character with a mental illness. This follows, nineteen year old Matthew who is dealing with schizophrenia. I think schizophrenia is definitely a mental health illness which is very misunderstood and misrepresented in the media and in society. Interestingly written from the perspective of Matthew, as if he is writing directly to the reader, this book deals with his experience of mental illness as well as family members responses and treatment from mental health centres.  

  


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 
Another book which deals with a character struggling with mental illness. This book follows Ester, whose life seems to be going well, but her mental health slowly deteriorates. It's a really haunting and realistic presentation of mental illness. I actually wrote about The Bell Jar and mental instability for my A-levels, so this book definitely had to make it onto this list. 

Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe 
This is a graphic novel following a group of questing mercenaries. There is a lot of diversity through this series. There's racial diversity and LGBT representation. Furthermore, all the main characters are female and have very different body types, so there's also body diversity thrown in too. Diversity all round! 

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 
This book focuses on Nao, a Japanese teenager whose diary washes up on the shore of an island, just off the coast of Canada. Not only does this focus on a person of colour, but it depicts some of the darker and less ideal elements of Japan and Japanese culture (bullying, sexual harassment, prostitution etc.) It also incorporates elements of Buddhism and the life of a Buddhist monk, which is quite diverse.

Books I Really Want To Read!


  

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
I own this book and really need/want to reading it! This follows the lives of Ifemelu and Obinze, who fall in love as teenagers, but whilst Nigeria is under military dictatorship they flee and lead separate lives until they meet again years later. This sounds like it deals with issues surrounding race, nationality ,and identity and sounds very interesting!

The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob
This book according to goodreads, spans from India in the 70s to New Mexico in the 80s to Seattle in the 90s, I really want to read more books with characters of colour in and this sounds great! 

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone 
Another book which deals with mental illness. This follows a girl dealing with Purely-Obsessional OCD and I've heard so many good things about this!

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
This one follows Alex who suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia, and has difficulty distinguishing between reality and delusions. Again, this is another book I've heard many good things about and it gets a lot of five star reviews on goodreads. 


Has anyone read these books? What did you think? 
I really want to read some more books with characters of colour! Any suggestions? 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Last Ten Books I've Acquired

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! 

This week's topic is quite self explanatory, the last ten books I've acquired! I haven't participated in Top Ten Tuesday for a while but today I'm changing that! On a similar note, I also fell off the blogging train last week. My excuses include: a book hangover, listening to too much Fightstar, and rediscovering my half started Wreck This Journal. Here are the books! 



This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales  
I've already read this book and I loved it so much it gave me the aforementioned book hangover. It deals with some heavy topics in an approachable way and follows a girl who stumbles upon an underground warehouse party. This book made me feel all warm and fluffy, definitely give it a read! 

A historical fiction book following a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy during World War Two. I'm currently reading this and I'm really enjoying it so far! 
I recently purchased a bundle of Lindqvist's books. I've seen the film version of Let The Right One In (the english version) and liked it! I'm sure his books are translated from Swedish so these will be interesting to read, especially as I find foreign horror books/movies are usually a little bizarre and unusual but in a good way! 

This book centres around a man whose six-year-old daughter vanishes suddenly at a frozen lake. Upon returning two years later, he realises that people on the island are keeping secrets from him and embarks on finding out the truth. 
This one follows a town in which the deceased are rising from the dead. From what I've read, these aren't flesh eating zombies but just corpses that have reanimated. It sounds similar to the TV series The Returned that I watched a couple of years ago. Yay for zombie twists! 

Written from the perspective of a stalker, this book sounds super creepy and complex. I'm super excited to read this book! 
I just love Sarah Dessen books so this really is no surprise. 

I've read this book and I really liked it! It follows fourteen year old, Audrey who has an anxiety disorder which disrupts her everyday life. It's very focused on family and recovery and was a really nice read which deals with mental health in a very positive way. 
This is a graphic novel following two friends, Enid and Rebecca as they navigate through adolescence, growing up and changing relationships. It's very crude and an honest portrayal of bitter teenage years. 
I downloaded an electronic version of this book. I studied this back in Secondary School but I don't think I actually read the entire book. Now I can finally finish it! 

What books have you recently acquired? Which ones are you most excited to read!? 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Review: Rat Queens Vol 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Weibe

  
Title: Rat Queens Vol 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth
Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe.
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 6th May 2015
Genre: Comics/Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

Summary: 


This booze-soaked second volume of RAT QUEENS reveals a growing menace within the very walls of Palisade. And while Dee may have run from her past, the bloated, blood-feasting sky god N’rygoth never really lets his children stray too far.







Wow, what a follow up! Rat Queens Volume 2, collects issues 6-10 and picks up light-heartedly after the celebratory party thrown in issue 5. Following a blast from the past and the disappearance another character, the Rat Queens undertake another epic adventure full of sass, action, mushrooms, and the almost end of the world!   

So much more is revealed about the characters in this volume. The inclusion of flashbacks and back stories give us a glimpse at Hannah, Violet, and Dee’s lives before joining the Rat Queens. The characters are even more developed and distinct which makes them all the more enjoyable to read about. Despite seeming a little disjointed and confusing at first, the flashbacks are cleverly woven into the story and add more depth and intrigue to the characters. Dee however, is still shrouded with some mystery, although the exploration of her faith (or lack of) was done well in this volume.

Violet’s back story was particularly interesting. One detail I loved was Violet adding a dash of eye liner after suiting up in her armour. We find out more about Violet’s family and her relationship with them. It is both very amusing and captured in a way that is very reflective of real and genuine family relationships anddynamics. Another aspect I really appreciated was Violet’s appropriate slaying whilst dealing with inappropriate comments from creepy old men (slay, violet, slay!)

Plot wise, the story is quite formulaic and typical of questing style plots. However, multiple character’s personal histories and interests are entwined with the main plot and villain’s scheme, in an interesting way. The formulaic nature of the plot does not detract from the overall enjoyment of this volume, as the Rat Queens retain their sassy sense of humour and distinctive personalities. It does not take long to re-familiarise yourself with the characters and they really are the force which makes this series so entertaining to read. Additionally, the continuing ‘Gary’ jokes never fail to amuse.

The art style has changed slightly with the switching of the illustrator, but it still retains a similar style. The lines and especially the noses are a lot sharper and pointier than before but overall, it is a small change and does not detract from the enjoyment of the story. 

I really enjoyed this volume. The characters are diverse, complex and all round awesome which really makes reading Rat Queens so enjoyable. Rat Queens combines complex female characters with a brilliant sense of friendship and humour in an action packed fantasy world. This second volume definitely lives up to expectations.  


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Most Anticipated Video Games!


I caught the E3 fever.

As well as being a huge book nerd, I'm also a huge video game nerd. I first got into video games at around eight or nine, my Dad bought a PlayStation 2 and that's pretty much where my gaming journey started. My favourite games are story based ones, as they allow you to become an active participant in the story and I think that's pretty amazing. In general I find that there is not a lot of diversity in video games, especially in mainstream video games. This year however a lot of the big developers are (finally) releasing more female led games which is amazing and exciting! Here are some of the games I'm most anticipating! 

THIS GAME SOUNDS AMAZING. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, where nature has taken over, few tribes of humans are left, and the world is dominated by robot animals. Robot animals. Robot Dinosaurs. The concept for the game is supposed to explore the 'juxtaposition between the danger and beauty of the world' and the 'concept of humanity not being "at the top of the life list" which sounds like it will make an really awesome game. The protagonist is female and seems awesome. I am so excited and this is definitely the game I am looking forward to most. Just watch the trailer and prepare to be amazed. 

I love the Walking Dead TV show, and I love the Telltale game series, although I have yet to read the comic books (definitely need to get on that!) I've played the first two games and they were absolutely amazing. They're heart wrenching and are really interactive as the decisions you make in the game will impact the outcome of the story! It's so much fun to play and is graphically reminiscent of comic book art. Michonne is undoubtedly one of my favourite characters in the TV series, so I am super excited to have a mini series dedicated to her! I can tell it's going to be amazing! 

Where do I start with Lara Croft? She raids tombs and ventures across the globe in search of ancient artefacts. I first played Lara Croft as a child, on my PlayStation 2 and I loved it so much. I haven't played all the games in Tomb Raider franchise but I've played enough to know that I love Lara Croft. I was super excited to play the 2013 reboot, which follows Lara as a young archaeologist and the experience which made her the illusive Tomb Raider. Rise of the Tomb Raider follows on from this and I am super excited! Also, the graphics have come so far with this series, see this image for reference.

Uncharted is one of my favourite series. I actually played Uncharted 3 first (out of order) because it came in a playstation bundle, and accidentally fell in love with the series. Since then I've played the first and second games in the series and loved them all. The series follows adventurer Nathan Drake and his travels across the globe to track down ancient and powerful artefacts (kind of like a male Lara Croft.) There are usually some twists and turns and these games are always super fun to play. On top of that, the characters are funny and the relationship between Nathan and his mentor Sully is great. This is going to be the last game in the series and that makes me really sad because this series is just so much fun. 

Hellblade

This game sounds awesome. The protagonist looks amazing and the game follows her into hell as she battles the manifestations of her mind. The game is based on a Celtic myth and sounds really interesting and unique! I found this game through The Mary Sue, which linked a really cool video about the development of the character and how they created a female character, despite people's claims that female led games don't sell well. YES. (take note Ubisoft) 

Despite Ubisoft's stupid comments on how women are apparently hard to animate. I still love the Assassins Creed series.They seem to have made some improvements with Syndicate though, as the story follows a brother and sister and both are the playable, but I'm sure that the story is more focused on the brother (don't even get me started on the placement in the photo.) The Victorian London setting and the focus on the criminal underworld are some redeeming features though, especially as I've been reading a lot of Charles Dickens (who makes an appearance in the game!!!!)
I have to admit, I never played a Fallout game before. I've heard so many rave reviews about Fallout though, and I think this may be the one I get into! Fallout takes place in a post apocalypse world, destroyed by nuclear forces. Fallout is an open world game but the storyline follows the playable character, who after locking their self and their family into a capsule before the nuclear disaster, wakes up 200 years later as the only survivor. I'm sure I can play this without having played the previous games, as the story is separate to the previous games. 


The E3 announcement for this game really solidified my excitement for this game. The creative developer looked so nervous, but you could tell he was really passionate and really cares about what the game. It's my favourite thing when you can see someone is really passionate about something, it makes me want to feel passionate about it too. He even brought the real life Yarny to the conference and explained how he came up with the idea for the game. This game looks so beautiful and chill, it seems like exactly the game to play when you really need to unwind and relax. 

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture


This game looks really beautiful, despite the ominous title. I'm not entirely sure what it's about (haha) but I know it's a first person game, set in an abandoned or empty English Village. The whole English Village element is really intriguing because I haven't played many games set in England, let alone in English villages. Graphically, this game looks amazing and seems to really capture the English Countryside! 

Notable mention: Mirror's Edge Catalyst - This is the second game in the series and I have yet to play the first one. It's an open world game, set in a futuristic city which main protagonist parkours around. Also the protagonist has been praised for being realistic and a woman of colour. Double win!


Do you guys play video games? Are you excited about any of these games? If not, which games are you excited for!? Leave your thoughts below!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Popular books/authors I have yet to read!


I feel as though there are actually quite a lot of popular books I have yet to read (especially as I had no trouble compiling this list) I wouldn't say I read books because they are popular, but sometimes if the premise sounds good or interesting, I do like to see what all the hype is about! Here are eight popular books or authors I have yet to read (but really want to!) If you guys have read these, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
Anyone else not read The Hunger Games? I've seen the films that have been released so far but I've never actually read the books. I enjoyed the films and everyone seems to have read The Hunger Games, so why haven't I? I really don't know. Maybe this summer will be the summer I finally read them!

The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare
To be honest, I had never heard of The Moral Instruments series until I started watching booktube. Even then, I didn't really have much interest in them. They've kind of grown on me though. I'm not sure if it's just because I want to see why they're so popular, or maybe I just want to understand when people reference this series. I'm not sure but at some point I want to read them(or at least the first book)

 

Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
I actually spent a long time debating whether I want to read this trilogy. I've heard so many split opinions on this series but it's only a trilogy, and I'm sure I could marathon it quite easily. If you guys have read this series, what were your opinions? Is it worth a read?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Another young adult series I have yet to read!? Surprising. I've seen so many good reviews of these books and the whole fairytale retelling with a twist does sound really awesome. Maybe I am a bit scared of hype, especially when it comes to young adult books, but one day I shall overcome that fear and give these books a read.

 

Haruki Murakami 
Murakami is one of those authors I've wanted to read for the longest time. His books always sound so strange, enticing and super interesting. I really want to read 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore. I think someone actually recommended Kafka on the Shore to me years ago but unsurprisingly, I still haven't read it. Anyone read Murakami, what are your favourites, where should I start?

Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples 
Not sure how much I need to say other than, this is that one graphic novel series that everyone seems to love. I saw the first volume of this in a comic book shop and had a flick through. The first page made me laugh so I'm sure this is something I will enjoy.


 


Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
I've been meaning to read this for about five years. Every summer, for the past five years I've been telling myself that this is the summer I will read Lord of the Rings. But evidently, it never happened. I have (or rather my mum does) a bind up of all three books, a huge and very very intimidating book which may have contributed to my tardiness and putting off this book. Also so many books to read, so little time.

Stephen King 
I own Cell, which is about a zombie style outbreak, caused by mobile phones (or cellphones, hence the title) I'm a huge zombie nerd so it's no surprise this is the first Stephen King book I've picked up. I haven't really felt in the mood for a good book about zombies though, which is kind of surprising. Stephen King is undoubtedly the King of horror books (ha) and as quite an avid horror fan, I have to read some of his books soon! I loved the film adaptation of The Shining, so that's another one I'm quite interested in!

Read any of these books/authors? Any popular books/authors you guys have yet to read?  Leave your thoughts below! 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Review - What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title: What Happened To Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: 1st June 2011
Genre: Contemporary/ Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★

Summary: 
Mclean never lets herself get too attached.
After the scandal of her mother's affair, Mclean and her dad chose life on the road. 
But since losing her family and home, Mclean has lost herself too; she's been Eliza, then Lizbet, then Beth - changing her name as often as she changes towns.


Goodreads//Book Depository

All those clean, fresh starts had made me forget what it was like, until now, to be messy and honest and out of control’

In a nutshell: A dash of romance, family issues, and coming to terms with yourself and your past all bundled together in an adorable book.  

As a young teen, the only books I read were by Sarah Dessen. This was the first Sarah Dessen book I’ve read for years and the familiarity of Dessen's writing style made me all nostalgic! The book follows Mclean who moves from town to town with her father, inventing a new identity in each one, following the messy divorce of her parents. She has to come to terms with her past and be real with herself as well as with her new found pals.

I’ve always found Sarah Dessen’s writing style to be easy to read and enticing, the kind that you start reading and before you know it, hours have passed.  This was certainly the case with this book; I found the storyline to be quite realistic, some scenes were a little exaggerated but overall, it tackles some realistic problems such as the impact of Mclean’s parents’ divorce, which seems a relatable topic for many people. Mclean’s relationship with her parents is also a large part of this book, which is refreshing to see.

The main characters in many of Dessen’s books are usually quite passive and almost plain, in attempt to let the reader identify with the character more easily. I once watched a panel of Dessen and, from what I gathered, this is what she implied. This was largely the case for Mclean. Many of the secondary characters had distinct and specific quirks and facets to their personalities, which were slightly lacking in Mclean. However, Mclean is not a completely passive character. she does stand up to her slightly (might be an understatement) overbearing and mother and is very independent.

My favourite character in this book was undoubtedly Deb. I loved Deb’s character so much. She really encapsulated the idea that appearances can be deceiving, and is such a lovable character. In fact, I might even go as far as saying that Deb is my favourite thing about this book. She’s a really misunderstood and multifaceted character, who is unashamedly herself and genuine. I wanted more of Deb in the book!  

Dessen lightly touches on issues of acceptance and identity in a casual and palatable manner; it’s not too deep but it’s refreshing and positive nonetheless. I found this quite a character driven book. What Happened to Goodbye documents Mclean coming to terms with her identity, past, and the connections she makes in Lakeview. The restaurant setting was also really fun to read and felt like a throwback to Keeping the Moon (which I loved btw.) The romance elements in this book were quite low key but still cute and adorable and Dave is a really different and interesting character. 

One thing I found a bit bothersome in this book was the stereotyping of people with tattoos and piercings as delinquents. I think that generally, there are a lot of stereotypes surrounding tattoos and body modifications and they are very often portrayed in a very negative light. Bit of a personal issue, but as a huge fan of tattoos, it bothered me to see these negative stereotypes included, albeit not that often. But still, it bothered me.

Overall, What Happened to Goodbye was an enjoyable read and hit me with a wave of nostalgia. It’s a solid Dessen book and deals with family issues, coming to terms with your identity and past whilst bundling in a cute romance and friendships. I loved the familiarity of Dessen’s writing and Dessen manages to weave different elements of young people’s lives into Mclean’s story.  


Thursday, 2 July 2015

June Wrap Up!



Hi guys. This month I read some books, wasted a lot of time on the internet, saw a band, and spent a lot of time looking after tortoises. I kind of want to name my wrap ups something other than 'wrap ups' but I'm struggling to think of something cute and unique. Anyway, here are the highlights of my month!

Books 


Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 3/5
Despite all the musicals and adaptations I was quite unfamiliar with the story of Oliver, before starting this book. I had assumed the story was about an orphan child who joins a sort of street urchin gang and boy, was I wrong. The story is so much darker than I was anticipating. Dickens pits the evils of the criminal underworld in contrast to the innocence goodness of Oliver. Ironically, the story seemed focused on all the characters surrounding Oliver, rather than Oliver himself; in fact Oliver was a boring character. There was quite an anti-Semitic vibe going on with all the references to 'The Jew.' It was quite bothersome, despite Dickens rebuttal of such claims.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen 4/5
As a young teen, the only books I read were by Sarah Dessen. In light of her latest release, Saint Anything, I pondered over reading my few unread Dessen books. Before I knew it, I'd bought and read What Happened to Goodbye. The story follows Mclean who moves from town to town with her father, inventing a new identity in each one, following the messy divorce of her parents. She has to come to terms with her past and be real with herself as well as her new found pals. The familiarity of Dessen's writing style made me all nostalgic and I really enjoyed reading this! There is a good dash of romance, family issues, and coming to terms with yourself and your past all bundled together in this adorable book.

Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe  4/5
I read the first volume a couple of months ago and this second volume is such a great follow up! There's more sass, more sorcery, more rat queens slaying and being awesome! The characters in this series are my favourite thing and are really what makes reading Rat Queens so enjoyable - they are all diverse, complex and awesome. The illustrator changed and so the art style is a little different, but it's still retains a similar style and doesn't detract from the reading experience. This series combines complex female characters with a brilliant sense of friendship and an action packed fantasy world, and definitely impresses!

Music



I've been a huge fan of Young Guns for years, and I finally got to see them live this month!! They released their new album, Ones and Zeros this month and it's pretty much all I've been listening to. #onrepeat  Go check them out, my favourites are Speaking in Tongues, Daylight, Rising Up and Lullaby.


Everything Else

I'm an avid Buffy fan, and spent most of my childhood obsessed, like really obsessed. I collected action figures, trading cards, mugs, magazines, flannels even (everything pretty much) This obsession has slowed down a bit in recent years, but it's still smouldering away deep inside. Hence, the poster. When my sister told me she was getting one, I knew, I had to get one too. It's the same poster that Buffy and Willow have on the door of their college dormitory. Like I said, obsessed. Also I love chocolate and pretty things, so this is double perfection.

The poster in all it's glory!

That's all I've got for today! 

How has your June been? 
Read any of these books? Listened to Young Guns? Are you a Buffy fan too!? Leave your thoughts below!!