Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright PlacesTitle: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Knopf
Published: 6th January 2015

Goodreads Summary

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning! Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is my second attempt at reviewing this… I deleted my first draft as I didn’t think it did the book any justice. Why are the great books so hard to review!?
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, he keeps thinking of ways to kill himself, he even rates his ideas.
Violet Markey lives for the future, she is counting down days until her graduation and when she can escape her town and her aching grief about her sister’s death.
The unlikely pair meet at the unlikeliest place, a bell tower where suicide would be perfect.
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park- Yeah kinda… I still feel that it’s only referring to Eleanor and Park because it was narrated by both of the main characters, I don’t see any other resemblance to that book.

I have read bad reviews about this book, of course it’s impossible for everybody to fall in love with it. I do think that Jennifer reaches a certain young adult audience, and I do think that the responses to this book depend on the personal experience with depression and suicide. I cannot tell whether I would have found this book as great as I did if my personal experiences weren’t there. This book spoke to me on another level and made me feel incrediby mixed feelings. It made me feel alive for the first time in years in a way that I couldn’t possibly imagine.

“We are all alone, trapped in these bodies and our own minds, and whatever company we have in this life is only fleeting and superficial.” 

Of course suicide is a hard subject to tackle. I think it can go either way, a quirky funny way or go for the ugly truth. This book seemed to tackle both things. This indie relationship between the two characters was loveable but also fake. Of course I would love for there to be couples like Finch and Violet, and for couples like Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace from The Fault In Our Stars but the world doesn’t really work that way. Having these special relationship in books grounds us to reality but make us imagine the world these authors create.
“No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring.” 

The ending was hard for me, I cried and thought about it for so many days. I wanted to keep this world going; but the way that Violet handled the news and the realisation was annoying but beautiful. I think for the type of protagonist that Violet was her reaction was perfect. Everything that happened with the school and funeral linked back to reality.
I do recommend this book to everybody, whether or not you have personal experiences with suicide and depression. I think this is perfect for anybody that has enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars, Eleanor and Park, Anna and The French Kiss, ect…

“People rarely bring flowers to a suicide.”

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Stolen: A Letter to My CaptorTitle: Stolen
Author: Lucy Christopher 
Publisher: Chicken House
Published: May 4th 2009 
Paperback 301 pages.

Gooodreads summary; 

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him. This is my story. A letter from nowhere. Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.
How can I review this book? Its 8.25pm on a cold December night, three days away from Christmas and all I can think about is the story that Lucy Christopher just shared with me. I feel like I was given this precious gift, a part of her soul really. It’s like this with every book I think, especially the very good ones. But this is different, this is a first for me.

Gemma is only sixteen when she is taken away from her family, from her friends and her entire life into the hands of a horrible monster. She is picked up from an airport and plucked into a hot desert where the land wants to kill you, with the fear of what her captor will do to her.

“How long will you keep me?" I asked.
You shrugged. "Forever, of course.” 

There is nothing out there like this story. Nothing. This book captures the true essence of what it’s like to fear somebody and to be scared for your life.

Gemma is a very strong protagonist, she was scared, even ready to die at the hands of her captor but she had hope.
Ty is a troubled man who had a hard life, he’s strong physically but emotionally he’s damaged.

I still can’t believe just how great Gemma’s character was! I can already imagine more than half of the female characters in young adult books now and how they could react in this situation. Gemma was different. She was scared but she willed herself to try and run away. She wanted to escape even if it killed her.

This is a letter from Gemma to her captor; written in detail of everything she experienced and felt throughout her time with Ty and honestly how much can you write about a month or so? How long can you make a letter out of this? I was incredibly sceptical of the format that it was written in, I mean it shows Gemma’s true feelings but how much can really happen in a sunny desert with nobody else around? Apparently a lot, this was a fantastic idea, especially for the beginning and the end of the novel.

My mind couldn’t keep up and my heart never settled on what I thought of Ty, just like Gemma. There was this character who has done wrong but is so hurt and is so delusional that you cannot help but forgive him for his wrong doings.

“and it’s hard to hate someone once you understand them.”

My heart was in my throat until the very last word on the page. What does Gemma think of this and what do I think of this. I was so conflicted because I wanted Gemma to love him. I wanted her to forgive him, to somehow be with him?! I think I was the one suffering through Stockholm syndrome. I was never nervous when Gemma was scared of Ty, I was never scared for her when she was trying to escape him. I always had hope.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Authors at Bath Spa; Meeting Nathan Filer

What is the best thing about studying in a university known as the best place to study creative writing? 

Well one of the many answers is the opportunity to meet authors/ play writers/ poets/ bloggers and anything else you could possibly imagine. 

So far I have met the most amazing people who have succeed in the creative writing world and were happy to share their stories with us. I wanted to share my stories of meeting them with you guys. 

I met my biggest influence in terms of writing and just one of my favourite people Nathan Filer about two weeks ago now. 
More about Nathan- Nathan Filer is a writer and lecturer in Creative Writing. (guess where?!?!) 

His stand-up poetry has been a regular fixture at festivals and spoken-word events across the UK, and has been broadcast on BBC 3 television and radio 4, 7 and 5 Live. He is also a BBC Best New Filmmaker and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University.

The Shock of the FallThe Shock of The Fall; 

'I'll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name's Simon. I think you're going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he'll be dead. And he was never the same after that.' 

Debut novel about one man's descent into mental illness, following the death of his brother in childhood. Filer is a mental health nurse with a unique and startling insight into mental illness, and this book highlights a much-neglected subject.

I gave this the highest possible rating and then some! My review that was published back in May 2014 (that's so long ago!!) This is just a bit from my review, you can see the whole review by clicking the link!

Every single word that I say about this book, for me does not do it justice. There will be people out there that have read a much better story, that were gripped by another author's words more than Nathan's, and there will be people that might even hate this book and want to burn it. But for me this book was amazing. Just thinking about the words that I read and the story and Matthew's past was brilliant. I cried and I laughed and I wanted to hold Matthew's poor mother because she lost a little boy and then she lost her teenage son to a mental illness and had to visit him in a hospital. My heart broke for her.

I sneakily filmed Nathan reading a chapter from his book, it just so happened to include one of my favourite lines in the novel; it's at the very end!

Before creating one of the best books I have experienced Nathan was a poet and created something that not only made me laugh but admire him more as a person. PS nothing will ever compare to seeing his face while watching about 30 undergraduates watching this.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Books in 2015

With only weeks to go until 2016 I wanted to do a reflecting post 
about the books I've read this year. Luckily goodreads came to help
and created this cute My Year in Books! Although copying and pasting this kinda messed it up I still very much love this! My goal for the
year was 40 and I haven't managed to reach it. YET! I still have some
time. How was everyone else's year with books? 

5725060. ux70 cr0,11,70,70
2015 yyib header maxres

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160 pages
The Woman In Black
751 pages
'Salem's Lot
383 pages
people also read
The Book Thief
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people also read

it was amazing
it was amazing
it was amazing
it was amazing

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