This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp Book Review

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Goodreads Summary

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

My Rating:3/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

When I first heard about This Is Where It Ends I was so excited: everyone was talking about it and singing its praise and it was on the NYT bestsellers list so I knew that I had to pick up. And I picked it up a year after it had been published and… I was disappointed. It was a BAD book but it wasn’t nearly as good as I expected it to be. I’ve read her other book as well and I wasn’t impressed with that one either so I definitely think that this an author who just isn’t for me.

One of the good things about this book was the diversity.  Nijkamp is at the forefront of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks moments and it really shows in all the characters that she  writes. There are two queer girl characters, one of them whom is Latina and then there’s a Latino character and all of these are main characters. So 3/4 of the perspectives are diverse which is really great!!  While I love books that feature queer girls, honestly the romance between the two of them was very unbelievable and I just couldn’t understand the chemistry that was supposed to make them in love.

I think my main problem with this book was the fact that it just wasn’t very intriguing. Like yeah it takes place over like a period of an hour or something like that but I was really bored while reading it. Like people were dying left and right and yet it didn’t feel like it at all? That may be due to the excessive amount of flashbacks that occurred throughout the book which were definitely  needed so the reader could better understand what was going on but it took us out of the book and made what was currently happening less impactful.  I think that the flashbacks could have been written better so the contrast between past and present could’ve been much more important.

Another thing that really bugged me was the fact that the shooter’s motives were never clear and while I definitely wouldn’t have wanted a killer perspective, I would’ve liked just an inkling as to why the shooter felt the need to do what he did.  Also this is probably just a personal preference but in this day and age, it really bugs me when books are written about school shootings and there’s no pertinent discussion. Obviously since this only takes place within a very short period of time it wouldn’t make sense but I’m just not that interested in books like these. They rely too heavily on the shock factor.

While it seems like I hated the book, I didn’t! It was just a very meh book that didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would. I still really liked the writing style, and it was a pretty interesting book. It just wasn’t my thing and wasn’t what I was looking in a book like this.

Have You Read This Is Where It Ends? Did You Like It? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

 

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I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

My Rating:3/5 Stars

I’ll Meet You There is a touching story that deals with poverty, PTSD and love similar to Making Faces by Amy Harmon. While I was not the hugest fan of the romance and wasn’t completely sold on the chemistry between Skylar and Josh, I thought that the portrayal of poverty and PTSD was excellent.

So few books feature characters who are truly poor. There are definitely YA books who have characters that struggle with money but I’ve seen very few books accurately depict poverty so accurately.  It’s important to write about teenagers from all different types of backgrounds because I think that it creates a very interesting and unique plot because the majority of YA protagonists are comfortable and don’t need to worry about money. I also really loved how despite the fact that she was very poor, she kind of looked down on those people and couldn’t wait to escape her town and how throughout the book she realized how her looking down on the people in her town wasn’t okay. This was especially shown in her friendship with her best friend which was really well done and endearing.

The other great thing about this book was the depiction of PTSD. I honestly love reading about characters with PTSD because it’s such an important issue that is often ignored when people commemorate soldiers. Though the majority of the book was told in the perspective of skylar, there were chapters that were from Josh and they were like him talking to on his friends who died in combat and those chapters were so amazing. The way that his trauma was depicted was so on point and raw and it affected me so much. It was so well done and I applaud the author for her depiction! Josh was such an interesting character and I really loved seeing his journey throughout the novel.

I know it seems like I really enjoyed the book so you may wonder why my rating is only 3 stars? While I did really like this book, there was one reoccuring element that really annoyed me and made the book less enjoyable and that was the bigotry. There was a lot of homophobic slurs and people calling things “gay” and it was just so unnecessary. I don’t know why the author felt that these words were essential to the dialogue but it just ruined the story for me. Though it is called out, it’s called out in this very passive way and I just don’t see the point in it being there. Every time this would happen, I had to stop and reasses my enjoyment of the story because it just took me out of the novel which really sucks.There were no gay characters and bigotry wasn’t a plot point so it just so felt weird and unnecessary. I felt like I was reading a book from the early 2000s and it just made my enjoyment of the book decrease considerably.

Have You Read I’ll Meet You There? What Did You Think Of It? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

 

 

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it

My Rating: 2.5/ 5 Stars

This could’ve been a great book. it had all the elements of a book that I could fall in love with. Awesome characters? Check. Queer Black MC? Check. Interesting plot about  an important time period? Check. This would’ve have been easily one of my favorite reads of 2018 if not for one issue. Lies We Tell Ourselves is written by a white women and for a book about such an tumultuous time and important event not be ownvoices rings so wrongly to me. Had this book been published this year, the book community would be in an up-roar but unfortunately this book was published in 2014 where books like these were still considered revolutionary. We didn’t have books like The Hate U Give, Dear Martin or Tyler Johnson Was Here. #ownvoices books that are so powerful and successful and that have touched so many people lives. If I had read this book when it had come out I would have probably loved it but I’m more aware now and I just can’t condone it.

Am I saying that white authors can’t write black characters? Of course not. But there are certain issues that haven’t been written about by black authors so for white authors to pave the way is kind of disgusting.  To my knowledge, Talley was the first and quite possibly one of the only YA authors to write about integration in schools and it really sucks because if a black author ever wants to write about this, they’re going to be compared to Talley. If a black author had written this book, I probably would have loved it but when reading Lies We Tell Yourselves I felt like Talley was profiting off of the oppression of black individuals. To add to this this is also a book about a black queer teenager which I honestly can’t remember ever seeing in any other book so yet again Talley is overstepping her boundaries.  I also really hated how often the n word was used and like I know it’s supposed to be “authentic” but I could have done without that.

Putting that huge issue aside, I really enjoyed the character of Sarah and really enjoyed reading about her struggle in integrating into an all white high school. I felt that the white perspective of Linda was really uneeded and though I know that she supposedly learned about her mistakes, she never really saw the errors of her ways and merely saw Sarah as the exception. Also the romance in this was super unbelievable and there was no chemistry whatsoever.

Have You Read Lies We Tell Ourselves? What Did You Think of It? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

 

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag

img_4188-4   1.Best Book You’ve Read So Far This Year?

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Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since I read it. It’s truly amazing and beautiful and I highly recommend it. It’s best to go into reading it not knowing much because any of your expectations will be blown out of the water.

2.Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far This Year?

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So I finally finished The Chaos Walking Trilogy and oh my god!!!!! It was so emotional and beautiful and Patrick Ness is truly a genius. I am still in shock. I came close to tears so many times and it was just so amazing and beautiful. Definitely my favorite series.

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet but Want To?

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Let’s Talk About Love sounds so amazing oh my god!! A biromantic ace black love interest? There’s a 100% chance that I will love it and I just can’t wait to get my hands on this beauty.

4.Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half of The Year?

My two favorite authors are coming out with books this fall- 2018 is truly the best year. I’ve been waiting for Bridge of Clay ever since I read The Book Thief six years ago and I can’t believe that I’m finally going to get it in my hands. As for Jodi Picoult’s book- I will devour anything that she writes so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

5. Biggest Disappointment?

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I really thought that I’d love this book but it was super meh. There was some great elements like the diversity but the intensity  that I thought would accompany a book about a school shooting was sadly missing.

 

6.Biggest Surprise?

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Though I love The Chaos Walking series, it took me awhile to finally get to More Than This. I don’t know but something about the summary hadn’t really drawn me but my god I was blown away!!! This is one of those books where you should go away knowing nothing because it’s just something you need to read.

7.Favorite New Author( Debut or New To You)?

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So this year I read both The Girl With The Red  Balloon and The Spy With The Red Balloon and I loved both of them so much. I love reading about Jewish characters and in Spy they were Jewish and queer which is just so important to me!!! I can’t wait to read everything she comes out.

8. Newest Fictional Crush?

I don’t really get crushes on fictional characters. Pass!

9.Newest Favorite Character?

Matteo and Rufus!!! They’re precious cinnamon rolls and i love them so much!!!

10.Book That Made You Cry?

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Even though I’m the most emotional person ever, I don’t really cry when reading books. But Leah on The Offbeat  had me in actual tears!! Might be because I read it from like 10 pm to Midnight so it might have been me being tired but there were so many scenes that made so emotional. It was such a good book!!!

 

11. Book That Made You Happy?

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This book was so fun and gay and wonderful and it was the perfect summer read- I loved it so much!!

 

12. Prettiest Book You’ve Bought or Received This Year.

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Any book with  Nick Robison’s face on it is a pretty book!!! I love my Love, Simon tie in edition so much.

13. What Books Do you Need To Read By The End of The Year.

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I’ve been  dying to read The Hate U Give ever since it came out last year but I’ve just never gotten around to it. I have a hold at the library so I really can’t wait to read it!! Plus the movie is coming out soon, so I need to read it so I can watch it.

 

14.. Favorite Book Community Member?

Agh I never know what to answer because I love so many people. I pretty much love everyone who has a book blog/twitter/youtube. There that’s my answer!!

Did You Do This Tag? Do We Have Any Answers in Common. Have You Read Any Of The Books I Mentioned? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!!!