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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Undone by Cat Clarke {Review}

{obviously: cover from amazon.com: link below}

{Synopsis: courtesy of amazon.com}: Jem Halliday is in love with her best friend. It doesn't matter that Kai is gay, or that he'll never look at her the way she looks at him. Jem is okay with that. But when Kai is outed online by one of their classmates, he does the unthinkable and commits suicide.


Jem is left to pick up the pieces of her broken life. Before he died, Kai left her twelve letters—one for each month of the year—and those letters are all Jem has left. That, and revenge.


Although Kai's letters beg her not to investigate what happened, Jem can't let it go. She needs to know who did this, and she'll stop at nothing to find the person responsible for Kai's death. One way or another, someone is going down. Someone is going to pay.

{Synopsis: courtesy of amazon.com}: Jem Halliday is in love with her best friend. It doesn't matter that Kai is gay, or that he'll never look at her the way she looks at him. Jem is okay with that. But when Kai is outed online by one of their classmates, he does the unthinkable and commits suicide.


Jem is left to pick up the pieces of her broken life. Before he died, Kai left her twelve letters—one for each month of the year—and those letters are all Jem has left. That, and revenge.


Although Kai's letters beg her not to investigate what happened, Jem can't let it go. She needs to know who did this, and she'll stop at nothing to find the person responsible for Kai's death. One way or another, someone is going down. Someone is going to pay.

{Review}: I received this book as an ARC from netgalley.com.
A few years ago, Thirteen Reasons Why was added to the syllabus of the school that I work for’s 9th grade required reading list. Many parents were urged to read the book, as it is a story about teen suicide, where the protagonist left behind 13 audio tapes that basically explained her thought processes in her last days.
I IMMEDIATELY went back to this book when I read Undone. Now, with that said, really the only similarities that exist are that they both deal with teenage suicide, as well as people speaking from beyond the grave. They are also both impeccably written YA books that you literally just melt into. The book becomes a part of you while you’re reading it, and you can’t eat, sleep, or anything until you’re done with it.
We start by meeting Jem, a sweet lost soul who has just had to bury her teenaged best friend. He’s committed suicide (it isn’t a secret), but what is, is really why he felt the need to end his life, as well as who was behind the “straw that broke the camel’s back?” I don’t want to give it away, but Jem is gay, and there was social media involved.
It’s a mystery, but Jem decides to “get back” at whomever she thinks might have done this to him. Meanwhile, she starts to get these letters from Kai. All well-meaning and good letters about her moving on with her life, and attempting to better herself, while she’s in the midst of trying to punish those that she thinks are responsible for her best friend’s death.
You’ll be blindsided by the ending to this book. Really, you’ll be staring with your mouth open at around 85% completion… and your jaw will continue to slacken throughout the ending of the book. And you also might cry.
It’s masterful.
Brilliant, even.
One of the best of 2014 {Right now, this book is tied for 1st place IMO, with Oblivion & We Were Liars}.
And the length, at first glance…kind of scared me. I don’t love any YA read that’s over 300 pages…but this FLEW by. I finished it in a day and a half at the beach. It was WONDERFUL!
I also enjoyed the fact that Cat Clarke brought the ills of social media into it. It’s very interesting to see what could happen at a get together, that could then end up all over the internet.
{Where can I buy this?}:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undone-Cat-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00IJEVN9Q/ref=la_B005XPT5CQ_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404846608&sr=1-1
B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/undone-cat-clarke/1113965658?ean=9781402292248
{What would I rate it?}: 4.99999999/5 stars. It was practically perfect.
{Who would I recommend this book to?}: Anyone who enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why or We Were Liars. It was a good combination of those two. I received this book as an ARC from netgalley.com.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: When Mr. Dog Bites {by Brian Conaghan}




{Synopsis: courtesy of amazon.com}: 
All Dylan Mint has ever wanted is to keep his Tourette’s in check and live life as a “normal” teenager. The swearing, the tics, the howling “dog” that escapes when things are at their worst—nothing about Tourette’s makes it easy to meet cute girls or have normal friends (or many friends at all). But a routine hospital visit changes everything—Dylan overhears that he's going to die. In an attempt to claim the life he’s always wanted, he decides to grant himself parting wishes, or “Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It”. In an intimate portrayal of life with Tourette’s, Dylan’s journey to come to terms with the disorder that has defined his life and his preconceptions about the world around him is hilarious, painful and, ultimately, utterly masterful.

{Review}: 
I received this ARC courtesy of Netgalley.com, in exchange for an honest review.
So, honestly… this book was really great.
Really, REALLY great.
Multiple times I had to remind myself to quiet down my laughter, because I wasn’t sure that it was “appropriate” to laugh at some certain things.
We see this story told from Dylan Mint’s perspective….all about this impending March date—where he assumes that he overhears that he’s going to die. What actually happens is very predictable, but I think that this story is more about the innocence of this kid who is dealing with run-of-the-mill teenaged things, but also has to function with tourette’s. It gives the reader a glimpse into what it’s like to function with a syndrome such as tourette’s, and from what I know about it, Conaghan has nailed writing a student with tourettes.

It’s also interesting to see a first person account of what it’s like to be labeled as “different”, and attend a different school than your peers. It was a very refreshing read. Obviously, there is some more “adult” themed humor, but I think any kiddo over the age of 15 could handle it.

{Where can I buy this?}: 
Anywhere books are sold—but I’d download it to my kindle OR Nook—it’s on sale for 99 pennies {as of this moment in the universe}.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/When-Dog-Bites-Brian-Conaghan-ebook/dp/B00K0DRO0Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404769500&sr=1-1&keywords=when+mr+dog+bites
B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-mr-dog-bites-brian-conaghan/1117011735?ean=9781619633469

{What would I rate it?}: 
4.8/5. I loved the character of Dylan, and other more minor characters, but I felt as though the “impending doom” was entirely too predictable…. But it doesn’t take away from the story as a whole.

OH—and I’m not sure how I missed this, but much of this book also has Scottish slang in it, because that’s where the characters are from. Just a forewarning. J


{Who would I recommend this book to?}:
Anyone who may have a child with tourette’s, a child with tourette’s, and anyone who wants a good read.