Holding Up the Universe

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven 
☆☆☆☆/5

THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2017

Genre: YA Fiction 

 ‘You think no one understands and you’re alone, and that makes you angrier, and Why don’t they see it? Why doesn’t someone say ‘Hey. You seem burdened by the world. Let me take that burden for awhile so you don’t have to carry it around all the time.’ But it’s on you to speak up.’ 

I really really liked All the Bright Places. This one won’t break your heart like that one did. 

Libby Strout was dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen‘ after she was cut out of her house. Jack Misslini suffers from not being able to remember anyone’s faces. On the day they meet, Libby had decided to return to school and Jack decides to take a dare and attempt fat girl rodeo. Which resulted in him getting decked in the face. They end up in after school counseling together and form an odd friendship as the world burns down around them. 

I liked this book. Libby is a strong female lead who promotes body positivity. No matter what life throws at her, she gets back up. And she’s a dancer and dances like no one is watching. Jack struggles to connect throughout the book and it was nice to see him develop as a character get help. 
This was a brilliant book on bullying and body image and characters coming together. 

I recommend this book to people who like YA novels.

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Wonderland

Wonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo 
☆☆☆☆/5

THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016

Genre: Fiction

…the central importance of an unheard chord, the chord that is never played, that chord that happens after the music ends. How had I missed it for so long? It’s the sound you don’t quite hear, the reversion coming off the top or the side or the edges of a note. Not a silence but a potential sound, a space exactly the shape of what the sound is about to be. Invisible, inaudible, and yet revelatory, what finishes and composes the sequence retrospectively; you discover that it was all going in the end, to the chord that isn’t heard but is only anticipated. Which is to say the last chord happens in the mind of the listener, as he is remembering a sound which in reality he has never heard before. The unheard chord feels like, must feel like, a memory.

Oh boy. I apologize about the book dump I’m about to do. 😉 

This is a fictional account about a washed up rockstar and her lifestyle. After hitting it hard in her younger days, she decides to comeback with a force of reckoning. Her finale. Beautifully written in the form of what is almost music, we take a trip through Europe and the mind of a very sad, deranged woman whose life of drugs, sex and music defined her career. 

I liked this book and found it beautifully written. It was a bit hard to follow at first but for the most part, highly readable. You draw connected to the MC and the cast of shadows that is her past as she tries to remeber who she is and where the music lies.

Recommended to fans of music bios (though fiction) or if you just want a dark good read.

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Courage for Beginners

Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

☆☆☆☆☆/5
THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
Genre: YA Fiction

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Now that I am in bed, safe under my soft and warm comforter, I do not want to ever leave. Here is a space where there are no problems. Only the crack in my cealing. That is the only problem. A crack that widens because maybe the house wants to change, too. So there are no problems. Except for the problems you carry in your mind. They creep into your safe space without an invitation. The problem is so stupid there is not even a name for it. Because what do you call that irritating feeling that tells you you’re going to change whether you want to or not? What do you call these invisible things that seem like they are marching towards you and you better get ready?

This was a book about a 12 year old girl. Who became an adult too soon.

Misti likes to talk in narratives and believes that stories will save her.

Misti is your average recently turned 12 year. She’s entering the 7th grade and loses her best (and only) friend to a hipster social experiement. Her dad also suffers from a horrible accident while washing his car (he falls from a tree trying to collect his wash rag) and is hospitalized ‘indefinitely’. And her mother never leaves the house. So Misti takes upon adult responsibilities so that they might survive. She begins to take care of her younger sister, cooking meals, and even going as far as to walk to the grocery store once food begins to get dangerously low. Because her mother suffers from agoraphobia. The only thing that keeps her grounded is hope that her dad will recover. Her stories. And growing up.

Here is a girl in love with the idea that her outside should match her inside. If a guy can change his world with a hat, a girl can change hers with a haircut.

This one struck a cord with me because I was forced to grow up. My little sister is 10 years younger than I and there came a point where my mom stopped leaving her bedroom. For about 3 to 4 years. I had to raise my little sister while the hoarding got out of control. I was responsible for meals, bath times, going to school and getting home to take care of Nik. And this continued well until I managed to escape the hell hole my mother created, which coincidentally, was 7 years ago yesterday. My dad worked so much to ensure that we even had food and amenities. We were poor and we managed. School and reading essentially saved me, but I related alot to Misti and her predicament. And learning to courage to change.

Here is a girl who will learn get to where she needs to go on her own two feet.

I highly recommend this book.

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Beastkeeper

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

☆☆☆☆/5
THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
Just Because Book
Genre: YA Fiction/Fantasy

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You can’t make someone fall in love with you. I should know. And this is where the storytellers write their own sugary versions of the truth. A pack of lies until they reach ‘The End’. But no story ever comes to an end, at least not one so neat. There are voices silenced, characters erased at the storytellers whim…They do not tell you what happens when the children have eaten their way through the witches treasures and face another starveling winter, when the glass slipper no longer fits the crone’s swollen foot. When the beauty doesn’t fall in love with her beastly prince.

Oh this was a good. A rare random grab and an odd spin on fairy tales and curses. This one is a strange retelling of beauty and the Beast but the beast isn’t who you’d expect. And the curse is well explained as is the magic. A young girl named Sarah is faced with family truths after her mother suddenly disappears and her father drops her off at her grandparents castle. Mystery unfolds in the forest as she looks for answers.

This book was beautifully written without being bogged down. And it was a fairly quick read. I recommend it to lovers of fairy tales. 🙂

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Unspoken

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

☆☆☆/5
Genre: YA Fiction/Paranormal
THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016

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This book wavered between 2 and 5 stars for me. It was brilliant but parts of it came off as a bit juvenile, long winded, and unnecessary.

Kami Glass lives in a little English town called Sorry-in-the-Vale. She’s a bit strange and is intent on digging up the secrets of her little town, especially those concerning the Lynburns, the towns oldest reigning family. When they return to Sorry-in-the-Vale, mysterious things start happening and she’s faced with murder, intrigue and magic. And most confusing of all, her lifetime imaginary friend comes to life in the form of bad boy Jared Lynburn. Armed with her best friend and people hating Angela and the gorgeous “got boobs at 11” Holly, and Jared, they are intent on digging up the secrets from the cellar. Even if it means betraying your family.

This book had brilliant dialogue. The word play between characters was astounding and it helped form the connection between certain characters, especially Kami and Jared. Angela came off as a bit eh but she grows on you. The only issue I had was mainly the juvenile aspect. I thought things could have been explained better and there were some parts that jumped around and made no sense to the actual plot. (For instance there is a scene where Kami and Co are investigating a hotel and her and Jared randomly decided to go swimming in the pool.) The mystery aspect was interesting and you can’t help but like Kami. 🙂

I plan on continuing the series. It’s quite a bit similar to Beautiful Creatures and The Mortal Instruments and has elements that trap you in. I’m hoping the series gets better with each book. (I believe it’s a trilogy). I highly recommend it to people who enjoy YA Paranormal books. This book was focused around magic and sorcerers.

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The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

☆☆☆☆/5

10/40 ish THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
Travelouge Book Bingo
Genre: Fiction

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Books are more than doctors, of course. Some novels are loving, life long companions, some give you a clip about the ear; others are friends who wrap you in warm towels when you’ve got those autumn blues. And some…well, some are pink candy floss that tingles your brain for three seconds and leaves a blissful void. Like a short, torrid love affair.

This book….it’s a bit hard to get my thoughts in order. I had considered using it for ‘Translated Novel’ but alas, upon much contemplation, I decided to use it for the Travelouge. Not only is a journey book, it is a journey about overcoming grief, finding yourself and laying your demons to rest.

Jean Perdu runs a boat Bookshop. He lives in an apartment with a strange cast of characters and calls his job a Literary Apothecary. He prescribes people the books they need vs the books they want. He becomes connected to the lady Catherine across the way, and his heart of stone stutters. 22 years ago, the love of his life left him and he sets out to find her, the meaning of life, and gains ragtag boat mates in addition to his two cats. Together they learn that life is a metaphor, true love, and laying your demons to rest. They set off down the Seline River in the Bookshop Boat, Lula, on a journey of self discovery and grieving.

This is one of those books that made me think, contemplate and gave me a bit of something in return. It’s by no means THE BEST NOVEL EVER, but it’s definitely thought provoking. It combines love of literature, overcoming the inner subconcious, and taking life and living it in search of the meaning to this thing called living.

I recommend it to book lovers everywhere. It didn’t read like a translated novel and enjoy your trip down the river and Southern France. 🙂

Max had underlined certain sentences in pencil and jotted some questions in the margins; he read the book as it ought to be read…

Reading- an endless journey; a long, indeed never ending journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind.

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