Our Chemical Hearts

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland 
☆☆☆☆☆/5

THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016

Genre: YA Fiction 

‘I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between shadow and soul.’

I spend alot of time reading YA books. Because I like them and the issues they present and I like to be up to date, so to speak. This one blew me away. 

Henry is a senior at high school and has been selected to be the editor of his HS paper. Alongside the mysterious new girl who takes his breath away and drives him to madness. Grace Town is dark. Mysterious. Gothic. And has secrets. Henry attempts to woo her and discovers that love it not eternal, that love at first sight does not exsist and that life is filled with disappointment. 
I really enjoyed this one because for once, it’s not the male being a dick and emotionally draining. It is through Henry’s perspective and is alot about his idea of love with Grace Town who is mourning her dead boy friend by wearing his clothes and being a genral nut case. To quote Perks:

‘We accept the love we think we deserve.’

This book does not have a happy ending where everything falls into place and everyone lives happily ever after. This is a book that is emotionally raw and true to what love is really like and built on totally believable circumstances and how your first love might not be your last. 

I highly recommend this one. Especially for those who were disappointed by The Fault in Our Stars like I was.

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H is for Hawk 

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
☆☆☆☆/5

THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016

Genre: Memior

It was the rage of something not fitting: the frustration of trying to put something in a box that is slightly too small. You try moving the shape around in the hope that some angle will make it fit in the box. Slowly comes an apprehension that this may not, after all, be possible. And finally you know it won’t fit, there is no way it can fit, but that doesn’t stop you from using brute force to try to crush it in, punishing the bloody thing for not fitting properly. That is what it was like but I was the box, I was the thing that didn’t fit, and I was the person smashing it, over and over again, with bruised and bleeding hands.

I read this one because Amanda Palmer recommend it. It’s an award winner and considered one of the best books of last year. I liked it, however, most on Goodreads remain baffled. 
It is a memior. About a young woman who loses her father suddenly and takes up falconry. She gets a Goshawk, which is one of the bigger breeds, and with no hesitation, trains her. Facing depression and the madness of losing her father, she embraces Mabel and her wild side and learns alot about herself in the process. 
There was ALOT about T.H. White and his book about falconry. It runs almost parallel to Helen’s story, and how each faced their own separate struggles. I know alot of people disliked this aspect because it is a memior and not historical fiction. Helen is an accomplished nature enthusiast and Mabel is not her first hawk, but it is her first Goshawk. 
The prose was beautiful in parts as you travel along with Helen, and you can feel her grief in the pages. 
I do recommend this, but keep in mind it’s not for everyone. I learned more about falconry than I ever thought possible. XD

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Praying Drunk

Praying Drunk by Kyle Minon

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

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Q:What was the purpose of this book?
A: A

catalogue of stories and sadness, beginnings and endings, the stuff of childhood, death. Nothing new can happen here, so all you do is think about the days of life when possibility hadn’t been ripped from you forever, when anything could happen, and wonder why so much was squandered. So much

wasted.

This book was a collection of short stories about the incredibly depressing life of the author. It opens up with the story of how his uncle commited suicide, and continues on to the dark crevices of someone who suffers from manic depression. Preacher turned author Kyle captures the rawness of hurt and solitude in such a way that you will cry while reading and possibly throw up a bit.

This was a terrifyingly good read. I recommend it to those who like books on the morbid side.

If I lose my demons, I lose my angels as well.

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The Cat

The Cat by Edeet Ravel

☆☆☆☆☆/5
Genre: Fiction
THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
Trigger Warning: Grief/Death/Depression/Suicide

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But there are no rewrites in life. No matter how implausible and unlikely an event, there is no rewriting it.

Single mom Elsie takes her son to the shelter to adopt a cat. They pick Pursie (short for Persephone) and take her home. 5 years later, her son is accidently killed in their front yard by a driver under the influence and Elsie is forced to stay alive. For Pursie.

This book was about the madness and depression that comes with the passing of a loved one. Elsie was tormented, broken, suicidal and only managed to hold on because she needed to care for her sons beloved cat  (who was quite the character.) Over the course of the story, you see her begin to pull through and to be ‘okay’.

I did all right. I don’t know what’s worse, feeling deranged or doing all right. For there’s something ruthless about doing all right.

You see her begin to try and to take note and attempt to get better. She faces this journey alone and at the end reaches out to people.

This book struck a chord with me on a deep, emotional level. I have been in that dark and lonely place and the only thing keeping me grounded was my cats and their needs. No matter what, no matter how bad my brain was, they never went hungry or had dirty boxes. They are my rocks, as Pursie was for Elsie. She resented her for awhile because she wanted to join her son on the other side, but she realized having Pursie there saved her.

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(My cats continue to keep me grounded.)

I HIGHLY recommend this book. I thought it summed up depression and grief in a way that is highly relatable. The pain was very real and it shows that animals can be our shining light in the darkest of times.

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The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

☆☆☆☆/5
Genre: Fiction
17/Clearly not 40 THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016

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Its unlikely to be alive, isn’t it? The right temperature and gravity, the right atoms combining at the precise right moment, you’d think it would never happen…Life, it’s so unlikely…It’s so much better than we think, isn’t it?

Oh, I liked this one. I have a good judge of whimsical picking I think.

It is almost impossible to capture true sadness; it is a deep sea creature that can never be brought into view. I say that I remember being sad, but in truth I only remember mornings when that person- the person which I contained- could not go to work, could not do the things she knew could save her, and instead did only what was bound to destroy her: alcohol, forbidden cigarettes, and endless lost, black hours of lonliness.

Greta Wells is 31 years old and has just lost her twin brother. In the torment of depression, she undergoes electoshock therapy to get better. Instead she finds herself transplanted from her world of 1985 and in the war torn 1918. As a Greta from a different life. Another treatment later, she finds herself in 1945. The people around her are the same, but their lives lead different paths. Each treatment leads to another time shift between these years. Greta takes it upon herself to help the “other” Gretas’ while facing the choice of what time she thinks she’s best suited for. In 1919 where her husband has returned from the world a changed man? In 1945 where she is both wife and mother at the start of WWII? Or in her own time in 1985, where he brother has died and her lover left her? The choice is both hard and suprising. (Just to clarify, in each world there was a Greta, Aunt Ruth, Felix [brother], Nathan [husband/lover], Alan [Felix’s boyfriend], and so on).

This book was beautifully written and captured depression in a way that makes sense. To lose someone you love and the choices you make that define your life. The Launguage was beautifully poised and flowed flawlessly. If you could, would you sacrifice everything to be with your loved ones again? It also took a good look at how homosexulaity was treated during different time frames.

If only we just loved who we’re supposed to love.

I highly recommend this book. Everything about it was good. 🙂 As a side note, it took twice as long to read as it should have due to the migrane and I have found my notes illegible. D:

But we do wake, each of us, to find things have gone differently. The love we thought had killed us has not killed us after all, and the dream we had for ourselves has shifted elsewhere, like a planet our starship is set for; we have but to lift our heads and right ourselves, move toward it once again and start the day. We will not get there in our lifetime…What’s the point? A journey to the stars that none will see but our children’s children?

To see the shape of life, is all we answer.

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