Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Everything I Never Told You [review]

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Published by Penguin Press on June 26, 2014
my rating: ★★★★
Goodreads avg:
3.85 (as of 2019-09-16)
Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author Website

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.


I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this, but I found myself hooked within the first fifty pages. This is the quietly beautiful examination of a family as they struggle with the loss of one of their children. The middle child of an interracial couple, Lydia is the dream girl, everything her parents couldn’t be. Losing her finally upsets a balance that had no business continuing as long as it did, and the family must come to terms with what they’ll discover, or risk losing everything.

At its core, this is really the story of secrets gone wrong. There are so many tipping points at which, had the characters chosen to act differently, a divergent outcome could have been triggered. James, the father, has rejected his background as the child of Chinese immigrants, wanting nothing more than to fit in. Marilyn, the mother, regrets allowing motherhood to overtake her dreams of medical school. Nath, the oldest son, feels unloved and forgotten. Lydia is pressured by both her parents to fit in and to succeed where they could not. Hannah, the youngest daughter, watches quietly from the background and notices what the others are too preoccupied to notice.

There is so much that is deeply explored here, and it is difficult to point fingers and place blame. One must come to terms with the fact that everyone in this book has made mistakes, and that their silence has come at a cost. Each of the characters is deeply sympathetic in their own ways and all of their stories are equally important. Don’t come into this book expecting an exciting thriller, because the who of Lydia’s death is less important than the why, and what will happen afterward.


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

The Price of Salt [review]

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
Published by She Winked Press on March 1, 2011 (originally 1952)
my rating: ★★★
Goodreads avg:
3.96 (as of 2019-09-13)
Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound 

Soon to be a new film, The Price of Salt tells the riveting story of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose salvation arrives one day in the form of Carol Aird, an alluring suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce. They fall in love and set out across the United States, pursued by a private investigator who eventually blackmails Carol into a choice between her daughter and her lover.


While this didn’t end up becoming a new favorite, I was able to appreciate both the writing and the importance of the novel in history. The Price of Salt was written in the 50s and is the book that the movie Carol was based off of. What I was expecting was the development of a relationship between two women with the quietest hints of romance; what I got was a frank exploration of a young woman’s blossoming sexuality. 

She wished she could kiss the person in the mirror and make her come to life, yet she stood perfectly still, like a painted portrait.

The main character, Therese, is a 21-year-old sales clerk at the outset of the book. She has a boyfriend who she feels little for and hopes to make a living as a set designer for plays. While working at a toy counter in a department store, she meets Carol, who quickly changes her life. The relationship between these two women was all-consuming and a little bit frightening. Therese is quite unsure of herself and there is a layer of anxiety the reader must wade through as the novel progresses. Therese and Carol eventually embark on a road trip that only enhances their whirlwind romance.

An indefinite longing, that she had been only vaguely conscious of at times before, became now a recognizable wish.

I’ll clarify here that classics and I do not always get along very well; I find the writing style in older books to be a bit more difficult to follow and think that a lot gets lost on me. It’s possible that this is what happened here. I did not understand Therese’s attraction to Carol, other than the fact that she was inexplicably drawn to this woman. I did not understand how she came to love Carol so deeply; to me she seemed quite cold and didn’t have much going for her. While Therese was quite a sympathetic character, I found myself a little lost and didn’t emotionally connect as strongly to the novel as I had hoped I would.

I feel I stand in a desert with my hands outstretched, and you are raining down upon me.

Overall, though, I do think this is worth reading. It is enjoyable to watch Therese find herself, and the book is littered with beautiful prose. Not only that, but it is refreshing to see queer women represented in literature written over 60 years ago. I have yet to see the movie, but am hoping to now that I’ve finally read the book that inspired it.


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Rebel Girls [review]

Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan
Published by Inkyard Press on September 10, 2019
my rating: ★★
Goodreads avg: 
3.68 (as of 2019-09-12)
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys—or anyone, for that matter. Plus her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at St. Ann’s, her conservative Catholic high school.

Then a malicious rumor starts spreading through the halls…a rumor that her popular, pretty, pro-life sister had an abortion over the summer. A rumor that has the power to not only hurt Helen, but possibly see her expelled.

Despite their wildly contrasting views, Athena, Helen, and their friends must find a way to convince the student body and the administration that it doesn’t matter what Helen did or didn’t do…even if their riot grrrl protests result in the expulsion of their entire rebel girl gang. 


This book was, unfortunately, a struggle for me. I loved the cover and was excited to read a political, feminist YA.  It just didn’t quite feel like that’s what I got. At first, I really enjoyed Athena’s thought processes and politics. What initially got me was how she ruminated upon the conflict one can face when trying to be a “good” feminist and respect other women while also struggling with the instinct to put them down when we feel threatened, something mainstream culture seems to have primed us to do. It gave me hope that the rest of the book would expand on this, and frame other struggles similarly. 

I slowly realized that this wouldn’t go any further; sure, Athena thinks these things, but she doesn’t do them! She is judging women and putting them down based on her superficial slotting of them into roles. Every character here is just a trope, and Athena herself doesn’t make any effort to see them differently than that. We are told that Athena is a good feminist who struggles to fight against what she has been conditioned to feel for other women, but we aren’t shown this to be true. This gave the book a superficiality that made it impossible for me to become invested in.

To get more into the characters themselves, they’re truly just an amalgamation of the pop culture they consume. Everyone is described only by what they listen to or read — except the mean girls, who are cardboard cut-out characters who have absolutely no redeemable qualities and are given absolutely no sympathy. I truly don’t understand how a book supposedly about justice and girl power could write women like this, but oh well. The constant pop culture references got stale very fast, and I found myself rolling my eyes every time they were brought up.

The plot was also confusing, I didn’t really understand what the author was trying to accomplish. The focus of the book is that Athena’s sister Helen is accused of getting an abortion. The book is mostly about Athena trying to figure out how to dispel these untrue rumors, but it’s also about Athena’s relationship with some guy who she had zero chemistry with? The scenes between them felt awkward and pointless and he only existed to further the mean girl plot. In an otherwise well-done book, I could have seen it as a play on how women are used as plot devices, but I truly don’t think that was the intention here. It felt like it was just thrown in to add to the drama Athena was going through. Not to mention that I essentially had to drag myself through the book; I kept checking the Goodreads page because I couldn’t believe that this was only 300 pages.

I feel bad, because I really wanted to like this and there was the potential for some good rep — Athena’s best friend is half Vietnamese and her other best friend is black — but none of the characters were sufficiently utilized or explored. Between that and the lack of an interesting plot, this just really fell flat for me.


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Aquarium [review]

Aquarium by David Vann
Published by Atlantic Monthly Press on March 3, 2015
my rating: ★★★★.5
Goodreads avg:
3.72 (as of 2019-09-10)
Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

Twelve-year-old Caitlin lives alone with her mother—a docker at the local container port—in subsidized housing next to an airport in Seattle. Each day, while she waits to be picked up after school, Caitlin visits the local aquarium to study the fish. Gazing at the creatures within the watery depths, Caitlin accesses a shimmering universe beyond her own. When she befriends an old man at the tanks one day, who seems as enamored of the fish as she, Caitlin cracks open a dark family secret and propels her once-blissful relationship with her mother toward a precipice of terrifying consequence.

In crystalline, chiseled yet graceful prose, Aquarium takes us into the heart of a brave young girl whose longing for love and capacity for forgiveness transforms the damaged people around her. 


Having added this to my TBR about a year ago and not remembering why, I checked this out of the library on a whim since I had some time to kill. I didn’t re-read the synopsis before jumping in and found myself being pulled through a curious story that in turn felt both unbelievably real and not real at all. In the simplest terms possible, this is the story of a girl named Caitlin who lives an unremarkable life with her single working mom. In actuality, nothing about this book is that simple.

I Google the street and see the crime rate at three times the national average, car theft almost six times higher. I think of my mother and the teachers at school letting me walk that route every day, and I’m filled with a rage that will never go away because it comes from some hollow vertigo unfinished. I feel dizzy with fear for my former self, and how can that be? I’m here now. I’m safe. I have a job. I’m thirty-two years old. I live in a better section of town. I should forgive and forget.

The story veers wildly between slice-of-life literary fiction and edge-of-your-seat drama. While I can see how this wouldn’t work for some, I was entranced by the characters and their stories. There is very little I can get into without spoilers, but there are some deeply, deeply horrifying moments squirreled away in here. And some deeply heartwarming ones as well. I really felt like I ran the gamut of emotions while reading this.

Lungfish can slow to one-sixtieth their normal metabolic rate, but this slows time, also. One night becomes sixty nights. This is the price for hiding. Just hold your breath for one minute and find out what a minute becomes.

Worth noting is also the fact that I hadn’t taken notice of the author’s gender and spent the entirety of this book thinking it had been written by a woman. While others have disagreed, I felt this was quite authentically written and was surprised by how carefully done some aspects were. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that the main character is in love with her (female) best friend and while there are some scenes that are sexual, they are portrayed in a way that I found quite tasteful and and innocent in nature.

Each thing that happens to us, each and every thing, it leaves some dent, and that dent will always be there. Each of us is a walking wreck.

Overall, I found myself deeply impacted by this book. Parts of it are truly harrowing, but the experience itself was worth it. I was quite impressed by Vann’s writing and really look forward to exploring more of his work.


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Mini-Review Compilation #16

The Night Sister

Jennifer McMahon has been a little hit-or-miss for me. I absolutely adored The Winter People but felt The Invited wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Fortunately, The Night Sister put her writing back on track for me. This is a creepy little novel that takes place in Vermont, where a mystery is unfolding over three different generations, all tied closely to The Tower Motel. 

I thought the time jumps were handled quite well and I suffered minimal confusion with them. I also quite liked most of the characters, although I felt the relationship between Piper and Amy was a little queerbait-y and wished there had been more to it (this was also something I struggled with in The Invited, but that may just have been my reading of it). The horror itself was handled well, it was spooky but not terrifying. And the way the plot unfurled was great, I didn’t see the twists coming and wasn’t sure how things would end until they did.

Overall, it was definitely an enjoyable book and a quick read. I’d definitely recommend it and will be reading more of McMahon’s work in the future.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Good People

This novel follows Nóra as she grapples with the grief of losing both her daughter and her husband. Left alone to care for her grandson, Micheál, who at four years old is no longer able to walk or talk, she takes in a maid named Mary to help her around the house. The book focuses quite closely on Irish superstition with particular attention paid to changeling lore. While the townspeople as a whole are quite superstitious, Nóra experiences a psychotic break of sorts that leads her to believe her grandson has been changed and is a fairy. She funnels her rage toward the boy, desperate for a cure.

What this book suffers from most, in my opinion, is it’s length. I felt like it took far too long to pick up its pace and was far too drawn out near the end. The content is difficult and this should have been a much more difficult read than it was, but I struggled to connect emotionally to any of the characters. There were a few parts where I felt some anxiety and really wanted to know what happened next, but for the most part I was just trying to get through it.

Rating: ⭐⭐.5

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing

This book and I just didn’t get along well. I can see why others would get something out of it, but it is a difficult read. I felt like I couldn’t fully comprehend the story and the message due to my struggle with the writing and it didn’t feel fair to halfheartedly finish this only to give it a poor rating because it was a bad fit. And, honestly, some of the content is harrowing and I’m really just not in a good place to push myself through that as well.

Rating: DNF


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

The Only Girl in the World [review]

The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien
Published by Little, Brown, and Company on December 12, 2017
my rating: ★★★★
Goodreads avg:
3.72 (as of 2019-09-02)
Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

For readers of Room and The Glass Castle, an astonishing memoir of one woman rising above an unimaginable childhood. Maude Julien’s parents were fanatics who believed it was their sacred duty to turn her into the ultimate survivor – raising her in isolation, tyrannizing her childhood and subjecting her to endless drills designed to “eliminate weakness.” Maude learned to hold an electric fence for minutes without flinching, and to sit perfectly still in a rat-infested cellar all night long (her mother sewed bells onto her clothes that would give her away if she moved). She endured a life without heat, hot water, adequate food, friendship, or any kind of affectionate treatment.

But Maude’s parents could not rule her inner life. Befriending the animals on the lonely estate as well as the characters in the novels she read in secret, young Maude nurtured in herself the compassion and love that her parents forbid as weak. And when, after more than a decade, an outsider managed to penetrate her family’s paranoid world, Maude seized her opportunity. 

By turns horrifying and magical, The Only Girl in the World is a story that will grip you from the first page and leave you spellbound, a chilling exploration of psychological control that ends with a glorious escape.


This was such an interesting and bizarre read that I found myself inhaling it in what amounted to essentially one sitting. Maude Julien’s parents raised her to be “superhuman” and did so through “trainings” that most of us would recognize as nothing short of abuse. Just one example of many is that Maude’s father would have her drink alcohol to excess whilst maintaining her composure and walking along a straight line.

I found the tone of the book quite interesting, as it borders on impassivity. Maude is writing this many years removed from the scenarios she describes and explains everything she endured quite matter-of-factly. Not only had Maude never experienced anything different — she had never even seen anything different than the life she was living. Instead of presenting the circumstances as she views them now, she is careful to present them as she viewed them then. For instance, she discusses her father’s telekinesis and telepathy as straight facts rather than clarifying that it was something he merely believed he could do. I felt that this served to really put the reader into the world as she lived it instead of just describing her youth.

Can an animal teach a person about happiness? In the depth of my despair, I am fortunate to have this incredible source of joy.

The thing that struck me most about this book was Maude’s relationship to the animals on their property. It was heartbreaking to see the abuse the animals endured alongside her, but also incredible that she was able to find love and comfort in some form. I was amazed at how Maude was able to truly become her own person even while so firmly held within the grasp of her parents.

I was also intrigued by Maude’s later life, after she leaves her family, and wish she would have given some more depth to that period of her life, but also understood that this book serves only to describe her childhood and her eventual escape. The reader is given a bit more information in the epilogue, but I’d argue that a second book could be written about her adjustments to “normal” life as well as her journey to truly freeing her mind.

My father hammers into me that fear is the ‘indulgence of the weak’. But however hard I try, I am terrified all the time.

Overall, this was quite an interesting read. It may be a little intense for some, due to the extensive abuse portrayed, but if you think you would be able to handle the material I do recommend it.


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Bookworm Blogging, Monthly Wrap-Ups

August 2019 Wrap-Up

Sooo August was an unusually productive reading month for me because I had an excess of free time where pretty much all I could do was read. I don’t expect more like this, but it was still a nice surprise!

Books Read:

  • The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon. 4 stars, review.
  • Truth or Beard by Penny Reid. 4 stars, review.
  • Dark Web by Kelvin Teo. 1 star, review.
  • Typhoid Mary by Charlie Dalton. 3 stars.
  • Amatka by Karin Tidbeck. 3.5 stars, review.
  • We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach. 4 stars, review.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. 4.5 stars, review.
  • Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen. 3.5 stars, review.
  • Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon. 3.5 stars, review.
  • The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney. 3.5 stars, review.
  • The Good People by Hannah Kent. 2.5 stars, review.
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness. 2.5 stars, review.
  • Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson. 4 stars, review.
  • The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien. 4 stars, review to come.
  • Pleased to Meet Me by Bill Sullivan. 4 stars, review.
  • All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld. 3 stars, review to come.

Books read: 16 (!!!!!)
Average rating: 3.4 stars

Other Media:

Notable Posts by Others:

  • Jemma explains what endometriosis actually is. As an endo sufferer, I appreciate awareness-raising stuff!

My Month in Photos:

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Book Tags

I Dare You [book tag]

Hi all, it’s been a while since I’ve done a tag! I didn’t realize how on top of my review game I was until just now. So let’s mix it up a bit with this meme Charlotte tagged me in… THREE months ago. Go follow Charlotte btw, she has a great blog!

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

This is a tough one because so many of my books are at my mom’s, but I’m going to guess A Moose for Jessica! It’s literally about a moose who falls in love with a cow named Jessica and it’s a TRUE STORY and I adore it.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

My current reads are Rebel Girls and A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, the first of which is an ARC and the second of which I’m reading with my Women’s Prize group (except I’m extremely late because they’ve all finished already!). My last read was All the Birds, Singing, which I still haven’t managed to review. Next I’ll probably read Everything I Never Told You (which I was also supposed to read with a friend a little while ago — oops!).

What book did everyone like, but you hated?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. My nemesis. We meet again.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but probably won’t?

Honestly, I’m trying really hard not to do this anymore! I’ve unhauled lots of books in the hopes that I’ll only keep what I’ll read. That being said, possibly Women Who Run with the Wolves, which I’ve had a physical copy of for 5 years and keep forgetting about.

What book are you saving for retirement?

This is a terrifying question and I don’t understand why I’m being asked it.

Last page: read it first, or wait ’till the end?

I absolutely will NOT read it first. People who do this are so chaotic. I respect them, but I don’t understand them.

Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

Depends on the acknowledgement. Waste of paper if it’s just a list of names, interesting aside if it actually gives a bit more insight into the writing.

Which book character would you switch places with?

Honestly, not sure I’ve found the perfect one yet!

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)

I read the entirety of Mother Night while on a bus to Boston with someone very important to me, so it reminds me of those few hours.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I don’t think I’ve acquired any books in “interesting” ways, ha.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason/to a special person?

Nah, I really only give away books that I don’t want anymore.

Which book has been with you most places?

Probably House of Leaves, because it took sooo long to read!

Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Hmmm nah, I haven’t reread any required reading unless I enjoyed it.

Used or brand new?

I don’t have much of a preference, but since I don’t buy many books anymore I do prefer to buy new if it’s an author I’d like to support!

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Several. They were enjoyable when I was in high school!

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

The Jurassic Park movies are arguably better than the books. The first book comes close to the first movie, but the second movie is better than the second book for sure.

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Pretty much any book that describes good food!

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Everyone in the Women’s Prize Squad: Rachel, Naty, Hannah, Emily, Callum, and Steph!

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

I actually DNFed Freshwater the first time I read it because I found it so difficult to read, but I ended up loving it the second time around!


I’m not going to tag anyone, but please let me know if you end up doing this! 🙂

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Undead Girl Gang [review]

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Published by Razorbill on May 8, 2018
my rating: ★★★★
Goodreads avg:
3.79 (as of 2019-08-27)
Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again. 


This was a really fun read with plenty to enjoy! The main character, Mila, is a fat latinx girl who practices Wicca with her best friend Riley. While I can’t personally speak to any of the rep, I’ve seen glowing ownvoices reviews about (that I can no longer locate but would be happy to link should I come across any or have any shared with me in the meantime). We find out right off the bat that Riley has died under mysterious circumstances, and Mila funnels her grief into investigating her best friend’s death.

The problem with your best friend dying is that there’s no one to sit with you at funerals.

The story has a great balance of serious topics and humor. There is a large exploration of grief’s impact, from the way it changes one’s own behaviors to the way it changes how others interact with a grieving person. But mixed in, there are plenty of cute moments and funny quips to lighten the mood. Dark humor is definitely a huge part of this book.

“And, for fuck’s sake, stop using normal as code for white,” I snap. “Your life isn’t the ruler that the rest of the world gets measured against.”

It was quite good, but not perfect. There were moments when I had some difficulty telling characters apart. I wish there had been some aspects that had been explored further, like Mila’s status as a bruja. I also felt like the twist hadn’t been properly set up and came a little out of left field.

I feel like I’ve been betraying them every time I’m not miserable. And I know that’s not how grief works. One second of being happy doesn’t erase all the other moments of mourning. I know that I can’t stay sad all day, every day.

As a whole, though, this was quite fun and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested.


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

More Than This [review]

More Than This by Patrick Ness
Published by Candlewick on September 10, 2013
my rating: ★★.5
Goodreads avg:
4.00 (as of 2019-08-26)

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .


PSA: There will be spoilers!

I felt quite underwhelmed with More Than This, which is a shame since so many people seem to have loved it. This is the story of a boy named Seth who wakes up in a strange place with the echoes of his death still ringing in his head. While the landscape is familiar, it is a world overrun with decay and there are no other human beings in sight. Seth is convinced he is in Hell, and the reader isn’t quite sure what to believe.

To start with, I really enjoyed it. I liked the idea of a strange afterlife like this, and was increasingly convinced that Seth was actually in a purgatory of sorts, someplace liminal and in-between. I liked the flashbacks that we got, and felt the pacing was good. Seth would wander and contemplate for just the right amount of time before something new cropped up to grab our attention. And I was excited when the two (technically three) new characters were introduced.

It really dropped off for me after that. Once the plot started to shift, I stopped caring almost entirely. It wasn’t unreadable by any means, but I found myself pushing through so I could see how things ended rather than caring about the journey. Maybe I’m just jaded but… I’ve seen The Matrix and felt like I was just reading a new version. I didn’t find it to be a novel, exciting concept and felt like so much was left unexplained — in a lazy way, not an intriguing way. And honestly, I felt like a lot of things were dropped in just for shock value rather than actually adding much to the book itself.

All this is not to say that it’s a bad book! Patrick Ness is a talented writer and there was plenty to enjoy. I was incredulous to find out that this was a 480-page read because it seemed to fly by so quickly. I don’t want my criticisms to turn anyone off reading it, unless they seem like things that are pet peeves of yours as well.


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