Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Mini-Review Compilation #4

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At the Water’s Edge
cw: domestic abuse, gaslighting, drug abuse/addiction

At the Water’s Edge probably isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own. I got it through a Postal Book Club that my friend Rachel is running, and I honestly put off reading it until the end of the month because I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it. I’m not big on historical fiction, although I did enjoy Water for Elephants, by the same author. I really didn’t think there was anything in this for me, but I was wrong.

The first hundred pages kind of dragged on for me, but after that, things really picked up! I sat down to read another 50 pages or so, and next thing I knew it had been almost two hours. The only reason I put it away was because I needed to get to bed and didn’t want to fall asleep while reading the end. I finished it first thing the next morning, poring through the last several dozen pages at my local coffee shop. Had it not been for the slow start, I would have given it five stars!

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Like Water

This is one of those books that I loved so much I don’t know how to write a review about it. I think all I really need to say is that it’s a queer latinx story with a genderqueer love interest and is beautiful and precious and definitely made me cry. There are so many good things about this. The MC casually realizes she’s bi and it’s not a huge deal and the MC is not only confident about her body, but also recognizes that different kinds of bodies are beautiful in different ways. There are just some lovely messages in this and the romance itself is beautiful and I highly recommend this read.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Good Me, Bad Me
cw: domestic abuse, pedophilia, assault

This was incredibly well-written and conceptually very interesting. It’s about the daughter of a serial killer, who turned in her mother in order to avoid her own demise. It’s a lot of introspection, but even though we’re inside the main character’s head, there’s still a lot of the story missing. Definitely an interesting read if you like unreliable narrators. I enjoyed it, but just didn’t find myself as invested in the story as I would have liked. I still recommend it, though.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these books? If so, what were your thoughts?

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(Covers courtesy of Goodreads)

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Strange Weather [review]

Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on October 24, 2017
432 
pages.
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg: 
4.01
cw: see below

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill.

“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.

A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”

On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.

In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.

As y’all may or may not remember, I went to Joe Hill’s release of Strange Weather a little while back and I finally finished this masterpiece recently. As the above blurb indicates, this is a compilation of four short novels written by Joe Hill. Each novel has an eerie twist to it — most are supernatural in some way and one isn’t.

This collection was an easy five stars for me. Each story blew me away in one way or another. Joe’s writing never fails to be any less than spectacular, he really is an incredible storyteller. Below I’ll go through and detail my thoughts on each story (and also share some of the relevant content warnings). They were all five-star reads for me, so ratings aren’t necessary this time around!

“Snapshot” is the first piece in the book and it reeled me right in. I had a visceral reaction to this one, it had me on the edge of my seat and I could actually feel the fear coursing through me. It was the combination of the tone of the writing and the content itself. The only cw I can think of currently is for memory loss, as it’s pretty heartbreaking in the context of this story. I may or may not have cried at the end of this one.

There was no obvious reason for caution — but a lot of our best thinking takes place well below the level of conscious cognition and has nothing to do with rationality.

“Loaded” was the second piece and it was an intense one, a take on modern gun violence and police brutality. This was also a very painful read, there are a few scenes that I wasn’t expecting and I damn near lost my mind reading them. I actually had to put down the book and message Destiny at one point because I knew she would wail over one scene in particular with me. cw racism, domestic abuse, suicide, alcoholism

“Aloft” was the third piece. I had heard an excerpt from this at Joe’s reading, so I knew a bit about the piece and where it was going. Where it went after that excerpt was kind of wild, though. It went in a direction I wasn’t really expecting, but I enjoyed that aspect of it a lot! This was probably the weakest story in the collection imo, but still very good.

It is odd how much we want to be in love when you think about how much anxiety comes with it, like a tax on money you win in the lottery.

“Rain” was yet another heart-wrenching story. But!!! The main character is a queer woman, so that’s rad. The concept here was really cool too, especially because there was a somewhat scientific aspect behind it (although I can’t speak to how accurate that actually was). cws for homophobia and animal death, there’s actually a somewhat graphic illustration on the title page (right after “Aloft”) that might startle or upset some people, so please keep that in mind!!

Overall, this was such a stunning collection and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of Joe Hill’s work, as there’s still some stuff I haven’t read yet!

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

There’s Someone Inside Your House [review]

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on September 26, 2017
289 
pages.
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:
3.44
cw: statutory rape, suicide

Spoiler-free Review

GoodreadsIndieBoundAuthor’s Website

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

Wow y’all, this was such a fun read!! I wasn’t sure what to expect going into a YA slasher, but I had heard it was less scary and more corny, which is totally up my alley. I’m definitely going to second this sentiment — if you’re like me and love horror but get scared easily, you might like this book. While there’s a bit of suspense and some gore, it didn’t turn me into an anxious mess or anything. I was on the edge of my seat a few times, but mostly comfortable with my reading experience.

The next morning, the entire school was buzzing about two things: the brutal slaying of Haley Whitehall and Ollie Larsson’s newly pinkened hair.

I adored the romance, I’m a huge sucker for YA romance and as far as that part of the storyline went, this leaned toward YA contemporary. I gushed over Makani and Ollie endlessly and felt that they had a pretty healthy relationship. It was also nice to see them interacting with each other’s guardians! I felt like it was a pretty realistic portrayal of how dating as a teen works.

It had been so long since Makani had felt any amount of genuine, unadulterated happiness that she’d forgotten that sometimes it could hurt as much as sadness.

I did have a few issues, which is why this wasn’t a five star read for me. While I enjoyed the writing as a whole, I tripped over several awkwardly-written sentences and grammatical errors. I also didn’t care for Makani’s mysterious backstory. I felt like the reader kept getting hit in the face with it and when it was finally revealed, I was just kind of like “…okay?” Maybe it was just me, but it felt kind of forced and more like filler than anything else.

There is a huge yikes moment at the beginning where the author deadnames a trans character. From what I’ve seen and been told, this was brought up to the author by beta readers and was still put into the final copy. I’m cis and can only speak to the topic so much, but it was an unnecessary inclusion and could have been easily adjusted or removed.

Other than those issues, I did enjoy the book. It was a quick read that could have used a little more polishing. It was nice to see some diversity, although again the portrayals are something I cannot speak to fully. I would love to hear your thoughts on There’s Someone Inside Your House in the comments, whether or not you’ve read it.

(This book features a non-white MC and a trans side character. Please contact me with any ownvoices reviews that you would like featured here.)

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(Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

These Violent Delights [review]

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These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung
Published by Griffith Moon on November 7, 2017
243 pages.
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
goodreads avg:
3.77
cw: 
eating disorders, suicide, sexual assault, pedophilia

Spoiler-free Review of an eARC provided by NetGalley.

Goodreads IndieBound |  Author’s Website

At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us. A suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view, the novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when going into this book. I loved the cover and when I skimmed the blurb, it definitely seemed like something up my alley. While the book had several positive points, it was overall underwhelming for me and kind of fell in the middle of the road as far as enjoyment went.

Overall, the message in the book was great. It was extremely supportive of survivors from all over the spectrum — the MC often feels guilty and like her assault wasn’t “bad enough” and is quickly disagreed with by the other characters. I also like how all of the survivors were their own people, they had different experiences, different histories, and different reactions. It demonstrates that anyone can be a survivor and that there isn’t one “right way” to deal with things.

I felt like the writing itself could have used some more work. I didn’t feel emotionally connected to any of the characters, and so the book wasn’t as hard-hitting for me as it should have been. There was a romance that felt largely out-of-place to me and I wasn’t sure why it had been included. There was some stuff toward the end that I felt was mostly for the sake of shock value and that added very little to the story, for me anyway.

I wouldn’t steer anyone away from this book if they’re interested, but I also don’t see myself recommending it to anyone. I feel like there are better portrayals of assault survivors out there to read.

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Where Am I Now? [review]

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Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
Published by Penguin Books on September 13, 2016
259 pages.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
cw: 
maternal death, anxiety, OCD

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads IndieBound Author’s Website

Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and one of the few former child actors who has never been in jail or rehab.

Tackling everything from how she first learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to losing her mother at a young age, to getting her first kiss (or was it kisses?) on a celebrity canoe trip, to not being “cute” enough to make it in Hollywood, these essays tell the story of one young woman’s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity.

But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belong. Exquisitely crafted, revelatory, and full of the crack comic timing that has made Mara Wilson a sought-after live storyteller and Twitter star, Where Am I Now? introduces a witty, perceptive, and refreshingly candid new literary voice.

I’ve been a fan of Mara Wilson for ages now. Like almost everyone else, I loved her in Matilda, but I kind of lost track of her after that. A few years ago, I ended up following her on Twitter and found myself deeply admiring the person she had grown into. She’s witty, deeply into social justice, and has a take-no-shit attitude that I love. So when I heard Where Am I Now? was coming out, I knew I had to read it. Of course, it took me a while to actually get to it, but I’m really glad I did!

Being a celebrity meant being vulnerable. It meant my face, my body, even my death were for public consumption — none of them was mine alone.

Where Am I Now? is a series of stories and essays about Mara’s life. Each chapter has a theme, usually one that revolves around something specific that she experienced. She covers everything from child acting, to high school girls, to the death of her mother. Somehow she’s managed to capture the perfect mix of humor and solemnity, speaking about grave topics with grace.

There must have been days when I did more, but I have no memory of them.

The sections that resonated most with me were about Mara’s experiences with mental illness, including depression, anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While I don’t have any personal experience with OCD, my depression and anxiety both began in childhood and while reading, I kept gaping at sentences that I felt described my past self perfectly.

This ended up being a very quick read for me (two or three days?) and I can see this becoming one of my most highly-recommended books. I think that Mara’s writing is very accessible, and that this is something that can be enjoyed by just about everyone. Definitely pick it up if you get a chance!

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance [review]

**Note: This book was received through NetGalley. Review was written May 12, 2017.


Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
To be published by St. Martin’s Press on November 7, 2017
Kindle NetGalley Edition, 352 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1-250-11204-0

I downloaded Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance off NetGalley by chance. My account there had been languishing for, well, years. I decided to hop back on and see if I could find anything worth reading. And after just a few minutes, I stumbled across BoEC. I loved the cover and thought the synopsis seemed intriguing, so I downloaded my copy and set off.

To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy the book as I was starting out! It took me a bit to get used to the first-person POV and the writing seemed a little infantile. I did note that the characters we heard from at first were children, so infantile was realistic. And I’m glad I pushed through and gave it a chance, because it just got better and better.

BoEC is a story set in modern America about a boy named Weylyn Grey who has inexplicable abilities, namely communicating with animals and influencing the weather. The book is a story of his life, told almost entirely through the perspective of others. The POV switches frequently, and we get to see Weylyn through many different eyes, though almost never through his own. I don’t want to get too much into the plot because it’s easy to give things away, but I will say that it kept me interested and that I was never quite sure what was going to happen next.

There were a couple characters that I wish had been touched on more. First, Weylyn’s parents. They do come up, and we quickly learn that he’s an orphan, but they just sort of feel really hollow to me. It’s obvious that they were just killed in order for Weylyn to have this journey. They never really come up except when convenient to the plotline at hand. I also wish there had been more about Weylyn’s adopted mom and Mary’s dad. They both kind of just vanish after they serve their purpose, making them feel more like plot points than characters. This is true of some of the other secondary characters as well, but these folks feel like they should have been of more importance to both Mary and Weylyn’s lives.

Overall, though, I loved this book. Once I got into the rhythm of things, I didn’t want to put it down. I almost missed my T stop several times while reading. I really felt immersed in the world Ruth Emmie Lang created and sympathized so much with the characters. No spoilers, but the ending made me SO emotional and gave me so many goosebumps. Lang really knows how to thread an ending together.

Takeaway: This book is beautiful. Please read it. Please, please read it.

Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

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Starfish [review]


Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Published by Simon Pulse on September 26, 2017
320 pages.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
cw: 
sexual assault, racism, emotional abuse, victim blaming, portrayals of anxiety, suicide

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads IndieBound Author’s Website

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

This is a book I really wish my younger self could have read. There are so many deep, important subjects here that I feel are covered in a healthy, realistic way. Kiko is a biracial girl living in an overwhelmingly-white town who finds herself dealing with the intersection of several different issues: racism (both from her classmates and her white mother), abuse (both emotional and sexual), and mental illness (severe social anxiety).

I feel weird just standing there listening. Do other people do that? Move from circle to circle, socializing with everyone like they all know each other? It seems invasive. I don’t know the rules.

As a white woman who was raised in rural New England, I am constantly learning and growing when it comes to issues surrounding race. Because of this, I defer to own voices reviews when it comes to aspects of race in books. However, I can speak to some extent to the latter two topics mentioned above. I felt that Akemi’s portrayal of sexual assault and social anxiety were both spot-on. Of course, everyone’s experiences are different, but I really saw my own reflected here, which made me feel understood and validated. My one issue being that both Kiko and her friends tended to joke about and/or accuse her abusive mother of being bipolar or narcissistic. It was definitely a bummer to see an author attempt to destigmatize one form of mental illness while at the same time continuing to stigmatize others.

I paint three faceless people–one becomes the sky, one becomes the ocean, and one becomes the sun. They live apart for eternity because they don’t belong together.

I loved pretty much everything else about this book. I found myself hooked into the plot right from the beginning. I really felt like I was in Kiko’s head and her emotions became my own. I adored the focus on her art and the descriptions of her pieces (or lack thereof) at the end of each chapter. I thought it was just wonderful to have a romantic subplot that wasn’t the focus of everything, and it was wonderful to have a character whose emotional well-being was not tied to their romantic relationship. I think a lot of folx (myself included) struggle to find a balance in relationships where they are able to use their partner for support without using them as a crutch. I was so happy that Akemi was able to depict a protagonist who could do this, especially since it was depicted as something that involved conscientiousness and work to do.

He looks confused, and of course he is. Normal people don’t need to prepare for social interactions. Normal people don’t panic at the sight of strangers. Normal people don’t want to cry because the plan they’ve processed in their head is suddenly not the plan that’s going to happen.

In short, I loved this book and I cannot recommend it enough. I’m so glad that I got my hands on a copy and I really can’t wait to see what Akemi puts out next. Please let me know if you’ve read this and, if so, what your thoughts were! If you haven’t read it, do you plan to? Also, how beautiful is the cover??

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(Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Fen [review]


Fen by Daisy Jonhson
Published by Graywolf Press on May 2, 2017
208 pages.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
cw:
eating disorders, pedophilia, incest

Goodreads IndieBound | Author’s Website

Daisy Johnson’s Fen, set in the fenlands of England, transmutes the flat, uncanny landscape into a rich, brooding atmosphere. From that territory grow stories that blend folklore and restless invention to turn out something entirely new. Amid the marshy paths of the fens, a teenager might starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl and grow jealous of her friend. A boy might return from the dead in the guise of a fox.

Out beyond the confines of realism, the familiar instincts of sex and hunger blend with the shifting, unpredictable wild as the line between human and animal is effaced by myth and metamorphosis. With a fresh and utterly contemporary voice, Johnson lays bare these stories of women testing the limits of their power to create a startling work of fiction.

I saw a staff member recommendation in a local bookstore that this was similar to Karen Russell’s work. Vampires in the Lemon Grove is my favorite short story collection, so I was really stoked to get my hands on this! The library didn’t have a copy, but ordered it shortly after I sent in a request. I was delighted to get it. I think all of the versions have beautiful covers and I was contemplating buying one of each if this ended up being a 5-star read. As is, I still may end up picking up a copy of my own.

Watch out for the affection. It comes at odd, awful moments, mainly when he is not there: brushing your teeth, opening the door for a parcel, at the photocopying machine. There is nothing much about him you can see which would do this to you. Affection, you tell your housemates, is a sort of sickness.

Johnson has such a smooth, unique voice. Her writing is quite beautiful and her prose borders on poetry. Even when it comes to disturbing content, she writes with a soothing cadence. I have absolutely no complaints as far as her writing goes, but the stories themselves just weren’t for me. There were a few that I really liked, but most of them didn’t do much to capture me. Below, I’ve provided a list of the stories included and my rating for each:

Starver   ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Blood Rites   ⭐️⭐️⭐️
A Bruise the Shape and Size of a Door Handle   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
How to Lose It   ⭐️⭐️
How to Fuck a Man You Don’t Know   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Language   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Superstition of Albatross   ⭐️⭐️⭐️
A Heavy Devotion   ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Scattering   ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Birthing Stones   ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Cull   ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Lighthouse Keeper   ⭐️⭐️⭐️

If the blurb intrigues you, I would absolutely recommend that you read this. While it didn’t quite work for me, I think that this is a collection that is well-worth reading if you like the concepts hinted at. Although, do keep in mind the CWs I posted above, as there are some sensitive topics covered. If you do check it out–or if you’ve read it already–please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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(Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

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All the Crooked Saints [review]


All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
To be published by Scholastic Press on October 10, 2017
320 pages.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
I would like to thank Scholastic for providing me an ARC of the book. This in no way impacts my review.

Goodreads IndieBound | Author’s Website

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

I don’t think Maggie Stiefvater’s prose will ever fail to do anything less than stun me. In each of her works, she has such a beautiful, unique voice and I find myself scribbling quotes into my notebook at a rapid pace. All the Crooked Saints was no exception.

…the truth is that we men and women often hate to be rid of the familiar, and sometimes our darkness is the thing we know the best.

On the other hand, I’m fairly certain that if this hadn’t been written by Stiefvater, I would have DNFed it. In fact, I almost did, probably ~80 pages in. I typically give books around 50 pages to really pull me in, sometimes more if I’m really on the fence. And I was really on the fence here, but I kept telling myself, “Hey, this is Maggie! Ya gotta keep going.” Don’t worry kids, I’m glad I kept going.

…and he knew to search for her in all of the places you might hope to find a cat or a venomous lizard–on top of roofs, hooked on tree branches, stretched in the dust beneath trucks.

I think my biggest issue with this book was that I didn’t feel invested in the characters for quite some time. I thought the writing was lovely, but I also just… didn’t care about the plot. I felt like it was written so matter-of-factly that I found it difficult for me become emotionally engaged with the content. I mean it makes sense, considering Beatriz’ manner of thinking, but I just struggled too much to connect.

One compliments a man when one compliments his chosen home…

The last third of the book really pulled things together for me. I felt that things were tied up well and I liked everything that happened, I finally found myself drawn into the story. It just didn’t hook me deep like a 4- or 5-star book would, though. I still love Stiefvater’s work and I will absolutely pick up whatever she puts out next, but All the Crooked Saints just didn’t do it for me this time around.

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(Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

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The Raven Boys [review]


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #1)
Published by Scholastic Press on September 18, 2012
409 pages.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
cw: 
domestic abuse, self-harm

Goodreads IndieBound Author’s Website

So I am finally jumping on the TRC train! I first read The Raven Boys in late 2013, I believe. I had gotten it as a gift and was on winter break from college–winter break is such a good time to get reading done and I miss it so much–and I just remember devouring it. Quite a while later, I picked up The Dream Thieves and I just… couldn’t get it into it. Mostly because it had been so long since I had read TRB that I could barely remember a thing! So I DNFed it and haven’t picked up any TRC books since.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking that the series deserved another shot from me. My bff Grace mentioned that she wanted to reread the series (she adores it), so I suggested a buddy read! And here we are. I’ve completed the first book, and it will probably be a couple more weeks until we move onto the second. In the meantime, here’s my review!

I can’t believe I forgot how wonderful this book is. Everything Steifvater does in it is incredible. The prose itself, the dialogue, the characters, the settings. It all just comes together to create this beautiful experience. I tore through the book in just a couple days and loved every second of it.

Even when they were quiet, people really were the noisiest animals.

Okay, y’all know I’m not usually one to gush, but I neeeed to gush about these boys. Adam is honestly perfect and I want to shrink him down and put him in my pocket and keep him safe from literally everything in this cruel world. Ronan is a Bad Boy and sulky and dark and loves his baby bird and is basically everything high school me would have loved. Gansey is living in his own world and somehow manages to offend everyone while also being a precious angel. And Noah is darling and cute and sad and I adore him. (Sidenote: There is NO WAY Adam does not know how to drive a stick shift and I refuse to believe that he doesn’t.)

Sometimes, Gansey felt like his live was made up of a dozen hours that he could never forget.

Of course Blue is the best character out of all of them. Part of me is like “you should try to be critical, is she a Mary Sue?” and the rest of me is like “who cares, she’s awesome and we deserve more female characters like her.” I want to say Blue reminds me of me, but she’s like a way cooler version of me, kind of. Anyway. Blue. She’s great.

Gansey looked up to them, and she saw in his face that he loved this place… She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big it felt like sadness. It was the way she felt when she looked at the stars.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Stiefvater’s writing is just gorgeous and even if the story isn’t your thing, I think anyone can appreciate the talent she has. It’s worth a shot, anyway. To be honest, though, I didn’t love the ending. It was too abrupt and a little confusing to me–and I think I felt the same way the first time around. But I’ll see how it ties in to the rest of the series before I make a full judgment.

Okay, TRC fans: please let’s discuss. I am all about this book right now. And people who haven’t read TRC: read it so we can discuss, okay?

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