BookTube-A-Thon is over and I feel completely satisfied with all the reading I was able to do. I completed all of the challenges and had so much fun doing it! I’m definitely going to be participating again in the future. Here’s a belated look at what I thought of everything!
This is my first time participating in Bout of Books and I’m going to make an effort to post the daily challenges throughout the week! This morning I posted my TBR – I’m aiming for 4 books in total but I’ll be happy with 3 as well. The first day challenge is hosted by Leann @ Between Library Shelves and the topic is Fictional World Travel. Participants are supposed to choose 3 to 6 books that are set in countries other than your own, display your choices in a creative way and share them on Leann’s blog. Below are some of my favorite books that have given me a case of wanderlust!
I made a last minute decision to join in the Bout of Books readathon despite feeling slightly burnt out by BookTubeAThon. My goal is to read 4-5 books this week (Bout of Books runs from August 17th – August 23rd). Here’s what’s on my TBR!
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is a novel I really struggled with sorting out my feelings about. It covers some very rough subjects and there is a definite trigger warning for anyone who suffers from depression or has suicidal tendencies. Sadly, the author himself was afflicted with mental illness and he ultimately ended his own life soon after I had read this book. This is why I have such a hard time expressing my feelings toward Craig’s story which now feels that much more personal. Vizzini also spent time in a mental hospital in New York City prior to writing Craig’s story which is a sort of parallel to Craig’s outlet. I loved finding out the significance of the cover and that’s the part of the story that hooked me.
The book follows Craig who is a teenage boy that gets accepted to attend a prestigious all boys high school full of people who’s intelligence levels match or surpass his own. Criag is initially excited for the opportunity but when he is no longer the top student in his class, he begins having a very difficult time adjusting. He becomes so stressed out that he cannot keep any food down and he can no longer sleep at night which results in a suicide attempt. This event leads to Craig being checked into a mental hospital so he can begin taking steps to improve his mental health. There were so many parts of this book that I found difficult to read because I felt so awful for Craig and being an outside observer, it was challenging for me to hear his thoughts and not be able to offer him any type of comfort. Not that it would have helped, but I really wanted to hug him and tell him that life after high school is so much better. It’s always upsetting to see an intelligent young person feel like there’s reason to live or no change they could make to improve their situation.
I think It’s Kind of a Funny Story is an accurate portrayal of depression and the throught process that goes along with it. Craig’s therapist has taught him to identify different elements of his life and contributors to his depression as Cycling, Anchors and Tentacles and it’s a really interesting system. The majority of the book takes place in a mental hospital and while there is definite humor intended regarding some of the patients, it’s difficult to feel okay laughing about it. I did enjoy how Craig seemed like such an outsider among the patients but the longer he stayed in the hospital, the more he realized that many of the other patients were not so different from him. It’s also difficult to read the scenes involving Craig’s mother and little sister because their pain toward Craig’s unease shines through their attempted support. Without spoiling anything, I very much enjoyed the ending of the book despite the discomfort I felt on the journey there.
Final Thoughts: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is a story about depression and anxiety that is a definite challenge to read at times. The book will make you feel uncomfortable and categorize elements of your own life. Despite the serious subject matter, there is plenty of humor interwoven but be warned that this is a very heavy read.
Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. (via Goodreads)
This tag was created by Riley Marie and I am so happy that she tagged me! I am such a huge Chris Pratt fan so I had a really great time answering all the questions! If I didn’t tag you, please feel free to do it anyway because I was rushing to get to work and didn’t have enough time to plan everything out! Who’s your favorite Chris Pratt character?
**Warning! If you haven’t read If I Stay which is the first book in the duology by Gayle Forman, there will be spoilers ahead.**
Where She Went is the second book in the If I Stay duology by Gayle Forman. There will be some spoilers ahead for the first book so if you haven’t read it yet I would suggest waiting to read my review of the second. Okay, so now that my warning is out of the way, the second book takes place three years after If I Stay and Mia and Adam are living on opposite coasts from each other. We also find out that Mia has left Adam after coming out of the coma during her accident and Adam is a broken man because of it. I really enjoyed the first book in this duology and part of the reason I waited so long to read the second is because I could never remember if I owned it or not. Seriously, I almost bought it 4-5 times because I thought I didn’t actually have it (which shows just how many unread books I own but that’s another issue for another day).
Going in to Where She Went I had known that Mia left Adam so I was prepared for that but I was not at all expecting the perspective shift. The book first book is told from Mia’s POV and the second jumps to Adam’s. It took me longer than I would have liked to adjust to being inside Adam’s head and after everything, I found that I didn’t love him as a character. I had such warm feelings for him when Mia described his character to me but him relaying his own experiences just didn’t do it for me… until the end. Adam has gone on to become a famous rockstar and he seems very ungrateful for his good fortune. He takes his band for granted and doesn’t treat them or his manager the way he should. He has obviously been deeply affected by losing Mia but it doesn’t excuse his behavior.
I did love the adventurous night that Mia and Adam set out upon after their chance encounter in NYC. I loved reading about what Mia has been going through since her accident and the loss of her family and I love all of the awkward nuances between she and Adam during her dual trip down memory lane (it’s her last night in New York and she is remembering all of her favorite places in addition to remembering her feelings for Adam). Despite disliking the narrator, I did give Where She Went a four star rating on Goodreads because OMG that ending. I’m so happy that I read the conclusion because I have so much closure on Mia and Adam’s story. There were so many intense feelings in the last couple of chapters that I thought my heart was going to explode.
Final Thoughts: Where She Went by Gayle Forman is the conclusion to the If I Stay duology. If you read and loved the first book, you should absolutely continue the story (despite how much the POV change may annoy you). The ending is everything and you’ll get an immense amount of closure. Seriously, there is so much payoff!
It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.
Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. (via Goodreads)
After loving Jenny Han’s duology which consists of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You (both of which I’ve reviewed and you can read here and here) I’ve been eager to read anything else that she’s written because I just adore her writing style. The Summer I Turned Pretty is the first book in a trilogy that was published prior to To All the Boys. I added the first book to my TBR pile for BookTube-A-Thon and it ended up being the last book I read to complete the readathon. If you’re looking to buy your own copies, I HIGHLY suggest the UK editions on Book Depository because the US covers are just plain awful. I read that Jenny Han’s inspiration for writing this book is that one magical summer when you start noticing guys and they start noticing you back and it feels like everything is changing.
Usually I don’t start a review off with a gripe, but I really disliked the main character’s nickname. Her given name is Isabel and everyone calls her Belly (ugh). Getting past that, I did really enjoy the story. Belly spends every summer in a beach community named Cousins along with her mom, brother Stephen, her mom’s best friend Susanna and her sons Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has always had a major crush on the older brother Conrad but she’s always been seen as the little sister and no one had ever really taken her seriously until that one pivotal summer. Belly’s brother has to leave their summer house after only a week and Belly is able to grow a lot without him hindering her spirit. I do think Belly is immature but I think a lot of people can relate to her desire to fit in and be seen as an equal.
What I loved most about this book is that each chapter jumped between the current summer and one from the past. I loved experiencing Belly’s past memories in the present tense and it really enhanced her story and showed all of the growth her character has undergone. The primary plot is typical of contemporary as it revolves around Belly’s interactions with three guys but it’s the secondary plot involving Susanna and Belly’s mother that really pulled at my heartstrings. To be honest, when I had heard this book described as having a sibling love triangle, I was REALLY worried but I ended up enjoying it because Han crafted a believable summer romance story.
Final Thoughts: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han is the first light and fun contemporary novel in a The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy. It’s perfect for beach reading or for getting yourself into the mindset of summer. The main character’s desire to fit in is something that most readers will be able to relate to and both the primary and secondary plotlines will keep the pages turning. While I did not enjoy this book as much as Jenny Han’s duology, I will be continuing on with the series.
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. (via Goodreads)
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating. This week I’m choosing Truthwitch by Susan Dennard because I love a great fantasy read! The book appeals to me on many levels but I’m particularly drawn to it because of the friendship aspect. Also, look at that cover! There can never be too many badass heroines as the main character. I love her cloak and it looks like she’s surrounded by magic!
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. (via Goodreads)
This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is our top 5 required reads, as in books that we had to read for school. It was so much to look back at things that I read and loved as a kid. I’m one of those rare people who actually enjoyed a lot of the books my English teachers made us read. This is going to make me sound like a huge nerd but my high school English teach and I actually had our own little book club and we would read additional things together because she knew how much I loved reading and analyzing. What were / are some of your favorite required reads?
Now that BookTube-A-Thon has ended, here are the rest of the books I’m planning on reading in August! What’s in your TBR pile for the month?