Not a Book Review #1, Letter to a friend

This is not a book review. This is simply a letter to my friend, obviously do not read it if you are only interested in books. Otherwise, feel free this is a public site, and a public post, and my friend will never read it anyway. TW: I will discuss the suicides that have happened in the books I’ve finished.

Dear Friend,

Things have been coming up again and again. It’s making me wonder if I think about it more than usual or if it is simply everywhere and there won’t ever be a way to avoid it. You may be wondering, ‘Lauren, what are you talking about? You’re up way past your bedtime and there are no strange occurrences that appear any more often than others.’ and that would be a fair question for you to have. I am up past my bedtime, but that’s okay, it’s been awhile since I have written to you and it’s overdue.

First it was Leonard Peacock. I am so glad he didn’t die. I am glad he had a Herr Silverman to save him, unlike Finch, unlike Les, unlike you. Four years has gone by fast and I have to say I wonder how you’d feel about graduating. I’m sure you’d be just as excited as the rest of us to get out and start creating our own lives, would you still want to be a journalism major? Anyway, back to my books, Theodore Finch broke my heart yesterday around noon. When they dragged him out of the river I wondered what it would be like to have to find the body of someone you love like that. It made me miss you more and remember your family. The reason I’m writing a letter to you now instead of yesterday, or last week, or 10 months or two years ago is because of many things: I can’t sleep, the book I chose to help me sleep featured a suicide in the first two chapters, and my sister lost a classmate today.

I feel so bad for my sister because I remember being the exact same age as she is, almost around this same time of year, hearing about you. I remember being in that situation. When she talked about today, about the crying teachers and the silent hallways, I felt like I was an eighth grader again right back in the middle school. The kid that died today, or yesterday night, didn’t take his own life, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. 13 is too young to die, it was too young for him and too young for you. I don’t know what to say to my sister other than that I love her. I remember exactly how it feels to sit in the gym and be told your friend isn’t coming back to school. It isn’t an easy thing for a young person to deal with.

Thanks for listening, friend. It’s been too long, four years too long since we’ve had a conversation. Maybe I’ll write again soon. I just thought it was about time I let you know that I am thinking about you. This wasn’t a very structured letter, but you’ll probably forgive me since you’ve never been in high school English. I’m not writing to make you feel bad, it’s been four years and I still haven’t hit the anger stage of grief, I’m writing to let you know what you left behind. I don’t think you realized what was going to happen. I think you did what you thought was best, but you were an eighth grader and eighth graders are nearly always wrong. I think you’d love high school, I think you’d like prom, and graduation, and  Writing 116. I’m sorry that you didn’t choose to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune because I think you’d be surprised.

Goodnight Friend.

Love,

Lauren Julia

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All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I am so sad, my life is destroyed, this book broke my heart into several million pieces and scattered them across the lands. I am so upset.

All The Bright Places is so beautifully tragic. It’s confusing and sad and gorgeous. There is no logical universe where Theodore Finch and Violet Markey should end up together, but they do. And they are perfect. Not separately, but together. It’s about a boy, Finch, and a girl, Violet, who find themselves up on a ledge at their high school’s bell tower. Not the best of meeting places, but it’s somewhere to start. Since neither of them end up jumping off the ledge and it is the start of a beautiful friendship and eventually something more.

Violet has been through her fair share of heartache, especially after the car accident where she lost her older sister, Eleanor. Finch is fighting off his own demons as well. Finch has been called a freak all of high school, and he really is a whole different kind of person and I love him, but that is beside the point. Violet was a cheerleader and she was popular. Finch corners her into working on a school project with him and kind of into hanging out and spending time with him.

I love Finch. He’s always changing. He changes his hair and wardrobe, he paints his room, and when he feels bad he lives in a closet. Finch’s mind runs a mile a minute, and he reminds me a little bit of Hamlet. He is crazy, but brilliantly so. Finch brings Violet into a whole different world, one that was witty and adventurous and completely different from what she was used to. It was impossible not to fall in love with Theodore Finch. It was also impossible not to have your heart dragged across shards of glass and thrown into a volcano of lava and sadness.

I love Violet as well, not in the way I love Finch, because I would marry Finch. I love her because she’s real. She is sad and hurt and does things that she never thought she would. She mourns her sister and deals with grief in extremely human ways. She’s so real. She is not perfect in anyway and I love her because that makes her kind of a perfect fictional character.

Read this book. Read it real good. When you begin to reach the end, lock yourself in a Finch-style closet fort and bawl your eyes out. It is excellent for fans of The Fault in Our Stars, who love to torture themselves with terribly sad books.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

I am on good streak. From Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock to Let’s Get Lost to The Beginning of Everything I have not been disappointed.

This book started crazy and ended crazy. In the very beginning, when they were talking about Toby and his tragedy of catching a severed head at twelve years old, I was reminded of Paper Towns. I am not picking on Robyn. I loved that she began talking about Toby and Ezra as children. I like that the story came back to Toby and Ezra again and again. Anyway, this book was a ride. It was insane. I read through my Law and Government class this morning to finish it, it was that good.

The Beginning of Everything is about Ezra. Or Golden Boy Ezra, as he referred to himself in the beginning. Ezra was a golden boy, he was prom king, he was on the student government, varsity tennis since he was a freshman, and he was dating the hottest girl in school. Was, as in past tense, because all of that ended the week before prom at a party. A car crash after a break up left Ezra alone and hurt. When he learned he could never play tennis again, and his friends never came to visit him he knew senior year would be different.

Ezra reconnects with Toby and joins the debate team. But he feels like his life only begins to change when he meets Cassidy, a strange and pretty girl from a different school. Ezra starts living his life without sports and discovers who he is without a crew of jocks following him around.

Did I say already that I love this book? I love Ezra, I  would marry him if he existed. But even more than I love Ezra, I love his character development and I love his friends who let him know when he is being a douche. Every character in this book is gold. And every chapter is a new adventure. My life is better because I read this.

Thank you, Robyn Schneider, for blessing me with a great story about change and discovery.

I loved this book.

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

I just found my second favorite book. I say second because it’s going to take a life changer to replace Looking for Alaska. 

Let’s Get Lost was everything I wanted in a book. It had all the adventure of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, with more seriousness. The seriousness of the book isn’t felt until you reach the end and that makes the difference. It crosses the line of fun and flirty YA and provokes thinking. The whole time that I was reading I was wondering what had happened to Leila, why was she doing this? I also wanted to know if the characters she met where going to come back.

Let’s Get Lost is about Leila, but it isn’t told through Leila for most of the book. Leila is on a journey and her story is told through the people she meets and impacts on her way. Leila meets all kind of interesting people and falls into all kinds of situations, she even lands herself in jail.

I recommend this amazing book to anyone who lives. I loved it so much. Anyone who loves John Green and Paper Towns and It’s Kind of a Funny Story should be on their way to the bookstore to purchase this book as they are reading this review.

I LOVED THIS BOOK

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is about a rather taboo subject. Leonard Peacock wants to shoot a classmate, Asher Beal, and then kill himself on his eighteenth birthday. Throughout the story we hear about Leonard’s day to day life. We learn about Lauren, Walt, Baback, and Herr Silverman, the only people Leonard seems to like. It takes awhile for us to learn what Asher Beal has done and why Leonard wants to kill him, once the cats out of the bag it becomes a little easier to see things from Leonard’s perspective.

I really liked this book. It gave me a peek into something I never would have wanted to talk or think about. It even kind of pushed me into thinking more and wondering about how much a person can affect if someone else is going to follow through on something like Leonard Peacock and Asher Beal. I did not like Leonard Peacock. I thought he was rude, even though he did need help and I felt bad for him I would not want to be a part of his life. I would detest him completely. He really seems to think he is better than everyone else and simultaneously knows he’s awful.

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Piccoult

Vanishing Acts was the perfect way to spend my day at home. I really like Ms. Piccoult’s style of writing.

Vanishing Acts is about Delia, a girl who grew up in New Hampshire with two best friends who are in love with her, and a father who would do anything to give her the world, even if it meant the possibility of spending the rest of his life in jail. Delia is a search and rescue officer who is engaged to one of her best friends, Eric, and they adore their only child, Sophie. Fitz, the other best friend, is just as present in Delia’s life as Eric and sometimes it was hard for me to even have an opinion on who I really wanted her to be with. But, this story is not about Eric and Delia and Fitz’s strange love triangle. It’s about how Delia wasn’t always Delia. It’s a story of lies and mystery and friendship and alcoholism. This story seemed to be convoluted in the way that there was so many different elements coming into play. After Delia discovers that he father is charged with her kidnapping, Delia’s life is turned upside down. She is left to figure out who she is and was, where she comes from, and what’s best for her and Sophie.

I loved it, I loved it so much. I loved the beginning and the end and all the middle parts in between. It was emotional but not gushy, it was the perfect balance. I recommend it for anyone who doesn’t want to cry but still wants an emotional ride.

Period 8 by Chris Crutcher

HOLY COW.

I have had Period 8 on my bookshelf since the beginning of last summer and I’ve been putting it off forever. My (very bad) reason for doing this is because I hate sports books. I don’t care about them and they don’t interest me.

All biases aside, I loved Period 8. It wasn’t even really a sports book. The story is about a classroom. The main character, Paulie Bomb, messes up big time and goes through a nasty break up with his literally perfect girlfriend. The story revolves around the family atmosphere of period eight, a lunch period where all the kids talk about their problems and confide in their teacher, Mr. Logs. Just like in all high school situations, there is someone that can’t be trusted, but this goes a little bit farther than who banged their best friends boyfriend like in other high school stories. Things get strange when “the Virgin Mary” Wells goes missing and no one knows where she went.

This story is thrilling and fun and crazy. The ending will have you reading past your bedtime and holding your breath.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I’m baaaaaaack!

Wow, this book took me forever to read! The fact that I had a lot going on with school and such combined with this book being kind of complex made me feel like I was taking years to read it. But I saw it through and now I can present you with a brand new book review!

American Gods is the story of a man called Shadow and his journey with gods. When the story starts, Shadow is getting out of jail and discovering the death and betrayal of his wife, Laura. On his plane ride back Shadow meets a strange man who knows all about him. That man, named Wednesday, becomes Shadow’s boss. Wednesday is trying to gather an army of the gods of the old days to fight the modern gods. Shadow does a lot of odd jobs and meets a lot of odd people, all while trying to bring his wife back to life.

Honestly, one of the only reasons I could some what follow the gods and the histories was because of the time I spent with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians. That really only helped me with the Greek Gods though. This book was not an easy read. It was complex and the characters had history and sometimes the stories seemed all tangled up. I have several questions that were left unanswered and several confused theories running around in my brain.

That being said, just because it wasn’t easy doesn’t mean it was not worth it. I really enjoyed it. There was some content that was a little adult, but it is an adult book. The ending was the best part, I loved the plot twists. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery novels and the fantasy genre.

Sorry for taking so long with this post!