From mental illness to time travel, here's a round up of this month's reads
While it looks like I haven't read much this month, it's been a fairly good reading month for me, and I've managed to get stuck into some books before exams officially start. From then 'til now I'll be a bit MIA with reading. If you didn't catch it, at the start of this month I reviewed What's a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne, which I loved. Apart from that, here's what I've been reading...
Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven, RRP $19.99
Published by Penguin on 4 October 2016
After loving All The Bright Places by the same author, I was more than pleased to get to Holding Up The Universe*. The story follows two different perspectives, a boy with an inability to recognise faces, and a girl who is labelled as 'America's Fattest Teen'. The book involves a lot of learning to accept and love who you are, and this was illustrated through the two teens' insecrutities and pasts. Libby, although she gets bullied, has a fighting spirit and is fearless in nature. Jack is scared and confused and feels alone, even when he's trying to maintain a cool exterior.
I particularly loved how Libby saw humour through the bullying, and was always focused on her dream of becoming a dancer. I really appreciated the self-love element of Holding Up The Universe that connected these two people, however I found myself feeling unconnected aside from that. This book felt ungenuine to me in parts, because it wasn't completely believable to me. Somehow I felt like the characters were completely defined by their differences. I kind of feel like, although the self-love element is empowering and important, it didn't feel raw enough, and didn't warrant the same connection and response as her first book did. I still think this is worth a read and is one of the biggest YA releases this year, but already I can see it's generated a vareity of responses and opinions. 3.5 Stars.
The Next Together by Lauren James
Published by Walker Books on 3 September 2015
Although this has been out for a while, I've been wanting to get my mitts on it for a while. I'll soon be reviewing the second book which has been newly released, The Last Together, but for now here are my thoughts on the first installment. The Next Together is quite a unique book, one that is set across various time periods (from medieval times right up to a futuristic world) and involves different formats, like shopping lists and letters and newspaper articles. It's a fantasy book, which I've found increasingly hard to get into recently, but this one is really managable and the time periods and twists and turns aren't difficult to understand at all. The story follows Matthew and Katherine and it's basically a quest to find out what happened with their relatives after they were accused of being terriosts.
It was so pleasant to read something that had science fiction fantasy elements without being dragged down by all the details. It was still interesting and complex, but perfect for younger readers or nineteen year olds alike. I actually found this had a nice consistent plot that never really made me bored. I would say that the ending was quite unexpected and odd, but I'm looking forward to how part two plays out in The Last Together. 4 Stars.
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, RRP $24.99
Published by Harper Collins on 1 October 2016
When tasked with reviewing Girl in Pieces*, I really had no idea what to expect. The blurb is very unsuspecting and vague but already had me intruiged: "You can spot the girls who will have it easy. I don't even have to describe them for you. You can spot the girls who will get by on smarts. You can spot the girls who will get by because they're tough, or althetic. And then there's me." I wasn't expecting this book to be so raw and gripping - raw is definitely the word to sum up this book. This story starts in a psychiatric centre which felt like a cross between Girl Interrupted and Orange is The New Black. It ultimately follows the girl, Charlotte, as she navigates life after a difficult past and having a mental illness.
I could imagine this would be quite intense to read for some people who have mental illnesses or even thoughts like Charlotte does. I honestly felt very gripped by this story, and it's really a no-bullshit zone. The author deals with a very important topic in such a realistic way, or what I imagine could be realistic for some people. This book is very real, heavy and honest, and that's what I loved about it most. It's also very sad, but such a worthy story to read. I think it was great to go into this with no expectations because I came out feeling like this was such a good book. I really recommend this one. 4.5 Stars.
Do you want to read any of these? I'd love to know!