Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Radio Silence (Alice Oseman)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 33 on My Book List 2019

”Hello. I hope somebody is listening.”

I think by now this quote made its way into the most epic quotes of all time and I can totally understand all the hype this book got. When I joined goodreads back in 2017 “Radio Silence” was all over my feed and people were raving about it like crazy. I had no idea what all the fuss was about but three years later and countless books in between I finally get it. XD Alice Oseman’s book is amazing, epic, brilliant and most of all it’s relatable af!

As an author it’s not easy to capture the voice of a generation but I think Oseman did it masterfully. Truth be told, it’s more than the voice of a generation, it’s the voice of many generations that all went through the same thing. Did I lose you already? What I’m trying to say is that this book is timeless because it speaks to every teenager and young adult that ever went through adolescence.

“Radio Silence” tackles the strong bonds of friendships you only seem to have as a teen, it addresses the insecurities of young adults, the urgency and intensity of emotions, it shows that our educational system is far from perfect and that good grades aren’t everything in life, it makes room for individualism and it demonstrates that parents can influence their children in the best but also in the worst way possible. It plays with the idea of the internet as a medium that can connect people all over the world but it also illustrates how easy it is to hurt people and their privacy.

Seriously, this book gives so many thought-provoking impulses it’s hard to write it all into a summary, which only seems to emphasise my earlier statement of Oseman’s skill to capture the voice of a generation. People are complex, relationships are complicated and the way to your true self is paved with plenty of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. So just another ordinary day in the life of a young adult, right? ;-P

trigger warnings: emotional parental abuse, depression (implied),  suicidal thoughts (heavily implied), online bullying, teens drinking alcohol

2

This is my spoilery spoiler section and if you haven’t already read the book: Well, pirates ye be warned! ;-P This said: Welcome to Universe City, I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time with Radio and his sidekicks!

Frances Janvier:

”Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to get into university.”

I really liked Frances! I mean I was never as good at school as her but I kind of admire her for getting good grades while following her obsession with “Radio Silence”. It’s no small feat and I really appreciated the idea of a character that’s good at school but also has a very creative streak. =) For some reason this is pretty rare in books and I don’t know why. XD Also the distinction between “School Frances” and “Normal Frances “ was amazing and very relatable. As a teen a lot of us are insecure and act differently when they are around their friends so this was such a great way to represent that sentiment. Also now is the moment I have to mention that I want Aled’s and France’s wardrobe! *lol* Seriously, their clothes are amazing! ❤ I would have loved to get my hands on them. Haha! Anyway, back to Frances as a character! I loved her compassion and that she always tried to do the right thing and was very responsible. Plus she was a really great friend! I hope we’ll see more of her in other books but I’m not sure she’s going to be in one of the others?! Guess I’ll have to find out.

”I couldn’t quite believe how much I seriously loved Aled Last, even if it wasn’t in the ideal way that would make it socially acceptable for us to live together until we die.”

Aled Last:

”it’s honestly fine!!!! what’s up?
if you’re feeling crap it’s always better to talk about it“

I really wish Aled would have taken his own advice! I know he’s the silent, withdrawn and broody kind of type but a lot of his problems could have been tackled if he would have just talked about them. Then again his mother certainly didn’t make it easy to develop some self-esteem, let alone to talk about his problems. (I’m so angry at his mom btw!!!) I felt so, so sorry for him and I was glad Frances and Daniel were able to see the true Aled. My heart really bled for this boy and it made me so sad that his mother couldn’t see how beautiful he was! ❤ I mean he made a podcast thousands of people followed and listened to, they even made fanart of it and yet his mother had nothing better to do than to destroy every little piece of him. >_< It killed me. Really. Aled suffered so much and I wish I could have jumped right into the book and saved him! He didn’t want to go to university and he was drowning in despair, which got more and more apparent with every episode he made. Those last few episodes? It just hurt… because they were a reflection of his true life and helplessness. T_T

”Sometimes I think if nobody spoke to me, I’d never speak again.”

”I can take a little beating now and then. I’m a tough one. I’m a star. I’m steel-chested and diamond-eyed. Cyborgs live and then they break, but I’ll never break. Even when my bone dust drifts over the City walls, I’ll be living and I’ll be flying, and I will wave and laugh.”

Daniel Jun:

”We were so important to each other. We’d tell each other everything and anything. We were each other’s first everything. First and only everything. He’s – he’s an angel.”

Daniel might have appeared to be a study machine but deep down he was a really nice guy and it was pretty obvious that he cared about Aled. With his neat appearance and orderly life he’s the complete opposite of Aled, yet he still enjoyed being with his friend. Daniel was so focused on school that it wasn’t easy to see his true self but the longer I read the more I began to warm to him. XD Guess I made the same experience like Frances. 😉

Carys:

Carol raised an eyebrow. “Well, it is how it is. I’m not here to see you and, frankly, I don’t want to. I want to talk to my real child.”
“I don’t think you deserve to,” said Carys, and I could feel the inaudible gasps of everyone in the room.

Okay, I admit it: There was a moment when I wanted to punch Carys in the face! I mean if it would have been my brother suffering so much I would have run to him in a heartbeat. But then again she thought that she was the problem and that Aled would be fine. Thankfully Frances could persuade her to seek him out and the moment she realized her mother was destroying Aled she became the lioness I wanted her to be! XD I loved how she defended Aled and that she gave her mother a run for her money because quite honestly this was what I wanted her to do the entire book! I’m so glad Aled and her reconciled and I was glad Frances and Carys got a chance to talk about the night she vanished.

3

Frances & Aled:

”So why have you been talking to me then?” he said. At the exact moment he said, “I’m so unimpressive,” I said, “Because you’re cool.”
We looked at each other.
Then he laughed softly and shook his head. “This is so weird.”

Boy their relationship was one hell of a rollercoaster! When they got to know each other and started to work on “Universe City” I was so happy for them but the more Aled’s mother and the fandom of Radio interfered, the more their friendship got under attack. I really would have loved for them just to do their own thing and not to be bothered by anything but of course life had other plans. I mean it’s no wonder Aled kind of broke under the pressure. Between the constant emotional abuse of his mother and the personal attacks of the fandom it would have been hard for anyone to keep on swimming. So bless Frances for always trying to reach out to him! Heaven knows Aled’s condition and his character didn’t make it easy to get through to him, but she never gave up on him and that’s what true friends do! Even though I’ve to admit that he said quite hurtful things to her and it’s no wonder she was insecure about their friendship. Still, at the end they found together again and I was very glad they did! =)

He laughed again and hid his face under the blanket.
“Why are you so nice to me?”
“Because I’m an angel.”
“You are.” He stretched out his arm and patted me on the head. “And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

He wrenched his hand back. “It’s fine. She’s always like this.”
“Does she hurt you?” I said. “Tell me if she hurts you. Right now. I’m serious.”
“No. I swear she doesn’t. He waved his injured hand. “This was an accident.”
“That’s not right. She can’t just – She just – What the fuck, I mean …”

”I’m just the replacement. You’re obsessed with me. Just the same as Carys, and you’ve managed to fuck up the only thing I had, the only good thing I fucking have, just like you managed to fuck up Carys’s. D’you fancy me as well?”

”Do you want to be famous?”
“I just … want to be special.”
“You are special.”
He laughed and said, “Shut up.”

Frances & her mum:

”Don’t let him escape!” said Mum. “This could be your only chance at securing a spouse!”

I swear Frances’s mum is kick-ass! I strive to be as cool as her once my little one is in her teens! I mean that woman wore a unicorn onesie and was basically an angel! I loved that Frances could talk with her about everything and that she always listened to her daughter’s troubles. She didn’t judge and let Frances figure out things for herself and most importantly: She accepted her the way she was!!! Even when Frances told her that she didn’t want to go to university she was totally okay with it and respected her daughter’s decision! I just loved that she was so supportive! She was the total opposite of Aled’s mum and I really liked that parents weren’t just mentioned as a footnote in “Radio Silence” but actually were a part of their children’s lives! =) This is really rare in YA and I appreciated it immensely!

”I don’t think I want to go to university.”
“Oh, Frances.” She didn’t sound disappointed. “That’s okay.”
“Is it okay?” I asked, because I wasn’t sure.
“Yes,” she said. “It’s okay.”

Aled & his mum:

”She looked terrifying, in that classic white, middle-class mum sort of way. Dyed cropped hair, slightly round physique, a smile that said ‘Can I get you a cup of tea?’ and eyes that said ‘I will burn everything you love.’

I really hated this woman! So, so much! GRRR!!! She stands for everything a parent shouldn’t do and be and URGH! I just couldn’t with her! I mean who ruins their children’s life? Who takes a scissor and cuts their son’s hair even though he said he doesn’t want to cut it?! Like seriously!?? And don’t even get me started on her changing Aled’s room! That was his personal space his safe haven and she destroyed it because she thought it was too messy?! WTF?! YOU. DON’T. INVADE. YOUR. CHILD’S. PRVIVATE. SPACE. EVER.!!! You let them put up posters, you let them scribble poetry on a white board, you idk give them room to breathe and to be who they are!! You don’t destroy their home! And then the thing with Aled’s dog Brian?! WTH?! Which mother does things like that?! I’m outraged and furious about this behaviour from a person that should lover her child unconditionally! The emotional abuse this woman put her children through isn’t normal and it’s extremely appalling! She might have never raised her hand against them but the emotional scars her actions left are at least as severe as if she would have hit them. All throughout the entire book I just wanted to call the youth welfare office! >_< I can’t with this woman. I just can’t! I’m so glad Carys and Aled aren’t with her anymore. They suffered enough! And this from a woman that birthed them and should have loved them… *shakes head*

”Aled was going to cry when he saw this.
She had taken his private space – his home – and destroyed it.
She took everything he loved and ruined it.”

”But we were sitting under the streetlamps and Aled was shaking in my arms and this was real, this was happening. She was taking everything Aled had and burning it. She was burning him, slowly, until he died.”

Daniel & Aled:

”I think we were so caught up in each other that we just… missed all the heteronormative propaganda that’s thrust at you when you’re that age.”

Ahh those two were actually kinda cute! Daniel broke my heart when he spoke about their relationship with Frances though. I think for him it must have been very difficult to deal with Aled. On the one hand he was his best friend and knew him better than anyone else but on the other hand he had no idea how he truly felt about him. I could understand why Aled was insecure about outing himself as demisexual. A lot of people never heard of it and he had only just begun to figure out what this meant for him as a person. I’m sure he didn’t want to hurt Daniel and so he rather pushed him away instead of talking things out. Anyway. It made me happy that they eventually managed to speak about it and I hope that one day they’ll reach the moment when they’ll both feel comfortable enough to show the world. =)

”It was all just for us in private, like we had to protect it, because we didn’t want the rest of the world to ruin it. I don’t really know why… I guess it didn’t feel like we were in a relationship at all. Because we were best friends, first and foremost. So we never knew how we’d explain it to people.”

”I think everyone’s a bit bored with boy-girl romances anyway,” he said. “I think the world’s had enough of those, to be honest.”

The reps and diversity:

This is an Alice Oseman book so the reps and the diversity were amazing! We have Frances who’s bisexual and English/Ethiopian; then there is Aled – the second MC – who is demisexual and his best friend/boyfriend Daniel who is South Korean and gay! Rain a friend of Frances is Indian and last but not least there’s Carys – Aled’s sister – who is a lesbian. So you just gotta love the diversity in this book! Also I think Aled is showing signs of depression but it’s never really verified. (though pretty much implied!)

4

This is probably the best contemporary book I ever read and considering it’s a genre I rarely dive into this should tell you enough! Alice Oseman is a genius and the characters she created, their struggles and friendships, their hopes and dreams, their fears and doubts; they all felt real and more than just a little relatable! “Radio Silence” is the accurate voice of numerous generations, describing the one thing every one of us has to experience in order to become who we truly are: Adolescence! 😉

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Charm of Finches (Suanne Laqueur)

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Rating:5 Pfoten

”Listen and learn it, learn to tell it, and tell it to teach it.”

I think I’m just beginning to realize that no matter what I say about Suanne’s books, it will never be enough. I feel kind of unworthy to talk about her stories because they are just so, so, SO good and believe me when I say that in all the years of my existence I never read anything like them… EVER. There are books that are epic, there are stories that have wisdom, there are tales that take you to another world and narratives that make you think and feel, but there is nothing, I repeat nothing that even gets moderately close to how I feel when I read Suanne’s wonderful books.

I can try to describe them but all the words in the world won’t do them justice. Nothing I say will suffice. They are filled with so much humour, with relationships that are so real you can taste them on your tongue and feel them in your heart, they make you ache and bleed, but they also console you and hold you when you’re breaking down. They are pure joy and your darkest hour! They are all the good and bad things and all the nuances in between. They are life! In all its facets and with all its ups and downs. They feel like a living and breathing thing, like a beating heart you’re holding in your palms while you read it.

Suanne’s books are everything and even more and I can’t believe I just discovered them because quite honestly I can’t even imagine a life without them anymore. (I already dread the day when I’ll run out of them, because sooner or later I will. At least when I continue at this pace. *lol*) I love “An Exaltation of Larks” and I adore “A Charm of Finches” and if all of Suanne’s other books are that good I’ll probably die about a thousand deaths until I’ve read them all. It will be worth it though. XD

This said I decided to make this one of my long reviews because I have so many thoughts and feelings that need to be written down. I know this is going to be a huge mess with lots of emotions that will run all over the pages but it needs to get out. XD So to all of you who don’t want to be spoiled: You better stop reading now! I’ll only say one more thing before I go for the real deal: READ THIS SERIES!!! You won’t regret it, because it’s so damn good!!!! ❤

2

Warning: Don’t cross this border! There’ll be lots of emotions, even more feels and plenty of spoilers. Of course it’s up to you if you continue or not, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

Javier Landes:

Jav exhaled heavily. “Twenty-three years I had this perfect social life. Perfect date after perfect date. I’m really becoming aware of what an act it was. What a repertory of roles I played and none of them were really me. It’s kind of put me in a mini existential crisis. I have moment s when I don’t know who the fuck I am.”

My review about “An Exaltation of Larks” was an ARC review so I was careful not to spoil anything but since I read this without the aid of NetGalley I can finally gush about Jav!!! I love this man so damn much and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that we’re very similar. Jav experienced so many things, he was hurt, he was lost, he knows loss and pain and even though my experiences might be different than his, the feelings and emotions we share are still the same. I can relate to him and there were countless moments my heart truly ached for him. It was so beautiful to see his journey, to see that he finally accepted himself and was ready to fall in love with Stef. Jav is such a compassionate and wonderful man and it was so good to see that he was finally loved back!!! I just love the way he thinks and feels and when he zoomed out writing things in his head or used his journal I was like: This is me when I write! XD I adore him for always being there when someone needs him, the way he helped Geno out even though they were kind of at odds at the time and how nervous he was! He didn’t want to screw up and this only made me love him even more. ❤ I swear, when he opened up to Stef after meeting his aunt… Oh gods!!! I cried buckets reading that scene!! Jav was hurt so badly by his family’s actions and he suppressed it for so many years. I was so glad Stef was with him and was able to catch him when he fell. >_< This man deserves all the love and I just want him to be happy for eternity!!! <333

”Why do you do it?“
„Why?“
Jav’s shy smile unfolded. “Asking people what they do is boring. Asking why they do it is so much more interesting.”

A beat of silence that felt like a gamble, then Jav said, “I know what it means. I’m on my way.”
“Jav, I’m sorry,” Geno said. “About-“
“It’s all right,” Jav said. “None of that matters tonight. Let’s just get you the hell out of there. You stay with Ed. I’m coming.”

”This is how I was born to love.
The world can call me whatever label they want. I know who I am.
I’m Stef’s.”

”Everyone just leaves,” Jav said. “I don’t get to say goodbye to anyone. I don’t get a say at all. They leave and I just sit around making up stories to explain why.”

Stef Finch:

”I didn’t choose this particular road, it kind of chose me.”

I never thought I’d love another character in “Venery” as much as I love Jav but then Stef came along and I had to revise my opinion. *lol* This man is perfect in every sense of the word! I even told Suanne as much! XD But I don’t mind because ahh he’s so great and I just adore him! I don’t know how he does his job but I’m glad there exist some Stefs in the world because they are needed! I mean he passed out after he saved a girl that wanted to kill herself and even scarred his left eyebrow when he fell. That’s a true hero right there!! Also can we appreciate his love for books?! I mean one of his first thoughts when he met Jav was ”Dude, if you don’t read, we ain’t got no future anyway.” *LOL* Of course he didn’t know that it was Jav’s book he was reading so yeah. XD There are so many things that make Stef special and his compassion, his calm nature, his way to deal with problems, they are just a few of them! =) Plus I loved how self-confident he is. Stef takes everything in stride and knows exactly who he is, which was wonderful and made him a perfect man for Jav! So at the risk of repeating myself: Stef is perfect! Period! <333

”Connect, he thought. I want to connect.
His heart closed around the thought like catching a firefly.
I’m lonely and I want to connect with someone. Mind and body. Something that means… something.”

”He was wearing a grey shirt today. It would fucking have to do. He went straight from work to the bar. No going home to shower, shave, pick a blue shirt and hang out in front of the mirror like a twink.
Dig me, dig my crappy shirt.”

”It’s all right,” Stef said. “You cry as much as you want.”
Max moaned and wept harder.
“I’m right here. I got you.”

”Sometimes,” Stef said slowly. “I come home with part of a case sticking to me, and I don’t want anyone or anything. I don’t want to be touched until I deal with it. But other times, the only way I can deal with it is being touched. Sometimes I can only shake off the echo of a sexual abuse story by making love.”

Geno:

Someone has to be in charge. I am Mos, rhymes with dos, and I’m in command here. I have the strength of two now.”

Geno’s story moved me so much I can’t even put it into words. This boy went through something no one should ever go through and even though it broke him, he came out of it stronger in the end. I don’t know how he did it but I agree with Stef: ”they didn’t get the best of him”.  I’m not going to sugar coat it: The first 10% of this book were so damn hard to read, because we get a good glimpse at Geno’s ordeal and it was tough to read. Rape is horrible and for Geno… it was pure torture. What those men did to him, what he had to endure… I can’t even imagine what this must have done to him. There is this 17 year old innocent boy and they raped him until he almost died. T_T And believe me when I say that I want them all to rot in hell for it! To hurt a young boy like that! It’s unforgivable! Geno suffered so much! This poor boy! His twin died and he had to live with the aftermath, with knowing that his own brother brought him to them. I could understand why Mos came into being, why it was better to let it happen to someone else. >_< Carlito’s death, his own ordeal, the death of his father… gods it was just too much for him to endure. I have no idea how Geno managed to survive but he did it, he fought, he clawed his way back into life and he’s one of those characters that will stay with me forever. Whatever he’s doing now, I hope he’s happy! And that he’s still friends with Micah, because their friendship was everything. Two different generations that survived ordeals no one should ever have to survive and they still made the best of it. When they hugged and Geno cried in his arms I was crying with them. T_T

”All of it still hurt so much.
Lying in the dark, a soft, sleeping girl in his inked arms, he blinked through irritated tears and feared it would always hurt.”

”I’m all alone here.
He stood again, his view free of the bars but still feeling just as caged.
I want to go home.
I want all this to be happening to someone else. Why can’t this be someone else?“

Micah rocked him, a hand stroking Geno’s head. Inked numbers in his dusty skin. Strong arms and a stronger heart.
“Hijo querido,” he said. “You and I know what it’s really about.”

3

Jav & Stef:

„Hey there, handsome.“
Stef looked back.
Hey there, indeed.
A guy was at the top of the gallery’s stairs. Tall and built in jeans and a black blazer. Taking off aviator shades to show his face.
Whoa.“

There is so much I want to say about those two men and I’m really afraid it will become an essay! lol* BUT oh boy!!! They were so great together!!! After everything Jav went through it was so good to see him in such a solid and healthy relationship! It was a great contrast to the heavy parts of Geno’s story and Suanne managed to find a balance which is searching for its match. (Suanne, did I ever tell you that I love you? No? Well, I do! ;-P) I loved to see their first meeting from Stef’s POV and haha his reaction to seeing Jav for the very first time was priceless! ❤ They were so truly and madly in love it was overwhelming and made me giggle like crazy. I loved how they got to know each other, how they accepted each other’s boundaries and talked things out! Yes, they spoke about their problems and fears and it was AMAZING!!! They were so attuned to each other they noticed the smallest gestures of discomfort from a mile away. XD And their conversation about how being bi feels for them! It felt so true and real that I found myself speaking to the pages saying: Yes!! Yes, that’s it! They were each other’s safe haven and whenever the sea got unsteady and tempestuous they could rely on each other. ❤ That moment Jav broke down in Stef’s arms?! Ahh it hurt so much but I was so happy he was with him guiding him through the rough sea! Those two men! I can’t get enough of them and I’ll make sure to read all the accompanying stories I can find. I need more of their happiness! So, so much more! XD

”Crying out loud, Landes, what?” he said.
“What?”
Stef’s smile broke apart laughing. “Stop looking at me.”
“No puedo dejar de mirarte,” Jav said, tackling him. Because he was a fucking hot mess and couldn’t keep his hands off the guy.

”The attraction is tougher?” Jav said. “More tenacious?”
“Yes,” Stef said, his voice rising. “Tenacious. Exactly. It can take my weight. I can push on it hard, be rougher with it. It’s not a connection I overlap or fall into. It’s something I lean on. Hard.”

”I like you so fucking much,” Stef said. He’d never in his life said such a thing to a man.
“I like you, too,” Jav said, as if the words were bubbles on his tongue.”

”When Stef locked arms around Jav’s waist at the stove and leaned on him, Jav had to stop cooking and taste the moment. Close his eyes and hold it tight, unable to remember the last time he felt this content. This complete.“

”The last chapter.”
Stef blinked. “You lost me.”
“You’re the last chapter,” Jav said. “I went from the prologue to you. I skipped everything in the middle and now I’m in love with you and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”
A rush as everything in Stef’s body dilated, returned to normal levels, and then rose up. “Jesus Christ, Jav,” he said, rubbing his face. “I swear, I’m going to kill you or fuck you. Pick one.”

”You didn’t know I’d end up fucking for a living. Making me waste twenty years of my life when I could’ve been something to somebody…”
Then he was crying.
Stef pulled him in tight and stood still against the storm, his hand running in slow circles between Jav’s trembling shoulders. “You’re something to me,” he said. “You’re everything to me.“

”Mm.” Jav fitted his thumbnail into the scar across Stef’s eyebrow. “Man, I don’t know how you do what you do.”
“I don’t know how you write books.”
“I make up bullshit. Your work is so much more important. You know how men make love with each other and you know how men make war on each other.”

Stef, Jav & Geno:

”They got him.”
“It’s over.” Geno slid off the couch, onto the floor and into Stef’s arms. “It’s over.”
Stef caught him up tight, a hand on Geno’s head. “They got him,” he said, rocking their bodies side to side.

Now the three of them certainly had an interesting dynamic. Especially because Stef had a professional relationship with Geno and Jav’s relationship with him was rather a friendship. And once again I’ve to praise the fine nuances of Suanne’s stories. Their relationships to each other were so palpable and they felt real and true. I loved that Stef got all protective of Jav when he discovered that Geno had read his journal and therefore his personal thoughts but I also loved them both for still being there for Geno even though he violated Jav’s privacy. I always knew that Geno finding out about Jav and Stef’s relationship would end badly, but after everything he went through it was no surprise. Still, I’m glad they managed to sort things out in the end and I’m so happy Geno has those two as his friends now. Stef being there for him as his therapist was so important but I think Jav being his friend was at least as vital for his healing process as Stef’s therapy. ❤ You need friends in your life and with Jav and Stef at his side Geno kind of won the friendship lottery. =) True friendships between men! I think the bookish world needs more of them.

”I’m on guard, little brother.
You fought hard and brave. Rest your heart now. Don’t be afraid.
I’m here.
They’ll have to come through me to get to you this time.”

”Geno took a long swig of ice water and asked Jav, “Do you believe everything happens for a reason?”
“I do,” Jav said. “But not everyone gets the privilege of liking the reason. Of feeling the reason was worth the ordeal or the experience.”

Jav & Ari:

”Oh my god, T, are you crying?” Ari said. He called Jav T, for Tio. Spanish for uncle.
“Shut up.”
“Come on, I bet you have an absolute surplus of toilet paper now.”
“This is true. One box of cereal lasts forever and I only have to buy a half-gallon of milk.”
“See? You don’t miss me at all.”
“You’re right. Glad to have you out of my hair. Don’t ever come back.”

I still adore this uncle-nephew duo! =) Jav and Ari’s relationship was one of the best things about “Larks” and it continued to be amazing in “Finches”. They might have found each other under difficult circumstances but they made the best of it and formed a bond that will connect them forever. Also can we acknowledge how supportive Ari is?! That boy is still so young but he already knows what’s important in life! Their conversations were once again some of the best in the book and I had to laugh so hard when Ari told Jav that he shouldn’t have sex in front of his dog. *LOL* Poor Roman! I’m sure he appreciates Ari’s concern. ;-P

”I hope you find someone,” Ari said. “You deserve it. Male or female, it’s about fucking time you had someone you can be yourself with.”
“Thanks.”

Jav & Gloria:

”When Jav lost Flip, he found in Gloria the one person who loved him unconditionally. The woman who had taken him in when his own people cast him out. He went to court and legally changed his surname to Landes. He would never think of her as his mother. He chose her name because it was the thing he respected most in the world.”

As you can see my relationships and ship section is huge this time around and the reason for it is that Suanne writes them like no other! I mean for instance Jav and Gloria!! Gloria was probably the only person that cared about him when he was alone and lost and even though to help him to become an escort might have been kind of harmful for Jav on the long run it was still something he enjoyed to do when he was younger. Gloria guided and comforted him. She provided a safe haven and helped him to help himself so for that alone she deserves respect. Plus she’s his voice of reason and a very wise woman. I love that they still have contact and that she’s the first person he comes to when his heart is troubled. ❤

”You’re right. As usual.”
“Often wrong, never in doubt.”
“Which is why I love you.”

”Love doesn’t always play nice. Love plays games you haven’t had to deal with before. Love is going to serve up a buffet of emotions you neatly avoided for decades.”

Alex, Jav & The Larks:

”And if you met someone, and it feels easy and you’re waiting for the axe or the shoe or the whatever to drop, it’s because you think you don’t deserve easy. What did I tell you about that?”
“Yeah, I know,” Jav said, exhaling.
“Say it.”
“I’m worth more and I deserve it.”
“Damn right you do.”

Ahh the tension between Alex and Jav is still tangible. I can’t help but wonder if they’ll ever get over it or if it will be one of those relationships that will always have that special spark. Sometimes you meet people that draw you in and no matter how much you try to get some distance between you, it’s bound to fail. You’re drawn like a moth to the flame or like a moon that’s pulled into the orbit of a planet. So you either find a way to live with that involuntary attraction or you don’t and put some distance between you. And let me tell you this as someone who’s tried to live with it, it’s tough!!! I managed to do it for a few years but then the contact broke because it was just too much to handle. For both of us. >_< So I can’t help but wonder how the relationship between Jav and Alex is going to develop. Still, despite all the things that are going on between them and Val basically watching them like a hawk they are a family and support each other. Which is truly amazing! Val definitely has all my respect for forgiving Alex and Jav and for trying to give them space. This woman is a saint!!! Period!

”Well, maybe I’ll meet them someday.”
Jav smiled at the safe, gender-neutral pronoun. “Maybe you will,” he said. “If I don’t fuck this up.”
“Oh my God,” Alex said. “You’re still the same idiot.”
“The only one allowed in the room,” Jav said, laughing.

”Let go now,” Alex said, slapping Jav’s back, then his ass. “Or I won’t.”

Jav hugged them both. “Thanks for coming.”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Alex said.
“We’re your family, dumbass,” Val said. “We’d do anything.”

Stav & Stef:

”Is this the guy you called me about the other day?”
“Yes.”
“Dude, does he have a brother? Named Rav?”
“No.”
“Where did he come from?”
“The fucking sky.”

Haha! I LOVED this sibling relationship!! Stav and Stef were so much fun to read about and they reminded me of my sister and me. I swear, we have conversations like the one above too and I love spending time with her and to be silly. We do that frequently and have been told that we’re like a comedy show when we’re together. (I swear sometimes it’s like people get their popcorn to watch us. Well, my brother-in-law actually did but that’s another story for another day. *lol*) So yes, I adored this sibling rep and could relate to it! Stav and Stef are two amazing people and even though Stav went through a lot of heavy shit she’s still a very optimistic and funny character! Which is remarkable! The world definitely needs more Stavs too! =))

4

“A Charm of Finches” was INCREDIBLE and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The many thoughts, ideas and feelings that went into this, the way Suanne managed to put this on paper! How she writes life the way it is and creates characters that feel like real people! (For me they actually are!) The heavy topics she’s addressing! With so much respect and care. I’m in awe of Suanne Laqueur’s mind and writing style and I’ll never get tired of advertising her books! Seriously, more people need to read her books because they are so, so, so GOOD! All the stars! All the stars, por siempre jamás!

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Foxhole Court (Nora Sakavic)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 15 on My Book List 2020

„Easy, easy.” Andrew lifted his hands in a careless shrug. “Why bother? It’s a cruel world, right Neil? You wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.”
“It’s not the world that’s cruel,” Neil said. “It’s the people in it.“

trigger warnings:drug abuse, a character being drugged against his will, physical child abuse, violence, emotional abuse, bullying, dysfunctional relationships, sexual assault

I don’t know why I waited three freaking years to read this, but I could really kick myself for procrastinating so long! Then again maybe it’s good I waited so long because I’m pretty sure my younger self would have gobbled this book down like nobody’s business and then would have regretted not giving it the attention it deserves! *lol*

So yes, I’m three years wiser now and even though I learned to savour books I still had a really tough time trying not to rush through this, because people! THIS IS SO GOOD!!!!  Yes, I know, I know! It’s no Shakespear or Wilde, but even though there isn’t a lot of plot or background to go with this fictional world there is something it definitely has going for itself! Its amazing characters and Exy!!! And boy did I love both! XD It’s been a long time I got so consumed by a book and I think it’s mostly due to the super intriguing characters.

“The Foxhole Court” is nothing but character driven and ahh do I love books like that! *lol* I mean if you’re looking for logic or sophisticated words this most definitely isn’t the right book for you, but if you decide to leave your logic at the front door and dive into this without overthinking it too much instead: Well, then you’re in for a real treat! I guess to some degree you should actually read this book like it’s a game. Enjoy the rush of the moment, follow your instincts, trust your heart and thoroughly ignore the voice at the back of your mind.  ;-P If you follow those instructions you might be able to enjoy it as much as I did. *lol*

And since I can’t wait to gush about all those lovely characters I’ll call it a day now and just jump into my character’s section instead! XD

2

You are now a student at Palmetto State University, so tread carefully and don’t enter the Foxes dorms. If you don’t head this well-intentioned advice you’ll be confronted with a bunch of spoilers that might ruin the fun for you! Coach Wymack says: Don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-P

Neil Josten:

”This was the only thing he had left that was real. Now that he’d had a taste of it again, he didn’t know how to walk away from it.”

I swear Neil Josten is a precious baby bean and everyone who wants to hurt him will have to go through me first! <333 I mean it! This boy is so sweet and innocent and this even though so many horrible things happened to him. He needs to be protected at all costs and I’m ready to defend him with my life! I love Neil so, so much and I hated that he was so down and broken at the beginning of the book. I mean that boy didn’t even have any hope and then the Foxes found him and BAM his life took a 180 degree spin and never stopped moving ever since. Also his character development was amazing! At first he’s so very careful and guarded, he’s so afraid of taking a wrong step that he doesn’t even allow himself to breath. Well, and then he joins the Foxes and his true character gets a chance to come out. And boy, did I love the boy he hid inside!! Neil can be so sassy and vigorous! I had no idea! ❤ I want more of this Neil and to be entirely honest I can’t wait to pick up the next book! 😉 My kicked puppy is turning into a true lion  fox and I need that new Neil like I need air to breath! XD

”Keys meant Neil had explicit permission to be here and do what he liked. They meant he belonged.”

”Neil stepped over it and went to stand in front of Wymack: within arm’s reach but just barely. He’d perfected that trick as a kid. He could look at anyone’s arms and judge the safe distance from them in a heartbeat. If they had to move to hit him, he had enough time to dodge. Either way he wouldn’t catch the full intended force of their blow.”

Riko’s smile could have frozen hell. „I am not scared of Kevin. I know him.“
„You’re going to eat those words,“ Neil said. „You’re going to choke on them.“

Andrew Minyard:

”Oh,” Andrew said. “Oh, you might actually turn out to be interesting. For a little while, at least. I don’t think the amusement will last. It never does.”

I know about half of the people who will read this will be like WTH?! But I’ll still say it anyway: I LOVE AND ADORE ANDREW MINYARD THAT LITTLE SHIT!!!! *lol* Yes, his character is problematic and shady af but I don’t care! XD That controlling, bitchy and crazy bastard won over my heart the moment he appeared on page and even though I hated that he drugged Neil I still kind of get why he did it?! Most people will say he’s a psycho and even though that might be true, he’s still a psycho with a big heart. Andrew loves his family and he would do anything for them! Yes, he’d even go to the length of drugging a person he sees as a threat just to make sure that she/he isn’t. Andrew is fiercely protective of the people he loves and cares about and I can relate to that. So you might say I understand the person that’s hidden behind all those carefully crafted layers of craziness. His character is very intriguing and I’m sure there is so much more to him than initially meets the eye. Is it totally illogical and unrealistic that a person that’s so small (5ft, we’re talking 5ft here, people) is as intimidating and dangerous as Andrew? Yes, but it’s fun nevertheless and we all know that even the smallest person can pack a punch. ;-P I want more of him. Period!!! ❤

”Let Andrew give you things if he wants to. He’s not normally the gifting type, so it’s kind of fun.”

„Oh, he made it,“ Andrew said. „That’s interesting.“
He pressed two fingers to Neil’s throat,checking his pulse. When Neil tried to bat him away, Andrew caught his wrist with his free hand. His smile was small and fierce as he leaned forward into Neil’s space.
„Remember this feeling. This is the moment you stop being the rabbit.“

Coach Wymack:

”Did you think I made the team the way it is because I thought it would be a good publicity stunt? It’s about second chances, Neil. Second, third, fourth, whatever, as long as you get at least one more than what anyone else wanted to give you.”

I really liked Coach Wymack because even though his players don’t seem to see it, it’s obvious that he has a big heart! This man cares for his team and he’s providing them with a safe environment to spread their wings. Something tells me that someone gave him a second, third or even fourth chance when he was younger and that he’s trying to do the same for the members of his team. I hope we’ll find out more about his past in the other books and I’m definitely ready to dive into his background story. =) Coach Wymack is the best!

Kevin Day:

”Tetsuji took Kevin in and took over his training, but he also gave Kevin to Riko – literally. Kevin isn’t human to them. He’s a project. He’s a pet, and it’s Riko’s name on his leash. The fact he ran away is a miracle. If Tetsuji called tomorrow and told him to come home, Keven would. He knows what Tetsuji would do to him if he refused. He’d be too afraid to say no.”

I’m going to be honest here: Kevin is still an enigma to me and even though he’s an integral part of the story because of his connection to Neil I still didn’t get a feel for his character. If you ask me that’s mostly due to the fact that he rarely talks and that he lives in his own world. Exy is everything for him and everything else that’s around him isn’t important if it doesn’t have to do with the sport. *lol* So yep, all I know is that Exy is Kevin’s life and that he was raised as Riko’s peronal toy. Maybe that’s even the reason why his character is so bland. He never got a chance to do what HE wanted to do and therefore never was able to develop his own character. Guess I’ll have to continue with the series to see some of his true self. 😉

”If you won’t play with me, you’ll play for me,” Kevin said. “You’re never going to get there on your own, so give your game to me.”

Riko Moriyama:

Riko jerked back a bit in surprise, started to school his expression into something more civil, and gave up when he realized who had joined them.
„We were just talking about you,“ Riko said.
„With your fists, it seems,“ Andrew said. „Don’t touch my things, Riko, I don’t share.“

Now here’s a character I instantly disliked! XD Riko is so smug and full of himself that I just wanted to punch him in his face! Thankfully Neil already did that for me. Verbally but still! *lol* I can’t believe Kevin was raised with Riko and I feel very sorry for him. To be in the shadow of such a guy must have hurt and the fact that he broke his hand… *shakes head* Some part of me really hopes that Riko will be put in his place and I’m about a 100% sure we’ll say way more of him in those other books than we actually want to. >_<

3

Neil & Andrew:

„Your loose ends aren’t adding up.“
„I’m not a math problem.“
„But I’ll still solve you.“

THOSE TWO!!!! I SHIP THEM SO HARD AND I SHIP THEM LIKE THERE’LL BE NO TOMORROW!! *lol* I mean honestly!! Their chemistry! The way they interact, all those little subtle nuances in their conversations, those seemingly insignificant and infinitesimal touches. I saw it between Ronan and Adam and I’m seeing it here!!! This ship is going to sail and BURNNN BRIGHT!!! And I’m so here to see it! <333 Also I kind of love how Andrew always seems to be pulled towards Neil when he’s in his orbit!! Did anyone realize how often he’s leaning closer to him because I certainly did!!! I want those two to give into their feelings … badly… very badly! *lol* And I hope that Andrew will let Neil in as much as Neil let him in. I mean at the end of the book he basically entrusted him with his life and I want … no actually I NEED Andrew to open up to Neil! Gosh I just need more of them and I’m beginning to realize that I’m total Neil & Andrew trash! *LOL*

Neil tensed as Andrew’s fingers wrapped around the back of his neck, but Andrew only wanted to pull Neil’s head down. Neil focused on Andrew’s cheekbone so as not to go cross-eyed and let Andrew study his eyes.
“Another bit of unexpected honesty,” Andrew said. “Any particular reason?”
“Nicky asked nicely. You might try it sometime.”
“We already talked about this. I don’t ask.” Andrew gave Neil another slow once-over and let go.

”What would it take to make you stay?”
The question was so unexpected Neil had to turn back. “What?”
Andrew laughed quietly at his shock and leaned forward. “Name it and it’s yours. It doesn’t matter what it is so long as you stand your ground here with us.”
“I can’t.”
“You can. You have everything you need to survive. You’re just too afraid to see it.“

”He knows what it’s like to hate every day of his life, to wake up afraid every day, but he’s got you at his back telling him everything’s going to be okay. He has everything, even when he’s lost everything, and I’m – “ Neil didn’t want to say it, but the word was already there, broken and pathetic between them, “nothing. I’ll always have and be nothing.”
Andrew reached up and forcibly uncurled Neil’s fingers from his mouth. He pushed Neil’s hand out of the way and stared Neil down with nothing between them. Neil didn’t understand the look on his face. There was no censure over Neil’s crooked parents or pity for their deaths, no triumph over having backed Neil into admitting so much, and no obvious skepticism for such an outlandish story. Whatever this look was, it was dark and intense enough to swallow Neil whole.

”A group of people shouldered their way up to the bar counter at Neil’s back, pushing him into Andrew. Andrew didn’t budge beneath his weight. He was something solid to lean against, something violent and fierce and unmoving. Neil couldn’t remember what it felt like to have someone hold him up. It was terrifying and liberating all at once. His life was out of his control now; he was giving it to Andrew and hoping Andrew would keep it safe.”

Kevin & Andrew:

”Help me,” Kevin said, almost a whisper.
Andrew clucked his tongue and cocked his head to one side. “Help you? Help a man who lies to my face for a month? How?”
“I want to stay,” Kevin said. “I’ll ask you again: don’t let him take me away.”
“You’re the one who would tell him yes,” Andrew said. “Maybe you forgot.”

Those two have such an intriguing dynamic! I really don’t know what’s going on between them and why Kevin trusts Andrew so much but I’m more than just ready to solve that mystery! Also I hope one day it will be explained why everyone has so much respect of Andrew. Even Riko has respect and considering he’s the baddie of the story this is interesting! What did Andrew do??!! And what exactly is his deal with Kevin?! Because they definitely made some sort of deal, I just have no idea what it might entail. I need answers. XD

Neil & Riko:

”I will ask you only once to tone down that animosity.”
“I can’t,” Neil said. “I have a bit of an attitude problem.”
Riko’s smile was all ice. “A bit?”

And here comes my favourite part of the entire book! I LOVED how Neil put Riko into his place during the TV interview!!! GOSH! That scene was EVERYTHING and if that’s Neil’s true self I’m really desperate to see more of him! ❤ I swear Neil giving Riko a run for his money is my new aesthetic! *lol* I, for my part, wouldn’t mind to read more about Neil’s “attitude problem”, yet at the same time I’m kind of afraid what Riko will do. He won’t accept this and some part of me is worried that he’ll hurt my precious baby bean. >_< Ahh! I really need to read book two!

4

I never expected to love this so much but right from the very first sentence this world drew me in, locked the door and threw the key away. In short: I’ve been a goner the moment I started to read this and I’m afraid my addiction will only get even worse. XD Yes, this sometimes reads like fan fiction and yes, the mental health rep in this is more than just a little sketchy (if not completely unrealistic, weird and – I’m no expert – wrong) but as I already pointed out earlier in my review: This is not a book to read with your mind, this is a book you’ll have to read following your gut instinct. So all told this book is problematic af, kind of unrealistic and definitely politically incorrect in so many different ways and on so many levels… but I still loved it!? O_o On to the next one! *lol*

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Sadie (Courtney Summers)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 

”For some people, the future ahead is opportunity. For others, it’s only time you haven’t met and where I lived, it was only time. You don’t waste your breath trying to protect it. You just try to survive it until one day, you don’t.”

My first reaction when I finished this book was:

THIS BOOK WILL HAUNT ME FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

And I still stand by my initial response. Never in my entire life have I read a book that haunts me as much as “Sadie” does and quite honestly: I hope I’ll never ever read another book like it ever again. >_<  This book was so tough to read and whenever I picked it up I found myself taking a deep breath before I could dive back in. I had to prepare for this story because it’s such a heavy one and believe me when I say that I barely made it through the entire book.

Not because it wasn’t good, but because it felt like I’d choke on my own feelings whenever I read it. As a loving parent “Sadie” was exceptionally hard to digest and it’s eerie and haunting atmosphere only made it even harder to continue. I’m going to be honest here: I hated almost all of the adults in this book because they JUST DIDN’T CARE!!! Who lets a young 19 year old girl run around in the world without any guidance? So many people crossed Sadie’s path but almost none of them tried to help her and even less tried to convince her to stay, let alone to get some sort of aid.

”I can’t undo everything that’s already been done. How do you forgive the people who are supposed to protect you? Sometimes I don’t know what I miss more: everything I ‘ve lost or everything I never had.”

I for my part can’t forgive the people who were supposed to protect Mattie and Sadie. They all failed and none of them, none of them was there for those two girls when they needed it the most. Yes, May Beth tried and true, West McCray did his best to find Sadie but the rest of them? Caddy, Silas, Marlee, Ellis, Clair Southern (Sadie’s and Mattie’s mother I may add!!) they were all horrible adults and I really hope that karma will bite them in their asses.  XD Sure, some of them might have been overtaxed with their own lives and troubles, but they all had a chance to do what’s right and none of them went for it. >_< When given the choice they always chose themselves.

”I forget that at times, I was a kid, that I did kid things. That I read about the girls I dreamed of being.”

And because of actions like that, because of their neglect, Mattie died and Sadie went on a journey to revenge her sister’s murder. She left everything she ever knew behind because she was determined to kill the man who murdered the only person that meant the world to her. Sadie isn’t on a quest, she’s on a mission and it’s to find the bastard who killed her sister and to put him six feet under, no matter the consequences, no matter the cost. It’s a road trip of sorts, and Sadie is driven by anger and revenge. By a sheer insatiable hunger to get rid of the one thing that destroyed her entire world; to stop him from doing the same to others. To end him before he ends anyone else.

”In Mattie, Sadie found a sense of purpose, a place to put her love. But love is complicated, it’s messy. It can inspire selflessness, selfishness, our greatest accomplishments and our hardest mistakes. It brings us together and it can just as easily drive us apart.

It can drive us.”

I was with Sadie every step of the way. I suffered with her, I bled with her, I hurt with her, I despaired and cried with her, and I felt her profound and all-consuming grief! I felt what Sadie felt and I admired her resilience. This girl! This girl is one of the bravest I ever read about. The guilt that consumed her, the conviction that she could have done something, anything to save her sister’s life… Gods, at times it was so overwhelming the ink spilled from the pages and punctured my heart. T_T

„Thirteen, Mattie.
I kept you alive for thirteen years.
Waking her up in the morning, making her meals, walking her to the school bus, waiting for her at its stop when the day was over, grinding my bones to dust just to keep us holding on and when I lay it out like that, I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know where, underneath it all, you’d find my body. And I don’t care. I’d do it all again and again for eternity if I had to.
I don’t know why that’s not enough to bring her back.“

Sadie wasn’t just Mattie’s sister, she was her friend, her partner in crime and most of all… she was her mother. The love she felt for her sister, it was the purest thing and it was taken away from her. Violently and brutally. It’s no wonder Sadie harbours vengeful thoughts. Every mile hurt, every second was painful and with every city she leaves the inevitable pinnacle draws closer. And all the time West and May Beth are retracing and following her steps, trying to find a girl that is close to come unglued. At the risk of repeating myself: It’s haunting, it’s eerie, it’s urgent and it’s insistent in its intensity.

„I’m going to kill a man.
I’m going to steal the light from his eyes. I want to watch it go out. You aren’t supposed to answer violence with more violence but sometimes I think violence is the only answer. It’s no less than he did to Mattie, so it’s no less than he deserves.“

I’m still not over “Sadie” and I get the feeling I’ll never be. This book was unlike anything I ever read and its vehemence will stick with me for years to come. As will one of the first sentences of this book:

”I can’t take another dead girl.”

Neither can I. >_<

trigger warningsmurder, paedophilia, sexual abuse, child abuse, violence, addiction & drug abuse, parental negligence, assault

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

ARC Review: An Exaltation of Larks (Suanne Laqueur)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

*A forever grateful thank you to NetGalley and “Cathedral Rock Press” for providing a free ARC*

”They shared breath, poised on a shared edge, shaking all their separate pieces into one.”

Do you know the kind of book that swallows you whole? That makes you want to pick it up even though it’s in the middle of the night and you just closed it. The sort of story that takes over your mind, body and soul? The kind that makes you restless and achy with the need to continue? This special sort of book that touches you on such a profound and fundamental level your heart quite literally bursts from hurting, but, boy it hurts so good?!

“An Exaltation of Larks” was everything of the above and so, so, so much more! I had no idea what I was getting myself into until it was already too late. Until I found myself so deeply immersed in this story that it seemed to be impossible to get away from its words. They followed me around, taunted me, teased me, wanted to be read with such a relentless fervour that I couldn’t even think about uttering the word “no”.

”All his movements were clumsy and reluctant. His fingers balked at tying his sneakers. Turned locks the wrong way while opening the door. He stumbled going down the hall and the elevator door banged him on the elbow as it was closing.
He didn’t want to go.”

That’s exactly how this book made me feel and even after finishing it two weeks ago it still didn’t let me go. This story swept me off my feet, dug its claws into my skin and sang me to sleep. And to be entirely honest, this effect is still going on. By now I think “An Exaltation of Larks” was written to bury itself in my soul so that I would never feel alone again. And if that is truly the case, then all I can say is that it can have every inch of my heart it conquered.

”Many people like being alone, but nobody likes to be lonely.”

There are so many things I loved about this book, so many in fact that I don’t even know where to start. I adored Val and Alex, I worshipped Jav, whose character was so similar to mine that it sometimes felt like torture to read on. I connected with him on such a basic level that it killed me to accompany him on his difficult journey. But just like him I longed for more and no matter how much I got, I just couldn’t get enough. Of the strong friendships in this book, of the relationships between the characters, of the family they became. I swear the relationships in this book were everything!!! Just everything!! The humour, the banter, I loved how they joked, how comfortable they were around each other, how effortlessly those two families merged into one.

”Te lo agradezco mucho,” Alex said.
“You don’t have to thank me.”
“No sé cómo agradecértelo.”
“Stop.” Jav kissed his head. “You guys are my family. I’d do anything.”
He kissed Val’s head. Then six arms wove and wrapped and they held each other tight.

There are three people that found each other because they were meant to, because destiny had chosen them before they even knew it themselves and they love each other so deeply, so madly, so unconditionally that it broke my heart. The way Suanne let them deal with their troubles, how they acted around each other, how they were angry and mad but still so very much in love. How they fought for their love, how they realized that they had to accept their feelings with all their consequences, weaknesses and flaws. It just blew me away!! Suanne can write! And it’s so convincing, so realistic that it killed me. The chemistry of those characters, the cozy atmosphere, the strong feeling of belonging, of kinship and above all else the affection and love that connects them all.

”It’s not the Larks that kill you. It’s the exaltation.”

I swear at times I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I felt so fragile you could have shattered me with a soft breeze. Val’s and Alex’s marriage was so wonderful, yet I also loved the idea of Alex and Jav. To be entirely honest, the mere thought of all of them together kind of blew my mind and I suppose in some way or another those three actually kind of were in some sort of relationship. They were so connected, it was hard to even imagine them not being involved with each other and their children Ari and Deane only seemed to add to that intense sensation of all-encompassing love.

”I want you to be all right. I wanted that long before all this other stuff showed up. I wanted you to stay in Guelisten, I wanted my home to be your home. A place where you feel good. A place you can come as yourself and bring along your happiness and your pain. I wanted you around since the beginning.”

Of course none of those characters had it easy, because as we all know life may be described with an abundance of words but “easy” is certainly none of them. This said there are quite a lot of serious topics that are tackled by Suanne and they were woven so gently into the rug of this story that you don’t know where the seam begins or ends. They are as much a part of the book as they are a part of the characters and I’m still in awe of the author’s ability to let those stories speak for themselves. “The Disappeared” of Chile, 9/11 and its effects, the way our family and our personal history shapes us. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried throughout the entire chapter that dealt with 9/11 and that the only thing that made it better was to remind myself of the things that are good in this world. Namely, a short peek at my kid while she was fast asleep in her bed. This chapter wrecked me, big time, as did so many other moments in this book… ¡Vale! I just had to take a deep breath because my emotions are still all over the place and I’m pretty certain this will never change.

”It caught Jav under the ribs and his teeth trembled together. He felt the ground tilt beneath his feet. His heart flailed, making desperate minute adjustments, frantically trying to find center. Find his way home, even as home insisted it was here. Right here in this house. With Alex.”

4

So this was my rather futile attempt to convey how much this book means to me and I can’t help but feel like I failed miserably. There is no way to put all of those emotions into words and if I’d live a million years I still wouldn’t be able to describe this painful contentment that I feel. “Therapy Fiction”, “Contemporary Train Wreck”, “Emotionally Intelligent Romance” those are all terms that are used to describe Suanne’s books. Well, I guess I have a new one for you: “Heart-breaking Realism”.

Make of that what you want, but I can guarantee you one thing: If you read this, you will never be the same again. All the paws! All the paws, por siempre jamás! ❤

A - E, Allgemein, B, Reviews

Review: Beartown (Fredrik Backman)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 18 on My Book List 2019

”Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.”

WHAT AN OPENING LINE!!!
WHAT A BOOK!!

It’s been two weeks since I finished this book (or did the book finish me?!) and I still haven’t managed to get over the experience of “Beartown”. Truth be told, I think I never will. This is a book that stays with you. It buries itself into your soul, little by little, page by page, word by word. It claws its way into your heart, consumes you, ignites you, sets you aflame just to be able to extinguish the fire once it burns. With kindness, with love, with compassion.
Every single sentence hurt, every page cut deep, and every paragraph let me lose hope in humanity and rebuilt it once again.

I find myself incapable to convey how much this book touched me. I can’t express how badly it hurt, how beautiful it was or how much it made me wish to jump right into the book and to hug some of the characters. There was no chapter that didn’t pack a punch. Fredrick Backman’s writing style… it’s not from this world. There is so much wisdom between the pages, so many gestures and actions that seem to be miniscule at the moment you read them, but in the end they add up and are so much more once you get to that final punchline right between the lines. And once realization dawns on you, once you connect the dots and get aware of the bigger picture, you find yourself gasping for air.

”This sport demands only one thing from you. Your all.”

So what happened after two weeks? I went to the library and saw “Beartown” in the shelves. I had tears in my eyes just looking at the book so my bestie asked me what it is about and I tried to explain it to her. “It’s a book about hockey in a small-town but it’s also about so much more than that”, I said, grasping for the right words to explain the inexplicable. How do you sum up a book like “Beartown”? How do you express the meaning between the lines? The subtle hints, the humanity written on those pages? The good as well as the bad parts of a two-sided coin that’s called humankind?

”It doesn’t take a lot to be able to let go of your child. It takes everything.”

I know I’m being so vague here, BUT BOY, this is a book you better experience for yourself! This is the kind of book you read without knowing where it will lead, the kind of book that’s best read when you go into it blind and have no clue about what you’re getting yourself into. I can guarantee you one thing though, once you start to read it you won’t be able to stop and once you reached the ending you won’t be the same anymore. “Beartown” is one of those books that should be a classic and that, no doubt, will be one day! Some of the characters in here are amazing and each and every one of them is human and has its flaws. They are neither good nor bad, they just are. I loved so many of them and I hated or disliked a lot of them as well. Backman wrote a study of humanity and “Beartown” isn’t just a book about hockey it’s about people and their lives as well. And since I’m already talking about the characters I might as well give you a short introduction:

There might be mild spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to be spoiled you better stop here and don’t continue to read my review. Also the spoilers that are marked are the real deal so you better be careful with clicking those. 😛

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Benjamin (Benji):

”Her little Benjamin, the fighter with whom it’s far too easy for the girls of Beartown to fall in love. The boy with the most handsome face, the saddest eyes and the wildest heart they’ve ever seen.”

I loved Benji so much!!! He’s the best and I would die for this boy!! <333 I hated to see him suffer, yet he never gave up. He did what he had to do, he’s the most loyal guy you’ll ever find, but even though he loves his friends fiercely and would do everything for them he also knows what’s wrong and what’s right and it might have killed him… Hell, it DID kill him, but he still decided to do what was right and I’ll forever love him for it! I’d read “Us Against You” just to see him once again! Benji deserves the world!!!

”Here he is burdened with too much that no one sees, and here he has hockey. The team, the guys, Kevin. They mean everything to him, so he is everything they want him to be. And that’s a terrible thing. Having to keep a secret from those you love.”

Ana:

”Ana was a tornado. A jagged, hundred-sided peg in a community where everyone was supposed to fit into round holes.”

Ana was such an amazing friend as well! I loved her friendship with Maya, how they could rely on each other, how she was basically a part of Maya’s family. Those two girls were so different but they were also the same and their relationship was so beautiful to witness.

Maya Andersson:

”I know you’d have killed for me, Mum. I know you’d have given your life for me. But we’re going to get through this, you and me. Because I’m your daughter I’ve got wolf’s blood.”

I’m in awe of Maya! This girl was so strong and Kira has every reason to be proud of her daughter. I don’t know what I would have done… but Maya, she did the best she could do. She even looked out for her brother and her friends and she never backed down. I’ve never seen a braver girl and I swear Maya’s relationship with her parents was one of the best things in this book! ❤

spoiler

She had every freaking reason to go through with it, she could have pulled the trigger but she didn’t. She decided against it and that’s strength!! She gave him a taste of her fear and I think that taught him a lesson he will never forget. To die would have been easy, to live with the consequences of what he did, that’s the really hard thing and I’m sure he’ll never forget it.


Kira & Peter Andersson:

”Not a second has passed since she had children without her feeling like a bad mother. For everything. For not understanding, for being impatient, for not knowing everything, for not making better packed lunches, for still wanting more out of life than just being a mother.”

Kira and Peter were my favourite couple of this book! They’ve been married for years, went through thick and thin together and yet they still love each other so much that it killed me! T_T Their scenes were so amazing and you could literally feel their strong bond. Also the way they interacted with their children, how they would have defended them with teeth and claws (Kira) and how they would hug away their pain (Peter) was EVERYTHING! I swear I strive to be a parent like that! ❤ Kira and Peter are role models and I can only hope that my own kid will love and trust me as much as Maya loved and trusted her parents. Hell, I’d die for both of them too! <333

”That may have been how they survived, Kira realizes: thanks to the ability not to fall apart at the same time.”

”Love me.”
“Always.”
“Love me like you love hockey and David Bowie?”
“So much more, Pumpkin, much, much more.”

”I didn’t want the bastards to see me bleed,” she whispers to her mother.
“Sometimes I’m afraid that they’re going to have to. To understand that you’re a real person,” her mother sobs, clutching her daughter so very, very tightly in her arms.

”Do you think I’m less of a man because I can’t fight?” he whispers.
“Do you think I’m less of a woman because I can?” she asks.

The Erdahl family:

”What did you get wrong? Perfection isn’t a goal in the Erdahl family, it’s the norm.”

I didn’t like Kevin’s father but I liked his mother. She did the right thing even though it must have been so tough for her. Her heart-to-heart with Benji killed me and I was at least as devastated after their conversation as they were. This hurt so much. >_<

spoiler

Gods, this must be one of the worst things ever. To know that your own son raped a girl and to deal with that knowledge. You still love your child and want the best for it, yet you KNOW that it did something horrible and totally wrong. How do you deal with something like that? I hope I’ll never find out. Also her knowing that Kevin could never lie to his best friend and that this is the reason why Benji kept away from her son. Everything about their heart-to-heart broke me! This was such a powerful scene! I think I’ll never get over it. T_T


”Benji tries to light a cigarette. His hands are shaking too much to hold the lighter. His tears extinguish the flame.”

Amat & Fatima:

”He’ll allow her aching fingers to rest and give her aching back a break. He doesn’t want possessions. He just wants to lie in bed one single night without having to count.”

Those two had such a wonderful relationship! Amat loved his mother so much and she raised him well! I loved how Amat made the right choices even though he knew it would cost him everything. He didn’t run away, he faced the consequences and he fought for the truth. I’m sure Fatima is very proud of him because heaven knows, I AM!

”You know that my eyes work better than anyone else’s in here. Because that’s the first thing you learn on the Beartown Ice Hockey Club, isn’t it? You can’t teach that way of seeing. That’s something you’re born with.”

”I only need one man: my son. And you’re not alone. You’ve never been alone. You just need to be better at choosing the company you keep.”

David:

I was so conflicted about his character! At the beginning of the book I didn’t like him, then he started to grow on me, then there was a time I didn’t like him once again and at the ending I still kind of loved him?! AHHH! I didn’t agree with a lot of the things he said and did, but I also loved him for some of the things he didn’t say and didn’t do. Does that make sense? >_<

spoiler

”That’s betrayal. David knows it’s a huge betrayal. There’s no other way to explain how much a grown man must have failed as a person if such a warrior of a boy could believe that his coach would be less proud of him if he were gay. David hates himself for not being better than his dad. That’s the job of sons.”

At first I thought he was disgusted by Benji being gay but then I realized that he was disgusted with himself for making jokes about being gay when he was with the team. That he hated himself for not realizing that Benji was gay and for making him hurt with his words and actions. He loathed himself for not giving Benji a safe enough environment to tell them the truth. I don’t agree with his stance on Peter and the way Kevin was taken away from the bus though and I totally agree with Sune here. One day when his own kid is at Maya’s age, David will feel differently and will realize that there are more important things than hockey. Your own kid always comes first and hockey is nothing compared to the well-being of your child.

 

Ramona:

”This town doesn’t always know the difference between right and wrong. I’ll admit that. But we know the difference between good and evil.”

I ADORE THIS WOMAN!!! <33 She might be grumpy and rough but she has her heart at the right place and that’s everything that counts. In a world dominated by men she stood her ground and forced them to see the truth. I just loved how all those grown men listened to her and acknowledged her opinion. This woman is one hell of a bear and more man than any of them! XD

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I’ll never be able to put all of my emotions into words so I’ll just go with my initial thoughts after finishing the book and hope that they’ll give you a good impression of how I feel about “Beartown”:

I’m an emotional wreck.
I’m Backman trash.
Throw me in a dustbin and close the lid.

The end.

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

If you ask me there is no quote that would describe the essence of “The Hate U Give” better than this one. Heaven knows, to speak up for yourself and your beliefs is never easy, but if you don’t do it your voice won’t be heard and things will continue to go on the way they were before.

It’s a lesson our heroine Starr learns the hard way and it’s a more than just important lesson as well.

”I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.”

I could understand Starr’s internal battle and I could relate to her so much. To admit that she’s the witness, to speak up for Khalil and to say what truly happened… well, it takes guts to take that step. Especially because she was smack in the middle of it all. On the one hand there were the King Lords and the gang members at Garden Heights and on the other hand there was the police. Neither of both sides was all too keen on hearing the truth about what went down that night (and this is putting it mildly), but the truth needed to be heard and I think it was very brave of Starr to find her voice. Truth be told, I actually enjoyed watching her journey.

”Oh, we know the truth, that’s not what we want,” says Daddy. “We want justice.”

Of course her family tried to protect her from harm and wanted to keep her identity anonymous but the more things happened, the harder it got to stay out of it. You might say that Starr eventually ended up in all that mess her family tried to protect her from, but then again it wasn’t really like she had a choice. If your best friend would have been murdered in front of your eyes, if he would have been unarmed, his back to the police officer that shot him, the only thing he did a concerned glance into his car because you were the co-driver and he didn’t want you to get hurt. What would you have done after you held him dying in your arms?

”The truth casts a shadow over the kitchen – people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right.”

Yes, you would have wanted to get justice too! At least I would have wanted it because there’s nothing in this world that makes me feel more helpless and angry than injustice and the injustice that happened in this book was outrageous!!!

”But Khalil didn’t stay put, did he?” she says.
“He didn’t pull the trigger on himself either.”

I loved Starr so much for that statement alone! There were two police officers interrogating her and all they tried to do was to put the blame on Khalil. Because of course it was his fault that he got shot! He was a drug dealer after all, right? NO!! HELL, NO!!!! Even if he would have been a drug dealer this wouldn’t have made things right! He was unarmed, he didn’t do anything wrong, he only checked on his friend and he had to die for it. THIS IS NOT OKAY!!! THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!! THIS IS WRONG!!! And no matter how much people tried to discredit him, nothing of what they said about him was the truth!!!

”Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

The truth is that he was just a normal kid, driving home his best friend after they left from a party. End of the story. Or it should have been… What I really liked about this book was that it made you think. I mean Starr’s own uncle is a policeman and a good and righteous one at that. Yet there were also those officers that treated her father so badly and tried to intimidate her. Just because you’re a cop you’re not automatically a good person, just because you’re black you’re not automatically a drug dealer. Just because you go to a private school you’re not automatically rich.

Angie Thomas plays with ingrained prejudices and subjective perceptions. In “The Hate U Give” she shows us that supposedly good people can be bad and that people who seem to have a bad reputation can have a kind heart too. There occur at least as many prejudices against white people as there appear against black ones. For instance Starr’s father Maverick doesn’t like her boyfriend and is distrustful of him because he’s white. And Starr is the cool kid at her school because she’s one of the few students that attend the school and are black. Quite honestly, if I go by Starr’s and her friend’s definition of being black I’d be black through and through. *lol* I don’t like green bean casserole and for me Macaroni and cheese is a snack that comes out of the oven (thus a side dish) So I guess according to their reasoning that makes me as black as them! XD

”At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”

Despite all the humour that can be found in here, the message of this book is quite clear though: We’re all human, we all make mistakes, family is important and got your back, justice must be practiced and lived, we shouldn’t be judged for our skin colour and we should always stand up for our beliefs, no matter how hard it is.

I think that’s a great message and one that should be heard! So thank you Angie Thomas for writing this book, for giving Starr a strong voice, for allowing us to get a glimpse of other people’s lives and for showing me that Starr’s family is as funny, caring and crazy as mine.

A great book with an important message! Read it and let it be heard! =)

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: Turtles All the Way Down (John Green)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

 

”One of the challenges with pain – physical or psychic – is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way a table or a body can. In some ways, pain is the opposite of language.”

Those words rang so true and I think this is my favourite quote from the entire book. Because yes, I’ve been there and done that and in all honesty I can’t tell you what was worse. Physical or psychic? In both cases I couldn’t find my voice. For different reasons but the outcome was the same. So I totally agree with this statement. Pain IS the opposite of language and if you want to work through it you’ve to learn to express yourself.

Which is exactly what Aza is doing in this book. Or to be completely honest: This is what everyone is trying to do in this book. No matter if it’s Davis, Aza’s mom or her best friend Daisy. They all hurt, in different ways, for different reasons, but they feel pain and they really try their best to deal with it. With varying success, but they are fighting and this is always good because this means that none of them gave up yet.

“Turtles All the Way Down” is no fast read, it’s neither suspenseful nor easy, but it’s real and true and this makes all the difference. You won’t find action scenes or plot twists in here, you’ll find real people with real problems and the will to work through them. No supernatural obstacles, just ordinary life and its challenges. Which, truth be told are sometimes even worse than everything a superhero has to put up with. 😉 This said, let’s head to my character section and go into more detail.

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This is my characters section so this means that you’ll be spoiled relentlessly if you decide to continue to read. It’s your choice and up to you, but if you didn’t read the book yet and begin to regret your own curiosity: Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because, well, I just officially did! ;-P

Aza:

”And if you can’t pick what you do or think about, then maybe you aren’t really real, you know? Maybe I’m just a lie that I’m whispering to myself.”

Oh, how I felt with Aza when I read this book. She knows she has a problem and she’s doing her best to work through it but she just can’t escape what she thinks or who she truly is. There’s always something gnawing at the back of her mind and even though she’s living an ordinary life and doing homework etc. there’s still something that’s holding her back. I have to admit, sometimes it was really tough to read Aza’s POV because her spirals were pretty intense. There were moments I had to close the book and put it aside… a privilege Aza didn’t have because it was her own mind and her own thoughts that haunted her. Yet despite everything she was going to school and trying to fit into our world. And sometimes she even succeeded to live in the moment. I can’t even fathom how difficult this must have been but I’m kind of proud of Aza because she never gave up. =)

”You don’t actually want to do this; it’s just an invasive. Everyone has them. But you can’t shut yours up. Since you’ve had a reasonable amount of cognitive behavioral therapy, you tell yourself, I am not my thoughts, even though deep down you’re not sure what exactly that makes you.”

Daisy:

”But a human woman falling in love with a Wookie, God forbid. I mean, I know I’m just feeding the trolls here, Holmesy, but I can’t stand for it.”

Haha! Okay, the idea of Rey/Chewie fanfic is still something I have to get used to, but in general I got the gist of what Daisy meant. *lol* I liked Aza’s best friend and it was great to see how they worked together. Daisy was definitely the outgoing and honest kind of type and I really appreciated that about her. She didn’t mince her words and never beat about the bush and this was really refreshing. I can understand why some people might think that Daisy was selfish and self-centred, but I think that she only wanted the best for Aza and really loved her. If you don’t have OCD it’s hard to understand the actions of people that have it, but Daisy tried and that has to count for something!

Davis Pickett:

”I don’t know what superpower William James enjoyed, but I can no more choose my thoughts than choose my name.”

Where to start with Davis? What a pure and tortured soul! T_T I really loved that boy! In the eyes of others he might have had everything he wished for but Davis was aware that he didn’t have the one thing that truly counts: A loving father who took care of his sons. After his father’s disappearance he was left to his own devices and even though it seemed like everything was secured – at least legally – this didn’t change anything about the fact that he had a hard fate. Without their father and without a mother he was the only one his younger brother could rely on and this was a lot of responsibility for such a young boy. The scene where Aza’s mother confronted him and told him that she only wants the best for her daughter was so sad to read. No wonder Davis cried. If his father would have only cared about him half as much… >_< Davis is such a precious bean and he deserves the world! I really hope he was able to start a new life and that he got everything he wanted and more! <333

”At this point I don’t care why someone likes me. I’m just so goddamned lonely. I know that’s pathetic. But yeah.”

He started to say something, but then had to stop, because his eyes were welling up with tears. “Davis, are you all right?” my mom asked. He tried to speak again but it devolved into a choked sob.
“Davis, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize….”
Blushing, he said, “I’m sorry.”

”I guess at some point, you realize that whoever takes care of you is just a person, and that they have no superpowers and can’t actually protect you from getting hurt. Which is one thing. But Noah is starting to understand that maybe the person he thought was a superhero turns out sort of to be the villain. And that really sucks.”

”The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.”

3

Aza & Davis:

”Him: And the thing is, when you lose someone, you realize you’ll eventually lose everyone.
Me: True. And once you know that, you can never forget it.”

*sighs* Those two. They would have been good for each other but their circumstances made it so difficult to be together. Aza was fighting hard against her growing OCD and Davis was kind of fighting for his and his brother’s existence. So definitely not the right time to start a relationship. Still, I liked that they were there for each other whenever things got tough and in their own way they understood and respected each other more than anyone else would have been able to. Their deep conversations were definitely the highlight of this book and I felt really sorry for both of them. It didn’t surprise me that Davis was hurt when Aza decided to break up with him, but considering their circumstances it was the sensible thing to do. This said my heart will always bleed for those two and I don’t think it will ever stop! >_<

”I’m not gonna un-have this is what I mean. I’ve had it since I can remember and it’s not getting better and I can’t have a normal life if I can’t kiss someone without freaking out.”
“It’s okay, Aza. Really.”

”He kept saying what do I do, what do I do, his head on my shoulder. I wondered whether it was a mistake to tell him. What do I do? He asked it again and again, pleading.”

Daisy & Aza:

”I don’t mean that you’re a bad friend or anything. But you’re slightly tortured, and the way you’re tortured is sometimes also painful for, like, everyone around you.”

Now that was quite a friendship and I could relate to it from Daisy’s POV. I have a few friends that have OCD and even though I’m trying to understand them it’s not always easy. If you don’t have OCD it’s kinda tough to understand why people would do certain things and I think John Green portrayed this incomprehension quite well. Daisy loved Aza and this was more than just obvious, yet she still had troubles to maintain their friendship. I think most of that is due to the fact that the most ordinary things (in our eyes ordinary, mind you) become a challenge for people with OCD. We can’t even fathom what it means to go out into the world and to live with that voice in the back of your mind. So at times this makes it hard to comprehend Aza’s actions. Despite all that Daisy did everything she could. She tried to understand Aza and she accepted her the way she was. If you ask me this is what true friendship is about and in my eyes they were perfect! =)

”What are their jobs? When was the last time you were at my apartment – five years ago? We’re supposed to be best friends, Holmesy, and you don’t even know if I have any fucking pets. You have no idea what it’s like for me, and you’re so like, pathologically uncurious that you don’t even know what you don’t know.”

Aza & her mom:

”You feeling scared?”
“Kinda.”
“Of what?”
“It’s not like that. The sentence doesn’t have, like, an object. I’m just scared.”
“I don’t know what to say, Aza. I see the pain on your face and I want to take it from you.”

Aza’s mom was so great! She was a single mom and tried her best to give Aza everything she needed. There was no doubt that she loved her daughter dearly and it was so good to see that she always managed to engage Aza in dialogue. Of course this wasn’t always welcome from Aza’s side but I guess that’s a typical teen trait. Regardless of their troubles and fears, no teen seems to be keen on the idea of talking with their parents about the real important things. *lol* I think that if she would have wanted to, Aza knew that she could always confide in her mother though. And last but not least her mom’s words resonated so much with me. It’s so hard to see your kid in pain and not to be able to do anything against it and if I could, I would do everything possible to take away my child’s pain. No matter if it’s heartache or a flu. XD

”You seemed locked inside of your mind, and I can’t know what’s going on in there, and it scares me.” I pressed my thumbnail against my fingertip through the Band-Aid, thinking it would scare her a lot more if she could see what was going on in there.

The OCD rep:

”The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”

I don’t have OCD so you have to take my words with a grain of salt. I do think that the rep was done very well in this book though. As I mentioned before, I have a couple of friends that suffer from OCD and before I read this book I was trying to understand them but never truly did. I think to read “Turtles All the Way Down” gave me a better understanding of their troubles and fears. Of course there are different types of OCD and there was only one part of it represented in here, the “thought spiral” is something that all of my friends seem to have in common though. I can’t even imagine how tough it must be to get out of bed and to live your life with thoughts like that always spinning in the back of your mind. To read about it made it so palpable and real. It’s one thing if people try to explain it to you, it’s an entirely different thing if you’re in their head and experience those things exactly like they do. Some of those book scenes were pretty intense and yes, I admit it, I sometimes found myself closing the book because I couldn’t take the repetitive thoughts and the spiral downwards any longer. When I needed a break I could close the book, but people who have OCD can’t just close a book, they have to live through their thoughts and that’s actually pretty scary. I think I finally got how scary it actually is! So thank you John Green for giving us this rep and for helping us to understand the people we love and care about! If not entirely, at least a little bit better.

”True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”

4

“Turtles All the Way Down” was a fairly slow-paced and somehow gentle book. John Green dealt with quite a few sensitive topics yet always tackled them in a careful manner. Whilst it can be argued that the plot around the missing billionaire is only background music, there is no doubt that Green used it as a device in order to focus on the important things. The things that have moved our world for centuries. Love, hope, fear, anger, frustration, despair and the entire bandwidth of human emotions. If you’re looking for one or all of those things you’ll certainly gain something from reading this book! Happy reading!

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: We Are Okay (Nina LaCour)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”I wonder if there’s a secret current that connects people who have lost something. Not in the way that everyone loses something, but in the way that undoes your life, undoes your self, so that when you look at your face it isn’t yours anymore.”

This book was one of the most beautiful books I ever read. Not only because the writing style is amazing but also because there is so much truth in it. The truth can be beautiful, it can be bittersweet, it can be painful and excruciating, it can hurt you but it can also give you hope. The truth of “We Are Okay”? It does all those things and even more.

”No one will know if you stay in bed all day. No one will know if you wear the same sweatpants for the entire month, if you eat every meal in front of television shows and use T-shirts as napkins. Go ahead and listen to that same song on repeat until its sound turns to nothing and you sleep the winter away.”

There’s a sadness in this book, on every page, in every single line. It seeps from the pages, it’s a tangible and breathing thing. It makes it hard to pick up the book and it stays throughout the entire story. A silent and looming companion, something to be afraid of but also something that keeps you going, something that accompanies you, for better or for worse. There were so many things I could relate to and I think my personal experiences made up a big part of the story’s appeal.

”I’m just afraid that one day something’s going to catch me by surprise. Stale coffee. Squares of American cheese. Hard tomatoes, so unripe they’re white in the center. The most innocent things can call back the most terrible.”

How can anyone who hasn’t gone through loss even comprehend how hard it is to remain a living, functioning and acting part of this world? The answer is simple: They can’t. Grief is something that changes you, it turns and twists you, you might look the same on the outside but on the inside you’re shaken to your core. Once grief found you, it leaves its mark and it’s something you carry with you for the rest of your life. You can’t get rid of it and you recognize it in people that made the same experiences.

”But I know that there’s a difference between how I used to understand things and how I do now. I used to cry over a story and then close the book, and it all would be over. Now everything resonates, sticks like a splinter, festers.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m always glad for the people who never experienced such a profound loss. They still have some sort of innocence to them; they’ve never been shattered like that and don’t have to try to fit together the pieces of a puzzle they didn’t even know existed. It’s not easy to come back from this kind of grief and it doesn’t only take away your innocence, it also steals your youth.

”In the kitchen, I put a pot of water on the stove. Before the water reaches a boil, he will be here. I dropped pasta in and set the timer. Before the then minutes are up. I melted some butter. I wasn’t hungry, but I would eat it anyway, and by the time I was done, he would walk through the door and call out my name.”

*sighs* How I could relate to this part of the book. The waiting, the hoping that her grandfather would turn up. The ingrained KNOWING that he wouldn’t. That utter and deafening sense that something is wrong but you can’t do anything to make it right. You’re helpless, desperate and frantic and you just don’t know what to do. Until, well, until someone eventually confirms your biggest fears. Until someone shatters your world forever.

”And Hannah kept saving me. She saved me with never asking questions, with instead reading to me about bees and botany and evolution. She saved me with clothes she loaned me and never took back. She saved me with seats next to her in the dining hall, with quick evasions when people asked me questions I couldn’t answer, with chapters read aloud and forced trips off campus and rides to the grocery store and a pair of winter boots.”

But thankfully there are people like Hannah out there. People that watch out for you, that don’t turn away from you but embrace you with all your shattered parts. I’m pretty sure Hannah might have experienced loss too because she stuck with Marin and in my experience only people that went through it will react like that. The others? Well, those who are fortunate will have never experienced anything like it, so they’ll say how sorry they are, they’ll try to cheer you up, but when you fall into that black and endless rabbit hole of grief. Well, they’ll eventually lose interest after a few days or weeks (if you’re lucky) and then move on. Without you…

It took Marin months to speak about her loss; it took me an entire year to open up and to speak about mine. A year that changed me forever, a year I’ll never get back. I really wish I would have had this book when I was seventeen and I hope and pray that everyone who experiences the very same thing will stumble upon it. That they’ll find solace and hope in Nina LaCour’s words and that they’ll eventually find the strength to move on. Because the truth is: Life is merciless and it doesn’t pause for the living.

If I learned anything then it’s this and that you’ve to live your life like there will be no tomorrow.

Make your experiences, don’t regret anything, recognize your loss, stay true to yourself, keep on fighting, keep living, because it’s worth it. Life is so worth it and you only have one chance! Make it count! 😉

This said, I love this book with all my heart and I’ll recommend it to everyone who ever experienced loss! This, this is your book! Your voice! Your thoughts on paper! Read it and heal! ❤

„Say yes.“

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: What If It’s Us (Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

This apartment isn’t home for either of us, but we’re home to each other, and that’s what makes every wall fall away so I only focus on him.”

When I heard that Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were writing a love child book together I instantly knew that I needed this in my life. XD Okay, it might have taken me a little while to get to it and I guess I kinda missed the hype train, but maybe this was good because I could focus on my own opinion instead of reading the opinion of others on my feed. 😉

And after finishing the final page let me tell you this: My opinion about this book is quite a strong one! *lol* I know there are a lot of people out there that ended up not liking “What If It’s Us” and I’m the first one to admit that it wasn’t exactly what I expected. If you’re looking for a fluffy and cute contemporary book you might be disappointed. Because yes, there is some fluff and cuteness going on but in this one it’s actually taking a backseat. At least it felt like that for me.

”But there were only so many hits to the heart I could take before I needed to step away. I gave him a lot of chances – I gave us a lot of chances. I just wasn’t good enough to remind him love could be a good thing.”

So what did Albertalli and Silvera try to achieve with this? If you ask me I think they wanted to write something realistic! And if they tried to do this, well, then they certainly nailed it! I mean at first I was a little bit disappointed about where this was heading too. I was hoping for a sweet romance and then I got Arthur and Ben! *lol* One of them some sort of innocent and naïve country bumpkin that only lives in the big city for the summer and the other a pretty disenchanted guy that is grumpy because his first love didn’t work out the way he hoped it would.

I swear, I never read about a couple that would have been worse for each other than those two! *lol* And I’m meaning this in the best way possible. At first glance they have nothing in common and just don’t fit together, but as the story continued to unfold I realized that this was okay. They are two different people that don’t have a lot in common but despite their obstacles, their misunderstandings, their troubles and personal sensitivities they still work somehow.

”…, and our voices don’t ever really become one, but I like how we sound together.
Like two people trying to make it work.”

I loved this quote because it’s so true! If you’re in a real relationship nothing is perfect. It’s easy to be in a relationship when you both still see things through rose-coloured glasses, but once this first stage of infatuation wears off a relationship is a lot of work. In Ben and Arthur’s case they just had to face those problems way earlier than others, they both tried to understand each other though and if you ask me I think this was a very mature approach. Speaking of which, another thing I really liked was the fact that both of them were already out of the closet. Ben’s entire family knew and Arthur told his people before he moved to New York.

”Yeah. I put up an Instagram post on Thanksgiving a couple years ago. Said that I was thankful for all the people in my life who are cool enough to love me as I am. And everyone else could unfriend me online and in real life. I had even checked my follower count before posting.”

Gosh, how I wish everyone could be as brave as Ben! But then again, not everyone has a family and friends like him. Not all of us are fortunate enough not to be unfriended after a statement like that. No matter if it might be on Instagram or in real life. >_< Still, I liked that they were both comfortable with being who they truly are and it’s really rare to read an LGBTQ+ story in which the characters are already out. So kudos for that! Well, for that and for the amazing portrayal of realistic friendships! XD

Dylan claps. “Okay. I’m sold. I am shipping you with the boy you met when you were supposed to be shipping relationship relics to your last boy.”

I loved Ben’s and Dylan’s friendship so much! They were amazing and their innuendos and jokes kinda reminded me of my bestie and me. *lol* I swear, when it comes to that we’re exactly like those two and it was so refreshing to see a friendship like ours represented on the pages of a book. Alone for that I couldn’t help but adore this story! I would never ever say anything like Ben to my bestie though. Phew! That was a really hurtful comment and I swear if my bestie would have said something like that to me I wouldn’t have talked to her either! I’m just glad Ben got his act together and apologized to Dylan in the end. XD

Samantha takes a step away from him. “A lightning bolt is going to burst in here any second now and shut you up.”
“I eat lightning for breakfast.”

Samantha and Dylan were amazing too! ❤ They weren’t only made for each other and a truly perfect match, but also so damn funny that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. 😉 Some people might say that Dylan was a little bit over the top, but let me tell you this: there are actually real Dylan’s out there in this world and if you’re very lucky one of them is a part of your life! XD

4

At first I was a little bit disappointed because this went in an entirely different direction than I expected. The longer I read the more I got captivated by the story though. I began to appreciate it for its realistic and honest approach and with time all the characters and their individual flaws started to grow on me. If there is one thing I have to criticize then it’s THE ENDING!!!! I mean OMG!!! To quote the Duke from Moulin Rouge: “I don’t like this ending!”
WHY, Becky and Adam?!! WHY??!!! I think I’ll never get over this ending and like so many others before me I demand a “do-over”! (See what I did there? *lol*) I’ll miss my two disaster gays so much and I’ll always want a sequel. #SorryNotSorry ;-P
This said: Happy Reading!

Arthur is tearing up. “Thanks for this. For everything. This morning. This summer. I know I’m a lot, and you’ve been so cool about it.”
I laugh a little. “We’re the worst. I mean, we’re the best. But we’re the worst. You always think you’re too much, and I feel like I’m not enough.”