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.”

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Crazy Rich Asians (Kevin Kwan)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

Book 38 on My Book List 2019

 

”And so this exotic strain of gossip spread rapidly through the Levantine networks of the Asian jet set, and within a few hours, almost everyone in this exclusive circle knew that Nicholas Young was bringing a girl home to Singapore.

And, alamak! This was big news.”
I guess this quote is the perfect summary of the entire book. *lol* And yes, the title already tells us everything we need to know. Still, I expected something light and fluffy when I started to read “Crazy Rich Asians” but truth be told I was kinda thrown by the intense and serious turn this book took in the end. There happened quite some heavy stuff and this is probably the biggest understatement ever!! XD

 

Oh well, I’m getting ahead of myself here so let’s start at the beginning. Rachel and Nicholas have been in a solid relationship for two years and his best friend’s wedding is actually the main reason he’s taking his girlfriend with him. I mean he’s Colin’s best man so it’s only natural to take your long-time girlfriend with you, right? Yes and no! Because seriously, nothing and no one could have prepared them for what would happen when they set their feet on this island. XD It’s not only a clash of cultures but also some sort of grim war between two seemingly different classes of people. If there ever exists such a thing. Just because some people think they are better and superior this certainly doesn’t make them better and superior. Which already brings me to the first topic that got me really riled whenever I read this book:The audacity and obnoxious snobbery of Nick’s family and their “close” friends. Money can buy you a lot of things but it obviously can neither buy you a heart nor common sense!

”And unlike Leo, Eddie’s parents were the old-fashioned type – insisting from the moment Eddie graduated that he learn to live off his earnings.
It was so bloody unfair.

I had no, I repeat absolutely, no sympathy or compassion for “poor” Eddie. It must have been so damn hard just to have a big house instead of a villa or to have a small private jet instead of a huge luxury airplane. If you ask me those people are really rich and truly crazy. There are people starving in this world, there are people that don’t even have a place to call their home and all those rich spoilt brats cared about was their designer clothes, their food and how they could look better than the rest. Urgh! I know I’m taking this way too serious, but as a person who grew up in a hardworking family that had to work for every cent and never got anything for free I just lack sympathy for people like them. And therefore the list of the people I didn’t like in this book is as long as the equator. Probably even longer because to circle the entire world only once might not be enough. XD

So just to give you a short example: Eleanor, Bernard, Eddie, Lorena, Carol, Lauren, Francesca, Evan, Roderick, Wandi, Parker, Nadine, Jacqueline, Su Yi (aka Ah Ma), Alexandra, … and the list could go on and on!

Thankfully there are also people that I liked and that made up for the horrible snobbery of those others: Rachel, Nick, Astrid, Colin, Sophie, Peik Lin and all the Gohs in general, Alistair, Philip and Charlie. And maybe Oliver, but I really dunno what’s his angle in all of this. *lol*

”Oh, you really don’t have to do that. It’s not important to me what sort of family he comes from,” Rachel said.
“Nonsense, lah! Of course it’s important!” Wye Mun was adamant. “If he’s Singaporean, I have a responsibility to make sure he’s good enough for you!”

I wish Nick’s family would have seen it the same way because the way they treated Rachel was just horrible and mean! I think the biggest disappointment was Su Yi though. I really thought she would know better than her spoilt grandchild Eddie! Especially because if I got it correctly she’s only filthy rich because she inherited the money from her father and actually didn’t have to do anything to gain her wealth.

”Where she’s from is irrelevant. My youngest grandson is not going to marry some actress, especially one of questionable lineage,” Su Yi said simply. Turning to Alexandra, she said, “You will tell him to break off the engagement immediately.”

But every time I thought “OH GODS, YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!!!” some nice character made an appearance and I started to believe in the good in people again. *lol* Two of the best examples were definitely Nick and Charlie because boy those two men blew me away! And truth be told even Fiona showed some serious backbone when she defended her kids against their tyrant of a father! =)

”Who exactly are you trying to impress? The photographers? The readers of Hong Kong Tattle? You really care so much about them that you’d rather hit your own son over an accident that you caused in the first place by screaming at him for wearing the wrong cummerbund?”

And so it happens that events escalate and almost everything that can go wrong actually goes wrong in the end. I can’t even tell you how sorry I felt for Nick! I mean, yeah he was partly responsible for the things that happened but you can’t blame him for only thinking the best of his mum and grandma. I mean they are his family and they hurt him at least as much as they hurt Rachel. Up until the moment he realized what they did behind his back he was actually pretty clueless about their vindictive ways and the lengths to which they would go in order to keep him from marrying Rachel.

”She’s not something I can just give up, Mum. I love her, and I’m going to marry her. I don’t need anyone’s approval,” Nick said forcefully, rising from the table.
“Stupid boy! Ah Ma will disinherit you!”
“Like I care.”

”No, Rachel, please don’t go,” Nick said, grabbing her by the arm. “I need you to hear this. Ah Ma, I don’t know what stories you’ve been told, but I have met Rachel’s family, and I like them very much. They have certainly shown me a great deal more courtesy, warmth, and respect than our family has shown to Rachel.”

Poor Nick, poor Rachel! They both didn’t deserve to be treated like that! I felt really sorry for Rachel because her world was turned upside down, but to some degree I felt even more sorry for Nick because it was his own family that did all this stuff. Your family should be the people you can rely on and trust, your family should be the people that catch you when you fall and his family, well they hurt him because he wanted to marry the “wrong” kind of girl.

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And if this wouldn’t have been enough already Rachel even broke up with him because she couldn’t stand to see him anymore. He so didn’t deserve that!! I swear if Rachel wouldn’t have turned to him in the end I really would have thrown that book out of my window! *lol* YES! I felt that strongly about poor Nick’s misery!!!

 

4

“Crazy Rich Asians” was an interesting, unexpectedly intense and somehow educational book. It kept me entertained and forced me to read on because I always wanted to know what would happen next. Rachel and Nick were a great couple and I’m already curious about the second book. As it seems it’s not only about them but also about Nick’s cousin Astrid as well and after her encounter with her ex-boyfriend Charlie I’m really beyond excited to see where this is heading. Because let’s face it: As much as I liked Nick, Charlie is still the best!!!! ❤

spoiler

”If he didn’t have a chance of getting Astrid back, he at least wanted to try to help her. He wanted her to find love again with her husband. He wanted to see the joy return to Astrid’s face, that glow he had witnessed all those years ago at the bonfire on the beach. He wanted to pass it on.”

Imma gonna die if they don’t end up together and she actually goes back to Michael!!!! ARAHAKSDFASDFJASDKFJADSKF! Charlie is precious!! So damn precious that I can’t even! <333 If Astrid doesn’t take him, I will! *lol*

Allgemein, K - O, L, Reviews

Review: Leah on the Offbeat (Becky Albertalli)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten

Book 26 on My Book List 2019

“Imagine going about your day knowing someone’s carrying you in their mind. That has to be the best part of being in love – the feeling of having a home in someone else’s brain.”

If you know me and my reviews you also know that I’m not one to beat about the bush so I’ll say it directly and without detour: I really wish I would have loved this as much as I loved “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” but I didn’t and that’s kinda sad. =(

I mean it was a good book and nice to read! There were a few fluffy and cute moments and I loved that we got to see Simon and Blue again. It was nice to find out what happened after the ending of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” and of course I loved all the HP, Sailor Moon and Fruits Basket references that made an appearance throughout the entire book. Despite all that I somehow still didn’t enjoy this as much as its predecessor though, and I’m sorry to say it, but I think it was mostly due to Leah’s character and her POV.

I know not everyone can be a special snowflake like Simon Spier and that there are characters that have rough edges. No matter how much I tried to keep that in mind, I still didn’t warm to Leah though. There were just too many issues I had with her as a character and they ultimately led me to have issues with the book as well. >_<

Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoyed this! It was entertaining and easy to read and I lived and breathed for all those tiny and sweet Simon and Blue moments. But I guess in the end this was actually the very reason that caused me to give this book only three stars. In contrast to “Simon vs. THSA” I didn’t really feel the romance of the two MCs. Call me picky but if the side characters have more chemistry than the main protagonists of the story it’s never a good sign. Well, at least not for me. *lol*
So yes, I had a good time reading this sequel but I didn’t feel the same magic I felt when I read the first book! XD

2

And here comes the moment when I tell you that you shouldn’t read on beyond this point! If you haven’t read the book yet you’ll be spoiled like crazy, so you better think twice before you continue your journey through my characters section! Take it or leave it, but whatever you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;-P

Leah:

”I think I hate the concept of needing space. What it really means is that the person’s mad at you, or hates you, or doesn’t give a shit about you. They just don’t want to admit it.”

*sigh* I had really high hopes for Leah’s character and since I liked her in “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” I thought that I might like her in this book too. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and I found myself disliking her immensely. And this comes from a person who loves morally grey characters and is a huge fan of bookish villains! It’s just… idk. There were so many little things that I didn’t like about her that it resulted in me not liking her at all. For instance I didn’t like how she treated her mom and her boyfriend. I mean damn that poor woman was 35? So only 4 years older than I and according to Leah she shouldn’t be dating? Hell, give your mom a break! 35 is still young and after raising you as a single mom that did everything possible in order to make you happy you could at least try to be nice to her boyfriend! Sure, Leah is a teen and they get annoyed by their parents on principle (;-P), but the things she did and said to her mom? Phew! Not nice! Plus it wasn’t just her mom, she was also rude, presumptuous and unfriendly to other people and I just couldn’t deal with that. It’s one thing to have a bad day or to be in a bad mood, but to take it out on others? Nope. *shakes head* I probably could rant about her for ages but I’ll stop here and continue with the rest of my review. *lol*

”I can’t help it. I’m a Slytherin.”
And I’m the worst kind of Slytherin. I’m the kind who’s so stupidly in love with a Gryffindor, she can’t even function. I’m the Draco from some shitty Drarry fic that the author abandoned after four chapters.

Abby:

”Why do you need a reason?”
“Because it sucks that there wasn’t one. I just wasn’t feeling it. At least not as much as I should be? Like, I’m sad about it, but it doesn’t wreck me, and I really feel like it should wreck me.”
I glance at her sidelong. “You want it to wreck you?”
“Do I want to love him enough that leaving him would wreck me? Yeah.”

I still love Abby and she definitely was a character I could relate to. She always tried to do the right thing and she followed her gut feeling when things got a little bit tricky. You might argue that the way she ended her relationship with Nick was pretty uncool, but then again to end a relationship is never easy. There are always two people and at least one of them gets hurt. It was more than just obvious that she cared about him deeply though and that she was very sorry for breaking his heart. Sure if you’re the one whose heart got broken this doesn’t give you any comfort but at least she was honest to him! I really liked that she always tried to look on the bright side and that she did her best to figure things out. In the end Abby is a really cheerful, compassionate and sweet character and you could read it on every single page! =)

”I guess it’s like, I forgive her, but I don’t really know if I can trust her again. Does that make sense?”

Simon:

”Sorry, Simon, but you’re too precious. If you weren’t gay and taken, I’d totally marry you. And let’s be honest, marrying Simon would be amazing – and not just because I had a sad, secret crush on him for most of middle school.”

I LOVE and ADORE Simon Spier!!! When it comes to that I can totally agree with Leah! He’s just too precious for his own good! *lol* It made me so happy to see him and Bram together and I loved how he interacted with his friends. He’s such a charming character and I would have loved to read even more about him. Aside from the countless adorable moments with Bram, the action with his mobile phone was probably the best thing in this book though! *LOL* I loved that Abby caused his phone to go all “50 Shades of Grey” on April Fool’s Day and Simon’s reaction to his hacked AutoCorrect was priceless!!! <333 XD

”And then there’s Simon in the middle, glancing back and forth like we’re a street he has to cross. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person so nervously attuned to conflict.”

3

Leah & Simon:

My phone buzzes with a text from Simon. FUCK. My. Life. Leah. Oh God.
“Okay, I better go,” Mom says, setting my yogurt down. “Have fun today.”
I say good-bye to her and turn back to my phone. I can’t fuck your life, I’m monogamously fucking my own life.

Their friendship is so amazing and one of the few things I really liked about this book! ❤ Leah and Simon are two very different characters, but this still didn’t change anything about the fact that their friendship is strong! Their conversations and messages felt real and I loved that they understood each other without having to explain anything. It was obvious that they’ve been best friends for a long time and the way they acted around each other was natural and easy. This was a really lovely friendship rep and I was so here for it! <333

”You know I’m going to lose my mind without you, right?”
“Me too,” I say softly, leaning into his chest.

Leah & Abby:

”Are you asking me to prom, Leah Burke?”
“Yes,” I say flatly. “We’re literally standing five feet away from your boyfriend, and I’m asking you to prom.”
She raises her eyebrows, like she can’t decide if I’m kidding. So that’s a twelve out of ten on the awkward scale.

Where to start? *lol* I didn’t ship them and I felt no chemistry between them. Leah had the weirdest thoughts when she was around Abby and I couldn’t help but wonder why Abby fell in love with her. It was easy to understand why Leah was in love with Abby but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t understand why Abby would fall in love with Leah too. I mean would you fall for a person that constantly gives you the feeling that she doesn’t like you? That attacks you for things you can’t control? Hell, even when Leah defended her against Morgan she still claimed that she only did it because Morgan had been racist. Yes, Morgan’s statement was wrong and it was good that Leah called her out on it, but would she really have lost her face if she would have admitted that she also did it because she’s Abby’s friend? Nope! So, why Abby? Sure, you could argue that love is something that just happens, but in Abby’s case this isn’t enough for me. Also where did that romance suddenly come from!? I spent the entire first book hoping that Abby and Nick would eventually find each other and they did. Well, and then all of a sudden Abby breaks up with him? This came out of nowhere and the explanation that she did it because she doesn’t want to have a long distance relationship was so flimsy! I know some of you will argue that she was in love with Leah all along and therefore broke up with Nick but after reading the first book I’m not convinced by this theory. Nick and Abby really were in love and they were a great couple! Feelings change? Yes, they do, but usually not that fast! They were crazily in love in the first book and then this? XD I know I’m ranting here but DAMN IT, I just don’t understand it!!! I’m sure this might be an unpopular opinion but to me it felt like the author wanted to write an f/f relationship and decided that Leah and Abby would do. There I said it! *lol* I’m sorry, but I really wasn’t convinced by their romance and whenever they had the possibility of having a sweet moment Leah’s attitude ruined it for me. >_<

”I had a dream once where she kissed me on the collarbone. Softly and quickly – barely a thing. I woke up aching. I couldn’t look at her all day.”

”So what, now you think you’re bi?”
“You make me think about it.”
My heart skids to a stop.

”You keep running away.”
“You keep finding me.”

The bi & non-binary rep:

”Leah, you would love them. They’re a drummer.”
That casual singular they. It isn’t even my pronoun, but it feels like a hug. Because if Caitlin’s unfazed by her enby friend’s pronouns, she’d probably unfazed by me being bi.

First of all I have to say that the mention and short appearance of a non-binary character was my personal highlight of this book! It’s so damn rare to find a non-binary rep and my heart sang when I read this quote! I love Becky Albertalli for including them in her book and I can’t thank her enough for giving them room!! That was awesome Becky!!! <333

As for the bi rep… I’m sorry to admit that I wasn’t really happy with it. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I’ll try my best to explain why I felt the way I did. To some of you this might sound crazy but it really bothered me that Leah had so many crushes. I know some of you will say: What’s wrong with having crushes? And my answer is “nothing”. But in that context with her being bi it just felt like the thousandth repetition of a prejudice I heard way too often. Yes, being bi means that you’re attracted to men and women but this still doesn’t mean that you find everyone attractive!!! Just because you’re bi you don’t have a crush on everyone! Just because you’re bi you don’t “choose” the best of both sexes!! I’m sure most of the readers didn’t even notice those offhand comments about her crushes but I did and it made me unhappy. The thing that truly got me were Leah’s and Abby’s discussions about being bi though. I’m convinced that Becky Albertalli only tried to point out some prejudices and did her best to set them right by Abby and Leah discussing them but for me this didn’t work. Were their conversations important? Yes! Did they make me cringe inside? Double yes! I mean just take this quote:

I shake my head. “Lowkey bi, a little bit bi. Just be bi. Like, come on.”
“What? No.” She draws herself up. “You don’t get to decide my label.”
“It’s not a real label!”
“Well, it’s real for me.” She exhales heavily. “God, sometimes, I don’t even know…”

Whilst I agree with Leah that there is no such thing as “lowkey bi” or “just a little bit bi” I still don’t think that it’s okay to attack Abby like that. I mean that girl is trying to figure herself out and is confused and Leah had nothing better to do than to push her into a certain direction and to tell her that the current definition of her sexual orientation isn’t valid! WTF?! Leah is bi too so she of all people should know how difficult it is to come to terms with yourself! I know some of my friends argued that Leah was insecure herself but the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that I won’t accept that as an excuse. Because NOPE she’s not insecure! I was barely a few pages into the book when she admitted that she’s bi and she even came out to her mother. Of course her friends didn’t know but it was obvious that she was comfortable with being bi. It never felt like she was insecure about it, if anything she was insecure about her feelings for Abby and worried that Abby wouldn’t reciprocate them. Still, just because she’s afraid of being rejected she shouldn’t have tried to label her! (And I’m once again cringing inwardly because I really don’t like the word “label”….) Plus and here comes another thing I didn’t like: When Abby said that she came out to her family I was like: WHAT?! Because let’s face it, to me this felt really unrealistic. Who would come out to their family before even defining their sexual orientation? Why come out to your family when you’re still insecure about who you truly are? This just didn’t make any sense to me. Take it from me: You don’t just come out like that! There are about a thousand questions you ask yourself first! You notice that you like boys AND girls! You wonder why it is like that. You imagine kissing a girl and realize that this feels okay to you. You do internet-research because you want to find out more! Maybe Abby did all that and I missed it but I doubt that she truly questioned herself. And let me tell you this: If you don’t fit into the norm and realize that your sexual orientation isn’t straight you automatically do this! So, this aspect of the story felt really unrealistic to me and since Abby defined herself as “lowkey bi” right after she admitted that she came out to her family I can assume that she didn’t go through that process yet.

Phew… that was a long paragraph! *lol*
Sorry for the rant but it had to get out of my system. XD

4

“Leah on the Offbeat” might have been a page turner but I couldn’t seem to be able to connect to the MC and that took away a lot of my enjoyment. In addition to that I had many issues with the way certain topics were addressed and tackled. I really wish I would have loved this more, but maybe my expectations were just too high after reading “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”. I’m sure many people will love Leah’s story as well, in my case it unfortunately didn’t work out though.

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

This book was so damn cute and extremely sweet and incredibly adorable! XD

It tasted like a hot cup of coffee in early spring,
it felt like warm summer rain caressing your skin,
it was as beautiful as a colourful sunrise in September and
it smelled like a clear night sky in the middle of a cold winter night.

In short: It gave me all those awesome fluffy, cozy and happy feels!! ! =)))

I loved everything about “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda”! From the bands and the music that was mentioned throughout the entire book right up to the „Harry Potter“ and „Fruits Basket“ references. And OMG Simon’s and Blue’s mails!!! Gosh they were so damn cute, they were argh! I can’t even say how much I loved those two!!! This book was just marvellous and as a fangirl I really felt like I finally arrived in seventh heaven! *lol*

”I have to admit I like to imagine you as a kid fantasizing about junk food. I also like to imagine you now fantasizing about sex. I can’t believe I just wrote that. I can’t believe I’m hitting send.“

I began to read this book and at some point realised that I couldn’t stop anymore. The mystery about Blue’s true identity pushed me to read on and even though I had my suspicions I still found great pleasure in collecting the hints and trying to make some assumptions. XD
I’ve to admit that this book got me hooked and I’m not ashamed to confess that I actually loved every second of it! ;-P

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

So yeah, now that I got this off my chest, I finally should be able to write my actual review!

The Plot:

Simon is sixteen years old and has a huge secret. He’s gay and he’s flirting with a guy who calls himself Blue and is more than just adorable. Well, that’s Simon’s opinion and I’ve to confess that I agree! He’s really damn cute! XD Anyway, Simon has never met Blue in real life and all they have ever done was to write very personal e-mails, personal e-mails that unfortunately end up in the wrong hands. Martin, a classmate of Simon accidentally stumbles upon them and since he has a huge crush on one of Simon’s friends, he decides to use them as leverage to force Simon to help him. Martin wants a date with Abby and if Simon doesn’t assist him, he’s going to out him to the whole world. What a mess!!! XD

The Characters:

Spoiler alert! You may stop here or continue to read at your own risk! 😉

Simon:

”So here’s the thing: Simon means ‘the one who hears’ and Spier means ‘the one who watches.” Which means I was basically destined to be nosy.

I loved, loved, loved and adored Simon!!! Gosh that boy is such a precious cutiepie!!! He’s funny and he’s refreshingly honest (well except of his little secret of course)! I could understand him so well and I think in some way I found myself in him. I mean Simon and I have a lot in common and I guess that’s probably the reason why I liked him so much! XD I hated that other people made him feel so insecure and I could understand his wish to get to know Blue in real life! Jeez! I was at the same point when I got to know my husband and it was so damn easy for me to relate to Simon’s struggle! =) Still, no matter what happened to him, he always stood his ground and I truly loved him for it!! Simon is so brave and I swear when he told Martin his opinion about his post on Tumblr I was all like: YEAH! Damn right, tell him what he did!!! XD

“And you know what? You don’t get to say it’s not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be – this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.” Suddenly, my throat gets thick. “So, yeah, you took that away from me. And then you brought Blue into it? Seriously? You fucking suck, Martin. I mean, I don’t even want to look at you.”

Still, it hurt to know that Blue was too shy to show himself and the fact Simon was so down made me sad as well! Gosh! I think Simon actually is the most relatable character I ever had the pleasure to encounter. *lol* Everything he thought and did affected me so deeply! XD
And I swear the moment Blue found out about Simon’s identity just took my breath away!!!

”Jacques a dit. Right?

I was all like OH. MY. GOD!!!! It was kind of unfair though. I mean Blue obviously knew who Simon was, but Simon actually had no clue who Blue might be! XD What made it even worse, was that he didn’t even know if his feelings were reciprocated, because they actually stopped to write mails right after Simon’s identity was revealed! Oh my poor Simon! It was so painful to read!!! =(((

”Obviously, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here, but what I’m trying to say is that I like you. I more than like you. When I flirt with you, it’s not a joke, and when I say I want to know you, it’s not just because I’m curious. I’m not going to pretend I know how this ends, and I don’t have a freaking clue if it’s possible to fall in love over email. But I would really like to meet you, Blue. I want to try this. And I can’t imagine a scenario where I won’t want to kiss your face off as soon as I see you.
Just wanted to make that perfectly clear.”

This scene resonated so much with me! I actually once wrote a pretty similar mail as well! *lol*

Blue:

”I completely understand what you mean about feeling locked into yourself. For me, I don’t even think it has anything to do with other people thinking they know me. It’s more that I want to leap in and say certain things and do certain things, but I always seem to hold myself back. I think a big part of me is afraid.”

Oh Blue, he was so insecure and shy and somehow this only made him even more adorable! There were moments when he was so brave and then all of a sudden he was too intimidated by Simon’s mails to even give him his number. XD Blue had his own struggles to deal with and just too see how much those two tried to support each other and the way they fell in love. OMG! It was just too much! *lol* I loved so many things about Blue. His correct grammar, the way he expressed himself and the words he used! It was obvious he was a smart kid and *lol* I guess deep down within me I already knew who was behind his nickname! ;-P I needed to read it though! *LOL*

”And I do think you’re cute. You’re absurdly cute. I think I spend a little too much time thinking how adorable you are in emails and trying to translate that into a viable mental image for daydreams and the like.

“And the like…” Haha oh boy did that one sentence mess with Simon’s head! Truth be told, I wouldn’t have reacted any different, though. See, once again a moment where I could relate to Simon’s POV!!! XD

”P.S. I love the way you smile like you don’t realize you’re doing it. I love your perpetual bed head. I love the way you hold eye contact a moment longer than you need to. And I love your moon-gray eyes. So if you think I’m not attracted to you, Simon, you’re crazy.”

Awww… just Aww! I melted when I read that note and to think Simon found it so late and didn’t even know it was there!! Holy moly! It killed me! *lol*

Martin:

I didn’t like him! Yes, I know he apologised in the end but damn what he did was just soo freaking mean and horrible! I mean he outed Simon on Christmas!! Who would ever do such a thing? My poor Simon had to deal with all this on a day that’s supposed to be one of the nicest of the entire year!! And this just because a stupid oaf called Martin had a crush on his friend Abby and couldn’t accept that she wasn’t interested in him!! I mean! ARGH!! That boy didn’t even think twice about the consequences his actions would entail! And yesh, there were plenty of consequences for poor Simon!!!

Simon’s friends:

”But I’ve known Leah since sixth grade, and Nick since we were four. And this gay thing. It feels so big. It’s almost insurmountable. I don’t know how to tell them something like this and still come out of it feeling like Simon. Because if Leah and Nick don’t recognize me, I don’t even recognize myself anymore.”

They were amazing! Sure, sometimes I was angry with them because they didn’t understand Simon’s situation and thought everything was about them. I mean I understand why Abby was pissed but seriously, what was Simon supposed to do? He couldn’t really tell her that he was blackmailed by Martin and in the end nothing of what Simon did actually had any consequences for her. She chose Nick and Martin as well as Leah had to accept it. Period. And Leah? I know she felt left out, but it wasn’t like Simon could have done anything to stop Nick and Abby falling in love! *lol* I mean alone the thought is kind of ridiculous! XD
Still, no matter their feelings, they always stood up for Simon and I think that’s the important thing! You quarrel with your friends because you love them and when it comes down to it they’re always there for you! 😉

“Did you just tell us you’re gay?“ asks Nick.
„Yes.“
„Okay,“ he says. Abby swats him. „What?“
„That’s all you’re going to say? ‘Okay’?“
„He said not to make a big deal out of it,“ Nick says. „What am I supposed to say?“
„Say something supportive. I don’t know. Or awkwardly hold his hand like I did. Anything.“
Nick and I look at each other.
„I’m not holding your hand,“ I tell him, smiling a little.
„All right“ – he nods – „but know that I would.”

Simon’s family:

”My dad invented the concept of Simon logic, and I can’t seem to outgrow it. It means whishful thinking supported by flimsy evidence.”

I loved how they interacted with each other! They were so open and amazing and I had to laugh about their strange family habits. I mean alone the idea of scavenger hunting on Facebook! That was hilarious! *lol* To be a guest in their house certainly would have been funny as hell!! XD And the way Simon outed himself to his family? Haha it was priceless!!! Sure his father made many jokes but in the end he still loved his son and he felt sorry for being so oblivious and careless! =)) Alice and Nora were darlings and I guess to have two sisters like that is actually more than just a blessing!

”Well, I’m just going to put this out there, in case the message got lost somewhere. I love you. A lot. No matter what. And I know it’s got to be awesome having the cool dad.”
“Ahem,” says my mom.
“Excuse me. The cool parents. The hardcore, badass, hipster parents.”
“Oh, it’s awesome,” I say.
“But rein us in if you need to, okay? Rein me in,” he says. He rubs his chin. “I know I didn’t make it easy for you to come out. We’re very proud of you. You’re pretty brave, kid.”

And the ending?!
It was perfect!!! I was so happy I grinned like a Cheshire cat!!! I just couldn’t stop! *LOL*
Gah, it was so cute and adorable and the way Blue finally made his appearance!!! I think I actually died!!! XD

”The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat – soft and persistent, underlying everything.”

If you haven’t read “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” , you definitely should do it now!!!!
Drop everything you’re reading because Simon definitely will bring happiness into your life! 😉
Just allow yourself to be enchanted! XD