I Had My Serious Doubts

I Had My Serious Doubts

Hello and happy Wednesday. I very rarely get to review a book the day after I read it, but I’m on vacation so I have more time to blog now. Also, I’m excited to have all my thoughts fresh because this book had me feeling some deep emotions. I’m talking about Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

I read this book between December 18th and December 19th, 2019 and gave it five stars. This is now a favorite of mine, a definite must-read. I already know that I have to reread this at least once more and tab it because it was so relatable. I have to say, though, that I went into this book genuinely afraid that I wouldn’t like it or that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. To be fair, this has happened with every John Green book I’ve read. It’s honestly pretty amazing because each time I get to fall in love once more with his amazing writing style and his characters who are just captivating. To me, John Green is the straight equivalent of David Levithan and we all know how I feel about that author.

I picked up this book because I was reading another one and it got to a pretty eye-roll-inducing part, so I needed a palette cleanser. And let me tell you, I was hooked from the very start. I’ve said before how hard it is for me to feel represented in books, but there were times in which I felt that John Green had been inside my brain and was transcribing my thoughts verbatim. The very first paragraph is probably the most shocking, hooking, captivating first paragraph I’ve ever read, and again, it was very relatable.

You see, Aza, the main character, has obsessive-compulsive disorder, although to be fair, I don’t think her diagnosis is explicitly mentioned throughout the novel. What is clear is that she has recurrent intrusive thoughts and that she has been in treatment for them for a while. In the first paragraph, she discusses how we might all be fictional characters, and that life isn’t real or free, but the work of an author. I kid you not; when I was in first grade, I once had this thought that I’ve never forgotten about whether this all was, in fact, reality or just a figment of someone’s imagination. Yes, kids, that’s what happens when you have no friends.

I must say that though I have not been diagnosed with OCD, I do have some obsessive-compulsive thoughts, which, as my sister explains, makes sense considering my anxiety. My sister is a psychologist, in case you were wondering. Anyway, I am clarifying this because 1. I cannot attest to the representation of obsessive-compulsive disorder since I have not being diagnosed with it and I don’t know whether this book is own voices; and 2. I understand how reading this book can be triggering to some people. I binge-read this book, okay? But that doesn’t mean I didn’t need to take pauses to breathe and cry and just tell myself “this isn’t you right now, you’re okay,” and even through that, I did have a dream that exacerbated my impostor syndrome, so be wary of the effect this novel might have in your mental health and whether it’s worth it to you.

Something that I think John Green does brilliantly is creating these amazing characters who you wish were your friends in real life. Daisy, Aza’s best friend, is not someone who I wish were real, because I have a Daisy in my life already. The first time I cried with this book was actually when she was introduced because she reminded me of my very own best friend and how she’s loved and supported me throughout the years without ever fully understanding how or why my brain works the way it does. I’m giving her this book for her birthday, so I hope she doesn’t read this and get the surprise ruined.

If you liked Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, which I loved, then I think you’ll really enjoy this one. It is, quite honestly, the type of book I never knew I needed in my life and can’t get enough of. I love that John Green’s books always have some sort of a trip or a quest within the plot, and though this isn’t the exception, you must understand that this centers way more on what’s going on in Aza’s mind and not so much on what happens around her. The quest in this novel is for a man, the dad of one of Aza’s estranged friends, who is in legal trouble and now a reward for information on his whereabouts has been set.

Again, we are in Aza’s brain throughout the novel, so the narration occasionally shifts from the first person to the second person, and the effect that has on me is unexplainable and undefinable. You could say there is a bit of romance, but it is by no means the center of the plot, so if you’re looking for that, maybe look elsewhere.

Have you read anything life-changing lately? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Ten Must-Reads

Ten Must-Reads

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Hello and happy Wednesday. Back when I had my old blog, you know, the one only one of my best friends read (bless her heart), I had this entire page called “must-reads. Instead of posting a review, I would add the book to that page, so that my (nonexistent) readers would have a list they could consult. I’ve tried to keep this idea in this blog by using the “must read” tag, but I cannot say that I’ve been really consistent on that one. This is why, inspired by the video by Hailey in Bookland called Ten Books You Need to Read, I bring you my own list of ten must-reads. Let’s get started, shall we?

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 

I read this book at twenty-five and I honestly wish I’d read it when I was eighteen. This coming of age novel is a reminder to loosen up, to relax and understand that not everything in life can be controlled, measured or anticipated, especially when it comes to love. It is also one of the few novels in this list that will make you laugh, so if you prefer something that is not so serious in style but that will make you think about deeper topics, you should check out this novel.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

This novel came to me at a moment in my life when I needed some tough love, and I’ve come to understand that books find us when we need them most and tell us things nobody else would. It is a book that I read at twenty-five, but that would have taught me a few lessons had I read it while at school. It is basically about the importance of finding and understanding ourselves before going into crazy quests in search of the unknown. Matthew Quick is featured twice in this list, and for good reason.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling 

There’s this family friend who owns a bookstore, and she’s a total snob when it comes to reading. Once, when I was working there, she made a comment about how she didn’t understand why the Harry Potter books were so successful if they weren’t really “literature.” I had only recently started reading them, and she didn’t know this because I was almost certain that she expected me to agree with her. I asked if she’d actually read the books and if she’d paid attention to the writing style. I told her those books were very special, and they’d had the power to do what other books hadn’t: to encourage people who weren’t readers to read. I was as surprised as she was at my reply, but to me, the Harry Potter series is an absolute must. It is a ticket to a magical world, an escape from real life but also a different perspective on it.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman 

Maybe this is too personal because I love my grandmother and she is truly the love of my life, but maybe yours isn’t. I just feel that this book is so magic and powerful that everyone should read it. We all have that one person in our lives who will do anything for us and for whom we’ll do anything, that person who is stronger and braver than anybody else. This book is a testament to that. It is a love book, a love letter, just not the romantic kind of love we’re used to reading about. If you watched Big Fish and it made your heart do funny things, then this novel is for you.

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson 

I think this book was a game changer for me in the sense that it opened my eyes to a whole world of YA I didn’t know existed because I was hiding behind fluffy contemporary romance. This is a book about trying to help fix someone’s life when ours is broken and we don’t want the world to see, and I can relate to that. I don’t know if this is an easy read for everyone, but it was a necessary one for me and one that you should pick up at some point in your life.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

This book is about two people who meet because they want to help each other commit suicide. I had to say that before saying anything else because I know this is not a topic everyone will be comfortable reading about, especially when the whole plot of the novel revolves around it. But for me, it was such a necessary read and one that I did not expect at all since I go into books blindly. It is one of those books that I feel were underhyped and only a few people know about. Now you know about it, though. Use that knowledge wisely.

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer 

Sometimes when explaining why my family does or doesn’t do certain things, I say “it’s a Jewish thing, you wouldn’t get it.” Well, this book probably won’t be as important to some people as it is to me since it alternates between the past when people lived in a shtetl, and the present when a man called Jonathan Safran Foer goes to where said shtetl was to find out about his ancestors. Like My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, this is a love letter to one’s family and one’s roots. It is a way of saying “I am who I am because you were who you were,” and that message is incredibly powerful.

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

This was another game-changer for me because it made me super aware of how neurotypical all the characters in books usually are. This is a novel that honestly should be adapted to movie format, or maybe it already was adapted and I don’t know. Even by reading the synopsis I couldn’t gather the right ideas to tell you what this book is about, other than a quest to find the truth when really a bunch of little truths are discovered along the way.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S King 

Like The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley, this novel gave me a completely different look into what YA books can be. It is not a happy book and it certainly does not deal with the common topics of YA. This is a book about a girl whose best friend dies under weird circumstances and it is about how she deals with this and her dysfunctional life.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

This book is about many things, really, but one of those is the disappearance of our main character’s younger brother. Look, I have a younger sister who is my baby even though she’s only two years younger than me, and this book just made me think about her in such a way that I bawled my eyes out. I bought her the physical version of the book even though she’s not much of a fiction reader, and now I’m telling you, this was the first book I read that I truly considered a “must,” and I think you should pick it up.

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Oh My John Green

Oh My John Green

100th (1).pngHello and happy Wednesday. Today I’m reviewing a game-changer. Honestly, if you haven’t read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, you should, now. This post can wait. I read this book between March 10th and March 14th, 2019 and I wish I would have read it when I was way younger. I could have used some words of wisdom. I gave it a five-star rating, but I have the feeling you already knew that.

I’ll keep this review short and sweet and I’ll let you decide what you think of this novel on your own. Personally, I just adore books that are divided into shorter sections, not necessarily chapters, but you know, smaller parts. To me, that’s what keeps me wanting to read more, especially if the narration goes back and forth in time like in this book.

There are footnotes throughout this novel and I find them absolutely hilarious. I understand why some people will find them annoying, but keep in mind that this is John Green we’re talking about, and he won’t make anything annoying or boring. If you really hate them, you could skip them, but you’d be missing out.

One thing that I love about all the John Green books I’ve read, including Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which he wrote in collaboration with David Levithan, is that his main characters are always huge nerds.  I haven’t read all of John Green’s novels, and I know that the two books I have yet to read might not have a super nerdy main character, but still. I also love that there’s a road trip because you know that’s one of the things that draw me to books.

Wow, so much for “short and sweet.” In the comments below I’d like you to tell me what is your favorite John Green book and why. If you don’t like me, also tell me why is that.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

This Is What I Needed

This Is What I Needed

 

Hello and happy Wednesday. I am a firm believer that books find us when we need them the most, and I could confirm that when I read Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick. This book will change your life, and if you feel like it doesn’t, then you need therapy. Even if it does, therapy is awesome and you should see a mental health professional at least once in your lifetime.

I’d already read The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick, so it’s safe to say that my expectations were super high. He’s got this style, that reminds me of Jonathan Safran Foer and that gets to me every single time. Spoiler alert: this wasn’t the exception.

I love that the author’s style is incredibly simple but captivating, and full of deeper, sadder undertones. I think that you need to have been through some sh*t in life to really get this book. The chapters are short, which I highly appreciate. This is clearly a psychological thing, but when the chapters are short, I can read the book faster.

From the beginning, we know that this is not your regular YA/coming-of-age story. I mean, the main character’s only friend at school seems to be her English teacher, and I think we can anticipate that this friendship might not end up in an ideal way. She reminds me of myself because when I was younger, way younger than the main character but still, I was a loner.

Nanette, the main character, becomes obsessed with this book her teacher gives her, and I can relate because there is this one book I have read four times already and it was like a bible to me. She meets the author of her bible and asks him for answers, which is something I should do too since I know the author of the book I’m obsessed with.

Every Exquisite Thing is definitely a must for me. It has made me question things about my life, and if it has that power for someone who is 25 years old, just imagine the wonders it will do for someone younger. I also love what it has to say about those friendships that kids establish with adults, in which the latter become the guides of the former. There is romance, as well, but it is not the main focus of the plot, and it is not your typical YA romance.

I also love the fact that we get inserts of poems in this story, as well as pages from the book Nanette reads and is obsessed with. I am a sucker for books that include different formats within the narration. I’m also a fan of plots that involve a quest, and this story has that. If you liked The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne, then you’ll love this book.

What is the book that has changed your life and why? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila