Help Me Title This Review

Help Me Title This Review

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Hello and happy Wednesday. Even though I diligently wrote notes on The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand, I feel like I don’t have the words to describe it in a single sentence that will attract people to read this review. I just don’t feel it’s that kind of book, you know? I certainly don’t think it’s meant for entertainment purposes, and it’s also not for everybody, but if you do read it, it’s going to impact you in ways you probably weren’t expecting.  I read this book from March 16th to March 25th, 2019.

Before you even consider reading this book, keep in mind that it revolves around the suicide of the main character’s brother, which is, again, why I say this book is not for everybody. And even if suicide is not a triggering topic for you, I would make sure to be emotionally ready, in the sense that I think to endure this book one has to be strong enough. I know this would have completely destroyed me a few months ago because I could relate to the main character and the way she was dealing with trauma, even though I have never undergone a situation as painful as what she was experiencing.

We follow the main character who, after her brother commits suicide, starts going to therapy, and her therapist suggests that she writes a journal/diary. We get to read excerpts from said journal, which I think added a lot to the story because it would let us see another aspect of both the main character and her brother. My younger sister is my baby, so the bits where the relationship between the two siblings is described really got to me.

You have to understand what the main character is going through because she reacts to her trauma by coming off as dry, and definitely not “likable.” If you don’t enjoy novels like this one or flawed characters, then I suggest you pick up something else because I don’t think you’ll get the point of this book. You’ll also end up drained, and that’s something you must anticipate when thinking about picking this book up.

I cry a lot for many different reasons, and though there were several parts that made me tear up, I only straight up bawled once, at the very end. For me, the story should have ended about halfway through the actual book, you know? I think there were some bits that just dragged, and some events that were included for dramatic effect but that to me only made the story lose its main focus. I was going to give this book three stars, but as I said, the ending was the redeeming quality, and it was honestly what made me give it four stars.

Do you know of any other book that in your opinion deals with mental illness in an accurate, respectful way? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

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NetGalley Reads: Fall in One Day

NetGalley Reads: Fall in One Day

 

Hello and happy Friday. If you read last week’s post, then you know that I have a pretty long TBR list to tackle, which means that there are many ARCs I have to read. Now, usually I can read a book in a week or less, but there are some that are such a pain that it takes me way more than that. An example of this is Fall in One Day by Craig Terlson. A digital copy was provided to me for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank both NetGalley and the author for it.

I read this novel between May 12th and June 11th, 2019 and gave it two stars. There are several reasons that explain both the rating and the time it took me to read it. On one hand, I had a hard time figuring out the generalities of the story. I didn’t understand whether it would be all told in the past or if we were getting flashbacks and flash-forwards. The perspective thing was also tough; I didn’t know who the narrator was and what their role in the story was until I was already advanced in my reading.

Basically, this is the story of a teenager who gets kidnapped by his father, who hallucinates, whether it is because of drugs or schizophrenia, it is unclear. We get the perspective of his best friend, a teenager who is set to understand the mystery of the disappearance and find the missing kid. It was not an easy read, and it wasn’t a fast read either. I know these stories must have an appreciative audience, but I wasn’t it.

One of the reasons why I was so confused at the beginning of the story was the title. It might be that English is not my first language, but when I read “Fall in One Day,” I thought we were getting insta-love. There is nothing romance-related in this novel, so keep that in mind if you plan to read this book. Since the narrator, who is also the main character, is a teenager, he talks like one, but I don’t know if the grammar mistakes he makes are intentional or if the author really writes that way. All I know is that it was annoying. There are scenes about suicide attempts and suicide, so be mindful of that. There is also domestic violence, so if you are sensitive to those, I would not recommend this book.

Do you know of any mystery/ detective young adult novels that I might enjoy? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Another (Super Hyped) Rant

Another (Super Hyped) Rant

Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m almost always late to the party when it comes to books or shows everybody seems to be loving. I like to take my time, wait for the excitement to die down, and then I’ll read said book and watch said show. That’s why even though Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher has been around for a while, and then it became even more popular after the show version aired on Netflix, I only recently picked up the book and read it. Spoiler alert, I despised it, and in today’s post I’ll tell you why. Let’s get started, shall we?

Before ranting in shape, I want to start with an obvious trigger warning for suicide. Please, if you are having suicidal thoughts of any kind, seek help in a person, preferably a professional, not a YA novel.

I went into this book sort of blindly, although that’s almost impossible when everybody is talking about it. The first thing I noticed and that I appreciated were the two different perspectives in which the story is told (you know, Clay’s and Hannah’s), as well as the formats. I don’t think I’d ever read a book in which one of the characters narrated their story through recordings, so that was a novelty.

I did like the fact that the author alternates between Clay’s “real time” voice and Hannah’s recordings, but at first it was hard for me to tell who was saying what, even Hanna’s bits were in italics. Overall, the book was easy and fast to read, which I’m thankful for because I wouldn’t have been able to endure a longer, tougher kind of book on this subject.

My problems with this novel started pretty much from the beginning, though, when Hannah says that she’s going to address the people who were the reasons why she killed herself. NO. People are not the reason why others kill themselves. Yes, I agree that teenagers can be brutal, and that bullying is a horrible thing that nobody should ever have to endure, but a person who commits suicide does so because they have mental health issues that either have been neglected or that spiraled out of control.

Now, I was already upset when I was reading because of the point I just mentioned, but then I got even angrier when I read that the author was revealing the way in which Hannah killed herself. This book is being read by many people daily, many teenagers who might be in a very vulnerable situation, and giving them Hanna’s MO, is in a way giving them an option on how they could kill themselves.

Call me Miss Controversial, but I didn’t really sympathize with Hannah’s character, and I thought her tone was snarky and I didn’t like it one bit. Yes, it’s clear that she was going through stuff at school, but I think the root of it all was her having mental health issues that weren’t being treated, and that were being triggered by what went on at school. Want me to give an example? Sure. When she addresses the first guy in her list (I forgot his name, sorry), we learn that she does everything in her power to “casually” bump into him. She even gets his schedule. What does that tell us about Miss Baker? Well, that tells me that she’s sort of a stalker, and that she’s got some pretty clear obsessive tendencies.

I could not stand Clay, or rather “Nice Guy” Clay. Honestly, he was just so annoying. And, like a typical YA character he had his moment of releasing a “breath he didn’t know he was holding.” If you know me, you know I rolled my eyes at this so hard my head hurt. The ending was just like I was expecting, honestly. It was rushed and sort of confusing, and it tried to be hopeful, but at that point I was just done with that story.

I watched the first episode of the show, and there’s going to be a post about it, so the discussion on Thirteen Reasons Why is not over. In the meantime, let me know in the comments whether you read the book and what your thoughts were.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

Call Me Miss Controversial

Call Me Miss Controversial

 Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m writing this post almost one whole week after finishing My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, and I took this time because this book is not like the other ones I’ve read and I think readers should have a bit of caution when getting into it.

First of all, huge trigger warning about this book, its main characters have suicidal thoughts and the actually meet because they plan to commit suicide together. It also deals with deaths in the family, parents who are emotionally unstable, and characters who are very likely depressed although no mental health professional has made any diagnosis. If, by this, you’d like to continue reading my thoughts on this book, please do so, if not, I understand.

I sort of needed to get that trigger warning out there because I can’t imagine being in a vulnerable state, maybe even mentally ill and stumbling upon a book that might make everything worse. I consider myself lucky because I have never experienced serious issues regarding my mental health, and also because my sister studies psychology, so she’s able to explain me many things in a rational way. She would, for instance, criticize the fact that in this novel, though it’s clear that the characters are not mentally stable, they are not being assisted by a mental health professional.

Now I’m a teacher and though I know about psychology, it’s more towards the developmental side of it, and about emotional and behavioral disorders in children. Depression and suicidal thoughts are situations I’m not qualified to deal with and also I only understand them in a superficial level, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that fact, that we don’t know everything about a topic, and that we don’t always have the last word in a subject.

I’m saying this, and here’s where I get controversial, because I’ve noticed people over Twitter hating on a new book every week because it’s this or that and because it is offensive and whatever. The thing is, these people talk with such rage about the books that I feel like they’re sort of forbidding their followers to read a certain book, and that’s just plain ridiculous, in my opinion. Yes, I agree, there are books that are purposefully offensive and those shouldn’t be read, but there are others that are okay, unless we look at them through a microscope and dissect every tiny detail.

While reading My Heart and Other Black Holes I kept thinking “Twitter’s not going to like this” and “oh, crap, is this offensive?” and although I asked myself those questions, the truth is I loved the book and I think I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. Of course, I didn’t agree on every single thing that happened, and there was this idea (a major spoiler, so you’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself what it is) that annoyed me because in a way it disregarded the importance of therapy and being evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I didn’t just throw the book in the air yelling “you shouldn’t read this because it’s offensive.”

I’m really glad to have read this controversial book because I had this thought for a while and I can finally post about it. Personally, I’m all for diverse books, of course, but I’ve also read books that are not diverse and will continue to do so. I’ve read books that try to be inclusive and fail miserably, and I’ve read books, like My Heart and Other Black Holes, that could do better at addressing mental health issues. I’ve hated books and ranted about them, and I’ve been guilty of saying “I don’t think anyone deserves to read this because it sucks,” but I also feel that some readers out there need to relax and to stop “censoring” their readers.

If you met me in real life, you’d know I’m aggressive-aggressive. I’m a big girl and I talk loud because most of the time I forget in normal circumstances I shouldn’t use my teacher voice. And I’m very opinionated. There are books, like the Harry Potter series that I love and defend with the passion of one thousand burning suns, there are books I’ve read and didn’t like but I don’t make a fuss about like the Fifty Shades series, and there are books that I’d only read if I got paid good money, basically all the classics. I’m not going to get into an argument with you, though if you read and liked or didn’t like a book. I won’t give you shit for it and I’m not going to think any less of you. Then again, there are some books that are the obvious exception, but I wouldn’t hang out with you if you read those.

Basically, this post, besides being a mini review of My Heart and Other Black Holes is meant for me to tell you that I’m going to read and review what I want. If I read anything that has any sort of trigger, I’ll add the warnings, don’t worry about that, but I’m not going to censor my reads; I feel part of being a reader is being able to go through books we didn’t like for some reason and expressing our thoughts in a rational way.

Now tell me, what are your thoughts on controversial reads?

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

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