Book Vs Movie: You

Hi everyone! If you are new to the blog in the past month or so, this is a regular monthly feature where I take a book and it’s movie adaptation, and answer the age old question, which is better, the book or the movie. This week, I’m actually talking a TV adaptation, and talking about Caroline Kepnes’ novel You, and it’s Netflix adaptation.

Book Thoughts:

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I actually read the audiobook after having already seen the TV show, so I wasn’t coming into this book completely fresh. I did like You, but the writing wasn’t really for me, & although I found the plot interesting, it got somewhat repetitive and bloated at points. The narration by Santino Fontana was definitely my favourite part of this book, they definitely could not have chosen a better narrator for this. I actually did a review of this one, so if you are more interested in my detailed thoughts, you can find them here:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/you-review-audiobook/

TV thoughts:

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Like I said, I watched the TV show first for this one, and I’m glad I did it that way, because honestly if I hadn’t watched the TV show, I probably wouldn’t have read the book since it’s not the kind of thing I usually go for. I actually liked the TV show better for this one, it took all the things I liked about the book, the creepy narration, the twisted characters, but it also trimmed some of the fat from the plot so it was far tighter paced than the book, which I appreciated. I also thought it was really well cast, the two leads were great in their roles and there was a good supporting cast as well.

TV or Book Judgement:

TV for this one! I liked the book well enough, but I felt like I enjoyed the story much more on the screen and I think it definitely helped that they trimmed some of the excess story from the book, for a thriller, I definitely found the TV show more thrilling than the book.

So that’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie (well TV), I’ll be back next month with all of my incredibly salty thoughts on the Percy Jackson movie, so I definitely wouldn’t miss that one! In the meantime, I will have my latest Quarterly Rewind post up on Monday, so stay tuned for that.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday #229

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I was at Wicked with my friends last night to celebrate mine and my friend Zoe’s birthdays, and it was AMAZING. It’s been four years since I last saw the show, and it was just as incredible as I remembered, and I had the added bonus of knowing all the songs this time around, which made it even more enjoyable. My actual birthday was also really nice, I went out for dinner with a friend, and got some lovely presents. I’m also going out to France over the weekend for a little holiday with my parents, which should be nice.

Anyway, since it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week was meant to be Food & Drink We Enjoy Whilst Reading, but honestly, I don’t really eat whilst I read? I’m too scared of spilling stuff all over my books! So instead, I’ve decided to go completely off track, and talk about Books By Authors of Colour That I’m Looking Forward To Reading, as there are so many great books by AOC that I have on my TBR and I wanted to share my excitement for them:

  1. Crossfire-Malorie Blackman

AGH I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE! Noughts and Crosses was my first YA series when I was like 11, and I honestly never expected that we’d get another one after Double Cross, so this was a lovely surprise. I can’t wait to see what Sephy, Callie Rose, Meggie and Tobey have been up to as well as getting to meet the new generation of Noughts and Crosses.

2. Spin The Dawn-Elizabeth Lim

I’m really excited for this one, it sounds so creative! Project Runway meets Mulan is definitely not a comparison I’ve ever seen before and it immediately intrigued me. I’m really excited to read a book based on Chinese culture written by an author from that culture as well.

3. Children of Virtue and Vengeance-Tomi Adeyemi

I’m more than a little impatient for this book! I loved Children of Blood and Bone when I read it last year, but the release date for this has been pushed back a few times, and as a writer I totally understand life getting in the way of deadlines, but as a reader, I can’t help but be impatient to find out what happens next after the ending of the first book. Rest assured when this book comes out, I will be all over it!

4. The Gilded Wolves-Roshani Chokshi

I’ve heard mixed things when it comes to this book, people either seem to really love it or really hate it, so fingers crossed I fall into the former category! I do love a good heist book, and I’ve been wanting to try something by Roshani Chokshi for a while, so I hope I love this one (plus that cover is TO DIE FOR).

5. Forest of A Thousand Lanterns-Julie C. Dao

Fairytale retellings so often focus on the heroes of the story, so I was really excited to see one that focused on the villain of the story, especially when I saw that it was an East Asian inspired retelling, as I would love to see more non-Western set fairytale retellings. A book about a woman who chooses power and ambition over love? Yup, that sounds like a Jo kind of book.

6. A Kingdom For A Stage-Heidi Heilig

I really enjoyed For A Muse of Fire when I read it last year, I thought it was really unique and different from a lot of fantasy stories I’d read, and I certainly can’t think of any other book that features a bipolar QWOC as the protagonist. It had such a cool structure as well, with the little ephemera between each “act” and I loved the protagonist, Jetta’s ability, to bind the souls of the dead to objects.

7. Thunderhead-Neal Shusterman

I enjoyed Scythe when I read it two years ago, but of course I haven’t managed to get around to the sequel yet. I definitely need to do that soon, because I’ve heard such good things about it, but apparently it ends on a cliffhanger and I’ll want to read The Toll right away, so I might save this one till next year when all three books are out.

8. Circle of Shadows-Evelyn Skye

I really enjoyed The Crown’s Game duology by this author, and I like the sound of this, I love that this story is centred around friendship because that’s definitely something that I’m looking for more of. I’ve seen quite mixed reviews on Goodreads though, so I’m a bit worried I won’t like this one as much as The Crown’s Game.

9. Scavenge The Stars-Tara Sim

I am ridiculously excited for a new book from Tara Sim because I love, love, love the Timekeeper trilogy and I can’t wait to see what she has in store next. This is a gender swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, and I have to say I love that concept, and from the tweets I’ve seen from Tara about it, it definitely sounds like something I need.

10. Liberte-Gita Trelease

Whilst I was pretty satisfied with Enchantee as a standalone, I loved the world and characters, so I will definitely be happy to see more of Camille and Lazare as they head into the French Revolution in this next book.

So there we have it, Books on My TBR by Authors of Colour that I’m Looking Forward To Reading, I’m so excited that there are so many great books written by POC that have come out or are coming out in the next few years. Have you read any of these books (of the seven that are actually out)? Did you enjoy them? Are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is our annual Books On My Fall TBR, which is always a fun topic, even if most of the time I end up not reading several of the books on the list, or reading something else instead!

I’m going to have a few things for you this week, I’ll have my Quarterly Rewind for you, up on Sunday, I should finish Lair of Dreams this week, so I might have a review and hopefully a Book Vs Movie post as well, depending on how much time I have whilst I’m away.

Top Ten Tuesday #228

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Hi all! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, once again I’ve just been working. I’m going out for dinner for my birthday on Thursday, and then going to Wicked with my friends on Monday to celebrate both mine and my friend Zoe’s birthday.

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking Books On Our TBR that We’re Avoiding Reading and Why. Now to be honest, this could just be my TBR in general, because I usually avoid thinking about it, due to the crippling guilt that would set in if I thought about how many books are actually on my TBR. However there are some books that I’m more actively avoiding reading than others, and here they are:

  1. King of Scars-Leigh Bardugo

I’m really excited for this one, I promise I am! I love the Grishaverse, and I really love Nikolai, so I know that when I do finally read this book, I will probably really enjoy it. So why I am I avoiding it you ask? Well the answer is two-fold: I am scared of my own high expectations for this book, and that the book might not live up to it. It’s also over 500 pages and I just haven’t found the time to read it yet. I hope I will read it by the end of the year, but no guarantees.

2. The Darkest Minds-Alexandra Bracken

This one has been on my TBR for a while, and I know my friend Nicola enjoyed this one, but honestly when I added it, I was in more of a dystopian phase than I am now. I still like dystopian books, but I’m not devouring them in the same way that I was a few years ago, so this one kind of fell by the wayside a bit.

3. Ash and Quill-Rachel Caine

I started the Great Library series about three years ago, read the first two books, bought the third when it came out and promptly just forgot that it existed apparently. I do still really want to read this book, because I enjoyed the first two, but it’s been two years now since I read the last one and I don’t really remember what happened!

4. All Fall Down-Ally Carter

I loved Ally Carter’s Heist Society books and I was really excited for her new series, but after reading Not If I Save You First last year, I’m a bit worried I might have grown out of her books. Her writing tends to skew toward the younger end of teen, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, we need more of those kinds of “bridge books” but I’m not sure those books are necessarily for me? I probably will still try it, but it’s not high on my TBR.

5. The City of Brass-S.A. Chakraborty

Honestly I have no reason for avoiding this one, other than length? It sounds amazing, my friend Nicola loved it (we have very similar reading taste) and I have been trying to find more adult fantasy recently. But it’s over 500 pages, and I find it difficult to fit those in to my reading, just because they take that bit longer, especially as I’m working full time now.

6. The Fever Code-James Dashner

Before I found out about the accusations of sexual harrassment against James Dashner, I was really excited for this one. However when those came out last year, despite the fact that I love The Maze Runner, and I really do want to find out how the Maze came to be, I’ve felt increasingly uneasy about reading this book. But it’s also signed, so I don’t really want to get rid of it.

7. The Boy Who Steals Houses-C.G. Drews

I really want to support Cait and her books, because I would love to get more books from her and just to support her career because I love her blog and I want to see her do well as an author. However I wasn’t enamoured by A Thousand Perfect Notes, and I don’t think The Boy Who Steals Houses really sounds like my kind of book either, so I’m kind of torn on this one.

8. A Court of Wings and Ruin-Sarah J Maas

I really enjoyed A Court of Mist and Fury when I read it two years ago, and I preordered ACOWAR before it came out. However, I kept seeing mixed reviews about ACOWAR, and it’s over 700 pages which is a massive time commitment. Add in the fact that I STILL haven’t finished Kingdom of Ash, and I’m a bit hesitant to start another massive Maas book.

9. Cress-Marissa Meyer

Again we have the size issue with this one, it’s over 500 pages, but also I’m not the world’s most massive sci-fi fan? I enjoyed the first two books, but not enough that this one is top of my TBR. I’m thinking I might try this one on Audible at some point, as I’m not sure I’ll love it enough to want a physical copy.

10. Dreams of Gods and Monsters-Laini Taylor

And we’re back to another mammoth book that Jo is afraid of. This book is a whopping 650 pages (sssh that’s large for me) so it’s quite a time commitment, and I really wasn’t keen on the second book in the series, so I haven’t been jumping on continuing the series. I hate to leave it incomplete, especially as the book is signed, but I’m just not sure my interest is what it once was.

So there we go, Books On My TBR that I’m Avoiding Reading. Do we share any? What books were on your list this week? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Favourite Things To Eat/Drink Whilst Reading, but I don’t really eat or drink whilst I read, and I did a list of food from books that I’d eat two years ago, so I’m kind of drawing a blank on a food themed topic to do. So instead, I’m going to talk about Books By Diverse Authors on My TBR That I’m Looking Forward To Reading, as there have been a lot of great ones out in the last few years that I’m really looking forward to reading.

I’m not sure how much I’m going to have for you this week, as I’d like to focus on my novel over the weekend, but I’ll probably get a Book Vs Movie post up, as those are quite quick to do.

Jo Talks Books: Why We Need More Platonic Friendships Between Male and Female Characters In YA

Hi everyone! I’m back with another discussion post for you all, earlier in the month this time, so hopefully I might be able to do my regular two discussion posts this month as opposed to the one I’ve done for the last two months.

This month, I’m talking about something that’s really important to me, and something that I definitely think needs to be seen more in YA: platonic friendships between boys and girls.

The main focus on relationships between boys and girls in YA always seems to be the romance. That’s not to say that there aren’t platonic relationships between male and female characters in YA, but overwhelmingly, the focus still seems to be on the romance. I’ve spoken before about my issues with romance being overly prevalent in YA, and friendships being overlooked anyway, but I wanted to talk specifically about platonic relationships between girls and boys because I think it feeds into a bigger societal issue.

Society, and especially media, constantly reinforce the idea that men and women cannot be friends with each other, that the natural relationship between them should be one that is romantic. Obviously this is a ridiculous result of our heteronormative society, & it is perfectly possible for men and women to have platonic relationships with each other.

If the message that YA books are sending to teenagers is that the only way girls and guys can be friends is if one of them is gay or lesbian, then that’s not a great one for teens to be receiving. It reinforces the toxic messaging to straight teenage boys that girls are something that they are entitled to, that they are objects for their sexual pleasure and not other human beings worthy of respect. It doesn’t send a great message to teenage girls either if the only way that they see boys in the media is as potential boyfriends because it makes it seem as if the only way that we can be worth something is if they are in a relationship.

I’m obviously focusing on heterosexual characters here, but the same goes for queer characters, the only relationships they have with other queer people can’t just be romantic relationships, it’s so important to get to see those characters having friendships, as well as romantic relationships with other queer people. Society is so used to making romantic relationships the be-all, end-all of all relationships, that we forget how important friendships are, and fiction is a great place to highlight that importance.

Centring platonic relationships in fiction would also go a long way in making it a more friendly place for people on the aroromantic and/or asexual spectrum. Of course people who are aro/ace can have relationships of a romantic or sexual nature, but by placing less importance on romantic relationships and showing more platonic relationships, both between people of the same sex and people of opposite sexes, it will allow for a wider range of experiences to be represented in fiction & de-normalize the idea that the only relationships men and women can have must be romantic.

I can genuinely think of very few genuinely platonic relationships between male and female characters in fiction. It’s one of the reasons why the suggestion that Harry and Hermione should have got together in Harry Potter annoys me, because it’s one of very few examples in YA fiction of a girl and a boy who have a purely platonic relationship.

If you introduce a male and female character of a similar age in a YA book, it’s expected that the two will eventually get together, and because of this expectation, a lot of the time authors try to force a romantic relationship that just shouldn’t exist. So often I find in YA books that I don’t feel the chemistry between the love interests, and that they would have worked so much better as friends. I understand that it’s difficult because an expectation does exist for readers that a YA book will contain romance, but it’s so important to challenge this expectation because the more normal that platonic friendships between men  and women are in fiction, it will go a long way towards reducing the expectation for platonic friendships in real life to turn romantic as well.

I’ve been attempting to challenge this particular problem in my own work, my first novel, This Is Not A Love Story. I wanted the central relationships in my book to be friendships, and particularly show that if you have a male and a female character narrating your book, then it doesn’t have to turn into something romantic between them. Tiffany is pretty clear from the start that she doesn’t have any romantic feelings towards Cam, and though Cam initially does, it never turns into anything.

The frustrating thing, particularly about YA is that it usually starts well. There are lots of male and female characters that are friends initially, but then it’s revealed that one had feelings for each other all along. Think Katniss and Gale from The Hunger Games, that could have been a really great platonic friendship, but of course, in order to create tension, he had to have feelings for her. There’s nothing wrong with people who were originally friends falling in love, I actually really enjoy relationships that start that way, but it doesn’t have to be true for every friendship between a male and female character in fiction!

We need to tackle this whole idea that “just friends” is somehow a bad thing. That there has to be some kind of a justification for men and women to not be romantically interested in each other. It demeans friendship to put it down as something “lesser than romance” especially when friendships can be some of the most enduring relationships of our lives. This starts by showing children, and teenagers, that friendships are just as, if not more important than romantic relationships by featuring platonic relationships more heavily in the books they read.

The friend zone is a classic myth that is used by men who are rejected. It’s used by men who believe that being nice to women means that they are entitled to have sex with them. If our media, and literature, showed more platonic relationships with men and women, and didn’t perpetuate the idea that men and women can’t be friends, then perhaps myth of the “friend zone” would not exist, because the expectation wouldn’t be that the only relationship men can have with women is a sexual one.

Overall, it is SO, SO important that platonic relationships are highlighted in fiction, both between heterosexual men and women, but also between characters on the LGBTQ+ spectrum as well. We need to show the importance of friendship in fiction, to tackle this idea that romance is the only kind of relationship that really matters, and especially to tackle the idea that men are somehow entitled to romantic relationships with women. I definitely think that having more platonic relationships in literature would contribute to a more healthy understanding of platonic relationships in society as a whole.

So there we go, my two cents on the need for platonic relationships between male and female characters in books. Anyone have any favourite platonic m/f relationships? Let me know in the comments!

I will hopefully have another one of these up at the end of the month, though I haven’t decided what it will be about yet. In the meantime, my next post will be my regularly scheduled Top Ten Tuesday post, which will be up tomorrow.

#RockMyTBR August Update (2019)

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great August, mine has basically been work of one kind or another, but I suppose that’s just being an adult. I do have some cool things coming up this month though, I’m going to see Wicked with my friends in just under two weeks, which is my second time seeing the show and I’m really excited for that. I’m also going out for dinner with a friend of mine tomorrow, and I’m going to France in a couple of weeks, so that should be good too. Plus it’s my birthday next Thursday as well, so all in all September is shaping up pretty nicely.

Anyway for those of you who are new to my blog since I last did one of these posts, this challenge was started by Sarah K over at The YA Book Traveler, and I’ve borrowed it for my blog over the past few years. How the challenge works is basically you pick a list of backlist books that you want to read over the course of the year, and knock them off your TBR. I always do twelve books, one for each month of the year. August has been a busy month for me with work, but I still managed to read 4 books, bringing my total for the year so far to 32, so I’m pretty pleased with that. Here’s what I read in August:

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Vengeful by VE Schwab:

Definitely my favourite read of August, and one of my favourites of the year, I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It was even better than the first book, so expertly plotted and paced, with a brilliant cast of characters, including so many badass women, Marcella and June, the two new ladies in this book have my entire heart. I read this one from 28th July-11th August. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/vengeful-villains-2-review/

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You by Caroline Kepnes:

This was my audiobook for August, and I have to say this was one of the rare times when I found the TV show better than the book. The narration, expertly done by Santino Fontana was definitely the best thing about this book, the writing wasn’t all that great and though the plot was decent, it felt like it was overly long. I read this book from 7th-18th August. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/you-review-audiobook/

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An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir:

This was my August #RockMyTBR book, and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I’d heard so much hype about this book that I was expecting it to be something really great. Instead, I found the characters pretty flat, the world wasn’t particularly magical for a fantasy and I felt like the story dragged, though it ended in an exciting enough place that I’d still read the sequel. I read this book from 13th-31st August. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/01/an-ember-in-the-ashes-review-an-ember-in-the-ashes-1/

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson:

This was my Netgalley read for the month, which I read from 2nd August-3rd September. Whilst I appreciated what this book did in terms of highlighting sexual assault, and the story is unfortunately still very timely twenty years later, I didn’t find the actual story as powerful or emotional as I was expecting. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/speak-review/

So that’s what I read in August, here’s what I have coming up in September:

Into The Crooked Place-Alexandra Christo

My current read, I borrowed this ARC from my friend Hannah, after she won it at YALC. I loved Christo’s debut, To Kill A Kingdom, and so far I’m liking this book as well, though I sense that the real excitement is just about to start!

Stalking Jack The Ripper-Keri Maniscalo/The Last Namsara-Kristen Ciccarelli

I’m not really sure which of my #RockMyTBR books I’ll be reading in September, as it depends how long Into The Crooked Place takes me as to which one I’ll choose. If I finish it relatively quickly, then I will read The Last Namsara, if it takes me longer, I’ll go with Stalking Jack The Ripper as it’s slightly shorter. Either way, I will be reading both in the next two months as whichever I don’t read this month, I will be reading in October.

Lair of Dreams-Libba Bray

This is going to be my audiobook for this month, I just started it. I’m enjoying it so far, although again, the audio is split in a weird way, each “chapter” is actually several chapters in one part, which means they are over an hour and half each, so it’s probably going to take me a while to get through.

The Fountains of Silence-Ruta Sepetys

This is going to be my Netgalley read for the month, and I’m really excited about it, Ruta Sepetys always writes the BEST historical fiction, and I’ve never read anything about Spain under the dictatorship of General Franco before.

My reading progress this year is still going very steadily, I’m 5 books ahead of my Goodreads Challenge and only have 8 books to go until I meet my challenge for the year. How did your August reading go? Let me know in the comments!

Speak Review

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Book: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Melinda and Heather talk about decorating her room & Melinda and Ivy discuss her art project.

I received this book from Hachette’s Children’s Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warnings: Rape, depression, PTSD, self harm

Speak is one of those books that you always hear about as a classic YA book, it was first published twenty years ago, which is kind of remarkable given the subject matter, society has been so quiet about the realities of sexual assault for a long time, so the fact that a book like this was published twenty years ago, and paved the way for books that followed is definitely a big deal. Having said that, the book wasn’t quite as good as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think it’s important, but it didn’t have the emotional punch I was expecting and I found the writing and the characters a bit bland. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.

“Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say.”

From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

I think the biggest thing that didn’t work for me with this book was the style that it was written in. Now this is probably a more, it’s not you, it’s me kind of thing, but I really don’t like reading diary formats. This book was no exception. I understand why Anderson decided to write the book in this way, the stream of consciousness style does fit with the story she was telling, but just personally, I didn’t really enjoy it. I also found the fact that there was no real chapter separation quite difficult because there wasn’t really a natural stopping point when I wanted to put the book down.

Speaking of the writing, I didn’t mind it, but it wasn’t nothing particularly special. I found it quite simplistic, which is fine, not all books have to have complex prose, but it was also kind of bland. I wanted to feel more emotion from the writing and I just didn’t. I did enjoy Melinda’s sarcasm and dry humour though, if the author had managed to infuse the same spark into the rest of her writing, I probably would have enjoyed the book more.

Melinda herself, I had mixed feelings about. For most of the book, because of her PTSD, she’s quite apathetic, she doesn’t really care about anything and though of course you come to understand why, it could be a little infuriating at times reading her thoughts. I also found her quite hard to connect to, to start off with and though that changed throughout the book, it was tough going for a while because I didn’t really understand why I should care.

For a very short book, I found this one incredibly slow. There’s not really a plot as such, it’s more of a stream of consciousness of Melinda coming to terms with what happened to her, and for a book that was only 230 odd pages long, it felt like it was a lot longer. We don’t actually get to the revelation of what happened to Melinda until about 150 odd pages through, which is quite a long time to wait, especially since I already knew what the book was about before reading. I would rather we’d found out what happened to Melinda earlier and then spent longer on the aftermath. I felt the ending was a little rushed because of this, although I was glad that it ended up in a hopeful place rather than a dark one.

It was definitely nice to read about a younger teen, Melinda is only about 14, and the younger teens (13-15) have definitely suffered from a lack of books aimed at their particular age group in recent years, so it’s nice to see a book that features a younger teen as the protagonist, even if it is a 20 year old one!

I definitely feel like more people should have been worried about Melinda. Her parents were awful, blaming her for her poor grades, and getting frustrated at her not speaking, but they don’t bother to try and find out what’s going on. That’s not to say that Melinda would have told them, but it didn’t seem like there was much of a concerted effort to help Melinda, even though she was failing school and becoming withdrawn from everyone.

I didn’t feel like the secondary characters were particularly fleshed out, this was probably because it was from Melinda’s POV, and she was pretty withdrawn from everyone, but still, from a reader’s POV, I would have liked it if the side characters had been a little more fleshed out, I would probably have enjoyed the book more. I was very glad she didn’t go down the romance route with David and Melinda though, considering everything Melinda had to go through.

Overall, I can see why this book is so important, and I definitely think that sexual assault is a topic that needs to be discussed, but I’ve read more recent books about the topic that I’ve felt packed more of an emotional punch (like Asking For It by Louise O’Neill). However, without this book, books like that probably wouldn’t exist, so it definitely has to be commended for that.

I’m not quite sure what my next review will be, as two of the books I’m currently reading are October ARCs. It will probably be my current audio read, Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray, the second Diviners book (depending on how long that takes me to read).

Top Ten Tuesday #227

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Hi all! I hope you’ve had a good week since my last TTT post, mine hasn’t been all that interesting, I’ve just been working but it’s been going well so that’s good. It’s my birthday next week as well, so I’m excited for that, my birthday usually means treating myself to new books!

Anyway, since it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking Books I Enjoyed That Were Outside My Comfort Zone, which was actually my suggestion because whilst I love all things YA, especially fantasy, it is fun sometimes to look outside your comfort zone and find unexpected favourites. So here we go, the books I enjoyed that aren’t my usual kind of read:

  1. PS I Love You-Celia Ahern

Whilst I wouldn’t say this was a favourite, considering that I never read anything that could even be considered a romance, I tried this after enjoying the film and I was quite surprised that I didn’t completely hate it. I wouldn’t say I loved it either, but it was a sweet enough book that I largely enjoyed.

2. The Time Traveler’s Wife-Audrey Niffenegger

Again, one of the few romance novels that I’ve read that I enjoyed. What can I say, I wasn’t as cynical about romance when I was 15/16, and I think the time travel element added a  novelty to this book that I enjoyed. Don’t watch the film though, it’s terrible.

3. My Sister’s Keeper-Jodi Picoult

This is one of my favourite books and on paper, I definitely wouldn’t have expected it to be, considering that I don’t really read adult fiction all that often. But I’m so glad I tried it, because it’s such a touching story and one that has really stayed with me over the years. As with the above book though, don’t watch the film, it really sucks.

4. Heading Home-Katie Flynn

I’m not even sure how I ended up with this book, because again, it’s a romance, but I really enjoyed the coming of age story in this one and from what I can remember, the romance wasn’t really the thing that I took away from this story, it was more about the Muldoon sisters growing up and striking out on their own.

5. The Priory of The Orange Tree-Samantha Shannon

Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking, a feminist high fantasy with dragons by an author you love? Jo, that’s not out of your comfort zone at all. Well yes, in terms of content, it is right in my wheelhouse, but this book is OVER 800 PAGES LONG, and I tend not to read chunky books very often so in that respect it was very much out of my comfort zone. Thank goodness for Audible, because I would definitely not have consumed the physical book in 26 hours!

6. Catwoman: Soulstealer-Sarah J Maas

I love Sarah J Maas, but I’ve only very recently and quite tentatively got into superhero stuff over the last couple of years, so a book about a superhero (or anti-hero) is definitely not the kind of thing I would usually try. I’m glad I did though, because I really enjoyed Sarah’s take on Selina Kyle.

7. Becoming-Michelle Obama

I’m not really a big non-fiction reader, though I have been attempting to change that this year and I thought where better to start than with the memoir of a woman that I really admire? Needless to say, I loved this book, reading Michelle’s candid stories about growing up in Chicago, her life with Barack and of course her experience as First lady was incredibly entertaining.

8. The Language of Thorns-Leigh Bardugo

Short stories aren’t usually my thing, and I’ve never really read any short stories that form part of the mythology of an existing world before. However, I really loved Leigh’s Grisha-fied take on fairytales, I thought they were really great and it’s actually something I’d definitely be interested in seeing more authors doing.

9. Frozen Charlotte-Alex Bell

I’m not really a horror reader? I’ve read some fantasy that’s been kind of horror-lite, but straight horror is not usually my thing. Granted, I don’t know how this book compares to other horror books, it’s probably not as scary as something like Stephen King, but I’m kind of a scaredy cat, so anything like this is out of my comfort zone. I really enjoyed this though, it was just creepy enough without being ridiculously scary, and it was quite different to anything else I’ve ever read.

10. Challenger Deep-Neal Shusterman

I love Neal Shusterman’s books but this one was definitely very different to the other ones of his that I’ve read, and this book following a teen’s descent into schizophrenia was definitely out of my comfort zone as I’d never read a book that was quite this raw and intense about mental illness before. It was definitely a difficult read at times, but I’m glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to read this, because it was definitely a very enlightening one.

So there we go, Books I Enjoyed That Were Out of My Comfort Zone. Do we share any? What books were on your list this week? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why, so that should be an interesting one.

For the rest of this week, I should have a review of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, and a #RockMyTBR post for August, so those should all be up by the end of the week.