Review: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Category: YA Fiction

Published: October 2007

Read: May 2017

Score: 4.5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Review: This book is one that will live on past us all and will keep coming back as people get in to the new show that has everyone talking about. It tore me open and even now, despite finishing it last night, I can’t stop thinking about it. This will not be  a long review as most people already know the story either by the book or by the new show on Netflix.

Just a quick recap, this book is a narrative of two different people. Clay and Hannah. Hannah killed herself and made a bunch of tapes before she did so detailing why and calling out people who didn’t help her along the way or did things to her. Clay is on this tape and he has to listen to them all to find out why. It’s a roller-coaster of a ride and messes with him emotionally. 30-13-reasons-why_w710_h473

At first, I thought this book was a little slow. We have all been in high school and know how really crappy it can be. Things happen, rumors start, people love each other one min and hate each other at the turn of a hat. It is what it is and it’s four years that can be amazing or hell depending on you and where you stand in it all and how much you care about certain things. So for me, the start was like …okay this is normal teenage stuff.

Than things changed…

2471d020b79fe1cefd59fe0a853d507c I won’t get in to details as it will reveal spoilers and if you are like me and have just read it or have not yet I am not going to ruin it for you. A lot more things happen. A lot of things that kids are dealing with now that I don’t remember when I was in high school. There are things like rape, drugs, consent,  protection just to name a few. Once the book goes on it just sucks you in and you can’t stop. I read this book in four days.

After your done you understand Hannah and why she did what she did. You wish you could help her as no one else seemed to be able to. I also really loved Clay. He is, as it is stated in the book, a really good guy and I loved him. What a great and honest character that got sucked in because of what he felt for this lost soul. images

The reason I gave it a half star off of a perfect score was the beginning. As I said it was a  little slow to start but picked up very fast. It’s a easy read. You know who is talking when and you can follow along no problem. It’s a teen book and quite frankly I think every teen should read. It’s issues we all deal with now a days and it’s a talking point. NO I don’t think it will glamorize suicide if anything people will talk and that is the first step in realizing what is happening around us and help out our fellow human beings. If you want to have a open conversation with your child have them read t his and it will be a great starting off point. Yes it has a very heavy subject and it’s not easy but this is life.

Now on to watching the show. Hopefully it’s as good as the book.

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You Will Like This Book If You Like:

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins, Realistic teen stories about todays modern teens.

 

Review: Just Like Family by Kate Hilton

Category: Adult Fiction

Published: May 2017

Read: April 2017

Score: 4/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Avery Graham has built a life that anyone would admire. She has a brilliant career as chief of staff to Peter Haines, the charismatic mayor of Toronto. She has a devoted partner in Matt, her live-in boyfriend of 14 years. And she has a loving family and deep friendships that stretch back to childhood summers at the cottage.
But when Matt proposes, Avery’s past threatens to engulf her present. Can she contemplate a lifetime commitment to Matt after her disastrous first marriage to Hugh? And is Matt really the love of her life, when she has spent so much of it by Peter’s side? Avery could use some good advice from the women who know her best, but her closest friends, Jenny and Tara, have drifted away over the years.
When a scandal erupts at city hall, Avery must overcome her deepest fears about love and loss, and discover what it means to be a family.

Review: This book was won as part a of a Harper Collins Canada contest that I entered so I was able to get my hands on it before it’s even published. This in no way reflects on my review or what I think about it. This is an honest review of this book.

So overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a light read and fun and really hit home. I’ve grew up and lived in Toronto for many years over my sort of long/short life. I love the city and love visiting now and am invested in what goes on there. As a person who lived there during the infamous Rob Ford scandal this book was really enjoyable and really hit home.

It revolves around the main character Avery. She works as the chief of staff at Toronto city hall with her childhood crush Peter who is the current city mayor. The story goes between the now and the past when she was a child at her parents cottage with her best friends. Things happened to her when she was younger and that shaped who she is today. She is distant, obsessed with work and not friends with her friends anymore. Is it her fault or is it just the way life goes? She is also in a long term relationship with Matt who wants more and if he doesn’t get it will he leave? Than a scandal rocks city hall and will she survive?

Avery is a character who can be annoying but is someone you ultimately root for as she isn’t a bad person just made some dumb choices and has been selfish. Matt is the greatest character in the book. You can’t help but love him and how he’s written. Just an overall good guy and I love when you  meet characters like this. The mayor is a jerk, and many reasons why but I won’t go in to that too much or else I will give away a good part of the scandal.

It’s well written and easy to read. It’s not hard to figure out what time period that the author is talking about, even thou some of the chapters overlap. So in that sense it’s not confusing and I am happy for that. It’s not overly heavy content so it’s also a refreshing read as well.

My only problem with it, and why it got a four instead of a five is because of the ending. Everything was dealt with and it ended good but it felt really rushed. Things happened than were poof resolved and the book ended….(double take). Yes it happens like that and it was disappointing. It felt rushed and you feel a little cheated for putting that much effort in to this and then it’s just over and all knots are tied nicely.

I am glad I got to read this book. I do recommend it to anyone who likes these kinds of stories or knows Toronto well. It’s neat to read about places you have been and seen with your own eyes. I look forward to reading anything else this author might come out with.

 

YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE:

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, A Better Man by Leah McLaren.

Adult contemporary novels. Anything to do with Toronto.

 

Review: Will Wilder– The Relic of Perilous Falls by Raymond Arroyo

Category: 9-12 Fiction

Published: March 2016

Read: May 2017

Score: 2/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Will Wilder is a mischievous, headstrong twelve-year-old with an otherworldly gift—he alone can see the nefarious creatures encroaching on Perilous Falls. For nearly a century, a sacred relic has protected his hometown from the raging waters surrounding it. But when Will “borrows” the relic for his own purposes, he accidentally unleashes an ancient evil.
As boats sink and hideous creatures crawl from the rising waters, Will must set things right before it is too late. With the help of his sweet (if lethal) Great Aunt Lucille, the curator of a museum of powerful artifacts, Will proves that the actions of one twelve-year-old boy can change the world.

Review: This is a story that will appeal to some but not to others. It is full of action and demons and prophecies and good vs. evil. It’s a fast paced and easy read for this age group and over all wasn’t bad but not a book I loved or would ever read again. I will not be continuing the series.

It’s about Will Wilder, and this is where my first problem with the book comes from. He is an arrogant and annoying main character. He doesn’t listen, puts peoples lives in danger…more than once I might add and not even a hero as far as hero’s go. He get’s in trouble and needs a way to fix it so he can go on a family trip and tricks his friends in to trying to get a relic locked in the bottom of a church. There is already trouble brewing in his town…that his grandfather founded….and people are dying but he must get that relic. Problems arise but can Will be the hero and save everyone? What if it’s demons and they start to walk the earth?

It’s nail crunching in some spots for sure. It’s imaginative story and brings a whole different world around. My problems with this book is that it’s a lot like Da Vinci COde. I don’t mind Da Vinci Code but not in a kid format. Its been done and this just felt like a revamp for a younger age group. Will, as I stated before, is a very annoying character. He leaves his friends to die…and no this is not a spoiler at all…but it’s true and at that point I was over this book! Even when he was supposed to step up he didn’t I felt like WIll walked around this whole story just thinking about himself and going “duhhh”.

It’s easy writing and kids would be able to read it no problem. The demon parts might be scary but nothing that should give nightmares. I can see this being a long series. The book ended on a note of what is going to happen next. I will not be checking them out but if you like this than I recommend you watch out for more as the second is already out.

Overall not happy with this book.

 

YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE: Action and adventure ya novels, a younger version of the Da Vinci Code.

Review: I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

Category: Autobiography

Published: 2013

Read: March 2017

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.
Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

Review: What can I say about this book? It has changed my life. Malala is an incredible and wonderful human being who shows up the spirit and love and passion for life will help you survive.

There is not much I can do to sum up the book. Everyone knows her name and the fact that because she spoke out about education and women’s rights in a country that doesn’t have them she was shot by the Taliban when she was just 15 years old. It shows the cowardice and the fear that people like Malala puts in the Taliban when they have to shut her up in that horrific manner. She survived and started a foundation in her name to help women around the world and provide education opportunities. Obviously she is here for a reason.

What I really enjoyed about this book is the fact it’s not just about her. It’s also about her family and her life in Swat. How they lived from day-to-day. Who her parents are and why they are the way they are. How they met and what her extended family is like. It’s interesting to see how they live and how it’s different from the ways I know. How they are very closer and if anyone visits their house..if it be a big house or a shack, they would give them the shirts off their back if they had too. She also talks about her faith and Islam and how it’s been twisted by sick people for their own personal gains. 

It’s hard sometimes to read what people can do to each other but that is the reality of the world. It’s cold and harsh and unforgiving.

I think everyone should read this book. For a better understanding of life in other countries and a better understanding of the religion of Islam. I look forward to anything else she might come out with as well as following her on her path to make a better world.

I won’t give any other recommendations as I feel there isn’t another book quite like this. Or if there is I don’t know of them and I can’t in good faith just recommend without being certain.