Book Review: Picture Me by Lori Weber

picture mePicture Me by Lori Weber

Publisher: James Lorimer & Company

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 1, 2014

Pages: 168 (Hardcover)

good good

When a well-meaning English teacher has overweight student Krista read aloud a poem about body image titled “Barbie Doll” in class, she ignites a simmering bullying event based on Krista’s appearance. Krista’s best friend, and witness to the event, Tessa, is suspended for fighting to defend her friend. The girl who bullies Krista seems unaffected by the incident at school and more concerned with what an older guy thinks of her. But as the three characters’ paths intersect, their inner lives are revealed. Each emerges as a much more complicated individual than their simple bully, target, and witness labels.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, James Lorimer & Company for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This isn’t a bad book. In fact, I think I would make my class read this if I were a teacher. The reasons why I’m giving it such a low rating is because of how short it is and the audience. Some of the events that occur in here are more high school than middle school and I found some things a little too hard to believe.

Picture Me is less than 200 pages. It’s hard to create a memorable story with in such a short time and unfortunately, Lori Weber doesn’t succeed. Since the story is so painfully short, the characters are feel rushed and one-sided. Their situations are only touched on and then that’s it, there’s not enough depth for me to feel anything but apathetic towards them.  I also felt that the audience for the book is wrong. Most events that go on in this lean towards high school students and I felt really weird thinking about thirteen year olds doing all of these mindlessly harsh things.

The only thing about this novel is that it’s great for reluctant readers in the sense that this novel could be finished in an hour, two at most.It touches on how bullying affects the victim and how sometimes, bullies are victims themselves. Overall, this book is a disappointment. I was looking for something that read more like a story rather than a pamphlet with realistic characters. I do recommend this to teachers but not to people who are looking for something heart-felt and touching.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

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Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre: Thriller and Young Adult

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that-or succumb to a killer.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I feel bad about review this book because of my mixed feelings  towards it. The message it’s trying to get across gets there, loud and clear. Yet, there are so many things that I just couldn’t overlook since this is a novel telling a story that might be fictional, happens to people all over the world. Before getting to the things that disappointed me, I want to say that Cheryl Rainfield did make me uncomfortable and she did make me remember that my life could be worse no matter the situation that I’m in. I think that Stained will remind readers of how lucky they are and how to always, always, always trust their gut, no matter what.

Stained is a tough book to get into and didn’t take much to lose my attention since it is so very stiff and bland. Especially the characters, although I admired Sarah’s courage and determination, I still couldn’t connect with her and feel the emotions that Rainfield was trying to get me to. Nick, like Sarah, feels extremely contrived and odd because all I got from him is that he loves Sarah, like, a lot and he’s willing to do anything for her. That’s about it. He’s only there as an accessory to Sarah rather than an actual friend who helps her get through a harsh time.

But, I did find the writing style to be okay for the most part. It flows nicely even if it doesn’t give off an intense feeling. Like I mentioned before, Sarah’s determination and courage changed her and for the better. I love the main message this novel gives off (Inner beauty is much more important than outer) as well as the smaller, albeit just as important, messages of how cruel some people can be about certain things.

Overall, this is a novel that I think should be read for the message rather than the story. Without enjoying it much, I was left disappointed and a bit confused at how quickly it moved at the end. The ending isn’t as realistic as I wished it to be nor did it have me at the edge of my seat and thrusting my fist in the air. However, I still recommend this book to everyone because it’s a great reminder as to how easy it is for a person to disappear by someone they know and may even trust.

3 Clouds

3 Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Favourite Book Quotes of the Week#40

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A list of my favourite quotes from books I’ve read in the past week. Leave a comment/link telling me what your favourite quotes are! I’ll be sure to check your post out too!

Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

16158181Favourite quotes:

1. When something that’s a part of you causes you so much pain–pain others inflict–you obsess about it.

2. If I don’t do what feels right to me, what I need and want to do, then am I really living?

3. The lack of human voices really gets to me. I never realized that we need to talk with other people just to know that we exist. That we matter. Loneliness is a howling, empty cavern inside of me that just keeps growing.

Book Review: Winger by Andrew Smith

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Winger by Andrew Smith

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: May 14, 2013

Pages: 448 (Hardcover)

good good

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

opinion

“I found out something about words. There are plenty of words I can put on paper, words I can see with my eyes and scribble with my hand, that I never had the guts to say with my mouth.”

Since this year has started, I’ve only cried over two books. Winger by Andrew Smith is one of them. I’m not sure if it’s Ryan Dean’s moving, realistic voice that had me hooked, or if it was the way I could easily relate to the character and connect with them on such an intense level that made it so hard for me to accept that the book has ended. I felt for every character, even the assholes who I think I would have killed.

Winger has very short chapters which makes it almost impossible to put it down. Something is always happening with this book that makes readers either cry, laugh, or both. Throughout the novel Ryan Dean and have their moments especially with the teacher, I loved reading about Mrs. Singer and all of her crazy spells that she casts on Ryan Dean. But believe it or not, the protagonist was not my favourite character nor is he the reason for all my heartbreak and sobbing. That awards belongs to his best friend, Joey who, from the second he came into the story stole my heart and soul. Every obstacle he’s faced with I was right there willing to jump into the novel and kill anyone who threatened him.  Andrew Smith has written a beautiful story about some of the shit that teenagers go through that they truly shouldn’t. Over words. Over labels that should absolutely nothing but of course, mean everything to some people. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning and even now, while I write this review, I am still crying over the ending.

                                                             What. A. Fucking. Ending.

With that being said, I’m not going to spoil it for you. It may shock you, this ending but it also may not but it did bring out emotions from my toughest critic friends and their hate for reading. I recommend everyone to read this book and hopefully fall in love with this as much as I have. It’s beautiful. It’s moving. It’s relaxed and tense at just the right moments. It’s books like this that keep me steadily reading YA novels with messages so great and moving that just thinking about them is bringing the tears back *cries for five more minutes*. Which is why Winger by Andrew Smith will always stay in my heart and be one of my favourite books from now on.

Five Insanely Dreamy Clouds

Five Heartbreaking Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

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A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

Publisher: Egmont USA

Genre: Contemporary and young adult

Release Date: July 23, 2013

Pages: 288 (Ebook)

A Really Awesome Mess

Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin’s summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents’ divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog– and Emmy definitely doesn’t. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Egmont USA  for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

As the title says, this is a mess. But not an awesome one, more of a sloppily done one. There is so much that’s just horribly wrong with this novel that I get mad just thinking about it. Very little in this novel actually makes sense. Very little. And that made me really sad because I actually had really high hopes for this one.

The book skips over really important stuff like Justin’s relationship with his mother and step dad and there’s more telling rather than showing in the story.  It’s also obvious that every single one of these characters are underdeveloped especially, Emmy. That girl is just all over the place with her problems. She’s supposed to be angry (she’s in the anger management group for crying out loud!) yet, not once does she spaz out and yell and hit anyone when they don’t allow her to do what she wants. All of the characters have problems but they feel very half done, like the authors didn’t research these problems enough or very well. And even though I don’t mind romances in these kinds of stories, the romance in A Really Awesome Mess is very contrived. Everything about the relationship between Justin and Emmy feels very fake to me and it annoyed me to no end the way Emmy is around Justin, like he’s her world. *Rolls eyes*

But believe it or not, I did enjoy a few things about this book. I loved that Justin’s dad walked in on him doing the dirty. It’s funny and adds in the light mood the book was trying to mix in with the serious topics. Justin as a character starts off pretty strong and he’s the only reason I kept reading to the very end because his story is one that I can relate to. But other than Justin and his problems, I didn’t find anything else likeable about this novel.

I’m so disappointed with A Really Awesome Mess. Books about teenagers and depression and all that serious stuff speak to me! This book has put me in a bad mood and I don’t recommend this to anyone because it’s poorly executed and isn’t researched enough that also has a romance that could have gotten two stars out of me if it didn’t have.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Everybody Sees The Ants By A.S. King

4/5-Told from Lucky’s perspective, a story about hating your life, helping others, and figuring out what you have to do to make the pain go away. Everyone said this book was really funny. I only found the way he thought about his parents was funny and that was it. I was pretty let down by that but, I could hardly put this book down because I was constantly wondering what weird things were happening to Lucky.

(Summary From Goodreads)

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

(My Opinion)

The idea behind this story was clever, I loved the way Lucky thought as well as reacted to things. The jungle was interesting while confusing since it would change so easily. The characters were original and clear most of the times but near the ending, they starts to slide together. Lucky Linderman is different from most people.

I kept waiting for A.S. King to give me more details on Lucky’s appearance other than that he was short and skinny. Before I saw the paperback cover for this story, I had no clue what he was supposed to look like which kind of irritated me. I love picturing what the author sees but here, Lucky was walking around faceless. I also didn’t like that I didn’t find this funny. I was expecting  agreat laugh, something that would make me feel the way, Suicide Notes made me feel. But what I got wasn’t anything like that.

One of the best things about this story had to be the ants because they were different and I loved reading about how they reacted to whatever Lucky was thinking. The writing style is always a hit or miss situation with me, but luckily, A.S. King wrote a well written novel that didn’t make my skin crawl because I knew what was happening (most of the time). Lucky Linderman is just an unusual character. I liked that A.S. King did a twist with this character and made him go from something boring to something that made me think about the way I see the world. The way that I see people too, Lucky compares people to other mammals and creatures like his mom is a squid while his dad is a turtle. I found that one of the best things about this book.

The message in this book to me, is that you should stand up for what you want because no one is going to fight your battles for you. You have to remember that, if you think your life sucks or that you’re all alone, you’re not. Everyone around you sees the ants (have problems they have to deal with) as well. I would totally recommend this book to everyone who needs an eye opener to realize how hard other people have it and to re-shape the way you see the people around you.

4/5-Told from Lucky’s perspective, a story about hating your life, helping others, and figuring out what you have to do to make the pain go away. Everyone said this book was really funny. I only found the way he thought about his parents was funny and that was it. I was pretty let down by that but, I could hardly put this book down because I was constantly wondering what weird things were happening to Lucky. 

(Summary From Goodreads)

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos—the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape—where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

(My Opinion)

 The idea behind this story was clever, I loved the way Lucky thought as well as reacted to things. The jungle was interesting while confusing since it would change so easily. The characters were original and clear most of the times but near the ending, they starts to slide together. Lucky Linderman is different from most people.  

I kept waiting for A.S. King to give me more details on Lucky’s appearance other than that he was short and skinny. Before I saw the paperback cover for this story, I had no clue what he was supposed to look like which kind of irritated me. I love picturing what the author sees but here, Lucky was walking around faceless. I also didn’t like that I didn’t find this funny. I was expecting  agreat laugh, something that would make me feel the way, Suicide Notes made me feel. But what I got wasn’t anything like that. 

One of the best things about this story had to be the ants because they were different and I loved reading about how they reacted to whatever Lucky was thinking. The writing style is always a hit or miss situation with me, but luckily, A.S. King wrote a well written novel that didn’t make my skin crawl because I knew what was happening (most of the time). Lucky Linderman is just an unusual character. I liked that A.S. King did a twist with this character and made him go from something boring to something that made me think about the way I see the world. The way that I see people too, Lucky compares people to other mammals and creatures like his mom is a squid while his dad is a turtle. I found that one of the best things about this book. 

The message in this book to me, is that you should stand up for what you want because no one is going to fight your battles for you. You have to remember that, if you think your life sucks or that you’re all alone, you’re not. Everyone around you sees the ants (have problems they have to deal with) as well. I would totally recommend this book to everyone who needs an eye opener to realize how hard other people have it and to re-shape the way you see the people around you.