The Fixes by Owen Mattews

The Fixes by Owen Mattews

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Pages: 528 (Hardcover)

good good

Five…

Eric Connelly is about to combust.

Four…

His senator father is forcing him to spend the entire summer working a mind-numbing law firm internship. He won’t stop lecturing him about the importance of upholding “the Connelly name.” He doesn’t know the definition of “blowing off steam.” But he’s about to find out. Because Eric is ready to blow.

Three…

Then Eric meets Jordan Grant. Super-rich, semi-famous Jordan Grant. The guy of Eric’s (secret) dreams. Jordan likes Eric. And, well, Eric likes that.

Two…

Jordan comes with a group of friends—the Suicide Pack, they call themselves—and they’re sick of the shallow hypocrisy of their exclusive beachside town. So they cook up some simple “fixes” to right the wrongs that the wealthy elite have committed. But as the fixes escalate, some members of the pack start to panic. Intoxicated by Jordan’s attention, Eric stays calm. Until Jordan starts to build the bombs.

One…

The question is not whether the bombs will go off—but who will be left standing when everything goes up in flames.

The Fixes is an interesting novel and I must admit I had a lot of fun reading it. There’s this loose stream of connectivity between the book and the narrator and I didn’t mind being pulled out of the story every other chapter or every other line because the remarks were just too funny and it would have been even better I swear if there just weren’t so many fucking holes. Like what’s up with Jordan’s family? Is he a psycho like his dad? Does his dad know how fucked he is? I sometimes hate how much I critically think but everything has to connect. There are just too many holes.

So I get that Haley and Paige were friends before the pack but why? They seem completely different especially with their group of friends and moreover, why would they want to be? In the whole book they barely speak to each other about anything. It makes me wonder that they’re together just because they’re girls. I also had an issue with the suspense. Maybe it was planned out this way but the deliverance is not very smooth as it starts and stops every few pages and the climax is literally a shit show. I also want to know and fully understand the thought process that is Jordan. How did he get everyone on his side? And so quickly? I want to understand how Eric got this way and how he convinced everyone to go through with things I want to understand the manipulation behind it all.

The reasons why I enjoyed this novel is because it is good. It does allow readers to fall into the story with its clever lines and smooth transitions. This is so with the transition of Eric going from E to Eric. The writing flows in such a calm way. The ending is cool because I hate cop-outs and I’m glad this one did not have that. Despite having many holes, it does resolve things. The character of Paige and how she comes back into Eric’s life, albeit weird, shows that they really were friends.

While reading The Fixes it seemed like I was asking one thing over and over again: why?

What’s even worse is that just about nothing is ever really answered. I’m trying really hard to be a better reviewer so I’m not going to completely bash Matthews for making Eric such a puppy. Some people just feel more than others but still. Come on, why. But I still really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone. Yes, it is really long but the chapters are pretty short and sweet.

3 Mediocre Clouds

Book Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

22456945Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre:Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

opinion

I’m in love with Hannah Moskowitz. I love her writing, her characters, the way that I feel like I personally know her solely from reading her books. I feel like she puts a lot of herself into her stories. Not Otherwise Specified isn’t… a bad book by any means. But it is a what the fuck just happened ? kind of book. From the setting to the dialogue, all the way to the fucking cover I just…

I don’t think I ever encountered a book by an author I loved that has had info-dumping, but Not Otherwise Specified has it to the max. I’m not even kidding. Sure there are a lot of witty comments that make some of the several info-dumping parts bearable but just barely. Also, the dialogue is really bad. It’s all cookie cutter edge with ‘he says’ or ‘I say’ ‘she says’. They say a lot of shit, I get it. Now make it interesting by adding actions. And I don’t know if it’s just me but all anyone talks about are eating disorders and theater and a dash of the LGBT community thus making the characters not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I got bored quite easily reading this one because I was waiting for something out of the ordinary. It didn’t really come. Anyway, the relationship between Bianca and Etta is so crazy and unbelievable that I had a hard time taking to it. Bianca barely talks and somehow, she’s clinging to Etta for dear life after like a month? Of course these scenarios happen, but I’m sorry there’s just so much planning that could have made it seem realistic. Bianca has too much to lose (I think) to just allow Etta into her life instantly.

Still, this is Hannah Moskowitz and after a while, the random-all-over-the-place-but-not-really-I-don’t-know writing didn’t stand out so much to me. In addition to this, Etta is such a handful, not only for the secondary characters but for readers as well but I liked her for the most part. She’s loud, confused, happy, and pissed off. I liked her because of how strong she is and how strong she makes the other characters. The struggle that goes on in the story is so true.  She tries so hard to work on herself, so hard to get her old friends back, to get healthy, to get in really that I felt for her. It’s so hard to really ‘fit’ in somewhere and I felt as if Etta is the memory for all of us, because I’m sure that everyone has felt like a sore thumb at least once in their life.

Let me say it again: I love Hannah Moskowitz and I believe that this love for her has made me second guess my thoughts on the book. I really want to believe that I got a faulty copy because it just didn’t work for me. Especially the cover, just looking at it makes me mad not because of the person on it, but just the fact that the publisher probably paid a lot of money for something that looks thrown together in ten minutes. It’s poorly photoshoped, poorly lighted, and just all around, poor colour choices. I know for a fact, they could have done better. But anyway, yes, I think I would still recommend it solely because it is Hannah Moskowitz and she’s awesome but Not Otherwise Specified is not that great. It’s a solid, ‘meh’ book with ‘meh’ characters and a ‘meh’ setting.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards (Book Review+Guest Post!)

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Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Pages: 336 (Paperback)

good good

Chloe didn’t think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life. Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can’t she remember?

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Sourcebooks Fire 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 is a bit of a stretch but I was initially attracted to this novel because Chloe forgot six months of her life and I am a very forgetful person… so we sort of share that. Anyway, Natalie D. Richards is an author that I know I will read more novels by her when they come out. Her writing style, characters, and setting reeled me in and didn’t let go until the last page. Even though there are a few predictable things about it, this story is realistic and I enjoyed it a lot despite that. 

Six Months Later is quite messy and I understand that it would be since Chloe doesn’t know what’s going on but I was still left a bit confused and was forced to re-read a few things. There are a few things in this novel that are glaringly obvious from the beginning, like who’s involved with certain things and with that being said, the ride didn’t feel as fun and exciting as it could have been.

What I did like about this book is the humour that’s easily weaved into the text. It doesn’t feel forced. The writing has a nice mix of intense scenes and realism that I love to read about. The relationship between Chloe and Maggie is sweet and realistic, I love how Richards put obstacles in their way and when they overcame them, they still weren’t ‘buddy-buddy’ again which made me smile all the more. Another thing that I liked about Six Months Later are the male leads because they are so different yet so alike. Throughout the whole novel, Blake and Adam are seen and judged by their pasts rather than by the present which made a huge deal with a lovely lesson about– people should never be judged by their pasts because they don’t matter as much as their actions right now do.

Generally, I don’t read many books about amnesia because many of them are the same and I never feel entertained enough by the end. However, Six Months Later is different in the sense that there’s an easy humour to it and also has a love triangle that isn’t in the least bit annoying or over done. It fits the novel really well and I recommend this novel to people who love amnesic main characters, love triangles that aren’t annoying, or just love mystery novels.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

 

Now, onto the guest post! This is a character spotlight on Adam Reed by Natalie D. Richards. She’s been really awesome and fun to talk to, as well as made me fall even harder for Adam when I finished reading this so check it out below!

Adam Reed:  A Spotlight

                “I admit it, I play favorites with my characters.  Every character is special and meaningful and…oh, that’s not the point. The point is, some characters just stay with you. You get a character crush, like the one I have on my hero from Six Months Later, Adam Reed.

Every hero is fun, but Adam was something special.  Here’s some of the many things that make him who he is.”-Natalie D. Richards

 

Basic Details:     6″2 with dark hair and blue eyes.  More prone to smirking than smiling.

Likes?                   Red pop, breakfast at all hours, bridges and skyscrapers (you’ll see), and Chloe.

Dislikes?              Messy rooms, giggly girly-girls, being trapped between a rock and a hard place,                                                                 and Blake.

What he Drives:             car                 

                Three Songs on his iPod Right Now:

Lonely Boy — The Black Keys

Comeback — Redlight King

Staring at the Sun — TV On The Radio

 

How teachers might describe him:

Academically gifted, but a troubled young man

What do other guys think?

“I heard that dude got arrested for manslaughter or something.”-Some random dude.

And the girls?   

                “With a face that pretty, he can break all the laws he wants.”-Some random chick.

 

Last, but not least, how does Chloe see Adam? 

“Six feet and a couple of inches of something that scares me half to death.”  — Six Months Later

 

Let’s see if the journey she takes in Six Months Later changes that.  😉

 

Abbe, thank you so much for having me today!  I had an amazing time here and really enjoyed this idea!

Book Review: Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

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Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 3, 2013

Pages: 239 (Hardcover)

good good

Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.

SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.

Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.

In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Algonquin 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 think I knew I was going to dislike Richard from the beginning because he always repeats himself by saying, “see” or, “okay?” or “right”. It took all my strength not to jump into the book and punch him in the face. Hollis Seamon could have made this a killer book with such a sad and serious topic but instead she failed to do so. I was left underwhelmed and very upset with all the characters. And not in a good way.

Writing a realistic contemporary novel there has to be a realistic relationship between the main character and most likely the love interest. Unfortunately, the romance in Somebody Up There Hates You feels more like a fairytale than something that could happen in real life. Richard and Sylvie are already ‘together’ when the novel starts with little hints and snippets of how they met but not a full explanation of how they became so close and became a couple. There isn’t much if any character building either. All of the characters feel extremely stiff and are boring and I couldn’t connect to any of them. Another thing that I really disliked about this novel is the fact that everything is all over the place. The relationship between Richard and Sylvie, Richard’s life, all of it. Instead of reading one story I felt like I was reading ten different ones that randomly popped up out of nowhere. During many parts of the book I was left confused and uncertain about what I was reading.

One thing I did like about the book though, is the relationship between Richard and Edward. It is so cute because they depend on each other so much, whether they know it or not. I also liked Edward because he reminds Richard a lot that everyone has problems and that he’s not the only one going through a shitty time which I think everyone needs to be reminded from time to time.

Somebody Up There Hates You isn’t actually a story about a teen with cancer and how he fights through it. It’s more of a story about two teens going through a crappy time and having sex before they die. That’s about it. I recommend this only to people looking for a light read. Don’t let the summary fool you, it’s not heart-wrenching nor is it moving.

2 Clouds

2 Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Song of the Week#2-You’ve Got A Friend In Me by Robert Goulet (Disney Soundtrack Edition)

song of the week

This is a weekly meme that’s for the most part, the same as Song Of The Day except each week there will be a different ‘edition’ and it’s going to be updated once a week. This week’s edition is: Disney Soundtrack! Of course there are tons of songs that I love from many Disney movies but I recently watched Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 and I just Cried when I heard this song. And I absolutely love it.

Toy-Story-2-Soundtrack

Robert Gerard Goulet (November 26, 1933 – October 30, 2007) was an American singer and actor of French Canadian ancestry. He has been in numerous films so popular ones are: Beetlejuice, Toy Story 2, and Recess: School’s Out. 

I think everyone knows this song because Wheezy sings it near the end. It’s so much fun and it brings back memories of when Disney didn’t come up with such odd, nonsense-filled movies.

My favourite part is:

Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am
Bigger and stronger too
Maybe
But none of them
Will ever love you the way I do
It’s me and you boy

And as the years go by
Our friendship will never die
You’re gonna see it’s our destiny
You’ve got a friend in me

To listen to You’ve Got A Friend In Me click here.

Lyrics are here.