Book Review: Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

Publisher: Greenwillow

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Pages: 225 (Hardcover)

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Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.

This will be a short and sweet review. Despite my feelings and how relative large the negative part of my review will be, I did enjoy Ask me How I Got Here. It’s cute, funny even. It’s not at all like most young adult books because it doesn’t waste time on unnecessary details. Still it does need work, things are not fleshed out. But I liked it. It’s a solid read.

The characters aren’t fleshed out well enough. Juliana comes into the story and into Addie’s life. It’s not a smooth transition and seems like she was added into the story as a second thought. There are also connections made between Addie and The Virgin Mary, however I was expecting more from it. I was expecting their stories to line up not perfectly, but better. Especially with their relationships with men, their emotions towards family, etc. As I read through all of my notes for this one, my biggest problem is with the characters. It sucks when a novel, beautifully written in verse fails to translate enough emotion through the characters. Claire and the brother should have been better. They fell flat and were not able to support Addie, the protagonist as much as they should have.

I loved Addie’s voice. No bullshit from her. It’s beautiful as she uses references from the Bible to explain her life through The Virgin Mary. Although I’m not at all religious, the way Heppermann weaves this into the story is lovely. I really enjoyed it.

Ask Me How I Got Here is an in between novel for me. It’s not bad but it isn’t particularly good either. If characters play the largest part of a novel for you, this might not be a novel for you. Nonetheless, it’s a story that’s not really talked about, especially in young adult. Teenagers do indeed get abortions, shit happens. Which also aides in my overall opinion of the book.

3 Mediocre Clouds

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Song of the Week (Revamped) #20-Ladybug by Never Shout Never

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

Never Shout Never is an American indie/pop band, formed in Joplin, Missouri in 2007. The group has released Five full-length albums: What Is Love?, Harmony, Time Travel, Indigo, and Sunflower  and four EPs: The Summer EP, Never Shout Never , Me And My Uke, and The Yippee. The band was first a one-man show with only Christofer Drew who started by posting a few songs on Myspace. Now, the band has a bassist who does vocals (Taylor MacFee) and a drummer who also plays guitar and does vocals (Hayden Kaiser).

Very quick, upbeat song (I know I say that a lot but that’s what I’ve been feeling lately) about dissing the person you love. I recently saw Never Shout Never in Toronto about a week ago so I thought I’d mention this cute little song.

Favourite part:

’cause girl you just can’t smile
And I know I am such a creep
Callin’ 24 hours 7 days a week
But I got somethin’ to say, I got somethin’ to say, I got somethin’ to say to

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Book Review: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flower for Algernon by Daniel Keyes


Publisher: Mariner Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: 1966

Pages: 311

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With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance–until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

 

The way I feel about this book is simple. It is that strange feeling as every hair on your body stands on end as you relive some strange childhood memory you’ve tucked away. It is the tears the steadily fall down your cheeks and you realize, yes, Charlie, I have been there. I have seen and felt what you have seen and felt. And the heartbreak as you realize that life is just one huge circle, waiting to turn.

As Charlie gets wiser, he is able to identify the emotions as they come to him. However, as a reader I wish I could have been able to experience more of them. Charlie is very closed off when it comes to certain emotions and focuses and others such as anger and frustration. It would have been nice to see more of his emotions towards Alice and his family.

Nonetheless, this is a lovely novel. The way in which Charlie’s memories come to him with such clarity and realization is beautiful. The way Keyes writes seamlessly brings his story to life, switching from one Charlie to the next. The message of the story is that there is always room for improvement, that no one is ever perfect which might be a cliche, but coming from Charlie and his difficulties, is so heartwarming and special. Keyes also spends quite sometime on Charlie’s relationship with his mother, how they have interacted with each other before and after his sister. How she reacted to him being back and a completely different person. Although I wish this part had more emotion, the back story, the anxiety, and the memories…It’s all there. It’s well done and quite satisfying once they meet again.

So many times, Charlie is described as ‘something else’, as something that is not human, that was created when in reality he wasn’t. A doctor did not create him and this realization to Charlie, to understand the meaning of these words and to fight against them, is the most moving part of the novel. It shows how he has used his wisdom to understand that nothing was wrong with the old Charlie, he was just as capable as he is now and I love this book for that.

4. 5 Bad-Ass Clouds

Song of the Week (Revamped) #15-Heart it Races by Dr. Dog

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Dr. Dog is an American rock band from West Grove, Pennsylvania, United States. Its lineup consists of Toby Leaman, Scott McMicken, Frank McElroy, Zach Miller, and Eric Slick.

I won’t lie. The first I heard Heart it Races, I thought it was just  a boring old song. And in a sense, it really is. Sure, you put it on and it’s sweet, it’s light, whatever. But then it creeps up on you (it really does) during the weirdest times. For me, it’s whenever I’m washing dishes or like, I don’t know, making a sandwich. And it just stays there, being chill. Like a stoner who just wants to repeat the same thing over and over again until everyone else is saying it as well. boom da da da da da da boom dat dat dat da da

Favourite part:

And we’re slow to acknowledge the knots in our laces
Heart it races

And we go back to where we moved out to the places
Heart it races

I sold it to a man and threw him out that window
He went boom da da da da da da boom dat dat dat da da
Made his wife a widow

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #14-Nikki by Logic

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, known by his stage name Logic, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.

The first time I heard this song I assumed what you would. This is about a girl who stole this guy’s heart and how he’s ruined because of it. And in a sense, I’m right but I’m also wrong. Logic uses a unique and creative way to talk about his problems and struggles and I seriously respect him for it. But what makes him amazing is the way he explains the song and what it truly means. Seriously, listen to his explanation because it like opens your mind and shit.

Favourite part:

Goddamn, took me as young man
Everyday I wonder who I am, who will I be, where will I go
What will they write upon my grave?
A free man born as a king, who died as a slave
But everything he gave her was for nothing though
Oh no I can’t fade that shit I gotta let you go
You got me tripping like a flight to Vegas
All this shit you got me doing man it’s outrageous

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #13-You Can’t Hurry Love

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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The Supremes were an American female singing group and the premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s.

Do you remember the twist? I do it every time I hear this song. This song is an old classic that is beautiful. The supremes are awesome.

Favourite part:

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You got to trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #10-Tears over Beers by Modern Baseball

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Modern Baseball is an American rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

Typical high school song. But you know what? You can relate to it because there will always be that one person who you liked but could never have because they liked a complete moron. Always.

Favourite part:

When I moved away from home, 100 miles or so,
I knew a change had grown inside my awkwardly long limbs and bones
That girl who’s next to me, she’s friendly and thoughtful and quite awfully pretty,
But all she has to say is a meat head-themed monologue on why Brad ran away

She said, “All I can hope for is for me to get better,
because all I can take is no more.
I’ll win him back again, we’ll be lovers, best friends.
He won’t need no other woman like he did way back when he was with me.

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.