All the Bright Places

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You have been in every way all that anyone could be.… If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.

All the Bright Places is about two broken teenagers- Violet and Finch- who met in one of the most unusual ways- at the top of the bell tower where Finch had to talk Violet off a ledge and save her. From then, Violet becomes Finch’s reason to stay Awake and not fall into the Asleep, a metaphor for his depressive episodes. Finch also helps Violet come to terms with her sister’s death. This book is about two people who wants and needs to be saved.

In many ways, I see this book as similar in other young adult contemporary books that I have read- two broken teenagers, adventure and a rollercoaster of emotion. Violet is a girl who belongs to the “popular” crowd but doesn’t really feel like herself around her peers. This kind of girl is actually repetitive for several young adult books. On the other hand, Finch is an “outsider” who doesn’t feel like he belong with anybody at all. Again, a typical boy in a young adult book. Violet and Finch also gets to go on an adventure for a school project. Another typical element. What’s different here is how mental disorders are depicted. What I find different here is how mental disorders are depicted. I don’t think I’ve ever understand mental health the way I did in this book. Another thing that’s different for me is that I desperately longed for a happy ending. In these kinds of books, I accept that the story may end tragically from the beginning or middle of book to save myself from more pain. In this book, I couldn’t do it. I let myself believe that this story may have a  happy ending after all.

In this end, this book left me heartbroken. It is a good read for it opens your eyes of the reality of some other peoples’ lives. Yes, Finch is a fictional character but there is someone out there who might be fighting to stay Awake just as Finch does. Maybe there is someone out there who is desperately searching for something to live for. Maybe that’s why the story ended the way it did. It’s not telling us that there’s nothing to be done. It’s telling us that we need to act for something to be done. It makes us think about all the ways things could have turn out differently. So maybe, in our real lives, we can be more attentive. We can seek more help. We can try harder not to give up on other people. Some say that this book does not focus on hope. And yes, I do agree. This book focuses on regrets. And for some, this is  a better fuel to act.

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revolution needs a spark,” I murmur, repeating what Julian would say in our lessons. “And even sparks burn.

Red Queen is set in a world where people are divided into the color of their blood -Silvers, people who have evolved with powers, rule the reds who are considered inferior to them. Mare Barrow is a 17-year old Red girl steals for her family. “It is the best she can do,” she says, “…before she gets conscripted.” In this world, reds are sent to fight a war when they reach eighteen when they do not have jobs. But an accident turned things around for Mare. Instead of living as a Red, Mare must now pretend to be one of the Silvers and marry a prince.

Red Queen, even with the same elements of a dystopian story is kind of refreshing. Red Queen actually reminds me a lot of The Selection Series by Kiera Cass but with powers and a lot more of rebellion and war. Victoria Aveyard did a good job of creating this alternate world. While I was reading, Norta feels more and more real as I read on. The characters, especially Mare, is actually very relatable.Mare was driven by grief and love for family which for me sets her apart from the other main characters in other books. With her as the center, the book did not revolve about romance. It actually portrayed a lot of inequalities and the effects of war to people and families.

Enough about Mare… let’s talk about the swoon-worthy princes of Norta. Maven and Cal. I loved them both but I loved Maven much much more. Throughout the book, I understood where their princes are coming from. I understood their decisions. Cal, being the heir to the throne, was trained to always do the right thing. And Maven, oh Maven, the often overlooked son, my heart broke for him (though he broke my heart a thousand times more). Their love triangle is not a typical love triangle. I questioned more than once if there is really a love triangle at all. For me, it was clear who Mare reallys loves… but then… that plot twist!

The best (and at the same time, the worst) thing about Red Queen is the plot twist in the end. I sooooooo did not expect that. I was convinced that I would read the next books and let myself get lost in this world but that plot twist hurt me so much. I may not read the next book because of that plot twist. I just feel so betrayed. Even if the book already warned me that

Anyone can betray anyone.

Still, that plot twist is so unexpected.

Over all, I loved this book. Maybe  a bit too much – the reason for my review 0f 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book for dystopian book lovers. This book is filled with action, a bit of adventure and a love triangle – the ingredients of a dystopian book.

Insignia

Insignia (Insignia, #1)

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Insignia is set in the future where World War III is ongoing. However, unlike the previous wars, this is one is set outside of Earth and fought by machines, eliminating risking innocent lives.

Reading a  book wherein the point of view is from a perspective of a teenage boy is kind of new to me. Most of the books I’ve read are from the point of view of a female or there are two points of view. I actually enjoyed it and I found it refreshing. Tom Raines is actually very funny. I never thought of him as annoying. Sometimes, I really get annoyed of the main character.

Insignia is actually very well-written. The plot was actually extremely good. There’s something more to every character than what I initially thought. There are lots of actions and virtual gaming. This book is beyond interesting! The best thing about this book is that this is not romance-driven unlike other dystopian young adult books. The story focuses on the character and how he manages his new life. There’s some romance there but it’s not heavy. I would like to look at it as friendship more than romance.

I don’t know why though but I didn’t fall in love with this book. It excited me and made me want to read more but I can’t give it higher than three stars. Maybe this book is for younger readers.

 

Landline

Landline
Landline
by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love you more than I hate everything else.

Landline is about Georgie McCool, her marriage with Neal and the struggle in juggling family life and career. Georgie McCool has been waiting for a big opportunity her entire career, however, in order to achieve it she must work around Christmas. Instead of staying with Georgie, Neal decided to go on with their trip with their children, leaving Georgie in Los Angeles that christmas. Georgie then starts to wonder if this is the end of their marriage. She goes home to their childhood bedroom where a yellow telephone allows her to talk to past Neal – before the marriage even happened. Georgie starts to wonder if it will be better if they didn’t marry at all. Is their love for each other enough? They are very different people with different interests after all.

Some romance books dwell on the beginning of love where the fire burns oh so brightly. This book, on the other hand, dwells on the love that has surpassed almost a couple of decades. This story is not about the expectation of love – it is really love itself. Most books would show love with grand gestures – showing up in front of your door and declaring your love to the other person. This book has that too. But the great thing is, it has more than that. This book shows us the truth. That there is more to love than the great things. Marriage is a hard work (I’m not married yet though so I’m just guessing here). And sometimes, it’s just a matter of choice between to go on and try again or just give up.

Even if the book is dealing with something heavy, the narrative is really light. I really enjoyed the shift from the present married life to the time they were just dating and starting their life together.The pace of the book is really exciting as well. The book is also very emotional as well. I also just chose to ignore the concept of a magic time-travelling phone since Rainbow Rowell didn’t really give us an explanation. Maybe it’s just really magic. Setting aside the magic phone, this book is actually very realistic with its portrayal of love.This book is really great but I just felt like there is something missing. I didn’t feel like I was really into the book the way I am with Colleen Hoover’s romances. I don’t know why but I just felt a little bit detached. That’s why I gave it four stars.

This book, even when it’s about marriage, will be a good read for everyone in my opinion. It will teach us a lot about relationships and ourselves too. Family is also a big component of this book. So if you’re looking for just a light-hearted book but you don’t want a shallow concept either, this book will be a good read for you.

WE WERE LIARS

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.

I can’t really explain how shocked I am to how this story ends. I thought that this is just a typical “coming-of-age” story about friendship and love…. with maybe a little bit suspense to it. And for most of the story, I really thought it’s typical but boom! That ending shocked me like… I can’t even desribe what exactly it is I’m feeling.

The writing style isn’t the best and I often find myself rereading sentences to get the message but in the end. Reading some parts of the book is just a struggle. It felt like an endless tunnel and I keep questioning whether the book is really worth my time.

But why am I still giving this four stars?

Because in spite of the chaotic narrative, everything is still worth it. My eyes popped out, my heart may have stopped beating and I questioned every little thing in the world when I got to the twist.

And this book left me more lost and more broken- it’s main difference from other coming-of-age stories.