Drowning is Inevitable

Drowning is InevitableDrowning is Inevitable

Written By: Shalanda Stanley

Published By: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Read: June 16-July 14, 2015

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

You can buy this book here.

Goodreads Synopsis

Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,”  shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can’t provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run.

In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They’re headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police—and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy.

Shalanda Stanley’s breathtaking debut novel explores the deep ties between legacy, loyalty, and love, even as it asks the question: How far would you go to save a friend?

This is Shalanda Stanley’s first novel and I don’t think that it will be her last. She is a natural storyteller and has created a wonderful book. She is a master at character development. Her characters are what make the story. Olivia is a young woman who is disappearing into the shadow of her dead mother. Jamie is a sad soul living in an abusive home. Maggie is a talented artist with a drug addicted mother. Max is alcoholic from an affluent family who is living with the guilt of drunk driving accident where Olivia was hurt. Each of her characters have their own heartbreaking story that are weaved together effortlessly in Drowning is Inevitable. When an unfortunate turn of events turns their world upside down the four teens come together to protect one another. On the run from the law they must rely on each other to get through their crazy ordeal. She did an excellent job of creating real characters with real emotion who were able to stand out among the chaos going on around them.

Drowning is Inevitable was a fast paced, easy read. It was a well written story with an excellent group of characters that was full of action, drama and suspense. It is an excellent story of about discovering one’s self and that crazy path to get there. This story of a fiercely loyal group of friends will leave you heartbroken and hopeful at the same time.

2015 Reading Challenge- A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Always Wanted To Visit

Recommended for Fans of: Realistic Fiction and Young Adult

Suggested to Read Next: 



Written By: Ellen Hopkins

Published By: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Read: August 20, 2015

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Goodreads Synopsis

Sometimes you don’t wake up. But if you happen to, you know things will never be the same.

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act — suicide.

Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.

Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.

And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.

In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun — and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other’s help, they can find their way to a better life — but only if they’re strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

I read several of Ellen Hopkins books in junior high/high school and I remember absolutely loving them. It has been almost ten years since I have read any of her books so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy them like I used to. I was not disappointed and was so happy to find that I still think her books are just amazing.

Ellen Hopkin’s books are dark, they are not the type of book you pick up if you are looking for a light read. She discusses hard topics like drug use, sexual abuse, mental illness and suicide. She does it in such a wonderful way using a unique writing style. Her writing is written like poetry but reads like prose. It is a different style from anything else that I have read. The writing style makes the book fly by. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down.

Vanessa, Tony and Conner all end up at Aspen Springs when they attempt to commit suicide. Each of their paths are very different but each led to a suicide attempt. As the point of view changes between each of the main characters we are able to learn about their pasts and take steps towards a happier future. This book was an honest and realistic account of depression and suicide. It was heartbreaking at times and full of hope at others. I highly recommend reading any of Ellen Hopkin’s books.

2015 Reading Challenge- A Book From An Author You Love That You Haven’t Read Yet

Recommended for Fans of: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult, and Poetry

Suggested to Read Next: Impulse

Say What You Will

Say What You WillSay What You Will

Written By: Cammie McGovern

Published By: Harper Teen

Read: August 6, 2015

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Goodreads Synopsis

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern’s insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can’t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other’s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

I picked up Say What You Will when I was feeling really sick and just wanted an easy read. I hadn’t heard a lot about the book, so I didn’t really have any expectations. I have seen it compared to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I honestly hate this comparison, the only thing that they have in common is that it has kids with medical issues. I thought this was very different from the Fault in Our Stars but it was still a good book.

Say What You Will primarily focuses on Amy and Matthew. Amy has Cerebral Palsy and is about to be a senior in high school. Her entire life she has had an aid that follows her around school each day. In an attempt to make new friends and prepare herself for college she decides that she wants to have peer aids. Her controlling mother takes over the project and after reviewing many applications and doing several interviews she picks five peer aids to assist Amy through the school year. Matthew is one of those aids. Matthew has O.C.D. that has been progressively getting worse over the past couple of years. He has not admitted to himself or others that he is sick or has a problem.

As the story progresses so does the relationship between Amy and Matthew. They both find it easier to deal with their own illnesses if they focus on helping the other. They become close friends and then they both begin to hope for more. It was definitely an unconventional love story. (And for many more reasons than their illnesses.)

Say What You Will was a very easy read. I flew through it and finished it in just a couple of hours. The character were so unique, totally different from the normal YA characters we always see. The author did a good job of portraying the supporting characters as well. The story was different from the average love story. There were times were I even felt uncomfortable, but I think that it added to the whole experience. This isn’t one of the great love stories of our time, and it isn’t going to go down in history as a great piece of literature but it is good. It was cute and fun and totally different from anything else that I am currently reading. It was a refreshing read and I do recommend it as long as you go into knowing not to expect greatness.

Recommended for Fans of: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance, and Young Adult

Suggested to Read Next: A Step Toward Falling

Among the Ten Thousand Things

among ten thousand thingsAmong the Ten Thousand Things 

Written By: Julia Pierpont

Published By: Random House

Read: May 30-June 4, 2015

Rating: ♥♥

You can buy this book here.

Goodreads Synopsis

Jack Shanley is a well-known New York artist, charming and vain, who doesn’t mean to plunge his family into crisis. His wife, Deb, gladly left behind a difficult career as a dancer to raise the two children she adores. In the ensuing years, she has mostly avoided coming face-to-face with the weaknesses of the man she married. But then an anonymously sent package arrives in the mail: a cardboard box containing sheaves of printed emails chronicling Jack’s secret life. The package is addressed to Deb, but it’s delivered into the wrong hands: her children’s.

With this vertiginous opening begins a debut that is by turns funny, wise, and indescribably moving. As the Shanleys spin apart into separate orbits, leaving New York in an attempt to regain their bearings, fifteen-year-old Simon feels the allure of adult freedoms for the first time, while eleven-year-old Kay wanders precariously into a grown-up world she can’t possibly understand. Writing with extraordinary precision, humor, and beauty, Julia Pierpont has crafted a timeless, hugely enjoyable novel about the bonds of family life—their brittleness, and their resilience.

Among the Ten Thousand Things is split into four parts. If I had written this review after I finished part one I would have rated it four, maybe four and a half stars. The first part of it was excellent. It begins with a box of printed chat conversations, between Jack and his mistress, delivered right into the hands of his teenage children. It pulled me into the story immediately. It was fun, fresh and vulgar in a way that added to the writing. I had such high hopes for this book.

The rest of the book was so disappointing. The writing was lacking substance. It was choppy and for lack of a better word, boring. I finished the book feeling as though nothing had really happened. I hated the ending. The last paragraph was just ridiculous. How many people read that last paragraph and thought it was a good way to end the book?

I love almost everything I read. This review has me feeling like a total jerk. I am not saying that you shouldn’t read it. For everybody who hates a book there is somebody that loves it just as much. This book just wasn’t for me. I gave it two stars because I really enjoyed the first part of the book but really I am being generous. I am marking this on my 2015 reading challenge as a book with bad reviews for two reasons;

  • I hated it and am writing a terrible review.
  • I checked out Goodreads and it is currently sitting at an average rating of 3.27. This may seem respectable but you have to assume that at least some of the ratings are coming from family and friends of the author which means that some of the higher ratings may be biased. When the book releases and more reviews are added I fully expect the average to continue to go down.

2015 Reading Challenge- A Book with Bad Reviews.

Suggested for Fans of: Realistic Fiction

Suggested to Read Next: Everybody Rise

Let It Be

Let It BeLet It Be

Written By: Chad Gayle

Published By: Bracket Books

Read: April 27-29, 2015

Rating: 3 stars

I received Let It Be from Goodreads First Reads.

Let It Be was the story of a mother and her two children who moved to a new town in order to escape an abusive situation. As the mother struggles to create a new life for herself and her children she is met with great resistance. Her ex-husband will do anything he can do stay in her life and her young son helps his father in an attempt to make his family whole again.

Let It Be was much more than I expected. It was both heartbreaking and hopeful. Chad Gayle was able to write about a situation that is, unfortunately, all too common. The characterization of a family in distress was spot on. He was able to capture the emotions you would expect from a mother trying to rebuild her life. The fear of failure and her ex-husband and the pain of disappointing her children.

As much as I enjoyed the story the writing was just mediocre. When I love a book I immediately look for what else the author has written and I just didn’t feel the need to do that in this case. It was a good story, just don’t expect to be wowed.

To Buy the Book Go Here:  Let It Be

Recommended for Fans of: Realistic Fiction

Suggested to Read Next:  Don’t Let Me Go