I've read a few books recently but upon finishing them I've found that I haven't really known what to make of them or how to articulate my jumbled thoughts. It's not that I didn't like them (I read each in a single sitting), but I was left not really having any residual feelings that I could put into a full review. So instead, I've written up a few comments about each.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Release Date: 6 January 2015
My Rating: 4/5
What can I say about Violet and Finch? Their story was lovely but oh-so heartbreaking.
I like that mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, is written with such honesty because I get so frustrated when mental illness is not seen as legitimate – just because they doesn’t manifest physically does not mean they are not real or any less deadly than those that you can see. But my god, All the Bright Places reached into my chest, squeezed my heart and wrenched it out.
I loved Violet's creativity and her online magazine ideas (which can now actually be found online) and I loved that Finch's character wasn’t a cliché. His zest for life was so catchy and joyful but seriously heartbreaking when you think of how low he must go to be the total opposite of it with his bipolar.
WARNING: You will need tissues. Lots of them.
"The problem with people is they forget that most of the time, it's the small things that count"
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Release Date: 16th September 2015
My Rating: -
I don’t really know what to say about Dumplin’. Maybe it’s a little too close for comfort with my own insecurities but really, for me, it just didn’t hit the mark.
I agree that Willowdean's appearance is no one’s business but her own and that no one has a right to judge her on her looks. However, for all her outspoken rants and not caring what anyone else thinks, she herself isn’t actually happy or comfortable in her own skin. So the way I viewed the story was that all the focus on being body-positive throughout the book was totally undone at the end.
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Release Date: 4th August 2015
My Rating: 4/5
Never Always Sometimes was a light, fun read which I’m sure many people will be able to relate to – I’m pretty sure everyone has fallen for a friend at one point or another!
It’s a lesson in life, love and friendship, and learning some things are meant to be and others are not. There are different kinds of love in this world, none more or less valid than the other.
I really enjoyed reading what Dave and Julia got up to each time they crossed something off their list and seeing how they evolved as they stepped outside their comfort zones. In particular I loved Julia’s erotic math’s poem and the absolutely amazing tree house.
Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
Release Date: 26th May 2015
My Rating: 4/5
Nowhere But Here is a quick, easy read. It didn’t bowl me over like Pushing the Limits but I still really enjoyed it. It fulfilled all my guilty pleasure expectations and there is nothing wrong with liking those!
I was satisfied to know I was correct at guessing the twist/secret quite early on and even though it wasn’t revealed until the end, it didn’t ruin my reading experience as I was occupied with everything else going on with Oz and Emily. I liked the importance placed on family and loyalty in all it’s forms, and that Emily learnt to understand what it meant to her extended family as she got to know them.
I loved the relationship between Oz and Emily. Both characters were on an even playing field, each bringing something different to the dynamic between them. And they had some seriously steamy make-out scenes between them - Katie McGarry sure knows how to write those! Everyone loves a bad-boy with a motorbike, especially one who recognises he’s fallen for a girl and proves that just because he looks rough and dangerous, doesn’t mean that’s all there is to him.