Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publication Date: 3/22/11
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
At age 16, Rhine Ellery has four years to live. Thanks to a botched effort to create a perfect race, all females live to age 20 and males live to age 25. On the cusp of her 17th birthday, Rhine attempts to flee, but what she finds is a society spiraling out of control.Review:
Oh boy, do I have problems with this new crop of YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic lit! I am starting to think that the authors who attempt to explore this genre have no understanding of what it takes to write such books. Just making up some new horrible way people are treated in a future society and adding in some angsty love triangle isn't enough!
I don't want to sound too lectur-y, but these new, young writers probably do not realize that to create a dystopian/post-apocalyptic society that is believable, they need to: 1) understand how our current world works; 2) be able to identify cultural, political, economical trends that can possibly affect humanity in a major way in future; 3) realize that when they set their eyes on extrapolating a certain trend, they need to have their characters react to it in a logical (in terms of human psychology) way.
Let's take Wither
. About 70 year prior to the beginning of the story, humanity got itself into a huge bind. Playing with genetic engineering, scientists created a new, improved type of people, cured of decease, with longer lives, etc. Only the offsprings of these new people have some side effects - females now die at the age of 20 and males - of 25 (this number thing is weird, but ok, I am not going to linger on it). What happens now is that young girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriage to procreate. The main character of this novel, 16-year old Rhine, is now one of 4 wives and is scared for her future...
You know what my problem is, right here? The notion that barely out of teen years young men would be so preoccupied with procreation. Why would they care to make babies? They will be dead in a couple of years! Why would anyone in this world care to have children or place a value on them if they never see them grow, if they never were raised by their own parents?
Such a strong pro-procreation scheme requires a lot of conditioning IMO, some structure that makes young people accept the idea they need to waste their precious years on being pregnant and producing children. You need some older people to think-up and maintain the procreation cycle, because mostly older people care about this sort of thing. Throw a couple of dozen of teens on an island, tell them they only have four years to live and see how many will think about the next generation. There are some "first generation" people around in this novel, who can live their lives until old age, but I never found them very influential in this world DeStefano created. More often than not they are domestics, and not evil masterminds.
Then the whole structure of this world is just unbelievable. Why do these people want to give birth to children when there is nobody to take care of them and so many of them run wild? Why do they kill young girls if they are so valuable as wombs? Who actually makes these young people work if they know they are about to die? What motivates them to go to work? None of these questions were answered convincingly to me.
The entire dystopian/post-apocalyptic premise is faulty in my mind. My rant here only pertains to a fraction of issues I have with it. There are great reviews, like this one
that explore holes in the world building in terms of economics, politics, etc.
You might think I am too nit-picky, question everything, but I just read Paolo Bacigalupi
's short story "The People of Sand and Slag" in which people eat sand, regrow their limbs and embellish their bones with blades and I totally bought it! When written right, any, even the most outrageous premise, can make you believe in it.
I am sure there will be some people taken by Wither
. They will like being shocked/disgusted/titillated by the scenes of polygamy, the main character's constant fear of being raped and impregnated, 13-year old girl having sex with her much older husband (and liking it), mentions of Kama Sutra, etc. I personally found some aspects of this novel distasteful.
Instead of Wither
I would recommend The Handmaid's Tale
and The Children of Men
which deal with similar themes, but in a more responsible and sophisticated way.2/5 stars
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publication Date: 11/22/11
Blurb (GR): When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why I failed to connect with this book. Is it because I’m the oldest sibling and I don’t know what it’s like to be the rebellious younger sister? Is it because I’m just too damn old? Is it because, even when I was young, I thought that mosh pits were stupid? Maybe it’s because the thought of Jake singing softly in my ear in a van makes me want to elbow him in the solar plexus…and unlike Harper, I DO know where that is. I think that this is one of those YA books that is very authentically young. I mean, kids need fluff reads too. But it just doesn’t have enough depth for me.
Harper is sixteen years old and she’s just lost her older, perfect, over-achieving sister June. Except that June may not have been so perfect after all: she had a hidden sadness that no one really understood. When Harper finds a mysterious mix CD in June’s room, it leads her to Jake, and eighteen year old “douche-baggy hipster music snob with the tastes of a forty-year-old white guy.”(That’s a quote from Laney, my favorite character.) As Harper begins to understand her sister, she hatches a wild plan to fulfill June’s last dream.
I never had a clear picture of Harper: she’s a girl who rebels in a knee-jerk reaction to her sister’s perfection. She doesn’t have any deeply held beliefs or even her own taste in music. She’s like a sponge with no identity of her own. All of this, to me, speaks to a deep insecurity and low self-worth on her part. Which would be completely fine, honestly. I wish that she had chosen to explore that side of Harper a bit more. And yet, we are constantly informed by the author that Harper is so strong, so stubborn, so much healthier than her sister. I guess I just wasn’t buying it.
Nothing feels true. Harper runs on the beach, then collapses in tears. She runs across a grassy area then collapses in tears. She runs to a boulder in the desert and collapses in tears. If she didn’t run and then collapse in tears, how would we know that she’s SAD? And if she didn’t drink and smoke and mosh and punch guys in the face, how would we know that she’s FULL OF ANGST?! I kept waiting to feel some real, honest emotion but it never happened. I recently read one of the most profound, honest portrayals of grief and it was written from the point of view of a thirteen year old. Just because your audience is young, doesn’t mean that the story needs to be oversimplified.
So many opportunities for emotional catharsis are squandered. We never get to see what happens with Harper’s aunt, or her father, or her mother. Laney’s crisis? Magically solved. And after waiting for Harper to finally open up to someone about June, we are given a one sentence allusion to a conversation that she has with Jake. I needed to see that conversation, not hear about it after the fact. You can’t have a first person narrator and cheat the reader like that. What could have been an emotional scene is wasted.
And so many of the references just made me feel OLD. There’s this whole air of mystery and affectedness surrounding Jake and his musical taste, like, “What? The Rolling Stones? Bruce Springsteen? Janis Joplin? HOW DOES HE COME UP WITH THESE BANDS?!!”It’s called Top 40. Just because it’s the popular music of another decade, doesn’t make it mysterious. There’s also a scene where kids jump rope to the chant “Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in nineteen hundred and forty-two” Is that an error or a cutting commentary about the state of our educational system? Or possibly it’s both….
Still, I didn't hate this book. I laughed in a few places and while I may have skimmed through the end, I didn't have too much trouble getting through it.
Perfect Musical Pairing
ABBA – I Have a Dream
No one should ever be ashamed to love ABBA! This is one of my favorites of theirs. Now excuse me while I go watch Muriel’s Wedding for the bagillionth time.
Author: Kirsty Eagar
Publication Date: 6/29/09
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.
And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?Review:
I remember this one surfer guy from 10 years ago. I was working a summer in a beach hotel in San Diego, and so was he. It was always very curious to me, how little ambition he had. He was smart and had opportunities to be promoted, to make more money, be a boss, but he always refused. When asked why, he used to say he didn't care to work more or have more responsibilities. All he wanted was to have his mornings open to surf and just enough money to pay for his beachfront apartment he shared with a roommate.
The idea seemed wild to me then and maybe now too, a little. But after reading Raw Blue
I think I have a little bit better idea what it is about surfing that attracts people. The way Eagar writes about it, it is an experience, exhilarating and exciting, unlike anything in my calm daily routine (which I love, BTW). I now truly believe that this is something that can transform a person's life, make it better. And Carly, the narrator of the novel, badly needs for something good to pull her out of the abyss of her troubled past.
It is not very often that I come across an author who can capture someone's state of mind so painfully right. Carly's fears, shame, rage, the horror of her memories that come back in waves and sometimes drown her are so, so palpable! My heart broke for her, I suffocated in her pain, I rejoiced with her.
Although Carly's story is often very dark, it is, in the end, about light. Many of us have past experiences that plague us and sometimes they are so disturbing that we think we can never get away from them. But there is a lot of good things in our lives too. We just need to allow ourselves to let these good things define us, not the bad ones. 5/5 stars
What Can't WaitAuthor: Ashley Hope PérezPublication Date: 3/28/11Publisher: Carolrhoda LabBlurb (GR):"Another day finished, gracias a Dios."
Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.
At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over. What Can't Wait
—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.Review:
When I saw that this book was not only about the Mexican-American experience but that it also included a teenage girl who excelled in math, I couldn’t wait to read it. (the Mexican experience aspect because I find it fascinating and the math thing to stick it to my 5th grade science teacher who told my mom that it was no big deal that I sucked at circuitry because I was a girl and would obviously never need to know anything about it) The only other YA books that I’ve read involving Mexican teenagers are Simone Elkeles
’s Fuentes brothers books, and those are firmly anchored by their romantic plotlines. While I enjoyed those books, I’m happy to say that What Can’t Wait
is not carried by Marisa’s romantic life. Instead, we follow Marisa Moreno through her senior year of high school. No one in her family has ever gone to college but Marisa and several people who surround her believe that she has what it takes to achieve something more. Her attempts are thwarted left and right but she doesn't give in. I have to say, I always find it refreshing when a teenage protagonist is a hard worker and grounded in reality. So many YA books are based around trivialities but this one deals with several more serious issues. Yes, I remember how ridiculous many of my teenage concerns were and recognize that these books of which I speak are probably very true to actual teenage concerns and life. I guess I just like things a little more gritty. The tone of this novel is realistic, a little on the dark side, but decidedly optimistic. And the pacing is quick yet steady; I never felt like the story was rushed or that there was lag.
This book gives of a Dairy Queen
series vibe, and we all know what a good thing that is. The family situation is quite similar as well—a teenage girl who has to work hard for her family to the detriment of her schoolwork, her friendships, her love life, and her future, a dad who just doesn’t get it, a mother who seems like a pushover in many cases, and siblings who often compound family stress. There isn't much in the way of descriptive writing going on but I truly didn't mind--Ashley Hope Pérez
wrote a book that feels
like we are reading Marisa's journal of her entire year. (perhaps that is another reason I kept thinking of DJ Schwenk?)
I checked out the publisher of this novel because I had never encountered them before and I thought perhaps Carolrhoda was a word in a different language—as it turns out, the origin of the imprint name is quite a touching story. The head of Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Press’ parent company, named the imprint after his wife’s lifelong best friend who died too young of breast cancer. She was in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia and worked to bring more books to children worldwide. Carolrhoda Lab
, an offshoot of Carolrhoda Press, is a smaller imprint dedicated to publishing , “distinctive, provocative, boundary-pushing fiction for teens and their sympathizers.” (I chuckled at the teen sympathizers line—I suppose I don’t mind being labeled as such) After reading this work, I am certainly going to see what else this imprint has to offer.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley
for allowing me to read this one!4/5 stars
Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication Date: 4/25/11
Publisher: Dutton JuvenileBlurb (GR):
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay
, Where She Went
explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.Review:
My heart gushed rivers of love when I reviewed If I Stay
. I listened to the audiobook and just adored it because it felt like Gayle Forman
tapped into my heartbeat and the rhythm beat right through to the end. I put off reading Where She Went
because I wasn’t ready for another heartache. As it turns out, this is a rare instance where the sequel (or companion) has an entirely different tone than its predecessor. Rightly so, as Where She Went
is told from Adam Wilde’s point of view, whereas If I Stay
was primarily about Mia, his ex-girlfriend. In regards to spoilers, it is near impossible to have anything to say about this book without spoilering things about the first, but I think WSW can stand on its own even if you do
know the setup. That said, I’m not going to use spoiler html on anything related to If I Stay
. Since Mia decided to come out of her comatose state, she’s been studying at Juilliard. Adam’s band, Shooting Star, shot to the top of the charts and he is recognized everywhere he goes. The band’s two albums are filled with songs Adam wrote, and it should come as no surprise who served as the inspiration for all the lyrics. While he is dating a famous actress and has achieved so much musical success, Adam is disillusioned with life and the way Mia left things when she cut him off cold. Before he embarks on a world tour, he goes to one of Mia’s cello performances and gets the chance to speak with her afterward. Cue the life and relationship analysis…
Several reviewers have mentioned that this book wasn’t as enjoyable as it could’ve been because Adam seems overly angst-ridden for nearly the entire thing. Sure, I can see that. The whole thing just felt over-the-top, I agree, but I just loved the two of them together so I wanted
to think their relationship could define Adam’s whole being, his anger, his disillusionment. I wanted
to believe that he was missing his perfect complement. It was so interesting to me because the first book felt like an exercise in grief at the time I listened to it. I see now that, just like in life, the time right after a death is surreal. It doesn’t hit home for everyone at the same time. That
book is about losing someone. (or many someones) This book is about the actual recognition of loss and the crisis that follows, whether it be from the end of a life or the end of a meaningful relationship. As someone who has seen what a terrible breakup can do to a person, it didn’t feel like Adam’s actions were beyond the realm of possibility. True, he was sometimes a prick. True, it didn’t seem like he tried to move on. I was just rooting for him to get his own life back together. Where She Went
reads like a novella. I watched as the percentage completed on my Kindle just flew by. For me, there were a few negative points—the lyrics at the beginning of each chapter (not because they were awful, only because it is cliché) and Mia, for starters. She came off as self-involved and I didn’t enjoy how aloof she seemed. I felt like I was holding my breath through a tunnel until the two of them actually start talking about something real
. After that point, it was a much more comfortable read, despite the plot remaining heavy.
I was both happy and disappointed at the conclusion of Where She Went.
I have to spoiler it and, for that, I apologize. **SPOILERS**I don’t think I’m encouraged by Adam and Mia getting back together right away. Mia has had 3 years to build up a life for herself. She said herself that Juilliard was more than she ever thought it could be. She thought of Adam but he didn’t define her. Adam, on the other hand, spent the last three years missing her, writing songs about her, and taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills to compensate for the void. He never had that time after the breakup to actually figure out who he is. They get back together—great, except I am still unsure how much he understands about himself. He seemed so willing to just give everything up for her…and I kind of believe he would do just that if she asked him. That’s depressing.**END SPOILERS**
Many people loved Adam in If I Stay
and if you were one of them, I’m fairly confident you’ll enjoy this one as well. Forman does a good job of creating a realistic male voice and painting raw emotions on the page. And to the rest of you, if you can handle the angst and the foreverlove foreverandalways, give it a try. Hey, at least there’s not a love triangle.
I loved this video. The author gives a tour of many of the sites from Mia and Adam's whirlwind NYC adventure.
Psych Major Syndrome
Author: Alicia Thompson
Publication Date: 8/11/09
Blurb (GR): Using the skills you've learned so far in Introduction to Psychology, please write a brief self-assessment describing how things are going in your freshman year.
The Patient, Leigh Nolan (that would be me), has just started her first year at Stiles College. She has decided to major in psychology (even though her parents would rather she study Tarot cards, not Rorschach blots).
Patient has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to solving her own...not so much.
Patient has a tendency to overanalyze things, particularly when the opposite sex is involved. Like why doesn't Andrew, her boyfriend of over a year, ever invite her to spend the night? Or why can't she commit to taking the next step in their relationship? And why does his roommate Nathan dislike her so much? More importantly, why did Nathan have a starring role in a much-more-than-friendly dream?
Aggravating factors include hyper-competitive fellow psych majors, a professor who’s badly in need of her own psychoanalysis, and mentoring a middle-school-aged girl who thinks Patient is, in a word, naive.
Psych Major Syndrome
In the movie So I Married An Axe Murderer
, which is mega-quotable, Mike Myers’ dad (also played by Mike Myers, but with a Scottish accent) says that he believes there is a pentaverate of rich people that run everything in the world. My favorite member of the pentaverate is Colonel Sanders. (“because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly, smartass!”) Anyway, I’ve started my own collection of people—the hilarious YA authors. Remember that old show called “Celebrity Poker” where we’d just watch a bunch of random celebrities play poker and shoot the shit for an hour? (or at least I did that?) Well, I’d love to watch the hilarious YA authors do their thing in an enclosed space. Who’d be funnier? I really don’t know.
Let’s meet the lineup:
Well, since you are reading my Psych Major Syndrome
review, I bet you know the first player: Alicia Thompson
. Next up is Lish McBride
, who rocked my funny bone in Hold Me Closer Necromancer
. In corner number three, Leila Sales
, who cracked me up twice, first in Past Perfect
(which is actually her sophomore effort coming out in a few months) and then in Mostly Good Girls
. The fourth corner is saved for Megan McCafferty
and the first few Jessica Darling books. (don’t fault her too much for the later ones!) I haven’t read her books in a few years but I think 18-year-old Flann might come after me with a cleaver if I don’t include her since she was my original funny YA love. Oh, you thought we were in a four-cornered room? Well, the joke's on you because I’m also including Louise Rennison
in our pentagonal room. Her Georgia Nicolson series, though I’ve only read a few of them, is pretty hilarious. Some might try to argue that John Green
belongs in here. Shush your mouth because while he is
funny, his books aren’t consistently hilarious—it’s just every once in a while. A special mention must be put in here, though, for the Aussies. Their sense of humor always gets me. I particularly enjoy Lili Wilkinson
’s jokes as well as the queen’s (The double-M, as if you didn’t know) and Laura Buzo
's. If I hadn’t decided before I wrote this paragraph that there would be 5 people, Wilkinson would be a shoo-in. I guess she’ll just have to guest star all the time. I’m only going to talk about Ms. Thompson from here on out but I’m really curious to know who you all think is the funniest YA author out there. Any of these ones? Someone totally different?
In Psych Major Syndrome
, Leigh Nolan is attending a small college in California where they do a lot of hippie things like let you decide how you’ll be graded and invent your own everything. (I’m still bitter about taking Development of Western Civilization every day for two years) She quasi-followed her high school boyfriend, Andrew, there and the relationship is less than ideal. This book follows Leigh for a few months during her freshman year as she tries to adapt to all the personalities that surround her—the uptight studyhard in the psych department, her flighty and fun art major roommate, the sassy junior high girls she is mentoring, her boyfriend, who only seems to care about schoolwork and not her, and last but certainly not least, his roommate who has taken a particular interest in Leigh. (that sentence has too many commas but you’ll get over it) While I wanted to slap Leigh upside the head for staying with Andrew for even one minute after getting to school, I (sadly) know people in relationships just like Leigh and Andrew’s. Gross. The whole plot of this book is rather well-worn territory and just by introducing the cast in one sentence, I bet you can see where it goes... What makes this book so enjoyable is the narrator.
Everything I thought, Leigh thought. Everything I wanted a character to say (with limited exceptions), they said. Leigh is snarky, realistic, and hilarious. She’s definitely flawed but I found her immensely likeable. And Nathan? Swoonfest 2K11. Even though I kind of feel like a pedophile when YA guys are all over the place with no shirts on, at least this one was set at college so it wasn’t the worst of the worst. (He’ll definitely be joining the back of our Cougar Shirt
—forgot about that thread, didn’t you? It WILL be happening, I just don’t know when) It felt like this book was written just for me. I love when psych majors overanalyze everything. I love Tom Waits and TMBG! I love when teenagers drive old cars in a non-hipster way, and I especially love pop culture references. (Hollaback Girl;-)) Oh, and I love reading about people being mortified in public speaking situations.
4.5 stars for the entertainment value and the laughs (and Nathan). Don't go thinking that I'm gushing all over this book and want YOU/EVERYONE to read it. I don't. It's YA contemporary romance with snark. If that's your bag, then I rec it to you. 4/5 stars
Author: Julie Gittus
Publication Date: 8/7/08 (no US date yet)
Publisher: Lothian BooksBlurb (GR):
In the beginning it seems so simple. A poem in the mail. A weekend invitation to the coast. But when Sun says yes to a midnight walk, her life becomes suddenly complicated. Saltwater Moons tells the story of Sun Langley during her final months of Year Twelve. There's the intensity of her first relationship, complicated by the fact she continues to exchange poems with her boyfriend's best mate. It's a story about love and betrayal, about constantly longing for the things we can't have.Review:
Look out, it’s another Aussie YA book. And another Aussie author who has strong writing skills and uses evocative language. This one ended up being around a 3.5 for me but it still puts a lot of American YA to shame. Of course, and we’ve had this discussion many a time, it is probably because there is so much more American YA so we have to wade through the muck to find the gems. Er, or whatever else you could find in the muck. Clearly, I am no Aussie YA author as I just gave you the mental image of swimming in mud to look for gemstones and that is ridiculous…but it kind of makes me want to go to the spa. But while we’re off on a tangent, let me just tell you about the mental image I am having right now: Aussie YA characters vs. American YA characters in a dance-off West Side Story-style. Sharks v. Jets. (When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet for life) Du-da-nuh-na-na
. I bet Jonah Griggs, Rhino, Thomas Mackee, and Tycho could really bring it in a dramatic gang fight. And don’t even try to tell me they’d be going up against Edward Cullen. I’d schedule it for noon in full sunlight, just to be sure.
Aaaand, I’m back on topic. Sunday lives outside the suburbs with her parents, brother, and her horse, Gio. While she doesn’t have too much experience, her best friend Nicky has been fooling around with guys for a few years. Sun meets Nicky’s boyfriend, Mark, and his friend Tycho when they all hang out together. Tycho is one of those contemplative, endearing surfer dudes that seem to exist in abundance in Australia or at least in Australian YA. (whatever, I am not sick of them yet) Even after Mark breaks up with Nicky, Tycho and Sun still talk once in a while, but events take a turn after Tycho invites Sun down to his place for the weekend. It should come as no surprise that alcohol serves as the impetus for the event that sets up the rest of the plot. I just wish all the characters would say the things they mean to say or inquire to see if what they are believing is, in fact, true. I suppose it is realistic, though. Can you really fault me for wanting two characters that work so well together to just be together?
Which brings me to Tycho and Sunday. I love poetry but let’s be honest, a lot of it is pretentious. I thought it was lovely the way Tycho and Sunday sent each other poems in the mail, and I enjoyed most of them. BUT, I couldn’t help but wonder what the inspiration for this book was and whether the author just loves all these poets and wanted to include them in her book. And I’m not trying to be a jerk, I LIKED THEM! Poems can be truly amazing—in some instances, they can replace the feeling of an entire speech with just a few lines. They can evoke emotion and describe experiences so well that I think I’m there. BUT, I think it is cheesy when people read poetry to each other. Just tell the person how you feel. To their face. In your own words. Make up your own metaphors. Sure, someone has said what you want to say before (or seemingly so), but it means more if you actually put it into words yourself instead of copying the emotions of someone else. Unless you are far apart (cue Richard Marx), then write away and poem yourself to death. But if you are living near each other, just use poems every once in a while, when they actually mean something. /personal gripe Just kidding, my gripe isn’t over yet. Say there is a really awesome guy. He has all sorts of quirky habits that are adorable. He sends you frakking poems in the mail and brings your mom seedlings for your garden. He drives you home when his lame friend can’t pick you up. You know who does these types of things? GUYS THAT LIKE YOU. I mean, it was about as subtle as a brick to the head.
So, in short, this book is for you if you love poetry, you like artistic surfer dudes, you enjoy reading about family discord, you are piling up your Aussie YA books, or you just want a solid read. I definitely enjoyed it and I will read whatever else Julie Gittus writes. 3/5 stars