Sob-fest: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

32621710Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
First published in March 2017
Tags: Young AdultContemporary

Source: E-arc (NetGalley)
Rating: three half_zps8cnkrlqd

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?


Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review. 

It’s been a hot minute since I finished this book now, but I wanted to get the review up and oh lord, where to start. First off, this is just a downright tragic book. Don’t read this if you don’t want it raining on your face because I swear, you could cry through this entire book non-stop if you wanted. 

I like sad things though, so I enjoyed this reading experience. I felt for Carver and I could truly feel and understand his guilt, even though he wasn’t at fault. And that’s where one of my main issues with this book lie. The premise of this story is that Carver’s three best friends die in a car accident because the driver, Mars, was replying to a text that Carver sent. This somehow spins into an entire case where Carver is being investigated for murdering these teens because he texted Mars even though he knew he was driving at the time. HOW IS CARVER AT FAULT WHEN MARS IS THE ONE WHO WAS TEXTING AND DRIVING. I refuse to believe this would happen in real life, but who knows, I don’t know. 

Apart from me not being able to suspend my disbelief about that, I enjoyed the book. I liked getting to know these boys, who are now dead, through the “goodbye days”. My favorite goodbye days were definitely Blake’s (sob) and eventually Mars’ (sob again). At the time of finishing writing this review, Blake’s is the one I remember most vividly. 

You get to know all of these people, and it hurts that they’re dead. I found the writing truly beautiful, the panic attacks super well done, and I’m looking forward to read Zentner’s The Serpent King, which is apparently set in the same universe as Goodbye Days. I heard a TSK character has a cameo in Goodbye Days, but since I haven’t read it I don’t know who it was. If you’ve read The Serpent King you might enjoy that. 

All in all, a good read, even if I couldn’t bring myself to believe in the main premise. Let me know if this actually has happened in real life though and I’ll eat my words. There are some weird justice systems out there. 

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Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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Beautiful and important: George by Alex Gino [REVIEW]

25615902Title: George
Author: Alex Gino
First published in August 2015
Tags: Middle GradeContemporary, LGBTQIA (T)

Source: Storytel (audiobook app)
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her (4th grade) teacher announces their class play is going to be “Charlotte’s Web.” George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part …because she’s a boy.


With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.”


“Mom, what if I’m a girl?”

A mini-review for a mini-book. It’s short and sweet and definitely worth picking up because oh my god, this book is so lovely. I adored it to pieces. I listened to it on audio, and it was such a pleasant experience. 

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Another effed up tale: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas [REVIEW]

22907937Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
First published in August 2014
Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller 

Source: Purchased
Rating:  photo three half_zps8cnkrlqd.png

It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder…? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces…


 

Okay, so last year I read Abigail Haas’ Dangerous Girls. It was one of my favorite reads of the year and I knew I had to get my hand on this one again. I have a thing for stories about messed up teens that mess with your head. The two books are not connected whatsoever despite their similar titles, the only common ground is the fact that they’re both thriller novels about teens where someone’s dead but we don’t know why or how. 

We have the narrator Chloe, who’s just graduated and dreams of getting out of the town and go to college like all her friends. However, her mother suffers from severe depression (which was written very well, I thought) and Chloe realizes she has no choice but to stay home and take care of her. Enter Ethan, a sweet and handsome boy she quickly becomes attracted to. They start dating. And then, enter Ethan’s older brother, Oliver. He’s  what you could call a typical “bad boy,” who seduces and gets under your skin even though he’s a giant jackass. Pretty sure Oliver is a sociopath. 

What we know from the beginning is that Chloe’s pulling one brother out of a burning lake house, while the other one is left to die inside. Now, why were they at the house? Which brother’s dead? Was it an accident or was it murder? 

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Just as beautiful as the last: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater [REVIEW]

17370618The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
Series: The Raven Cycle#2
First published in September 2013
Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N

Source: Purchased
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

This series, guys. This series. This is the type of thing I wish I could write. 

I don’t know what to say about this to be honest, because a lot of it will just be echoing my review of The Raven Boys, because the plot is still just as fantastic, the writing is just as stunning, and the characters are just as lovable. I don’t have any superlatives left. 

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Atmospheric and haunting: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson [REVIEW]

we-have-alwaysWe Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
First published in 1962
Tags: Adult, Classics, Gothic, Horror

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: Purchased

Rating:  photo four stars_zps2ktftgcp.png

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

First off I just have to say how much I love this particular edition of the book. The cover is beautiful and creepy, and the edges of the pages are frayed so they look old and worn. Gorgeous. My original plan with this had been to get it on my kindle, but I was powerless to resist it when I saw it in a bookstore. RIP wallet. 

Second, this is such an atmospheric book. It’s beautiful and gothic, but don’t be mistaken, this book (probably) won’t scare you, it’s not that kind of horror book. The horror is subtle and psychological, you won’t find anything supernatural here. If you go into it expecting that then you might be disappointed. It left me with a haunting feeling. 

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I’m not crying, you’re crying: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt [ARC Review]

orbiting jupiter reviewOrbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Published on December 31 2015
Tags: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Young Adult

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: ARC  (NetGalley)

Rating:  photo four half_zpszfonypqk.png

A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

I received a free ARC ebook copy from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so happy to find this NetGalley even though it was published over a year ago, as it’s been on my TBR for quite some time now. I had wanted to read this book because I kept seeing reviews that talked about how it made them ugly cry and it intrigued me. 

I WAS STILL NOT PREPARED.

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There’s no other book like it: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater [Review]

15743650The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
First published in September 2012 by Scholastic Press
Tags: Young AdultFantasy

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: Purchased

Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.


Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.


His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.


But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.


For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the
Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

I’ve gushed about this book a lot on this blog already, but it deserves a proper review as well so I’ll try to do this coherently. 

I’ve always been skeptical to this series, despite knowing how many people love it. First off, the covers look cheesy and the synopsis on the back of the book is even cheesier. The tagline needs to go. Combined, it all makes the book sound like your regular, dramatic YA romance. “Female character can’t kiss her true love or he will die.” Yawn. Well, THAT’S NOT EVEN WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT. Even the synopsis from Goodreads focuses mostly on that, and it doesn’t do the book justice at all. At most, the true love’s death kiss is more on an overarching mystery that always looms in the background. Who is Blue’s true love? Is it actually Gansey? We’ve already seen he will (probably??) die, as Blue saw him as a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, but how will he die? Why? 

Before reading the book I thought Blue was like Juliette in Shatter Me, that there was something physical about her that made her kiss lethal, but it’s not like that. Thank god. It’s not a power/curse she has. I think this is important to point out, because it’s way less cheesy this way. 

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