Publisher: HarperCollins

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{Review} Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

November 5, 2014 Review 2 ★★★★★

{Review} Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Published by HarperCollins on September 9, 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theatre troupe known as the Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame and the beauty of the world as we know it.

I recently picked this up for an assignment on Canadian literature. I’d read numerous positive reviews – from JamieHannahKaren, and Blair – so I was really looking forward to this book. While literary science fiction is not a favorite genre of mine, the dazzling reviews were enough to sway me. Station Eleven is about a lethal flu epidemic that plagues our world and the ensuing aftermath. The narrative focuses on several characters each related, in some way, to a famous Hollywood actor who dies onstage during a production of “King Lear” in the opening pages. In an interview with the New York Times, Mandel said, “I wanted to write a love letter to the modern world, and a way to write about all these things we take for granted was to write about their absence.” I was pleasantly surprised by this insightful look into our world, our culture, and our humanity.

Part of what made this book so rich for me was how well Mandel developed a response to what exactly happens when 99% of the world’s population dies from an influenza epidemic. It’s about resilience, of the body, of the mind, and of the heart. I loved the multiple narratives in this book because it demonstrates so well how many different reactions are possible. A recurrent theme is that survival is not enough, and while Mandel writes characters who embody this concept, there are others who aren’t as mentally resilient.

These characters, though – they’re insanely realistic. I LOVE THEM. I ached for them. Their stories felt so tragic but so beautifully expressed. However, I don’t think there’s any way to explain these characters or their plots without ruining it all. Part of the enchantment of this book is the suspense: you don’t know how everything links together, and it seems to take forever to figure it out, but you do eventually.

The narrative has a wonderful sense of self-consciousness. You always have a sense of where you are currently in the timeline of the novel (which is long). I love this passage, which really exemplifies what I’m trying to describe:

“standing on a stool on his wondrously functional pre-Libya legs, the bullet that would sever his spinal cord still twenty-five years away but already approaching: a woman giving birth to a child who will someday pull the trigger on a gun, a designer sketching the weapon or its precursor, a dictator making a decision that will spark in the fullness of time into the conflagration that Frank will go overseas to cover for Reuters, the pieces of a pattern drifting closer together.”

We jump around from the moment the epidemic was unfolding and 20+ years after it happened, as well as a few memories from way before the epidemic. It really conveys a sense of shock when you go from completely normal – like our current world – to complete devastation and craziness. Super, super scary. I love when Mandel described the world 20+ years out, though, because it was so interesting to compare people who’s attitudes and experiences are so similar to mine, to a generation who grows up without any of the “modern conveniences” we are accustomed to (i.e. electricity, plumbing, gasoline, Internet).

For me, this book ticked every box: while the pacing is slower, it’s elegant and unique, and the characters and plot are expressed beautifully. Mandel is a wonderful storyteller. Her writing demonstrates that she put a lot of thought into the story, and it is completely controlled. That is the mark of an extremely talented writer; she knows everything but isn’t overhanded by revealing it all at once. If you enjoy books with interesting characters and emotional narratives, this one’s for you.

Collected Quotations

“‘It’s like the corporate world’s full of ghosts. And actually, let me revise that, my parents are in academia so I’ve had front-row seats for that horror show, I know academia’s no different, so maybe a fairer way of putting this would be to say that adulthood’s full of ghosts. . . . I’m talking about these people who’ve ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed. Do you know what I mean? They’ve done what’s expected of them. They want to do something different but it’s impossible now, there’s a mortgage, kids, whatever, they’re trapped. Dan’s like that. . . . You probably encounter people like him all the time. High-functioning sleepwalkers, essentially.'”

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

“Something I’ve been thinking about, which will sound harsh and I’m sorry: you said you’d always be my friend but you’re not, actually, are you? I’ve only realized that recently. You don’t have any interest in my life. This is going to seem bitter but I don’t mean it that way, V., I’m just stating a fact here: you’ll only ever call me if I call you first. Have you noticed that? If I call and leave a message you’ll call me back, but you will never call me first. And I think that’s kind of a horrible thing, V., when you’re supposed to be someone’s friend. I always come to you. You always say you’re my friend but you’ll never come to me and I think I have to stop listening to your words, V., and take stock instead in your actions. My friend C. thinks my expectations of friendship are too high but I don’t think he’s right.”

“Survival is insufficient.”

5 Stars

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{Review} The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby

September 8, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★

{Review} The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan JubyThe Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby
Published by HarperCollins on March 8, 2011
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Woefield Farm is a sprawling thirty acres of scrub land, complete with dilapidated buildings and one half-sheared, lonely sheep named Bertie. It's "run" - in the loosest possible sense of the word - by Prudence Burns, an energetic, well-intentioned 20-something New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, but without an iota of related skills or experience. Prudence, who inherited the farm from her uncle, soon discovers that the bank is about to foreclose on the property, which means that she has to turn things around, fast. But fear not! She'll be assisted by Earl, a spry 70-something, banjo-playing foreman, with a distrust of newfangled ideas and a substantial family secret; Seth, the alcoholic, celebrity-blogging guy-next-door, who hasn't left the house since a scandal with his high-school drama teacher; and Sara Spratt, a highly organized eleven-year-old looking for a home for her prize-winning chickens, including one particularly randy fellow soon to be christened Alec Baldwin.
Some Brief Thoughts

Oh, man. THIS BOOK. I don’t even know how to begin to explain it. First things first, the best thing about this book is the characters. Their special brand of hilarity reminds me a little bit of The Big Bang Theory – like, hilarious, but they’re not trying to be funny. They aren’t “nerds” like the show, instead they are a crazy cast of misfits… there is Earl, an old guy with his eye on retirement, who is a farmhand with basically no farming skills. There’s Seth, who is an irritating, sloppy blogger who is incredibly self-centered and conceited – but as he is forced to work on the farm, his character development is truly amazing. I was rooting for him in the end, which is NOT something I thought I’d be saying when I first opened the book! There’s Sara, who is also annoying, but in a much more endearing way; she only wants the best for her prize-winning chickens and is determined to get it from the folks at Woefield. And finally, Prudence… so sweet, hard-working, and determined, she’s a city girl and a “retired” writer who wants to make it on a farm. She reminded me so much of myself – her ideals, not necessarily her personality – and it was hilarious to see her try to make it all work.

Which is, essentially, the whole kit and caboodle of this book. Prudence wants to make the farm into a utopian land that is sustainable and profitable, but all she has for help are Earl, Seth, and Sara… which leave something to be desired. Each of these characters is prone to hair-brained ideas, and the best part is seeing how they turn out. You just never know, and I can honestly say EVERY “solution” had me busting my gut and shaking my head in wonderment.

Part of that is the animals – Woefield is pretty pathetic, especially at first, and all they have for animals are Bertie the sheep and Sara’s chickens. But holy cow, do they ever get up to some crazy shenanigans with these animals. You would think it would be pretty easy to take care of one sheep, but Earl and Seth show that is not the case….

There’s also a hunky guy, which in my opinion never hurts. BUT my favourite thing about this hunky guy is that, while I was rooting for him and Prudence to get together, HIS role, from his perspective, was about saving the animals at Woefield. (He’s a vet… even better.) He’s concerned about Bertie the sheep, not Prudence – and I love that he’s not playing her white knight.

Other things I loved: the farm life (I love farms), the fact that it’s in Canada, the grumpy characters yet the way they’re totally endearing, and the constant laughing out loud. I can’t even begin to describe the humour. I’ve tried to include some of the funniest quotes I could pull below, but I don’t know if just a few lines will accurately convey the situation. It is one of the funniest books I can ever remember reading, and if you are in need of something light, fun, and wholly entertaining, this should definitely be next on your list!

A few notes: This book was published in the US under the title Home to Woefield. Also, both Earl and Seth like to swear a lot, so this book is definitely at least a PG-13.

Collected Quotations

“My heart kind of hurt when I looked at her. Not because I was in love, but because I could tell from looking at her that she didn’t hate herself. Not only didn’t she seem to hate herself, she barely seemed to think about herself. How fucking glorious must that be?”

“It’s been a pretty tough day,” he said. “No sense making it worse with a salad.”

“The old man kept going about how he could never keep her home, how she loved to roam. He said she should have been a sheep in the foothills of Scotland. Now if that wasn’t a load of shit I don’t know what is. I’ll tell you why that sheep roamed. The fences around here was held up with goddamn binder twine and half-assed prayers. That’s why.”

“I think Prudence is one of the busiest people who ever lived. Probably only God and Jesus and the devil are more busy than Prudence.”

4 Stars

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{Review} Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

August 5, 2014 Review 1 ★★★★★

{Review} Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Published by HarperCollins on September 9, 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web-design drone, and serendipity, sheer curiosity and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey have landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he has embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behaviour and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the secrets extend far beyond the walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the 21st century. Evoking both the fairy tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that's rare to the world of literary fiction, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter what the time of day.

Cover Talk

Any book with books on its cover is sure to draw me in, and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is no exception. Plus, it kind of reminds me of Mr. Ollivander’s shop in Diagon Alley from Harry Potter… which is an immediate win in my books.

Expectations

You may have noticed by now that I am a sucker for books about books. (Remember Ex Libris and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry?) So it should be no surprise that Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore had great appeal for me. It’s about a young man who starts working in a mysteriously secretive bookstore, owned by a Mr. Penumbra. Everything about Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – right down to its delightfully bookish cover – just screams “Katy.”

My Thoughts

Essentially, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore chronicles Clay’s discovery of a cult-like society that centres on books. It’s an incredibly exciting story that reads like an adventure novel; one of my favourite Booktubers, Ariel Bissett, called it “National Treasure for book lovers.” It’s happy and uplifting and fun.

One thing I absolutely loved was the randomness of the book. Part of it is Clay’s hunt to find the answers about Penumbra’s secret society: each step of the way he has to figure out or learn something new. But more than that, Sloan is always introducing such random concepts to the storyline, which makes it so fresh and fun. You’ll never know what to expect when you turn the page.

You know how sometimes people say that setting is just another character? Well, Robin Sloan definitely got the memo on that one. Of course, Penumbra’s bookstore is out of this world awesome:

“Inside: imagine the shape and volume of a normal bookstore turned up on its side. This place was absurdly narrow and dizzyingly tall, and the shelves went all the way up – three stories of books, maybe more. I craned my neck back (why do bookstores always make you do uncomfortable things with your neck?) and the shelves faded smoothly into the shadows in a way that suggested they might just go on forever. The shelves were packed close together, and it felt like I was standing at the border of a forest – not a friendly Californian forest either, but an old Transylvanian forest, a forest full of wolves and witches and dagger-wielding bandits all waiting just beyond moonlight’s reach. There were ladders that clung to the shelves and rolled side to side. Usually those seem charming, but here, stretching up into the gloom, they were ominous. They whispered rumours of accidents in the dark.”

Even though the bookstore sounds like the best place ever, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore isn’t all old-timey bookstores and leather-bound books. Google plays an important role in the plot and it also is a significant setting. The combination of Hogwarts-esque bookstore + super-modern computer headquarters makes for a really interesting backdrop.

The old vs. new setting isn’t the only way that Sloan makes a big contrast. There’s also older people and younger people, old technology and new technology, old ways of thinking and new ways of thinking. I love the way that Sloan intertwines different technologies and ways of life without making it seemed forced or unrealistic. There were many points that had potential for sci-fi or fantasy elements, but Sloan kept it genuine and modern, which I love. I think it’s more fun to imagine a place like Mr. Penumbra’s Bookstore in real life, when it actually seems realistic. It’s the perfect blending of old and new, which makes it the perfect book for someone like me, who loves history and speculative fiction pretty much equally.

I also have to mention how great Clay Jannon is. He is funny, geeky, earnest, resourceful, and smart in a relatable way – he’s not a genius or pretentious, he’s just a very bright, regular kind of way. He doesn’t know a lot about anything at the beginning of the book, but he is constantly teaching himself things and learning about new methods throughout the entire novel. It’s so much fun, because as the reader, you’re probably clueless too – so you get to accompany Clay on his journey to book cult wisdom. He is a fantastic narrator, and his personality really makes Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore come alive. (Mr. Penumbra is probably equally fascinating, but part of his charm is his mystery so I have to keep mum on that.)

For readers who like mystery, technology, history, adventure, or anything smart and witty, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a must-read. This one is a new all-time favourite that will definitely be read and reread many times in the years to come.

Collected Quotations

“San Francisco’s architectural style didn’t really make inroads anywhere else in the country, and even when you live here and you’re used to it, it lends the vistas a strangeness: all the tall narrow houses, the windows like eyes and teeth, the wedding-cake filigree.”

“He has the strangest expression on his face – the emotional equivalent of 404 PAGE NOT FOUND.”

“After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this: A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”

“The nature of immortality is a mystery . . . But everything I know of writing and reading tells me that this is true. I have felt it in these shelves and in others. Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines – it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.”

“When you read a book, the story definitely happens inside your head. When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes.”

“There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight. . . . Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in.”

Join the Convo!

Have you read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry? Is it on your TBR list? Have you enjoyed any other of Gabrielle Zevin’s novels? Do you tend to like books about books?

5 Stars

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{Review} Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

June 23, 2014 Review 2 ★★½

{Review} Guy In Real Life by Steve BrezenoffGuy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
Published by HarperCollins on May 27, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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An achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; and Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again. 

But they don’t.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other’s lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn’t belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren’t in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play—at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends—and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.

Disclosure:I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

COVER TALK

I really like the cover! It’s super fun and it lets you know what the story is about at first glance. My brother pointed out to me that Guy In Real Life is GIRL, so you know, points for a creative title, too!

EXPECTATIONS

I didn’t have too many prior expectations going into this one. I’d heard it offered an interesting discussion on gender roles and fandoms, etc. and aside from some positive, but not overhyped, reviews that is it.

MY THOUGHTS

Looking back, I think this book was an honest case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. As I touched upon in my expectations, I was mostly going into this because I was interested in the commentary it provided on gender and fandoms. I’m not super interested in World of Warcraft, or Dungeon & Dragon type games, but I am familiar with how they work, since I have a younger brother who plays both, and is very active in those communities.  While there is gender analysis and an examination of these types of fandoms in Guy in Real Life it wasn’t enough to fully sustain my attention throughout the entire (400 page!) book. I also had a problem with the homophobic language used, but I also understand that sexism and homophobia are prevalent in gamer communities and lingo. Did it add to the realism? Yes. But it still bothered me.

That said, Brezenoff does two things really well that I commend him on: he intertwines the fandoms and games into the narrative in such a way that it truly immerses you into these worlds; and, he creates complex, interesting characters.  I liked the stylistic choice of narrating both the online RPG and tabletop games, even if I did tend to skim these sections a bit. Compared to Fangirl, where I really disliked the Simon Snow sections and I felt they pulled me out and away from the story, here it worked to actually pull me in further, and connect with the characters on a different level.

Speaking of characters, I really liked Lesh and Svetlana. They read like actual teenagers, and were very relatable. Their characterization didn’t veer into stereotypes, as they were complex, multi-faceted characters with fascinating back stories. Even the minor characters were interesting (I especially liked Hen, Svetlana’s younger sister)! The characters, not the plot, is what kept me reading, as I wanted to see what became of the two protagonists. 

As for the plot, I only started to find it very interesting toward the end. There was a twist I wasn’t expecting, and it added much-needed tension. The book ends a bit unconventionally – not so much with an “end” to a climax, but at a point in the character’s journey. Those that like more definitive endings might be bothered by it.

Even though this book didn’t WOW me, I wouldn’t have a problem recommending it to those who are interested in the subject matter. In fact, I’m trying (rather unsuccessfully, but still, trying) to get my younger brother to read it. I’d really be interested to see what he thought of it as a gamer!

JOIN THE CONVO!

Have you read Guy In Real Life? Is it on your TBR list? What are your fandoms? Do you play online or offline RPGs? 

2.5 Stars

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{Review} Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

March 20, 2014 Review 3 ★★

{Review} Side Effects May Vary by Julie MurphySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Published by HarperCollins on March 18, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

Disclosure:I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

COVER TALK 

I love the cover: the black background and the bright colours of the title make for a great contrast. I really like the little doodles, and they are all relevant to the book, which is always appreciated!

EXPECTATIONS

I can’t remember if I discovered this via Epic Reads Tea Time or before that, but whatever the case, I was interested in reading it because it sounded different and kinda fun. I hadn’t read any reviews going in so I didn’t have that clouding my reading experience.

MY THOUGHTS

Side Effects May Vary is a different kind of cancer book — it isn’t about the main character’s struggle to live and/or the effect her death has on family, friends and community, but rather, it’s a story about remission, and finding out that you are actually going to live after you’ve prepared yourself for dying and completed your bucket list. It focuses on the question, “now what?”. How do you go back to your normal, everyday life when you’ve been living like there is no tomorrow, and leaving some wreckage behind in your wake? Do you mend those fences or move on and create a new life for yourself? And if the later is the case, how exactly do you do that? These questions and choices are what Alice has to consider after learning that she has unexpectedly kicked cancer’s butt.

At first, I was really digging this book. I appreciated that it was telling a different story, one we don’t often hear in YA, that of the cancer survivor. It’s not completely focused on Alice’s struggle with cancer, nor is it a story about Harvey, her ‘more-than-just-best-friends’ friend mourning her loss. It’s about the aftermath: the messiness, almost cruelness of having to decide what next after you were resigned to dying. Murphy’s writing also grabbed me, and I could see some of the comparison’s to John Green’s work (not just The Fault in Our Stars, but his style). It was snarky, engaging and self-reflective, all things that really make me love an author’s writing!

But… then things started to fall apart for me. When done well, I really like dual POVs and flipping back and forth in the time in the books I read. However, when you use both in the same contemporary book it is quite confusing! You have two perspectives per character: Alice ‘Now’ and Alice ‘Then’ as well as Harvey ‘Now’ and Harvey ‘Then’. It wasn’t too bad the first few chapters, but then I found it increasingly hard to keep it straight what time period I was reading in each chapter, despite it being written on the chapter page. I often had to look for identifiers: was Alice doing chemo, did she still have her hair, etc. to try and figure it out. This resulted in the narrative all sort of melding together in my head, and I started to care less about the story because it was becoming difficult to keep track of. The writing also wasn’t as tight and snappy anymore (which may change in the final copy, who knows?) and had lost it’s ability to pull me into this story. At that point (about maybe 30-40% in), I had no clue where the story was going (I thought it was going to focus more heavily on a defined bucket list for some reason, but no) and it was just leaving me a bit frustrated.

That said, I appreciated the characters, even if I didn’t love them. Alice is a character that I think many people will find unlikeable, and honestly, they have some good reasons to. She could be brutally honest (“If ever my parents gave me a religion, it was the gospel of honesty.” pg. 6 in the ARC), and she had a wicked revenge streak in her. She wasn’t this young, frail girl who was going to inspire those around her to have hope and live life to the fullest simply because she had cancer. I think Murphy did a great job showing the trouble that Alice had in adjusting to remission: she had already begun to distance herself from loved ones, and she had been given a free pass on her snarky attitude when she was sick. Now she had to deal with the consequences of treating people badly. Harvey lacked a bit of personality at times, often characterized mainly by his love for Alice, but as the book went on and he started to call her out on her words and actions he seemed to grow more as a character.  Speaking of characterization, I do have a problem with the book’s ending: it’s just way too fast and it rushes the character development greatly. For a story that seemed to be celebrating the messiness of life, things wrapped up way too neatly for me, unfortunately.

I think that this book will really resonate with some people, and others will have similar issues with it as I did. That said, I look forward to what Julie Murphy brings us in the future, because at times her writing is exactly what I crave for in YA (I bookmarked about 7 quotes while reading!).

LET’S TALK!

Have you read Side Effects May Vary? Is it on your TBR list? What kind of writing do you like? What’s on your bucket list? 

2 Stars

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