book review: you were here by cori mccarthy

youwerehere

goodreads summary:

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother’s exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn’t bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

my thoughts:

you were here was not only my favorite contemporary read of 2016, but it immediately became one of my favorite books ever, period.  it is hard for me to even put into words how much this book means to mean & why.  this was such an emotional and personal read for me, and even just looking at the cover now invokes so much emotion in me.

to put it mildly, this book changed me.  

immediately after reading this book, i reached out to the author & she told me that writing this book was a very cathartic experience for her, & that’s exactly what my reading experience with it was. i have known grief since i was a young girl, & sometimes i am still so consumed by it, to the point where i feel suffocated by it. that’s why books like this, that capture that all encompassing essence of grief so well, speak to me so very loudly.  these type of books bring me so much relief, & i feel like i can breathe again after reading them.

grief is such a strange & unique thing, & this book does an excellent job of showing its many facets, & how all of us an individuals deal with our traumas & losses.  there is no right or wrong way to grieve, just as there is no timeline for how long it is acceptable to grieve for.

this book has multiple characters, all of whom were deeply affected in one way or another by the loss of a daredevil teenager named jake. while it would seem that jaycee, his younger sister, is most traumatized by his death, we learn that the other characters within the story also have deeply rooted emotional scars in relation to his untimely death.  each of these characters had so much depth to them, and to see them all so broken over the loss of one boy really gives such a glimpse into just how much a single loss can change us all in so many different ways.

perhaps one of the best things about this book is the unique & original way in which some of the character’s povs were narrated.  it combines typical storytelling with graphic novel style and art (one of the characters, bishop, is constantly tagging, and his pov is shown through pictures of what he has tagged throughout the story). i have never seen a book written this way, and it was amazing. upon reading the story you will see why it was written this way, and why it makes so much sense. this unique form of storytelling alone is worth picking the book up for.

this is a coming of age story that will shatter you into pieces & stitch you back up little by little just when you’re least expecting it to.  honestly this book is so underrated, & i hope that more people will unearth this hidden gem & find solace in it just as i did.

“that’s what regret does well and grief does better: rips out your energy and leaves you feeling each and every heartbeat.”

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: sad girls by lang leav

***thank you to netgalley for providing me with an eARC for review

sad girls.jpg

goodreads summary:

“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.”

Sad Girls is the much anticipated debut novel from international best-selling author Lang Leav. A beautifully written and emotionally charged coming of age story, where young love, dark secrets, and tragedy collide.

School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad – the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?

my thoughts:

i have been a fan of lang leav’s work for YEARS, so when i heard that she was releasing her first full length novel, it immediately became one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. needless to say, i had been impatiently awaiting its release in may, but to my surprise & extreme delight, i randomly stumbled across an eARC of it on netgalley & i instantly downloaded it (thank you so much netgalley!!)

now, onto the actual review. first off, lang leav’s writing, as always, was absolutely breath taking. her way with words never fails to amaze me. there’s a reason i’ve been a fan of her work for so long. but aside from that, i am not really sure where to even begin. i don’t want to say too much, seeing as how this book still won’t be hitting shelves for another month. furthermore, i am still reeling from the ending, & am still trying to wrap my mind around everything that happened in this novel. this book is not called sad girls just for the hell of it. throughout this book, & certainly by the very end of it, you may not end up liking all of the characters, and you certainly may not agree with or even understand why they did some of things that they did. this was not an easy read. it was heavy. it was dark. it was hopeful. it was tragic. it was beautiful. it was ugly. it was profound. it was everything that life can be-it was REAL. it covered a variety of topics and hard hitting issues including mental illness, drug abuse, grief, and suicide. it also showed love in all of its forms, & how it can be both beautiful and tragic. and most importantly, this book showcased how one decision that we make can not only impact and change our lives forever, but also spread like wildfire and influence and change the course of the lives of those around us. it makes you stop and think about how different things in your life, as well as the lives of others, may have been had you not done that one thing.

one of the biggest things that drew me to this book in the first place (aside from the fact that it was written by lang leav, of course) was the fact that i knew from reading a summary of it that it includes a character that suffers from anxiety. i have suffered from anxiety & panic attacks for as long as i can remember, & anyone who has never experienced on going anxiety & panic attacks themselves will never truly understand how it feels. even as someone with anxiety, i find it hard to convey what its like to other people.  that being said, i was very much impressed with how accurately anxiety was portrayed in this book; it was written in such a raw, unflinchingly honest way, and i am so grateful to lang leav for not holding back and shedding light on what people who suffer from anxiety go through.

there is so much more that i could say about this book (& probably will say as i will more than likely add to this review at some point after the book is actually released) but for now i am just going to end this review with a list of trigger warnings. (if i think of any more i will certain edit this review to include them)

trigger warnings: drug abuse, self harm, suicide

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace

princess 2

goodreads synopsis:

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

my thoughts:

the princess saves herself in this one…& reminds us all that we can, too.

this poetry collection is as haunting as it is empowering, & i commend Amanda for having the courage to pour all of her heart & soul into her pen & letting it bleed onto the pages of this book for all of the world to see. it couldn’t have been easy for her to open herself up in such a raw way & entrust her story to us, but in doing so, she reminded all of the princesses of the world that no matter how hard life can be, and no matter how many dragons may stand in our path along the way, we are capable of slaying those dragons and finding the happy endings that we all deserve.

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️