Review: It Happens All The Time

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Book Info:

From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

My Thoughts:

First off, this is always a timely and important issue.

It Happens All the Time is an interesting look at the issue of date rape, to put it blankly with spoilers.

The book provides an interesting look at both sides of the situation and how both main characters react. It attempts to clear the issues of consent that so often clutter the new with different stories. Does it matter if the other person originally appeared to be consenting? What about the relationship at hand? Tons of these are cleared in the fact that- “No” is still “No.”

I did have a few problems with the main character because there was too much focus on her problems dealing with anorexia. While that is also an important issue, it at time felt like it was too much. I also have a problem with something in the ending that she did as a reaction, but that would be a spoiler. The thing I don’t like just felt over the top and like she could have got her point across another way.

Either way, this was an interesting book, especially the way that it showed both sides of the story. It released Tuesday, so it is available now.

-M

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Love for The Hate U Give

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Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

My Thoughts:

    I don’t even know where to begin with THUG.

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I read THUG late last year, I believe in early November. I was already excited for it after hearing author, Angie Thomas, read from is at Mississippi Book Festival in August. I was sold and knew this was a book that I wanted to read.

Boy, was I….RIGHT.

I was completely blown away  by Starr and her situation. The writing was real and I could easily (I say easily lightly, because painfully is a better word.) see the story play out. I couldn’t quit reading because I had to know what was going to happen next in Starr’s world.

More importantly, sure, the book is great and  teens (EVERYONE) will love it for what it is, but it is so TIMELY and important with the message it sends out.

The biggest part is that it helped me further understand the kids that I work with everyday. I’m in a small town, yet urban setting with lots of low income families. I graduated 10 years ago from a high school about 30 minutes where I’m now a high school librarian, but 2017 in my school’s community is a whole other world from 2007 in the school and world I graduated in. It honestly helped me “get” where some of these kids are coming from and to understand some of their actions that I see on a daily basis.

That’s because of just how real the writing it. It’s also why I feel like young adult literature NEEDS more own voices books. Kids need to be able to see themselves and their communities. I didn’t intend to write this review on the day that I did, but the need for diverse and own voice books has especially hit me today because a Hispanic girl came to return a book today RAVING about how much she adored what she’d read because “It was so different. So many books are about pretty, white girls- and that’s okay too, Ms. Hays, don’t get me wrong!- but it was neat to have something different even if it wasn’t a Hispanic girl in this book.”

That kid struck a chord with me like she wouldn’t know because the importance of DIFFERENCES is one thing I try hard to push for the kids in my library so often. Sure, read the stuff that’s popular. That’s awesome, but read diverse books and see yourself, your peers, and other aspects that you don’t typically see.


This ended up going on way longer than I intended, but, honestly, I cannot speak highly enough over this book at all. I can’t wait until I’m able to order more books for my library next school year so that I’m able to share Starr with the kids in my school. They’ll love knowing that Starr was living in a neighborhood based on one not too far from where they live.

February 28…GO GET IT. You will not be disappointed in the slightest!

-M

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Summary:

The New York Times bestseller, soon to be a major motion picture; US release on June 3, 2016.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

My Thoughts:

I’ve wanted to read this book forever! I had friends recommend it well before the  movie news. They each talked about how amazing the story was and how much they cried over the things that take place in the novel.

Maybe I missed something there?

It was a sweet story and I did enjoy it, but I still had some serious issues with it.

My biggest issue is that it is able a disabled person showing an able bodied person how to live life. I’m not sure if it would’ve worked the other way around, but it bothered me that Louisa was content to NOT stand up for herself and have actual goals.

Sure, she eventually started to think of how she could better her life, but she still wasn’t 100% sold on the idea. She would have otherwise been stuck in her simple life with Patrick had it not been for finally branching out some.

Further still, I had a problem with the ending. Not to spoil the entire thing,  but it just didn’t give the message that the disabled can still live their best life and strive to do more. Not in the slightest.

Those feelings aside, I liked the book, but it was still weird just for those two problems. I will still watch the movie when it releases because I’m a masochist for sad romances, but I still just don’t agree with the way that the novel approaches the disabled.

Sure, there are probably people who feel the way Will does about their own lives, but the book just didn’t send the right message in my mind.

Either way, it is still worth a read and is still a beautiful story that is a good, quick read.

-Melanie