“My True Love Gave To Me:Twelve Holiday Stories”” by Stephanie Perkins – Book Review, Part 1

Okie dokie fellows, I am back once again. As you might have already noticed, my very ambitious goal of daily posts was not, indeed, reached, the same way my holiday TBR is still mostly untouched, a fact I am deeply ashamed by, because I haven’t been reading much lately and that is a truly hurtful thing.

Now, you see, because of my very real shame that hit me like a tsunami last night, when I was peacefully trying to fall asleep after watching a very, very nice movie (“A Good Year”,2006 – check it out, it is funny and really relaxing, if you ask me. Moreover, it is about wine and France and London and it is really culturally attractive.), I decided that I should really do some reading. So I got onto a collection of stories that I have started reading back in October and then left aside because the time was , um , not appropriate. But ’tis the season, dear people.

The time had come for Stephanie Perkins’ story collection “My true love gave to me”. It has a nice cover and a truly wonderful festive atmosphere. Along with a dozen of romantic – at least slightly- stories.

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I only read ( or skimmed through) half of them , out of which I really, really liked – smiling dubiously at the screen of my Kindle, my heart fluttering at the perfectness of the whole thing- half. I’m going to write a super duper short review for each of them and maybe rate them because, duh, I am the one and only judge this world has ever seen. SO, ONTO THE STORIES THEN.

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By the way, I wanted to point out that the cover is not random at all, every pair drawn came from one of the 12 stories. Nice, right?
  1. “MIDNIGHTS” by Rainbow Rowell – This one I read back in October, but it was a delight. With all the discouraged romance, still delightful, still beautifully written, still absorbing, still Rainbow Rowell keeping it simple and making my life miserbale because, hello, the truth always lies somewhere else.

92.75%, let’s say. I am really bad with ratings, so excuse me.

2. “POLARIS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME” by Jenny Han – I’ve read     almost all of Jenny Han’s books and the thing I most;y likes in them was the family element. So warm, so nice, so much humanity there.  That has usually kept me reading and reading, the prospect of nearness and tenderness and the idea of home. The familiarity. But, for Santa Claus’s sake, I was annoyed by this story, mainly because it felt so, so juvenile. I get that the narrator is 15 and the only human (???) in Polaris, where elves and Santa live in peace with the short days and the long nights. I kept reading, thinking that, at some point, I would start enjoying it, but I didn’t actually , so. Meh for me. Too… sweet, I suppose. Too…quirky.

73.236% here.

3.”IT’S A YULETIDE MIRACLE, CHARLIE BROWN” by Stephanie Perkins – If anybody ever asks me what the title means , I won’t know to say, funnily enough. I started wrongly, by giving you the idea that I had any type of problem with this story, but I. Did. Not. It was all sorts of wonderful and creative and made me smile a very big and true smile. It was great, like every other thing Stephanie Perkins wrote. Which is really surprising, tacking into account that I have the tendency to avoid romance for it strikes no chord in me. Her work does. This story did. Brilliant.

98.999%, just because.

4. “TEMPORARY SANTA” by David Levithan – Ok, this one had a weird premise, I think. A sorta illegal and stupid one, as far as I understand it. Didn’t like it at all, mainly because I couldn’t find it rational. Weird, weird, weird.

60.33%, I suppose.

5.”KRUMPUSLAUF” by Holly Black – Damn, I’ve just said that David Levithan’s story made no sense in my head? I take it back. Because, as much as I’ve tried, this story was a “no” for me. I get the creepiness, I get the whole idea she had with refusing to write some stereotype Christmas love story, but it was more violent than it needed to be and less logical than anything else. So, um, I didn’t actually get to finish it.

6.”WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE, SOPHIE ROTH?” – Gayle Forman – This might have been the less sad, depressing and dramatic work of Gayle Forman’s that I read and it was sooo nice. I really liked it, in a very twisted way, because it talked about peculiarity and not belonging. Alienation. I like those things. Really nice, touching slightly more profound subjects than the other ones. I liked it so very much, it is a 97% to me. And it will forever be.

This was it for today, people of winter. I will ( to be read as “I probably won’t, but hope I will, because that is exactly the level of my devotion”) post smallish reviews for the rest of them as well, when I finish reading them.

Have a nice time dreaming of snow, fellows, I’ll be back. Soon. * dramatic noises in the background*

 

The Very Festive “Christmas Song” Book Tag

You may or may not have noticed that I shamelessly broke my promise. Didn’t write a word yesterday, not even one. And I don’t feel guilty about it, because I painted and it’s fair enough for me.

It’s 7PM right now, but I had a strange day and it feels like 1AM . I want to sleep. And by sleep I don’t mean kindly leave myself into a self sufficiency sweet and powerful enough to get my brain into an”Obliviate” state, but rather sleep-die. Sleep-disconnect. Sleep-act like that guy from “Avatar” when he got out of the blue body. Sleep-shut everything off for a while. Sleep- zoom out and figure things out. Sleep-allow yourself the time to gently and carefully fold your ideas, the way you do with your clothes, arranging them by color and length.

For no particular reason.

I don’t have anything in mind today, anything I can write a decent amount of words about without stumbling and falling into a sleepless state, and I don’t feel sarcasm under my skin either, poking its way through my fingers. That’s what not having any idea how to zoom out make me feel. An almost nice person.

Taking this into account, I am going to write a different type of thing today, one that I am not really accustomed to – I’m going to do a taaaaag. A type of post that is quite informational and cheerful, if you think about it. So, as only three days are left between me and Christmas, I decided ( after really trying not to fit into the pattern and 15 minutes of searching a set of enjoyable questions spring-related) that I would do:

THE CHRISTMAS SONG BOOK TAG

1) “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” – Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

*I am already dealing with the “Have I ever read any book…what is this question.. do I know any character at all?” syndrome, so it is going pretty well.*

I could obviously choose Snape or Sebastian a.k.a. Jonathan here, but I’m pretty sure every other person on the planet did it , so me and my unearthly independence of thought shall not allow such a thing as a stereotypical answer, so I am going to go with… Sauron. Neah, just kidding, he is way too purely evil for such a nice person like myself.

My truthful answer shall be the Darkling from the “Grisha” trilogy. I have to be honest here and to admit the fact that I liked every single thing he said, did or destroyed in those books. Because, as much as I would like to deny it, his power- summoning the darkness- , the way his and Alina’s powers fitted so nicely, his very, very, very tumultuous past and his slightly psychotic behavior never, ever bothered me, not even a little. Also, those last words he said to the ever naive Alina, the revelation of his real name and his vulnerability altogether were the only things that made me sob during reading that series, which I both liked and disliked, as always. And by sob, I am talking about shedding some tears at 4AM back in August and some way too shaky breaths muffled by my pillow.

2)”All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree this year?

Whereas I lack the ability to recall things about books I read, I own the very advanced skill to add books to my “Wishlist” on every online library ever. So I know the answer to this one. Really simple, I suppose, but the book I would really love to get this year – and I am perfectly aware that I won’t – is the illustrated copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” – written by the queen herself, J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.  I saw it in flesh when I went to Bucharest last month and..and… let’s avoid inserting words here, because the beauty of that book is not translatable. You have to see it and touch it and hold it to know. Magic.

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Not my picture, obviously, but I am going to leave it here for you to gaze at and admire.
3)”Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” – Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.
Well, taking into account the fact that almost every single book I’ve ever read had this component of self growth and learning to believe in yourself, it is really difficult to choose. Celaena Sardothien (whose real name was not used so that innocent people wouldn’t be spoiled) from “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J. Maas, Vin from “Mistborn”, Kelsea from “The Queen of the Tearling”, Julliete from “Shatter Me”, Cress from “The Lunar Chronicles”, Heather from “Panic”, Lena from “Delirium”, Inej and Kaz from “Six of Crows”, Alina from “Grisha”, Kat from “Fangirl”, Mare from “The Red Queen”, Violet from “All the Bright Places”, Fire, Bitterblue and Katsa from “Graceling Realm”.
It doesn’t really matter what YA book you open, you will, for sure, find somebody struggling with believing in himself. These are just some examples that came to my mind , characters that aren’t as popular and Katmiss, Tris, Percy and Harry, but overcome the same processes by embracing themselves.
4)”Santa Clause is Coming to Town” – a) Which character do you think is at the top of the naughty list an b) which character do you think is at the top of the nice list?
Okay, this is way too easy. a) – Sauron, obviously. Seriously now, did you really think Voldemort could take his place? Not really, from my point of view. b) – Well, I have no idea. Really, I don’t think all that much about the nice people in books. But I suppose Jem is there, on the top of the nice list. Because…well, because he is Jem.
5)”Frosty the Snowman” – Which book just melts your heart?
None. My soul is made of wind and ice and stone and no book can get to it. Not even the ones about suicide and mental illness or the over-fluffy YAs I had the mischance  to read, forced by no one, this year.
6)”Feliz Navidad” – Pick a book that takes place in a country other than your own.
Taking into account that absolutely no book, except for the Romanian ones, takes place in Romania, I could pick anything. Because almost everything takes place in America, the UK, all over Europe or in a parallel universe. So…
7)”It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Which Christmas book do you use to spread the Christmas joy.
Brace yourselves, here come my personal classics. Everything and anything Harry Potter, even if we are talking about J.K. Rowling’s groceries list –  not really, but Harry Potter tales never fail to bring such a wonderful joy in my stone cold heart. “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman, as well as “The Hobbit” and The “Lord Of The Rings” series. The last three mentions might be influenced by my great love for fantasy and the fact that I read all these books on Christmas break, cup of hot cocoa in my hand, so the atmosphere is still with me. I may also note the fact that I generally associate fantasy, magic and a badass plot to happiness and winter holidays, so these books might not work for everybody.
8)”Sleigh Ride” – Which character would you choose to spend the holidays with?
This is a very, very tough question. But I think that I would choose Kell from “A Darker Shade Of Magic” to share my Christmas with. Because I like him very much and I would really love to visit some other particularly interesting wolds that happen to intersect in London.
9)”Baby It’s Cold Outside” – which book, that you didn’t like, would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?
Look, let’s be clear, I do not and will not sacrifice books in such purposes, but taking into account the fact that I really want to finish these 10 seasonal question, I am going to go with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books of “Fallen” by Lauren Kate. Will not explain.
10)”Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Which book do you think everyone should read?
I really don’t know what to choose here, because, whereas I have many suggestions  – especially YA ones – for everybody, all the time, I don’t know what to recommend to the whole planet. Oh, actually I do. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry . If you click on the name, you will be teleported to his Goodreads page. There, you can mark “The Little Prince” as “To Be Read” or ” currently reading” and thank me later.
Seriously talking, it is one of the best books I’ve ever, ever read. Because it sums up some principles that have the potential to change you. And that is the most wonderful thing.
Yeepee. Finally done with this overly festive tag. Hope you enjoyed my very qualified answers, I will try to return tomorrow with something new to say.

 

 

“All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven – Book Review

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“We are all alone, trapped in these bodies and our own minds, and whatever company we have in this life is only fleeting and superficial.”
Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

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I’ve just finished this book. And I feel like my coherence has slipped away at some point, in the process of taking in things , of analyzing them.

This is a spoiler-free review, a short and full of rambling one. This fact doesn’t stop me,tho, from talking about the final part. I saw it coming, I expected it, I would have been deeply disappointed if it hadn’t gone this way, but it shattered my very cold heart. I shed a tear and screamed internally and I currently have the very strong urge of saying everybody I know and I love that they count and have a place in this world and life is fine. Life can get fine. I feel like sending virtual hugs to the whole planet.
Is this book full of cliches? It is. I mean, for God’s sake, Theodore is this gorgeous, blue-eyed, tall, lean, muscular, full of culture, playing the guitar, writing songs, quoting Virginia Woolf extensively type of guy who also matters to be on the point of getting expelled and also happens to be obsessed with death ( I can make a whole PowerPoint presentation with interesting facts about death and suicide and the most accurate methods to end your life only using quotes from this book, who also has a troubled family history and parents that failed very hard at parenting.
Violet has just lost her bigger sister, aspires to become a writer, is an ex-cheerleader, friends with the most popular people in school, ex-girlfriend of the baseball prodigy, owner of an online magazine that mostly focuses on nail polish and the right shade of blush and , on top of it all, is one of the prettiest girls in school.
Cliche? Yes, I suppose.

“I am on the highest branch.
We are written in paint.
I believe in signs.
The glow of Ultraviolet.
A lake. A prayer. It’s so lovely to be lovely in Private.”

But nice ones, familiar ones, intelligently used ones. Beautifully written ones.
The whole book is written beautifully, swiftly, coherently. Sincerely.
It took me three tries and a huge amount of determination to get past the first 10%. Because it didn’t seem like something to use my time on. But I believe it was worth it, at least to me, as I am the type of person that greatly enjoys stories that involve mental illnesses. This book deals with suicide and being bipolar in a graceful and poetical way, not failing to give a distinct warning and to make one understand how precious and valuable life is, how small things matter.

I usually try to keep very calm while reading such things ( still having my internal fights about the quality of the literature I read and still struggling with trying to leave YA – especially  contemporary romance – behind and move to better and revelation filled books)  because I am this type of weird hipsteresque attitude regarding culture. This was hyped and romance. ” Not my thing”, I thought.
But I  figured I might be the person that needs some sort of an inspirational  romantic pseudo – deep story once in a couple of years. It was “The Fault In Our Stars” back in the winter of 2013 that, as basic as it sounds, made me rethink things. Didn’t blow me away, but made me appreciate stuff more.
“All the Bright Places” may or may not have the same effect. It is raw and sort of edgy, but if sticks a Post-It to you brain.
A Post-It on which it’s written

“APPRECIATE IT”.

Not Properly Counted Books and Bookish Thigs about Death

Hello, how are you, I hope your week has been good and your life fine and your autumn pretty and I hope you love Novembers as much as I do.

I hope no tragedies happened around your house, your garden, your mind palace, your sweaty palms, your not empty, but kind hearts. I hope people didn’t burn, fireworks eating away their souls.

I’m full of tragedy saying this and maybe you will find me pathetic and unnecessarily hypocritical, but a tragedy happened in the past week around my house. Around my garden. Around my fields. Around my autumn. Around my last days of October.

I’m fine, thanks. Nothing happened to me, maybe because I’m well guarded. Maybe because I’m not significant enough. But other people aren’t anymore.

No, I didn’t forget the word “fine”. They simply aren’t. They are gone. Vanished. Sudden combustion. And I didn’t know any of them. And it happened in the capital, not in my small town where nothing ever happens. And I’m so sad.

And so furious, DAMN I AM FURIOUS SO SO SO FURIOUS.

They were all young, you know. A rock concert in a way too small club. Fireworks stupidly put inside and everything went crazy. They burnt. 150 or so are in hospitals as I’m writing this. 33 aren’t anymore.

And people dare say they deserved it. People dare say it was the way God did His justice. People say they were satanists and they were peculiar and they died in an inferno because they were not pure.

And I stay here wondering if I got transported back to the Middle Ages.

Because, damn it, I don’t know how you can transform a type of culture into a sin.

HOW DARE YOU SAY, STUPID MIDDLE AGED WOMAN, THAT A 20 YEAR OLD STUCK IN THE FLAMES DESERVED HIS DEATH BECAUSE HE USED TO WEAR BLACK AND COMBAT BOOTS AND HIS HAIR A LITTLE BIT TOO LONG FOR YOUR CONSERVATIVE STANDARDS?

How dare you.

It is sad, really. Very sad and even more terrifying  is how some have the impulse to transform it into a joke. How my Facebook newsfeed is improbably full with messages full of hatred and grammar mistakes. How people on TV BLAME ANYTHING BUT the things that deserve to be blamed – the system, the fact that such a risky business was run in the middle of the biggest Romanian city.

I am not writing here to blame anybody.

You probably don’t care, either way.

I just needed to talk to somebody and get out the frustration. My little secret rebellion, painted here in black for all those people. I’m not going to say they were beautiful or the hope of the new generation, I’m not going to say ( as everyone seems to do around me, making me shiver) that they were flowers that were not meant to bloom. I refuse to say that it was God’s message, because God is, as far as I can tell, confused as I am and uncertain about life as I am, God is all about f o r g i v e n e s s. So I pray for them. For all those 150 stuck on a hospital bed now, fighting. For the ones that aren’t anymore, the ones that went with the wind it this world. I’m thinking of you, even if I don’t know you.

So. I thought, because I am in such a dark mood these days and because I feel comfortable with sadness and all , my third 7 Books and Bookish Things list – not posted on Sunday, but posted, and that is something – is to be about death. I read quite some books about death. So I shall list some – not because they are good, not because they made me cry or anything, not because the writer does and admirable job of making the sadness readable and touchable. None of those.

They simply focus on the complex and beautiful and endearing topic of death. Not going to write much about them, tho, because I don’t have the time and I am terribly sad.

1. “Love Letters To The Dead” by Ava Dellaira 

This one is sort of peculiar, mainly because it is so so so similar to “The Perks Of Being  A Wallflower”. But it is very sad, and sort of touching and sort of incredibly pathetic. Read it last summer and didn’t have the power to cry. I just stood there, Kindle in my hand, sun rising outside my window, after 5 hours of shivering and crawling in my bed, hollowed. Damn, it was not that good. It simply was so, so sad. And sort of puerile. And cliche on a very profound level. Still sad,tho, and still about death, so it fits in here.

“What I told you about saving people isn’t true. You might think it is, because you might want someone else to save you, or you might want to save someone so badly. But no one else can save you, not really. Not from yourself. […] You fall asleep in the foothills, and the wolf comes down from the mountains. And you hope someone will wake you up. Or chase it off. Or shoot it dead. But when you realize that the wolf is inside you, that’s when you know. You can’t run from it. And no one who loves you can kill the wolf, because it’s part of you. They see your face on it. And they won’t fire the shot.”

2.”I Was Here” by Gayle Forman 

I’m pretty sure you all heard of this one. Hyped, wasn’t it? It made some very valid points of death, you know, and some even more interesting on suicide, making me shiver. Because they made all the sense in this world, if you ask me. They were right in their very twisted way. What fundamentally bothered me, tho, and this is not the first time somebody says it, wad the love story, that was even more morally twisted than all those long pages about deciding for yourself ans suicide and all. I end up not liking this book, not really, despite the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the family part and the descriptions of ordinary American life and its hardships. Pretty good from this point of view, if I give it a second thought. But it had macabre parts and dark themes, so it shall have its spot.

“I was reminded just why God wants us to forgive. Not simply because it’s the key to a better world, but because of what it does for ourselves. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us. Christ forgave us. He forgave our sins. That was his gift. But by allowing us to forgive each other, he opened us up to that divine love. The article had it right. Forgiveness: It’s a miracle drug. It’s God’s miracle drug.”

3.“My Heart And Other Black Holes” by Jasmine Warga

This is a book about two kids that want to commit suicide so badly, they decide to find partners that shall take care of the thing actually happening. So they find each other. And, o f  c o u r s e, they sorta fall in love with life and each other. It was kind of cute, but, I might be a little bit macabre right now, but how I wish they actually died. It would have been nice tragedy. It is full of pretty things, but too full of hope for a thing called “My Heart And Other Black Holes”.

“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.”

4.” Me, Earl and The Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews

This one was so fun to read. It legitimately was funny. Made me snort. It also had bad jokes. Made me roll my eyes. Didn’t make me sad because of the death that occurred , but rather because of the failed lives and the sad social picture. As cliche as it sounds, it was about the death of not so physical things. Nice, but kinda bad.

“There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.”

I think I have more to write about. I don’t feel like it. No. Also, I think I could call all of the above under-hyped – you might have noticed already, but no “The Fault In Our Stars”, “Looking for Alaska” or “If I stay” here. I read those as well and I certainly liked them then, but I feel like I have nothing new to say about them.

Honorable mentions, more notorious and high quality literature in which death passes by – “Dead Poets Society” by N. Kleinbaum, “Anna Karenina” by Lev Tolstoi, “Lord of the Flies” by William Holding, “Little Bijou” by Patrick Modiano and “Harry Potter” by JK Rowling, of course. Harry Potter is all about death.

One last bookish thing, tho, I don’t know it’s number, but I know it is there, near black transitions from form to form – candles and flowers.

Candles and flowers for all.

“Shatter me” Series by Tahereh Mafi – Book Review

Hello.

I’ve decided to write  about the “Shatter Me” series by Tahereh Mafi.

If you are even slightly familiar with the new YA releases of the past years , you might have noticed these books as they were really hyped and very well sold and gained some sort of popularity among the young dystopia readers, even only for their extremely beautiful covers and rather intriguing titles. Containing a total of three novels – “Shatter Me”,”Unravel Me” and “Ignite Me”- and two novellas – “Destroy Me” and “Fracture Me”, sold separatedly but also together under a new title – “Unite Me” – the series follows a basic narrative line of the genre – young girl with super powers discovers her inner strength and understands that her really messed up world is not that messed up so she saves it and so we have a nice ending for everybody.

What actually makes the difference here and constantly overpowers  the plot itself when it comes to meaning and importance are the characters and the writing style that actually manages to save this whole story from two potential threats that the plot typology itself implies – 1. a non-human-lacking-a-heart-or-a-conscience type of heroine and 2.a fast-paced but very dull narration.

I can confess that, while the plot was mostly intriguing, kind of familiar at times, but not truly fascinating, and the world building was not underdone, but, once again, bore the main characteristics of the basic dystopian universe, what I really really enjoyed about this book, leaving alone the unique reading experience that the beautiful writing style was generating, was the wonderful character growth. Seeing the protagonist, Juliette, overcoming her huge fear of herself and crossing the path to confidence and dauntless self exploration was very enjoyable as, at first, we are placed in the head of  a very scared girl who is unable to hold herself up or to understand her true identity.

The romance included in this book was enjoyable because of the amazing way in which it is approached. I mean , the author has to deal with the perspective of an unable to decide 17-year-old hormonal girl and does it in a way that should be praised –  instead of weird cliche type of things, the relationships develop in an intense way, but we get our insight of it deliver in metaphors and wonderful quotes to write on a sticky note and place right in front of your desk. Yes, it might be cheesy for some, but it is undoubtedly beautiful and the feelings that this book deliver are various and palpable and the visuals the author creates are amazing.

On the other hand, as we evolve through the series, it is easily noticeable that the writing style slightly changes and, by book 3, new characters are introduced and a new type of humor and over all optimism replaces the initial despair that was radiating through the pages , so I found myself laughing out loud while reading these books and earned a couple of odious gazes from normal people.

This was it for the absolutely spoiler-free review, not even the synopsis is included above because I really recommend you read this book without knowing what to expect because it will make the whole thing a lot better. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, even slightly, I suggest you stopped reading right now, because I plan on further analyzing the books individually and I don’t want to be the one to destroy some innocent’s reading experience.

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“SHATTER ME” – Book No.1

“I am nothing but novocaine. I am numb, a world of nothing, all feeling and emotion gone forever.
I am a whisper that never was.”

Remember when I said that the visuals are amazing? Well, here you have some sort of proof and a very very nice but utterly depressing quote. So.

This novel basically follows the story of Juliette, a young girl with a super power, that being that her touch is lethal. Obviously, not being ever touched by anybody else has led to a horrible childhood, ostracization and a whole deal of social and psychological problems that scarred her deeply and really attacked her fragile balance. The fact is , in the book present tense, Juliette is held in this creepy asylum for people with mental health issues and hasn’t talked to anybody for 264 days when a cellmate is brought in – a boy she knew from her school years, maybe the only friendly human being she had ever encountered.

What happens next, the ways people want to use her as a weapon in their sick war and how she earns the ability and the strength to fight back, is included in the fast paced full of full news and occasional humor of the last two thirds of the book.

The writing reflects the characters issues very well – it is incoherent at times, there are passages cut like this showing  her lack of stability and confidence that makes her reluctant to accepting her own feelings or thoughts.

“I always wonder about raindrops.

I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.

I am a raindrop.

My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab.
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

 

When in comes to book no. 2, “Unravel Me”, the main feeling I can recall when thinking of reading the first part of the book is a mild form of frustration because we are somehow introduced to some sort of an “America Singer” situation (if you read “The Selection”, you know and understand the struggle of  a young woman who can’t bring herself to decide between the two corners of the love triangle) and also we have to face Juliette’s inability to embrace her power and shape it so that she can help her new people , but these two elements are inserted in a way that generated empathy and understanding and a whole new level of attention to the shape shifting process Juliette’s mind goes through.

Without going much into the plot itself, I really want to point out the highlights of the book for me, at least, starting with the new level of world building that proved itself satisfying when talking about credibility in this book – the fact that we learn some basic things about the way the Energy works and have a great insight on Omega Point’s way of existing is great. Also, Juliette’s translation to new, powerful individual is delightful in the same way discovering what lies under all the layers Warner has surrounded himself with struck me as a revelation. But, for me at least, the most enjoyable proof of Tahereh Mafi ‘s great talent was Kenji. He is, for sure, my favorite character in this series the way humor and strength and intuition and super powers are linked to shape such a personality is beyond my comprehension. He is the main reason for which the depressing element o this book is way more ameliorated than the first one’s, and that is great for character building, the way I see it. All in all, it was a really enjoyable read and defined the arc on which the story goes -it gave me the feeling that the final point of the books was to bring out and highlight Juliette’s strength and any human being’s potentiality , in fact, to put himself or herself up and build a broken self into a new powerful one.

“Loneliness is a strange sort of thing.
It creeps on you, quiet and still, sits by your side in the dark, strokes by your hair as you sleep. It wraps itself around your bones, squeezing so tight you almost can’t breathe. It leaves lies in your heart, lies next to you at night, leaches the light out of every corner. It’s a constant companion, clasping your hand only to yank you down when you’re struggling to stand up.
You wake up in the morning and wonder who you are. You fail to fall asleep at night and tremble in your skin. You doubt you doubt you doubt.
do I
don’t I
should I
why won’t I
And even when you’re ready to let go. When you’re ready to break free. When you’re ready to be brand-new. Loneliness is an old friend stand beside you in the mirror, looking you in the eye, challenging you to live your life without it. You can’t find the words to fight yourself, to fight the words screaming that you’re not enough never enough never ever enough.
Loneliness is a bitter, wretched companion.
Sometimes it just won’t let go.”
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))

there went another emotional yet really beautiful quote 🙂

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The time has come to talk about the last book. Which I really enjoyed but which didn’t quite fulfill my expectations – I feel like I need more of an explanation or a “Mockingjay” sort of epilogue or anything,for that matter, that can make me understand.

Don’t take me wrong, it was a good book. It made me feel something and I think that for such book there is the point, in feeling something. But. But. It also left me waiting for more and maybe the story required an open finale so I’m going to go with it. Moving further to the actual content of the book, I can say it was even , balanced and fulfilled my predictions when it came to the great magnificent development of Juliette’s power and her relationship with Warner turned out really beautiful. All in all, it was a good final book – not a spectacle of feelings and emotions and rage and the huge war I was expecting, but a novel that did leave many doors opened and many questions to be further asked, but in the refreshing way of inciting your imagination to a great extent.

I still had some issues with the relationships around here, tho, because they turned more and more twisted and I couldn’t actually forget their initial abusive tendencies and it was kind of creepy in the end if you analyze it retrospectively – some people seem to love how the romance in these books turned out and I am not the person to argue but I didn’t come here for the romance in the first place anyway.

So, all in all, I’d sum all this huge block of text up by saying that I really enjoyed reading this series, it had one of the most unique premises I’ve met in a while, the writing style so so beautiful and some of the characters very well formed and rather nice people to spend my last couple of days with , but I didn’t blow me away. I recommend this to anybody who finds joy in YA dystopias – like “Divergent” , for an obvious example- and can stand a girl very poetically talking about her feelings.