Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Books I've Loved: Everything Everything

I read this one the same weekend I read Nicola Yoon's other book (which I reviewed last week), and I actually liked this one more.

I saw the twist coming a long time before the end, but that didn't matter to me because I don't think it was meant to come as a big surprise.

Once again, this book has an almost instant attraction spring up between two people, but in this case, I felt like it was more believable.  The protagonist is totally isolated, never seeing anyone except her mother and her nurse (and very occasionally a teacher).  So when someone shows up next door who is her age and actually makes an effort to communicate with her, why wouldn't she fall in love with him?  I felt like she would have fallen for anyone who had reached out to her, regardless of who it was.

I also liked how being in love changed her in a very significant way.  Love gave her the strength to challenge everything she thought she knew and to start breaking away from a relationship that was suffocating her (literally).

The mother is also really well drawn here.  While you can't exactly condone her actions, they are understandable and there is never any doubt that she loves her daughter.  In fact, she loves her too much!

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 27-1-17

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

Mainly that it's over.

It was a short week, with a public holiday on Monday, but still too long.  I'm looking forward to the weekend even though it looks like it's going to be a busy one.

On Wednesday I got to see PJ Harvey in concert which was great.  She's got a wonderful voice and her band are fantastic.  I missed out on tickets when they went on sale, but a friend's wife wasn't feeling good so I went in her place.  I'm sorry she wasn't feeling good, but glad I got to go to the show.  Feeling a little spoiled on the live music front after PJ and Nick Cave in two weeks!

The kids are home which is nice.  I'm looking forward to spending some time with them over the weekend because I feel like I've barely seen them since they got back.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Books I've Loved: The Sun is Also a Star

I really enjoyed this book, but at the same time I had issues with it.

I loved the characters.  They were both unique and interesting and had something real and important they needed to do that day.  I liked the way their family histories weighed heavily on them and how challenging they found it to get out from under that weight.  And also how both feel American yet live with families who aren't and still cling to their homeland traditions and ideals.

I just wasn't so enamored with the insta-love thing.  I know you can develop a crush on someone in an instant.  I know sometimes a few hours in someone's company can feel like a lifetime.  But love just doesn't happen in a heartbeat.  Real love is something that grows over time as you get to know someone and understand them.  Real love is when you know their horrible habits but you can live with them because the other parts of that person overwhelm their cutting their toenails in bed.

So while I really liked Natasha and Daniel's adventures, I didn't buy that Daniel was in love with Natasha from the moment he first saw her.  The book tries to qualify the insta-love by having Daniel trying out a theory on Natasha.  A theory that requires a series of questions is asked, then the couple stare into each other's eyes for 4 minutes.  Apparently after that, you're in love.

Uh… no.  Don't think so.

But that aside, there are lots of things to enjoy in this book.  It's told in short chapters from the POV of each of the main characters, with little asides about their family members, scientific theory and a variety of other things relevant to the story.  It's quirky, fun and very enjoyable.

The book takes place over a single day yet it isn't short.  These two manage to fit a lot into that day!  And it's sweet.  If you can suspend your disbelief enough to swallow the insta-love, the growing romance is sweet and heartbreaking in equal measure.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 20-1-17

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

It was my first week back at work after the summer break and it has been a struggle.  Luckily, Monday is a public holiday, so I get an extra weekend day to recover.  It seems ridiculous to feel like I need a long weekend after only one week back in the office, but…

The kids are still on vacation so the house has been quiet and my partner and I have had the opportunity to go out and enjoy ourselves without having to worry about babysitters.

On Tuesday I went to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and it was a fantastic concert.  He is just the most compelling performer.  I've been buzzing ever since.

What are you celebrating this week?