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Book Review- Invisibility

invisibility

When I saw this book on the shelf at my library, I recognized it (as people deeply involved in book culture are wont to do). I met David Levithan at YALLFest last year, and he was super nice and down to earth. At that time, I hadn’t read any of his books and was only purchasing one of them (Every Day- one of my favorites of all time). I had a feeling that anything written by him would be amazing, but this book only lived up to and exceeded that expectation!

Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

I love this book so much!! When you read a lot of books, you come to expect a lot, especially from a book about something as seemingly simple as invisibility. But the farther into the book you read, the more you discover that there is an entire world hidden behind the seeming simplicity of invisibility, and Elizabeth holds the key. I finished this book in mere hours, because once I started, it was impossible to walk away. The writing was beautiful and haunting, but readable, and I thought Levithan’s writing was extraordinarily empathetic with an invisible boy. It’s hard to understand what I mean without reading it- how can someone know what it feels like to never have been seen?- but he pulls it off.

The magical world behind Stephen’s invisibility curse is complex and thought provoking. The curse, itself, is also so. Many people wish to be invisible, it is widely regarded as something cool, you only have to look at Harry Potter to see what people idolize. Power, invisibility, and eternal life. But this gives a whole new spin on the idea of not being seen- for someone like Stephen who has been invisible since birth, it is not a blessing. The whole issue was delicately handled, and I like that.

The romance was slow and sweet, but passionate, and the ending was heartbreaking. I think it was actually the best part, even though it was sad in a certain way. I highly, highly recommend this book for most anyone, especially for fans of David Levithan or Andrea Cremer (his co-author), YA fans, or those who like a healthy dose of magical realism. (and really, who doesn’t?)

Have a great day, everyone!

Olivia

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Filed under Contemporary, Fiction, Magical Realism

Book Review- Unravel Me

unravelme

My hopes were SO high for this book, especially because I absolutely adored the first one. (it stands one of my favorite books ever) I went in with plenty of expectations, most of which Tahereh laughed at and turned upside down. But for the first time in a long time, I wouldn’t have it any other way. (caution- slightly spoilery synopsis ahead)

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

I just… wow. Where do I start? Let me just say that even those who weren’t *huge* fans of Shatter Me will love this. Trust me, I’ve recommended it to plenty of friends who ended up disliking it because they didn’t like the florid language, or thought Juliette was spineless, etc etc. But in Unravel Me, Juliette really comes into herself. Unlike some 2nd books in trilogies (i like to call them “bridge books”), it is vital to the series and even better than the first at times. (I can’t believe I’m saying that) The language is just as brilliant as the first time, yet not trite, and more readable. Before, I realize, the strikethroughs and Juliette’s insecurities were hard to get through for some. But it is beautiful, I think, the utterly human and real way Juliette’s rough edges begin to smooth.

Now for the romance. This is a bit of an embarrassment for me, almost. I now include a quote from a review I wrote of Unravel Me that I wrote sometime last year, after I finished Shatter Me.

“If Juliette and Adam do not end up together {in Unravel Me}, I will throw this book in the garbage”

Yeah… oops. I’m not telling you that Warner and Juliette suddenly get together, but Unravel Me definitely made me consider my unwavering commitment to Adam and Juliette that most people forge in Shatter Me. That is what I get for reviewing prematurely, I guess. Because now my entire heart has done a 180. Yep, I’m Team Warner. I never, EVER thought that would be me. When I finished Shatter Me, I didn’t even think there WAS a Team Warner because no one could possibly like a ruthless man with no heart! I can’t explain it, because a lot of my reasons in this sudden conversion lie in things I wouldn’t dare spoil for you. But I think I learned my lesson about writing characters off.

Before I wrap this review up, two things:

1) even if you didn’t like Shatter Me, I BEG you to read Unravel Me. I think you’ll love it just as much as I did. And if you haven’t read Shatter Me yet, do it! It is one of my favorite books ever, and one of the most beautiful I’ve ever read, too.

2) if you have already read Unravel Me, please express to me in the comments the extent of your feels about Chapter 62. And whether you’re Team Warner or Team Adam.

Love, all!

Olivia

PS.- my absolute favorite book on the planet, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, is on sale on the Kindle store for only 1.99! That’s half the price of a latte, and I swear you’ll appreciate and love it for much longer. This book will change your life. (reviewed here) (buy it here)

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Filed under Fiction, Modern Fiction, Romance

Gifts for the Medically Conscious!

My friend Alice-Jane and I were talking the other day and realized we both planned on making gift-guides for blog posts, so we teamed up! We’re alternating days from now on, excepting Sunday. I’m really happy with what we’ve come up with, and you should totally hop on over to her blog to see what she’s up to. We’ve both chosen topics for each other that fit out personalities well. Hope you enjoy!

gift guide for the medically conscious

I’ve chosen these gifts for people like Alice and myself, for people who like watching medical shows and science class! You don’t have to be an aspiring doctor to find these things awesome.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

TFiOS recently won an award from TIME for ‘Best Fiction book of the year’, and it is certainly well deserved. It was an amazing book, and I have never read anything that portrays cancer as lovingly and realisticly as this. Everyone must read this at least once, and it’s perfect for any teen in your life.

2. Candy Striper Dress

I love being a candy striper, and the only thing I regret about it is that we don’t get to wear cute uniforms like these anymore! This one is salmon pink instead of the usual candy cane stripes, but it’s still very adorable and a steal for something vintage like this!

3. Lung iPhone Case

This anatomically correct lung iPhone case rocks my socks.  It’s a great and chic way to display your love for being medically savvy! The clear cut black and white lines are very aesthetically pleasing, too.

4. Plush Common Cold

This is one of the best gag (or real) gifts to give to anyone medically savvy! Imagine being able to say “I gave you a cold for Christmas!” or, depending on what bacteria you give them, “I gave you mono/anthrax/chicken pox for Christmas!”

5. Anatomy Poster

This poster is great. It’s subtle, which is nice. The colors are muted and the canvas background is better than anything paper ever could be. Vintage rocks.

6. Anatomical Heart Necklace

This has to be my favorite thing on the list. I have always wanted something like this, something that actually looks like a heart.

Well, there you have it, folks! 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it! Alice’s first post is here. Keep your eyes peeled for more to come!

Olivia

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Movie Review- The Hunger Games

I went to The Hunger Games yesterday with some of my friends! I was really excited to see it- even though I had heard mixed reviews. It seemed like I heard good things from friends, and semi- good things from the critics and reviewers. I tend to agree with the critics, myself.

New York Times review quote:

“For some fans of the three novels, the screen version will inevitably be disappointing, especially for those keeping inventory of the details, characters, grim thoughts and cynicism that have gone missing.”

Can I just say that I agree with this totally? I think if you are an avid lover of the books, then the liberties taken with this film will annoy you more than just a little. I did enjoy this movie, I really did! But the point is compared to the books, the movie really stinks.

If you haven’t read the books, these might spoilers. 😉 These are some things the movie changed that I wasn’t a fan of.

~ The mockingjay pin thing. In the book, Madge, the daughter of the Mayor(or something similar, I can’t remember) gives her the pin to keep her safe. In the movie, Katniss buys the pin for Prim, because Prim is scared to death getting chosen.

~Where were the helicopters that took the bodies away?

~ Why didn’t they even bring up the Avoxes? They were there, but they weren’t explained.

~ Why were the tributes wearing eyeliner and mascara in the arena?

~ Why did the tributes look fantastic when they were starving?

~ Most importantly, why did they get rid of the tribute part of the tribute-dog-monsters?! That was important!!

Besides those things, the movie was good. I have to say, the casting was very pleasing. You know it is good when you can’t imagine anyone else playing a certain character! Amandla Stenberg was perfect as Rue, and Josh Hutcherson was awesome as Peeta. Gale was probably the most handsome 😉 (well, all of the guys in this were, except for the old ones like Seneca Crane, etc.) but he was portrayed to be much more brooding and moody than I think he was in the book! The tributes, especially the more terrifying ones like Clove, Foxface, and Cato were wonderful as well! They were extremely bone-chilling. Jennifer Lawrence did a pretty good job of playing Katniss. I can’t really think of anything else to say about her performance.

Some people criticized how they added many scenes of Seneca Crane, Haymitch, and President Snow that weren’t in the book. I liked this! I think it added more political complexity to the movie, and more interest too!

There were some scenes I really liked, like the last scene in the arena, and the Tracker Jackers, and the scene where she blows up the supplies. There were even some funny scenes!

I recommend this movie IF you have read the book first! If you haven’t yet, then trust me, this movie will be in theaters long enough for you to read the book first! 🙂 It is slightly disappointing compared to the book, but still great and worthwhile to see!

😀 Olivia

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