Monday, December 10, 2012

Novel Thoughts #3: Pet Peeves

Welcome to the third edition of Novel Thoughts! Today we're discussing something I think everyone will be able to chime in on: book pet peeves.

Now, since there are a couple pet peeves that I think have been covered thoroughly by the book blogging community (I think the term "insta-love" is proof of that) I decided to talk about a pet peeve I don't think I've ever seen discussed before—it's when a character gets seriously hurt (as in, getting shot) and is in incredible pain in the moment, and then is fine when the scene is over.

I can't be the only one who's noticed this—I've read countless dramatic dystopians with war/government takeover scenes and someone will get shot in the shoulder or the leg (apparently those are the only two targets an evildoer can successfully hit). That's all nice and dramatic in that chapter, sure, but how often do you see that injury mentioned again? Where are the weeks of recovery? The mention of a scar? Something?

Check out the other Novel Thoughts posts below, and don't forget to submit a topic for us all to discuss together here!


So let me know in the comments if you've noticed this as well, or if you've seen realistic injuries in books!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

"Everything was wonderful and then everything was awful."
My Life Next Door

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Something I've picked up on while reading is that, more often than not, main characters rarely have more than one sibling, if they have any at all. Coming from a big family myself, I've noticed that they don't pop-up in books too often. My Life Next Door is definitely an exception. The Garretts are a family of ten (count it, that's eight kids) and they were literally my favorite thing about this book. They're so realistic—it's not just a book full of big family stereotypes. The author does a fantastic job of bringing a real big family to life: there's differences from your normal family, definitely, but every moment isn't like a scene from Cheaper by the Dozen. The best part, I think, was seeing it through our main character Samantha's eyes. Having lived her life with a completely different family dynamic, I loved seeing her reactions.

Samantha, while we're on the topic, is just as realistic as a character as each of the Garretts. While most of us aren't in a situation similar to hers—a mother campaigning for office, rich, the golden child—it still feels somehow completely relatable.

And now, since it is a love story at its base, I've got to talk about the relationship. Jase is now high on my list of favorite fictional boys. Really—he's fantastic. He's sweet as can be, loves his family to death, and wonderfully honest. I rooted for him and Samantha the whole way through.

Usually when I'm writing a three-heart review, especially one where I've already listed so many good things, the bad parts of the book instantly spring to mind. This isn't one of those cases—it just felt like a three-heart book. While I loved the characters I mentioned and more that I didn't, I didn't love the book. I think, in part, it's because there's so many sad things that are happening or happen during the book, like Nan and her drugged-up brother. I hate to see people struggle, and when it's so realistic, it's just ten times worse. 

Just a reminder that this book is sort of PG-13—while it's not packed to the brim with cursing, there's that one character who makes the story particularly colorful. And it is a love story, so if those kind of things bother you, I'd steer clear of this one.

While I'd recommend it, this book isn't my new favorite. If you're looking for a summer read to make it through these winter months, you might just want to check this one out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Novel Thoughts #2: Fictional Worlds

Welcome to week two of Novel Thoughts! We've got an awesome discussion topic this week, coming from Sarah at Sarah's YA Blog. Here it is:
If you could live in the world of any book, which would it be? And which fictional world would scare you the most if you woke up there tomorrow?
I'm seriously in love with this topic. I've spent way too much time thinking about what it would be like to suddenly pop-up in one of my favorite books and live with my beloved characters. So with a bit of deliberation, I decided that if I had a choice to join any literary world, it would be the world brought to us in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy.


For those who haven't read the series: Inkheart is set in our world with one major addition—there are a few (and I mean few) people called Silvertongues who can read things out of books—meaning that when something is mentioned in a book (a thing, an animal, a person) it might suddenly leave the book and appear in the room. (It works vice-versa as well. Things—and people—can disappear into the book that's being read.)

So I think this answer might be a bit of a cheat—assuming I could find a Silvertongue, I'd be able to visit all the fictional worlds I wanted.

And on to the second question: the answer for me is most likely The Forest of Hands and Teeth Trilogy by Carrie Ryan.


If you don't know anything about this series, let me explain very briefly: zombies. And although reading the books themselves didn't scare me, I know I'd be scared out of my mind if I was living in a world half-full of undead people.

So those are my picks! Let me know how you would answer that question, then check out the other posts with the links below. (And don't forget to submit your own ideas here! If your idea is picked, you'll be offered a chance to do do a guest post like Sarah!)


What fictional world would you want to live in?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

"There’s always a gap between the burn and the sting of it, the pain and the realization."
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. 

I really adore the idea of a book taking place in a 24-hour period, which is what this book did. It gives it a really unique feel the whole way through. I feel like it made it a little harder to put down, because everything was happening so fast. There weren't the breaks of days or weeks that there are in other books, which can sometimes make a book drag on.

I also really like the airport/airplane scenario, which is where almost half the book takes place. I've only been in a few airports, but I just love them, so I love that this book was set in such an unique location for a large part of the story.

This book was a quick read—I knew that it would be just from looking at it. It's only 215 pages and it's got the largest print I've ever seen in a YA book. It's just a really short book. I have nothing against shorter books, but I felt that it was just too short for this story line—things developed too quickly, and people changed from one mood to another all on one page. Things simply weren't described or included and it left me a little unsatisfied.

I don't want bash this book,  but I honestly didn't enjoy it. I didn't connect with the characters: I wasn't too crazy about Hadley, the main character, and while Oliver seemed nice enough and had some funny lines, I didn't feel their connection growing to a point more where they would be more than casual friends.

Oh, and a random tangent: There's this one point where Hadley goes running off without knowing where she's going or how to get there at all—and I understand why she does it, I do. What I don't understand is how her dad let his 17-year-old daughter run off without any explanation of where she's going in a gigantic city she's never been in before. He very clearly doesn't make any effort to go after her, and it just aggravated me because I felt it was so unrealistic.

Despite the hype, a couple funny lines and a nice ending weren't enough to leave a good impression on me. I didn't dislike it, but I won't be going around recommending it, either. This one was just an okay read for me.