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BOOK REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney Summers

BOOK REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney SummersSadie by Courtney Summers
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, and the author, Courtney Summers, for my free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

“And it begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl.”

I finished Sadie almost a month ago and I’ve struggled how I wanted to review this book. I haven’t really read anything like it and honestly, after I finished the last page and closed the book, I was left feeling a bit sad and empty.

It’s a tragic story on every level. Sadie, our main character, hasn’t had an easy life. Her mother, who is both a drug addict and often absent, has abandoned Sadie and her other daughter Mattie, in their small rural town. Mind you, Sadie is around 17 when the story begins, who isn’t even an adult herself. And then Mattie is murdered, shattering Sadie’s entire paper-thin world. And with nothing left to lose, and no help from anyone else, Sadie begins her quest to get justice for Mattie.

Intertwined in Sadie’s story is investigative journalist/podcaster Wes McCray, who is working to figure out what happened to Sadie, as we learn she is consider “missing” by the small group of people who care about her. The format of the novel is ‘regular’ chapters from Sadie’s POV and transcript chapters from Wes’s podcast interviews. I really enjoyed this format and loved a true crime podcast as a vehicle for telling Sadie’s story, as there are so many great true crime podcasts doing similar work in real-life.

I also appreciated Summers giving Sadie an additional layer of complexity, as Sadie has an almost debilitating stutter that greatly affects how she interacts with others. It’s not something I’ve seen put into a story before, so kudos for Summers adding in that representation.

I don’t want to give anything away, but this is not an easy story to read. There’s not a lot of happiness or light-hearted moments. It’s a dark but realistic story, so just go in preparing to get heart stomped all over. Don’t let that deter you, but just be prepared.

I have risked everything for this kindness, or whatever it is, and that make me worry I’m too starved, too broken, to anything right.

Be sure to also check out Chelsea’s review and interview with Courtney Summers here.

BLOG TOUR + AUTHOR INTERVIEW + REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney Summers

BLOG TOUR + AUTHOR INTERVIEW + REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers doesn't need any introductions-her work speaks for itself. Howeverrrr...I am MORE than happy to give praise to such a creative, wonderful, and darkly imaginative woman who has never ceased to amaze me. Below is the blog tour for her current work, Sadie, which is claimed to be 'the breakout of her career'. So look below to find my review, an author Q & A with Summers herself (DYING! AGH! Such an honor!), an excerpt from the book, and all the praise she deserves. Enjoy!

BLOG TOUR + AUTHOR INTERVIEW + REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney SummersSadie by Courtney Summers
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.


I wish this was a love story because I know how it goes in one like mine, where the only moments of reprieve are the spaces between its lines. But here’s the thing I tell myself to dull the sharp edges of everything that’s surely left to come: 
The worst has already happened.

 

This book evoked many emotions within me-some good, some bad. And I think that needs to be explored more by authors. It’s no surprise to anyone that I am-and always have been-obsessed with Courtney Summers. From the moment I picked up This is Not a Test, followed by Some Girls Are, I was a goner. Her dark and languid writing has this way about it-it’s stark and blunt, yet draws you in because of the beautiful simplicity in which the words are sculpted. To get to the point? She’s an evil genius-no explanation needed.

It makes my stomach ache, how, at a time like this, I can’t make that word come perfectly out of my mouth enough to convince him. I can’t describe how bad it feels, this inability to communicate the way I want, when I need to.

 But I would be lying if this book wasn’t one huge trigger for me-and, yes, that’s a personal thing. AND it’s the ONLY flaw I really have with the book. But, as a very honest blogger and friend to many on GR, I must warn that, while Summer’s writing is always dark, this ventures into something far more sinister than anything she’s ever constructed before. Some will REALLY dig it-my best friend and blogger buddy ate it up. And, hey, so did I….but that doesn’t mean the content within (ie, child death and, um, other things?) didn’t hurt my soul a tad.

My body is sharp enough to cut glass and in desperate need of rounding out, but sometimes I don’t mind. A body might not always be beautiful, but a body can be a beautiful deception. I’m stronger than I look.

 And, with that being said, I fully support the direction Courtney is going with her work. It NEEDS to be said. The world is a dark place, and people turn their heads and are blind to most of it. Sadie was a tenacious, strong, young girl hell bent on vengeance, on making the world a better place for other kids-and that was the most alluring thing about this story. Her heart was so large, her soul so crushed-but her spirit, her will to fight, isn’t broken-no matter how shattered she may feel.
Last thing she said to me, my face cupped firmly in her hands, was <I>whatever you’re thinking, you get it out of that damned foolish head of yours right now</I>. Except it’s not in my head, it’s in my heart and she’s the same woman who told me if you’re going to follow anything, it might as well be that. 
Even if it is a mess.

 

Her story is something that was so palpable…you felt what she felt. The hurt. The pain. The soul-crushing panic. The hope. It was all so…addicting. But such is the nature of Summer’s writing. I’m no stranger to it, I’ll admit. I wait and I wait and I wait until she announces she has more books coming out, then I obsess until I get my hands on it. In this case, I bothered the publishers and got a copy-and, MORE AWESOMELY, I got to be a part of the blog tour and was able to do a Q & A WITH THIS AMAZING WOMAN.

And one of the more important questions, to me, that I asked was about what has taken her writing down this path. If you’re an avid reader of her work, you know that her earlier work was of mean girls, zombies, an unlikable heroine with a difficult story and-most importantly and perhaps the most recurring theme-her stories deal with difficult issues such as rape and attempted rape-murder. But All the Rage was the first time we truly saw Summers take the darker road. And I think it’s the story she’s trying to tell, something her work has built up to and she now wants to explore-and it’s truly amazing to see it all play out.

This story was also her first foray into a dual POV situation-but, more than that, it was like a radio show format when we weren’t in Sadie’s POV. West is the person investigating Sadie and it really put things in perspective for me. However, I enjoyed the book most in Sadie’s POV.

It’s about the lengths we go to protect the ones we love … and the high price we pay when we can’t.

 All in all, this story is something to behold. It’s dark, gritty, and without a doubt one of the largest shocks to my system I’ve ever read-and perhaps I needed that. And, for those of you on the fence-read it. It has so much to say with its gut wrenching narrative, and perhaps it can urge you to do more. To see more. Or, perhaps, it will just open your eyes in a way you never expected. Either way, this is Summer’s at her best, her most jarring-and it’s not a book you’ll soon forget. You won’t regret it.

*FYI- in the middle of this review my computer froze up, so my thoughts may seem a bit off or strayed-I promise my opinion is still the same, though. It just changed the flow of the review. But one thing I want to make perfectly clear that I didn’t get a chance to say in my review: If there’s one thing that stayed with me throughout this novel, its the pain. The deep, unfathomable pain of losing someone you couldn’t protect-but then going after it to make it right. It really resonated with me…even if it hurt deeply to think this way. Summers is just epic like that.

 

Q & A with Courtney Summers:

1. I have always been a huge fan of your books-they’re deep, insightful, dark, and they MEAN something-but Sadie is the darkest of your other works (in my opinion)-What lead you to write this particular story? What brought you here?

Thank you so much! That’s so kind and your support of my work means a lot to me. Looking back at my body of work, Sadie feels like a natural culmination of the stories that came before her. I think I was always headed that way. The longer I write, the more inspired I am to dig deeper—or, in my case, darker.

I love that she said this because, in retrospect, all her work really does seem to be leading up to this moment….and its just so pivotal and game-changing. It fits with everything so well. By far my favorite answer 🙂

2. Do you ever write your personality into any of your characters? If so, which characters have your personality?

I’m not my characters, but I sometimes put very little pieces of myself in them. I never reveal what they are because I don’t want to risk readers thinking of me at all when they pick up one of my books.

3. The world can be a dark place-your books don’t shy away from that. So that begs the question: What books [or authors] help you find your happy place?

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo, I Hate Everyone But You by Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn and Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt.

 

And check out this gripping excerpt! (If this doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will!):

THE GIRLS
EPISODE 1
[THE GIRLS THEME]

WEST McCRAY:
Welcome to Cold Creek, Colorado. Population: eight hun-
dred.

Do a Google Image search and you’ll see its main street, the
barely beating heart of that tiny world, and find every other
building vacant or boarded up. Cold Creek’s luckiest—the
gainfully employed—work at the local grocery store, the gas
station and a few other staple businesses along the strip. The
rest have to look a town or two over for opportunity for them-
selves and for their children; the closest schools are in Park-
dale, forty minutes away. They take in students from three
other towns.

Beyond its main street, Cold Creek arteries out into worn and
chipped Monopoly houses that no longer have a place upon
the board. From there lies a rural sort of wilderness. The highway out is interrupted by veins of dirt roads leading to nowhere as often as they lead to pockets of dilapidated
houses or trailer parks in even worse shape. In the summer-
time, a food bus comes with free lunches for the kids until the
school year resumes, guaranteeing at least two subsidized
meals a day.

There’s a quiet to it that’s startling if you’ve lived your whole
life in the city, like I have. Cold Creek is surrounded by a beau-
tiful, uninterrupted expanse of land and sky that seem to go
on forever. Its sunsets are spectacular; electric golds and
oranges, pinks and purples, natural beauty unspoiled by the
insult of skyscrapers. The sheer amount of space is humbling,
almost divine. It’s hard to imagine feeling trapped here.

But most people here do.

COLD CREEK RESIDENT [FEMALE]:
You live in Cold Creek because you were born here and if
you’re born here, you’re probably never getting out.

WEST McCRAY:
That’s not entirely true. There have been some success sto-
ries, college graduates who moved on and found well-paying
jobs in distant cities, but they tend to be the exception and
not the rule. Cold Creek is home to a quality of life we’re
raised to aspire beyond, if we’re born privileged enough to
have the choice.

Here, everyone’s working so hard to care for their families and
keep their heads above water that, if they wasted time on the
petty dramas, scandals and personal grudges that seem to
define small towns in our nation’s imagination, they would
not survive. That’s not to say there’s no drama, scandal, or
grudge—just that those things are usually more than residents of
Cold Creek can afford to care about.

Until it happened.

The husk of an abandoned, turn-of-the-century one-room
schoolhouse sits three miles outside of town, taken by fire. The
roof is caved in and what’s left of the walls are charred. It sits
next to an apple orchard that’s slowly being reclaimed by the
nature that surrounds it: young overgrowth, new trees, wild-
flowers.

There’s almost something romantic about it, something that
feels like respite from the rest of the world. It’s the perfect
place to be alone with your thoughts. At least it was, before.
May Beth Foster—who you’ll come to know as this series goes
on—took me there herself. I asked to see it. She’s a plump,
white, sixty-eight-year-old woman with salt-and-pepper hair.
She has a grandmotherly way about her, right down to a voice
that’s so invitingly familiar it warms you from the inside out.
May Beth is manager of Sparkling River Estates trailer park, a
lifelong resident of Cold Creek, and when she talks, people
listen. More often than not, they accept whatever she says as
the truth.

MAY BETH FOSTER:
Just about . . . here.

This is where they found the body.

911 DISPATCHER [PHONE]:
911 dispatch. What’s your emergency?

Purchase Here:

Amazon l iTunes l Book Depository

 

About the Author:

Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, 1986. At age 14, she dropped out of high school. At age 18, she wrote her first novel. Cracked Up to Be was published in 2008, when she was 22 and went on to win the 2009 CYBIL award in YA fiction. Since then, she’s published four more critically acclaimed books: Some Girls AreFall for AnythingThis is Not a Test and All the Rage, as well as an e-novella, Please Remain Calm which is a sequel to This is Not a TestHer new novel, Sadie, hits bookstores September 4th, 2018 and is available for preorder now. In 2016, Courtney was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30. 

Follow her HERE!

instagram: summerscourtney
twitter: @courtney_s
tumblrsummerscourtney.
official websitecourtneysummers.ca

 

More about THE GIRLS podcast (super popular podcast they are doing based after West’s journey to find Sadie in the book!):

THE GIRLS: Find Sadie is the first-ever YA thriller podcast. The Serial-like show is based off the novel Sadie by Courtney Summers. In a brilliant move, Summers scripted periodic chapters of the novel like a podcast script, hosted by fictional radio personality West McCray. The six-part podcast series brings these chapters to life with a 30+ person cast, music, and sound effects and was a collaboration between Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Podcasts, and Wednesday Books. Episode 1 launches on August 1st, and the show will air seven weekly episodes available on all the major podcast platforms. The final episode will feature a bonus interview with Courtney Summers and her editor Sara Goodman.

 

And, yeah, look at all this advance praise:

*THE GIRLS Podcast now available*
* A 2018 BookExpo America YA Editor’s Buzz Book Pick*
*Most Anticipated by BookRiot, Goodreads, B&N Teen Blog &  Buzzfeed *

“A riveting tour de force.”
 —Kirkus, STARRED Review

Summers’ novel is filled with her trademark biting commentary on sexual assault and the mistreatment of girls and women at the hands of predatory men…her hunt for Mattie’s killer is captivating, and Summers excels at slowly unspooling both Sadie’s and West’s investigations at a measured, tantalizing pace.—Booklist, STARRED Review

“A taut, suspenseful book about abuse and power that feels personal, as if Summers, like May Beth and West, can’t take one more dead or abused girl.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

The fresh, nuanced, and fast-moving narrative will appeal to a range of YA and new adult readers, and serves as a larger examination on the way society interacts with true crime…It’s impossible to not be drawn into this haunting thriller of a book. A heartrending must-have.
—School Library Journal, STARRED Review

“An electrifying thriller, taut as a bowstring. A coming-of-age tale, both gritty and sensitive. A poignant drama of love and loss. This — all this — is SADIE: a novel for readers of any age, and a character as indelible as a scar. Flat-out dazzling. —AJ Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

 

And don’t forget to follow the rest of the tour! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

BOOK REVIEW: All the Rage by Courtney SummersAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out,All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

When all you can do is watch, you see.

Well, I begrudgingly give this five stars….Oh, come on. Yeah the hell right. Did anyone really expect me to give this any less than a bajillion stars? I am still awaiting the day I’ll pick up a Courtney Summers novel and not be floored by her simple words that portray deep, meaningful messages so many authors gloss over today. And even if that day comes? I know to the bottom of my soul, even if the story isn’t for me, I will still write her name, like, ten times in my review because that’s just what I do with my two favorite authors and because her words will never cease to have an impact on me. You know why? ‘Cuz she’s Courtney fuckin’ Summers and she isn’t afraid to get raw, gritty, and in your face.

You know all the ways you can kill a girl?
God, there are so many.


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It’s no secret that this woman snuck up out of nowhere and stole my heart with her magnificent and flawless writing. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when I pick up a Summers book (anyone keeping a count of how many times I’ll say her name?) that I will be transported to another world where someone doesn’t have it as good as me. That I will not be the same after reading it. That I will never find an author who speaks to me on such a deep emotional level. That, during the story, I will learn something not only about a flawed, broken girl (or boy), but also about myself. Her novels aren’t simply page-turners, though they are undoubtedly that, they mean something. They make you wonder, they make you think, “Was I ever so blind to something like this?” “Was I as care-free and oblivious and go-with-the-flow that I was a part of someone’s torment without even knowing it?” And that’s what Courtney Summers does-she doesn’t simply write-she educates. She makes you aware. And this story was no exception.

It’s amazing how bad you can make the truth sound. As long as you keep it partially recognizable when you spit it out, a crowd will eat it up without even thinking about how hard you chewed on it first.

Romy is a whole new level of broken. In Summers’s previous works, we see lots of broken girls who don’t quite know how to handle what they’re going through, what they feel. I mean, they think they do…but do they ever really want to do what they think they need to do? Anyway-I digress. My point was that Romy is emotionally broken in a way that, while familiar from her other stories, I have never seen before. It’s not like she lays down and takes it. She doesn’t simply play dead and walk through the halls like a zombie. She has a bite that is unlike anything I’ve seen. It was deliciously depraved, some of things she had to do, but it was never over the top. This girl is someone who was bullied for speaking out against a rape no one believes happened, bullied for simply existing, bullied because she had the misfortune of being the only girl ‘found.’ The things she had to hear whispered behind her back and go through were unwarranted, nasty, and catalyst to thoughts that a girl should never have about herself…or anyone, for that matter.

I forget what I was doing. I forget what I’m here for. There’s a point to all of this but I don’t know what it is anymore.

What we see, essentially, is a girl who has been backed into a corner and can as easily be discarded as a piece of paper. No one looks out for her, no one will save her…she has to be there for herself-at school, that is. Outside of school we get to see the love that her mother and her mother’s boyfriend have for her, how they worry and would do anything for her. It’s not simply a case of blind parenting-they do their best to figure out what’s going on and they don’t clam up. They continually ask her why she’s acting this way, why she is running off, why she started a fight at school…it was heartwarming and broke my heart when they realized they couldn’t do anything to help if she wasn’t willing to open up. Because not only does everyone in the school hate Romy Grey….everyone in town despises her as well.


Why her?


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And finally there’s Leon. The guy she works with. The guy who’s above pettiness and high school games and wants to make a name for himself. The guy who would do almost anything for Romy…even after she rips his heart out time and again. He only has eyes for her, but he certainly doesn’t take her bull shit. He tells her like it is and he makes her a better person. I loved their relationship and thought it was adorable watching a new romance bloom after the wake of a tragedy, watching the struggle to keep her ‘good side.’ Okay, I lied. I don’t suppose it was adorable so much as uplifting….and heartbreaking. My soul was ripped in two more than once, longing for the perfect relationship, the perfect end to their (Romy’s) tremulous journey. But that’s Summers and she doesn’t sugar coat life. Things happen. It’s how you handle life’s hurdles that makes you who you are. If you can’t get past it? That’s your own hang up. And that’s what we get to see.

I don’t believe in forgiveness. I think if you hurt someone, it becomes a part of you both. Each of you just has to live with it and the person you hurt gets to decide if they want to give you the chance to do it again.

Suited in her battle armor to take on any day and each new event in life, I loved Romy to pieces. She was fierce, determined, but fractured into pieces and unable to feel complete and like a real, whole person. Her bad ass battle armor was a farce for what she really feels on the inside: dull, lifeless, and hurt. Watching her fight her internal battles and take on one snobby bitch or asshole, one at a time, whenever she felt like it, we saw the fight that has long since extinguished since ‘that night.’ I hope everyone can find something to love about this story, because I was undeniably hooked and wanted nothing more than to read about Romy’s happy ending. I hope you will, too.

…how do you get a girl to stop crying?
You cover her mouth.

 

 

*whines* And Courtneyyyyyy…..release another boooook….pleasseeeeee.

 

 

******************************

AGHHH!!!! It’s LIVE!! FINALLY. *Rubs hands together* I shall start reading under my desk now-lol

*******************************

I’m going through serious, SERIOUS Courtney Summers withdrawl. It’s like I am starting to itch and I need that next fix immediately and I can’t seem to find any books that scratch that infernal itch and…

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Soon. April can’t make it soon enough.

Dying.

BOOK REVIEW – Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

BOOK REVIEW – Cracked Up to Be by Courtney SummersCracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When "Perfect" Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter's High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher's pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?

Parker doesn't want to talk about it. She'd just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her conselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.

Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.

Warning: I thought about it over and over, and the only way I feel writing this review includes a great amount of personal information. If you don’t care about it, if you think that’s not a review, if you – well, just thought I’d warn you.

“You know how when you meet someone and they just give you the impression they’re living on this entirely different planet from everyone else? That’s sort of how I felt when I met you.”

I don’t really know what to say. I mean, how am I supposed to say that I can relate to Parker without sounding like a bitch? Because I do, but I’m not, and I wasn’t. Lost a little? I’ll explain. The fact is, above her actions, what stroke me the most in Parker is her need to be herself, even if the way she takes to do so appears to be incredibly harsh and selfish at times. What I love in Courtney Summers is the way she manages to take the high-school stereotypes and to go further, to crack the shells in order to show what’s hidden beneath all the craps we’re served in so many young adult books.

“You’ve made a choice and it’s so obvious. I see it; I accept it,” she says. “Even if no one else can. You want to rot and I want to let you.”

If I struggled more with Some girls are, that’s because I found it more difficult to imagine the situation there and I know that I’m in the minority about this. But the truth is, if I never saw groups of people behaving like these assholes in Some girls are, Parker sounds real to me, and yes, I can relate. If I was never mean to people like she can be, I went through a tough phase when I was a teenager and yes, even if I kept an outgoing facade, people made me cringe at times and if I didn’t do what she did to them, I thought about it sometimes. Everything annoyed me, and I didn’t even realize it – I was so full of shit, frankly, if I could slap my younger self I’d do it. Well, I never wanted to die, never, and some of her actions were really awful, so I’m not telling that I can understand all Parker’s decisions but anyway, I get her.

“I still remember being hurt when the teacher made as big a fuss over my classmates’ lesser efforts as she did over mine, which was perfect. Or maybe not as perfect as I thought.”

Can you understand what she’s feeling? Because I can. No matter how ugly it sounds, oh, man, how I get this feeling. I used to, anyway. Trying to explain why I need everything to be perfect, being mad when people don’t get it? Oh, yes, Parker’s struggles hit a nerve with me.

But let’s go some years ago. I always was this weird kid who gets straight -As and reads a lot, who never breaks the rules because never sees the point in it, whose success is expected, no matter what happens. Don’t get fooled, I wasn’t lonely, as I always could count on a solid group of friends, but I was super serious until senior year. My parents weren’t really strict because they trusted me and they were right to do so. But on my senior year, I lost it. I started to ditch school so often that school rang my parents twice a week and I developed a hell lot of tips to sneak out school without being caught. Yet my rates didn’t suffer too much, because I showed up for the tests and I spent my time ditching to read (in France we can specialize in Junior and Senior years, and I was in Literature-Philosophy-Languages). Why did I change all of a sudden? The only thing I can say it’s that I didn’t want to be me anymore. To be frank, I wasn’t full of self-loathing at all, in fact I think it was quite the opposite. Or isn’t it the same thing, after all? I don’t know anymore. God, I was so conceited, as it seems that only teenagers can be – I thought I got it all, and I couldn’t have been more wrong, but the expectations I felt on my shoulders were suddenly too hard to stand – I’m not saying I was right, that’s only what it was.

Why am I telling you that? Because I think that’s why I can relate to Parker – I can understand why she’s acting out of character, or more accurately, out of what others assume to be her personality. Because sometimes, we need to destroy a part of ourselves to evolve, because the way we are seen is suffocating us. And yes, we are hurting people who love us when we are acting that way, because we disturb the way they see us and what’s more unsettling than seeing our best friend, our girlfriend, our daughter suddenly changing? Although I truly think that we mustn’t lie to ourselves and never deny what we are, I can’t deny that it’s fucking difficult to deal with these changes when we are the people who are around. Anyway, it took me years to learn to be less perfectionist, in my studies, in my work, in my life (I never was like Parker about my appearance, though). Because in the end, we realize that in addition to make our lives an hell, we make other lives an hell, and by others I mean people we care about.

“No one will notice how wrong you are if everything you do ends up right.”

Perhaps you think that it’s not a review. Let me disagree : if I can relate on such a strong level, that’s only because Courtney Summers’s characters are so fleshed-out I feel I can grab them and see a part of myself in them. Parker sure doesn’t make it easy to love her, she is unapologetic, smart-ass, and straight-on bitchy at some point. But I I cared about her, deeply, as I did about Jack, Chris, and even Becky. They feel so real to me that I can’t help. As usual, her writing is raw, beautiful and compelling, and I was hooked from the beginning. Indeed her books are such page-turners that I always know that I’ll end reading them in a sitting. Not to mention that we can’t help but wait to know what happened to Parker to explain why she lost it.

Congrats, Courtney Summers. Once again, you got me.

Thanks so much to my incredible friend Chelsea for this birthday gift ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

BOOK REVIEW: Fall for Anything by Courtney SummersFall for Anything by Courtney Summers
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Synopsis:

From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes a gripping story about one girl’s search for clues into the mysterious death of her father.

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

We’re all lost in different ways, so how do we even help each other find our way out. We won’t. We can’t. We’ll just stay lost forever.

Wow. Just all the feels. All the feels in the world. It’s no secret I adore this author and would face a throw down in the Hunger Games to get another of her books in my hands, but I don’t think I could possibly portray just how deeply her books touch me. It’s not because I have all these dark inner thoughts and need a book like this to feel like someone is actually reaching me-No, what gets to me is the idea that I might have these dark thoughts…and no one would even know about it. Courtney Summers doesn’t hide from the harsher parts of life. All her books deal with inner turmoil in one way or another, but you never ONCE feel as though you are reading a suffocating story-it feels like any other book laced with humor and boys and parties and high school. But the kicker is that you are living your life in someone else’s shoes. Someone’s shoes that don’t have it as easy as you do. Someone who might just feel like they are dying inside but play the part every day like they are fine…when in fact they are slowly losing pieces of themselves each day that passes. These stories make you wonder just how much you know about those around you. Her books are that kind of powerful.

I imagine forcing myself farther down, until I feel weeds everywhere, brushing the sides of my arms, my feet, and then I’m surrounded. Tangled up in them so bad the lake would have me forever. I imagine drowning and what that would feel like, if I’d be scared. If I’d let it happen or if I’d fight it. I read in a book once you can’t drown yourself. Your body will fight to survive, whether you want to or not.
But I don’t think it’s the same when you jump.

My biggest question has nothing to do with this book-why why WHY don’t more people read this woman’s books?? They are beautiful and profound and they aren’t your every day drivel and formula we all have memorized and rehearsed-they actually have strong messages that give you feels in ways you never imagined possible. She expands your mind to a point you didn’t even realize existed. This is a book about suicide? I couldn’t even tell. I was hypnotized, as always, from page one when I got a glimpse of Summer’s words again.


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No author speaks to me the way this one does. We get romance, which I love, but it isn’t solely driven by that. I get emotional and obsessed with every aspect of the story, giving me these deep rooted feels I didn’t even know existed outside of romance. And I don’t see why more people haven’t latched onto her work like a life boat. I’ve felt like I have been drowning lately over the books I’ve read (not in a good way), slowly sinking into a depression where I didn’t think I’d fall hard for a book for a long time. But thank God I saved the last available Summers book up until this moment-I feel as though I’ve been air-lifted out of my funk, which brings no short amount of humor to my attention, in that this book had such dark matter…but that’s the point-it all mattered to me. And I guess that’s all I’ve been wanting-to actually care.

I catch sight of myself in the mirror and realize my father will never see me like this. I am becoming a person my father will never get to know.

A touching story where a girl feels betrayed after her father commits suicide, leaving no evidence as to why he chose to do so-causing her to grasp for more, any kind of more, to help with the whys and the hows and the whens. A journey where a girl is so desperate for answers she continually searches and strives for anything she can find….and then she meets a guy who might just know more than she does about what happened that night. Her best friend, Milo, learns about this and becomes protective and concerned and…jealous? Could he possibly be jealous? They’ve been best friends since second grade and ever since her father’s death, he has been worried sick about her and her well-being. He would do pretty much anything for her….even help her to figure out what’s going on with mystery guy and the clues he found from her father…even when he thinks she should just try to live and move on.

Sometimes I feel hunted by my grief. It circles me, stalks me. It’s always in my periphery. Sometimes I can fake it out. Sometimes I make myself go so still, it can’t sense that I’m there anymore and it goes away. I do that right now.
I go so still the thing inside me doesn’t know I’m there anymore.

Today, here, now I didn’t exist (How many times have I used this word? See? I’m out of my mind nuts for this book) outside of this story. For whatever reason it latched onto my heart and put it in a vice, squeezing and squeezing until that very last page where I finally, finally could let my breath slowly ease out and I could just simply be. That’s what her books do to me. They rip me out of reality until I feel like coming back-not often do books hold that power over you. That power where you know things are going on outside this vivid, imaginative world, but you are so focused and intent on this story that you kind of…live in an alternative plane of existence where you’re simply going through the motions in the real world until you can pick the story back up. That was me last night. I smiled. I nodded. I talked with the hubbs…but the only thing I wanted was to get back to Eddie and protective little Milo!

I can’t even look at her. I can’t do this right now. I leave the room. I leave the house. I’m always leaving, but I never have anywhere to go.

There is strong subject matter that won’t be fit for everyone, so I suggest you pick up her other works first like Some Girls Are or This is Not a Test and see if those stories touch you just as much as her writing has touched me. My first suggestion? Some Girls Are. But for an excellent dystopian that brought me out of the dystopian funk I was in (my favorite type of book so imagine how sad I was), I suggest This is Not a Test. I almost guarantee you’ll like one of those, if not both. If you don’t enjoy those, then her writing is likely not for you-Summers always has a dark undertone to her writing and a sleek way of working real tragedy into the stories, so you’ll quickly know if it’s a trigger you can handle. Though, I just can’t imagine that being the case-ever. It’s not all dark-there are beautiful moments between friends and jealousies and protectiveness and she creates some pretty dreamy boys that I have found to be unforgettable-almost every story has a heartbreaking romance that, while it doesn’t steal the show, it totally does because it’s not stealing the show lol. Meaning, by not pushing it in our faces, it totally makes you obsessed with it to the point where you’re…well…obsessed. But you still care about the depth of the story-line-which is a big problem for me. In most books all I care about is the romance.

Aaron launches himself off the roof and the time it takes him to fall seems like one of those forever kind of seconds-the kind you feel every inch of yourself present for, the kind where you can absorb every detail and recall it easily later, but also the kind that’s gone so quickly you wonder how it’s even possible to have walked away with that much of it carved into your soul.

I was going through a reading slump, but this book brought me back from that dark place. I got to add a new favorite to my shelf and I was able to immerse my myself in a sea of one of my favorite author’s words, once again. It just goes to show I’ve really evolved as a reader, since 2012. I need something palpable, real. I need flawed characters who make mistakes. I don’t need that perfectly wrapped up HEA anymore (okay, well, I mean Lauren Layne’s books have the PERFECT HEA’s so that’s a lie-I’ll always need those….) to fulfill me. I just need an expertly woven story…and Summers delivers.

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