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BOOK REVIEW – Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

BOOK REVIEW – Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah MoskowitzGone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In the wake of the post-9/11 sniper shootings, fragile love finds a stronghold in this intense, romantic novel from the author of Break and Invincible Summer.

It's a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives.

Craig's crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him...and if he'll do it again...and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody.

Lio feels most alive when he's with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable...and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.

I remember September 11th. I was in Junior year in High School (in France, of course) and I learnt what happened late afternoon when I was heading for practice.

I remember being sad for all these person and mad because how unfair is it? but I also remember being pissed at all these teenagers around me who kept bragging that it had opened their eyes and showed them how much life is worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to minimize it, god of course not, but I just couldn’t understand how people could use it to appear cool, to spread some philosophical bullshit, as if they could understand what people in New York could feel, what people in US could feel. I couldn’t, and I don’t think they could, either. We were just fucking French Junior who couldn’t have a locker anymore because bombs. All that is to say that I didn’t get it at the time. I was only a self-centered teenager whose interest never holds long and I asked myself exactly what Lio and Craig wonder about : how do we define loss? Is it the number that counts? Or is it something else? Is it the fact that we knew someone? I didn’t know at the time, but I know now.

“What’s love when you’re too fucked up to feel it right?
I think it’s a weapon.”

Perhaps it’s going to sound incredibly selfish but to me there’s nothing truer than this : We really feel loss when we know someone. Of course we can empathize, we can feel sad and mad and sorry for someone, it remains it always seems borrowed, if we can use a word so practical when dealing with loss. Every day I hear about people who are sick, who have cancer, and yes, I feel sorry for them. My dad died from cancer two years ago. I didn’t feel sorry. I felt broken. I felt lost. I felt scared. And I’m never, ever going to say that it is the same thing. It isn’t. In my opinion we are partly defined by the person we love, by the person we care about, and no empathy can overtake that. None.

“Craig is just one person. The chances that he will get shot are the same as anyone else’s.
The hole in the world when he’s gone would be the same size as the FBI agent’s.
Except…
It wouldn’t be.
To me.
I have no way to measure these holes.
Click.
Numbers don’t matter.
Because what if loss is immeasurable? What if all we can do is call a loss a loss? “

The story takes place in 2002, during the Beltway Sniper Attacks, and for someone like me who wasn’t familiar with this tragedy at all, the way Hannah Moskowitz deals with this issue is truly wonderful because it felts real. Indeed I felt the threat, the fear, the panic this kind of random attacks could lead to. And then, there’re these boys. There are these broken boys who meet and fall in love. They are hurt. They are hesitant. They are fucking afraid. But they are.

“Just wanted to let you know I got in all right. And also that my chest hurts as if I MAY BE DYING, because I accidentally left my heart on your kitchen counter. I hate when that happens.
Li”

And I love them. I even developed a not-so-little crush on Lio. Even if he’s fictional. Even if I have a boyfriend. Even if he’s gay. Whatever. As I said, I developed a crush on Lio because this guy is so fucking adorable that I couldn’t help. As for Teeth, Gone gone gone offers us a flawless characterization with characters who aren’t perfect, who mess up, who evolve, and in the end, we just want to hug them something fierce. I do, anyway.

“It’s up to me whether I’m okay with the possibility of being broken.
Plus, I’m a tough little son of a bitch, and don’t you forget it.”

Finally, I’m sorry if this review isn’t organized or doesn’t even mention how incredible the writing is, how emotional this story is, how fucking beautiful their love is. I guess I didn’t feel writing a complete review tonight – but the only thing I’ll say is READ IT. Please, go meet Craig and his fourteen pets, Lio and his five colored hair, go read their emails and cry and laugh and fall in love. You won’t regret it. Because even if I preferred Teeth, Lio and Craig’s story goes instantly in my favorites, and I like to think that it’s saying something.

BOOK REVIEW – Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

BOOK REVIEW – Teeth by Hannah MoskowitzTeeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A gritty, romantic modern fairy tale from the author of Break and Gone, Gone, Gone.

Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

My thoughts exactly. Do you know the kind of book which has the power to affect you so much that you spend your night tossing and turning in your bed? Well, welcome to my last night.

What a powerful read, really. Teeth belongs to the stories that you need to discover for yourself, where nothing is better than starting almost blind, that’s why this review is going to be short, plot wise, at least.

✐ Before starting Teeth, I knew that Hannah Moskowitz’s writing was either loved or hated among readers. However, what I didn’t know is in which clan I will end. Verdict? I fell in love with it from page one. Indeed it’s raw, to the point, powerful, full of repetitions sometimes. If short sentences are often used, the contrary is also right, and we find metaphors sometimes but so rarely that they create a distortion absolutely fantastic. To be frank, I’m not usually a big fan of present tense and metaphors but here? That’s majestic. That’s the poetry of the everyday. That’s true, that’s real, that’s a respiration, my respiration. Don’t expect stilted language, though. Indeed they swear. A lot. And frankly, maybe I’m weird but I found this wonderful.

“And something small and insignificant inside me shatters, just like every night, and feelings hit too hard for me to stand. I bend at the waist and cling to the windowsill. I won’t scream. I won’t throw myself against the walls until the supports give and we fall into the ocean. I won’t think about swimming as hard as I can.

▧ Listen carefully because I haven’t felt something like this since I read a book from Melina Marchetta : The characterization was perfect. Indeed the characters are so complex, dynamic and strangely realistic (yes, strangely, because Fishboy, duh) that I couldn’t help but fall in love with each and every one of them, couldn’t help but care deeply about their family, their struggles, the choices they have to make, their pains. Oh, God. My heart is shattered in a millions pieces but I wouldn’t have wanted anyone of them to be different.

“And he opens his mouth, and I’m ready for anger and spit and fire, but instead it’s just the smallest voice in the world. “What did you call me?”

[Here’s where I was supposed to describe the characters, but I changed my mind. Go meet them. Go fall in love with them. Go suffer for them. Go laugh with them. Just go, dammit, just go.]

▧ The relationships between the characters were so beautiful and endearing that they just … got to me like few manage. Do we need words to express what we feel? Do we need to put a name on a box? I don’t think so. Friendship, guilt, expectations, but love love love. So much love that my heart can’t contain it.

“I’m a shaky mess all the time.
My parents have no idea this is all my fault, that they should be tying me down and excising me or lancing me like a boil or shooting me full of poison, anything, and then taking my lungs and stuffing them down my brother’s throat and watching him turn pink again.”

▧ First of all, I honestly think that we need to prepare ourselves to embrace the weirdness in order to enjoy this book. Why? Because it’s a fairy tale and yet it’s not really a fairy tale. Because there’s magic and not always explanations for it. Because some parts seriously grossed me out, and yet the story is so beautiful I don’t fucking care.

▧ Moreover, I must warn you that this book is dark. Oh God, so dark and sad and hopeless at times. Indeed it deals with strong subjects like sexual abuse, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart, you’ve been warned. During my read, I often felt suffocated, lonely, so attached to the characters, enthralled. It reached something inside me, pulling, and pulling and pulling again, until the tears came out – You want to know the truth? It moved me as a Marchetta’s book would, suddenly and completely. As it was, the raw loneliness and the absence of choices oozing from the pages were my undoing. Truth being told, this story of a family who moves in a strange island where fishes can heal is the support for so many reflexions about life that it made me think like few books manage to.

Responsibilities. How to get free? Can we, really?
Differences. Our place in the world. What for?
Family and disease. What are we ready to do to save those we love?
Ethical thinking. What makes us more worthy than other living beings? Are we, really?

I have no damn clue. Have you?

“It doesn’t matter what team I’m on, for a minute. For a minute it’s just me and that smile.”

► To sum up, Teeth is weird, bizarre but so fucking powerful and beautiful that I know I’ll reread it over and over again.

“And the fucking ocean, the ocean is so quiet, because I guess the fucking ocean just doesn’t know how to act appropriately for anything, goddamn it, the fucking ocean, I am so sick of the fucking ocean and I don’t know what to do and I want to dive in and get clean and never have to come back out”.

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