Tag: Abuse (page 1 of 6)

BOOK REVIEW – Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

BOOK REVIEW – Rites of Passage by Joy N. HensleyRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
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Synopsis:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty... no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust... and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

“They can get into my room. Whenever they want. Oh God. They’re not going to stop. Not ever. Not until I’m gone.”

Rites of Passage left me on such a high, I’m jumping around at 5AM like a crazy person when I should have been tucked up in bed like the reasonable adult I’m supposed to be. Yet as I’ve been flirting on a slump all summer, I wasn’t going to stop reading such a captivating story : the unfairness of everything Mac had to go through because of misogynic assholes ensured to drive me furious, and I couldn’t look away.

The thing is, it would have been so easy to write Mac in an unrealistic way, to make her so successful that her kickass personality would have reeked of unbelievability, and I’m so glad it wasn’t the case. She fails, she doubts, she needs HELP, and that’s okay – no, that’s GREAT. I admire her all the same. I’ve never understood why kickass female leads had to fight alone to be strong – “valuable”. What the fuck is that?! It’s the working woman fighting to the top all over again, and that’s so sad. Why are we accepting that? Why are we condoning the wicked message that we need to be alone to deserve our success? FUCK THAT.

In my opinion Rites of Passage‘s message is way more important : don’t let anyone destroy your dreams, and don’t let your pride refuse help – your achievements won’t be diminished because you trusted others. I loved the complicity and friendship between Mac and some of her classmates. I loved that she found people to stand up for her and yet kept making her own decisions. Girl power, but not only – let’s not put all men in the same basket, alright? I also completely crushed on the love interest, which is a shock, because men in uniforms give me the CREEPS (I know how irrational that is, trust me – one of my close friends was in the military and teased me endlessly about it, but what can I say, I am weird). But YUM. I loved this adorable guy.

Military : 1 Anna : 0

About the romance : I need to stress it because I’ve read it a lot and HUH, WHAT : this is in no way a love triangle. Granted, there are two boys, but never at the same time, and the first one is already history when the second one (YUM) steals the show. If that’s a love triangle, then we’ve all been in one once in our life (what a frightening thought, I know).

I’ll end this night rambling by saying that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending because of two opposite reasons :
– The general plot is wrapped up in a neat bow and everything felt too rushed to be entirely believable.
– The romance aspect is, WELL, we’ll say open to stay optimistic (I AM) and sadly realistic (WHY THOUGH??) but in that case I didn’t want it to be realistic (I’m so unfair, right?) (also, I feel betrayed). Aw hell, I don’t care. In my head everything goes well in the end OKAY?! Okay.

Nearly perfect as far as I’m concerned : some issues weren’t completely dealt with View Spoiler », some parts seemed a bit over the top to me (but what do I know?), and I had to suspend my disbelief pretty hard sometimes (the hacking), but if Joy N. Hensley can interest me in anything military related, I’d say that she’s a pretty damn good author (a sequel, THOUGH?).

BOOK REVIEW – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

BOOK REVIEW – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
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Synopsis:

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

The book be like – CRY, BITCH.

After 50 pages I would have written that The Perks of Being a Wallflower was poorly written, boring and tasteless.

After 100 pages I would have clapped because really, wow, Stephen Chbosky really did want to tick all the strong issues boxes, haha. /sarcasm.

After 150 pages I would have needed a drink to handle all that fucking CRYING and talking and the total LACK of any attempt to actually DEAL with the issues piling up. No, three pages of so-called teenage philosophy isn’t enough.

In the end I’m just pissed off by the plain MANIPULATION that is this book and by the way the last issue is taken care of – FUCK YOU, BOOK. No, really. Fuck you. I am very sorry for all the people on Earth who loved this book, and know that this review isn’t about you. I started The Perks of Being a Wallflower expecting to love it.

As it is, I cannot.

Probably because it contains what I hate the most in Literature, this being :

– The blatant use of manufactured drama trying to force me to feel things. It doesn’t work like that. You do NOT involve a reader by creating an unrealistic overkill of serious issues, as if they were trying to outbid each other. There’s a moment when I just don’t care anymore. This is manipulative and disrespectful.

It reads like a catalogue of the worst situations possible.

– The fact that the sub-mentioned issues aren’t given the time of a day and are just there. Nope. And because I know that people will tell me that it’s realistic because Charlie is only 15, and that he can’t analyze these issues in depth : yes, he cannot. THAT IS THE POINT. Why include so many issues – teen pregnancy, drinking, drugs, sexual identity, abuse, and so on – if they’re only there to fill the book? WHY? I am the first to admit that we mustn’t take teenagers for fools and that YA novels should picture these issues. But COME. ON. What is even the point if they’re only brushed off? Is telling them that it happens to other people is going to make them feel better? Is telling them that we can ignore problems because everything is going to get better anyway (because fairies, I guess) A GOOD THING? I don’t think so. And yes, when something like abuse is dealt in TWO pages, I do get the feeling that the book is telling me to move the fuck on.

Also, that “beautiful” sentence, “we accept the love we think we deserve”? When applied to the situation? (view spoiler) Please don’t.*

* I am not thick, of course I understand what this sentence is trying to say… But again, empty words. I would have probably loved it as a 14 years old. Now I’m just like, AND THEN WHAT?

Repetitive and choppy sentences all the way through, with a main character who can’t decide if he’s 10 or 40 or, I don’t know, 5. I HATED the writing, I really did.

– Characters who don’t feel like teenagers at all – mainly Sam and Patrick, the super hipsters philosophers *snorts*

The book be like – NOW SMILE, BITCH.

► I wish I would have read another Gary D. Schmidt novel instead. Overrated.

BOOK REVIEW: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

BOOK REVIEW: It Ends With Us by Colleen HooverIt Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

I. Am. DONE.

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I do NOT like books that manipulate me. I do NOT like authors who think it teaches life lessons by making everything literally the WORST scenario possible. I do NOT like books that I endorse, tell 100 people to read (when I’m at 47%) because it was so amazing-wonderful-addicting-beautiful, and then have to eat crow because a million dreadful things have to happen to get to the fucking point.

And for those who ADORED this book, do NOT come at me and tell me I am wrong, didn’t understand the message, whatever. I do NOT like being manipulated (SEE ABOVE) when I was already okay with how things would eventually turn out. I didn’t need five more fucking stabs in the stomach to get the fucking message.

For those who keep talking about all their feelings and how they are having trouble writing a review because of all their feeeeeelings…that’s manipulation you’re feeling, people. And I am so mad I don’t care who I’m offending. I loved the idea behind this book. I did. And even though I felt so much love in one way, I was okay with the devastation everyone spoke of. But then-All. That.

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SHIT.

I will never forgive Hoover for this. Ever. I think I am FINALLY done this time. I am ALWAYS the black sheep on her books…and I have no fucking clue why I keep coming back for more. Probably because I loved Miles (THE ONLY BOOK I’VE EVER LOVED BY HER, making me the opposite of everyone, yet again) so much and want another win…but there’s only so much bullshit I can ingest per author and she might have just met her quota.

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And it’s this author’s twisted sense of life lessons we need to learn. Oh, and PS, I LOVED BOTH GUYS SO MUCH IT HURTS-so don’t even try that one on me.

Sorry, guys. I slept on it, and I was even madder today. And I assume my attitude concerning this novel will only get worse, so it’s best I post today and let it be.

 

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW – The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

BOOK REVIEW – The Butterfly Garden by Dot HutchisonThe Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
Purchase on: Amazon
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Synopsis:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

“Cowardice may be our natural state but it’s still a choice.”

For more than a year now I’ve been making little pictures for my reviews, and this is the first time it doesn’t feel right. Thinking about letting my mind wander around a butterfly makes me sick, if I’m completely honest. I’d rather not express my thoughts that way because it would feel a little like corrupting myself.

Those who read The Butterfly Garden know.

The only art I can think of is a huge, covering splash of black paint, for some reason. I’m sure psychologists would have things to say about that, but then, I am not one of those. Perhaps I would be more equipped to review this unforgettable novel if I was, but somehow I doubt that it would change a single thing. I sure don’t regret being speechless, because I would feel uncomfortable with myself if I was not.

I’m sure you would love for me to make some kind of sense, though? Alright.

The Butterfly Garden is a disturbing, dark, unforgettable novel that you won’t be able to put down until the very end, whose sick atmosphere will grab you instantly and attach you to its characters whether you like it or not. Once I turned the first page, I knew that I couldn’t rest until I learned everything Maya had to say, even if it meant going through a fucking nightmare.

The Butterfly Garden is not the kind of novels where Stockholm syndrome is praised and called love. It seems baffling to me that I have to point that, but we can’t ignore the ridiculous amount of these love stories now can we? Do not fear, The Butterfly Garden is definitely not a love story (and again, a statement whose need baffles me, given the subject handled).

Although I would be lying if I told you that it was an easy journey to take, I don’t regret exploring this twisted and gruesome story one second. Perhaps it’s the complex and true-to-life characterization. Perhaps it’s the never-ending suspense. Perhaps it’s the compelling writing, part poetic and part trivial.

Really, though? Despite the complaints I could have considering the believability, it’s how deeply it affected me, because in this news-saturated world, I believe that we need books that don’t let us indifferent. The Butterfly Garden sure didn’t. How could it?

Trigger warning : Rape & Violence.

BOOK REVIEW – Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

BOOK REVIEW – Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtOkay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
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Synopsis:

In this stunning novel, Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.

There is something to be said for a book which manages to make me tear out on page 3 over a jacket, don’t you think?

Indeed Okay for Now is a beautiful coming of age story which is every bit as powerful as what I expect from my favorite authors in the YA realistic genre, such as A.S. King, Melina Marchetta or Hannah Moskowitz.

What you need to know is that every character, even the weirdest of all, rings true, and above that, evolves throughout the story. Be prepared for this uncomfortable moment when you realize that no matter what you thought you knew, you were wrong. That no matter what you thought you felt, you’d change your mind. And let me tell you, here lies the absolute beauty of this novel, because isn’t it often the same in real life? How many times did you presume something only to readjust your opinion after?

“Shut up. It’s not like you – “
“Like I what? Like I what, Douggo? Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be so angry that you… And then something happens, and after that, everyone figures that’s what you’re like, and that’s what you’re always going to be, and so you just decide to be it? But the whole time you’re thinking, Am I going to be like him? Or am I already like him?”

How to emancipate from our family? How to express ourselves? How to break the cycle of abuse?

By no means there’s a right answer to these questions, and I really appreciated that Gary D. Schmidt never attempted to drown the readers in pompous speeches and oh-so-meaningful conversations that always scream fake to me. In the contrary, Doug’s family’s journey is a long one, sometimes desperate, sometimes hopeful, and it was perfect as it was.

“But in The Dump, Angry Quiet was an old friend, and he moved in again. No one talked because we all wanted to scream.”

As for Doug, his way of dealing with his issues is not something I would have expected to enjoy. I mean, birds. Can you see me frowning? I won’t lie, I was skeptical at first : a teenager who draws birds to escape his shitty life? *in a hight pitched voice* Yeah, riiight. However, I am not one who doesn’t know when to acknowledge her defeat, and defeat it is. I was WRONG. Yes, this kind of storyline can interest me, and even more, pull at my heart strings – wow. Now that was completely unexpected.

And do you know what was even more unexpected? Me going back to the drawings introducing every chapter to look at them closely, to try to analyze how Doug was forming that wing, that beak, even if I can’t draw for the life of me (really, my students make fun of me when I sketch a man on the board. I’m that bad). But you know what? Doug made me care. About birds.

In all honesty, I thought that the way Doug’s story was written, dismissing graphic descriptions in favor of suggestions, gave it so much more power. So much more emotion. Glued to the pages, I couldn’t breathe at times, I have to admit. As Doug, I felt suffocated, stuck in the spirals of abuse. Not to mention these little sentences repeated along the way that either broke my heart or made me smile so, so big.

“You know what that feels like?”

Do you? Doug’s voice felt so real that my heart was in my throat at the first sign of heartbreak. And oh boy. Does it contains heartbreak. I’m warning you here, the whole story can be read as a shout at the readers, as SOS calls nobody’s been listening to. It hurts. I won’t lie. I broke out in tears. Several times.

However, I wouldn’t want you to think that the sadness overtakes everything – it doesn’t. Clear the layers of hopelessness, and you’ll be amazed to see how much life can surprise you. Beyond the reality of how hard it is to live when trapped in a cycle of spite and anger, Okay for Now offers us so much hope – it’s truly beautiful.

“Maybe the Snowy Heron is going to come off pretty badly when the planes come together. Maybe. But he’s still proud and beautiful. His head is high, and he’s got this sharp beak that’s facing out to the world.
He’s okay for now.”

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