The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie- 4.75 stars
It took me 3 days to figure out how to write a review of this.
I thought the writing was absolutely beautiful and, at times, graphic in just the right way. I liked how honest Alexie was in his descriptions of what it means to be an Indian teenager trying to escape life on the rez. I thought the characters were complex and yet, you felt like they were still teenagers. The lives of Junior and his family and friends are rough, but Alexie paints them in a way that makes you feel like you connect with them. The issues it tackles are mature from alcoholism to domestic violence to racism and everything in between, but it never feels preachy in any way. It just feels like a book chronicling a teenager’s journey. And I really appreciate that. I also thought the cartoons were pretty enjoyable. I honestly can’t quite put my finger on why I took off 1/4 of a star, but it just didn’t quite grip my heart the way I thought it would.
Perfect by Ellen Hopkins – 5 stars
I really am kicking myself for waiting so long to finally pick up Ellen Hopkins’ books. I’m extra surprised that I like them so much because I really am not a big fan of poetry, but the way she writes it just works for me.
I think what really draws me to Hopkins’ books is that I tend to identify myself in almost all of the characters in some way or another. With Andre, I felt a connection through dance. With Kendra, I felt a connection with her body image struggle. With Cara, I felt a connection with the pressure put on her to be the perfect student (though the pressure I felt was nothing near what Cara felt from her parents). I didn’t really connect with Sean, but that’s honestly okay with me.
I like how Hopkins handles mental health issues and I feel like she is one of the more authentic authors that I’ve read (though admittedly, I haven’t read as many mental health books as I would like).
I love that we got a glimpse of Tony and Vanessa from Impulse, even though the situation in which we do is heart breaking.
I just really really loved reading this book.
Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – 5 stars
10/10 would recommend!
I read Illuminae for the first round of #TomeTopple, so it was only fitting that I read Gemina for the second round!
BUT EVERYONE GO READ ILLUMINAE (IF YOU HAVEN’T) AND GEMINA NOOOOW!
Okay, now that I’ve got that little freak-out out of the way, time for the review. I was hesitant at first when I figured out that we were going to have a new set of protagonists because I love Ezra and Kady so much. But Hanna and Nik were just as awesome in my opinion. I also absolutely ADORE Ella. She’s one of my favorite characters of 2016. I appreciate that they make Hanna fight for survival and take away some of her privilege. I loved seeing her and Nik and Ella work out how to save those remaining on Heimdall while also saving those on the Hypatia. I loved all of the twists and turns and how you think you know where the story’s going, only to have it flip itself on its head. And I absolutely love how it ended. I just really need this story to continue so I can know the fate of all of my space babies.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins – 4 stars
I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as Impulse and Perfect. But I think it may have to do with the fact that I just really didn’t care for Kristina as a person. I did think it was fascinating to see how Kristina transformed into Bree, especially since I’ve seen first-hand what cocaine can do to a person (yes, I realize that Kristina used meth, but the transformation is surprisingly similar). It was difficult to read at times, but there were other times that I was a little bored with reading what felt like the same thing. It also bothered me that her mother suspected there was something wrong, but didn’t really pursue it more than just trying to talk to her, even when she recognized that Kristina was coming down from a binge. Also, if she could recognize it, that means that she knew her ex was a druggie, so why did she allow Kristina to go unsupervised? Idk. It just seemed a little neglectful to me. I still enjoyed Hopkins’ writing and do want to see how the rest of the trilogy plays out.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – 4 stars
This was my first time reading this and I’m not sure how to rate it because I couldn’t help but compare it to the Disney film (yes, the Tim Burton one) and it’s so different that I think I let it affect me a bit. I definitely need to re-read it in the future to see if I enjoy it more knowing what actually happens. I had a bit of a hard time following the story at times and didn’t feel particularly connected to any of the characters. It confused me how the queen would be like “Off with his head,” but then do a 180 and decide not to kill the person. I didn’t understand the quarrel with the Duchess and what she had done that was so wrong. Like I said, I think I need to give it a re-read in the future to see how I feel about it.