Book Review ~ Thief of Happy Endings

📓 I didn’t know I needed a contemporary, young adult love story set on a horse ranch until Thief of Happy Endings.  📚 😌

36304254

 

Title: Thief of Happy Endings

Author: Kristen Chandler

Genre: Teen YA

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group/Viking Books for Young Readers

Date published: June 19th, 2018

Buy this book on Amazon

Buy this book on Barnes & Noble

Buy this on Indie Bookstore

synopsis

Ever since her father moved out, Cassidy feels like her life has been falling apart. So a summer of riding horses at a ranch camp in Wyoming sounds like just what she needs–never mind the fact that she has a paralyzing fear of horses. She’s determined to move past her fear, even if that means taking lessons from the insufferable (yet irresistible) junior wrangler Justin and embarrassing herself in front of the other campers. What follows is a summer of rodeos, complicated friendships, and a wild mustang thief on the loose.

My Review

Thief of Happy Endings calls attention to many important themes such as resilience, friendship, racism, prejudice, bullying, divorce, parenting, mental health, physical abuse, and animal cruelty. After her father moves out, Cassidy is struggling with depression and anxiety. Her parents send her to a horse camp in Wyoming to hopefully help Cassidy overcome her fear of horses.

Cassidy’s character feels credible. Her love interest, Justin, is intriguing, layered, complicated. Cassidy’s roommate, Alice, is probably my favourite character. An amazing friend from the beginning to the end, Alice is reliable, smart, and experiences an enormous amount of personal growth by the end of this story.

The characters are unique with distinctive voices. The story taught me a lot about horses, and in particular the mustang population in western USA. THIS IS NOT AN INSTA-LOVE! Chandler takes the time to let us get to know the characters before introducing a romantic interaction. Drawn into Thief of Happy Endings from page one, I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t think of any dislikes.

Wild, honest, charming, and entertaining. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟!

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

 

About the author.jpg

“Kristen Chandler is the author of the award-winning Girls Don’t Fly and Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me.”

Kristen Chandler Goodreads Author Page

Advertisements

Final Draft #Bookreview #Netgalley #FinalDraftBook

📓 Final Draft is a Young Adult Contemporary novel written by Riley Redgate. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. 📚 😌

35960813

Title: Final Draft

Author: Riley Redgate

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Amulet Books

Date published: June 12th, 2018

Page Count: 272

🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

 

synopsis

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35960813-final-draft

My Review

Set in Brooklyn, Final Draft is a third-person story about friendship, grief, mental health, and sexuality, with a DIVERSE cast. The main character, Laila, is a biracial, pansexual, Ecuadorian/French-Canadian teenager. Her inner thoughts remind me of things I said to myself as a teenager. Laila’s soft-spoken teacher, Mr. Madison, reads her stories and encourages her to keep writing. He’s the kind of teacher we’ve probably all had. This is a purposefully slow story that takes place the summer before Laila and her three friends leave for college. I didn’t like Nazarenko’s character, but it didn’t ruin the story for me.

Beautifully introspective. Redgate isn’t afraid to speak the truth, writing about big things like sexual orientation, female sexuality, and racial identity.

 

I was annoyed when descriptions of people mentioned they didn’t look “normal”, or that it was shocking for a larger person to have confidence. Throwing homeopathic remedies and healthy food under-the-bus was also unnecessary. Having a teenager complain about healthy things has been done, and I feel that it’s not authentic.

This would be a great Summer read. Be sure to visit your local bookstore or library and check out this brand new novel.

About the author.jpg

According to Amazon, Riley Redgate is a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio. She’s the author of Seven Ways We Lie (2016), Noteworthy (2017), and Final Draft (2018).

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway By Ruth Ware #NewBook #Thriller #Mystery #Netgalley

📓 The Death Of Mrs. Westaway is a new atmospheric thriller from best-selling author Ruth Ware. I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. This review is spoiler-free 📚 😌

36373481

 

Title: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Date published: May 29, 2018

Page Count: 384

 

 

synopsis

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.”

 

My Review

Gypsy Caravan, Tarot Wagon, Seaside

 

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway is a mystery novel about dark family secrets that takes place in England, during November (the perfect dreary weather for a thriller). The story is told from Harriet’s perspective in present day, and by journal entries from the past. After her mother is killed in an accident, Hal takes over the family business reading tarot cards on a pier in Brighton. I became attached to Hal pretty quickly, and found myself hoping she’d be able to pull off the fraud of walking away with someone else’s inheritance. Mrs. Westaway’s family is a loveless group of people who barely have anything to do with each other. I especially enjoyed cranky Mrs. Warren who helped run Mrs. Westaway’s ancient mansion for many years. Her sharp, uninhibited tongue reminded me of Lady Crawley from “Downton Abbey”.

Tarot Cards Magic Fortune Telling Gypsy Es

The setting of the Westaway mansion, Trepassen, is my favorite character. I loved how the five-sense descriptions of the house helped me feel like I was there, causing the creaks and secrets to haunt my dreams after reading late into the night.

I kinda saw the twist coming, but I almost always guess the “surprise ending” for books and movies. The secondary characters were one-dimensional for me. I would have liked to have been given more opportunity to get to know Mrs. Westaway, and Hal’s mother. Mrs. Westaway seems like an entertaining character that would probably make a great protagonist for a prequel 🙂

There was some fact repetition and I feel like one more big edit could have polished this one to a 5 star read for me.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a suspenseful thriller that is a slow-burn, however, it will keep you turning the pages. I definitely recommend you pick up this new book by Ruth Ware.

About the author.jpg

“Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9013543.Ruth_Ware

Find her on twitter at www.twitter.com/ruthwarewriter, on facebook at www.facebook.com/ruthwarewriter or via her website – www.ruthware.com

New Teen Contemporary Romance #BookReview #Netgalley #FromTwinkleWithLove

📚 “Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you. ”  📚

36373464

 

Title: From Twinkle, With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Genre: Teen Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date published: May 22nd, 2018

Page Count: 336

A Junior Library Guild Selection!

A Barnes & Noble Most Anticipated Sophomore Novel of 2018!

Available in Scholastic Book Clubs starting Fall 2018!

An Indie Next Summer 2018 Pick!

One of Popsugar’s 10 Exciting Summer Releases!

synopsis

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36373464-from-twinkle-with-love

 

My Review

From Twinkle, With Love takes place in June, Colorado Springs, told from the perspective of sixteen-year-old Twinkle Mehra, who feels like an invisible “wallflower”.

A refreshing, modern, coming-of-age story about learning from mistakes and discovering your true self. This story has a diverse cast of characters, which is always nice to read. Sahil, the twin brother of Twinkle’s crush Neil, is my favorite character. He’s an adorable, ideal example of how young modern men should treat women.

I enjoyed the use of letters, text messages, emails, and blog posts to tell the story. It made for an interesting, quick-read, which is great for the hesitant reader.

Despite a few plot holes, From Twinkle, With Love is a light, funny,  charming novel for readers 12 and up (no sex, drinking/drugs). A great summer read 🙂

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

About the author.jpg

Author of light, bright, diverse YA. Hiding behind my coffee cup, eavesdropping on your conversations.https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14834224.Sandhya_Menon

http://www.sandhyamenon.com/

The Broken Girls

📓 The Broken Girls is a suspenseful, ghostly, mystery novel about two murders that took place at a girl’s boarding school. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. This review is spoiler-free 📚 😌

35533431

 

Title: The Broken Girls

Author: Simone St. James

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Ghost Story

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Date published: March 20th, 2018

Page Count: 336 pages

 

 

synopsis

“A suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .The Broken Girls: Goodreads

 

My Review

The Broken Girls tells the story of a journalist named Fiona trying to uncover the truth about her older sister’s murder. Followed by the ghost of Mary Hand, Fiona uncovers the tragic story of Sonia, a student at Idlewild Hall boarding school in Vermont.

Some of the creepy Mary Hand ghost parts left me on the edge of my seat, all of my senses heightened in fear of hearing tapping on the window and the voice of a girl asking to come in. I enjoyed the Gothic feel to this read. The Broken Girls is a character-driven story, leaning more towards mystery than thriller. Idlewild Hall, looming over many souls for over a hundred years, was a character on its own.

There were some facts repeated multiple times which makes me feel like the author thinks I’m not smart enough to remember that particular fact after it’s mentioned the first or second time. We are also given a character description when she looks in the mirror. This info could have been woven into the story elsewhere (and it was, multiple times). The whole journalist dating a cop thing was a predictable relationship. For me, there was a lot going on, and maybe some editing could have made this a five-star read.

Chilling, unpredictable page-turner about overcoming hardships and the power of truth. I suggest this one to mystery fans who like a dollop of supernatural with a big spoonful of romance.

About the author.jpg

Simone St. James is the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.

http://www.simonestjames.com/

The Man Who Died #Thriller #BookReview #SpoilerFree #Themanwhodied #Netgalley

📓 I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.  📚 😌

The man who died

Title: The Man Who Died

Author: AnttiTuomainen

Translated from Finnish by David Hackston

Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Orenda Books

Date published: May 1st, 2018

Page Count: 245

 

 

synopsis

“A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists.

With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.” Goodreads

 

My Review

Setting: Hamina, Finland

 

Jaakko Kaunismaa: CEO of mushroom business. After finding out he is dying, he walked in on his wife cheating on him with one of his employees. Jaakko suspects his wife, Taina, she is poisoning him and decides to embark on an investigation to discover the truth. I often found myself chuckling to Jaakko’s dark sense of humor.

The other characters were pretty boring for me and lacked personality. This story focused more on plot than characters, which is often the case for thrillers. I couldn’t put it down and read it quickly. I just HAD to know if his wife was trying to kill him, what the guys from the new mushroom company were up to, and if the cop would figure out what Jaakko’s been up to.

The Man Who Died is a dark, odd, funny thriller about a quirky mushroom business man.

“Finnish author Tuomainen has come up with an irresistible crime comedy caper /…/ More than just a whodunit, but a gripping tale of self-loathing, investigation and desperate floundering /…/ Both a thriller and a dark laugh a minute journey that will keep you hanging on to the end. The story of a man investigating his own death has been done before but not with such gusto. ” – Crime Time (UK)

About the author.jpg

“Antti Tuomainen is the award-winning author of seven novels: A Killer I Wish, My Brother’s Keeper, The Healer, Dark as My Heart, The Mine, The Man Who Died and his latest – Palm Beach Finland. He has been called ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ by the Finnish press and his writing has garnered attention worldwide.

In 2011 his third novel The Healer was awarded the Clue Award for Best Finnish Crime Novel and has subsequently been published in 27 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, China, Iceland, Turkey and Greece, among others.

His fourth novel Dark as My Heart was optioned for feature film in 2013 and is in development at Making Movies Ltd., the production company behind the Finnish film sensation Black Ice. Dark as My Heart has been voted the best crime novel of the past decade by the readers of a Finnish crime fiction magazine. The novel was also nominated for the prestigious Petrona-prize in the UK in 2016.

His sixth novel The Man Who Died was published in Finland in September 2016. The novel has been optioned by Finnish production company Luminoir and is currently in development for feature film. Publishing rights for The Man Who Died have been sold to the UK, France and Germany, among others.

Antti’s seventh novel, titled Palm Beach Finland was published in September 2017 in Finland.

Antti has been a featured guest on numerous literary festivals, events, panels and book tours in the UK, Germany, France, the United States, Spain, Italy, Romania, Iceland, Norway, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland.

Antti was born in Helsinki, Finland where he lives with his wife. In addition to novels, he also writes short stories and magazine articles. You can find him easily on Facebook and he will be happy to hear from you.”

http://anttituomainen.com/

One of the best books I’ve read this year – The Astonishing Color of After #BookReview

I feel incredibly grateful to have received an advanced copy of The Astonishing Color of After in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. This is one of my most favorite books ever. I can’t wait to buy my own copy!

the astonishing color of after

 

Title: The Astonishing Color of After

Author: Emily X.R. Pan

Genre: Teen/YA Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Date published: Expected March 20, 2018

Page Count: 480

 

 

synopsis

“Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.”

My Review

The Astonishing Color of After is a freeing, haunting, quirky, contemporary romance novel about depression, suicide, grief, family secrets, forgiveness, and love. This story takes place in America and Taiwan. Told with luxuriant writing, I wish I could share some of my favorite passages, however because this is an advance copy I’m not allowed. The writing quality is exquisite.

Leigh, the main character, is a girl who thinks of every life event as a color, yet only sketches in black and white. Leigh’s best friend is a guy named Axel, who creates pictures using colors and shapes to match the song in his head, then he makes the music to match the image. He calls it opera electronica. And yes, he is as cool as he sounds. Though Leigh has a secret crush on Axel, this is not an insta-love situation. Her other close friend, Caro, is a lesbian with a super quirky, loving family. Caro’s grandparents are absolutely adorable, and definitely a couple of my favorite characters.

When Leigh travels to Taiwan we get to meet her grandparents. As Leigh travels around Taiwan, visiting her mother’s favorite places, we get to learn a lot about the food and places. Feng is a close family friend who accompanies Leigh during her travels, teaching her more about the traditions and language. In her room at her grandparents place, Leigh finds some very dark sticks of incense. Burning each incense stick transports Leigh to a world of “Smoke & Memories” where she gets to relive moments of the past from her loved ones perspective. Flashbacks can sometimes be annoying, however these “Smoke & Memories” chapters are absolutely fantastic. Leigh’s mother always wore a cicada necklace, and I was curious about what the symbolism was for this. I learned that the cicada is a symbol of immortality or rebirth, which fits perfectly.

I appreciate how much time and careful consideration it must have taken to create a narrative centered on suicide in such an authentic and gracious manner. I smiled, I laughed, I cried tears of sadness and joy. I even got goosebumps many times reading the last 15% of this magical tale. I can’t recommend this one enough – 5 STARS!

 

About the author.jpg

Emily X.R. Pan lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA from NYU, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She is a co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology, and a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi. She logs the books she reads in an Excel spreadsheet and a secret other Goodreads account.Goodreads

Emily Pan’s Website

Pre-Order “The Astonishing Color of After”

Currently Reading: Stray City #LGBT #AdultFiction #Contemporary

Stray City.jpg

Stray City is expected to be published March 20, 2018, I was sent a complimentary copy in advance in exchange for my unbiased review.

Title: Stray City

Author: Chelsey Johnson

Expected Publication: March 20, 2018

Publisher: Custom House

432 pages

Adult Fiction, Literary, LGBT, Contemporary

 

“One of the most anticipated debuts in years, Stray City strikes a perfect balance of hipster charm, sparkling literary acumen, and the sort of timely themes that make for the most popular book club selections.” Edelweiss+

A warm, funny, and whip-smart debut novel about rebellious youth, inconceivable motherhood, and the complications of belonging—to a city, a culture, and a family—when none of them can quite contain who you really are.

All of us were refugees of the nuclear family . . .

Twenty-four-year-old artist Andrea Morales escaped her Midwestern Catholic childhood—and the closet—to create a home and life for herself within the thriving but insular lesbian underground of Portland, Oregon. But one drunken night, reeling from a bad breakup and a friend’s betrayal, she recklessly crosses enemy lines and hooks up with a man. To her utter shock, Andrea soon discovers she’s pregnant—and despite the concerns of her astonished circle of gay friends, she decides to have the baby.

A decade later, when her precocious daughter Lucia starts asking questions about the father she’s never known, Andrea is forced to reconcile the past she hoped to leave behind with the life she’s worked so hard to build.

A thoroughly modern and original anti-romantic comedy, Stray City is an unabashedly entertaining literary debut about the families we’re born into and the families we choose, about finding yourself by breaking the rules, and making bad decisions for all the right reasons.” Goodreads

  • Stray City will appeal to readers of LGBTQ-themed titles such as Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Emily M. Danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, as well as fans of general coming-of-age stories such as the ‘90s cult classic Reality Bites, or Nick Hornby’s classics High Fidelity and About a Boy.” (Edelweiss+)

 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

I’m finally getting around to writing a book review for The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. As always, this review is spoiler-free.

the bazaar of bad dreams

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Mass Market Paperback: 686 pages

Published 2016 by Pocket Books

synopsis

“Since Night Shift was published more than thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled an entire generation of readers with his genius as a prominent writer of short fiction. Now, in his latest collection, he once again assembles a generous array of unforgettable, tantalizing tales. There are thrilling connections between these works – themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, and what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. Magnificent, eerie, and utterly compelling, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is one of Stephen King’s finest gifts to readers everywhere – a master storyteller at his very best.” (Book Back Blurb)

Includes the new story “Cookie Jar”

Stephen King delivers an “outstanding” (USA TODAY) collection of stories, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.” (Goodreads)

My Review

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, vivid stories that will haunt your dreams. King’s imagination is limitless. The first story, “Mile 81” is about a monster car that kills people. My favourite stories are “The Dune”, a “magical place where an invisible Moving Finger would write terrible things in the sand”, “Morality”, a story to make you wonder about how much money would someone have to pay you to commit a horrible sin, “Ur”, a story that Amazon asked King to write about the Kindle (this one has references to The Dark Tower series), “Under the weather”, an extremely disturbing love story, and “Obits”, a tale which I won’t give any info because it will give it away. Just read it.

Some reviewers have said that the stories weren’t scary, but for me, the frightening part is that aspects of each story reflect a version of events that COULD happen “in real life”. King doesn’t write simple heart-pounding typical creepy stories, he gives me that “goosebumpy” feeling of “Wow, I know this character is an ass for doing this, but I might do the same, (or know of someone who would do the same).

I think my fellow “Constant Readers” will quite enjoy these stories, but I’m not sure how someone who’s never read King’s work would enjoy The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Have you read it? What did you think? What were your favourite stories?

Until next time…

Blog Signature

 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio #BookReview #thewonderofwonder #choosekind

All of my reviews are always SPOILER FREE 🙂

Wonder.jpg

 

Title: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date published: September 2017 (originally published 2012)

Page Count: 352 pages

synopsis

A special movie tie-in edition of R.J. Palacio’s #1 New York Times bestseller, now a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Daveed Diggs, and Mandy Patinkin.
Over 5 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and Auggie Pullman, the ordinary boy with the extraordinary face, who inspired a movement to Choose Kind. This special movie tie-in trade paperback edition features an eight-page full-color insert with photos from the film, a new introduction by the author, and a family discussion guide.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid–but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, a #1 New York Times bestseller, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” –indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Join the conversation: #thewonderofwonder, #choosekind

My Review

If you haven’t heard of Wonder, you’ve been living under a rock. Both the book and movie are a big hit, and have made an enormous impact on millions of people. I do not have the talent to write a worthy review for such an important piece of literature – but I’ll give it a shot, in hopes that you’ll pick up this book, read it, then have your kids read it, and tell everyone you know to read it. Our western society is at a fork in the road, and it’s books like Wonder that may help shift the tide so we can all choose kindness.

 

Wonder is a story about acceptance, courage, compassion, loyalty, and kindness. It’s told from many perspectives: August, his sister Via, his friend Summer, his other friend Jack, and Via’s friend Miranda.

The characters feel authentic and reminded me of people I know in real life. I cried when August cried, and I laughed when he laughed. His school principal, Mr. Tushman, is like so many principals that I have worked with, hard, but kind. They work to bring the best out of you. August makes some great friends at school, Jack, Charlotte, and Summer – and he also makes some enemies, Julian. Mr. Browne, the teacher who is amazing at his job and understands how to connect with his students, not to just teach the curriculum, but to teach life changing lessons. As a parent I couldn’t help but feel connected to Augusts’ parents who struggled, like many parents, with trying to protect their children, yet give them the room to grow.

Summer is most definitely my favourite character. I would love to read an entire book about her, and I wonder what she would be like as an adult. She’s the kind of friend I wish we could all have, and the person I hope I am.

August’s first day of school
“I went straight to room 301 on the third floor. Now I was glad I’d gone on that little tour, because I knew exactly where to go and didn’t have to look up once. I noticed that some kids were definitely staring at me now. I did my thing of pretending not to notice.” page 37

“In the hallways, which were always crowded, my face would always surprise some unsuspecting kid who maybe hadn’t heard about me. The kid would make the sound you make when you hold your breath before going underwater, a little “uh!” sound. This happened maybe four or five times a day for the first few weeks: on the stairs, in front of the lockers, in the library. Five hundred kids in a school: eventually every one of them was going to see my face at some time.” page 61

“This precept means that we should be remembered for the things we do. The things we do are the most important things of all. They are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made out of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you. That’s why your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of with stone.” August, explaining Mr. Browne’s precept, Your Deeds Are Your Monuments. page 65

 

I purposefully read Wonder slowly, because I didn’t want it to end. One of my top 10 books I’ve ever read – maybe even top five. If you haven’t read Wonder, READ IT NOW! And…Choose Kind.

About the author.jpg

“R.J. Palacio lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. She did not design the cover, but she sure does love it.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4859212.R_J_Palacio