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The Thanks U Give - Being Thankful: Bookish Edition

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments


As we all know, Thanksgiving is coming up! Thank you to Hazel @ Stay Bookish and Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales for hosting this event! 
Even though I'm an Australian, and we don't really celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, I believe it's super important to always be thankful for everything we have. I try to end everyday, thinking about at least one thing I'm thankful for, but Thanksgiving is a time for us to think even more about things we're grateful for. 
After being part of the bookish community for eleven months now, I have so much to be grateful for, so many people to be grateful for. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude! 

Book Bloggers 

Emily @ Paperback PrincessRanu @ The Araliya Bookshelf - You guys were my first friends in the bookish community, and you guys essentially showed me the ropes! 
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books - We don't talk so often anymore, but you are so hardworking, and always made me feel valued in the bookish community! I loved our comment sprees, with how we would always have a conversation going! Plus, your supportiveness in DMs, etc. has always motivated me! <3 
Cilla @ Paved With Books - People always talk about their bookish friends, and honestly, I don't really keep in contact with many people. But Cilla, you are one of the few that I do regularly keep in contact with, and I love that. You reply so quickly to my messages, and I'm so grateful to have you in my life. 
Sophie @ Sailing Through Books, TT @ Intro to Blurb, Denise @ The BibliolaterLucie @ Tea, Books and Fun and Annika @ Hiding Books- I really am so thankful for all the conversations you've all had with me! You've made the bookish community a very friendly place for me! Particularly, Denise - thanks so much for showing me the ropes in bookstagram, and tagging me in some challenges! And Sophie for hosting WIFSY! 
Jeann @ Happy Indulgence, Maddie @ Paso Maddie and Brett @ Brett Michael Orr - I'm so grateful to have found you guys and finally met you guys! I never thought there would be Brisbane book bloggers, let alone really friendly, down-to-earth Brisbane book bloggers, so it was such a pleasure to meet you guys this year! 
There are honestly too many people to thank here - I could have a whole list of them! 


Other Bookish Things 

Brisbane City Council's Library service - BCC, your library service is spot on. I used to whine about how bad the book selection was, but after joining the bookish community, and seeing all the latest releases, and seeing how quickly you got those books, I'm just so grateful to have you around. Without the library service, I would never be able to read as many of the 2016 releases as I have, being a university student. 
Bookish Community - Although there have been a fair share of dramas, there's no doubting the way that the bookish community is generally here for everyone. I've found some great friends, and gotten some very awesome book recs *cough* A Darker Shade of Magic *cough*
Authors - THANK YOU SO MUCH. Without you guys, I would never feel ALL THE FEELS, and have been able to bond with so many cool people here on the blogosphere! Never feel like you are doing nothing, because the words you write have the power to change, have the power to make other people feel things. 

What's one thing you're grateful for this year? Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

Friday, November 11, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments



The Breakdown


General Info:
     Title: The Yearbook Committee
     Author: Sarah Ayoub
     Genre: Contemporary, YA
     Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
     Publishing Date: March 1st, 2016

Thoughts:
     Excellent:
          - Excellent characterisation and development
          - Plot twist was unexpected but expected at the same time - that beautiful combination was enticing! 

    Things that could have been better:
         - More pages could have been dedicated to the resolution of the climax

Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Initial Thoughts

Honestly, I picked up this book, only because everyone had been talking about it for OzYA! As an Australian and an avid book lover, I felt duty-bound to read it ASAP, and when I found it in the library...well, one thing led to another. 

Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.
The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?
The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …
The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.
The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?
The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.
Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

Characters

What I loved most about The Yearbook Committee was how well-developed the characters were. They each had their own stories, their own personalities, and they were so well fleshed out. Even though I didn't like Charlie, that was just because I just didn't like her, like I would dislike anyone in real life. In fact, that's the entire point - these characters were human. Ayoub got to the heart of what it means to be human, and that is what makes this book so spectacular.

Plot

I really enjoyed the fact that this book had a plot. In a lot of contemporaries, it feels more like a slice of life novel - no real plot, no climax, etc. But right from the start, we know that the goal is to create the yearbook. 
Then there is the ending. The dramatic plot twist was awesome to read - I never saw it coming, yet you could have totally predicted it, with the little tiny breadcrumbs that Ayoub throws our way. 
However, my only complaint would be that the aftermath of the plot twist wasn't dealt with properly. There were only a few pages after the climax, and after such a big plot twist, I thought there would be more pages dedicated to the characters' thoughts, etc. 

Writing Style

Ayoub writes in a clearly, and really articulately. I didn't have to reread anything - everything made sense the first time I read it, even though there were five (that's right, FIVE) viewpoints. I usually hate reading different points of views, because I ALWAYS forget what happened in x, y and z character's plot line...but I don't know, after the first few pages, I eventually got used to it, because of Ayoub's writing. 


Entertainment Value

I really enjoyed reading The Yearbook Committee. Even though it was difficult  for me to get used to the book at first, and I had to slog my way through it - after a couple of pages, I was hooked in, and I couldn't stop. Plus, I couldn't stop thinking about it after I finished reading it, even though a couple of days had passed - blame it on that plot twist and feelings of how unresolved it was! 

Final Thoughts

The Yearbook Committee is a wonderful YA book from Sarah Ayoub, which has a cast of a variety of characters, which are all so relatable and oh so human. Definitely an OzYA novel to read! 

Rating



Thoughts in a Phrase

OzYA Love! 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine



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The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Tuesday, November 01, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments



The Breakdown


General Info:
     Title: The Sun Is Also A Star
     Author: Nicola Yoon
     Genre: Contemporary, YA
     Publisher: Penguin Random House
     Publishing Date: November 1st, 2016

Thoughts:
     Excellent:
          - The ending - reflects the book as a whole
          - The side characters - whilst there were two main characters, we got an insight into minor characters' motives, etc., and it explored some serious issues
          - Format of the book

    Things that could have been better:
         - Premise of the entire book - Instalove 
         - Cultural representation - not sure if it's accurate 

Rating:  4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | My review of Everything, Everything

Initial Thoughts

I requested this novel from Penguin Random House, because I really liked reading Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon! Everything, Everything had such an interesting premise, and with The Sun Is Also A Star (TSIAAS), there was a gripping premise as well! Yoon really knows how to come up with ideas for contemporary YA novels! 
What gripped me about TSIAAS was the main character - Natasha. As it says in the synopsis, Natasha loves science. Doing a BSc, I have to be passionate about science to some degree, and so I was really interested to hear Natasha's story. 

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story. 

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


Characters

As TSIAAS is a contemporary novel, the characters are supposed to carry the novel. Sadly, I found the main characters subpar. They were both from minority groups, which I found interesting at first. But I thought that some aspects weren't very well researched. 
The broken English that Natasha and Daniel's parents spoke seemed very typecast and set in stereotypes to me. My parents are first-generation immigrants (and I am as well) to Australia, and our English was nowhere as broken as these parents were. It didn't sit right with me - although I do know there are some families out there that do speak broken English, I couldn't help but feel like this aspect of their characters was a very stereotyped one. 
It was particularly confusing when Yoon writes about Chinese characters for Korean names - when I first read that, I was unsure if that was a typo, until my sister told me that Koreans use the same characters that Chinese do. Perhaps my main issue with that was that it should have been clarified somehow - because I know I was bamboozled for a long time until my sister explained it. 
Whilst the main characters and their families weren't a huge success for me, I thought the main success was in how Yoon wrote about the little side characters, the ones we only hear about for perhaps three chapters at most. These voices were the ones that resonated the most with me, that explored deep issues like suicide, feeling disillusioned with your life, etc. 

Plot

Honestly, the plot was very unbelievable. But this wasn't a huge problem for me - to me, it's okay if there is an unbelievable plot, so long as it is so fantastic that I can suspend my disbelief for it. TSIAAS is absolutely built on coincidences, which I find difficult to believe, but I lapped it up anyway because it was just so good. Plus, these coincidences gave me hope in the universe - how the small actions we all do contribute in some way towards others' lives. It reminded me how each and every one of us play a role and that none of us are insignificant. 
The largest problem I have with the plot though, was the instalove. The book relies on instalove - there are large platters of instalove served up for us. However, this is pretty predictable given the synopsis, so I didn't really have a huge problem with it - it wasn't as if it was a huge shock that there would be lots of instalove. 

Writing Style

Comparing TSIAAS to Everything, Everything, there is no doubt that Yoon is the author of this book. Her unique writing style, lettered with drawings and short chapters are as prevalent here as they are in Everything, Everything. The drawings and little annotations were some of my favourite things in Everything, Everything, so it was good to see it come back in TSIAAS
TSIAAS works as a novel because of the way it was written - in a two-person alternating format, dotted with some small chapters from other small characters. This writing style really lets us see how coincidental everything is, and how a moment can change everything forever, how some choices can affect many people. 

Entertainment Value

Like Everything, Everything, TSIAAS is a pretty cruisy read. Simplistic language made it easy to read this book in one-and-a-half sittings (work interrupted my reading). Although most of the book was easy to read, I didn't find it very gripping. Only the ending hooked me - the ending spoke volumes as to what the book was all about - coincidences and taking chances. 
I also enjoyed doing a bookstagram photoshoot with TSIAAS! A gorgeous cover makes for some fun times whilst taking photos - so many different colours to work with! 

Final Thoughts

The Sun Is Also A Star is a novel that speaks to the remarkable coincidences that happen in the world. Ever thought, "Wow, that's such a coincidence!" or "I can't believe that happened!"? TSIAAS will show you how remarkable and life changing some coincidences can be, in less than 400 pages. 
However, if you're not a fan of instalove though, then definitely don't pick up this book - whilst TSIAAS is littered with little coincidences which can give you hope for the world, the instalove shadows every part of this book. 

Rating




Thoughts in a Phrase 

Coincidence and instalove. 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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