Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is EverywhereTitle: The Sky is Everywhere | Author: Jandy Nelson | Walker Books | Stand Alone | 368 pages | Young Adult | Contemporary | 4 Stars Source: Bought
Release Date: June 7th 2010
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis

“Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, with a nearly magical grin. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But the two can’t collide without Lennie’s world exploding…”

Review

First of all I am going to get the very few bad points out of the way. This novel took me longer than average (60 pages) to get in to. At the beginning I was overwhelmed by characters. Across the first 25 pages we meet: Gram, Uncle Big, Lennie, Bailey, Joe, Sarah, Rachel and Toby. 6 of these characters are quite constant through out the novel and the other 2, not so much but they still have their parts. I couldn’t keep up and I kept on feeling hopelessly lost because I couldn’t remember who was who when Lennie’s thought process was going on. Regardless of this though, after patience and concentration on my part there was no stopping me.

The good points outweigh the bad points by tons. It’s so frank and honest about the sensitive topic that is death and it does not try to out run it. The way Lennie’s grief process and emotions are described are stunning, even though at times harrowing to read.

The way Lennie overcomes her grief is very credible. She does this though her music, writing poetry and conversations she had with Bailey on every available surface area (and when on paper she just lets them drop on the floor – which I found intriguing), spending hours upon hours in the bedroom (or the ‘sanctum’) she shared with Bailey and finally sharing her grief with the two boys in her life- Joe and Toby. Joe being the one who takes her away from it all and Toby being the one who buries himself under the grief with her. I love the fact that she grieved in her own ways in my eyes this means that there is no right or wrong way and everyone has the right to deal with situations like this in the best possible way they can.

The elements of romance are too, very plausible. In many books I have read with love triangles you can tell that the protagonist loves one of them more than the other. But with this one you can’t. The encounters between Lennie & Toby and Lennie & Joe are described so profoundly that you know she loves them both equally and in so many different ways. They both bring here a sense of relief one way or another.

Although in some places Lennie’s journey is sometimes painful and saddening to follow, the fact that in the end (I think) she gets the finale that she deserves makes all of her (and my!) heart break and sorrow completely and utterly worth it. Definitely a must read. And yes, I did cry.

Goodreads Average: 4.10/5 (out of 29,707 ratings)

Want to buy it? Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository

Review: The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

18635092The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains Neil Gaiman | Illustrated by Eddie Campbell
Headline Publishing | Stand Alone | 4 Stars Source: Bookbridgr/Review | Fantasy 

Release Date: June 17th 2014
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

You ask me if I can forgive myself?
I can forgive myself . . .

And so begins The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure. This gorgeous full-color illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman and renowned artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman’s award-winning story. In this volume, the talents and vision of two great creative geniuses come together in a glorious explosion of color and shadow, memory and regret, vengeance and, ultimately, love.

. . . for many things. For where I left him.
For what I did.

Review:

I have never read a book by Neil Gaiman before, however, I have known of him for years. He is one of those people that you always hear something about. Whether it be his books that receive endless streams of positive reviews or his screen writing. When I saw this pop up for review on Bookbridgr, I just had to request it.

This novel stands at just 80 pages and took me just under an hour to read. I had some level of expectations but I still did not go in with hugely high hopes because as I said before, I have never a read a book by Gaiman. I finished the novel adoring it and in the end I was so glad I requested it.

I am not going to go into too much detail when it comes to synopsis. A man goes to see another gentleman about going to the Black Mountains to find hidden gold. Gold that comes at a huge price. The gentleman agrees to take him there and off the go on a journey to the Black Mountains. To say this is oversimplifying the plot would be an understatement. But I think that is all you need to if you are going to go in to this one without any kind of spoilers.

 

The Truth is Cave in the Black Mountains is so beautifully written. It has such an eerie and poetic quality to the writing. It probably could have took me less time to read this one but I wanted to take in every word. The plot was interesting to witnessing the plot unfold on top of the writing style made this such an enjoyable read for me.

This book is stunning. Inside and out. Eddie Campbell’s illustrations are just breath taking and at some points were even scary. I wish I could share them all. Especially my personal favourite ones. However, I will just leave you with these two as any more will probably spoil some things for anyone who decides to pick this one up.

I recommend this to people who are want to get in to Neil Gaiman’s work. As I said before, it is only short. What have you got to lose?

Goodreads Average: 4.16/5 (out of 208 ratings)

This was sent to me by Headline Publishing (Via Bookbridgr) in exchange for an honest review. 

Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She WokeTitle: When She Woke | Author: Hillary Jordan Harper Books | Stand Alone | 4 Stars | Source: Review | 341 pages Adult | Dystopia
Release Date: October 4th, 2011

Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:
“Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes – criminals whose skin colour has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime – is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.

WHEN SHE WOKE is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future – where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.”

Review

When She Woke is a dystopian novel set in the not so distant future. There are only a few changes compared to what we have in the world today.
It began with a great start, providing us with Hannah’s current situation (“red as a stop sign”) and in parts one and two flickering back in time and forward to the present day in order to discover why she is in this situation.

For me parts one and two (it’s set in to four) of the novel were a little slow – even though they were beautifully written making me experience the burning lights of the chrome prison and the sorrow of aborting her baby – they still seemed to drag.

However this aside part three is where the plot really began to take off! There were numerous ups and downs that kept me glued to the pages and finishing the final two parts in a matter of hours.
When it comes to character development, I adore what Hannah has become. She has gone from a quiet only-speak-when-spoken-to girl to a bright, opinionated woman that has no doubt in herself or her actions. 

All though I did have the initial struggle with the first two parts I would recommend this too all book lovers who want to try a new kind of dystopia. Be warned this is more adult than Young Adult. It drops the C bomb (in there right context, though. If there is one) and there is quite a bit of swearing in places. 

Goodreads Average: 3.68/5 (out of 14,078)

Want to buy it? Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository