So I sort of really enjoyed this book. It was way more spectacular than A Court of Thorns and Roses and I really reveled in reading it, despite what I expected about this book. I shipped Feysand instead of Feylin the whole way, which is why I think I enjoyed this book so much. Altogether, it was definitely an unforgettable book.
Oh, I’ll say it. I loved A Court of Mist And Fury. I thought that I definitely wouldn’t, after reading Aimal‘s review and talking to her about it. She told me that I should give it a go, and so I did. And where she hated it, I loved it.
That’s that. (IMO IMO IMO everything here is IMO) It was infinitely better than the preceding novel, no doubt. So naturally, I’m having a hard time reviewing it, because of ALL OF MY THOUGHTS. But what I’ve figured out about this book is that there is two primary views of it: 1) the people who hate it and have good reason to 2) the people who love it and have good reason to. There’s not really an in the middle with this book, there is no average, it’s either you were pleased with all the great things, or you were brought down by all the lesser details. And I belong to the former group, but I will address some things that I didn’t like as well. Whoo. I’m not ready for this. Please write faster, Mrs. Maas. I NEED THAT THIRD BOOK NOW NOW NOW.
Made You Up is my latest extent of interest in YA novels about schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. Each time I read a book about these type of things, I feel motivated to read about mental disorders and try to understand them and this book pulled off everything. With just the right amount of crazy, hallucinations, doubts, suspense, and thrill, and just a little (wonderful) bit of romance, the book made my head SPIN with the dire NEED to fangirl.
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
To be honest, I was never a fan of YA contemporary. Sure, I loved YA Fantasy and YA Sci-fi and lots of dystopian-set books, but I had my on contemporary for a long time. I didn’t know, however, how incredible contemporary is.
I recently read Eleanor and Park and I thought it was a wonderful contemporary. Everything about it, you could tell, was planned out. It was very thought-out with lots of visible effort in it. Eleanor and Park was a light, breezy romance with a strong ending and premise.
The characters were, how do I put it, interesting. Eleanor was completely and totally the opposite of a girl. With baggy clothes and bushy red hair and scarves wrapped in her hair and around her wrists, and with lots of baby fat remaining, Eleanor was a completely new reading experience for me. I loved it, because right now we need lots of diversity in books. We can’t always have beautiful heroines who are strong and smart and save the day each time. We need new people to share the spotlight, with physical disabilities/illnesses/inabilities and mental disabilities/illnesses/inabilities. I thought Eleanor was a strong character who had to go through a lot and developed as a person tremendously, all right before my eyes.
Park wasn’t horrible. I thought that Park actually had a ring to it. It’s a rather new name, and Park was a really, well, good person. Park was referred to in the beginning as “the Asian kid” which was pretty curious and laughable. Park defended Eleanor *Taekwondo flip-kick* (show-off. I can do it better than him. I’m going to go take my black belt and hold it in his face and being like HA HA) when she was being made fun of and he genuinely cared for her. Not how she looked or how she dressed. More of how she thought and how she acted.
Reading from Eleanor and Park’s perspectives was a bit exhilarating. And this is also the reason I would hesitantly recommend this book. It was a lovely book, definitely a strong one, but there was lots of bad language. And I mean a lot. I wasn’t going to hit the book, but when they started the book off with bad language and then continuously used it again and again in the same moment–that was sort of tiring and hard to read, so be aware.
The world-building was very light, which is why I would give it a four stars. You didn’t know much at all besides the bus and the school, and each of the perspectives viewed it as something you would pretty much already know. As if, ahead of time, we studied the setting, which we, as readers did not. I thought they had to improve on this, no matter it was a regular high school. There was no sense of surroundings, and the settings were really hard to picture.
The writing was pretty fluid, if you ignore the bad language. It was fluid and one moment transitioned smoothly to another. From Eleanor and Park in their history class, it overviewed their day not richly until English class, their next class together. I said the romance was light and breezy. It was, and I’m satisfied enough with that.
The plot was strong, really strong. It ends on a pretty happy note, a semi-cliffhanger at that, and unfortunately this is a stand-alone. I would love to read the sequel if there was one. The story line was rich in detail and unique. There were a few clichés but they fit in the story so much that you would recognize them and not mind them. There was also another trope in the story I didn’t like however, and it was “The new girl vs. The mean girl” trope. With the mean girl having a pretty loose tongue (manner of speaking, I should say).
What I loved most about this book was how Eleanor and Park fell in love. Seriously, guys, they fell in love over comics. On the bus, Park was the only one who offered Eleanor a seat and he would read comics everyday, and she would just look over his shoulder and read. It was pretty entertaining and unique. And Park did not fail to purposefully bring her comics to read everyday. It was very light, but it was lovely to read.
Rainbow Rowell is one of the most celebrated authors of YA Contemporary, seriously guys. I thought she did an excellent, excellent job in this novel. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for her other contemporaries.
I recommend this novel strongly. If you are up for a light romance with hard core, then I say go for it!
Have you read Eleanor and Park?
Who is your favorite author for contemporaries?
What are other Rowell contemporaries you would recommend?
Title: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: YA Romance/ Dystopian
Paperback price: $9.99
Preceded by: The Elite
Followed by: The Heir
This book was easily the best in the whole series. With America finally making up her mind about who she loved, you don’t have to endure anymore of her blabbing about her love for both Aspen and Maxon. Now she loves Maxon and she wants to be Selected, so the One grabbed a lot more attention, it was fast-paced, and I absolutely loved it.
The time has come for one winner to be crowned.
When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.
Easily, like I said, easily, this is the best book in the series, and I forgave Kiera Cass for all of her stumbling because she gave me a great story in the One. The rebels made oh-so-much-more sense in this book, the Southern rebels meant to destroy, the Northern Rebels meant to disrupt, and they only wanted the castes to be dissolved, like America said.
In this amazing book, more obstacles are thrown in America’s way. Maxon finds himself loving other girls too, especially Kriss, and America is jealous. It is obvious, and it is a little more entertaining to see America actually acting like a girl. The book opens with America trying to be provocative towards Maxon, which turns out a big failure. It is hilarious. America is described wearing a “trashy” dress and by the end of it all, Maxon is laughing his head off. Honestly, I jeered and clapped. This was, maybe, the most hilarious part in the whole series. *stifles laugh*
It turns out that the rebel attacks from the Northern rebels aren’t just attacks; the Northern rebels want Maxon to choose America as his wife. At this point, Maxon gets a temper and yells about how this is “his life” and I felt sad with America, because at this point, I could relate to her a lot easier.
America’s perspective in this book was thoroughly changed. Lots of relationships formed throughout the book, strong bonds were tested to remain intact, and America had a fresh view on everybody she ever knew. All the imperfections come together to create a wonderful book that is worth the time. Celeste, the diva, becomes America’s friend after America witnesses Celeste crying, and understands her situation. They become friends so strong, all the Elite, that is described that America knew that she would contact these girls no matter if she got selected or not. I loved it. I loved the friendliness.
Queen Amberly was so much more, more, more, in this book. At one point, all the Elite join together to have a girl’s day, and even Queen Amberly is included. At a point in this celebration, America comes over with a hairbrush and offers to brush Queen Amberly’s hair and she subjects to it. America jokes lightly by saying “Yes, mom,” but Queen Amberly, who had three miscarriages, does not take it lightly. America rights herslef with “ma’am”, but Queen Amberly says that it would be alright if America called her “Mom”, especially if things turned out the way Queen Amberly thought they would, which was obvious that Queen Amberly thought Maxon would choose America.
Through this all, there is finally loss, and that too, a very touching one. It is the loss of America’s father, and when she visits her home with Aspen and one of her maids Lucy for her father’s burial, she finds even family bonds are tested. Kota, her eldest brother, disrespects her father, because Kota is not pleased with his father’s caste, and wants to buy himself up the castes. America, you see now, has developed into quite the lady. She has the grit and the integrity and right perspective to stand up to her brother, and give him a good scolding. This just makes you feel like America would be a very good Queen.
Throughout the book, there is a part where America and Maxon get really intense, and you know Maxon will pick America, but that thread is broken very quickly, when they are caught by Aspen. He accuses America of her doing, and of course, she is trying to keep her friendship with Aspen and she stutters out an “I didn’t, I don’t” or something to Aspen’s accusation, and Maxon is right there. He hears it all. And they are broken so quickly, it is shocking and hurtful. This America Singer, who’s solution to everything was resorting to crying, actually touched you at this point.
She loved Maxon, it was so obvious. I thought that it was very well-written, with just the right amount of emotion. Maxon feels betrayed and says he’ll pick Kriss and he doesn’t care for her anymore, and she is close to tears, but he doesn’t care. He tells her to put on a smile and keep it there and when she is out of the palace can she cry. I wanted to slap him, how powerful Cass’s writing was here. During the part where Maxon is supposed to declare Kriss his choice, the Southern rebels attack. Celeste is killed, and so as many others. America is targeted, and Maxon jumps across and takes a bullet to his shoulder, or somewhere close to his arm, and that proves how much he loves her.
Now Maxon thinks he is dying, and he tells her he loves her. America is taken by Aspen to another safe room to wait out the attack and Aspen gives her a gun “in case” and she uses it to fire at a rebel who was about to shoot at Aspen, and though she misses, she gives Aspen the momentum to save himself.
Finally, at the end of the attack, the palace barely makes it through because the angelic Northern rebels interfered. At first, America thinks Maxon is dead, but Aspen, shot in the leg, tells her he isn’t. Then Lucy appears, and Aspen and Lucy kiss, and America thinks that the relationship is perfect. Then she finds Maxon, and he proposes, and she agrees.
The book ends with her and Maxon’s wedding, right as Aspen walks her down the aisle and places her hand in Maxon’s. America says:
This isn’t happily ever after. This is so much more than that.
This book was beautiful, like a work of art, and it was a masterpiece. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would recommend the series to anyone who loves a read that will leave you with a bang!
I can’t wait to read the Heir!