Because I’m kinda horribly out of the habit of review-writing (that, and also incredibly lazy), instead of writing actual, full length reviews of the books I read during the time I was wallowing in my creativity slump-induced angstiness, I’m going to devote a single post to a few mini-reviews. This may be something that reappears at a later date, as a way of me talking about books that I read but didn’t review because a) I didn’t have time b) I didn’t have enough thoughts about to devote an entire review to c) I abandoned this blog again. I have a few ideas brewing in the back of my brain re: things I’m going to do differently, and these mini-review posts are one of them.
But onto the books. !!!! Titles are linked to Goodreads pages.
I absolutely adored The First Third. It was a dead charming novel that had me in the rather unglamorous state of laughing and crying at the same time, and pretty much meant that The Sidekicks was an instant-buy. Will Kostakis has a rather incredible ability to fill his stories with so much heart and you can’t help but want his characters to end up happy. The character development in The Sidekicks was absolutely superb, and each of the three narrators – Ryan, Harley and Miles – felt super realistic.
I thought that the format of three separate novella-esque sections, each from a different point of view, was very effective, and worked so much better than a standard split-POV/alternating chapters. With each of the boys’ perspectives you learnt more, and gained more insight into their lives and how they related with each other.
As much as I loved reading The Sidekicks, it did feel a little disorientating, because the story pretty much instantly throws you into the mind of these grieving characters, but you never really get introduced to the person they’ve lost, or at least, you don’t until much later. But that aside, The Sidekicks was an absolutely gorgeous novel.
Remix got off to a somewhat rocky start for me. The characters were pretty whiney and unbearable, and it looked like all anyone could think about was sex, sex and more sex. But after a while the story definitely grew on me, and I found myself really enjoying it.
I’m pretty much guaranteed to like anything where female friendships are the main relationship, and even though there is some romance (using the terms super loosely there) in this book, it’s really Kaz and Ruby’s relationship that’s the focus of this book. And as much as their friendship (I initially mistyped that as “firendship” and one of the suggestions was “midshipmen” o.o) was really put through the wringer, and there was plenty of angst and miscommunication going on, you could really see how much they cared for each other, and just how well they knew each other.
Part of me wants to write a longer review of this one because I have quite a few thoughts about it, so maybe if I reread it in the future I’ll write a full review. But Remix was a book that had surprising depth and complexity, much more than the first few chapters suggested. Really good use of dual-POV, although the very short chunks written from each girl’s perspective was a little jolting at times. In all though, Remix was a pleasant surprise.
I’ve been wanting to read All The Rage for what feels like forever. But for reasons unknown, it was only released here in January (with the weird yellow cover, whyyyyyyyyy), which made me feel a little better about not getting to it, because it wasn’t actually out yet. I’m a massive Courtney Summers fan, and even though I don’t think this was quite on the same level as This Is Not A Test, I couldn’t put it down.
If you’ve read any of Courtney Summers’ other books, you’ll know that nothing gets sugar-coated or glossed over, and this is true for All The Rage. I think the blurb is a little misleading. It’s not incorrect, but I think the focus is a little off, because this book is about the aftermath, and the long-term effects of rape culture. It’s not about Kellan Turner, it’s about Romy and how the events of the night she was raped continue to affect her life – not only on a personal, psychological level, but also in how she interacts with others, as well as how rape culture
All The Rage looks at the consequences of rape culture, something which Courtney Summers touched on in Some Girls Are, but fully explores here. This is a powerful and important novel.
I really have no idea how to feel about this book. I mean, the writing was absolutely stunning, and the settings leapt off the page thanks to really evident research. But I just didn’t get it? I’m not sure what the point of the story was, and I feel like it maybe all just went over my head or something. I mean, I enjoy a little arty-farty literary stuff from time to time, but this one lost me big time.
Sometimes the narration felt a little too reminiscent of The Book Thief but more contrived. And I have no idea who the target audience was, because it wasn’t middle grade, but it didn’t quite feel entirely YA-ish either. I mean, child narrators in YA aren’t unheard of, but this book seemed way too dark and miserable for how simplistic the writing was sometimes. As I said, I’m really not sure how to feel about this one. The plot felt muddled, and although there were some really lovely moments, and moments where it seemed like we were finally getting to the point, they didn’t go anywhere.
So yeah. Not sure how to feel about this one. If you like literary fiction maybe give it a shot, but otherwise I wouldn’t really go out of my way to encourage anyone to read this. It’s a fairly tentative three stars.
When will my next post be? Who knows, but in the meantime, you should totally check out Bookish Friends, a podcast started by a friend of mine that’s all about – surprise! – books. The podcasts are currently about the books longlisted for this year’s Inky Awards, and the latest is about I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. I’ll be appearing on a few of the future podcasts. But if you like bookish discussions, definitely give Bookish Friends a listen!