Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera | the most twisted emotional experience

19542841

4.5 stars 

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx. 

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto – miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough. 

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera’s novels should come with warning labels on the covers, saying “only proceed further if you are ready to suffer constant bouts of sadness and depression throughout the book and after finishing it.” The only other Silvera novel I’ve read was History Is All You Left Me and I thought it was one of the most distressing books I’ve ever read, but More Happy Than Not seemed to be more than happy to top the list. This book took me through such an intense experience, it started off so unassuming (though I did know it was going to get worse) and then just turned into this twisted, distressing, emotional mind-fuck. But you know what? Even if it was incredibly sad and painful to read, More Happy Than Not is easily one of the best YA books ever written due to a number of reasons.

First off, the writing was absolutely gorgeous. And by gorgeous, I mean totally raw, honest, and heartbreaking without being too dramatic or cliche. There is actually a remarkable difference between the prose seen in this book and History Is All You Left Me, the latter was filled with extensive descriptions of settings and emotions, making every event taking place so much more intense. This was one of the few aspects of the book that hindered my reading experience, but the prose in More Happy Than Not largely differs from this, and I loved it. It’s so truthful and real, and Silvera shows life’s ugliness so effortlessly without adding extra commentary to spice up the drama. The violence, cursing, and pain was so heartbreaking to read but so well-written at the same time. I also loved the atmosphere Silvera created, the story is set in the Bronx and all the little things that extenuate its mood match perfectly with the characters and their relationships toward one another.

I’ve only read two Silvera books so far, but those new to his work should know that it will only get worse and worse for the characters as the story goes on. You think things are going well, and BAM. Violence. Tragedy. Heartbreak. These characters can never catch a fucking break, and its absolute ass for the reader because they’re all written so damn well. Aaron, Thomas, Genevieve, and all the other characters in the book are so relatable, honest, funny, and just real. I loved their relationships with each other and the numerous nerdy references they made throughout the novel. But, what I like most about Silvera’s characters is how they’re not afraid to get vulnerable. Aaron goes through most of this book feeling broken, frustrated, and helpless, and while I can’t relate to any of the horror he’s faced, his emotion bursts off the page and is so visceral, that I can clearly feel the hurt coursing through my heart. Thomas and Genevieve are equally flawed, well-developed characters, nothing about them or even the minor characters seem one-dimensional. All of the shades of their personality are shown in such realistic ways.

The amount of themes embedded in this book are crazy and expressed so subtly. Aaron not only struggles with accepting himself and his sexuality, but also has to deal with mental health issues stemming from his father’s death, his not-so-luxurious living and financial situation, and his scarred friends and neighborhood. Silvera tackles so many problems with such clarity and honesty, that it’s difficult to avoid the pain while watching these events unfold but also easy to connect and understand it. While the craziness takes some time to settle in, once it hits you, it is absolutely brutal. I can’t say much without spoiling, but the progression of the plot and story are so well-done that every piece of emotion sent your way is so deep-rooted.

More Happy Than Not is not an easy book to read by any means, but it is still absolutely necessary to read. There are few novels out there that can tell an emotional, raw story with such truthfulness and poignancy. But this is one of those rare books out there that will resonate with you and I urge you all to give it a try. You won’t forget it.

-Haven

Advertisements
Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch | a fast-paced fantasy adventure with a kickass protagonist

17399160

4 stars

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

I had quite lukewarm feelings toward Snow Like Ashes, which I did not expect at all considering the amount of praise for this book seen on Goodreads. The ratings for Snow Like Ashes seemed to be so calm and non-polarized, and while my experience with it didn’t start off so great, my feelings greatly improved throughout the course of the story. There is a sense of calm and collectedness instilled in the progression, but it still makes a striking impact.

Unfortunately, fantasy worlds do tend to follow a formula, there isn’t a multitude of ideas that can be utilized to create something totally different, but I appreciate the fact that Snow Like Ashes maintained a more unique atmosphere even if its plot was a tad repetitive. This world is split up into 8 kingdoms, 4 season and 4 rhythm kingdoms. They each have their own histories with each other, and the book does take some time to outline that. The writing was a tad difficult to swallow because of all the info-dumps in the beginning, which I could have done without, thank you very much. Interestingly, while there is so much seriousness and darkness in the basic story, I got a very relaxed, calm and collected vibe from the ease in progression. Nothing felt rushed or directionless, some plot points took some time to sink in and other maintained their unpredictability throughout. It might seem a little blase and too quiet for some, but I thought its atmosphere only added to the overall impact.

Meira is so badass, dear lord. For once, a fantasy heroine is more focused on the revival of her kingdom, the politics surrounding it, and how she can contribute in a major way toward Winter’s comeback instead of just sticking to being a pawn that wears pretty dresses and eat fancy food all day. I might be calling out a few specific heroines on this one, but I miss the times where female fantasy characters didn’t sit their asses down on plush couches, wear long, glittery ballgowns, and dignify us with extensive passages on their makeup and hair and dressing when getting ready for a royal ball. It seems as though all these fantasy novels take place in palaces and castles, and all the political engagement we get from the main character is how her involvement in the inevitable love triangle is a problem. While Meira does experience the #royallyfe for a bit after getting into a political alliance with the Rhythm season Cordell, her strength and loyalty toward her kingdom, her relentless fight to discover her role in Winter’s revival, and her determination to stay true to herself throughout make her not only a badass female character but a relatable one. She was this book’s biggest asset and biggest victory, I loved her narration and can only hope she doesn’t turn into a wuss in the sequel.

I will never understand why Raasch decided to add in a damn love triangle, but I have to commend her for not putting that much emphasis on it. I think we have entered a new era of YA fantasy in which the political sides of each world is finally payed attention, but it doesn’t mean the romances stay in their lanes and not take over the plot. Theron and Mather are both interesting and layered characters (even if they get on my nerves a whole lot), but it’s clear their involvement with Meira isn’t supposed to be entirely developed in this book, which is why the triangle itself has a minimized page time. Meira, being the badass that she is, doesn’t really give a fuck about her ‘feelings’ for the boys, and by this, I mean she has the good sense to not describe their bodies in full detail and not angst about both of them constantly. She’s the ultimate gift, honestly.

Snow Like Ashes doesn’t do much different from other YA fantasies, but if you want an engaging, fast-paced, adventurous read, with an actually competent leading lady, this book is definitely for you. I’d recommend it to everyone, honestly.

-Haven

Books, New Releases, YA Fiction

Anticipated Releases: October 2017

comingsoonbanner

October is upon us, folks! Hopefully I’ll get a few chances to check out the new releases I’ve been behind on, as well as explore these unique yet familiar October releases 🙂

Image result for page breaker

25528808That Inevitable Victorian Thing, by E.K Johnston – Coming October 3rd, 2017

 Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved, not by the cost of blood and theft but by effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.

I’ve already fallen in love with this world and the story sounds so different and unique! I can tell already this book will transcend genres, and I’m incredibly excited to see what it holds.

Image result for page breaker

33158561

Wild Beauty, by Anna-Marie McLemore – Coming October 3rd, 2017

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Mystical, magical, lush vibes, plus that cover! *heart eyes*

Image result for page breaker

15837671Turtles All The Way Down, by John Green – Coming October 10th, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

John Green and I have complicated relationship: Regardless of some written moments, I always have this underlying irritation regarding his rehashed characters, rehashed plot, and rehashed philosophical pretentiousness. However, I will still give his novels a chance, because there is a chance I might end up liking them, like Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a novel I didn’t expect to like at all.

Image result for page breaker

30025336

All The Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater – Coming October 10th, 2017

Here is a thing everyone wants: 
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Maggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.

I’ve been hearing so much about this book on Goodreads, and unfortunately, most of chatter is social justice warriors doing their usual shit. I have no problem with SJWs, but it would be nice if a white author could write about POC characters without any backlash before their book is even released. Most of these people haven’t even read the book yet and are already giving it one star ratings. It annoys the crap out of me. But anyway, enough of this rant, I’m hella hyped for this! I’m definitely ready to visit Stiefvater’s distinct style again, even if we both have had our ups and downs with each other.

Image result for page breaker

29622131A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

I’m desperately hoping this book doesn’t turn out to be another cliche fantasy. However, the reviews seem to be saying otherwise so I’m expecting good things from this one!

Image result for page breaker

Thanks for reading, peeps 🙂 What are your highly anticipated September releases? Let me know in the comments!

Books, YA Fiction

September 2017 Wrap Up

This month was a perfect balance of re-reads and new reads, and while I would have liked to read more, judging by the amount of craziness this month held I’m pretty damn proud of myself for even reading 1 book.

Image result for page breaker

13545075Unwholly, by Neal Shusterman (5 stars) – It’s probably my second or third time re-reading this series, and this book is absolutely amazing, as expected. Unwholly actually used to be my least favorite of the Unwind books, but after re-reading it now, it’s actually my favorite one!

Image result for page breaker

17334446UnSouled by Neal Shusterman (4.25 stars) – That cover still creeps the shit out of me, but damn this book was incredible as well! The characters, the setting, everything is so symbolic and calculated and just FLAWLESS. I can’t review sophisticatedly when it comes to this series. Nope, I can’t.

Image result for page breaker

18692431Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (1 star) – This book is really special to me, because it’s one of the few novels I’ve ever read in which I cannot say two positive things about it. I hate to be the black sheep once more, but readers, I just couldn’t handle this one. You can read my full review here.

Image result for page breaker

22910900The Rest Of Us Just Live, by Patrick Ness (3.25 stars) – This book was my first introduction to Patrick Ness, and I really didn’t think it was that bad. However, while I enjoyed the characters and the idea of the ‘chosen ones’ concept, the story as a whole could have been executed far better. My full review can be read here.

Image result for page breaker

17950614UnDivided by Neal Shusterman (5 stars) – Guys, don’t even ask me to speak coherently when it comes this novel. This book WRECKED ME. Unwound my soul into a million little pieces and put it back together again. The amount of depth, thought, and emotion put into this series is what makes each book so, so consistently good. I cannot recommend this series enough.

 

Image result for page breaker

Thanks for reading, guys! How did your september go? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Books

Alex, Approximately, by Jen Bennett

2.5 Stars

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

This is a book I really wanted to like. And I really mean it when I say that. The blurb sounded cute, the ratings were good, but most of all, Haven thought it was an example of fluff done right. And while I see why people like this book so much, I also think that I’ve read too many almost identical contemporaries to truly enjoy this formulaic type of book anymore. Sorry, Haven. 😦

Alex, Approximately is a retelling of You’ve Got Mail, and the premise is actually very cute. I appreciated that Bennett understood that the fact that Alex being Porter was too obvious to turn into a plot twist, and thus we were told of this in the blurb itself. The book itself started out predictable, but still cute. Bailey is likable, her friend Grace enjoyable, and Porter was the current-asshole-with-a-dark-secret-but-wait-you’re-gonna-love-him kind of guy. After the start, however, I felt there was a pretty significant drop in enjoyability; my irritation was probably increased by the fact that I was on a feminist literature streak, and contemporaries are not known for being amazing in this department.

I don’t want to make this entire review about the bad, since I did enjoy this to a certain extent, but I can’t help it. My first problem with it is how long it took Bailey to figure out the Alex-Porter connection. I don’t generally do well with dramatic devices that involve the audience knowing something the characters don’t, and I quickly lost patience with Bailey. The moment we’re waiting for really only happens in the last 10 pages of the book after huge amounts of stalling, and while I understood why it was written that way, Bailey came off as pretty dense to me.

My second problem is the “villain.” Fluff contemporaries generally have bad guys who are zero-dimensional (typically in a “mean girl” form) and this book was no exception. Because it’s a facet of the genre, I don’t mind this type of villain, but I thought the character of Davy was grossly abused in the writing. He’s portrayed as Porter’s old friend who’s now an all-around idiot and asshole, but he has a chronic injury, is addicted to narcotics as a result, and his parents don’t care about him enough to address it. That sounds like a character who’s desperately in need of reconciliation and help, but he’s just the “bad” guy in this book and is dismissed as such. I think this book would have been stronger if there was less victim blaming, or even if Davy just stayed zero-dimensional without all these cries for help.

My final problem is the incredible amount of guys doing things for girls because females are incapable creatures. Maybe I’ve been on a feminism streak lately (as I mentioned earlier), but I was waiting for Bailey to finally stick up for herself, and was relatively disappointed. Bailey is initially a “serial avoider” (a pushover), and the growth potential was enormous. Although she does come out of her shell and make out with Porter, this book is still filled with: Porter punching people to “defend her honor”, Bailey nursing his wounds and swooning, Bailey obsessing over Porter when he’s mad at her and begging him to stop being mad (even though she knows she did nothing wrong), and much more. Porter’s sister could potentially have been a strong female addition to this book, but we didn’t really get enough of her. I will admit, however, that Grace is a wonderful character and fun to read about.

Despite this in depth analysis of flaws, I did truly enjoy this book – it’s a fluff novel that succeeds in doing its job. Perhaps I wasn’t in the mood for fluff when I read this. Perhaps I was in the mood of something deeper, and this overly harsh review is evidence of that. Regardless, if you’re looking for a fun rainy day read, this review shouldn’t stop you from picking it up.

(Click here to read Haven’s review, which is more positive and does more justice to the genre)
-Aliza

Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness | an interesting concept w/ an underwhelming execution

22910900

3.25 stars

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions…

Patrick Ness seems to be a hugely revered author in the YA community, A Monster Calls is highly loved by many readers, Goodreads seems to be obsessed with More Than This, and the Chaos Walking series has become so popular that it’s becoming a movie (starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, yeeeee!). Interestingly, The Rest Of Us Just Live Here is a lot less praised by Ness fans, and I’ll admit I was a bit let down by this one due to the height of my expectations. This book is simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary, it’s a largely contemporary novel set in the backdrop of a supernatural small town, with the ‘indie kids’ (the Chosen ones) interjecting at the beginning of every chapter, debriefing us on their quests and journeys and magical shit.

The town this book is set in is clearly marked by some supernatural, magical mark but the atmosphere is confusing and simply not fleshed out. How far this supernatural streak goes in terms of setting is not defined and I can’t pinpoint any sort of vibe coming from this book, which is usually what I look for first. There were some chilling moments though I wish that same vibe remained throughout the book. Concerning the whole distinction between the ‘indie kids’ and the regular kids, I wish the distinction was made a whole lot clearer. I liked how Ness subtly made fun of the common tropes used in ‘chosen one’ stories, but besides the short paragraph at the beginning of every chapter telling us about whatever the ‘indie kids’ are doing, I still wish we got more perspective on their lives. There wasn’t enough “extraordinary” to contrast the “ordinary” of Mikey and his friends, especially considering Mikey and his friends aren’t all that ordinary.

Through the characters, Ness zeroes in on a number of common issues teenagers struggle with today, such as mental health issues, eating disorders and body image, sexual identity, and generally tapping into their growing maturity and making their own decisions. I really like this, but Mikey, Mel, Jared, and Henna still lead highly unique and atypical lives and the fact that all of them together are dealing with these problems at the same time makes their whole existence more than a little extraordinary. It kind of defeats the purpose of showing these kids are utterly regular people just like everyone else, but they were actually the saving grace of this book. That isn’t saying much since this book couldn’t have been saved from itself, in my opinion, but I absolutely adored Mikey, Mel, Jared, and even little Meredith. Mike and Jared’s relationship is probably one of my favorite brotps ever (only bested by the Gansey, Ronan, and Adam trio and their complexity) and Mel and Meredith are great too. Nathan and Henna are the sole wasteful supporting characters in this book, but looking from a broad POV, the characters are a win.

The overall message of this book is meant to highlight the small amounts of extraordinary we find in our ordinary, blase lives through our friends, family, and love, and yes, I thought this message was sufficiently expressed. Ness was very subtle with the themes and messages he chose to incorporate in the midst of all the supernatural weirdness going on, and while I thought some plot points were unnecessary and drawn-out to the point of ridiculousness (like Mikey and his jealousy toward Nathan), most of it turned out okay. Ness definitely knows how to write a book even if it supposedly doesn’t match up to his other novels, and The Rest Of Us Just Live is definitely motivation to check out the rest of his raved-about books.

If you’ve read this book, what did you think of it? How did it compare to other Patrick Ness books you’ve read? Let me know your thoughts! 🙂

-Haven

Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | every cliché you’ve never wanted

186924311 star

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Usually when I rate a book one measly star, I expect to have some burning hate or sadness toward it because it’s disappointed me that much. However, the truth is, the books that I usually rate 1-2 stars are those that I expect to dislike. Everything, Everything is a book that I knew I would hate right off the bat, but like everyone else, I too gave in to the immense hype. Unsurprisingly, I thought it was ass, but I’m still really mad that this concept couldn’t have turned out to be anything other than a cliché, trope-y, colossal mess.

I guess I’m heartless: I suppose I’m a bit of a cold-hearted bitch because this book made me feel absolutely nothing. The writing was incredibly simplistic and not at all thought-provoking, choppy sentences riddled the novel making it devoid of any emotion that could have made the story more fulfilling. While the prose was easy to slide through, it was also easy to skip/skim pages because there was no commentary offered to match the strange situation Madeline is in. It’s some of the blandest, most soulless writing I’ve ever encountered, which is funny, because the whole point of the novel is to take risks and explore life.  It’s supposed to be exciting and thrilling and inspiring, but all I felt was boredom. The only parts where it actually said something somewhat meaningful were ruined by the cliché framing of the message. Take risks! Love is worth everything! Live your life to the fullest! Okay, you’ve said something but can we please try to make it less cheesy and more provocative? This aspect basically demolishes everything this book wanted to be.

Equally soulless characters + an equally soulless romance: The character are so damn pointless, I would rather watch paint dry than read their story. Okay, no, but you catch my drift. Madeline and Olly basically had no personality, they felt like cardboard cutouts of every quirky female character and brooding yet secretly cute male. The only thing that somewhat classified them as living, breathing, fictional characters was their romance. Which is a sham! Why? Because it’s plagued by this bitch called instalove. Olly and Madeline are literally meant for each other, they’re freaking soulmates and I don’t say this with a positive connotation. I’m saying that their entire view of life changes the moment they meet, and the things they say to each other are so damn cringe-inducing, cheesy, and just plain ridiculous. If I had explain all the instances and reasons why their ‘romance’ is bullshit, it would take me all fucking day.

Plot holes!1!!!1!: Plot holes GALORE. First off, SCID, Madeline’s disease, seems to be highly glossed over and depicted in a shallow way. It’s not explained at all, and it’s easy to see the superficiality because Madeline touches Olly in their second in-person meeting and doesn’t die, goes outside and stays there for a couple seconds and doesn’t die, runs off to fucking Hawaii with a man she barely knows for three days and experiences nothing crazy due to her condition. She’s able to eat nearly anything she wants and touch anything she wants in the house and nothing happens to her. I suppose this is an indication for what’s about to come (for those of you that have read this book, you know the mega spoiler I’m talking about), but it still makes me uncomfortable that such a disease is made so … trivial. Maybe trivial is too strong a word, but after experiencing the ending it all feels so cheap and calculated.

I already knew about the ending, and I’m sure y’all know about it now because there’s only one kind of twist this book would take. I saw it coming but whatever negative feelings I had about this book multiplied 5 times because … just what?! The ending adds a whole other plethora of plot holes because it simply doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Everything, Everything and I were doomed from the start but I’m glad I tried because now I see how worthless the hype is. Unless you wholeheartedly enjoy cheesiness, instalove, and other dreadful YA clichés, steer clear from this one.