Eleanor & Park

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Series: Standalone

Publication: February 26th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 328

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


My Thoughts:

Eleanor & Park is a work of art by Park’s own definition. Art isn’t supposed to be pretty, it’s supposed to make you feel something – and that is exactly what this book does. It makes you feel. Not every feeling is good, not every feeling is bad. Eleanor & Park makes you feel things deep down in your chest and you can’t tell whether or not you want to claw those feelings out or relish in their power.

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The Outsiders

“Things were rough all over, but it was better that way. That way you could tell the other guy was human too.”

Title: The Outsiders

Author: S.E Hinton

Series: Standalone

Publication: April 24th 1967 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Pages: 192

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.


My Thoughts:

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton deals with major themes such as belonging, discrimination, and family. The story follows Ponyboy, the youngest member of the Greaser gang at fourteen, as he deals with the hardships in his everyday life. Readers watch as Ponyboy, Darrel, Sodapop, Dallas, Johnny, Two-Bit, and Steve struggle over the prejudice the Socs and society hold over their heads for being less than they are. The Outsiders takes a long look at the stigmas surrounding the less fortunate in a gritty, no-nonsense and take no prisoners voice.

The characters in this story are troublemakers, and they are treated as such. After all, what else are teenagers good for? In the world of The Outsiders, young adults fall into two categories: socs and greasers. Montague and Capulet. West side and East side. The teens are struggling; they fight tooth and nail only to be told they are worthless because of where they come from and what they wear. S.E Hinton handles her characters delicately with a brash note of fearless intention. The characters are wild, unruly, and utterly human.

S.E Hinton focuses explicitly on two types of characters: those who fit in and those who don’t. Even within the gangs themselves there are those who don’t fit in. Ponyboy wants to and likes to read. Darry is smart, too smart and too serious. Compare them with Two-Bit and Dally who love being in the gang and believe that is all there is in life for them, and there is an unbalance. I don’t see how Hinton addresses issues in youth culture. Ultimately, there are consequences for bad behavior and stereotypes are rewarded. While there is a small diversity to the characters themselves, the book as a whole was lacking a variety. It was like having to choose between vanilla ice cream and rainbow sherbet. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing considering when this was written, but that aspect didn’t quite live up to the hype.

The language of the greasers and the socs is innovative and clever. They have their own codes, and those codes vary between different gangs of the same group. The language is where the magic is. Ponyboy speaks to the reader in a way that is entirely his own. His voice is important here, and it demands to be heard. His thoughts and feelings about everything going on around him: the life of the gang, his brothers, schoolwork, Johnny – it’s so unbelievably important and honest.

“It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.”

This story is easy to fall into and even easier to fall in love with. It’s like being transported to another world that steal deals with some of the same issues we handle everyday, but now it’s in the voice of a young boy who sees things just a bit differently than we do.


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OwlCrate: January 2017

WHOOP WHOOP! It’s OwlCrate time guys! Which, as you know, is probably one of my favorite things ever because the boxes are so amazing.

In case you don’t know what the glorious OwlCrate is, it’s just like Fandom of the Month only.. better? I don’t know, I love them both. OwlCrate gives you a new release in the Young Adult world and a bunch of bookish stuff centered around a specific theme. It’s a subscription box that is worth every little penny – count on that. (You guys can sign up here)

So, the super duper wonderfully amazing theme for January was….

Classic Remix

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Wintersong Blog Tour

“Life,” he said softly, “is more than flesh. Your body is a candle, your soul the flame. The longer I burn the candle…” He did not finish.
“A candle unused is nothing but wax and wick,” I said.“I would rather light the flame, knowing it will go out than sit forever in darkness.”

Title: Wintersong

Author: S. Jae-Jones

Series: Standalone

Publication: February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne

Pages: 448

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

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Summary from Goodreads:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.


My Thoughts:

Wow. I am in awe. I honestly cannot form the words to explain what I feel at this moment. It’s like biting into the perfect apple on a hot summer day, or listening to your favorite song and hitting that point where goosebumps climb across your skin. Wintersong is a musical masterpiece of romance, intrigue, and myth. It ebbs and flows and hits all the right notes with beauty and eloquence. Wintersong tells the tale of the Goblin King and a brave maiden dancing a delicate balance of love and old ways. What a stunning work of art.

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A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

“I can’t let anyone know what really happened, or what’s wrong with me. I can’t bear the thought of how they’d look at me, and treat me, if they knew how many pills I take every morning just to act more or less like everybody else.”

Title: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Author: Eric Lindstrom

Series: Standalone

Publication: February 7th 2017 by Poppy

Pages: 288

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.


My Thoughts:

Last year, I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Not If I See You First – a book I quickly fell head over heels in love with. Eric Lindstrom has done it once again with his new novel A Tragic Kind of WonderfulIt is dark, fearless, and profound. The details and evolution of the narrative pull you deep within Mel’s life and her struggles. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful is, without a doubt, a true work of art.

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The Sword of Summer

“…even if we can’t change the big picture, our choices can alter the details. That’s how we rebel against destiny”

Title: The Sword of Summer

Author: Rick Riordan

Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Publication: October 6th 2015 by Disney – Hyperion Books

Pages: 499

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die


My Thoughts:

The Sword of Summer, the first book in Rick Riordan’s new series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, is a complex novel that illustrates the difficulties of believing in oneself through a highly imaginative voice. Furthermore, there are a multitude of diverse themes such as racism, poverty, and disability. In addition, there are larger themes of acceptance, friendship, family, and fighting for what you believe in rather than what people tell you is right. Magnus’ journey from homeless in Boston to esteemed einherji in Valhalla was an inspiring tale of bravery, sacrifice, and pushing the boundaries of destiny.

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Heart of the Storm

Title: Heart of the Storm

Author: Michael Buckley

Series: Undertow # 3 (Undertow, Raging Sea)

Publication: February 7th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

After seven months as a captive of Minerva, the insane Alpha queen, Lyric Walker has escaped to the surface. Her only goal is to warn the world about the Great Abyss. When she finally arrives back in Coney Island, she discovers a world she never expected, one where humans and Alpha are finally working hand in hand to rebuild the country. But she soon discovers that an old enemy allied with an old friend may kill them all before the monsters get their turn.

Where will Lyric’s loyalties, and her heart, lead her? With nail-biting action and romance, Michael Buckley’s epic trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.


My Thoughts:

Sometimes, writing reviews for books you love is difficult. Sometimes, it’s even harder to say goodbye to a series you’ve been in love with since day one. Heart of the Storm immediately follows the events of Raging Sea, to an extent. It’s the first book in the trilogy to jump back and forth through time – highlighting Lyric’s time while captive as well as the current events after her escape. Heart of the Storm is a brilliant conclusion to a series that has sunk its claws deep into my being. I’ve been a fan of Lyric and her gang of misfit friends since the start, and now it’s time to say goodbye.

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