Book Review: Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

“Don’t believe anything they say.”

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking.

Release Date: March 3, 2015

The most I really know about post World War II hollywood can really be summed up in a few movie titles and one famous murder, The Black Dahlia. McCoy was definitely influenced by the Noir era heavily, and this novel has almost every aspect of a film noir.  McCoy’s novel actually mentions the Black Dahlia murder and references it as “a few years go,” which means that Dead to Me should be set somewhere in 1949 – 1950.

The man character, Alice, is the quintessential younger sister character that idolizes her talented, beautiful, and intelligent older sister for all that she does and everything that Alice believes she is capable of.  Much like Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, Annie has a bit of a wild streak and would be caught drinking and sneaking out during her teen year flashbacks in the narrative.  I really enjoyed that the novel was interspersed with flashbacks to Annie and Alice’s childhood and their friendship in their younger years, because it really juxtaposed how violently their later years are and the circumstances that bring them back together.

There is something to be said about the end of the 40s and the early 50s, and how glamorous it all seems from our point of view now.  The fashion was somewhat seductive but still conservative, the women coy, gentle, but sassy, and the men were supposed to be dashing, passionate, and respectful.  Dead to Me kind of breaks down a lot of those ideals.  All but one of the men are pretty nefarious characters that are self serving, womanizing, and untrustworthy.  I can argue that the one character that I exempted from that description is still somewhat dubious and the main character waffles a bit on weather or not to trust him.  Hollywood itself is described as a pretty trashy town during that time, and the description of the derelict Hollywoodland sign that McCoy gives really sets the tone.

grace kellyEven the women go against type in this book, with most of them still being sassy, but gentle is not a word that describes most of them.  I would argue that Alice is about the gentlest female in the novel, and the rest are pretty wrapped up in some dangerous activities.  I really enjoyed McCoy breaking down these ideals, because it just made the book more fun and believeable for me.  The fashion still sounded pretty fabulous, but it was just details given in passing, nothing too extravagant.

But, just for kicks, here’s a gorgeous picture of Grace Kelly.

There are some pretty overt references to rape in this novel, and I think that the secrecy surrounding the topic really mirror how some survivors feel when they try to tell the truth in today’s society as well.

 

I really enjoyed this, and I think you should pick up a copy!

4 Bards

fourbards

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

nedabully

Each year, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA for short) designates a whole week to raising awareness for the increasing numbers of diagnosed EDs.  We here at A Midsummer Night’s Read are avid supporters of the NEDA initiative, as an Eating Disorder has effected one of our own.

Some facts about Eating Disorders before we head into the last NEDA week post:

35% of Dieters progress to Disordered Eating

20 Million Women suffer from a clinically significant Eating Disorder in their life

10 Million Men suffer from a clinically significant Eating Disorder in their life

81% of 10-year-olds who are afraid of being Fat

People who struggle with Binge Eating Disorder can be of Normal or Heavier than average weight

Up to 65% of people with Eating Disorders say Bullying contributed to their ED

Eating Disorders have the highest Mortality rate than any other mental illness

This week on MSNR we are going to feature a young adult fiction/non-fiction book concerning Eating Disorders.  Please be aware that some of these works can have some triggers (what we in the community call things that can lead to disordered behavior), but all of the messages here are about how damaging these behaviors are and how important diagnosis and treatment is are very valid and well done.

For our final post this week, I was going to read and review A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger since it focuses on a teen male that suffers from an Eating Disorder, but alas, the winter weather thwarted my plan!  To be honest, I find it a bit ridiculous that there isn’t more literature showing how men can be just as effected as women.  The lead singer of Silverchair, Daniel Johns, famously struggled with Anorexia and Depression, and he even released a song about his struggle in 1999 titled “Ana’s Song.”


“And you’re my obsession
I love you to the bones
And Ana wrecks your life
Like an Anorexic life”

But, I do plan to read and review Metzger’s book as soon as I get it in the male, and I really hope it does justice to the story of so many men suffering in silence.

So for my final post specifically for National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I am going to post a few titles that I plan to read and review soon.  I definitely want to steer away from strictly Anorexia focused YA novels, only because there are so many more forms of Eating Disorders that effect the population.  There is Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia, EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Orthorexia, just to name a few.

Purge by Sarah Darer Littman (Bulimia)

Massive by Julia Bell (EDNOS)

Nothing by Robin Friedman (Male Bulimia)

Never Enough by Denise Jaden (Bulimia, Family Adapation)

I’d really like to see a novel that focuses on Binge Eating Disorder, but it appears that most of the novels are still very binary to the Anorexia and Bulimia aspect of Eating Disorders.  But hopefully through raising awareness for all Eating Disorders, the language will start to infiltrate our daily consciousness and knowledge.

If you know anyone who is suffering, please direct them to the National Eating Disorder Association.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops – at all –
- Emily Dickinson

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

nedaathletes

Each year, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA for short) designates a whole week to raising awareness for the increasing numbers of diagnosed EDs.  We here at A Midsummer Night’s Read are avid supporters of the NEDA initiative, as an Eating Disorder has effected one of our own.

While eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, help is available and recovery is possible. It is important for those affected, and their loved ones, to remember that they are not alone in their struggle. Others have recovered and are now living healthy fulfilling lives. Let the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) be a part of your support network. NEDA has information and resources available via our website and helpline: www.NationalEatingDisorders.org, NEDA Helpline: 1 (800) 931-2237 (Source: NEDA)

This week on MSNR we are going to feature a young adult fiction/non-fiction book concerning Eating Disorders.  Please be aware that some of these works can have some triggers (what we in the community call things that can lead to disordered behavior), but all of the messages here are about how damaging these behaviors are and how important diagnosis and treatment is are very valid and well done.

For our fourth day in National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I’ve chosen to showcase Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen.

justlistenLast year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

The main reason I loved reading Just Listen and what made me want to share it as a part of National Eating Disorder Awareness week is because the character with the eating disorder is not the main character or narrator.  The other books I’ve chosen throughout this week have featured narration by a main character struggling with an Eating Disorder (Thin features the narration of many inpatients throughout the book), but Just Listen deals with the Eating Disorder from an outside standpoint.

Be aware that the main focus of this novel is not the eating disorder, but the depression and listlessness of the main character, but Dessen did extremely well exemplifying how a member of the family suffering with an eating disorder can affect each family member emotionally.  Dessen also does an excellent job of showing how mental illness can be influenced and exacerbated by outside influences.  For instance, Whitney, the middle sister struggling, was a somewhat successful model in New York City before her Anorexia took hold.  Dessen points out that the pressures in that particularly industry were too much for that character.

It is enlightening to read about the warning signs of an Eating Disorder, and even the struggles of being in Recovery from an outside point of view, no matter if it is ficticious.  Whitney is described as increasingly easily irritated, secretive, stubborn, and has a touch of denial with her disease. There are a couple of quotes that I want to leave you with from the novel, ones that directly deal with Whitney.

“The thing about Whitney,” I said, “is that she was always really private. So you never knew if anything was wrong with her.”

“One open, one closed. It was no wonder that the first image that came to mind when I thought of either of my sisters was a door. (…)Whitney’s was the one to her bedroom, which she preferred to keep shut between her and the rest of us, always.”

“We’d all gathered around Whitney, even when she didn’t want us to, and Kirsten and I had gotten closer when she pushed us both away.”

“Looking at her, I thought again how beautiful she was – even in jeans and a T-shirt, no makeup, she was breathtaking. So much so that it was hard to believe she could ever have looked at herself and seen anything else.”

If you know someone who may be suffering please encourage them to get help or to contact http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

5 Bards. If you haven’t read any of Dessen’s novels, I recommend doing so ASAP.

I hope you will come back throughout Eating Disorder Awareness week!

“Society. The same society, I might add, that dictates that little girls should always be sugar and spice and everything nice, which encourages them not to be assertive. And that, in turn, then leads to low self-esteem, which can lead to eating disorders and increased tolerance and acceptance of domestic, sexual, and substance abuse.” - Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

dukeenergy

Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, NC lit up in Green & Blue for Eating Disorder Awareness

MMSAI Tours Presents: The Third Twin by CJ Omololu

thirdtwinblogtourbanner

 

You may have heard CJ’s story, she’s an amazing author with amazing friends who are supporting her as she battles Stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to her brain, hips, spinal cord, and several organs. Until recently we weren’t sure if CJ would make it to the release date of The Third Twin, but with the help of some modern medicine, and a whole lot of good thoughts and prayers – it looks like things are good to go for the big day.

I couldn’t be happier to be one of the bloggers on this tour, helping to support this book and the amazing strong woman who wrote it!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 THE THIRD TWIN
Author: CJ Omololu
Release Date: February 24th
Publisher: Delacorte

Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liarsmeets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.

MY REVIEW: 

Holy crap on a cracker.  I started this book around 7 PM one evening and finished it within a few hours.  Omololu sure knows how to drive a plot forward by consistently raising the stakes, but let me start this again (with a little bit less ridiculous gushing).

This novel features identical twins, and I don’t know about you, but the existence of people who look so much alike that they are able to impersonate one another without anyone realizing it has always fascinated me.  Granted, The Third Twin turns it very quickly from fascination to freaked out.  I am really glad that the novel was told in the point of view of Lexi, because it is much easier for me, as a reader, to respect her voice and character development throughout the novel.  I absolutely adored how Omololu really showed how being caught in the middle of a conspiracy and the main suspect in a murder can really alter your perception of trust.  Kudos to you for that, Omololu, now I’m terrified of everyone!

Lexi was an extremely well developed character, and I’m honestly pleased with the somewhat shallow development of her twin, Ava, because it really fits in with her character’s personality.  Sure, Ava does start to become more filled out toward the end of the novel, but I prefer her being the shallow twin who really doesn’t seem to understand that keeping the Alicia thing going will just cause more problems.

Back to the plot: Omololu just does not waste time with needless words and descriptions, she gets right to the point and jumps right into the middle of the story.  I absolutely adore when authors do this.  There isn’t anything that turns me off of a book more than when an author starts to do what I call “Charles Dickens-ing” (Definition: using way too many words to get to a specific point, that could have been done just as effectively in less words).  Not only does it pick up, but the ball gets rolling almost immediately, and holy cow does it get rolling.  Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review, I started the book and before I knew it, it was over.  Brilliantly plotted and paced.

There is a bit of a romance in the story, but the main focus remains on Lexi, Ava, and Alicia.  Also, that twist toward the end I was not suspecting, and many candy canes and unicorns to Omololu for tricking me and keeping me on my toes.

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

BOOK LINKS

Amazon |B&N | Kobo | Goodreads

PRE-ORDER a SIGNED copy of THE THIRD TWIN from
A Great Good Place for Books
By calling: (510) 339-8210
Or
By E-mailing them at: books@ggpbooks.com

cynthia Photo Robin Mellom 2-24-11ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CJ OMOLOLU is the author of the ALA-YALSA Quick Pick Dirty Little Secrets and several other YA novels. She loved to read but never thought to write until she discovered that the voices in her head often have interesting things to say. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two sons. Visit her online at www.cjomololu.com and follow her on Twitter @cjomololu

 

GIVEAWAY

25 Prizes. 16 Winners. One Huge Giveaway filled with signed books, gift cards + more!

Must be 13 + To Enter. Shipping restrictions are listed after each prize in the form, All open to

US, some open INTL. | One entry per person, per household.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Click on the Banner at the top of this tour stop to see the other blogs involved on this tour!

 

 

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

nedaweek1

 

Each year, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA for short) designates a whole week to raising awareness for the increasing numbers of diagnosed EDs.  We here at A Midsummer Night’s Read are avid supporters of the NEDA initiative, as an Eating Disorder has effected one of our own.

If someone is exhibiting signs or thoughts of struggling with an eating disorder, intervening during the early stages of development can significantly increase the likelihood of preventing the onset of a full-blown eating disorder. It also leads to greater chances of a full recovery. It can prevent years of struggle and can even save lives. A key goal of #NEDAwareness Week is to direct individuals to a free online screening for eating disorders at www.MyBodyScreening.org (Source: NEDA.)

This week on MSNR we are going to feature a young adult fiction/non-fiction book concerning Eating Disorders.  Please be aware that some of these works can have some triggers (what we in the community call things that can lead to disordered behavior), but all of the messages here are about how damaging these behaviors are and how important diagnosis and treatment is are very valid and well done.

Today’s book choice is one that was the first novel that I read that involved Eating Disorders directly, The California Diaries: Maggie #2.

maggieIf only I could be perfect.If only I could lose 10 pounds.

Then I’ll be happy; then everything will be perfect.

Maggie’s got an eating disorder, and it’s getting worse.

The California Diaries was Ann Martin’s transition series from the young middle grade reader series, the unforgettable Babysitters Club, to more pre-YA and YA audiences.  She did this with ease as she used one of the most beloved Babysitters Club characters, Dawn, and followed her back to California and introduced a whole new group of lovable characters.  I immediately took to Martin’s new series, as I really enjoyed how the books were structured as each individual character’s intimate diary.  This meant that the narrative was a bit disjointed because of the style, but the effect was still powerful.

Maggie, who was characterized as being shallow at first, started developing questionable eating habits in her first diary, but it was this second diary that really explored the disorder.  It was the first time I’d really read anything about eating disorders other than during the brief three page overview that our middle school health classes required us to read.  I remember thinking that this book was fascinating, and I eventually read and re-read this book so many times that my copy fell apart.

The novel is very short, and almost every “diary” entry begins with a list of foods that Maggie ate during that day.  It chronicles the downward spiral that eating disorders can spark, and it showcases how depression and EDs can go hand in hand.  In addition, Maggie fights the idea that she has a problem through most of the narrative, which is typical of sufferers who aren’t ready to accept their diagnosis or intervention.  For a novel aimed at a younger audience, this book really did a lot for me in understanding and knowing what eating disorders do.  It also shows that Eating Disorders can affect those in their pre-teens and early teen years.  Eating disorders do not discriminate on age.

Remember, like with most novels about EDs, that there can be some triggering ideas.  In this book, for instance, the food tracking and journaling can be very upsetting and can possibly kickstart some controlling and disordered behavior.

If you know someone who may be suffering please encourage them to get help or to contact http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

4 Bards.

I hope you will come back throughout Eating Disorder Awareness week!

“There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.” - Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls.

 

edhands

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: March 25, 2015

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

NEDAweek

 

Each year, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA for short) designates a whole week to raising awareness for the increasing numbers of diagnosed EDs.  We here at A Midsummer Night’s Read are avid supporters of the NEDA initiative, as an Eating Disorder has effected one of our own.

Educating yourself and those around you about eating disorders is a great way to get involved. Correcting myths and spreading awareness about the facts are important steps to eating disorder prevention. Visit NEDAwareness.org to review information about how eating disorders develop and why they are so complex, as well as finding out how you can be proactive in recognizing contributing factors and being a part of the fight against these life threatening illnesses (source: NEDA).

This week on MSNR we are going to feature a young adult fiction/non-fiction book concerning Eating Disorders.  Please be aware that some of these works can have some triggers (what we in the community call things that can lead to disordered behavior), but all of the messages here are about how damaging these behaviors are and how important diagnosis and treatment is are very valid and well done.

For our second day in National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I’ve chosen to spotlight prolific author Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls.

wintergirls“Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Continuing on my re-reading journey, I decided to take a step back from Sarah Dessen for a week and look toward one of the books I recommended our audience read for a little more insight into the world of Eating Disorders so we can continue to raise awareness for the silent killer.

While Anderson is widely known for her ground breaking novel, Speak, I want to argue that this novel is just as important. Not only are more than 30 million Americans suffering from diagnosed and undiagnosed eating disorders, but many suffer in silence, just like Lia and Cassie.

Wintergirls begins at the end of a character’s life, a life that ended under mysterious circumstances, and the former best friend of the narrator.  While the synopsis makes it sound like Lia is being haunted by a ghost, it is clear that the Anorexia is what is haunting her.  Not only does the food and liquid restriction eventually cause hallucinations, but it also will cause an entire body shut down.

The writing is excellent, and I love Anderson’s use of strikeouts throughout the text to exemplify the struggle within the narrator.  I think that Anderson also did a great job of showing how the eating disorder can affect the family unit as well.

Please note that in some ways this novel can be a bit triggering since it is told in first person and the reader is consistently thrust into the innerworkings of the main character’s psyche. The narrative is hard to get through, but in all the ways that a non-fiction ED story can make you feel less alone, many of the thoughts that Lia suffers throughout the story are some that a lot of Eating Disorder sufferers endure.  You never know who you might know who is suffering, and maybe reading this book can help you be prepared if someone does reach out.  Either way, you need to read this novel.

If you know anyone who is suffering, please direct them to the National Eating Disorder Association.

5 Bards

“Food is something I am going to have to face at least three times a day for the rest of my life.  And I am not perfect.  But one really bad day does not mean that I am hopeless and back at square one with my eating disorder.  Olympic ice skaters fall in their quest for the gold.  Heisman Trophy winners throw interceptions.  Professional singers forget the words.  And people with eating disorders sometimes slip back into an old pattern.  But all of these individuals just pick themselves back up and do the next right thing.  The ice skater makes the next jump.  The football player throws the next pass.  The singer finishes the song.  And I am going to eat breakfast.” Jenni Schaefer

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

 

Each year, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA for short) designates a whole week to raising awareness for the increasing numbers of diagnosed EDs.  We here at A Midsummer Night’s Read are avid supporters of the NEDA initiative, as an Eating Disorder has effected one of our own.

The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness Week) is to put the spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders and to improve public understanding of their causes, triggers and treatments. By increasing awareness and access to resources, we can encourage early detection and intervention, which can improve the likelihood of full recovery for millions (source: NEDA).

This week on MSNR we are going to feature a young adult fiction/non-fiction book concerning Eating Disorders.  Please be aware that some of these works can have some triggers (what we in the community call things that can lead to disordered behavior), but all of the messages here are about how damaging these behaviors are and how important diagnosis and treatment is are very valid and well done.

The first book that I’m posting about today is actually a Non-Fiction book that is the companion to a documentary of the same name: Thin.

Critically acclaimed for Girl Culture and Fast Forward, Lauren Greenfield continues her exploration of contemporary female culture with Thin, a groundbreaking book about eating disorders. Greenfield’s photographs are paired with extensive interviews and journal entries from twenty girls and women who are suffering from various afflictions. We meet 15-year-old Brittany, who is convinced that being thin is the only way to gain acceptance among her peers; Alisa, a divorced mother of two whose hatred of her body is manifested in her relentless compulsion to purge; Shelly, who has been battling anorexia for six years and has had a feeding tube surgically implanted in her stomach; as well as many others. Alongside these personal stories are essays on the sociology and science of eating disorders by renowned researchers Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Dr. David Herzog, and Dr. Michael Strober. These intimate photographs, frank voices, and thoughtful discussions combine to make Thin not only the first book of its kind but also a portrait of profound understanding.

With the percentage of teens suffering from eating disorders on the rise, and after having personal experience with an eating disorder, I thought that reading this book after watching the documentary was extremely important.

For those of you that don’t know, Thin was a documentary made by Lauren Greenfield that follows the recovery program at the residential recovery unit at the Renfrew Center in Florida.  If you have access to Amazon Prime or Amazon Instant Video, then you can watch Thin on there for free.

This companion book really gives a lot more depth into the story.  While the documentary is limited to the treatment of four specific patients, the book explores the stories of many other patients, including more teenagers as young as 14 and women as old as 74, bulimia patients, anorexic patients, and binge eating patients.  The stories are heartbreaking, eye-opening, shocking, and bravely honest.

I recommend this book to anyone who may be or previously suffered from an eating disorder.  It helps remind me of how bad it can get and how hard the fight really is.  It makes me feel less alone in my struggle.  I hope this book can do that for others.

If you know someone who may be suffering please encourage them to get help or to contact http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

I hope you will come back throughout Eating Disorder Awareness week to see some of the fictional accounts that I recommend as well.

I leave you with some words by Katherine Locke:

“An eating disorder makes you feel brave. An eating disorder makes you feel infallible. An eating disorder stands in in place of courage. But it’s not courage. It is not bravery. It’s just a mask you wear while you’re dying.”

 

Book Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

From the first chapter I was hooked on this story. The mystery of the town, the intriguing sister Piper, and Skylar’s journey to discovering the secrets hidden in her memories are calculated to excite the reader’s imagination. Sorry for gushing, but I really can’t help it.

The narration is told in the first-person from Skylar’s point of view as she navigates both her memories and her beautiful and dangerous hometown in pursuit of the truth about Piper’s disappearance. Skylar is a young woman with special abilities that help her solve the mysteries of her sister’s past, as well as the secrets of Gardnerville.  Her bittersweet nostalgia brings up more questions than answers, but every glimpse into the past just makes you beg for more. She also has a serious drug dependency that causes memory loss, as well as trust issues that make it hard for her to find allies. In the end, the truly shocking truth is revealed and she is finally able to come to terms with her past so she can move forward with her future.

The build-up in this novel is definitely worth the finale. I was so gripped by the narrative I was afraid the ending might be a let-down, but Quinn ties it up with the only ending possible, at once perfect and painful. I deeply enjoyed the suspense, heightened by Skylar’s inability to remember vital details from the past and dependency on distrusted others for information. The only thing I found a little incredible was Piper. The way Skylar remembers her is as the most perfect human being ever, at once enchanting and mischievous. She is always the leader, always the funnier, prettier, better-loved sister. Although I wasn’t particularly a fan of Piper, or at least Skylar’s memories of her, that narrative does give a deeper look into Skylar’s view of herself. Definitely an awesome read and I’m excited to read her other novel Another Little Piece!

5 Bards!

fivebards

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: March 10, 2015

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

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