TTBF Author Repost Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


Team Midsummer, Jessica & Lyv, are attending the Texas Teen Book Festival again this year in Austin, TX! To prepare and get ourselves amped-up for this event, we are reposting some of our reviews by some of the TTBF 17 authors! Today features one of Jessica’s all time favorites: E. Lockhart!

This review was originally posted on August 14, 2014

 

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

When I met E. Lockhart at Book Expo America, I was trying so hard not to fangirl because I had been looking forward to this book for months.  Not only did I get a chance to meet her, but she also write an essential message in my copy of the book (which I’m sure she wrote in everyone’s) “Please Lie About This Book.”

Well, it is impossible for me to lie about how much I enjoyed this book.  I want to tell you so much about it in order to convince you to read it, but this is a book that needs to be discovered by each person individually.  The story line is excellent.  There I will tell you that much.

Lockhart’s writing style in this novel really helps add to the characterization of the narrator, Cadence (which is a elockharttweetname I’ve always loved), and it allows the reader to discover things as Cadence does…kind of.  This novel really explores the idea of an unreliable narrator.

I’ve said too much!

I cannot praise this book highly enough, and I won’t tarnish your reading experience with anymore.  Trust me, you will enjoy it immensely.

5 Bards  (I know you asked me to lie, E. Lockhart, but I decided to just withhold information instead!)

 

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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

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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

Book Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

Release Date: June 3, 2014

I will say that the first thing that I noticed when reading this novel was how frequently the Point of View shifted.  Pretty much every other chapter was one of four people’s points of view.  Now, when done well this can be extremely helpful for the movement of the plot, so I have no problem with it.

That being said, I totally understand why Mathieu chose to do this for her novel because it really helped express how deep the rumors and gossip concerning the main character went in their small town.  There was the popular girl, the school nerd, the closeted best friend of the quarterback, and the former best friend of the Alice in the title.  My problem with the point of view shifts in this novel?  While they did help inform the reader about the intricacies involved with the rumors that ruined Alice, each point of view was only distinguishable by the titles at the beginning of each chapter.  Each character’s voice sounded the same.  Hence the major problem with utilizing multiple point of views, there has to be a way for each of those voices to stand out and be original to the story. Also, I really hated all of the voices except Kurt.

Other than that major problem, the story was constructed well and it was an excellent foray into the damage that rumors and vicious lies can cause for high school students, or well, anyone being the victim of this.  I think that this story is important to remember when there are a lot of stories about bullying in schools and online.

The only other thing I disliked about this novel was how abrupt the ending was.  All of the sudden the character of Alice speaks up and then the story ends.  It really just felt like there wasn’t enough resolution for me in the end.  There was so much build-up through the different point of views and then the resolution was so short and sudden.

3.5 Bards (-1.5 for POV shifts, and the abrupt ending)

3.5bards

Book Review: How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker

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Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty.” To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big “F” word—”fat.” Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.

Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her “momager” signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family’s financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?

Fact: this book is ridiculously easy to relate to.  I think that the main reason Baker’s novel is so relatable is because the main character’s voice is ridiculously sarcastic, witty, and delightfully straight forward.

On another hand, as a former sufferer of an eating disorder, this book really ended up opening a few doors that I thought were closed.  The feeling of shame about your weight, the way that mean girls could make you feel, the way society pressures you to look one way or another: these are all things that teenage girls struggle with no matter their starting weight.  This is obvious through the character of Angel as well as Emery as the story progresses.

I really appreciate Baker’s ability to make the readers feel a part of the story based on the way that Emery is almost breaking the fourth wall and talking specifically to the reader.  I also like that the story basically criticized the entire genre of reality TV, because if I’m honest, I’m not a huge fan of it since a lot of it IS staged.  Just look at the way Emery and her boyfriend’s relationship was exploited in this novel, or her relationship with her mother and father.

Either way I think that this novel could be good for fans of reality TV and those who don’t like it at all, because it really pleases both aspects.  One by including it and the other by making it abundantly clear that it can really damage the way a person (character) thinks about themselves.

I was pleasantly surprised with this novel, although I don’t totally understand why the title is so long, but to each his own.

3.5 Bards!

3.5bards

 

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