So one of the coolest things about reading Dear Nobody (my review here) was how spectacularly real it felt. That seems really corny and trite to say considering of course it was real, but this level of honesty isn't something you normally find in a bookstore aisle. Just to add to this realism, I get to show you guys some of the actual scans from her diary! More can be found here, but these are a pretty awesome sampling.   

The book is out now! Go and check it out. 

Until my next post... 

Peace, love, and lengthy novels

Title: Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose
Edited ByGillian McCain and Legs McNeil

Pages: 336
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: April 1, 2013

They say that high school is supposed to be the best time of your life. But what if that's just not true?

More than anything, Mary Rose wants to fit in. To be loved. And she'll do whatever it takes to make that happen. Even if it costs her her life.

Told through the raw and unflinching diary entries of a real teen, Mary Rose struggles with addiction, bullying, and a deadly secret. Her compelling story will inspire readers—and remind them that they are not alone.
Most of the time, the book jackets I read are bland at best and misleading at worst. You learn things about the plot that don't actually matter at all. Or only feature in the plot for about two pages or whatever. I've taken to reading the Library of Congress summary on the copyright page just so I can somehow figure out what the heck is actually going on. This one however.... Raw doesn't even begin to cover it.

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this novel. It's not some polished plot or even straight shot of a plot. Mary Rose jumps from one topic to the next, leaving almost all of them unsolved in her wake. It's haw life works and the book defiantly has a very real feel. You see directly into the mind of Mary Rose. That being said, though, I really couldn't relate to her very well. You obviously aren't trying to win any sympathy from anyone in your private journals, so I never really sympathized with most of the things she was doing. With every bad decision, I was shaking my head, not sympathizing with her.

Speaking of bad decisions.... This really needs a warning label on it for younger readers. Think sex, drugs, and rock and roll except not so much of the third and a heck of a lot of the first two. Very realistic and not toned down at all. It that isn't something you want to be central to a story... you have been warned.

This book won't ever rank as one of my favorites, but I can't deny that it has a draw to it. To get in the head of an actual person, not just a character that has been given life by an author is something else. For people who are fans of both a gritty, raw story and want to see the inner workings of a person who might struggle with similar problems, check this book out. If, like me, you'd rather see tight plotting ajnd characterization... You might want to look somewhere else
The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer 
Release Date: May 12, 2014

Gone Girl meets Six Feet Under in bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer's romantic YA mystery about a girl who must unravel a web of lies in her small town before it's too late.

Descended from a long line of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. So after senior-class president Erin Donohue—perfect saint to the community—turns up dead, Lily believes it's her job to find the culprit. But Lily has feelings for Erin's ex-boyfriend, Matt, which makes both of them suspects and makes Lily's investigation . . . complicated. As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, between genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Release Date: June 17, 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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

#Scandal by Sarah Ockler
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Lucy's learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart's all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don't feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole's date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she'd rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she's been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it's everything Lucy has ever dreamed of... and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole's lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they'll have to 'fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy's own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students' party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy's been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy's been battling undead masses online long enough to know there's only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend's trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There's just one snag--Cole. Turns out Lucy's not the only one who's been harboring unrequited love...

: Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein 
AuthorStephanie Hemphill

Pages: 320
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Series: N/A

An all-consuming love affair.

A family torn apart by scandal.

A young author on the brink of greatness.

Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein.

Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.

This luminous verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill reveals how Mary Shelley became one of the most celebrated authors in history.
 I do promise that the blog is not just becoming an excuse for me to read verse novels. Thursday will bring a perfectly regular prose review. But until then.....

Hideous Love is the story of one girl: Mary Shelley. You probably know her as the author of Frankenstein and rightly so, but she had a lot of other works as well, including some that were lost in her journeys. The novel acts as a pretender for some of the writings she could have lost in her early years. Through it, we learn about everything from her jealous relationship, to her depression after the death of her children, to the budding, blossoming beauty that was her mind. Through it all, Mary maintains this tie to the reader, reminding us of just how intoxicating it is to fall in love for the first time, and just how dangerous.

The period-building in this novel is incredible. Whether we're running into famous poets or the mistresses of famous poets (why there were all of these mistresses in this era is beyond me)(seriously. Its like everyone in the book had a couple of mistresses and then hooked up with their sisters). The only problem with that is I think the book would have been a lot more fulfilling if I actually had more background in the area. Maybe read some stuff by these poets or known more about their biographies, etc (though we can chalk that up that up to either a failure by me or by my English teacher). It's not completely necessary, but maybe at least reading the Wikipedia article would have been nice for some backup.

As is always the problem with verse novels, some of the depth suffered, There were so many issues and dilemmas Mary brought up that never seemed to be fully addressed. Sometimes it was debt or another women or whatever. I probably would have enjoyed this novel a lot better if it hadn't been poetry (the poetry wasn't overly good or bad.. It just seemed to be there.)

Overall, it was a good novel that gives you a jumping off point for more study into this time period. Mary is one of those characters who seems to haunt you, both in her story and in her talents. It seems unfinished in some ways, history often is, which can either endlessly infuriating or wonderfully intriguing. Maybe giving you both means this book won't soon leave your head. 4/5

Hey Readers!

I am so excited to announce today that Sourcebooks has invited this blog to be part of their street team. For the next few weeks I'll get to share my review ad some behind the scenes stuff of this spectacular story! But first of all... So you know what I'm talking about-

Between the ages of 15 and 18, until her death in 1999 of cystic fibrosis, a Pennsylvania teenager named Mary Rose wrote unguardedly in her journals. McCain and McNeil (co-editors of Please Kill Me: An Oral History of Punk) offer a condensed but otherwise unaltered version of her diary entries and the occasional letter. Despite any ethical issues raised by publishing the book, which Mary Rose’s mother touches on in an afterword, Mary Rose’s writing has an immediate and viscerally raw impact as she describes her fights with her mother, a magnet for abusive, criminal boyfriends; her own tempestuous experiences with romance, sex, alcohol, and drugs; and the agony of cystic fibrosis. “I definitely won’t binge anymore,” writes Mary Rose after one rehab stint. “HA! That resolution lasted three days!” opens the next entry. Mary Rose’s enormous pain and the ways she attempts to swallow it are evident in every profane, rage-filled entry; while her anguish is near-constant, it’s spiked with moments of biting humor, elation, and hope. It’s a rare, no-holds-barred documentation of an American teenager’s life, written for no audience but herself.

This book is not polished or pretty or nice. It is RAW and brutal. But it does show a lot of issues we as teenagers know, whether it be falling in love with the first time or betrayal or loneliness. It's definitely incredibly different from most things you read these days (though if you like the book Go Ask Alice, this is right up your alley). I look forward to sharing my thoughts on this book with you guys over the next few weeks but today I will leave you with the... Book trailer!

Check out the website for more info!
Until next time,

Peace,  love, and lengthy novels

: The Language Inside 

Author: Holly Thompson

Pages: 320
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 14, 2013

Series: N/A

For Emma Karas, Japan is home. It is where she has lived almost her entire life. But when her mother falls ill, Emma’s family moves in with her grandmother, back in Massachusetts. Emma is desperately homesick. She feels out of place in the U.S. and starts to get painful migraines. Then Emma begins volunteering at a long-term care center, helping a patient, Zena, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, a cute boy from her high school. As the weeks pass, Emma and Samnang grow close. But when Emma is given the choice, will she stay in Massachusetts, or return home to Japan?

Adding another book to my list of free verse novels I released last week. Seriously, this is a great genre to read when you're pressed for time or need a novel that moves along pretty quickly. The only problem with these novels is that I never seem to develop as good of a rapport with the characters as I would like. Emma was wonderful and I really enjoyed reading about her, especially as I can understand the idea of being torn between two homes. It was a new situation and newer plot with the addition of both the Japanese Earthquake and the Cambodian refugees staying in the long-term care center. However; what it gained in plot, it lacked a lot in terms of relate-ability. Limited words don't exactly make for as strong of a characterization. I liked everyone, I just didn't love them.

The best part of the book was how wide in scope it was. It's taking a more human, and in-depth look at subjects we hear about on the news all the time Whether it's the Japanese earthquake and nuclear problem, or the situation in Cambodia, it feels as if you're fully immersed in something that could be occurring just next door. We tend to write off international crises in this country as just more stories. because we hear so many and are so removed from them. Maybe it's that we need to read things like this. It's kind of the whole point of literature, after all.

The other thing I loved about this book was the poetry. Not just in the fact that it was written as a free verse novel, but the poems Emma finds while working with Zena, a woman who can move nothing but her eyes, and the ones they write together. No many books would contain a detailed list of excellent poems in the back so that the reader would have more reading material just because the poems were discussed.

AND ZENA. How could I forget about her? She was the most interesting character by far, from her relations with other people, to the way her disability didn't seem able to cripple her. Any scenes with her and Emma were generally the best of the book.

Free verse novels have to strike a thin line between the art form and relationships built between the character and the reader. This one seemed to fall a little flat on the second, especially as the plot stretched thin in some places and some of the buildups to important points were so obvious. If the book had focused more on one thing, like the long term care facility and the patients there, I might have liked it more. Overall, not a bad read at all, but not the best in the genre either. 3/5

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