“You probably think you know who I am, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t. I used to be a bright star of a girl, but that girl burned out of existence, like a fire swept through my life and left nothing but ash and smoke.”-Mellie from ‘What They Don’t Know’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I am very excited to bring you a book that discusses` a lot of very deep topics. Today we are reviewing the book ‘What They Don’t Know’ by Nicole Maggi, which was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire & will be released tomorrow October 2nd, 2018. As always I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible however I will issue a trigger warning for the following subjects: rape, pro-life vs pro-choice debates, abortion, abuse of pills, harassment (if you are easily triggered by these topics then do not read this book). So this is definitely a book that requires A LOT of discussion so let’s get straight to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘What They Don’t Know’ revolves around two teenage girls named Mellie & Lise who live in a small, conservative town in Colorado. Although Mellie & Lise were friends as children, they have grown apart over the years but soon find themselves forever woven in each others lives. Mellie has grown up in a very strict, religious household, is a good student, & is determined to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. Unfortunately her entire world changes when she is raped at her home a few days before Christmas. Mellie soon discovers that she is pregnant & must wrestle with whether she should give the baby up for adoption or get an abortion. Feeling alone & unable to tell anyone about her assault, Mellie begins to question everything that she previously believed, & this lead her to some dark & scary places. On the other hand, Lise is a free-spirited tern who isn’t afraid to speak her mind & help anyone who needs her. This trait of helping anyone who needs it leads Lise to figure out Mellie’s secrets & stopping at nothing to help her. However, when helping Mellie risks Lise’s own secrets coming out in the open, Lise must decide if she really can help Mellie or if some places are just too dark to climb out of.
Ok I’m going to start off by saying that this is one of the most captivating books I’ve read all year. ‘What They Don’t Know’ takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, that will make you truly think about all of the topics in this story. Obviously this book is a 5 smiley face read, but I will say that you do have to be emotionally prepared when going into this one. Nicole Maggi has an incredible talent of making her truly become emotionally involved with the characters she creates. She is also able to present the topics brought up in this story in such a way that you feel as lost as Mellie regardless of your personal opinion on some of the topics. Also, I love how not every character reacts exactly the way you expect in certain situations in this book, which really gives you characters to root for. One concern that some people have had with this book is the depiction of Christian characters, however I truly disagree with this concern. Although I wish we did see more open-minded Christian characters, it’s perfectly believable to not see this due to the fact that Mellie’s parents have kept her far away from anyone who believes in things contrary to what they believe. Also, we do see that Mellie finds more open-minded Christian people towards the end of the book, which I think really helps Mellie’s growth as an individual feel more powerful, while allowing her to keep some of her religious foundation that makes her Mellie. The last thing I want to talk about is the fact that the two girls perspectives are told in journal entries, which really makes the narrative feel more personal, as if the girls are telling us this story themselves. I’m truly excited to read more from this author, & hope that everyone checks out ‘What They Don’t Know’.
Keep up with everything Nicole is doing here:
“She took my heart and held it safe. She promised to wait for me, with words that echo in my mind and tender touches that I can still feel on my skin”– Corey from ‘Before I Let Go”.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a new book by New York Times Bestselling Author Marieke Nijkamp. You may recognize Marlene’s name due to the popularity of her 2016 debut book ‘This Is Where It Ends’, as well as the editor of the anthology Unbroken: 13 Stories Starting Disabled Teens which will be released in the fall of 2018. Today we have the privilege of reviewing her latest book ‘Before I Let Go’, which was released on January 2, 2018 and was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire. This will be a spoiler free review however I will discuss how the ending affected my opinion of the book. So now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Before I Let Go’ is a Young Adult suspense novel surrounding the suicide of a bi-polar young teenage girl name Kyra in the small town of Lost, Alaska. When Kyra’s best friend Corey returns to Lost after moving away for several months, she begins to realize that the town is very different than she remembered. Corey is shocked to find that she is now treated like an outsider by people who have known her for her entire life, and feels that there is an aura of secrecy surrounding the town. However the thing that Corey finds the most shocking is the fact that everyone in town speaks very highly and lovingly of Kyra, despite the fact that Corey always saw that everyone in town mercilessly tease and abused Kyra her entire life. Corey begins to suspect that there is more to Kyra’s death than what she has been lead to believe, so she decides to investigate the story herself. Throughout the story Corey finds out dark secrets about the town and herself that she had never considered before. Corey also finds that she has enemies and allies in the town that will play an important role in uncovering the truth.
So now we’ve reached the point in the review where I tell y’all if you should buy this book or not. Honestly, this book is a little difficult to recommend because it was a solid 5 star read until I reached the ending of the book. Now this book does have some problems throughout, such as the fact that Corey is not a very likeable protagonist because of the way she treated Kyra after she moved (which is made even worst by how mentally ill Kyra is, and the fact that Corey knows this but still treats her this way). The book also contains several pages where the writing suddenly changes to a script style (like a play would have) which was really jarring and completely unnecessary to the story because it didn’t tie in with anything. However a positive point of this book is that we do get to see a lot of diversity with the inclusion of asexual, pansexual, and homosexual characters, as well as a very detailed accounting of Kyra’s mental illness that helps us really understand and fall in love with her character. The author truly does an amazing job of pulling you into the mystery of Lost and keeping you engaged throughout every twist & turn that comes our way. Unfortunately this is all ruined by the ending of the book. As soon as Corey solves the mystery we reach the climax of the book and then the story just ends. It does not resolve, it just ends. After all of the build up and great storytelling that the author does, this ending is just so disappointing that it honestly ruined the whole experience of the book for me. Because of this, I have to give this book a solid 2.5 smiley faces out of 5, which truly saddens me to do because this story deserved so much more.
“Maybe this is the definition of a summer fling? Finding someone you can be with like this, uninhibited. Not bogged down with thoughts of the future. Not bogged down with thoughts of much else outside of this moment and us.”– Finley from ‘You Before Anyone Else’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we will be reviewing the book ‘You Before Anyone Else` by Julie Cross and Mark Perini. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this amazing book earlier this year and am super excited to share this book with you! If you`re looking for a story with drama, heartbreak, love, and so much more, than this is the book for you. Are you already super excited? Yeah you are (just so you know, this will be a spoiler free review because y’all NEED this book in you life…like seriously you do)! Ok let’s jump into the review. Ready? Ok, lets go!!!
‘You Before Anyone Else’ is a YA romance which centers around teens Eddie and Finley as they navigate the difficult world of modeling in New York City. One night they meet at a party and thus begins an intense journey that will teach them both about love, sacrifice, and what it truly means to find happiness. On the surface `You Before Anyone Else’ seems like a very basic and predictable YA romance novel. Finley, the good girl who knits in her spare time and helps her disabled father care for her younger brothers decides to shed her image by hooking up with “edgy, bad boy” Eddie and then moving on with her life. However, life has a way of wrecking plans, and once you begin to learn more about these characters you see that they both have deep, personal scars that cause them to always make decisions that are in the best interest of those around them, instead of figuring out what they actually want. ‘You Before Anyone Else’ is told in alternating points of view so we get a chance to see the story from both character`s perspective. This can be a very difficult storytelling devise however Cross and Perini pull this off perfectly. Honestly this story will make you laugh, cry, and instantly take you on a beautiful journey that you never want to end. I would definitely give this book a 4 out of 5 smiley faces and suggest that you pick up your copy now…as in this very second…the links are below, honestly what are you waiting for?
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss an awesome new YouTube channel that every book lover will want to subscribe to right now (well finish reading this post and then go subscribe to the channel…ok? Ok). On this channel Zoe gives her viewers book recommendations, shows us book/bookmark hauls, and proves that she’s a fangirl just like the rest of us (so we can all obsess over our OTPs together yay!!!). So if you’re ready to release your inner nerd then let’s talk about some of the videos on this amazing channel. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOK UNHAUL! [#1]’ video which was uploaded on June 28th, 2014 (you can check out this video below). Honestly this is one of the first book unhauls that I remember watching and I really like the concept of this type of video. Just in case you’re not familiar with this type of video, a book unhaul is when a BookTuber discusses books that they are going to get rid of because they did not enjoy the book, decided that they will probably never read the book, for various other reasons. These are really great videos to check out because you can get a person’s honest opinion about a book before spending money on it. After watching several videos on a BookTuber’s channel you usually get a good idea of what their personal tastes are, and if you have similar tastes then their opinion of a book will probably match your opinion. The next book that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOKS I’M TAKING TO COLLEGE’ video, which was uploaded on August 22nd, 2014. Now as every book lover knows, if we could we would literally carry our book collections with us everywhere (and I realize that you can do that with e-books but that’s a different topic for a future blog post). If you are/will be living in an apartment or dorm room in the near future then this is an excellent video for you to check out because honestly it can be hard to leave books at home when you now you’ll be away from them for a while (ok we have to resist using #thestruggleisreal here…must resist…ok we obviously can’t because the struggle really is real).
Now we’re going to discuss Zoe’s ‘MY FICTIONAL BOYFRIENDS TAG’ video, which was uploaded on May 28th, 2015. Now we know we’re all fangirls/fanboys at heart, and because of this we honestly have a very deep emotional connection to our favorite book characters (and because of this so many ships are constantly set loose on the world). This is a really fun video that you will definitely have on replay, and a entertaining tag that you can play by yourself or with friends. The final video that we’re going to talk about is Zoe’s ‘BOOKS I WANT TO BE ADAPTED’ video, which was uploaded on December 30th, 2015 (you can check out the video below). If you love books (and you obviously really do if you’re still reading this post), then you know that you have a list of books that you think deserve a TV and/or film adaption. With the trend of so many of our fav books already getting adaptions, it is very likely that your favorite novel could get a small or big screen adaption some day. I highly recommend this video because Zoe gives a very interesting list that’s full of variety, so you’ll definitely find something you like on this list.
Keep up with everything Zoe is doing here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to talk about a new show that we’re all going to want to check out on Netflix. If you have ever read the novel ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher then prepared to get really excited! In 2011 Universal Pictures purchased the rights to make ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ into a film starring Selena Gomez. On October 29th (of 2015) it was announced that this book would instead be made into a 13 episode miniseries that will be executive produced by Selena Gomez, her mother Mandy Teefey, and Kristel Laiblin (who has also served as a producer for films such as The Man with the Iron Fists, In Time, and Children of Men). I’m not 100% sure if Selena will still star as the lead character Hannah Baker, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon so I’m excited to find out. Personally I am a HUGE fan of this book, so I’m excited to see this miniseries. This is the latest book to get a film/TV release, following other Young Adult novels such as: Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Divergent Trilogy, The Fault in our Stars, and the TV show Eye Candy, among many others. It’s really cool to see our favorite stories get a breath of fresh air by coming to life on the big and small screen, and I’m really excited to see which of our favorite novels will be added to this list next. So now let’s discuss the plot a little bit (and don’t worry there won’t be any huge spoilers).
The story revolves around the aftermath of the suicide of a high school girl named Hannah Baker. We follow the story through the eyes of a shy guy named Clay Jensen who is surprised to find a box of 7 cassette tapes from an anonymous person. He listens to the tapes and finds out that Hannah is narrating the tapes. On these tapes she explains that there are 12 people & 13 reasons that are responsible for her committing suicide. She says that each of the 12 people must pass the tapes along to the next person, otherwise someone else will release a second set of the tapes to everyone at their school. This is definitely a really interesting story that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. The book ends with giving the audience a lot of really good life lessons, but do so in a very realistic non-preachy way. I am so excited that this book is getting more attention, and I am interested to see where Netflix takes this story.
Hey people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’, we are going to discuss a movie franchise that is near and dear to all of our hearts. These movies were not only entertaining (COMPLETELY addicting), but taught us all numerous life lessons about friendship, love, family, and why dragons and giants are actually really cool friends to have (you know…just the typical life lessons everyone learns as they grow up). If you haven’t already guessed, we’re taking about the extremely successful ‘Harry Potter’ series. So if you waited by your mailbox for your Hogwarts acceptance letter (or if you’re still waiting…I know it’s coming, seriously it just got lost in the mail), then please read on and join me in discussing ‘The 10 Life Lessons We Learned from Harry Potter’.
10) Don’t wait 6 years to tell someone you have a crush on them (c’mon that’s too long…yes I’m looking at you Ron and Hermione).
9) It takes more than just blood to make a family (unless you’re the Weasleys and already have more family than you can handle).
8) Don’t believe rumors (if Harry had he would have never been friends with the Weasleys or gotten close to Sirius Black).
7) In life if you want something, go after it (Harry wanted to be in the ‘Gryffindor House’ so that’s where he was place. In other words Harry is a boss!).
6) Guys with beards can be very cool (I mean look at the facts…Dumbledore had a beard and he was cool, Hagrid had a beard and he was cool, Voldemort didn’t have a beard and thus was not cool).
5) If your friends risk their lives for you 6 years in a row, you can probably safely assume that you’ll be BFFs forever…or at least 5 more years.
4) Love is the most important thing in life (I mean Dumbledore kept going on about it in just about every movie, and remember he has a beard which makes him cool, and thus trustworthy right? ).
3) Pick your friends very carefully (I mean what would’ve happened if Harry had chosen to be friends with Malfoy instead of Ron during their first year at Hogwarts…I know your mind was just blown wasn’t it).
2) Don’t take life to seriously (I mean look at Fred and George, didn’t they always seem like they were having the most fun!?!).
1) Embrace what makes you “weird” (like the fact that you’re secretly a wizard who has to stay on the run from an evil wizard who’s trying to kill you even though you’re just a child…I mean that’s just an example).
So you see, Harry Potter wasn’t just a film series that we all watched waaayyyy to much, it unraveled the many mysteries of life. So, the next time someone gives you a hard time for replaying the whole series 1 too many times, just say that you’re learning about life. And really isn’t learning about life the most important thing? I don’t know if that will work with your teachers/professors/employers but it’s worth a shot.