“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’.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we have a book review of the first book in a new series called ‘Songs About a Girl’ by Chris Russell. This book was provided for review by Flatiron Books (a division of Macmillan Publishers), and was released on July 28th, 2016. Just so y’all know this will be a spoiler-free review so let’s get to the fun part of this blog, the book! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
This is a story about a 15 year old girl named Charlie who is given the opportunity to photograph the biggest pop band in the world Fire&Lights. Although Charlie is a quiet, shy girl, she is quickly is pushed into the spotlight after a photo of her with one of the guys from the band is leaked. At 1st Charlie decides to distances herself from the band, but when she finds a connection between their new lead single and poetry in her deceased mother’s old journal she can’t ignore investigating a possible connection. The harder Charlie looks for answers about her own past, the more she experiences the dark side of fame and fandom.
I’m going to start off by saying that the premise of this book was super interesting. We live in a time where reality & gossip shows allow us to feel closer to our favorite stars than even before. Also, with the addition of social media we’re able to join fandoms & feel a community around our admiration. Although ‘Songs About a Girl’ is marketed (rightfully so) as a One Direction fan-fiction, it really does speak to the current celebrity-centric culture we all live in. Although this isn’t a new topic, I really liked the way Chris Russell showed his love for fandoms in this story, but also showed the consequences of what can happen when they cross the line. I also really liked the characters he created. Charlie is a relatable protagonist, her bff Melissa is the fangirl in us all, the guys in the band are interesting and fun to read about, even the “villains” & more minor characters serve their roles well. The problem however, lies in how all of this comes together. In the end this story is a One Direction fan-fiction at its core which can either be a good thing or a not do good thing. If you really like romance & One Direction then you’ll probably love this book, but only if you really really love both of those things. Personally I’m a fan of both but this story just didn’t click with me. The whole time I kept getting distracted by who inspired which character and it took me out of the story too much. The big twist was very predictable (and I’m horrible at predicting this stuff so that tells you a lot), and the love triangle was solved to quickly (I know, I know, a lot of us have asked for this but a little more tension is always nice). Also, the mystery surrounding Charlie’s mom felt unnecessary & ultimately seemed like it could potential get in the way of the romance between her & the guy she chooses at the end of the book. I feel like this book serves a very niche market which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but because of this forces me to give it 2 smiley faces. This is definitely a quick, light summer read that you can try out if it sounds interesting, but because it doesn’t have a very vast market appeal I can’t recommend it for everyone. However if you do read it & love it, then book 2 is already out, and book 3 will be released later this year!
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