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Recently Read #11~ January to March book reviews

Wednesday, 28 March 2018
book review flatlay of Turtles all the way down by john green, to all the boys i've loved before by Jenny Han,  Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken, Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper

It's been a while since I wrote my last Recently Read post, since September in fact, and besides The Picture of Dorian Gray review, I posted in February I haven't really posted many reviews at all. So let's catch you up on what I've been reading this year so far. I've currently read 12 books (and halfway through two others) but to save this from becoming a giant essay I'm going to share 5 of my favourites that I don't plan on dedicating full posts to:

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
I have to say when I received this book and read the blurb I was slightly put off but because it was John Green, I jumped in and without giving spoilers, the whole 'murder mystery disappearance' storyline of the blurb is only really a general subplot floating throughout the real story. A whole lot more important stuff happens than that. Half the time you forget the chase is on.

The main thing I took from this book was Aza's mental health journey. While I've never had anxiety as bad as she struggles with some of her moments definitely resonated with me. John Green definitely has the spiral metaphor correct, there have been definite times in my life where my thoughts have just spiraled down and down and down, Turtles All The Way Down. I've come to realise the reason the main plotline isn't very important is that we're seeing the story from Aza's mind. She can't even get through lunch without her anxiety spiralling her thoughts so of course the plotline can be easily distracted. It makes the entire book very relatable if you've gone through anything similar to what she's going through and I definitely recommend it!

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

I finished reading To All The Boys I've Loved Before at the start of February and I flew through it. There's a lot of mixed reviews floating around about this book but I personally really enjoyed it!

I really enjoyed how the characters were written and developed. Lara Jean was half Korean and her mother died when she was young, in other YA books either one of these would be the main part of her personality let alone both. Being half Korean raised by her dad adds to her personality but it doesn’t revolve around it. Not only that but being a quiet person she wasn’t written as boring and ordinary like most quiet people are usually. Nor does she suddenly come out of her shell and become this super extrovert character. I mean I could go on for a fair while about all the things about her personality that was so much better than usual fluffy YA’s but I’ll stop here. The other books in the series are currently on my TBR pile.

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

I just could not get into this book. The pacing is way off so it took me so long to get through the first 100 pages and finally get stuck in with the plot that over a month had flown by. Then the ending had way too much of a lead up to be over in a few pages. I wouldn't blame you if you'd picked up these books before and not bothered reading further than the first few chapters. Even with the cliffhanger left at the end of Passenger the first 100 pages of Wayfarer was a chore.

Once past that, I got stuck in and really enjoyed it getting through the rest in a couple of days. There's a lot more minor action going on in Wayfarer than Passenger as it's more about the war of the families and less about Nick and Etta's relationship. Speaking of Nick and Etta's relationship, yes I did cry near the end when the big reveal happens, I shed maybe a few more tears than I care to admit. Bracken's character writing is definitely much better than her environment and action writing. You really connect with the characters, not just Nick and Etta but some, if not most, of the minor characters as well. So while it may sound like I hated this book I really did enjoy it once I got into it.

Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I have so many mixed feelings about this book. It was one of those books that you take forever to get into, like Wayfarer, to the point where I almost put it down and stopped reading for good. But then once you get past a certain chapter it's super enjoyable and really easy to fly through, where I practically took 2 weeks to read the first half and a few hours to read the second half. I did, however, really enjoy how it was laid out in mini-chapters, some being only a page or two long.

The problem I now have with YA, being an almost 24-year-old, is that it's been a while since I was 15 years old and sometimes it takes a while for me to connect with the characters this age. Which may have been the reason it took me a while to get stuck into!

The story didn't have one major plot, but instead lots of mini storylines that all got tied up in the end (sort of like a happily ever after, but not really) so the story followed how the two boys developed which I really enjoyed. It showed their friendship, their relationship with their families, their coming of age and learning about themselves. If you feel like you're not enjoying it - push through!

These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper

This was one of my favourite books of the year so far, and I think the fact that it's not as popular as all the others I've read made it even better. I've mentioned this time and time again on the blog but I'm not really a fan of books that have multiple character points of view that alternate to tell the story. I'm more of a one main character point of view kinda gal, however, I really enjoyed the way this was told through the points of views of 7-8 of the different residents.

It's hard to really go into more without revealing spoilers, but the book follows these characters through their everyday lives and all their different sorts of struggles in life before a big event happens in their neighbourhood. Basically, if you're not a fan of the YA type books above, while this doesn't have a huge amount of high-speed action I do really recommend it. Plus it's fun to read it in a French accent.

What have you been enjoying lately? Any recommendations?

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