Everything, Everything

Everything Everything
“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”
-Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything

Title: everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 310
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: September 1, 2015
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Everything, Everything is one of those books that you can read again and again and get something new from the story every time. It is a somewhat slower-paced story, but it still manages to catch your attention and hold it until the very end. The characters, plot, and setting are all very well developed. The only complaint I have is that the romance seemed very “instalovy”.
The characters in Everything, Everything each have their own backstory that contributes to the plot. Maddy, (the main character), has a severe immune disorder that prevents her from leaving her house. Olly, (Maddy’s love interest), hasn’t had the greatest family life. Maddy’s mother lost her husband and another child in a car accident, and now Maddy is all she has left. Each of these unique backstories contributes to the plot and character development in a way that makes Everything, Everything feel like more than the average teen romance.
Everything, Everything has a very interesting writing style. It is told in the first person narrative through Maddy, (the main character). The writing seemed a little… choppy at first, but after the first chapter or so it became much more fluid.
The plot of Everything, Everything is well-paced for the most part. I do think that some of the exposition could’ve been cut from the beginning, and the romance did feel a lot like instalove. I’m choosing to forgive the instalove in this instance, however, because of the unique situation. I believe that the instalove was made up for by the interesting backstory, strong character development, and bitter-sweet ending.
The ending of Everything, Everything was not what you usually see in young adult romance, but it was a welcome change in my opinion. Without spoiling everything about Everything, Everything, the ending brings a psychological twist into the story that ends everything on a bitter-sweet note.
Overall, Everything, Everything is a great read if you’re up for a cute teen romance with a psychological twist!

Writing Up Wednesday #1: Which Character is Your Favorite?

Today I discovered a new writing meme created by Lizzy @ The Bent Bookworm. Every week, there will be a theme for Writing Up Wednesday that highlights an aspect of your current writing project, and a link-up below Lizzy’s post where you can share your responses. The theme for this week is favorite characters, and you can click here to see Lizzy’s post.


Nico Deverow is my absolute most favorite character out of the “shaman novel” that I am currently editing/might as well be rewriting from scratch. His family holds one of the highest seats on the royal council, which basically means they rule the world. The Deverows are ruthless. They made their fortune in blood money, and they’ll kill if they have to in order to keep their power and status. But Nico doesn’t exactly fit into that picture… He can’t conform to the system of “academic magic” the council has created, and therefore he is “a disgrace to his royal blood.” On top of that, he has his own gift/curse to contend with! He can see auras, the spirits of the restless dead, the residual imprints of meaningful events, and pick up on the emotions around him. And… No one can ever know about any of this because those are shaman powers, and a Deverow having shaman powers would put his family’s precious reputation at risk. Nico learns to lock all his powers and true feelings inside, only showing the world the heir to the royal seat that they expect to see. He doesn’t trust anyone, and no one trusts him. His mask is flawless while really he’s shattering. He turns to a magical drug called Bliss and self harm as a way to escape it all. But eventually he finds some allies, and by the end of the book, he’ll be well on his way to becoming a true shaman.
Here’s a little scenario from Nico’s daily life: You enter a crowded room where a violent murder took place twenty years ago. Your gaze is immediately drawn to the translucent scene of the murder being played over and over again. You watch the knife flash in the moonlight that drifted through the window the night it happened, witness the woman’s silent screams, and watch as the blood stains the marble tiles. You know that this has happened hundreds of times in this room, and that if you allow yourself to get lost in the scene, you will witness other deaths that were never spoken of. You look away from the scene, blinking as colors swirl around you, fading from black, to white, to gray, to green, to purple as auras touch and move apart. It makes you dizzy. Everyone’s emotions stab at you like knives. You want to float again, but you can’t, not now, not here, not yet… You have to get through the gathering first-act royal, act normal, pretend you belong with this crowd that cares for nothing and no one but power.

Share Your Opinion?

Got any thoughts, (good, bad, or bloodstained), that you’d like to leave in the comments? Just kidding! Please don’t leave me any bloodstained thoughts! That got pretty dark, but Nico is a dark character. He actually came to be before any of the plot was formed, which means I worked the plot around him and his family, which means the whole book is kinda dark… Anyway… I’d love to hear about some of your characters, so feel free to drop your links in the comments if you do this! Also, don’t forget to check out the link-up on Lizzy’s post because there are lots of awesome writers out there!

Shiny Broken Pieces, (Tiny Pretty Things #2)

Shiny Broken Pieces

Title: Shiny Broken Pieces
Author: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Series: Tiny Pretty Things #2
Pages: 385
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: July 12th, 2016
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

June, Bette, and Gigi have given their all to dance at Manhattan’s most elite ballet school. Now they are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice.
June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. However, getting what she wants might cost her everything—including the only boy she’s ever loved. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. Even if she returns, though, will she ever regain the spotlight she craves? And Gigi is not going to let Bette—or the other dancers who bullied her—go unpunished. But as revenge consumes her, Gigi may be the one who pays the price.
After years of grueling auditions, torn ribbons, and broken hearts, it all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Wow… I have kind of fallen in love with one of these characters. Remember how I said the characters were kind of underdeveloped in my review of book 1? Shiny Broken Pieces almost completely turned that around! All of the characters had more depth, but I was able to connect with June in particular. The others seemed less relatable by comparison, but I also think June had more of a story to tell than the others.
The plot was still as much of a roller coaster as it was in Tiny Pretty Things but I felt like it was a bit tighter. The first person narrative that I mentioned as a downfall in Tiny Pretty Things was one of the biggest strengths in the plot of Shiny Broken Pieces. It allowed the readers to know who was doing what and why, but it still allowed a bit of mystery because one of the key players was not a narrator. There weren’t a ton of plot lines like there were in Tiny Pretty Things, and that made it a whole lot easier to follow! Shiny Broken Pieces picked up right after the massive cliff hanger ending of Tiny Pretty Things and wrapped up all of the loose threads that it created.
The ending of Shiny Broken Pieces did leave me a bit disappointed, not because I wanted more of the story or thought it was a bad ending, but because I didn’t like where some of the characters ended up. Honestly I felt like the ending was dragged out longer than was really necessary simply for the sake of throwing in one last plot twist. It could’ve ended about three chapters earlier than it did, and life would’ve been great! But it didn’t, and that’s what caused some characters to end up in places other than where I wanted them to go. Without totally spoiling everything, June did not make the choice I wanted her to make, Gigi did lots of unnecessary traveling but eventually landed right where I wanted her, and Bette got exactly what she wanted and she did not deserve that by any stretch of the imagination!
I love these characters and have become invested in this story by now, but I really hope there won’t be another book in this series. It’s starting to feel too much like Pretty Little Liars, and that series went on forever and ever and eventually got to where it just didn’t make any kind of sense at all… I don’t want that for this story. One more book might be good if it were done well, but the plot and writing style of the first two books makes me doubt that it would contribute anything to the series besides another plot roller coaster that would intrigue the reader at best and make them exhausted at worst. The potential for a third book is certainly there, but I don’t think it should be expanded upon.
In the end, Shiny Broken Pieces gets a solid four stars. I have criticized it, but id told a good story, added some depth to the original characters, tied up all the dangling strings, and provided me some entertainment as I listened to it and cleaned out iCloud Drive so my iPad would stop yelling about not being backed up. When it comes right down to it, books are supposed to entertain, and entertain this series does!

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (Spoiler free!)

Girl In Pieces
“Everyone has that moment I think, the moment when something so momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.”
― Kathleen Glasgow, Girl in Pieces

Title: Girl in Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 416
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: August 30, 2016

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
This is going to be one of those reviews where my words simply cannot convey how beautiful and heartbreaking the story really is. Sometimes you just have to read things yourself to understand the full scope of the words, but I’ll try my best!
Girl in Pieces was NOT an easy read for me. It took a long time for me to finish, but it wasn’t because of any fault in the writing. It is a very… I’m going to call it “heavy” read that deals with a lot of rough situations and difficult subjects. I am not typically one to read such, so I was a little out of my element. I originally picked up the book because I saw lots of really amazing reviews floating around youTube, and I am addressing some of the same mental health factors in my own work in progress. I thought it would help me out with research for my story to read from a character’s perspective who had those issues, but I really didn’t expect to get sucked into the story like I did!
The entire book is narrated in first person by Charlie Davis, a 17 year old girl who has gone through more than anybody should ever have to go through in a lifetime. Her father committed suicide, her best friend committed suicide, her mother abused her physically and emotionally, and the only source of comfort she came to know was her “tender kit,” a box containing the pieces of a broken mason jar and everything she needed to patch up her own cuts. She wrote her pain on her own body; every physical scar came to represent a much deeper internal scar that no one but herself could see. She shut the world out, built up a wall, refused to let even herself in sometimes.
Charlie’s story unfolded over three parts, each part revealing another layer of character growth. The beginning is rough, choppy, and somewhat disjointed, but it wouldn’t have been true to Charlie’s character to do it any other way. Charlie isn’t a character that anyone can just instantly connect with; you have to understand her first. The middle was smoother, but had a bit of a lost quality to it. Charlie was on her own, completely alone, and didn’t have any idea how to find her place in the world. She relapsed into old ways, fought her way back to the light, got caught up into toxic situations like she had before, and fell into the darkest point of the whole story as a result. The third part came full circle. Charlie found friends, came out of the silence again, and found a place where she belonged. The writing of the final part has an almost lyrical quality to it, and it gives a sense of hope and strength for Charlie’s future.
After finishing that last page, I feel like I understand self-harm and PTSD in a way I didn’t before. It’s one thing to read out of my psychology text book, perform extensive Google searches, and watch more youTube videos than is probably necessary or healthy, but another thing entirely to read something shown through the mind of a character with a particular disorder. Like I said before, this isn’t something I would normally read. I’ll almost always pick fairies and rainbows and witches trying to kill people over a YA contemporary, but something drew me to this book because I am trying to incorporate some of the same issues into my novel with a fantasy twist. It is definitely on the darker and heavier side for a young adult novel, but I realize now that it’s important for stories like this to exist because people are in all kinds of situations. As terrible as it is, there are a LOT of teenagers in situations like Charlie’s. I actually Googled the exact statistics because of my psych nerd tendencies, but I didn’t write them down, so I’ll spare you.
Throughout the book there is a strong theme of letting your voice be heard, of letting your story be known, and at the end of the book, Charlie is ready for the world to know her story and hear her words. It stresses the need to find an outlet for emotions, be it writing, or drawing, or music. In a way, I think that writing is an outlet for authors to share their own stories with the world. Even if they create their own fantastical world from scratch, it’s still going to hold a part of them in it because it came out of their brain. I somehow managed to not cry while I was reading Girl in Pieces, but that author’s note almost did me in. You’ll understand more if you actually read it, but it is clear that Charlie Davis and her story is Kathleen Glasgow’s way of sharing part of her own story in order to make an impact. It’s books like this one that really get the message across more than any news article ever could.

Conclusions:
Girl in Pieces is NOT for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of blood and drugs and alcohol involved, and some harsh language. Don’t read it if you’re gonna have a problem with that, (I am warning you now!)
■This is a book that is going to make you think about some rough stuff. If you don’t wanna think, go read something with unicorns and rainbows!
■It’s a little hard to read in some places because the writing is a little choppy, but it wouldn’t be true to character otherwise.
■The ending is beautiful, and I know it will give somebody hope.
■The whole theme of the book is to let your words be heard and your story be known. Charlie made her story known by the end of it, and I know her story will help a lot of people understand those like her.
■This book is amazing, and it gets a five star rating!

Share your thoughts?
Have you, or are you planning to read Girl in Pieces? Tell me what you think of the book, (or my rambling review), in the comments or on Twitter @Cheyenne_writes!