ARC Review: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (Shaun David Hutchinson)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: February 19th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 294

Blurb from Goodreads:

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is my first time reading Shaun’s book and honestly I have high expectations since one of his books, We Are The Ants is a very well-loved books in the YA community.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (yes, it is very mouthful!) is a story about friendship between long-lost ex-bestfriends who grew apart from each other. This story between Dino and July at first is very intriguing as I am very interested in reading male to female dynamic relationship that is not related to romance.

As the story proceeds, I cannot find any WOW factor, or any part of the book that is worth reading and impressive. The characters are very bland, they are extremely flawed and not interesting. I guess the author is trying to write characters with anti-hero qualities, the one who lacks the ‘conventional heroic attributes’ unlike what we see in movies or even books. Both of them also have opposite characteristics, one is passive and the other is hostile. The reason on why they grew apart is also so petty, that I think the relationship can be repaired by just only discussing the problems between them. The plot is also very forgettable and nothing special, at times I cannot even identify the conflict and storyline.

The one thing is really stood out to me is the theme of death. Someone’s death can truly change and effect our life as a whole. How the death can change their relationship. I guess that the author is trying to metaphorically explain the meaning and impact of someone’s death to people. However, it does not work for me.

I truly appreciate the LGBT references in the book as one of the main characters is gay and also about the support and understanding given by the people of him.

I am mildly disappointed by the book but it does not stop me to try and read Shaun’s other writings in the future.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me a review copy of the book!

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Sabrina

 

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Review: You Only Live Once (Jess Vallance)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication date: August 23rd 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 400

Blurb from Goodreads:

The start of a hilarious new teen series for fans of Geek Girl.

Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she’s got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she’s dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she’s been wasting her best years being sensible. It’s like people say: you only live once – so isn’t it about time she started LIVING?
(OK, so the tropical illness turned out to be a fake-tan miscalculation. Anyone could make the same mistake.)

When Gracie decides to do something, she does it properly. Gracie Dart is about to live out her dreams. However embarrassing.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This book is totally aimed to students who have just finished school and trying to figure out what are the things that they want to do in life. By reading the synopsis, I can guarantee that the main character is going to have one helluva journey.

I truly enjoyed the concept of the book — trying to make the most out of life and being spontaneous. Gracie Dart is truly an excellent student, she scores well in her exams and turns down school trips just to be able to study at home. After finishing GCSE, she lives by the motto of “You Only Live Once”. We can see her doing spontaneous activities such as going for a horse-turned-to-a-donkey ride at beach, bungee jumping, trip to Paris with her sick grandmother and many challenging things that she has never done before. I imagine myself doing all of the things that Gracie has done while reading and wishing that I have guts to do that. I love it how this book discusses on the importance of relationship with friends and family as well as sexuality. Gracie is a lesbian and she has a great support system who truly supports her sexuality.

Gracie is the living reflection of a young adult who wants to do and try everything in life, but greatly vulnerable and sometimes undecided about on what they truly wants to do in life. Gracie is very spontaneous and brave, but she also pushes away people who truly care about her. I guess that is just the ups and downs of being a growing teenager. Even though I cannot connect thoroughly with her character, I love how the writer successfully connects the meaning and worth of life with Gracie’s story. Circumstances that happen in the story test Gracie’s view on the worth of knowledge learned from school towards to the reality of life. There are a few discussions on the quality of life, where she feels like quitting school. At some point of life, you will realise the ugly truth of the cycle of life. You have to work hard to earn. You cannot escape it. I feel very enlightened by the moral of the story. Sometimes in life, we do get carried away with life that we fail to realise the meaning of it.

The ending is okay, everything that I expect it to be. I like how Gracie tries to face the music after for what she has done. Gracie goes through some intense self-development and self-discovery in her journey, and that is why I can say that this book is one of the best coming-of-age story ever.

I look forward to read the next book of the series, To Be Perfectly Honest.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

Review: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (Rachel Lynn Solomon) #OwnVoices

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Blurb from Goodreads:

A moving, lyrical debut novel about twins who navigate first love, their Jewish identity, and opposite results from a genetic test that determines their fate—whether they inherited their mother’s Huntington’s disease.

Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s, and the other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.


RATINGS

4.25 STARS

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

This is actually a very interesting read for me, as the main characters are both twins and Jewish. It is an eye-opening reading experience as the book is both educational yet entertaining at the same time.

I learn so much from this book. I now know about Jewish families and their tradition, how twins communicate with each other, Huntington’s disease and mental health issues. This book is so complex hence it is very hard for me to sit down and collect my thoughts to write my review. The points and issues discussed are important and profound as like it is totally suitable for all young adults to read.

I would like to remind all of you that there are trigger warnings: Huntington’s disease, depression, anxiety, suicide, toxic relationship and abnormal sexual desire.

I believe that this story is #OwnVoices thus it is very interesting to see many #OwnVoices stories are published because representation matters! There is so much to learn by knowing each other’s background and tradition and it warms my heart that after all we are all the same in many different ways. The characters overall are very well written, developed and diverse. There is also LGBT references which makes the story more different.

I love the dynamics of the sister’s relationship. They are totally opposite from each other, they have different interests and approach to problems that they face. They lives are heavily explored and written in the book thus I feel that their stories are the most genuine stories ever. Young adults can find their stories to be highly relatable at points when they struggle their asses off to get into great colleges and obtain flying colours. Both of them have deep parental relationships and I truly appreciate good parents figure in YA. It is important to portray good parental figure in the life of a young adult.

Rachel Lynn Solomon has done a great job on writing about Huntington’s disease. One thing that I know about when people suffer from terminal diseases is the lives of people around the patient will severely effected too, both physically and emotionally. The writer captures the scene and condition of the family affected beautifully and flawlessly.

Overall, this is a stunning 2018 debut from debut author! I look forward for more Rachel Lynn Solomon’s books in the future.

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Sabrina

 

Review: They Both Die At The End (Adam Silvera)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day. 


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is my first time reading Adam Silvera’s writing. His writing is so good and it keeps better throughout my journey reading till the end. His writing is simple yet so profound that it gives a powerful impact to me, the one which I like the most. I don’t feel weird and stressed out while reading because the story is so easy to delve into.

They Both Die At The End tells about two main characters, Puerto Rican Mateo and Cuban Rufus, who went through their End Day together. In the alternate world, a company called DeathCast, will call and deliver the message to the Deckers (people who will die soon) that they have 24 hours left to live. Both of them have their own kind of pasts and they met in this one App called Last Friend, where you can find friends who are in the same boat as theirs.

The story itself is engaging. The first part truly makes me want to read it fastly because I am so intrigued in knowing what they will do and who they will meet in the next 24 hours. The story reminds me of The Sun Is Also A Star, which includes some perspectives from all people who revolve around the main characters. We all get to know how can Death affects all the people that they truly love.

I have a lot of emotions and thinking while reading this. I truly empathise for the main characters, their family and friends so hard and I feel so sorry for what will happen to them. At the same time, I do think of myself, what if I was the one who was summoned by the Death Cast? What will I do for my last 24 hours living on Earth? These questions keep on mingling in my mind. Knowing that you are going to be dead soon is honestly horrifying, especially when leaving all your loved ones and not having to do stuffs you have not done yet.

These thoughts frankly scare me, but somehow I think that Mateo and Rufus are damn lucky. I tell you, they have all the time on Earth to be ready to face Death. They have the chance for farewells, meeting friends and family, spending every last of money in their bank account for something that they have not done before. In the real world, Death is mysterious. It comes when it comes. It does not have a warning.

I don’t feel satisfied with the ending, mainly because I hate that they both die (It is stated in the title of the book!) and I also loathe that there is no epilogue as a conclusion of the story. I would like to know if both of them truly meet in the afterlife, and if they meet their families. It breaks my heart seeing their deaths. 😦

Overall, it is good read.

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Sabrina