Book review: Eleanor & Park – ★★★★½

Forget The Fault in Our Stars. Forget whatever young adult is all the hype right now – this is what you should be reading. If you’ve ever been 16 and in love, if you love music and books (but hate it when writers make their characters sound like pretentious little douchebags – John Green), if you’ve ever found a kindred spirit and had them taken away from you – this is what you should be reading.

The moment I saw the cover for Eleanor and Park, somehow I knew it was different. For the first time in a long time, I was excited for a book. I was so excited and so desperate to read it, I wouldn’t let myself read the scathing reviews on Goodreads (for some reason, reading bad reviews helps me decide when whether I want to invest in a book). I didn’t want to spoil anything, or have anyone build up my expectations, and I didn’t want to know if anyone thought these characters were just another generic, outcast young adult couple.

And boy, was I right to do so. The only taste of Eleanor and Park I let myself have was to read the first page. One taste, and I was addicted. So addicted that I devoured this book in one read. No joke, I stayed up until 6am reading this book. Once I started, I couldn’t stop – I didn’t want to stop, in fear of disrupting the beautiful, magical flow.

Continue reading

Book Review: Let the Right One In – ★★

It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night….

Now, don’t get me wrong; this was a great story. Very fresh and inventive – a real standout from all the other Vampire novels. Truly dark and beautifully twisted.

However – I couldn’t stand reading this. That’s not to say this was badly done; it’s just, I’ve been studying Professional Writing and Editing for almost 2 years, and I found myself constantly picking up flaws in the writing. Of course, I’ve given the author the benefit of the doubt (this is, after all, originally written in Swedish) and assume that this is just an awkward translation. A very awkward translation.

Continue reading

Book review: Wintergirls – ★★★★★

Award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for her haunting young adult novels that explore the dark tumult of adolescence. Although her books focus on issues of rape, suicide and anorexia, she weaves classical mythology throughout her work, adding a new dimension to young adult realism. Wintergirls has been said to be Anderson’s most powerful work, alongside her debut novel Speak.

In my first year of TAFE, our teacher set us an assignment to write about an author who has influenced our work. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover Wintergirls until my second year. Holy hell, how this book has changed me as a writer.

Continue reading

Book review: The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1) – ★★½

I’ll admit, I was late to join the Percy Jackson bandwagon. I hadn’t heard of the series until 2010, when the movie starring Logan Lerman came out. I remember thinking “oh my god, that guy is CUTE!” and “oh my god, this looks like a bit of a Harry Potter rip off for teens.” And I was right – the movie was directed by Chris Columbus (the director of the first to HP films), and changed… a buttload of stuff from the book. Fortunately, I made a promise to myself to read the books before I saw the movie. Unforuntately, I found the books to be underwhelming and the film to be a big improvement. Of course, I was a 16/17 year old girl reading books aimed at young boys/Middle-Schoolers.

But then I heard about this new series: Heroes of Olympus. I saw the huge jump in page numbers, and that the annoying first-person narrative had been switched to third-person, with multiple titular characters. My interest was piqued.

And then… I bought The Lost Hero. If I thought the Percy Jackson books were “humorous” albeit averagely written, then Heroes of Olympus was a trainwreck.

Continue reading