Month: September 2017

Glass – Ellen Hopkins

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Glass is the sequel to Ellen Hopkins’ well-known book Crank, which is loosely based on her daughter’s addiction to meth. You can read my review here. 

This book picks up where the last one left off – Kristina is back home and living with her mom and Scott, two siblings, and her baby, Hunter. Kristina is a new mom, with no high school diploma, no job, and a little baby weight. She decides to take the dangerous plunge back into the hands of the “monster” so she can keep up with Hunter and lose some weight. This turns out to be a devastating mistake. Kristina/Bree gets kicked out by her mom and moves in with her dealer, Brad, and his 2 daughters. After deciding that she can no longer work for her perv of a manager at the Seven Eleven, Kristina quits and becomes a full-time nanny, and a part-time dealer. She has lost her baby to her mother and she is looking to any guy that comes along to fill the hole left by her family.

Kristina meets and falls in love with Trey, another user and dealer who is a part-time lover and full-time douchebag. But Kristina can’t see past the crystal to realize that he isn’t good for her. She looks to Brad for comfort instead when Trey is off at school. The more lonely Kristina gets, the more she smokes and plays with “the monster.”

I thought this book was much darker than the first. Kristina isn’t just experiencing meth for the first time like in Crank. This time, she knows how dangerous it is, but decides to do it anyway. This is detrimental to her health, her life, and her family. Hopkins paints an excellent picture of what happens when you let drugs take over your life and how it affects other people. Since this was loosely based on her own daughter’s struggle with addiction, I can only imagine the turmoil Hopkins must have went through, seeing her daughter’s spiral downward like that and having to raise her grandson.

I most admire Hopkins’ ability to get inside the head of her character and imagine what she must be feeling and how she’s treated by the men in her life but still unable to see it for herself. She knows doing the drug is bad, but she fails to see how swept up in it she really is. At one point she says something like, “I’ll never be like Robyn, with sores all over my face. I’ll never let it get that bad,” but towards the end, she notices the sores on her own face and everyone who loves her can barely recognize her. She has become the person inside that she’s been fighting with all along – Bree.

I think if you struggle or have struggled with addiction, this series might be too much of a trigger for you. If you have never experienced this firsthand, or if you have someone you love struggling with addiction, this book gives great insight into understanding why someone would continue to play with “the monster.”

4/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon

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I saw the trailer for the movie based on this book and I knew I wanted to read the book first. My friend at work finished it and gave it to me. I started and finished it in less than a week. It’s an easy, light read – something I needed after my last book The Orphan’s Tale .

Madeline Whittier is not your average 18 year old girl. She like to read, organize her books, talk to friends online – does that not sound average? Oh wait – she can’t leave her house. She has an autoimmune disease that basically means if she leaves her house, her body “explodes”. She is allergic to the world and has accepted that fact – until she meets the boy next door.

Olly is an average teenage boy – with an aggressive, alcoholic father. Olly and Madeline (Maddy) start chatting via IM. I remember doing this with boys I was interested in as a pre-teen/teenager and it was so exciting at the time. Waiting around to see if anyone would log on, opening a chat message as soon as they did, learning all the lingo – LOL, BRB, TTYL. Maddy and Olly use this form of communication so that they can talk but keep it a secret from Maddy’s overprotective mother. I don’t want to give too much more away at this point.

I really liked this book not only for the story, but also because of the short “book reviews” Maddy writes. In between chapters, Maddy gives a short, one sentence review of a certain book she is reading at the time. One example is her review of The Lord of the Flies: “Spoiler alert: Boys are savages” (34). There are also drawing and handwritten notes throughout like a journal (by Maddy.) I felt like I could relate to Maddy because she likes to read and one of her favorite books is Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, which is one of my favorites as well! She’s also got a very protective mother (check!) and she likes to write book reviews (like this one!).

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone, especially if they like YA.

5/5

The Orphan’s Tale – Pam Jenoff

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I was really excited to read this book. I found it while browsing Barnes and Noble once and I had put it on my Goodreads list right away. However, it was slightly disappointing. I felt like it was a bit of a rip-off from Water for Elephants. The story itself was different, and not a love story like Elephants, but it was a circus theme and one of the main characters who did not grow up in the circus, learns to live the circus life, much like Elephants.

The story is set in World War II in Europe (I think Germany is where it starts). The chapters flip back and forth between first person accounts from Noa and Astrid. Noa is a 16 year old girl who’s just been sent away by her family for getting pregnant by a German (Nazi) soldier. She stays at a girl’s home, but her baby was immediately taken away from her after it is born. While working at a train station, she hears what sounds like babies crying in a seemingly empty boxcar. Turns out, it is full of dying/dead babies and Noa feels compelled to save just one if she can’t save them all. In order to save the baby and not get caught, Noa abandons her job at the train station and stumbles upon a traveling circus. This is where she meets Astrid.

Astrid is an older woman who’s lived in a circus all her life as a trapeze aerialist. Astrid has a big secret – she is a Jew. Herr Neuhoff, the master, hides Astrid in his circus in exchange for her talents as an aerialist. Astrid is in a relationship with one of the other main acts of the show, a clown named Peter. When Noa arrives, Astrid’s world is rocked. She doesn’t want to help Noa at all and under Herr Neuhoff’s command, begrudgingly trains Noa to become an aerialist.

I feel like this novel was a bit darker than I expected. There are a lot of tense scenes where Astrid and Noa are escaping Nazis or nearly falling from the trapeze. The scene with the dead and dying babies in the boxcar was quite heart-wrenching. The author stated in the back of the book that she had to “put [her] own children on that train” in order to make it seem real and devastating. I found Noa to be quite brave for her age, because at 16, I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage to escape with a baby and be on the run all alone.

While the book did pick up the pace towards the end, the beginning was quite rough for me. That’s why I’ve gone so long between posts because I couldn’t get into this book right up until the end. I think if you haven’t read Water for Elephants yet, you may find this book more engaging than I did.

2/5