Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Pub: 9/15/2015
Pgs: 384
ARC Received by Edelweiss

I loved. loved. loved Dumplin' . First, the main character's name is Willowdean, that's just precious, and then she's a self proclaimed fat girl. Secondly, even though she does proclaim herself to be fat, she's not bounded by that. If she wants to go swimming, she puts on a bikini and goes. Sure she has an inner monologue about how her thighs are dimply, and that she hates that she has these bad thoughts about her body because others are uncomfortable with her body. She's actually a really strong and correct depiction of what it is to be a fat girl (anyone who doesn't fit in Hollister or Abercrombie)and go to high school in America. Some of us "fat girls" will develop issues, but most of us are just trying to have a body positive attitude because frankly there are just some things we can never change about our selves, or hey, we work out and eat healthy but can't seem to fit in size 2, which is okay. I just loved Will and her attitude about life, love, and being yourself.

Not only did I like the voice coming forth from this book, but the minute Will started to talk about Private School Bo I instantly knew he was amazing. When Will felt giddy, I felt giddy; when Bo brushed her hand I felt excited; and when she was having a hard time deciding what she wanted, I also felt that way. Bo isn't perfect but he's an amazing addition to YA boyfriends.

The last thing I wanted to comment on was how natural this story progressed. Will didn't want to be in a pageant because she's not allowed to or even to make a statement. She did it because, why not. The pageant wasn't the main theme of the story, so it didn't make the message superficial, if anything it went with the theme of "why can't I" and "only you can stop yourself."

4 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.

One by Sarah Crossan

OneOne by Sarah Crossan
Pub: 9/15/2015
Pgs: 400
ARC Received Through Edelweiss

"You See,
Tippi & I are not what you'd call normal-
not what you see everyday
or any day
for that matter.
Anyone with a jot of good manners
calls us "conjoined"
though we've been dubbed other things, too:
freaks, fiends,
monsters, mutants,
and even a two-headed demon once,
which made me cry so hard
I had puffy eyes for a week."

This was an awesome read. I like variety and I also like publishers/authors/books that include many facets and experiences... and this book did just that. For once we are given a YA book about conjoined twins. I am not sure how accurately it depicts growing up as a conjoined twin, but the effort alone is great. Another note worthy point is that I never felt as though this book was making fun of conjoined twins or even exploit such a situation.

Besides its originality the main character, Grace, has a remarkably insightful voice, but of course that is something you would expect from someone who has lived on the outskirts of the norm. While she is the relaxed and quiet one, Tippi is the loud and usually dominate one. They have 4 arms, 2 heads, 2 hearts, 2 legs, and fused intestines (and lady parts). Her parents have homeschooled them since they were little, but times are changing, and they will soon be in a regular high school with regular kids, like their little sister "Dragon".

Unfortunately for the twins, life is just getting started and it's getting harder. Now they will navigate the outside world, alone (obviously together), meet new friends, feel the stirrings of first loves, and eventually have to deal with the health complications that come with being a conjoined twin. The characters are endearing, the laughter is great, and the pain is just bittersweet.

4 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Pub: 8/27/2015
Pgs: 352
ARC Received through Edelweiss

Patrick Ness is amazing, and this book just proved it. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is about ordinary teenagers that live in an extraordinary world. Where all their "indie" classmates have destinies of fighting darkness, some of them are decedents of gods, and others... much like Mikey are just plan ordinary kids trying to get by.

This is the story of Mikey and his friends trying to survive high school, fall in love, and deal with the next stage in their life, all along dealing with the fall out of the Chosen Ones and their destines. The concept is pretty simple but pretty ingenious. I have found myself wondering about the rest of the population in the books that bring fantasy, paranormal, and supernatural stories tied to the main characters. How do those other people get by? Are they in the know of what's going on? Is this a syndrome only teenagers seem to be able to see and not the adults? Did the adults ever encounter spectacular happenings when they were teens, and did their encounters cause issues for the next generation?

The characters were also great, and extraordinary, even if they were not indie kids themselves. They still dealt with all issues that come up in high school, and before you graduate. I fell in love with most of them except Henna, she was kind of a jerk, but oh well, no one is perfect. I was delighted to read something new from Ness, but I was more delighted about how the story played out.

4 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.

Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

Diary of a HauntingDiary of a Haunting by M. Verano
Pub: 8/25/2015
Pg: 288
ARC Received through Edelweiss

When the reader first cracks open the spine of this book, they are given an introduction from the author/professor in this book, M. Verano. The purpose of the introduction is to give validity to the "true story" the reader will embark on, but it also gives an eerie start to this story.

Paige and her family move to Idaho after a really messy divorce in the spotlight. The story is given in diary entries from Paige's perspective. Initially all that is wrong with her new home is that it's in Idaho, away from civilization. Soon Paige starts experiencing a ridiculous amount of flies in her house, unexplainable issues with her phone, and her brother begins to act differently. All along her mother acknowledges the situation and weird goings on but to her these are friendly spirits.

An outcast, Chloe, befriends Paige. Chloe is this "emo" dark girl who is into the supernatural. She being fascinated by the supernatural asks to sleepover one night because it is said that Paige's house used to be a hospital and the basement was the morgue. The girls begin to investigate and stumble on a boy in the basement, Ralph. Apparently he lives down there and is pretty much alive, so it seems. His mother owns the house and he rents the basement, while Paige's mother rents the whole house.

It will be up to Paige to figure out what is going on in her new home, and save her family from becoming a victim to an occult group from the past. But what do you do when you become the thing that bumps in the night?

I'm not sure if I liked this book completely. It definitely had a creepy atmosphere, intense emotions from the main character and unexplained happenings throughout the story. What I did like most and makes all the small issues and shortcomings seem not so bad is the way we are given an unreliable narrator. This haunting is happening to the main character's family home and sometimes that can cloud reality and perceptions. THe reader is left questioning what is real and what is perceived as reality by the narrator. Also, the reader is given a limited view of what is truly taking place. This technique gives an eerie tone to the whole story, especially by the end.

3 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.