Like a Thorn

Author: Claire Vidal
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Year Published: 2002
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Length: 119 heart-wrenching pages

Synopsis:
Melie is a strange child with an interesting relationship with her mother. Her mother goes from “Rosey Mother” to “Dark Mother” in a blink of an eye. Melie begins to invent rituals she believes will counter her mother’s erratic behavior. This slowly, but surely spirals out of Melie’s control.

My Perspective:
I got this book for free a few months ago for volunteering at a book sale on my college campus. The cover is beautiful and the blurb intrigued me. When I decided to start this whole read my book shelf in a year thing, I figured this was a good place to start. It’s tiny, only 119 pages, and the print is pretty big. But, oh man, does this book pack a punch. I don’t think I have ever felt so many conflicting and confusing emotions before in one little book. I couldn’t decide if I was on Melie’s side or I thought she was over-reacting. I couldn’t decide where exactly to place her mom in the middle of all this. I also feel as though I was missing so much of the story. It was so small and simple that I felt like I needed more information to decide what my emotions were.

That being said, I did think that even though it seemed simply written it was beautifully written. It probably sounds even more beautiful in French. Like a Throne is a simple, yet complicated story of a young girl spiraling into mental illness and how those in her life react to them. This quick, but heart wrenching read will keep you thinking for days.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 antique gifts
You’ll this book if: You like thinkers. If you like dark books and psychologically challenging reads.
You’ll dislike this book if: Happy reads where everything turns out ok in the end.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go

I am typically not a huge fan of science fiction books. I’m definitely more of a contemporary kind of girl when it comes to my reading habits. However, when I read the blurb for The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness I was instantly intrigued. This book had been on my want to read list for a while, so the other day when I saw it at the library I just had to check it out. And I loved it.

Young Todd Hewitt, who is on the brink of manhood, is suddenly forced to flee his home of Prentisstown with just a rucksack full of supplies and his dog. That is, until he meets Viola, a girl from a settler ship sent on a scouting mission. Viola is the only girl Todd has ever met due to the Noise, the disease that causes every man’s thoughts to be heard at all times and kills women. At least that’s what Todd’s small amount of schooling taught him. Viola and Todd partner up and flee from danger together. Along the way Todd finds out a lot truth about the life he thought he lived.

First I have to mention the relationships in this book. They were so wonderfully authentic. Before Viola Todd had never even seen a girl before. At first their friendship was awkward and quiet and sort of weird, but that is totally normal. Ness didn’t feel the need to make this an instant friendship or rush it along. They way it progressed was perfect. As time went on and they continued to journey together you could see them getting closer and caring about each other more and more. One of my favorite parts is when Todd realizes that he can read Viola, even though she doesn’t have noise. I love when he jumps up with the realization that he knows her well enough to know how she is feeling. Or when he is with Doctor Snow and Viola refuses to leave his side. Oh, I just love them together. I am excited to see their friendship grow even more as I read the next two books.

Also, Todd’s relationship with Ben and Cillian is so tragically beautiful. In the beginning Todd and Cillian’s relationship seems kind of rocky, but as soon as Todd has to flee you see the love they have for each other. Ness did a great job portraying that familial connection. I was so happy when Ben and Todd were reunited that I started crying. I could practically feel the love radiating off the page.

Don’t even get me started on Manchee. I am not ok with his ending.

Not only were the relationships in this book portrayed so wonderfully, but so were the antagonists. Every time Aaron popped up again I was so angry! He was the last thing Todd and Viola needed in their lives. And yet every few chapters there he was. Seriously Aaron, no wants you here. And then there’s Mayor Prentiss up on his horse getting everyone else to do his dirty work. I dislike him strongly.

The Knife of Never Letting Go was so action packed and fast paced. It definitely kept me intrigued. I kept having to cover the next page so I didn’t read ahead! This book might just change my opinion on sci-fi. I can’t wait to dive into the sequel.

Happy Reading,
Sam

We Were Liars

Hi Book Lovers,

It was near impossible to escape the hype around We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Although I knew near nothing about the plot I found myself drawn in by the excitement that surrounded it. So when I somehow ended up in the book section of Fred Meyer while running errands it jumped into my cart and I  just had to bring it home with me.

Disclaimer: if you have not read We Were Liars and are planning to I suggest you turn back now. I completely believe it is best to go into this book as blind as possible. Also, it is really hard to review this book without spoilers, so there are going to be some of those suckers in here. Don’t ruin it for yourself!

We Were Liars centers around Cadence and her very rich, very dramatic family and the summers they spend on their private island. Cadence cherishes the time she gets to spend with The Liars.  “The Liars”, as they deemed themselves, consist of Cadence, her cousins John and Mirren, and her kind of step-cousin / secret boyfriend sort of Gat. They spend their summers wreaking havoc on the island.

The summer of her fifteenth year Cadence wakes up in the ocean with no memory of how she ended up there. After spending a summer away from the island she returns the summer she is seventeen and starts to recover her memory and figure out what the heck happened the year she was fifteen.

Ok, This is where the real spoilers start. Just a warning.

I have no idea how in any world it is a good idea to set fire to your grandfathers house just to teach the adults in your life a lessons. That is just an altogether terrible plan! I understand that the aunts were doing crazy things just to win their dads approval and it would suck to be in the position of the Liars. They were essential just pawns for their moms to use. I understand they wanted to do something to end all the manipulative, fake behavior that ran so deep in their family. But really, arson? What kind of fifteen year old thinks of that?

I was not impressed by this book. The writing style sort of drove me crazy. It was almost like it was trying a little too hard to be beautifully written. I think it might because it was written in first person. These were supposed to be Cadence’s thoughts, but they just seemed too poetic. Maybe I just think that because I am pretty simplistic thinker. It just didn’t feel genuine.

The characters annoyed me. Cadence was way more dramatic than necessary. Mirren was a diva. Surprisingly Gat was probably the most stuck up. Johnny was funny, I kind of liked him. The Aunts were so completely desperate. They just bothered me.

The worst part of this for me was the fact that I predicted the ending. I love a good plot twist. I had heard that this book had one. I was so upset when I predicted the plot twist!

I honestly think the only reason I  read this book so quickly was because I was on a three hour plane ride and had already finished the other book I brought. I don’t think this book deserves all the hype it got.

Happy Reading,

Sam