The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Review

The Girl on the Train | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Pages: 325 hardcover
Received Copy: Hardcover, signed copy

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

Right before I went to Chicago for ALA Midwinter in 2015, I had seen some buzz about The Girl on the Train, even word that Stephen King had given some praise and as someone who has written some amazing thrillers and horror stories I definitely made sure I wanted to keep my eye out for it. Turns out, Paula Hawkins was signing at ALAMW and I stood in-line for a meet-and-greet and grabbed my signed copy. It then sat on my shelf forever because I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to good buzzed books. I usually know I’ll read it fast so I keep the anticipation higher by setting it aside.

A few weeks ago The Girl on the Train had released a teaser trailer and I thought oh boy, time to read it to avoid spoilers! [currently trying that for Me Before You as well as failing horribly with The Martian aka I saw the film before I even got a quarter through the book] I finally grabbed the book off the shelf and dove straight in. OVERALL, I did enjoy the book–I usually tend to do this thing where I’m fresh-faced after finishing the book and think, that felt like a bit of a masterpiece (this wasn’t but this situation has happened before) and then I start reading comments/reviews on Goodreads after I’ve marked it Read and I start realizing all the plot holes I blew by just to finish it. Whoops. The story was definitely appealing, I can always find a way to sink into a well-written mystery for sure and reading about a murder and having a who-dun-it scenario always keeps me on my toes like the detectives or the accused.

For this story there are so many annoying characters and there are so many suspects that I couldn’t keep track. I think with 100 pages left to the story, there was this one bit of description and dialogue that put things into place and I ended up figuring out a good majority of the reveal. That’s not to say that this book didn’t hold my interest because it did.

The novel has multiple points of view switching every now and again, usually I despise this in a book but it also switched time periods–going a few months and years back, so it wasn’t too bad. The points of view switch end up setting up all of the scenes from different angles–I felt like I could see the picture Paula was trying to paint, so to speak. Also funnily enough this novel is based on irritating main characters so you really never get too attached to any individual. There were some relatable characteristics but in general I was swept away by trying to figure out the mystery and help piece together what main character Rachel was trying to figure out as well.

If you’re looking for a good beach read or just in the mood for a page turner I would definitely recommend it. I think I read somewhere the book is very Gone Girl meets Read Window so I would check it out if that’s your thing👍

Trailer Review:

I wanted to give you a little trailer review as well because that was the whole reason why I finally picked the book off my shelf to read 🙂

  • Really disappointed this story isn’t set in the London suburbs like the plot originally is. We didn’t need an American adaptation. This also, aesthetically doesn’t look right because the houses are close together in a neighborhood close to the train, aiding Rachel to witness Megan and Scott’s lives
  • Emily Blunt also looks nothing like what Rachel is described as: a bit overweight from her binge-drinking and lack of regard for healthy living and the deterioration of her marriage, meanwhile this is not even remotely what Emily looks like
  • This teaser gives A LOT away if you’ve read the story so…spoilers
  • This music also misconstrues what the audience is seeing–but again, if you’ve read it, you can pick up on that
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Mini Review Roundup Time – November Reads

This year I’m just in an overall struggle to keep focused and read. I have ample time but something’s just not there, but I’m trying I promise. Recently I checked how behind I was on my Goodreads challenge annnnnnnd, well it’s kinda bad considering it’s like a little over a month until Christmas…which is basically the end of the year which means I need to read 15 books in the meantime. HA! No big for someone who hasn’t been frustrated finding novels to keep my interest.

In the meantime, I posted an Instagram photo where I focused on three reads I wanted to push through so I could add them to my challenge total and I did it! WOOHOO! Let’s forget one was a comic volume, two comics, but one WAS a novel! And I started another novel, but I just can’t read fast enough. Anyway, here’s my progress and some mini reviews:

  • Earlier in the month I finished the YA horror anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, which you can read my review and breakdown of the stories in the link: here.

Mini Review #1:
Paper Girls #2
Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Matt Wilson (Illustrator)


The comic series is so new that there’s not much to tell but it’s definitely interesting and I’m absolutely in love with the artwork. I’m familiar and love Matt Wilson’s work on my fav The Wicked + The Divine so it’s a no-brainer that I still am drawn to it (no pun intended). This issue ends on a cliffhanger but I expect good things from it. Lots of mystery surrounding who these alien creatures are and where people in their town have disappeared to. Looking forward to seeing who else is still around and what the newspaper gals will do next.


Mini Review #2:
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed (Ms. Marvel (Marvel NOW!) #3)
G. Willow Wilson


Once again I love the direction this storyline is going. Kamala’s religion and growing up are on the forefront as opposed to just straight up superhero and superpowers that are typically shown in comics. Kamala has a boy in her life, one that seems too good to be true…enough she might want to spill the beans for. Her BFF, Bruno, continues to pine for Kamala and it’s so cute…friendzones suck, dude. And another appearance by a Marvel favorite, this time it’s Loki! Wish he had showed up to my high school when I was fighting crime back in the day 😉 The end of this volume had an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. issue and I was a bit confused because I hadn’t remembered in the previous volume if they had included something like this. Threw me for a loop but overall loving the storyline and where things are going.

Mini Review #3:
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
Sabaa Tahir


Like I’ve stated earlier, I’m in such a slump when it comes to reading these days but somehow after I picked this one up I was sucked right in. The novel is a dual-POV with alternating chapters, between main characters Laia and Elias. Laia is a Scholar that is fighting to save her brother–the last bit of family she has from the Empire which has terrorized their land, by going undercover as a slave for the Resistance. Elias is the bastard son of the Commandant who raises the soldiers to help run and dominate the Empire. He is ready to desert but legends become real and Elias is faced to compete with friends and enemies to become the new Emperor and defeat one another in a series of trials as Aspirants. There’s some hardcore themes in this book for a YA level such as slave abuse, talk of raping, etc. which can set up a gruesome fantasy storyline like Game of Thrones-esque. Good backstory for each Elias and Laia, Elias already had a good set of morals on his shoulders so I didn’t feel there was a lot of development there but Laia really came through right up until the very last page.

Definitely worth checking out–so happy to learn there will be a book 2! I also wanted to leave my favorite quote from the novel that really hit home for what’s going on with me and my life:


Mini Review #4:
The Wicked + The Divine #16 (The Wicked + The Divine)
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrator), Matthew Wilson


Once more the WicDiv team brings it, getting some backstory on the Morrigan, and looking at what Baal decides to do. The Morrigan has such different sides of her that come out, such as split personality, which are beautifully drawn. Every issue I gobble up and can’t wait for the next. I think soon I’m going to re-read them all so I can go back and relive and refresh everyone.

*

*

As someone who’s looking for a confidence boost not only as a female but also as a working professional, I’m 20% in to this book and really enjoying it. I understood some of these ideas and practices before because I’m very in-tune with reading headline stories about how as women, we think we’ve gotten so far, but it’s still just not enough. It’s definitely interesting and gives good insight to Sheryl’s life and struggles within the corporate world, getting herself to be successful not only with going up against females but the males who dominate it all.

Mini Review Roundup Time – September Reads

Sometimes I tend to read consecutive novels and I don’t get time to do a thorough review but I still want to share my overall thoughts with you whether I liked the book or not!

Mini Review #1:
The Assassin’s Blade (The Throne of Glass novellas)
Sarah J. Maas


I enjoyed this a lot! I actually am out of the norm when it comes to the Throne of Glass series whereas I love the first novels more so than her her newest additions to the series. I can’t help it but, there just something about learning Celaena’s past and her training and what shaped her into becoming who she was destined to be is fun and Sarah does an excellent job with that. Plus…Sam…<3 sigh. The book contains five novellas that easily can be considered a whole novel in itself! They all flow perfectly and they are very close together time-wise, even bringing you up to speed when one starts Throne of Glass book 1. Interestingly enough, either I just picked up on more details because I read it close to Queen of Shadows or it’s just there, but there was a lot mentioned in TAB that helped piece together things in Queen of Shadows. I didn’t do that (read TAB) on purpose close to the release but it was helpful. Definitely loved this!

Mini Review #2: SEMI-SPOILER-ISH . . . . . YOU’VE BEEN WARNED
Queen of Shadows (A Throne of Glass novel #4)
Sarah J. Maas


Well overall I did like it. I didn’t love it, but I liked it enough that I will most definitely continue the series but I just wasn’t head over heels in love. Aelin, aka Celaena, is really coming into her own and embracing her birthright. She faces many challenges as the kingdom is living in constant fear and there is death and destruction all around them. I wasn’t happy that Rowan came into the picture as soon as he did in this novel, I thought the audience would wait a while since Aelin had just returned to Adarlan and some of the actions and big reveals felt a bit rushed for my taste. Some of my favorite key characters stayed strong, a few surprised me, and some took a turn, not for the better ,and that was disappointing character development. I do really love the series but I’ve put this one up on a pedestal which is why my expectations aren’t matching what I’m reading.

*

 

Mini Review #3:
Saga, Volume 1
Brian K. Vaughan | Fiona Staples


This is…I’m not sure what exactly it is, but I loved reading it and I’m annoyed that I haven’t bought volumes 2-5 yet! Now I’m still super new to the comic and graphic novel world but I’m continuing to branch myself out and have heard nothing but great things about Saga. It captivated me from page 1, literally the main characters are getting ready for their baby to be born and the father helps deliver, I can’t stress how this comic went right there from the beginning, LOL! But it’s so refreshing and really well done. Two soldiers from opposing planets, planets that are in a galactic war with one another, have fallen in love. After soldiers Alana and Marko get married and give birth to their child, they’re on a race to stay alive for each other and for their baby but all sides wants to have them taken out. I can’t wait to continue and see where the story goes next!

Mini Review #4:
Everything, Everything
Nicola Yoon


LOVED THIS BOOK! I flew through this! Maddy is a seventeen year old who has a rare disease that basically leaves her allergic to everything. She hasn’t left the house since she was an infant and until a cute and mysterious guy named Olly moves in with his family next door does Maddy feel like she’s really missing out on life. She’s had to make do, lived a mostly content life with her mother and nurse who watch over her. Olly rolls into town and Maddy can finally breathe for the first time, becoming this risk-taker, a girl who loves, a girl who decides it’s about time she finds herself. Olly and Maddy’s connection and friendship built into a relationship leaving you with smiles, those hearts in your eyes a la Snapchat lenses! A page turner that had fun anecdotes from Maddy as well as all sorts of drawings and chats, giving the book a more interactive look into Maddy’s life. LOVE!

Mini Review #5:
Last Will and Testament (Radleigh University #1)
Dahila Adler


According to Goodreads, I started this book back in April of this year. I know I hit a reading slump in June-July, and I think I read like five books in a row in March into April but this was one book I punked out on. I remember picking up so many titles I had on my highly anticipated list that nothing was sticking. It was time to crack open my Kindle again because LWaT was my book club’s pick and am SOOOO glad I finally got back into it! (when I started the book I was only 1% in, so I wasn’t far at all)

I almost read this in an entire sitting! This NA was engrossing and interesting read because MC Lizzie Brandt has just learned that her parents were killed in an accident and now she’s got sole custody of her two younger brothers until a decision is made further down the line. Literally when Lizzie finds out the news of her parents she’s in quite the awkward position as she was in the middle of extra curricular activities. Such activities as a side piece in a frat boy’s quest to cheat which later comes back to bite her…and not in the way you’re thinking. Frat boy’s ex is Regina George x10,000 and several times I wanted to punch my Kindle I was so furious at this mean girl behavior. Throughout all this we have Lizzie going from college girl to inexperienced parent overnight and things get overwhelming and tough on her. Lizzie’s inner monologue is so fun and especially her thoughts about TA Connor Lawson who might be more than just her TA later on 😉 The story really flowed and I was able to keep up with all the character developments. I couldn’t be more excited to read the next novel in the Radleigh University series! Seriously tho, Connor is swoony…get on board reading this, great NA pick!

 

Pointe by Brandy Colbert | Review

Pointe | Available for Purchase: Amazon « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Brandy Colbert
Publisher: Speak – Penguin Books USA
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Pages: 333, paperback
Received Copy: Personal copy (Amazon had a really great deal for my tight-unemployed budget)

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Speak meets Black Swan in this stunningly dramatic debut novel

All that drama, plus pointe shoes? Yes, please: this is one book that’s bound to make a splash

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abduct or. 

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Right away I can tell you that I was super thrilled to find a book with a diverse set of characters, races and genders, different backgrounds, this is what I was really happy about when reading the story! When stories tend to give cookie cutter characters, it’s easy to read the monotony so this story, given it’s synopsis and characters, breaks this mold which is refreshing. Main character

Theo is now at the point (no pun intended) where she can grow into an elite ballet dancer if she works hard and puts forth the dedication to possibly take her hobby of ballet life and turn it into a career. While this is happening, mysterious Hosea from school who, is the go-to-guy for certain illegal substances, turns out to be a faux-prodigy piano player now filling in at Theo’s ballet school. This begins a spark between the two, friendship and ultimately a relationship that is hush hush but it gives something to occupy Theo’s brain when she isn’t worrying about ballet or the return of her best friend Donovan. Donovan returning stirs up Theo’s memories of who she used to be and who she used to be with which sets off a chain of events and semi self-destructive state for her.

Theo has a dark past that she’s usually kept hidden mainly because she didn’t know any better and towards the end she comes to terms with how wrong and vulnerable she was when it all happened. Saying something now could change her future and give her unwanted attention having her weigh her decisions daily. Brandy Colbert’s novel brings up some really tough issues that her characters go through: eating disorders, growing up, sexual assault, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug use, Stockholm Syndrome, just to name a few. I never felt like there was too much or too little that Colbert’s novel didn’t cover which was great to read.

YAY Diversity…
WOOHOO! So happy and excited the novel had a diverse cast of characters: black, latino, white…all present which was so refreshing to read! As reader, half the time I usually insert myself as the main character (well the female character anyway haha!) but in my head I don’t always assign a race, even if things are described, but this was still great to see in a YA novel.

Typical Teen Drama…
I liked the fact that there was a real rawness to the characters, they acted like typical teens. Drug use, promiscuous teens–it’s probably not even a drop in the big teen pond of what goes on these days, but certain themes that were a little more on the adult-side were present and I liked that the author didn’t beat around the bush, especially with the sexual aspect. Theo has a vulnerable side just like we all do and you saw that with her timidness towards Hosea in the beginning, hiding her dark secrets, trying to survive high school in one piece. Sometimes YA novels paint sex as this precious, put-up-on-a-pedestal thing, but not every teen experiences this. Some don’t wait. Some don’t want that special moment. Some are confident. Some can’t hold that responsibility, but that’s what makes it real.

Trigger-warning…
To go along with the teen drama, I liked that the issues Colbert explored with Theo’s character were tough and very touchy-subject. Eating disorders. Sexual assault. Sex. These topics can be no-no’s in the young adult world but there are ratios of teens that experience these sorts of traumas/instances which makes the story and characters even more relatable. I think the exposure was good and handled fairly well–Theo had a lot on her plate and at that age, most usually do.

 


Inner monologue…
Sometimes I just wanted to shake Theo and be like, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING THEO! You need serious help and need to get it now!, but that’s how you know a book is good–it can get inside you and you development a relationship with the character. In regards to her adult relationship that she had when she was barely a teen left a mark on her and it shows through this inner dialogue. It tended to drive me insane though because while being young and vulnerable sometimes I wanted to just be like, you need to realize how messed up this was and you need to examine this–no more secrets, spill it. Again, for the situation, it was probably pretty accurate, as a reader I just wanted to shake the character.

Final point[e]…
Throughout the whole book the reader has been built up on Donovan’s return and Theo realizing she needs to confess knowledge that will not only help Donovan but her in the process and it’s discovery felt rushed. I kept realizing how the pages remaining were less and less and thinking that there is so much there has left to be discussed and the audience gets a brief summary. This felt disappointing because I wanted to know a little  more about the case, what Donovan was doing, how Theo and her family were coping but Theo is thrown into a new setting and we get a few pages and the official ending. I just had hoped for more.

 

Really did enjoy this novel. The themed weren’t your typical YA and with the diverse characters I really liked it. Also to be cliche, I couldn’t stop thinking about popping in my Black Swan/Center Stage DVDs to finally get my ballet visual fix. (YES I HAVE SEEN CENTER STAGE AS A GUILTY PLEASURE, DEAL WITH IT!)


 

Ta ta Linz aka The Kid

Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Virgin
Author: Radhika Sanghani
Publisher: Berkley Trade, Penguin Group Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DA
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Pages: 304 pages, Kindle version
Received Copy: Electronic NetGalley Advanced Copy
Available for Purchase via Amazon

Let’s face it, living in 2014 comes with a whole set of rules than years or decades before it. That being said, Radhika Sanghani wrote an honest novel of how virginity shouldn’t be such a big deal anymore. The story focuses on Ellie Kolstakis who’s 21, finishing up her college years in England where she feels like she’s the last in the crowd of teens/twenty-somethings to have sex…for the first time. Ellie does seem a little selfish and immature but who isn’t, really, at 21 and goes on a journey to get herself deflowered. Ideally she is looking for someone she’s compatible with but fearing to strike out time and again, she almost wants to settle for any guy–not the best idea but she can’t get out of that mindset.

Synopsis: (via Goodreads)

Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right?  I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

.

.

.

Overall I enjoyed this. I definitely found parts humorous and I liked how real the writing was. At first I think a reader is a little bit shocked at the technical terms for body parts & sexual things but following along it wears off and it seems like a story that could happen in real life. I applaud the author for writing like that because girls go through a spectrum of so many emotions and happenings that it can get very overwhelming when you think about it losing your virginity, doing anything sexually, and feeling the need to fit in.

One thing I would have loved to have seen more of was the reaction to the vlog. It would’ve been nice to see how their posts coming across to readers. If the readers were benefiting from their advice/stories of woe and experience that they were willing to share in the online community. Also, I know this was an ARC but I hope the vlog posts were italicized because even though a title for the post was shown it would be nice to see the distinction and not confuse future readers.

On a personal note I definitely could relate to Ellie’s character. We’re a culture that’s getting sexualized more and more “dress sexy, explore sexy, make guys want to find you sexy” and it sells which puts a terrible notion inside impressionable female heads. The part of also feeling excepted and like you’re not missing out–I’ve been known to struggle over that as well. The cookie cutter look of being skinny, having a fit body, a certain hair color, a certain eye color…what’s the most desirable is continuously stacked against those who are just trying to be themselves while needing to feel accepted.

If you’re looking for something with a little sex and humor, I’d definitely try to check this out.

 

Linz aka The Kid xx

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord | Review

YAY!!! So after a downer book I was looking for something fresh, something new, and a feel good book to get me out of my sad state. This book was highly anticipated and was just waiting for me on my shelf! With Spring arriving (hopefully it’s ready to stay in the Northeast) I’m gearing up with summertime reads already and Open Road Summer is a MUST-READ this year!! (pre-order! right now! GO! ….I’ll wait….)

Open Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury – Walker Childrens
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Pages: 352, Paperback
Received Copy: ARC at ALAMW

Synopsis (via Goodreads)

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

When I opened the book and started reading I already had a sense of how I thought the book would play out but thankfully I was wrong–my version would’ve been a lot of heartbreak and scandal haha, so thank god I was wrong on that! I ended up flying through it and definitely think this is a great summer read for all! Reagan has a bit of baggage with having both mommy/daddy issues, living a little less dangerously going into her senior year, and dealing with her best friend who’s a country music star. Throughout the book I was sort of jealous of Reagan: this girl who has this summer to figure things out–I wish I had had that when I was her age. To work on herself and her flaws, being a better Reagan and supporting her best friend, Dee, otherwise known as superstar musician Lilah Montgomery. I will admit, there were times when I was picturing a Taylor Swift equivalent and had Taylor’s songs as a running soundtrack for a good chunk of the book (don’t worry, you can phase it out) but the book definitely stands on its own. And adding Matt Finch, former family band heartthrob does not hurt, which makes a rather enjoyable summer for the girls. It’s not only a story of friendship–summer fun & summer love, but it’s about finding oneself. And Reagan’s journey is one you need to read!

Things I Liked:

the Friendship…
Dee and Reagan have a strong bond that any girl yearns for and values while..frankly being alive, haha that sounds a lot weird when you read it but it’s true. We want the person who knows us inside and out, who’s there for everything, and who you can be your complete self around. Both girls are in need of their friendship at this point in their lives and the summer tour is the perfect place to help keep it strong.

the Music…
There’s a lot of song lyrics and songwriting throughout the novel and it’s kind of a cool process to read about. How artists use so much of their emotions and life situations to help shape memorable lyrics for us as fans to enjoy. Even if the songs aren’t playing on the radio, the reader can make up their own little country melody to help bring the song to life in their head.

the Love…
Ohhhh the love that is shown in this book–there’s so much! Reagan’s love for her best friend, for her new romantic love, her love for both her parents and Dee’s parents, and maybe my favorite love that she has: photography!

Things I Didn’t Like:

….where’s the sequel? Outtakes? Novellas? I NEED MORE!

Haha, not an actual drawback to the book but I’m telling you ladies & gentlemen, you’re going to want to read this! It’s fun, it’s an escape, it’s a book you’ll need for your shelves 🙂 Make sure you own your copy this April!! Also take a sneak peak at my Books-on-a-Vine page to see my 6 second Vine review 🙂

xx Linz

Side Effects May Vary: Review

In early February I wanted to participate in a ARC tour that I saw via my Twitter feed, for the blog On the Same Page (former LitLushes). I was looking forward to joining and started right up as soon as the book arrived in my mailbox. I had seen it’s title pop up on my social media but wasn’t actually sure what the plot was about.

Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Pages: 336, Paperback
Received Copy: ARC tour at On the Same Page/Literary Lushes blog courtesy

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

.  .  .  .

Side Effects May Vary features Alice, and her guy best friend’s, Harvey, lives that weave through past and present scenes as well as his/her points of view throughout the novel. Alice is a sophomore who gets the shock of her life when she gets told that she has cancer and the outlook for her future seems short. She’s in the prime of her teenage life: Prom, learning to drive, love, friendships, college decisions to look forward to–which now have all come to a halt because of her ailing health. Alice relies on Harvey, her best friend to lean on, and help her carry out some revenge on a not so nice ex-boyfriend and the school’s popular, bad girl as well as Alice’s nemesis. In the process Harvey and Alice have their friendship lines blurred and strengthened all throughout the book.

Overall this was a tough book to rate because I wasn’t much of a fan, but here goes…

Things I liked:

the Cover…
It’s colorful and very appealing to the eye. While looks may be deceiving, I knew looking forward to a heartfelt book that I wanted to invest my time in reading.

the Book Length…
I don’t think the book needed to be any longer than it should’ve been. Definitely just the right amount of pages–maybe a little more to the ending to thicken it out.

Things I didn’t like:

the Characters
Honestly, I don’t believe any of the cast of characters had any redeeming qualities about them. It’s difficult to immerse yourself in a story when you don’t enjoy either protagonists–they kind of drove me crazy. I could probably break down each one but I won’t. I also couldn’t identify myself with any of the characters, not on any real level. Yes I may have the desire to act out like Alice, be desperate like Harvey but in the end, their behavior just didn’t flow very well, I just wasn’t much of a believer.

S
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the Ending
With everything that had happened to both Alice and her behavior and Harvey in his naivety, I had hoped the ending could save this and maybe for some readers it did get better, but for me, I stillwas not into it.

 

While I participated in the ARC tour, I still wanted to give my opinion. Truthfully I do not want to be a blog catered to just reviewing everything that I loved reading–I feel it’s important to focus on the good and not-so-good. Unfortunately, I haven’t had to write many not-so-good reviews–this is really my first. But the important thing is I want to give an honest opinion. I say if you were looking forward to reading the book you still should! I’d most likely borrow it from a friend or get it from the library in case you’re still skeptical and don’t end up liking it. Hopefully this wasn’t too harsh–there are tons of books that I fall head over heels reading and some just don’t appreciate them like I do, which is okay…I may be side-eyed and judging you, LOL, but I get it. You do have opinions too. I’d love for you to have the same respect for mine as I do for yours.

If you read it, let me know what you thought about it….did you like it? Agree or disagree? Thanks in advance!
Linz xx