Love is the Higher Law | Review

*bit of a long post*

Love is the Higher Law | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Pages: 176 pages, hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback copy, also signed by author

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

Just last weekend marked the 15th year anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States in: New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. I was invited to meet with a friend on the 9/11 date to spend two days in New York City and in doing so I decided to finally read David’s novel. I bought Love is the Higher Law few years ago when he did an author visit at a local bookstore. It was right near the anniversary and he explained some of the sights he witnessed and also notes this at the end of the book. I thought it was most appropriate reading on the day we remember all of the lives lost, innocent and the brave ones who died saving others.

I read the book on the train, well what I could–there were some loud talkers who ended up breaking my concentration from time to time and I also went in and out of periods where I was overwhelmed with emotion and kept tearing up. I was in high school so I remember more vividly than others who might’ve been younger at the time and also living in New Jersey which wasn’t as far away from NYC as opposed to where I live now. While reading Love is the Higher Law I could relate on various levels of the characters in their feelings, even though I wasn’t a New Yorker or someone extremely close to the situation, that day left a mark on everybody who was able to witness it.

Claire, Jasper, and Peter are coming from different viewpoints on this tragic day–Claire at school Uptown, worried about her younger brother, and getting word from their mother. Jasper has slept through the entire morning in Brooklyn only to be awoken by a phone call from his parents in South Korea to hear of the news, and Peter who skipped school to hang out at a record store and see the effects from Midtown. All present at a party a few nights before, they’re all thrown into the mix Claire and Jasper meeting just by chance, developing a friendship with him and eventually Peter who is a fellow senior such as herself. Peter and Jasper who were supposed to have their first date September 11th, but the day postpones things giving a bad vibe on their meeting. Looking at the devastation and destruction these characters start looking at their lives in a new perspective and realizing they don’t exactly understand what’s happened but know they are forever changed. Thinking deeply, caring more, and an array of emotions helps shape their lives now.

It’s a short read and it’s really interesting from a YA point of view–a time when teens already have so many emotions, to put this new level upon them having the characters examine their lives. I might read it again next year on the date, haven’t decided but I’m glad I have it on my shelf because I haven’t seen a lot of books on the subject like David notes in his final acknowledgements in the back of the book. And again, as someone who was a bit younger than the main characters but still able to witness the impact of that day is really fascinating to read.

The picture above does no justice on how truly amazing this sight was to see in person. The overwhelming emotion of patriotism, love, sadness, anger, and sorrow you have looking at the new skyline and the lights that shine brightly for not only all of the victims but the loss of the buildings which represented a part of the city as well. The sun set beautifully that night and my friend and I watched the sky turn from bright reds, to cotton candy pinks and blues, to a dusty gray, to finally the darkest black to show the twin lights.


I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this on social media at some point, but I’m sharing it again:

For the life of me I can’t remember my first period schedule but, it was our first year using a type of blocking scheduling at our high school. Day Whichever had XXX class first period (driving me crazy I can’t remember), then Driver’s Ed with Mrs. Collura who was BFFs with my English teacher Mrs. Hults–their classrooms were next door to each others, and third period was French II with Madame Cardell…ugh! She was such a useless teacher. I’m getting off topic but I had to set the scene. We started early at my high school, morning bell was at 735am, and classes started 750ish, so I was already a quarter to halfway done with second period.

Mrs. Hults called on our phone system to Mrs. Collura to turn on the news. Most classrooms did have TVs, albeit not modern but would work well enough, and when she did, I believe both towers had been struck by the planes at that point. Either it was just the one, or the second happened in moments that I wasn’t paying attention because I kept thinking ‘Wow, this is just like a movie!’ Not looking at the severity of it nor the sheer magnitude of what happened. Mrs. Collura told us we were probably witnessing history, little did she know how right she would be. Those moments watching the towers burn are forever engrained into my brain. At that point, class ends and it seemed determined by staff that we really shouldn’t be watching the television and try to get back to our classes but within the switch from Driver’s Ed to French, word around school was that the Pentagon had been hit by a plane as well. We watched a little of the coverage, I honestly don’t remember the towers falling or if I watched it live. I think at that point we weren’t allowed to know much else as students but I started going into panic mode.

Before French ended I gathered up two quarters so I could call my mom. With the knowledge I have of Philadelphia now that I live so close and actually working in Center City, I understand the layout and the surrounding towns. I didn’t realize back then that my sister’s attendance at St. Joseph’s University isn’t near the heart of Philadelphia if damage was done but at that time, you honestly didn’t know which piece of news you would hear next. We could all agree that this day, destroying those buildings had a huge impact on markets and big businesses who set up shop in those towers. My dad worked in the financial industry at the time and would seldom have to take the PATH train in right underneath the towers. I never really knew whether or not he would have to go to New York or not until after the fact and he came home after his day. Needless to say I ran to the payphone at school and was able to get a hold of my mom who told me my father wasn’t in NYC today, and my sister should be fine, no reports in Philly so she’s relatively safe.

The weirdest part of that day was hearing some surrounding schools were dismissing kids early. As millennials do, we were sorely disappointed our school wasn’t one of them. The rest of the school day was a blur, everyone and their mother tried to teach us when all we could do is discuss the morning and if there were other revelations we hadn’t heard about. Some kids were called to report to the office over the loud speaker having us all look at each other and morbidly wonder what had happened. A lot of classmates had parents who worked in NY/NJ right where everything happened and you could only imagine.

My neighborhood was next to the high school and I remember walking home, turning on the television seeing every station was reporting the coverage–Nickelodeon, MTV, local news stations, etc. all broadcasting. I came home exhausted and fell asleep listening to the news; I just couldn’t take it. The anxiety for everyone, the anxiety for the people I knew hoping they were okay, the country, the tears I shed when I came home. What’s pretty crazy is my mom would always tape her soap operas on the VCR when she worked. Guiding Light on CBS at 10am, Days of Our Lives on at 1pm on NBC, she recorded a bunch of the coverage that I still have the VHS tape recording history live on TV.

The next year, a family friend and native New Yorker took my sister and I on a day trip to the city. We walked by Ground Zero and the enormous holes in the ground just left you speechless. The construction going on to rebuild, the Missing people’s pictures up and American flags everywhere was a sight to see. Not only that but it was quiet–just so very quiet for the city that never sleeps.

 

That was my day, my recollection of September 11th, 2001. Parts of it mirror what Claire, Jasper, and Peter experienced that day. Obviously on a more emotional level as I didn’t live as close as they did, but the perspective is there for sure. To learn more information on the events & to donate, check out the 9/11 Memorial website http://www.911memorial.org

ARC August – update week 3

image via GIPHY

Happy week 3 of ARC August!! YAY! I read  books! Super pumped I was able to get some reading time in! P.S. I Like you was fabulous!! So cute and adorable and I’ve missed falling in love with Kasie West’s stories. A few in the past haven’t blown me away but P.S. I Like You was one book I couldn’t put down. Literally. Read this one in a day. 😳

With the momentum I have, I’m trying to keep it alive for the next few weeks! It just might be possible and I’d love to add to my Goodreads challenge for sure👌Next up I’m starting on You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan. This one sounds promising from the first twenty pages I’ve read. I love David’s work and I’m a newbie to Nina’s writing, so this should be good! Hopefully I can have another successful reading week!

How are the rest of you guys doing? Reading up a storm?!

 

ARC August – update week 2

Success!

image via GIPHY

I have finished one book for this month’s ARC challenge! I’ll admit, there has been a struggle to get into a reading mindset these days. Real life has been busy, trying to nail down phone & in-person interviews for jobs I desperately need so trying to find time where I concentrate and read a story just seems like the last thing on my mind. But somehow I did it!

Really liked this title! What’s surprising is that This Savage Song is the first Victoria Schwab novel I’ve read. I own The Archived in paperback and am dying to read her Shades of Magic series! I was excited to learn there’s a sequel for TSS and can’t wait to see what happens next with August and Kate 😊

Since I’ve got one book under my belt for the #ARCAugust challenge, I’m going to keep myself on a roll and try for finishing a 1.5 books this week. Making a big goal but it’s possible.

 

Hope everyone is getting their arcs read!! Happy reading 😚

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

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Review

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn #1) | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Pages: 395 hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback, ARC

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

really liked this novel! Renee Ahdieh brought readers a fresh and diverse universe and a kickass female main character named Shahrzad in a novel inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. Shahrzad decides that in the wake of the death of best friend, Shiva, she would put herself in position to end the horror in her land where the King–Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, is to find a girl, marry her, and then hangs her the following morning. As disturbing and tragic as that notion is, Shazi has made up her mind that she will stay alive for as long as she can and plots to kill the king for his inhumane manner in murdering his new bride. She must fight for her fellow females, her best friend’s honor, and her people.

I really loved how strong Shahrzad was portrayed and how smart she was as well. While her beauty was alluring, Shazi made sure she could play that to her best ability and capture Khalid’s attention and stay alive for as long as possible. Within this storyline, Khalid and Shahrzad start to lose their facades and start to form a relationship that takes them both by surprise and one that they fight so hard to ignore.

The world that Renee Ahdieh has created was very fun as the setting was old world Persia, probably not long after Aladdin’s tale (which is mentioned briefly in the book) and what a gorgeous scene that is set. A bit of magic, gorgeous colors to describe what materials the women dressed in and how the men were just as decorated in their royal garb. All of the food Shahrzad at as a newly appointed queen was deliciously detailed and had me drooling on those pages! Between Shazi and Khalid’s storylines we get word on what Shahrzad’s father is doing–trying to save her from this crazy mess she got herself into as Calipha of Khorasan, Tariq (Shahrzad’s boyfriend and brother of slain BFF Shiva) is also on a rescue mission for her and intends on causing a lot of trouble for Khalid. I can’t wait to see what happens in book two because the series ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so excited to see where things go!

  • I would say the two things that I wasn’t wild about in the novel were that I had hoped for more of a backstory between Shahrzad and best friend Shiva, there seemed to be only snippets of their time as friends along with more setting up Tariq’s friendship and love for Shazi as they grew up together. Definitely could’ve explored it more so I’d have been more invested in Shahrzad’s plan to kill Khalid.
  • I also found Despinia, Shazi’s handmaiden as queen, brash behavior and dialogue between Shazi and her off-putting. Despinia kept calling Shahrzad a brat every other conversation and sometimes they’d be on the same page and not irritating each other and the rest of the time Despinia just felt like an odd character. I wasn’t in love with her scenes because they didn’t complement each other.

These were the only points I wished were written a little differently but overall a really fun read and I can’t wait for book two!!

Also in adding The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) to my Amazon cart, I hadn’t realized that there’s novellas to go along with the duology:

Happy reading!!!

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you know that my obsession with Poe Dameron from Star Wars: The Force Awakens aka most-beautiful-man-ever Oscar Isaac is very… um… enthusiastic. When news of Poe getting his own comic hit the Internet I was so stoked!! Star Wars: Poe Dameron  by Charles Soule (author) and Phil Noto (illustrator) will be diving into Poe’s background and his secret mission given to him by General Leia Organa. This also will involve some crossover with Star Wars: Before the Awakening which was released mid-December 2015. Very excited and looking forward to delving into this world and the Star Wars character’s storylines! The series is in stores April 6, 2016.

Synopsis: (via Goodreads)

Star Wars: Poe Dameron will show how Poe became to be known as the greatest pilot in the Resistance. Handpicked by General Leia, Poe Dameron and a squadron of pilots fly the most dangerous and top secret missions against the First Order.


Article Source: marvel

Available for Purchase here: Things From Another World « Midtown Comics

Top Ten Tuesday – Best Books Read in 2015

December 15: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015, the weekly topic provided by The Broke & Bookish

I feel like I haven’t read a ton this year. Yes, my Goodreads clocks in at 69 books read but like some previous posts said, I read a lot of comics, individual issues give it that larger number. There’s also a bunch of titles that I’ve had on my shelves but actually hadn’t read–despite needing to buy upon release–so my list are just overall favorite reads of the year.

   

  
  

*

Tough choices seeing as I could add a few honorable mentions but I think this was a good list! Again, a tough reading year but definitely finally read some top choices!

See you next week 🙂 xx Linz aka The Kid