34 Pieces of You
by Carmen Rodrigues
There was something about Ellie… Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.
Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.
Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along… (goodreads.com)
This is another one of the awesome books I received at the SimonTeen event in NYC this past June. Regular readers of my blog already know how much I love my issue novels and when I saw the cover for this one up in lights in June I immediately thought “Oh, that looks like a suicide novel!” Sure enough.
(I make light of this only because I have my own demons, I do not think these issues are to be taken lightly. I just happen to really, really, enjoy novels with subjects like these.)
It has taken so much willpower to not read this book most of the summer. When I realized earlier this week that we were already at the end of August (How the hell did that happen? It’s SEPTEMBER tomorrow!) and this book comes out in September, I was all, WOOT! and picked it up to continue my Issue-a-thon. (EDIT: So I was supposed to post this on August 31, but I didn’t have time to finish writing this up. So it’s a week later and I’m back-dating. Shhhhh!)
Told from multiple points of view, the story leading up to and following the death of Ellie is told in a haunting manner. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy the book very much because I often find the multiple POV angle distracting and annoying, this time, however it wasn’t so bad. I did get confused a couple of times between Sarah and Jessie, but I chalked that up to my own fault of reading too fast.
The glimpses of Ellie we get throughout the story just make me want to hug her and befriend her. She’s trouble and suffering and you learn that as you go along, but she’s such a real, sympathetic character even though you never hear her story from her own mouth.
34 Pieces of You is a novel that made me feel very similar to when I read Ballads of Suburbia by Stephane Kuehnert. I felt slightly suffocated and uncomfortable and anxious. It made me feel raw. I love when I can feel a story prickling my skin. When it feels like my entire body is reacting to the words on the page. I don’t get this very often, but sometimes a book can be so powerful and emotional that it sticks to me like spiderwebs. I hate it but am oddly curious about it.
Considering the cover for this book is the one that drew my eye instantly at the SimonTEEN event in June, I felt like I was destined to read this story and I am so very, very glad I did. I don’t know if I’d have noticed the book otherwise, what with my lack of bookstore visits lately.
If you like issue novels, or raw & gritty contemporary novels, then pick this one up for sure.
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia’s mother is busy saving other people’s lives. Her father is away on business. Her step-mother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia’s head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way—thin, thinner, thinnest—maybe she’ll disappear altogether. (goodreads.com)
So, yes. My head is in a funny headspace and I am now on a roll reading all sorts of “issue” novels. I don’t know what else to call them. Books about depression, suicide, eating disorders, mental disorders… just books about sadness. I’m strange, I find books about sadness to be rather cathartic. Sort of like therapy.
How I wish there were books like these when I was growing up. I so do.
Wintergirls is heartwrenchingly beautiful. There is such poetry in the flow of writing that just captivated me. I even loved the use of the strike through,
like this, effect as Lia would change her thoughts from “I want all of the cake!” to “I am strong, empty, I do not need the cake.” I have only experienced this type of typography (is that the right word?) once in a novel, Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me and it bothered me so much I couldn’t finish the novel. So I was worried when I saw this was the manner in which the reader would be privy to Lia’s internal monologue, but thankfully I felt it worked well with the story.
There’s a lot more to this novel than just a story about a girl with an eating disorder. There is so much going on that draws you in and breaks your heart into a million pieces, but at the same time makes you root for the protagonist and want her to heal, get better, survive.
I also love that there is a tiny hint of a mystery about the death of her (former) best friend and this also gnaws at Lia’s soul and triggers more destructive behaviour.
I love issue novels that don’t have shiny, happy, Disney endings. If a character happens to have a breakthrough, it’s one thing, but it’s nice to know that they still have a long path of recovery ahead of them and you know it isn’t going to be peaches and cream. Endings that make the story much more realistic are so much more effective in issue novels than stories that wrap up with a pretty bow and act like nothing was ever wrong in the first place and there will never be any more difficulty in the future.
This book was very real, raw and emotional. The story has a heart and you can’t help but feel everything thrown at you.
This book helps exorcise demons and chaos from my brain. That’s the kind of catharsis I need. Sometimes you just need to feel strong, raw emotion in orde to be able to move on to the next thing.
I now want to read more by Laurie Halse Anderson, as this was my introduction to her writing. I adored it. I want more.
BONUS SCORE: I picked this book up for $4.99 on the bargain racks at Chapigo and I was delighted to find that the book is SIGNED. It wasn’t even noted on the cover. I don’t tend to get my books signed, but it makes me happy when I find one with an author’s signature in it. I don’t know why, but it does. 😉
Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
by Kendare Blake
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life. (goodreads.com)
I’m not sure why I took so long to read this book. I only bought it just this year (over Christmas, I think). Part of me thought that Anna Dressed in Blood was just another run-of-the-mill YA paranormal story with a girl falling in love with a ghost. I was way wrong on all counts. First off, the protagonist isn’t even female!
I’ve been going through a bunch of things and I have been unable to get my head in the game when it comes to reading, yet once more. This has been an ongoing frustration for almost a year now. I was at least able to read a good chunk of books while I was on my 2-week holiday from work, but since then? Blah.
So I picked up Anna Dressed in Blood when I saw a post from my friend JuJu (Tales of Whimsy)’s blog about the audio book of the sequel The Girl of Nightmares. Thing is, if Juju likes a book, I know I probably will. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started, but I was immediately distracted by the one thing that can automatically make me fall in love with a book – the text is RED(ish)!
I don’t know why I immediately love a book that has a total artistic experience to it, but I do. 🙂
As soon as I started reading this book I knew I was in for a great ride. Cas’ narration was wonderful and I was charmed by him from the moment he started telling the reader his tale. I also loved that the book was about to take place in Canada. Heh. The proud Canadian in me did a little dance when it found out Cas and his mom were moving to Thunder Bay.
The atmosphere, the story, the characters…everything was so interesting to me. I enjoyed this one thoroughly and I had gone into it thinking I wouldn’t care much one way or the other. I love book surprises!
I love that Cas’ mom knows what he does and moves all over the place to let him do what he needs to do – kill ghosts. Put them to rest so they stop hurting others. I love that Cas is normally always alone, yet ends up with a group of friends to help him and keep him safe.
I even loved Anna, whom I generally wouldn’t because I don’t like ghost relationshippy things. But Anna is different. Anna was a likable character from the start, even when she was ripping people in half.
Part of me is very curious about how the sequel to this book will go because I felt that things were nicely tied up in the end. Part of me wonders if I should read it or just leave things as is. Who am I kidding, I will read it. I wanted to order it the second I finished this book, but I held myself back. I have way too many other books to read AND I will be having some Required Reading happening very soon and I want to make sure I devote myself to that Required Reading so I don’t fail things.
Bottom line… Anna Dressed in Blood is a thriller-mystery with relationships, friendships, some wit and a lot of atmosphere. It’s one of the better books I have read this year and I am sort of sad I didn’t pick it up when it came out last year!
Also awesome? The covers for both of these books. I love them so much.
- Anna Dressed in Blood
- Girl of Nightmares
I can no longer spend a ton of my free time on the internet.
Although I feel more creative, the last place I feel like spending said creativity is here.
Metal laptops and bright computer screens just muffle my creativity.
When I am at work all day I can’t spend any more time thinking of things when I get home. I just need to relax, breathe and stay quiet for a while.
I’m not even reading much right now. Though I read a lot while on vacation.
There was so much I wanted to write about with the second half of the month’s challenge topics, but I just don’t have it in me. Coming over to my blog began to feel way too stressful and I was becoming way too anxious about having to post something.
Did I get what I wanted from blogust in the end? Yes. I forced out that creative block and it made me depressed.
Which in turn made me much more interesting in being creative and writing songs, singing…
But it didn’t make me want to write more every day on this here piece o’ technology.
I need to step away from blogust and hold on to the good it did re-release in my soul.
I am just out of free time and trying to write here every night after the grueling days in the office just wasn’t fun. I was resenting my blog more than enjoying it. Alas. Reverse result. Oops.
But I did accomplish one thing. I started to FEEL again. That’s good, right?
Internet Sensation Finnegan D Ephelant here to let you all know about this exciting giveaway that my Mummy is doing on her blog! Back in June of 2012, I met one of my many adoring lady fans; an author named Tonya Hurley. Us Internet Sensations often hobnob with celebrities like that. It’s just how we roll. Anyhow, the lovely Ms. Hurley was all over me that night, thanks to the sex appeal that my sweater gives me, so I wanted to do something nice in return (since I had to break her heart when I told her I couldn’t run away with her, needing to go back home to Montreal with my Mummy.).
As luck would have it, thanks to SimonTeen and Simon & Schuster Canada, my Mummy ended up with two ARCs of Tonya Hurley’s latest YA novel, The Blessed! Since she read this book and LOVED it, I am helping her give away one copy to a lucky blog reader!
This is the book in question:
From the author of the New York Times bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy—a boy who believes he is a saint.What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?
Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief. (goodreads.com)
Doesn’t this sound scrumptious? I know you want to read it. I know you do!
The Blessed is already out in the UK, but it drops here in North America on September 25, 2012!
And because I, Finnegan D Ephelant am an international sensation, I have allowed this giveaway to be open internationally! I mean, how I can disappoint my fans around the shiny, metal globe that spins around and around, right?
Here are the deets per my Mummy:
- Contest ends: September 3, 2012
- Open INTERNATIONALLY!
- I will not be using your email address for anything other than notifying you if you win.
- Winner has 72 hours to reply with mailing address, or I pick another one.
- Do not leave your email address in the comments. If you do, I will delete the comment.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here I am with the lovely Tonya Hurley. I feel sort of bad for breaking her heart that night, but what can an Ephelant do? My home, and my tissue box perch are in Montreal for the time being. Maybe if we lived closer together things could have worked out. Maybe our starts will align another day. Mostly, I can’t be exclusive, you know? I mean, there are so many ladies out there who want my love. I can’t disappoint them by just picking one. I’m sure Tonya understands. It’s just the burden us celebrity types must bear.
Please enter the giveaway so I can repay the love my fans show me. Thank you.
Finnegan D Ephelant
Disclaimer from my Mummy: No one is asking me to give this away. I am doing it because I have two copies AND I loved the book. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be telling you to read it. 😉