Title: Optimists Die First
Author: Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s/ Andersen
Publication Date: 02 Mar 2017
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mental Illness
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she'd kept an eye on her sister, if only she'd sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only...
Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula's ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.
But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange with an honest review.
Want to start by saying how much the cat references made me laugh hysterically while reading this book. The author even dedicated this book to all of the people who are like me.
" To all the other crazy cat people. You know who you are."
Reading the title of this book, and this part of the blurb " ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats." made me so excited to read this book.
The start and end were absolute perfection; I just felt a little bit bored in the middle of the book. I also wished that somethings were a bit more descriptive, than they actually were.
We meet Petula, who is more that just a pessimistic person. She is also struggling with anxiety. This was portrayed perfectly, that even those who believe that people with anxiety are over-reacters, would get to see the illness itself. Everything Petula does and believes may seem extreme at first, but all of that is 105% justified.
I really do need to take a moment and applaud Susin because of what she has accomplished with this book. She was able to send a loud, clear message to shatter the ignorance of the disbelievers, without them even realizing that.
I really want to read more books by Susin Nielsen. I absolutely loved Optimists Die first.
I give it 4/5 stars.
About the Author:
Susin got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards, as did her second novel, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, was published in August 2012. It went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, and a number of Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Author Wally Lamb named it his top YA pick for 2012 in his “First Annual Wally Awards,” and recently Rolling Stone magazine put it at #27 in their list of “Top 40 Best YA Novels.”
Her books have been translated into multiple languages. Susin’s new novel, We Are All Made of Molecules, will be published in Canada, the US and the UK in Spring of 2015. She lives in Vancouver with her family and two naughty cats. She is delighted to have finally figure out how to "claim" her author profile on Goodreads!
Title: The Night Garden
Author: Lisa Van Allen
Publisher:Random House, Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014
Genre: Women's Fiction, Magical Realism
My Rating: 5/5 stars ( A- )
For fans of Sarah Addison Allen, Aimee Bender, and Alice Hoffman, The Night Garden is a luminous novel of love, forgiveness, and the possibilities that arise when you open your heart.
Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors.
Yet the labyrinth has never helped Olivia Pennywort, the garden’s beautiful and enigmatic caretaker. She has spent her entire life on her family’s land, harboring a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm’s length. But when her childhood best friend, Sam Van Winkle, returns to the valley, Olivia begins to question her safe, isolated world and wonders if she at last has the courage to let someone in. As she and Sam reconnect, Olivia faces a difficult question: Is the garden maze that she has nurtured all of her life a safe haven or a prison?
I received an eARC of The Night House from Random House via edelweiss in exchange with an honest review.
This book is a great collision of Shatter Me's Juliette and the beauty of The Secret Garden , two of my favorite reads.
Lisa Van Allen has such an exquisite way of painting such a creative magical realem, then bringing to to life with her amazing description. Her writing is not only limited to this, but also the beauty of portraying a person's state of mind and the credibility of storytelling.
It took me a while to be absolutely into this book, but once I did, I couldn't but it down.This book gave me butterflies in my stomach and a few tears rolling down my face. You learn lots of important lessons about life, like how you may not fit in like anyone else and still be happy and like sometimes people do stupid things with intentions to protect you, then end up hurting you.That life can take something very important from you, yet you should keep looking for a way to cope with it and make the best of it.
It was told mainly from three different perspectives, where you got more up close and personal, and you get to learn about the character's past memories before any of the other characters, making you feel like a secret keeper.
Sometimes I got lost to if a certain character was dead or not. There was also that one sentence that I found to be a bit creepy, in an awkward way, but that did not effect my overview of this book.
I am looking forward to read more from this outstanding author with her beautiful descriptions, down to earth characters, and finally but not least, the captivating story.
I gave this book a 5/5 stars and an A- according to my own rating scale.