Recent Reads

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Over my winter break these past two weeks, I have finally been able to read some of the books that have been piling up! It was so refreshing to read something that was not for school and didn't put me to sleep. I think I was just so excited to be reading bout something other than chemistry that I read my way through six books in about a week and a half. All these books I highly recommend if you are looking for a good new read! 

All the Bright Places // Jennifer Niven

The title of this book is somewhat deciding.If you are looking for a book that will put a smile on your face from start to finish, this is not the book for you. However with that being said, All the Bright Places was a phenomenal book. It was sad, but Jennifer has some balance to that with witty, sarcastic characters. If you like a dry humor, you'll appreciate this book. I think this is a really important book to read, especially if you are a young adult. This book touches on the important issues of depression, suicide, and overall mental illness. Jennifer Niven really brings awareness of how common it is for people to look past and refuse to admit to mental illness, which can lead to devastating results when treatment isn't an option. The ending made me sad, and I felt it wasn't fair, but I think that ending was the one needed to get the message across. This book is a great read and sheds such an important light on mental illness. This book is in my top ten reads of all time, and I highly encourage everyone to give this a read at some point! 

Thirteen Reasons Why // Jay Asher

I didn't realize until now, but the first two books I read over break were both rather sad, and are based around mental illness. A huge reason why I recommend this book is due to the very interesting pov. The pov is primely told from the perspective of someone who is dead. No this is not a ghost book, but before the main narrator, Hannah, committed suicide, she made seven cassette tapes, and left them to be shared among 13 people, the 13 people whom were part of the reason why. The other pov is that of a boy named Clay, who is one of the recipients of the tapes. This book has very important life lessons, not only on how important it is on the way you treat other, but also how you treat yourself. This book was beautifully written, and a worth while read. There is on line in particular that I want to share with you because it made me pause and stop reading because I felt it was such a powerful line, "I guess that's the point of it all. No one knows for certain how much impact that have o the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same". 

The Divergent Series // Veronica Roth

It's been a while since I've read a good action book, so this was a much needed story for me. It has also been a while since I have been reading a book and not been able to put it down because I needed to know what happens next! Divergent is the perfect combination between action, a little romance, and a strong message for the readers. In the first book of the series you see Tris deal with a problem that many young adults face, finding an identity. Throughout this book Veronica Roth does an amazing job of bringing you along on Tris's self discovery. Veronica writes her characters in a way which made me become invested in them, and also able to really feel their emotions. The story is told from Tris' pov, and when she experiences happiness, anger, sadness, etc, so did I, which is a true testament to the author; to be able to make the reader feel at one with the character!
While divergent is about Tris figuring out who she is, Insurgent is more about revenge and gaining back control. In the second installment of the series, Tris almost looses herself because of her guilt towards what happened to her parents and Will. This guilt is reflected with the decisions that she makes through the story. I love that Veronica wrote Tris this way in Insurgent. Tris isn't perfect, and I'm glad that Veronica showed that in a realistic way for Tris. The second book also gives a better look into the secondary characters from Divergent. We learn more about the old characters, and well as get introduced to some new ones. This was a big reason why I loved this book so much. Veronica could have kept the focus entirely on Tris, but she branched out an gave the readers better insight into the rest of the important characters, which is something not many authors seem to do enough of. If you enjoyed the action of the first book, it is still there in the second. We see rebellion and lots of fighting continue on. I will say that the book and movie do differ. While both come to the same ending with the message, how they get the message is slightly different. I prefer how the book explains it because there is more detail, as usual.

I know this is out of order, and that Four is the last book of the series, but I want to talk about the ending of Allegiant, and that will have spoilers, so I will save that to the end! I was very happy when I saw that Veronica Roth wrote an entire book from Tobias' perspective. I found him to be such a complex character that I really wanted a look inside his mind, and that is exactly what I got with Four. Four starts with Tobias and his testing and Choosing Day. It takes you through his initiation, and his time at Dauntless before Tris. It also includes some scenes from Divergent, but from Tobias' perspective. This book was the shortest in the series, but I loved it non the less! It's not necessary to read this, but I would recommend it because it helps piece together some things in the series better, and also helps give more insight into why Tobias is the way he is! If you need more reason than that, you get to see more scenes between Tris and Tobias, and who wouldn't want that?

I have a love hate relation with Allegiant. The book overall was amazing and I could not put it down. I read this book in maybe six hours. I was not expecting any of it. The amount of detail and imagination in this book was beyond what I expected. I loved how Veronica tied this last book in seamlessly with what occurred in the first two books. The reason I say I have a love hate reaction with this book is because I got emotionally invested in these characters, and there was a lot of tension amongst them throughout. Veronica throws lots of twist and turns that I was not expecting, but the end was even though not something I wanted, it did not shock me. Overall this has been one of the best series I have read in a long time. I read all four books in less than four days. I could not put these books down, and I can not recommend them enough! Veronica Roth is an amazing author, and I am very excited to see what else she has in store!!

SPOILERS ABOUT THE ENDING!! Do not read further if you have not read the entire series!
I feel like I have to talk about the ending because I was not ok when I read it. It has been a very long time since I have read a book and got teary eyed because of a scene, but when Tris went instead of Caleb I knew she was going to die. I really wanted that happy ending for Tris and Tobias. I felt like a lot of the book they were at odds with each other, and just before the attack they were finally at a good place with each other. They were so close to their happy ending, and I was genuinely upset to see Tris go. I almost feel cheated as a reader, who has been rooting for Tris and Tobias since the first book, to not get to see them really get a chance at happiness together. With this being said, I understand why Veronica had David kill Tris. The entire series you see Tris struggle with selflessness. In Insurgent Tris is not acting out of selflessness, but guilt. It is only in Allegiant that you see Tris acting in a completely selfless way. She made the ultimate sacrifice for her brother, and that was something I always felt Tris would do, that she would give her life to save those she loved most. While I am sad to see Tris die, I feel like Veronica owed it to Tris to have her do what she did. I do hope that one day Veronica writes an alternative ending where Tris lives. I want to see Tris and Tobias' happily ever after, I'm a sucker for a good old happy ending!

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