Tuesday, 25 September 2018

#57 The Leaving

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

The Leaving is the story of how six children are taken on their first day of kindergarten and eleven years later and five of them return with no recollection of where they have been for all those years. The story is told in three perspectives, Lucas and Scarlett who are two of the five children to return and also Avery who is the big sister of Max who is the sixth child that didn't return. The multiple perspectives works really well for this type of story as you get drips and drabs of each characters back story and what they remember from the eleven years. 

Each of the six children begin to remember bits and pieces as theirs memories begin to come back and the story of what really happens slowly unravels. This was a fascinating read and such a page turner! i read it in two sittings as i needed to know what happened especially what happened to Max and why he didn't return with the others and really struggled to put it down. 

This wasn't a 5 star read for me as there was a few things i didn't like. Mainly Avery as a character, i found her highly annoying. Also the notes she was receiving that she believed where from Max? Not sure why that didn't unravel or wasn't touched upon more. 

I love mystery YA books that are not thrillers and this is the only one ive read in that genre that ive enjoyed! I thought the writing style was interesting especially in Scarletts chapters where the words are often reflective of how Scarlett is feeling and they are scattered on the pages to show or mind set or they will spiral to show her panic or if shes confused. 

I enjoyed Lucas' perspective as he tries to understand his thoughts and memories and tries to figure out if he is violent or has committed any violent acts. His chapters are very thought provoking and heartfelt, it reads like a confused boy that doesn't know how to begin life again now that hes home after eleven years. 

This book has some of thee worst parents in YA and im a big fan of family themes in YA books but honestly there wasn't a single redeeming adult character in this whole book! Not sure how realistic that is? Also the romance in this book was completely unnecessary and really didn't add anything to the story!  

The ending wasn't disappointing to me but i felt like there could have been SO much more and it really wasn't what i expected but i was glad that after all the build up that it wasn't a total let down. 

I've seen a LOT of negative reviews for this on GR and booktube, im not sure why as it wasn't a bad story and im glad it was kept as a stand alone story as we dont have enough stand alones in YA. 

Monday, 10 September 2018

#56 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


This really isn't my type of book, id heard and seen the hype and did my very best to ignore it as i assumed this was a fluffy romance. A couple friends of mine on GR read it and rated it quite highly so i thought screw it, im going to check it out! Never have i been more surprised, i loved this story!

The plot follows Evelyn Hugo who is your 'Marilyn Monroe' type icon, Shes a vintage movie star when women were first up and coming in Hollywood. At the time of her fist successful film the media portrayed her as scandalous and they document every poor decision she ever made with a focus on her many marriages.

As you can probably tell from the title of the book Evelyn has been married seven times, when all of her husbands are dead and Evelyn in her late 80's decides to tell her story in the form of a biography, she enlists the help of Monique who is an up and coming writer at a magazine company. Monique is shocked to be chosen by Evelyn but goes along for the ride hoping it will advance her career.

The two begin meeting at Evelyn's Manhattan apartment to discuss the ins and outs of each marriage. Monique warms to Evelyn and her no nonsense attitude to life. The story also followed Moniques life as a struggling writer who is going through a divorce. You really grow to love both Monique and Evelyn as the story progresses. The twists and turns are amazing, i didn't see any of them coming!

Each husband is split into their own section in the book which makes it so much easier to understand. The way the story is intricately woven together is masterfully done. Some marriages were short whereas some were much longer. I thoroughly enjoyed the newspaper cut outs that were included as they showed the outside worlds view on Evelyns life whilst she went through the actual truth at the same time.

Evelyn married her best friend Harry Cameron to cover up the fact that they were both in gay relationships. Evelyn was in seeing her co-star and fellow actress Celia St James whilst Harry was in a relationship with Celia's husband John. This was her longest marriage lasting over 15 years and resulting in the couple having a daughter Connor. The four lived together and did everything together until Celia leaves and divorces John. When John prematurely dies of a heart attack Harry is left a broken man and turns to alcohol to numb his pain. A few years pass with Harry drinking more and more, he eventually dies whilst drink driving. Evelyn then marries Celias brother in another fake marriage to hide her lesbian relationship and they all move to Spain. Celia is very ill at this point and has limited years left to live. When Celia eventually passes away Evelyn then is left alone with Celias brother and the 2 remain married until he dies as well. Connor is then diagnosed with breast cancer which also kills her. Its all very real and very raw.

When everyone has died that Evelyn has ever loved she then plans to tell the truth after so many years of constant lies and cover ups.

This book made me laugh but it also made me ugly cry, the last 50 pages very nearly killed me. Evelyn lost her daughter to breast cancer and is auctioning off her old Hollywood dresses to raise money for breast cancer research. This was particularly hard for me to read as i have a daughter myself and can never ever imagine the pain of losing her so i found myself fully sobbing when Evelyn described her loss. The LGBT representation in this book was fantastic and so subtle, it was in no way in your face which i think happens in a lot of YA but i guess thats the difference between YA and adult fiction.