What I've Been Reading Recently

Thursday, 15 March 2018

It's been a very long time since I've written about the books I've been reading... I guess you can't review books if you haven't been reading. At the start of the year, I challenged myself to read 24 books, and seeing as in 2017 I only managed to read 5, this seems like a huge commitment, but also, a very doable one.

If I find a book I can't put down, then I'm in luck, because I won't. Luckily, the latest books I've been reading (some are from last year but who's judging), have been that kind of book. Those books I tell myself I'll read just one more chapter, and ten chapters on, I still don't want to stop. I think I have found the right antidote when it comes to books; they need to be in the young adult genre, involve a love story (I'm open to both successes and tragedies), it helps if it pulls really hard on my heartstrings, and have storylines with a lot of surprises to keep me guessing. I have found 5 books which have exactly that.

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1. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by NICOLA YOON

"I know there’s no such thing as meant-to-be, and yet here I am wondering if maybe I’ve been wrong."

This is the story of fate. A story about how small events can bring together two opposing people. Natasha is a realist. Daniel is an idealist. No matter what they try to do, no matter how much they think it’s just a coincidence, everything seems to be falling into place. It’s a shame this theory isn't working on everything else in their life. Natasha is on her way to the immigration office to stop her family getting deported, and Daniel is on his way to a life-changing interview, he doesn't want. As the two paths are crossing, will the two just leave everything up to fate, or do some things in life not work the same way.

The Sun Is Also A Star is going to be added to my shelf of favourites. This book helped me see life in a completely new way. It helped me think about things with a whole new perspective. Throughout the book, you're introduced to the stories of the characters whose paths crossed with Natasha and Daniel. You'll understand why they have acted the way they have, and if any actions towards them have changed their output on life. There's something about Natasha that I felt a connection with. We look nothing alike, nor do we think the same or have the same problems, but I can just feel how her mind and heart are constantly fighting over what's right and wrong. She wants to give her heart to a boy she may never see again, but why waste the opportunity for something that could last forever, even for a few days. I am a huge believer in 'everything happens for a reason,' and this book just gave me so much faith; take what happens, the good and the bad, and know it's going to help you somehow.

READ THIS IF YOU LOVE:

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson and Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

RATING:

2. THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by JESSI KIRBY

"...we found our own synchronicity together, his heart thumping out a slow. steady beat and mine filling in the spaces between."

What would you do if you could feel the beating heart of someone you lost again? Quinn has found herself in such a confusing position. Her boyfriend recently lost his life and was on the donor list. You are able to send out letters to the recipient, but the one she needed the most didn't reply. Researching online, she finds a blog set up by his sister talking about his recovery. All she wanted was to see him in person just one time. That's all she needs to move forward. Realising this was a bad idea, she wants to forget she ever came here, but with a number of unfortunate events, they both end up at the place they never wanted to return, the hospital. As they see each other more and more, will she reveal who she is, or will he find out before she has a chance too?

Despite screaming in my head telling Quinn to go home, you can't help but sympathise with her, even though she is handling the situation completely wrong. I'm not going to lie to you, I fell completely in love with Colton too, so I can understand why she wanted to keep going back. In any other situation (i.e. Colton owning his own heart), this would have made the perfect love story. I'd constantly be thinking she's going to confess, or he knows something throughout the book, but my lips are sealed. There are very few characters in this book, so you really get to understand how both Colton and Quinn's families have struggled with both sides of trauma. At the start of each chapter, there are literature quotes and words from doctors who study the heart. You get to really see a world of different people all talk about hearts in completely different ways. Things We Know By Heart definitely did a whole lot of things to my heart; good and bad.

READ THIS IF YOU LOVE:

Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer and Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby

RATING:

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3. A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER by SARA BARNARD

"Little victories are everything in a world where worst-case scenarios are on an endless loop in your head."

Steffi is starting 6th form, no different from last year, except she no longer has her best friend by her side. Suffering from selective mutism, Tem is one of the few people she feels comfortable around. As she knows a little sign language, she is introduced to Rhys, a new deaf student to show him around. Nervous and reluctant at first, the two start writing handwritten notes and using messaging apps to communicate with each other. Day by day, the pair start expressing themselves in a new kind of way; a way that doesn't have to be loud, or is known by anybody else. A way for just those two.

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder is such a feel-good book. There are no huge reveals or secrets, but there doesn't need to be. The main characters Rhys and Steffi have such big stories to tell, you have everything you need right there. Every single time Steffi is doing something new, even things that surprise her, I do a little cheer in my head. You feel like you're there right with her. It is clear from the offset this is going to be a romance, (yaay!), but no relationship is easy, especially when they're both entering two new worlds. I love how they're both so open to find out and learn about each other, and welcome all the ups and downs along with it. I have never read a book where a protagonist is deaf, so it was also informative for me too. Each chapter is numbered with BSL too, which is a beautiful touch. If you're looking for a book to make you go all gooey inside, definitely add this to your reading list.

READ THIS IF YOU LOVE:

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist and Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

RATING:

.@helloaycan is sharing what she's been reading recently

4. DREAMOLOGY by LUCY KEATING

"Our dreams are the one thing we share that nobody else can touch, And now we're going to lose it, and I am terrified."

Alice has a pretty mundane life. She lives with her dad and dog, and she hasn't spoken to her mother in years, but once Alice falls asleep, things start to get interesting. She has been dreaming about a boy named Max since she can remember, even to the point of growing up (in her dreams) together. Just like any other boring day in her woken life, she walks into class, except sitting at the table is Max. Dream Max is now reality Max. I guess things should be kept in a dream because he isn't anything like she imagined. Forcing herself to get to know him a little more, maybe there is a reason for Max's hostility.

Dreamology is just amazing, and if I could ever write a book about anything, it would be dreams. I absolutely love talking about dreams, they fascinate me so much, and you can read about mine here. Could this scenario happen in real life? Maybe, I definitely can't give no definitive answer to that, but I love the crossover between dreams and reality. Throughout the book, you'll get mini-chapters of Alice talking about her dreams, and oh my, there are some imaginative dreams. There is so much I want to say, but I obviously don't want to ruin it. One thing I didn't like about this book is how quickly we found out about Alice and Max, though there is still some mystery and questions all the way through. Let's be honest, I wanted this book to last forever.

READ THIS IF YOU LOVE:

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes and In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

RATING:

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5. MY HEART & OTHER BLACK HOLES by JASMINE WARGA

"I wish I could draw you how I see you. I'd draw a boy with the most magnetic smile, and the kindest hands, and eyes that are gloomy, but can sometimes be bright. I'd draw a boy who deserves to see the ocean."

Aysel is scared there is something running through her blood, and she's going to turn out like her murdering father. She lives with her mother and stepfamily, but she knows they don't want her there. Nobody in school wants to know her, she hates her job, she lives in constant fear and feels she has nothing to live for. So much so, she wants to end her own life, but she is too scared to do it alone. That's where she meets Roman, on an online forum dedicated to finding your own suicide partner. Turns out, he is nothing like she expected. He has friends, a supportive family, great perspectives, so what story is he hiding? As the two spend more time together, Aysel is starting to think that maybe suicide isn't the right option for them both. Roman definitely doesn't have the same mindset, and is counting down the days until he dies, but can Aysel convince him not to, or will he just go it alone?

Out of all the books from this list, this was the one book I couldn't and didn't put down. As every chapter finishes, you needed to read on to find out the answers you're missing. Throughout the book, you learn about Aysel, and also her fathers' situation on how and why the murder occurred, and I ended up questioning the motives of the new people she meets. I started to think about the truth behind her father and the murder. There is something about this book that made me read into every single little thing, which I loved. My Heart and Other Black Holes is full of wonder and questions, but also hope. It's very rare that I feel an emotional connection to the two protagonists, but seeing their current situations, I was optimistic about them both. All I could think (and hope) was is Aysel going to save herself as well as Roman. He has doubts about Aysel from the beginning, but he still sticks around. Obviously, I'm not going to tell you what happens, but I was slightly surprised. Roman's reasoning for wanting to die is told much later on in the book, but again, little hints leave you guessing. Despite that their friendship is based on helping each other die, I loved seeing it grow. It's so special and heartwarming, yet heartbreaking at the same time.

READ THIS IF YOU LOVE:

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and Looking For Alaska by John Green

RATING:

Let me know in the comments below if you've read any of these books, and of course, any recommendations you may have. If you use Goodreads, please follow me on there too.

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