April 13, 2017

The Last Thing You Said - Sara Biren

Title: The Last Thing You Said
Author: Sara Biren
Pages: 320
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads rating:

About: Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.
This story was, eh, fine.  Lucy is still reeling from the death of her best friend, Trixie.  She's picked up a new best friend, but distanced herself from Ben, Trixie's brother, who she was almost dating before Trixie died.  She starts dating a summer boy and, if you know anything about vacation towns, you know it isn't going to last.  She also starts rebelling a little bit against her parents.  Meanwhile, the whole summer keeps throwing Lucy and Ben together while all they want to do is avoid each other.

See, that all sounds find.  But listen y'all, I am so tired of bad-boy characters ruining books for me.

Not that kind of bad boy.

I almost feel like I should make a list.  Hey, why not?

Things I hate about Ben
  • Grief excuses a lot in my book.  You never know how people will react in these situations.  Ben's, "I hate that you're here and she isn't," is not acceptable.  It's not like they were in a car accident and Lucy survived while Trixie didn't.  Lucy had literally nothing to do with her death.  She should have told him to eff right the hell off.
  • "Lucy's ponytails are usually crooked or she'll miss a few strands that curl around her neck or one side will be bumpy.  And if you look closely, you can see that one of Lucy's blue eyes is narrower at the outside corner than the other."  Dude, you're a creep.
  • This should really be attached to the last bullet point, but it's getting its own.  I just don't buy Ben describing Lucy the way he does.  It feels very much like a woman writing a boy's voice (which I hate tbh).  He's grieving his dead sister, but makes sure to note that Lucy's hair is caramel colored.  No.  I would accept it more from Simon, who is supposed to be an artist, but still, no.
  • I fucking hate when boys call girls 'my girl' when they're not together.  It's gross and weird.  Whitehouse.org petition to end that shit.
Sadly The Last Thing You Said wasn't a winner for me.  I just couldn't get over Ben's obnoxiousness.  What could have been a fine story about grieving was otherwise ruined by a boy who was kind of possessive for being the one that ruined their whole would-be relationship to start with.  

April 6, 2017

Goodbye Days - Jeff Zentner

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Pages: 416
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads rating: 
About: Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

Goodbye Days is about a boy named Carver who is dealing with the loss of his three best friends.  They died in a car accident because they were texting and driving and Carver's the one they were texting.  So he's blaming himself, the families of his friends are blaming him, and the state might be pressing charges.  He's been hanging with his dead friend Eli's girlfriend and developing some not-so friendly feelings.  On top of all that, Blake's grandmother asks him to do a goodbye day with her - a last day to honor Blake and give her some closure.  Pretty soon all the families want goodbye days of their own, and not all of them have the best intentions.

So here's the thing about Goodbye Days - I didn't love it.  And I totally thought I would. It's my fault for hanging all my expectations on The Serpent King and that's not really fair.  I feel like writing a book that is solely one character's exploration of grief is risky, because you're so much in that character's head.  It's a lot of just talking about feelings and it's really easy to get bogged down.  I don't know, this one was a little underwhelming for me.  There were things I did like - Carver's therapist was a great guy.  His sister, who wasn't around much, but clearly loved him and wanted to help him through his problems any way she could.  The flashbacks to his friends were nice, but it felt a little, 'insert flashback here' whenever something came up in the present time.

I know people will love this book.  They've been flipping out about it since it first became available to read and it's been getting starred reviews, but it just wasn't for me.  We never fully connected and that's okay.  I'll still be looking for Zentner's future books.

April 4, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (113)

I love things so hard, man, and the internet has made that so much more fun.  This week's topic is a fandom freebie, so I thought I'd talk about the most important fandoms I've been in.

A super dated reference, but the most important show

Buffy was the first show that I obsessed about on the internet.  I wouldn't say I was in the fandom per se, but I would go into school early every morning in 8th grade and use the computer in the library to look up Buffy quotes and pictures on these Geocities websites.  And then, the kicker, I would print out the thumbnails of the picture galleries and put them in a binder.  This Buffy binder still lives at my mom and dad's and it's horrible and wonderful and I'll never get rid of it ever.

Yes girl, let him know

Roswell was so important to me from the very first episode.  I spent hours in the library (always the library, we didn't have internet at my house for a very long time.  Thanks for nothing parents) looking at edits, fanfic, quotes, and any news that I could get my hands on from Crashdown.com and Fanforum.

Pete Wentz!  This isn't even a gif because I love this picture so much!

One Tree Hill
OTH was a problem for me.  I was in college, it was the first time I had full time access to the internet, and I was wild.  I once dropped a class because OTH moved timeslots.  It was all Fanforum and Live Journal at this point.  I did episode reviews, I made icons, and I started making friends online for the first time, so that was fun.

The moment that ruined my life

One Direction
What a nightmare.  That I'm still living through.  I got into 1D in 2012 and I thought it would be a flash in the pan.  It's 5 years later and I am in just as deep as I was back then, waiting on solo efforts (and baby names, can you even believe???)  The 1D fandom is a little crazy, but I've made some of the best real life friends in it.  There are 775 pages (holy crap!) of the One Direction tag on my tumblr.

Same V, same.

My newest fandom, but god, am I obsessed.  I've talked about the new Archie comics on here before and Riverdale is if that comic had a baby with Veronica Mars.  And Twin Peaks.  And Dawson's Creek.  It's so good you guys.  I love literally all of the characters (and am dying over Bughead!)  My fandom exploits are mostly limited to tumblr these days, so that's where I obsess over all things Riverdale.

Are you guys in any fandoms?