Monday, 30 January 2012

Review: Divergent

 Divergent (Divergent, #1)   
Author: Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


This book is far better than what I expected.

I loved the plot, I loved the twist, I loved the voice and above all, I love the character development. I love how Tris became fearless yet remained compassionate. As far as I've read, she's a perfect in Dauntless. The Dauntless before Eric corrupted the meaning of the faction.

I love how some parts of the book talked about the character's fears and how they struggled to conquer them. I like how these fears balances the Dauntless' personalities and make them more human.

I love how Roth makes me want to experience what's happening to them in the book. It's exciting and exhilarating to read.

To those who's skeptical because it's compared to The Hunger Games, fear not. It may have some similarities (factions/districts) but the plot is totally different and the characters are definitely different.

Among all antagonists I've met whilst reading dystopian novels, Jeanine topped the list. I never hated a character no matter how evil he/she is like I hated Jeanine, and I applaud Roth for that.

Definitely one of the best dystopian novels I've read.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Review: Before I Fall

 Before I Fall   
Author: Lauren Oliver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.


This is one of those books you can't describe. You just tell people to read it for them to understand how amazing it is.

I have to give it to Oliver and her amazing writing skills that made me feel a roller coaster of emotions whilst reading this book. She made me hate Sam and her friends but also understood their characters.

Sam was a very realistic character with not just superficial and cliche flaws but real flaws like those in real people. She makes stupid choices, says stupid things, does stupid mistakes but in the end, how she tried and tried and tried to right those things mattered the most. Even it meant doing something she can't undo and sacrificing something important.

This book tore my heart out and made me cry real tears. This is beyond amazing.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Review: Cut

Author: Patricia McCormick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Callie isn't speaking to anybody, not even her therapist at Sea Pines, the "residential treatment facility" where her parents and doctor sent her after discovering that she cuts herself. As her story unfolds, Callie reluctantly becomes involved with the "guests" at Sea Pines-other young women struggling with problems of their own. Although their "issues" are different from hers, Callie is drawn into the group, finds her voice, and, gradually, confronts the family trauma that triggers her destructive behavior. 

"Cut" is a compelling and compassionate look at a young woman's struggle to overcome the impulses that led her to inflict harm on herself.


McCormick gives us a glimpse of what is going on inside Callie's mind; a girl who cuts herself, not to commit suicide but to cope up with stress and the pressure around her.

It is insightful despite of it being short. I love how the author didn't need to make up some big story behind what Callie does. And based on my own experiences, this book speaks the truth. Even small things can cause this.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Review: Hold Still

 Hold Still   
Author: Nina LaCour
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: In the wake of her best friend Ingrid's suicide, Caitlin is left alone, struggling to find hope and answers. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind for her, she begins a journey of understanding and broadening her horizons that leads her to new friendships and first love. Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin's first year without Ingrid to life with emotion, honesty, and captivating writing.


"I am not a darling. I am a girl ready to explode into nothing."

Among all books I've read that involved suicide, I consider this book as the best. Unlike others that seem to talk about why the person committed suicide and sometimes ends up playing a bit of guilt-trip among those who were left. This talks about Caitlin and what she went through on her way to acceptance about her best friend, Ingrid's death.

Caitlin is a very realistic character with real emotions. When her best friend died, of course she felt like her world shaken. What made things worse was seeing how others seem to fake their sympathy or how their favourite teacher, whom she expected to talk to about Ingrid seem to ignore and move on with the death of her friend.

"I should have put on some music on the stereo and sat back against the wall on the side of her room, and hoped that even if I couldn't get into the dark places in her head, I would at least be there waiting on the outside."

With nothing but Ingrid's journal, she slowly understood what her friend has been battling all along, and with the help of her new friends, she soon slowly accepted that it's not only her that's hurting and acted selflessly by sharing Ingrid to those who also love her.

A very moving book that will absolutely capture your hearts. LaCour did a great job in connecting with the reader's emotions with the use of powerful words.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Review: Suicide Notes

 Suicide Notes   
Author: Michael Thomas Ford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: I'm not crazy. I don't see what the big deal is about what happened. But apparently someone does think it's a big deal because here I am. I bet it was my mother. She always overreacts.
Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year's Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nutjobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff's perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they've got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on—the crazies start to seem less crazy.

Compelling, witty, and refreshingly real, Suicide Notes is a darkly humorous novel from award-winning author Michael Thomas Ford that examines that fuzzy line between "normal" and the rest of us.

I admit, I read this book because of my obsession with suicide notes and I expected this book to be sad or depression but actually it's not.

Jeff, a 15-year-old kid was confined in a Psychiatric Ward because he tried to killed himself. The reason? He just felt like doing it.. until he finally realised why he slash his wrists on New Year's Eve.

I love the way Ford wrote Jeff in a very witty and sarcastic manner. You'll definitely find yourself laughing while reading lines by Jeff and his description on some things in the ward.

Somehow, it's also self awakening because there are things about ourselves that we do not know until one day it will hit us like a high speed bus on the highway. Jeff doesn't have any reason at first- or that was what he believed in until he tried to recall what happened that night and the reason why slashing his wrists seems to be a good idea at that time.

I wish he and Allie, his best friend talked though. I really want to know what happened to their friendship after he was released from the 45-day program.

It talks about self-discovery, self-awakening, acceptance.

Review: For One More Day

For One More Day   
Author: Mitch Albom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD
Synopsis: Charley Benetto is a broken man, his life destroyed by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits rock bottom after discovering he won't be invited to his only daughter's wedding. And he decides to take his own life.
Charley takes a midnight ride to his small hometown: his final journey. But as he staggers into his old house, he makes an astonishing discovery. His mother - who died eight years earlier - is there, and welcomes Charley home as if nothing had ever happened.

What follows is the one seemingly ordinary day so many of us yearn for: a chance to make good with a lost parent, to explain the family secrets and to seek forgiveness.

"But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin."

Did you ever wished you could make up for the times you took a person for granted? This is a story of how a man had his life ruined by a desire to please his father and how he stood up after he fell from his downfall.

Chick and his relationship with his mother was not smooth but when he was given a day to be with her again, he understood things and appreciated everything she did for her. She made him realise his mistakes and encouraged him to pick himself up and start to rebuild his broken life.

In a very emotional and amazingly written book, Albom taught us lessons about life and family. I know this book was meant to make readers realise that even though you fucked up life, you can always learn from your mistakes and pick yourself up but it also tells me how we should not take our families for granted, no matter what happens.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Review: Eight Keys

 Eight Keys   
Author: Suzanne LaFleur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise's parents died when she was too young to remember them.  There's always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor. 

When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the bar .

This book talks about fitting in, surviving bullies and connecting to a person and knowing them through things and people they loved and treasured.

This is about Elise, an orphan who grew up with her loving aunt and uncle. As she struggled to fit in with her peers, she had her friendship with her childhood friend at risk. On top of that, she found keys that could open doors in knowing her parents.

This book is recommendable especially to pre-teens cause it will give you insights about growing up, friendship, family and how would you want to shape your future.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret. . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen doesn't want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her.

Then Hannah's voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes-- and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his small town. . .

. . .and what he discovers changes his life forever.


I believe every action someone does would create a great effect on one person no matter how small it is or if it was just a joke or something serious. This novel proved me that.

I was drawn to read this because of the subject it talked about: suicide. I expected it to be all sad and depressing but it was not. It was realistic and I love how the author gave us a glimpse in what might be happening inside the victim's mind.

But although the plot was amazing, I feel like there could be so much more with the way it was written. It didn't give off any emotions expect guilt for me because the sentences convey less emotions. I did not feel the pain Hannah felt and that was what I have been looking for. It's just straight to the point.

But on the other note, I believe suicide is an unanswered call for help and in this novel, what the others did to Hannah is not that enough for her to take her life but it was enough for her to feel useless, worthless and unwanted; even she can't accept herself. I wish people who did those things to her thought about the effect, even if it's just a small amount of anger or pain. And I wish Mr. Foster and Clay insisted to help her, and didn't wait for her to actually say, "Hey, I need help cos I'm thinking about killing myself."

Judgments aside, this novel scared me. Not that I'm scared of dying, no. It scared me about my own actions and its effect to other people. And it scares me because it slapped me the truth of what I can do to myself. She didn't even have a psychological disorder, and she was able to take her life. What about me? And what happens after I die? Should I also leave something, a CD or letter perhaps explaining to everyone? What will happen next?

This novel awakens every person's sensitivity towards others and maybe opens their eyes for them to look out for others.