REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week so far. This week I’m reviewing Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow.

I just want to make it clear before you read any further, that this review contains references to self-harm, suicide, and mental illness which may be triggering to some readers.

GoodReads Synopsis:

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

 

My Thoughts:

Don’t let the pretty cover fool you as Girl in Pieces is far from a light-hearted YA read. It is a detailed fictional account of struggling with a mental illness, self-harm and the road to recovery.

Mental illness has become a common trope across YA, arguably overtaking the recently neglected and controversial love triangle trope. This is both a blessing and a curse as on the one hand, mental illness is getting the representation in literature that it needs but on the other hand there are times when it is clear that an author is only using mental illness as a secondary plot devise, with no intention or desire to fully explore the subject matter.

Often, we read to know that we are not alone in what we feel which is why it is so important that authors take the time to consider their reader and the message they want to send before deciding to include such a sensitive yet critical subject.

Girl in Pieces is one of the best novels I have ever read that deals with the topic of mental illness. It isn’t a plot device that takes a back seat to romance or teen drama. It is woven into every chapter, page, and sentence of this novel so thoughtfully and carefully. It is the very heart of this novel, providing readers with the honest and raw representation that so desperately needs to be seen in literature.

I won’t lie, it was a difficult read. It was upsetting, heart-breaking but it really resonated with me.

The novel follows Charlie, a young girl recovering from a suicide attempt who is just trying to navigate this often challenging world, with the weight of her past still hanging on her shoulders. When we meet Charlie, she is in a rehab/psychiatric ward following her suicide attempt. She is silent, bandaged up and broken. Surrounded by other young girls all suffering from the same affliction, Charlie begins to heal, begins talking again and tries to face up to her past.

 

“Everyone has that moment I think, the moment when something so momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.”

 

All of the girls Charlie is surrounded by are different. They are each in their own way, in pieces. Glasgow slowly develops each of their characters to highlight that there is no one way that mental illness affects people. For Charlie, she cuts herself away with shards of broken glass, for Blue, she sticks needles in her body to get away from the pain and for Isis there is fire leaving circular scars across her body. They all feel their pain in their own way just as they all must recover in their own way.

For Charlie, recovery is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. When she leaves the safety net of the rehab/psychiatric ward, she finds herself under the blazing sun in Tucson and soon begins to try and get her life back on track. She finds a job, a place to live and tries to begin to heal but her past is always close behind her. It is here that she meets Riley West, an ex-musician, alcoholic and a drug user battling his own demons. It is at this point that Glasgow could easily have taken this down the root that so many other authors do (girl is struggling, boy is struggling, girl meets boy, they fix each other and drive off into the sunset) but she doesn’t. She makes it clear that Riley is not the answer to all of Charlie’s problem, in fact, he becomes part of the cause.

Glasgow’s deeply emotional and at times witty writing style complimented the story perfectly. There was just the right amount of dark humour coupled with beautifully written philosophical observations for this story to grip me completely. I couldn’t put this book down because I needed to know what happened to Charlie and whether she was okay. I would love to tell you that this book has a happy ending, but it is more realistic that is doesn’t. It does, however, offer the reader a hopeful ending. Charlie is still dealing with her mental health problems, fighting off the urge to turn away from the world and to self-harm, but she is trying.

So, whilst this is a powerful yet painful read, it is also a hopeful one. For anyone out there struggling with mental health issues, this story may make you feel less alone and more understood.

 

Thanks for reading! I know this has been a particularly long and serious review but I felt I had to do this book justice. This book deals with a lot of sensitive subjects that may be harmful to some readers so do bear this in mind before picking it up. If you’ve read this book then let me know what you thought in the comments below!

T5T: Tropes I’d Like To See More Of

T5T: Tropes I’d Like To See More Of

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesday! If you aren’t familiar with Top 5 Tuesday, it is a group here on WordPress now currently run by Shanah over at BionicBookWorm, that features a different book related topic each week.

I didn’t take part in Top 5 Tuesday last week so I have decided to use last week’s topic for this post as it was a good one.

If you’re taking part in this week’s Top 5 Tuesday or if you’ve done a similar post in the past, then please leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll check it out.

 

Top 5 Tropes I’d Like To See More Of:

  1. Unlikely friendships/relationships

giphy (4).gif

Think of The Breakfast Club but in book form and you’ll understand what I mean. I am a sucker for the typical popular athlete falling for a bookworm Americanised trope that fills the pages of most popular YA novels. No matter how hard I try, I simply can’t deny the stupid grin on my face when the unlikely couple finally realise they are perfect for each other.

  1. Close-knit/Supportive Families

family

Every other book I read seems to use the dysfunctional family format trope to surround their protagonist in tragedy so it’s always refreshing to read a book where family is not the root of the protagonists’ problems. My favourite example of this is To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I mentioned this in my review of the second book in the series but the scenes with Lara Jean and her family are so pure and lovely.

  1. Strong Female Leads

katniss

This is so easy to get wrong but when it’s done right, there’s nothing quite like it. My favourite examples of this are definitely Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and Izzy O’Neill from The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven.

  1. The Fall of Society/ The World Inverted

tenor (4)

I am a big fan of dystopian fiction, so I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this trope. Whilst the premise is the same, each author uses it for an entirely different purpose which is always so interesting to see. Some of my favourite examples of this are The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood and The Power by Naomi Alderman.

  1. The Chosen One

chosen one

I love this trope even if I don’t always love the character that is the chosen one (I think we all know I’m talking about Frodo here). The only example needed for this one has to be the self-titled chosen one, Harry Potter!

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favourite tropes that you’d like to see more of? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han

REVIEW: P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Hello, lovelies!

 

Happy Sunday! I hope you’ve had a relaxing weekend. I’m finishing my week with a review of the brilliant P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han, the follow to her bestselling novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

 

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS & NEGATIVE OPINIONS OF PETER KAVINSKY

GoodReads Synopsis:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

My Thoughts:

I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before about a year ago now and I kept meaning to pick up the next in the series but then I kind of forgot about it. Enter Netflix and the Lana Condor/Noah Centineo combo and P.S I Still Love You went straight to the top of my TBR pile.

I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the first book but I needn’t have been as Jenny Han did not disappoint. It was a very different experience reading P.S I Still Love You compared to TATBILB as I was picturing the characters from the film as I was reading. Lana Condor makes the perfect Lara Jean and Noah Centineo is one dreamy Peter Kavinsky so I have no complaints about that!

tenor (3)

The book starts a few scenes before the film ended and things with Lara Jean and Peter are still off. It didn’t come as much of a surprise that they immediately got together thanks to another one of Lara Jean’s letters (and also thanks to Netflix for the spoiler!).

I’m going to get this out of the way, rip it off like a bandaid. I actually didn’t like Peter at all in this book which is a complete shift from TATBILB. He is an awful boyfriend to Lara Jean and she somehow ends up taking the blame for this in the end which infuriated me. The Gen drama continues and despite being in a relationship with Lara Jean, Peter spends 3/4 of this book with Gen helping her through some ‘family’ troubles. Lara Jean naturally is uncomfortable with this and can’t help but feel jealous after always being second best to Gen (a perfectly reasonable reaction I might add).

When we find Gen’s family drama was, Lara Jean is suddenly fine with Peter’s complete neglect and disrespect for their relationship and goes running back to him to apologise. This bothered me so much and I’m sure I’m not the only one. No one no matter how mature or secure they were in their relationship would be comfortable with their significant other spending all of their time comforting their ex.

No one deserves to be treated like that, especially not Lara Jean and don’t even get me started on that hot tub video situation! For all you Peter K fans out there who are going to say ‘but Gen was going through a really hard time’, I know. That doesn’t give Peter an excuse to treat Lara Jean the way he did. Gen was manipulating the situation to hurt Lara Jean and Peter let her.

So, if it’s not already clear, I can safely say I am no longer a Peter K fan which leads me on to one of my favourite parts of this book… John Ambrose McClaren.

giphy (3)

John Ambrose McClaren is one of the recipients of Lara Jean’s infamous love letters and just as things with her and Peter start to heat up, John writes her back in typical John Ambrose McClaren fashion. He is the real MVP of this book and is who Lara Jean should be with. He’s thoughtful, smart, sweet and there for Lara Jean when Peter is off being Gen’s shoulder to cry on. I also loved that his full name was used so frequently throughout the book.

I loved the introduction of new characters in P.S I Still Love you including all those at the nursing home Lara Jean works at and it’s safe to say that Jenny Han has created some spectacular characters in this series but, I think we can all agree that Kitty Song takes the crown. I think some of my favourite scenes from this book are ones were the Song family spends time together. Often in YA novels, we have a dysfunctional or turbulent family at the center of the story and whilst the Song’s have faced their fair share of tragedy, Lara Jean’s family are so adorably close and normal that it was a breath of fresh air.

I am honestly surprised at how invested in this series I am and how passionate I have been about these fictional characters and relationships in this review. I intended this to be a more serious review of the writing, character building, and plot techniques but it quickly descended into a rant about my new found hate for Peter Kavinsky.

I love this series and I’m so glad there’s more to this story, let’s just hope Netflix carries on adapting these books into the cute romcoms we know they can be!

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Are you a fan of this series? Let me know in the comments below!

BLOGTOBER: Spooky Reads

BLOGTOBER: Spooky Reads

Hello, lovelies!

Unfortunately, I can’t commit to doing a post every day in October so instead I’ve planned some occasional themed posts throughout October starting with some of my top spooky reads in celebration of one of my favourite times of year… Halloween!

980x.gif

I don’t read many books that fall into the horror genre and whilst thrillers and mystery’s do tend to scare me sometimes, I don’t think I’d class them as favourites, so this is a bit of a mixed bunch.

Some of these books are downright scary, others are more psychologically harrowing, and I’ve even thrown in a few that tell a spooky story.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

41YTu7Yj5HL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_

This brilliant but vividly gory short story still haunts me to this day. I don’t want to give too much away but this is definitely worth a read.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

9781435129757

I’m not sure what it was but something about this book just freaked me out when I read it and I had the same reaction when I watched the film. It’s an interesting book and not an obviously scary one but it does have a spooky vibe about it.

The Goosebumps Series by R. L. Stine

Say_Cheese_and_Die!_(Cover).jpg

I loved these books when I was younger. I never actually owned them myself, so I used to sneak into my older brother’s room and borrow a few at a time. My favourite book in the series was ‘Say Cheese and Die!’ which I must have read at least 10 times.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

51YdjdyOrYL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_

The main reason this book makes this list is the pictures. They work so well with the book and the book definitely wouldn’t be the same without them but they are seriously disturbing.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

61qfV7f2Q3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

There is one particular scene in this short story that has earned The Yellow Wallpaper is place on this list and if you’ve read it, I’m sure you’re already thinking of it. Yes, it’s the narrator creeping around her room having stripped the walls bare and caused her husband to faint at her feet. Reading this without reading the short story will probably have you thinking this doesn’t sound too spooky but trust me, in the wider context of the story, it is!

The Witches by Roald Dahl

51qLW0CbusL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

The book is downright scary and if you’ve seen the film version of this you will relate when I say that it traumatised me. I was quite young when I read the book, so I genuinely believed that these witches could be lurking around me in disguise!

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

918dVp6iDeL.jpg

The remote setting and disturbing plot line are what makes this psychological horror so creepy. I would also like to take this opportunity to publicly declare that I am still not convinced about the ending of this book. Everyone keeps telling me he was insane all along, but I refuse to believe it.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

9780141182575

This isn’t necessarily spooky in the traditional sense of the word, but it is one scary read. True Crime is not a genre I often read as I’m easily scared but In Cold Blood is brilliant and worth being scared over.

Thanks for reading! Let me know some of you’re favourite spooky reads in the comments below! 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 10 Tuesday! I hope you’ve all had a great start to your week!

If you’re not familiar with Top 10 Tuesday, it’s hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl and features a different book related topic each week. This week weeks topic is the ‘Top 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet’.

I’ve decided to put my own spin on this week’s topic to include authors past and present as a lot of the authors that came to my mind are no longer with us.

If you’re also taking part in this weeks Top 10 Tuesday or if you’ve done a similar post in the past then please leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll check it out.

 

  1. Fredrik Backman

 

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you would have seen this one coming. I adore Frederick Backman’s books and would love the chance to meet him and hear all about the inspiration behind some of his eccentric characters.

 

  1. J. R.R Tolkien

giphy (2).gif

Tolkien is possibly my favourite storyteller of all time. No one can immerse their reader in a fictitious world quite like he does.

 

  1. Emily Bronte

As an English Literature graduate, it was hard not to make this list 100% classical authors. I’ve narrowed it down to a select few and obviously, Emily Bronte had to be on this list. I love all of the Bronte sisters writing but there is something so unique and inspiring about Emily’s work which makes her my favourite.

 

  1. Charles Dickens

I honestly don’t have a reason for including Dickens on this list other than its Dickens?!

 

  1. Suzanne Collins

giphy (1).gif

I would love to meet Suzanne Collins just to say thank you for writing the Hunger Games trilogy. These books shaped my teenage years and they are still amongst my favourite reads of all time.

 

  1. Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket

Daniel Handler is a brilliant author and exceptional storyteller. The diversity in his writing abilities is inspiring and I’d love to find out how he goes from a dark and quirky mystery like ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ to a teen romance story like ‘Why We Broke Up’.

 

  1. F. Scott Fitzgerald

giphy

Just picture it, it’s the 1920’s, you’re in Paris in some sophisticated bar full of societies elite, you’re wearing an elegant dress with your hair pinned up and you’re sipping colorful cocktails whilst listening to some of the most outrageous anecdotes from Fitzgerald. Now doesn’t that sound like pure perfection?

 

  1. John Green

This is an obvious choice but I am a big John Green fan and I feel like we would have some interesting conversations.

  1. Cheryl Strayed

GJvJ.gif

I really enjoyed reading Wild and I would love to meet the inspiring Cheryl Strayed in person and hear more about her amazing journey.

 

  1. Sara Shepard

tumblr_nwdjqjX2nQ1trn5woo1_500

I would love to know how Sara Shepard comes up with the twisted plot lines for her novels and also to get her opinion on the horror that was the PLL finale (and that tragic attempt at a British accent!).

 

Thanks for reading! Which authors would you love to meet? Let me know in the comments below!

September Wrap Up

September Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies!

I can’t believe how fast these months are going by, it barely feels like it’s been any time since I was writing my August wrap up!

September has been a brilliant month for books but not so much for blogging. I’ve been really busy, so I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time to my blog as I’d like but hopefully October will be a more productive month! I only read 5 books this month but most of them were great which is always a bonus. I’m yet to post my reviews on quite a few of these so keep a look out for them in the next few weeks.

My September Reads:

The Power by Naomi Alderman

9780670919963

My Rating: ★★★★☆

You can read my review of this book here.

 

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

9781782118640

My Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

29236380

My Rating: ★★★★☆

 

P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han

51fEEaNyKZL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

My Rating: ★★★★☆

 

The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe

9781509886227the stranger upstairs_jpg_264_400

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

You can read my review of this book here.

Currently Reading: A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

61AnND5DVBL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Look at that cover! I’ve only just started this book but so far I’m enjoying it so I can’t wait to see where Wood takes the story!

– 

Thanks for reading! Did you read any great books in September? What are you looking forward to reading in October? Let me know in the comments below!

Mini Review: Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva

Mini Review: Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a great week!

I’m switching things up on my blog this week with an extra mini review on Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva. I must start by saying a massive thank you to Lana for sending me a copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review.

Lana describes her short but lovely little book in the following words:

‘Changing how you think is possible. I wasn’t always so sure that was true until I experienced it myself, but I know now we don’t have to just accept unhappiness. Not always anyway. This book is my collection of tips and suggestions that have helped me achieve happier thinking. It’s sort of a gym for my mind. I’d love to tell you it was easier than the real gym but well… it’s not really. It takes time, effort, and practice but it’s absolutely well worth the rewards.’

 

My Thoughts:

I want to start by saying that this definitely is not one of those preachy self-help books. Reading through ‘Happier Thinking’ is like having a conversation with Lana herself. The tone is warm, inviting and honest which is refreshing in a book like this. I don’t read many books like this but I know that this has become more of a favoured approach by authors with the likes of Fern Cotton and Matt Haig writing more relaxed and open self-help style books that are promoting a more active attitude towards positive mental health.

 

What I loved the most about this short read is that I already know it is something I can go back to time and time again. If I’m struggling or feeling down I can carry it with my bag and easily pick it up and start reading some of Lana’s reassuring words to help me feel better. I am not saying that this book is going to cure depression or anxiety but it might help people to cope with some of the symptoms and even if you don’t struggle with mental health issues, this book still has lots to offer.

 

You can find out more about Lana and her book here and ‘Happier Thinking’ is available to buy on Amazon now. 

Thanks for reading! Have you read any self-help books like this before that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments below!