Ordinary people can be superheroes, too! All My Friends are Superheroes Book Review

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All My Friends are Superheroes

By: Andrew Kaufman

Released May, 2013 from Coach House Books (first published in 2003)

Length: 140 Pages

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Rating: Five stars

Acquired through publisher at Brooklyn Book Festival

 

A Superhero Bride and an Ordinary Groom’s wedding wouldn’t be a super wedding without a superhero ex who causes the groom to be invisible only to the bride

Tom may not be a superhero, unlike his friends, but Tom’s wife The Perfectionist sure is. She is perfect in every way, including being perfectly sad and jilted. Perf’s ex, Hypno, does just that to Perf, causing Tom to be invisible to her only. As the days turn into months and Tom “isn’t home” The Perfectionist decides to move to Vancouver. Tom has the entire flight to convince Perf he has never left and still exists. Once the flight lands, and Perfectionist starts a new, perfect life without Tom.

This novella from Canadian author Andrew Kaufman was hysterical. The story is just 120 pages, with an extra spent on new superheroes. I read this in one sitting laughing out loud. I absolutely loved this. I have wanted to read this book for a year now ever since I stopped at the publisher’s booth at a book fair last year. The book eventually sold out before I could get my hands on it. This year, I was able to score the last copy with the bonus material. I hyped this book up to both myself and to others I mentioned it to. I was no where near disappointed. It was fun read, having the superheroes not really portray typical superheroes we have seen and read about. Instead, their superpowers were more great personality traits. You have the Bedmaker, who yes, makes her bed every morning. The one real invisible guy may have been my favorite. For years, he painted himself blue to be seen. Blue! My next favorite may be Wild Mood Swing since he is one of the only ones that wears a costume.

There are just too many good things about this quick, entertaining read. Well worth the wait. I loved the extra superheroes. I guess things may happen for a reason.   

What Can Happen in Six Months when you black out: Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards Book Review

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Six Months Later

By: Natalie D. Richards

Released October, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire

Length: 326 Pages

Genre: YA Thriller

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired by Netgalley

Chloe was not the perfect or ideal anything. She was close to being a delinquent, had sub par grades, and a sub par social life until she woke up six months later from a routine nap to find out she wasn’t the person anymore. But, can’t remember how. 

A lot can happen in six months. Even more can happen when you wake up from a nap to discover you can’t remember the past six months of your life; and, you weren’t in a coma, hospitalized, or Rip Van Winkle. High School Senior Chloe can’t remember the past six months. The much better grades, the boyfriend she only dreamed about, new friends and social life, and her best friend not talking to her. She can’t remember the study group she participated in that changed everything. Or, why she is the only person a fellow student thinks has the answers. Her doctors say she is normal; all tests coming back clear. Her mother doesn’t understand Chloe’s new awareness of not being aware. Chloe is a mess. What starts to develop is even more so.

I have never really read a young adult thriller, or mystery novel. I didn’t realize this one would be it. I am happy to report, I am so happy I was allowed to review this book. There was a new twist, turn, and plot device thrown at me on every page. The end is not what I expected. Nor, the middle truthfully. I was shocked by everything that happened. I loved it! I loved guessing after each page and being wrong. Chloe was a great character. I wanted to be her crime solving sidekick as she slowly pieced her life back together. Back together isn’t entirely true. Her life would never be the same. That was one of the best parts, her character growth. She never just let what happen to her take its toll on her. She fought back. Proved to her mother that something was wrong.

This novel was extremely well-written. Something character growth can be hard, especially in a mystery/thriller setting. But, the way Chloe matured, both internally and with her interpersonal relationships, was really well-written. I didn’t feel confused with each turn and twist. There was nothing expected about this novel at all. I didn’t see certain turns of events coming. It is nice to read a book like this where I am just as surprised as the fictional character. My heart was beating with her.

Six Months Later is a real page turner. Even reading it on my Nook, I kept wanting the next page to come. I couldn’t swipe fast enough. In about two sittings, I finished this book sad it was finished. I couldn’t decide what to read next because this book was just too great to be compared to anything else. If you like suspense, a mini whodunit, or want to discover someone new, this book is for you. It makes you think. And, participate really. I am not a fan of thrillers, I passed on Gone Girl. But, with this book, I’m glad I didn’t. I will definitely keep an eye out for this author. I just enjoyed this book so much. If you read it, there will be no regrets.

After Reading this book: You are a Little Bit Happier Than I Am by Tao Lin

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you are a little bit happier than i am

By Tao Lin

Released: November, 2006 by Acton Books

Length: 72 pages

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired by author

 

I don’t quite know what to say about this short book of poetry. Wow isn’t completely apt enough. Intense, funny, self-deprecating, and heart breaking, maybe if you mix it together. Throw all those adjectives into a blender and you have Tao Lin’s you are a little bit happier than i am. I couldn’t stop reading this. I read it on a bus ride. I got a few looks when I laughed hard. Sometimes not even because of the content of the poem, but by the title. Some of my favorite titles (not necessarily the poem itself) are: i want to pour orange juice on my face, poems that look weird, pessimism or robotics?, and possibly my all time favorite- book reviewers always praise books as “life-affirming” because the more humans there are on earth the better.

This collection just made me happy, and sad when it ended. I loved his second book of poetry Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that I read first. That was just as unique as this little gem. The way Lin writes his poetry is not in a form we typical read There is something so organic about them. Although he doesn’t capitalize anything like e.e. cummings did, there is no other poet around that writes like Lin, can emulate Lin, and capture a realness that Lin does. Not all of his poems make sense, hence why they are just so great. He just doesn’t care.

I met Lin this past Sunday at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and he basically shrugged at everything I said. Not in a mean way, though. Just, in a way where he just didn’t care. I admire him for that, but also want to shake him because he did agree to do a signing. The least he can do is be a little more forth coming, right? Well, he gave me this gem. And, I will forever be grateful. I have had this book on my goodreads shelf since I joined over three years ago. And, he just gave me his copy that he was reading! Took out his bookmark, post-it, and handed it to me, with a shrug for good measure. I was shocked. No other author I think would do that. He just said he had more copies. Makes up for his shrug and lack of empathy.

I would say I would highly recommend this collection, and I would, but it isn’t for everyone. The poems are not traditional. More stream of conscious writing, if that is even close to what it is. You really have to have an open mind; no real comparisons at the ready. You really will never read a poet quite like him, I think. At least, I haven’t. I haven’t read all poetry, but I can tell you his is the most entertaining because it all seems like one big shrug now that I met him. And, I love that. I respect him for not caring, but caring a lot if the two go together.

Not your love at first sight YA Book: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

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The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything

By Robyn Schneider

Expected Publication August 27, 2013

Katherine Tegen Books (imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)

330 pages

Genre: YA realistic fiction

Four and a half stars

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13522285-the-beginning-of-everything

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

The Beginning of Everything is a coming of age story that centers around seventeen year old Ezra Faulkner who has seen his fair share of tragedies; often letting them control him and dictate his future. Newly “crippled” by a devastating car accident that led his “friends” to abandoning him, replacing him as SGA president and captain of the football team. In short, when he started his senior year, he didn’t know why to sit or who he was on the first day. None of his tennis friends, or people he thought were important, visited him in the hospital. Not only did his leg get damaged, not only did he lose the ability to play sports, he lost a part of himself he couldn’t recognize or care to fix.

As he looked around the cafeteria, he needed to make a choice. So he sat down at the table where his best friend from childhood sat. Tobie suffered a childhood tragedy, too. When Ezra and he celebrated Tobie’s birthday at Disneyland, a tourist sat up in the ride and severed his head which landed in Tobie’s lap for the duration of the ride, changing the dynamic of their friendship. Now, after Ezra faces his own, it is Tobie and his group of misfit friends that allow Ezra a chance to do a do-over. No strings attached, expected, or anything.

Enter new girl Cassidy Thorpe who needed a change, just like Ezra. And, as new girls come, apparently, secrets are tied around her. But, what is her secret? As Ezra finds himself, with the help of Cassidy, his ever changing love, Ezra discovers the truth behind Cassidy’s sad eyes and guarded past.

Although parts of this novel read as a first love book, what is different about this novel is the love story isn’t prominent or perfect in any sense. Rainbow Rowell’s novel Eleanor and Parkis slightly similar to this novel (and almost as good of a read)  where the love is imperfect with a hidden background the girl is trying to keep to herself, what Schneider does, successfully in my opinion, show the imperfections of life that doesn’t need to change a person, not really anyway. She writes about the angst, with many good indie band plugs I can say, and gracefully this coming of age story becomes beautiful despite of the tragedies and hurt. That, we all have a past and our problems to work out, but in the end they manage to sort themselves out with a little push. They do not define us as much as we think, or give them credit for. This novel isn’t really about discovering the truth behind the accident, or the way Ezra copes, it is about realizing the beginnings turn into middles, but not ends; not right away. I have always had a problem with thinking about the next. What happens next with the characters? Surely it is not a fictional death? That after that last period is typed their lives stop. Yes, they are not really real, but yet they are. These characters can easily be you or me. An us and a them. High School love happens. So does the aftermath of that love. 

Schneider gives me a satisfying hope. And not a feeling of being left alone afterward. This is definitely a book I would reread. There are quotes that make me think; think about myself and how I react and live. One of my favorites is “The world tends toward chaos, you know,” It does, the world really does. And as much as Cassidy continues to say how she is helping it along, we all do. With the choices we make. And, it isn’t a bad thing. It just is. This is one of the first time I truly realized and accepted that. When we say our lives have been chaotic, what does that really mean? It just means, I am starting to feel, that each of our decisions, choices, and everything in between affects the world, and it isn’t a bad thing. It is the right thing. We need to keep moving along without second guessing ourselves or questioning our existence. OUr lives can be busy, but chaotic? Maybe that is just a word used too frequently. Maybe busy and chaotic aren’t really the same.

I love when YA books offer me this kind of substance and thought provoking sentences. Some YA books are just fluff, good fluff but fluff. Even the semi-realistic ones. There is love interests in all these novels, but the real love interest and story line in this story isn’t truly between Ezra and Cassidy, it is between Ezra and Ezra. Learning to love yourself despite the flaws you think you have. I would add more quotes, but as they are towards the end I will keep them to myself for a bit.

I hope you give this book a chance when it comes out next month. I am happy I got my advance copy when I attended the Book Expo of America. One of the best finds so far.

Happy reading!

-indie

Not a Secret Anymore: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Review

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The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Published in 1911

Five Stars

The other day I decided to give audio books a second chance. Last year I downloaded the audiobook app for my Itouch. It was only 99 cents for over 20,000 books. Did I realize the books were only classics? No, not at first. As I enjoy classics, I didn’t mind at all. But, after each one, I just wasn’t satisfied with the experience. The narrator changed, mostly, after each chapter. I lost all faith. I don’t have money for current audio books, so I stopped downloading them, or giving them a try.

The book I decided to try first was Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

A ten-year-old disagreeable and self-centered little girl orphan Mary,  comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers  her equally disagreeable invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.

The garden, discovered by Mistress Mary, laid untouched for ten years, the same time her cousin was born and his mother died giving birth to him. Her cousin Colin’s father locked the garden up once his wife died-the garden was her favorite place to be. Mary decides to bring new life to the garden with her new friend, Dickon the animal whisperer and the best gardener at the young age of twelve.   What enfolds is a great story where Colin and Mary become each other’s savior. The garden healing them all (with magic as Colin repeatedly and joyfully said).

I looked forward to each chapter, hanging on to every word. The book was a great choice to rediscover audio books. Narrated by Karen Savage, the novel moved fast and charmingly.  Her voices were very much enjoyable. Savage did a great accent when each character entered the page. Dickon’s Yorkshire dialect was represented excellently. Mary’s was proper, with Colin’s voice slightly obnoxious, and superior. I felt every bit of the joy Savage felt. She embodied the story for me. I can’t picture another narrator that could do this great classic justice.

If you haven’t read this classic children’s book, you should!

 

 

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