Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

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It took me some time to finish the book and by some time I mean around two weeks. Not because the book is not good, it’s actually the opposite, but because I have other things to attend to.

Falling into Place is a really good book. Somehow it really pulled me in. I find my heart aching for Liz Emerson. There’s this rawness and pureness that I felt which I couldn’t really explain. I’m not fond of stories told in a 3rd person point of view but the way the novel was told; it seems that the 3rd person fit it well.

The story’s about the struggles in life of Liz Emerson, a popular and bitchy student of Meridian High. Well, maybe not really bitchy bitchy. She’s just apathetic and indifferent that she’s being a bitch even if she doesn’t intend to. It’s the story of how she struggles to find meaning in her life and a reason to go on. It’s a story of how she lost hope in anything and everything, blaming everything on herself, thus deciding that the world would be a better place without her. It’s a story of her accident-disguised suicide and how it affected the people around her and her relationships.

If we’re gonna take a look at it, on the surface, Liz Emerson is the typical popular bitch in a high school setting. You’re either gonna love her or hate her. You can’t help but to notice her even if you don’t want to. You can’t help but admire her and wish to be her even if you despise her. However, the book shows us that even with all the reputation surrounding her, even with all the admiration and looks, she’s broken just like everybody else. She unknowingly is the way she is because she just is.

The book also took the story telling in analogy with Newton’s laws of motion. And even though I really didn’t grasp fully how the laws connect to the story, I find them endearing and essential. Newton’s first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force. In relation to the book, this may have applied to Meridian wherein Liz Emerson is the force. Life at Meridian might have stayed the same for its residents if not for Liz Emerson’s coming. It may also apply to the strained relationship between Liz and her mother as well as Julia’s and Kennie’s. It may have applied to Liam’s secret affection for Liz Emerson wherein nothing’s changing since he’s not acting on it. Basically, this first law can be applied to each and everyone’s lives.

“NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.”

Whether it’s for the worse or the best is a different matter.

Newton’s second law of motion states that the force acting on an object is equal to the mass of that object times its acceleration (F=ma).  Gossip is what first comes to mind relating to the story. The force or the impact of gossip or rumor depends on the importance (mass) and how fast it travels. When the news of Liz’s car crashed spread, the impact was huge. She was after all Liz Emerson.

The third law of motion of Newton is the most famous in my opinion. It states that there is for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Being the bitch that she is, Liz Emerson has done a lot of stupid things in her life that affected the people around her – from the side girl of his on-and-off boyfriend, to the ‘unpopular’ kids of the school, to people who hurt her friends, to Liam. And she was wondering why no one got back to her given Newton’s third law. Why did no one take revenge? But she thought wrong. She maybe expecting the ‘same’ thing to get back at her – the rumor that she spread, the vandalism she did. Little did she know that life has a funny way of getting back at all for all her wrong doings. The silence that she’s experiencing, the distant mother, the guilt, all these are the repercussions of her actions.

I really appreciate the 3rd person POV of the story and when it was revealed that the story teller is Liz’s old self, the childhood one she has lost, the one she has forgotten, the one she doesn’t remember, it made me love the novel all the more.

Suicide is not a laughing matter and it can affect ANYONE. There’s a lot going on in a person’s mind even if it doesn’t show on the outside. People are always trying to find at least just one thing, one thing to hold onto. To make living bearable, to make living this hell of a life worth it. But when’s all hope is lost, and you give up trying to hold onto anything, that’s when everything sinks in. And maybe, just maybe, we only need a few words, a few gestures, maybe just one person for us to get our acts together and for everything to fall into place.

The book shows us that maybe, just maybe, it is when we thought everything’s over and we gave up all hope that everything will finally fall into place.

Falling into Place is a novel I’d recommend and I’ll be looking forward to more of Amy Zhang’s stories.

FLAT OUT LOVE by Jessica Park

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I’ve been eyeing this book for a while now and finally decided to read it. I actually finished the book before 2017 ended but just posting my review now.

I actually spoiled myself when I was halfway reading. I scanned the last half of the book and then boom. LOL. Even with the spoiler though, I actually enjoyed the book. It adds freshness to the typical romance. It touches on pain, acceptance, growth, family, and of course love.

Flat Out Love is about Julie Seagle, a newbie Boston resident who was saved by her mother’s best friend’s family from living out in the streets after being scammed in Craiglist for the supposed to be ‘apartment’ that she will be living in throughout college and about her experience living with the Watkins. The busy and absent parents, the mysterious and away oldest brother Finn, the geek and kinda over protective Matt, the closed off Celeste, and of course Flat Finn which is a cardboard cutout of Finn, the older brother.

The story got me hooked from the start and I know that there’ll be more to the story than what’s already been laid down, especially regarding the elusive and mysterious FINN.

More so than the romantic aspect of the story, I was moved by it’s touch on pain, trauma, and family. Coz my guess was right. There was more to Finn. When “Finn” supposedly told Julie in their email what’s up with Flat Finn, I had a feeling that it was not all and that there was a deeper reason behind. And when I spoiled myself, I realized I was right. haha. The story touches on how losing one’s family member and witnessing the scene itself can cause problems which even when covered by ‘normalcy’ cannot be unseen.

Everyone deals with grief differently.

In the story, Finn died in a car accident which is primarily caused by the icy road but the mother couldn’t help but blame herself as the reason instead. I can only imagine what losing one’s child feels, especially if you’re blaming yourself for the loss. It might have been difficult and a long way to recovery, especially if you are already depressed to begin with. I can kinda somehow relate to this because I lost my father when I was 19. Although, in my case, I think I’m kinda apathetic and such a bad child. I cried, of course, but it was like I readily accepted it. I did not go through much grief like the Watkins family. Maybe because, my father and I are not really close. He has been working in the city when I was a child and I only see him on weekends. Maybe because, he has been battling Diabetes and his kidney failure for months before he passed. Maybe because, I was just really trying to suppress the pain and chose to feel numb instead. I don’t really know but for whatever reason, I did not go through much depression and grief. Life went on.

Let’s talk about Flat Finn which is one of the most important characters of the story. The cut out cardboard of Finn symbolizes a lot of things. It shows that the Watkins are not ready yet to accept the reality that Finn already passed. It symbolizes that the mother doesn’t want to accept her guilt or maybe she wants to be reminded of it instead. It symbolizes the pain of being number 2 which is the case for Matt who has always been second best, next to his brother. Slowly Flat Finn changed. He had “joints”attached to him. This change symbolizes that something is changing for the Watkins family. The wall that they have put tall is now cracked, even if it’s a little. Maybe, it just needs an outside force, a persistent one, to take down the walls that we have build for ourselves. Maybe, we are just waiting for somebody to intrude into our lives, so unexpectedly, and hope that he or she will be able to save us from misery. In the end, Celeste was able to tuck away Flat Finn to the attic. Basically, concluding the story that the pain and reality was now accepted and although, the Watkins is still in the process of healing, at least there’s hope, there’s change.

I also fell in love with Julie and Matt’s love story. It’s not really a new concept where somebody is pretending to be somebody else when chatting and the other person will fell in love with that person only to find out that the person is not the person she thought she was chatting with. Julie is a very straight forward person and Matt is her opposite. They met in an unexpected way, fell in love in an even more unexpected way, then reality stopped the momentum. Matt was pretending to be Finn. Julie started chatting Finn when she doesn’t know yet a thing about what really happened, and she fell in love. She fell in love with the Finn that she was chatting with. Only to find out that it was Matt in the end. It is definitely hard to accept that the person you fell in love with isn’t the person you think he is. But I guess, in the end, genuine gestures will make you get past the pretending act. And in the end, YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH THE CHARACTER and NOT JUST THE FACE.

Flat Out Love is a gem. I can’t say that it’s the best but it’s definitely one for keeps.

 

Just One of the Boys by Leah and Kate Rooper

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I think Crush Entangled has been my go-to book publishers for super, light, almost no depth teensy romance. haha. Just One of the Boys is one of the latest that they have. From the title, I already know that it will be a cliche but I can’t help myself. I am a sucker even if I know that there’s really nothing much to read.

Just One of the Boys is your typical girl dressing up a boy teen romance. It is especially is all over Korean and Japanese drama and manga. The concept is nothing new but I still finished the book anyways. The story is about Alice who’s so crazy about hockey, she took the role of his twin brother who just recently scored a spot to play for the Chicago Falcons. Of course, she fell in love with the jerk-but-soft leader of the team.

I admit there are a lot of loopholes in the book like how the hell did the hockey guys not realized that Alice is impersonating his brother when the real Alexander is doing theater with a broken leg within the same school. Maybe the school is really, really, really wide but i doubt. But I did not have much expectations so it’s okay. haha.

Also, there were some references of Korean drama so I think the authors were trying to reflect Korean drama arcs in the story. The story is a popular theme in K-dramas but as an avid k-drama fan, I think the book lacks in comparison of the best k-dramas out there. It might not be a fair comparison but don’t take it to heart. This is just my opinion.

The book”s pretty much a quick read. Good to read for a past time still but will not really stick out amongst all the books you’re reading.

Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume

are you there god.jpg Just in time for the holidays, I randomly picked up a book to read. By randomly, i mean, I went to Goodreads, checked one of the top books list they have there, and found Are You There God? listed.

Are You There God? is a quick and nice read. Kinda left me hanging a bit and wanting more thought which is not necessarily a bad thing. The book is intended for teens. haha. But is not limited to that age group.

The book is about Margaret (duh?!), an almost 12-yr old kid, and her day-to-day conversation with God about her daily happenings – her family’s move, her new friends, new school, boys, and crushes, religion, and menstruation.

It’s kinda like a light read if you look at it at first but it will make you think and reflect on things later on. One of the theme it revolves in is religion. The title suggests that God is involve in the story, one way or the other. At first, I thought that the story will be like about struggle and hardship in life and the main character is kinda questioning if God hears, but i was wrong. Although not as heavy as I thought the story would be based on the title alone, Margaret still faced obstacles which might have been big for her already considering her young age. And considering her ‘no religion’status, it made me think if i was not born into Christian parents, would I have been able to come across and believe in God? or if I were given freedom to pick my religion like Margaret, would i pick the religion i am currently in right now? I think it’s not necessary to be in a religious group as long as you have faith and you believe in Jesus.

Second, the story also touches on puberty especially menstruation. I remember it being also one of the hot topics when I was in the twelve-thirteen age group. And like in the story, my group of friends are also comparing who already have the big red. I also became worried if i’m normal or if i have hormonal imbalance when i still haven’t gotten my period even though i’m already in my first year of high school when all my friends already have theirs. I remember the first time i got it, i was so happy and because i was already preparing for it for a long, long time already, i think it went pretty smoothly. haha.

Third, i can definitely relate to Margaret’s experience re peers and growing up. I’ve also went thru the gossips, the jealous stage, the lying, the backstabbing. It’s like the book opened up the reality that these things are really what is happening regardless of the part of the globe you belong in. Spreading gossip about your classmate/schoolmate/person, when in fact, you’re just jealous because they have something that you so desperately wanna have, even if you’re not explicitly stating your desire. I actually hate myself because i’m on the side that’s spreading the gossip.

Fourth, crushes and boys. Boys, boys, boys. It’s like every girl will always have a mutual crush on the cutest/most popular guy in school wherever you are in the world. And there will always be that one girl in your group who has a long, long list of crushes. hahaha. Although at this age, it’s too early to be pro-active or to take any action at all. So it’s all just about teasing, shy crushes, being mad at your friend for telling your crush that you like him, etc.

I like the book. It’s not something that’ll stick with me for a long time but it definitely help me reflect on things this holiday season.

 

 

 

Saving It by Monica Murphy

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You can immediately guess from the title that it’s talking about virginity (or am I just green minded? lol).

Saving It is one of your quick, easy read type of novels. Not much depth. Just cuteness. Well, cuteness and youth-oriented romance are what you’ll expect from Crush book. The premise is your typical best friend/childhood friends turned lovers (which i’m a sucker of, to be honest, no matter how much cliche it is, haha).

The story is about Josh’s search in losing his virginity. He then tapped his best friend Eden for help. Eden, taken aback at first, eventually decided to help Josh find the ‘right’match to achieve his goal. While at first, she did not think anything of Josh, aside from being her best buddy, feelings started to grow until it overflowed. Josh, also, started noticing his own feelings for Eden. There was hiccup, of course, but they got together in the end.

Virginity. Big word. Although, it might not hold much importance in today’s society. It’s a nice kinda twist that the virginity of the guy was the one with focus on the story, although, in my opinion, there should never be a time limit or time frame of when you should have lost it already, whether you’re a girl or a boy. On a serious note though, the story reflects much of what society’s perception is right now. Society builds and hypes it up wherein if you reach college and you’re still a virgin, you’ll be such a loser, especially if you’re an alpha male or the varsity type like Josh in the story. This is such a sad thought. I am 25 and a virgin and I have no problem with it. Sure, they’ll say i’m missing out on the fun and I’ll be lying if I say I don’t think about sex most of the time, what it feels like, etc. but still, I don’t think that one’s sexual status should define a person. And honestly, call me a prude and all, but I am a firm believer that you should still be a white bride when you walk the aisle.

The story is just fluffy romance, of young ones realizing that the one has been right beside them all along. Of fighting feelings you thought you should not have. Of accepting the said feelings eventually. Of misunderstandings. It’s a story about youth, of the current society, of how society characterizes the youth. It’s a story of love, of friendship, of sex.

Over all, it’s a cute summer afternoon read. Best in the breezy, idle, afternoon break. 🙂

A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

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I have parked this book for too long. I first downloaded the e-book a month or so ago. I tried to read it back then but then I couldn’t connect with the story so I stopped. Just recently, because of my lack of books to read, I decided to try to read the book again. Surprisingly, I finished and enjoyed it this time.

A Map of Wrecked Girls is a story of survival, sisterhood, love amidst chaos, acceptance, youth, and new beginnings. It’s a story of Henri and Emma, and Alex. After a night of unplanned adventure, they found themselves stranded on an island of who knows where, one companion dead, with no one knowing where they went.

Let’s talk about survival. I think everyone can agree that the question “What will you do if you’re trapped in an island?” question has come up in discussion, with friends, family, lovers, etc. at least once. But I think no one has ever really thought that it will happen to them. Honestly, if I will ever be stranded in an island, I think I’ll not last for a week. I don’t know the realistic possibilities of what the story had shown for them to survive, but the story was not really focused on that although that is the whole premise of it.

More than romance, the story focused more on sisterhood between Emma and Henri. Henri, being the older sister, is the more outgoing one. The party girl. The wild one. Emma, on the other hand, is the Yes sister. The non-vocal one. The goody-two-shoes type. The book goes back and forth from the present and the past, detailing the events that led Henri to hold a grudge against Emma.

Stranded in the islands for a little over than three months, we see how sisters, at the end of the day, will still have your back. Blood is thicker than water. No matter what argument you have or if you’re not in speaking terms. Although it came close to the ending already, we see that the sisters opened up to each other. They fought, argued, but later on resolved the misunderstanding and miscommunication, and their bond became stronger than ever. You see, I believe that open communication is one of the keys to have a long lasting relationship. People are not psychics to know what the other person is thinking or the reason behind their actions, even if you are the person who supposedly know the other person best.

Love amidst chaos and survival. The romance aspect comes between the budding romance between Alex and Emma. They have known each other for less than 24 hours before they were caught up in survival. But love knows no time. They grew close as Emma became the mediator between Alex and Henri since they couldn’t stand each other. Eventually, they confessed their feelings to each other and despite their main priority which is to survive, they found time to enjoy each other’s company.

A Map for Wrecked Girls also gives a glimpse of the youth today. More than before, I think the youth that we have now are more adventurous to the point of being reckless at times. They are more into survival than doing what is upright and lawful. They’re into popularity, convenience, sex, etc. They are more wild and unrestrained. This needs to be addressed, either thru proper parenting, or proper guidance.

New beginnings. Lastly, the story also shows hope for new beginnings. New beginnings for the wrecked relationship between sisters. New beginnings for Alex, who, at the later part of the book, was disclosed as a small time drug-dealer. There is always hope. This is what the book’s trying to tell I think.

A Map for Wrecked Girls is kinda semi-heavy and even if I did not like it at first. I am glad I took the second chance with it. ahaha. Now I’m recommending it to be read especially those who have sisters. 🙂

 

A Scottish Lord for Christmas by Lauren Smith

DISCLAIMER: This post is more about realizations than the book review itself. haha

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What do you do when you’re in a party and you’re bored af? You download the 1st book your limited data plan allows you. lol. That’s how I came to read A Scottish Lord for Christmas.

I thought nothing at first. You know just a random read of a romance from the early 1900s with lords and debutantes and all those. The story is pretty simple and straightforward. You know, just your average pocketbook romance. It’s a story about Rowena, a young girl who just had her debut in the society and Quinn, aka Lord Forres, who’s 10 years older than her. Quinn is a Scottish widower with a young child who went to England to look for his next wife. Enter Rowena, the young debutante who save Quinn’s daughter from falling into the ice cold water. She fell in love madly, deeply, and very fast with this handsome Scottish lord. Within weeks of meeting, they were engaged then married. All the while, Quinn was fighting hard from falling in love with Rowena as he does not want to experience the pain of losing a loved one all over again, and Rowena, fighting to gain her lord’s love fully.

However, what made me enjoy the book is that I can ‘somewhat’ see myself in Rowena. haha. I can identify with Rowena in the sense that she has no prior sexual experience (well, i still don’t have even now) and because of this, i feel the detailed scenes strongly like i’m the one in the situation. lol. I thought to myself that what Rowena experienced on her first will be similar to my reactions. And who wouldn’t fall in love with a lord with an accent? ***swoons***And I love that they got married first before they did the act (yes, i am a prude).

Rowena, in so many levels, just wants to be loved and her love to be reciprocated. Much like the rest of us. Much like me and we are all just trying to be loved back. I am a hopeless romantic which is why I enjoyed the book even with all its cheesiness and oh-so-cliche scenes in glory. hahaha.

Reading the book made me just want to fall in love more. I’m willing to wait but reading all these romance novels is just me torturing myself. ahhahaha. The book is simple, straight-forward, linear. There’s not much deepness going on here. Just a quick, fun read for an afternoon leisure or, in my case, if you’re bored in a party you went to.