Monday, June 6, 2016

Blogging and Confidence

This post came out of me wanting to promote the fact that I'll be at the Northgate Barnes and Noble on Sunday, June 12th at 1PM. I will be talking about how I got into blogging about books as a teen, the many opportunities that it has given me, and what I learned from blogging. More information here on the Barnes and Noble Website.
If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that I began this blog when I was very sick. I honestly didn't feel that I'd accomplish anything due to the migraines and pain that I experienced on a daily basis. I never thought that anything that I wrote would provide me with a community of people that care and support me. Now, I'm a graduate of Seattle University with a BA in Creative Writing and I am now pursuing my Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. My best friends came out of blogging along with many other friendships that I treasure.
In preparation for talking about blogging, I've been reading some of my old post to remember why I began blogging so long ago and I think that it gave me an outlet to speak about the world around me. I was able to talk about books as part of a larger crowd and it is something that I love coming back to and visiting every once in a while.
Right now, I am working on the book that teen me needed and the confidence that I've gained from my Masters Program, my mentors, and my friends all lead to blogging and the confidence that it gave me the distance and skill to complete this feat. As like current me, teen me was a passionate and rapid reader. This isn't all that I plan to talk at Barnes and Noble, but it is a piece of what I plan to talk about on Sunday. If you are in the Seattle area, I'd love to see you. Either way, I hope that you have an amazing day.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Portrayal of Illness in Young Adult Literature: Trusting Readers with Complexity

Spoiler Warning!
This post talks about Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and Before I Die by Jenny Downham in detail. You've been warned. 
Anyways, this is an essay that I wrote for my Masters' program after getting furious after reading a book. I would love to hear about more in the comments. Especially if you feel different. I would also like more book suggestions on YA with illnesses. Anyways, I hope that you enjoy this post.
As a teen, I wanted to find a book that contained my experience as a teen battling a chronic illness, known as Common Variable Immunodeficiency. In 2009, I had the pleasure of reading Before I Die by Jenny Downham. After years of battling a chronic illness, I finally felt validated from Tessa’s experience of battling leukemia. I believe that Before I Die remains the most genuine and accurate portrayal to my experience as a teen with an illness.
Earlier this year, I became excited to hear about Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon, which is about a character with severe-combined immunodeficiency (SCID). For the first time, I would be able to read about someone with a similar experience to my own. I found myself to be disturbed by the lack of research given to Maddie’s character and her illness; a stark contrast to the author’s efforts in Before I Die. Maddie’s narrative doesn’t create any sympathy for her as she remains rather flat in her development over the book. Tessa’s narrative also contrasts from Maddie’s by creating a connection to the reader from the first page that develops from the relationships in the book, because the supporting character reinforces the reader’s perception of Tessa. Downham displays that illness affects more than the patient, but their friends and loved ones. Lastly, Downham doesn’t discount the reader and she gives the ending promised by her on the first page. Yoon betrays the reader by taking the premise away from them and conveniently changing the information to suit her need for a happy ending. Overall, the difference between Everything, Everything and Before I Die center around the portrayal of illness, creation of character, and deciding on an ending true to the story.
For an author, the responsibility to provide books that reflect accurately upon several experiences remains the most vital aspect to the storytelling. Downham creates a believable explanation of the illness from the first page. Yoon fails at her attempt. Common symptoms remain absent from the narrative and the author doesn’t ascribe the complexity displayed by people with chronic illnesses. The contrast is clear:
In Before I Die, Tessa distances herself out of fear of what she leaves behind. At the same time, she wants to feel a connection to her family and friends. Tessa struggles in letting Adam into her life as she recognizes her imminent death. She knows that a relationship will adversely affect his life by creating a hole in her world. Tessa shows this by her defense of isolation, “I hide under my hat again, just for a bit, because I’m going to miss breathing” (Downham, 6).  She knows that slowly her illness will take away the simple things away from her. As the both the pain and prognosis continue, Tessa remarks on more things that she will miss like breathing and loved ones. Tessa also realizes that her condition has made certain limitations, but she bothers with her list and she desires challenging these concerns. After an adventure, Tessa’s mom remarks, “You slept for two days solid when you got back” (Downham, 169). This remark shows a development of the condition over time and how it alters the life of young adults. Downham allows the reader to imagine illness with complexity instead of simplifying the disease to basic language and actions.  
On the other hand, Yoon doesn’t allow her readers to imagine the case in a complex manner.  Maddie explains her illness as, “Basically I’m allergic to the world” or “bubble baby disease” (Yoon, 3). “Baby bubble disease” is a cultural explanation of the disease, while in fact, this diagnosis requires several different doctors prior to diagnosis of SCID. As someone with an immunodeficiency, I know that the experience varies on the symptoms and subtype. SCID centers around minor infections becoming severe due to the lack of immune response from white cells, B-cells, and T-cells, which affects the responses to infections and allergens. Current gene therapies and bone marrow transplants allow for the SCID to be treated with minimal impact on the patient’s life.
Yoon also simplifies how germs interact with the explanation of “she has to remain in the air lock until the filters have a chance to purify foreign air” (Yoon, 29-30). Everyone carries germs both on and in them. As would everything in their house contain some sort of germs. This infuriates me, because a basic Google search would’ve solved many of Yoon’s issues of portrayal. As readers, this mistake is inexcusable.  
Tessa’s usage of medical terminology conveys her experience as a sick teen. For example, Tessa remarks, “Steroids did that. High doses of Prednisone and dexamethasone” (Downham, 33). For people that have been sick, they understand the complexity of medication as it becomes a part of their vocabulary based on necessity.  Maddie feels more limited to her medical history due to the control of her mom, but based on a device used by Yoon, Maddie should be able to research her illness. The usage of ‘’ shows a familiarity and literacy of the medical world (Yoon, 78). At the same time, she never uses the internet to find a possible cure, a contrast to what happens in Before I Die, where Tessa refers to her dad’s constant searching of the internet for some sort of cure. As a result, I couldn’t believe Maddie’s acceptance of the fate to remain in the house of a permanent basis.
Both books, Before I Die and Everything, Everything, present their characters in 1st person point of view, which gives the reader access to the character’s emotional state.. Tessa’s narrative causes for the reader to hope for the best. The reader can also attest to many of her feeling if they’ve experienced a similar issue. One part that struck me, “I’ve been touched by so many people, prodded and poked, examined and operated on. I thought my body was numb, immune to touch” (Downham, 211.) As someone with a chronic illness and pain, this part linked me to Tessa. I know how this disconnection between touch exist as hospital life separates from romantic life. Tessa begins to experience love from an action that usually results in pain. Downham begins to create a complex identity that the reader identifies as recognizable to other people in their life.
Often, writer portray people with illness as isolated and either blessed or damned.  Tessa adores her family and friends, which links the reader to her. Maddie didn’t have these links to the reader, which made her seem flat. For example, Maddie obsesses over a boy and she doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. Carla expresses that Maddie might have not met one of her “triggers” (Yoon, 185). Either way, Maddie unwarily could’ve died. Olly allows these actions even though he loves her. As a reader, I wanted for her death to happen to her so the book would end. Maddie doesn’t care about Carla losing her job or her mom at this impactful plot moment. She selfishly risks her life for a boy. Except Yoon betrays the reader by magically curing Maddie,“I am not sick and I never have been” (Yoon, 275). As a reader with a very similar disability, I found for this to be extremely problematic and offensive to possible readers.
The visibility of chronic conditions like Primary Immunodeficiencies already creates skeptic of conditions. Yoon furthers this thought, because she explains away the illness as an invention of a woman trying to cope with the death of her husband and son. Maddie finds her happy ending from this explanation, but most people continue to battle an illness after getting rushed to the hospital. The fact that Yoon doesn’t give what she promises as the author of the story made me furious. In Before I Die, Tessa dies as promised, but instead of writing about how her life blessed others or forcing the reader to stumble through a funeral or death scene, Tessa dies in the room that this story begins.  
Unlike Yoon, Downham depicts a relationship that allows us to explore the dynamic between a couple where one experiences disability and the other remains healthy. Tessa remains worthy of Adam even as she dies, which contrasts with Maddie and Olly. Adam worries about hurting Tessa and he remains aware of her condition throughout Before I Die. Maddie becomes worthy of Olly after she is no longer ill. This ideology expresses that only healthy people can date each other and find a happy ending. As someone who is disabled, I found this rhetoric to express unintentional ableism. People with chronic conditions often encounter stigmata about their condition, but their ability to love others remains one of the most crucial ways of survival. Tessa displays this throughout the book as her main concern as she focuses her attention on how everyone else will survive without her presence. Yoon should’ve thought about how damaging her story could be to teens with SCID or similar stories, because the only way to have a happy ending comes out of erasing their experience and the truth in their life. As a result, Yoon invalidates the illness and she reduces the illness to just a plot point. 
As writers create fluid characters, readers recognize themselves in the minor details of the condition. When talking about a topic, an author's research remains essential to all elements of the story crafted for the reader. Downham displays this into a character with so much heart and connection. Before I Die expresses a period in my life of uncertainty and doubt. Downham assures the reader that there’s a silver lining to even the most tiring existence, because all humans remain more capable than they believe. Yoon centers her story around love and she creates a promising premise that would’ve exposed readers to an illness that remains unknown. Yoon discounts the reader and the characters by not utilizing her premise to explore the complexity of illness. Overall, writers need to think about the content that they create and how their writing may be taken out of context.
This notion doesn’t mean to censor writers, but it rather challenges authors to think about the voices that they silence or invalidate by their plot. Books about illnesses deal with difficult topics that exist in our lives, but being a good human means confronting these truths. As writers, we decide how the world will interpret our craft by creating unintentional messages within the text.  In the relation of illness to young adult literature, there needs to be more books that empower people often underrepresented in books. When I think about the girl that I used to be, I think about the impact that books like Before I Die gave in empowering in my writing. On the other hand, books like Everything, Everything reveal the need for more education and awareness of illnesses and disability. I didn’t feel valued in that book, in fact I felt disposable like a plot device. Either way, readers need to be able to recognize others with their illnesses and feel empowered by the stories. Erasure of diseases in books doesn’t stop the people battling against the condition, but it silences their issues.

Works Cited
Downham, Jenny. Before I Die. Oxford: David Fickling Books, 2007. Print.
Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. New York: Delacorte Books for
Young Readers 2015. Print,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

You, Me, and Him by Kris Dinnison

Do not ignore a call from me when you know I am feeling neurotic about a boy. That is Best Friend 101.” —NashMaggie and Nash are outsiders. She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. The best of friends, they have seen each other through thick and thin, but when Tom moves to town at the start of the school year, they have something unexpected in common: feelings for the same guy. This warm, witty novel—with a clear, true voice and a clever soundtrack of musical references—sings a song of love and forgiveness.
Maggie's voice was very strong and powerful. I enjoyed reading about her because she seemed like one of my best friends with her funny and vibrant personality with a love of music. I adore that this book dealt with being overweight in a body positive way. I couldn't help but cheer for her and succeed  in anything that  Maggie  did because she reminded me of myself.  I found her friend Nash to be funny and engaging, but so moody at times that I wanted to just push him off a cliff. He didn't appear to care about Maggie at times and instead focused on how he felt that he was being "wronged." Tom was a cool and charming kid that ended up hanging out with them. 
I found this romantic plot to be engaging and related to Maggie's difficult situation. Pretty much, she needs to pick if she will get the guy or her friend will. One thing that I adored is that Maggie being overweight and Nash being gay weren't a part of the plot, but just an aspect of their characters. Dinnison's writing is strong and I can't wait for the next book that she writes. Overall, Maggie has an intense voice and I want to her friend. The plot interested me and I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't a must-read for me. I would recommend this book to fans of  The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, and Fat Kids Rule the World by K.L. Going.the forthcoming Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Disclosure:  This book was purchased by me.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.
I found Violet to be a likeable character. The position that  society places  her in gave me a lot of empathy for her and I cheered for her to succeed by finding some way out of it. I like that she took some risks to get a better life, but at the same time, I found that this made her seem naive as she plunged into another world that she didn't completely understand or comprehend. I found the romance to be very sudden and Insta-love and I wished that there was more development on it. As a result, I didn't care about the romance. I was actually more interested in the political system because the manipulation seemed like the power moves made in House of Cards. I wish that there was more of that, but I understand the need to leave some questions unanswered and I am excited to see how this series will continue. 
This book takes on both dystopic and fantasy elements, which surprisingly blends well together. On the other hand, I found some similarities to other dystopian books to be intense at times. Ewing's writing did grasp me and led me to finish this book rather quickly (Almost one sitting!) and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I feel that this book mirrors aspects of The Handmaid's Tale, Wither, and The Selection  and I  would suggest this book to fans of those books. The end made me want to read the next book, but I don't feel the need to read it right away. If you like a character placed in a difficult situation, a quick and fast plot with political intrigue, and books with dystopian and fantasy elements, then I would suggest this book. It isn't amazing or bad, but more so just good and interesting.   
Disclosure: Received ARC from Publisher

Hello Again!

Greetings, Darling!
Sorry for the impromptu hiatus and disappearance from the blog. I have been super busy with many, many things. But lately, I've missed blogging a lot. So just to catch you up on my life and we can get back to talking about books!.
In June, I graduated from Seattle University with a BA in Creative Writing. The most common question is what's next for me?
That's a great question, but I have a lot that I want to do. Right now, I am doing the job search in the Seattle-Kitsap area and applying for Grad School (MFA in Creative Writing.) I am also writing a lot. I finished a draft of a novel last month and eventually in the future, I will be querying it. I have also been reading a lot of books (Over 180 for this year!)
So, thank you for sticking it out and I hope that you enjoy the new content that I have planned. It is a mix of writing and reading, but I hope that you enjoy it. Let me know how you all are doing and we'll talk soon.
Much Love, Sarah!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I Was Here Seattle Tour Stop and Interview with Gayle Forman

 Gayle Forman's new book I Was Here is set partially in nearby Tacoma. To celebrate the launch, she has been having friends and fellow authors meet up with her. Tonight Nina LaCour and Deb Caletti joined her for a conversation at University Bookstore in a very rainy Seattle, WA. They talked about their writing process and how do they revise. They also talked about how they name their characters and how they feel about setting. A general theme of the night was friendship as they reflected on their writing experience and lives in general. The night felt like overhearing a conversation of friends and was very much enjoyed by me.
Earlier that night, I had the opportunity to briefly talk with Gayle and ask her a few questions.
S: Why did you decide to write contemporary with many other genres in YA?
Gayle said that it is the world that she lives in and it is where she can explore many of the questions that she is drawn to.
S: What are some of your recommended reads? 
She recommended Deb Caletti's The Last Forever, Nina LaCour's The Disenchantment,
Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun, Jacqueline Woodsen's Brown Girl Dreaming, and Coe Booth's Tyrell Series.
S: What is the best writing advice that you have received?
"Hard Writing makes easy reading."
S:What inspired or influenced you to grapple with suicide?
Gayle said that she was inspired by an article that she wrote about suicide; which, introduced her to Suzy Gonzales, who didn't seem like someone that would commit suicide from many of the people surrounding her. Gayle wanted to deal with being on the receiving end of a timed suicide note from someone that you love and that you find incredibly gifted and amazing. Over the writing process, she found that it was more about survival and loving life as she explored Cody's character and revised the book..
S: What are your upcoming books?
 Gayle said she is currently working on three books, which has recently become more so between two books. She likes switching, because it makes the writing seem more fresh and exciting.  

Thank you to University Bookstore for hosting; Penguin Randomhouse for organizing the interview and the tour;  Gayle Forman, Nina LaCour, Deb Caletti; and you for reading this.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Source: Publisher
Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.
Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.
When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

I love this series. Pearce creates such dark,  but complicated retellings of fairy tales and I just need more. Celia was such a sweet character and I understood her character a lot. Her sisters were harder to understand, but I still found them to be entertaining. I liked how they blended together, because sisters tend to be very similar yet slightly distinct. I like Lo too. The romance in the story was beautiful and I liked that Pearce made the plot surprising and enjoyable. The plot drew me in and enchanted me into wanting to read more.  I find her originality to be amazing and the story was well crafted as a result. Pearce crafts another beautiful retelling of a fairy tale and I can't wait to read more books along this way. If you have enjoyed her other books, you must read this one now. It is very similar to Sisters Red and Sweetly and dives deeper into the story.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.
I found The Truth about Alice gave a very interesting point of view, because of the diverse cast of characters. I felt like the characters had a very journalistic and documentary feel  to them. The reveal of the manipulation of rumors and people presented both a realistic point of view. I slowly balanced my like and hatred of characters with the reveal of each aspect of the characters. I wish that some of them had a bit more dimension, because they approached it, but didn't quite accomplish it. Like Kelsie, for example, annoyed me so much, and I felt with her, but I didn't understand all of her motives. 
The plot was paced very well and I read it fairly quick. It addresses a lot of major issues within high school, such as bullying, slut-shaming, and among others. I found the multiple point of view created a great overview of what was happening It was a very short and fast read that I enjoyed. Most books usually focus on the victims of bullying and I found the switch of that to be original. The writing made a good passage of time and created a unique book. Overall, if you want a book that feels like a documentary that focuses on important issues and has a spark of  originality, I would recommend The Truth about Alice. I can't wait to see how her next book turns out.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fierce Reads Tour Stop in Seattle (& Giveaway)

The amazing people at Macmillan asked me to be the Designated Blogger for the Seattle Event of the Fierce Reads Tour. Before the event I was able to interview them, I am transcribing, so it will be a paraphrase of what Leigh Bardugo, Emmy Laybourne, Ava Dellaria, and Jennifer Mathieu said. 
I asked about their future projects.
Leigh talked about The Dregs, which was pitched as Oceans 11 meets Game of Thrones. It is based in the same world as her trilogy. The story takes place in Kerch, which is small, but very capitalistic island nation. The characters are from a slum and it follow their adventures.
Emmy talked about Sweet, which is about a B-List Celebrity cruise that launches a new sweetener. The plan is that they will come back from cruise a lot thinner. It begins as a funny experience that quickly changes to horrifying. She did hint at a romance within the story.
Ava talked about how Love Letters to the Dead was sold to Fox 2000 and and will be produced by Marty Bowen & Wyck Godfrey, who were the producers for The Fault in Our Stars. She is currently working on the Screenplay for it. While she isn't working on a book now, she would like to do so in the future.
Jennifer talked about her future book Devoted. It is written in 1st person and is based around Rachel who is in a very religious community  set in Texas that some people might call a cult. Rachel begins to explore the outside world.
Next, I asked how their unique structure, Point of View, and contribution to their genre helped them with their books and future projects:
Emmy's next project Sweet varies from her Monument 14 Trilogy. The next project that she would like to pitch is paranormal romance. She would like to have a very board range of books like Scott Westerfeld.
Jennifer talked about how writing in 3rd person gives a great perspective and she would love to write more in the future. She found Devoted's 1st person to be very fresh and fun to write. She would love to continue in the Contemporary Genre.
Ava said that there is an intrinsic value to the structure of the project, because each one should be about reaching out into the world and talking about the unsaid. As a result, it should be based on the project. She felt that an Epistolary approach worked well for  writing Love Letters to the Dead, but not every project will allow that approach.
Leigh created a steady hand of 3rd that allowed her to lead into what she wrote in 1st person. This  helped allow the story to have the flow into the rest of the story. She agreed with Ava that the structures come with the story. For example, the current draft of The Dregs has a multiple point of view that works for it, but that might not work for other work. She said that she will always have a supernatural element in her stories.
Lastly I asked what advice that they have for writers.
Ava thought that you should write what you love and let it be yours for a while. There is a moment that she feels like she doesn't need to share it and it is just the story and her. She also said protect your vision and create something that you want to come back.
Jennifer recommended to read constantly and notice the structure and technique that other writer use. Also don't be afraid to develop the voice from other books and writers.
Emmy said taking an improv class is good, because it teaches you to go with it, the basic structure of a story, and allows you to meet some new people and experience something new.
Leigh talked about how Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn made her story very dark and made it interesting.She thinks that you need to just finish your book and edit it. Also, don't compare your first draft to another person's final draft.
Overall it was a great experience and pleasure to be able to interview them. We talked more about writing and I left for the signing.
The signing had an amazing Q&A done by Mel of Novels, News, and Notes from your Northwest Neighbors and a bookseller at University Bookstore. The authors were all very funny and graceful speakers and I enjoyed it. I got all of my book signed and it was amazing.
Here I am with Emmy Laybourne.
 And Jennifer Mathieu... this is why why you should alway take two picture.
 Ava Dellaria and I.
 & Leigh Bardugo and I.

 Now it is time to talk about the giveaway. Macmillan has a copy of Ruin and Rising, Monument 14: Savage Drift, Love Letters to the Dead, and The Truth about Alice. It is US only, and just fill out the form below. For further pictures, visit University Bookstore's flickr.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Source: Netgally
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

In We Were Liars, E. Lockhart presents engaging character, a brilliant plot, and bare, but beautiful writing with a lot of originality and an enchanting setting. I adore this book, because of how brilliantly it was written. First off,  there is a huge cast of characters. Each one had something about them. Cadence or "Cady" is damaged by her accident and I found that part to be very interesting.  Mirren was a great balance of intelligent and girly. Johnny always made me laugh. Gat is mysterious and also Cady's love interest. I loved their interaction and dug into the book wanting more. The plot of this book is masterly crafted. Like I did not expect the ending and I think is what made it such an impact that I didn't guess what was happening. I haven't been surprised in a book in so long. This was also a fairly quick read for me. I found it addicting and didn't want to stop reading this book. E. Lockhart's writing is gorgeous in this book. I have enjoyed her previous books, but the writing in this book is spectacular and magical. I kept on re-reading parts, because the writing was so magical. This book had a lot of originality and I want more books this. Part of the appeal came from the setting and the Sinclair family. If I had the chance, I would join them for the summer. Overall, I adored this book. You need to read this book, if you adore contemporary novels, but want an original and enchanting one. Actually, just read this book as soon as possible and pass it on.  


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