Midweek Mini Reviews #6

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Initially I was interested in Cecilia Vinesse’s Seven Days of You because of its Tokyo setting. However, I was a bit wary as YA novels that feature travel and foreign locales are usually a hit or miss with me (and the mixed reviews of this book didn’t help with that). Fortunately, Seven Days of You was a relatively easy read to get into which made it a perfect read for me to take along on my Japan trip. I loved that the romance aspect was kept mostly in the background, and that the main focus was on Allison getting ready to leave Japan and how it would affect her relationships with her friends. Additionally it’s also a coming of age story as Allison starts to come to terms with her complicated family dynamics. That being said, I did find the moments where Jamie and Allison bonded over their families and past to be adorable and it did endear me to their relationship more. Overall, a fairly enjoyable read that is perfect to bring along with you on vacation, especially if you’re planning to go to a place like Japan.

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake was a book that I had sitting on my shelf for some time. However, after meeting and chatting with the author at IFOA (the International Festival of Authors) last year I decided that I would take this book along with me to read while travelling in Japan.

What I liked about The Translation of Love is that fact that we get multiple perspectives in the story, all of which are important to the plot. I really appreciated the opportunity to get to know all the major players in the story as well as their motivations for their actions and choices.

A thought-provoking, and heartfelt novel that is perfect for all ages. The Translation of Love is a well-researched novel that does a good job at depicting what life is like in a post-war country for those who have to remain behind in addition to showing the devastating traumas of all who were involved.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

firstsightAuthour:
Josh Sundquist
Format:
e-Galley
Publication date:
January 3rd 2017
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I came across Josh Sundquist’s Love and First Sight from an excerpt I read of it from the Buzz Books 2016: Young Adult Fall/Winter sampler which was compiled by the Publishers Lunch group at BEA. I liked what I read, and was excited to continue the story when I was fortunate enough to receive an e-galley.

I’ll admit that when I received a review copy of Love and First Sight I was in a desperate mood for a lighter, contemporary read. However, regardless of my mood it was difficult not to enjoy this charming character driven story. Especially as the writing was particularly gifted in describing art, and the everyday images that those of us with sight take for granted.

16 year old, William has been blind his entire life and as a result he’s developed ways to get around in his life without relying too much on others. Accustomed to being on his own, he definitely wasn’t expecting to make friends when he starts attending a regular school. One of my favourite things in Love and First Sight was the quirkiest group of friends that William joins. They are just incredibly open and accepting of each other, and although I disagree with their decision to lie to William about Cecily they were all truly exactly what William needed. I also found in the developing relationship between William and Cecily adorable though it was a slow burn romance for the majority of the novel and felt rushed at the conclusion.

This book is amazing in its portrayal of blindness and illustrating what it’s like for a person who has been blind for your entire life. Yes it’s difficult, but if you’ve lived your life a certain way without knowing anything else you end up developing ways to cope around what others view as a handicap. Additionally, I found it refreshing that it is made clear that William’s journey is just beginning when he “regains” his sight. Because for a person who has been blind their entire life, having the opportunity to see again is not just a matter of “seeing” again. It’s overwhelming, messy and it definitely requires tremendous amounts of hard work, commitment and dedication. However, as it is made clear in this book if it’s what you truly desire, then you can make it worth it in spite of all the obstacles and challenges.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

looseendsAuthour:
Carrie Firestone
Format:
ARC, 346 pages
Publication date:
June 7th 2016
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’ve never been good with dealing with death, the only people I’ve lost (to date) that I knew well enough to miss were my grandmothers and my mother’s brother. And maybe that’s why I found Carrie Firestone’s The Loose Ends List such a soothing and comforting read since its approach to death and dying is such a refreshing change. Having a YA novel tackle it in such a matter of fact manner is both impressive as it’s essential to obtain different perspectives when it comes to a controversial issue like a person choosing to die via physician assisted suicide.

So, what is a loose ends list? As the protagonist, Maddie explains it’s a list of things that you want to accomplish before you move on to either college (similar to Maddie) or even before you are to die (similar to Maddie’s grandmother). In that sense it’s akin to a “bucket list”. This remains a theme throughout the novel that ties up nicely in the novel’s conclusion.

While Maddie is technically the protagonist of The Loose Ends List, it’s her Gram that steals every scene she’s in. I adore the way she just owns who she is and is unapologetic. And without spoiling too much, I must say that she stays true to who she is with no regrets til the very conclusion. To be honest, I wouldn’t have minded it if I had a grandmother similar to her.

Another element of this novel that lead to me picking it up was how travel would be a major factor in the novel as the entire family boards a cruise that takes them around the world. While at times it was riddled with clichéd stereotypes of the various locales as evident in the pages detailing Maddie’s trip to Taiwan, it was at other times enjoyable to witness how being forced to travel together as one gigantic insane family unit impacted each of the individuals.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read for me that had me tearing up enormously by the conclusion. And I appreciated how realistic the novel was at capturing how different ages and personalities come to grips with those who are dying and the (eventual) death of a beloved family member. The Loose Ends List was an unforgettable read concerning endings and new beginnings with extremely flawed characters, however that is what makes them appear more human and as a result, by the conclusion the characters feel as if they are your family too.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.