Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K Johntson | Review

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Trigger Warnings: rape, sexual assault, spiking of drink, abortion, PTSD

Release Date: March 15th, 2016

Pages: 248

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. 

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale. 


M I N I   R E V I E W

After reading the horrible storm that was Zenith I needed a book that was all about girl power and friendship. Exit, Pursued by a Bear was exactly that book. Though, upon completion, I’m really wondering why this book isn’t talked about more. The events of which are terrible but the message and support network that is within it is truly inspiring and beautiful.

Hermione is a popular girl. She is a cheerleader and she is pretty damn nice. This year is her year. She and her best friend are co-captains of their squad. She is attending her last cheerleading camp and despite the fact, her boyfriends kind of being a jerk all is right in the world. Until the last night of camp where she is drugged and raped, tossed in the lake like an afterthought. She then ends up pregnant. All of this something she’d never dreamed of happening to her. Hell, no one dreams of this happening to them. It was pretty damn heartbreaking.

It was interesting to read about abortion in a young adult book. I am personally pro-choice. I believe a woman has the choice to get an abortion and shouldn’t be shamed ever for what they do. I really believe if you would rather choose to support a fetus over the woman wanting the abortion you’re a dickhead. That’s neither here nor now. Hermione had such an incredible support group throughout the book. It was refreshing to read about adults who were present and ready to support her.

I loved that everyone in her town supported Hermione as well. I’ve read a few books where a sexual assault happens in a small town and the girl is instantly a pariah. It’s beyond frustrating because, at the end of the day, these girls need to know they’re supported and believed. That their story is the truth and shouldn’t be ignored.

Overall, this was a simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming story about a girl learning who she is after a traumatic event. Learning how to react and be herself. Learning that this isn’t the end for her. I truly recommend this story. I wasn’t expecting Exit, Pursued by a Bear to make me feel like I did but boy, it was incredible.


Happy reading everyone!

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Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake | Review

Thank you to the publishers for kindly sending me a physical ARC in exchange for honest review. All thoughts are my own and not impacted by recieving the copy. 31351689.jpgBook Depository |


Rating: ★★★★☆

Trigger Warnings: rape, sexual assault, misogyny, victim blaming

Release Date: May 15th, 2018

Pages: 304

Publisher: Houghton Muffin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.


R A M B L E

I’ve read two of Ashley Herring Blake’s books and they’ve both ripped me to shreds. Her beautifully diverse books have a way of making you feel joy, regret, love and sadness throughout the book. It is truly difficult to transcribe just how they do make you feel. The first book I read of hers, How To Make A Wish, left me so completely heartbroken I was unable to fully compose a review. In this case, I do need to review Girl Made of Stars becasue it was sent to me in exchange for a review, so let’s get real into this ramble, my friends.

Girl Made of Stars really tackles some difficult issues, like sexual assault and victim blaming. The author made sure to deal with these issues head-on, not shying away and going as far to make you as the reader uncomfortable. I mean, I sure was uncomfortable during some of these points.

This really was such a heartbreaking story in so many ways. I truly wasn’t expecting the level of death which was written in Girl Made of Stars. I also wasn’t expecting all the star sign references and for them to play such a large part in some of the dialogue throughout. A few of my friends love star signs, so they were very excited when I told them about this particular fact.

I can’t speak for any of the rep that is featured throughout this book, but as this book hits release I will definitely come back and try to add as many own voices reviews as I can.


P L O T

The plot for Girl Made of Stars is heavy. It is difficult and it is uncomfortable. With so many sexual assault stories coming out in the media I really felt it was finally the perfect time for me to read this. I really feel like this book is important to fiction and I truly hope many of you will choose to pick it up when it hits bookstores in May. I recommend it highly.

Mara’s twin Owen has been accused of raping his girlfriend. But, would he do that? Her twin brother? The person she knows better than anyone else and shared a womb with for nine months? She’s not sure. What she does know is that Owen’s girlfriend Hannah wouldn’t lie about something like this. Which leaves Mara is a messy middle where she needs to work out who she supports during this.

During this Mara is also dealing with something from her past that caused problems with her ex-girlfriend and best friend (they’re the same person) Charlie.

I really can’t even begin to describe this. It was heartbreaking. Almost every chapter left me desperately needing more because I needed to know how Mara would deal with the situation at hand. I was thankful for the choices she made at the end of the book.


C H A R A C T E R S

#M A R A 

Mara was an incredibly strong character. That is putting it lightly. I’ve really been staring at the cursor on my page for about ten minutes trying  to work out how to begin to describe Mara. She wasn’t what I was expecting, thats for sure. She was so much better.

This author has such a talent for writing strong and powerful female characters. They go through such a process throughout the books she writes that truly leaves you aching. Mara was no different. She has her battles and she dealt with them, sometimes in a messy way and sometimes in a correct way. It was truly just amazing to witness her growth throughout the book.

She’s basically left me speechless.


O V E R A L L

Overall, I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished copy of Girl Made of Stars. I absolutely adore all of Ashley Herring Blake’s books that I have read and would recommend them to literally everyone. She truly has a way for words and her diverse casts are truly beautiful.


Happy reading everyone!

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If you use my Book Depository link I will receive a 5% commission from your order at no expense to you. I would sincerely be grateful if you chose to use it.

The same goes for my Booktopia link, which is a great service for Aus and NZ residents.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven| Review

Rating: 1/5 STAR

Pages: 378 Pages

Release Date: 6th Janurary 2015

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads Blurb:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
 
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

This review is basically the exact same as my Goodreads one, I felt it was perfect for my opinions.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: abuse, depression, in depth descriptions of suicide, suicide, death, anxiety

I went in knowing I’d hate this. I know it romanticises depression and suicide. I know these characters were nothing but their personality but I wanted to personally know. Also, a bunch of people in this Facebook group I’m in kept recommending this and I wanted a leg to stand on when I say “hey this book is actually really problematic, stop recommending it”. I have since done this around eight times and can’t help but express my utter disgust at this book.

I shouldn’t have wasted my time. It got to the stage my eyes were moving across the page but words? They weren’t there. I took notes while reading but it became tedious at 15% purely because I was taking a note every. single. page. That’s right folks, that’s how bad this book is.

Because characters who are only the textbook version of their mental illness make sense! What’s a personality? No clue, it’s surrounded by stupid behaviour and stereotypes. Shove your quirky, mental health stereotype up your ass.

So, I can’t comment on everything but for this amount of notes to be taken in such a short snippet of this book? Not good.

Honestly, I wish I could display just have much I was ripping my hair out reading this. Almost every single thing that is included is cheap and not at all well done.

A collection of my thoughts while reading it:
– “Is today a good day to die?”
– Honestly what the fuck
– hate at first sentence
– they’re so obnoxious kill me
“Behind the ugly glasses she’s pretty, almost like a china doll.”
– ^ just going to leave that there because i don’t think it deserves a sarcastic comment because of how dumb it is
– 3% in and it feels as though it’s making comedy out of depression
– like yo i have depression, have had it for as long as i remember so i feel i can comment on the fact this is terrible representation in just the first chapter
– ok it literally say it’s started to rain and our the male mc decides to state that again??? that’s sloppy
– please stop describing her eyes @ 5%
“She’s pretty and tall, but not too tall, with long, restless legs and curvy hips, which I like on a girl. Too many high school girls are built like boys.”
“semihot girls”
let’s comment on girls appearances every other page because i’m a piece of shit
– still @ 5%, even angrier now
– how is this good rep in anyway
– this is complete and utter mockery of good rep
– i want to punch everyone who says this is good rep
– terrible counsellors? wow great let’s tell kids that adults aren’t here to help
– counsellor lists people who would be upset if he died, Finch is stuck on multiple girlfriends
– what a literal piece of shit
– he’s obsessed with Violet after chapter one i’m going to puke
– so much telling rather than showing, it’s frustrating
– punishment equals bangs? jesus this book is a mess
– these counsellors are terrible
– Finch is honestly a pompous asshole
– Violet is bearable despite her lack of personality
– i can’t stand judgemental characters???
– how many stereotypes are shoved into this book
– the answer?
all of them
– Finch is honestly a pig, which is an insult to pigs
– “Faggot” is used as an insult
– why is everything sexualised???
– so edgy!! so cool!!! turntables!!! vintage!!! hipster!!! w!!! o!!! a!!! h!!!
– SMOKING SO COOL
“even though i’m not much into eating” ??????
– these characters are so dumb i want to strangle them
– literally no one this age talks like this
– ahhh, that my friends is the smell of sweet, sweet slut shaming
– there’s seriously so much focus on people’s eyes, it’s weird
– these kids are so ungrateful
– *boy starts facebook page just to talk to you* this is not romantic
– 16% invites himself over to her house late at night & she gives in and just says yes after saying no?????? super romantic!!! WHY IS THIS OKAY?????
– I hate everyone

In short. There are better books out there. A List of Cages. Under Rose Tainted Skies. Eliza and Her Monsters. There are books out there that paint realistic views on mental health. This is definitely not one of them. This book is disgusting. Not only the way it shames women but the way it romanticises suicide and depression.

I’ve honestly never been so revolted by a book. Truly. If I see people recommending this they’re about to be blocked/unfollowed/unfriended/punched because no. I honestly feel dumb after reading this – something that only happened when I read Caraval.

I also want to say how Finch is not a boy you should want to date. He’s just straight up creepy. You made a Facebook to talk to me and invite yourself to my house basically instantly? Yeah, I think no.

This book is not good. This book is terrible. This book should be banned. Having depression isn’t being quirky or different. Having depression also isn’t who you are entirely. No one ever knows I have depression, unless I tell them. I know I’ve recovered, however I still have bad days. This book doesn’t paint any of this in a realistic light.

I have experienced almost every trigger warning this book features, and I’m telling you, as a person who struggled through 3/6 of the triggers, this book is a piece of shit.

Not only that, but the end is a complete cop out. Almost every idea is stolen from other books. The Fault In Our Stars. Perks of Being a Wallflower. Looking for Alaska. 13 Reasons Why. All books I hated.

Actually, more on the fact this is similar to 13 Reasons Why – suicide is literally used as the entire plot and then proceeded to be used as a twist. I can’t stand that. Disgusted.

My tip for you if you love this piece of shit book:

Find a better novel to promote as your mental health awareness book.