For my first book, I read Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. It is a realistic fiction novel that was published by Penguin Books on January 5, 2012 in the United Kingdom. I would definitely recommend this book to those who have a place in their heart for your typical cliche love stories.
I think that the most impacting element that this story has on the reader is it’s setting. In this novel, there is a 26 year old woman who has grown up in a working-class family. She has few qualifications and lands a job caring for a quadriplegic man. Will Traynor had the perfect life, and after a traffic accident, he is stuck in a wheelchair with limited use of his upper body and no use of his legs and back. Time after time, Louisa attempts to foil his plan to live life miserably and she tries to help him see that he still has places to go, views to see, and people to meet. Will remains bitter to Louisa, and she becomes cold-hearted towards him as well. Through all of her attempts of adventure for him, Louisa Clark and Will fall in love. Will’s mother learns of his plan to go to Dignitas (assisted suicide organization in Switzerland), and she respects his wish as long as he promises to live 6 more months. Louisa takes him on an exotic vacation and they connect like never before. Will then decides that it is better to tell her of his plans now than to wait any longer. Louisa feels that she has failed her mission to make him choose life. The mood throughout the novel makes the reader feel involved; Will’s choices that affect Louisa also affect the reader.
Even though the ending of this story was by far the worst I had ever read, the entire novel as a whole makes up for it with the love that Louisa has for Will. The sacrifices made and the differentiating emotions pulls the reader in, and that makes this an amazing novel. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a sappy love story.
Charlie St. Cloud was written by Ben Sherwood. It was published by Random House in 2004. This novel is a fictional tale that tells the emotional journey between the main character Charlie and his deceased little brother.
Charlie St. Cloud and his little brother Sam decide to take their mom’s car to go see a Red Sox game. On the way home Charlie takes his eyes off of the road to look at the moon. They get into a car crash , and they die. When they are dead Charlie promises Sam that they will never abandon each other. Within a few minutes a paramedic then revives Charlie, but he is unable to rescue Sam. Soon Charlie realizes that he has the gift of seeing ghosts, and he goes to play catch with Sam every single night.
A girl named Tess Carroll sets out on an around the world trip on a yacht. She decides to drive the ship into a storm where he boat ends up flipping. She wakes up sitting in a cemetery where her dad is buried. It seems as if Tess is invisible to everyone, except Charlie St. Cloud. Soon enough the two begin falling in love. Charlie then hears that a woman by the name of Tess Carroll has a boat that is missing and so is she. Once he realizes that he has only been seeing her spirit, he sets out to find her body. This conflicts with his daily meeting with Sam.
The biggest message of this novel comes from its theme of grief and letting go. This is a strong theme that any reader can relate to. Overall, Sherwood does a fantastic job telling this heart wrenching story that really keeps the reader turning the pages. I would highly recommend this if you are ready for an emotional read.
Best Friends is a novel by Martha Moody about the friendship between two young women in college and how it blossoms into the later years of their lives. It was published in 2001 by Penguin Group. I enjoyed this novel because of the unpredictable twists and turns in the plot.
Clare Mann goes to college in Ohio where she meets Sally Rose, a wealthy and beautiful girl from California. Clare is immediately fascinated with her lifestyle and finds her to be more interesting then anyone she has ever encountered. This friendship only grows when Clare goes with Rosie to L.A. to meet her family. The secrets Clare finds out answers all her questions about Ruby, while the California air transforms her into a different person. Clare becomes more carefree and treats L.A. as an escape from the reality of her life back home. She soon finds it hard to be able to separate her own life from Ruby’s. They soon grow older and begin to separate, but always seem to be able to rekindle their friendship. The many things Clare craved in Ruby’s life hold would be revealed to be just something undesirable in the end.
All in all, I can say I really enjoyed this novel, but mostly because of the secrets and surprises it holds. I would recommend this novel to someone looking for a good read about the element of envy in a friendship and about a family trying to maintain an image much different from the one they actually have.
Palo Alto is a collection of short stories written by James Franco. It was published in 2010 by Simon & Schuster. I really enjoyed this book because of the perspectives and the unique sense of reality of all the stories seemed to capture.
The stories in the novel are made up of all different situations, but center around the theme of living in the upper class of Palo Alto. They range from the use of racism during teaching in a classroom to the reader going in the mind of a homicidal student. One of my favorite stories was of a teenage girl sacrificing her social life for the shot to get into a college by doing a bland internship, but she soon realizes that it’s not worth it and she should be out and living her life. Her life is flipped when she is indirectly involved in a fight at the party she is at. The book is filled with many more coming-of-age stories that can pull you in and make you realize how realistic these stories are. Each time you read them you are able to find new symbolism or details you never noticed the first time around.
I would recommend Palo Alto for anyone looking for a different and quick read. I am sure anyone who reads these stories will be drawn in just as much as I was when I first read these stories.
This Much I Know Is True is by Wally Lamb and first published in 1998 by HarperCollins. It is a realistic fiction book. Even though it is so long, the reader will have no problem being able to finish it. This book is hands down without exaggeration, one of the best books I have read so far because of the amount of twists and the many details this book has.
The book is narrated by a 40 year-old Dominick Birdsey, who has a schizophrenic identical twin brother named Thomas.Dominick also suffers from PTSD from discovering his and his ex-wife’s infant daughter dead in her crib. Thomas cuts his hand off in the name of God in a public library and is institutionalized. Because this act of violence, Dominick opens up to a therapist and we start to learn more and more about their childhood together and their lives now. We are introduced to his mother, who died of cancer and her father, an Italian immigrant who wrote a journal,which reveals all the family secrets. We also learn his mother suffers of domestic abuse from the half-father, and their real father of the twins is someone that the reader would never guess. This book explores themes of family, the working class of America, and mental illness. All-in-all this book has so many twists and turns, but it ends with closure.
This Much I Know Is True is a great book that I recommend to everyone. It has themes that touch almost every topic, which makes it so interesting and so open. It is so suspenseful and will have you hooked until the very end because you’ll want answers to everything. I have a hard time finding books to be able to go head-to-head with this one.
The Spectacular Now is written by Tim Tharp and was originally published on July 9, 2013 by Ember. It is also a realistic fiction. Overall, I thought the book was well written and shockingly honest compared to other books published with the same theme.
The Spectacular Now is a modern coming-of-age story set in Oklahoma. The narrator is Sutter Keely, a boy that can be found in at least every high school. He a ladies man and a partier who seems to get along with almost anyone. But he also has his share of problems, he drinks and parties too much, doesn’t know his father, and doesn’t have a life beyond high school planned. Eventually his girlfriend breaks up with him and one party blurs into another until he wakes up on a front lawn of someone’s house and is confronted by Aimee.
Aimee is the complete opposite of Sutter. She knows her family a little too well, is a straight-A student,and is held back by the people in her life. Eventually the two start a relationship after getting to know each other and,Sutter gets way more than he bargained for. Aimee is dragged into Sutter’s world of hard partying and the popular cliques. She thinks this relationship will last forever, which is fueled by the lies Stutter feeds her. More goes wrong and builds up until one night Aimee is hit by a car after an angry fight. Stutter promises to follow her to college will the two will continue the relationship and it will be all better. He slowly reverts back to his old ways and goes to the bars instead of going to college. In the end he chooses his selfish ways instead of an innocent girl that cares for him.
This book was such an honest and realistic book. Most books about teenagers today stay far away from themes of alcoholism and other issues this book discusses. In the other books, the boy would run to the girl, but I actually was more interested in this ending. Sutter is a developing character but I like how we just saw him stay true to himself, no matter how screwed up it was. I think this book is worth while for a reader who is ready for a similar story, but with a new twist.
My expectations for sophomore year are about the same as last year. One of my goals is to be within the top 10 of the class, which I was able to do last year. I would also like to be able to maintain a 95% or higher in geometry, which I think to be the toughest class so far. I want to make more study time for myself instead of cramming everything in at last minute. In relation to that I want to try to get my homework done as soon as I can, which will help me not to procrastinate as much. Field hockey and ballet are two things I do throughout the school year and I plan to try to exceed my abilities and put more effort into them. I plan on trying to read more too which I have not been able to do due to how busy my schedule is. These are my expectations for this year.
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