All posts tagged: young adult

picture of Salt to the Sea on a bench

Consider My Heartstrings Pulled

For years I’ve claimed to not like historical fiction. This book might be the one to change my mind. I’d heard it was wonderful, touching, a can’t miss, etc. etc., but for some reason I still put it off, fearful I’d have to force my way through. BUT, I am happy to report I was 100% wrong — I was hooked from the first few pages, and flew through the story in five days (which is fairly quickly for me). When I first started, I was worried I’d have trouble keeping track of the characters and their ever-changing perspectives. It turns out that was quite the opposite. The way Sepetys developed each character, slowly revealing their stories — and struggles — made me eager to keep reading, long past my bedtime. Each character was so compelling — yes, even, Alfred — I couldn’t help but cheer them on as they made their journey to what they hoped would be a better future. And can I just say, that last chapter (don’t worry, no spoilers!) KILLED me. …

Salt to the Sea: Devoured

I love World War II fiction. Quite frankly, I enjoy reading about World War II regardless of whether it is fact or fiction. The fact of the matter is, even novels and other works of fiction about World War II contain so many elements of truth that it feels incredibly real. Of course, I sometimes find it difficult to admit that I enjoy this type of literature, because what does that say about me? That I like reading about such an atrocious time in our world’s history. But if we never read about it, we don’t think about it. And if we don’t think about it, we are doing a disservice to everyone who was affected by it. Now that you know that little fact about me. I’ll get right to it. I loved Salt to the Sea. I knew nothing of the Wilhelm Gustloff before reading this book except that it was a German ship that sunk toward the end of the war. So this book served as something of an education for me, …

May / June Book

May and June mean school’s out and it’s almost summer! This time of year we like to read a good YA book to celebrate this liberation. Our pick this May / June was selected as the Goodreads Choice Awards winner for the Best Young Adult Fiction in 2016. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is set in the winter of 1945 when four teenagers flee four different homelands for safe passage on the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises refuge and freedom. And each of the four teenagers—Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred—harbor their own secrets which haunt them at every step of their journey. The paths of these four converge along the way when tragedy strikes. This book was inspired by the greatest tragedy in maritime history. It’s estimated that as many as 9,400 people died. Sepetys’ book sheds light on this great tragedy through the story of these four young men and women, each fighting for survival and freedom.  Sepetys said she wanted to shed light on this event… “Every nation has hidden history, countless …

Revisiting an Old Favorite

I read Perks a long time ago, sometime during my middle school years, and while I remember liking it, that’s about the only memory I have. When we chose it for our May/June read I was eager to re-read it but anxious that it wouldn’t hold up to all the “I loved that book!” comments we received. Thankfully, it did. Admittedly, it took me a bit to get back into it, but once I fell back in love with the characters I was hooked. Via letters to an anonymous friend, Charlie navigates becoming a teenager–something we all can relate to. Shy and quiet, he’s not the most popular kid in school but he soon finds a group of friends that welcome him and make him feel at home. A shy and quiet teenager myself, I was surprised Charlie and his friends didn’t have more of an impact on me when I read it in middle school. While I wasn’t quite as rebellious as he was when it came to drinking and smoking, I struggled to …

Crying and Smiling at the Same Time

My journey with The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a long one. I first read the book when I was in high school, not long after it was released in 1999.I read it for the second time immediately after I finished the first reading. I remember as a teenager thinking that this book perfectly captured some of the struggles of high school. Even though Charlie and I had very little in common in terms of our experiences, I remember understanding his feelings of “outsiderness” and confusion. My next foray into Perks was in 2012 when the movie was released. I hadn’t read the book in over 12 years, and though I still counted it as one of my favorites, I had forgotten some of the details and so of course found myself a sobbing mess in the theater. Now here I am, having completed my most recent reading of Chbosky’s first novel, and I am feeling all the same things I felt 16 years ago, plus even more. Reading it this time around, I found myself, as Bill …

Have courage and be kind

I’m very glad that I finally crossed The Perks of Being a Wallflower off my list. I’d seen the movie years ago, which only made me more interested to read the book. And if you haven’t seen the movie yet you really should. I think it does a really, really great job with this story. And well cast, too. I think this book is a new favorite of mine. The only thing about it that I might change would be to have read it at a younger age. It truly is a perfect young adult read. The story, the protagonist Charlie’s authentic, pure perspective on the fragile high school years, the perfect capture of those one-in-a-lifetime friendships, and the subtle telling of a larger more grievous story all made for a powerful read. And I loved the letter-writing style. It felt like Charlie was confiding in you. Of course this is an intentional literary tool, but admittedly it worked very well for Charlie’s story. And who wouldn’t love Charlie? I mean, when he has thoughts like this you can’t help but love …

{The Perks of Being a Wallflower} Cover Redesign

            The Perks of Being a Wallflower has a variety of covers to choose from. All of which I like. Even the “Major Motion Picture” cover is inviting (unlike most of its kind). But I liked the book so much I thought I’d do a redesign just for fun. Most of my inspiration came from an artist I recently found on Instagram. His artwork is simple, powerful and beautiful. It can tell one million different stories in just one image. And I found one that I thought captured Charlie’s (The Perks protagonist) story pretty well, so it seemed a perfect selection for this redesign… a young boy flying from a childhood swing set.   Image Source: Fajar P. Domingo Lettering: Katherine C.‘s handwriting Typeface: Helvetica    

May/June Book

Images © http://www.collider.com May and June are two of our combo months (along with December and January). We read just one book for May & June. It makes it a good time to catch on some other things. And this month (these months) the theme is: School’s Out! So, drumroll please… dun dah dah dah!!! Ok. That’s enough. For May & June we’ll be reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s a modern young-adult classic. Or at least that’s what we’ve heard. It’s one of those books that’s always on our TBR (to be read) lists, but somehow we’ve gone years without picking it up. And, maybe, watching the movie instead. Ahem. Well, enough procrastinating. It’s time to officially give this one a go. You in?? Well, you should be. And if the movie trailer doesn’t grab you (trust us, the story is about a lot more than it seems), here are a few more fun facts… The Perks of Being a Wallflower was written by Stephen Chbosky and first published in 1999. Chbosky is a native of Pittsburg, as is our protagonist Charlie. …

Mending a Broken Heart

This book broke my heart over and over again. My heart broke for Eleanor, for Park, for Eleanor and Park. I was completely shattered. I was preparing myself to be totally destroyed by the ending, and then… and then came the last line of the book and I was lifted. I know Rowell was purposely vague and I am sure there are those who did not read the ending as positively as I did. But I am the eternal optimist, I’m hopeful, and I’m always searching for happy endings. So I am choosing to believe that those three words on the postcard were “I love you,” because if they weren’t, I would just simply be crushed. I know other Bookly Clubbers disagree, but I adored this book. I felt so strongly for, related to, and identified with both Eleanor and Park on so many levels that I couldn’t help but love the story. I remember being a teenager, and even a young adult to a certain extent, and wondering how it was that so-and-so felt the way they did. I also remember, like Park, feeling simultaneously protective of …

All the Feels

Confession: I read this book months ago. While details of the story might be fuzzy, how I felt about it isn’t. I devoured this book, so consumed by the relationship of Eleanor and Park that I stayed up into the wee hours, finishing it in a couple of days. I recommended it to anyone who hadn’t already been charmed by the quirky characters and the innocence of first love. This is why I love books; how it resonates – or doesn’t – with the reader varies from person to person. It’s dependent on their life experiences, who they are, what they believe, what makes them feel. For Katie C., this book didn’t resonate, a totally legitimate reaction. But for me, it took hold within the first few pages. I was what some might call a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 16, my first boyfriend until 17. This kind of young love that bonded Eleanor and Park is something I’m unfamiliar with. And that might be the reason it fascinated …