Rachel’s Re-read Challenge Recap: October – December (Part 4/4)

Re-Read Challenge

Annnnnnnnnd here’s my re-reads from the last quarter of the year AKA when I got sidetracked by the Marchetta

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October – The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta and Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil

November – Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

December – The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Also re-read: On The Jellicoe Road and Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler and Summer Love by Wendy Loggia

When I First Read: 2010, I think

What I Remember: I didn’t remember a whole lot of the story, just that I liked it a lot more than I expected to (Holes is one of my faves but I remember not really knowing what to expect as this was the first (and so far only) other book of his that I’ve read).

Why I Wanted To Re-read: Well, basically I wanted to see if I still liked it as much. I also wanted to see exactly what it was about it that I liked so much, because as much as I tried, I couldn’t remember.

How I Felt After Re-reading: A bit sad, because I didn’t like it as much the second time around. But I can narrow down the reason for that quite easily: okay, so the MC – Alton – is narrating the book, telling the story to the reader and because of this, there is a lot of passages explaining the card game Bridge to the reader (you can skip to a short summary explanation box at the end of these passages and read that instead if you can’t be bothered/don’t understand, which is really helpful). Despite this, I really struggled with it this time around – I know shit all about Bridge (and am quite happy knowing shit all about it) so I found the amount of Bridge talk harder to read through. In saying that, I did still enjoy the story – it’s sweet and unexpectedly sad.

Would I Re-read Again: Maybe, if some reason I one day become very interested in Bridge?

December – Saving June by Hannah Harrington

When I First Read: Sometime in the first half of 2011

What I Remember: I found out after I read it (or maybe I looked it up while I was reading it?) that apparently Saving June was released in Australia first, so that’s cool and stuff. I remember seeing it sitting on the shelf in Kmart/Target and I was attracted to the cover (the pretty one with the girl laying in the grass) and I like to impulse buy so naturally, I bought it. ANYWAY THIS ISN’T REALLY RELEVANT. It is one of my faves so I remembered it pretty well. I love the music in this book so much. Every time I hear California Love, I think of it. EVERY time.

Why I Wanted To Re-read: No real reason. I wanted to re-read both of her books, but this one ended up being the only one that I did re-read in 2015 (going to get to Speechless this year). This is my second re-read and I’m so glad I ended my reading year on a favourite.

How I Felt After Re-reading: In love all over again. Man, when is Hannah Harrington going to announce her next book? WHEN?

Would I Re-read Again: Yep

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Rachel’s Re-read Challenge Recap: April – September (Part 2 and 3/4)

Re-Read Challenge

Holy shit, there’s only four days left in 2015 so here is part 2 AND 3 of my recap.

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April and May – Deltora Quest 1, 2 and 3 by Emily Rodda

When I First Read: 2001- 2004.
What I Remember: I have loved these books ever since I first read them. Definite childhood/early teen favourites. This was about the 4th/5th re-read so I know all three series pretty much inside and out. I’ve said it over and over again but damn, fantasy impresses the hell out me. I have all the creativity and imagination of a brick so to read about these books in which an author has created an entire separate world is mind blowing to me.
Why I Wanted To Re-read: I’m not sure, because I hadn’t intended to do a re-read, but I found out earlier this year that Emily Rodda was releasing a new series set in the Deltora world in July (which I have read already) (loved it) so before I knew it, I had dived in and re-read all 3 series over both April and May.
How I Felt After Re-reading: Every re-read is just a reaffirmation of my LUUUUUUUUUUURVE.
Would I Re-read Again: Yes. They will always be a fave. Always.

 

June – Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

When I First Read: Sometime in my late primary school or early high school years.
What I Remember: Not a lot. Just the general plot of the book (girl being left behind by her family and spending years living by herself on an island).
Why I Wanted To Re-read: I’d been meaning to for such a long time. I finally bought myself my own copy of it last year – chuck that together with this re-read challenge and I figured I no longer had an excuse.
How I Felt After Re-reading: It pains me to say it, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I did still like it but it definitely didn’t leave the same impression on me as it did all those years ago when I first read it. So that’s a bit sad but I guess that’s what a re-read does sometimes, right?
Would I Re-read Again: Maybe? I’d definitely want to pass it on to my children in that alternate reality where I have children someday.

 

July – The Lumatere Chronicles + Ferragost by Melina Marchetta
Also re-read: The Gorgon In The Gully by Melina Marchetta

When I First Read: Oct 2010 (FotR), Jan 2012 (FotE) and Sept 2012 (QoC)
What I Remember: Finnikin was a challenge for me. I think it was because it was fantasy and I couldn’t accept that my fave author had written a fantasy book (not much of a fantasy reader) because I am a dumbarse. I attempted it twice before starting again (at Annette’s insistence) (otherwise she was going to dump me as a friend) (which was fair enough) and finally finishing it in October of 2010 and while I still struggled initially, I pushed through and fell in love, especially with that ending. So I was totally on board for the rest of the trilogy but Froi came out while I was overseas in 2011 and to be honest with you, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. Quintana is the first Marchetta I’ve been able to buy on its release day and I took a day off work for it. I remembered them all pretty well, but it’d been THREE years (I don’t know how/why I let that happen) and while I’ve got a pretty good memory for detail, (especially when it comes to my fave books) there were a few things that had me going ‘oh yeeeeah!’. Mostly, I think Froi is my favourite of the trilogy but when it comes down to it, out of Froi and Quintana, it’s kinda the same situation that I have when picking my favourite of her contemps (out of On The Jellicoe Road and The Piper’s Son) – I change my mind daily.
Why I Wanted To Re-read: I bitched and whinged all over Twitter about wanting to do a Lumatere re-read for basically all of 2014 and it didn’t end up happening. Then I meant to do it in Feb of this year and again, it didn’t happen. THEN I ended up taking a week off work around my birthday so it FINALLY happened (although let’s be real, I actually took a week off work FOR it).
How I Felt After Re-reading: Like my soul was destroyed. You know, standard Marchetta reaction. Seriously, I can not ever adequately express how much I love her books and this trilogy is fucking BRILLIANT and I… {words fail me}.
Would I Re-read Again: YES OF COURSE AND I’M DEFINITELY NOT LETTING ANOTHER THREE YEARS SLIP BY BEFORE IT HAPPENS AGAIN.

 

August – Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

When I First Read: March 2013.
What I Remember: I remembered majority of the story pretty well, but the finer details were starting to fade.
Why I Wanted To Re-read: Well, I had read Wildlife earlier in the year and with Cloudwish being released soon, I wanted to refresh myself on the characters a little. I also wanted to re-read it for bloggy reasons, which I can’t disclose at this time…
How I Felt After Re-reading: Happy. This book makes me happy. It’s such a sweet story about teen love and finding your place + Dan Cereill made me laugh.
Would I Re-read Again: Yessss. I’d actually like to do a re-read of all three of her books in order, one after the other.

 

September – The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

When I First Read: Sometime in 2012
What I Remember: I remembered liking it, and I remembered Joe Fontaine but to be honest, most details were starting to fade and it’s such a well loved book in the YA community that I knew I needed to re-read it.
Why I Wanted To Re-read: As above. And probably to see if I liked it even more a second time around. Spoiler: I did. Also, Joe Fontaine.
How I Felt After Re-reading: Man, this book is such a great exploration of grief. So well-written in this beautifully lyrical way that just makes you want to cry. So many quotable lines. Lennie is lost and screwing up and I loved her even more this time around. And good loooooord, Joe Fontaine. I forgot he has curly hair…
Would I Re-read Again: Yep. Joe Fontaine. ‘Bat. Bat. Bat.’

Rachel’s Re-read Challenge Recap: Jan – March (Part 1/4)

Re-Read Challenge

I’m so proud of myself for sticking to a book challenge pretty well this year. Except for Feb, I’ve re-read at least one book every month, and I’ve managed to include a trilogy and a 15 book series in that! I really do love re-reading and I’m grateful to this challenge for giving me an excuse to go nuts.

Anyway. Now that we’re well into October, I figured I should probably attempt a recap of sorts so here is part 1….

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January – This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

Also re-read: Every Breath by Ellie Marney

When I First Read: Feb 2013

What I Remember: I remember being really impressed with Courtney as a writer and completely uncomfortable with how her writing made me feel. I remember feeling confused over the ending.

Why I Wanted To Re-read: Okay this is going to be a bit of a confusing explanation because I don’t entirely know how to explain my reasoning to myself in my head, much less type it out. So here we go. The way Summers writes – so raw, painful and often rather brutal, I think I confused feeling not wholly comfortable with it (which isn’t a bad thing) with not liking it so I wanted to reread it to see what I thought after having this revelation. I also wanted to refresh myself on the story that came before Please Remain Calm.

How I Felt After Re-reading: Man, there’s something about Courtney’s writing style – it packs one hell of a punch and BAM, something happens that I’m not expecting but I I keep reading, struggling to process what just went down on the page in front of me/trying to understand why/how she could do that to an innocent reader and OW, my heart hurts. ALSO you know what else I love about TINAT? That line you hear in relation to The Fault In Our Stars all the time – about how it’s a book about cancer but it’s not really a book about cancer? Well, TINAT is a book about zombies, but it’s not really a book about zombies. And that factor? TINAT pulls it off a hell of lot better than TFIOS does (because really, all I think about when I think of TFIOS is cancer).

Would I Re-read Again: Yes. Yes I would. Just give me another few years maybe?

 

March – Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

**I forgot to re-read a book in Feb, so I did two in March to make up for it.

When I First Read: Sometime in 2009, I think – it’s a toss up between CUTB and Some Girls Are as to which one was the first CS I read.

What I Remember: As with TINAT, I remember being really impressed with Courtney as a writer and completely uncomfortable with how her writing made me feel. I remember feeling confused over the ending because I wasn’t sure what actually happened to Jessie? (wow, this reading challenge has revealed that past Rachel was the biggest dipshit). I also remember being annoyed at Parker Fadley because I didn’t like her.

Why I Wanted To Re-read: Mainly for same reason as TINAT. I had also largely forgotten the story, especially the ending and I only had a vague sense of what it was about. I think a re-read might be needed with all of her books for me to fully decide how I feel, which is why I also want to re-read Some Girls Are (SGA has always been my fave CS) and Fall For Anything.

How I Felt After Re-reading: Again, same as TINAT. ALSO I’m kinda in love with Parker Fadley now.

Would I Re-read Again: Yes. Yes I would. But as is the case with TINAT, give me another few years.

 

March – Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

When I First Read: June 2011. I bought and got it signed at Reading Matters in May 2011

What I Remember: I largely remembered majority of the story. But my feelings on it were conflicted because for some dumb reason, when I first read it, I think I was expecting a story different to what it turned out to be, so I decided I didn’t like it (I dunno, like I said – DUMB).

Why I Wanted To Re-read: I had been wanting to for a while, on and off, but I kept forgetting that I wanted to and then I ended up recommending it to an author on Twitter for a certain scene. Ended up re-reading it about a week later because I then got in my head that I HAD to re-read it NOOOOOW… so I did.

How I Felt After Re-reading: I liked it so much more this time around, probably because I apparently have a brain now and see it for the brilliance it is. The title of this book matches the writing so perfectly. The way Carly and Ryan’s relationship develops is my favourite thing ever – so awkward that it’s painful to read, but also so honest. No bullshit at all. I LOVE IT.

Would I Re-read Again: Yeah, of course. BECAUSE I #LOVEOZYA. Also because I really do love this book. READ IT IF YOU HAVEN’T kthanksbye.

Rachel Reviews: Fault Line by Christa Desir

Fault Line by Christa Desir
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by SimonPulse
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
How I Read It: On my Kindle
Rating: 4 Stars

For my rating system, please click here

Blurb (as stolen from BookLikes): Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl—sarcastic, free-spirited Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him, too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want. But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone. Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame? Ben wants to help Ani, but the more she pushes him away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.

I’m not quite sure where to start with Fault Line. First of all, this book is about rape and I want to say I’m a little nervous to be writing this review cos I don’t want to come across as being uneducated about rape (I feel like I am though, to be honest). I think everyone should read this book. Everyone. It is about how rape affects the victim – the shame they feel, the blame that gets incorrectly placed on them – and how they change because of it. It is also about how rape affects not only the victim but those closest to them.

I read it on my Kindle in the space of 6 hours. I started around 11pm and finished about 5am. I gotta say, it’s been a fair while since I binge read a book to that time of the morning, but I just could not stop reading.

For me, it was hard to put down because of the way the story unfolds. It’s told from Ben’s POV. It is his girlfriend Ani who gets raped. The first paragraph is a scene set a few months after the rape and then it goes back 6 months earlier and the whole story is told from there. So after reading that first paragraph, you know right from the start that Ani and Ben aren’t going to end up in a good place. And it’s so sad because of how their story starts out. They meet, they fall in like, they start dating and they fall in love. And then Ani gets raped. I was reading it and dreading the moment when it was all going to change, but at the same time, I just had to keep reading to find out what brought Ani and Ben to that point.

What I liked:

– The POV: While I did really want to know what was going through Ani’s head at times, I like that Fault Line is told from Ben’s POV. It’s not often that stories involving rape are told from the viewpoint of the person who hasn’t actually been raped. As hard as it is for the victim, I liked that we got to see how hard it was for Ben too.

– The ending: It was abrupt and normally, I hate abrupt endings. And I don’t know why but it just worked for me with this book. Sure, it was left unresolved, but there was going to have to be a lot more words written for me to feel some sort of resolution there and I liked that there was no bullshit ‘he-saved-her-in-the-end’ because you don’t ‘save’ a rape victim. You be understanding. And you be there for them in any way they need.

Christa Desir has written an amazing debut. A complete sucker punch of a book. I think her own personal experiences and work as a rape victim activist really shows here: you feel as if it was written by someone who really knew the topic they were writing about.

Fault Line is such an important book and I’m going to repeat myself here by saying that I think everyone should read it. Everyone.

– Rachel

Rachel Reviews: Aristotle & Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle & Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Paperback, 359 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
How I Read It: I borrowed it from the library

Rating: 4 Stars

For my rating system, please click here

Blurb (as stolen from Goodreads): Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I first saw Aristotle & Dante on someone’s Top Ten Tuesday list back in August. About 30 seconds after reading the title (and oohing and aahing over the pretty cover), I had looked it up on GR, chucked it on my to-read shelf and also put it on hold at the library as I was in the midst of having a reserve-a-bajillion-books-all-at-once-from-the-library moment. Two weeks later, it was mine for a month.

I didn’t really know much about it when I started. The blurb didn’t really tell you anything (as a good blurb should) but it did seem like it was a book that you just might be able to trust the GR rating on.

Straight up, I could tell I was going to end up loving some quotes from this book. I mean, this is the opening line – ‘One Summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke.’ While sometimes I can tend to get a bit lost in that kind of lyrical writing style, it blows me away how some authors have such a way with words. I could never, even in my wildest dreams, come out with something like that.

What I liked:

– The 4 secondary characters were Soledad & Sam (Dante’s parents) and Lilly & Jaime (Ari’s parents): It’s not often you read a YA book that includes parents so thoroughly. And it was awesome. Ari’s relationship with Jaime in particular was interesting because Jaime is a bit of a mystery. He’s a war veteran suffering pretty severe PTSD and all Ari wants is for him to talk to him like Lilly does. Made me sad at times, but it was great to see their relationship strengthen throughout the book.

– Dante: I love Dante. He is an absolute sweetie-pie. He just decides Ari’s going to be his friend, and that’s that. That’s pretty much how I became friends with one of my close mates (she decided to befriend me cos I’m a complete social retard and have no idea how to make friends). I also liked his aversion to wearing shoes. I love character quirks and I completely empathised with him – shoes suck.

– The ending: The last 4 pages were just perfection.

This is a coming of age story. I feel that more strongly with Aristotle and Dante than with some other YA books that throw out this tagline. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say they aren’t, but it’s just a really accurate description of Ari’s story. My two reasons for saying this would probably be because it’s told over a longer period of time (12 months+) and you really do get to see some strong character development.

Probably my one and only complaint is that the pacing is quite slow. I was interested from the start, but it took me until about the half way mark to get properly absorbed in the story.

I’d never heard of Benjamin Alire Sáenz before this book. One of his others is now on my TBR list & I’ll most definitely be getting to it soon.

This book is seriously so beautiful. It made my eyes leak a little and the ending made me want to Peter Garrett dance around the room. If you’re reading this, I suggest you borrow it, buy it, steal it (but don’t steal it, stealing’s bad) – just obtain it by whatever means necessary and read it on the asap, okay? Okay.

– Rachel

Rachel Reviews: Ordinary Ghosts by Eireann Corrigan

Ordinary Ghosts by Eireann Corrigan
Paperback, 328 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Push
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
How I Read It: I borrowed it from the library

Rating: 4 Stars

For my rating system, please click here

Blurb (as stolen from BookLikes): Sometimes when life haunts you, you’re better off becoming the ghost. Emil Simon feels invisible enough. He counts as a nonentity at his elite preparatory school and makes barely a dent in his father’s thoughts. When his older brother runs away, he entrusts Emil with a master key to Caramoor Academy. Soon Emil is sneaking into the school at night to explore … and falling for a faculty daughter who sneaks in for reasons of her own. This is a novel about living with disappearances… and willing yourself to appear.

I love YA books with a male MC. I don’t exactly know when I came to that conclusion but naturally, I’ve decided I want to read more of them. I’ve got a small list I’m trying to get through and Ordinary Ghosts seemed like a good place to start.

While I did find it hard to read at times, (this is only because the book and font were weirdly small) I was intrigued from the start. I really liked Emil. He made me laugh. He’s clearly lonely and definitely struggling, missing both his mother (who passed away only a few months before) and his brother (who mysteriously left town not long after). While never super close to begin with, his dad is now a bit of an absent parent in the way that he’s not dealing well with his own grief and has emotionally withdrawn from Emil. Instead, he is constantly getting on his case about school work and getting high grades. So it’s no surprise when Emil grasps the distraction of the key to Caramoor Academy with both hands and takes advantage of his dad’s 4 day business trip to go exploring at night. There, he meets Jade, daughter of the school art teacher and a relationship starts to blossom.

What I liked:

– Emil’s voice: it was honest and refreshing. Eireann Corrigan didn’t shy away from typical teenage boy drug use and swearing (can I just say, I love swearing. In books, in movies, in real life – ALL THE TIME) and I really liked that it was true to how teenagers are.

– The relationship between Jade and Emil: Though it developed quite quickly for the time frame of the book, it was really well done. They had a bit of a false start, and there was, of course, the usual awkwardness, but they helped each other through some tough moments. And hands up for a well-written, first-time sex scene!

– Eireann Corrigan’s ability to make Ethan’s presence so palpable, even though he is barely in the book: Emil’s brother is clearly someone who he looks up to and admires so Ethan is talked about a lot throughout the story. I was impressed that we really got a sense of who Ethan was even though Emil doesn’t actually catch up with him until towards the end of the book.

Ordinary Ghosts is one I’ll be book pushing a bit from now on, I think. I’m sad/annoyed it’s not more well known. It’s one of those books that slowly creeps up on you and you don’t realise at the time how much you’re enjoying it, but I really felt it when I had finished. I want to read more of her books.

Definitely give this book a go if you, like me, are into male protagonists… And then come back and comment, let me know what you think!

– Rachel