Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let GoBefore I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

cw: bipolar disorder, suicide, death, grief, mental illness disregard by some characters

First of all, let's take a moment to acknowledge that our MC is asexual, and that her friend is pansexual (clear on-page labels), which made me tear up multiple times while reading it. Recently I made a Twitter thread about how platonic best friendships are my absolute favorite things to see, and the friendship between Corey and Kyra was an example of this. The only thing was, it felt like the diversity here was being shoved into the characters and their lives, instead of it organically growing and being shown blatantly on page. There was also a pro medication and therapy for mental illnesses that was happening on page, which I could appreciate. Now onto the thing that I didn't particularly enjoy here.

The way that this was originally marketed to me was as a thriller/mystery, and when you throw in that genre label I have certain expectations. I don't think it knew what it really was: supernatural mystery? Paranormal contemporary? As much as I had adored Nijkamp's debut: This is Where it Ends, my high expectations weren't really met with this book. I want to be on the edge of my seat, sweating trying to puzzle things together. In this story, I didn't feel any of those feelings that I want to while reading a quality thriller. Instead I found myself slowly trudging through the story, yawning during it, and considering DNFing it because nothing was happening for hundreds of pages of slow buildup.

Just want to clarify before I get to this part, that I am an ownvoices ace and aro reviewer. So this is yet another narrative where asexuality and aromanticism are equated. I feel like sometimes all you need to do for basic research about this distinction is just use google. By that you would figure out that the MC is rejecting her best friends romantic love to her because she's aro (or strongly aro-coded) not because she's ace. So maybe it's bold of me to say this, but at the time I was really hurt by the fact that there was clear aro erasure, which is why my rating is as low as it is.

Corey herself was very bland and underdeveloped as a character. I wish we could have gotten more growth and a different perspective after this whirlwind of a journey happened. If you asked me who Corey really was, her likes and dislikes, things about her family, I couldn't really tell you much. Unfortunately, she's written as a one dimensional character which really turns me off from these types of books.

Honestly, the ending was unsatisfactory and there was just no closure. I was still extremely confused about what had happened to Kyra, and felt like I was in a fever dream while reading. Oh well, maybe someday I'll have a dream at night to imaginatively create an alternative narrative that would be better than my waste of time that I spent on these 350 pages.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Beauty That RemainsThe Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven’t had a book that truly blew me away this much since the beginning of this year, and I haven’t been promoting a 2018 release as hard as this one. It’s impossible to describe the well of deep love that runs through me for this book. We follow three grief stricken teens, which just tore a raw wound into my heart to see them in such deep pain trying to cope with their big loss of the death of a close one.

We have Shay, who runs an indie music blog and was an ex-band manager, and recently lost her twin sister to leukemia. There’s Autumn, an adopted Korean bookworm, who just lost her life-long best friend to a tragic car accident. Then there’s Logan, a gay guy who played bass and was a lead singer, whose ex-boyfriend had an overdose. The one thing that brings these lost souls together is the power of music.

The plot itself is slow moving, there’s not really much that’s happening. It’s more a character based journey through life, which was the perfect thing that I needed at that moment (also the reason that I;m in a huge book hangover.) If you appreciate a raw and authentically real writing style, run don’t walk to the bookstore the day it’s released.

I’ve been saying this for the past couple of years, but we are in sore need of more realistic and diverse teen characters like the ones we have here. Woodfolk has a way with words, is a natural storyteller, because her writing seems to flow effortlessly and she absolutely nailed it with the three different POVs. So much can go wrong with multiple narrator, it’s a risky move to make and rarely well done in my experience, but I can praise Woodfolk for perfection with this, to the moon and back always. (Which is the highest praise from a moonchild like me.)

What I could really appreciate is that there wasn’t a tragic moment/accident that happened on page; this book didn’t focus on the thing itself. It shows the after-math of this life-changing tragedy among those people who are the closest.

My favorite scenes balanced the delicate line of grief-stricken pain and loving nostalgic memories. Some the scenes had nothing to do with that, it was just a bunch of teens going to a concert of their favorite band, or a new romantic relationship blooming, or the support of the closest best friends. I kept on imagining these characters as real people in my city, because I cared and truly deeply connected to every one of them. And that my friends, is the highest praise that I can give for a book. 10,000/10 stars

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews
Girl Made of StarsGirl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TW: rape, sexual assault

In the author’s note at the end of the book, Blake said something like “I hope this is the book you need. This was the book that I needed to write.” And for me, that’s so true, this book is beautiful piece of art that has insightful commentary on the rape culture in relation to our current political moment. But more than that, it’s the story of first love, teenage friendships, and getting comfterable with your sexuality.

So well done, this book blows open a raw hole, it was so intense that I was a loudly sobbing puddle for most the book, and at points had to take a break because it was hurting my brain in the best way. Be warned that this book will absolutely wreck your soul, and then provide you with that valuable sliver of hope that you’ll cling to after you close the last page.

My favorite characters (more like ICONIC Queens) were Hannah and Mara. They both banded together and truly supported each other as survivors in the best way that both of them needed. The way their interactions played out on page was just a testament to the emotional maturity that these teen girls had.

Also, I was over the moon to see that there was on-page nonbinary/genderqueer rep (MC’s best friend); and our MC herself was bisexual and there is an on page f/f relationship. Even though none of that was the focus, it meant the world to me to see myself represented directly as an enby. I definitely especially shed some tears for this.

Ashley Blake has a knack for writing realistic teens and their interaction. They text, call eachother and I dialogue is something that I could imagine saying to my friends. Nothing about the entangled emotions of humans is black and white, thing are always messy and complicated, which makes any story more compelling. Let this be known that this was an entirely character-based plotline there’s not much action, more deep explorations of society and flawed people.

Unlike many other books that this deal with this heavy topic, this one was unique as in that the alleged rapist is our MC’s twin brother, Oscr and most of the book Mara has to deal with the aftermath and fallout. Not only her, but all their friends and social circles, and really the rest of the school have to “pick sides” on who to believe and who to blame, which was a constant delicate but tough situation everyone had to deal with.

Mara as a character is one of the strongest people I’ve ever read. Yeah, she fell apart and had some big breakdowns when her personal life got too triggering. She’s also the lead editor of the Feminist Magazine, and I found the need to pick it up because the articles sounded so awesome. In the end I was so proud of her choices, and felt like she was one of my best friends. This book does that; makes you feel all the feels. And it’s worth it, you won’t regret picking this one up this May.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you're familiar with Kinsella book at all, you know exactly what you're getting into. Complicated family/marriage dynamics, what it means to be an adult, "adulting" as we millennials call it. So in that sense, this book wasn't a surprise, but that was fine with me.

We follow the typical suburban family, in the middle of fizzures and racks that are happening in Sylvie and Dan's marriage. They have two twin daughter, and well-to-do life with well paying jobs. But something's off, in their dynamic and it's not what you would expect. I got engrossed in this, the way you do when you're watching a tv show. In fact, this could be describes as a classic "chic-lit" (I hate that term, but you know what I mean). If this is the vibe you like, you would most definitely enjoy this.

My only "minor" issues is that the characters of Sylvie and her dear mommy were so irritating. Sometimes I just wanted to scream in rage and throw the book across the room. It' different from the other Kinsella books, in the sense that it felt more absurd and serious, and whilst there was some laugh-out-loud moments, it was more decidedly mature out of the books that I've read from her, which is a step up in my humble opinion.

But if I imagine myself in a couple months of time, this novel is simply very forgettable.It was like fluffy cotton candy, perfect if you're in that right mood at the time, however it comes in one ear and out the other.

One bizzare thing, a weird type of motivation to why they were trying to surprise eachother, is that a doctor said that they have good health and are going to live over 100 years that they'd be married for 70+ years. This was the driving force throughout the book, and I just found it odd that it was blown out of proportion and made such a big deal.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

FrankieFrankie by Shivaun Plozza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this book up on a whim, because of the beautiful cover, not knowing anything, not having any specific expectations. This book absolutely blew me away, made me laugh out loud, sob a puddle of tears, yell really loudly. In other words, this gorgeous debut novel tore my heart out of my chest, wrecked me completely. Every single page is so raw and packed with haunting emotions that will be left lingering even after you turn the last page.

We follow Frankie who is a character that I loved so fiercely. She is an angry fiery badass that it one of my favorite teens that I’ve ever read about. In other words I can imagine her marching the streets of Melbourne as this kickass passionate feminist. Basically everything that I project onto myself, is what Frankie is but one thousand more amazing. I’m having a hard time her describing because it’s like fireworks and I’ve never wanted someone to be my best friend so hard before.

Frankie has some serious abandonment issues because of her complicated family situation, but when she finds her half-brother Xavier and witnesses a crime being committing, she gets wrapped up into the story of his life. Throughout the whole book, she stops at nothing to try to find Xavier, who mysteriously went missing a couple of days after she first met him.

The fact that the author has mastered the craft of write realistic and imperfect teens makes me appreciate this book hundreds of times more. I’ve heard some people say that she comes off as an unlikeable character, however I thought the fact that she was a flawed human being who’s so real made her all the more interesting dammit.

If you know my reading tastes at all, I’m not usually someone who loves romance and a plot point or side thing in YA novels. However in this one it was very subtle and side-lined because of the laser focus for the search for missing Xavier. If it was overpowering, I would be really disappointed, but here it’s portrayed as a background thing while there is much more urgent goal.

To all my Australian friend, this is set in Melbourne, in her aunt quaint kebab shop a lot of the time. There is a strong sense of setting, the author talk about the park and places where Frankie grew up her whole life. So if you’re familiar with the area you’ll instantly recognize some of the regular sights.

One of my favorite things was the strong female friendships Frankie and her bestie, as well as the complicated relationship with her aunt (who adopted her at a young age). They’re just portrayed as messy,soul-sucking, and life-giving relationships as teenage girls tend to have. At some points I felt myself screaming “Don’t forget about the wonderful women in your life who love you so very much!” in frustration as a reminder that Frankie doesn’t have to do this completely alone. If I learned one thing from this book is that you’ll show up when your loved ones are in trouble with fire inside your bones. If you want to play with fire, go read this book. You’ll get burned and not regret a second of it.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews
All the Wind in the WorldAll the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry

I was sucked in from the first page, immediately felt myself perk up from my long book slump. On a recent podcast I heard someone say that they want to read the first chapter before bed and ended up staying up the whole night finishing the whole book in one sitting. That's what I'm sure that I would end up doing, if I had a full arc and not just a sampler. Will picking this up as soon as I can, because I’m still thinking about how intriguing it was. Which is honestly the highest praise I can give!

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing with a sampler in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews
Renegades (Renegades, #1)Renegades by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Meyer is best known for her lunar Chronicles series, which I remember to be such a delightful binge read during the holidays. When I heard she has a new sci-fi series/duology coming out? Of course I jumped on the chance to read it!

What I found so irritatingly unnecessary is the developing romance, which was like the -we both have false identities-but we’re actually -enemies to lovers-. It's so annoying that Nova and Adrian can’t just stay enemies as they actually are or platonic friends. This type of romance is over done, and there is no chemistry because I kept on screaming “stop it Adrian!”“stop it Nova!”and frustration. This is an easy/lazy method of writing to create some sort of messiness or tention and it ended up falling flat on its face. Also they had four people on the team and the author paired them up male female and male female,(ugh heteronormativity)

There is one thing that I can give high praise is on the aspects of diversity. Our main character Adrian is described to have brown skin and he was adopted at a young age by his two dads. Our other main character Nova is Italian Filipina briefly mentions about her being biracial There is a character called there if you just character who has a disability and has to use a cane.

I was really hoping that we can have some side characters fleshed out, ones that the readers could really get invested in. Here is the problem, I connected to 0 of them. A big part of the problem was that the narrative was so focused on Nova and Adrian’s backstory and current plot points. There are two POVs, and they were our protagonists, so I feel like that's the reason why. I wanted to feel like the side characters were my best friends, but that just didn't end up happening for me.

The most boring part of this book was the Throne of Glass-esque competition where gifted people audition and compete to become a Renegade. It’s your typical what you could envision because it's been done time and time again in fantasy and sci-fi way. The most yawn worthy part of the book, because this was where I almost DNFed this.

Another thing that irked me to no end was the fact that the biggest super villain’s name was Ace. I’m asexual, and we’re portrayed as cold heartless monsters and the author choosing this name just rubbed me the wrong way.

Since I wasn’t this in physical form I actually didn't realise that it was the 500 pages long. Which wow isn't that way too long for a weak introduction where nothing really happened, was full of superhero villain cliches and over used tropes? No thanks!

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews

Monday, November 6, 2017

Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad, #2)Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is probably the fifth time that I'm writing a review for this book and I still don't know if I can do this beloved superhero/villain story justice. Let's start with the fact that we have a black trans guy on the front cover, which is an incentive for anyone to pick this one up from the bookstore.

Bells is definitely the most fascinating character, one that encroaches on the morally gray side which is what I love to see. He is just such a dedicated friend and he has such a big heart for those people he loves, and I love that about him. That’s what made this book so delightful, making me grin from ear to ear the whole time.

My favourite scene as a non-binary person was the normalisation of preferred pronouns; the constant use of him/his pronouns for Bells as well as the usage of the they/them. In fact, there was one scene where there was an introduction and everyone went around the room and just simply stated their pronouns. This made my heart so happy to see such in accepting save space for all of the characters.

Emma is the most relatable character in this whole series, because she is definitely ace and most possibly aroace; and that made me cry actual tears. I just want all the happiness from a fierce cinnamon roll whom I can strongly identify with. I have a feeling that the next book is going to be the best one yet, because it contains the queer of that I'm so desperately thirsty for.

Throughout this book Jess and Abby's relationship just grow stronger and more communicative like most long-term relationships tend to. I love how well they could read each other’s body language and how they adorably took care of each other through the ups and downs of their upsidedown life.

Nothing can live up to the first book in the series “Not Your Sidekick”, as that was the stellar five stars and my current favourite of the series; which is the only reason I gave this for starters. Still, this is a worthy sequel of the best,most action packed,epic, and diverse superhero story out there on the market.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Emma in the NightEmma in the Night by Wendy Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When you read a thriller in one sitting, without any breaks, because you're so enraptured and addicted to the plot twists and events, you know that it’s a keeper. As an avid psychological thriller reader, who has read countless other books with similar ideas/premises, this one definitely specifically had that shocking ending came out of left field.

The two Tanner sisters, mysteriously disappear one foggy night about three years ago. Emma was 17 and Cass 15, just young teenagers. After three long years Cass unexpectedly appears at her mothers doorstep alone... Then the story goes from there. What happened to the Tanner girls? Where is Emma and why did they leave?

One thing that I was fascinated by what is the exploration of narcissistic personality disorder that was labeled to their mother from a professional psychologist who had first-hand experience with their own mother. It was apparent that the author had really studied and researched these behavior patterns in family life.

However it's still rubs me the wrong way when mental illness is demonized because the stereotype of the “evil abusive mother” is rarely well done and more often than not damaging. I am hesitant to label this an accurate or good rep in this book and also I can't comment on the rep of the specific personality disorders so I'm kind of torn on how to view this.

It still rubs me the wrong way when mental on this is our demonize because this is the evil abusive mother and while I've always been fascinated by behavioral psychology I am hesitant to label this an accurate or good rap in this book and also I can't comment on the specific personality disorders so I'm kind of

A highlight of this book was that one of the two POV's. Dr. Abby Winters who is investigating, as well as the examining psychologist of the case. It's always the most interesting perspective when it's an objective outsider of the family who isn't directly involved in the messy past. From her perspective I feel like we gained and we learned so much about truly the dynamics and the psychological part.

One thing that made really put me off was the fact that for 99% of the writing there was just telling and not showing. There were no flashbacks, no third perspective objectively told, nothing that could be considered as showing. It was just all composed of stories that Cass told to the police detectives and family members. I know that the author did this in a deliberate way for the plot furthering purpose but the most basic rule of writing and crafting an excellent book is show not tell and this had minimal to no showing. Which is why I felt like I had a sour lemon in my mouth after I finished this book, unfortunately.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

View all my reviews
The Only Girl in the World: A MemoirThe Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

TW: sexual abuse, physical abuse, self harm, emotional abuse, animal cruelty/abuse, suicidal thoughts

In the vein of “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, this memoir explores the traumatic and a vastly different childhood from the “typical” western one. We follow Maude, an only child who grew up in France, completely isolated and cut off from the world for all her childhood. She was raised in a way where her father forced her to do physically train to survive under horrible conditions like being locked in a dark ray cellar for hours, intense physical activities after midnight, and left for days without food, etc.

From a young age, she was taught to not smile or show any emotion, that the world is a big bad place and people can kidnap her, that she should be taught to survive WWII era conditions. She was never shown any love or affection from her mother or father, because that was for “weak” people and she was a “superior being”. She could only bath in dirty water once a week after her father and mother did, and had to take out the chamber pot for her elderly father. There was a very strict schedule and no time for idleness. You get the picture, how absolutely messed up this family was.

All of her precious animals where abused, her dog chained up all day only let out for a couple hours at night, her horse forced to drink alcohol (incidentally she was also forced to drink alcohol since a very young age so that she could learn how to hold it down.)

While reading personal memoirs like this, I always find it extremely difficult to rate someone's life, so I tend to focus on the writing and coherent flow. In this instance, the writing was extremely straightforward, but the author focused on the same details of every day life, not necessarily on the big picture.

I usually like the memoir to be a bit more self reflective and introspective, which this lacked. Know that you're getting a very specific period of time, and I was waiting for more content in Maude adult life, like the psychological affects of her extremely hard upbringing; and was extremely pleased to know that she had become a therapist herself. She had survived so much brokenness and fear and darkness, that my heart was breaking for this child on every page as well.

One of the most important elements that I look for in memoirs is relatability. To my surprise from, from the initial synopsis I was doubtful, there were several very personal aspects that I strongly understood how it felt like. For example the love that your animals give you when you care about them, the way music makes you feel strong emotions, the way that she was homeschooled and didn't learn the material she was supposed to know , the way books let you escape into a completely different world.

I felt like because the author put these lights in between the cracks of darkness; which is why I could really enjoy and appreciate the story as a whole more. If you love reading cult books, I would put this one in your hands if we were at a bookstore. The abusive manipulative father is a religious fanatic who has created his own religion and is trying to force it down his child brides’ and chosen daughters’ throat. This is truly a touchingly dark memoir that really makes you think and re-examine your own life and that is always a good sign that the author has done their job.

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 9, 2017

You Bring the Distant NearYou Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautiful and gorgeous book! There's nothing more satisfying than when a story stays with you for a long time, and you carry it in your thoughts. If you know anything about me, I truly love multi-generational complicated stories that highlights relevant themes.

This book is a truly powerful voice that is needed in the YA community. We follow three generations of an Indian-immigrant's, Bengali family, and we get a look into the nuance of culture and what it means to be biracial, and lots of feminism that's highlighted. If I could use one word to describe to this book, it would be important.

Ranee is raising her two daughters, Sonia and Tara in a relatively American-focused culture and is worried that they'll use a part of their Indian culture. Sonia is in a "forbidden" biracial relationship, and a raging intersectional feminist that is trying to remake herself. Tara dreams of becoming a actress in the spotlight.

Ultimately you will be delighted reading about the complicated relationships of sisterhood, parenthood, and the nuances of being a biracial individual. Then we also follow the perspectives of the two daughters of Tara and Sonia. In total, there are five kickas* women's stories that we get to explore, and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect.

I couldn't stop reading this, because of the character's who were propelling it forward. All of the characters were so interesting and messy and I absolutely adored it. At first, there were a couple of extremely unlikable but the author frames it this way where you understand why the character does what it does.

Diverse, lush, fantastic, a new favorite that I want everyone to push up on their tbr.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

View all my reviews

The Goblins of Bellwater

The Goblins of BellwaterThe Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Everyone knew you shouldn’t go biting into fruit offered to you by magical creatures in the woods, even if you’d thought until just five minutes ago that such stories were, you know, only stories.”

Ooo, a shiny book about goblins, was basically my first reaction when I saw this book. We follow Kit and his family generational curse, of serving the goblins that live in the tree of Bellwater, Washington with golden treasures. Noone knows that these exist, but sisters Livy and Skye are about to find out and face the real dangers that lurk in the woods.

Skye-A twenty-one year old barista that goes to the woods one night, and comes back with an inability to speak about what happened to her. This renders as a depressed mostly silenced person, which is an extremely troubling for her protective older sister, Livy. Whilst Livy tries to uncover what actually happened on that dark summer night, she gets entangled in a romance with Kit. Then messy things happen, and lots of things have to get fixed for their circle to ever get back to "normal."

We start out quite literally in the middle of the woods, going an the adventure of a lifetime with this dark and atmospheric book. If you like whimsy and haunting stories, this one would interest you. The presence of setting is such a prevalent factor of the author's writing, and I haven't felt so transported in a book for a long time. At the beginning I felt like the author had a magical quality of making me feel the eerie atmosphere that so thickly permeated within all the scenes. Sometimes I felt like I was in a cafe small town, or in a boat on a river, or in the cabin where they lived.

My biggest problem with this book was that at the middle parts of this book, there was too much of an emphasis on romance. I know that in the first sentence of the synopsis it clearly says "contemporary romance", but I was thirsting for more fae stories. I would have rather enjoyed more of the history of Kit's ancestors, learning more about how the fae live, and exploring the magical realm here. Instead, it kind of falls flat for a while because the two romances are the dominant driving forces, and I just wasn't here for it.

Another thing that really irked me, was that Skye, and this so called "curse created depression". It was easily curable, if logical the curse was broken, and the representation was irritating me because I feel like it was done sensitively enough. Throughout the whole book, even after her sisters and Grady found out, Skye's curse was still referred to as "depression" when it shouldn't have been necessarily. I just wish that the author could have included more thoughtful nuance or not have included mental illness here at all.

Whilst I was reading this, it was an extremely enjoyable and engrossing. I just don't think it's going to win any awards, and all readers should be warned of what it really is: mainly a love story. That would have saved myself many expectations that were unmet. I am looking forward to reading anything else that Ringle writes in the future, as some of this was absolutely brilliant storytelling.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The PartyThe Party by Robyn Harding
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you want to read about domestic drama with some extremely unlikeable evil teenagers and rich selfish adults, that's not a thriller in reality, than this is the book for you. We follow Hannah, who's planning to go wild on her Sweet 16 birthday party, but she doesn't want to seem "uncool" next to all of her "cool" friends, so she starts doing things against the rules of the law and her parents. Needless to say, there is a serious injury that will change their lives forever, and make this party one of dark memories and regrets.

The story is told from four POVs, which I thought was necessary because this family doesn't know how to communicate with eachother and they each hold and hide their own secrets. There's Hannah, her parents (Kim and Jeff), and one of the mother's of a daughter that was at the party.

Kim Sanders is a very strict and hands-on mother, who stays at home, and is very involved in her children's lives. She thinks that she has the most well-behaved rule-abiding children in town, even though she fails to recognize that her two teenager's are growing up and growing apart from the way in which she has led them their whole lives. Her eighteen year old marriage with her husband is falling apart, in which she feels like she needs to treat Jeff like a child after last years unspoken "incident". Even Hannah and her brother notice the tension within their loveless relationship.

Hannah is a sophomore, pushing herself up to the ranks of the popular girls, which includes the controlling Lauren Ross, and her childhood best friend Ronni Monroe. As she explores her various relationships, like that with her new boyfriend Noah, she gets stuck in knowing what's right and wrong and actually doing the right or wrong thing in various situations.

When the party starts in the early evening, the girl seems to be having "clean" fun, gossiping about their classmates, eating pizza, watching their favorite movies, playing some fun games. At least, that's Hannah's parents think they're doing, until Hannah comes upstairs with blood on her hands, crying and screaming at her parents to do something, to help them. It becomes a question of "what actually happened that night?" which is the repeating question that we (as readers) are trying to piece together.

The plot was entertaining, I breezed through this book in one sitting, however the substance was a trainwreck, and the ending was ultimately a letdown, from all the action and buildup that was going on. Sure, there was a clear resolution, just not the type of climax that I was expecting to happen, which is what sorely dissappointed me.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

View all my reviews