Calvin by Martine Leavitt

Title: Calvin

Author: Martine Leavitt

Published: November 17th, 2015

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads 

In this latest novel from National Book Award finalist Martine Leavitt, a schizophrenic teen believes that Bill Watterson can save him from his illness if he creates one more Calvin & Hobbes comic strip.

Seventeen-year-old Calvin has always known his fate is linked to the comic book character from Calvin & Hobbes. He was born on the day the last strip was published; his grandpa left a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib; and he even has a best friend named Susie. As a child Calvin played with the toy Hobbes, controlling his every word and action, until Hobbes was washed to death. But now Calvin is a teenager who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Hobbes is back—as a delusion—and Calvin can’t control him. Calvin decides that if he can convince Bill Watterson to draw one final comic strip, showing a normal teenaged Calvin, he will be cured. Calvin and Susie (and Hobbes) set out on a dangerous trek across frozen Lake Erie to track him down.

Review

* Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a review.

This book was a unique one for me and I’m really hoping that everyone will love it as much as I did. I’ve never read anything featuring a schizophrenic main character or even side character. I also found it interesting because it was written basically as one long letter from Calvin to Bill Watterson, the creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, though it didn’t really feel like a letter.

Calvin’s belief in the comics, as well as his condition were what really drove the story, that and the characters. Susie, Calvin’s childhood friend, had drawn away from him in favor of new and more popular friends. But the appearance of Hobbes draws them back together. She goes to see him in the hospital and he reveals his plan to walk across Lake Erie into the United States to prove his devotion to Bill Watterson (wait what?). This will be his cure, not medicine but adventure, which may seem a bit…odd, but you must remember that he is a recently diagnosed schizophrenic. And maybe Susie’s a bit crazy too, because instead of alerting his parents as she originally intended, she ends up joining him in this journey. From there, everything goes sort of crazy (well…more crazy) and the two teens really start really to grow as characters. They meet an amazing group of people while on the lake, made more amazing by the fact that they are on the lake, who really pushed me to think. Though, truthfully, the entire book drove me to think. Take Hobbes for example, though he may be a figment of Calvin’s imagination he still has quite a few amazing things to say…

-Hobbes: Remember what it feels like to wake up on a summer morning and not think about anything except going outside and sitting under a tree? You’ve forgotten. I bet Bill has, too. Instead of a heart you’ll have an iPhone. Instead of a brain you’ll have pings that tell you what has to be done that day and that minute. You’ll never sit in a tree house again, or build a snow fort. You’ll rake and shovel walks, instead. But it doesn’t have to be that way, ol’ buddy…

I don’t know about you guys, but I find that kind of profound, especially for an imaginary tiger. And speaking of imaginary, another reason that I loved this book so much is because I never felt entirely certain whether or not the things that were happening and the characters that were actually real or only real to Calvin. But I didn’t really care if they were real or not in the end, because they were real to Calvin and that ended up being good enough for me. 

Who else has read Calvin? What other books have you readwhere the main character is schizophrenic?

-please note that this quotation has not been checked against a final copy of the book.

The Merciless by Danielle Vega

 Title: The Merciless

Author: Danielle Vega

Published: June 12th, 2014

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Goodreads 

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .

In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

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The Inner City by Karen Heuler (Mini Review)

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Title: The Inner City

Author: Karen Heuler

Published: Febuary 13th, 2013

Rating: 5/5stars

Goodreads 

Heuler’s stories dart out at what the world is doing and center on how the individual copes with it. Anything is possible: people breed dogs with humans to create a servant class; beneath one great city lies another city, running it surreptitiously; an employee finds that her hair has been stolen by someone intent on getting her job; strange fish fall from trees and birds talk too much; a boy tries to figure out what he can get when the Rapture leaves good stuff behind. Everything is familiar; everything is different. Behind it all, is there some strange kind of design or merely just the chance to adapt? In Heuler’s stories, characters cope with the strange without thinking it’s strange, sometimes invested in what’s going on, sometimes trapped by it, but always finding their own way in.

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The Child of Two Worlds by M.E. Megahee

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Title: The Child of Two Worlds

Author: M. E. Megahee

Published: January 4th, 2014

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Goodreads

Schuyler Chase appears to be a beautiful eighteen-year-old girl in suburban Atlanta. In reality, she is an immortal being caught in an epic war between vampires and werewolves. As a half-vampire, half-werewolf hybrid, Skye is an abomination to both–hated, feared and hunted because of her superior supernatural powers. Skye hides from her relentless enemies by pretending to be a high school senior, each year switching schools to keep up the ruse. In her newest school she quickly makes friends, only to discover that they too are immortals–werewolves from the same pack that had killed her parents sixty years earlier. One of them is the devilishly handsome Zac, whose blood calls to her like a siren’s song. Skye fears that her new friends will kill her the moment they discover what she is, despite their opinions about the pointless blood feud. Time and again they stand by her and protect her. But will they be able to stop themselves when their free will is taken from them? Will Skye be forced to kill them to survive?

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Library Books I Have to Finish

There are some books that have lived on my tbr list for years, most of them I will probably never read for one reason or the other. I check them out from the library, oh so very excited, and fail to read more then a page, if that. Sometimes they just stay in a pile. I always feel so bad when this happens, after all it’s no fault of the books. I just get busy or read stuff I already have. Anyway, here are two books that I just recently checked out that I am determined to finish.

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Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce

 Title: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures 

Authors: Jackson  Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater (also the illustrator)

Published: April 28th, 2015

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads

From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.
Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.

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Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Title: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

Author: A.S King

Published: October 14th, 2014

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Goodreads 

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last–a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities–but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions–and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do anything to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

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Books I Never Finished

I never finished an of these books and I probably never will. I have a longer list on Goodreads with more DNF books, but I thought I’d share these in particular because they are all quite popular and this my opinions of them are quite unpopular.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

This one is probably my own fault. Even from the start of the first book in this series, I knew it wasn’t really my kind of thing. Throughout the series Katniss has gotten on my nerves constantly, if not a little less in the second novel. It grated on my nerves how she focuses so much on Peeta and Gale in the second book and displays very few signs of post traumatic stress. With that said I much preferred Gregor the Overlander, another series by Suzanne Collins.


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

I’m not quite sure what it was that I so disliked about this one, but if I remember correctly I didn’t read more than the first few pages. It just didn’t work for me, and I think I would enjoy it even less at this point in my life so I’m probably just going to leave it untouched.

Marley and Me by John Grogan

I have enjoyed such autobiographies as The Pianist  and An Ordinary Man, but I had no such luck with Marley and Me. It’s true that I have little experience with the genre, but that’s not why I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it because I felt that Marley’s owners weren’t quite ready to bring a dog into their lives and I found the storytelling aspect of the book to be dry and minimally entertaining. I got a little less than a third of the way through before I stopped and I don’t see myself continuing with it anytime soon.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

This is another book that just didn’t agree with me. I can’t tell you exactly why, as it’s been awhile since I actually tried reading it, but I think the main issue with it that I had was the lack of complexity in the writing. Perhaps I read it too late and would have enjoyed it more at a younger age, but my friends quite liked it so I can’t really use age as a proper excuse. It just rubbed me the wrong way and that’s about all there is to it.

                       ——————–

And of course, just because I said I’ve given up on these books, I’ll probably find that I have the urge to read one or two very soon.

What were your thoughts on these books? What books have you given up on?

Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

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Title: Indelible

Author: Dawn Metcalf

Published: June 30th, 2013

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Goodreads

Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT

Review

This book was originally on my ‘must-read’ list but I’m afraid it just fell a little short to me.

It’s incredibly hard to love a book if you don’t like its main character. Joy was immensely hard for me to like, I struggled to see where she was coming from time and time again. But her reliance on others and tendency to over react just got on my nerves. However I liked her “best friend,” Monica, even less. What kind of friend best or otherwise abandons you right after you’ve experienced a traumatic event? I hope none of my friends ever do that to me, I cant even begin to express how unfriendly I would feel towards them. It would be exceptable, I suppose, if they had a good reason for doing so. Let me just say that Monica had just about the worst reason ever, and Joy just brushed it off, like nothing was wrong.

Ink and Inq were the only reason I ended up enjoying reading this book. Their unique perspectives were intruiging. I especially liked Ink because he saw everything involving humans through fresh eyes. Unfortunetly his lack of experience with humans was probably what drove him to be interested in Joy who I imagine he would have been much better without. Inq I liked a little less than Ink because of some of her immensely strange behaviors that I didn’t particularly agree with. Overall I really enjoyed their opinions and ways of seeing things, but most of the other characters, including Ink and Inq at times, just plain got on my nerves.

John Dreamer by Elise Celine

 Title: John Dreamer

Author: Elise Celine

Published: February 1st, 2014

Rating: 2/5 stars

Goodreads

Andy wasn’t usually sure about much, but she was absolutely certain this was the weirdest day of her life as she stood stranded in the middle of a great white room with six strangers. Well, they were mostly strangers. She could have sworn she’d seen the guy with the green eyes before, and maybe that was why he kept staring at her.
When a man calling himself the Guardian appeared and said they had come to make their deepest dreams come true, they embark on an adventure none of them ever imagined, and the consequences of their actions would change them forever.
“John Dreamer” is the first in a series of books set in the confines of the Great White Room.

Review

*Many thanks to AuthorBuzz for the free review copy via Netgalley*
(MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD)
“John Dreamer” is more optimistic than most of the books I usually read, but that wasn’t what I didn’t like about it. The writing was good as well, but the plot drove me bonkers along side my dislike for the main characters. Alongside six other teens with their six chairs our MC, Andy (or Andrea), finds herself in a strange white room.
What bothered me the most about the plot was it’s repetitiveness. It started off good enough, as I had no idea what was happening but then it took a turn for the worse. One sequence of events begins repeating itself. First one of the teenagers is taken away, then the Guardian shows up acts superior and a task is completed in which someone else disappears. It was predictable every single time apart from the very first time and none of the characters seemed to understand what was happening. They thought many situations were real until the end of said situation and didn’t use what they had learned in the next situation.
Andy, the main character, also fell in love with John Dreamer within eight and a half seconds, a fact she openly admits too. It was insta-love at it’s worst and I felt insta-nnoyed right away. It was in her POV for the entire book as well, so I had to deal with my disliking of her until it randomly changed. It didn’t even change to John’s POV, which might have made a bit more sense, it changed to the bully’s to show his perspective.
In my opinion the way the story was structured and the annoying array of cliches made it a very juvenile read. The author didn’t seem able to make up her mind on what to do at some points, and that being said, I can’t really recommend reading this.