on January 31st 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?
Normally I’m in love with Kasie West novels, but this was a really big miss for me.
1. They’re trapped in a library and NO ONE EVEN CARES ABOUT THE BOOKS. There is a disappointing amount of reading here.
2. One guy’s in a coma and THERE’S STILL A LOVE TRIANGLE.
3. The anxiety representation felt really off. It seemed like her anxiety came and went at really convenient times. She found out she was trapped in a library for a weekend and it didn’t even faze her.
4. This just felt really bland and uninspired. It could have been a great book, but meh? It was shallow and wholly forgettable. Seriously, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD. Two people are stuck in a library, what more do you need? Alas.
So… I’m basically just going to try to forget this book exists, and keep looking out for Lucky in Love.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
on November 16th 2016
Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That's down to one thing: hygge.
'Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight...'
You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.
Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.
The Little Book of Hygge is a small collection of everything that is right in the world. Hygge is a term that doesn’t have a literal translation in many languages, but it is a concept that everyone is familiar with: that sense of warmth, comfort, cosiness, belonging, safety. Something which the Danish have turned into a proper art form. In this little book, you will discover everything about hygge. How to hygge in summer, in winter, on a budget, in Copenhagen. Hygge is a reading nook by the fireplace with a good book and a comfortable blanket. Hygge is a cup of hot chocolate. Hygge is an intimate dinner party with board games. We should all learn how to incorporate hygge into our lives – there is a reason why the Danish are among the happiest people in the world.
As someone with anxiety and depression, I made it my personal mission to learn more about happiness and positivity. Because these things don’t come naturally to me anymore, but I can train myself. I keep a gratitude journal (apparently this is very hygge). I read books about happiness. I spend a lot of time on self-care, even the unpleasant aspects of it (e.g. doctor’s appointments). So when I found out about hygge, I was more than excited to learn more about it. I ordered a Buddy Box, which is a self-care subscription box. The Little Book of Hygge came with it, which was so perfect.
I read this book in my reading nook, with cups of tea, cookies, and several blankets. I learned about candles, discovered recipes, and smiled at beautiful pictures. This book was certainly very hyggelig.
Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
on February 28th 2017
The story of a teen girl's struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.
Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that's when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.
There are readers, particularly those who have dealt with eating disorders (specifically anorexia and bulimia), who find this book triggering. So please be warned and take care of yourself.
I really, really wanted to like Sad Perfect, but unfortunately, it just… didn’t work for me. I had high hopes, and now that I see that this book pretty much only has 5-star reviews, I think I’m going to be a black sheep.
I am glad I read the book, because I honestly didn’t even know ARFID existed, and now I know a little bit more. The author’s daughter has ARFID so Elliot obviously knows her stuff, and I think this part of the novel was written well and (as far as I know) accurately.
The writing felt quite simplistic to me, probably more along the lines of Middle Grade than Young Adult. The book was jarring from the very beginning because it’s written in second person. This was a very bold and risky move and might work really well for other people, but I never really got used to it.
The romance was far too perfect. They meet, they fall in love, they kiss a lot, everything is perfect. There was literally not a single hair on Ben’s body that was flawed – the main character only described him as beautiful and sweet and romantic and funny and charming and perfect, perfect, perfect. In short: boring, unrealistic, one-dimensional. He also kept saying how she was “different from other girls”, which really grated me. What’s wrong with other girls? (Apart from the fact that they have lots of Instagram followers, which really seemed to bother Pea for some reason.)
I also didn’t like the way her mental illness was treated. The main character thinks she is being cured by LOVE so naturally she stops taking her meds, then goes off the rail. She is eventually committed into a psych ward, which is constantly referred to as “the Crazy House”, and she also refers to her parents as “these crazies”. Someone like her surely should know better than to throw around these phrases lightly.
All in all, I would’ve liked to see more of Pea’s therapy. I was more interested in the eating disorder than I was in all the smooching.
Thank you Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing me with a copy
How Hard Can Love Be? (The Spinster Club, #2) by Holly Bourne
Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd on February 1st 2016
Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?
All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.
And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.
It was always going to be very hard to top Am I Normal Yet?, because I loved that book so much. It had such a great main character, and pretty damn accurate portrayal of anxiety and OCD, that I couldn’t help but enjoy it.
Thankfully, though, its sequel didn’t disappoint. Amber was just as likeable as Evie, old characters shine as brightly as they did before, and the setting was a month-long summer camp, which I always kind of love. On top of that, the Spinster Club comes back in all its feminist glory, which made for some really fun chapters.
Plus, there were so many Harry Potter references, I couldn’t not love it:
“And I was just about to judge her, when she said: “I’m so mad they got rid of Slytherin, I mean, Snape was, like, the best one,” as she walked over, and I learned a lesson about not judging people until you’ve found out whether or not they’ve read Harry Potter.”
Important lessons to be learned here, ladies and gentlemen.
If this series keeps up its momentum, it could very well become one of my favourites, and I’ve already bought the next book. (EDIT: I have since read What’s A Girl Gotta Do? and can confirm that it is awesome.)