Hey LOOK! Mini reviews! This is totally unforeseen and unusual!
Haaa. I’m just kidding. We’ve established that I read too much and am hugely behind on all my reading due to trying to find Narnia. But hey! It’s time to play catch up!
Today I’m lumping together some contemporary books. I’ll also link to longer reviews on Goodreads and I’ll also probably shout a little because of who I am as a person. And some of them are a little bit more than contemporary??? But yes I can rebel in my own rules. It’s who I am.
Thank you to Bloomsbury and Allen & Unwin for the review-copies!
Countless is about teenage pregnancy and eating disorders. And to be honest, it just wasn’t a “Cait book”. Which happens! Teens having babies and eating disorders are two things I just particularly avoid reading about. I also find it very saddening to read about unwanted children, okay? It’s really sad. And overall the story was just a LITTLE dull…considering it was basically Hedda + being a teen mum. I’m looking for a plot. I am looking.
I also felt there were a lot of holes in the story? Like we never really find out anything about why Hedda got pregnant. And despite Hedda being in therapy the WHOLE BOOK, she literally got so super bad and no one noticed. Umm…hmm. Plus add in horrible parents and not-very-well-defined-backstory and Hedda being a generally unpleasant person for reasons THAT ARE NEVER TOLD — I just didn’t connect! #Sadness
However I did appreciate that it featured counselling and therapy in a positive light! And by the end I reeeeally wanted to know what would happen and how it’d all work out with Hedda struggling with her eating disorder + having this baby. SUPER CUTE BABY BY THE WAY.
This is like a lowkey contemporary / thriller and…I wasn’t thrilled. This is about an adopted-girl who finds out her incacerated mother is a “supposed psychic” and Kaylee gets involved in this reporter doing a podcast on her mum. Not only is the story super slow and super unexciting, I super couldn’t stand Kaylee who was just using her friends and rude to her loving adoptive parents. And I just sat there the whole time thinking “EH SHE’S PROBABLY A KILLER” because that’s all I do in these kind of books. It ’tis a problem.
But seriously I napped. Twice. Nothing even happens.
Also the romance = irritating. Kaylee literally obsesses over this guy who has a girlfriend and DUDE — if this was gender-swapped it would be hella creepy. She friendzones her BFF, who actually likes her, and just continues pursuing this jock who doesn’t even care. And of course when the BFF gets a girlfriend — BOOM, KAYLEE IS JEALOUS. She’s super selfish the WHOLE book. She’s like a smol spoiled cabbage.
However, the exploring of “is telekinesis real” was kind of cool! IS IT REAL? CAN WE ALL BE MATILDA SOMEDAY? I wish to know. I also thought there were some fun plot twists at the end. But I definitely waaaay preferred the author’s first book, The Leaving.
This was an interesting book but yet entirely unengaging. It’s like designed to help kids learn about natural disaster, which is good! I mean, I grew up reading books like these! It’s easier to learn/care about history when you see it humanised through a relatable protagonist’s eyes. HOWEVER. This book didn’t flesh out any characters. So it was basically like reading an uber boring article. I think it was intended for middle-grade audiences??? And even I was bored? Mate.
Plus the earthquake and flood is the first chapter — and the rest is just Hokata putting together a puppet show to raise money. The characters were blander than a pot of glue and it all felt super detached. Plus if you took out the Japanese names and honorific…it didn’t even feel very culturally Japanese.
However I did learn about the tragedy that befell Japan in 2011. It’s frightening and devastating. Buuuut, just because the book is written about an important topic doesn’t make it an interesting/well written book. JUST NOT FOR ME, FOLKS. I’LL SHOW MYSELF OUT.
Unfortunately for me, this book, and the 62 billion galaxies I’m about to disappoint — I found this rather dull. It’s basically about 15 year old girl who (a) is a science and astrophysics nerd, (b) goes to school, (c) practises a speech, (d) babysits, and (e) sits about eating biscuits with a group of kids she’s being forced to be friends with. Excuse me while I take a short nap. I just can’t figure out how this is engaging to anyone??? BABYSITTING???
Also the messages were entire buckets of nonsense. Meg’s mother is a “wild and free spirit” and literally abandons her 15 year old daughter with her 1 year old sister and goes off on a random holiday. But the whole point? Forgive! Let people be who they are! Love! THIS IS NOT OKAY. This book feature a neglectful parent who 500% gets away with it.
SMALL LIST OF OTHER THINGS I FROWN AT:
- shy people need to “loosen up”
- there’s something “wrong” with having a serious personality
- boys can be complete jerks but it’s ok to forgive them because they like you
- if you are hurt by something you’re probably just too sensitive
- anxiety can be “cured” but just “pushing on through it”
However it IS always great to read about science girls! WOOO. And I thought it was brilliant how nerdy and passionate Meg was about space and astronauts.
Honestly, all up? It didn’t work for me.
Mostly because of the dire levels of NOTHING WAS HAPPENING and endless scenes at school or putting a baby down for a nap. I need…so so much more to a book than that.
Okay this is SLIGHTLY CHEATING….because it’s not altogether contemporary. This is like soft lowkey scifi x contemporary. And I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the first book, Because You’ll Never Meet Me, but this one??? I absolutely loved it! I adored the characters so much and the vulnerable emotion in the letters was on a level of PURE FANTASTIC WRITING.
I can’t get over how much I adored the characters! They are precious pieces of cinnamon toast. THAT IS ALL. Ollie and Moritz are so different and so so complex. Ollie is like this over excited puppy of bubbly personality and talkativeness (also totally sure he has ADHD and it’s really well represented). And Moritz is cautious and serious and somewhat cynical, but so emotional in this one. I LOVE THEM BOTH. (And ship muchly so.) And their character development is A+. I can’t even with how much I connected to them. <3
I also loved getting to know the other “experiment kids” in this book. I was prepared for the X-Men vibe so I really enjoyed it! And plus SUPER pleased with how none of them wanted their disabilities cured. They wanted to manage them/improve their lives, but no “cure” messages and that’s so encouraging. THANK YOU.
My only teeny complaints are: it was a bit slow in the middle, I felt the letters were a bit disjointed at times (the first book had more flow?) and I’m mildly disappointed at the ending. Like the ending didn’t RUIN the book for me. I just wanted more from it, and it really just feels like it’s begging for a sequel?? SO PLEASE GIVE.
I had so so many feelings about this one and I loved every page. Honestly these two boys. Tragic, strong, vulnerable, proud of their differences, and real. #Impressed