Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Review | Love Is The Higher Law by David Levithan

Image and video hosting by TinyPicLove Is The Higher Law by David Levithan
Published On: August 10, 2011
Published By: Ember
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 163
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon | Goodreads

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . . 
The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him. 
Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by. 
David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

Following the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the lives of so many changed forever. For Claire, Jasper, and Peter, three teenagers who each witnessed the events differently, their experiences have changed them in ways they never imagined. Before, the three, having nothing in common, barely know each other. After, they must come together to support each other through the challenges that follow the day they will never forget.

Being just 7 years old, I don't remember much of that day. I don't know where I was when I found out and I don't think I really understood what was going on. I only had the opportunity to witness New York after the events, not before, and visiting the memorial pools and museum while in New York last year is the closest I will get to understanding the impact the events had on the city. However, the description of the events and general storytelling in this book were so vivid and insightful that it helped me to understand, if only a little, what it may have been like to witness the events and the impact they had.

This book places a lot of emphasis on the characters, however I didn't feel very strongly for the characters. Unfortunately, they were pretty average for me. I did, however, enjoy the multiple POVs as this aspect really added to the story. It was very interesting to see the varying impacts of the events on the three different characters, and how they can all react so differently to the same situation. It was particularly interesting to discover that these character reactions were based on the genuine reactions of those with whom David Levithan came into contact following the events.

The great thing about this telling of the September 11 events is the insight into the aspects that are not always talked about. I found it very interesting to read about things such as the office papers which ended up lying in the streets, the pictures and candle memorials, and the general stories of people coming together in the face of tragedy. It emphasises the more personal aspects of 9/11 and the way the city responded.

Through these more personal aspects, a theme of hope emerged from this story. Rather than focusing on the tragedy itself, this book emphasises the hope that can emerge from such horrific events. I loved the way the emphasis was placed on the human kindness and goodness that emerged from such hateful and horrific acts, rather than placing the emphasis on the bad. It is easy to see the extreme negatives of the events and the horrific impact it had on so many people. However, the emphasis is placed on the positive impact the events had on the way people changed how they treated each other.

"The terrorists - those nineteen people, with hundreds or maybe thousands behind them - did the worst thing that you could possibly imagine. But tens of millions of people did the right thing."

This underlying theme of hope was what made the book so great for me. The characters and their storylines were minor for me as they were completely overshadowed by this inspiring message. Going into this book, I really was not expecting an inspiring story of hope and love in the face of tragedy. However, this book inspired me to consider the way I live my life and the way in which I treat others.

"I think if you were somehow able to measure the weight of human kindness, it would have weighed more on 9/11 than it ever had. On 9/11, all the hatred and murder could not compare with the weight of love, of bravery, and of caring."

Overall, I think this will be a great read for those who were too young to understand the events of September 11, or those who were not yet born. It is a raw, thought-provoking account of the events and the aftermath, which inspires human kindness and love in the face of tragedy. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten OTPs

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke And The Bookish. Lists galore, I can think of nothing better!

I know this is a day late (oops!) but these things happen. This week's theme is a Valentine's themed freebie so I decided to share my Top Ten OTPs. I have so many favourite book couples that it was hard to choose a favourite ten, however I did manage to narrow it down. In no particular order...

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1. Isla & Josh from Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
I adore Isla and Josh, they are probably one of my ultimate OTPs. Isla is so much like myself that its a little bit embarrassing to admit, and Josh is just such a great guy. I think these two are the most adorable, genuine couple.

2. Lauren & Dean from Ignite by Lily Paradis
I forgot how much I loved Lauren and Dean until I reread Ignite back in January. They have such an unusual story and came together in a more unconventional way, which I think makes me love them more. The way they support each other in the hard times is lovely.

3. Adam & Mia from the If I Stay duology by Gayle Forman
I was not a fan of Adam and Mia in If I Stay but completely changed my mind about them in Where She Went. I absolutely adore them in Where She Went and loved that it shows real relationships aren't perfect, everyone has the problems they must work through.

4. America & Maxon from The Selection series by Kiera Cass
I absolutely loved The Selection series when I first read it and the relationship between America and Maxon was one of the reasons for that. I loved them straight away so from day one I was willing Maxon to pick America. I even love them as grown adults in The Heir, despite my dislike of their daughter.

5. Rosie & Alex from Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern
As Where Rainbows End is the book I claim to be my favourite of all time, it is no surprise that Alex & Rosie are up there with my all time favourite OTPs. Even though their story is told in the form of letter, emails, etc, the connection between the two was undeniable. It was also very unique in this book to see the relationship develop over the course of their lives, from around five years old to around fifty.

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6. Tris & Four from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth
As soon as Tris first met Four in Divergent, I was in love with them as a couple. Even though Four was pretty horrible to Tris for a lot of their initial interactions, we all knew there was some connection there just waiting to be acknowledged. I definitely prefer their relationship in Divergent, as I had some issues with the way Tris in particular was acting in the later books. I do love the two of them together though.

7. Q & Margo from Paper Towns by John Green
These two were the reason I loved Paper Towns so much. Q and Margo are such quirky, unusual characters that you can't help but love, and despite being so different, they are drawn together. I spent pretty much the entirety of the book longing for these two to get together and live happily ever after. 

8. Caymen & Xander from The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
I absolutely love these two as this relationship shows that coming from different backgrounds or lifestyles doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Though Xander comes from money and Caymen does not, they try not to let that define or affect their relationship, even though Caymen has her doubts. They are also such different personalities, with Caymen being such a great quirky character, so are more evidence of the saying opposites attract.

9. Georgia & Dave from the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison
Throughout this series I changed my mind constantly on who I wanted Georgia to end up with but I always ended up coming back to the same boy, Dave The Laugh. I'm all for being yourself in a relationship and the books in this series seemed to be full of Georgia changing things about herself to please the guy she liked. The only person she could truly be herself around was Dave and that's why I loved the two of them so much together.

10. Katniss & Peeta from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
I was unsure about whether or not to include Katniss & Peeta in this list as, to be completely honest, I really didn't care who Katniss ended up with while reading this series. I loved both Peeta and Gale so would not have been disappointed either way. However, if I had to choose, gun to the head kind of situation, I would probably have to go with Peeta. I think this was sealed by their interactions in Mockingjay when Peeta was trying to determine what was real and what was not, but I did love them together throughout the entire series.

Who are your ultimate OTPs?

Sophie :)

Sunday, 7 February 2016

TBR | February 2016

I haven't given myself a set TBR since I think August of last year due to my lack of reading. I decided to start them up again for February in the hope that I will make more of an effort since I have a TBR written down. Whether this will work or not, I'm not too sure. I've decided not to be too ambitious and stick to just 5 books, one of which I am around half way through and one very short book.

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I've been reading the sixth Harry Potter book since the beginning of December and am still only about half way through, not because I'm not because I'm not enjoying it but just because I have had very little time to read it. I have been enjoying finally reading this series ad since I didn't manage to finish it in 2015 as I had planned, I aim to finish it by the summer of this year, which is definitely possible. I really hope to be able to finish this in February.

One of my goals for 2016 is to start 5 new series and one that I would like to start is the Confessions Of A Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. I have heard so many great things about this series and for that reason I have been collecting the books in the series any time I see them. I have heard this is a very quick, funny read so I am hoping this will get me enthusiastic for reading again.

This is my very short book that I hope will be an easy one to get through in one sitting. Although easy may not be the best word, considering this book is set around the events of 9/11 and follows three main characters as they deal with 9/11 and attempt to cope afterwards. Since visiting Ground Zero and finding out more about 9/11 (most of which I was too young to really take in at the time) I am quite interested in the tragic events. Hopefully this will be a powerful, interesting read.

I pulled this one out of my TBR jar for this month which I am very happy about as I got the DVD for Christmas and can't wait to watch it, but obviously I need to read the book first. I probably know less than most about this book since it's so popular, all I know is it is about a girl who is referred to as the DUFF (designated ugly fat friend) by the boy she hates, and then ends up in some kind of strange relationship with him. I am looking forward to finding out what more there is to this story.

This was one of my Christmas presents this year and one of the books I have been wanting to read for so long. I decided to try and read my Christmas books quite soon as I have such a bad habit of buying/getting books and leaving them on my shelf for so long, even though I was desperate to read them. This was one of my most anticipated books as it is a little out of my comfort zone. It is about a princess who flees on her wedding day, only to be followed by two men - one the prince she left at the alter, the other an assassin sent to kill her. I've heard such great things about this book so I'm excited to get started on it.

What are you hoping to read in February?

Sophie :)

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Tag | Celebrity Book Tag

It has been forever since I have done a good, fun tag and since I have a few noted down that I lied the look of, I decided to give one of them a go today. The Celebrity Book Tag has been going round for quite a while now so I am pretty late jumping on this bandwagon but it looked pretty fun, so let's get started.

1. Emma Watson - A book with a hot kick-butt female character

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There really is no other answer. Katniss Everdeen is my ultimate kick-butt female and, as The Hunger Games is probably the main reason I am still reading today, she probably always will be. I admire the fact that no matter what is thrown as her, both in the games and beyond, she never gives up but faces everything head on.

2. Ryan Gosling - A book with the hottest male character

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It is really no surprise that I'm choosing the Divergent series for this. I absolutely love Four, more so in Divergent that the rest of the series. Even before I pictured Four as Theo James he was damn attractive, and is even more so now that I associate him with Theo.

3. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt - A book with your favourite fictional couple

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This was so hard to choose but with this book being so fresh in my mind having just reread it, I'm going to go with Lauren and Dean. I absolutely love both of these characters separately and as a couple they just seem to go so well together. I love their flirting and banter but also how they quickly became a bit of a family unit.

4. Shailene Woodley - Author you've recently discovered and loved

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I discovered a lot of great new authors last year but one that I discovered in the summer and completely fell in love with was Kasie West. I read her contemporary novel The Distance Between Us and loved everything; the plot, the characters, the setting. I can't wait to read more from her this year.

5. Josh Hutcherson - Favourite short story or novella

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For this I would probably have to say one of the short stories from My True Love Gave To Me. My favourite was probably Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White. This was a really sweet story with great characters and a more serious side that you wouldn't expect from a short story.

6. Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock - Favourite long book (over 500 pages)

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Despite being utterly heart-wrenching and causing a whole lot of controversy, I absolutely loved the final book in the Divergent series, Allegiant. The last third of the book is pretty much covered in my tears but it is definitely one of my favourite longer books.

7. Leonardo DiCaprio - A series with the most upsetting death

Again, Allegiant. I'm not saying anything more.

8. Kristen Stewart - A book you found boring

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I had such high hopes for this book considering how much I enjoyed my first Jodi Picoult read but I was so disappointed in this book. This is around 400 pages and it definitely didn't need to be. It was so repetitive and boring that I struggled to finish it.

9. Ian Sommerhalder and his cat - Cutest book on your shelf

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This is a tough one because I have so many cute book on my shelf. Isla and the Happily Ever after is one of my favourite books of 2014, which I then reread in 2015 and loved just as much because of how adorable it is. I love the relationship in this book between Isla and Josh so because of that I would say this is at least one of the cutest books on my shelf.

10. Jennifer Lawrence - Perfect book or series

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For this I have to go with possible my all time favourite book, or at least its in the top five, Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. This is the one book that I push on absolutely everyone as I loved it so much. I would say it is completely perfect in every way; from the characters, to the storyline, to the unique way the story is told.

Sophie :)