Genre: YA Contemporary/LGBTQ+
First Published: October, 2013
I hope you’re well on this Thursday afternoon.
Today I’m here to talk about a Library find that turned out to be particularly lovable.
Ellis’ father has been in a coma for years now after a construction accident in hopes that he still might wake up one day. There are only 4 days left of her sophomore year before summer vacation starts and Ellis is ready for it. Our main character goes to visit her father frequently after school, which adds more strain to her already troubled relationship with her mother. Ellis is also fighting with her best friend, or at least on her end she is. Often passive aggressive, Ellis has a hard time dealing with all the stresses in her life. On top of everything, she recently started talking to a friend she hasn’t spoken to since middle school. Follow her journey as she comes of age and comes to terms with love, loss, and relationships.
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Okay, confession time: I picked up this book for no other reason than hot dayum look at that cover! I was browsing the young adult section of the Library and couldn’t pass this one by.
I’m so glad that I picked it up, because I ended up loving this book way more than I thought I would based on the description.
I don’t even know where to start, since there’s so much I want to say.
I guess I’ll start with the plot/story/atmosphere. This felt very The Perks of Being a Wallflower to me, but not in a bad way. I’ve read quite a few books trying to emulate the passive-aggressive tone of that rapidly-becoming-a-classic book. Most I’ve been disappointed with. This one I wasn’t.
I really enjoyed this plot. I thought it was strong, believable, and mostly-realistic. Most young adults don’t have to come of age while their father is confined to a hospital bed in a coma, but I found the storyline to be relatable regardless. I was interested to find out how everything was going to play out and watch Ellis come into her own.
Speaking of Ellis, I really did like her character. She can be kind of whiney and woe-is-me-all-alone, but it comes across in a very un-idealistic way. I felt myself really relating to her and where she was coming. My father was never in a coma, but I understand the way in which she displayed her emotions and tried to deal with stress and grief.
I also didn’t mind the fact that she had a strained relationship with her mother because they still loved each other and fought over practical issues. Their relationship isn’t strong, but it’s written strong. I found this to be, like everything else, believable and appropriate to the story.
The other characters held their own, too. They all had depth and unique, highly-believable personalities and character traits. The development of them was highly satisfactory, especially Ellis and her close friends as well as Ellis’ relationship with her mother.
The set up of this story is also something to note: It’s creative and fresh. I loved the fact that each chapter was Ellis talking about something she loved and how it affects her life and then how it also actually tells the narrative and moves the story along. I thought the execution of it all was near perfect.
The writing increased this book’s strength. It’s not exceptionally special, but instead is quick to read with short chapters. This works in the book’s favor, though, as it makes it compulsively readable and easy to finish in a few sittings (or only one sitting if you’re feeling particularly determined).
Now, it says in the title that these 37 things are in no particular order, but we, as readers, know better, don’t we? As I said, the 37 things are not just random but are actually telling the story as new events unfold. And, of course, it all comes together in the end, which I really liked.
I’m going to warn you, though; this is a tear-jerker. I found myself shedding a few as I finished the last couple chapters.
The last thing I want to talk about is the way sexuality is tackled. When I picked this book up, I had no idea this fell into the LGBTQ+ category, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that creep up in the story. My favorite part about it is that Magoon does not feel the need to justify and explain the queer aspects of this book. She writes it like any other contemporary story with a love interest, and I gave much silent applause to that fact.
We don’t need books about being queer; we need books with people that are queer.
(Or any other type of identity that respectively falls into the LGBTQ+ category.)
So, all in all, if you like contemporaries or are looking for something similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower (except female driven), definitely pick up a copy of this book. It didn’t quite make it to the 5-star rating for me, but 4 stars is still an unbelievably good book!
Get your copy from Book Depository here for $9.25.
Have you read this book? Thoughts?
Up Tomorrow: Friday Favorites