Book Review

Book Review: The Promise Girls

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★★★★

ARC generously provided by the publishers and Netgalley for an honest review

I really enjoyed this book! Sure it was unnecessarily “mysterious” and some of the plot points could be spotted a mile away, but there’s no denying the Marie Bostwick is a good storyteller… just like my favorite character in this book happens to be!

The Promise girls are three sisters. Joanie is your stereotypical bossy and mothering oldest sister, Meg is the unfortunate middle child who gets her head cracked open, and Avery (my favorite) is the young, fanciful and flighty youngest child and part-time mermaid. Each daughter was “designed” by their mother (Minerva Promise… obviously fake but totally awesome) to have a love for a certain branch of the arts, and they were supposed to lead fabulous lives pursuing said arts. Joanie the pianist, Meg the painter, and Avery the writer.

Needless to say, they did not fulfill their mother’s wish, thanks to an act of rebellion by Joanie and her mother’s batshit crazy reaction…

The story picks up after 20 years, and kind of follows the ordinary and mundane lives of these former child prodigies. Meg has a car crash right after finding out something “mysterious” that makes her really mad, so of course she loses all her memories… Cheap shot but it’s okay, it works (slightly). To cover the hospital bills they agree to do a documentary chronicling the lives of failed genius. Honestly, it’s not very exciting, but it is compelling and very good writing, and there’s always that “mystery” keeping you reading wanting to know what it was… even though you could probably guess…

The only complaint I have about the book is that the delivery kind of fell flat over the “big reveal”. I felt like the reactions were not plausible and the way the stories were told were more like journal entries than people telling their family something important. I try and always put myself in a scene and if I had been there, I would most decidedly not have acted like they did. After that it kind of just went downhill… like she stopped making an effort and just wanted to finish the story… which is ok in some cases, but in this case I feel like there was just too much that wasn’t wrapped up as well as it could have been.

I’ll leave you with a few reasons why I wish Avery was my best friend:

“To Avery, buying books was one of life’s most pleasurable and affordable luxuries, on you could keep forever and enjoy over and over again.”

“In feeding her imagination, she had smothered the bitterness, despair, and hopelessness that often mark those who know life’s cruelty acutely and at too young an age. Imagination had saved her.”

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Book Review

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Review:

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I love John Green, and I think he’s a great writer. I just don’t think his books are that great. This is my second by him, and once again I’m left underwhelmed. I feel like he takes cheap shots at tearjerkers, and I just can’t stand that.

For the length of this book, it took me way too long to finish. I’m guessing that’s because I felt no connection to the story or the characters… preferring to do other things instead. To be fair, it’s also been a crazy week…

In this book, we follow from a 16 year old boy’s perspective as he tries to navigate the minefield of teenage angst. Alaska is the manic-pixie-dreamgirl his life starts to revolve around, and while I like her passion and point of view most of the time, she is angsty, depressing and bitchy. Pudge is kind of a weirdo too… He collects famous last words and I’m pretty sure he was way too mature and not enough obsessed with sex for his age…

Disaster strikes (not what I was expecting to happen, though in hindsight I should have guessed), and we’re left with a couple of teens trying to make sense of life and it’s purpose… or lack thereof.

I guess this officially means I’m getting old, because I know for a fact I would have adored Alaska and wanted to have been just like her when I was 16. I would have gotten her. Now I could barely bring myself to care and found myself rolling my eyes at her dramatics. I wonder what it is that makes people grow out of that teenage angst phase… I sure as he’ll don’t think it’s because you figure out what you’re supposed to be and do, because I still don’t know… but thank God I grew out of it, because it was horrible.

Anyway, while this book didn’t blow my mind or leave me with a lasting heartache, it was a decent read and John’s writing made it worth it in the end. I probably won’t pick up any of his other work, but I still like him, and if he writes an adult novel I might consider that.

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