You know how some people enjoy spending their spare time and what little money they have out clubbing, drinking and just staying out till all hours of the morning, yeah? …Well that’s absolutely not me at all! I use to think that this was something I almost ‘had’ to enjoy, I mean, I still didn’t pretend to even though I thought it would seem more ‘acceptable’ (don’t ever do this, do what makes you happy!) as I stuck to what I know and love, and one of these things just so happens to be the complete opposite: reading.
Immersing myself in a good book has always been one of my favourite past times. From the moment I learnt to read and write I was constantly finding new books and letting my imagination run wild in my own stories too. I’ve recently been slacking on reading regularly throughout exam season so I planned to catch up on the much-needed reading during my recent family holiday to Gran Canaria, and ordered 3 new young adult books especially for the trip: ‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven, ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon and ‘We were liars’ by E. Lockhart.
For an 11 day holiday you might have thought this was quite ambitious to read three books totalling over 900 pages, or you might not. Personally, it wouldn’t have seemed like much of a challenge but, after barely reading any of my first book, All the Bright Places, within the first half of my holiday, I had no idea how I was going to finish all three books, despite being a quick reader. It actually turns out that I finished the first two books really quickly after that and had to delay starting ‘We were Liars’ till the plane journey home, just to make sure I had something to read!
I really and thoroughly enjoyed all three of these books and would definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to find some good books for summer reading and that loves a bit of romance, some friendship, personal exploration and struggles, and of course, the all important subject of family.
So lets begin…
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
‘All the Bright Places’ might just be my favourite out of the three, (although it is very closely followed by the other two), simply due to the enticing storyline and the vivid portraying of characters which you grow to love. The book tells the story of two very complex characters who meet on top of the school bell tower, both thinking about jumping off. Violet Markey is mourning her sister’s sudden death after a traumatic accident, and is now unsure where her life is taking her and who she is, and Theodore Finch, ‘Finch’, who struggles with numerous personal and also mental difficulties throughout, and is deemed as an outsider by his classmates, in comparison to Violet’s friendship with the more ‘popular’ pupils.
‘All the bright places’ takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from the very first page to the final one, as you follow the characters throughout the highlights and lowest moments of their individual lives and time together in a relationship. This beautifully-written modern love story by Niven truly captivated me from the beginning; with her very lifelike character portrayal and her detailed descriptions throughout, it is easy to visualise and can therefore imagine the world within it and grow an easy attachment to the characters (which did ultimately lead me to shedding a tear or two!).
Overall a simply wonderful and highly-recommendable book. In fact, my sister also read it whilst on holiday, after I kept going on about just how amazing it was, and she seemed to love it too! I also learnt a great deal throughout ‘All the Bright Places’,(it is always great to come from a book knowing something new I think personally), as it incorporates the subjects of mental illnesses and suicide within the story; opening my eyes to a number of things that were previously unknown.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
‘Everything, Everything’ follows the story of Madeline/ Maddy, who lives shielded away from the world due to her severe allergies which have left her unable to leave her house for 17 years. Before now, she has managed to push away thoughts of the world outside her walls, however, when new next-door neighbours move in, Olly, the boy her age, catches her attention. As a unexpected and rather inconvenient relationship begins to form, Maddy’s perception of the world around her changes, as her feelings develop for Olly; new feelings that she hasn’t encountered before. These feelings push her to new lengths and make her experience things that she wouldn’t have thought possible up until this point.
I finished this book in 1 possibly 2 days as I was so gripped and had to be forced to put it down, just to make it last longer! ‘Everything, Everything‘, is written in such an interesting way with the use of communication and diagrams present throughout to express Maddy’s thoughts and reveal how the formation of her relationship with Olly takes place. The book explores just how much we are willing to do when we are in love, and Yoon does this so magnificently with her brilliant and unique way of writing perfectly intertwining love with the other numerous themes she trails throughout. Just Fabulous!
We were Liars by E. Lockhart
‘We were Liars’ focuses on the very wealthy and privileged Sinclair family; the story being told through the narrating character of Cadence (Cady) Sinclair, the eldest grandchild of the family. From the onset we learn that the Sinclair’s are very well regarded for their supposed superiority in terms of seeming to be the perfect family image, however, as the book progresses, we find that there are plenty of secrets and lies ravelled up within the family, and a number of imperfections kept from the public eye. After her suspicious accident 2 summers ago, Cady returns to the private island where her family spends every summer, to find that a vast amount has changed and her family refuses to acknowledge certain deaths and doings. As Cady’s memories from 2 years ago, which were previously forgotten, start to return, Cady now seeks to separate the truth from the lies more than ever.
‘We were liars’ is written in such a clever and ingenious way that the lies and the truth are so intricately woven together, it makes it almost impossible to know what is the truth and what has been twisted. This book explores family relationships, friendship and a touch of romance, along with a shocking ending which will make you want to read the whole thing again just to pick up on the clues you missed the clues the first time round. It is utterly addictive (I couldn’t put it down) and definitely not one to be missed!
If you weren’t aware, all three of these books are also featured in Zoella’s WHSmith book club along with 5 other books, (which I am sure I will also be reading in the near future, having loved all these reads whilst away)! Zoe’s WHSmith’s ‘book club picks’ video on her Youtube channel, gives you a second review of these books, if you would feel that gaining another opinion would be great before deciding to buy them (as I would highly recommend that you do seeing as I enjoyed them so much!).
I’d be rather surprised if you have managed to read this far, as I’m certain it must be one of my longest posts yet, so a mini applause for you if you are still with me! I hope you are having a lovely summer, however you are spending it, and that you are continuously searching for the beautiful things and moments in everyday, something these 3 books really made me think about.