Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…

Goodreads

Published: 10th January 2017

I took an abnormally long time to finish this book because I kept putting it down for something else. That’s not to say that the book wasn’t good. Just that it wasn’t entirely gripping and at times it felt like it had been all done before.

Pros

Extremely heartwarming

The book in itself was very heartwarming. I loved the whole big brother  looking out for a boy that they used to foster thing. It was very sweet and I loved that.

The plot twist

I liked the twist at the end. While I think in a lot of ways, it was very expected, it also had that element of surprise when you realise that what actually happened didn’t really happen.

I’m trying to be vague so I don’t spoil anything but I think I’m doing a bad job at it.

Okay moving on.

It was relatable

The entire book was very relatable especially to me because I have ADHD. I really enjoyed reading a book from that perspective. It actually gave me a lot of Fish In A Tree vibes.And you guys know I loved Fish in A Tree.

I really related to a lot of the struggles that Julian went through including all his feelings of inadequacy and like he was always a third wheel. I think honestly anyone could probably relate to Julian in many ways.

Cons

Unrealistic

My only problem with this book was the fact that it was really unrealistic. At times, certain things about Adam just didn’t seem real. I mean yes, there are good people in this world. But a boy as popular as Adam, taking such an interest in a boy that essentially got placed in his home and who his mother is obsessed with, was just strange. I would have expected at least some jealousy on Adam’s part. Or at least some slip up or some flaw.

I didn’t expect wholehearted devotion to Julian which is what we got.

Overall this was a very heartwarming book that was unfortunately rather unremarkable. The writing was good. The storyline was strong. But this story has been overdone.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own.*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Review: Summerlost by Ally Condie

It’s the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar.

Goodreads

Plot

I really liked this book. I thought that it was such a fun read that had a lot of heart. You know, this is why I am a firm advocate for reading middle grade books no matter how old you are. Every middle grade book I’ve read at this age has impacted me so much. It’s amazing.

This book really forced emotions that I’ve buried to surface. Things like grief. Like pure and innocent curiosity and rebelliousness. I just felt everything that Cedar was feeling and it was powerful.

Characters

Leo

Leo was an excellent charachter but in a lot of ways, I felt like he was underdeveloped and lacking something. Like I know the crux of the story centered around him and his need to raise money and I did appreciate that but I just felt like there was something missing.

I guess it largely was due to the fact that we were not in his head at any point that made me feel sort of disconnected from him.

Cedar

Cedar on the other hand was the complete opposite. She had a lot of depth and her character had a lot of layers and it was really fun to explore that and her grief.

I think in a lot of ways Cedar helped me process a lot of feelings. I mean this week has been one of the most emotionally draining ones of my life.

In fact just two days ago I saw a dead man being embalmed right in front of me. I walked into a the room my grandfather was embalmed in and possibly interviewed his embalmer. I then attended a Buddhist encoffining. All this was for a series of articles I’m doing on Youth.SG.

I didn’t expect it to take it’s toll on me but it really did and I think it helped that I was reading this book alongside all this because it really helped me to bring a lot of unresolved grief to the surface and forced me to deal with it if that makes sense because in the book, Cedar is still very rawly grieving for her brother and father.

Overall

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was hard to read at certain points because it is a highly emotional book but it’s so worth it. I completely recommend taking a few hours out of your day to read this short little book.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by Penguin but all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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#TheLibraryProject: My Favorite Childhood Book

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Today’s post is extremely special.

So I was recently contacted by The Library Project who were hoping to work with me to bring awareness to their organisation and the amazing work they are doing in Asia.

The Library Project is essentially an organisation that works with orphanages and rural primary schools in Asia to provide them with books and libraries. They have to date conducted 1,800 literacy projects and trained 20,000 librarians.

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So today, they asked me to simply talk about my favourite childhood book because the organisation aims to help spark imagination and this is one of the amazing ways that we can sort of connect with our childhoods and just remember how much the books we read as children have impacted us so that we in turn can realise why helping organisations such as The Library Project is so important.

This will probably come as no surprise to any of you but the book that impacted me most as a child was The Secret Island by Enid Blyton.

Four runaways, Mike, Peggy, Nora and Jack, find a secret hiding place—a deserted island on a lovely lake. They build a willow-tree house, make their beds of heather and bracken, and grow their own vegetables. And Jack even manages to bring his cow, Daisy, and some hens to the island for fresh milk and eggs every day! But one day invaders come to the secret island…

Goodreads

This story revolves around four children who decide to run away from their unloving guardians. So they find this island and they slowly start to smuggle items from their home into a little hollow in a tree. Finally, when they are ready, they take a boat across to this island with all their smuggled items and they essentially turn the island into one giant home. They create a pantry for their food, they use branches and hay to create a house, they make outdoor beds for themselves. They even manage to smuggle over a cow and some chickens for milk and eggs and they create a little farm.

The story is one that is just incredibly imaginative and magical. It seems impossible that four young kids should be able to live alone like that but they manage to do it and Enid shows us exactly how they do everything one step at a time so that everything is believable.

As a child, I was (and kind of still am) very imaginative and I lived in my head a lot. I used to build majestic worlds in my head. My plate of food was a playground for miniature children to play in. My picture books came alive and I breathed life into each silly item and created a story for them. My pencils and erasers became two sister running away from the foster care system who found a trailer in the middle of nowhere and who made a home there. And don’t even get me started on my Polly Pocket dolls. Everything had a story in them.

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However a theme that I noticed through all of my imaginative rants was the idea of running away. I really don’t know why but somehow my child-like mind always romanticised the idea of running away to a magical forest or a secret world and living out in nature or a fairy’s mushroom. Maybe I read too much Enid Blyton but that was the way it was with me.

So when I read The Secret Island at about perhaps age seven or younger, I felt like Enid Blyton had somehow entered my head and taken my silly fantasies and put it on paper. It made me believe that my ideas of running away and living off the land was not impossible. It made me really see everything that I imagined in a different light.

Till today, The Secret Island remains the book for me. Goodreads tells me that I have read about 450 books in my life and I will still tell you that The Secret Island was the one that impacted me the most (though let’s be real. The Nightingale is still the love of my life).

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I hope you guys enjoyed hearing me reminisce and talk about my favourite childhood book. I’m so excited to be working with The Library Project. They are such an awesome organisation and they are doing such great work.

Just to let you guys know, the Library Project actually asked me to see if I could start a chain of bloggers to do this exact same thing to really get as much attention as we could and I just wanted to say thank you to every single person that responded so enthusiastically when I asked.

Thanks to all the support, #TheLibraryProject has become an actual thing and I am so excited about it. I mean we have official landing page for it for goodness sake! So make sure you check out all the other posts that will be going up today because the bloggers and authors working on this with me are such dynamic people and they have such amazing stories to tell.

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Hopefully this will not be the last #TheLibraryProject that we do. I’m hoping to do more in the near future because I truly believe in The Library Project. So let me know if you want to participate in the next one and I will very gratefully give you all the information you need.

Also, if you would like to donate to The Library Project, you can do do here.

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Review: The Girl In The Well Is Me by Karen Rivers

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hilarious and heartwrenching story about a bullied girl whose search for a new beginning takes a dire wrong turn.    

Newcomer Kammie Summers has fallen into a well during a (fake) initiation into a club whose members have no intention of letting her join. Now Kammie’s trapped in the dark, growing increasingly claustrophobic, and waiting to be rescued—or possibly not.

As hours pass, the reality of Kammie’s predicament mixes with her memories of the highlights and lowlights of her life so far, including the reasons her family moved to this new town in the first place. And as she begins to run out of oxygen, Kammie starts to imagine she has company, including a French-speaking coyote and goats that just might be zombies.

Publishing Date: 15th March 2016

Goodreads

*This book was given to me to read and review by the publishers but all opinions are mine*

This was honestly such a unique and refreshing book. I mean how often do you get to hear the life story of a girl who is literally stuck in an actual well in the middle of Nowheresville? Not often that’s for sure.

Plot

So okay let’s start with the plot. I loved the plot. I loved how fast paced it was and I thought it was very cute. The book was a little crazy though in that it jumped all over the place and was a little odd at some points but I actually found that to be quite okay.

I think a lot of readers thought that the book was a bit too jumpy but in my point of view, she could barely breathe. She was about to die. Cut the girl some slack!

Characters

Kammie

I’m just going to talk about Kammie in this review because in my head, she was the only relevant character. Everyone else was secondary. So I loved Kammie. I thought she was an extremely well-developed character. I especially loved the fact that she was mature yet not mature enough that she started to act older then she actually was. You get what I mean right?

I also really loved that her stream of consciousness was all over the place. I really enjoyed hearing about everything that was going through her head while she was stuck even if that meant that I had to hear about phantom zombie goats at the bottom of the well. I loved it because it was honest. I mean it just had this element of authenticity you know?

Like no one thinks coherently. Everybody has spaghetti thoughts. Thoughts that are messy and jumbled and that never have direction. But I’ve never read a  book that showed that human side of the brain if you will.

Overall

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It made me angry and sad and happy and I really enjoyed the rollercoaster.  I don’t have much to say about it because its not really a book that you can summarise and trivialise. It’s the kind of book that you just really have to experience. But I can say that you won’t regret it if you pick it up when it gets published.

My-Rating-4-Stars

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