Category Archives: Tough Stuff

*Review* Kiss of Broken Glass – Madeleine Kuderick

Kiss of Broken Glass Cover Kiss of Broken Glass

Madeleine Kuderick

224 pages

Read 10-16-14

Source: Library

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 Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.

In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.

I have read only two other books written in verse, but I have found I do enjoy the ones  have read and look forward to reading more.

Kiss of Broken Glass deals with a hard topic – cutting – and what could drive a person to do it.  I found Kenna to be very realistic and tortured, even if she didn’t want to admit it to herself.  Through Kenna we learn about the drive and ache of her addiction to self harm and the author does a great job of making us feel that need right along with Kenna.  The book spans only 72 hours, but in that short period, things become very eye opening.  The book was an incredibly fast read, but it was also powerful.

The few characters we meet during the commitment weren’t around very long, but they each had their own special impact on Kenna.  I especially liked Skylar and her honesty.  She was very open about everything and I think that helped Kenna be more honest with herself.  Donia was ok, but she was also someone who wanted to help Kenna keep cutting and didn’t seem like someone much into quitting self harm.  I didn’t get to know Jag too well, but the little bit I did see of him I did like him.

I definitely enjoyed this book and look forward to more work from this author!

Well written, powerful, fast read, really puts you in the main character’s shoes.

4.5 bookmark

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Contemporary, Fiction, Review, Tough Stuff, Verse, Young Adult

*Review* Dreamland – Sarah Dessen

Dreamland Cover Dreamland

Sarah Dessen

250 pages

ISBN: 9780142401750

Read 2-7-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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Wake up, Caitlin

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He’s magnetic. He’s compelling. He’s dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else–her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

This was my first Sarah Dessen book, and I got to be honest, I think I chose the wrong one to start with.  This story was just not for me, and it wasn’t because of what it was about.  I wasn’t crazy about the characters or the way they handled the situation.

Caitlin is on of my least favorite main characters.  She continuously made horrible decisions and stayed with Rogerson for no real reason.  Caitlin said she loved Rogerson, but I’m not realyl sure why other than love at first sight.  Rogerson was a jerk and I didn’t like him at all, which is what was supposed to happen since he is not a good person, so of course I wasn’t supposed to like him.  Caitlin’s best friend annoyed me the way she flirted with EVERYBODY; she was the high school slut apparently.  Even the mother got on my nerves.  She sounded so dumb and worried over some very trivial things.

The book didn’t keep me enthralled like I hoped and it was slower than I would have liked it to be.  There were even several points were I wanted to stop since I was bored with the book.  Even the reader for the audiobook read slowly and I just wasn’t very into it.  Even though I didn’t enjoy this book very much, I am still going to try another of her stories since I have heard so many good things, I just think I picked the wrong one to start with, though most people have reated this one high.  Maybe I am just one of  the odd ones on this book.  And like I said, it isn’t because of the subject – I gave Split by Swati Avasthi a 5 bookmark rating, but it was done so much better in my opinion.

Dreamland just didn’t get to me emotionally, except to make me super mad and I had no sympathy at all for Caitlin.  I hate that I didn’t love the first Dessen book I read, but I’ll try another!

Disappointing, uninteresting, didn’t like the characters, thought about not finishing.

2 Bookmark


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Filed under 2 Stars, Audiobook, Fiction, Review, Tough Stuff, Young Adult

*Review* The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

The Fault in our Stars The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

313 pages

ISBN: 9780525478812

Read 1-15-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

This was my first time reading John Green and it definitely will not be the last.  This story was so beautiful, poignant and touching.  Very powerful.  It was also my first cancer book.  The author did so well portraying what it is like to be a cancer patient, especially from the female point of view.

Hazel was very strong, even though she was also very sick and Augustus could make anybody’s day bright with his playful quips and positive attitude.  As heartbreaking as this book was at points,  I also found myself laughing pretty hard in places, mainly because of Augustus.  I loved how witty he was.

The writing style was excellent and fluid.  It gave te story a poetic flow and nice sound as the performer read it.  This is one of my favorite audiobooks and you could really feel the emotion in all the right spots.  Even the accents were wonderfully done.   The whole book was simply beautiful and dealth with a tough subject in an incredible way.  I greatly look forward to all works by John Green and highly recommend this book to readers who want to have their heart touch by such a wonderful story.

Powerful, beautiful, amazing, have tissues.

5 bookmarkVyki Signature Trans 2


Filed under 5 Stars, Audiobook, Contemporary, Fiction, Review, Romance, Tough Stuff, Young Adult

*Review* Freaky Green Eyes – Joyce Carol Oates

 Freaky Green Eyes

Joyce Carol Oates

368 pages

ISBN: 9780064473484

Read 9-25-12

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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“Later, I would think of it as crossing over. From a known territory into an unknown. From a place where people know you to a place where people only think they know you.”

Sometimes Franky Pierson has a hard time dealing with life. Like when her parents separate and her mother vanishes, Franky wants to believe that her mom has simply pulled a disappearing act. Yet deep within herself, a secret part of her she calls Freaky Green Eyes knows that something is terribly wrong. And only Freaky can open Franky’s eyes to the truth.

I thought this book sounded really interesting from the synopsis.  Alter ego? Missing parent? Sounds like a good story set up.  Unfortunately, I was fooled.  I really didn’t care for this book, even from disc 1, but I kept on trucking. Continue reading

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Filed under 2.5 Stars, Audiobook, Fiction, Review, Tough Stuff, Young Adult

*Review* After – Amy Efaw


Amy Efaw

350 Pages

ISBN: 9780670011834

Read 5-3-12

Source: Library

Format: Audiobook

An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . . Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made, Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there’s only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer. And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible, she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon’s unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.  

     The synopsis of this book had me very intrigued, but unfortunately it wasn’t what I was hoping for.  I wasn’t pulled in or overwhelmed by what happened and it didn’t get to me emotionally like I wanted it to.  There were a few rare scenes that stirred me, but I felt it wasn’t as good as it could have been.  I also felt it would have been much better has it been written in a first person POV.  I am always able to give a bigger emotional connection in my writing if I write it from first person since I put myself in it as best as I can.

I listened to this book instead of reading it, and after hearing the reader for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, this reader was kind of flat.  I also wasn’t a big fan of the main character, Devon.  She hardly spoke through the whole book and she really annoyed me.  I didn’t feel any sympathy for her and it seemed like all she did was have a bunch of excuses.

Some of the writing was okay, but it seemed to be very repetative.  I can’t count how many times “orange jumpsuit” was used.  There were things that I didn’t like about the way things were at the detention center in the book.  I work at a detention center, and tehre was plenty I didn’t agree with.  For starters, a male officer would never escort a female inmate, especially not a female juvenile, alone.  Considering I work at a detention center, the setting didn’t feel quite right, so it just didn’t do it for me.  Of course, it ws also a juvenile detention center in a state other than mine, so it really could be that different, but I don’t see a lot of what I disagree with happening.  Sorry, bit I’m biased.  It’s unfortunate I didn’t enjoy it because I really wanted to.  The only part I can say I did for certain like was the way it ended, it was right.

Good ending, repetative, didn’t emotionally connect, didn’t favor the main character.

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Filed under 2.5 Stars, Audiobook, Fiction, Tough Stuff, Young Adult

*Review* Split – Swati Avasthi


 Swati Avasthi

280 pages

ISBN: 9780375863400

Read 3-29-12

Source: Library

Format: Audiobook

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.
     He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.
At least so far.
     Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again?

     This book was surprisingly a lot more than I expected it to be and not what I expected it to be as well.  I guess I have been reading so much fantasy, science fiction stuff lately that I didn’t expect something so very realistic and tough.  This book is so well-written and the author can say so much with a sentence of so few words.  The words are strong and stir up so much, whether you read it or listen to it.  The author captures the ugliness of domestic violence in the pages and then pours empathy throughout your body with the words.  It hurts you, too, not just the characters, and you are there for every bit of Jace’s struggle.  The title has so many meanings, it’s hard to keep count.
I am not going to lie, this book deals with a very difficult subject, and as I was listening to it, there were parts where it was hard to keep listening because I wanted to just turn it off and try to wipe the ugly picture from my head.  It makes you mad, and breaks your heart, and gives you hope.  I wanted to hit Jace, I wanted to tell him everything was going to be ok, and I wanted to hug him.  His brother Christian doesn’t make things much easier for him at first, but luckily he opens up about things slowly.  I really liked Miriam because she is the character who wants to be there for you no matter what and keeps believing that everything will be ok, even if it may take a lot of time and she never gives up.
There is so much substance to this novel.  It’s so thickly wrapped with so much, it is almost a tangible thing.  The author did a superb job showing the characters’ emotions and the reactions they had were incredibly realistic.  Everyone in the book felt like a real person.  If I were to go to Albequrque right now, I would expect to see them there.  And speaking of Albequrque, the way the story read, I think the author may have been there before.  I went there in about 2008, and I recognized some things in the book that was familiar with this area of New Mexico, like the weather.  It was funny when they rode the tram because I could say “Hey! I’ve done that, too!”  I recommend this book for people who can read about tough topics and like powerful and moving novels.  This is my first “issue” book I’ve read, and I really have no negatives for this book.

A dynamic story, awakening to the subject, realistic, strong writing, intense, I can’t find anything negative from my point.

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Filed under 5 Stars, Audiobook, Fiction, Tough Stuff, Young Adult