Review: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

25716567*I received this book from the published in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

Author: Mona Awad

Publisher: Penguin Canada

Publication Date: February 23, 2016

ISBN: 9780143194798

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl?

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Lizzie’s story centres on weight and image, how women are perceived and how they perceive themselves, particularly when it comes to their weight. I feel like I was expecting quite a different story from the one I was expecting. This book is described as “hilarious and cutting” and “sparkles with wit” on the cover, but I couldn’t quite get myself in the frame of mind find much humour in this story. While there are witticisms and quips throughout, the overall story left me quite morose. I was hopeful that this story would open up a conversation on loving oneself despite one’s shape and size, but Lizzie is often a self-depreciating, self-loathing character who struggles immensely with both societal pressure and the pressure that she puts on herself. This book to me, seems like a much more series discussion on self-image and self-love and how many people have difficulty with both of these things.

Lizzie cannot love herself when she is heavier, and she becomes obsessed with food and weight more and more as she begins to lose it. Her obsession creates a wedge in her relationships and friendships, and keeps her from really loving herself. Lizzie lacks confidence in her own beauty as a woman at all sizes and stages in her life. While many love her for exactly who she is throughout her life, Lizzie remains distant from the beautiful image of herself that others see. She finds repulsion in the weight of the women around her and uses anger and disgust to drive her own weight loss.

I think if the cover and description of this book had advertised it as an intimate look at a young woman’s struggle with weight and her difficulty with loving herself, I could have approached this story with a very different frame of mind. I was let down as I expected a hilarious, own-my-body, “I’m beautiful no matter what” kind of story and that’s not what Awad’s book is at all. I cannot say I’d recommend it, but it’s a pretty good read as long as you realize what you’re getting yourself into.

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Review: The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

25467698*I received this book from the published in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: The Love That Split the World

Author: Emily Henry

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

ISBN: 9781595148506

The Love That Split the World

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right. That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

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LOVE! I enjoyed this book so much. It’s one of those ones that once the story captivates you, you can’t put it down. That was me from the moment I read page one. My butt was glued to the couch for hours. Natalie sees things that are “wrong.” She sometimes suddenly finds her self in a world that’s like hers but isn’t quite right, but she always returns to her own world. She has always confided in the woman she calls Grandmother, a woman who tells her stories of the world and of life. These stories are the key to helping Natalie find her way. When she meets Beau, Natalie is swept away with a romantic connection so intense and so right, it changes her perspective on her life.

This novel has so many complexities, so many twists and turns, and I’m so excited by intricacy of it all. It’s hard to explain without going into too much detail, and I certainly don’t want to ruin the plot for you, but this story is about exploring one’s heritage and connecting with one’s ancestry. Natalie is adopted and when as she learns more about her mother and her history, she is able to connect more with her heritage. The stories told her her by Grandmother connect her to an oral story telling tradition that spans centuries. She begins to understand herself better as a young woman, as a family member, as a friend, and as person trying to find her place in the world.

This is an incredible story of friendship, family, romance, and connection.  As teenagers in their final summer before college, Natalie, Beau, and their friends are trying to enjoy those last few weeks together, but they face setbacks and struggles that put everything in jeopardy. This story perfectly encapsulates what it means to grow up, especially when faced with incredible trials. The characters are faced with tough decisions, difficult feelings, and brand new experiences.

Enjoy!

Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

13206900Title: Winter

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Publication Date: November 2015

ISBN: 9780312642983

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

 

Like on Goodreads:
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

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I don’t want to give too much away with this book because it is the final instalment in the Lunar Chronicles series. This was a wonderful wrap up to this exciting and refreshing take on our classic fairytales. Meyer had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This book has so many twists and turns, you never know quite what to expect. I thought for sure so many times throughout this finally that things would end up terribly. Common sense says that the story will end happily ever after, but Meyer is excellent at making you believe otherwise. This is one of my favourite YA series. It’s been intense, creative, and full of loveable characters. Despite having so many characters, it’s easy to connect with each of them and to see them grow for the better. If you haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles, I’d highly recommend it. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

23168406Title: Rogue

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780373211463

 

Rogue (Talon #2)

 

Synopsis on Goodreads:
Deserter. Traitor. Rogue. Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant. Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember’s own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George. A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

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I can’t say that I loved Kagawa’s book 2, Rogue, but I still really enjoyed the second instalment in the Talon series. Without spoiling anything, I’ll give you a brief review of my thoughts on the novel. We see our heroine, Ember, take some pretty big steps and make some very life-changing decisions in this book. She really takes her new life by the horns, embracing everything that the Rogue has offered. There’s a lot of growth in Ember between book one and over the course of this novel. I really liked seeing her become a more informed, autonomous character, even more so than she was is Talon. There’s a lot more at stake in this book and this means an increase in the story’s intensity. It’s a quick story and will have your heart in your throat!

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