ARC Review: Fragile Bones (Harrison & Anna)-Lorna Shultz Nicholson

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cooltext1889161239 copyMeet Harrison and Anna.

One is a fifteen-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to recite every bone in the skeletal system whenever he gets anxious ― and that happens a lot. The meaning of “appropriate behaviour” mystifies him: he doesn’t understand most people and they certainly don’t understand him.

The other is a graduating senior with the world at her feet. Joining the Best Buddies club at her school and pairing up with a boy with high-functioning autism is the perfect addition to her med school applications. Plus, the president of the club is a rather attractive, if mysterious, added attraction.

Told in the alternating voices of Harrison and Anna, Fragile Bones is the story of two teens whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways.

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3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Clockwise Press. 

Fragile Bones is an insightful journey into the mind of someone with high functioning Autism. Told from two perspectives, the reader experiences both the outsider and insider view coupling poignant emotion with total understanding. 

PROS:

  • This was my first book featuring a main character with high functioning autism. I didn’t know there was a distinction between different forms of autism. It was a true learning experience. My eyes were opened to how even the most minute things can cause anxiety and fear in those with autism, from shirt colors, to mixing of foods, specific items or shapes. It was fascinating and enlightening.
  • Lorna Schultz Nicholson did a ton of research for this story and you can really tell. Harrison’s sections are filled with meticulous attention to detail, spouts of words and ideas that seem to flow from Harrison without ability to filter. His obsession with bones brings him comfort and certainty. If he can recite the bones, everything is okay. When Harrison gets overwhelmed, sometimes he feels helpless and confused. The reader can identify with his loss of control as he abruptly goes from okay to flapping his arms and throwing things. Loss of motor control and speech is real and it’s chaotic. Harrison looks at the world with a wonder that is beautiful and inspirational. He sees things in ways that are unique and personal. He makes connections and has so much passion. He doesn’t always understand how the world works, he can’t differentiate between a girl who is a friend and a girlfriend. He takes everything literally and at face value. 
  • Anna is smart and perceptive. She’s kind hearted and even though she signed up for the Best Buddies program to up her resume for college, she grows as a person and discovers a lot about herself. Anna didn’t really care and wasn’t aware of the struggles that people with mental disabilities go through. Anna researches and studies, she makes mistakes and learns quickly from them. Anna is hyper sensitive to Harrison’s mannerisms and tries to find creative ways to defuse the situation when he starts to freak out. 
  • I LOVED that the author explained the Best Buddies program and featured people with all sorts of disabilities. Sometimes people write off those with mental disabilities and group them in as all being the same. Each and every one is different and the people are unique. As someone who was part of the Best Buddies program it moved me that Lorna really put heart and soul into it and showed how the program could be started at schools who do not have one. 
  • Alan is hilarious. He’s a little pervy but like the typical teenage boy. One scene had me laughing like crazy. The boys Youtube how to make out. ❤ Alan is charming and his friendship with Harrison is made of understanding and an unshakable bond. 

CONS:

  • Anna and Harrison’s story in terms of plot didn’t feel like it went anywhere. The ending sort of fizzled out and it wasn’t so much closure as…it had to end.
  • The story is slow and fell flat at points because no much was happening. Told from both Anna and Harrison’s perspectives, scenes are repeated and experienced from two POVs. While it was interesting to see the situation two ways, it was repetitive and I felt the urge to skim.
  • Secondary characters like Joel and Marnie were intriguing, I would have liked to have seen more of them as part of the story. They had short scenes that were memorable but didn’t last.
  • Bullying is a huge theme that is present throughout and affects almost all of the characters. Despite the constant reiteration of incidents, there’s not much on the repercussions for the bully, the after effects on bullied kids with disabilities (apart from Justin’s sister) and I felt like, in order to form a stronger connection to the characters emotionally, there needed to be a greater focus on bullying and the aftermath.

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 Pleasant reading,

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Review: Hell Bent-Karen Crompton

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cooltext1807812709 copyHe’s charming. He’s rebellious. And he’s as beautiful as he is damaged.

South Shore’s bad-boy surfer Beau Huntington has a solid plan to get through life: one night stands, getting wasted, and walls so high no one can ever get in – it’s all about numbing the pain.
And his plan’s working fine – until he meets Corrie Johnson.

Corrie is smart, determined, and focused on an elite swimming scholarship. But she has a dark past of her own, and keeps her secrets closely guarded. She’s made promises to herself not to let history repeat – ever. But is there more to Beau than he’s letting on? And is it time to let herself feel again?

It’s summer holidays and that’s when things start to unravel.

Because falling in love was never part of the plan.

It’s time for Beau to learn that the fight of his life doesn’t involve his fists.

Hell Bent is a story that matters – about life, love, and death.

It’s a story of how life can spiral out of control for those left behind.

And it’s a story of hope…

cooltext1807831675 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this ebook as a gift in exchange for an honest review.

+++TRIGGER WARNING: Contains some brief scenes of domestic abuse and violence.

Hell Bent is a gritty, poignant love story that explores the process of coping after tragedy and learning to care again when hope is lost. 

PROS:

  • Beau’s character growth was slow and had set backs, it was real and emotionally poignant. I appreciated that Beau’s pain wasn’t an easy fix. Beau has to work hard and discover parts of himself that he buried deep in order to cope with the loss of his brother. Beau’s flashbacks were raw and beautiful examples of Beau’s inner demons and the pure love he felt for his big brother. 
  • Beau’s aggression is terrifying. He flies off the handle and jumps into altercation at the slightest insult. He’s all fists and sharp bunches, he revels in bloodshed and bruises. Beau needs to make them feel the pain he channels internally and chooses to ignore. The violence is sometimes shocking but becomes almost expected. When Beau learns to turn his cheek, it’s incredibly uplifting and gives hope that he can save himself from self-destruction. Beau uses his fists as a mask for his sadness and the sense of betrayal he feels from his brother’s death. Therapy sessions are especially telling and though Beau lashes out, he begins to let go. The sense of helplessness and anger at the unknown, why do people kill themselves, what drives them to suicide, it is unhappiness? The questions are endless and the answers never come. Karen Crompton does a wonderful job portraying Beau’s agony over not knowing and resentment for the pain his brother caused his family.
  • Corrie is determined, strong-willed and doesn’t pretend, she tells it like it is and doesn’t have time to waste. Corrie is beautiful, light-hearted, a sweetheart with a spunky, flirty side. She knows how to push Beau’s buttons and teases him mercilessly. Her dark secret is heart-breaking. Beau and Corrie are two wounded souls who are just trying to live their lives the only way they know how after trauma. Corrie’s butterflies are poetic and haunting, she has such a big heart, it’s impossible not to like her. 
  • Rake and Alana are hilarious. Their lines are dirty and full of flirty, witty fun. They’re a glowing burst of energy together that adds a light, happiness to the story. They lift Corrie and Beau from their past and help them live in the now. Chemistry between Rake and Alana is undeniable and though it seems like a fling, quickly grows into an adorable sort of puppy love.

CONS:

  • Beau’s attraction to Corrie is mildly obsessive and feels a little like instalove. From the moment he met her, he was hot in pursuit and only upped his game as the story progressed. Despite Corrie’s blatant rejection, he worms his way into her life. Beau’s moods are explosive and he clings to what he can with a maddening desperation that is sometimes scary. Corrie is his target and dream, I would have liked to see more of a mounting attraction from Beau’s side. 
  • Some plot elements were a bit cliché and predictable. The crazy ex fling, the pinning guy friend, the obvious moments of trying to make each other jealous were bland but the consequences kind of made up for it. Drama extreme. 

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Happy reading, 

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