ARC Review: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

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Release Date: October 10, 2017

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Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Simon Pulse 

+++ Trigger warnings for sexual assault, violence, general skin-crawling misogynist ideologies and vulgarity

This book has no rating because it is without a doubt the most difficult book I’ve ever had to rate in my history of being a reviewer. Interpret and make your own judgments about what you think my rating of the book is based solely on this review and nothing as limited as a star rating. 

The Nowhere Girls is a battle cry, an ode, a bittersweet mourning, and a rage-inducing awakening. This book is more than necessary, it should be required reading for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or political leanings. Here’s the thing, The Nowhere Girls reads a little Perks of Being a Wallflower meets The Breakfast Club mixed with profound, contemporary questions about society and feminism. At times it feels like your run-of-the-mill coming of age story split in various POVs and as someone who generally loathes coming of age, it lagged for me, despite the eye-opening questions and they way it made me think (which is what marks great, life-changing books for me). I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters, which with so many POVs and an US POV that had the voices of several girls, it’s puzzling that none of them resonated with me. Not that the characters weren’t defined. They were more than multi-dimensional, they practically screamed from the pages with their unique and interesting personalities and their determination to succeed. 

I absolutely dislike the synopsis for this book. It makes the story seem like something it’s not-a revenge plot or some weird, let’s get back ALL THE MALES story. This is far from that. It’s an exploration of what it means to be female in our society and then breaks that down further into all the ways that sexuality, race, and choice intersect with that. 

Here is a list of the many important and critical pieces of what it means to be female that this book discusses in its short number of pages:

  • No means no. 
  • Why we think that if you’re dating someone and they force you that it’s not rape. 
  • How saying yes is a choice and it can be an empowering one. 
  • That girls should not be afraid of their sexuality or that they enjoy sex. 
  • The double standard of “boys will be boys” but a girl who actively explores her sexuality and enjoys being sexual is a slut. 
  • Trans girls and whether they feel they have or can find a place in feminist culture. Transitioning girls and the same sort of questions. 
  • How girls who are known “sluts” are ignored when they “cry rape,” how women are treated differently and their allegations taken less seriously if they’re a certain “type” of girl or from the wrong “side of the tracks.”
  • Differing perspectives on virginity. 
  • Why a sex strike is problematic. 
  • Why we think that if we’re drunk and we say no and are ignored, that it’s our “fault.” 
  • The many many reasons that women fail to report their assault.
  • The many levels of fear women face every single day that men do not ever consider. 
  • Why we feel the need to pass judgment on other girls. 
  • Small town mentality. 
  • Privilege and “getting away with it.” 
  • And many, many more. 

I can’t even count the number of times I found myself nodding at the scenarios discussed, all the many feelings and experiences females go through in every encounter they have with males and even other girls. So much of this book made me remember and reflect and that is the reason WHY I put a trigger warning on this apart from the constant references to rapes and assaults and the feelings associated with these events well after they occurred (because how can anyone forget? This is another thing that’s discussed). 

I was also so angry after I read this. Angry that women have to deal with any of this stuff. Angry that men think they have the right. Angry at all the misogynistic, horrible, and derogatory ways that women are looked at as possessions or to be used and discarded. It’s sickening. 

I feel like I should say that you need to be in the right frame of mind to read this without completely losing it. That if you don’t want to be ragey and heartsick and possibly triggered to put this aside until you’re ready but at the same time, this book is cathartic. It lets you voice everything you didn’t know you needed to say through the proxy of these characters. In a way that is both enlightening and lifts the weight off your shoulders. 

One of the worst and most heartbreaking moments in this book for me is when one of the girls says that she didn’t know she could or was allowed to say no. Holy crap that pretty much knocked the air out of  my lungs. It is so hard to be female. You very well might cry several times and at the end, you might not feel satisfied, but you will feel invigorated and fellowship with every female you see afterwards and that itself is a gift. 

Read, read some more, and for the love of Pumpkin Spice use that reading to inspire change in yourself and in the world. 

Jordan

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ARC Review: Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

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From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.

Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

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4/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & HMH Books for Young Readers

I’ve read a ton of books lately that I’ve loved, but this is the first book in maybe years that I can honestly say I’m grateful for. There are so many beautiful things that happen in this book and they’re done so well that you might not even notice until it hits like an epiphany and the biggest of those things is spreading awareness. People make assumptions and judgments about what autism is, how those who have it should function (or not) in society, and say offhand comments that are both offensive and ignorant. This book does a fabulous job of making people think about what they say and their prejudices against those who are different. Some parts are profound in their simplicity and eye-opening with the totally real and heart wrenching examples that happen in everyday life. 

What’s great about this book is that it showcases various forms of autism that show up on the spectrum. Not all autism is the same and mannerisms, behaviors, and what upsets each person is totally individual. No two cases are identical and how to cope with anxiety, sadness, and rapid mood changes varies immensely. You really have to know the person to understand. Claire LaZebnik stresses that point in the relationships between Ivy and Chloe and David and Ethan. Their parents are not as observant or patient as they could/should be and the siblings know each other best.

When Ivy or Ethan are upset, Chloe and David break through their defenses, ask them questions, and notice when they start tapping or talking louder that these are signs of distress that an outsider would not pick up on. When kids are “freaking out” in public we have a tendency to be dismissive and judgmental, to say it’s poor parenting, the child is a brat, or get angry because they’re “spoiling” your day. Several times throughout the book, Ethan and Ivy are pitied, looked down upon, and their opinions rejected because they “don’t know any better,” it made my blood boil just reading those words. There’s a scene where they’re at the bowling alley and these old ladies make comments about “them” being allowed out and whether they should use bumpers “for safety”, which could be a legitimate concern if there was a visible problem but the condescending approach, speechless. 

Ivy and Ethan are incredibly real. If you’ve ever met someone with autism, you’ll recognize the blunt, factual commentary, focus on a specific niche or activity, and trouble processing the “why” question in regards to emotions and feelings. This book will truly make you think about things you might have never considered. How does someone who may not process/understand or know how to convey their feelings deal with lust or attraction? I mean, this is so so important. If someone who has autism has questions about this, how do they know if they’re attracted to the same sex? The LGBT dimension of this book is challenging and urges the reader to question. The conversations between Ivy and Chloe are fueled by understanding and asking matter of fact questions that lead Ivy to come to her own conclusions. These are model conversations and full of so much love. 

David is an intriguing character. He’s sarcastic, cold, antisocial, and yet, there’s something about him that’s compassionate and will win your heart. The way he adores his brother and is willing to sacrifice his future for him, total swoon material. Don’t get me wrong, he’s abrasive and takes a bit to get used to, but he’s a catch. 

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Chloe. The way she let terrible comments roll off her, the way she let her boyfriend and friends say stuff about Ivy, like she was abnormal or a mistake conflicted with the understanding and love she showed her sister. At first, Chloe seemed like an opinioned, flighty, typical popular girl and I pretty much loathed her. She fought one moment and shut down to keep her hot girl status the next. She does grow as the story progresses but it takes a long, long time. 

Sometimes the pacing was slow because they focus was on the lust between Chloe and her boyfriend, which was full of semi-repulsive groping and horrible comments about Ivy and the fact that the boyfriend didn’t get enough attention because she was always helping out her sister. Just no.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

 

ARC Review: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

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When Caroline’s little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can’t help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home.

And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can’t see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend–and their best option just might be each other.

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley &  Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Afterward is a dual POV story set in the months after two abducted boys were rescued from their captor’s home. Told from the perspectives of Ethan, a boy who was held and abused for FOUR years, and Caroline, the sister of the young autistic boy who was nabbed by Ethan’s predator. This story is about recovery and learning to work through the trauma in a healthy way. Getting back to normal after being kidnapped seems impossible and when everyone treats you like you’re fragile and will disappear again at any moment, it’s a Herculean weight on your shoulders. Caroline struggles to understand what he brother went through when, because of his autism, he cannot communicate what happened to him, he just has severe nightmares and PTSD. Jennifer Mathieu, skillfully, and respectfully shows both sides of the spectrum, the family that is working so hard to help and understand and the victim’s road to being okay again. 

The story starts with the immediate flash to when her brother was taken. The energy, that crumbling sense of fear as her stomach dropped out when she couldn’t find him. The terror, the anguish, the way she blamed herself were intense and gutting. That scene was a gripping introduction. After that, things slow down, they ease up, and while there are flashbacks for Ethan that are particularly disturbing and haunting, nothing much happens. It drags, you might feel compelled to skim, and get a little bored. It reads a bit like a contemporary, coming of age story in that lethargic, floating way. 

What works is that the story is intensely realistic. The ups and downs, the angst, the general family issues, the class struggles, things like that were all spot on. 

What I didn’t like was how little story actually had to do with Caroline’s brother, Dylan. There are barely any scenes with him and while you do sympathize with Caroline’s heartbreaking quest to understand what her brother went through, I think the focus was skewed. 

There aren’t really any secondary characters and the ones that are there flit in and out and aren’t particularly likable, with the exception of Ethan’s therapist and the dog. 

Ethan’s POV was strong and powerful. He grows and fights to sort through the reasons why he was taken, what he went through, the repressed memories, and all that trauma and clings to normalcy. He just wants to be a teenage boy and yet, he has so much mentally weighing on him that when he gets the opportunity it’s a whole different issue. It’s complex and intense and his thoughts will make you want to read more. 

Caroline was an okay character. She’s a little random, a misfit, she does questionable, rebellious things, but that’s who she is. As the story progresses, she gets a teeny bit more likable, but it’s how she changes Ethan that makes her better.

Overall, Afterward wasn’t what I expected and left me feeling letdown. There were parts that were missing answers and things that still hadn’t been worked through by the end. I didn’t really get the need for so much Caroline. I would have liked to have seen more of her relationship with Dylan. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Emotional reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

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Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?

review

3.5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & St. Martin’s Griffin

I was torn on how to rate this story because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to get up early this morning and stayed up until 3AM to finish. If you’re a follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries. Coming of age stories typically bore me to death and so when I found myself plowing through these pages, it was a shock to my system. What is it about this book that made me a contemporary convert? 

Eden is not always likable. She’s pushy, indignant, a snob, she pushes people away and has no room for anything but her dreams. She makes judgments as harsh as those hanging over her head and doesn’t think before she speaks…and yet, there’s something about her. She’s rude half the time, but patient, intelligent, kind, and thoughtful with some. She let’s public opinions tarnish her shine. Anyone who has ever felt like they had a past they couldn’t shake and that they are their parents’ mistakes (because no one can see past the prejudice and assumption), you’ll get Eden on a personal level. 

This is a modern Romeo & Juliet spin with Jane Austen odes. Class distinctions, racism, and Southern prejudice all combine to form a heartbreaking adversary for these young lovers. Everyone is against this match. He’s Indian, Hindu, rich, she’s white, on food stamps, lives in a trailer park, and Christian. Everyone in this small town sticks to their racial group cliques and stepping outside of the lines invites retaliation in the form of rumors, bullying, and even abuse.

Ash and Eden’s relationship is refreshing, you’ll hope against all odds that they can slay the prejudice and small-minded stereotypes and profiling of their town, but somehow are certain that it’s impossible. And that is the problem.

This is a story about recognizing that there are parts of everyone’s lives that will limit and diminish them; that there will always be someone who disapproves your choices, and that forces greater than you will always think they know better. So much in this world is working against you, but it takes perspective, fresh, creative, and honest to find what’s working FOR you. Opening your eyes, recognizing the hate, the prejudice, and those who only put you down when they should be lifting you up is half the battle.

The romance is fast. It happens late, really late in the story. The first half, maybe 3/4 of the book are pretty much everyday high school scenes with commentary on social class, didacticism, etc. I don’t know how she did it. Actually, that’s not true. Very much in the vein of Pride and Prejudice the explosive fighting, the nitpicking, the anger, through it all, only Ash and Eden have the ability to hurt each other because they care so deeply-you realize that the love has always been there. Always. It’s that sudden realization-that soft and comforting warmth like a ray of sunlight shining on your face right after a rainstorm-that fills you with certainty that Eden and Ash can do anything if they’re together. 

Autism also plays a part in this story. How some teachers can be dismissive of difference and push the child away as disruptive instead of making the effort to understand. While a little reductive, these scenes were poignant and memorable. 

The jealous popular girl was a familiar and disappointing aspect. Also the perverse and sexually aggressive jock who starts rumors. 

Ash has some serious swoon lines. He has a way with words that will have you dropping your defenses as quickly as Eden does. Holy sincerity and adoration. 

Mundy. Harsh. Crazy harsh and brutally honest. No filter on that girl and boy is it painful. Her words are like a slap to the face but a revelation. They force Eden to look at herself and be honest. It also bypasses on the awkward. There are no secrets and there is relief in that. Spontaneous, a little weird, Mundy is a unique bff. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

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.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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 Pleasant reading,

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ARC Review: Both of Me-Jonathan Friesen

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“He bowed his head. ‘I’m scared. Are you ever frightened?.’ ‘No. Well, yes.’ ‘Frightened that you’ll be overcome by yourself? That a gentle monster inside of you might take over and never let go?'”

***

“‘Have you ever run from reality? Have you ever run because reality was too much, too suffocating, too…just too? And then you find fiction. And the fiction feels more real than the real ever did. Have you ever felt like that?'”

cooltext1790897456 copyElias Phinn has always been considered stupid, but that may be because no one knows his vacant exterior holds a gifted mind. A mind that has learned to focus on his created world of Warilia, through which Elias distills everything he sees in order to cope with the excruciating, actual world around him. But with each passing year, the detailed sketches and notebooks describing Warilia have not only taken over Elias’s time, they have become a world he must slip into in order to get through each day. Clara Tobias has been running from her own reality, leaving behind her fragile mother and two siblings in order to have the whirlwind life of travel and adventure she always wanted. She justifies she put in her time caring for others, and that the rest of her life is hers to use as she pleases. Even if guilt won’t leave her alone.

On a flight out of New York—Elias heading home for the summer, Clara on another trip to Somewhere—the two end up side by side. And when their carry-ons are mistakenly switched, Clara opens her bag to discover the histories of Warilia while Elias finds photographs and journals he uses to flesh out the mysterious girl who sat beside him, whom he sees as the beautiful daughter of a Warilian diplomat, making her and her mother an integral part of his entire world.

When Clara arrives at the Phinn’s boarding house for her luggage, she begs Elias to show her Warilia—and he does, taking her to locations that to him are not ordinary landscapes and buildings but epic mountains and massive skyscrapers. But as Clara finds herself further drawn to this intriguing boy, word comes her mother has died. When Elias becomes unable to deal with the death of his diplomat, he and Clara leave on a mission Elias claims will preserve Warilia forever. Though in the end it could be the one thing that allows Clara to piece her own world together.

cooltext1790896132 copy5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Blink

Sometimes you read a book and every other page all you can think is WOW. Just wow. Then you take a deep breath, take a step back and pause. Everything suddenly has a marvelous sort of calm and clarity. It’s brilliant, peaceful, the kind of elation that comes from being deeply satisfied and loved. Loved-because that’s what Both of Me is, an outpouring of love, understanding and self-discovery and definitely one of my top reads of 2014, if not ever.

Both of Me is an unconventional story that is part self-discovery, romance, mystery, and revelation. It’s at its heart, an adventure that unites two unlikely allies on a quest made of imagination and dark secrets.

From the first page, I was fascinated by Clara. Her role as a traveller following a map around the world through an elaborate system of blogging and funding from an internet scam simultaneously disgusted and intrigued me. Beneath her bravado was a scared little girl running from a past that she thought could be forgotten through redemption, through following her father’s path around the world. Clara is confused, bold, brilliant, she tackles things head on and has a nice British accent. At the same time, the need to know her sinister truth pulls the story forward as Clara’s unraveling comes to a head. Everything she’s been hiding threatens to bubble over and burst out into the open. Clara’s terrified and shamed. Her emotions are complex and raw as she questions her faith and what it means to love. Her guilt is sometimes overwhelming but complimented by a dramatic thirst for life.

Both of Me is breathtaking and beautifully written in its simplicity. Some of the most profound, moving sentences are casually strung together so that they linger. They don’t immediately hit you that simmer, a slow burn of longing and epiphany.

This book is special in that it deals with a subject that is difficult to capture let alone talk about-Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and autism. Jonathan Friesen doesn’t talk about DID as something crippling or wrong but as a puzzle with a bit of whimsy. Elias is the most unique, heartbreaking character I’ve ever read. He’s two parts of a whole. One side is a talented artist that breathes life into a fantasy world of his own creation, where a Lightkeeper must be found to combat the darkness in the world. The other half is a genius machinist with a bemused expression and big heart. These two pieces of Elias are easy to fall in love with. His switch happens in an instant and at first it’s intriguing. The determined Other One has a quest that rivals great epics and a giddy hope builds as Clara follows him on his journey for answers. When he slips into the main Elias, he has no memory and that happiness quickly turns to bleak sadness. He’s losing part of himself and can never get that back. It’s brutal, gut-wrenching, and almost paralyzes so that you don’t want to move forward out of fear.

My heart fractured and broke, only to be rebuilt as Clara and Elias’ relationship blossomed. 

Every character is quirky and has a fully developed personality. There’s not a small character that is not memorable. 

Elias and Clara, when they are together is sweet, charming, and uncertain but they fit. She wants to help him and he’s healing her wounds. 

The subplots are hilarious. Izzy’s insertion into the story and the underground railroad. It takes you to unexpected places that you’ll never see coming.

The ending. There are no words. 

If this is not made into a movie and/or best-seller I will be astounded. If you like John Green, I’ll Give You the Sun, or Belzhar get this, it’s your next favorite. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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