Tag Archives: loss

Book Review: Paperweight by Meg Haston

Published 2nd July 2015 by Hot Key Books.

24917415Goodreads Synopsis: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Struggling to deal with her brother’s death and a past she refuses to confront, Stevie knows she has problems. But she’s still furious about the fact that she’s been packed off to a health clinic, in the middle of nowhere, where mobile phones are banned and communication with the outside world is strictly by permission only. The regimented and obtrusive nature of the clinic and its staff is torture to the deeply private, obstinate Stevie – and don’t even get her started on the other ‘inmates’. All she wants is to be left alone…
But as Stevie is about to find out, life is full of surprises. And she will prove herself stronger than she knows – even when her past finally catches her up in the most shocking and brutal way possible.

My Review: I’ll have to admit that I didn’t know much about the plot of this one – I quite largely was interested in it because of that beauuutifullll cover – but once I’d started Paperweight, I couldn’t put it down. I meant for it to be a quick read for a train journey – and it turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year so far!

Paperweight starts with Stevie’s induction at a clinic for people with eating disorders. As the story progresses, with every day spent there, we get to look inside Stevie’s head to see her memories of what’s ultimately brought her there, and how she is dealing with it – because it’s a heartbreaking and harrowing story of love, loss, rivalry and secrecy.

The plot was unpredictable, a little hard to read at points because it became so sad – but, in all, a truly unique story. It was paced well and I raced through the book, as there was never a dull moment or a point in which I didn’t feel invested in the story. The realistic themes of anorexia, bulimia and death are treated well in the novel I think – though I’m not sure this is everyone’s cup of tea.

I connected with Stevie straight away. She had such a strong and believable voice; a personality driven by her eating habits that felt very painfully real. As the story progresses, Stevie lets the reader in on the reasons why she is where she is now; and it’s a complicated, unexpected tangle of secrets and drama. What I really liked about Stevie was that I never quite knew what direction Meg Haston was going to take her character in – I wasn’t expecting the romance side that became apparent but I loved the fact that Stevie’s identity was never labelled or questioned!

I have never read anything by Haston before (According to Goodreads she has written a few seemingly YA titles before!) but I would jump at the chance to read similar YA from her in the future. Her writing is brilliant; a talent I hope doesn’t go unnoticed when this is released. Writing about topics like she has here can be tough, but she has done so admirably. On top of the heavy themes, she’s written such unforgettable characters, the chemistries between which are well developed and raw-feeling.

Overall, I highly recommend Paperweight – I know that because of a lot of sensitive scenes it won’t be for everyone but it is an incredibly poignant read by a writer I hope to see more from. Stevie’s story has stayed with me long after I closed the pages – it ends on the perfect note. I’m so glad I picked this book up!

My Rating: 

five

 

I received a copy of Paperweight from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: Bird by Crystal Chan

Published 30th January 2014 by Tamarind books (A Random House imprint).

13260749Goodreads Synopsis: ‘Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John. His name was John until Grandpa said he looked more like a Bird with the way he kept jumping off things, and the name stuck. Bird’s thick, black hair poked out in every direction, just like the head feathers of the blackbirds, Grandpa said, and he bet that one day Bird would fly like one too. Grandpa kept talking like that, and no one paid him much notice until Bird jumped off a cliff, the cliff at the edge of the tallgrass prairie, the cliff that dropped a good couple hundred feet to a dried-up riverbed below. From that day on, Grandpa never spoke another word. Not one. 
The day that Bird tried to fly, the grown-ups were out looking for him – all of them except Mom and Granny. That’s because that very day, I was born.’

Twelve-year-old Jewel never knew her brother, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Then one night, on her birthday, she finds a mysterious boy sitting in her oak tree. His name is John. And he changes everything.

My Review: Bird is a beautiful book…. there aren’t actually many words to describe it properly and do it justice. It’s a poignant tale about love and loss, and I think it’s going to captivate anybody who reads it.

The story’s completely riveting: Literally right from the first page, where the reader finds out that Jewel was born the day her brother jumped from a cliff, and that their grandfather’s never spoken a word, since. Crystal Chan’s writing is so good, I honestly did have tears in my eyes from the beginning. Chan’s captured the voice of a twelve year old flawlessly. I was sucked right into the story of Jewel, and the complicated relationship with her grandfather and the friendship growing between her and John- a boy who’s staying in the town, who has the same name as her brother.

The plot is flawless- there’s no other way to describe it! Every event was completely unpredictable, and Crystal Chan can make you laugh or cry with every page. The plot is very character driven, exploring the ups and downs of a torn apart family, and focusing on the impact of Jewel’s new friend on her grandfather. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The plot twists are all emotional and shocking, especially the big one about John, Jewel’s friend. I was completely blown away, and I couldn’t stop reading.

Jewel is a character that any reader can instantly fall in love with: She’s so well developed and realistic, and her voice just captured me, and didn’t let me go until the very last page. Her narration is really captivating and she’s probably now one of my favourite contemporary fiction characters. John’s also such good protagonist. Chan made me really mixed on him at points, with those plot twists… but he’s the kind of character you can’t not love!

Overall, Bird is amazing, and a book that I’ll be recommending to everybody I know, regardless of what kind of books they like. The central character were so three dimensional and loveable, I really wanted to read more about them after finishing… I’m pretty sure I’ll be rereading this book! The plot weaves themes of superstition into themes of love and loss, and it’s just beautiful. Bird is moving; more emotional than most books I’ve read this year, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Bird form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.