During my busy time at school, during all of those long bus rides, and few but wonderful homework-free days, I have been reading some pretty good books that make any pitiful grades in Physics not as bad anymore. So I decided I want to share with you my opinions on two contemporary books that I think will make your day too!
how it ends Laura Weiss
Published: August 4, 2009
Publisher: MTV Books
Age Rec: There is some sexual content and language so watch out for that. I would recommend it to teens 15 or 16 and older.
All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her.
Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion.
I was a little reluctant to read this book, I admit. But after I read the first few pages, I was hooked, every chance I got, I read this book. My edition was a tiny paperback so it was pretty easy to sneak it in class.
The point of view of the story alternates from Hanna, a teenager, and Helen, a mature woman with a lot of wisdom. Being inside Helen's head was very intriguing and mysterious, I loved Helen. The author did such a good job at bringing this character to life. But I was more anxious to read from Hanna's point of view, since she is in my age range, and they were two interesting guys in the equation.
But she frustrated me at some point, she only cared about boys, which is completely normal for a teenage girl, but this was kind of to the extreme. She was too flirtatious , but she still manged to be such a likeable character that at the end I just didn't mind anymore. Her choices were poor, but she eventually learned from them, which is a nice thing to read from a book, changes in the main character (for the better) are always welcome.
The plot was brilliant, I don't want to get much into it, or I am afraid to spoil it for you guys so I will just leave you at that. I really liked how everything went together and the ending was a little bit too strong, but I think for this specific novel it could have not ended better.
The differences and similarities between these two incredible women, was amazing to witness.Their relationship is enviable. The love story within this book will bring you to tears. There will be some tearing up at some point, have the kleenex handy.
how to save a life by Sara Zarr
Publish Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Age rec: I would recommend it to teens 14 and up, or any contemporary reader. There are so curse words, but nothing major. One non-descriptive love scene.
Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family? Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too? Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.Like her previous works, HOW TO SAVE A LIFE showcases this minimalist style beautifully, but it also weaves in layers emotion and detail so delicately — almost imperceptibly — that by the last page, the characters will so thoroughly invade your heart that you’ll feel like you’d been through it yourselves, right along with Jill and Mandy.
If you are not a fan of contemporary, which c'mon, then this book alone will completely change your mind. Sara Zarr has a way with words, honestly.
Apparently, I don't really have a way with words, therefore I cannot put into words how good this book is! Unless the word is "fidfhiadubfaigfb", which is not really a word but it is pretty accurate on how I feel about this book.
The plot itself is very original, nothing like any contemporary book I have ever read. Author Sarah Ockler says in her own review of How to Save a Life, "Like her previous works, HOW TO SAVE A LIFE showcases this minimalist style beautifully, but it also weaves in layers emotion and detail so delicately — almost imperceptibly — that by the last page, the characters will so thoroughly invade your heart that you’ll feel like you’d been through it yourselves, right along with Jill and Mandy."
A lot of important issues are part of this book; how everyone grieves differently, how some relationships are not meant to be, and how sometimes things don't happen as expected.
Both of the characters, Jill and Mandy, tell their story in their own point of view, alternating in each chapter. I would think that without this, the story of one of them would have been lost. They both have incredible stories to tell, it is hard to chose which point of view I liked best.
But as always, there is one character I connect with the most. Jill was this character. She is so stubborn and strong, she is very afraid to show her true emotions. I could relate to her. She is one of those characters that will stay with me even after I finished the last page of the book.
Mandy was a naive, very strong, young girl, she is pregnant without anyone to turn to and she is faced with many hard decisions. She relives her horrible past and tries to make past it, tries to make a future for her baby and herself.
While I fell in love with these two characters, I fell in love with all the love characters surrounding Jill and Mandy. I am sure you will too.
From strangers to friends to family, the story of how these girls came together to save a life was a very incredible thing to witness.