Lying to Others vs Lying to Yourself
Some redeeming elements; major hacking needed
Apparently it’s “YA Books about Younger Sisters Who Lie and Older Sisters with Psychological Problems Triggered by Strange Incidents” week here at LitHacker Central. First The Opposite of Hallelujah, now All You Never Wanted.
Verdict: This book seems to explore the different ways that lying to others and lying to yourself can be damaging. While this book has some strong writing and explores some interesting psychological issues, there are too many aspects that seem rather unrealistic, and the ending is somewhat abrupt. If you’re going to choose just ONE unstable older sister/lying younger sister book this week, choose The Opposite of Hallelujah instead.
Perfect for: People who like psychological fiction or somewhat unreliable narrators.
Summary: Thea and her older sister Alex are now living in a too-extravagant house (nicknamed “Camelot” by Thea) in tony Greenwich, Connecticut after their mom marries a rich man. Before this marriage, the girls and their divorced mother were barely getting by in their tiny apartment but they had each other and were pretty close. Now their mom seems to be always flying somewhere with her new husband – for vacations or charity events – and the girls are often left alone to adjust to their new reality. Told alternately in a forceful first person (Thea) and distancing third person (Alex), we learn that these sisters have dealt with the changes in their lives in very different ways. Formerly nerdy Thea has decided that conspicuous consumption and outrageous but borderline believable lies will make her interesting and popular. Meanwhile, Alex, who has always been somewhat of a golden girl, seems to be in the midst of a nervous breakdown that is getting progressively worse – for a specific reason that is revealed later in the novel. Continue reading →
I really want to make a “Sister Act” pun but this book deserves better
Only one element needs hacking
Verdict: How many teen novels can you think of that explore the spiritual concept of “grace”? Or indeed address matters of spirituality at all without seeming, well, preachy? The Opposite of Hallelujah is unique in that it takes a teen’s spiritual development as seriously as it tackles issues about a teen’s romantic and family relationships. This is not a perfect book, but it thematically is a refreshing one to read.
Perfect for: Thoughtful readers who want realistic fiction with a unique perspective and plot. Readers who like reading about family relationships as much as they like reading about dating.
Summary: Eleventh grader Caro is a dedicated student who, after a rocky time in middle school, finally has established a good reputation, good friends, and is even starting to party and date some boys. But she feels that her whole world is threatened when she learns that her 27 year old sister, Hannah, is returning to live with her family. Caro barely remembers her sister, because eight years ago, Hannah entered a reclusive convent many miles away. Continue reading →
My love of this cover is in proportion to my dislike of what’s inside
Verdict: It’s a LitHacker first, y’all, a book that cannot be hacked. Nothing can save this book from itself, except for it being completely rewritten. I was intrigued by the description of the book’s unique premise, but ultimately I thought it was actually quite an offensive book. I am going to have to restrain myself with explaining why because I took far too many copious, angry notes as I was reading. Good news for The Help: it is now officially off the hook for being my least favorite book ever read!
Perfect for: Look, I know I’m in the minority here – look at other reviews and you’ll see most people really liked this book. People who like other David Levithan books, people who like romantic comedies, or people who appreciate books having an interesting premise might like Every Day.
Summary: Each day the sixteen-year-old narrator, A, wakes up in a different sixteen-year old’s body. Continue reading →
Worthy Beach/Airplane Read
Only one element needs hacking
Verdict: Suspenseful page turner – great psychological thriller – totally entertaining.
Perfect for: While none of the characters are YA, people of all ages who like psychological thrillers or mysteries based on true crime will be sucked in by this book’s well-crafted plot and characters.
Summary: On their 5th wedding anniversary Nick’s wife Amy disappears. Soon the police – and public opinion – seem to believe that there has been foul play, and that Nick is responsible. Told in alternating chapters between Nick’s narration of ongoing events and Amy’s past diary entries, the book keeps readers in constant suspense: which spouse is to be believed? what happened to Amy? who is at fault? how could such a promising marriage go so wrong? why can’t I turn these pages fast enough to find out omg?????????
Continue reading →