Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

I don’t read a lot of literary fiction. But when I do, I know I’m in for a thought-provoking read. This novel did not disappoint in that regard.

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Synopsis (Goodreads): Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.


Review: I feel like I’m going to fail to try to write this review because I don’t have the words to describe how this book made me feel. It made me feel A LOT. But I’m going to try anyways.

This is an an incredible novel for a lot of reasons. For one thing, the writing is absolutely brilliant. The author has a way of keeping the words simple but making them convey so much meaning. I loved that the author gave very realistic portrayals of everything in the book; not a single thing was downplayed or glorified. From the description of a long car ride to the intensity of a drug high, every minute was real. It allowed me to slip into the story and live it along with the characters.

With this story, we are given 2 perspectives. One is Jojo, a 13-year-old who watches everything and feels the need to protect his younger sister – especially from their mother. We also see through the eyes of Leonie, Jojo’s mother, who wants to do the right thing and struggles with being the good daughter and mother that she wants to be. Through their points of view, the author brings in the issues of race, family, and addiction. Now, these are all very difficult topics to raise; not only does the author not shy away from them, she also doesn’t pass any judgement. That’s what I loved about this narrative – there was nothing one-sided to it. Every issue is explored so deeply and through so many interactions that it soon becomes evident that there is no clear-cut way of looking at things. It is easy to dismiss things and label them to make life easier, but the author refuses to allow the reader to do that.

I also really loved how the author incorporated magical realism into this literary fiction novel. I’ve always been a big fan of magical realism, and when it’s done right, it can be the most wonderful thing in the world. It was done right here. Both Leonie and Jojo find themselves haunted by the ghosts of young boys; for Leonie, it is her brother who passed away as a teenager; for Jojo, it is a boy who died as an inmate and carries the ugly history of racism and slavery within him. Reading about these interactions made my heart pound, and I could feel my emotions running parallel to that of Leonie and Jojo. It was very well executed.

If you can’t tell already, this is a 5/5 star novel for me. The writing was gritty and engaging, the characters were vivid and emotionally-charged, and the story was haunting. If you haven’t read this novel, you should definitely change that right away!

Happy reading ~

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Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

I’ve been hearing that this book is similar to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Well, that is one of my favourite books of all time, so you know I’m going to be interested in any novel connected to it! Compared to all of the other books on my TBR list, this looked like the shortest, and since I loved the material, I figured it would be a good place to start. Here is my review:

 

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Synopsis (Goodreads): The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.


Review: While I knew that there would be a strong focus on the pregnancy issue, I was hoping that there would be an equally strong focus on the devolution taking place. That didn’t happen. Instead, this was a story that just gave more detail to The Handmaid’s Tale. 

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Handmaid’s Tale is a story that doesn’t really take too much time to show how things got to where they were. In Future Home of the Living God, we get to see from Cedar’s perspective how things started to shift into chaos and what led to the corralling of all fertile women. I just wish this had been done better.

Part 1 of the book is really tedious to get through. The story, told entirely from Cedar’s perspective, is in the form of a diary/letter that she is writing for her unborn child. But she just prattles on and on about things that I don’t necessarily care about. I did appreciate reading about her inner turmoil about her present situation, as well as the glimpses of the unease that was settling in around the country as people tried to get a handle on this devolution situation. But I wish there had been more of that. I wanted more instances of devolving, more of how everyone was researching this phenomenon, and the rationale behind herding pregnant women in and taking their babies. There was this time when Cedar decides to go visit her birth parents, which was interesting … but it felt very disconnected with the things happening around her.

Part 2 of the book was more interesting because there was a lot more action, and a lot less philosophizing. Again, the focus was on the pregnancy rather than the environmental changes but at least it was fast-paced and filled with fervor and action. This was the dystopian thriller aspect that I had been promised and I enjoyed it immensely.

But then came Part 3, and it was more of the same of Part 1. There’s very little that actually happens and just more talking and musing. Gone was the survival mode that I had enjoyed from Part 2. It was very difficult for me to finish this last part, because I just couldn’t care. The ending of the novel was also extremely disappointing for me, because nothing was resolved. In a sense, this ending would probably have been a great segue or introduction into how things are set up in The Handmaid’s Tale. But I don’t think that was what the author had in mind.

There were 2 main reasons that I was really upset about this story. One is that I really didn’t like Cedar. She is an aloof character, making it hard to connect with her. Even though more than half of the book is her talking about her thoughts and opinions, I never actually felt like I understood her. One minute, she is talking about religion and God and DNA, and then she’s going on about how she must survive and her survival skills flit in, and then they just disappear and she goes back to philosophizing. None of it was useful, none of it was insightful. It just bogged the story down. The second thing I didn’t like is that the different parts did not come together to create a cohesive story. Part 1 and 3 should be grouped as one thing because of their whole theme of literary fiction, and Part 2 should be the actual dystopian story.

Overall, I found this to be a vague story about a situation where we somehow end up reversing evolution, and for some reason this means that all fertile women must be rounded up and made to give birth. There was too much of a literary component to this story that didn’t add anything substantial, and too little uniqueness to the dystopian story. It was disappointing. I’m giving it a 1.5/5 stars, and that’s only because Part 2 had some adventure to it.

Happy reading ~

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

This book has been creating a buzz EVERYWHERE. Red Clocks is a novel that is perfectly matched for the political climate in America today, and the state of affairs when it comes to the legalization of abortion and the ease of getting this service. This novel has been compared to A Handmaid’s Tale, which is the first book that I read by Margaret Atwood (and one of my favourite books of all time). I knew I had to read Red Clocks so I bought it as soon as I could. Here is my review:

Synopsis (back of the book): In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.


Review: The scenario that is imagined in this book is not as far-fetched as I would like. Considering the political climate in America and the number of obstacles that are in the way for any woman seeking an abortion, I can easily see a future where abortion is banned, and Planned Parenthood no longer exists. This is what drew me to this novel; I wanted to see how these women would live and struggle under these conditions.

I think that this novel strives to look at motherhood and the identity of a woman through various different lenses. By looking at these concepts through the women, not only do we get to see their own thought process, we also get an understanding of how people around them feel about these issues. This book is in no way skewed to one side; both anti-abortion and pro-abortion sentiments are voiced and it is easy for the reader to understand both perspectives.

While the topic and the ideas mentioned in this book were interesting, I didn’t love this book. To me, this wasn’t really a story; it was far too focused on the concepts than it was in the development of the women. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it made the whole book far too cerebral for me. I also didn’t feel like there was anything very strong or definitive being said. Everything was a little too experimental, and I prefer if an author sticks to a style and goes with it throughout. In spite of its choppiness, I liked the way the author switched between the different voices of the women in the story; it added some variance to the writing. I also thought it was interesting to not actually give these women names in the beginning of the chapter; they are called “biographer” or “wife” or “daughter” or “mender” based on the way they identify themselves and their role in life. While it did lead to a bit of emotional detachment with the characters, it allowed the reader to view them as a collective, which was probably the intent here.

I think that this novel explored some very interesting ideas and was well-balanced when considering all of the different arguments surrounding abortion and the right to life. However, it didn’t really come off as a story and I found it hard to feel that emotional pull to any character. Overall, I would give this a solid 3/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I remember reading Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng with more than a little trepidation. I shy away from tragic stories because I absolutely hate turning into a sobbing mess. While that novel was definitely sad, it was well worth the effort because of the beautiful story it told. With that in mind, I decided to try this new novel by Celeste Ng to see what she would present next.

Shaker Heights is a progressive suburb in Cleveland, Ohio that is proud of its perfect community. From the layout of the houses to the successful lives of its residents, Shaker Heights is the epitome of perfection. And no one believes this more than Elena Richardson, whose entire way of life is all about playing by the rules. When Mia Warren, an artist and single mother, arrives in town with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons, things quickly change. Pearl quickly becomes close to the 4 Richardson children, and the Richardson kids find themselves drawn to this mother-daughter pair. But Mia is not at all like the citizens of Shaker Heights; she has a penchant for disregarding the rules of the community, and has a mysterious past to boot. But things really come to a head when the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, putting Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing side. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at a devastating cost to her own family – and Mia’s.

The novel starts off unusually, with a fire that breaks out in the Richardsons’ home. It sets the stage for the real story to follow through. This was a slow-moving story that showcases different family dynamics and relationships. The characters are beautifully drawn up, and they are so present that it is hard to distance yourself from them. I love that the author spoke from every single character’s perspective, giving them their moment in the spotlight and allowing the reader to understand that specific character’s thought process and internal turmoil. The story chronicles the events that led to this fire by using each character’s back story to reveal their subsequent actions. And then there is the additional story line of the Chinese baby being adopted by an American family. Every single thing that occurred in this novel was designed to make the reader face some difficult questions about family and identity. And there is no straight answer, nothing that can ever truly be considered right. I think that was the beauty of this entire novel: it is thought-provoking and emotionally draining in the best way possible. My heart went out for so many of the characters. And even though I disliked Mrs. Richardson – who was rarely referred to by her first name (this actually worked so well with her personality and characterization) – I grew to feel for her by the end of the book, as well. If you haven’t picked up that I loved this novel, well, I loved it. I thought it was such a deep and intense story, and it is well worth the effort to read it. However, you really need to be in the mindset for this type of story in order to enjoy it. I’m giving it a 5/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

It’s time for another fairytale retelling! With the snow falling the way it is, this novel set in a cold country seemed perfect for me. It helps that the story is about Snow White, who is actually my least favorite disney princess. I wanted to see if this author could make me love her! So here is my review:

Mina’s life is wretched. At 16, she is motherless, with a vicious magician father. However, life takes a toll for the worse when she discovers that she doesn’t have a normal heart. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When fate takes her to Whitespring Castle and she meets the king, Mina devises a plan:  win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

15-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite her looks, Lynet would much rather be like her stepmother, Mina. When Lynet’s father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, she finally gets her wish. But by gaining control of the South, Lynet has displaced Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

There were a lot of things that I really liked about this retelling. For one thing, it features two females as protagonists and gives them both unique voices and opportunities to tell their story, through alternating chapters. The author really did a good job of changing the traditional Snow White narrative here. The simplistic fairy tale has been evolved here and I love the new themes about friendship, trust, love, and identity that are explored in this novel. The shifts between the different perspectives allowed the author to really show how miscommunication and misinterpretation can lead to disastrous consequences. But as I was enjoying this dark-yet-sweet story, I found myself a little disappointed in the quality of the writing. At times, the character’s dialogue seemed juvenile and didn’t match the age or qualities I had come to associate with that character. While I liked the beginning of the novel, once it reached the midpoint, I found it a little … tedious. I saw a blurb where this novel was described as being similar to Frozen – and that’s exactly what I felt when I got to the halfway point. Suddenly, Lynet has transformed into Ana and it just didn’t work for me. The next few scenes were very predictable and very … disney-like. Gone was the darker aspects that I had grown to enjoy with this novel, and gone was the depth. However, I am a sucker for happy endings … and this novel had one. My thoughts on this novel are mixed. While I loved the beginning, I didn’t like the way things unfolded from the midpoint until the end. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 2.5/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

This is a novel where I went in knowing nothing about the subject matter. I know absolutely nothing about tea or tea leaves; I don’t even drink tea (which is something that my family just can’t get over)! I also am completely unaware about Chinese culture, and the ethnic minorities that reside in China. This novel talks about these things but it is a whole lot more than that. Here is my review:

In a remote Yunnan village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. They are Akha people and must follow the way of their ancestors. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives, searching for a rare tea. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger. The arrival of the stranger also marks changes in Li-yan’s own life – and her beliefs on the rules that have shaped her existence thus far. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city. Over the years, Li-yan has slowly left the security and insularity of her village behind to encounter modern life while Haley, the daughter she abandoned, grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

This book was completely out of my comfort zone, and I loved it. This is my first time reading anything by Lisa See, so I really didn’t know what to expect. The story starts off with Li-yan, when she is just a young child. The author gives the reader an idea of what life is like in this village, and what it means to be part of the Akha people. We learn about their customs and traditions, and the reasons behind their rules. It is beautifully explained, and I think Li-yan was the perfect character through whom to explore this culture. I loved reading about Li-yan growing up and developing, and the author really got me to connect with her character. I felt her emotions and understood her thought processes throughout the story. This novel also goes into a great deal of detail about the tea business and the process of finding the right tea leaves and making that perfect blend. For someone who never knew about the effort that goes into this business, it was really eye-opening. While the tea aspect is important to the story, it sometimes detracted from the actual plot. The novel is divided into multiple parts that chronicle different time points in Li-yan’s life. There are also moments where we find out what happened to Li-yan’s daughter, and this was one of the highlights of the book for me. I think I really enjoyed the beginning, where we got to see Li-yan grow up and endure various hardships. The midpoint of the story dragged a bit, but the tidbits about Li-yan’s daughter, Haley, helped tide me over. The ending was what I was really interested in; I wanted to know if the two would ever meet. The ending is a cliffhanger, and while I usually don’t like this, I thought it was very appropriate for this novel. It gave me the opportunity to imagine what I thought the encounter would be like, and I’m glad the author left it up to the reader’s imagination to decide what happens next. All in all, this was a great novel that really taught me a lot about Chinese culture and tea, while also revealing a beautiful story about identity, motherhood, and the desire to belong. I would recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction!

Happy reading ~

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Corrine and her boyfriend, Dominic, have been trying very hard to conceive. But after 3 failed IVF attempts, it is looking like becoming parents is not in their cards. After Corrine’s sister, Ashley, loans the couple money for one last IVF treatment, there is finally a stirring of hope. Maybe, just maybe, this time it will work. When Corrine finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels like a positive sign. But as more pieces turn up, Corinne realizes that they are far too familiar; they look just like the ones she used to play with as a child. Someone knows about her childhood doll house. And they want Corinne to know.

Meanwhile, Ashley is struggling to keep her family in control. Her youngest baby, Holly, isn’t sleeping at night, her oldest daughter, Lucy, is running wild, and her husband never seems to be home. Just when things couldn’t get worse, she starts receiving mysterious phone calls. At first, she dismisses them as crank calls but eventually, they take on a more sinister role.

As these two sisters battle through their crises, they start to wonder who is targeting them? And what do they want?

The original synopsis of this story did not mention Ashley at all, so I went into this story thinking it would only be about Corinne. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this would be about both sisters. The story is told in their alternating voices, with brief interjections from Dominic, as well as moments from the past told in the voice of an unknown character. Of course, the unknown person was the most intriguing part of the story, and I was wondering the entire time who it could be. I found Ashley’s perspective to be a lot more interesting than Corinne; I also liked her better as a character, even though not much was really happening on her end as compared to Corinne. But to be honest, I didn’t really care much about what was happening with either one of them. There just wasn’t enough emotional connection or depth to them to get me interested; every time I felt I was connecting, the story would hurry on and it would be lost. I had pretty much guessed the ending of the story so there wasn’t too much of a thrill there. However, I WAS surprised by the identity of the unknown character; it wasn’t the person I was expecting it to be. For the most part, this story was lackluster, and I was just trying to get to the end to see if I was right or not. The ending was the only interesting part of the novel, but it ended in such a cliffhanger way that I wonder if there will be a sequel. Overall, this was an okay thriller with characters I didn’t really care about, and not enough thrill to keep me enthralled. I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst – Queens of Renthia #2

I loved the first book in this series Queen of Blood and I knew I had to get my hands on the second one. As soon as it came out, I went and bought it. But that’s where I made the mistake. You see, when I buy books, I get really excited to read them… but then they end up on my bookshelf and never get read. I get so overwhelmed by ARCs and books I’ve borrowed from the library so I prioritize those over books I’ve bought. I tell myself I’m going to get to it eventually … but I never do. This time, however, I tricked myself (sort-of!); I bought the book but also placed a library hold on it. When the library hold came through, I took the physical book from my bookshelf. I outsmarted myself …  I think! Either way, the book has been read so here is my review:

Just 6 months ago, Daleina used her strength and skills to survive the spirits and become Queen. Since then, she has worked hard at keeping the peace between the spirits and humans. However, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she dies before an heir is chosen, the spirits will take over her realm and kill everyone. Naelin is a woodswoman who could be the heir Daleina so desperately needs – but she doesn’t want to be Queen. Her world consists of her two children, her husband, and the remote village she lives in. But when Ven, the Queen’s champion, passes through, Naelin’s boastful husband can’t help but let slip of his wife’s abilities. For Ven, this is the best news; he can find someone to help Daleina through this difficult time. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.

I really loved this sequel, perhaps even more than the first book. This novel had everything I have ever wanted from a fantasy story: adventure, magic, strong characters, and lack of cliches. I loved how the story was more mature this time; the characters aren’t children anymore. They’re adults making difficult decisions about life, death, safety, and duty. Everything was perfectly balanced: the adventure, the romance, the tension, the mystery. I loved all of the new characters that were introduced and I loved how well they interacted and played their part in this story. As a reader, I love when you get characters that have depth to them, and this was the case here. I also found the story itself compelling, and I literally could not put this book down for a minute! I think that this is a real gem of a fantasy series that more people need to be aware of; it is fast-paced, well thought out, and it will leave you wanting more! 5/5 stars from me!

Happy reading ~

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I resisted for a long time before reading this novel. Why? Because it was getting super popular and it was getting televised, and I thought it was just all hype. It’s happened so many times where people get really excited about a book and then I read it with high expectations and get let down. Also, the story seemed to be a little on the fluff side, if you know what I mean, and I generally stay away from that. But I decided to get out of that mindset and give this novel a shot. I’m so glad I did.

When Madeline gets involved in something, she is a force to be reckoned with. She’s passionate and funny, and holds onto grudges. However, Madeline’s ex-husband and his hippie new wife have moved into Madeline’s beloved community – and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest. And to make matters worse, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. How will she cope with all of this?!

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. She’s always flustered and in a dreamlike state … but who wouldn’t be with such active twin boys? Now that the boys are in school, Celeste and her husband seem to be the perfect fit as king and queen of the school parent body. However, royalty comes with a price, and Celeste doesn’t know if she can pay up.

Jane is a single mom who has just moved to this town. Sad beyond her years, she is harboring secret doubts about her son… but why? As Madeline and Celeste take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

After reading this novel, I cursed myself for waiting so long. It is such an amazing novel and I honestly don’t know where to start with this review.

First of all, I love the moms. They are so unique and amazing. They are funny, and have deep emotions and I was able to connect and understand each of them as they go through their individual struggles. I never felt like I liked one main character over the other; all 3 were equally important to me. I also loved the way they interacted with the other mothers and with their own children; it was such a realistic portrayal of how misunderstandings can bloom into full-out hatred. And both the creation and breakdown of relationships was described beautifully.

This novel was also beautifully written. I loved how there were moments in each chapter that read like a transcript from an interview. It kept me guessing as to what they were hinting at, and it also served to spice up the traditional writing style. I loved that the author spoke from multiple perspectives and managed to keep each one separate. There were perfect bursts of comedic relief thrown in during intense moments; this has got to be one of the only books that can intersperse humor in between serious scenes. And yet, the author still managed to highlight the importance of these issues; in no way did the humor take away from the seriousness of the situation at hand. I loved it.

Overall, this was just a fantastic novel. The characters were great, the plot was great, the relationships and interactions between characters was beautifully written, the pacing was on point, and the writing style itself was golden. I cannot recommend this book enough because I guarantee it will take your preconceived notions and make you chuck them out the window! If you have been a fool like me and not read this novel, go read it now! If you haven’t already guessed, I’m giving this a 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t know what is with this trend of giving vague blurbs for novels but it seems to be my weak spot! It’s probably because I love surprises so much … a book that doesn’t give me any clues is sure to surprise me! Anyways, here I go with my review:

In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees.

See, when I read this summary, I thought there would be more to it than what was mentioned. Something about the actual environmental situation or about the actual dangers of the new world. There is not. This is literally what the novel is about. To be fair, I don’t even know if this should be considered a novel because it was so short. Not only was it short, it didn’t have much substance. The story is told from the mother’s perspective and she uses the alphabet to name everyone (there is a character named N, and another one named R). I really didn’t like the whole alphabet naming thing because it always took me a minute to realize who she is talking about. I had absolutely no connection with any of the characters because you don’t really know much about anyone except for the protagonist … but there wasn’t much to her, either. The struggles that she went through didn’t really seem like struggles because they weren’t described very well. And while I like babies, I don’t like reading about their normal development. Barely anything happens in this book and the only reason I got through this novel was because of how short it was. I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

Happy reading ~