Category: Mental Health

Mini Reviews: Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia & Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Posted 23 June, 2017 by katheryn13 in Contemporary, Funny, Mental Health, Reviews, Romance, Updates, YA / 2 Comments

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

So wow, this story caught me by surprise. First, the cover is absolutely beautiful and captivating. I would have kept it just for that alone, but the story itself is awe-inspiring. It made me want to drop everything now and write, just do what I love and write. Because that’s what I love to do (despite the lack of blog posts) and I miss it if I don’t do it for long. 
There was an element of ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell in this I thought, mostly because some pages had pages from Eliza’s ‘Monstrous Seas’ comic.
Eliza is quiet, insular, an introvert if ever there was one. And in some ways I related well with her, though not to her level. Mostly I just felt for her about her writing/comics and how passionately she was toward them – well, okay maybe she felt more intensely than I ever could, but that’s something else.
And then you have Wallace who comes at you with no warning. I kind of got a little irritated with him at one point, when things go ape-shit, but was glad when everything smoothed out. I couldn’t believe it took such an extreme turn to make him see straight. Eliza is gradually brought out of her shell and it’s cool to see, but I suppose I could see people saying “they’re romanticising…” and making it like she needs a guy to fix her. Anyway, I’m not going to do that because I look at the story as a whole and whether it entertained me, and it sure did. The messaging between Eliza, Emmy and Max was hilarious at times and really evened out the tone. 
I think I saw some moments that hit a little too close to home and since I read to escape and forget and whatnot, sometimes it can get a bit like “ugh. no. I don’t need a reminder, thanks” but I got over it. The sweet development between Eliza and Wallace was adorable, and just so so cute, I really felt like I was going on the journey with her.
I got so mad at her parents when you-know-what happened, but at the same time I could also see their point of view about Eliza spending so much time on her phone. However, since I also do that, and have no local friends, it was like “oh…”
There was, admittedly, a lot of drama in this crammed with humour and romance, and it never became dull for me. That’s all I ask. 4.5/5 stars.

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realises, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…

I kind of wish the plot hadn’t been given away in the summary, but damn…that did not detract from my enjoyment. I loved the premise, and how some people compared it to ‘you’ve got mail’ and I could see that. So clearly. Bailey’s voice was fun, light, and, ugh, I hate to say this, relatable. Maybe not to me personally, but she had that kind of bounce that made it really easy to read and not get irritated like some do for me.
I was always waiting for the ball to drop when it came to her and Porter, and it just made me want to read quicker though for me that’s not possible. Haha. Porter is charming, sexy, cocky as hell and just…sweet, too. I loved everything about him and if he could become real that’d be great, thanks. 🙂
Bailey’s dad, too was a cool presence, and the same for Porter’s family. It’s not often I like the families in YA but this one was nice. The only character I didn’t like was Davy, but I’m pretty sure, despite his reasons, that was expected. Grace was fun, too, and nice to add some Britishness to the equation.
I’m on a real contemporary reading streak at the moment and I’m so happy these two books have been brilliant, at least for me. I think if you love romance, adorkable moments and draaaaaama, then these two are for you! 😀
5/5 Stars.
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Review: 5 stars to Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Posted 24 September, 2016 by katheryn13 in Contemporary, Mental Health, Reviews, Romance, YA / 1 Comment

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
I was recommended this book via booktube, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. I went into this knowing it was about a girl with schizophrenia paranoia but to what end, that was not known.
Alex is a ‘one of a kind’ kind of character, who made me laugh, cry, and generally love so much. She has so much going on, and doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not. It’s almost heartbreaking at points because you, the reader, have been taken through this journey, only for the rug to be pulled out from under you. I was right there with Alex, horrified, scared, confused. It was a mish-mash of feelings that utterly made me love this book so much.
Miles was my second favourite, and the one that intrigued me just as much as Alex. I had, to be honest, wondered if he was real, just like with a lot of the characters, I was waiting for the catch. You’re left hanging, waiting in the balance for the penny to drop. Sometimes it dropped, sometimes it didn’t.
I loved the whole gang of friends Alex ended up having, and the mystery behind the Headmaster and what he was up to. Her parents were a bit hot and cold, but then it’s surprising they even appeared as a lot of YA has non-existing parents, you know? Actually it was more the mother that annoyed me. She seemed so quick to want to send her child away.
I know it’s weird, but I have this fascination with books about characters with mental health and where hospitals are involved. It might say a lot about me. They really interest me; even if it is brushed up to be less accurate, it’s STILL made aware. I don’t understand the people that get mad because it’s not 100% how it is. Sometimes you have to embellish to make a story, and still remain loyal, and I felt like this one matched that. I got the pain of someone who was suffering, and still I got the love story, and the trauma of things going wrong. It was all there.
I wanted more when it ended, I wanted to know what happened next, but it was still a relatively happy ending, even with flaws. It almost made me want it to be a series. LOL I know. Anyway, I think you’d like this, even if the subject isn’t necessarily something you’re happy with, there’s a whole different story within it. 
A definite 5 star read for me!
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