“The Great Gatsby,” book review

So welcome to my blog and my first book review! I decided to read The Great Gatsby because the movie looks really good but I didn’t want to be confused when I saw it. Although since Leonardo Dicaprio is in it, I may be fangirling the whole time anyway:) I hope you enjoy this review!

 

The Great Gatsby is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is set on Long Island Sound in the summer of 1922, on two land formations called the West Egg and the East Egg. The people who live on these two formations live a life of wealth and luxury, though West Egg is considered the lesser of the two. The residents are very shallow, arrogant, snobbish, and dishonest. The story is mainly about a man named Jay Gatsby, hence the title, but there are also other main characters and they are listed as follows:

Nick Carraway, who is both the narrator and a witness to the events that unfold throughout the book. He seems to be a pretty passive man and tends to keep his thoughts to himself. Tobey McGuire will do a great job at playing him since he has all of two facial expressions.

Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s second cousin once removed who has just recently moved to East Egg from Chicago with her husband, is a very flighty, shallow woman. She has a three-year-old daughter for whom she doesn’t care. The nanny raises the girl and Daisy doesn’t seem to desire to have much of a relationship with her.
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Questions

 

But, God, what if I don’t do well?”

 

What if I don’t make friends?”

 

What if I do make friends, but I can’t be the friend that they need me to be?”

 

I’m just going to be one face in a sea of people, people who are all trying to find the answers to the same countless questions.”

 

What if I lose myself?”

 

What if I forget who You made me to be?”

 

What if.

 

These questions (and many more) have been swimming in my brain for the last year. They started out slow last summer, mainly just as curiosities. I had an excitement for college and for what the next chapter of my life would bring. But as the last several months have come to an end and the inevitable Move In Day quickly approaches, the excitement has faded and the fear has risen up like a tidal wave. Being the control freak that I am, I just want to grab on to the next two months and pin them down so they don’t fly by like the last year has and while I’m desperately looking around for ways to slow time, God is gently whispering into my restless soul,

 

Be still.”

 

I know the plans I have for you.”

 

I will never leave you.”

 

Trust Me.”

 

And though I am probably the worst person at surrendering to anything, I’m finding I have no other choice. I’m not just moving onto a college campus, I’m moving into a new life and I have to give God the control that I’ve been holding with a death-grip. And it’s terrifying. It makes me feel like I’m lost at sea without any idea where I’m going. But maybe that’s where God wants me.

 

Maybe He wants me completely clueless so that the only thing I can do is trust His lead.

 

Maybe it’s okay to not know.

 

Maybe it’s okay to just be.

 

I know that these anxieties will creep back up countless times throughout the next 4+ years, and throughout the rest of my life. But I hope that I will learn to listen for that loving whisper in the midst of the questions and fears. It’s quieted the restless hearts of so many people in the past, and it longs to quiet mine. 

Book Review: “What Happens Next” by Colleen Clayton

Sometimes you come across a book that, while it has its flaws, has a message that impacts you to the very core. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton was that book for me today. I started it this morning and finished it this afternoon. Yes, I am Superwoman! (Or I just read at the speed of light.)

 

Cassidy “Sid” Murphy is your typical 16-year-old girl. She has two best friends, straight A’s, and she’s a cheerleader. She’s not the most popular girl in school, nor is she someone who is remarkably talented at one specific thing. She’s just Sid. She is tall, with fiery red curls, and a very curvaceous body that unfortunately makes her the target of a lot of teasing from the guys (and even girls) in her class. While this is a problem you pick up on at the start of the book, you don’t see how much it really plagues her until later on.

 

The book begins with Sid going on a ski trip with her high school class. On this trip, she meets an older, very attractive man named Dax Windsor. After flirting and talking with Sid for a bit, he invites her to a party that he says his roommate is throwing at his house. Sid realizes that Dax thinks she’s older than 16 as most men do. However, Dax does not mention anything about her body, leading her to think he’s a good guy. As someone who only receives negative attention from guys, she’s desperate for someone to look at her as something other than just a body. To see HER, and not just her figure. This desperation dispels any rational thought and she agrees to go to the party. When she arrives, there’s no party. There’s no one except Dax who weaves a tale about how the party was called off. He invites her into the house to hang out and watch TV and. . .that’s it. Sid wakes up the next morning alone in a bed, fully clothed, and with no remembrance of what happened to her the night before. But she does notice that one strand of her long, curly red hair is missing.

 

It doesn’t take long for her to put the pieces together. When she does, it begins a journey down a heartbreaking road filled with self-loathing and bulimia. Sid can’t bring herself to tell anyone what happened. As with many victims of rape, she thinks it was somehow her fault. She starts to distance herself from her friends, becomes an insomniac, and takes up night running which, on top of the bulimia, causes her to lose even more weight. She starts lying to herself, telling herself that she’s fine, that she can pretend nothing ever happened. She stops being honest with herself so that she doesn’t have to be honest with anyone else. As the pounds drop off, she starts to become obsessed with losing just a little more. Just two more pounds. Just five more pounds.

 

So I know a lot about what’s going on here. Trust me, I’ve analyzed myself to death. I guess what I don’t know, though, is how to stop it. These feelings, the anxiety, the running, the starving, the bingeing, the puking—I’ve tried to stop it all, but I can’t.

I don’t know how.

I don’t know the answer to that question at all.”

 

Okay, let’s move on to the slightly happier topic of this book, the beautiful hopeful ray of light that pierced through the darkness of Sid’s life in the form of her love interest. . . . So that’s a bit dramatic but my gosh, Corey Livingston was PERFECTION. Okay, he wasn’t. Which made him amazing. Let me back up. Corey is the loner, low-life, stoner of the school. I know. When I saw that her love interest was a druggie, I was like, “Excuse me?! This girl is a rape victim and you’re going to pair her up with a drug addict??” But I’ll just go ahead and say this before you stop reading this review and write me off as a nut-job. He isn’t really a stoner. It’s simply the label he has been given by the rumor mill of the high school. Yeah, he smokes. But he’s not a pothead. He has his own personal demons but he doesn’t play the “Oh woe is me!” card. He’s selfless but not to the point where he looks like a wimp. He’s got a great sense of humor, he’s cute, and he.can.bake. If Sid ever changes her mind on this boy, I will gladly take him off her hands!

 

But, Abby, he’s a fictional character.”

Shhhh, I know. Leave me alone.

 

One of the things that always irritates me about the romance in some YA books is how the girl feels like the guy has to swoop in on a white horse and save the day. Look, I know that’s a cute idea from Disney movies, but life isn’t a Disney movie. Corey doesn’t jump in and save Sid from herself. He helps her face her problems head-on, but he doesn’t face them for her. He doesn’t push her behind him and sword-fight the dragons Bulimia and Rape. It’s more like he picks her up after those dragons have knocked her down time and time again, hands her the sword, and tells her that he knows she can beat them.

 

This book isn’t perfect. The subject material is heavy, there is a good bit of language, partying, and crude guys who talk to and about women like they’re pieces of meat. It was frustrating to read, especially knowing that while the story itself is fictional, rape and the after-effects of rape are not. They are glaringly real. All you have to do is look on the news, and I’m sure you’d find stories extremely similar to this one that happen every day. But even though it has its flaws, What Happens Next was a real book on a real issue. It was enlightening yet heartbreaking to see what goes on inside the minds of people who have suffered such a horrendous act of violence. The ending was believable. It didn’t show Sid waking up one morning and saying, “Well, I’m all better!”. But it did show her realizing that she can heal, that she will be okay, and that even though her rapist took so much, he didn’t take her strength.

 

http://www.amazon.com/What-Happens-Next-Colleen-Clayton/dp/0316198692/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379971964&sr=1-1&keywords=what+happens+next

“The Hollow” by Jessica Verday review

“The Hollow” by Jessica Verday (SPOILERS!)

This booooook. Oh, this book. It’s just so..terrible. Like..REALLY terrible. Okay, so I went to the library and was looking for books (duh) and this one kinda sounded interesting. It wasn’t. At all. I tried to hang on to the end, but I couldn’t. Yeah, I’m writing a review on a book I didn’t even finish. Sue me. I mean, the cover The Hollowlooked like the cover of a vampire novel which SHOULD have immediately been a red flag but there’s that whole saying about not judging a book by its cover. But next time I will judge. Hard.

ANYWAY, the story is about a girl named Abbey (cough) who lives in, you guessed it, the town of Sleepy Hollow. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is pretty much worshiped in this town. It’s referenced many times throughout the book and yet, it has very little to actually do with the book up until near the end. And if you aren’t familiar with the legend (like me) then you’re in trouble until about halfway through when it’s finally explained.

Abbey has a really odd love of cemeteries. She loves to sit and talk to the grave of Washington Irving who, if you again aren’t familiar with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” is the author of the story. Abbey and her best friend Kirsten both love hanging out at a bridge near the cemetery and with the occupants of said cemetery. Just..whatever. The book starts out with Kirsten having mysteriously disappeared at the bridge and everyone just assumes she’s dead except Abbey. They have a memorial service and a funeral even though no body has been found. At the funeral, Abbey sees a mysterious boy watching her and starts wondering why he’s there since he obviously has no clue who Kirsten is. He’s described as having piercing green eyes and white-blond hair with a black streak in it. I don’t even know how that’s considered attractive but to each his own.

After the funeral, Abbey goes to the basement in Kirsten’s house which is where they hung out. The creepy boy is there. Let me just stop there for a second. Abbey. This weird, stalker guy (whose name turns out to be Caspian of all things), is in.your.dead.best.friend’s.house. And you aren’t even a LITTLE weirded out by that?? This guy is obviously a professional at breaking into houses so maybe you should just go call the FBI or the Headless Horseman or something.

Now, one of the main things I strongly disliked about this book was how incredibly detailed it was. It’s written from Abbey’s perspective and there are whole chapters talking about her eating or baking cookies or doing homework or doing ANYTHING except something interesting. I felt like I was reading a super boring diary. So the girl spends like a million hours obsessing over Caspian and meeting Caspian and talking to Caspian AND OMG IT’S LIKE BELLA SWAN: PART 2. Obviously Caspian is supposed to be a drool-worthy dude with tons of secrets that grip you until the very end! He’s not. He’s boring. And his big “secret” is something you’ll see coming from 100,000 miles away. He also insists on calling Abbey by the name Astrid. He tells her that she is his “little star.” Literally, Abbey, that is not cute. It’s horrifyingly weird. Find the nearest mental asylum ASAP.

To be honest, I was really curious in the beginning of this book because, like I previously mentioned, Kirsten’s body was not found. So I’m thinking she’s gonna show up in the middle with this whole story of how she faked her death for some super terrifying reason and this would redeem the crappiness I had just endured. But no, that would mean the book would actually get good. Her body is found and I’m just sitting there crying over all the wasted hours I spent hoping that would not happen.

While “The Hollow” has its many, many, many bad qualities, there are some tiny, microscopic glimmers of light. There’s a part where Abbey completely falls apart over Kirsten’s death and I may have teared up a little bit. That part was very well-written and definitely evoked at least a small portion of emotion from me. But it still wasn’t enough to make a difference in my disdain of this book. :)

So yeah. Those are my thoughts. Oh, and did I mention this is only book one in a TRILOGY? So there are more cookies to be baked, obsessing to be done, and graves to be visited. Fantastic.

I give this book 1 out of 5 stars. Ouch.