Reading wrap-up #32

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Liked it enough
  • (★★): Didn’t care for it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

Amazon.com: One of Us Is Next: The Sequel to One of Us Is Lying ...Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Young adult, mystery, contemporary

GoodReads rating: 4.06 / 5 (543,700 ratings)

Medium used: Bought for Amazon Kindle

Buddy read: with my best friend Lilli! We both loved the first book and wanted to read this one together. I’ve never done anything like this and was interesting to work out remotely but I liked having someone to talk about the book with and gag at the reveals!

Summary: After a bizarre death of Simon at Bayview High last year and the mystery surrounding it, a copycat strikes. Phoebe, Maeve and Knox all have a stake in the new Truth or Dare game hosted by Unknown.

Thoughts: This review will contain spoilers of the first book, One of Us is Lying. At first, I was skeptical of the plot. All the characters that were “exposed” in the first book came away more or less unscathed (Bronwyn still got into Yale, Cooper still headed for the big leagues), so why were the people so afraid of a copy cat? However, the stakes turned out to be a lot higher in this book, keeping it interesting with a great ending. I’m looking forward to hopefully another book in the series! Although perhaps something a bit different, three online-crime incidences in one town seems excessive. This series is great for YA, entertaining yet progressive and realistic and this book was a wonderful follow-up to the first. I do have a question though: why were the kids never in school?! I swear this entire book takes place outside high school.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Amazon.com: P.S. I Still Love You (2) (To All the Boys I've Loved ...Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Young adult, romance, contemporary

GoodReads rating: 4.12 / 5 (204,800 ratings)

Medium used: E-reader (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: When Lara Jean and Peter start dating for real, their storybook romance isn’t all roses. When another recipient of her love letters comes back into her life, she’s more confused than ever.

Thoughts: I loved this! I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before about a year ago (on a side note: why wasn’t this book called 2 All The Boys?!) and wasn’t the biggest fan. I thought the idea was good but the execution was lacking and the characters annoyed me a little bit. However, this book really stepped it up. Lara Jean really grew on me and I felt it was the most realistic, engaging and interesting of the three. I wanted a cute, vulnerable read and it gave me exactly what I was looking for. Also, this is literally the only movie book cover I’ve seen that I’ve ever liked more than the original.

Other adapations: I can’t wait to watch the new Netflix movie when I get home!

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Amazon.com: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (3) (To All the Boys I ...Rating: ★★★

Genre: Young adult, romance, contemporary

GoodReads rating: 4.14 / 5 (130,000 ratings)

Medium used: Bought for Amazon Kindle

Summary: Senior year is going to be a knock-out: New York trip, prom, beach week, college excitement… until Lara Jean has to rethink her plans. What will this mean for her and Peter?

Thoughts: This was probably my least favorite book of the series. In theory, the plot had a lot of interesting things going on, but it just felt cramped and rushed. Not to mention I didn’t care for the ending. Through the series, I hardly felt Lara Jean’s growth and a different ending might have proven differently.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You eBook by Jojo Moyes - 9781101606377 | Rakuten KoboRating: ★★

Genre: Fiction, romance, contemporary

GoodReads rating: 4.26 / 5 (1,078,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-reader (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: Louisa takes an unexpected job caring for a quadrapelegic Will who misses his old life of action and adventure. Louisa has six months to show him that life is worth living by planning a series of events and trips to change his mind about assisted suicide.

Thoughts: Ugh. I have so many thoughts about this book as a former caregiver and daughter of a wheelchair user. There’s little I’m about to say that Hannah hasn’t already, so check out her review and YouTube channel.

I didn’t like the characters, they’re all insufferable and exaggerated. Nothing about Lou and Will’s alleged romance is convincing, I was never rooting for them. Emotions were too high so it didn’t feel real, plus Will was kind of a jackass the while time.

As a former caregiver of serveral spinal injury patients and wheelchair users, the romance felt really icky and unprofessional. You see these people at their most vulnerable and it’s your responsibility to be advocates for their well-being.

A tear-jerking Louis Theroux documentary about assisted suicide has more productive information on the matter, I highly recommend it. We can’t choose when we’re brought into this world, but we should be able to choose how and when we leave it. What’s the alternative, another botched suicide? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not actively encouraging suicide, I just want people to stop thinking dying comfortably “selfish.” The book should have been trying to let Will die as comfortably as possible rather than trying to change his mind. This book has been critisized for its ableism, implying that it’s better to be disabled than dead. This movie/book are one of the few representations of disabled people in media and the message isn’t great. Wheelchair users aren’t sad cases to be fixed, they’re people. Don’t erase their disability but it’s not their whole identity. Anyway, I’m not an expert on this topic, so check out this article and this page of a compliation of articles.

Other adapations: I saw the movie in cinemas when it first came out and of course I cried, but even then it felt icky.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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