August Book Discussion: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

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All right, guys, time for another variation of the discussion! Let’s dive in to The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. This month, I invited Carlia to come along and chat with me about our book, and we had a lively discussion about characters and theme and symbols within the book. It is longer than last month’s, clocking in at just about 30 minutes, and I have to apologize that Carlia’s side of the conversation is not as loud as it could be; I was recording our Skype conversation using my phone. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this in a more efficient and quality way, please let me know!

Otherwise, enjoy. 🙂

Please leave your comments below! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this complex, layered book.

Oh, and click here to vote for September’s book. (Wait, September?! Time is flying, guys. I am almost in my third trimester!)

August Book Discussion: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

July Book Selection: Nimona

This month we are doing something a little bit different! Our book selection is a graphic novel, which I am really stoked about; there are some truly phenomenal stories being told in this medium and I’d love for us to explore them a little more. So in that vein, our first graphic novel for the Young Adulters Book Club is Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. young-adulters-book-club-becoming-jessica-nimona

As well, as I mentioned in the June book discussion post, I am going to be experimenting with a new discussion format this month. Carlia had a great suggestion to do a live cast where everyone can participate, perhaps on Facebook Live or Periscope, and then post the audio on the blog afterwards for others to interact with and post comments, etc. I haven’t quite ironed out all the kinks yet but I will be sure to let you know when I do!

As always, happy reading and feel free to post any thoughts you have during that process here. 🙂

July Book Selection: Nimona

June Book Discussion: The Lies About Truth

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  • I liked the way this book dealt with grief. How Sadie was wrapped up in her own experience and didn’t really realize that Gina and Gray were going through their own stuff, too. I liked that it treated grief like the individual experience that it is.
  • I wished that Trent hadn’t turned out to be gay, simply because I loved the idea of there being a very strong male-female friendship that didn’t involve romantic feelings. But it certainly added an interesting dimension to the story, such that people are kind of unknowable, and even when we think we know them better than anyone, they can still surprise us.
  • I thought the author did a great job of capturing the before and after of the accident, even though I didn’t love the extended flashbacks. It was important for us to see how life had changed for Sadie, Max & company.
  • I liked that the adults were real characters, too, though it would have been nice for there to be a bit more of Max and Trent’s parents. I liked the relationship that Sadie had with her parents, and how supportive they were of her, while also pushing her to get better and get through the really hard time she was having.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy this book?

Vote for July’s book here.

Also. I have been thinking that I want to change up the format of the discussion a little bit. I am currently planning on having a sort of podcast type thing where I will talk about the book in an audio file which I’ll post and then you guys can respond to that. It would be nice to be able to have an actual discussion with someone, though, so if anyone is interested in potentially Skyping in for a discussion or something like that, let me know!

June Book Discussion: The Lies About Truth

June Book Selection: The Lies About Truth

With 60% of the votes, this book won by a (tiny) landslide. It sounds interesting and I am excited to get my copy from the library. Hopefully it is a bit more of a crowd-pleaser than the last one. 🙂

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As usual, feel free to post your thoughts and feelings and reactions on this post while you are reading, just be sure to mark any spoilers clearly so people can avoid them if they want to. Perhaps consider indicating which page you have read up to so everyone else can determine if they are where you are or not. 🙂 Happy reading!

June Book Selection: The Lies About Truth

May Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic

young-adulters-book-club-a-darker-shade-of-magicOh, guys. Guys, guys, guys. I have failed as your leader again. I could not finish this book. I promised myself a long time ago that I would not waste my time with books I wasn’t enjoying, but I tried. I tried so hard. I just…didn’t care. Couldn’t care. In the slightest. I’d read five pages and just stare at it, thinking, But why is nothing happening? 

Some of my thoughts:

  • I was deeply disappointed by my inability to get into this book because the premise is so good. Four Londons, all stacked on top of each other, all with a vastly different relationship with magic that plays out in myriad, unpredictable ways? Fascinating! A pair of magical individuals, night and day of each other, but with the same abilities and the same goal? Compelling! But in execution, it just left so much to be desired. By page 170, which is nearly halfway through the book, nothing had happened. NOTHING.
  • I wish I could have connected with Lila as a character. Intrepid, brazen, convention-breaking female? Everything I love. But she just felt so flat to me. Like, she wanted to get out. But that was it. What else did she want? I couldn’t get a read on her, I didn’t feel that blazing, burning, wanting from her. All of the characters felt like cardboard cutouts to me, actually. Except for, funny enough. Rhy, who was barely in the book (at least the part that I read) at all. He seemed real to me. Genuine. Like I could reach out and touch him. But he was the only one.
  • There wasn’t enough information about Black London for me to feel interested in their journey there. There was a vague sense of foreboding, but that was about it. Oh, boy, there’s a stone and we have to take it back. ….Oh…kay?
  • It got a little bit more interesting once Lila and Kell had gone from Grey London to Red London. Particularly the bits where Lila was lost and alone, trying to find her way in this strange new place, with no idea at all of the ways and customs of the place that she had stumbled into. Still. It wasn’t enough to hold my attention.

I am, however, looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Perhaps there will be something in them to convince me to continue and finish the book. Is anyone going to go ahead and read the second one? Let the discussion begin in the comments below!

Also, make sure you vote for June’s book selection here.

May Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic

March Book Club: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Hello, my beautiful young Adulters! I am so pleased to announce (late, my bad) that our book club selection for March is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. This is something that is totally different from anything we have read so far (cryogenically frozen people?! spaceships?! murder?!), and I can’t wait to dive in!

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One of the responses that I received to my book club survey (which you can find here if you haven’t done it yet) was that it would be nice to have a place to comment on and discuss the book as we are all reading it, not just at the end of the month. So this is an experiment: I am going to post an announcement post at the beginning of each month, where you all can talk about your thoughts and experience of the book as you read it, as well as a discussion post at the end of each month, and we’ll see how it goes! Let me know what you think of it, and happy reading! 🙂

March Book Club: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

January Book Discussion: Life in Outer Space

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This was such a sweet book, and a fun, quick read. Set in Australia (it actually took me a little while to realize this…anyone else?)! I love trying to hear accents in my head, haha.

A few quick thoughts:

  • 150 bonus points for mentioning the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, which I think I have seen about 100 times and can probably still quote beginning to end.
  • I love that Sam watches horror movies with his mom. I thought their relationship was very sweet and I would have liked to have seen more of it, though I recognize that that was not really what this book was about.
  • Camilla was an interesting character who could have been a cliche but felt very fleshed out and real. I think all of the main characters were, actually. At first, I thought Allison was going to be kind of a cardboard cut out character, but she ended up having some depth and layers, too. I liked that Mike was gay but that it wasn’t “a thing.” He wasn’t “the gay character.” He was just a character.
  • What are your thoughts on what the title means? I didn’t notice any specific references to life in outer space (though I will admit that I read quite quickly and have a tendency of skipping over paragraphs that don’t look like they contain pertinent information. Yes, this does occasionally/frequently bite me in the ass). I think perhaps it is referring to the idea of becoming untethered from our normal way of thinking about things and being catapulted into a different perspective, but I don’t know. I’d love to know your theories!
  • I like that Sam was a writer. His obsessions were a nice framework and provided a good through-line that helped guide the book. It wasn’t just “my character will be a writer and this will have no relevance whatsoever.” The ideas of creation and creativity and genuine love for something are a major theme (Sam’s writing, Camilla’s music, Mike’s karate). It was a nice touch to have his writing tie in with his eventual realization of Camilla’s reciprocal love for him.

Okay, guys. Your turn. Thoughts in the comments!

PS. Pick the book for next month here. 

January Book Discussion: Life in Outer Space

December Discussion: My Heart and Other Black Holes

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Happy December 21! I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Pull up a chair, wrap your mitts around a warm beverage, and let’s chat about our book. Also, make sure you click the link at the bottom of the post to vote for next month’s book club selection!

Third time’s the charm, I guess, because I really, really liked this book, you guys. I wish that all young adult books – scratch that, all books – dealt with depression and suicide in such a real way.

My thoughts to get the discussion going, but I seriously cannot wait to hear what you guys have to say:

  • Like I mentioned above, I appreciated the realness of Aysel’s depression. I recognized gigantic chunks of myself and my own depressive behavior in her thoughts and actions, and the ways in which her mental illness affected all of those around her. We may think that we don’t matter and that nobody cares about what we are going through and no one would understand, but we are wrong. When her sister, Georgia, says, “I just wish you weren’t so sad all the time,” I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. It is like Aysel says when Roman comes to her house: “Sometimes it takes watching someone else observe how you live to realize how you live.” Real talk, y’all. Real talk.
  • That being said, I was also frustrated by the fact that both Aysel and Roman had these huge, traumatic events that happened to them that were the impetus for their depression. While traumatic events such as a sibling dying or a parent being incarcerated can, of course, be precipitating factors in the development of mental illness, they don’t have to be, and I wish that Jasmine Warga had chosen to give a huge event like that to only one of them, so that we could also see that depression affects “normal” people, too, whose father never murdered anyone and who didn’t leave their sister to die in a bathtub, which is, honestly, much more often the case. But I did like the fact that Roman was popular and handsome and, from all appearances, not someone that Aysel expected to want to die. Depression doesn’t give a shit how many friends you have or if you are great at basketball.
  • I was, to be honest, a bit disappointed that their relationship took a romantic turn. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, and I absolutely agree that love and acceptance are the best antidotes to the cruelty and isolation of the depressed mind, but it would have been so nice to see a friendship do the saving, instead of a romantic relationship.
  • It was interesting to see, as Aysel rediscovered her will to live, how she had to watch everything she said and did in order to keep it from Roman because she didn’t want to disappoint him, and she knew that he would be upset if he found out. He proved that on several occasions, with his emotional reactions to any tiny indication that she might be turning into “a flake.” He wanted to keep her depressed so that he wasn’t alone; he wanted to keep her depressed so that he still had someone who understood him. And Aysel wanted that, too, she just couldn’t stay that way. When he says to her, during their camping trip, “I can’t make you happy. We can’t let each other make each other happy,” he is really saying, ‘We need to cling to our sadness and shun any possibility of hope. Our sadness is what makes us who we are.’ Seeing his shift in perspective at the end was a little bit too much of an about-face for me, but I also felt like it didn’t really stretch credibility. Having found someone who loves him and accepts him for every dark piece of him, I truly believe that he may have had second thoughts about wanting to die. And his proclamation that living is going to be hard as hell? Bang on.
  • The use of physics as a through-line was really cool. I liked that Aysel was a science nerd, and physics was the perfect companion for all the death and depression going on. Alternate universes, string theory, the theory of relativity… Thematically appropriate, yes?

Now. NOW! To the comments, my pretties, so I can hear what you thought!

(Psst. Click here for the January book selection poll.)

December Discussion: My Heart and Other Black Holes

October Discussion: Delirium

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So.

Delirium.

What did you guys think?

I’ll admit, it took me a while to get into it. I don’t know if it was the pressure of knowing that you guys were waiting for me to be done, or that it took me so long to even start (because I forgot it at home when we went to Europe), or if I just didn’t like the book, but I really struggled! (Confession: I’m still not quuuuuuite done. But almost! I wanted to get this up for you guys sooner rather than later. Forgive me?)

  • One of the key things in dystopic fiction is believable world-building. Especially when something like alternative science is involved. I think Lauren Oliver did a relatively good job with this aspect of the book; the procedure made me think of a lobotomy, and I wonder if she drew inspiration from that at all. The hard part with a concept like hers, though, is that you must then account for every way that the thing you have removed touches society. For example, the whole point of music is to make us feel something. If there is outlawed music, it is because that music is designed to touch something inside of people. Why wouldn’t they simply ban music altogether then? Wouldn’t other music, even “sanitized” and approved music, be kind of like a gateway drug? For the same reason, why would they even encourage or allow friendships?
  • Along the same lines, it seems crazy to me that society would still be centered around a nuclear family. If, as was outright stated, people didn’t even feel love towards their children, wouldn’t it have made as much sense, or more, even, to have people procreate and then have the state raise all the children in some sort of segregated institution, where they could have everyone under surveillance and government control at all times?
  • Why do so many authors feel the need to assert that their main character is average? “Oh I’m so totally normal and average and nothing special and everyone is prettier than me.” Is it to make them more relatable? Because I don’t find that relatable, I mostly find it annoying. I recognize that many people feel that way (I know I have), but having it constantly shoved in my face, against much evidence to the contrary, is more frustrating than relatable.
  • I really liked the way she drew the beginnings of Lena’s relationship with Alex. It was like every time I’ve ever fallen in love, too, and seemed so real. It rarely if ever made me roll my eyes.
  • Hana was a nice foil for Lena, originally flirting with sympathizing and rebellion, but ultimately (presumably) settling for the life that was prescribed for her while Lena, who was always the one determined to follow all the rules, who was actively looking forward to being cured, ends up falling off the deep end. Nicely done.

I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say about the book! You can participate in the discussion in the comments here, or over in the Young Adulters forum on the blog (you’ll have to sign up if you haven’t already). 🙂 Do you think you will go on to read the rest of the trilogy?

See you here in two days for the announcement of our November book selection! Have you voted yet?

October Discussion: Delirium