Sunday, March 12, 2017

Reading the Sad Books

This week was my spring break, so I was obviously excited for all the reading I could get done. I asked my family to grab a few books for me at their trip to the library, so I'd have a few specific ones ready for me the night I got home. And then I read them. And let me tell you... they were all pretty sad. I mean, they ranged from "oh, wow, that was shocking, I'm tearing up a bit" to "I HAVE NOT STOPPED CRYING IN 200 PAGES".

Obviously, I didn't mean to read all sad books over break. I tried to get light ones, I really did. I needed a break from the school books (the last one I read for my English class was The Bell Jar, but that seemed like a laugh riot after this week of reading). Here, I'll prove it to you--

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Sarah Dessen's new book, Once and For All (It comes out in June). In this book, Louna helps her mother with her wedding planning business. Good old lighthearted Sarah Dessen summer fun, right? WRONG. Something happened the summer before this book takes place that will break your heart, and then just when you think you're over it (it is in the past, after all), those already shattered pieces will crumble even more as you finish the book.

Look, it's not for everyone. Sarah Dessen does what she does well, and I welcomed it. But fair warning: it's sappy stuff. It's shameless in pulling out all the emotional stops. I just thought the emotions would be of a happier variety.

Sadness rating: I didn't actually cry at this one. But my eyes were red enough that my mom asked what was wrong. Final rating: Once and For All gets 4/5 stars.

I have to admit, I saw this next one coming. I read History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. If you read Silvera's debut, More Happy Than Not (which, if you haven't, get on that), you know he's good at the gut punch. And this synopsis doesn't really promise a bucket of laughs. Griffin's ex-boyfriend Theo dies, and Griffin had kind of thought that they would get back together eventually. Now he doesn't have anyone to talk to, except for Theo's new boyfriend.

I know, I know. But I love Adam Silvera, and I really did love this book. The characters just come to life, and Adam Silvera has that fantastic writing style that makes you feel like you're actually there, in that world. It had been awhile since I'd felt that about a book, and so I loved having that feeling of a world to escape to again. I just wish the world weren't so sad.

Sadness rating: Lots of hand-over-mouth-to-cover-up-what-might-have-been-either-a-gasp-or-a-small-sob-but-either-way-you're-having-trouble-breathing-normally. Final rating: 500/5 stars.

Then I read Kids of Appetite by David Arnold, and I swear, I had no idea what this book was about. I just knew I loved David Arnold's Mosquitoland, and a friend who has good taste in books said this one was good. Little did I know the main character, Vic, has to deal with his father's death throughout the book. And the sadness continues.

This one did have funny moments. I laughed out loud a few times. And then I went back to my stomach hurting from how much I felt bad for these characters. The group Vic hangs out with, the Kids of Appetite, are one of my favorite friend groups in YA literature since the Six of Crows peeps, and I would read anything about them hanging out some more. Prequel? Sequel? Short story about them buying furniture? Give me something happy, David Arnold. These kids deserve it.

Sadness rating: I had a dull sense of sadness throughout the whole thing, and then there were chapters where the sadness just burst out and screamed, "look at me!!" But again, the laugh-out-loud moments made it bearable. Final rating: 4/5 stars.

I think there might be time for me to read one more book this break. Good thing I have another book checked out from the library. It's Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is about the Biafran War in the 1960s. Oh, good, so that'll be another sad one, then.

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