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ARC Review: Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn

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Published: June 27th, 2017 by Kensington | Series: N/A | Length: 256 pages | Genre: YA contemporary thriller | Source: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: sexual harassment, racism, violence, bullying, child abuse, suicide, murder

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Summary from Goodreads:

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

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4

Review of Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult

10912Rating: 4/5

Release Date: March 21, 1995

Length: 369 pages

Source: borrowed from the library

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time, The Storyteller, and Nineteen Minutes…

To the outside world, they seem to have it all. Cassie Barrett, a renowned anthropologist, and Alex Rivers, one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, met on the set of a motion picture in Africa. They shared childhood tales, toasted the future, and declared their love in a fairy-tale wedding. But when they return to California, something alters the picture of their perfect marriage. A frightening pattern is taking shape—a cycle of hurt, denial, and promises, thinly veiled by glamour. Torn between fear and something that resembles love, Cassie wrestles with questions she never dreamed she would face: How can she leave? Then again, how can she stay?

This is the first non-YA book I’ve read in awhile and the first one that’s being reviewed here on the blog. With that said, it’s a bit different from what I typically read but it was definitely an enjoyable read nonetheless.

Trigger warning for abuse and death.

Based on the blurb, I was expecting a story about Cassie and Alex’s abusive relationship/marriage and Cassie’s struggle to leave him. That definitely makes up a huge part of this, but there were some elements that I wasn’t expecting. They weren’t necessarily negative – just unexpected. For example, the book starts off with Cassie waking up at a church having no idea who she is or how she got there. She suffered a head injury and, as a result, has amnesia. For the first 100 pages, she slowly remembers pieces of her life and then once she remembers the abuse she suffered at Alex’s hands, Picoult writes a large section where we see their relationship from when they first met to when the injury that caused her amnesia occurs. I wasn’t expecting the amnesia but I thought it was pretty interesting regardless. I’m not sure it was really necessary, but it gave an interesting twist to a story about domestic violence.

As I’ve already kind of mentioned, this book is sectioned. It has three sections: 1993, 1989-1993, and 1993 again. The sections that are just 1993 are present day in the book and the section for 1989-1993 is where we get to see how Alex and Cassie met, what their relationship has been like from the beginning to now, etc. You really get to see why Cassie fell in love with him and therefore why it’s so hard for her to leave. I really liked that we got to see that their relationship was not always terrible and abusive. I’ll admit, even I was fooled by Alex’s charm at times despite knowing that he would end up abusing Cassie. I find that a lot of books that deal with abuse tend to paint a totally negative picture, but that’s usually not how things really play out. If there was never anything positive and the relationship was abusive from day one, few people would stay in an abusive relationship for as long as they do.

Picture Perfect

I really liked how Picoult incorporated Cassie’s career as a biological (or physical, as it is called in the book) anthropologist into the story. I’m minoring in anthropology and my interest is 99% in biological anthropology rather than cultural, so I loved seeing little pieces of that thrown into the story.

I’m not Native, so I can’t say whether or not the representation was accurate. I’d love to hear what Native readers have thought about the representation in this book, so if anyone knows of any reviews by Native readers, feel free to link me to them and I’ll include links in my review. I didn’t notice any big issues, but again, I’m not Native and therefore could easily miss offensive material.

The writing could be a bit dense at times and I found myself going back to reread some paragraphs to get a better grasp of what was going on. I’m wondering though if maybe that’s just because I’m used to reading young adult which is usually a bit easier to read.

Overall this was a good book that I’m glad I picked up. It deals with a difficult but important topic and does so in a way that really shows the complexity of the situation. If you like Picoult’s writing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one as well and if you like books that deal with tough issues like domestic violence, then you should give this one a chance.

4 stars

 

4

Weekly Recommendation #5

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Okay, so I’m sure tons (if not most) of you guys have read this one but it’s one of my favorites so it’s my recommended book for this week! Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is such a wonderful and unique book. The book is about Jacob and his discovery of a “time loop” where many children with unique abilities live, protected by Miss Peregrine.

One of my favorite things about this book are the really awesome vintage photographs that are included throughout the book. They’re so odd, but really cool and the way that Riggs uses them really adds a unique aspect to the story.

This is the first book in a trilogy. The other two books are Hollow City and Library of Souls. Admittedly, I have not yet gotten my hands on Library of Souls (although I really am dying to, I’m waiting until it comes out in paperback to buy it because I have the other two books in paperback and don’t want only one hardcover), but I can say with 100% certainty that Hollow City is just as interesting and captivating as the first book is. And I’m sure the final book doesn’t disappoint either.

It’s kind of hard to tell you what genre this fits into. It’s listed on Amazon as being fantasy/supernatural, mystery/thriller, sci-fi, and horror. I think the fact that it is listed as all of those different genres really sums it up well – it is such a mix that you are sure to find something that you like.

I truly think this book is a must-read for all fans of YA. So if you haven’t read it yet, make sure to – you won’t be disappointed!

Bonus: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is being made into a movie directed by Tim Burton and is set to release in September!

Buy it on Amazon.

Buy Hollow City on Amazon.

Buy Library of Souls on Amazon.