Sunday, 29 November 2015

3 Books That I....Liked...But Didn't Totally Fall For.

Wow, that's a long title. And not very appealing. It doesn't exactly hook readers in... And that's kind of what I want to talk about!
I recently donated a pile of books to my favourite cafe (Beanzz CoffeeHouse, 39 Grove Road in Eastbourne, aka the most underrated goldmine that funny little seaside town and indeed the entire of East Sussex has to offer. @beanzzcoffee on Instagram, check them out and thank me later) where they had a book donate and swap shelf adjacent to the bar. The books donated and money raised goes towards Matthew 25Mission Eastbourne, a local group dedicated to helping those in need by any means necessary: food, clothes, even just a listening ear and advice.

I had been meaning to clear out my bookshelves, but couldn't bear to throw anything away, so donating to this awesome cause was the perfect thing to do. I found it so hard parting with even a tiny pile of my books – but to be fair, these particular books were ones I didn't necessarily dislike but didn't love either. They were books I wouldn't read again, but wouldn't discourage anyone else from reading! They were just not my style.

Now, disclaimer: what I desperately want out of this post is responses. Comment, share, tweet me (@GracieActually) and tell me if you agree with any of the following, if you disagree and now hate me for not totally loving your favourite read, or if you aren't sure, aren't totally sold, just like me...then let me know. 
Right, now we've got that out of the way... Let's crack on. These are three of the books I donated, with my reasons why...


Ketchup Clouds, by Annabel Pitcher.

I do adore Annabel Pitcher. As a person and as an author. I have recentlyacquired Silence is Goldfish, her latest novel about a girl named Tess who discovers some shocking truths and thus stops speaking for fear of more lies coming out.
Ketchup Clouds was the first work of hers that I read. It tells the story of a fifteen year-old girl named Zoe, who is telling an awful secret she cannot keep to herself any longer to a murderer on death row – through a letter, of course, not on the telephone in the visiting centre.
Things I liked: The flashback feel – every letter Zoe wrote was a different chunk of the story, and that worked nicely, kept things interesting. The confused suspense – we know someone dies, we just don't know whom, and that's always exciting.
Things I didn't love: That the love triangle in this novel was between Zoe and two brothers...that's a very awkward and uncomfortable thing, believe me I have been there myself! Also Zoe herself, the character – I didn't 'get' her the whole time, and I wasn't on her side when the bad stuff went down, so that put a downer on the story.

I would quite like to read My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece although my younger sister says it is quite an upsetting read. Maybe I should wait until I am 100% cheerful within myself, and have a fun graphic novel to dip into between chapters.


You're The One That I Want, by Giovanna Fletcher.

I must start this by saying I properly whole-heartedly LOVE Giovanna Fletcher. I'm subscribed to her on YouTube, I follow her on Twitter, her marriage to Tom Fletcher is what ultimately unfailingly gives me faith in and hope for relationships, and her son Buzz is the most precious ingenious internet sensation I ever did see. Okay? I love her. I do.
Hence me buying her second novel. I somehow missed Billy & Me, but I was intrigued by You're The One That I Want from the day she revealed the cover online. So I was doubly devastated when I didn't quite fall head over heels for this book.
This is the story of Maddy, and Rob, and Ben. The three of them have been best friends since childhood; they lived on the same street, they grew up together, they kept in contact throughout uni and after. Rob and Maddy became a couple at one point, while Ben has always been secretly in love with Maddy. A wedding comes around and decisions have to be made...

I won't lie, the main reason I didn't fall head over heels for this story was because I was on the wrong team. Giovanna started a hashtagging thing on Twitter – you were either #TeamBen or #TeamRob and my allegiances were well and truly with the guy who lost out in the end (won't say which that was, no spoilers here, don't worry!) I was immensely frustrated and slightly hurt when things didn't play out the way they should have (in my opinion!). I also didn't totally love Maddy, in fact I was furious with her for most of the time I was reading.
Mind you, the story was mostly very exciting and was peppered with fun twists and turns!

Gi, when we meet someday and have a cuppa, we must discuss this and you'll have to cuddle me and reassure me that things worked out for the guy who didn't 'win'.


Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan.

I am the biggest and most intense David Levithan fan. When I finally met him a few months back, having spent years devouring a hefty portion of his work (not the entirety of it yet because my gosh that man has a long back catalogue!) I had no clue how to act cool, and nothing prepared to say. Because nothing I could say would encapsulate my adoration for him, surely!
I also love the novel Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, which he co-wrote with Rachel Cohn. Co-writing would be such a nightmare for him, but Levithan seems to find it a total breeze. So I figured I was in good hands when I picked this book up in Waterstones.
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List is the story of two besties, Naomi and Ely, and the pacts they make when they both fancy the same person. Naomi is straight, Eli is gay. Ergo, they must make a list of their mutual crushes whom neither one of them is allowed to get with. The catalyst for this story – for the epic falling-out of these two best friends – is Ely kissing Naomi's boyfriend, Bruce. It sparks off a high stakes war of sorts.
Oh, another plot point: Naomi loves and is in love with Ely. Ely loves but is not in love with Naomi.

What I liked: The story is written from two perspectives – the co-author thing is used well here. Cohn & Levithan have done better, but they can work together well.
What I didn't love: Naomi's demented desire for Ely – honey, he's gay and he definitely won't be touching you in those places or marrying you and having kids, get over it. Ely, stop kissing Naomi – your platonic friendship is already a mess, you don't want to be with her, and yet you're happily still messing with her mind. Actually, you know what? Naomi and Ely, you are both as bad as each other.

I won't lie, when I first looked up this book on Goodreads (foolproof decider of the 'to read or not to read' in times of complete confusion) and saw all the one-star scathing reviews, I did recoil and spring to David's defence. However, now that I've read it I can actually see where the harsh reviewers are coming from. My love for David will always burn bright, my allegiance to him will not falter, but this book was a disappointment.


So, there we have it. That was hard... Whenever I dislike a book these days, I keep quiet about it; I try to focus on the good points when writing a tiny Goodreads review or if my friends ask me about it – I hate bad-mouthing any book or author and never would unless they perhaps included over one hundred different racist slurs in their debut novel or got uppity about my generation and berated feminism.

Anyway, that's irrelevant because I didn't dislike these books. I just didn't love them. 

4 comments

  1. I confess I haven't actually read any of these, but I gifted Ketchup Clouds to a friend of mine a few months ago, so I'll have to ask what she thought. It's SUCH an interesting premise. I've had such bad luck with books lately - not of them seem to pull me in! But I'm a lot more vocal about my disappointment, and you'll no doubt notice if you visit my blog (oops!). How do I find you on Goodreads, huh? x

    jesmgia.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Ooh yes, please do ask your friend what she thought! It's a very daring idea for a story, and it's done well sure but not perfectly.
      I feel that, reading slumps can suck. I had a few bad months reading this year! I've never been brave enough to blog about books I dislike, this is the meanest I've ever been believe it or not! Your blog is perfection, honey bee.

      My Goodreads is here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/29011707-gracie
      Let's be reading pals! x

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  2. I'm the opposite with Annabel Pitcher. I lived Ketchup Clouds but was disappointed in Goldfish. MSLotM is lovely though if you can deal with the sadness. I've read Billy & Me and it was just average for me. I was sent a copy of her second novel but I'm not sure if I gave it away or not...

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    1. Ooh, interesting!
      I'd attempt YTOTIW and let me know what you think! If you can find it ;)

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