Five Feet Apart–A Book Review

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So is a book always better than the movie? In this case, I hope not, because I’ve got a book for you today. And it’s not quite what I’d hoped it would be.

We have a history of blockbuster teenage romance movies that somehow turn out to be pretty good. Not because they tell a story we have never heard before, but because they tell us one we have. And they tell it well.

The Fault in Our Stars, Love, Simon, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and countless more do what they do well. Each of these was both a book and a movie—and both turned out quite nicely. Sure, my opinion might be a little biased depending on my tastes against yours, but hear me out on this one.

Some books just don’t measure up.

So without further ado, I’ll tell you what’s up with this one.

Five Feet Apart—Rachel Lippincott

This book starts off with the classic troupe for a romance story with teenagers involved: Two people hate each other and slowly fall for one another somewhere between point A and… wherever they end up. But there’s a catch— there’s always a catch. They’re not allowed to be together.

In this case, they can’t be together if either one wants to live. Both are cystic fibrosis patients, have been for years and they know the rules. They need to be at least six feet apart at all times in order to avoid contaminating one another due to their weak immune systems and low lung functions. Logistically, it’s simple. If they break the rules in place set to keep them alive, they could kill each other.

So what’s up with the story?

When introduced to main character Stella Grant, I actually quite liked her. She’s got this fierce independence and witty humor that makes it easy to appreciate her as a person. She seems a little complicated, something that you’re let more and more into as the story continues on, and the people that surround her are part of what makes the story so colorful.

Enter love interest: Will Newman. The boy who is classically angsty and just wants control over the health. Control he can’t possibly have. Because he’s terminal. And with a new infection, his margins for hope are growing smaller.

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So what is it about the love story between these two that didn’t quite make the cut?

I guess, maybe, I wanted more. We were let into their lives and their minds, told about their insecurities and anything that held them back. But, to me, I felt like there was more. We’re missing the whole person. I wanted to know what made Stella laugh, what was Will worried about when it came to living, what about Stella’s best friend Poe made him special, why was this a story about Will and Stella?

We were being told a story about these two human beings. My questions was why them? Usually I can find that why in the story, find a reason why it had to be them and no one else. But throughout this story, it felt like the details were held at an arm’s length from the characters, as if this was a story happening to them, not one told by them.

Maybe that’s why the ending that you see coming falls a little flat. By the end of it, I didn’t care enough about them.

I wanted to, but I didn’t.

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When it comes to good writing, you know something is written well when you can’t put it down or you look up from the pages and surprise yourself by still being in your own life, not theirs. I love books like this, especially those in which the movies and the books are such different animals that they are both great in alternate ways.

If I end up going out to see Five Feet Apart, I want to see just how the movie measures up. And if you’ve read this book, I would love to hear from you.

Did you feel that this book was as much as you wanted to be?

The Help– A Book Review

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It’s the fourth Tuesday of the Month and the last post for Black History Month, so it’s about time I got back on track and gave you what you’re looking for…

Welcome to Bookworms, BHM edition!

Today, I want to review one of my favorites and one of the few pieces of literature where I’m still not sure whether the movie or the book was better. But either, there’s got to be a reason I have a quote from this book on my laptop. So without further ado, here we go.

The Help—Kathryn Stockett

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As a novel that builds on the historical subjugation of black people, this one is a hard hitter without making sure to catch some pretty sweet moments in between. Even as Aibileen takes up her job as a maid and nanny in raising another white child—Mae Mobley—soon after the loss of her own child, we have an inside look into the discrimination and prejudice that she along with her friends and coworker Minny face in this 1960’s slice of life.

One big thing that this novel that tackles, something that many people did not brings a whole lot of attention to, was the idea of being an ally rather than a bystander. We see this through the character of Eugenia, or Skeeter, in her determination to stand against the prejudicial society she was raised in. In this situation, just like those who stood by Dr. King Jr and all those who fought for equal rights (that we still don’t have), we wouldn’t be anywhere without the noise we created as a collective. Allies are necessary. Through her own white priviledge, Skeeter found a way to use her own access to create some for people who would never get it on their own.

She became a catalyst. Every chance to make a change needs one.

As for another reason I like this book so much, well the quote on my laptop reads: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Just take a look at those three sentences; read it an extra time for good measure.

Did you notice the grammar? It isn’t proper. It’s the basic stereotype that black people don’t know how to speak properly. But the thing is, that concept is steeped in a whole lot of history because black people were not allowed to go to school and therefore, many didn’t learn to read and write unless their “master” taught them. If they didn’t learn that— and even when they did, they weren’t taught to any high standard— then they couldn’t learn to speak well because… Because the barriers of prejudice, racism, and an unequal society didn’t let them ever learn how. That is why, when Aibileen speaks those words to young Mae Mobley, it immediately created a juxtaposition between black and white, unbiased child and everyone else.

It’s not that the child didn’t see color, not at all. It’s that she hold prejudices attached to skin color that changed how she saw the woman who raised her rather than her own mother.

If that’s not a book that breaks barriers in just a few small parts of the book, then I don’t know what is.

I hope you’ve read this book; if you have, I want to hear about it! And if you haven’t, well put it on your list because this is a novel you don’t want to miss out on. Trust me on that.

See you Friday.

The Mortal Instruments–A Book Review (with a little extra)

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It’s Christmas day, but as they say, writers never take a day off. So happy Bookworms day!

I’m the kind of girl who grew up burying myself every last book of the Harry Potter series until I made it to the final pages of the seventh—not only did my appreciation for an intensely and lovingly made series shoot sky high, my standards were also set pretty high for fantasy world building.

It’s not easy after all.

But alas, I found another series that isn’t quite on the same level, but simply in a different kind of category of fantasy world building. Yet, I started the first book back in middle school and here I am as a junior in college, still diligently awaiting the release of every new book so I can fall farther into the pages.

And it I’m going to keep talking about it, I guess I should introduce this series to you. So without further ado, here it is.

The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, and Dark Artifices—Cassandra Clare


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Now, notice I put three different series up here; even though she started with the Mortal Instruments, if you want to find the full appreciation for these books, you need to read the rest after you finish the first set. From the Mortal Instruments, Clare pulls important details about the characters and their families through to her next series of a different century, the Infernal Devices, and finally her most recent and modern series, The Dark Artifices. Every single one plays off the last, so I hope you’re ready to pay attention.

With six different books within the Mortal Instruments, each sets the elaborate and intense background for the rest of the books to come later. Here you meet the main characters you’ll see reappearing through the rest of the books, whether through family name or actual presence. Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, Simon, and Magnus all begin their journey here. But trust me, they don’t stop anytime soon.

There’s a reason a younger me fell in love with both Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs of the Infernal Devices. And don’t get me started on Tessa, she is quite the badass if I may say so myself.


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Every one of these books is the kind that lets you get lost in another world of things that would never happen in this one—if you have a thing for fantasy and elaborate world building, this is a good place to start.

But I give a fair warning, if you start here, you probably won’t stop.

Now I give these books high regard because just like the Harry Potter Series, I always seem to come back to them when I’m looking for something to get lost in. That doesn’t mean they are without flaw.

First of all, these books are definitely not child friendly as there are quite a few sexual scenes that even if they leave most to the imagination, people will probably assume the same things. Also, if there is any religious sentiment against magic and the works, this series is a no go.

As a whole, the books also seem to get better as Clare kept writing them; though I remember feeling like six books for the Mortal Instruments was a little long, I still loved all of it despite the tedious attitude I took on to find out what happened next. Tapering down to three for the Infernal devices and The Dark Artifices (so far, I’m almost done with the 3rd book that came out on the 4th, so I don’t even know if this is the end yet) was probably a good idea.

Logically, if you haven’t read a lot of fantasy, it can be hard to get a good grasp on this kind of world when it involves warlocks and downworlders and angelic powers, etc. But if you can get into it and truly understand it all, it’s definitely something I think people who like fantasy would enjoy. As long as you don’t mind heavy emphasis on romantic drama in the process—it seems to be the backbone for most of these plots on some level or another.


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Overall, I have enjoyed these books over the years and I guess, maybe this wasn’t a regular Bookworms post considering I just went through three different series for you. But hey, it’s Christmas after all and from a bibliophile, this was my little extra gift to all of you.

So Merry Christmas everyone (who celebrates) and Happy holidays to each one of you and your loved ones.

Have a wonderful day.

A Thousand Splendid Suns– A Book Review


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After a day of classes, studying, outlining, a nap, and other finals prep, I have a Bookworms post for you today.

This is one of my favorites, a book much like the dedication to Afghanistan in The Kite Runner, this one is a focus on the lives of Muslim women. As one of the stories I have grown to appreciate the most over the years, here’s what I’ve got.

A Thousand Splendid Suns– Khaled Hosseini


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If you have read The Kite Runner, Hosseini’s writing style should feel familiar among the streets of Kabul yet again. Set in Afghanistan as the wars break overhead and the Taliban takes over the realities so many knew, the main character Mariam introduce the readers to her own world.

As a harami, what many also know as Jon Snow’s bastard status, Mariam is treated terribly from the very beginning. She is the first character we meet within the novel, and through her eyes, we are introduced to a Muslim culture not often seen in mainstream media.

Throughout the novel, there is love, hope, combat, hardship, and family, but most importantly there is endurance. Mariam’s existence itself is a defiance to what many other characters believe is “proper” or “right.” From a young age, she is forced to face tragedy and misfortune head on, her life dependent on how well she followed rules. The way Hosseini weaves the concepts of political control and cultural gender norms is done seamlessly through his characters; he does so to prove a point, one I hope you find if you read this book.

As women, Mariam and so many others are seen as subordinate. But they do not stay that way.

Beyond endurance, there is also a focus on education– in order to have a more productive and focused society, we need to have educated people. This idea is fostered by the character of Laila, someone bound to Mariam and her own life by unfortunate circumstance. As Laila and Mariam’s fates intersect, they come to love, hate, and rely on one another as the story unfolds. Though they are not related by blood, this book brings to question the concept of family and resilience: just how strong can someone be when they are not fighting solely for themselves?


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The characters and images in this novel are half the battle, as they make it easy to slip into the pages and get caught up in the story. Though their lives are something I have never come close to living, there are still many ways to connect to these characters and their experiences. Whether it’s the fighting spirit Mariam turns out to have or the devotion of Laila, the narrative perspectives of these two women are what drive this story forward.

As the second time I have read this book, again closely following Hosseini’s other work The Kite Runner, I got the chance to read it with a larger perspective and understanding of the world than I had before. No matter your age or the life you live, this book is an incredible opportunity to step into the streets of Kabul for a short while and understand what it means to live to see a thousand splendid suns hiding behind the leaves.

See you Friday.

Once in a Promised Land– A Book Review

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Back at it again with the Bookworms for you today, here we go.

This has been our first full month back at school, which unfortunately has me in all English classes— so while I’m doing a whole lot of reading, most of it is not for fun. That being said, my diversity in English Literature class is one of the better ones, plus I get to read the Kite Runner again next week. Lucky for you, that also means I have a book that’s a little different but still very a good one to share with you.

So without further ado— here’s my book for the month.

Once in a Promised Land— Laila Halaby


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This is one of those books that takes you out of your own life, your own identity, and puts you into the shoes of someone else to walk around in for a little while. It explores the concept of marriage, faith, the intersectionality of home and race, as well as so much else; something in this novel will apply to you.

The main characters of Jassim and Salwa both go through incredible hardships just within the short contents of this book, yet each seem to handle them so differently. As regular human beings, they face the betrayals of their own minds, bodies, and in many ways, their countries as well.

My class is focused on post 9/11 Muslim American Literature, but this book doesn’t necessarily focus on that. The event is almost a side-effect in the novel of everything going on in the characters’ lives, something weaved so seamlessly in by Halaby that the story comes naturally.

Without spoiling anything, I have to say that the metaphors and running motifs in this book are necessary to pay attention to. These metaphors are almost literally threaded between the lines and give a little insight to the lives or backgrounds of our main characters.


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As someone who was raised in American culture, Once in a Promised Land not only gives me a look into a culture beyond my own, but also helps me understand what it can be like to live that culture. Incidents of micro-aggressions, racism, and even blatant tokenism are both obvious and dangerous within this book, as we see how easy it can be to overlook something that seems so wrong from another point of view.

One reason I would urge you to read this book is for the way Halaby writes the lives of her characters: in a way that makes it hard to figure out who to root for. Every character does something wrong— some more than others— and in turn it leaves us to question both our own morals as readers and as a country. This book is not anti-American, absolutely not, but some actions of America’s post-9/11 are questionable and for this reason, it is something we should recognize. 


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The only criticism I have of this book is the speed– at some times, it definitely could have moved faster or some concepts could have been left out. Many character’s lives overlapped, as you will see throughout the book, and while some connections were hidden until later for suspense, I am not so sure it was always necessary. Nevertheless, the underlying lessons in this book were good to understand and I enjoyed many aspects of this novel.

This book will make you think— to question your relationships, what it means to love and to be honest, even what it means to belong to a country. But by the end of it, I hope you think you can see a little bit more about the world around you too.

I know I do.

See you Friday. And for everyone struggling to make it there, know that you will. Just take it day by day. I will see you then.

Firefly Lane– A Book Review


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On Friday, I definitely said I was going to be doing a Poetry Place post  today, but I was incorrect— that’s what I get for not sleeping. Still got two more weeks until Poetry Place, sorry about that. Today is for Bookworms and Bookworms only.

So do you remember that book I hinted at, during the beginning of the month?

Well today is the day, I get to tell you all about it.

This book held a whole lot of promise from the moment I picked it up. I read one of her works maybe six years ago now, and I remembered loving her style but never picking up another one of her books. Until now.

So without further ado…

Firefly Lane— Kristin Hannah

Even though I don’t know the characters or the lives they’re living, this book made me feel nostalgic for people I’ve never met. That’s how you know the writer did a good job.

The way Hannah wrote her book, she follows best friends Tully and Kate, aka TullyandKate, around beginning with their lives in eighth grade up until their late middle-ages. Chronicling a friendship like theirs is hard to do because they come from two very different backgrounds— one is rebellious and independent with a drug-addicted mother who constantly abandons her. The other is quiet and seeks companionship, with the classic kind of family that supports its members unconditionally

Put these two kinds of girls together and let them become best friends— that’s where the story begins.


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As they get older, working their way through loss and love and career hopes and fear, they change together over time. This story is as much about friendship as it is about love; the two go hand in hand. While the two friends fight, raise kids, and manage to hurt one another a few too many times, Firefly Lane is a look into what it’s like to have a best friend you always come back to

Even if at some point, the coming back gets a little too hard.

You’ll see what I mean if you read the book, through Tully and Kate I understood what it’s like to love and hate someone at the same time. Through their families, we understand what more life has to offer beyond our own selves or our jobs or out self-love.

There are some things you cannot find and holes you cannot fill on your own. Sometimes you need help.

Wonderfully written and hard to put down, this book made me want to read what happened at the end even while I was four hundred pages away from it. 

I enjoyed it, for the most part, but I did find one flaw in the book (and also one typo, as a writer I love finding those.) As I read, more towards the end of the book, one question kept popping into my head that shouldn’t have: when is this going to end?

I will say, the book was hard to put down– I meant it when I said that. But it also kept bouncing from one thing to another and I just kept asking myself when we would get to the big twist at the end. It came eventually, trust me it did, but I think it was a little long winded to get to. So I wanted to point that out.


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The one thing that surprised me about this book, a little long winded or not, is that is made me miss people… It made me miss everyone. In the way that you think of someone and you can hear their laugh in your ears or you hear a phrase and automatically connect it to them saying it. Or even just the kind of hugs you get from only a few people, the company that’s so easy to be around in silences that don’t have to be awkward.

This book is a chronicle of the human condition through TullyandKate. And it was wonderful.

I hope you think so too.

The Truth About Forever– A Book Review


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Another Bookworms post for your Tuesday and I’m bringing you one of the books that I come back to every summer. Each year, I always have this list of books to read, to finally get my hands on with the hope that I can use the plethora of time I like think summers hold.

Then I got older and realized that time wasn’t always a guarantee. First it was AP class homework, then an internship along with the homework, and now I’m in college spending my summer with class, work weeks, and not enough time for reading.

And yet, that hasn’t stopped me from going back to old favorites. For young adult books, author Sarah Dessen does pretty well from books like Just Listen to Lock and Key, each telling different stories that somehow connect to one another in some way. So without further ado, here is my book review for one of my favorites from her.

The Truth About Forever— Sarah Dessen


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It’s your classic YA novel, you’ve got your main girl who has a boy and decides to let go of that boy, while finding a new one in the process when she wasn’t really looking for him. At least that’s what it sounds like from the back cover.

But once you go a little deeper, you’ll realize that this book is about grief just as much as it is about love— two things that undoubtedly go together. For each character in the book, it seems they are all trying to figure out how to reconcile the people they used to be with who they are becoming. Take the moms or the sons or the daughters or the friends, every single one of them is working through their past to get to their future.

Maybe that’s one reason I like this book so much, because it’s relatable no matter the circumstances your life has put you in. This book makes sense.


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Macy is the kind of main character that holds a whole lot of genuine comedy and sarcasm underneath her practicality and need for control. Combine her with the character of Wes, whose spontaneity and creativity makes him so endearing in the process, and it’s hard not to be drawn into their stories.

As their lives collide with one another, we watch them get pulled far outside their comfort zones and into a different way of living. Past the grief and the love, this book is also about family and relationships as a whole. The way Macy interacts with her mother and sister parallels with the way Wes and his brother interact— they both invite you into these relationships within the pages.

Not only does this book offer a feel for the families, but it also offers an inside look into Macy’s head and her need for perfection, combating the guilt and inadequacy she so constantly feels with people like her mother or old flame Jason even. This novel is a slice of life, with a heartthrob thrown into the middle of it for a little comedic and romantic relief throughout.

One thing I will say took away from this book a little bit is its slow start. Sticking with the book was easy for me simply because I like Dessen’s work and knew it would be worth the wait. But for some, things only get interesting when Wes comes into the storyline and gives us someone to get attached to.

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Once that happens, the pages turn from there and if you’re anything like me, it’ll be one of those books that you just keep reading so you finish it before you put it down even once.

If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think! And if you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll take a chance on this one. I don’t think you will regret it.