Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Love, Rosie (Original Title: Where Rainbows End)147865
Author: Cecilia Ahern
Pages: 512
Year: 2006
Publisher: Hachette
Rating: 4/5

 Goodreads Synopsis:  Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

This was such a cute book! It was such a light and fun read that I just flew through it. This novel follows the lives of Rosie and Alex from the ages of 5 to 50, told entirely through correspondence. This writing style isn’t for everyone, but I loved that it was written through instant messages, letters, chat rooms, emails, etc. I thought that it made the book more personal, like I was reading someone’s diary. It took some getting used to, but I thought it was such a cool and different way to portray the story and the characters. My biggest complaint about it was that it was sometimes difficult to figure out how much time had passed between each entry. Sometimes it would be months between dialogues and I would be left wondering what had happened in between. This also made it hard to really connect with the characters because we don’t see their internal dialogue, only what they choose to confide in other people. So while we get that intimacy of being a personal confidant, we don’t get their personal thoughts. Everything was second hand.

I found Rosie and Alex easy to like because they were human, with human flaws and human emotions. I became so invested in their love story because I found them so incredibly ordinary. It was easy to see this scenario happening in real life. I got so frustrated with them because they let life get away with them time and time again. Several times I just wanted to smack them over the head and tell them how stubborn and stupid they were being! Life is short, and sometimes you just have to tell your best friend that you’re in love with him! (YOLO.)

love-rosie-3

Side note: I watched the film with Lily Collins and Sam Claflin after reading this and I have to say that the pacing in the film was so much better. Although, it didn’t follow the book as well.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light, funny, romantic, read. This is definitely a book that I would take on a vacation over the summer. (Despite the length!)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

15507958Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Pages: 369
Year: 2012
Publisher: Viking
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I came into this book fully expecting a poignant love story that defies all the odds. I could not have been more wrong.

When we meet Louisa, or Lou, she is an unemployed young woman in her mid-20’s living at home with her parents. She is perfectly content to stay in her small town for the rest of her life, and is in a dead-end relationship with a man she has nothing in common with. She gets a job caring for Will Traynor, an ex career shark and adrenaline junkie who is paralyzed in most of his body. He ultimately teaches her to come out of her shell and to not be afraid of the world around her, all while falling in love with one another.

me-before-you-movie-trailer

I relate to Lou in so many ways, the first being that she is an unemployed young woman in her mid-20’s living at home with her parents. (Lol.) I know the struggle of looking for a job, and finding that you generally seem to be under-qualified for the job for which you are applying. I know the frustration of wanting to be so much more than what I currently am, and settling for jobs that are below my own skill level simply for the sake of having money coming in. Like Lou, I tend to get stuck in my own comfort zone. I don’t like change, and I am very cautious in personality so I tend to not take risks even when they might benefit me. Even the story of the maze got to me, while I may not have been in that same situation, I understand the fear and mistrust that comes with it. Your body is the one thing you feel like you can control, and when that control is taken away… What are you left with?

This story resonated with me, not only for the storyline and the characters I came to love, but because Lou’s life so closely paralleled my own. I don’t want to go as far as to say that the book changed my life, but it definitely opened my eyes to the reality of my situation. I have been feeling stuck for so long, like I am running as fast as I can and I’m not getting anywhere. Reading this book (along with some other events) was the push that I needed to get myself on track. Like Lou, I may not know where I am going yet, but I’m excited for the journey.

A few other notes:

The ending did not make me cry. (Probably because I’m a robot.) While the scene with Lou pouring her heart out to Will and him telling her that she wasn’t enough broke my heart, it wasn’t enough to make me physically cry. (Beep boop.) I teared up a bit when he asked for his parents at the very end, simply because I can’t imagine what they were going through. For the record, while I respect the choice that he ultimately made, I did NOT agree with it. Suicide is one of the most selfish things a person can do, and I don’t think I would be able to stand by while someone I loved ended their life.

I was definitely angry, I hated the ending because I just wanted them to end up together. (May or may not have thrown my book across the room in protest.) But I wasn’t surprised, I knew that it was coming. This book wasn’t about trying to spark Will’s will to live, it was about sparking Louisa’s. It was Louisa who needed the push to spread her wings and Will was part of her journey.

10/10 Moyes! Can’t wait to read After You!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetTitle: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Pages: 552
Year: 2006
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

The Book Thief was so incredibly unique to anything else that I have ever read, simply because it was narrated by Death.I expected Death to be a dark and morbid voice, but he actually cast an illuminating light on one of the darkest times in human history.

I do not carry a sickle or a scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like
facial features you seem to enjoy
pinning on me from a distance. You
want to know what I truly look like?
I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.

Giving Death human like qualities and shattering our commonplace perceptions of death was a bit discontenting for me, it is so much easier to deal with death as a distant and inhuman concept rather than one of the most human things you will ever do. However, Death has some incredibly insightful observations and dry humor that no other character could have brought into the story. He has no patience for mystery either, although the anticipation of what is to come makes it so much worse. Death drops several bombs throughout the story that don’t happen until much later, and I was on the edge of my seat just waiting and hoping that they wouldn’t actually happen.

This isn’t the first book that I have read about this side of World War II. However, Death does a good job of making us feel compassion and sorrow for people who have been dubbed by history as evil. Some of the characters in The Book Thief are members of the Nazi party, willing or otherwise, and view Jews as no better than rats. Others are hiding Jews in their basements. Others still are innocent children. But they are still human, and are we any better if we do not feel sorry for them?

Final thoughts: I definitely recommend this to everyone. The movie doesn’t give it justice, so if you have seen the movie and have never read the book I highly highly recommend it.