Book Review: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

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city of fallen angels

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #4)

Rating: 4 stars

Official synopsis:

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

I initially hadn’t liked this book as much as I liked the rest. It started out full of possibilities, with Valentine being killed and the Accords being signed between Shadowhunters and Downworlders, it seemed like a new basis for everything to start gain, afresh and away from any malevolence (namely Valentine) that had haunted the past three novels.

Along the way I felt that this novel was going to be mainly about courtships that were going to span the entire book, without really going anywhere. Also, I started to grow tired of Jace and Clary’s relationship. I shipped them so, so hard in the first three novels.While the idea of “forbidden love”, and the possibility of finally getting back together got me rooting for them all this time, I started to get bored of the whole “undying love” that seemed like it was never going to materialise into anything. The whole time, it seemed as if their relationship alternated between passionate make-out sessions (which I’ll admit, can be exciting at times), and long periods of cold war; and that was all there was to it. Even towards the end, I felt so devastated that Jace’s situation was only going to get worse, and that he and Clary still couldn’t get the happy ending they so deserved. At this point, I must really say, I miss the strong, unfazed, and determined Jace.

It did get better though, as the novel progressed. It started to get more exciting with the appearance of Lilith, and Simon seemed to become a stronger character as well. Clary seemed to be a much more independent character, thanks to her new training at the institute. I also liked that the novel was at some points narrated from Izzy’s perspective. Being the one character I’ve respected and admired throughout the novel, it was interesting seeing how she, too, had her fair share of secrets and undesirable pasts.

In all honesty, I think that City of Fallen Anges is a fairly well-written book still. Clare’s ability for gut-twisting, heart-wrenching plot twists never fail to impress (the ending of this novel, nooooooo!!!!!!!). Perhaps it was because the previous books in this series were so action-packed and brilliantly written, readers seeking for a thrill would be disappointed in finding that this novel had only one main battle (against Lilith), as compared to the many fights and victories present in the previous books.

Additionally, I felt that it was still interesting to see a Mortal Instruments novel being narrated with less action, and more focus on the more  everyday aspects of the characters’ lives, such as their relationships with their family, friends, or loved ones. Certain issues, such as Simon’s difficulty “coming out” to his mother, as well as Maryse and Robert Lightwood’s failing marriage, weren’t touched on previously and offered a fresh take on the Shadowhunters’ and Downworlders’. I felt that this novel, in a way, sheds light on the more “human” aspects of these–slightly supernatural but still mortal–characters, paying more attention to their emotional demands rather than physical abilities. I’m still a die-hard Shadowhunters/The Mortal Instruments fan though, and I’m looking forward to see what the next novel will bring!

Favourite Quotes:

– “If we’re going to the Silent City, you might want to get dressed. I mean, I appreciate the bra-and-panties look, but I don’t know if the Silent Brothers will. There are only a few of the left, and I don’t want them to die of excitement.”

– “You and your name-dropping. ‘I knew Michael’. ‘I knew Sammael’. ‘The angel Gabriel did my hair’. It’s like I’m with the Band with biblical figures.”

– “You’re the first Shadowhunter I’ve ever met.”
“That’s too bad,” said Jace, “since all the others you meet from now on will be a terrible letdown.”

-“No. That’s Clary; shes’s my best friend.” Simon pocketed his phone. “And she has a boyfriend. Like, really, really, really has a boyfriend. The nuclear bomb of boyfriends. Trust me on this one.”

-“We can buy you one of those books they have for little kids ‘Timmy Has Two Dads’. Except I don’t think they have one called ‘Timmy Has Two Dads and One of Them Was Evil’. That part you’re just going to have to work through on your own.”

– “If love were food, I would have starved on the bones you gave me”

 

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Book Review: With a Twist by Staci Hart

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I decided to spare everyone from the aftermath of my binge-reading of The Mortal Instruments series. Before I carry on with another TMI book review, I shall review another book that I’ve read recently, and enjoyed! 🙂 It’s in another genre as well! 🙂 Too much fantasy reviews lately, even though I enjoyed those novels 🙂 So here it is, my first New Adult review!

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With a Twist by Stacie Hart (Bad Habits #1)

Rating: 4 stars

Official Synopsis:

Love is somewhere near the bottom of Lily Thomas’ list of life goals, right next to competitive eating and underwater cave diving. She’s spent six years pirouetting and pliéing her way up the ranks of the New York Ballet with her eye on the prize and love in the back seat. But now that Blane Baker — Lily’s long time crush — is finally single, she’ll throw her rules out the window without thinking twice.

Reality with Blane isn’t as epic as the fantasy she imagined, and the truth sends her spinning straight into the arms of the man she never knew she’d always wanted.

West Williams has been friends with Lily since the day she moved into their building and he saved her armoire from a swift, sudden death by staircase. Their friendship has always been easy, the boundaries clearly defined. With neither of them willing to risk their relationship, they’ve drifted happily through the years as companions, never considering more.

That is, until they do. And that realization changes everything.

My thoughts:

Being the first book I read in ebook format (I don’t usually like to read in soft copy), I really enjoyed this novel. It’s a short, enjoyable and humorous read! Having heard little about this book, or the author, I felt a little nervous going into it, because I wasn’t sure if it’d be good.

The thing that got me started on this book was reading that the protagonist (Lily) was a full time ballerina —  a profession I’ve dreamed of going into since I was a girl. I thought it was rather interesting, having a fiction novel written from the perspective of a full-time ballerina. I felt that this novel accurately and adequately portrayed the demands of the career path, right up from training in a full-time dance academy, where Lily met Nadia and Blane, to performing in a professional dance company. Yet, the novel still portrays these dancers as having friends, romance and a life outside of the studio, something that has been missing from novels written about dancers.

The story between Lily Thomas and West Williams was rather adorable. Rather than falling for each other from the start, I liked that they were both in another relationship, or having a crush on another person. As the novel unfolds, we see how their feelings and relationship develop from existing friendships, a topic that usually poses as a threat between friends. The saucy scenes at the end also made for an exciting twist for the reader.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read! I loved how the story was narrated in alternating chapters from Lily and West’s point of view, showing both sides of the same crush, same relationship. Hart also manages to place equal emphasis on most of the other characters, creating a group of supportive and endearing friends, rooting for each other in all circumstances. This portrayal of friendship might also be one of my favourite things about the novel 🙂

Favourite Quotes:

– “My relationship status was about as clear as a serial killer’s cellar window.”

– “Yeah, I’m gonna make a blanket statement and say that vodka does not make everything better.”

Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

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City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #3)

Rating: 5 stars

Official Synopsis:

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

My thoughts:

Of all the 3 books I’ve read so far, I enjoyed this the most! Cassandra Clare’s ability to seduce the reader through plot twists, mysteries, and action never ceases to amaze me. Like the other two books, I find myself absolutely glued to the novel, negligent of all other responsibilities.

As City of Glass was mainly set in Alicante, this novel, if not before, had a slightly more mythical element to it. As Alicante was where Shadowhunters came from, it was also where most of the characters’ secret past were to be revealed. With the appearance of Sebestian, Simon’s captivity, Jocelyn’s reappearance, and Valentine’s knowledge of the mirror’s location, this novel constantly pushes us to the edge, gripping with suspense and anticipation for what is to unfold.

Also, this book was probably the most heart-wrenching one of all in the Mortal Instruments Series. In this book, Jace, who’d once seemed cold and unfeeling, began to reveal his emotions more, both to himself and to Clary. This book portrayed Jace to be more vulnerable than the other two, and the fact that his family history was getting more complicated and uncertain makes you feel for him even more. Afterall, he’s just seventeen and no teenager deserves to go through so much. But this uncertainty of his family origins is accompanied by a possibility for Jace and Clary’s sibling situation to be untrue, bringing hope to Jace-Clary supporters! 🙂

At this point, I’m still not sure if I like Clary as a character yet. While she seems stronger, knowledgable and slightly more contributive as a Shadowhunter now, she is still headstrong, impulsive and demanding as ever.

At this mid-point, I’m excited to see how the rest of the series unfolds, yet slightly apprehensive of being let down, because I really want it to be good. It’s a rather long series, and City of Glass seems like an adequately conclusive and wonderful end if The Mortal Instruments were to be a trilogy instead. I hope the rest of the series will not disappoint, building on further from the amazing standard set by the first three novels.

Favourite Quotes:

– “There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity. “I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.”

– “You said you were going for a walk!? What kind of walk takes six hours?”
“A long one?”

– “People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but its the way you live your life that matters.”

– “Despite everything, I can’t bear the thought of this ring being lost forever, any more then I can bear the thought of leaving you forever.”

-“You had to make a crazy jail friend, didn’t you? You couldn’t just count ceiling tiles or tame a pet mouse like normal prisoners do?”

– “Waiting for a special occasion to kill me? Christmas is coming.”

Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

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City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instrument #2)

My rating: 5 stars

Official Synopsis:

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

My thoughts:

Okay, much like the first book, I spent the whole day reading this, in total abandonment of everything that’s going on around me. It’s THAT addictive!! And now that I’m done with it, I just can’t wait to start on the next book.

If you enjoyed City of Bones, this book was an excellent follow-up on it. While City of Bones created an introduction to the world of Shadowhunters, as well as the dynamics between the characters, City of Ashes led the reader through the story with a preconceived expectancy to see how everything unfolds. The plot in this book was much more exciting and action-packed. The relationships between the characters in this novel were portrayed with so much tension and potential, making it especially nerve wrecking. My heart was hanging on a cliff, just hoping for Clary and Jace’s (my OTP!!!) relationship to sustain the entire novel. The whole new romantic relationship with Simon at the side didn’t exactly make it any easier.

Speaking of Simon, I also found that this novel, to some extent, revolved around him. It was, after all, partly narrated from his perspective. From him turning into a vampire, and later into a new breed that seems to transcend boundaries that restrict vampires (such as being in daylight and in holy grounds), the novel seems to build on his abilities and strengths as a character, further empowering him from the mundane he was in the previous novel. The glimpses of his new relationship with Maia were also pretty cute, in my opinion. 🙂 Through brutal interactions with the inquisitor, we also come to find that Jace’s family history might not be what we initially thought it was.

Also, its interesting to see that Clary is finally coming to action in this novel. I mentioned in my review on City of Bones that I initially disliked her as she seemed rude and indignant. Rather than being a shrieking, cowering “deadweight” (quoted from Alec in CoB), she now seems to be taking charge and to actually be useful to the team on their quests. Now I’m quite excited to see how she grows as a character and a Shadowhunter.

If you enjoyed City of Bones, there is a high chance you’ll like City of Ashes as well! Be prepared for sleepless, meal-skipping, heart-racing days of reading, with nothing but the Shadowhunters holding your thoughts at captive. 🙂

Favourite Quotes:

– “I’ve got a stele we can use. Who wants to do me?”
“A regrettable choice of words,” muttered Magnus.”

– “You see, cuckoos are parasites. They lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. When the egg hatches, the baby cuckoo pushes the other baby birds out of the nest. The poor parent birds work themselves to death trying to find enough food to feed the enormous cuckoo child who has murdered their babies and taken their places.”
“Enormous?” said Jace. “Did you just call me fat?”
“It was an analogy.”
“I am not fat.”

– “I’ve heard the word ‘fear’. I simply choose to believe it doesn’t apply to me.”

– “Clary screamed out loud as he fell like a stone-
And landed lightly on his feet just in front of her. Clary stared with her mouth open as he rose up out of a shallow crouch and grinned at her. “If I made a joke about just dropping in,” he said, “would you write me off as a cliché?”

 

Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #1)

Rating: 4.5 stars

Official Synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

My thoughts:

This book left me speechless. The first time I read this, it was through a sketchy pdf format and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Now that I managed to get my hands on a hard copy book, I just COULDN’T put it down at all! I read it on trains, in restaurants, in Target (while my family shopped), in supermarkets, and… yeah you get the idea.

It was indeed a “smart, sexy thrill ride”, as quoted from Libba Bray. The plot twists in this novel came swiftly but unexpectedly, taking you on a 180 degree turn and lunging forwards towards the next turning point. It was a constant ride of suspense, exhilaration, humour, and having your heart at your mouth. There were constant moments of “open-mouthed gaping” throughout the novel, as the mysteries of the characters’ past continually revealed themselves. Clare’s strategic plotting could be seen in the way details of the novel are so intricately woven and connected together.

Despite all the mystery and adventure brought by the dark, supernatural world, Clare also manages to inject moments of humour and wit in the dialogues, presenting the novel in a way as enjoyable as it is thrilling . She also manages to incorporate emotions and circumstances so relatable to the real world, it makes her characters as human as can be.

I started out initially disliking Clary, thinking of her as a brash, rude, and hot tempered cnaracter. But as the plot unfolds, her bravery and love for Luke, as well as Jace’s attraction for her eventually rationalises her character in the first half. And speaking of Jace, I might have just found my biggest fictional crush, ever.

Read this book if you have a lot of time on your hands. Because it’s likely that you’ll jump straight into the second book, and the third, like I did, and before you know it, you’ll be spending days, even weeks, thinking about the entire series. It’s that addictive.

Favourite quotes:

  • “It means ‘Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234’.”
  • “The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”
  • “The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.”
  • “If there was such a thing as terminal literalism, you’d have died in childhood.”
  • “When there is feeling that is not requited, there is an imbalance of power. It is an imbalance that is easy to exploit, but it is not a wise course. Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.”

November Book Haul: Part 1!

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Exams are finally over!!!! Long awaited (temporal) freedom :>

Really exciting plans ahead for the summer! 🙂 Making it a point to read much more this summer as well (I have to, really, after buying so many books hahahaha). So here’s my book haul for November!  Well, actually, it’s only half of it. I ordered the rest online and got it shipped to my home in Singapore (yesssss i’m going hoome!), to reduce my baggage load on the flight. Actually have no idea how I’m gonna bring everything back 😛

  1. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
    Really excited to read this! Have heard so, so many great reviews about it! And also because the Shadowhunters’ TV series is coming out next January, it seems like now will be a good time to read it!
  2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    Wanted to start on this series as well because I’ve heard incredible things about Sarah J. Maas’s writing. This is my first book written by her, hopefully it wont disappoint!
  3. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler
    This was a last-minute add on! Read the synopsis and just couldn’t resist buying it.

Reading so much fantasy/science fiction related books these few months, but really enjoying it! Apart from these, I’ll also be starting on my literature texts for next semester, to reduce the reading load I’ll have once school starts. I think there’s Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë) and Persuasion (Jane Austen) in it. We’re doing feminist literature next semester, so it’ll be really interesting!!

Also, while I’m back home, I’ll try to stock up on more books written by Singaporean writers! Taken a huge interest in local literature lately 🙂 Probably going to review some of it here as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish everything!

Happy reading xx

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 3.5 stars

Official Synopsis:

It’s 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious details, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it’s too late to introduce himself.

After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart… and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.

My thoughts:

Ah, another Rainbow Rowell book! 🙂 Unlike her past two books that I read (Eleanor and Park & Fangirl), this book deals with more mature characters, particularly working adults. While this book, unlike the other two, does not display gists of adolescence or transition, it effectively captures the reality of working life, such as office banter, overtime work hours, or unrealistic work expectations. Through the characters of Jennifer, Beth, and Lincoln, Rowell manages to similarly portray the struggles and pressures of adult life, such as marriage, family, love, and ambition. Lincoln’s story also reveals the struggles of really growing up, such as independence, integrity and decision-making.

I loved how the chapters of the novel alternates between Beth and Jennifer’s email dialogues, and Lincoln’s narrative. Beth and Jennifer’s choice of words –adamantly rebelling against the company’s email regulations– were cheeky and spunky. By narrating from Lincoln’s self-conscious and introverted perspective, the novel also keeps us in suspense of the identity of Beth’s crush, even though we have been reading about him from the start.  While the conversations were witty and humorous, I skipped through some of the email conversations and enjoyed Lincoln’s narration more, as the plot developed more succinctly and dynamically in those parts. I felt that the email conversations were building heavily on side stories and though entertaining, hilarious, and heartbreaking at times, were slightly derailing from the main plot.

Attachments is a novel for any working adult looking for a funny, relatable and light read. Rainbow Rowell’s ability to stay genuinely true to her characters never ceases to amaze time and time again, and  I enjoyed this book as much as others written by her.

Quotes:

– “I’d know you in the dark,” he said. “From a thousand miles away. There’s nothing you could become that I haven’t already fallen in love with.”

– “I thought about him the way you think about dinner when you haven’t eaten for a day and a half. Like you’d sell your soul for it.”

– “High school guys only appear hot to high school girls. its something to do with the fluorescent lighting in the classrooms, I think. They’re actually really skinny and spotty, and they have giant feet”

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

4.5/5 stars

Official Synopsis:
Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be the one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy to say for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there’s romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

My thoughts:
First and foremost, I loved this book!! Rainbow Rowell is a true master at capturing the spirit of adolescence and transition. The plot went on smoothly, and the characters were diverse, each having a comical and individual element to themselves. I especially liked Reagan as the intimidating roommate. However, I felt that the first half of the book was slightly draggy, with the plot developing slowly with many “fillers” to Cath’s university experience. But at the same time, I also thought it was necessary to give more depth to Cath’s character and social anxiety, and how it got in the way of her easing into college life. Also, the way this fiction was wrapped around another fiction was also lovely. The snippets of Simon Snow between pages of the novel added a touch of fantasy, constantly drawing the reader between “reality” and fiction. This book gave me a better understanding and also an interest in the world of fan fiction. Also, this book caters to people who spend time excessively on the internet, and especially tumblr users (like me!) who experience a totally different universe online in which they experience belonging and friendship. All in all, it’s an amazing book, and I can’t wait to carry on with Carry On!

Favourite Quotes:
– “Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”

“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”

– “To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

– “Because I’m the kind of girl who fantasizes about being trapped in a library overnight.

Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Rating: 4 stars

Here it is!! My first post! 🙂 Okay, it’s currently 5am and on my most insomniac night ever, I’m reeling from excitement setting up this new blog and writing my first review here! 🙂

After a semester full of reading Modern Literature for uni texts, coming back to reading a YA book feels almost like a warm, familiar embrace. Yes, no more deciphering for nationalistic urges or internal turmoils. Not that I don’t love modern lit though, I really do.

So anyway, Finding Audrey! This is one book that leaves you wanting for more, you keep wishing it never ended. My previous encounters with Sophie Kinsella’s books were mostly from the Shopaholic series. While her witty, humorous style have always left her as one of my favourite authors, it certainly felt fresh seeing this book written from the perspective of a younger character, and more so one with mental illness.

Speaking of the topic, I felt the issue of mental illness was very carefully and properly dealt with. Audrey is a 16 year old girl suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, and Depression. Having gone through a similar experience myself, I felt that Audrey’s (the protagonist’s) struggles were very succinctly and adequately portrayed. The therapy sessions in Dr. Sarah’s room, the attacks felt like genuine encounters, not overly stereotypical or idealised. What’s more impressive was that Sophie Kinsella still managed to portray it in her usual lighthearted yet captivating narration that leaves the reader wanting for more. It portrays Audrey as a teenage girl actively and willingly seeking psychological help, rather than spending the whole novel passively dwelling in her struggles.

While the romantic episodes with Linus were sweet and captivating, I felt that one thing Sophie Kinsella did well was to keep the storyline stayed true to focusing on Audrey’s recovery, all the way until the end of the novel, instead of having an ideal, cheesy “love heals all” romance ending, where her psychological symptoms stopped after meeting Linus. The recurring attacks and her still having the “jagged line” growth displayed the full difficulty and reality of mental illness recovery.

What was most unexpected, yet lovely was the way Audrey came to terms with the demons of her past. Already ready to confront with Issy seated in front of her, Kinsella twists the story at the right moment, teaching readers that the coming to terms with the past means truly letting go of the fragmented pieces, instead of having to prove and compensate.

Indeed, Finding Audrey is a book all about losing, being lost, finding, and being found. As Audrey inches closer and closer to recovery, we too, find a piece of her in ourselves. 🙂