28 September 2015

Believarexic by J.J. Johnson

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Format: eArc
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 464

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In 1988, when she was fifteen, JJ Johnson was hospitalized for treatment of bulimarexia, a combination of bulimia and anorexia. During her ten-week stay, JJ had to eat everything on her tray, and took classes like "Assertiveness Training," "Depression Management," and "Body Image Workshop." She gained weight, but her path toward health was a constant struggle. In her heart, JJ knew-she knew-that she would be a happy, healthy adult one day.

But how? Instead of a clear path, there was a black abyss. She needed a guide, a mentor, someone who knew her inside and out.

So, one morning, just before weigh-in, JJ closed her eyes and made a deal with herself:

I promise myself that when I'm grown up, and happy, I will come back here, to these months. Healthy me will guide bulimarexic me through this.

This book is that promise, kept.

This is an autobiographical novel, the events are true but some things a simplified and changed a bit to create a better story. 

I picked up Believarexic on a whim and I was debating whether or not I should keep reading in the beginning. I almost marked it as DNF (did not finish) but the story captured me and I'm glad I kept on reading!

In November 1988 Jennifer is hospitalized for an eating disorder and in late January 1989 she's released. Believarexic is about Jennifer conquering this eating disorder and her journey towards being a healthy and happy teenager.
I loved this story! I admire Jennifer for seeking out help, for reaching out and saying she isn't well. She has kept her true feelings hidden for so long and to finally tell the truth must be quite hard - she's so brave! Seeing Jennifer starting to live, seeing her start to eat, laugh, make friends and basically be a normal teenager was so nice. Even though it's quite a tough subject I smiled and laughed throughout most of the novel!

The friendships are probably one of my favorite parts of the entire story, seeing Jennifer open up and start to laugh was such a wonderful thing! She started to trust people, she stopped throwing tantrums and the absolute best part is, that she actually wanted to get better. Jennifer did everything she could to work the program and conquer the monster inside her, as she calls her eating disorder. We were talking about the friendships: Even though I really liked Monica and Bronwyn, my favorite is definitely Sophia! She's the best friend Jennifer could ever ask for, and their first night together had me in tears and put a big smile on my face at the same time!

The nurses I actually found quite realistic. There's some you like, some you don't like and then some who fades into the background. I absolutely loved Chuck though, her secondary nurse and big brother-figure. I loved seeing their interactions and how he helped her get better and realize she didn't have to be perfect all the time. His conversations helped her a lot and I wish there were more Chucks in the world! Everybody needs someone like him in their life!

Can you believe there's no love interest in this book? There's no flirting, no kissing and no relationships except for friendships! It's so refreshing to read a great book without it having any romance what so ever. You can really focus on Jennifer and her journey without having a guy/girl disrupting everything. Way to go!

After trying to read Paper Weight by Meg Haston and having to put that one down because of the anger and denial, and not the eating disorder aspect, and then picking up another book about eating disorders shortly afterwards was quite a gamble. I've struggled with quite a lot in my life so far and I, thankfully, conquered my eating disorder! Even though reading books with these subjects is hard, it makes me happy and proud that it's in my past - Believarexic definitely had an uplifting feel to it and it was so nice to read opposed to Paper Weight where I just felt like crying. So, out of those to I recommend Believarexic. 
I still think Believarexic can trigger some people, but for me it mainly gave me strength to keep on going and live my life as I do now opposed to some years ago. It gave me hope and I really hope it can do the same for others!

So, even though Believarexic is about a girl with an eating disorder is full of hope, it's uplifting and it made me smile! I really enjoyed reading Jennifer's story and I'm glad I kept on reading instead of giving up!
I've given Believarexic 4 berries, I almost gave it 5 but since I was so close to putting it down in the beginning I figured 4 was more accurate!

24 September 2015

Teaser Blast : Wicked Restless by Ginger Scott

Wicked Restless is scheduled to be released on October 20, 2015! You can read the first bit of the book here

A bit about Wicked Restless
Andrew Harper grew up in a house marked by tragedy. His older brother Owen did his best to shelter him, but you can only be protected from life’s pain for so long. Eventually, you end up just feeling numb…and isolated.

Loneliness was the one constant in Andrew’s life. Until one girl, met by chance in a high school hallway, changed everything. Emma Burke was a mystery and all that was beautiful in this world, the only air Andrew ever wanted to breathe. She took the lonely away, and filled it with hope and color, and Andrew would do anything to keep her safe, happy and whole.

But sometimes, what feels good and right is what ends up hurting us the most. And when Andrew and Emma are faced with an impossible decision, Andrew is tested to see just how far he’s willing to go for the girl who owns his heart.

Cuts are deep.
Scars are left behind.
And revenge beckons.

When Andrew finally gets his chance, in college, five years after his first love broke him completely, he finds out old feelings don’t really disappear just because you say you hate someone. The more he tries to avenge all that he believes he lost, the more he uncovers the real story of what happened years before.

Love is wicked. But a restless heart is never satisfied beating on its own. Can Andrew and Emma make it right before it's too late, or will the ties that bind them now destroy their only chance at a future?

The teaser

21 September 2015

All of the Above by James Dawson

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: September 3, 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBT
Format: Paperback, review copy
Source: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 319

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A funny and moving love story about friends, first loves and self-discovery by Queen of Teen 2014.

When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who's the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the 'alternative' kids take Toria under their wing. And that's when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band - and it's instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there's Polly ... love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

All of the Above was a bit of a gamble for me, I somehow only read 'a funny and moving love story about friends, first loves and self-discovery by Queen of Teen 2014' and I was sold. I knew that the author had written This Book is Gay but I had no idea what to expect from this book - it was great though!

Even though I absolutely loved the first page (read it here) it took me a while to get into. I managed to read the first page multiple times before actually turning the page to continue. I absolutely loved it when I got into it though! I really love the writing style and a definite plus is the fact that it features book lovers!

Toria, of Victoria, Grand is our main character; she's 16, writes poems, reads and she's a blogger too. Toria is definitely one of my favorite characters ever, I couldn't help but like her. I loved seeing her transformation from shy, new girl to this outgoing, cool teen who didn't care what people think of her. Character development is definitely something I love seeing in books and there was a lot of it in this book!
Another thing I loved about Toria is the fact that she realizes that instalove is 'one of the worst tropes of young adult fiction' and it is! After seeing Nico for the first time she talks about instalove for a while and the fact that she's so rational about it all makes me love her even more. She makes quite a good case that it's instalust and not love because love takes time etc. etc. Yes. Toria is my kind of girl!

This book has a lot of great characters, especially the group that Toria is drawn towards. Beasley, Daisy, Polly, Alice and Alex and Freya. I'm not that fond of Alice and Alex to be honest; they're this couple I find quite strange and I don't think they, especially Alice, treat Toria that great. Freya I really liked until the end though; she always has her nose in a book and that I could definitely relate to! Beasley, Daisy and Polly is probably my favorite characters along with Toria. Daisy is a sweetheart, Polly is badass and Beasley is well, Beasley. I really don't know how to express my feelings about these characters as to make you love them just as much as I do! They're definitely my cup of tea and I wish I could bring them to life!

To be honest I relate to many of the characters quite a lot and I definitely struggled with my sexuality a couple of years ago and seeing so many teens in this book going through the same stuff I did made me feel less alone somehow. I wish I'd had such good friends when I went through it!

The story
I've already mentioned that I love the writing style, and I really do! It definitely made the story come to life!

The 'group' likes to hang around at this crazy golf place and I could just see the place! The Disapproving Seal whom Daisy loves, the difficult hole where it's all about luck and the friendships growing and happening there. It is just a place surrounded by positivity and I can still see it in vivid details.

So, even though there's like a crazy ammount of stuff happening in this book it doesn't feel packed, nothing feels forced and it somehow feels real!

I loved how being bisexual or even gay isn't a big deal in this book. They don't like labels so most of them don't call themselves either but the fact that the reaction to a statement saying you're bi or gay is 'oh, cool'. And it's not like there's only a single or two characters who aren't straight - there's seriously a bunch and for me that made it real.
I think this book is a 'happy place' or 'bright place' for me, being accepted for who you are, not having to worry about being different and just seeing these strong bonds between people is amazing. I've said it numerous times throughout this review but this book is real for me! I may not have had the same acceptance Toria got and I definitely didn't have that cool a friend group. But I struggled with my sexuality too!

I feel like I keep rambling and never really getting my thoughts clear across but I guess this is just one of those reviews! When I love a book as much as I love All of the Above it gets a hundred times harder to get my thoughts down but I'll say it in a few words now: the story feels real, the characters are fantastic, the positivity is inspiring and the book as a whole is perfection. I am so thankful for this story and I wish it was out a couple of years earlier as I could have benefited greatly from it!
If you struggle with your sexuality, read this book, you know what; no matter who you are - read it. It'll probably make you a better person.