Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr, one girl embraces the power of her voice: rules are meant to be broken and she won’t stay silent.

About The Art of Breaking Things

✦ SYNOPSIS ✦
Seventeen-year-old Skye has her sights set on one thing: getting the heck out of Dodge. Art school is her ticket out and she’s already been accepted to her first choice, MICA. All she has to do is survive her senior year, not get too drunk at parties, and be there for her little sister, Emma. Sure, she’s usually battling a hangover when she drives to pick Emma up, but she has everything under control. Until he returns.

When her mom’s ex boyfriend slithers his way back into her family, it’s all Skye can do to keep the walls of her world from crumbling. Her family has no idea Skye has been guarding a dark secret about her past – about him – and she never thought she would have to face him again. She knows she has to get away from him at all costs. But how can she abandon Emma?

Skye’s heart is torn between escaping the man who hurt her years ago and protecting her loved ones from the monster in their midst. Running away from her fears isn’t an option. To save her sister – and herself – she’ll have to break all the rules.

✦ SEXUAL ASSAULT, PEDOPHILIA, DRUG ABUSE ✦
Skye is an art student in high school and she works hard to get her scholarship at an art school. Her Mother and little sister are everything in her life. She loves them, but because of her secret – she can’t truly express her love for them. When she was twelve, Mother’s boyfriend, Dan molested her. Because of that, Skye hides herself in drugs – she drinks every night, she smokes joints, and she hits on the random guys.

The truth is that nobody knows how she feels. Even Sky herself don’t know what to do. She realizes that it is not natural that Dan touched her the way he did, but she can’t search for help when even her Mother doesn’t believe her. She’s on her own. Skye’s Mother is an alcoholic – she drinks every night and she is often moody. Because of that, it is difficult for Skye and Emma to have any kind of healthy relationship with their Mother.

Ben is a friend of Skye and she has a crush on him. He plays in a band and he does drugs at parties. Once he crosses the line, Ben’s parents send him to a rehabilitation centre expecting him to be clean after some time. They think Skye is the bad influence and they won’t let her get in touch with Ben. In some way, we realize that Ben is the one who badly influences Skye, because she just follows the pattern.


✦ ART AS A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION ✦
In this book, Skye uses art to express her thoughts and feelings. She has tried so many times to tell her Mother what Dan did that night, but somehow she couldn’t. She was scared and she thought that her Mother won’t believe her. She has tried once to tell her what happened, but she was too drunk to believe it. Skye sees her rescue in painting. Once, she starts working on that big, mosaic project – the truth comes out.

✦ CHARACTERS ✦
Skye is a brilliant and really strong character. Well, her only option is to be strong because she has to protect her little sister. She doesn’t want Emma to suffer the way Skye does. She is protective, but sometimes it cannot be seen because Skye shows her love towards Emma and her Mother in a wrong way. I think that’s because they, as a family, never had a healthy relationships. They could never talk about their feelings and secrets. There was no time for such things.

The little Emma is so smart and energetic character. She is amazing and even though she is only twelve, she knows how to deal with problems. I think she was forced to mature early. There are times when their Mother cannot take care of them just because she is drunk. Their Mother is the weakest character and her miserable life destroyed the perfect childhood.

‘There’s no such thing as perfect, Lu,’ I say softly.
‘Because we’re all a little fucked-up.’ I poke her in the arm and she looks at me,unsmiling. ‘That’s what makes us interesting.’

The Art of Breaking Things, Laura Sibson

✦ OVERALL ✦
This is a glorious book and I am so happy I got the chance to read it. It was emotional and I wanted to hug Skye and give her some love, she really deserves it. It broke my heart that she went through so many things alone. I love the strength in her and she will always be my hero, my super woman.
On the other hand, I hate Dan and I think the ending isn’t so strong. I don’t like how he just vanishes into a thin air. I think the ending could be a bid different and I felt like the book is unfinished.
To sum it up, I quite enjoyed reading this book and I will definitely read more of Laura Sibson books.

My rating: 3.5/5⭐

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Commute by Erin Williams

An intimate and powerful visual exploration of the blurred lines between yes and no, consent and assault, and the daily decisions women must make between being sexualized or being invisible

About Commute

Thank you to Abrams ComicArts for giving me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

✦ ABOUT THE AUTHOR✦
Erin Williams is a writer, illustrator, and researcher living in New York. She’s the coauthor of The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People and The Big Activity Book for Anxious People.

✦ SYNOPSIS✦
In Commute, we follow author and illustrator Erin Williams on her daily commute to and from work, puncuated by recollections of sexual encounters as well as memories of her battle with alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. As she moves through the world navigating banal, familiar, and sometimes uncomfortable interactions with the familiar-faced stranger she sees daily, Williams weaves together a riveting collection of flashbacks.
Her recollections highlight the indefinable moments when lines are crossed and a woman must ask herself if the only way to avoid being objectified is to simply cease to draw any attention to her physical being. She delves into the gray space that lives between consent and assault and tenderly explores the complexity of the shame, guilt, vulnerability, and the responsibility attached to both.

✦ THE FEMALE FACE OF SHAME ✦
In her book, Erin talks about an uncomfortable reality and the way she accepted the truth about herself. Erin represents many women who have experienced exactly the same thing. Almost every woman has been taken advantage of by some guy and after she felt shame. And now, Erin ecourages these women to talk freely about that subject. She tells us that it is natural to feel this way, but she also says that we should stand up for ourselves. There is something intriguing about the power of women that makes them so unique.

✦ SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN ✦
There is one big, ugly truth. Men view women as sex objects. No matter how much we try to reject that fact, it just exists. It’s our reality and the author of this book shows us that. Erin tells us her story about relationships with guys. Each one of them saw her as a sex object. This sexual objectification reflects on her self image in a way that she was constantly searching for male approval. She invites guy to come over her place, but she doesn’t feel anything.

✦ IT IS OKAY TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF ✦
Many women do not talk about female shame or any kind of abuse. Women are raped, treated badly, or were neglected and some of them just remain silent about that. They think it is something natural – the way it should be. The truth is that it is NOT natural and it should NEVER be like that. They deserve much, much better things and Commute is all about that. The author wants us women to be united and always support each other.

✦ OVERALL ✦
I really enjoyed reading this book and it was so emotional experience for me. Just the way Erin talks about her battles freely is so uncomfortable for me, and I admire her for her strength. It takes a lot of courage to talk about your life openly, especially when you have been through so much.
I also loved the illustration in the book and I can’t wait to order the final copy – it will be printed in color and I am beyond excited! Also, this book is not for young readers because there is some explicit content. I definitely recommend this book to adult readers who like to read self-help books.

My rating: 4/5 ⭐
Expected publication: October 8th 2019 by Abrams ComicArts

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Burden of Trust by Tabitha Young

Sometimes, the heart exacts more than we want to pay

Te Burden of Trust, Tabitha Young

✦ SYNOPSIS ✦  
Faced with a decision that would change her life forever, Katerine ‘Kate’ Woods took the route that seemed best with the circumstances. Only time would tell whether or not she had made the right choice. Her own family required more than a bit of finesse. From being an on-demand aunt for her niece when her sister checked out on them to dealing with her mother’s peculiarities, she just needed some solitude to get her life back on track.

Chris Cody – sexy, arrogant, and in need of of a serious attitude adjustment – enters Kate’s life in nothing less than the dramatic way known as second nature to the very handsome movie star. Armed with his own issues and in need of a good friend, Chris lands on Kate’s doorstep with a proposal to shock them both.

From New York to Florida to California, the two find themselves in a situation that is not ‘ripped from the headlines’ but makes the headlines in all the ways that Kate does not want. The bonds of love and friendship are truly tested in this moving tale about relationships, families, and life’s surprises.

✦ LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT KATE AND CHRIS ✦
Kate is that type of person who has too much going on in her crazy life. She is torn between her past and present and all she wants is to escape it. However, Chris Coddy (read the sexiest man alive) enters her life in a dramatic way and that is the moment when everything changes for Kate. Kate is a brilliant and well-developed character. She is caring and I think there’s no better person than her. She is going to kill us all with her kindness.

On the other hand, there is Chris. He is an amazing character – so strong and I loved the way he helps Kate to heal and I wouldn’t say that he made her happy. It is more that he helps Kate to learn how to be happy. I want to have Chris in my life because he would be the greatest motivational speaker. There is so,so much to learn from him, if you ask me.

✦ FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE EVERYTHING ✦
I really liked friendship in this book, it’s so good. I loved Kate’s friends because they are really helpful and they made her feel she is not alone in this. I want Kate’s friends. Can they be my friends too? Moreover, they are very protective but it does not necessarily mean that it’s something good. There’s a fine line between protectiveness and possessiveness. And this book is great example if you look the Becky-Kate-Cris relationship.

Also, I liked Chris and his friends – they are great, but let’s say I liked them 1-2% less than Kate’s friends. They are so strong secondary characters and they kept the plot interesting.

✦ OVERALL ✦
Overall, this book was very enjoyable. I loved reading about Kate and Chris – it was really great! Even though the plot was characters were quite predictable but believable, I found the plot easy to follow. It was so easy to get into the book and everything. I also liked the small fragments of drama that kept me wide awake.

I loved how emotional and interesting this book is! I cried, I laughed – and more importantly – I learnt from it. I recommend it if you like romance.
3.5/5 ★