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By Carol Ribeiro
Everyday, by David Levithan, is a quick, contemporary novel with a twist. It follows the life of A, an entity that wakes up everyday in a new body, with age being the only consistent factor between them. With this concept, David Levithan is able to explore various aspects of human life, and with each new body A wakes up in, the reader is able to see different lifestyles, including a drug addict, a depressed girl, a closeted gay man and many others. Although the book does feature a romance, its critique and ability to represent human life makes it more than just a fun YA romance.
Lord of the Flies ★★☆☆☆
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, follows a group of boys that have been stranded on an island after a plane accident. This book explores human nature and social structures, but it unfortunately is an unpleasant read. There are so many unnecessary sexual references, all of which left me uncomfortable, especially the killing of a pig. This is a novel of ideas that aims to show the evil within humans, presented as the beast, but the story is told in a very slow pace and scenes drag on for way longer than they should. Furthermore, Golding portrays uncivilized humans with their faces painted and spears in their hands, which in my opinion is plainly wrong. Although I would never recommend this book for a leisure read, I do understand why it is important and a required read.
It Ends With Us ★★★★☆
It Ends With Us is new adult romance novel written by Colleen Hoover, that follows the life of Lily after she has met Ryle. This book is best when going in blind, since one of its main plot points will be a spoiler and might ruin the message of the book. This is definitely not a typical romance; it is very realistic and it shows a point of view that is rarely explored in romance. This novel will rip your heart out, so prepare the tissues when reading this as it will make you sob uncontrollably. It is considered Colleen Hoover’s best work, and as someone who has read quite a few of her books, I completely agree.
Without Merit ★☆☆☆☆
In complete contrast to It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover’s Without Merit is probably one of her worst contemporary novels, and all the hype surrounding it comes without merit. The story follows Merit, an outcast of her family, trying to deal with all the untold secrets her family has. Although bearing a really interesting premise and a shocking first scene, this book reads more like a self help book for social anxiety and depression than a romance novel. Characters’ lines are often chunky, informational texts, making the conversations unnatural. Another unnatural point of the book is the romance, which is supposed to be the focus of the novel. Also, some plot points make no sense and by the end of the story characters stop fighting and apologize just for the sake of a happy ending. The only positive point about this book is the love interest, he is a very diverse character, a Syrian refugee, that we rarely see in YA, but unfortunately it is not enough to make me ever want to recommend this book.
Turtle’s All the Way Down ★★★★★
Truly one of the most fantastical reads, this contemporary novel by John Green follows Aza Holmes, a teenager with OCD that follows clues with her friend Daisy to try and find a missing billionaire. The way this book deals with mental illness is different from anything I have ever read, and it truly helps readers understand what it is like to be in the head of an OCD patient, representing the paranoia in such a way that makes the reader feel paranoid as well. The story tackles taboos with not just OCD, but mental illness in general. And although mental illness is a strong point of this novel, it deals with so much more, like friendship, relationships, family and grief. It is a powerful read that beautifully intertwines a fictional love story with an awareness of OCD.