The LeSabre

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is the third book in the Millennium series.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest is the third book in the Millennium series and the last book to be written by Stieg Larsson. It was published in May of 2007 in Swedish, republished in 2009 in English, and a movie was made in 2010. For more information about the author and the book series, revert back to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo article.

The book picks up where The Girl Who Played with Fire left off with Lisbeth being flown to a hospital. She lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit which is under guard. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken to stand trial for three murders.

She was once the victim, now she is fighting back. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence but also identify those who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. With all of this, she will also plot revenge against the man who tried to kill her and the corrupt government institutions that nearly destroyed her.

I’m not going to apologize for the way I’ve led my life.”

— Quote from the book

Larsson writes about a dark and humorless world that seems like a place that could never exist, yet the good guys always prevail in the end. The second book brings the action back to a place somewhat resembling reality after the second book was kind of out there and not totally realistic.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest was listed at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list before arriving in bookstores, which is extremely unusual for an English-language book in translation.

Even though the book is over 500 pages long, and it seems daunting, the book is a quick read. Most of the book is explaining things and talking about the little details, some of which the book could have done without, but done of it takes away from how great the book actually is. This book is also not a PG-rated book, there are still parts that are rated R and people who struggle with things like this should take caution.

After reading the three books it makes you wonder what could have happened if Larsson had lived and he had written all ten books that he had planned. It makes you think about what could have happened with all the characters, and what he was building up to in the end. Nonetheless, the books are continued, just by a different author and the story lives on, just through another person’s words.

This book is one of my favorite reads and if you enjoyed the first two books, then you should read this book.

You can find this book on Amazon.

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story 10 out of 10 for their work
About the Writer
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The+Girl+who+Played+with+Fire+is+the+second+book+in+the+Millennium+series

Alyssa Gehrke

The Girl who Played with Fire is the second book in the Millennium series

The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second book in the Millennium series. It was originally published in 2006 in Swedish, republished in 2009 in English, and a movie about it was released in July of 2010. For more information about the author and the book series, revert back to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo article. The book features a lot of the same characters, so if you haven’t read the first book, you will be lost in this book.

Mikael Blomkvist, publisher of the magazine Millennium, decides to run a story that will expose an underground sex trafficking operation. The night before it was published, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered and the fingerprints that are found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, not once believing that Salander is the murderer, starts investigating. Meanwhile, Salander goes on the run and is drawn into the murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past. 

There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility. ”

— Stieg Larsson, quote from the book

I should say that this book is not all light and fluffy. It is intense, and can be graphic, it touches on subjects that people like to stray away from. It describes murders, and other scenes that are rated R in the movie and might make some people uncomfortable to read, but it’s these parts that show who the characters really are. Some of them are a display of their emotions and there personalities, and it helps you get to know what the characters motives are.

This book is different than the first one because in the first one, the main character is Mikael and Lisbeth is just kind of there. No one knows her story and she’s just the mysterious person that is there to help, but this book is an exploration of Lisbeth’s past and who she is now. Lisbeth is one of the most complex characters that I have read about, she is an intriguing, introverted, and smart person who can be dangerous when she wants to be. She has been through the ringer more than once, and she gets revenge against the people that have wronged her.

Even though the books differ in who the main characters are, they both start off a little slow paced and build up to all the action, the romance, the drama, and the lightning storm that comes in the middle of the book. It will grab you, making you not want to put the book down until you have read to the last page.

She saw the expression on his face as she moved the match towards the striking surface. She heard the scraping sound of sulfur. It sounded like a drawn-out thunderclap. She saw the match burst into flames.”

— Stieg Larsson, The Girl who Played with Fire

All of this action and the tension continually building up leads into a riveting ending that will you leave you on a cliffhanger forcing you to read the next book. Larsson touches on corruption of all levels, both with his characters and with the book. Anyone who is looking for an action packed book, then this is the one for you, and if you enjoyed the first book then you will enjoy this one as well. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is asking.

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble, Target, or on Amazon.

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story 10 out of 10 for their work

 

About the Contributor
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The+Girl+With+the+Dragon+Tattoo+is+the+first+book+in+the+Millennium+series.

Alyssa Gehrke

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in the Millennium series.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first book of the Millennium series, is a psychological thriller by a Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. The book was published after Larsson’s death in 2005 and became an international bestseller. Larsson planned the series as having ten books, but due to his sudden death, only three were completed and published. In 2013, a publishing company gave permission to a Swedish author and crime journalist, David Lagercrantz, to continue the Millennium series with Larsson’s characters. There has been three more books published since 2015, and with over 100 million copies sold worldwide, it is one of the best-selling book series.

Harriet Vanger, a descendant of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, disappeared over forty years ago and her older uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a dedicated journalist who wants to redeem his honor, to investigate. Vanger believes that Harriet was killed by a member of his own family. Eventually, Mikael is aided by the punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander.

I should start by saying that this can be a slow-moving novel. It takes a little while to get to the action, like any book, and even though the novel doesn’t have a lot of violence, what is there is pretty brutal. Larsson creates some memorable characters, with both Lisbeth and Mikael being flawed yet believable, and the descriptions are helpful since they will be referenced throughout the whole series. The plot starts getting good right before the halfway point and from there it grabs you and doesn’t let go.

I’d reckon you’d bite my hand off if I laid a finger on you.”

— Stieg Larsson

I should also say that this is not a book that you would want your grandparents to read or that you would want to read out loud to your parents. There are parts that, in a movie, are rated R. These parts are what make the book what it is though, without it you wouldn’t have such a fascinating story. The original title, Men Who Hate Women, describes perfectly all of the R-rated parts.

In his writing, Larsson does not hold back. He has strong opinions on painful subjects and he will make them known. He may be longwinded and has a tendency to overwrite some of the details, like what brand of bread they are eating, but his novels are some of the best that I have ever read. He combines murder mystery, family saga, love stories, and financial intrigue into one complex and entertaining novel.

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble, Target, or on Amazon. You can also watch the movie that was made in 2011.

 

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story 10 out of 10 for their work

 

About the Contributor
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

Nighttime Is My Time by Mary Higgins Clark

Nighttime+Is+My+Time+is+a+gripping+novel+about+a+man+called%2C+The+Owl%2C+who+kills+different+women.

Alyssa Gehrke

Nighttime Is My Time is a gripping novel about a man called, The Owl, who kills different women.

All across America, women are vanishing, one-by-one, from their daily lives and ordinary routines. By all accounts, their disappearances seem unrelated. But then after barely surviving a horrifying encounter, one young woman realizes she may have narrowly escaped their fate.

Historian Jean Sheridan returns to Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, excited about her twenty-year high-school reunion at Stoneccroft Academy. But a dear friend of hers soon becomes the fifth woman in the class to meet a sudden, mysterious end. Jean later receives a taunting fax about a child she gave up for adoption, whose existence she

For me it’s different, he thought. The moment before I reveal myself to them is what gives me the thrill. I know they’re going to die, and when they see me, they know, too. They understand what I am going to do to them.”

— Mary Higgins Clark

had kept a secret but whose life may now be in danger. For present at the reunion is The Owl, a murderer on a mission of vengeance against women who once humiliated him… and Jean is his final intended victim.

Mary Higgins Clark is known as the “Queen of Suspense”, and she doesn’t let her readers down with this riveting tale of suspense, secrets and revenge. She has written a large number of books, each one as good, maybe better, than the last.

I should start by saying that this is not one a heartfelt book where everyone ends up in love. It is creepy and genuinely scary and will be a quick read, even with 431 pages. It will hold your attention, never once leaving you bored and it will make you want to read all the way through the last, gripping page. Once you read one of her novels, you will be left wanting to read another, and another until you have gone through them all.

If you are in the mood to read about a murdurist going after a bunch of women and getting scared after every page turn, then this is the book for you.

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble or on Amazon.

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story 9 out of 10 for their work
About the Contributor
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The+Immortalist+is+a+striking+novel+about+four+siblings+who+visit+a+psychic+when+they+are+children.

Vox.com

The Immortalist is a striking novel about four siblings who visit a psychic when they are children.

The Immortalist is an adult novel about four siblings:  Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya.  When they were young, they all went to what they thought was a psychic just as kind of a joke.  Unfortunately, she predicts the exact day each of them will die.  This prediction messes with the rest of their lives.

The book is told from each of the characters’ perspectives.  The first storyline is about Simon.  He moves with Klara to San Fransico to put some space between them and their mother.  Simon was very close with his mother, but he felt that if he stayed in their hometown of Manhatten, he would never be able to truly be himself.

The next storyline is about Klara.  She ends up becoming a magician and illusionist who believe she can somehow communicate with the dead (like her father).  Then we read about Daniel, who has always felt responsible for talking his siblings into that meeting with the psychic.  He is now an army doctor who is struggling with decisions his bosses are making.

The last sibling who we read about it Varya.  She is a scientist that works with rhesus monkeys.  She is studying how to help the monkies live longer by restricting their diets, among other things. The irony of extending the monkeys’ lives by only making the life they live, less happy and fulfilling is not lost on the readers.

Each of the characters in this story leads extremely interesting lives, all the while the reader is counting down to their death date for each of them.  I can’t tell you if the psychic was correct or not with that predicted date because they would totally ruin the story for you!  While you read about the siblings, you also learn about their mother and father and more information about the psychic.

It’s a beautifully woven story told by the four siblings.  Chloe Benjamin hit it out of the park with her second novel.  If you are looking for a very serious book to read with more adult topics, you should pick up this fast-moving, always interesting novel.  It’s a definite 4/5 stars!

You can purchase this book on Amazon or read more about it in this NPR article.

About the Writer
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

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David Yoon's debut novel Frankly in Love is an excellent choice if you're looking for a readers workshop book

Many of you are probably familiar with Nicola Yoon’s recent books that turned into movies:  Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star.  Who knew her husband was a young adult writer also?!?

David Yoon has rocked the young adult book scene with his debut novel Frankly in Love.  It is about a high school senior named Frank Li, who classifies himself as an Apey (an AP student) and a Limbo (a person stuck between two cultures).  He is struggling with his identity and with the big change that looms for every senior.

His mother and father are first-generation immigrants from Korea.  They have a tight-knit group of Korean friends and have very high Korean expectations of their son.  When Frank falls in love with a white Apey, you can probably see how that might cause family trouble and stress for Frank.  There is a surprise twist at the end, and it’s not a positive one. It’s one that I didn’t see coming but really changes Frank’s view on life.

This book is a really fast read.  It is easily understood and has a lot of real teenager vibes just like Nicola Yoon’s books.  What I love most though, is that it shines a very accurate and sometimes difficult to see light on aspects of being a person of color in America.  Even though the main characters in this book are Korean-American, it brings in characters that touch on issues that people who are LatinX and LGBTQ and Black also face.

But overall, this book is a love story and a coming of age story.  Frank changes throughout this novel, just like all of us do when we face hard things.  This is an excellent book and worth every minute you will spend reading it.

Here’s a cool interview NPR did with David Yoon.  You can buy this book at Target and Barnes & Noble.

About the Writer
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

The Next Person you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Sequel to: The Five People you Meet in Heaven

Compelling+sequel+to+Mitch+Alboms%3A+Five+People+you+Meet+in+Heaven

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Compelling sequel to Mitch Alboms: Five People you Meet in Heaven

For those of you that went to Sartell in eighth grade, you probably remember reading The Five People you Meet in Heaven. A story about Eddie, a grizzled war veteran that turned into an amusement park mechanic, who saved a young girl named Annie from a falling ride.

In the sequel, we learn that the accident that killed Eddie left an undeniable mark on Annie’s life. With no memory of the accident, she was left scarred and with a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the life that she knew. Throughout her school years she finds it hard to fit in, she was bullied by her peers and haunted by something that she cannot recall. In her adult years she reconnects with her childhood love, Paulo, which makes her think that she has found true happiness and a place to belong.

As the novel continues, Annie is marrying Paulo and their journey together continues, up until their wedding night when something unimaginable happens and Annie is sent on her own journey throughout heaven. While there, she is reconnected with Eddie, and the memories she couldn’t access.

The Next Person you Meet in Heaven is a beautiful novel filled with unexpected twists that will follow you throughout the entire journey. Both books remind you that every life matters, and it will remind you that every story will have a happy ending but sometimes you have to look to find it.

Even though The Five People you Meet in Heaven is a hard book to beat, Mitch Albom does a good job keeping The Next Person you Meet in Heaven just as good, and just as compelling. It will pull on your heart-strings, make you want to cry, and make you angry all in the span of a few chapters.

This book is a quick read, the 224 pages will fly by until you realize that you have reached the end of the book. It is realistic, and will make you think about the first book, and how the two compare. Even though they are similar in the fact that they both go on their own journey’s, what happens in the end will leave you wanting more.

This book is at the top of my list for great reads, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first novel. It is emotional, tear jerking, heart wrenching and will always be worth the read.

You can find this at your local Barnes and Noble and Target.

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story 9 out of 10 for their work
About the Writer
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

After+Anna+is+a+compelling+psychological+thriller+that+makes+you+think+about+the+little+things.

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After Anna is a compelling psychological thriller that makes you think about the little things.

After Anna is a bestselling psychological thriller with twists that will hook you from the first page and will keep you on your toes until the final, shocking page.

In Lisa Scottoline’s novel, Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his son are happy. Maggie is happy too, despite the longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby.  She is even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to her only daughter, Anna, a seventeen year-old who hates the idea of living under their rules.

 

Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong so quickly. When events unfold, and new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, she will end up discovering something deeper and darker than she could ever imagine.

After Anna deals with grief and family issues, topics that everyone can relate to. It is an emotional, gripping novel filled with nail-biting suspense. While the ending is viewed as extremely far fetched to some readers, the plot is extremely compelling and will never leave the reader bored. It goes through the different characters’ points of view and their lives before Anna and after Anna.

Life wouldn’t be as much fun if we knew where its treasures were hidden. Sometimes you had to search for them. Sometimes you had to fight for them.”

— Lisa Scottoline

Scottoline keeps the fast pace moving as she drops a looming threat into the heart of a perfect suburban community while illuminating the revelations and truths of the characters in a slow and intense way, causing the readers to hold their breath in anticipation. She writes about grief and family issues, topics everyone can relate to.

Truthfully, I believe that Scottoline is one of the finest mystery-thriller writers. After Anna captures the truth behind people’s ability to let love cloud their judgment. It is easy for people to overlook flaws in the name of love, but sometimes it will only lead to pain and heartbreak, like in the novel.

This novel will make you think. It will unquestionably make you feel something, whether that be anger or sadness, or something in between.

After Anna is a frustrating, groundbreaking domestic thriller, and undeniably worth the read.

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble or Target.

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story 9 out of 10 for their work
About the Writer
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Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

Cruel to be Kind by Cathy Glass

Cruel+to+be+Kind+is+a+true+story+about+a+little+boy+who+faces+more+than+he+can+handle.

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Cruel to be Kind is a true story about a little boy who faces more than he can handle.

Cathy Glass has been in foster care for 25 years, during that time she has fostered over 150 children, as well as caring for three of her own children. She has been awarded a degree in education and psychology as a mature student, and writes all her books under a pseudonym.

This book is not your average story, it is a book that has such strong emotion that it will tug at your heart strings and make you want to cry, ultimately it is an uplifting story about how someones love can save a life.

Cruel to be Kind is a true story about Max, age six, who is fostered by Cathy while his mother is in the hospital with complications from type two diabetes. Fostering Max gets off to a rocky start when Max’s mother threatens Cathy before Max even moves in, telling her that she better give Max whatever he wants to eat. Cathy and her family are shocked when they first meet Max, but his social worker isn’t the only one in denial, his whole family are too.

Max comes from a family full of troubles and woes, he ends up fitting in well with Cathy’s family, but a world of torment is bubbling under the surface, threatening to break through at any moment.

Saying no can save a child’s life”

— Cathy Glass

I found this story to be a heart wrenching book about a boy struggling to make his world right again. Cathy Glass writes simply and her views and opinions are easy to see. Cruel to be Kind exposes a problem that many kids, and adults, face everyday. In Max’s case, it goes beneath the surface to find a boy who comes from a broken family, and struggles with issues that most people ignore. He goes through more hell than one kid deserves, and he comes out stronger for it.

Cruel to be Kind has been my go to book when someone asks me what they should read next. If you are in the mood to read an emotional story, then this is the book for you.

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble or Target (currently not available)

 

 

More books by Cathy Glass:

Plus many more.

About the Contributor
Photo of Alyssa Gehrke
Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

+Kristen+Hannah%27s%2C+The+Great+Alone%2C+is+a+compelling+read+set+in+the+Vietnam+Era.

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Kristen Hannah's, The Great Alone, is a compelling read set in the Vietnam Era.

The Great Alone is not your typical cheesy romance novel. It is, however, a daring, compelling book about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wilderness that lives in both man and nature.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Like all fairy tales, theirs was filled with thickets and dark places and broken dreams, and runaway girls.”

— Text from the novel The Great Alone

Thirteen-year-old Leni is caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers, but as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Leni realizes that it’s not the outside that she should fear, but what happens when the doors are shut.

I should start by saying that this is not a book that you can read all in one night, not only because it is a lengthy book, but because it will pull on your heart-strings making you want to both cry and throw the book at a wall in anger.

I found that Kristen Hannah does a good job making a realistic book. She used places in Alaska that actually exist, and the book is packed with vivid descriptions of Alaskan scenery. It makes you think about how Alaska sounds equally gorgeous and treacherous, a glistening place that lures folks into the wild and then kills them there.

If you are looking to read a book that will make you feel every emotion, then this is perfect for you.

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble or Target.

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story an 8 out of 10 stars for their work
About the Contributor
Photo of Alyssa Gehrke
Alyssa Gehrke, Journalist

Alyssa Gehrke is a senior at Sartell High School. If she could steal one thing, it would be cartons of cheesecake ice-cream.  After high school, she would...

Looking at: The Mountain Between Us

book

book

I had to let her go. She’s not coming back. The distance is too great. The mountain between us is the one mountain I cannot climb.”

— Text from the novel The Mountain Between Us

The Mountain Between Us, forsaking the admittedly spectacular flaws of its film adaption is a wonderful, poignant read.

In Charles Martin’s novel, two strangers, both stranded by a Utah storm are desperate to find their ways home. Ben Payne, a surgeon returning from a conference and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, anxious not to miss her fast-approaching wedding decide to charter a plane together. In an effort to beat the storm, they take off without a flight plan and soon enough, tragedy strikes.

The plane’s pilot, Walter, is taken down by a sudden heart attack, luckily, not before he can land the plane. Now stranded in the High Uintas Wilderness the pair must find their way out of the wilderness.

I should start by saying that this is by no means a quick read. Not because it was particularly long or difficult, but because so much of the book is the same. Wow, look, we’re still trudging through the woods.  Twenty pages later. And we’re still trudging, but now it sucks reasonably more.

In short, if you are looking for an action-packed, page-turning romance, this is not the book for you.

In addition to that, much of the novel’s events were entirely predictable and increasingly convenient– as is the way with this particular genre of book.

None of that is to say that it isn’t worth the read. I found the resolution of the novel quite beautiful. I cried for almost an hour after I finished the book. I was left irreversibly distraught for the better part of forty pages, just waiting for the author to tear my heart out.

If you’re in the market for a slightly cheesy, totally improbable, yet undeniably charming and emotional romance, this is the book for you.

Rating: 5/10

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble or at these links:

B & N

Amazon

 

 

About the Writer
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Lidiah Zipp, Journalist

Grade: 12

Go-to Article of Clothing: Turtleneck

Living Room Decoration Must Haves: Ceramic Cat

Quote to Live By: "I'm sorry, if you were right,...

Looking at: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Your family is real, but mine isn’t?… I’m real. I’m as real as you are. My family is real like your family.”

— Bryn Greenwood, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things calls into question everything you know, rather what you think you know about love.

This book is not the epic love story of our generation. It is, however, an enthralling read… and it will destroy you.

The daughter of a pair meth addicts and dealers, Wavy Quinn bears little resemblance to the cookie-cutter image of what an adorable, blonde eight-year-old ought to be. Wavy walks through her life with an undeniable maturity that far exceeds her age. Being essentially the sole caregiver to her younger brother, Wavy performs nearly all the household chores, including feeding her brother and strung-out mother. Sprinkle in a retinue of other issues plaguing Wavy, and you have the basis of the book. Wavy’s world winds down its lonely road without much difference until one night when mammoth motorcyclist crashes outside her house.

All of the Ugly and Wonderful Things is fraught with dismaying and often graphic content, but it also offers a sincere, realistic, and completely unsentimental voice that carries well through the dialogue. In addition to the overall voice of the novel, the plot is extremely compelling and never leaves the reader bored. Be it by undeniable interest or the anxiety that the story invokes, I promise this is a quick read.

Greenwood never tells you what or how to feel; she simply sheds a light on the dark parts of the world that people go to great lengths to keep quiet. Often, showing means more than telling.

Truthfully, I have hardly read something so ugly and wonderful in my life. There is something so beautiful and raw about this story, yet so much of it was just plain hard to stomach. Imagine everything you have ever been told about how love and life are supposed to work, then twist it up, crumple it, burn it, and try to reimagine what it said.

I refuse to sugarcoat this– this book made me absolutely and undeniably uncomfortable, morally frustrated, and just plain angry. This book really hit a nerve with me. Personally, I do not believe the line between love and abuse is unclear or fine, especially when it comes to children. Still, abuse is an umbrella term, and it’s relative to individual standards of human interaction. I cannot find it in myself to justify some of the material in this novel, but that does not mean it is not worth your time.

The novel’s protagonists have no predispositions to cruelty. The characters are motived by compassion, loneliness, and strife, not some twisted sexual scheme. They seem to exist beyond the bounds of age and gender and societal constraints. It’s disturbing and disconcerting. Greenwood has written these characters, not as a list of adjectives but as a collection of actions and struggles and personal instances of perseverance, and that is what makes the novel so compelling and perplexing.

Wavy leads a life so irregular and utterly awful that her ideas of love are dangerously awry. How do extreme circumstances skew our perceptions of what is acceptable? What are we are willing to accept and live with after we have been pushed so far? What are we willing to put up with for love? When do we stop calling a child a child? What is the soul of an action, the outcome of the intention?

In short, this novel forces you to ask hard questions and search for hard answers. Honestly, I still cannot get a grip on what I think of this book. It hurts. It plays with your heart, and the “resolution” though long-awaited never quite comes through.

The only thing I can say about this book with any shred of certainty is that you will feel things, strong unwavering and somehow conflicting things. It will be ugly and wonderful and so confusing that you might wish you had never picked up the godforsaken book, but I hope that you will.

Rating: 8/10

You can find this book at your local Barnes & Noble or at these links:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-the-ugly-and-wonderful-things-bryn-greenwood/1122677506?ean=9781250153968#/

 

About the Contributor
Photo of Lidiah Zipp
Lidiah Zipp, Journalist

Grade: 12

Go-to Article of Clothing: Turtleneck

Living Room Decoration Must Haves: Ceramic Cat

Quote to Live By: "I'm sorry, if you were right,...

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Looking at Literature with Alyssa