Book Reviews, To My Reader

Book Review: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

30965521Published: July 7th, 2016 by Riverrun.

Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages.

Goodreads Summary: It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma. The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes.

Thoughts: In the interest of keeping this review straight forward, I will refrain from my personal comments until the very end. Asking For It by Louise O’Neill tells the story of an 18-year-old girl named Emma who is in her last year of secondary school. O’Neill has created a story the expands beyond fiction. Emma O’Donovan is a real person. She exists somewhere in the world with a different name. O’Neill presents us with a topic that society doesn’t like to talk about and sweeps under the rug as if it never happened. Sexual assault is not something to be taken lightly. And this book takes the issue head on.

The author challenges the reader to look at every angle and side of the issue. While reading, she makes you question who is truly at fault and how you would react in a similar situation. The most difficult and arguably most clever part of this novel is the main character herself. Emma O’Donovan is terrible. She is self-centered. She is a liar, a tease, and a thief. She knows she is beautiful and flaunts it. It isn’t difficult to hate her. I did.

But despite all her unfavorable qualities and hideous behavior, she is still a victim.

Asking For It presents rape in all it’s ugliness. The reader is forced to tackle a subject that has the ability to quickly reveal someone’s true moral code. This is a topic that needs more attention and I urge more people to read this book. Through this book, O’Neill is starting a conversation.

On a personal note, this book was difficult to read. However, It never sugar-coated the important events regardless of being categorized as a Young Adult novel, which I was grateful for. There were times when I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw the book across the room or stop reading, but I made myself finish this one. Through reading, I questioned my views on gender, consent, and personal assumptions. As for O’Neill’s writing itself, I thought it captured the perspective of teenagers really well. There were times in the beginning that I felt I was being bombarded with character introductions. It took me a while to figure out who was who. I also wish that she would have mentioned that sexual assault can happen to anyone, man or women. In the end, Louise O’Neill cares about this topic and that is very apparent when reading this novel.

This is a heartbreaking and realistic book that more people should read. The national conversation about sexual assault is slowly growing, but there is still a lot of work to do. If you have a continued interest in this topic I suggest reading more about cases and watching documentaries such as The Hunting Ground and Audrie and Daisy. Both are worth a watch. Rape isn’t something that we should ignore.

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To My Reader

Beginnings and Books

Well, we’ve done it. We made it to a new year and somehow the world is still spinning. I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to write this post, how to return to this platform as if nothing has changed, but that would be dishonest. In the last few months, I haven’t been motivated enough to write a single word, on paper or otherwise. It felt like I was dragging my feet through cement and so I stopped. And since I’m being frank I admit that putting this post together is difficult too. Everything about last year was difficult. Politics have become more polarized than ever, celebrities and loved ones have died, and the world seems to be in a general sense of disarray. So, what’s next?

We move on.

Before the year ended I took some time to look at what was most important to me and two things rose to the surface: books and self-care. No matter what else is going on reading has provided me with a comfort that I don’t want to lose. Therefore by association, this community remains important to me and I want to return to it. I still want to write reviews and help others find the next best thing to read. But I also don’t want to feel pressured by the quantity of my content, or obligated to post something when I’m feeling less than stellar. That is where self-care enters.

This year I will take my time and post when I feel like it. After all, for many reviewers, this still remains a hobby. When you have followers to think about, whether you realize this or not,  that growing number automatically adds pressure to meet demands and compete with other reviewers. If this goes on long enough a burn out happens. As it did for me. In 2017, I will still post reviews and tags about books, but at my own pace. (I am also interested in sharing my opinions on movies and TV Shows in the future to add some variety.)  Most importantly, I want to remain honest with you. If I’m not feeling well I want you guys to know. We shouldn’t have to pretend everything is perfect all the time because that in itself is exhausting. Self-care is my ultimate goal this year and I hope that it is for all of you as well.

With that said, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year! We’re in this together. By the end of the week, I will be posting a list of my favorite books of 2016. Thank you for the continued support and I look forward to another amazing reading year!

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Cover Reveals, To My Reader

Cover Reveal: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

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On Thursday June 2nd, 2016 author Samantha Shannon released her cover for the third book in The Bone Season Series and It’s beautiful! Different yes, but still beautiful. Here it is.

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At first you may notice that The Song Rising doesn’t match the first two books published. According to Samantha Shannon, Bloomsbury Publishing is reinventing the feel of the series. But for those of you who are upset, the spines will continue to match throughout the entire series so that it looks fantastic on the shelf. To be honest, I was initially angry about the cover change because I loved the old ones so much, but this cover is starting to grow on me. It is eye catching and minimal. I really like it.

Goodreads Synopsis: On the eve of a new decade, after two hundred years of Scion rule, a revolution is beginning. Its unlikely cradle is the clairvoyant underworld in London, and even an old ally’s betrayal cannot stop it.
But an enemy from Paige Mahoney’s past is about to return – an enemy that could quench the flame of hope for good . . .

Expected Publication: March 7th 2017.

I can’t wait to be back in Scion.

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