Book Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott the unabridged version is a classic that remains relevant even today. A perfect coming of age story that highlights adolescence to adulthood.  The girls reveal their souls in text, along with hopes and dreams for the future. I have seen the excellent Little Women: the Musical about seven years ago, and have wanted to read the text since. With the new movie coming out starring Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Eliza Scanlen, Chris Copper, and Meryl Streep directed by Greta Gerwig, getting all kinds of reviews, and my sisters gushed over it, I thought now was the time to finally read this classic. I enjoyed it, it was almost 150 years ago and the characterizations of the March sisters hold up today. I know those girls, I see them in my sisters and my larger family, making the story easily relatable me. The novel is told almost as vignettes, or more accurately “slices of life” involving the girls and occasionally Laurie the neighbor who becomes a part of the family.  The mother’s advice to her girls I still found current today and still very profound. This novel has the best portrayal of the dreaded friend-zone relationship ever, so heartbreaking! If I were still in college I would do a paper on Jo and her younger sister Amy’s relationship, and how Amy is conditioned early to take things that are Jo’s away. I do wish this was explored a bit more. I need to read more classic’s I always feel like a know the story but reading the text gives all of these nuances that I would not have learned and known.

The Plot: This novel takes place during the Civil War and after it. Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth are getting raised by Marmee their mother, while there father is serving in the war. He father gives advise through letters and refers to the girls as his little women. Jo is the Tomboy who writes and seeks adventure, Meg is the oldest and serious on that despises being poor and plans to marry rich, Beth is the sweet one that you just want to take care of, and Amy the youngest is incredibly selfish and rebellious. There world is made more fun as Laurie the grandson of their neighbor come to like next door, his adventurous sprit and love for pranks soon makes him part of the March family. They live their lives learning life lessons and grow up in the process.

What I Liked: The characters are amazing, this novel is not crazy plot heavy but I really enjoyed hanging and growing old with these characters. Jo and Laurie are my absolute favorites, I like almost everyone though they were perfect for each other. Marmee’s advice and the way she feels about God were really powerful and pure, I loved hearing about how she dealt with her anger over the years and had to work to develop patience. The advice she gave Meg about family was really great as well, and still really relevant today. I enjoyed the poetry and the writing with in the book, but the poetry really stuck out, especially the last poem in the book In the Garret, with the way the poem describes Beth.

What I Disliked: We didn’t get Jo’s thoughts on the Civil War, Jo was such a progressive character when it came to a women’s place I would have wanted to hear how she thought about slavery. I’m sure there were many reason’s during the time that this was published not to say anything, but it would have been nice. I did not like the Jo and Professor’s relationship at all, as a pair they just did not work for me. The characters are strong but the book does have some lag due to it not bing too plot heavy.

Recommendations: I think this novel is perfect for the YA audience, it read way more current than I thought. If you have just started a new family and need raising children advice there are some gems of information in this book. If you want to tell a friend he is in the friend zone, give them this book and say we are just like Jo and Laurie. I enjoyed Little women by Louisa May Alcott and rated this story 4 out of 5 stars. I the past year I have been reading more classic’s I have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rebecca, We have Always lived in the Castle, and now this. My next classic will be Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.

Book Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is a fun horror read that dips into eighties nostalgia and at it’s core is about real friendship. This novel knows what it is and has fun with the tropes it sets. Think of this novel as a an adult version of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine’s Fear Street both of the novelist got their start in the 80’s and had a formula for just how far the novels will go. This novel borrows off of it but where those books won’t cross a line, this novel does it with glee. This is my first Grady Hendrix novel I did get this one and We Sold Our Souls on kindle at the same time, the cover is a work of art it reminds me of Steven Rhodes art work that shows innocent kids from the eighties doing occult things ( I stop and looks Spencer’s Gifts whenever I have time and check out the t-shirts). Some of the other reviews have mentioned gay slurs in the text, in fitting the eighties time period is used not in a harmful way but in a very not politically correct time. Watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure if you pay attention to the gay slurs prepare to be shocked.

The Plot: The title kind of gives thus one away. It is about Abby and Gretchen, how they became friends and formed a bond as best friends. Their friendship is tested when Gretchen gets possessed by the devil and she plots about destroying her friends lives and making Abby’s life hell. Can an exorcism even save this friendship?

What I Liked: All the chapters were named after eighties songs that fit what was going on in the narrative. I love, loved this cover when it came up on Netgalley it had a different one, and this one is absolutely perfect. How far tis novel goes was kind of fun, a couple of times I thought there not going to do this and they did. I’m from Tennessee and have visited Charleston, SC many of times, and feel Hendrix captured the South without making people look stupid while still having a southern charm. The 80’s nostalgia is all through out this novel and it is great. The wrap up of this story and the way it analyzed what a friendship is, was beautiful.

What I Disliked: Somethings were said but not seen, one person gets notes from someone, but the notes are not from the person they thought, we as the reader only see the aftermath of this plot point but don’t see it as it is happening, so it lost it’s impact on me. The tone of the exorcist didn’t work for me, at times it felt like he was from a different story, I do love the scene where he had to consult his daddy during the exorcism, but everything else his story felt off to me, he’s only in the story for a small bit.

Recommendations: This story is from Quirk books which really fits if you like quirky horror then this story is for you. I was never scared but made uneasy more than a couple of times. If you’re looking to reminisce about the 80’s then there is more to enjoy. There are a couple trigger warning that could hinder your enjoyment, animal cruelty, rape accusations, suicide attempts, devil worship, and drug use.  This story is kind of YA but would recommend on the older side because of content. I rated My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean is a bleak tale of survival involving eight kids and three adults stuck on an island made of black rock in the Wales. The story is based on a true story, with a lot of fictional license taken. The novel can’t help but remind me of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, as young boy’s are thrust in to adulthood but still have the pressures of fitting in. Where the World Ends is almost 200 years before Lord of the Flies, where religious superstition is high and omens mean life or death. The language used took me a bit to get into with the old words and the accent. This novel is marked as Young Adult, and the younger audience can enjoy it like the Lord of the Flies but as an adult you will get meaning behind gestures, and will better understand the power struggle. Despite this novel being bleak there’s is life to it and hidden joys as characters make choices for the betterment of others to survive. Thanks to Netgalley and Flatiron for sending me an Advanced Readers Copy this book was published on December 3 2019.

The Plot: The town of St. Kilda is a small town living on the Wales in the summer of 1727. The town has horrendous winters and must prepare in the summer. There’s an island 4 miles out to sea that is full of birds before they fly south for the winter. The island has been a sort of rite of passage for the boys of the village, to spend three weeks gathering eggs and bird meat. Quill is one of the older boys and the novels narrator, it doesn’t give an age but if had to guess 14, he has just found love for the first time, and doesn’t really want to leave for that matter. But he does and on his first outing on the island is named the leader of boys he finds and almost grabs the king bird. Everthing is going great they have more than enough supplies, but the boat is late picking them up. They continue a month over when doubt sets in and they believe this must be the end of the world, for they’re parents not to save them.

What I Liked: The island setting I thought would get boring but I did not as a couple different caves were explored. The elements as the enemy really worked. It showed how religion can lead to hope but also be manipulated for power. Storytelling as a tool to motivate other from staying positive was used the best. I loved the character of John and the secret he hides, and how it can change everything for desperate men. quill was a good narrator that you follow in highs, lows, and madness. The cover was absolutely beautiful. The story as a whole was really good, there were a couple of lulls in pacing but they did not last long. The reason that the boat does not return was really good and made sense at the end.

What I Disliked: At first it was really hard keeping up with who was an adult who was a kid and the ages. The characters, physical descriptions were barely there, which was one of the reasons that age was so hard to determine. You got to differentiate the people through personality rather then physical traits. The birds were described better then the people.

Recommendations: I you love tales of survival, the obvious story to compare is Lord of the Flies but I saw a lot of 127 Hours in it as well. If you like historical fiction then this is a time a setting that I have never read before, the history aspect felt very real. I feel the Reading age should be 13 due to death, disease, and survival I rated Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Once Upon A Dream, a Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell is a book from Disney’s Twisted Tales Series, where reader are given alternative versions of classic Disney stories by having What if questions. For Once Upon a Dream the what if scenario is, What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? This scenario really hooked me, to get this book for my girlfriend, which Sleeping Beauty is her favorite story, and she let me read it after her. I was excited that it was actually Disney doing it. This is a YA book and it went over a lot of things I didn’t see the book tackling, like depression, arranged marriage, love at first site, female empowerment and self harm. This novel did throw me at first having a new background for Sleeping Beauty, but there is a reason, and I was satisfied with the reason, it does take a hundred pages to get there, though which I found was a bit too long. I manages to put some ideas about Maleficent, the movie, into the book about her character and explore some of those avenues of good and evil. The title come from the song that is sung in the movie Sleeping Beauty and covered in Maleficent by Lana Del Rey

The Plot: Princess Aurora has always lived in the castle, her parents wanted a boy so they could broker more land in a wedding. The fairies comes to the birth and offer gift of Beauty and song to Aurora and Merriweather offer her parents every wish they desire but they get Aurora when she turns 16. Maleficent prophecy is that when Aurora reaches 16 goodness will be restored on this wicked kingdom. We see Prince Phillip try to kiss Aurora and instead of wake her up he falls asleep thinking why didn’t I check to make sure she was dead. Aurora has been trapped in the castle since she was little Maleficent put thorns up all over the castle protecting them from an ongoing apocalypse going on on the outside, thanks to her parents greed. Maleficent punishes a man or drunkenness and saying he has been outside and survived. Aurora doesn’t believe this until she finds a feather for a bird that is not trapped with them in the castle, and the drunken man has not been seen again. She begins questioning the truth, and she’s horrified when she finds out what Maleficent has been hiding from her all along, is she a savior or something more.

What I Liked: The way things are revealed to the reader is really clever. There is one big twist that I really enjoyed. I liked that the book explored real life issues, and did it in a real way not a storybook way. Aurora is a strong character that does not need a man saving her. I loved the character of Hubert, Prince Phillips dad, and the reveals of that character. I liked the action the climax was almost too much but I did enjoy that the fight had real stakes and death at hand. I liked Maleficent’s overall plan for Aurora.

What I Disliked: This book could have been really good but it fell into cliches of people being demons, thank goodness not every person is, but when characters go it’s probably another demon, you have a problem, and it was too frequently. The chapters were way too long there sometimes good length then they will be fifty pages.

Recommendations: I have two teenage cousins that would absolutely love this book, as an adult I read 10 YA books a year, I like what was explored but the over all story had too many repetitions for me to whole heartedly recommend. I was torn by this review Liz Braswell has written two more in the Twisted Tale series and one is about Aladdin my favorite, with what if Aladdin had never found the lamp. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars but I will give Liz Braswell another shot.

Book Review: Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco

Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco is a novella and book 3.5 in the Stalking Jack The Ripper series. Thomas Cresswell is front and center taking the narrating duties away from Audrey Wadsworth. Thomas is easily my favorite character in the series so I throughly enjoyed getting in his head. This novella throws the reader back on to the RMS Etruria in the midst of the events of book three Escaping from Houdini. Escaping from Houdini was my least favorite of the series so far, that said I really enjoyed this little taste of a story. It does a good job of reminding the reader of the new villain that will be stalking the streets of New York in the new novel Capturing the Devil that releases on September 12th in 2019, it also reminds us of the love that was tested and what has endured on the last adventure to where Thomas and Audrey are in their relationship now. I liked that this story is half retelling from a different perspective and half telling the story of what went on while Audrey was not present.

The Plot: Thomas is first in the middle of book three on the RMS Etruria where Audrey and Liza have just gotten back from the first day of training in the act of the Moonlight Carnaval. Audrey has already made the deal with Mephistopheles so Thomas is dealing with not knowing where he stands with Audrey. Then the story jumps right to the finally and we the reader get to see how exactly Thomas reacted to those events, it was still exciting even knowing the out come. We then get to see how Thomas handled things after Audrey was not present. we get insight in to the conversation that Audrey only overheard bit and pieces with Thomas and Mephistopheles. We also get more insight to the mysterious body in the crate and how it relates or not to the killer of the Moonlight Carnaval.

What I Liked: Thomas’s voice for the story really worked for me all the insecurities and how he starts to count when overwhelmed. The love of Audrey and Thomas is the heart of the story and is written so beautifully. I loved finding out about Audrey’s new cane and all the thought that Thomas put in to it and the dialogue with the shop keeper about Audrey’s knife fights The cane looks so awesome featured on the cover of Capturing the Devil, just like how I pictured it in my head. I really enjoyed the back and forth with Thomas and Mephistopheles. The cover for this fits with the other’s but finally helped me have a glimpse of Thomas Cresswell’s frame.

What I Disliked I would have liked to relive more of the acts leading up to the finally and what went through Thomas’s head when she volunteered after the warnings. I was hoping for a little bit more knowledge of the new killer, and Thomas’s testimony about the Moonlight Carnival Killer.

Recommendations: The story is 99 cents and I feel so worth it as a fan, you will get more insight into the lives of character’s and events. Do not read this if you have not read Escaping from Houdini, because you will know who killer is. I rated this story slightly higher than Escaping Houdini and give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. my best to worst order is Hunting Prince Dracula, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Becoming the Dark Prince, and Escaping from Houdini. I’m more excited now than I was for Capturing the Devil.

Book Review: Goosebumps: Monster Blood by R. L. Stine

Monster Blood by R. L. Stine is the 3rd book from the classic Goosebumps series. So far in reviewing them I’ve stuck with the order of the classic series from the 90’s, so if you enjoy this review check out my reviews for Stay Out of the Basement and Welcome to the Dead House. Monster Blood was my least favorite of the Goosebumps so far, which I find a little funny since there is three more sequels to monster blood in the series. Monster blood is a story of possessed “flubber” not the cool “flubber from The Absent Minded Professor but the “flubber” from the movie Flubber starring Robin Williams, where the “flubber” becomes sentient beings and starts dancing. Monster Blood does not have any dancing Monster Blood but it does have some of the same traits (this book came out before the Flubber movie as well) it is bouncy, it is sticky, it does stuff to beings that eat it and it becomes sentient sort of. The real life scenario is staying with a relative you’ve had little to no contact until a family emergency is all to real. The real horror of this book is an aunt Katheryn who is deaf and can’t read lips or sign, and has a basically no filter and seems a little psychopathic. . I started reading Goosebumps for my nephews, who I’m giving all the books to and reading to, but the response from my followers has been overwhelming, so think you guys for that, it has been a delight sharing the reviews and the response with you.

The Plot: Evan ad the dog Trigger is being sent to his great aunt Katheryn for an undetermined amount of time as his parents look for a place to live in Florida after a recent sudden job transfer of his father. Evan has never met great aunt Katheryn but knows she is deaf and never learned to read lips or sign language. He’s met by a surprised Katheryn holding a bloody knife, that was only cutting meat for dinner. Katheryn talks with out filter and makes a rule that the house pet Trigger the dog must live outside while because of Katheryn’s pet cat Sarabeth who Katheryn talks to like a person than a cat. Evan ends up meeting a local girl Andrea who goes by Andy, they have an instant connection with all things stupid. Andy shows him the town and a vintage toy store that has old toys some covered in thick amount of dust, but Evan ends up finding Monster Blood, with a cool name like that it has to be cool, right? The Monster blood is neon green and glows in the dark as well as being sticky wit also bouncy, they play with it the whole day but the fun stops when trigger ends up eating a good portion and starts growing unexpectedly and the monster blood that remains starts expanding and seeming to never stop growing it’s self despite Evan and Andy’s attempts to stop it. Can they stop the monster blood from growing before it consume them?

What I Liked: Aunt Katheryn is a great character and really fun, I like the reason she has for never learning sign language or reading lips. I like what Andy and Evan’s friendship becomes. I will say I could not stand the character of Andy at first, she’s super annoying but grew on me at the end. The bullies two twin boy’s were written well and I could relate to having bullies like that growing up that just want to mess with people for no reason.

What I Disliked: The final twist comes out of no where, there was plausibility but barely, I needed more hints to what the ending amounted to. The story seems to have no direction until the rushed ending. I have a real problem on how long it took Evan to take his dog to the vet, the monster blood grows in the dark have your dog see a vet immediately.

Recommendations: This least favorite so far of the books I’ve read, so I would recommend Stay out of the Basement and Welcome to Dead House over this one. I if you thought the Flubber with Robin William is better than the original Absent Minded Professor then you might like this story. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars. I will continue to read more more Goosebumps books by Scholastic Inc.

Wrap Up – April 2019 Book Reviews

I had a great reading month completing 6 novels, I had no five star reviews but 3 four star reviews, 1 three star and 2 two star reviews, I read one advanced copy that is due out in a week.  This month was special  I gained a record 47 followers this month. So thank you to new and old followers.

Four Star Reviews: 

On the Come Up By Angie Thomas, her follow up to The Hate U Give while I didn’t think it rose to the five stars that I gave The Hate U Give, it was darn close.  We follow a young up incoming female rapper, as she tries to make it in the rap game and still keep her voice.  It is both coming of age and thought provoking, my favorite of the month.

Westside by W. M. Akers This is a pretty strong debut, my netgalley read this month. It’s about Gilda who solves tiny mysteries (like a missing glove of jewelry) on the the westside of New York in the 1910’s. Her Westside is haunted and dying it looks like a shell to Eastside. Gilda while detecting a missing glove stubbles upon murder, mayhem and a conspiracy that could destroy New York.

Batman: White Knight by Scott Snyder – this book sold me on it’s what if scenario, What if the Joker went sane? What would happen to Batman? This is a really fun book by one of my favorite writes of Batman comic’s at the moment.

Three Star Reviews:

Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu: The Adventure of the Deadly Dimensions by Lois H. Gresh this novel combines the writing styles of H. P. Lovecraft and Sir Arthur Cohan Doyle, and the mix is not so smooth, I wanted to enjoy this one a little more, some parts were really good but others were hit and miss.

Two Star Reviews:

The Burglar by Thomas Perry has a great premise of a female burglar fakes like a visiting relative to the super rich neighborhoods as she jogs around, but really she’s casing fro her next heist.  She finds a really nice home with signs that no one has entered in a while, what she finds are very expensive painting and three bodies all killed executioner style with a video camera rolling. The burglar after tampering with the evidence to hide her herself, takes it on her self to take find the murderer.  This novel finally gets exciting among the final pages but I was  too little too late for me.

Dark Days: The Road to Metal by Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison, How can a Graphic Novel featuring today’s top comic book storytellers? It could have two new and totally relevant comics and then a a whole lot of filler with random panels talking of the God machine, and including the full complete comics with no summary of events. I still want read Dark Nights: Metal but this Graphic Novel only hurt my excitement for reading it.

Book Review: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is a compelling coming age story about truth of one’s words and perception of being labeled a thug/hood rat while teenage female African-American rapper manages life and expectation. This is the second novel by Thomas after her blockbuster debut of The Hate U Give, this novel takes place a year after the incidences in that novel (all events are referred to and just a place and time setting and as a reward for the reader who read The Hate U Give, but there is no recurring characters). This is a really good follow up to the excellent The Hate U Give, which was five starred review by me, It manages to look at real issues of poverty, drug addiction, gang influence, and all the effects it has on the family. The rhymes and raps are really good, and very smart.

The Plot: Brianna (Bri) has always wanted to be a rapper just like her dad Law, only problem is Law was gunned down when she was just a baby. So to her mother Jay who turned to drugs after her husbands death and her older brother Trey who hides a lot of resentment for his father still is not the career path that anyone wants for Bri, but she is determined. The only one she can trust with her raps are her two best friends from school Malik and Sonny and her Aunt Pooh who is a drug dealer in the local gang and looked up to Bri’s father until his death. Bri goes to her first rap battle and catches lighting in a bottle, as she beat the son of her late father’s manager. Bri gets a couple of offers and ends up recording a song On the Come Up that is based on a hostile incident that happened at her school based on racial profiling. Her song that express her anger towards the incident is misinterpreted leading some to think that she is a gangster and disses a rival gang of her cousin, the same gang that killed her father might want to harm her.

What I Liked: The novel moves at a fast pace, every scene has a purpose. Really good scenes depicting what really being poor is about. I like the way the story analyzes one races point of view against the other in terms of Bri’s rap being violent or provoking violence. The scene where Jojo the eight year old idolizes Bri as a gangster, and she learns the consequences of her words. The relationship angle worked of Bri finding love. I did call early who Sonny’s online mystery date is and was really happy with the results. I liked seeing the cultural reaction to the Marvel film Black Panther to the story. I really liked the raps, and how thought provoking and clever they were. I loved the portrayal of Trey the brother and how much he sacrifices for is family.  I like the LGTBQ side characters.

What I Disliked: The descriptions of people was really lacking so some people were hard to picture for me. Bri was sometimes very hard too like because of her actions and how stand offish she is, it’s explained but it takes a while to get there. I thought the church scene was the only scene that was not needed and that scene was way too long. I wanted a little bit more wrap up at the end, and want to know what happened to Pooh in general and the Crowns at the concert.

Recommendations: On the Come Up is a really good important read, I personally liked The Hate U Give more but this is a solid story that takes hold of you. Angie Thomas doesn’t use big words or amazing prose, but she gets to the heart and the truth of her character’s so effortlessly. Also if you like Angie Thomas you should check out the excellent Jason Reynolds as well. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars it was super close to five but didn’t meet the standard for me. I will be eagerly anticipating Angie Thomas’s next book. A little warning the book does have a fair bit of cussing, so if you get it for a younger reader consider that, but i do think it’s an important read.

Book Review: Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Escaping from Houdini is the Third Stalking Jack the Ripper book that follows the adventures of Audrey Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell as the investigate corpses and always find trouble in the late 1800’s. The opening was without a doubt the best one of the series it quickly pulled me in, and moved really for the first half, then it started to slow down and run out of good suspects for the mystery. I stopped caring about the victims who stopped being memorable after the first couple. I wanted to like this one more than I did.

The Plot: After the events in Stalking Prince Dracula, Audrey and Thomas are headed on a journey to America from England. Audrey’s Uncle and mentor in autopsies joins her on this journey. They set sail on a 7 day voyage on the RMS Etruria, a luxury cruiser of the time, this trip is different because of the new dinner entertainment the Moonlight Carnival, Which is a dozen or so acts featuring a young Houdini, the act promises, mayhem, madness, and possibly death, and that’s what the show delivers, a murder takes places right in front of the audience at Audrey and Thomas’s table. This murder leads to other’s and the ship pointing fingers at the mysterious performers. Audrey and Thomas are put to the test to find the killer or killers.

What I Liked: The opening is done so well, easily my favorite part. Character’s from the first book are back in this one, they were deeply missed. The love story aspect still works I liked them a lot more when Audrey and Thomas were in sync. The bits that Houdini were in worked well, but few and far between. I did like that they have one murder that can’t be explained which will fit into the next book but worked really well.

What I Disliked: The pacing was good for the first half then lost me, as character’s keep going back and forth to the same location. The explanation for the killings was good but the build up to it pretty bad and didn’t care towards the end. I needed to care about the victims but half of them I could barely remember them interacting with Audrey, which made they’re death not that impactful.

Recommendations: I think this is the weakest of the trilogy so far, I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars while I rated the other books 4 out of 5. I would give the series 4 out of 5 stars so far the last book in the series Capturing the Devil was just announced for September and I plan on reading it, to complete the series.

 

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down is my first John Green book. This story has a lot of really good moments, but the story is kind of sold as a mystery and should’ve been sold as a solid character piece. Green’s character work is great in Aza showing how she deals with anxiety disorder while being a teenager dealing with love and loss, but the mystery is just a place holder to get two character’s together, and not really solve the mystery. It does eventually get solved, to a whimper. because it’s not really about that.

The plot is a girl Aza who’s dealing with anxiety disorder and her friend Daisy that has her own issues, find out about a missing billionaire. Aza befriended the son, Davis during camp and have since fallen out a couple of years ago. The police offer a 100,000 dollar reward because the dad is expected of insider trading. Daisy convinces to try to start up her friendship with Davis so they can find the whereabouts of the dad, to get the money, but she kind of falls for Davis.

What I liked: Those are the stronger moments and the portrayal of Aza a character with anxiety disorder, is very strong. I someone who has dealt with anxiety disorder, I do wish this character were available to me to identify with when I had it as a teenager.
Daisy and her Star Wars fan fiction of a relationship between Rey and Chewbacca is great I might reread this years later for that alone.  Davis and how he views and explains the stars. I thought the passage about turtles all the way down was interesting.

What I Disliked: the mystery is just such a let down and not really important.  To compare it would be like To Kill a Mockingbird was about the mystery of Boo Radley, That just a small part of the overall story and that is what the mystery is to this story.   I felt the mom character would’ve been an adult and not let Aza make such a big decision at the end, it works out eventually.

Recommendations: I would definitely recommend it for people dealing with anxiety disorder, to have a voice.  People who enjoy fan fiction will get a kick out of Daisy’s many stories. I would not recommend this for mystery lovers. Based on my only reading one John Green book I would recommend reading another of his more plot heavy books.  I gave this 3 out of 5 stars.