Book Review ♡ Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

title ♡ jane anonymous
author ♡ laurie faria stolarz
genre ♡ young adult; contemporary; mysery; thriller
pages ♡ 310
publisher ♡ wednesday books
series ♡ none
release date ♡ 7 january, 2020
goodreads ♡ amazon UK

Seven months.

That’s how long I was kept captive.

Locked in a room with a bed, refrigerator, and adjoining bathroom, I was instructed to eat, bathe, and behave. I received meals, laundered clothes, and toiletries through a cat door, never knowing if it was day or night. The last time I saw the face of my abductor was when he dragged me fighting from the trunk of his car. My only solace was Mason—one of the other kidnapped teens—and our pact to one day escape together. But when that day finally came, I had to leave him behind.

Now that I’m home, my parents and friends want everything to be like it was before I left. But they don’t understand that dining out and shopping trips can’t heal what’s broken inside me. I barely leave my bedroom. Therapists are clueless and condescending. So I start my own form of therapy—but writing about my experience awakens uncomfortable memories, ones that should’ve stayed buried.

When I ask the detectives assigned to my case about Mason, I get an answer I don’t believe—that there were no traces of any other kidnapped kids. But I distinctly remember the screams, holding hands with Mason through a hole in my wall, and sharing a chocolate bar. I don’t believe he wasn’t really there and I’m determined to find him. How far will I have to go to uncover the truth of what happened—and will it break me forever?

Possibly my favourite book of the year so far, Jane Anonymous is a harrowing account of one girl’s life when she returns to society after being held captive for seven months. The author’s flawless writing and realistic portrayal of Jane make this an absolute must-read novel.

As a character, I really liked Jane. I could feel her emotions and understood her thoughts. Her determination and perseverance was inspirational, and I really loved how when all felt lost, she clung to the memories of those she held dear to keep some sort of sanity. Understandably, she is struggling to readjust to the outside world following what she went through. Her behaviour felt honest – you could understand completely why she felt the way she did and why certain things no longer held an appeal to her. I’ve read many books where the protagonist forces themselves back into the world and acts as if nothing ever happened. Jane didn’t do this: Jane felt like a very real person.

Life isn’t a race. You go at your own pace, okay?

lauriestolarz
credit: @thehauntedfae

I did not however, care very much for her mother or best-friend Shelley. I understood they too had been through a lot, given that Jane meant the world to them both. Yet I could not fathom their attitude towards her recovery in the story. I understood there are some people who expect those suffering from PTSD to recover at the snap of a finger, but it did really irritate me when they showed little sympathy towards Jane for what she was going through. They failed to realise that though Jane was no longer physically suffering, she was mentally.

Sometimes, you can just put yourself in protagonist’s shoes. The beauty of this book is that you understand the fear and terror Jane experience in the book, and you live it. You’re there holding her hand as she sits in the locked room. You’re there willing her to move a bit faster when she’s trying to get away. You’re there when she deals with the prying eyes of the everyone who wants to know just what had happened during her ordeal. My emotions were all over the place as I lived Jane’s terror alongside her, desperately hoping for any form of light in the darkness. I was moved; I was hooked – I had to get to the end of the story to find out what was going to happen. It was incredibly gripping and realistic.

bookwormbanter
credit: @bookwormbanter

You are sucked into the story pretty early on and as the book is written so well, it makes it a very quick, very easy read. At no point did I want to take a break from the story line – I felt like I needed to know exactly what was going to happen. Told in alternating perspectives between Jane’s present and past; the book flows very well and lays down the story incredibly. No part of the story felt rushed or unnecessary – it seemed to be well thought out.

Healing stars the moment we feel heard.

As a thriller, this was a fantastic read. The mystery side of the story was pretty disappointing though, as I felt like there wasn’t as much intrigue as initially promised. Around halfway through the story, I had worked out the key twist of the story and while this didn’t bother me in the slightest, I’m aware there will be people out there who would have preferred the mystery to be well hidden until the end. Saying that though, even if a little predictable, it was an interesting twist and I enjoyed it.

Jane Anonymous is the perfect story any teen that feels they are suffering. It handles PTSD in a very honest way and enforces that it is not a bad thing to have PTSD or be suffering in any way. The idea behind the book is that Jane herself is writing it as a form of therapy – an important idea to put out to anybody who may be reading and in need of support. Either way, I will be recommending this book until I’m blue in face and I’m so excited to read more work from Laurie Faria Stolarz!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

But don’t just take my word for it! Every one on the internet has an opinion, so please remember to check out a few others before you decide to buy or discard this book!

Taylor @ Nerd Narration says “This page-turning contemporary kept me up well past my bedtime.”

Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews says “The only thing that I really wasn’t a fan of was the ending.”

Sarah @ Sarah Ames-Foley says “There were so many frustrating pieces of this that I felt went beyond my suspension of disbelief.”

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been named on various awards list.

Is there a book you want to know more about but can’t find on my blog? Leave me a comment below! I try my hardest to accommodate any reading requests.

Book Review ♡ This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

title ♡ this lie will kill you
author ♡ chelsea pitcher
genre ♡ young adult; mystery, thriller
pages ♡ 320
publisher ♡ simon & schuster
series ♡ none
release date ♡ 27 december, 2018
goodreads ♡ amazon UK

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens all played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Instead, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge who wants to finally unravel the truth about what actually happened that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

From a very young age, I’ve always been obsessed with crime dramas. They are my weakness: something about the mystery and the intrigue just gets me. I am the cat most likely to be killed by her own damn curiosity. This Lie Will Kill You flew under my radar for a long time, but when I found this book earlier today, I just knew I’d have to give it a chance. And by some holy measure, it satisfied my thirst for young-adult fiction.

The book follows five teens: Juniper, Ruby, Gavin, Parker and Brett – as well as a mysterious girl who is setting up the sinister plot. Juniper was a character I liked. She cared about her family, had her ambitions and was quite remorseful for the whole ‘I know what you did last summer’ style mystery. Her loyalty and protectiveness over best-friend Ruby was respectable and relatable. I understood Juniper – I could sympathise with her character. Something I respected with this book was the sexual ambiguity. Pitcher doesn’t put her characters in any sort of boxes when it comes to their sexuality – and especially with Parker and Brett, it was interesting to see their relationship was a little more than friendly. Throughout the novel, it was apparent that a lot of the characters were living with their own personal demons and the development of their behaviour was quite excellently thought out.

They could transform a beautiful face, with moon-pale skin and startling blue eyes, into a candle of wax, dripping and contorting until none of the loveliness remained.

This Lie Will Kill You is absolutely oozing in mystery. From the second you begin reading, you a drawn in, desperate to discover who was in the car that exploded and just what were the circumstances surrounding the death. There are a lot of little, though inter-webbed, mysteries the characters deal with. Their conclusions were satisfying and a little surprising at moments. As I read a lot of mystery books, I’ll admit that I thought I had the plot completely sussed out after completing 35% of book: but Pitcher had thrown in a few unexpected twists and turns here and there. It was refreshing and it kept me on my toes.

To say I started reading the book around 3pm today, I was finished by 6pm. While I read books abnormally fast, I found the pacing of the story was quick and I could easily keep along with everything that was happen. I didn’t find any areas that felt rushed or out of the plot. There was just a generic flow to the story which made it a simple read. Reminiscent of books such as Ten by Gretchen McNeil, the book followed the similar ‘creepy house’ format you become accustomed to in horror fiction and movies.

That smoldering skeleton had once been a boy, and that boy had been loved.

Held.

Kissed.

Not anymore. The fire had transformed him into a creature of ashes and bone,

As well the whole murder-mystery theme, the book also focuses a light on domestic violence and child abuse. Pitcher is clear on shining a light on possessive and controlling behaviour in relationships – something I feel is incredibly important for young teenage girls to be reading and learning about. The book flags up a number of red flags you can spot this kind of behaviour with, and uses Shane to highlight that there will be people who can protect you and will respect your boundaries.

It’s been a while since I read anything I have enjoyed as much as this book. It was a great little read, full of murder, intrigue and scandal. If you want to pop on your Sherlock Holmes hat, then I would highly advise you to give this book a chance!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
haunted mansion gifs | WiffleGif

But don’t just take my word for it! Every one on the internet has an opinion, so please remember to check out a few others before you decide to buy or discard this book!

Jessica @ Jessica’s Book Blog says “Overall, this book has a really good foundation, it’s just that towards the end, the story line got more fuzzy.”

Moon @ Moon Kestrel Blog says “All in all, it was an enjoyable quick read.”

Angelica @ Angelica the Bookworm says “While there weren’t many aspects that I overly loved about this novel, there wasn’t much terribly wrong with it either.”

Chelsea Pitcher

Chelsea Pitcher is a karaoke-singing, ocean-worshipping Oregonian with a penchant for twisty mysteries. She is the author of THE S-WORD, THE LAST CHANGELING & THE LAST FAERIE QUEEN.

Is there a book you want to know more about but can’t find on my blog? Leave me a comment below! I try my hardest to accommodate any reading requests.

Book Review ♡ What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel


title ♡ what kind of girl
author ♡ alyssa sheinmel
genre ♡ young adult; health
pages ♡ 384
publisher ♡ sourcebooks fire; atom
series ♡ no
release date ♡ february 1, 2020
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ [ 5 out of 5 ]

The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the polcie? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?

Some girls want to rally for his expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.

What Kind of Girl is undoubtedly going to be one of the most influential books I’ve read this year. This poignant tale of two teenage girls is bound to strike a nerve with almost anyone who picks up the book. It has an important impact and will leave you quite literally shell-shocked.

Told from two perspectives, What Kind of Girl follows two teenage friends – Maya and Juniper. I really liked both the characters. They were well-rounded, in-depth characters with honest thoughts and feelings. I could relate to Maya when she questioned whether her every move would be scrutinised. I felt the air closing around me when Juniper suffered an anxiety attack. Maya was undoubtedly brave, though I could sense that she was still naive. Not as naive as she had been, but it was very clear that though she was developed, she wasn’t fully there yet. This was not a bad thing – Maya is a teenager. It would be strange for her to be fully emotionally developed, with a complete understanding of wrong and right. I know plenty of adults who still struggle with that today – let alone teenagers.

The book does touch upon a lot of trigger warnings, such as dating abuse, bulimia, self harm, anxiety and drug use. Alyssa Sheinmel beautifully portrays both girl’s struggle: from the insanely convincing portrayal of modern day victim blaming to an interesting take on how we allow labels define us in society. For a long time in the novel, the only name we hear is Mike. It’s a complex route to take in withholding the main characters’ names. It worked, because I was drawn in – wondering who the labels could possibly belong to.

“Have you discussed this with your parents?” she asked. I shook my head. “With any of your friends here?” I shook my head again. “Why not?”


It was about then that I began to wonder whether I’d gone to the wrong person.

Though the antagonist of the story, Mike was a character that is needed in fiction today. There is this massive expectation that all the abusive men in the world are drunks, or rude, or a ‘bad boy’. Mike was none of these things: he was charismatic and charming, popular and well loved. He was the golden boy, on track to receive a scholarship and in a relationship outside eyes adored. This speaks absolute volumes to me, as it’s important to be telling people that the nice guys can be just as abusive as the bad guys. It’s important to emphasise that just because your partner is well-loved and sweet to everyone else, you can report them when they do something that’s not right.

I was completely blown away by the novel. It didn’t drag or feel drawn out – each moment having it’s own particular purpose to the story. Every thought was well planned, every character movement progressing the story perfectly. It’s increasingly rare to find a book that can pull you to the side and make you contemplate the seriousness of the issues mentioned above.

When this book is finally published on 1 February 2020, I advise you to buy a copy and give it a read. My review won’t do it enough justice – but this is the kind of empowering book young teenagers need to be reading. Perhaps if there had of been more books around like this when I was younger, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to fall victim to abuse. I wouldn’t have believed that it was love, or that I would be blamed for someone else’s wrong actions.

I think you need to read this book.

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡
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