Quick Book Reviews: Jenny Lawson, Maggie Stiefvater, and Caroline Kepnes

1:00 pm

Three very different books: personal essays on mental illness, young adult fantasy sequel, second-person narrated thriller.

* I was fortunate to receive a copy of Furiously Happy via Netgalley and Pan Macmillan, thank you! *

This memoir had been on my radar for a couple of months before I saw Leena's Book Break video which absolutely cemented it onto my TBR. It took me another few days to realise that I actually had an eARC of it from NetGalley already downloaded. D'oh. Furiously Happy is a memoir on Jenny's experiences with mental illness, mainly depression but featuring a whole host of others. The book takes the form of short stories of varying lengths, some single pages, some multiples of ten, either talking about her diagnosis and experiences with doctors, or more humorous events in her life caused by her quest to be 'furiously happy' as a way of getting through life. Jenny's furious happiness causes her to do some rather curious things, such as adopting a taxidermy raccoon, hence the cover. I really enjoyed her stories and appreciated a more 'positive' memoir about some truly horrible things she has to endure. Unfortunately it didn't completely hold my attention at times and I found myself searching forwards to see how much longer of the story there was. Side note: how glorious is that cover though?

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

As you will already know, I loved the precursor to this novel, The Raven Boys, and I can happily say this sequel did not disappoint. In fact, I might even say I hold it in higher standing than the previous. I know, I know, a big statement, but some of the events of this book made me shake it furiously/excitedly/overwhelmingly/delete as appropriate. I can't talk a lot about the plot as it would spoil The Raven Boys for anyone who hasn't read it, but if you love Ronan, this is the book for you. It centres around his background and why he is how he is, which is at times very heartbreaking. I can't wait to pick up Blue Lily, Lily Blue!

You by Caroline Kepnes

OH BOY. I don't even know where to start with this. You is the story of Joe, a bookseller, and what happens when he meets Beck, a young literature student. What happens is that he looks her up on Facebook, learns everything he can about her, eventually steals her phone, and stalks her entire life, physically and online. It's not a cheerful or comfortable storyline, but the way it's told is completely gripping. You is told in the second person, which is something I don't think I've read a book in before, but it lends itself so well to this sort of story. We hear Joe's thoughts about Beck as he follows her around, and after a while it begins to feel like he's talking about the reader: 'You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn't slam. You smile, embarrassed to be a nice girl, and your nails are bare...'. It's incredibly creepy, but I found myself unable to put it down when reading at home, and reluctant to get off the train on my commute when it meant I had to wait until the way home to find out what happens next. The story moves very quickly and I didn't find myself bored at any time, which also made me feel gross because it's such a horrible story that could easily happen in the real world. For that reason, if you've experienced stalking in the past or have a real fear of it, do not read this book. Kepnes has done a very good job at making me very uncomfortable. 

M x

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