Book Reviews

BR_Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
“You’re different. And I’m different too. Different is good. But different is hard. Believe me, I know.”

Leonard Peacock is a troubled high school guy. It’s his birthday and on this day he plans to kill his ex-best friend, Asher, and then end his own life. This book is about that day.

Certain books, like Thirteen Reasons Why or The Fault in Our Stars, just seem to change people. Often it’s hard to put into words exactly why those books do that, but it’s typically because the author has penned such a powerful story in such a powerful way that your mind will revisit the characters long after you’ve read the last page. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is one of those books.

I like sad, gritty, disturbing books. Judge me if you will, but there’s something I admire about an author who can write about edgy topics in such a beautiful way that you find yourself almost embarrassed that you loved the book, given the content. If you’re looking for a book like that- Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is the perfect choice. It reminds me a lot of Thirteen Reasons Why. This likeliness actually pissed me off a bit at first- “How dare someone just take the same story!” But this book is different but the same in all the ways that I love Thirteen Reasons Why. Both books deal with a teen and suicide. Both main characters, Leonard and Hannah, give/leave gifts for the people in their lives.

But what makes Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock different are the characters and the unique style of writing, using footnotes and letters. Leonard has this funny, spot-on commentary on things which is written in footnotes. He also writes letters to his future self, which can be a bit confusing at first, but once you figure out what the heck they are it’s clever to see how they all play a part in the story.

You’ll love Leonard, want to slap his mother, wish you had a teacher like his history teacher, marvel at Leonard’s friendship with his elderly neighbor, Walt, and hate and feel sorry for the guy he is planning to kill.

Well done, Matthew Quick.

BR_Wonder

“The things we do are the most important things of all. They are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made out of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you. That’s why your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of stone.”

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school. He’s about to start 5th grade, and his parents make the decision to send him to a public school. Wonder details not only Auggie’s journey during this school year, but also the point of view of many other people in Auggie’s life.

So many things to love about this book. I love the alternating views of the characters and how the voice and style of each section was true to their own voice. I love the teacher’s precepts and how each of them related to the story somehow. And I love Auggie. He is the underdog type of character that readers will root for. What a beautiful book with a powerful message.

BR_Pretty Girl- 13

At 13, Angie is kidnapped on a camping trip. Three years later, she shows up at home with no recollection of where she’s been. In order to cope with what happened during her time with her kidnapper, Angie developed multiple personalities. As the story unfolds, each of these personalities appears and tells Angie what really happened during those three years.

Not only is the story disturbing and suspenseful, it is fascinating. I found myself looking up information on dissociative identity disorder. I love books like this- that make me learn something new or change my thinking in some way. Pretty Girl-13 is that kind of book. It’s haunting, terrifying, and beautiful all in one YA book. I hope Liz Coley writes more!

The only complaint I have about the book is the ending. I don’t know how I wanted or thought this book should end, but I was a bit disappointed. Some part of me felt like the ending was too “Hollywood,” too “tie-it-up-with-a-bow.”

If you like Living Dead Girl, Sybil, Still Missing, The Face on the Milk Carton, Such a Pretty Girl, or Thirteen Reasons Why, you’ll enjoy Pretty Girl-13.