Tag Archives: BONUS LIST :D

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin (with bonus songs)

Memoirs

“You forget all of it anyway. First, you forget everything you learned– the dates of the Hay-Herran Treaty and the Pythagorean theorem. You especially forget everything you didn’t really learn, but just memorized the night before. You forget the names of all but one or two of your teachers, and eventually you’ll forget those, too. You forget your junior year class schedule and where you used to sit and your best friend’s home phone number and the lyrics to that song you must have played a million times. For me, it was something by Simon & Garfunkel. Who knows what it’ll be for you? And eventually, but slowly, oh so slowly, you forget your humiliations– even the ones that seemed indelible just fade away. You forget who was cool and who was not, who was pretty, smart, athletic, and not. Who went to a good college. Who threw the best parties. Who could get you pot. You forget all of them. Even the ones you said you loved, and even the ones you actually did. They’re the last to go. And then once you’ve forgotten enough, you love someone else.”
-Grant Porter

Depending on how long you’ve been following my reviews, you may or may not remember my previous attempt to review this book. Sadly, as I had just finished writing and was about to post, the entire thing erased itself, save for the “bonus playlist” I added at the end. So here I am, ready to review this book over again.

After losing a coin toss and having to go back to school to retrieve a camera, Naomi fell down the stairs in front of her school and hit her head. She awoke in an ambulance, confused and scared. By the time she got to the hospital, she discovered that all of her memory from the past four years was gone. Now, Naomi struggles to fit in and figure out everything she’s forgotten– including her best friend, boyfriend, her parents’ divorce, and the birth of her younger sister.

My review probably didn’t do this book justice, but trust me, it was a great book. It’s clear that Gabrielle Zevin did her research, because everything seemed very believable and accurate. Her character development was great, and the slow memory regaining made me not want to stop reading. I think the best thing about the entire book, though, is the tension between Naomi and the three guys she has to pick from– her boyfriend Ace, her best friend Will, and James, the boy she just met who saved her during her accident.

Since I can’t add the playlist (it’s still posted here), I’ll add my favorite song of the entire playlist in the back, which somehow didn’t make it onto the first list. It’s called “A Certain Romance” by the Arctic Monkeys, one of my favorite bands of the moment. And, just for a little something extra, I’ll add a link to the song I haven’t been able to stop listening to for about a week now: “Evolution of Get Lucky” by PV Nova on YouTube. Basically, he took the song “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams, and he did one of those “how music changes over the decades” things with it. It’s hard to explain, so it would probably be best if you just listened to it. I promise, it’s incredible.

Thanks for reading, guys, and I’ll see you soon!

-J

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Deadline by Chris Crutcher (with bonus list)

Deadline

“Love, in the universal sense, is unconditional acceptance. In the individual sense, the one-on-one sense, try this: we can say we love each other if my life is better because you’re in it and your life is better because I’m in it. The intensity of the love is weighed by how much better.”
-Hey-Soos

When Ben Wolf discovers he has a terminal disease and has only a year left to live, he decides to make his last year worth it. He decides against telling anyone, even his family, and against getting treatment, so he won’t have to spend his last year weak and bed-ridden. He also decides to spend this last year doing anything and everything he’s always wanted to do (or anything he can do within his small town).

I don’t think I could’ve saved a better book for last. It was unbelievably difficult to even find a quote for this post– there were way too many. Not only from the spiritual Hey-Soos (and no, I did not spell that wrong), but from countless others as well. You could literally flip to any page in this book and find a great quote.

There were so many things going on in this book, I don’t know where to begin. The last sentence of the description on the back cover says, “But living with a secret isn’t easy… What will Ben do when he realizes he’s isn’t the only person who’s keeping one?” And that sentence alone pretty much sums up the entire book. Almost every character Ben comes into contact with has a huge secret, or at least a big problem. And it is fascinating.

Now I’m rambling, and I don’t want to keep going in fear of giving anything else away, so I’ll end it on this note: Deadline is easily one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

And, finally, since I promised you a bonus list in the title of this post, and since I’ve finished all of my Christmas books, here’s

J’s List of Top 12 Best Books Reviewed So Far
*No particular order*

  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne — read it in a day, bawled, then watched the movie, bawled
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky — I want to be friends with Patrick. Badly.
  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington — just all-around awesome, and I could only dream of going on a road trip as cool as this.
  • Deadline by Chris Crutcher — see above review 🙂
  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray — very weird, but very cool.
  • The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon — one of my favorite nonfictions.
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters — a great portrayal of struggling with becoming transgender/dealing with BIID
  • Right Behind You by Gail Giles — Gail Giles is just perfect anyway, but this was my favorite of hers.
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher — after reading only one of his books, he became one of my favorite authors.
  • A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer — an incredible story of torture, determination, and survival.
  • Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess — an unpredictable ending that makes the whole book ten times better.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey — technically a classic, but still amazing. (Also, the movie was nearly just as good.)
I couldn’t bear to leave out two of these marvelous books, so I made it a top 12 instead of the usual top 10. Anyway, it took me quite a while to separate my favorites from the ones I just liked, so hopefully you all enjoy this list. Below is a much smaller list of the books I didn’t like as much. (Let the whining begin.)
J’s List of Top 5 Worst Books Reviewed So Far
*No particular order*
  • The Dream Where the Losers Go by Beth Goobie — stupid, stupid, stupid.
  • Candy by Kevin Brooks — didn’t live up to expectations at all.
  • Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger — could have been so much better than it was, plus the Christmas scene was dreadful.
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn — if you really want to know, read my review, but prepare yourself for some serious complaining.
  • The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford — so terrible, I didn’t even finish it. That’s why you didn’t see a review for it on here.

-J

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Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin – Bonus Playlist

(I included a bonus playlist with my review for Saving June; if you enjoy this one, you should definitely check out that one as well. It’s mostly the same type of music, but that one has a lot more classic rock songs. Also, if you’d like the full list, contact me and I’ll send you them.)

-J

J’s Top Ten Songs from Memoirs

1. “Learning To Fly” by Pink Floyd
2. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
3. “I Will” by The Beatles
4. “Higher Ground” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
5. “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve
6. “Baba O’Riley” by The Who
7. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
8. “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” by Arcade Fire
9. “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional
10. “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins

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Saving June by Hannah Harrington (with bonus music)

Saving June

“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.”
-Jake Tolan

I absolutely love this book. Saving June is officially tied with a couple of other books regarding my favorites of the ones I got for Christmas. It’s hard for me to write this review without gushing, so please try to ignore it if anything slips out.

Harper’s sister June killed herself a week before her high school graduation. While her family, friends, and everyone around her is recovering, Harper holds it all inside, vowing to be strong and untouchable. But when her recently divorced parents decide to split the ashes, Harper decides to take the ashes and go to the place June had always dreamed of living: California. Along with her best friend, Laney, and a mysterious boy with an unknown connection to June, Harper travels across the country on a great, music-filled adventure and tries to let go of everything that’s been weighing her down.

First thing’s first: I love the huge element of music in this book. The quote I used above was taken out of a conversation about Eric Clapton and how he wrote “Tears in Heaven” after his four-year old son fell out of a window forty-nine stories to his death. Also, the whole book mentions classic rock songs, and even has three playlists in the back with incredible songs. I’d recommend listening to all of them after reading this book, because a great number of them are fantastic. (I’ve linked the first of the playlists at the end of this post, for any of you who are curious.)

Now, to the actual book itself. For this being her first novel, Hannah Harrington’s writing style is amazing. She seems to really understand everything that’s going on, and how each character feels after each event, as if she had experienced all of these situations herself.

I didn’t hate most of the characters like I do in a lot of books, either. Hannah Harrington isn’t one of those authors who makes every character sound the same in terms of dialogue and actions; she even took the time to distinguish the extremely minor characters. And even though this book probably doesn’t sound exciting or adventurous (I didn’t think it would be, at least), it totally is. The main characters end up in so many different places that you can practically feel the memories being made.

Well, I’m done obsessing over this book for now. Below are the links to each of the songs in one of the playlists featured in Saving June. I’ve bolded my favorites, so if you’re only planning on listening to a couple you know which ones. If you like what you hear, be sure to check out the rest of the playlists featured in this book (you can Google them or just contact me and I’ll send them to you). Hope you enjoy the music!

-J

Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum

1. “Start Me Up” – The Rolling Stones
2. “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ “ – The Velvet Underground
3. “Nights In White Satin” – The Moody Blues
4. “Stairway To Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
5. “Gloomy Sunday” – Billie Holiday
6. “Where Is My Mind?” – The Pixies
7. “Asking For It” – Hole feat. Kurt Cobain
8. “Boom Swagger Boom” – Murder City Devils
9. “Train In Vain” – The Clash
10. “Under Pressure” – Queen feat. David Bowie
11. “If Six Was Nine” – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
12. “American Girl” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
13. “Tangled Up In Blue” – Bob Dylan
14. “Wonderful World” – Sam Cooke
15. “Michaelangelo” – Emmylou Harris
16. “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” – Nancy Sinatra
17. “God” – John Lennon
18. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” – Nirvana
19. “The Sounds Of Silence” – Simon & Garfunkel

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