One is about two twin sisters that share everything, literally. They are conjoined twins, joined at the waist. Although they share the same bones and blood are two different people with their own thoughts, secrets, and emotions, just like any teenager anywhere. Due to their condition, they’ve been homeschooled their whole lives, but as their family can’t afford the twins to be homeschooled any longer, they are forced to start a regular school. Although this change brings a lot of difficulties, it also forces the twins to get out of their comfort zones in a positive way, making them experience things the haven’t been able to before. Grace and Tippy find their first friends, who help them deal with the staring and the whispers they are forced to face every day. But although they share everything they still keep secrets from each other and in the end they have to make an impossible choice.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
”I’ve been locked up for 264 days”.
Juliette has powers which make her lethal and no one knows why. She can’t touch another human being without hurting or killing them. Everyone is afraid of her, her parents hate her and sent her to a mental institution where she’s been locked up for over 260 days and nobody cares. The word outside is too busy falling apart. Almost everything is poisoned and there’s nothing to eat and nowhere to live, and everyone is under surveillance by the Reestablishment. To increase their power and control, the Reestablishment wants to use Juliette and her powers as their secret weapon. However, Juliette has other plans.
I really enjoyed reading this one even though the storyline isn’t new in that sense, it’s like most dystopian fiction but with a dash of fantasy. And I like both dystopian fiction and fantasy, so I mean, I really couldn’t go wrong with this one. But what stood out the most for me was the language. It was amazing, very descriptive and full of metaphors and poetic in a way. Tahereh also describes broken characters very well.
Juliette is constantly battling with herself and who she truly is. She basically hates herself for being able to kill people by touching them and trust me I would too, and it’s easy to understand why Juliette acts ant thinks the way she does. Tahareh describes that hatred in a way true to human behaviour. She’s not a superhuman, she’s a human being with human behaviours and reactions. The only difference is that she’s been cursed (or blessed) with supernatural powers.
I can’t imagine how scared I’d be if I knew I could kill my family and friends by just giving them a hug. Imagine the anxiety. As you keep reading about Juliette and the world she comes from you can’t stop wondering how it got to be that way and how the Reestablishment could brainwash people so completely.
Another thing I both like and dislike about the book was how Juliette isn’t portrayed as the typical strong female protagonist (but she has potential to become one). I like that because she’s broken and has to rebuild herself and accept the way she is, therefore, becoming a stronger version of herself. I think that’s very true to real life. Some may be born strong others have to grow, fight and learn to find their place in this world.
However, even though I really liked Shatter Me, I can’t say that you should definitely without a doubt read it, but I think you might enjoy it especially if you like to become caught in a whirlwind of emotions.
If you like dystopias like The Hunger Games or Divergent I think you’d like this one.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
”There was a boy in her room”.
Cath and her identical twin sister Wren are about to start their first year of college. Wren, the more outgoing and socially comfortable sister decides that she doesn’t want her and Cath to become roommates. She wants to go off on her own and start living her life without being tied to her sister, who is the complete opposite of Wren. Cath has social anxiety and Wren has been her safety. When Wren decides to go off without her, she feels betrayed by the only person who understands her as well as incredibly afraid of everything unknown that she now has to face on her own. As a well-known fanfiction writer, she escapes into the world she created based on the characters Simon and Bas and bunker up with protein bars to not have to leave her room. Her roommate, the sarcastic and very confident Reagan, reluctantly takes her under her wings and becomes her friend. Reagan also has a boyfriend, Levi, who is the nicest and most cheerful person Cath’s ever met. Levi’s always spending time in their dorm room which makes Cath quite uncomfortable at the start.
Roughly, one can say that Fangirl is about sisterhood, first love, fanfiction and growing up.
I really loved reading this book. It was funny, heartbreaking, nuanced and truthful. I really enjoyed reading about the relationship between the sisters and how different they really are. Cath was also, to me, an easy character to relate to. To face change and new situations are scary, as well as trusting people enough to let them get close to you. I also found it very true to how it might be to find social situations difficult to cope with as well as how it might feel like to get everything that is safe taken away from you, leaving you to fight for yourself.
I’m sorry if I make it sound like a difficult and emotional read, but it’s a very easy read. It’s written with an enormous amount of empathy and humor even though there is a hint of seriousness to it. I also love that the act and love of writing are such a huge part of the story and who Cath is.
The only thing that I didn’t like at all was the extracts of the stories of Simon and Bas at the beginning of the majority of the chapters. They put me off and it just felt like they were thrown in there with no connection to the rest of the plot. But that’s a minor problem, it’s still one of the most amazing books I’ve read this year.
I recommend all of you to read it and especially those of you who enjoy reading books by John Green.
Look at these beauties I bought at the Gothenburg Book Fair. I’m so excited to read these!
Fire (Engelsfors #2) by Mats Strandberg, Sara Bergmark Elfgren
The Key (Engelsfors #3) by Mats Strandberg, Sara Bergmark Elfgren
These first two (Swe; Eld, Nyckeln) are the second and third book in a trilogy series of Swedish fantasy books which essentially is about a group of adolescents who turn out to be witches and have to stop the world from ending. I now have the whole trilogy but in Swedish that is. It’s really good and I urge you to read them!
Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) (Swe; Rör mig inte) by Tahereh Mafi
Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) (Swe; Rädda mig inte) by Tahereh Mafi
This series was recommended to me at the book fair and it sounded really interesting, but I don’t know much about it really. I anyone has read these, let me know what you think!
Kaninhjärta (Rabbit Heart) by Christin Ljungqvist
This one is also a Swedish book, a YA novel about to twins Mary and Anne. Together they make a medium where Mary lets ghost use her voice and Anne can hear them.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an English translation of the book.
Sigrid by Johanne Hildebrandt
Another Swedish book, which doesn’t have an English translation. I also don’t know much about it more than that it’s based on Sigrid Storråda’s life, which is a queen who shaped Scandinavia history. It sounded really interesting when I read the synopsis, a mixture of fantasy, reality, love and history. But I now realised that it’s the fourth book in a series and I don’t have the first three books…
Vi måste sluta ses på det här sättet by Lisa Bjärbo, Johanna Lindbäck
Yes, another Swedish YA novel which haven’t been translated into English, but the title translate into something like ”we have to stop meeting this way”.
To be honest, I bought this one for three different reasons 1, I really love the publisher; 2, the reviews; and 3, the cover. It’s beautiful! But I really don’t know much about it, I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve read it.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
And finally I got my hand on this gem. I doubt there’s any of you out there who doesn’t know about this book, but if you don’t, let me tell you something; this is one of the most amazing books I’ve read this year (stay tuned for the review). It’s about sisterhood, first love, fanfiction and growing up.
That’s it, guys! I restrained myself after that. I had a lovely day and I literally wanted to buy everything but in the end, I couldn’t carry any more books.
A few weeks ago it was finally time for The Gothenburg Book Fair which I’d been looking forward to for a long time. The Gothenburg Book Fair is a, well, a book fair held for four days in September every year, and is a place where publishers, authors, illustrators, readers, educators and so on, gather to breath, talk, discuss and of course, to buy books. Thus, it’s the highlight of every September and I’d managed to get a hold of a free ticket (which wouldn’t really have mattered since I happily would’ve paid for one myself, but still) and I had the most amazingly confusing and nerve-wracking day filled with everything books.
For you non-Swedish-speakers, it says ”Books change the world” on the orange wall, and I couldn’t agree more.
As was expected, I bought a few books and got a few of them signed, which was a really traumatic experience for everyone involved (at least for me). I met Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren, the authors of the Engelsfors Trilogy and Lars Wilderäng, the author of Stjärnklart (i.e starlit (?)). I was so nervous and completely starstruck, I didn’t know what to say which made it all very awkward. Hopefully, they didn’t notice, they were really nice! I also saw and listen to Paula Hawkins talk about her novel The Girl on the Train but didn’t manage to meet her.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you’ve had a similar (awkward) encounter with an author or a person you idolize, it can’t just be me, right?
I’ve been thinking, trying to figure out how to relate to the fact that I’m Swedish writing a blog in English. Since I started this blog, I’ve mostly read and reviewed books by English-speaking authors because it would be more available to an English-speaking audience, which I don’t mind at all. The problem, or rather my dilemma is; whether or not I could review Swedish books too and try to adapt it to an English-speaking audience even though some of the books might not be available in English. Is that possible?
Personally, I’d love to read about books from other countries and cultures even if it might not be immediately available in Swedish or English.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, the reason being I’ve started reading more and more books by Swedish authors, which I haven’t done in about five years. And I really feel like reading in my mother tongue for a while. Not that I’m discarding everything that has to do with books in English (I simply can’t) but I think I just need this somehow.
Thus, to be able to continue blogging, which I love, I’d really like to know what you guys, my readers think about that. It would definitely generate more frequent posts (at least, that’s what I’m hoping).
Is it something you’d like to read about and have me discuss with you and talk to you about?
‘I pace in our cell in Erudite headquarters, her words echoing in my mind: My name is Edith prior, and there is much I am happy to forget’.
As you probably know, Allegiant is the final book in the Divergent series and what an ending it is. The faction-based society in which Tris believed in crumbles before her eyes as Evelyn and the factionless take control of the city. To escape the power struggles and to satisfy her curiosity she joins a group called the Allegiant, exploring the world outside the fence keeping them all from the truth about themselves and their existence. But the truth is, beyond the fence lay a more complex reality.
I enjoyed reading the Divergent series, I really did and here’s why, strong female characters. Tris stands up for what she believes in and she doesn’t just whine about it, she takes action. She isn’t a typical girl, chasing after boys, weak and polite. Even though there is a typical girl-meets-boy love story, the plot isn’t centered around that relationship, it’s just there.It’s more about the characters’ mental struggle, trying to figure out what’s right and wrong. As we do too. There’s a glitch between what we think is the right thing to do according to others and our own moral compass.
As much as I liked Allegiant, some parts were very predictable, I’d like o discuss them, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it yet (dilemma).
But, the ending folks, the ending! I’m not sure whether I love it or I hate it. I think I love it actually. If you know what I’m talking about, what did you think about it? Love it, hate it?
If you like dystopian literature such as The Hunger Games, fantasy, strong female characters or contemplating dilemmas about human nature, sacrifice and impossible choices, Allegiant, or rather the Divergent series as a whole would probably interest you.