The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I have finally gotten around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book is monumental and legendary in how it faces life head on. The story contains everything from adolescence that defines us – teen angst, popularity or lack thereof, family struggles, dysfunctional families and the relationships that we form during this impressionable time that will help shape our futures. Empowering and overwhelming, this contemporary classic bears its soul for the world to see, learn from and to grow with- 5 stars!

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

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Before I read Inexcusable by Chris Lynch, I read reviews, the synopsis and the author’s reasoning for writing this book. The male main character and point of view was refreshing and a good change of pace. Keir is in denial about what he has done and he sifts through his life’s experiences and tries to justify the type of person he is. By the end of the story, Keir has shared many memories in between the spotlight on his inexcusable act against Gigi, who he claims to love. As the reader, you get to hear from his family members as well and see how they perceive Keir and his actions. I give this book 3.5 stars for a story that may be helpful to teens dealing with similar problems.

Faithful

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Faithful by Alice Hoffman is a surprisingly uplifting book, even though a lot of sadness and turmoil take priority as the story unfolds. I received a book through a Goodreads giveaway and an advance reader copy for a fair review, thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster!

The books by telling the tragic story of two teenage girls involved in a car accident and what happens to both of them afterwards. Helene is in a coma and miraculously heals people by the touch of her left hand. Shelby feels guilty for not being as physically damaged as Helene and continues to blame herself for the accident because she was driving. Shelby has had to deal with horrible experiences even after the accident: trying to commit suicide, being sent to a psychiatric ward, being raped by an orderly in the ward and trying to deal with everything and still live a normal life. Shelby moves in with Ben, a guy she has known for a long time and this way, she finally gets out of her parents’ home and gains a little independence. She saves neglected pets, gets a job in a pet store and builds a relationship with Ben. Shelby meets new people, makes friends and makes some mistakes along the way. Shelby finally realizes she wants to improve her relationships and be more grateful for them. She has a wonderful mother and she finally realizes that also. Shelby’s world turns completely around after the accident, and then, eventually, her world turns around again. Through her struggles and trials, Shelby finally knows what she wants in life and how to let herself enjoy life and love. I give this book 5 stars because I became so involved with the characters and grew to understand parts of my own life more clearly through reading about Shelby! Thank you, Alice Hoffman!

Paint My Body Red

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the digital book of Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling! This story involves a depressed main character, Paige, who is dealing with something terrible (the reader has to wait to find out all of the details) and she is leaving her mother to visit her sick father that she hasn’t seen in a long time. Paige arrives in Wyoming and sees how much her father has deteriorated. While confronting this trauma and comforting her father the best way she can, she renews her friendship with Jake, a ranch hand that used to be her close friend when they were younger. The mystery of past events becomes revealed a snippet at a time, as the story is told in parts of then and now and goes from tragic sadness to heartwarming happiness. The complex story flows well and the author bring the characters alive, which helps the reader relate to and gain empathy for them. I give Paint My Body Red 5 stars because Heidi R. Kling pulled all the aspects of this complicated story together cohesively and kept it riveting!

All is Not Forgotten

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the arc of All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker! Jenny Kramer attends a high school party where she is raped and left on the grass afterwards. A treatment to erase horrible memories from your mind has been created and is used on Jenny to erase the trauma. The treatment erases the memories from your mind, but they live on in the soul and body. Jenny can’t remember the rape because of the treatment, so she can’t point out the rapist, but she remembers useless information that she can’t place, such as a strong odor, a song, and why she was outside in the first place. I like how the story is told by the psychiatrist and, through his point of view, shows the emotional upheaval of everyone involved and the precarious nature of being a therapist. The whole controversy surrounding the memory treatment brings up a barrage of questions and what-ifs.

Another person, Sean Logan, has been given the memory treatment also, after he lost his SEAL comrades and his right arm while he was activated. The treatment has made healing difficult for Sean also.

The parental advice hits the nail on the head: “We need our parents to love us without condition, without logic, and beyond reason.” This is true for a person to be able to grow up with a strong self-esteem and would be ideal for all of us. The hypocritical statement made by the therapist about his own children soon after telling Jenny’s father to let his anger go, feels very selfish and one-sided. “If we can’t protect our own children, we are wretched.” Sad to say, the world is a big place and we can’t be with our children 24/7 and that is very hard on parents who want to be there for their children.

A lot of food for thought and the tables keep turning in this psychological thriller!