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Girls on Fire By Robin Wasserman

Girls on Fire By Robin Wasserman
Published 16 May 2016 By Harper

Goodreads

Summary: Girls on Fire tells the story of Hannah and Lacey and their obsessive teenage female friendship so passionately violent it bloodies the very sunset its protagonists insist on riding into, together, at any cost. Opening with a suicide whose aftermath brings good girl Hannah together with the town’s bad girl, Lacey, the two bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything…

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Trigger Warning: mental, physical and sexual abuse + religious / cult elements

This book scared me.

The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite books, and when I saw it on the blurb, I knew I had to read it. After reading the book description on Buzzfeed, I was intrigued.

The book opens with a suicide of a boy in Hannah Dexter’s class. He was a popular, well beloved golden boy who decided to shoot himself in the woods. Nobody understood why, but people were convinced: he joined a cult, brainwashed, messed with things bigger than all of us. The 90s setting of this book was amazing; Robin Wasserman did a great job setting everything up. Having been born in the 90s, it was interesting to read about how witchcraft, cults and Kurt Cobain became a great part of many people’s lives or how it affected them and their town.

In comes new girl Lacey, who decided to befriend Hannah, or now lovingly known as Dex, after being publicly humiliated by Nikki Drummond, the most popular girl in school.

Does the plot sound familiar to you? Good girl gets bullied, befriends mysterious new girl and transforms into someone else? Yeah, I thought so. But believe me when I say that Robin Wasserman makes the story her own. Her writing will draw you in, suck you up and force you to turn the pages.

The reality is, Girls on Fire is hella scary and hella good. Wasserman makes you get inside their heads, make them tell you the story, everything that they’re thinking. The chapters alternate between Dex, telling her story and Lacey, telling Dex her story. There are several chapters of “US” that’s just stories from outsiders, namely, their parents and how they’re just trying their best, but it gives you a glimpse of why things are the way they are.

Lacey is psychotic. There is something about her character and the way she mentally gets to you is extremely terrifying but you need to keep reading to know what she’s done, what she’s going to do, her train of thoughts.

While Lacey orchestrates the show, Hannah’s character serves to move Lacey’s ideologies. She is the typical average follower, but its so scary how much of Lacey is within her and how eventually her own ideologies are planted by Lacey herself. And Nikki, oh. Nikki, she isn’t so simple either. I wish there were more of her, and towards the end I wanted to hear more about her story.

Girls on Fire stands on its own. The familiar plot or typical characters doesn’t matter here. Robin Wasserman took something familiar, and spun it to the beat of her own drum.

You need to read this. This book will haunt me for years to come.

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Wedding Night By Sophie Kinsella

Wedding Night By Sophie Kinsella
Published 13 May 2014 By Dial Press

Goodreads

Summary: Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad — not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

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Sophie Kinsella does it again! I fell in love with Sophie Kinsella after reading her first Shoppaholic book and decided to give her standalone book I’ve Got Your Number a try. I’ve said it before but Kinsella just has her way of making her characters feel so alive. They’re funny, witty, a little bit crazy, but they feel like people I could be friends with forever in real life. And that’s exactly how I felt reading Wedding Night.

Wedding Night is told in two different perspectives, Lottie (our main character) and her sister Fliss, who is Lottie’s big sister. Lottie is convinced that her boyfriend of three years is going to marry her, but when he has other plans for her, she finds herself in the arms of her summer love fifteen years ago, Ben, who proposes to her — and of course Lottie says yes! In comes Lottie who is desperately trying to stop Lottie and Ben from getting married and so is Lorcan, Ben’s well…. maybe best friend.

You can never go wrong with a Sophie Kinsella novel. Its fun, funny and simple. Perfect for lazy days and beach reads. Of course, like every other chick lit, it may not be everybody’s cup of tea and the plots may overlap with each other, but hey, if you’re going to read a chick lit, it might as well be from the queen of chick lits herself. Read this, laugh, and cry. You can thank me later.

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Love, Rosie By Cecilia Ahern

Love, Rosie By Cecilia Ahern
Published 1 Dec 2006 By Hachette Books

Goodreads

Summary: Sometimes you have to look at life in a whole new way…

From the bestselling author of PS, I Love You comes a delightfully enchanting novel about what happens when two people who are meant to be together just can’t seem to get it right.

Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

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Love, Rosie is absolutely adorable. I’ve been waiting ages to get my copy in the library but there’s always a million other people waiting for it. So I gave up, went on a short getaway to a neighbouring country, and bought the damn book. I flew through Love, Rosie so quickly, that I needed and wanted more. I have yet to see the movie but I worry that what I envisioned for Love, Rosie would be ruined.

Love, Rosie is told in a series of emails between Rosie and her best friend Alex. It starts from where they are merely kids and continued on as adults. Love, Rosie is your typical contemporary romance, but the email chains gives it a new twist. Its interesting, fascinating almost, kind of like you’re peeking into someone’s personal inbox. And it’s not just between Rosie and Alex — you get to see interactions between Rosie and her sisters, Alex and his brother, and so on. The story is absolutely heartbreaking, the ending sort of bittersweet.

Love, Rosie is something I would definitely recommend for those of you looking for a contemporary adult romance book that isn’t too cheesy but definitely a quick read!

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The Good Girl By Mary Kubica

The Good Girl By Mary Kubica
Published 29 July 2014 By Harlequin MIRA

Goodreads

Summary: One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend, but when he doesn’t show up, she leaves with an enigmatic stranger.

At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand, but following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

 

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Holy effin’ crap.

I read The Good Girl a while back and this book still haunts me. Part of me is slightly disappointed with the ending, but a large majority of me loves this book. I don’t tend to read hyped books, but I took a plunge because the premise sounded really awesome. And it is.

The Good Girl, for the most part doesn’t disappoint. It’s about a girl who goes missing and when she returns she isn’t herself and has lost parts of her memory. In fact, she goes by a whole other name and a completely new persona. The book is told in three different POVs: her mom, Mia/Chloe and Colin (her kidnapper). I really enjoyed the different POVs. It really gave you a full, detailed story from everyone’s perspective which really added to the story. Same events, different thoughts. I think the POV gave room for not only more information but also dug into their character individually. You could see how things changed for them and how their character developed overtime.

In terms of POVs, I think The Good Girl has executed it well. I particularly enjoyed Mia’s POV and her transition into becoming Chloe and Colin’s perspective, mainly because it’s different and interesting to look at things in the eyes of a kidnapper. Mia’s mom mainly delves around what she hasn’t done for Mia and has a story arc of her own with the detective and their search for Mia. It was interesting, but it wasn’t as interesting as following the “main” story itself. I felt that because her mom’s POV is somewhat delayed and also revolves around post-kidnapping, it wasn’t as impactful as what happened during.

My issue with The Good Girl is perhaps the ending. It felt a little flat to me, and after all that happened and the action and drama, the ending almost fizzled out. It was unexpected (for me at least) but I kind of wish something else would have happened. But I think because of the ending, it propelled Mia to become more and more isolated. I think psychologically, Mia feels attached to Colin and the ending just broke her.

One other issue is that I felt that sometimes Mia’s mom’s “sense” that so and so happened to her daughter in a dream or something was really over the chart. I understand that it’s a real thing and does happen, but at the time I read it, it felt so forced like it was input into the story just so the detective can actually DO SOMETHING.

Overall, The Good Girl was worth the hype. It was engaging, interesting and I flew threw the book. Even after I was done I kept thinking about it and I wanted to read it again. Definitely a book to recommend everyone especially if you darker/crime/thriller books. I am shocked that this is a debut novel because it is FANTASTIC. Highly recommended!

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Confessions of a Shopaholic By Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic By Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic #1
Published 4 March 2003 By The Dial Press

Goodreads

Summary: Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something.

Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.

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Fun, fun, fun!

I think Sophie Kinsella has a way of making you fall in love with her characters. I watched the movie when it was out and it was alright, but I never felt the desire to pick the book up. But as I read he first few pages of Confessions of a Shopaholic, I knew I was instantly going to love it. Rebecca is the perfect mix of ditzy-intelligent. She’s witty, intelligent and aware of her problems, but Rebecca has a problem: she’s a shopaholic and can’t pay the bills.

Rebecca is a realistic character with realistic problems, which is probably why her character is very well loved. Rebecca’s hilarious antics and attempts to dodge paying her bills is something I look forward to with each chapter. I absolutely loved that there are bank letters before the chapters — my favourite is the one in Finnish but all of them are equally hilarious!

Confessions of a Shopaholic is far superior from its movie counterpart. The movie omitted quite a lot from the book and changed some minor things such as Becky being American (she’s British in the books) and working for a gardening magazine (she works for Successful Savings in the books). The movie omitted Becky’s successful article for The Daily World, which I feel is one of the core plot of the book. I didn’t quite enjoy the movie version of Becky Bloomwood — she came off as too ditzy and silly, but the original book version of Becky Bloomwood was charming (albeit also ditzy and silly!)

I finally understand why people love this series so much. Its so easy to read but has fantastic and charming characters with a simple yet good plot. I do see myself continue picking the rest of the series up — I’m excited to see what Rebecca gets into next!

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I’ve Got Your Number By Sophie Kinsella

I’ve Got Your Number By Sophie Kinsella
Published 14 Feb 2012 By The Dial Press

Goodreads

SummaryI’ve lost it. 😦 The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive 🙂 !!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

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I absolutely loved I’ve Got Your Number!

Over the years I’ve heard nothing but good things about Sophie Kinsella’s work. And now I can understand why. I don’t often read chick lit (or adult books for that matter) so I was a little bit worried if I would enjoy this but I really fell in love with Poppy.

I’ve Got Your Number has a good, simple yet engaging plot. But I think what made me love this book so much are the characters. They’re absolutely silly and hilarious, but at the same time they manage to weave themselves into your heart. I’ve grown so attached to Poppy and Sam; I wish there was a sequel or anything at all just so I can see what they get up to.

I’ve Got Your Number started off with Poppy losing her engagement ring and by the end of a luckless night, her phone gets knicked. By a stroke of luck, she finds this phone thrown into the bin and decides that she would use the number temporarily while she sorts out her ring problems. In comes Sam, telling her it’s company property and that she needs to return it. Poppy and Sam soon become fast acquaintances, while Sam’s company get embroiled in a fiasco.

I enjoyed the plot a lot more than I thought I would. The brilliant and hilarious writing, along with Poppy’s silly antics made the book even more charming and heartwarming. The plot was light, but there was a good range and flow of the different story arcs. While I enjoyed it all, my favourite has to be when Poppy becomes Sam’s maybe, sort of, but not quite PA and becomes his sidekick during the company fiasco. It really made me fall in love with Sam and Poppy as a duo, rather than individuals. The book also has other shining stars like Poppy’s hilarious friend Annalise.

I have so much love for I’ve Got Your Number. I can definitely see myself reading more Sophie Kinsella. I hope I’ll keep getting attached to the different characters. I hope this gets made into a movie at some point. I loved the Cofessions of a Shoppaholic movie and I love I’ll just love seeing Poppy and Sam on the big screen.

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Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast
Published 6 May 2014 By Bloomsbury USA

Goodreads

Summary#1 New York Times Bestseller

2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

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Heartbreaking, raw and hilarious all in one, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is one of the best graphic memoirs I have read so far.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a story of the author and her parents. They’re a little bit quirky but absolutely adorable. I kept turning the pages and finished it in one sitting.

Can’t We Talk About takes for a more heart-wrenching turn when her parents fall ill and she struggled with medical bills, taking care of them and having to juggle her parents and her family. It was increasingly difficult for her to cope, as evidently, it was difficult for her parents to cope being apart from each other.

Can’t We Talk About made me weep. I kept thinking of my own parents and now that they’re ageing I wonder what the future will be like. It is impossible to not look at your own life and your parents’ lives when reading this book — it makes you think so much about what is going to happen (or has happened). I absolutely loved her parents. Their love for each other is eternal, and its evident even to the end. It is heartwarming to read about it and I feel like the memoir has given me an opportunity to witness true love.

I’ve been reading a lot of memoir graphic novels as of late, and this is one that will stay with me for a very long time. Its such a simple and accessible story, yet so powerful and packed with emotions. It is raw and beautiful, especially the sketches of her mother at the end. I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it.

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The Wicked + The Divine Vol 1: The Faust Act By Kieron Gillen

The Wicked + The Divine Vol 1: The Faust Act (Issues #1-#5) By Kieron Gillen
Published 12 Nov 2014 by Image Comics

Disclaimer: I received a copy c/o the Publisher via Netgalley (through the ‘Read Now’ option).

Goodreads

Summary: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.

The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

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The Wicked + The Divine is really different than anything I’ve read before. It is exactly as the summary says — it’s about twelve gods who are powerful and worshiped, and how a click of their fingers can cause deadly destruction. It’s told through our main character, Laura’s POV. Laura is a huge fan of the gods, to the point where she wants to be one of them. She develops a relationship with Luci and later finds herself embroiled in trouble, biting off more than she can chew.

I really did enjoy The Wicked + The Divine. I do feel like it has a lot to offer and the storyline is definitely interesting. However, the beginning (and some other parts) were a little difficult for me to understand, making it hard for me to really enjoy the book until much later. The beginning arc I felt weren’t entirely explained and eventually kind of got lost in the whole mess of things going on — and trust me, there is A LOT that is going on. But I’m glad I pushed through and read on because the plot gets interesting and certainly a lot easier to digest once you familiarize yourself with everything.

Aside from the plot the graphics is absolutely divine. I loved the artwork and the colours used throughout and the covers, my goodness, are so beautiful. I’ve been curious about a The Wicked + The Divine for a while now, so I’m definitely glad I got to read this while it’s up on Netgalley. The edition available on Netgalley collects issues #1-#5 and is available through Read Now (at the time of writing). If you can get your hands on the first volume, I would say give it a try and don’t be discouraged if you get confused. It does get better, you just need a little patience to push through!

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The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line By Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line By Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Veronica Mars #1
Published March 25th 2014 By Vintage

Goodreads

SummaryFrom Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and movie phenomenon Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling mystery series that picks up where the feature film left off. 

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

In Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who’s part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line will keep you guessing until the very last page.

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I am a Marshmallow. I absolutely love Veronica Mars so imagine my excitement when the movie came out and the book was released afterwards.

The book takes place after the Veronica Mars movie, so you might want to check the movie out first if you haven’t yet before reading this book (to avoid spoilers etc).

I listened to the audiobook which was read by Kristen Bell herself, who played Veronica Mars and everything was perfect. I think the audiobook really helped boost my enjoyment for this book mainly because of Kristen’s voice that really added to the voice (and as the voice) of Veronica.

The book is canon, so it remains true to the characters and plot which is especially great if you’re a fan of the original VM series. I really loved how nothing much has changed with Veronica, neither did her friendship with Wallace and Mac. Logan isn’t featured much in the book because of his job as seen in the movie but Kristen NAILED Logan’s voice in the audiobook.

The plot was great and in true Veronica Mars fashion. It was engaging and there were a lot of twists and some familiar faces return as well which added to the drama of the story. Of course, being Veronica Mars she’s still as snarky as ever without a filter and the writing is still as hilarious.

I’d recommend the audiobook version — you really can’t go wrong with Kristen Bell narrating the story as Veronica Mars. Personally, it helped me get into the story better and the dialogues are funnier read to you then on paper. Definitely worth reading and picking up as a VM fan! I’m so excited and can’t wait for the next book to come out!

I don’t think you necessarily have to be a VM fan/watched the show or movie in order to read this because it is a stand-alone case and a lot of things are explained in the book. But of course, it would be best to start from the begining of you haven’t — everyone needs a little Mars in their life.

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Black Chalk By Christopher J. Yates

Black Chalk By Christopher J. Yates
Published 1st April 2014 by Random House UK

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o of the publisher, via Netgalley.

Goodreads

SummaryOne game. Six students. Five survivors.

It was only ever meant to be a game.

A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results.

Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round.

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Black Chalk had such great potential with its interesting premise but it lacked development to capture my attention.

Black Chalk takes place in the 90s where a group of friends at Harvard University decide to create a psychological game which is later backed by the Game Soc. The idea of this game is fairly simple: each player has to complete a series of embarrassing dares and forfeits. The final winner will win £10,00. Interesting? Yes. Well developed? Well… Almost.

I had many issues with Black Chalk, namely:

  1. Characters
  2. Pacing
  3. Lack of development
  4. Ending
I didn’t quite get the characters. There were six main characters though none were particularly interesting. It was an odd group of six: Emilia, who I can’t imagine would be friends with any of the five in reality, Jolyon who strikes me as unnecessarily complicated, Mark who I can’t even describe because he’s not that memorable or interesting, Jack who is kind of a dick, Chad who is just Chad and Dee who comes off rather confusing (for the lack of a better explanation).

The book is told in alternating timelines, the present and the past. Our narrator is unreliable and is later revealed as one of the six in the group. It was interesting at the start, but soon made the pacing a little jumpy. The present would start appearing whenever the past was getting good and it felt this whole alternating timeline was getting tiring. It didn’t help that it took almost halfway through the book before it got interesting again. The inconsistent pacing of the book really bothered me.

One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the Game and more importantly the mysterious Game Soc. There was a lot that could have been done with this, the idea of a secret society, but it wasn’t explored more and was glossed over. It felt underdeveloped and I didn’t really know where this was going.

Finally, the ending. It ended too easily and too quickly that I got kind of pissed off. For this all to end like this feels like a cop out. It was confusing that I had to read it twice. The whole book felt like an overhype.

Black Chalk wasn’t all bad; it did have its moments. Mark’s revenge was fairly interesting and of course Game Soc (albeit underdeveloped) itself.

I struggled to read this book and I wanted to put it down several times. I’m glad I persevered enough to read the interesting bits, though I can’t say I was fully impressed. It’s readable; it is slow but still readable. However, I can’t say that this is a book I’d recommend right off the bat.

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