🌟 Hi, bookish family! I hope you’re having the most wonderful day; today, I’m more than happy to bring you a double review of my most recent readings.❤️ I love, and it’s a pleasure to be able to bring you a double review of two darkish & atmospheric books that I pretty much enjoyed, so don’t hesitate to let me know everything in the comments, not only what you think about these books in particular, but also tell me a little about what you’ll be reading this week, it’s always fun to know. 😊
Both books have some aspects in common, and also I have felt similar things for the characters; besides that, they have a very similar atmosphere, so it seemed to me that it made sense to bring them together to talk a little about them. 🌲 Plus, both books are hard-hitting and touch on sensitive topics of trauma, mourning, and healing and growth. 🌟
When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers. It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town. Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
| Goodreads |
“Shadows are made up of darkness. They feed off of sadness and despair. They manifest what you’re most scared of and use it as a weapon to feed off your fear.”
I loved this book; I think that despite being slow, it’s extremely atmospheric and very entertaining to read. There’s a great construction of the environment in mystery and suspense that makes you feel excited. You can’t stop reading because you really want to know what will happen, which I love, there’s a lot of anticipation with it, and obviously, the setting is ideal. The characters are good, nothing awe-inspiring, but I did like the interactions between them and the family, friendship and romantic relationships are all very realistic, in my opinion. So yeah, I really liked it, and I’m excited to recommend it to everyone!
In this story we follow Wendy, a girl who lives in a small seaside town of Astoria, five years ago she got lost in the forest with her brothers, but only she returned with no memories of what really happened, now the children have begun to disappear in the forest again, and this is a trigger for Wendy who now must face again a past full of guilt that haunts her. With all this happening, a mysterious boy named Peter appears in town, a boy who, to Wendy’s surprise, not only lives in the stories that her mother used to tell her but is very real and needs her urgent help to recover the lost children, and a once in the woods, Wendy must face what really happened the night her brothers disappeared.
There’s something so compelling about this Peter Pan retelling, and I think it’s above all the fact that it’s extremely dark compared to the original one and has some twists that make it stand out and become a unique story on its own; I really enjoyed every moment reading it. And even though it has a slow pace and the characters can become slightly annoying, that didn’t get in the way of my commitment to the plot itself, which I consider is the main protagonist here. The plot is very intriguing, mysterious, and has a kind of creepy atmosphere that keeps you hooked; I really like the touch the author gave it and the paths that he has decided to take with it. In this book, we not only explore who Peter Pan is and not only do we have a magical and surreal touch, but I also think it’s important to note that it touches a lot of family aspects and given the circumstances of the disappearance of Wendy’s brothers as children, it obviously explores guilt, depression, and desolation of the characters under this fact. It’s hard to see how much this tragic event has affected the lives of Wendy’s parents and her own, being her older sister, and all the guilt and anguish that she feels. Personally, I connected a lot with her feelings regarding this, and I really felt the connection she had with her brothers, which is super special. I connected especially because I’m also the older sister of two boys, so that’s why it struck a chord in me.
As I already mentioned, we also have some magical aspects that come from the obvious hand of Peter Pan, who’s in trouble since his shadow has disappeared and has become this evil entity; in addition to this, we know a little about Neverland and its concept. In this book, it’s just brilliant! We don’t go through Neverland precisely, he only mentions it, but still, you almost feel like you were there. I understand that this is a new perspective within Peter Pan’s story. I like the author has decided to focus more on the real world, bringing itself factors of magical realism and fantasy ones in general.
Obviously, I really enjoyed the author’s style; I think that although it’s quite descriptive, it’s still very compelling, and I’m excited to read more of his work; without a doubt, he’s very talented. In addition, I also liked the dialogues quite a bit; some moments are kind of cringy, I won’t lie, but mostly quite adorable and credible. One factor that I usually have trouble connecting with is romance, but this time I loved it; it’s super subtle, and some scenes took my breath away; I was like, “just kiss each other already,” lol I liked it a lot.
When I refer to this book as being darker, I not only mean the atmosphere and the setting itself, which is absolutely brilliant, I must say, the small-town vibe is my jam, but I also mean that it contains quite intense and graphic scenes that can cause a lot of pain, some twists are heartbreaking, and I personally go through a lot of emotions, especially towards the ending. If you’ve already read it, you know what I mean, it’s a quite crude scene in particular, and the emotions that Wendy feels are very intense, so I recommend discretion if you’re sensitive to too much graphic content and high levels of pain. I know it sounds extreme when I describe it, but it was quite triggering for me, so I wouldn’t want someone to run into that twist without expecting it, you know?
I loved the ending; I found it different from the “conventional” endings, you know? I found it very original and, above all, extremely significant; I liked it a lot. It leaves you with a bittersweet feeling when you finish the book because you carry the weight of your emotions with you, and it breaks your heart a little, so I read the last pages with many mixed feelings, which somehow makes the end more powerful even.
In summary, this is a great book, extremely atmospheric, with a setting worthy of a movie, characters that may not stand out on their own, but do create a great cast when they interact with each other, the dialogues are solid, and it has beautiful scenes that aren’t only meaningful and full of feelings, but also this is a book full of aesthetics, it’s beautifully described, which is worth highlighting. I also like that this is a book that not only focus on the aspects of retelling as such, it also takes time to focus on the tragic story of parents who lose their children and a sister who blames herself for it and punishes herself for having dreams and illusions, you know? It’s profound, and the thoughts and emotions are incredibly successful; it’s a great job, and without a doubt, I highly recommend it. Despite having seen more negative than positive reviews, I took a risk with it, and I recommend it, it resonates with me, and I think it’s worth it.
Nina LaCour delivers another emotional knockout with Watch Over Me, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Printz Award-winning We Are Okay. Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that’s why she said yes to the opportunity: living in this remote place, among the flowers and the fog and the crash of waves far below.But she hadn’t known about the ghosts. Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a job and a place to stay at a farm on an isolated part of the Northern California Coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home, a real home. The farm is a refuge, but also haunted by the past traumas its young residents have come to escape. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface. Watch Over Me is another stunner from Printz Award-Winning author Nina LaCour, whose empathetic, lyrical prose is at the heart of this modern ghost story of resilience and rebirth.
| Goodreads |
“I’m learning that it’s good to think about what scares you. To bring it into the light. Even to hold it in your hands, if you can, and feel how it can’t hurt you anymore. To think of it and say, ‘I am not afraid.”
This book is a meaningful journey of healing, discovery, and grief as well, I liked it a lot, above all, I enjoyed the author’s prose that’s absolutely poetic and very flowery, you can see the passion and commitment of the author with what she wants to tell when it comes to transmitting feelings, she does it wonderfully. Even though l liked several aspects, I think it’s too static for my taste, it’s not bad, it’s just very focused on the characters and their thoughts and feelings, much more than on plot development as such. On the other hand, a great work by the author that combines a contemporary style with a few paranormal aspects, and in the end, it was a good read.
In this book, we follow Mila a girl who has grown up in the foster care system, who once graduated from school she gets a good job offer in a place totally isolated from the world to which she immediately says yes, and arrives at this farm hoping it’s the first place she can truly call home. The farm is a refuge haunted by the past traumas of its young residents. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface.
I adore how original this story is, combining strongly paranormal aspects such as ghosts uniquely with contemporary and harsher aspects of life itself; I think for that very concept, this book is a gem; on the other hand, I’d have liked a little more, I think the plot itself is good, but it’s very focused on only one aspect. Therefore, it doesn’t move much, or I would say almost at all, it’s more a book focused on characters, as I mentioned above, in a way that we’re all the time following them, knowing their stories, their personalities, their goals, obstacles, traumas, and dreams, above all we see a great growth in them that comes with overcoming those traumas of the past. Even though I’d have liked more things happening in the book or maybe a more dynamic plot, I can still see that it’s a great book, and the meaning behind each page and each word is compelling. In fact, I take with me several quotes that I love completely and that I’ll probably be sharing here in this review.
I don’t think we really have to discuss this, but the author’s writing style is brilliant, I love it, and it will always be one of my favorite things about her books and why I keep coming back to them. Also, in this book as such, the author has proven that she can create a really unique atmosphere between something dark playing a bit with the setting in a way that’s creepy, but also giving rise to landscapes full of life and colors, it’s a beautiful contrast.
How the people in this book react to paranormal activities left me confused. In some way, I understand that some of them know what it’s about, but some of them should be more confused than they seem. There’s a scene where Mila comes to the farm, and she sees the ghosts. The owner of the place is like, “I hope you don’t have a problem with ghosts” (or something like that), and she’s like, “Oh no at all, this is completely normal” lol, I’d have loved seeing an initial shock there that makes me believe that it’s something Mila isn’t used to seeing. Then everything makes more sense when it unfolds, but at the beginning, it’s just weird and doesn’t help create the climate, you know?
Although if I felt connected to the main character’s story, I didn’t like her very well regarding her personality, this can affect my enjoyment a bit sometimes but I don’t think it’s too important since it’s interesting anyway. I wanted to know where the story would go as I was also always interested in knowing the outcome of Mina, which is great. We follow Mila, but we can also meet several characters who live on the farm and who are an adoptive family, this factor is super adorable and I liked it a lot, and also allows us to meet other characters, some of them superficially and others in a little deeper way. I didn’t feel particularly obsessed with anyone, but I did enjoy some relationships and interactions between them, at times it reminded me a bit of The House in the Cerulean Sea, especially for the characters and some moments when they all spend together, but without magic and those fantastical aspects.
As I mentioned before, this is a book highly focused on moving forward after something extremely traumatic and hard happens to you, and in particular, on this farm, many boys have gone through horrendous situations despite their young age ; why do I comment that? Well, I wanted to let you know that the paranormal factor is 100% connected to these traumas the characters are going through, and they have everything to do with their healings. I don’t want to tell more because I think that’s the magic of the story: discover it for yourself, but I did want to mention it superficially since I think that’s what makes this story so unique and unlike anything I’ve read before.
In short, I liked it a lot although I expected something more. The idea behind the story and its meaning is so important, and I know it will reach and touch many people who read it; on the other hand, while I was reading it, I felt that something was missing, that the plot is slow, and that it’s above all quite static. Being a fairly short book, this surprised me, although, on the other hand, I can understand that when you focus only on one aspect as such, which in this case would be mourning and healing, then it makes sense that it’s a short book since there’s no much more to go. The book is really good, don’t get me wrong, maybe I get into it with something else in mind, and I was shocked to find something else. This doesn’t mean it’s bad; it just fell a little short of my expectations.
I want to make it very clear that I understand the meaning of the story, and I’m glad that we have a book like this among us, as it explores loss, mourn and pain in a profound and raw way, as well as healing and hope. In the end, it’s a wonderful message that stays with you, and I love how the family that the book focuses on is the one you choose and the one that chooses you, instead of being a biological link; I think that’s a beautiful factor to explore. So I undoubtedly recommend the book, it’s a short reading but very heavy on emotions, so I recommend discretion if you are sensitive, on the other hand, you’ll surely stay with something good from it.
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