[Book Review] None of the Above

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Title: None of the Above

Author: I.W. Gregorio

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 328 pages

Publication: April 2015

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self? Continue reading

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[Book Review] Sputnik Sweetheart

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Title: Sputnik Sweeetheart

Author: Haruki Murakami

Genre: Adult, Romance, Surreal

Publisher: Vintage

Pages: 210 pages

Publication: April 2002

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:

Haruki Murakami, the internationally bestselling author of Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, plunges us into an urbane Japan of jazz bars, coffee shops, Jack Kerouac, and the Beatles to tell this story of a tangled triangle of uniquely unrequited loves.

A college student, identified only as “K,” falls in love with his classmate, Sumire. But devotion to an untidy writerly life precludes her from any personal commitments–until she meets Miu, an older and much more sophisticated businesswoman. When Sumire disappears from an island off the coast of Greece, “K” is solicited to join the search party and finds himself drawn back into her world and beset by ominous, haunting visions. A love story combined with a detective story, Sputnik Sweetheart ultimately lingers in the mind as a profound meditation on human longing. Continue reading

[Book Review] Every Last Word

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Title: Every Last Word

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Illness, Bullying

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 368 pages

Publication: June 2015

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear. Continue reading

[Book Review] A untuk Amanda

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Judul: A untuk Amanda

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Penulis: Annisa Ihsani

Penerbit: Gramedia Pustaka Utama

Tebal: 264 halaman

Terbit: Maret 2016

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sinopsis:

Amanda punya satu masalah kecil: dia yakin bahwa dia tidak sepandai kesan yang ditampilkannya. Rapor yang semua berisi nilai A, dia yakini karena keberuntungan berpihak padanya. Tampaknya para guru hanya menanyakan pertanyaan yang kebetulan dia tahu jawabannya.

Namun tentunya, tidak mungkin ada orang yang bisa beruntung setiap saat, kan?

Setelah dipikir-pikir, sepertinya itu bukan masalah kecil. Apalagi mengingat hidupnya diisi dengan serangkaian perjanjian psikoterapi. Ketika pulang dengan resep antidepresan, Amanda tahu masalahnya lebih pelik daripada yang siap diakuinya.

Di tengah kerumitan dengan pacar, keluarga, dan sekolahnya, Amanda harus menerima bahwa dia tidak bisa mendapatkan nilai A untuk segalanya. Continue reading

[Book Review] A Little Life

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Title: A Little Life

Author: Hanya Yanagihara

Genre: Adult, LGBT, Slice of Life

Publisher: Anchor

Pages: 816 pages

Publication: January 2016

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis:

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Continue reading