Right from the first beginning we’re told that the main character, Clementine is dead. We relive her life through her diary entries. It was evident right from the start that Blue is the Warmest Color is a sad book but it wasn’t cheapened by shocking anyone with Clementine’s death. No, this graphic novel focused on the journey. In doing so, it shed light on her hopes and dreams, and struggles and despair.
There’s so much that spoke to me when I read This Song Will Save Your Life. For this I loved it very, very dearly. It reminded me why I crave stories and why I can care so much about fictional people. Elise was my girl. She reminded me that I’m not alone and never have been. All that bullying I went through in high school, searching for acceptance, wanting to be someone — these aren’t alien experience to many of us. Despite that, resultant feelings of loneliness can be very overwhelming. This Song Will Save Your Life tapped into that psyche and spun a raw and engaging tale.
The first time round I read Divergent in 2013, I devoured it. I loved it to bits. For most of my teen years I read contemporary fiction and to finally delve more into science fiction, specifically dystopian fiction, was exhilarating. Since then I’ve read more dystopian books, some of which impressed me more and some less. Also, this time round I tabbed the pages with post-it notes, annotated and cross-referenced. This close reading forced me to be more critical (in the analytical sense) as I read.
Clean is a book that thoroughly surprised me. Firstly, I thought this book would be about mental illness. Actually it’s about addiction. I should’ve realized that before I started reading but as usual, I hardly glanced at the synopsis. Secondly, I was impressed with how the characters were portrayed in terms of depth, development and voice. Best of all, I was amazed by the writing style. It was on the experimental side, which I hadn’t expected.
One of the books I most looked forward to in 2014 was Belzhar. When I first saw the US cover, I was taken in and when I read the short description, I was sold. I wanted to read the book. It didn’t matter to me that I had never read a word of Sylvia Plath because I had every intention to. (For the record, I read The Bell Jar before Belzhar to preempt spoilers. Hah.) The hook for me was the exploration of mental stability.