You guys know how much I ramble, and how long my reviews can be, so I decided to use a simple outline for my mini reviews. My thoughts will be broken down into 3 categories:
Random | Tom Leveen
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published: August 12, 2014 | Simon Pulse
If I had to sit here and discuss just the plot of this book to my readers, I most certainly could. This aspect was one, if not my most favorite thing about Random. The story follows a young girl named Victoria Hershberger, (Tori) who is not surprisingly in deep, deep, deep shit. I say not surprisingly because her character was such a . . . we'll get to that a bit later. Anywho, she's in a heap of trouble, being accused of bullying a guy named Kevin Cooper until sadly, he commits suicide. Her parents are disappointed in her, her brother pretty much hates her, and I get it. Tori's actions were definitely not acceptable.
So she's up late one night, when she get's a phone call from a complete stranger. With her current situation, she believed that it was just a prank call, just someone trying to bash her for what she's done. But it ends up being something completely different. The caller's name is Andy, and he also wants to commit suicide.
Tori is battling internally with whether she can handle helping Andy, especially when she has her own problems to deal with, and when the plot twist comes around, I can't lie and say I wasn't jumping up and down screaming " Ah Ha, now that's a taste of your own medicine! " The plot is super fast paced, as in, I read this book in 2 1/2 hours fast paced.
I'm going to try my hardest and not rant about this, but Tori was one hell of a horrible character. I'm not talking in the sense of writing, definitely not that, but more so her personality traits, or shall I say characteristics as a person, was the worst I've ever read in a fictional novel. Like ever.
Shall I elaborate? Yes, okay good lol.
Exhibit A ladies and gentlemen are screenshots of the "Facebook" type statuses that are included in the story. In between every chapter, you'll find these statuses, and as the story progresses, the cyber-bulling goes from pretty mild, but still effed up, to completely disturbing. Take a look.
Sorry guys, I tried to go a bit bigger but then it would have been too big, so I had to settle for this size. It's okay just squint lol. If you were able to read the statuses then you would be able to see how horrible Tori and her "friends" were to Kevin Cooper. If it's one thing I can't stand, it's bullying, especially when there's a group of individuals ganging up on one person.
Tori was indeed a horrible friend. Her and Kevin were close, not as close as they were when they were in middle school, but they were still very much friends. When Tori found a new crowd to hang out with, she kind of forgot who she was a person, and as you can see, she added fuel to an already blazing flame by joining in on the bullying. What made me so upset with Tori, was the mere fact that she didn't understand why she was being punished for what happened to Kevin. I've always believed that there are two types of bullies:
A. The ones that do the bullying, whether verbally or physically.
B. The ones that either instigate in the bullying, or do nothing to prevent or stop it.
Tori fell under category B, and even though she might not have killed Kevin herself, she definitely led him to do it. What an idiot.
" But all I did was make one little tiny joke on Facebook that wasn't even all that mean, and now my life is essentially over. "
Again. What an idiot.
There are other characters in the story such as her parents, her brother Jack, (who was also bullied in school and felt his sister didn't stick up for him.) Noah, a friend of her and Kevin who didn't turn his back on her even though he could have, and Andy, the suicide caller who ends up playing a bigger role within the story than I imagined. Everyone ties into the plot so perfectly, and I truly loved the message they all tried to deliver to Tori's thick, immature, annoying, skull. Okay, as you can see I'm still a little pissed at her. Forgive me people lol.
I must say that growing up, I wasn't bullied very much. My brother and I were fighters, we didn't really take shit from anyone, so I think that may have been one of the reasons why. If I was bullied, or picked on, it was because I have a gap, but I tended to let those insults roll off my back. I've always had tough skin, and I loved my gap which is why I never wanted braces lol. But, for those times that I was tired of being picked on, I fought back. In high school, I wasn't bullied at all really. By that time, everyone deemed me as the girl-who-will-drag-your-ass-if-you-mess-with-her, so I didn't have much problems. But, I did have friends, and even people I didn't know that were.
I remember one day, in my Junior year, this girl dumped a whole carton of milk on a freshman's head because she said the girl was a "slut". In front of the whole cafeteria !! Apparently the girl's boyfriend had this huge crush on the freshman, and she was pissed about it, but that wasn't her freaking fault. I literally sat and watched with everyone else as this girl is just balling her eyes out, with all this chocolate milk running down her face and god knows I was itching to do something. So when the girl proceeded to squirt mayo (out of all things!) all over the girl's head and clothes, I just snapped and attacked! You would have thought she were doing all these horrid things to me the way I jumped on that ass, and you know what? Even now I'm proud for sticking up for her. I just wish I snatched more of that girl's hair out.
But anywho, I got 2 weeks in school suspension, (my guidance counselor was actually happy that I stood up for the freshman so instead of being suspended at home, I served my punishment in school.) along with cafeteria duty for the rest of the semester. Can you imagine cleaning up behind 100+ students ?! So disgusting. So the moral of this story is that I:
A. Will beat you down if I catch you bullying anyone.
So I'm not saying that Tori had to take my route and go and punch everyone in the face who bullied Kevin, I actually don't want anyone to reciprocate what I did. But she could have did something! Tell an adult, teacher, someone! But instead she chose to join in with the bullying all because she wanted to fit in. She wanted to be liked by the cute upperclassman boy who flirted with her from time to time. She wanted the upperclassman girls to be her friend so she could be in the "it" crowd and look cool. In the end was it worth it? Definitely not. Please don't be this person readers.
I told you guys I was incapable of doing anything "mini", so I'll keep this section short and sweet. I promise lol.
The writing in this book was stellar. I love the message about bullying and the effects it can have on someone who is affected by it. I don't think I've ever disliked a character in a novel as I do with Tori, and that speaks volumes for Mr.Leveen. He created a character that was so stupid, and naive, and just oblivious to everything in life, which drew soooo much emotion from me. I wasn't crying or anything, but I was so pissed the entire time, from beginning to end because I wanted her to just get it! To just be self-less for once and understand that everything isn't about her. The plot twist is a complete curve ball, and I was so caught off guard that I had to put my e-reader down for a few minutes to gather my thoughts. Tori is forced to make certain decisions that would require her to think of someone other than herself for once. To possibly save someone else's life, and that is what impressed me the most. She doesn't go through this huge character development stage, but the story was so realistic that she got what we call a "reality check", which is what she needed anyway.
I'm still mad at her lol.
Anna and the French Kiss | Stephanie Perkins
Published: July 16, 2013 | Speak
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
So what's crazy is that I actually don't have too much to say about Anna and the French Kiss which is rather weird right? I mean, since when do I, Tika not have much to say about something?
If I was asked to give a summary of this book using one word, it would be:
This book was so cutesy, and fluffy, and just cute. But, I feel so weird about it lmao. Okay to better explain myself, I loved this book . . . okay I'm lying, I liked this book. I'm not even going to lie, but I did what I always told myself I wouldn't do:
Allow the hype of a book to ruin your reading experience.
Well, it didn't ruin my reading experience per se, I just went in with such high expectations and left a little disappointed. Just a little guys, just a little.
The plot was oookkayy. It wasn't to spectacular or anything, but we'll get to that.
The story follows Anna Oilphant as she settles into her new life. Her parents ships her to Paris to attend the School of America to finish up the last of her high school year. Originally from Atlanta, Anna feels alone and very much overwhelmed in this foreign country, but wouldn't anyone? Getting settled into her dorm at the Residence Lambert, isn't too difficult especially after she meets Meredith, her floor mate, and get's introduced to the rest of the clan.
This is basically what A&TFK is about. Anna getting adjusted to her new environment and friends. Anna coming to terms that she left her bestfriend Bridgette "Bridge" back at home, along with her crush Christopher "Toph". Anna missing her family, well her mother and brother, dad not so much. Anna falling in love, in the city of love. I guess it was all a bit . . . predictable. Again, don't get me wrong, I liked this story, I just think I went in expecting so much more and came up with a bit less.
I'm going to tell you this right now, St.Clair, or shall I say Etienne, completely stole the show for me. I just loved his character, and his friendship with Josh and the girls, really reminded me of my friendships I have with my male friends. He was quirky, fun, and I really enjoyed the fact that he had no problem defending his friends against bullies, especially Anna. (sounds familiar. lol)
Anna - Anna was okay lol. I'm sitting her thinking of what I liked about her and nothing is coming to mind. But I did like her! You guys see my dilemma right? I think that for me, even though she was the main character, she felt like she blended in with everyone else. I was so wrapped up in St.Clair's story, with his dad and mom, that I didn't really care what was going on with Anna. That's so mean of me.
Josh - Josh was another one of my favorites. St.Clair's bestfriend and Rashmi's boyfriend. He was an artist, who could be found with his nose in his drawing book, working on his graphic novel and random sketches. He sounds cool right? lol. I'm one of those girl's who have more male friends than female, so I'm pretty sure that's my reason for gravitating towards him and St.Clair more than the girls.
Rashmi- Josh's girlfriend. Rashmi was the sassy one of the group. She had a witty tongue, and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I forgot exactly what her ethnicity was, but it was cool to see some diversity within the story. Woot, woot, Stephanie!
Meredith - I'm not even going to lie, I found Meredith to be kind of annoying. Maybe it was because I had a feeling she was crushing on St.Clair, not sure, but it was also due to the fact that her character was pretty boring. As I stated earlier, Meredith is Anna's floor mate. She plays "football", (here in America we call it soccer) and that's pretty much it. Oh did I mention she's crushing on St.Clair? Arkward.
Bridgette " Bridge" - Anna's bestfriend back in Atlanta.
Christopher " Toph" - Anna's crush also back in Atlanta.
I've seen a few reviews where readers stated that the plot twist was pretty predictable, but I damn sure wasn't expecting it!
This is my first Stephanie Perkins novel, and I felt like the writing was just as everyone said it would be . . . cute. Maybe the problem I'm having is that it was too cute. A month ago, I read a book by a lovely author named Marion Croslydon called You Turn. It's a completely different story from A&TFK, but my gracious did she set the bar extremely high for any novel that has Paris as it's setting. While reading You Turn, I felt like I was in Paris. The way she described the city made you feel as if you were walking past the cafe's, monuments, shops, etc. I was just so sucked into the scenery. Oh and let's not forget the dialogue! She intertwined French dialogue with English and brilliantly included the translations so us readers followed along effortlessly with the story. That's what lacked in A&TFK for me. We were in Paris, going to monuments, parks, cinemas, you know with Anna, but I didn't picture the environment. It didn't feel like she was in Paris at all to me. It really could have been New York, if not for the language being spoken.
So to wrap this up, I would say that I strongly liked Anna, instead of loved. I felt the story was good, when I expected it to be incredible. Gosh I'm so conflicted right now! lmao. Thanks for baring with me guys!
Later Gators !