The Way I Used To Be & Dreamers Often Lie -- Contemporary Mash-Up #1


I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

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MINI

Tough Topics & Shakespearean Hallucinations?
One book made me want to pull my hair out, the other had me questioning my sanity. 
YA wants to kill me I'm convinced.

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If you guys remember my last post, " Tika's Epic Guide To Navigating New Adult & Adult Like A Boss Bitch, " I decided to challenge myself by doing some mini reviews. The idea was initially inspired by my need to knock out some posts that were piling up, as well as the awesome Shannon from It Starts At Midnight who is QUEEN at whipping up mini reviews in a " minute ". (Thanks for the motivation Shan!) My reviews from that post weren't completely how I wanted them to be, especially since I'm used to discussing a book in its entirety, so I've decided to switch up my format allowing me to elaborate on more content while still giving you guys shorter, bite-sized reviews. Let's see if I nailed it this time!

You guys do know my mini reviews aren't ever mini right? haha

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Back At It Again Not Liking Main Characters.
When looking for titles that showcase important messages and or topics, YA is definitely the arena to search. Every corner, nook, and cranny, is stuffed with stories that reflect real-life situations, making it my go-to genre when I want something to give me a dose of reality. The Way I Used To Be is the third book I've read that sheds some much needed light on abuse both sexually and mentally, BUT, it's also the third book that I found difficult to get through. Let's call this the second case of an important message told in the perspective of a I-really-don't-like-you main character. (The Girl Who Fell was the first. See ranty review if you missed it.)


This book had the potential to be a complete knockout, especially because it showcases the very serious topic of rape. This horrible situation unfolds through the perspective of our main character Eden, who at the time of her assault, was just a 14-year-old freshman in high school. From the beginning, we're peering through the glass of this young girl's world as she tries to piece together the " why's " of her attack while still remaining " normal " as she navigates through life. I should've been glued to my seat, on edge from emotions, because this is horrible right? Unfortunately, I wasn't. The story is told in stages, freshman year, sophomore, junior, and senior, and by the time Eden was in her 2nd year of HS (sophomore) I was pretty much done with her. She became rebellious, lashing out at her parents and others for petty reasons, (she lost her shit when she couldn't get a pair of new glasses) even reckless, having a sexual relationship with 18 year old Joshua (I loved him sadly) who wasn't aware she was 14, (yes, statutory rape folks) and just . . . being so damn hard to deal with. I get that people handle situations differently. Not everyone is going to pull out of that situation, shoulders pulled back, chin held high, but witnessing her fall through a downward spiral for 98.9% of the book was freaking exhausting.

It would've been nice to get a healing process somewhere in the story, instead, it became: sex, sex, sex, drugs, drugs, drugs, alcohol and more alcohol, rebellion, rebellion, rebellion. It was just a bit much. Again, a very important message just told in an I-want-pull-my-hair-out sort of way. If you can get through a frustrating read with a difficult to like the main character, I'd say go for it.


The Biggest Mind F*CK of 2016
If you've read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and seen (and loved) the movie The Black Swan for the hallucinations, you are certainly going to enjoy Dreamers Often Lie. This is my first time enjoying anything dealing with Shakespeare, (look school makes everything sucky okay) but the way the author executed this story giving me the trippiest experience I've ever witnessed in YA . . . I don't even know yall, that's how cray this book is.


Jaye, our theater queen, is the " star " of this story. She's landed the lead role in her school's production of A Midsummer's Night Dream, but a life-threatening accident while on a family ski trip puts everything in jeopardy, including her sanity. GUYS, when I say this book was WOW, I mean it. I enjoyed the characters, especially her mother and sister, but my favorite aspect of Dreamers were the hallucinations. I was fully aware that this book was a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet as well as Hamlet, however, I wasn't expecting characters from these famous plays to make reoccurring appearances throughout the novel, including thee Shakespeare himself. Oh, how freaking exciting this was! You never knew when the hallucinations would begin -- they blended into the writing, causing you to question what was reality and fiction -- to question if Jaye was indeed reliable or just crazy as hell.

All of Shakespeare's characters talked in that classical way, (don't know what to call it haha) causing everything to feel like one big riddle. They popped up at odd times, which didn't bother me. In fact, I began to look for them, to hope they would mysteriously turn up in the next scene. Ophelia and Hamlet were certainly my favorites. I loved how she would appear out of nowhere soaking wet, dripping with leaves and dirt stuck in her hair, almost as if she climbed straight out of the brook she drowned in. And Hamlet, with his icy blue eyes, and that damn skull he walked around with, talking in circles before he would vanish into thin air. They even kissed in the back of a BMW! You can't get any more epic than that! All I'm saying is if the author wanted to crank up the creep factor she definitely succeeded. Dreamers Often Lie is one big mystery that even weeks after finishing, I'm still trying to solve it. The ending threw me for a loop, so please fans of Shakespeare, read this book and decipher the conclusion for me. Thanks in advance  

If you guys have read, or plan on reading either of these titles, definitely let me know. I would love to see if anyone else struggled with The Way I Used To Be, and to see if there are any lovers of Dreamers Often Lie!

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