Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Da ragazzo spiare i ragazzi giocare
al ritmo balordo del tuo cuore malato
e ti viene la voglia di uscire e provare
che cosa ti manca per correre al prato,
e ti tieni la voglia, e rimani a pensare
come diavolo fanno a riprendere fiato.
(Un malato di Cuore, F. De Andrè)

Madeline vive in una camera bianca, in una casa isolata dall’esterno e dagli agenti allergici che potrebbero scatenare la malattia di Madeline e ucciderla.

Madeline ha una particolare sindrome da immunodeficienza, e ha ormai accettato uno stile di vita basato su letture, lezioni online e la sola presenza dell’infermiera Carla e della madre, ma l’arrivo di nuovi vicini, e in particolare del loro figlio Olly, creerà delle crepe nell’equilibrio della ragazza che inizierà a desiderare tutto quello che le può offrire la vita.

Il romanzo ci racconta la storia di Madeline dal suo punto di vista, e la sua particolarità sta proprio nei disegni e negli appunti con cui la ragazza arricchisce il suo racconto, indicati anche mediante cambiamenti tipografici. Originale anche l’idea di inserire le “spoiler review”, tema del blog scritto dalla ragazza, ovvero recensioni spoiler di romanzi in una singola, lapidaria frase. Tra i vari registri utilizzati anche quelli delle chat e delle email, e sotto questi punti di vista l’edizione è molto curata.

La storia di Madeline è emozionante, e lo sviluppo degli eventi del romanzo tiene sicuramente incollati al testo, purtroppo un episodio chiave risulta molto forzato, col risultato di banalizzare una storia originale e ben strutturata.

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Madeline lives in a white room, in a house isolated from the external environment and from the allergens that could trigger Madeline’s illness and kill her.

Madeline has a particular form of immunodeficiency, and has accepted an isolated life, based on reading, on online lectures with the only presence of her nurse Carla and her mother. The arrival of the new neighbours, and in particular of their son, Olly, will start cracking the balance in the girls’ life, and she soon begins desiring everything life could offer her.

The novel tells Madeline’s story from her point of view, and the peculiarity of the book stays in the illustrations and notes she makes to enrich her story, that stands out also thanks to typographic changes. It’s original also the idea to insert the “spoiler review” articles Madeline writes for the blog, one lines, hard, spoiler book review. Among the narrative style used there are also chat messages and emails, and from this perspective the book is very well-built.

Madeline’s story is exiting, and the events development keeps the eyes to the book, unfortunately a key event is quite forced, making an original and well-built story in a standard ya one.

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ★★☆☆

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

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1890. Ely, Cambridgeshire ospita una scuola per giovani ragazze: Saint Etheldreda’s School for Young Ladies, diretta da Constance Plackett e frequentata da sette ragazze.

Il lettore non avrà modo di conoscere a fondo la direttrice, colpevole infatti di morire – assieme allo sgradevole fratello – nel primo capitolo, avrà però modo di conoscere le sette protagoniste, presentate prima indirettamente tramite i loro parenti e relazioni, e poi inconfondibili per i tratti che caratterizzano ogn’una di loro nella storia.

L’idea geniale di Smooth Kitty è di non denunciare le due morti e gestire in autonomia la scuola, onde evitare di essere riconsegnate alle famiglie di origine, si crea così una sorellanza in cui ogni ragazza contribuisce alla finzione con le sue capacità: chi di attrice, chi di aspirante medico, chi di truccatrice, ragazze finalmente capaci di seguire le proprie inclinazioni indipendentemente dall’opinione di genitori e parenti.

Some women are born for more independence than society offers them. Perhaps all are, but some have not yet learned to recognize it.

Tenere nascosto l’evento non è però così semplice: bisogna mentire ai conoscenti stretti della direttrice e sostenere la finzione; quando poi sorge il dubbio che la donna sia stata avvelenata le ragazze si accorgeranno di essere ancora in pericolo.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place è un romanzo brillante, ricco di imprevisti e scritto con ironia; impossibile non affezionarsi ad almeno una delle protagoniste.
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1890. In Ely, Cambridgeshire there is Saint Etheldreda’s School for Young Ladies, directed by Constance Plackett and attended by seven girls.

The reader won’t have the pleasure to meet the headmistress, since she dies – with her unpleasant brother – in the first chapter; he will have instead the pleasure to meet the seven girls, introduced at first indirectly by their relations and parents, and then impossible to mix up for their character traits.

Smooth Kitty has the brilliant idea to not inform the people of Ely about the twi deaths and to manage in autonomy the school, mainly to avoid being sent back to the original family and then to other schools, this way the sisterhood is born: each girl contributes to the pretense with her own skills: someone is able to act, to show medical skills, to do make up, girls finally able to follow their inclination independently from the judgment of family and parents.

Some women are born for more independence than society offers them. Perhaps all are, but some have not yet learned to recognize it.

But it’s not so simple to cover up the event: they will have to lie to the headmistress friends and to keep up pretending, when the doubt of the woman being poisoned arises the girl will have to face real danger.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a brilliant novel, full of accidents and written with irony, impossible not to grow found of at least one of the main characters.

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The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry ★★★★☆½

[ARC] Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice

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In questa graphic novel l’autrice, Philippa Rice, decide di condividere con i lettori alcune scene della sua vita quotidiana e di quella del suo fidanzato, Luke Pearson (autore della serie di graphic novel Hildafolk).

In Soppy seguiamo i due personaggi nei momenti di condivisione, di affetto ma anche nei litigi, in un vero e proprio quadro di vita di coppia.

Soppy è un insieme di vignette in rosso e nero che parlano di una storia particolare, ma in cui ogni coppia può immedesimarsi, perchè ogni coppia che funziona si litiga le coperte, condivide il divano e fa pace dopo aver litigato.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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In this graphic novel the author, Philippa Rice, chooses to share with the readers her day by day life with her boyfriend, Luke Pearson (author of the  Hildafolk series).

In Soppy we follow the two character in moments of sharing, of love but also during fights, their life as a couple.

Soppy is a collection of red and black frames talking about a particular story, but every person belonging to loving couple can identify him/herself in the story, since every loving couple competes for the blanket, shares a couch and makes it up after a fight.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice ★★★☆

The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

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Ava is born with a pair of beautiful wings, attached to her body and impossible to be removed surgically; Ava has also a twin brother, Henry, who prefers not to talk and not to be touched. They are a couple of peculiar child, and their weirdness comes from back in time, from their French great-grandmother, before her immigration to the USA.

Ava’s voice bring the reader into the story of her family, from her silent great-grandmother, to Emilienne, Ava’s grandmother, who brings the sorrow of her brother and sisters who left her, and Ava’s mother, Viviane, suffering for a unrequitted love; all of them have something strange skills, and it’s like this weirdness, this magic, accumulated till the born of Ava.

The novel is not all about the past (the structure in this sense reminds me of Middlesex), Ava tells also the story of the present time – her childhood lived at home, her mother being protective for Ava strangeness, her few friends – and of a specific and dramatic period of her life.

The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender is an intense novel, mainly in the ending part, and it’s so easy to like the main characters, so strange but so different from the brutal normality of common people around them.


* The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

[ARC] Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince

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Tomboy is the graphic biography of the author, dealing mainly with her being defined a tomboy since childhood by other children.

In this small book the author is able to deal with various themes regarding integration with other groups of people – forced also by some change of town during her childhood,  the reason someone could be left apart and the difficulties in constructing durable friendship and relationship with both boys and girls when being outside of “the group” dictating what is normal.

The book is very nice and fun but it’s able to make the reader asks himself/herself some questions about different themes.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in English

[ARC] Naja by Bengal & Morgan

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Naja è un killer che fa capo ad una organizzazione criminale capitanata da una misteriosa figura: Zero. Lei è il terzo miglior killer dell’organizzazione anche grazie alla sua capacità di non riuscire a provare alcun genere di dolore.

La visita di un misterioso ragazzo – capace di avere la meglio su di lei – innescherà una serie di eventi che cambieranno per sempre la vita di Naja e dell’organizzazione stessa.

Pochissimi i dialoghi: la storia e le riflessioni della protagonista ci sono raccontate da una voce al di sopra della storia e che ne conosce anche i risvolti inaspettati. Questa graphic novel ha sicuramente la capacità di stupire il lettore con continui colpi di scena inaspettati.

Quella che viene descritta è una protagonista fuori dal comune, sia per le sue abilità di killer sia per il suo desiderio di provare finalmente dolore.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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Naja is a killer who works for a criminal organization lead by a mysterious man, Zero. She is the third best killer also thanks to a peculiar skill: she is not able to feel any kind of pain.

When she meets a mysterious boy – able to surpass her in skills – everything will change in Naja’s life and also in the organization itself.

Very few the dialogues: the plot and the main character reflections are told by a third voice over the whole story, someone who knows everything, also the unexpected events. This graphic novel is able to astonish the reader with unexpected turn of events.

The main character is particular, both for her killing skills, both for her desire to feel some kind of pain.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Naja by Bengal & Morgan ★★★

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

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Jasper’s father is one of the most ruthless american serial killers: he killed more than one hundred people; Jazz, now that his father is in prison, nevertheless has to face his presence; journalists that want an interview, the families of the victims that want to know the reason of the murders, normal people who fears Jazz for his father, but most of all the fear to have one day the desire to follow his father path.

In this novel the psychological analysis of the character is the strong point: Jazz keeps on analyzing himself to understand if his own actions are spontaneous of driven by self-interest and manipulation – skill he is very good at – but he keeps on analyzing what is around him, skill that will be useful (with his father teachings about killing and crime scenes) to find a new serial killer in town.

To balance Jazz – he is an action character with great doubts about himself – there are his girlfriend, a reflexive girl, and his best friend, who has a type A hemophilia. Thanks to these and other characters (the police chief, Jazz grandmother, …) the reader can see the true main character personality.

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* I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga ★★★½

*I read this book in English

John Green and dying young

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Two times till now I wrote in a comment this thing about dying young, and both times it was about a John Green‘s novel – the only two novel of this writer I read for now, I honestly hope his other works being more happy.

The former I read is the well-known “The fault in our stars” that takes the title by a Shakespeare quote:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

and that is being the inspiration for a movie that will soon come out; the latter is “Looking for Alaska” that in this case is not the State but a girl and that it should be read before “The fault in our stars”.

When I read them – but this reflection mainly concerns the former one – my review was enthusiastic (the review is the one below, only little bit less passionate than the original version), but after some time I began to think that maybe it’s a clever book that plays on emotions and empathy, so my whole opinion could be reviewed.

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Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

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I recently read a nice novel – for the review see below – that I discovered being a retelling of a novel written by a most famous author.

About retelling I already said something: they are novels or stories that come from something already existing but are inserted in a different context, in this specific case the original story is contextualize in the modern age and the main character are a girl and a boy who want to become famous rock stars.

The original novel, if you are curious – that I did not read but I will soon – is Persuasion by Jane Austen.

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