Geek Girl by Holly Smale


My first thoughts after finishing Geek Girl…I had none. I had no idea what to expect going into this book and with not having read anything by Holly Smale I had no expectation on what it should be like and couldn’t build it up, no clear thoughts about it, all I knew was that I loved it, that I had read it sooner, and that it ended too soon for my liking.

Geek Girl was a quick read, not because it only had a few pages, 378 pages to be exact, but because I devoured it. I have never read a book so fast before, and not just because I wanted to get to my next book, but because I was so hooked. I could not put it down. It’s the story of 15-year-old Harriet Manners who goes from milquetoast to model in 60 seconds. You see, Harriet is a certified geek. She knows this because she looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary sitting on her bedside table. Harriet has one friend, the one who has a dream to be a fashion model since she was a child, Nat and a boy who’s Harriet certified stalker aka geekier than her, Toby, and everybody hates her, yes! You read it right… everybody… But I couldn’t possibly understand why Harriet’s sparkling personality shines through from the very first page – and I was hooked.

She is the perfect example of a Geek Girl, but being so perfect means she gets taunted a lot, and I did feel sorry for what she deals with. I liked her best friend Nat, and while I don’t agree with what transpires when she finds out about Harriet’s modelling, I did cheer for how she stands up for Harriet against a bully.

This novel shows the reader that people with intelligence, someone who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic or obsessive about a specific subject especially when they are teenagers, can sometimes fall subject to bullying, as Harriet discovers when archnemesis Alexa Roberts cruelly humiliates her in class. That is why she have decided to go to Russia to pursue a career in modelling the answer to all of popularity-challenged Harriet’s problems.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot as you need to experience it yourself. There are lots of characters that stand out for me, Wilbur, Nick, the Dad and Annabel and of course Harriet. They make the story unique in its own way and I looked forward to reading what they would do or say next.
Holly Smale has done a great job at drawing the reader in and not letting them go and I for one will be keeping my eye open for future books by Holly Smale. Geek Girl is extremely exaggerated, dramatic, and extreme -although not entirely unrealistic as it is partly based on the author’s own childhood, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It’s home to a host of articulate, well-constructed characters and is sure to delight geeks and nerd- fighters alike.

You would never have guessed that Geek Girl is Holly Smale’s debut novel, honestly. Smale’s writing is so smooth and compelling. The story and characters were fresh, and exciting and I really can’t wait for you guys to read it and love it like I did.

“You need to stop caring what people who don’t matter think of you. Be who you are and let everybody else be who they are. Differences are a good thing.”

4 out of 5 stars


Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami


I was intrigued, and was hooked as soon as I started reading. To tell the truth, I’m new to Murakami’s work and new to Japanese literature in general. Haruki Murakami has a clear, lucid, sharp style of writing and definitely knows how to turn story plots into page turners which get completed before you know it, and leave you with thoughts long after you have finished. The story kicks off with thirty-seven-year-old Toru Watanabe hearing his old girlfriend’s favourite Beatles song and finding himself drawn inexorably back to the summer of eighteen years ago – the summer of his first year at university, the year he learnt what it means to love someone who is irrevocably broken. It is this year that he begins to have feelings for Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki, who left a hole in both Toru and Naoko’s lives when he committed suicide two years previously. Through the pages of this book, Haruki Murakami has explored loss, pain, sexuality, growing up, love and related topics and addresses some difficult coming-of-age questions. The theme is overwhelmingly elegiac, and raises a few disturbing questions regarding death / suicides and the (spiritually empty) materialism filled life of today. He conveys the idea that death is not really the end of life, but an intrinsic part of it, and that life and death are not really opposites in that sense, but two sides of the same coin. The characters have been handled with great sensitivity and have been developed well, and they sort of grow on you as the novel progresses. There is quite a bit of sexuality in this novel, as demanded by the story line. Norwegian Wood also gives the reader a peek into Japanese culture. In Murakami’s own words, this novel is one of his few “realistic” works, with “realistic” characters and that is probably why it is so popular.
if you like pacy, action-packed books, this one probably isn’t for you. The plot meanders along lazily, and though it’s a story full of heightened emotions, it’s also the story of an every man living a brightly-peopled but ordinary life. But if you enjoy richly layered stories about loss of innocence and the complexity of human relationships, this is an absolute must-read

“Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment. ” 

5 out of 5 stars

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


This novel will stay with me for a while… sigh.

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, haunts me because it’s how I feel about this book. This book introduced me to Will Traynor, a man who was a president of a Company, a thrill-seeker and a ladies man who loved his life. Then he was cut down in his prime by a tragic accident that caused him to live as a quadriplegic, his days are filled with therapy, prescriptions, catheter changes and a humiliating dependence on others for everything. He lives under an oppressive cloak of depression, fear and pain. Here comes Louisa who is a working-class girl, her family depend on her meager wage from a local cafe where she worked for 6 years – to her shock she lose her job. Louisa knows that her family need her to earn and desperately starts looking for another job. After a few false starts, she reluctantly accepts a position as a carer to a young man who is paralyzed. Will Traynor’s mother hire Louisa to be his companion and a caregiver during the day. It doesn’t take long to Louisa to figure out the true reason for her position. However, once the family sees their connection, Louisa asked the help of Will Traynor’s family to convince him to live.

Told mainly from Louisa’s view point, the novel appears more balance when Jojo Moyes throws in a chapter from Will’s mothers’ perspective or that of Louisa’s sister that the novel becomes fragmented. We, people have that moment in life when something occurs that forever changes everything, an event that literally makes the world stop because nothing will ever be the same. Will’s moment was obviously his accident, but Louisa had one too, causing her to pick the safest path in life. Louisa’s contentment with her small life frustrates Will. He is a prisoner of his own body and she is a prisoner of her own fear. The twist in the story is that as Louisa attempts to convince Will that his life is not over, that he can still do things, that he can have a new life. That’s the point Louisa started to realize this may be true for her as well.

The story really came alive when it was just Will and Louisa. The dialogue between Will and Louisa is priceless, they stimulate one another. The irony is that, if not for a wheelchair, their lives would never have intersected.

The truth is, there comes a time while reading the book I am still hoping that miracles might happen that Will might get up and walk off into the sunset with Louisa. But quadriplegic is a quadriplegic, it’s like I am praying that a black crow will turn into a white crow. Jojo Moyes is an amazing storyteller, able to capture my attention right away at the first three chapters. She never ignored the facts that her hero was in a wheelchair and took the time to make sure that readers really understood what his daily existence was like. She successfully communicated his angers, fears and regrets. As a reader, I felt Louisa’s desperation to make Will’s life better; I desperately wanted to make it better too. The ending was not what I would have chosen. But I think Jojo Moyes wrote a realistic story that will leave its readers with bittersweet feelings, if somewhat of a broken heart. It is a very powerful and emotional novel, full of insight into people’s lives. We will think that it is a perfect read-uplifting, but also a tragic.

“You only get one life, It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

5 out of 5 stars (two thumbs up)

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden is probably the most intensely powerful novel that I’ve read in a seriously long time and I really don’t know where to start with this review.
The truth is I really can’t get over with this one.. with Lochan and Maya. I did not expect that this book will have this effect on me. I have read the reviews on goodreads that is why curiosity hit me, I really wanted to enter the lives of Lochan and Maya. And this is my first time to read this kind of young adult novel, what do I mean about this. Well, this book is about a brother and a sister in love with each other. But, that’s just a concept, an idea. What can get really uncomfortable is the details that the author put in the intimate scenes. I know…I know, you’re probably thinking that Incest is disgusting and disturbing. Consensual incest is one of the most controversial subjects out there, and to be honest, I was extremely curious as to how the author would handle it. But, quite frankly, it blew me away. Lochan and Maya’s story is delivered beautifully, but in an artful, unflinching way that really captured my attention. All at once I was cheering Maya and Lochan on and feeling a little uncomfortable. The conflict between my heart and mind kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire novel. All of the questions that would be asked about Lochan and Maya’s relationship, they asked themselves. And couldn’t answer them any more than an outsider could. But their situation is so different and something unusual was bound to stem from it. A closeness in age, running their household, being parents to their three younger siblings and having to work together made them much closer than a normal brother and sister would be. From this partnership stemmed a passionate, but tender, love that’s both so wrong and so right. I don’t know but at times, conventional wisdom tells me that this relationship is wrong. But the love between Lochan and Maya is so undeniable, I really want them to find a way to make things work out. It is incredibly moving and I found myself dreading the inevitable.
This is a heartbreaking, raw story that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Maya and Lochie’s anguish and pain jump out of the page and you feel their emotions every step of the way. By the end of the book, I was shocked and so shaken, not only by the outcome of the story but by all the strong emotions that each of the characters inspired in me. Forbidden is a book that will stay with me for a long time. Tabitha Suzuma is a genius writer, as an avid reader I come across dozens and dozens of books hoping the next one I pick up will either move me to uncontrollable tears, challenge my belief system, take me on an emotional rollercoaster, show me love, make me feel hate, sigh with happiness, leave me with a sense of longing, or simply just close the book when I’m done and say to yourseslf “wow, that was absolute perfection.” This book didn’t just do one of those, it did all of the above and then some. Thanks to you Tabitha Suzuma.
Forbidden is absolutely consuming, heart breaking, and an absolute must read, it is an enthralling read for those who like their contemporary YA deliberate, and can cherish the unconventional romance. It was an incredible read for me, and I hope it is so for you too.

“How can something so wrong feel so right?”

5 out of 5 stars (uhhmmm…the truth is more than 5 stars)