Book— Despite 26 crushes, Molly Peskin-Suso has never had a kiss or a boyfriend. Her twin sister Cassie gets a girlfriend, her friends have boyfriends, even her two moms are getting married, but Molly has no one and obsesses about it, feeling awkward and left behind. Molly decides to do something revolutionary–rather than just crushing silently, she chooses to risk rejection and go after the boy she wants. The trouble is deciding which one. Will she go after Will, the cute, hipster-cool best friend of Cassie’s girlfriend, or Reid, the nerdy, so-uncool-it’s-almost-cool boy at her summer job?
While Molly is sometimes so boy-crazy that it’s suffocating to read about, she is a witty, engaging narrator who feels like a real teenager, complete with a Pinterest obsession and dialogue laden with tumblrspeak. Molly is chubby and suffers from anxiety for which she takes medication, situations which Albertalli portrays realistically and sensitively. This is a light, fun book with lots of diverse representation that’s perfect for summertime. The Upside of Unrequited will appeal to readers of John Green and Rainbow Rowell as well as those who enjoyed Albertalli’s Lincoln-nominated first book, Simon Vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda.
Book- This is the story of Noah and Jude Sweetwine, a set of twins who are held together by a bond stronger than most would think. You can never find one without the other, it will always and forever be NoahandJude….right? Something eventually comes between these two that may ruin things for a long time. The early years are for Noah to tell and the later are Jude’s. In the early years Noah tells the story of his relationship with the new boy next door, and of his awesome quest to get into one of the worlds premier art high schools. Where everyone there is a revolutionary like him and their blood “glows” with something more. When its Jude’s turn she tells the tail of her struggling to get her brother back.she deals with the loss of someone important in her life and confronts the “rock star of the sculpting world” when she wants to create the ultimate marble sculpture to prove she is worthy.
This is an amazing and thoughtfully written book and had me cheering for NoahandJude until the very end. I’ll Give You The Sun shows an unbelievably strong brother and sister bond. 10/10 would recommend.
Book – From the author of Flowers in the Attic, comes a new disturbing tale of twins, appropriately titled The Mirror Sisters by V.C. Andrews.
I should have known what to expect from this creepy, chilling novel centered on identical twins, Haylee Blossom Fitzgerald and Kaylee Blossom Fitzgerald. With a manic and controlling mother, the sisters received a truly identical upbringing, and were taught to view themselves as a single perfect being.
As children, their mother ensured that each twin received exactly the same treatment and experiences. If one twin received a new dress, the other must also have an exact duplicate. Likewise, if one child happened to cut her finger on a broken shard of glass, the other must be pricked in the exact same spot of the exact same finger. Differences in behavior and thought were frowned upon and punishable. Though centered on the relationship between the two girls, I enjoyed that this story also had a strong focus on all relationships within the Fitzgerald family. The obsessed mother. A troubled father. It was cool to see those unique family dynamics.
The story as a whole left me frustrated, and stayed with me long after reading. I applaud V.C. Andrews for composing a complexly disturbed narrative I simply couldn’t put down. Definitely not a feel good story in any respect, but well worth the read.
Movie–Identical twin sisters Sara and Jess have always been very close, brought together by their parents’ death when they were children. Sara is nothing but supportive when Jess, who has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past, decides to go teach English in Japan to get a fresh start. Sara is stunned, though, when she receives a call from Japanese authorities that her sister is missing and was last seen entering Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji. Aokigahara Forest, as the characters in the movie love telling Sara in as spooky a manner as possible, is a popular destination for those contemplating suicide and is full of yuurei, vengeful Japanese spirits that try to get you to stray from the forest path and give you hallucinations to prompt dark thoughts. Naturally, Sara decides to plunge right into the forest to find Jess, whom Sara is sure has not yet succumbed to yuurei. Accompanied by a guide and a new acquaintance, Sara is making headway towards finding Jess when she makes the predictably terrible, horror-movie-protagonist decision to stay in the forest overnight.
This movie excels in its first two thirds at building suspense. It has a lot of well-composed shots that will stick in my memory and makes the audience care about Jess’ fate through Sara’s eyes. However, as is often the case with horror movies, the last third is a bit of a muddle. The protagonist makes a series of seriously poor decisions and the money shots of vengeful yuurei are a bit too direct and silly-looking to inspire real terror. The unique setting and great first two-thirds, however, are enough to make the movie worth a watch.
Book –Set in 1964, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards easily connects to our modern world. On a stormy Winter’s night, Dr. David Henry is forced to deliver his own twins. The first one comes easily, a perfect baby boy. But the twin, his daughter is different; the doctor immediately sees that she has Down’s Syndrome. Before his wife can notice, he hands the baby girl off to his nurse, instructing her to take the child and leave her at an institution. He then tells his wife that her daughter was a stillborn, in his mind saving her and himself from the anguish of raising a child with disabilities.
But the nurse, Caroline, can’t bear to leave the baby, and decides to run away and raise the child as her own. Though separated by distance and lies, the lives of the infant twins and their families are forever intertwined.
In a new city, Caroline raises Phoebe in a happy and loving household. Meanwhile, the doctor is faced with his wife’s grief over the loss of her infant daughter. In her mourning, their son Paul grows up in a distant family full of regret and anguish. His mother is never able to console her heartache, carrying her grief throughout her life.
Kim weaves a story that is powerfully real, illuminating the loss of a child with the gift of a new life. In our modern world, the doctor would have been able to foresee his daughter’s disability in the womb. Would he and his wife have terminated the pregnancy, knowing the difficulties they might face? With such high awareness of disabilities like Down’s Syndrome in today’s society, there is so much support available for parents and families. It’s interesting to wonder what might have been, if these fictional characters represented real people living in the 21st century.
Book – Cutting for Stone is a beautiful haunting epic story that will probably appeal to fans of The Kite Runner. Set in Ethiopia, the story is about conjoined twin boys Marion and Shiva Praise Stone who are born as a result of a secret love affair between a British surgeon and his surgical nurse and assistant, an Indian nun, both working at Missing Hospital near Addis Ababa. Tragically, the mother dies in childbirth and the devastated father disappears leaving the hospital and his newborn sons behind. Hema and Ghosh, doctors from the same hospital, raise the boys as their own. Though successfully separated at birth, the boys still have a very strong emotional bond to each other and their different personalities make them a complete soul.
The overthrow of the Ethiopian government disrupts their childhood and other events and personal choices result in the brothers drifting apart. Marion goes to the United States and becomes a resident at a hospital in the Bronx. He finds out that his biological father is a famous surgeon in the area. Shiva completes medical school in Addis Ababa and continues practicing medicine at Missing Hospital. An event of life and death reunites the brothers with their father. The author, Abraham Verghese, was born in Ethiopia and started his medical training there. He continues his medical career in the United States and has written other works based on his experiences.