White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

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4stars

Title: White Rabbit
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Number of pages: 320 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: It’s really entertaining and captivating.
Bad things about this book: The bullying is always a sore spot for me.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I say you can give it a chance.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I started it midafternoon yesterday and finished it at a little bit past midnight. I couldn’t put it down. While it wasn’t without flaws, I kind of liked how it was written and how over the top it was. Like a movie or tv show with teenagers doing unnecessary things in criminal situations instead of going to the police. I can think of at least five shows exactly like this (Riverdale, people??). Totally unlikely in real life but extremely entertaining.

I wanted to know how it was going to end so until the last page I couldn’t stop reading. I needed to know who the murder was or I was going to dream about it! I liked the mystery and I liked how the two characters with obvious unresolved business were put together in this ridiculously dangerous journey that would also help them talk about the past that left Rufus heartbroken. I hated Sebastian for most part of the book. What he did to Rufus, how he made him feel, for whatever reason he thought he was doing it, was too much.

I would have given it five stars if it wasn’t for the bullying. Everyone bullied and threw ugly degrading words at Rufus, yet nobody did anything about it. He knew better than to say anything because the adults, as much as his schoolmates, were absolutely useless. Is it really like that in schools with rich kids? I hope not but I’m afraid to know the ugly truth.

As random and ridiculous as it got, there were many sweet parts that made me forget for a bit the bad ones. Rufus and Sebastian were cute and frustrating and I couldn’t stop myself from shaking my head when they were stubborn and annoying and so clearly in love with each other.

Recommended to fans of shows like Riverdale, fans of mystery books and thrillers, and fans of over the top narrations that you can’t stop reading!

firmablog

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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5stars

The only person I can be at this school is Eliza Mirk, and Eliza Mirk is barely a footnote in anyone’s life. Including mine.

Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Number of pages: 385 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Real themes well written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, I enjoyed it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, to everyone.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

 

I started this book thinking it was going to be a happy story about a girl who created a popular webcomic and whose life wasn’t easy but it all turned out fine with little to no drama. Oh girl was I wrong! I was so wrong and I got my heart crushed; my eyes were burning with anger, pain, hope, and I found so much of myself in Eliza it was somehow scary.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the person whose color comes through even when standing still. To be someone so vibrant, others can’t help but notice you.

Sometimes the true of your inner self isn’t very obvious; you can’t see it unless someone points it out or you read something and then it comes to you that maybe you’re not the person you think you were. It’s scary but maybe it can also be what makes you seek help and be better for yourself and your wellbeing. This book confirmed some things and revealed some other things. It was a very interesting and different book. You may not think it different because of what it’s about but it’s important; it gets you and, if you feel or have ever felt like Eliza, it makes you feel less alone in this scary world.

I like to tell myself I might do a lot of things – but I and my brain and everyone else know that I’m going to chicken out in the end and barricade myself in my bedroom with a plate of pizza rolls and my Netflix subscription.

Eliza is the creator of a super popular webcomic, Monstrous Sea, but besides her family and a couple of online friends, nobody knows her real identity. She goes by LadyConstellation and her comic is so famous she is in seventh heaven, economically speaking. She loves her story and the characters, she has put all of herself in them: she also loves the fans but they intimidate her. Being on the spotlight is a double-edged sword: the internet is a scary thing. Eliza is introvert and lacks the social skills to make friends in real life; she is better at communicating through texts. Eliza is just like me.

Then along came Wallace, the new kid in school, quiet and football player big. He is interested in talking to her and, guess what, he is the number one fan fiction writer of Monstrous Sea. Eliza is at the same time fascinated to know a fan in real life and terrified he is going to find out who she is and treat her differently, being yet another person to isolate her.

MirkerLurker: He’s not exactly the kind of guy that’s usually interested in me.
Apocalypse_Cow: what kind of guy is usually interested in you?
MirkerLurker: The kind I make up in my head.

The story of Eliza and Wallace’s friendship is simple yet complicated. Wallace comes with issues of his own and a personality that has many layers, some of them I didn’t like very much. Let’s be honest, he made me do the face, “The Face” capitalized, the one I do when I’m judging and cursing you very hard. Eliza is already struggling to keep herself on the surface of her life and we see how everything new (like having Wallace in her life) and not affects her fragile mental stability.

Eliza is a very relatable character for me. She is 15 years younger than me but we have much in common. I think some things never change no matter how old you are; I’m still fighting demons of my own and it’s hard to keep my guard up but that’s what we must do, right? We fight and we keep afloat.

We ascribe value to the things we care most about, but sometimes we don’t stop long enough to take a look at the bigger picture.

Hidden almost on plain sight is the theme of mental illness. Some chapters are harder than others. Some make you hopeful, some hopeless. A few pages threaten to bring you down, and then others lift you to the Moon. These swings are real and they hurt but the light at the end of the tunnel is there even if you at first fail to see it. Eliza goes through a lot when her identity is revealed; she crumbles and she is lost. Her journey is not an easy one but it was nice to read it and feel it so close to home, with a hint of hope.

Monstrous Sea is mine.
I made it, not the other way around.
It’s not a parasite, or an obligation, or a destiny.
It’s a monster.
It’s mine.
And I have a battle axe waiting for it.

Eliza and Her Monsters gave me comics, life struggle, the fear of the outdoors, the problem with communication between different generations, problems within oneself, friendships that transcend the standard concept, young scary love, but above all it gave me a young girl I could relate and I could cheer on and accompany on her rocky road that’d leave her scarred but also stronger. That’s who we are, right? Scarred but stronger every single day.

firmablog

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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4stars

I thought about how every person could hold two truths inside of them, how impossible it felt sometimes to have your insides and outsides aligned.

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Good things about this book: Amanda is a delightful and strong character!
Bad things about this book: Nothing bad just but check for triggers before reading.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This is a very difficult book to review because I will never understand what it means to be Amanda. I will never be in her position; to have the same fears she has, to not being able to be a 100% true to the people she knows and to herself. At the end of the book there is the note from the author explaining how it must be viewed, either if you are trans like Amanda or if you identify with the gender you were born with.

In the note the author writes about how she simplified the struggles Amanda has to face to made us understand her better without asking ourselves too many questions; can people tell she is trans? No, because she is very feminine. Will people see she is trans by mistake while entering the bathroom unannounced? No, because she could afford a surgery most people wouldn’t be able to pay. Will they see her as a girl even after knowing she wasn’t born with the body of one? Read the book and find out.

“You can have anything,” she said, “once you admit you deserve it.”

I know trans people but knowing them and seeing them transitioning doesn’t mean you understand everything they’re going through and what they are feeling. I can only be myself and see them how they want to be seen, how they are on the inside that they want to be seen also on the outside. So one day he is a guy’s name and the next day she is a girl and she stays a girl, so what? They tell me they have a new name, new pronoun to use and that’s that. From my part, I can’t see why it has to be hard.

People frustrate me. They give hate to the wrong people for no reasonable motive; they spend so much energy hating something so simply to understand with a little effort. Sometimes I think they want to be scared of something so badly to feel better with themselves that they don’t care to see they are “scared” for absolutely no reason. For example I can’t stop being angry for the “bathroom issue” and I smile every time a place doesn’t have different bathrooms for different genders. Little steps. Maybe too little sometimes.

We have three bathrooms at work. One is on the first floor and everyone can go because there is no sign on the door. The other two were mistakenly decorated with the male and female symbol on the door and if the male one is occupied, the male coworkers wait instead of going inside the other one. A simple sticker on the door plays so hard with their minds they are willingly waiting hours to pee instead of putting their masculinity in danger going inside the girl’s bathroom. The reason I’ve been told? “It feels weird, it’s for girls.” How dumb is that? It’s the exact same bathroom as the other two, only with a sticker on the door. A stinking sticker with zero value, zero utility.

This book made me see things differently, not only because it takes place in the USA and I live in Italy so many things don’t happen here or I simply failed to look closer. I don’t go out much so I only have three places to compare experiences: my workplace, my house and the LGBTIQA+ community I’m a member of. I don’t really know the real world and even if I had struggles growing up, being an immigrant latina in a white country, I have to say I’m privileged enough to have lived my life peacefully. That’s how it has to be for everyone else and we will keep fighting, we will keep marching, keep doing whatever we can, even if small, to make the world a better place for every single person living in it.

I realized, I wasn’t sorry I existed anymore. I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now—I believed, now—that I deserved to be loved.

I’m sorry I didn’t talk about the book, mainly to avoid spoilers also because some books need to be experienced without insights, but rest assured I liked it and I recommend it. It is hard, it is triggering (so, beware), it isn’t for everyone but if you want a book that gives you a point of view you are missing and you want to understand then this is a book you have to read.

firmablog