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What I Read Over Winter Break

Hi! Happy Tuesday! I'm excited to share the books I read last month over winter break. There were some really great ones in the mix, and even one of them I scored 5 stars.

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky // 4.5/5 stars 
This book shares Charlie's experience throughout high school and his struggles with being a socially awkward wallflower. Charlie always watches life from the sidelines but never really participates until he makes a few friends. Once he has a little friend group, he continues to say exactly what's on his mind and it's both precious and heartbreaking to experience his little life throughout the story.

This was the first book I read over break, and it's exactly the kind of book I typically favor... a little sad, but generally just very relatable, real-life fiction. There were many references to, and it reminds me of, The Catcher and the Rye, which is an all-time fave of mine. If I had to describe this in two words I would say it is precious and unfiltered. This book makes you feel like any weird, lonely thoughts you’ve ever had aren’t that weird or rare? That you’re not really alone? Maybe that’s just me because I constantly feel like in my mind as an individual I am a crazy person.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng // 3/5 
I was especially excited to read another Celeste Ng novel after I read and loved Little Fires Everywhere this summer. This one was still very well-written, as Ng is an incredible writer, who really knows how to vividly and expertly unfold a storyline to keep the reader attached. However, this story felt a little too slow-paced for me, and there wasn't really much excitement. I felt like I kept waiting for something crazy to happen, but the big "reveal" felt too delayed and underwhelming.

This book tells the story of Lydia's family after she's found dead in their lake. This isn't a crime story or a murder-mystery, even though the details of Lydia's death aren't revealed until the end. Instead, it's a story of her family and the underlying family dynamic that led to her death.

Admittedly, a big part of why I couldn't love this book was because it made me sad... and not in the tear-jerking way that comes from a beautiful, sad, well-written, fabulous book. This was more in a way that I felt so bad for the other siblings in the family and the family dynamic that I was like genuinely upset for them, and it made the book hard to get through. I wish I could've loved it, because like I said, Little Fires Everywhere was great and this one is still well-written, but it just didn't do it for me.

One day in December by Josie Silver // 4/5 stars 
This was one of those books that kept popping up on Instagram, and I really wanted to get my hands on it over break! I'm so glad I read it. I really liked the story and how many unexpected things kept happening. Laurie and Jack’s love for each other had its predictable moments, but for the most part, it was surprising and unexpected... it was a fabulous story about love at first sight and how captivating that can be.

The one problem I had was that it felt longer than it needed to be? I felt like there were a few points where I thought it could end, it didn’t, and I felt eager to finish it up and discover the ending. When the end came, I was SO happy everything happened how it did, so it was worth it despite the lull!

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn // 5/5 stars
My best friend from high school recommended this to me, and I was very hesitant at first as suspense/thrillers are not my areas of expertise. Of course, that's what made this even more exciting! Suspense, thrill, a little mystery... but not scary! Just interesting and exciting (hence “thrilling” )... it was sooo good!

Grace Atwood, one of my favorite bloggers and absolute favorite "book blogger," also read this and described it far better than I could, so here is an excerpt from this blog post of her's:
"Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia and has not left her house in over a year. She’s estranged from her husband and daughter, and spends her days drinking, popping pills, visiting online chatrooms, and spying on her neighbors. One day she witnesses something terrible – but we have the case of the unreliable protagonist… what really happened!? It’s a chilling journey with multiple twists and turns. I kept thinking I’d guessed what really happened, only to have something else happen."

All I have to add really is a warning that it starts out slow before it speeds up. There are so many twists and turns, and one big surprise after another once things get going! As the book got closer to the end it kept getting crazier and crazier, and the ending was insane! So well-written and a page-turner for sure. Half the time I thought to the main character, "wtf are you doing?!" and at other times I was completely on her side.

When I posted about this on Instagram, a few people asked if it was scary and not a good idea to read before bed. I definitely feel you if that's a concern, and in my opinion, I would say this is not “scary” really except closer to the end, and before that, it’s just like oooh what's gonna happen, where’s this going to go?  I didn’t see any of the surprises coming at all! 

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Unfortunately, I didn't get to finish this before having to return it to the library and head back to school, but I did enjoy it before I had to let it go! I got about halfway through and definitely want to pick it up again in the future to see how it all culminates in the end.

Elin Hilderbrand is my favorite beach-read author and really can do no wrong. This story is about a husband's secret life in the Carribean, and how each of his lives is forced to connect with the other after his sudden death.

Have you read anything fabulous lately?

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