30. Celeste Ng – Everything I Never Told You

Hey hey! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been on vacation in NYC for the past week!IMG_3693

Last Wednesday, Boyfriend and I (and my parents) got to go to a taping of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon! We love Jimmy and getting to see his show was so awesome! IMG_3783

For the rest of the week/weekend after that, it was wedding shenanigans because my sister got married! Yay! It was an amazing wedding with only minor setbacks, and I had a great time. Plus, look how freakin cute we are ūüėČ

Anyway, we got home late Sunday night/early Monday morning and I’ve been recovering since then, haha. So last night I just barely finished the book that I started before I even left for New York,¬†Everything I Never Told You¬†by Celeste Ng.

I’m not sure when or how I first heard about this book, but it’s been on my to-read list for a while now. A couple of weeks ago I was at Costco and saw it in the stack of books, so I picked it up, not even remembering why I wanted to read it. It’s a really good book and was hard for me to put down, I was kind of upset that I had to take a week-long break before finishing it.

Celeste Ng - Everything I Never Told You (photo taken by me)
Celeste Ng – Everything I Never Told You (photo taken by me)

The book takes place in the 70s and starts out in the Lee family house one morning before school, when their teenage daughter, Lydia, is late coming downstairs for breakfast. Eventually Lydia’s mom goes to her room and finds she is not there. They all know something is wrong, but Lydia’s siblings still go off to school as if it’s a normal day.

Later, Lydia’s body is found in the local lake. Obviously, the loss of a family member wreaks havoc on the rest of the family, and the book follows them in the aftermath of Lydia’s death, while also providing flashbacks of their lives before.

At the start of the book, Lydia’s mom, Marilyn, says she knows her daughter and that there’s no way Lydia would have killed herself or even gone out to the lake willingly (since she didn’t know how to swim). However, throughout the book, we realize that Marilyn doesn’t know Lydia as well as she thinks she does.

This family lives in a very delicate balance and the reader comes to understand their interesting dynamics as we learn what happened to Lydia.

This book is so good. So good. I loved it. At first, it seems like it could be a morbid book or maybe even a cheesy book, but it’s neither. It’s really interesting, every member of the family has a story that draws you in and they’re tied together very well.

I didn’t want this book to end, so while I couldn’t put it down, at the same time I tried to only read small amounts a time to make it last.

I’d definitely recommend this book to people and I look forward to reading other books by Celeste Ng in the future.

23. Stephanie Perkins – Lola and the Boy Next Door

Happy Monday! I don’t know about where you guys are, but it’s super rainy here in Connecticut. ūüė¶

Anyway, back to another school week after a very fun weekend for me – I went to visit my sister in Manhattan for the weekend! I turned 21 at the beginning of this month so she wanted me to go visit her to celebrate with her and one of her friends.IMG_2044

I got there on Friday night and we went to Bar Nine where they have dueling pianos, these two guys play requested songs on piano and everyone sings along. That was really fun. IMG_2052After we left there, we went to another bar and then eventually made our way home to order drunken Thai food. It was a really fun night.

IMG_2059The next day, we didn’t do too much – just wandered around and got some food, then we went to Central Park to relax and read. And then yesterday I took the bus back to school, so even though it was a fun-filled weekend, I had plenty of time to get some reading done.

On Friday, between waiting at the bus station and then reading on the bus, I finished a book before I even go to New York,¬†Lola and the Boy Next Door¬†by Stephanie Perkins. This book is the second in Perkins’ trilogy, following¬†Anna and the French Kiss,¬†which I loved (check out my review of that one here).

It’s a YA book that follows a high schooler named Lola. At the start of the book, Lola is seventeen dating a 22 year old that her dads don’t approve of. She thinks they’re going to be together forever and that they’ll prove everyone wrong – until her old neighbor moves back in next door.

Stephanie Perkins - Lola and the Boy Next Door (photo taken by me)
Stephanie Perkins – Lola and the Boy Next Door (photo taken by me)

Lola and her neighbor, Cricket, have a history, one that she’s reluctant to share with her boyfriend. Over time, she starts hanging out with Cricket, but her boyfriend doesn’t approve, so she doesn’t tell him.

Throughout the story, we follow Lola as she has to make some tough decisions and find her way to happiness. Since it’s a Young Adult book, you can probably guess how it ends, but it’s still a good book.

I really liked¬†Anna and the French Kiss,¬†even though it’s kind of a cheesy YA book, so I had high expectations for this book. I think I liked¬†Anna¬†better, but this was still a good book, and I look forward to reading the third book in the trilogy.

One thing I thought was cool about this book was how¬†Anna and her boyfriend from¬†Anna and the French Kiss¬†were included in this book, but it wasn’t all about them. It tied the two books together but they’re still two completely different stories, and I really liked that.

This book is an easy read, it only took me a few hours to get through, and I’d definitely recommend it to someone who likes YA books.

17. Gillian Flynn – Dark Places

Whoa, I’ve been MIA for a while! As I mentioned before, I was on Spring Break last week, and the end of the week was a little hectic. Thursday and Friday I was busy watching basketball all day (how are your guys’ brackets doing?), Saturday I went to New York City for the day and Sunday I came back to school.

IMG_1140Sunday was my sister’s 29th birthday and she lives in Manhattan, so my family went to visit her Saturday. We went to Shake Shack for lunch and then visited the MoMA, which was fun!

Anyway, somehow during all that, I managed to read a book, Dark Places¬†by Gillian Flynn! I have now read all three of her books (I think there’s only three, right?), and unfortunately, this was my least favorite. That’s not to say it wasn’t good though.

First off, this book gave me nightmares. It’s very graphic and I woke up in the middle of the night with the pictures in my head a couple of times.

Also, the book is about a family that was murdered in their home in the middle of the night, so it reminded me a lot of¬†In Cold Blood¬†while I was reading it, even though it really wasn’t that similar.

Gillian Flynn - Dark Places (photo taken by me)
Gillian Flynn – Dark Places (photo taken by me)

The story follows Libby, a 30-something year old who is the survivor of an attack on her family when she was 7. Her brother was found guilty of the crime and has been in jail for over 20 years. Libby finds herself questioning people who might have information about that night in order to figure out what really happened.

The chapters of the book alternate from Libby’s point of view in current day to her brother and her mom’s experiences in the day leading up to the murder. I thought that was a really cool set up for the book and made the chapters end with cliffhangers.

In true Flynn style, the ending was unexpected. Towards the end of the book, I had suspects, but it always seemed like it would be too obvious, so I really never knew who it was going to turn out to be, I was definitely shocked by the ending.

Overall, I did like this book. I’m a big fan of Flynn’s writing and I hope for more books from her soon. As I said before, this is my least favorite of her books, but it’s still good (for the record, I can’t decide if I like¬†Sharp Objects¬†or¬†Gone Girl¬†more). If you’ve read either of her books and liked them, I’m sure you’ll like this one too. My only disclaimer would be the nightmares ūüėČ