Monthly Archives: April 2015

Monthly Recap: April ’15

The monthly recap is one of my favorite posts to do even though it’s a bit time consuming. Every month I recap my life, my blog, and talk about music, movies, Broadway and book news as well. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it.
Note: Not everything will be linked, but I will be working on that tomorrow.


WordPress Followers: 127
BlogLovin’ Followers: 81
# of Views/Visitors: 2,821/1,914
# of Blog Posts: 19 (20 Now)
# of Reviews: 4
# of Likes: 37
# of Comments: 89
Most Viewed Post: 2015 YA Trends/Themes (Amber’s Rambles (#12))
Most Viewed Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman (958 views)

Book Stats

# of Books Read: One. 😦
Finding Paris by Joy Preble, which I reviewed (and you can find that below).
# of Books Started: Four
  • Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
  • City Love by Susane Colasanti
  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
  • Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
# of Books Bought: 12
  • The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (Kindle)
  • How to Love by Katie Cotugno (Kindle)
  • The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings (Kindle)
  • Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine (Kindle)
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (Kindle)
  • TTFN – 10th Anniversary update and Reissue (The Internet Girls) by Lauren Myracle (Kindle)
  • L8R, G8R – 10th Anniversary update and Reissue (The Internet Girls) by Lauren Myracle (Kindle)
  • Play On by Michelle Smith (Kindle)
  • All The Rage by Courtney Summers (Kindle) – Which I pre-ordered last month
  • Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Alexander (Kindle)
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
I was in this bookstore a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t resist picking these two books up. The first one, because, well it’s The Scarlet Letter, so like, obviously. And the second one because of the lovely writing I saw of Virginia Woolf’s in All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I had to get it.
All of the Kindle books above aside from Play On and All The Rage were 1.99 so I couldn’t resist buying them. 🙂 Even if I did already own The Distance Between Us and Since You’ve Been Gone in paperback.
# of Books For Review: 7
  • Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham (Little, Brown Books For Young Readers via NG)
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (HarperCollins via EW)
  • Fans of The Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (HarperCollins via EW)
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (HarperCollins via EW)
  • One by Sarah Crossan (HarperCollins via EW)
  • Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books)
  • A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz (Chronicle Books via NG)
Thank you Brown Books For Young Readers, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books and Chronicle Books! I’m so excited to read these.
# of Books Won: 5
  • Simon VS. ARC from Epic Reads (Even though I didn’t receive an email
  • Written In The Stars ARC from Meredith on Twitter<3
  • A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery from The NOVL
  • The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne (Book of my choice) from Holly!<3
  • Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash from Kaitlin! ❤
# of Books Given: 
Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tanline by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Thanks to Lauren in trade for my To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before ARC which I haven’t mailed out but will!)
~What I Posted (Minus memes and weekly recaps)~
Looking Forward To: April ’15
Wondrous Covers Wednesday – Beach Aspect
Wondrous Covers Wednesday – Word Bubbles
Wondrous Covers Wednesday – Stars
Wondrous Covers Wednesday – City Lights
Amber’s Rambles: All The Songs I Associate With Books
ARC Review Finding Paris by Joy Preble (Three Stars)
The Law of Loving Others by Kate Axelrod (Four Stars)
ARC Review: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (Four Stars)
ARC Review: Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills (Four Stars)
Other Posts:
Tiny Pretty Things Giveaway Contest (Ends in 9 days/May 9th!!)
Five Reasons You Need Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu In Your Life
If you haven’t entered the giveaway for Tiny Pretty Things, you should definitely check it out. All you have to do to enter is tell me why you’re excited or interested in reading it and then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway I linked! 🙂
~How Did I  Do With My Resolutions?~
Not so well.
~How Did I Do With My Challenges?~
 I read one book for the NG/EW Reading Challenge.
~Blogging Changes~
I may begin doing a bi-monthly recap for my blog because this is a ton of work to do all in one post. Haha. So similar to Lauren’s bulletin posts she does (which I think are still bi-monthly). 🙂

TV News
Nina leaves the vampire diaries
Director no longer doing Twin Peaks
Game of Thrones has returned for it’s fifth season!
Book Related Movie News
The Young Elites is becoming a movie
Ready Player One to be a movie!
Fantastic Videos
Look at this amazing video of Stefan and Caroline! 

This video kills me with it’s perfection and loveliness. I could die from watching. It’s amazing. And breathtaking. 

I also just discovered this amazing video involving Stefan and Caroline again. ❤

I fell in love with this video again.
There’s also a “sequel” for the villains.
I also love this following video.
I re-discovered amazing Degrassi Minis including some I’ve never seen before that are totally bizarre and I love them. You can watch these without the show being spoiled for you at all since they’re not canon or anything. 🙂
Nostalgia hit me so hard with this video 

Great covers

Lykke Li’s “We’re Going Home” (Drake Cover)
Discovered Music
Hop Along by Waitress
Say Something by Karen Harding
Jennasea by The Morning Of
Faith by Emi McDade
2AM by Astrid 
Weak Heart by Zara Larsson 
Rooftop by Zara Larsson 
Lovin’ So Hard by Becky G
Musical NewsAnastasia Stage Musical Sets World Premiere! I’m so ecstatic about this!
New Music
Video of song scrapped from past album – Grimes “Realiti”
Entropy by Grimes (Co-written with Jack Antonoff)
The Vaccines premiered video for “Dream Lover”
Carly Rae Jepsen “All That”
Florence + The Machine “St. Jude” , “Ship To Wreck”
MS MR “Painted”
Lana Del Rey “Beautiful”
Hilary Duff “Sparks”
Vanessa Carlton “Young Heart”
Far From Heaven by Jojo”
Brandon Flowers “Lonely Town”
Breaking Benjamin “Angels Fall” and “Defeated”
Music News
Foxes album is finished!
Sky Ferreira’s in talk for her second album Masochism!
~Music Purchases~
I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen
Still Want You and Can’t Deny My Love by Brandon Flowers were made available to me through the pre-order
Angels Fall by Breaking Benjamin (Through my pre-order)
The Wolf by Mumford & Sons (Through my pre-order)
Something’s Gotta Give by All Time Low (Through my pre-order)
Received my pre-orders for Kodaline and The Wombats new albums.

My Life

I’m still trying to find a job.
It’s my dad’s birthday! He’s 56. Wow. 🙂
This month has been a bit chaotic, but winning a few books and finding new music has helped. 🙂
Hopefully next month will be a bit better though, even though next month begins the first of four months that I freak out over storms and tornado possibilities. 🙂

Let me know how your week has been everyone. Tell me what you did, what books you got, what you read, anything exciting or boring. Just share. ❤

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#32) – City Lights

Wondrous Covers Wednesday is a weekly feature where I showcase three covers following a certain theme. You can view past posts for this here.
This week’s covers are all going to revolve around a few things.
1. City Life
2. Streets
3. Night time
I adore all of these covers and I was so happy to discover the final one to complete the “trilogy” for this theme which I call City Lights. 🙂


Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales (Publishes September  15th, ’15)
~My Thoughts~
I am dying for this book. Quite literally. Oh my goodness, if the summary weren’t enough to get me hooked, the cover definitely is. First of all, I adore the title. I have a thing for long titles. 🙂 I really like the font and how swirly the letters are cursive. I adore all of the colors used in this. The colors on here are really pretty and shows off the night well. I can’t wait to own this in hardcover.

Romancing The Dark in the City of Light

Romancing The Dark In The City of Light by Ann Jacobus (Publishes October 6th, ’15)
~My Thoughts~
Maybe now you can see that I really love my long titles. 🙂 And the city of light would be…Paris, of course! I like the silhouettes in the cover, namely the Eiffel tower in the back. 🙂 This is actually an adult title rather than YA, but obviously I’m not going to let that stop me from showing it off.   Just kidding, it’s YA.
I love how Romancing The Dark in The City of Light features a couple like Tonight The Streets Are Ours. Once again, the colors are used so great by being really vibrant and not only helps emphasize the night, but also the romantic nature of the book. I love the cursive writing on it.

We Own The Night

We Own The Night (Radio Hearts #2) by Ashley Poston (Publishes August 4th, ’15)
~My Thoughts~
Finally, the completion of the trinity. cover reveal for this was done just hours ago (at Cuddlebuggery, check that out) and I was so ecstatic to discover it.
Oh gosh, I love how different this cover is from the others. This one only has the sky and a ton of fluorescent colored skyscrapers as well as what I think are speaker volumes. I need to get that clarified for me! I love the combination of the two.
Haha. Again, this one features the title font as cursive and not a general straight line. I love how they all share that in common. The colors are really bright which shows off the night life/deejaying that will go on in this book. I love the sky on the cover and how there’s a record up there almost like a planet or the moon. The blues are so gorgeous, especially the clouds. I definitely want this cover framed and on my wall.

They’re all so gorgeoussss. Technically speaking, I want all of these covers blown up and framed on my wall. 😉 Who do I have to talk to in order to make that happen?
What I really love about Tonight The Streets Are Ours and We Own The Night is how the main characters seem to find themselves “in the night” through media, a blog for TTSAO and a radio show for We Own The Night. I love that connection.
I’m so happy to share these covers with you. Let me know what you think about the covers I chose. 🙂

ARC Review: Finding Paris by Joy Preble

Finding ParisTitle: Finding Paris
Author: Joy Preble
Published: April 21st, 2015 (Balzer & Bray/Harperteen)
Pages: 272
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Family, Romance
Format: E-ARC
Source: I received an ARC of this VIA Edelweiss and Balzer & Bray.
Disclaimer: This in no way affects my review or thoughts.
Rating: Three Stars
Goodreads Summary:
An evocative and compelling story of two sisters who would do anything for each other–perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. Joy Preble’s stirring new novel explores the lengths to which sisters go to protect each other, and the winding road that brings two strangers into each other’s lives.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind–going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn’t going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.

Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris–a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I really like the cover, it’s so summery to me and really gives off the road trip vibe.
First Line: My sister leans over me as I am trying to sleep.
Finding Paris was an interesting book to read. What drew me to it were the comparisons to Speak, a book that I really loved. I can understand the comparison to it now, even if I don’t think it was done quite as well as Speak.
A mystery, a scavenger hunt, a mostly one night engagement and sisters, this book sounds like it was made for me. Unfortunately there were a few flaws in it that kept me from really loving it. First though, I’m going to talk about what I DID love about it.
As I read Finding Paris, I couldn’t help but kick myself (once again) for not going to Las Vegas with a friend years ago. I loved the descriptions that Preble used to describe Las Vegas. She perfectly described the hotels and the general area. I definitely felt I was living out my Vegas fantasy while reading.
While I dug deeper into the mystery and the scavenger hunt, I found Leo’s life unraveling. I really loved hearing about her home life. Leo nor Paris have the best relationship with their mom and stepfather. Due to this, Leo and Paris only have each other to depend on. It was kind of hard to understand their relationship to each other since we don’t see them together much.
I liked how Paris and Leo’s personalities were different. Paris was more of a free spirit person whereas Leo was precise, careful and a perfectionist. I loved Leo’s voice as she was really sarcastic at times and just funny I thought. What intrigued me about Paris is this almost child-like personality she has and dreamer nature. When Paris takes off, Leo figures it’s just Paris being Paris.
I thought the plot of Leo having to find Paris with the help of Max was really interesting. I don’t know what I would have done in her place. I found it insane that Paris just left her sister without a car, her phone or wallet. On top of that, she leaves her sister notes to help her find her. If this was my sister, I would have been so ticked and Leo definitely was. Leo was really trusting of Max to allow him to help her, but she didn’t really have a choice in the matter.
One thing I was a little weary of was the possibility of insta-love, even though I’m a fan of “one night engagements”. There wasn’t a reason to worry there because that’s not the case with Leo and Max. I’m not sure what I thought of Max exactly. I liked him as a character. I found his personality believable. I’m not sure how likely his actions would be in real life, but I enjoyed reading about him.
There were times when I thought Leo and Max  shared a bit more than they should have, realistically, since they just met that night. The forefront of Finding Paris though, was Paris being missing and I really liked that. There were somewhat romantic encounters, but it didn’t overwhelm the book at all, which was great.
The ending really surprised me and I liked that. I wish Finding Paris delved a little deeper into it, but overall, I enjoyed it. There were a couple confusing things for me though that I didn’t understand when I finished. I think if the book had been a bit longer, enough to help detail the aftermath and home background, I would have loved it. I rate Finding Paris three stars.
~Do I Recommend?~
~Recommended For~
Fans of sister relationships
Fans of mystery
Fans of gorgeous writing and great description
~Will I Re-Read It?~

Tiny Pretty Things Giveaway Contest

Tiny_Pretty_ThingsHey everyone! Today on my blog I am so happy to share a giveaway for Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton. Deb Shapiro & Company are hosting this giveaway and invited me to help them out! I couldn’t have been more happy to oblige.
If you haven’t heard of Tiny Pretty Things, I’ve added the Goodreads summary below and some information from the authors. 🙂
Tiny Pretty Things (on sale May 26th) by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed debut novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton met while attending the New School’s Writing for Children MFA program. Sona is a journalist who has written for the New York TimesPeopleParadeCosmopolitan, and other major media. Dhonielle is a librarian at a middle school in Harlem and taught English at a cutthroat ballet academy. Together, the pair have also co-founded CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent. Find them online at

You may remember that I mentioned I received an E-ARC of Tiny Pretty Things curtesy of Edelweiss and Harper Teen. I haven’t gotten around to reading it quite yet, but I’m so excited to. When I heard about Tiny Pretty Things, I was drawn by the Pretty Little Liars and Black Swan comparisons it had. As if that weren’t enough, the promise of a diverse cast and an elite ballet school certainly did. I’m so excited to read this because it sounds so unique and dark. If you don’t know, I love my dark contemporary.
So, if you want a chance to win Tiny Pretty Things (and why wouldn’t you?) just comment and tell me why you’re excited to read this and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway that I’m linking below. 🙂
A Rafflecopter Giveaway
If you’re interested in pre-ordering it, I’m listing sources here: B&NAmazonIndieBound, Book Depository.
Good luck. ❤

Five Reasons You Need Making Pretty In Your Life

One Day MoreOne Day More is my sporadic feature where I showcase books that have release dates a bit far off or for books that I just want to give a little extra attention to before they’re published. 
Making Pretty
Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life.

With Arizona wrapped up in her college world and their father distracted by yet another divorce, Montana’s been immersing herself in an intoxicating new friendship with a girl from her acting class. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful, and unafraid of being vulnerable. She’s everything Montana would like to become. But the friendship with Karissa is driving a wedge between Montana and her sister, and the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.

In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a heady distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?

Publish: May 12th, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins)

Hey everyone! Much much earlier this month, I read this amazingly addictive story that I just loved. This is a severely late coming post that would have been PERFECT for my blog a few weeks ago, especially with the publication date only a couple of weeks away now. However, because I  loved this book so much, I am going to tell you five reasons why you need this book in your life. 
~Reason 1~
This character is an entire reason unto herself. I related to Montana so quickly and I felt for her so much throughout Making Pretty. That’s not to say she’s perfect, because she’s not, but I felt such a connection to her when reading. All of her feelings were just so valid and I love how we saw her with several different emotions throughout Making Pretty.
~Reason 2~
Karissa is like your basic Manic Pixie Dream Girl, minus the basic part. Her character jumps off the pages and enters your soul. When you first meet her, she’ll dazzle you and you’ll understand why Montana quickly latched onto her. Corey does amazing things with this character as I didn’t see Karissa going where she went. At all. Her character is such an interesting take on what would be a boring, has been MPDG. If you have seen the movie Thirteen, she reminds me quite a bit of Evie mixed with Sam from Garden State. Yeah, two pretty different characters. 🙂 I was fascinated with her.
~Reason 3~
I don’t think I’ve ever been so captivated by a story as I was with Making Pretty. There were so many aspects that kept my attention throughout the entire book. I was flying through pages to reach the end of it.
~Reason 4~
Hot Topic Issue
Corey takes an interesting issue and creates a unique spin on it. Montana and Arizona’s father is a plastic surgeon. If society’s not enough to try to tell you you’re not good enough, having a plastic surgeon as a father surely will. I’ve never encountered this in fiction before and I loved how it affected the characters and the plot.
~Reason 5~
Sisterly Relations
I always like sister relationships in fiction and Making Pretty isn’t an exception. After Arizona returns home from college, Montana discovers Arizona has a whole other world basically that doesn’t involve her. Combine that with the plastic surgery that Arizona received and Montana doesn’t even know who she is anymore. I love how we see different layers of Montana and Arizona’s relationship. We see them angry with each other and on each other’s side, we see them distant and close. I love that their relationship wasn’t so cut and dry “Oh, we’re best friends” but that there was really depth to their relationship. 

If I’ve peaked your interest for Making Pretty, you can come back here MAY 4TH, where Corey has very kindly answered some (read: a ton) of my questions and MAY 5TH, where I’ll finally be reviewing this lovely book in full.

Weekly Recap (#22) + Stacking The Shelves (#23)

Hi everyone! Once again, I’m posting this pretty late, ha. This is where I recap my week, life-wise and blog-wise and talk about any books I’ve received with Stacking The Shelves.
~My Life~
I found out the hotel I applied at had called me right before I called them, but my sister didn’t tell me because she “thought I’d know by the call log” and then she says she thought it was for our dad. So that’s just….great. I’ll have to call them back tomorrow. I’m so annoyed I missed the call. They left a voicemail on the phone, but because the phone’s out of call time, I can’t listen to it. D: That’s the most horrible thing ever. So I’ll have to call them. Again. For like the millionth time in two weeks. *sighs*
Aside from that, not much has been going on here. A bit chaotic at home, but nothing too bad.
~What I Posted Last Week~
ARC Review: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (Four Stars)
Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#31)
Review: The Law of Loving Others by Kate Axelrod (Four Stars)
~What I’m Posting This Week~
One Day More (#2) 
Top Ten Tuesday
ARC Review: Finding Paris by Joy Preble
Wondrous Covers Wednesday
More Than This Provincial Life 
~Reading Progress~
I finished Finding Paris by Joy Preble, I’m in the middle of City Love by Susane Colasanti, Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman and Fans of The Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa.
~Stacking The Shelves~

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme at Tynga’s Reviews for bloggers to share the books they’ve received the past week.
I had a good book week.
I received:
A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery from the Novl Newsletter
Veronica Mars:  The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham from Lauren in exchange for an arc, that I still need to mail out. I swear I haven’t forgotten!
Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers from the All The Rage pre-order campaign
I bought:
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Orlando by Virginia Woolf (Thank you All The Bright Places<3)
For Review:
Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (Via Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, thank you so so so so much)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (VIA Edelweiss and HarperTeen, thank you so so much)
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz (Via Netgalley and Chronicle Books, thank you! )
I hope you all have a good week. 🙂 Let me know what’s been going on and any books you’ve received.

Review: The Law of Loving Others by Kate Axelrod

The Law of Loving OthersTitle: The Law of Loving Others
Author: Kate Axelrod
Published: January 8th 2015 (Razorbill)
Pages: 240
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Mental Illness, Family, Romance
Format: E-book
Source: Borrowed (Library)
Rating: Four Stars
Goodreads Summary:
Terrified by the realization that she could lose her mother to schizophrenia, Emma spirals out of control over the course of one winter break.

The car glows with that careless feeling before the freedom of winter break as Emma drives home from boarding school with her boyfriend, Daniel. But when Emma calls to tell her mom she’ll be home before dinner, something is wrong. Just hours after Emma returns home, she realizes that her mom is suffering from a schizophrenic break. Emma’s entire childhood and identity is called into question. How could the woman who sent huge care packages of candy to sleep away camp be the same woman duct taping their windows to keep out the voices in her head? In her search for answers, Emma lands on a terrible possibility: schizophrenia is genetic. Emma could have only a few more years of sanity. Emma could end up just like her mom.

In the span of just one winter break, Emma’s life falls apart. Her relationships alter forever and she is forced to see the hard reality in a line from Anna Karenina: “The law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.” 

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I really like the cover of this. I like the simplicity of it and the colors. I love how “loving” has a glow around it”.
My relationship with The Law of Loving Others was definitely a rocky one. In the beginning I didn’t know what to think of the writing style, but as the book went on, I began to love it.
The biggest reason I needed to read The Law of Loving Others was to see how well it dealt with the family portrayal for someone having a family member with a mental illness. Ever since I listened to the musical Next To Normal, I’ve been so attracted to literature that deals heavily with mental illnesses in a home and how it affects not just the person with the illness, but also those around them, their friends, family, etc. The Law of Loving Others definitely didn’t disappoint me, it was great seeing how worried Emma was then caring for her mother. It was interesting to see Emma confront her dad about her mom, not wanting to do anything “special” since her mom was sick and not understanding how her dad could. Her dad had sixteen years to come to terms with her mom’s illness, Emma had one winter break, roughly a month. 
What drew me to The Law of Loving Others is that the main character, Emma, finds out her mother has schizophrenia. This leads Emma to worrying about whether she has schizophrenia too and if it’s just waiting to take her over. As you can imagine, Emma’s very distressed about this as it was the last thing she expected to come home too. She begins to analyze everything she says and thinks, is it really “her” her or is it the schizophrenia? Is she mentally ill as well? Is her illness just hiding away until it strikes at her?
I thought this was so realistic because Emma’s caught completely off guard, how can a person prepare for that? In the beginning, she doesn’t make the wisest choices, she drinks, she does drugs, she uses self-destructive behavior as an outlet.
“You can’t just start that like that” and then I remembered, that IS how self-harm starts. Unexpected, not at the best times (there is no best time) and never in the right frame of mind.
I was really bothered by her drinking and drugs. Initially, it was a big turn off for me, though it was only occasional use. Then I remembered something again, she’s a teenager, she’s been away at boarding school for three months and she JUST came home expecting to see the mother she always knew. How was she supposed to act? No, they weren’t the best, most thought out decisions, but when life throws something at you that you’re not prepared for, you’re probably not going to be thinking the best at times.
So by the end, I understood Emma a lot better. I definitely felt for her and what she was going through. I loved how in addition to dealing with her mom’s illness, how she worried about how she would turn out. Finding out a parent has a mental illness, especially one believed to be slightly genetic, can definitely make a person worry. “Do I have it?”, “Am I crazy?”, “I might end up crazy”. This reminded me of the character Natalie, also sixteen, in Next To Normal who had the same fear and like Emma, used drugs to escape her mother’s illness and her own problems. I loved how the mental illness was the very center of the book and it affected everything Emma did. I liked how she was constantly worried and questioning her sanity and wanting reassurance. There were a lot of thought provoking questions involved about mental illness and love, I loved that.
As Emma comes to grips with her mom’s schizophrenia, she examines her relationship with Daniel who lives a somewhat pampered life. Emma begins to wonder if her and Daniel are right for each other, if he’ll still love her if she has schizophrenia and if he’ll be there for her.  Later Emma meets Phil, a guy whose brother has bipolar and attracts her. I liked how Emma found someone she could relate to, but I’m not quite sure how well I actually liked this. Phil was an interesting character, I liked a lot of what he said, but his placement seemed to be a little too convenient. He definitely got in the middle of Emma and Daniel’s relationship even though they were already on the rocks.
This was where The Law of Loving Others was sort of losing me because of the characters actions again. Emma gets angry at Daniel for not texting or calling her back when she needs him to. He gets mad at her for not wanting to go to a party on New Years because her mother’s in the mental hospital. Their relationship was very back and forth in terms of fulfillment and wanting more. Emma wanted Daniel to be more for her, to do more for her and Daniel wanted Emma to let go and be fun again. I liked how in the beginning, there were already problems between Emma and Daniel, she mentions how he didn’t like reading, while she did and how he cancelled their plans and went out and doing questionable things with his friends. In spite of that, there were good parts about their relationship, he wasn’t pretentious and he made her laugh. I usually hate the “trope” with a couple having issues and to an extent, I hate that The Law of Loving Others had this, but on the other hand, it’s understandable because it’s not just a “feeling” Emma has. She knows they have a lot of things not in common and think about different things.
I loved how Emma wonders how her dad stayed with her mom, how her grandmother took her mom’s illness, how her friends felt years later. Emma definitely learned the “law” of loving others. There’s no rationality to it other than when you really love someone, you love them despite their illness or anything else. It isn’t logical and it can be hard learning to love someone whose changed from how you knew them.
What I think Axelrod did best in The Law of Loving Others is the mistakes that Emma made and all of her inner monologues. Those alone were very thought provoking and a little relatable. Emma was a flawed character, of course, with the drinking and drugs. She was also a confused and hurt character with the burning and relationship choices she made. I love how she got through all of that though to a somewhat stronger person. She’s still not okay with her mother being schizophrenia, she still has that fear that she will be too one day and she’s not sure where things stand romantically with her at all, but she’s learned. 
Aside from the mental illness focus, I loved in the beginning of The Law of Loving Others when Emma explains how exactly she ended up going to boarding school. It came after watching Dead Poets Society and School Ties, two movies involving boarding school, of course. I definitely related to this because I wanted to go to boarding school too when I was in the seventh grade. My reasons weren’t quite so…thought provoking, I’d loved the show Zoey 101 on Nickelodeon and thus my boarding school dreams sprouted. I never went to boarding school though, I found out it was extremely expensive. 
There were some things that really threw me off when reading, one of these things is the random interactions Emma has with children, both involving her phone. I wouldn’t have minded the interactions if maybe they’d been somewhat related to what was going on, but in the second encounter, Emma is somewhere with Phil and a girl suddenly asks if she has games on her phone. In the middle of this, Phil was talking to Emma about mental illness and it was just a bit awkwardly written. 
Another thing that wasn’t very well done were the sex scenes, they sort of faded to black and didn’t even have a build up. In one of the sex scenes it goes from the couple laying on a bed to then the two having had sex. It completely skipped over any sexual detail. Given the drug and drinking nature already mentioned in The Law of Loving Others a few times, I feel elaborating on these scenes wouldn’t have hurt anything. There is a friendship Emma has and I wish the two characters had more scenes together.
~Final Thoughts~
Although some things didn’t pan out as much as I wish they had, I really enjoyed The Law of Loving Others. It definitely involved quite a bit of reflection, but that’s not a negative thing at all. I love that Emma was flawed and made mistakes, even though I initially held these things against her. The mental illness was well portrayed and I only wish it had gone a bit deeper into Emma’s mother’s actions. I thought Emma was realistic with her actions and I loved her character development. She didn’t become perfect by any means, which is to be expected after only four weeks dealing with it. I loved how Anna Karenina fit into the book because the title is taken from that and the character is reading the book while all of this is going on. It plays a bit part in the story, I think, and I liked it a lot. 
~Do I Recommend?~
~Recommended For~
People curious about mental illness
People wanting more “adult” sounding fiction
~Will I Re-Read It?~
~Will I Buy It?~
Most likely.
~Memorable Quotes~
Winter in Pennsylvania was bleak, but still there was something beautiful in its nearly silent emptiness.”
“I felt as though I might be sick and I wondered if this was the moment that I’d look back on and know, irrefutably, that everything had changed. I wished that I could’ve somehow held onto and savored the ordinariness of the past few days.” 
“I groaned. “I hate that. I hate girls who hate girls.” 
“And this was something I would always wonder about—how the lines were drawn to define mental illness. When did a little depression become pathological? When did anxiety turn into something bigger, something greater and more cautionary about your own stability?” 

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