Category: Coming of Age

Mar 13

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 15

Howdy Bookworms!

It has been a BUSY couple of weeks, let me tell you what. First of all, I want to thank everyone so so so much for all your incredibly supportive and sweet comments regarding the impending arrival of Babysaurus Bookworm. I’ve been overwhelmed in the best possible way with all the love and spoiling this little dude has already received. Last weekend I visited with some of my favorite BEA Bookworms (Stacey and Julz wrote adorable recaps) and I visited one of my ride or die BFFs who made me the world’s best guacamole. Seriously, Chrissy. I’m still daydreaming about that guac. I’d love to write a sonnet to that guacamole, and one day I might, but in the meantime, I thought I should probably attempt to make a dent in the giant pile of books I’ve read that I haven’t yet told you about. So let’s start with a fun one, shall we? It’s Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy!

Willowdean Dixon lives in a tiny town in Texas where the biggest event of the year is a beauty pageant for teenage girls. Will (or “Dumplin'” if you’re her former beauty queen mother) has always been comfortable in her own skin, but she has also always known that her body type does not fit society’s standards of beauty. It’s not until she begins dating a super handsome jock that she begins to feel truly insecure about her size. But Will won’t go down so easily. Not with her best friend by her side, a dash of moxie, and an abiding love of Dolly Parton.

I loooove a book with a heroine with some meat on her bones, y’all. There are oodles of YA books out there full of impossibly beautiful teenage girls. Granted, they normally don’t realize they’re impossibly beautiful until a boy comes along, but I love the idea of a main character who couldn’t be played by a typical Hollywood glam girl in the movie version, you know? Because as much as I love me some cheesy 90s teen movies, glasses and a ponytail don’t actually make a gorgeous actress look awkward. Just one of the reasons I loved Dumplin’. Some of the other reasons are a bit more personal…

Did I ever tell y’all about the time I was in a pageant? Sorry, “scholarship program.” Yes, they used the same line that’s used in Miss Congeniality. My teenage self was a study in contradictions, because while I was busy wearing really huge pants and listening to the angstiest grunge the late 90s had to offer, I was also still very involved in dance classes and, to a lesser extent, high school theater. Which is why, for reasons twisty and confusing, I decided to compete in said “scholarship program.” This book brought SO MUCH of that back. So much. Whew. (In case you’re wondering, I did not win that pageant, I came in first runner up, which legitimately did net me enough scholarship money to pay for my first semester’s books in college. Also, the thought of my talent routine makes me cringe to this very day. It involved pig tails and tap shoes and Bjork. Because of course it did.)

Moral of the story? Read Dumplin’. And please, if you have an embarrassing high school story, share it. Because pig tails and tap shoes, you guys.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



Jun 30

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Audio Books, Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 22

My Dearest Bookworms,

You know how I really love audio books? And how I also really love Hamilton, and by extension, Lin-Manuel Miranda? I’m actually considering writing an entire post on the subject because I haven’t been THIS fangirly since high school. Because I’m fangirling so hard, I was checking Lin-Manuel’s IMDB just to see if he’d been in stuff I’d seen without me realizing it (which yes, yes that definitely happened.) BUT THEN. I saw that he was credited as having narrated some audio books. I remember seeing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz floating around the blogosphere and thinking that I should read it one of these days, but when I saw that LMM narrated? It jumped straight to the top of the list.

aristotleanddanteI’m just going to give you the abstract from Goodreads because I can’t form a coherent synopsis of this book:

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Holy crap. Holy freaking crap, you guys. How do I love this book? Let me count the ways! First, Sáenz absolutely NAILS teenagerdom. That summertime listless boredom? It brought me back in a big way. Second, I absolutely adored these kids’ parents. They’re not perfect by any means, but both sets are so loving and compassionate. I don’t know why that struck me as so rare in a YA novel, but I wanted to give everyone a big fat hug. I can’t really tell you some of the other reasons I loved the book so so so much because they’d be spoilers, so you’re just going to have to trust me here. THEY ARE EXCELLENT REASONS.

I would have loved this book even if I’d read it with my eyeballs, but the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda read me a story? Incredible. You guys! He casually dropped at least two mentions of Alexander Hamilton, which were written into the book and in no way referencing Hamilton the musical. It was so meta. LMM is a fantastic narrator (no surprise) and you could tell he adored the words he was reading which made it that much better. Although, he seems to adore a lot of things. Because he is basically the best humanity has to offer. Like, if aliens wanted to exterminate us? I think LMM could talk them out of it. (I pray nightly that he doesn’t end up having some hideous dark secret or massive scandal somewhere down the line, because I just don’t think I could handle having my heart broken like that. No pressure, Lin. But behave yourself… Mostly.)

Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve been this gushy about a book. Fittingly, I’m wearing a t-shirt that says “hyperbole” with an exclamation mark graphic. I am VERY EXCITED about this one. Go forth and read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Or have Lin-Manuel Miranda read it to you. If you ask really nicely, maybe I’ll do an interpretive dance of it for you. I hope you like tap!

Whew. Time to chat, Bookworms. What’s the last book you were ridiculously enthusiastic about? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


May 26

Thursday, 1:17 pm by Michael Landweber

Coming of Age, Science Fiction 9

Greetings Bookworms!

Have you ever had one of those moments where time just seems to freeze? Poetic types are wont to attribute the sensation to meeting their one true love, but in my world, this feeling typically precedes disaster. Still, the whole “time freezing” thing is usually a short-lived moment, things don’t just stay frozen. Unless you’re the main character in Michael Landweber’s new novel, Thursday, 1:17 p.m. *I received a complimentary copy of this book through the publisher for review consideration, thanks to Monika’s insatiable book pushing (I love her for it.) I am too ill mannered to be polite for politeness’s sake, so you can trust I’ll tell you exactly what I think.*


Time stopped on a lovely Thursday afternoon at 1:17 pm. Duck, our 17 year old protagonist, is the only person, animal, or thing still moving in Washington DC. As far as he can tell, he’s the only, um, noun? on the planet Earth not in a state of suspended animation. Which is just freaking great. It’s not like he’s already got enough to deal with, what with his mother having succumbed to cancer that very morning and his father having been in a mental hospital for years. Not that having parents would be of much help in the current situation, since they’d be frozen. Fortunately, Duck is a smart kid and a good egg. He takes his new reality in stride and tries to do the right thing in the face of some seriously weird circumstances. He’s got all the time in the world (apparently) to face his demons, and with any luck he’ll figure out how to get time moving again.


If you’re thinking “this sounds like a Twilight Zone episode” then you and I are on the same wavelength. I went into the book expecting some cool descriptions of the frozen world and I was NOT disappointed. Remember that scene in Big Fish where the circus freezes? It’s kind of like that. But cooler. This book blended sci-fi, humor, and a heaping helping of emotion into one neat little package. It’s a great book and a fast read. If you’re even the slightest bit intrigued by my rambling, you should DEFINITELY check out Thursday, 1:17 p.m.

Talk to me, Bookworms! If your world froze, what would you do with all your spare time? (I’m asking this even though I know the vast majority of us are going to answer “READ ALL THE THINGS!” I just want to encourage the mania.) 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



May 02

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Humor, Vampires, Young Adult Fiction 12

Hello Bookworms,

I’ve told you how much I love Rainbow Rowell before, right? In case you missed my reviews of Attachments, Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline, you can check them out here, here, here, and here. After devouring Landline much too quickly, I decided I’d wait on reading Rowell’s next release. Instead of begging the publisher for an advanced copy, I put myself on a seemingly endless library wait list so that by the time I read it, the wait for the next book wouldn’t seem as long. I probably won’t do that again because it kind of sucked, but I thought I should try it. The good news is that the library wait list eventually ended and I got to read Carry On!

carryonCarry On is the story of Simon Snow. Yes, THAT Simon Snow. The one Cath and Wren were totally enthralled with in Fangirl? Of course, it’s the fan fiction version of Simon Snow, not “canon” (which doesn’t actually exist. Wow. This is harder to explain than I thought it would be.) Okay, so. You don’t HAVE to have read Fangirl to enjoy Carry On because I think it can stand alone, but you should read both regardless because they’re delicious. Back to Simon. He’s a magician who attends a magical boarding school and he just wants to get through his final year without any of the life threatening shenanigans that have plagued his school career up to this point.

Unfortunately, his mentor wants him to hide out in the mountains, his roommate is missing, and his girlfriend just broke up with him. Ghosts are coming out of the woodwork, vampires are a thing, and don’t get me started on the super villain. Suffice it to say that our dear Simon probably isn’t going to get his wish for an uneventful school year.

I love Rainbow Rowell. This book was such a playful take on Harry Potter-esque stories, what with the punny spells and such. Plus, it’s a bit of a swoony love story. It’s not a spoiler for those who have read Fangirlbut it becomes apparent quite early on in Carry On that Simon and his roommate/potential vampire Baz have some serious sexual tension happening. Which means, yes, there are boys falling for other boys. Which is, in my opinion, pretty awesome. Even if the dudes in question are magicians/potential vampires, it’s nice to see some LGBT representation in YA literature.

Talk to me, Bookworms! If you were to write fan fiction, what would be your fandom of choice?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Feb 29

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 11

G’Day Bookworms!

I had sooooo much fun during Book Blogger Appreciation Week, but let me tell you something. It wreaked absolute havoc on my TBR list. I don’t even remember where I saw it, but somewhere in the blog hopping I was reminded that I’ve only ever read one Markus Zusak novel (The Book Thief, natch. Which duh. Read about it HERE.) I Am the Messenger came highly recommended from this mysterious unnamed source I cannot remember so I decided I ought to read it. And thus, I did. It seems pretty unfair to the rest of my TBR pile that I randomly jumped to this one, but I am a capricious sort of gal sometimes.

iamthemessengerThe book opens in the midst of a bank robbery. Ed Kennedy and his friends are caught in the holdup, and they make a rather motley set of hostages. Ed is an underage cabbie living in a less than stellar suburb of a major Australian metropolis. At 19 years old, he’s spending his life in a holding pattern. He plays cards with his friends, works at a dead end job, and can’t pluck up the courage to tell his best friend Audrey that he’s butt crazy in love with her. He lives alone with a maniacally stinky geriatric dog named the Doorman. (If ever a stench could be called maniacal, I imagine the Doorman’s would qualify.) Nothing is great, but it’s a peaceful existence Ed has carved out for himself. Shortly after the robbery, though, Ed’s life is thrown out of the comfortable pattern he’s used to when he starts receiving mysterious messages in the mail. He is sent on a quest by persons unknown to help (or hurt) the deserving in his hometown. But who is behind these messages?

I have mixed feeeeeeelings about this book. I loved Ed and his friends and their insane card games. I LOVE LOVE LOVED THE DOORMAN. This is the single greatest dog in all of literature! He’s really old and decrepit, so you can’t fault Ed for indulging him with coffee and the occasional ice cream cone. I have a soft spot for stinky old man dogs, okay?! There was a lot of humor injected into the novel and that is the sort of thing I gobble up. Ed’s self deprication? His banter with pals? His deep philosophical discussions with the Doorman? All brilliant.

Ed’s missions though… Some of them are awesome and some of them are rather bizarre. I like the idea of helping out one’s fellow man and all that, but I’m not sure how I feel about the seemingly random vigilante-ism that goes on. Plus, I was less than thrilled with the way the book wrapped up. Like… The mystery behind the missions? I just don’t buy it. Probably because I am old and cynical and lacking in heart. But there you have it. I’m a muddled mess of opinions with mad love for an ancient, fictional, odiferous canine.

Talk to me, Bookworms! What are some of the coolest pets you’ve ever read about? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. It won’t cost you any extra, but it’ll help keep me up and running. So yay. Thanks!*


Feb 25

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Coming of Age 15

Howdy Bookworms!

You remember Judy Blume, right? She was an absolute fixture of my adolescent reading life. Remember that time I wrote about how Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret holds an extra super special place in my heart? (It’s HERE if you’re curious.) In 2015 Judy Blume released her first novel in… Well I don’t know how long. But it had been a while, so it was a pretty big deal. That book? In the Unlikely Event.

intheunlikelyeventThe book opens with Miri Ammerman returning to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey after a long absence. She’s back to attend a memorial event dedicated to the insanity that was Miri’s 15th year of life during which a succession of airplanes crashed in Elizabeth. I was about to roll my eyes massively when the second plane crash happened… And then I Googled it. This ACTUALLY HAPPENED. In Judy Blume’s hometown. She lived through this, and dude, it was nuuuuts.

Of course, In the Unlikely Event is not an autobiography or anything, but you can bet your sweet bippy that it borrowed from her own life experience. How could it not? That is a crazy fricking thing to have happen, you can’t make this stuff up. Well, you CAN make this stuff up, but only if you don’t mind massive eye rolls from people like me.

This book is pure Judy Blume. Miri is a fifteen year old girl dealing with friendships and family and faith and first love. It’s right in her wheelhouse and where she shines. I thought In the Unlikely Event was a good book. I don’t think it’ll ever really gain a place within the canon of her best work, but it was enjoyable enough. I mean… If you can find a book enjoyable that features multiple plane crashes… Just add it to the list of stuff that’s wrong with me.

Alright Bookworms. Since this book proves that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, tell me your fave truth is stranger than fiction story. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



Jan 18

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Audio Books, Coming of Age, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction 7

Oh Bookworms,

It’s time. We’ve reached the very last half of the very last book of the Potter Binge. I want to thank the Estella Society for hosting this re-readalong. I’ve had so much fun reliving the magic. It’s worth every minute of the Harry Potter hangover I’m about to endure. My emotional stability is about to be tested and found inadequate. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallowspart 2, is happening right now. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. You’ve been warned.

  • The Tale of the Three Brothers is pretty creepy, but reading the original versions of muggle fairy tales show a serious creep factor, too. Apparently traumatizing children is a tradition we share with our magical counterparts.
  • Oh Hermione. Every once in a while your rationality is a terrible hinderance.
  • Ted Tonks doesn’t make it. So sad. But Dean escaped, so that’s something. I like to think that Ted and Dirk Creswell protected Dean in the end.
  • The wizarding broadcast is such a bittersweet moment. Lupin’s message to Harry makes me cry (as does most of this book.) Thank heavens for Fred and George. Comic relief is so necessary. I do hope Lee Jordan continued his broadcasting career on the Wizarding Wireless post war.
  • DAMNIT HARRY! The name is TABOO you fool!!!!!!!!
  • Hermione’s stinging jinx saves the day. (Well, mostly anyway) Because Hermione always saves the day. For heaven’s sake, that girl is BRILLIANT.
  • Dobby to the rescue. But I know how this ends. And nooooooooooooooooo!
  • Well, Wormtail, you had it coming buddy. Can’t say I’m sorry to see you go.
  • Hasta luego, Grindelwald. THE BODY COUNT is NUTS.
  • DOBBY!!!!!!!!!! Why can’t they save youuuuuuuuuuuu??? If only Madam Pomfrey had been on hand. Then again, if he’d been stabbed right in the heart (which it appears he was) it may have been too late for him to be saved, even with an ultra skilled healer. I love you, Dobby, you glorious free elf!
  • Damnit. Crying again. That was such a heartfelt little funeral. Dobby would have been pleased.
  • I wonder if Fleur cooks only French food or if she mixes it up with some English dishes. She seems quite adept at household spells, though.
  • The baby!!!! Lupin and Tonks and Teddy! Yaaaaaaaaaay! AND LUPIN HUGGED HARRY!!!!!!!! He asks Harry to be Teddy’s godfather and then he gives him a REAL hug! FINALLY!
  • The lack of a wand completely crippling wizards troubles me some. I mean, kids accidentally do magic before they have wands all the time. Maybe involuntary magic children do is schooled out of them? Regardless, it would really really suck to lose your wand if you were so dependent on it. Just think of how frustrated you’d feel to be completely without your phone, am I right?
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape from Gringotts via dragon. Our trio has style, no doubt.
  • Aberforth’s patronus is a goat. Because of course. That man and his goats.
  • Neville just keeps on fighting. Hot damn, Neville. You are something else. Rebel. And Granny Longbottom kicking Death Eater ass and going into hiding? Ooooh goosebumps.
  • I should just buy stock in tissue. For the love, this whole book just tears me apart. The remaining DA members in the Room of Requirement. Now the supporters are flooding in. Luna and Dean. Ginny and the twins and Lee. Cho shows up. I’m misty as all get out.
  • Enter Minerva Raging Badass McGonagall and her triple cat patronus. She doesn’t even scold Harry for using an unforgiveable curse on the Carrows, and then busts out with one of her own. Nobody spits in McGonagall’s face and gets away with it. Nobody.
  • God help me, I love Flitwick. And Sprout. And bringing Peeves into the fight. Brilliant.
  • And then EVERYONE is there in the Room of Requirement. Oliver Wood, Katie Bell, the whole gang. The Order. Again with the tears. Damnit. Ginny arguing about leaving her family kills me every dang time.
  • Just when I think I can’t be any more of a mess, Percy shows up. Finally. I am sobbing all over the place. It’s going to be a complete shit show from here on out.
  • The Grey Lady, what whaaaaat?! She gives a back story to the Bloody Baron too. Scandalous. AND IT EXPLAINS ALBANIA! I hadn’t paid super close attention to why Albania had been Voldemort’s hiding place in the past, but now I know all the things. It only took … Well. A few read throughs. It’s an intense portion, I can’t be expected to grasp details when I’m this unhinged.
  • Neville battling with Mandrakes is awesome. Dude’s a gardener through and through. Herbology, FTW!
  • Ron opens the Chamber of Secrets by mimicking parseltongue. Ron and Hermione, I love you so so so much.
  • I love that Granny Longbottom comes to help, and that she finally seems to appreciate the awesomeness that is Neville. Took you long enough, Granny. We’ve known it for ages.
  • Ha! Crabbe’s own stupid dark magic destroyed that horcrux. Serves you right, jerk. Fiend fire.
  • FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED. He went out the way he’d have liked it, though. Fighting and joking. Respect.
  • I’m crying anyway.
  • McGonagall has a herd of galloping desks. OF COURSE SHE DOES. Don’t mess with Minerva.
  • I’m surprised the Patil twins were still at Hogwarts. I know it became mandatory, but their mom tried to keep them home at one point in an earlier books. I’d have thought she’d have taken them into hiding, but maybe she’s made of sterner stuff.
  • Does Lavender Brown actually die? She’s feebly moving when we last see her, so one must wonder. Does she become a werewolf? I would totally read The Adventures of Lavender Brown: Fashion and the Full Moon.
  • Luna, Seamus, and Ernie with the patronuses rescuing a badly disheartened and traumatized Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Again with the tears. I CANNOT EVEN.
  • I wish I could say I was devastated by Snape’s death scene. I mean, he does redeem himself (more or less) but he was still a big mean bully. I’m… Conflicted.
  • But what DOES devastate me? Tonks and Lupin. THEY JUST HAD A BABY. And the grieving Weasleys? I just can’t take this.
  • Hearing that Harry is to be a sacrificial lamb is a punch in the gut.
  • Aaaaaaaaaand the mystery of the silver doe is solved. Heart = Broken. Snape, though hideously flawed, has one saving grace. He was able to love. Only one person, but he really did love her.
  • RIP Colin Creevy. You were such a sweet kid. Poor Dennis is going to be devastated.
  • Harry facing his own death is just so… I don’t even know. SO MANY FEELINGS.
  • And now the Resurrection Stone. Good heavens, I can’t take it.
  • My brain is too full to really comment on the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore in the peaceful great beyond.
  • “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry. But why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Ooooh Dumbledore, you and your wisdom.
  • And now for Narcissa Malfoy’s redemption. For selfish reasons, of course, but still. Better than nothing.
  • Voldemort, you are SUCH a douchebag. Ugh.
  • God love you, Neville, you are the BEST EGG. “I’ll join you when HELL freezes over!” And then he gets the sword of Gryffindor. Nobody ever deserved it more, buddy. Is there a Neville Longbottom fan club? Can we start one?
  • Thestrels and Hippogriffs and Centaurs, oh my!
  • And then the reinforcements arrive! EVEN SLUGHORN! A Slytherin. Seriously, they aren’t ALL bad. Good on you, Slughorn.
  • For the love, the house elves led by Kreacher! I’m crying again. Damnit.
  • “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” –Molly Weasley, Queen of the Universe.
  • Voldemort had a serious case of James Bond villain syndrome. He and Harry have quite a long conversation before either attempts to cast a spell, most of it Voldemort posturing and over-explaining himself. Why don’t you just throw Harry into a tank of sharks with frickin laser beams on their foreheads?
  • Voldemort is killed by his own rebounded curse. Serves him right.
  • Using the elder wand to repair your wand. Nice move, Harry.
  • I don’t care what anyone thinks, I effing love the epilogue. I love every little thing about it. I like hearing that Teddy Lupin comes to the Potter house for dinner several times a week. I like hearing that he’s dating Bill and Fleur’s daughter. I like that Ginny and Harry ended up together and that Hermione and Ron have a family. It is utter perfection to my mind and nobody will ever convince me otherwise.

I can’t believe it’s over. I’m going to be suffering a severe Harry Potter hangover for a while, but it’s wonderful to revisit my old friends. Thanks for bearing with me through these incoherent posts. I’m toying with the idea of creating a top ten list of my favorite random insights from the Potter Binge as a sort of last hurrah.

Tell me Bookworms. Did anybody sob as much as I did through the entirety of this book?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Jan 13

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction 12

Greetings, Bookworms.

We’ve reached the final, darkest, and most emotionally draining installment of the Potter Binge (sponsored by the Estella Society), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You know it’s going to be intense immediately if you’re listening to the audio books, because the musical introduction changes from a jaunty tune to a rather creeptastic interlude. We’re tackling this in two installments because I simply cannot contain my commentary. There are SO MANY SPOILERS in this and all of my Potter Binge posts. DO NOT READ THEM until you’ve read the books. Just don’t do it. I’m gonna need some fire whiskey to deal with all these feelings, guys. Here goes nothing.

  • Of COURSE the Malfoys have Peacocks. Pretentious much?
  • Dudley brings home the shocker of the century. A heartfelt goodbye for Harry. (I’ll admit it. I get a little misty here.)
  • I really feel for Harry when everyone gets to see him in his underoos. I mean, he’s 17, that’s a terribly awkward time of life. E’erybody got a peek. Heck, they got to BE him. That’s unsettling in the extreme.
  • D’awwww why’d she have to kill off Hedwig? I mean, she wasn’t cuddly or anything, but she was the first real birthday present Harry ever got (beyond his first birthday, obvi. Sirius did hook him up with that killer toy broomstick.)
  • More hugs from Hagrid. HARRY NEEDS HUGS, GUYS!
  • And a Molly Weasley hug, thank heaven. Poor girl. Her whole family in mortal peril all the time!
  • Snape sectum sempra’d George’s ear. (By accident, we later learn, but still.) Ouch. But, leave it to George to make a terrible pun whilst injured.
  • The body count in this book. I can’t even. Mad Eye. Terrible shame.
  • The more I learn about “the trace” the more I wonder about this underage magic ban. It seems like a thoroughly empty threat to any child growing up in a magical family. It only detects magic performed nearby, so anything in the home would probably not even register. I had a conversation with a coworker (Hi, Kyle!) about how the Malfoys probably never policed Draco at home and how that’s completely unfair given that someone with Hermione or Harry’s living situation would have no opportunity to practice over the holidays. I wonder if potion making counts as magic? Or only magic performed with a wand? What’s traceable?
  • Molly gave Harry her brother’s coming of age wizard watch. In case you didn’t realize Fabian and Gideon Pruett (two members of the original Order of the Phoenix bravely killed in action) were Molly’s brothers, now you know. That makes the gift extra special.
  • I love that British wizards still rock the wedding hat tradition. Bewitched birds add a certain panache to any occasion.
  • Bill and Fleur’s wedding sounds ridiculously gorgeous…
  • Until it’s crashed by the fall of the Ministry. RIP Scrimgeour. THE BODY COUNT.
  • Ron and Harry would have been so screwed without Hermione. That handbag of hers was a stroke of absolute genius. All the packing. All the books. All the everything. Hermione wins at life, as per usual.
  • Harry is terribly tactless with Lupin, but sheesh. I imagine fatherhood is terrifying for many, even without the whole werewolf and ministry persecution angle, but that’s still a crap reason to cut and run. I’m glad he has a change of heart.
  • Ugh. FIGURES Umbridge would end up with a horcrux as a friggin accessory. That woman. And stealing Mad Eye’s magical eye?! What the what? You’re grave robbing now? That’s just gross.
  • For as long as it takes the trio to discover and figure out how to destroy the locket, the last few horcruxes seem to present themselves and be dispatched with surprising ease.
  • RIP, Gregorovich. Body Count like whaaaaaaaat?
  • Man. The horcruxes are kind of like the RING. They make everyone all crazy like. You think Voldemort ever called a horcrux his “precious”? Probably. He was way too close to Nagini.
  • Ron suffers from a severe case of HANGRY. I can’t blame him. I suffer the same affliction.
  • I get so sad when the trio come upon the refugee muggle born campers. Ted Tonks. And Dean! He’s only a kid!
  • The bleakest part of the series has got to be Harry and Hermione wandering around aimlessly sans Ron.
  • Godric’s Hollow. So many emotions.
  • Um. A Bathilda suit? Gross move, Nagini. Ew. (But that’s another dead body, if you’re counting. And I am.)
  • Oh gosh, I’d forgotten about Harry’s busted wand. That suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.
  • Dude, Aberforth’s fascination with goats is… Troubling.
  • RON IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!
  • Aaaand you deserved Hermione’s pummeling, Ron. But she loves you, you ridiculous git.
  • The Lovegoods are rather into conspiracies for Ravenclaws, but, then again, we also apparently claim Sybil Trelawney. Stone cold pack of weirdos. Ravenclaw 4 Life!

Holy smokes. I’ve already cried several times and we’re not even to the REALLY rough part yet. It just hurts so good.

How you holding up, Bookworms? Have your insides been chewed up and spit out, or are you still hanging in there all strong waiting for the emotional blows still to come? 

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Jan 11

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Part 2

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Readalong, Young Adult Fiction 11

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

I simply cannot get enough of The Estella Society sponsored Potter Binge. Honestly, I’ve had so many great conversations with real life friends and coworkers as well as with the internet that I just want to bring y’all over for a nice warm butterbeer and some treacle tart. Except, I’ve never had treacle tart so I’m not sure I’d like it. I could make you apple crisp. Would that work? We are coming in on the home stretch here, and I’m starting to get a little nostalgic. I mean, remember back when Harry just found out he was a wizard? They grow up SO FAST. In a matter of weeks, it seems. Let’s savor each moment, shall we? The second half of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince awaits! Oh and SPOILERS. OMG the SPOILERS. I can’t even begin to tell you about the SPOILERS. Seriously. Be careful.

Harry potter half blood prince
  • Why isn’t side along apparition more popular? Harry was the only one who’d ever done it, but you’d think it would be the most convenient form of transport. Maybe they don’t recommend it for hauling children about because it’s sort of painful? Maybe it’s the splinching risk? Food for thought.
  • For the love, Dumbledore. Must you always be so enigmatic? Just SPELL IT OUT.
  • Apparating instructions sound SO VAGUE. The lessons basically consist of closing your eyes, hoping something will happen, and a pirouette. There’s not even a spell for it. Seriously HOW does that even work?!
  • Given my teenage self’s penchant for falling in love with boys who weren’t into me, I’m quite relieved I never had access to love potion.
  • Madam Pomfrey is the unsung hero of Hogwarts. The things this woman must have seen!
  • OMG, Myrtle. Get out of the boys’ bathroom, you crazy voyeur! Draco will never love you anyway. You’re muggle born! And, well, dead. Sorry.
  • Slughorn, you poor misguided fool. Riddle played you like a fiddle. (Nope, not sorry that rhymed. Not in the least.)
  • Dumbledore is in the cave. I kind of want to hide under a blanket until it’s all over, but I’m a masochist.
  • I’m going to need a moment.
  • Several moments.
  • Draco, Draco, Draco. You try to be a badass, but you’ve still got a teensy bit of humanity left in you. Embrace it, boy!
  • Having read the books before, I’m trying really hard to remind myself that Snape’s actions are a mercy killing… Really, really hard.
  • “You thought I would not wish to marry him, or perhaps you hoped? What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I think. All these scars show is that my husband is brave.” And with that, Fleur cements her place in my heart. And Molly’s, apparently. (Yeah, yeah, I took out the accented spelling. I was listening to the books because JIM DALE is the man and I didn’t feel like looking up Fleur’s accented speech.)
  • Tonks and Lupin. The scandal! Lupin is right. He is too old and too dangerous for Tonks. He totally doesn’t deserve her, but darn it, nobody does.
  • I simply cannot hold it together. Every dang time. I know it’s coming, and I still get the awful lump in my throat and then the tears come and I just can’t.
  • Ugh. The funeral. Seriously, you guys.
  • “The last and greatest of his protectors had died, and he was more alone than he had ever been before.” SOB.
  • Harry thinks he sees a phoenix in Dumbledore’s funerary fireworks- was it his Patronus being freed? Is that a thing that happens?
  • Oh heavens. Being dumped at a funeral has to suck. Ginny accepts things with good grace, that’s for sure.
  • And then Ron and Hermione say they’re going with Harry no matter what and I fall apart AGAIN. Because FRIENDSHIP.

Holy smokes, you guys. This is the last book wherein I preserve any shred of dignity and I’m afraid I’ve ruined it by sobbing all over the place. What is it about these characters and this world that just dig into my very marrow? My soul belongs to Hogwarts.

Talk to me, Bookworms. If you’re re-reading something that breaks your heart, do you skip over the sad parts? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Oct 29

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 6

Greetings Bookworms!

Let’s all just come out and admit it. Every last one of us secretly pines for our Hogwarts letter. It’s not even necessarily that we all want to do magic (though, who doesn’t want to do magic?) it’s more that there’s a piece of each of us that wants to be special, you know? Ordinary life is all fine and dandy, but wouldn’t it be great to be plucked from obscurity and told that you are exceptional? Heck, I wrote my entire college entrance essay based on the fact that while I lacked a sob story or excessive brilliance, I was a darn good bet to graduate on time and with good grades. I may not have been a superstar, but I was plenty reliable. And I totally sold it. We had to write it as an English assignment and my teacher gave me extra credit. (I also got into college, but I probably would have done that with any old essay because I didn’t go to a fancy pants school, but I’m going to pretend the essay had everything to do with it.)

therestofusjustlivehereEnter Patrick Ness’s latest offering The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Our protagonist is Mikey. He’s an ordinary kid struggling with real life problems. He just wants to graduate high school, hook up with his crush, and go to prom. He’s never going to be the one chosen to defeat soul eating ghosts, vampires, or blue lights of doom. All of which happen from time to time. Because of course. It’s like every YA apocalypse novel is swirling around Mikey’s hometown and he’s just trying not to get caught in the crossfire. Heck, even his best friend holds a bizarre sway over all things feline!

It sounds like a recipe for irreverent fun, and it is, but it goes much deeper than that. Patrick Ness manages to somehow blend campy cliches in with real issues that teenagers face. Sexuality, dating, family dynamics, and growing up are all rendered with a heart wrenching truthfulness. I seriously want to give Patrick Ness the biggest hug for his compassionate portrayal of mental illness. No, nobody is imagining the soul eating ghosts. Those are real. So is OCD. And Anorexia. And Depression. And probably aliens, but I can’t back that up.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here is the type of novel teenagers need to be reading. This is YA at its very best. I want to shove it into the hands of unsuspecting adolescents. This one hit me hard in the feels, y’all. Read it. READ IT!

Talk to me, Bookworms! Do any of you feel like it’s ridiculous to expect 17 year old kids to write about turning points in their lives in order to get into college? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*