Posted in Review

Review: T.H.U.G by Angie Thomas

aka The story that was long overdue

 

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.                          
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what¬†really¬†went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life

 

 

 

I have been putting off reading this book for the LONGEST while. For one thing, this book has been hyped af¬†before it was even published and we know that doesn’t always go well. I was scared as hell that the hype would be fake. Secondly, the topic that Angie covers is HARD, so I needed to get into a mental space that would be able to give the book its just due. But, I figured that Black History Month was as good a time as any.

 

I really want to do this one justice.

 


 

“Goddamn, it’s always some drama with you.”

The Characters

 

Starr Carter

Here’s what you NEED to know about her: she loves Tupac, she has to live a dual life where one side of her is allowed to be real and the other side has to be tame¬†and ‘refined’. I understand all of the decisions she’s made throughout the book, because so much of her reality is actually what life is like for a lot of us who are in the minority.

 

“He was more than any bad decsion he made”

 

Khalil

Stereotypes are a bish, because they give people the idea that their assumptions are correct. Most times these assumptions start from our very own people which gives outsiders the implied permission to do the same. Khalil didn’t stand a chance at winning public sympathy. He is black. He is an assumed drug dealer. That’s all he needed to be deemed worthy of that bullet.

He is Philando Castile, he is Tamir Rice, he is Trayvon Martin, he is all of us. Honestly, even though he makes ‘all the wrong choices’ during the police stop, I cannot help but feel for him. This was a blatant overreaction rooted in an irrational fear of the black man. It hurts and it’s aggravating as all hell.

I especially enjoyed the fact that he was such a flawed character. He wasn’t an innocent flower but he wasn’t the demon that the media was making him out to be either. We all do what we think we have to in order to survive.

 

Chris/Hailey

The two versions of white people in these types of situation. Yes, I’m going to generalize here, cuz I can! There’s Chris, who is GENUINELY trying, and is openminded and not latently or intentionally racist. He wasn’t my favourite but I understood him.

 

Then there are the Haileys of the world that would make jokes about fried chicken and Chinese people eating cats, then blame YOU for being offended. Like, girl! Try not to be so insensitive next time?! Can the Hailey’s of the world just…go somewhere far, far away. So isolated from the rest of us that we forget about them and their ugliness.

 

Kenya/Maya

Starr’s most real POC friends, from both sides of her world. At first I felt that Kenya was too harsh on our girl, but, it was what Starr needed to break out of her fear and start fighting back. Kenya is that token character that every protagonist needs to push them to make the hard decisions. The one that will hurt their feelings, but it’s “for your own good” so you can’t possibly be mad…right? Just like All of the characters in this book, she is flawed and extreme. But I liked it. Doesn’t mean I could be friends with her though¬† we would argue constantly, and that is nooooot healthy so…pass.

Maya is the calmer version of Kenya. That quiet support system that also calls you out, but much less harshly. At first I wasn’t sure if she was down for the cause or just one of Hailey’s drones, but then she showed her hand. She is my pick for a character I’d love to hear more from.

 


 

Moral of the story, somewhere out there, there are real people that can fit into the mold of Angie’s characters. This ish is REAL. Also, ALSO(!), I despiiiised Mr. Lewis in the beginning and he only redeemed himself at the very end of the book. When you get to that point you’ll get what I mean on both fronts.

 

“Why did they shoot him?” Seven asks. “Was he a threat or something?”

 

The Plot

 

If you watched the news at all throughout 2016 to now (before that if we’re being honest), you couldn’t miss what was happening. Black people, black men, throughout the US were being killed by the police, unjustly, with NO repercussions for the officers. This book novelizes that reality, to a tee. You could definitely see the book pan out before your eyes if you pay even a little bit of attention, or if you’ve paid attention to current events.

 

So, if you don’t like when things can be predicted, I’m sorry.

 

But…BUT, even though I could see how things would go, the journey was worth it in my opinion. There was satisfactory development and enough stress-free moments that you would temporarily forget the serious subject matter.

 

Angie Thomas highlights something that I think it’s important to take note of, the fact that it is ALWAYS the minority’s fault. Always. Regardless of the circumstances, whether they are the aggressor or the victim, participant or not. She also reminds us that these ‘thugs’ are still somebody’s loved one. Somebody, somewhere, is hurting over this loss, and no matter what we will NEVER have the full story. Unless you are that person left hurting, and even then, there may be a side that you wouldn’t have seen.

 

 

“If I kill Tyrone, I’m going to prison. If a cop kills me, he’s getting put on leave. Maybe.”

 

 

My Thoughts

 

Can we have the movie now? Like, I wasn’t even one-quarter of the way through this important, wonderful piece of literature, and I KNEW that the movie would be everything that I wanted. Honestly, getting this, Black Panther and Love, Simon in the same year would make 2018 the best one to date (cinematically).

 

Okay, now that I’ve begged for the movie schedule to be increased, my ACTUAL thoughts.

 

Giving in to the rage, no matter how justified, or how good it feels in the moment, can and most certainly will come back to hurt you. But, BUT, that doesn’t mean you ought to sit back and do nothing. Find a way to make the situation right and let your voice be heard.

 

I loved all of the character growth. Starr is finally comfortable enough to be her true self with her Williamson family, DeVante grows up and we get to see the other side of Khalil. All necessary for a fully fleshed out storyline.

 

I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?

 

With all the pressure I put on myself for this one, I hope I made sense and didn’t psych myself out. It was probably just an incoherent mess, but…please don’t tell me if it is. This is the best I could do with all my emotions fighting against each other as they are.

 

*You should probably watch Luke Cage and Black Lighting while you wait for the movie. I mean, you don’t have to but…you SHOULD.


TL;DR

This one is definitely worth the hype. Even if BLM isn’t your ‘thing’, you’ll get something out of this. This is a book that everyone should read.

 

Goodreads: 4.58

Amazon: 4.8

Barnes & Noble: 4.8

 

My rating: 5 yaas bish stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Let's Chat, Update

Weddings are HARD!

aka The time being a MOH sucked all of my time and energy

 


If I’m being honest, I barely have time to do these once a week posts, let alone sit and read. I never knew that being a maid-of-honour was so much work!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m honoured to have been chosen, and I’m enjoying all that comes with the position but good Lord!

 

My time has been stretched much thinner than I’d like, so when I do get time to myself, I’m too fried to sit and read. I cannot wait for the wedding to get here (just one more month to go).

 

But, I did make a few commitments reading wise so here’s hoping I can carve out the time…and expect the posts to be even more sporadic towards the middle/end of February.

 


Until next time, share all your reading adventures so I can live vicariously through you.

 

Dee ^_^

Posted in Wrap-up

Wrap-up Wednesday – Goodbye January

aka The time there were more days in a week than books read

 

 

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This is abysmal, I know. Well, by my usual standards anyway, and a very bad sign for how the year will go.

 

The books that I managed to read this year, have already been talked about on here. But, I’ll go into better detail this time.

 

Cruel Beauty

 

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4 stars

What I liked: I loved all the bits of lore that was mixed into this one. It felt fantastical but historical which excited my inner history nerd.

I liked the ending, which was the only reason this story got four stars from me. The redemption arc was real with this one.

It’s a fairytale retelling, that in itself deserves at least a full star. The parallels between the original Beauty and the Beast story and Nyx’s journey was clear. But it was different enough that I could still enjoy the novel.

 

What I could have lived without: The actual characters. I didn’t fall in love with their love or their trauma. It was borderline entertaining. It did intrigue me enough to decide¬†that this is going on my series-in-progress shelf.

 

 

Chasing the Omega

 

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3 stars

What I liked: Fast paced, so it kept my attention.

Paranormal romance, which I used to be so obsessed with once upon a time. This reminded me why. So many bump in the night creatures walking amongst the common man, blending in as best they could. All the pack politics.

The whodunit factor. There’s a murderer going around, and a rogue Alpha going around biting people all willy-nilly. The people need to know!

 

What I could have lived without: The weird flip-flopping that Alice would make. One minute she hates Ryder and everything he stands for, the next she loves how protective he is.

Alice’s naivete¬†was a little annoying as well. I mean, how could she be so trusting after what happened to her, and with how sketchy *name redacted* is.

I think with a good editor and beta reader, this book could have earned a four-star quite easily.

 

 

 

Chasing the Beta

 

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3 stars

What I liked: There was¬†resolution. It was satisfactory too, so I wasn’t left feeling like the characters didn’t get the justice they deserved.

Alice got to have some semblance of happy towards the end which was nice.

The fact that Max proved us wrong, even if I still think he’s annoying and pushy.

 

What I could live without: The fact that I was able to predict who the blackmailer was and that we go in knowing who the murderer was, most of the mystery was sucked out of the story. However, the way that we get our vengeance was unexpected, but oh so perfect.

 

 

 

 


 

Until next time (read more than me),

 

Dee ^_^

Posted in Fandom Friday

Fandom Friday – As good as the real deal.

aka the time I couldn’t be happier to talk about fanfiction.


 

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How do I get this as a phone case, laptop cover, t-shirt, sweater…you get the idea.

 

It’s all about Fanfiction today and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that fanfiction is becoming more mainstream. I remember in the early years of reading and writing fic, people would make snide comments and stereotype us as ‘overweight, single and lonely women who were bored with their lives”. Now there are mainstream media stories about its merits. Never thought I’d see the day!

 

Okay, enough reminiscing about the olden days, on to the real reason that we’re all here: FANFICTION*.

 

*(For anyone who might be confused, fanfiction is a genre of writing loosely based on a tv show/movie/book. It can be as tame as fluffy childhood stories or as raunchy as Fifty Shades of Grey which began as a Twilight fic. The three biggest websites for fanfiction are: fanfiction.net, wattpad  and tumblr. )

 

Twilight

 

Usually, I stick to T or M rated stories, the fascination of which started when I tried filling the void left by the abandoned Midnight Sun manuscript. This was what started me in fanfiction in the first place and I haven’t looked back since. I love stories of Renee and Charlie before things went kaput, but mainly I just like to read stories of my favorite couples being normal. No more Volturi lurking around the corner, and no Renesmee (sorry Jake).

 

 

 

Harry Potter

 

Here is where my writing of fanfiction began. I wanted more, and that epilogue just teased me. I wanted to see Rose and Scorpius become ‘a thing’. I wanted to see Teddy grow up and have his own family. I just…wanted. Of course, this was pre-Cursed Child, which completely threw my story so far out of canon that I can’t even. But this was the beginning. Reading wise, I love reading New Generation stories (the kids of our favorite kids) and Marauders fics. James and Sirius’ shenanigans needs documenting dammit, and if J. K won’t give us, I’ll find it elsewhere.

 

 

 

Carry On

 

This one was a veeeery recent addition to my addiction. I already talked about my problems letting go so I won’t reiterate.

 


Honourable mentions (fandoms I used to read but haven’t in a while)

 

Remember Me – he shouldn’t have died. That’s all.

Vampires – usually original paranormal fics. It filled a hole before I got into J.R Ward and Lara Adrian.

 


Are you a fanfic reader? Are you curious?? If you need or have any rec’s, lemme kno!

 

Dee ^_^

 

 

 

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday

Oh, hello. It is I! A non-Wednesday poster, posting on a Wednesday. But I figured that I owed you all a post this week since I haven’t posted in a while.

 

This one I found when I was looking up typical Wednesday bookish topics and it seems pretty popular. And simple enough to join in on, you only have to answer three questions.

 

Here goes nothing.

 


 

What are you currently reading –

 

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I’ve only just started the third book in the Small Town series (what started as a trilogy is now promised to be, at the least, a quartet. The author recently announced book four.)

In this one, we’ve found out who our killer is, and now our MCs are trying to piece their lives back together. I want to see how Edwards does this one.

 

What did you finish reading recently –

 

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Believe it or not…I finished book two only last night. After speeding through the first bits of it on the first day that I picked it up, I put it down and didn’t pick it up again for a while. Then I flew through the end like nobody’s business. As with the first one, there were the typical sins of a first-time author, self-publishing, which led to an air of predictability. But, I could overlook those because I got my satisfactory retribution. I just wish someone would knock Alice on the head a couple of times though.

 

 

 

 

What do you think you will be reading next –

 

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This one has been on my TBR for a long time, but, I’m making it a priority. It’s a retelling so it HAS to be a priority for me. Cuz, duh!

 


What are you reading on this wonderful Wednesday?

Dee ^_^

Posted in Top 5

More Monday – Standalones that I wish had sequels

aka The time I had trouble saying goodbye

 

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You guys! I have a problem with letting go. I admit that. And now, here we are with a list that shouldn’t even exist except for my odd clinging to their world.

 

 

 

Fangirl

(and Carry On by extension)

 

 

In the case of Carry On, I just want more of Simon and Baz’ love story, and I want to know that they both get to live that normal and happy life that they deserve. I want to know if maybe Simon gets his powers back. Maybe. Hopefully?

For Fangirl, I just want to see Cath flourish into the amazing author that she can be. I want to see her road to publication while balancing a personal life. I want the mundane, everyday story of her and Wren’s life post-college.

 

 

 

 

Eleanor & Park

 

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Maybe that’s what my relationship with Rainbow Rowell’s work will always be. Me, left wanting more. In this case, I just want more of an ending. Their story is ended so abruptly that I can’t help but think it was intended to have a sequel, but that it never came through. Maybe…

 

 

 

The Upside of Unrequited

 

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I would have added Simon here as well, but we’re getting Leah on the Offbeat, so I’m content for now. Honestly, this addition is just me wanting to be a nosy sneak. I wanna see all of Molly’s future relationships. Does she finally find ‘the one’? Or maybe she and *name¬†redacted* stayed together. I hope so.

 

 

One of Us is Lying

 

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I feel like this one may not be necessary either because I hear that it’s getting a tv series adaptation, but still. I’m here for the ships. That’s all.

 

 

Pride and Prejudice

 

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Did Darcy really get his shit together, or was his confession of love just a temporary leave of his sensibilities? Who else does he unwittingly shun? What about the other Bennet sisters???? Come on. I. Need. To. Know!

 


What are the stories that you find hard to let go?

 

Dee ^_^