Creeps [Book Review]

Book Reviews, Lifestyle/Personal

When a copy of Creeps by Darren Hynes showed up in my mailbox I was ecstatic! I love YA novels, particularly ones that are REAL or depict high school in a true light. Creeps is The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets The Fault in Our Stars meets Invisible — three books that I love dearly, so you can only imagine how I feel about this one.

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Fifteen-year-old Wayne Pumphrey wishes he were courageous enough to actually send the heartfelt letters he writes to friends and family. He also wishes his father would drive on the right side of the street, his mother would stop packing her suitcase to leave, and his sister would stop listening to Nickelback. But most of all, he wishes that Pete “The Meat” would let him walk to school in peace. After all, how many times can one person eat yellow snow?

Then one morning, while facing Pete and his posse, Wayne is rescued by Marjorie, the girl with a dead father and a mother who might as well be. Together, the two of them escape Pete’s relentless bullying by rehearsing for the school play, and an unlikely friendship is formed. As they grow ever closer to one another, they begin to dream of escape from their small town and restricted lives. But Pete now has plans for both of them—and after a moment of sudden violence, nothing will ever be the same again for Wayne, Marjorie, or Pete himself.

Creeps is a tough book to read, in that it hurts you your heart. For a fifteen-year-old kid to feel so helpless and so alone, to be picked on to the point insanity, whose only comfort is writing un-sent letters, your heart bleeds for this child. The language, scenes, and bullying leave very little room for imagination. They are what they are and there’s no sugar-coating it. Some kids go through hell in high school and this novel is a testament to that. It’s an eye-opener for anyone who doesn’t believe that there are real bullies out there. Bullying seems to be worse now than when I was in high school. It’s harder to ft in, it’s harder to stand out, it’s harder to be accepted.

…I’ll take the job anyway because it’s good to have somewhere to go and something to do and someone other than the wall to look at and say stuff to.” (Page 59)

Wayne, is a character I won’t soon forget, he is everything I was in high school. The kind of kid who likes the quiet, who writes instead of speaks, who knows that the day will come when he or she has to get LOUD, has to stand up for his or herself. His words and his letters will stick with me for a long time. His fears and his insecurities are things that I would never wish upon anyone. He is a great character that can teach readers many things. He can teach you by showing you. He shows you that we all have problems, even if we try to keep them inside. He shows you what it is to be brave in ‘silly’ little ways. He shows you that you’re not as alone as you think you are. He shows you how big of a difference one person can make.

…he wonders how it could be that yesterday he felt so young but now feels like a man and it occurs to him that something begins at the same time something ends, so he’ll always be in motion, moving towards and away from things.” (Page 180)

With his raw and sincere writing style, Darren Hynes has crafted a book that should be on the TO READ list of every ninth-grader.

Creeps will have you turning pages, shedding tears, and hoping for the best possible ending, because Wayne deserves it.

___

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

What's so cool about being NORMAL anyway!?

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

This morning I finished reading an ARC of John Boyne’s The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket, and I’m left wondering what is so cool about being normal anyway?!

cover

 

Barnaby Brocket was born into a very normal family, with a very normal mother, father, sister, brother, and dog. The only thing that isn’t quite normal is that Barnaby…well he kind of floats. He can’t keep his feet on the ground, only a knapsack filled with sand can keep them firmly planted. One day the most terrible thing happens – Barnaby finds himself floating higher and higher into the clouds, drifting far away from home. Ironically this terrible incident leads him on the most wonderful adventure of his young life.

Barnaby travels to many different places and meets many people who are just as special as he is. Barnaby learns many lessons on his travels – my favourite one goes something like this;

“…just because your version of normal isn’t the same as someone else’s version doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.” (92)

He also learns that life has so many wonderful sights and experiences to offer that there’s no point in paying attention to horrible people or rude comments. I find that lesson to be terribly important. Bullying is such a huge problem these days and its roots are found in not accepting people because they are different. Although this book isn’t on sale until January 8th, I highly recommend it as a gift for any youngster in your life. The earlier children are taught how amazing it is to be different, the better chance we have of accepting these differences, as well as ourselves.

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Barnaby’s story truly warmed my heart (thanks for sending it over Lindsey :)). The illustrations in this book are wonderful and give it a very Rohald Dahl-like feel. The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is a great book for kids and adults alike – it’s a sweet read with a terrific message AND it’s funny! What a fantastic combo ;).

Love Always
Vanessa Xo
__
Synopsis (from the Random House of Canada Limited website)
A tale of acceptance from the bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
 
Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary eight-year-old boy in most ways, but he was born different in one important way: he floats. Unlike everyone else, Barnaby does not obey the law of gravity. His parents, who have a fear of being noticed, want desperately for Barnaby to be normal, but he can’t help who he is. And when the unthinkable happens, Barnaby finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world. Drifting from Brazil to New York, from Canada to Ireland, and even to space, the floating boy meets all sorts of different people—and discovers who he really is along the way.
 
This whimsical novel will delight middle-graders, while readers of all ages will find themselves questioning what it means to be “normal.”

What’s so cool about being NORMAL anyway!?

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

This morning I finished reading an ARC of John Boyne’s The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket, and I’m left wondering what is so cool about being normal anyway?!

cover

 

Barnaby Brocket was born into a very normal family, with a very normal mother, father, sister, brother, and dog. The only thing that isn’t quite normal is that Barnaby…well he kind of floats. He can’t keep his feet on the ground, only a knapsack filled with sand can keep them firmly planted. One day the most terrible thing happens – Barnaby finds himself floating higher and higher into the clouds, drifting far away from home. Ironically this terrible incident leads him on the most wonderful adventure of his young life.

Barnaby travels to many different places and meets many people who are just as special as he is. Barnaby learns many lessons on his travels – my favourite one goes something like this;

“…just because your version of normal isn’t the same as someone else’s version doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.” (92)

He also learns that life has so many wonderful sights and experiences to offer that there’s no point in paying attention to horrible people or rude comments. I find that lesson to be terribly important. Bullying is such a huge problem these days and its roots are found in not accepting people because they are different. Although this book isn’t on sale until January 8th, I highly recommend it as a gift for any youngster in your life. The earlier children are taught how amazing it is to be different, the better chance we have of accepting these differences, as well as ourselves.

tumblr_mephj9R77V1rmxtuzo1_400_large

Barnaby’s story truly warmed my heart (thanks for sending it over Lindsey :)). The illustrations in this book are wonderful and give it a very Rohald Dahl-like feel. The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is a great book for kids and adults alike – it’s a sweet read with a terrific message AND it’s funny! What a fantastic combo ;).

Love Always
Vanessa Xo
__
Synopsis (from the Random House of Canada Limited website)
A tale of acceptance from the bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
 
Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary eight-year-old boy in most ways, but he was born different in one important way: he floats. Unlike everyone else, Barnaby does not obey the law of gravity. His parents, who have a fear of being noticed, want desperately for Barnaby to be normal, but he can’t help who he is. And when the unthinkable happens, Barnaby finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world. Drifting from Brazil to New York, from Canada to Ireland, and even to space, the floating boy meets all sorts of different people—and discovers who he really is along the way.
 
This whimsical novel will delight middle-graders, while readers of all ages will find themselves questioning what it means to be “normal.”

What's on YOUR List?

Lifestyle/Personal

Did any of you watch yesterday’s Winter Finale of Glee? Well I did and I must say that it was incredibly sad and very moving. I don’t want to give it all away in case you haven’t watched it yet but I will say this – it got me thinking about what I’m looking forward to in my life. It got me thinking about what I would be sad to miss if I had ever decided to take my own life.

Granted the first entry in my book My Pen, My Voice talks about wanting to get away. It talks about being afraid of everything, it talks about how uncomfortable I was with myself and everyone else, but I never once thought about ending my life. I know this is a sore subject for people but I think that it is one that should be talked about.

So, what do I want to be around to see? What don’t I want to miss? Given my chronic OCD I’ll put it in a nice little list for you.

  1. My sister’s wedding
  2. Seeing what my brother grows up to be – his successes.
  3. Meeting my nieces and nephews – and maybe having a child of my own.
  4. My writing career – wherever it takes me and whatever books I will write.
  5. Seeing my parents retire.
  6. Seeing my sister get her first tattoo 😛
  7. Walking down the aisle at my own wedding.
  8. Crossing destinations and goals off of my Bucket List – traveling the world alone, with family, and with the bf 🙂
  9. Buying my own house or condo – let’s be serious I don’t plant things or cut grass or shovel snow and neither does the bf 😛

That list could literally go on and on. There are so many things in life to look forward to, so many things that you can see and do. There are so many things in this world to LOVE and to be thankful for. I know life gets rough sometimes and I know that as soon as things start going right, something bad usually happens to spoil it. BUT I also know that things will get better again eventually.

Things always get better and you become stronger because of it.

P.s How cute is Kelly Clarkson?

Remember to stay strong because LOVE will always get you through it. 
Love Always
Vanessa Xo

What’s on YOUR List?

Lifestyle/Personal

Did any of you watch yesterday’s Winter Finale of Glee? Well I did and I must say that it was incredibly sad and very moving. I don’t want to give it all away in case you haven’t watched it yet but I will say this – it got me thinking about what I’m looking forward to in my life. It got me thinking about what I would be sad to miss if I had ever decided to take my own life.

Granted the first entry in my book My Pen, My Voice talks about wanting to get away. It talks about being afraid of everything, it talks about how uncomfortable I was with myself and everyone else, but I never once thought about ending my life. I know this is a sore subject for people but I think that it is one that should be talked about.

So, what do I want to be around to see? What don’t I want to miss? Given my chronic OCD I’ll put it in a nice little list for you.

  1. My sister’s wedding
  2. Seeing what my brother grows up to be – his successes.
  3. Meeting my nieces and nephews – and maybe having a child of my own.
  4. My writing career – wherever it takes me and whatever books I will write.
  5. Seeing my parents retire.
  6. Seeing my sister get her first tattoo 😛
  7. Walking down the aisle at my own wedding.
  8. Crossing destinations and goals off of my Bucket List – traveling the world alone, with family, and with the bf 🙂
  9. Buying my own house or condo – let’s be serious I don’t plant things or cut grass or shovel snow and neither does the bf 😛

That list could literally go on and on. There are so many things in life to look forward to, so many things that you can see and do. There are so many things in this world to LOVE and to be thankful for. I know life gets rough sometimes and I know that as soon as things start going right, something bad usually happens to spoil it. BUT I also know that things will get better again eventually.

Things always get better and you become stronger because of it.

P.s How cute is Kelly Clarkson?

Remember to stay strong because LOVE will always get you through it. 
Love Always
Vanessa Xo

An 'Invisible' Book Review

Just for Fun

It took me only a day but I have finished Invisible – a book that was generously given to me by Jeanne Bannon. I wrote a little review on Goodreads – you can read it here. If it sounds like the kind of book for you, I would highly recommend it.

My favourite line from the entire novel would have to be this one:

The whole world can wait because nothing’s more important than the story I am telling.

– Jeanne Bannon Invisible

When I am writing anything worth writing I usually find myself seated at my desk with my computer off, music playing on my outdated stereo, my phone on silent, with a pen in my hand, and my notebook in front of me. It’s my own little writing world that I create so I can completely focus on what I am doing. Whether I am working on a blog, a story, or simply writing an entry in my diary (yes, I still have one), it is the most important thing to me, in that moment. It’s funny because until I read that line I hadn’t realized that everything can and will be put on hold for my writing…

I’m reading that line over again right now.

And again and again.

Ahhh I love it.

Pure word bliss.

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

An ‘Invisible’ Book Review

Just for Fun

It took me only a day but I have finished Invisible – a book that was generously given to me by Jeanne Bannon. I wrote a little review on Goodreads – you can read it here. If it sounds like the kind of book for you, I would highly recommend it.

My favourite line from the entire novel would have to be this one:

The whole world can wait because nothing’s more important than the story I am telling.

– Jeanne Bannon Invisible

When I am writing anything worth writing I usually find myself seated at my desk with my computer off, music playing on my outdated stereo, my phone on silent, with a pen in my hand, and my notebook in front of me. It’s my own little writing world that I create so I can completely focus on what I am doing. Whether I am working on a blog, a story, or simply writing an entry in my diary (yes, I still have one), it is the most important thing to me, in that moment. It’s funny because until I read that line I hadn’t realized that everything can and will be put on hold for my writing…

I’m reading that line over again right now.

And again and again.

Ahhh I love it.

Pure word bliss.

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

This Morning I Met Jonah.

Uncategorized

This morning I burned my toast…

How in the heck did I manage that? I was a little distracted. You see, this morning I met Jonah.

 

This video hurt my heart like you wouldn’t believe. I was bullied when I was a kid but never to that extent, never to the extent that made me want to hurt myself. I remember other kids getting bullied and I cannot imagine how much worse it must be to be bullied today (with the advent of Facebook and other social forums). Kids are meaner these days (I don’t mean to paint all kids with the same brush but it’s just a trend I’ve noticed). It may be fun to look cool in front of your friends, to shut someone down to make yourself feel better, but you never know the affect that your words have on that person. Some people can shrug it off, others will laugh it off, some will retaliate, but others will feel it down to their core. It will hurt them every single day.

Who deserves that kind of torture?

No one. 

I know that it’s impossible to get along with everyone but does that mean you should hurt someone just because you don’t like them? No.  My Dad has always taught me to be friends with everyone. The nerds, the jocks, the cool kids, the science geeks, the “losers”, the media geeks etc. (not that I like the idea a labels but you get the idea). Just because you’re part of different groups doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you have to hate one another or be a jerk to someone. I was never friends with “everyone” because I was too shy, but I do think that my Dad has the right idea of the person you should strive to become when you’re in high school, and I think it should start as early as elementary school.

I think that Jonah is an amazing kid and has an immense amount of courage for putting a video like that on YouTube. I hope it affects kids, teens, tweens, and even young adults the  way that he intended it to. I hope that other bullied teens and kids find strength in knowing that they aren’t alone and that they find a safer way to deal with bullies than hurting themselves (music, writing, sports, cooking, and art are great outlets). I hope that bullies will see this video and see how much pain one person can go through on a daily basis. I hope they can see the wrong that they are doing.

I hope that Jonah will inspire us all.

I hope that he doesn’t have to be afraid anymore.

I hope you all have a Happy Monday and try to Smile.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo