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Books I wanted to throw across the room
Read at your own peril
I do not condone violence. But every now and then I read a book which makes me feel so much that I want to throw it across the room.
I want to be clear that I mean this as a compliment. This is a list of books which I loved reading, completely sucked me into their worlds and made me furious that I had to go back to my real life afterwards.
I’ve tried to unpack this sensation and it’s usually when a book has been so engrossing and captivating, when I feel like I know the characters as if they were real people and when I feel truly outraged after I turn the last page only to discover that there’s no more story left.
So read these books at your own peril. I take no responsibility for bent covers or holes in your wall.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
We Were Liars follows Cadence as she navigates a summer with her wealthy family on their private island. There has been some sort of accident that Cadence can’t remember and no one will tell her about. She feels like she can only trust her cousins. What will they uncover?
I honestly don’t want to spoil a single thing about this book. If you haven’t heard anything about it, go read it now.
Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts
Seventeen-year-old Zac is enduring a grueling leukemia treatment in Perth when he meets Mia, his loud new neighbour in the hospital room next to his. Once they are both released from hospital, they desperately try to resume normal lives.
I read Zac and Mia on the Kindle app on my phone sitting on my apartment balcony underneath the Canberra moonlight when I tapped the next page to discover that it had ended. I was already crying by that point, so of course I wanted nothing more than to throw the book off my balcony for having the audacity to end. Thankfully my brain had enough working cells to know that dropping my phone one storey onto the concrete was a bad idea.
A.J. Betts is a wonderful writer and Zac and Mia is a beautifully inevitable story where every element feels real. It was a thoughtful, tender and gripping novel.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Several years after their friendship was forged in a hospital games room, Sam Masur and Sadie Green run into each other at a train station in Cambridge, Massachusetts and decide to start designing video games together. With the backing of Sam’s generous and extraverted roommate Marx Watanabe, Sam and Sadie create their first blockbuster Ichigo and launch themselves into a career of game-making.
I finished reading Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow around two or three o’clock in the morning. I hadn’t intended to stay up that late, but at some point just past midnight I realised that I couldn’t put the book down again. I was going to power through to the end even if the sun started to rise.
The feeling of wanting to throw the book across the room came much earlier in this book than in the others. There are certain events in the book that make you feel furious at the unfairness in the world and utterly powerless to do anything about it. Of course, I kept reading anyway.
Only a Monster by Vanessa Len
Sixteen-year-old Joan enjoys spending each summer with her late mother’s eccentric family in London. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House and starts growing closer to her super cute co-worker Nick. But when she learns that her family are actually monsters who steal time from people’s lives and Nick is a legendary monster slayer, things get a lot more complicated. Joan will have to embrace her own monstrousness and come to terms with the fact that she is not the hero of this story.
I read this book on a plane. Another horrible not-socially-acceptable-to-throw-a-book situation to find myself in. I was mostly furious that I had to wait to read the sequel which is coming out in Australia this August. It is not even Vanessa Len’s fault, I am just an impatient reader with literary commitment issues.
Joan’s London is a wonderful world full of familiarity and surprise. I can’t wait to revisit it in the sequel.
This Time It’s Real by Ann Liang
When seventeen-year-old Eliza Lin’s essay about meeting the love of her life unexpectedly goes viral, her entire life changes overnight. Now she has the approval of her classmates at her new international school in Beijing, a career-launching internship opportunity at her favorite magazine…and a massive secret to keep. Eliza made her essay up. She’s never been in a relationship before, let alone in love. All good writing is lying, right?
Desperate to hide the truth, Eliza strikes a deal with the famous actor in her class, the charming but aloof Caz Song. She’ll help him write his college applications if he poses as her boyfriend. Caz is a dream boyfriend – he passes handwritten notes to her in class, makes her little sister laugh, and takes her out on motorcycle rides to the best snack stalls around the city. But when her relationship with Caz starts feeling a little too convincing, all of Eliza’s carefully laid plans are threatened. Can she still follow her dreams if it means breaking her own heart?
I want to read about Caz and Eliza’s whole lives. How brief and unfair that I only got to spend 352 pages with them. Ann Liang is such a wonderful writer. I also loved her debut If You Could See the Sun and I impatiently await her next book. She offers such an exciting and fresh new take on romance.