Review: Weathering With You by Makoto Shinkai

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Longing to escape his island home, a boy named Hodaka runs away during his first summer of high school to find a new life in Tokyo. As rain falls for days on end and Hodaka struggles to adjust, he meets a girl named Hina who holds a mysterious power: With a single prayer, she can part the clouds and bring back the sun. But her power comes at a price, and as the weather spirals further and further out of control, they must choose what future they truly want for themselves.
Written concurrently with production of the 2019 film Weathering With You, this novel comes straight from director Makoto Shinkai, the mind behind 2016’s hit your name.!

I always find these books the hardest to review. Makoto Shinkai is the director of multiple movies such as Your Name and now Weathering With You. In 2017, I read the light novel of Your Name and adored it so much – you can see my review here. But the difference here is I think there was much more time between me watching the Your Name movie and reading the light novel. This time, I only watched Weathering With You around a month ago, so reading the light novel with it so fresh in my mind was a little strange. I’m going to attempt to summarise my thoughts on this book, but I also believe I will naturally struggle to separate the two and may discuss both.

Makoto Shinkai, you’ve done it again. I fell in love with this story just as much as I did with Your Name. Although both stories are a little dark, I saw the contrast between them almost instantly. A major focus of Weathering is environmental and climate change, but it also immediately explores difficult family relationships, homelessness and mentions gun crime and the difficulties young girls face on the streets. Watching the film, I was a little shocked. The dark undertones of this story were not quite expected, and gave a much different narrative for me than that of the familiar Your Name.

However, the story quickly picks up and we see our main character meet the 100% sunshine girl, and a magical realism compelling fantasy tale emerges. Even if I didn’t always love all of the characters in this book, I appreciated them for what they were, including Keisuke. I loved that the book gives cameos to both Taki and Mitsuha from Your Name, and they’re in the movie too, if a little harder to spot.

Hodaka and Hina both grow and have a strange coming of age story among all the madness they face. Seeing them face their own challenges together and apart warmed my heart, and I ended up tearing up at the movie and the book. Even Hina’s little brother, Keisuke’s daughter and the cat ended up having a special place in my heart.

My only difficulty (other than separating my thoughts between the movie and the light novel), is that this book often left me questioning who was narrating. We follow more than two characters, and there isn’t any chapter or section headings to indicate the switches, neither is the tone all that different. It left me muddled and I found the book hard to follow in parts.

Overall, the story of Weathering With You was compelling, emotional and romantic. I can’t say whether it surpassed or matched Your Name for me, but rather I think it holds a different piece of me all together, a piece just as treasured.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #5

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! Although I have bought books recently, I bought some to replace editions I already had, so luckily didn’t add to my TBR! So what did I replace?

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Goodreads

Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

For Bella Swan, there is only one thing more important than life itself – Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire. Now they realise their troubles may just be beginning.

I’ve had a few of the white editions of these books for a while, and I decided to finally complete the collection by adding these two! They look so pretty together.

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Blog Tour & Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Thank you to Penguin Viking for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 216 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.
Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?

I’m not one to pick up books like this, but when I found out about it at a Penguin event I was drawn in instantly. It sounded thrilling, fascinating and intriguing. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found this book so quick and easy to get through. The chapters are short and change POV between Eddie after the plane crash and the time on the plane before it actually crashed. The plane chapters cover more than just Eddie and his family, and instead focuses on a select number of people around the plane.

There was no reason for what happened to you, Eddie. You could have died; you just didn’t. It was dumb luck.

I feel like this way of storytelling intertwined with Edward’s emotional story and him trying to find himself after losing his entire family and living with his aunt and uncle was beautiful, and made us feel closer to the other characters on the plane when the time came for us to sympathise with them.

I feel like the only big let down for me was I expected more to be uncovered. The book actually never really discusses why Edward was the only one on the plane to survive, despite him questioning it. I guess I would have enjoyed it more as a thriller with a deeper level of intrigue.

Nobody chose you for anything. Which means, truly, that you can do anything.

This book is very character driven, but I enjoyed that. Even the small conversations Eddie has with other people in the story meant a lot to me, and seeing him come of age and grow with his difficult circumstances appealed to me. A part of the story I particularly loved was Edward deciding to go vegan for his brother, who made the decision to be vegan just before the plane crash. Another aspect of the book I really related to was both of the boys being home schooled, as I was home schooled for all of my high school years. I could really see how it enabled Edward to make decisions differently to other children his age.

Dear Edward wasn’t perfect or without it’s problems, but overall I enjoyed it greatly. It was a touching, emotional coming-of-age story that left me with goosebumps as I finished the final sentence.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

About the Author

Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, was published by Dial Press in January 2020. She is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She is also the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
Dear Edward was published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has fifteen international publishers.
Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

-Beth

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Review: Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…
Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

Yay! Heartstopper 3 is out in physical form! My lovely friend Chloe introduced me to the Heartstopper Webcomic around a year ago now and I ended up reading it in one sitting and absolutely adoring it. I’ve been keeping up to date with the online comic every time it’s updated and have introduced a few of my friends to the graphic novels too!

I was lucky enough to go to Alice’s signing on 6th February, which also happened to be the release date of the third graphic novel. I’ve been collecting the physical graphic novels as they are released, as I adore them so much it’s simply a joy to reread them.

The differences in the third book are apparent – this one explores quite difficult topics such as eating disorders. I really appreciated the delicate insightful way Oseman approaches these topics. After some heavy topics in Solitaire, which is the novel Charlie first appears in, Heartstopper can come across as very different in tone.

Another difference in this novel is that it’s set in Paris! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris a few times – once on a college trip – and I adore the city. It was so fun to read about Nick, Charlie and their friends in such a beautiful city.

These books are some of the few I see reading again and again. They comfort me so much and have such a lovely, soft aura about them.

You can also keep up to date on Tumblr or Tapas!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! Contemporary-a-thon Wrap-Up

I recently took part in contemporary-a-thon, and today I’m back to discuss my wrap-up! Contemporary-a-thon is a week long challenge with seven different prompts. The aim is to read as many books as you can in a week that fit into the seven different prompts. I managed to fit three books on my TBR loosely into the prompts, which are listed below after the video describing how the challenge works.

Having the challenge really pushed me to finish all three books. Even though one of them was a graphic novel and the other was pretty short, I pushed myself to read 140 pages on the final day in order to complete the challenge. Any other day I would have left the book until the next day to finish, so I was grateful to have the challenge in that sense!

Prompts

1. Read a contemporary book with green on the cover
2. Read a contemporary from a new to you author
3. Read a diverse contemporary
4. Read a backlist contemporary
5. Read a dark/hard hitting contemporary
6. Read a contemporary with an illustrated cover
7. Read a contemporary that is beloved by a member of the book community

Books I read

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.

I buddy read Yes No Maybe So with Alex and Faye! It fit prompts 2 and 3: read a book by an author new to you (Aisha Saeed) and read a diverse book. I adored Aisha Saeed’s writing and I can’t wait to read more by her. The diversity was great too!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Longing to escape his island home, a boy named Hodaka runs away during his first summer of high school to find a new life in Tokyo. As rain falls for days on end and Hodaka struggles to adjust, he meets a girl named Hina who holds a mysterious power: With a single prayer, she can part the clouds and bring back the sun. But her power comes at a price, and as the weather spirals further and further out of control, they must choose what future they truly want for themselves.
Written concurrently with production of the 2019 film Weathering With You, this novel comes straight from director Makoto Shinkai, the mind behind 2016’s hit your name.!
 

Weathering With You fit prompt 5 with it’s hard hitting tackling of climate change. I read around 140 pages on the last day of the challenge to finish this book, and I loved it.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…
Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

I choose to read Heartstopper 3 because it has green on the cover, to fit prompt 1, has been on my TBR since I read the Webcomic almost a year ago, has an illustrated cover and is much loved by the bookish community. I was so excited to read it after picking it up on the release day, and of course I adored this book even though I’m completely up-to-date with the Webcomic version.

Did you take part in contemporary-a-thon?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely. 

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book through work and I was super excited to find it! I’ve loved all of Becky Albertalli’s book so far, and this one didn’t let me down.

Maya and Jamie were such great protagonists. Jamie was so sweet and awkward and I related to him a lot. I adored his love for Target, because I also have a weird obsession with big department stores and find it really fun to go shopping when it’s quiet. I found Maya so interesting to read about because of her religion. I often find religion isn’t shown a lot in YA and it was fascinating to read about Maya being Muslim in the way it should be written – like it’s normal. Because it is.

I also adored the characters’ passion for politics. Maya and Jamie get to know each other through canvassing and politics, and it was so lovely to read about teenagers being interested in something so important. The other characters in the book were so lovable too – especially Jamie’s grandmother! She’s a social media influencer and she is the most amazing character. Both of Maya and Jamie’s families were so great as supporting character’s and the rest of the friends were fascinating too. I loved how much friendships and family relationships were written about and included too, especially the hard parts. It made the book so real and relatable!

The romance was the sweetest thing and I loved reading about it. It was a little cliche, but I was rooting for them all the way. I couldn’t help but love them. As Alex also said in her review, I was constantly reminded in little ways of my boyfriend and I realising we liked each other just before we got together, and it made me smile every time!

I had so much fun buddy reading this with Alex and Faye. This book was so easy to read and I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. I could have probably read over a hundred pages at a time, I was enjoying it so much!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! I’m really trying to keep my book-buying under some kind of control but I don’t think it’s going so well…I just keep ending up with new books!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Longing to escape his island home, a boy named Hodaka runs away during his first summer of high school to find a new life in Tokyo. As rain falls for days on end and Hodaka struggles to adjust, he meets a girl named Hina who holds a mysterious power: With a single prayer, she can part the clouds and bring back the sun. But her power comes at a price, and as the weather spirals further and further out of control, they must choose what future they truly want for themselves.
Written concurrently with production of the 2019 film Weathering With You, this novel comes straight from director Makoto Shinkai, the mind behind 2016’s hit your name.! 

I stumbled across this book in Waterstones Piccadilly, and I adored the movie when I saw it in January. It matches my copy of the light novel of Your Name, and I didn’t hesitate to pick it up!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.
But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.
The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

My lovely friend Alex asked me if I wanted to read this with her this week. I said yes, as we’re attending a signing for Karen m McManus in a few weeks and I want to get this one signed! I didn’t realise I hadn’t bought it yet, so I picked it up on Friday.

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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