Mini Reviews #4: Burn the Insta-Love

by - 7:13 PM

AKA: Ellie can't get her crap together enough to write full-on reviews for any of these books, so you get shortened versions of a bunch of reviews.

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

On the outside, there's Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there's Amber, locked up for so long she can't imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls' darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

5/5 history memes

This was such a gorgeous book.

It explored extremely important themes about the modern justice system and the problems it has, and I fell totally in love with Amber and Orianna. There were some surreal parts where I wasn't quite sure what was happening, but it was such a gorgeously-written book I couldn't bring myself to object too much.

If you're looking for a beautiful and thought-provoking (yet not thick or dense) read, I definitely recommend this book.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

2/5 dancing bears

This book, to me, was definitely overhyped.

Multiple friends recommended it, and all the quotes on the back of the book seemed to hail it as one of the best of the decade. It was given multiple awards, as I recall, and so I was definitely expecting more than I got.

What I got was an okay book. It was not a horrible book. But it was not a book that in any way lived up to anyone's praise, in my opinion.

First - the portrayal of depression. The book seemed to be saying that because Craig didn't eat or sleep every single night, he was therefore depressed. I realize that lost appetite and lack of sleep are symptoms of depression, but the book seemed to be saying that if I were to get to bed a few hours late and skip dinner one night because I was finishing up homework and had a late lunch, I must be severely depressed. Perhaps this is not what it meant to imply, but it's certainly the impression I got. I'm afraid that those who didn't know much about depression prior to reading this book might have gotten a similar impression and might now be walking around with mistaken ideas about what it means and how it feels to be depressed.

There were also major transphobic undertones, with Craig refusing to use a transgender person's preferred pronouns, instead saying "he/she/it". This is absolutely not okay.


That being said, the mapmaking aspect of the book was really unique, and I liked seeing Aaron's character development. It also, while not terribly gripping, was not terribly boring either.

An all right book, but not a great one.

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

4/5 cuddly Bagginshields

I picked this book up because of how much I'd loved the Bartimaeus series, and I was not disappointed.

True - this book and I started off rocky. The first hundred pages or so were very slow - I debated DNFing it - but then I remembered that The Amulet of Samarkand had started out in the same way and it's now one of my favorite books. So I decided to persevere (I refuse to give up that easily on the soul who created Bartimaeus), and I'm so glad I did.

The characters are stunning in this book - George is amazing and takes no crap, Lockwood is a brilliant hero it's hard to not fall a little bit in love with, and Lucy is different from the average female protagonist. She's not beautiful, and she's not a special snowflake. She gets in trouble and makes tons of mistakes. And so does everyone else in this book. (Well, except George, because he's pretty perfect tbh.) Once the story got going this book was incredible, and I'm very excited to pick up the next installment. 


Let's chat! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What have been your most recent reads? Comment below, and remember that you are all very beautiful pickles <3



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  1. AHHH so sad you didn't like It's Kind of a Funny Story :( One of my fave books. But lol I love all of your "stars" :)

  2. I love when you do these mini reviews! I'm going to have to read The Walls Around Us now, it sounds really good. And the cover is so pretty! ♥
    Amy xx

    Little Moon Dragon

    1. Ahhh, thank you! You absolutely must; it's fantastic. I hope you enjoy!

      - Ellie

  3. I love your reviews! And the ratings . . . too funny!

    Serena | poetree

  4. The transphobic aspect of It's Kind Of A Funny Story sounds horrible. I've seen loads of mentions of the book online, but I'm glad I've not picked it up.

  5. These books seem interesting but definitely not my type. And insta-love? NOPE.


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