Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

places Waverly is perfect except so can’t sleep so she spends her nights running.  Marshall is loser burn out, who spends his nights drinking and smoking pot.  They have nothing in common and since they don’t run in the same social circles they have no reason to interact, until Waverly decides to try an experiment to help her sleep and ends up in Marshall’s room.  I’m wrong they do have one thing in common.  They both have terrible coping habits.  Waverly has created this kind of ice princess persona. She is the perfect student, the perfect social butterfly, the perfect daughter and the perfect citizen.  Since junior high, she has planned her and her best friend’s ascent up the social hierarchy.  Now that she is there, she is trapped in this persona she has created and doesn’t know what to do with herself.  Her own fears of people seeing through her carefully crafted facade keeps her up all night.  She runs, she does homework, she watches horror movies late at night.  Marshall is the opposite, he’s almost too open.  He cares too much.  His home life is a mess.  He’s parents were going to get divorce but then his dad gets sick so they decide to stay together even though it makes them unhappy and everyone else unhappy.  To deal with it he does everything to know the pain.  He drinks until he gets sick.  He smokes until his stoned. He makes out with a girl that he knows he doesn’t like but that she likes him.  He rarely goes to class because what’s the point? He’s not going to college. Things start to change when Waverly magically appears in Marshall’s room.  It’s weird and uncomfortable and awkward as neither of them know what’s going on and Marshall is the only one who can see her.  To Waverly it’ a dream that helps her sleep but when she wakes up their remnants of the dream remain.  She has leaves on her feet from walking outside or a gigantic hickey from last night’s make out session.  At night they can be open and honest with each other but in the bright of day they can barely acknowledge each other existence.   Marshall wouldn’t fit in Waverly’s world.  However, they are just want each other needs.  Waverly shows Marshall that he matters, that he could be so much more then what he is right now.  And Marshall shows Waverly that she doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.  I was really drawn into these characters and I wanted them to find a way to each other.  It was satisfying when they both stood finally stood up for themselves to their various bullies.  For them to both realize what was truly making them feel unhappy and finally doing something about it.  At times I found myself identifying with both Waverly and Marshall.  There are times in my life that I felt I had a certain ways to fit in with my friends, especially in high school.  You say and do things that you know the other person wants to hear and do because it’s just easier to go along. I also know the feeling of just trying to numb the pain instead of dealing with it.  I like to think that I have good coping mechanisms but not always.  This book is just a reminder that sometimes the biggest obstacles to being happy is ourselves.  Literature is great like that. It’s entertaining and full of life lessons.

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Quick Review: The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff

Featured imageMaggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff are three successful authors on their own right but they are also each other critique partners.  They call themselves the Merry Sisters of Fates.  If you are familiar with our blog, then you already know about Maggie.  I love her and obviously, I have read all of Maggie’s work. I have read some the works of Tessa and Brenna and have mix feelings about them. I really liked Brenna’s The Replacement but only so-so about Fiendish.  I did enjoy both Tessa’s Blood Magic and Blood Keeper but for some reason have yet to pick up her latest series.    Anyway, the three ladies used to post their short stories on their website but I think since all of their writing careers have taken off they haven’t had time to write that many.  They all are very different writers with different styles, though they do all seem to stay on the fantasy side of literature.  In The Anatomy of Curiosity they each wrote a short story displaying their personal theory on what is important in starting to build a story.  Is it Character development, world building or the idea of a story.  They all start at different places but still come up with great stories.  Before each story, they go through their process and why they started where they did, why they made these choices and so forth.  Through out the stories, they each write for asides as to why they used these words or choices, giving the reader a true insight into their thinking and process.  After the story is over they other chime in with their notes. You can read all the notes or you can just read the stories and you will still get a great experience.  For inspiring writers, this is a good tool to helping them with their decision making or for us readers, a chance to read some good short stories.  Either way it’s a win.