Review: Me Before You | And Everything In Between

Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Publishing/Viking

Publication Date: December 31, 2012

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Series (Me Before You #1)

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

Just bury me with Will please. I am feeling everything I never thought I could feel: heartbroken, in love, confused, hopeful, hopeless – everything is so beautiful and everything hurts. I’ve cried tremendous bouts of tears reading this love story, both happy and sad. This book is one you will never forget, taking readers on a journey through a closed off world where pain is so real that death is something to look forward to. Love, not even love sometimes is just not enough. Me Before You, set aside the promise that it will break your heart, will also change your perspective on the little things – walking, eating, the sunshine, taking chances, taking risks, having choices. It calls into question our everyday life and where we choose to go and who we choose to become from this moment.

Goodreads Review:

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?


Louisa Clark is a quirky, chatterbox 26-year-old whose wildly eccentric and colorful clothing makes her stand out in her small town outside of London. She’s worked at the same cafe since she was a teenager and cannot begin to dream up a life outside it’s doors. She’s been dating an average-looking personal trainer Patrick for years for no real reason than that it makes sense. One day she walks into work expecting to grind the same beans, hear the same voices ordering the same drinks, listening to the same customers making the same complaints. Instead she’s met with a ‘closed’ sign and her boss waiting to give her her last paycheck. Louisa’s life is about to take a turn that not even Louisa herself can see coming.

Will Traynor is a handsome business man. He indulges in life’s possibilities and is always looking to tomorrow before today is even finished. He jumps out airplanes, loves Parisian sidewalk cafes, and never not lives. He loves London the idea of having choices, taking risks, seeing the world; never being contained in one place. His life is turned upside down one rainy day on his way to work when he is hit by a driver who loses control of the wheel. In an instant Will loses all vivacity and faith in life as choices are here on out made more him, risks are no longer a possibility and of course not chances. Everything changes and nothing for Will never again be what life is supposed to be.

Will is a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair, has little voluntary movement and require round the clock care. All past caretakers with experience, degrees and professionalism have been a failure and walked out of the job. Time is ticking and Will’s mom is becoming desperate to find someone to save her son from himself. Louisa is out of a job, needs money to take care of her family, and has little experience outside of serving coffee. The local job centre places Louisa is a variety of jobs, all of which she finds pitiful and pathetic. She ultimately obtains a six month contract as a caretaker, finally accepting the job more for the promising salary than for her own sanity.

A few weeks into the job and Louisa’s breaking down. Will is impossibly cranky, bossy and can’t seem to stand Louisa near him, less the sound of her voice or knowledge of her presence in the house. Louisa busies herself with minuscule tasks like cleaning the tiles on the bathroom wall, bringing Will in continuous warm beverages and scrubbing the floor. However, as time wears on the two begin to fall into each others rhythm with some orders from Will and quick comebacks from Louisa. They develop a unmistakable bond and soon make it into each others hearts in a way that one could only think possible in fairytales.

Assisted suicide is a theme that pervades throughout the entire novel. It calls into question the meaning of life and making choices between life an death. Each character is put into the position of rethinking the very definition of life and distinguishing the nuances between living and surviving. Will seems to be just barely holding onto life as he now sees himself as simply a doll confined to a wheelchair, surviving and no longer being given the opportunity to make live or even make choices on his own life. He is left to watch the world pass him by, sitting in front of the window as the seasons change, people move on and the world outside forgets that he ever even existed. The portrayal of suicide in the novel was overwhelmingly touching as Moyes presents both sides of the story, leaving the reader to make his or her own decision on whether to take Will’s mothers side or Louisa’s mothers side.

The majority of the novel is narrated by Louisa with a few chapters told by other characters to give background information and tell thoughts of other characters that Louisa wouldn’t have access to such as Will’s nurse and friend, Nathan, and Louisa’s younger sister, Trina. As the novel progresses Louisa’s hope and confidence in her mission to save Will becomes stronger and all the more heartfelt. She becomes more than just an awkward companion to a crippled and overwhelmingly depressed man. She’s the one that keeps Will holding on for as long as he does. She joins online forums to find activities and ways to make Will believe he can still lead the life he once did. She thinks and spends every waking moment with Will in her thoughts, trying not to watch as the days, weeks, months on her calendar fall and slip away. Louisa is such an affective voice in the book through her observations of Will as well as her own self reflections of her progression. Will inspires her to get out of her bubble and take the world, while she still is young and has a chance. He urges her to seek adventure and be someone greater than what the town allow her to be. Will’s faith in Louisa gives Louisa the faith she needs in herself to take chances, risks and make choices. The reader sees this from little pivotal moments here and there in the story such as the scene in the tattoo parlor, Louisa’s flashback to the maze incident growing up, as well as her adventure scuba diving towards the end.

If all the little yet ripping events in between weren’t enough to tear apart my heart the ending was brutal, just completely and utterly brutal. After the final holiday that Louisa, Will and Nathan took together I was looking towards a completely different, more romantically classic ending. I was definitely not prepared for the way it all ended up. But then again, it is a sort of feminist, contemporary ending where the girl doesn’t necessarily need the guy to sweep her off her feet and lead her into a happy ever after in the sunset. In this story Louisa makes it into the sunset alone, without a guy. This little turn I really liked, but then again there is a part of me that just felt as though Will was completely giving up hoe at adapting to life as it was now available to him. His life was a miracle and, though it was not the life he chose, it was still in the grand scheme of things a life better than many other people were able to get out of a traumatic accident. But then again, reading all the little pieces of Will’s life that he could no longer have for himself from typing a letter on his computer with his bare hands, to dancing with a girl on his own two feet, and even to walking up the steps to his favorite restaurants there is also a part of me that admires Will for having held on for as long as he did. This new life was not life to Will. This new world of pain, constant attention when put in public situations, it was all just too much for Will, even with Louisa around to make it all somewhat more bearable.

Me Before You is an inspiring and memorable story that left me in tears, both happy and sad. Though the ending was not as I would have pictured going in, it was nonetheless perfect in its own right. Lives are changed inside and outside of the story as life and what it means to live one’s own life as one chooses must be redefined. The characters are charming and realistic to the point I found myself at times being them in the course of the story. This book captures everything I’ve ever looked for in a book – romance, heartache, loss and self discovery. This is one of those stories that will make you shudder, sending chills up your spine even after you turn the last page.

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Goodreads)

Review: History is All You Left Me | And the Tears Continue

Title: History Is All You Left Me

Author: Adam Silvera

Publisher: SOHO Tean

Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Genre: YA, LGBTQ, Mental Illness

Rating: 5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

History is All You Left Me is the second novel of debut author Adam Silvera, his first being More Happy Than Not. This is a tragic story of love, loss and letting go (awesome use of alliteration here Delphine!). Silvera’s novel shows that mourning does not only mean grief but also accepting grief as period of picking up oneself and accepting what is to come. This is a compellingly heartbreaking read and tore me apart from the very first sentence:

“You’re still in alternate universes,Theo, but I live in the real world, where this morning you’re having an open-casket funeral”.  Continue reading “Review: History is All You Left Me | And the Tears Continue”

Review: The Sun is Also a Star | Blinded by this Sunny Star

Title: The Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: November 01, 2016

Genre: YA

Rating: 4 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

This book is an outpouring of tears and everything that any girl looks for in romance – affection, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, hopefulness. The Sun is Also a Star is a book on race, immigration, young love, hope, family – everything and anything that can be connected with love. Just like in Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon effortlessly brings together romance and culture by bringing together two young people from different worlds, representing love not only as a union between two people but also an understanding of dreams and differences between worlds and how these worlds affect dreams (wow, that was a riddle in an of itself!). Continue reading “Review: The Sun is Also a Star | Blinded by this Sunny Star”

Review: More Happy Than Not | Everything To Rather Be

Title: More Happy Than Not

Author: Adam Silvera

Publisher: Soho Teen

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Genre: YA, LGBTQ, Mental Illness, Science Fiction

Rating: 5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

How am I just now reading Silvera ? One of the most anticipated books from the debut author in 2015 and I’m just discovering his writing now, in the beginning of 2018. How is this even acceptable for any YA reader ? More Happy Than Not is a whirlwind of tragedy, misfortune, self-discovery, and an utmost pursuit of happiness in a reality where happiness is taken for granted and lost more easily than it is gained. This is a book of struggles between race, sexuality as well as oneself. It’s everything that I could ever hope for in a modern YA of today. This is a page turner that goes back in time recreating the demons of young Aaron Soto’s past and his determination to erase it all, even if it means losing more of himself than just his past.  Continue reading “Review: More Happy Than Not | Everything To Rather Be”

Review: Murder in Little Shendon | Spitefully Slow, in Stuffy Ole’ Shendon

Title: Murder in Little Shendon

Author: A.H. Richardson

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: August 28, 2015

Genre: Murder Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 Stars

I was recently sent Murder in Little Shendon by publicists in exchange for an honest review.

Dear fellow Babblers,

A.H. Richardson’s Murder in Little Shendon is an Agatha Christie murder mystery written in the hand of our beloved 40-page-sentence author, Marcel Proust. This means to say that this book is a murder mystery in the way that it is not so much the murder that is at heart of the entire story, but rather the way in which it is described – how the murder, it’s suspects, and everything and everyone in between are presented to the reader. Alternating points of view and perspectives lure the reader into the story where everything is no longer cookie-cutter perfect and all is amiss, inviting the reader to solve the inexplicable question: who killed ole’ Barholomew Fynche and does anyone really even care ?

Goodreads Review:

Picture, if you will, a picturesque village called Little Shendon, suddenly caught up in dealing with a murder of one of its citizens – not a particularly well-liked one at that. Which makes it all the more intriguing because the list of suspects becomes very long. This tantalizing tale unfolds with delightful twists and turns to find out whodunit to Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, the murdered shopkeeper. Fear grips the community as the investigation slowly progresses. Everyone is interviewed; everyone is suspect! From the murdered man’s housekeeper to Lady Armstrong, her staff and her nephew. Or could it be the shy librarian new in town? Or the defiant retired army major and his ladyfriend, the post mistress? Or perhaps the weird sisters who live on the edge of town? Then there is the couple who own the local inn and pub, along with the two Americans who are staying there? Even the vicar and his wife fall under the gloom of suspicion. Uncertainty, wariness, and terror reign as neighbors watch neighbors to discover the evil that permeates their upturned lives. No one feels safe in this charming little village. A.H. Richardson, noted author, places in your trembling hands a mystery murder that will keep you reading until you learn the details, uncovered by Police Inspector Stanley Burgess and his two amateur detectives, his friend Sir Victor Hazlitt and the famed Shakespearean actor Beresford Brandon. Scratch your head with them over the strange clues that turn up. Follow them as they tread carefully among the landmines that appear innocent as they lie hidden beneath the surface of mystery. Something evil skulks in this tiny country village. Who is the murderer? And why was this strange uncivil man dispatched in such a seemingly civil community? You are challenged to discover the culprit before the last few pages. And no fair looking ahead – it’s the journey that proves the most enticing.


Set in a tiny, seemingly banal village called Shendon where all is expected to be right, a terrifying murder unfolds that brings a town together not for the mourning of a beloved inhabitant but rather as suspects of the murder of a brusque old man. In this post World War II British town Mr. Fynche is a sour antiques dealer but the reader never gets a chance to really get to know the guy as the story begins in the middle of things at the onset of his murder. Together with his trusted ally Sir Hazlitt and quirky actor buddy Beresford Brandon, local inspector Burgess traverse through the village, one by one questioning its inhabitants in order to discover the truth behind Mr. Fynche’s death. The three buddies split up, waking up a once gray and dreary town, spreading fire, spotlighting all everyone and anyone that they come across, determined not to miss a single detail of this sudden kill.

The novel quickly and suddenly alternates points of view between as multiple characters are introduced and made suspect, possibly villain in the story. Each character comes with a different past – their own story to tell, one way or another connecting them to the murder. Each have secrets, some more profoundly wicked than others. This is exactly what I found most appealing about the novel. The cook at Sir Victors aunt’s home is constantly fighting to keep still in the face of questions while a young newcomer evidently hides something that no one can guess but all can detect from her inscrutable manner. There are clues that the trio follows which bring them through twists, turns, and often back to where they started as they are lead to doubt what is being said and whom they should trust and believe is telling the truth and why others feel the need to lie. It was not so much the murder that drew me in, it was the flawlessness that the author displayed in using the murder as a way to study each and every person in the town. Richardson creates an accurate portrait as she takes the reader into the mind of the characters, revealing the secrets they keep, conflicts they are fighting, and the troubles that they have no choice but to confront with the unfolding of Mr. Fynche’s death. Each character has a story to tell and takes the reader along, back in time to the point where their secrets become their worst enemies.

The language is really old school, keeping up with the murder unraveling during the 1940’s. I particularly enjoyed this in the book, feeling as though I was reading into another time where everything was classic, different and the world was still suffering the consequences of the second world war.

If I have to give this book any negative feedback it would be the abrupt changes between first and third person, not to mention the random switches in perspective from one suspect to another. This made it at times hard to follow and keep up with what one suspect was saying, and differentiate it from what was actually going on in the book. As a result, I never really managed to feel as though I was in the story. I felt on the outside and never got the feeling that I could forget that I was simply reading a book. I also feel as though this book would have worked better were it formatted as a script rather than a novel with each scene taking the reader into the life of one of the characters. This would have solved the issues of distraction from the alternating time and character perspective. It also would have made the story far easier to connect with as each scene could have connected the suspect with their role in the murder, all-the-while canceling out issues of reliability and whether or not the suspect can even be trusted in solving the murder.

All the suspects’ stories lead up to the riveting, bone chilling and somehow unexpected reveal in the end: the merciless killer. The investigators finally get their answer, but this answer creates all the more questions which often go unanswered, creating ten more mysteries for ever one that is solved.

Murder in Little Shendon brings together the disturbed mind of Christie and the evocative descriptions of Proust to create an entirely new style of mystery, at the same time quick to form, slow to progress and difficult to resolve. This is a highly recommended story that rethinks what makes a murder mystery a murder mystery, no longer putting gruesome action first but instead reevaluating how it is described, rendering language and style more competent than story itself.

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Goodreads)

Review: Everything I Never Told You | Nothing Lydia Ever Forgot to Forget

Title: Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: June 26, 2014

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Diversity

Rating: 5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

Everything I Never Told You is the debut novel of Celeste Ng. It is gripping and broke my heart from the first page. The more I read the harder I found it to continue. The pain and wrenching knots that gathered in my heart are the reason I am giving this book five stars.

Reading is about feeling and becoming part of the world of the characters and finding oneself part of the events of the story as they are unfolding. I felt as though I existed and that my tears actually mattered in this book. Heartbreak, trauma and broken love, home and trust bring this murder mystery together, to which I found myself a bound soul and outcast all at the same time.

I was drifting between each of the characters minds and went back and forth between narrative time, myself coming closer and closer to solving the mystery that turns over and results in a collapsing, yet already fractured mixed-raced family: who, if anyone, is responsible for Lydia’s death… ?  Continue reading “Review: Everything I Never Told You | Nothing Lydia Ever Forgot to Forget”

Review: The Princess Mutiny | Swish Swash Goes the He-She Pirate

Title: The Princess Mutiny

Author: L.J. Surrage

Publisher: Self-Publication

Publication Date: March 13, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary,

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I was recently sent The Princess Mutiny from the author, L.J. Surrage in exchange for an honest review.

Dear fellow Babblers,

Hummm Diddddd Eeeee Dummmm. Yes, I did just start a book review with nonsensical jibber jabberish… Not so sure how I feel about this one or even where to begin. And I do not mean this in a negative way there is just so much that happens in this book and nothing is as I had anticipated. Good ? Bad ? Actually a mix of both. For readers looking for a mystical action-packed tale of with a twist of romance and happily ever after endings please turn away and go find Peter Pan because The Princess Mutiny just ain’t it. Now, with logistics out of the way lets get into it, as there’s so much to talk about.  Continue reading “Review: The Princess Mutiny | Swish Swash Goes the He-She Pirate”

Review: Rarity from the Hollow | Uhhh…Come Again?!?!

Title: Rarity from the Hollow

Author: Robert Eggleton

Publisher: Dog Horn

Publication Date: November 3, 2016

Genre: Adult Fiction, Child Abuse, Mental Illness

Rating: 2.5 Stars

I was recently sent Rarity from the Hollow from the author, Robert Eggleton in exchange for an honest review.

Dear fellow Babblers,

I’m disturbed. I’m perplexed. I’m just confused. Like seriously. What in the great land of big foot’s name did I just read ? This story goes back and forth, up and down, sideways, vertical – in every possible direction you can imagine with little time to catch up or even get a grasp on what’s going on. A book which could have potentially been such a masterpiece, giving a realistic account of child abuse and the obstacles of childhood has let me down. From the very beginning this is a bizarre work of fiction that I cannot say I would recommend to anyone to read.  Continue reading “Review: Rarity from the Hollow | Uhhh…Come Again?!?!”