THE BOOK OF TOMORROW | BOOK REVIEW

Cecelia Ahern’s books have always managed to pull at my heartstrings.I started reading Ahern’s books when I was in school. I cried my heart out while reading P.S. I Love You, even though I was too young to understand such loss. I fell in love, as childhood friends do, with Where Rainbows End. I discovered magic with A Place Called Here. 

Now, after a long time, she managed to captivate me once again through The Book of Tomorrow. This book is for every teenager out there. Because we’ve all been Tamara, the protagonist of this story, at least once in our lives.

Tamara Goodwin is the rich daughter of a businessman. She’s entitled, bratty and not a very nice person, as per her own accounts. She’s always at odds with her parents, talks back to her father, spends their money without care and only cares about the next ‘good time’ as compared to doing something good. She’s been trying to change though. Because something big happened in her life. She found her father, dead in his office. He had committed suicide, because they were going bankrupt and he couldn’t face the troubles. Tamara and her mother are thrown out of their palatial house and are now at the mercy of her mother’s brother Arthur and his wife Rosaleen.

Isn’t it true though? How reluctant we are to accept a genuine help these days!

At this point, Tamara begins to realize how fake her life had become. Her friends are turning out to be petty and she’s chagrined to find out she is also like that. Vowing to be better from now on, she joins her mother as they go to live with Arthur and Rosaleen in the middle of nowhere.

The middle of nowhere is actually a picturesque village, very close to the Kilasaney castle which had housed royalty a long time ago. It’s a decrepit, burnt down place and Arthur works as the groundskeeper. Ahern deftly weaves a mystery surrounding the woods and run down castle and we’re left wondering what the deal is with the castle and Tamara!

Meanwhile, something is very wrong with Tamara’s mom, Jennifer. She’s grieving, everyone consoles Tamara. But even a 16 year old understands the difference between grief and mental breakdown. Out of mind with worry over her mother and wanting to escape the monotony of life in a village, she climbs aboard a travelling library when it comes around.The cute librarian guy is just a bonus incentive for Tamara to be reckless. The guy, Marcus turns out to ve very friendly though, and even lets her take home a mysterious book that she finds in the library shelves.

The book turns out to be locked and it doesn’t have a name or an author. Intrigued now, Tamara asks her new friend, Sister Ignatius who stays nearby to open it. Turns out, the book is completely blank! The nun advises her to turn it into her personal diary. Tamara agrees reluctantly but the moment she opens up the book to write something, she finds out it’s already been written! In her handwriting, when she has no memory of ever writing it. And the date of entry is tomorrow!

And that’s how Ahern takes us on a journey. What is this book of tomorrow that manages to predict what’s going to happen on the next day? Why is Rosaleen so controlling and secretive with Tamara? Who’s writing in the diary, if not Tamara? Is it really something magical? Would her new friend Weseley even believe her suspicions about the book? A lot of questions that need to be answered!

And the most important question of all — since you know the future, does it mean you can change it, or is it inevitable ?

Along the way, Tamara makes some pretty big mistakes, messes stuff up but manages to unravel the mystery surrounding the castle — and her life as well. Since I would hate to give away the ending, you’ll have to read the book to know what the mystery is all about! It is a story worth knowing — filled with love, friendships, jealousy and betrayal — but how does Tamara get involved? That is the big reveal! 

But let me end by saying that we all mess up. Knowing the future doesn’t really mean that we just go with the flow or go exactly against it. Life is a roller coaster and the best thing you can do is hold on for the ride. 

So what if we make mistakes? We always have the hope of a tomorrow to make things better!

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JUST LISTEN by SARAH DESSEN | BOOK REVIEW

Just Listen is a young adult novel written by Sarah Dessen, which came out in 2006. This is an honest review of what the book means to me!

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This book review is long overdue. I still remember the first time I picked up this book from the library. I think it was the summer vacation of ninth or tenth grade, I was looking for a way to pass the time and my gaze fell upon the well-worn copy of this book, just sitting there on a shelf. The only reason I picked it up — I liked the title! I never knew it would make such a huge impact on me when I read it, but it most definitely did. Over time, I’ve went back and read this book many more times, and every time, it has managed to capture my heart.

Just Listen is basically a teenage romance on the first look but honestly, it’s so much more. The protagonist is a girl named Annabel Greene, who is struggling with an inner demon, but the reader is not privy to it at first. She’s just had her summer vacation and for some reason she’s terrified of going back to school.

Annabel looks like a girl who has it all — she’s a model, is popular in school, has a wonderful family consisting of her mom, dad and two older sisters and lives in this really rich house made of glass. But then as we begin reading, we get to know that not everything is as it appears. She hates modelling, something happened during the vacation that results in a fight between her and her best friend Sophie, and she has isolated herself from everyone.

And of course, the perfect glass house conceals so much of her family’s secrets — like the fact that she’s hiding what happened during the vacation and lying to her family, or that her sister is fighting an eating disorder, or that her older sisters are estranged and not speaking… and all the time, this whisper that Annabel hears — “Shh Annabel, it’s just me.”

So much is hidden, and we get caught up in finding out what those secrets are. Along comes Owen Armstrong, certified bad boy of the school — the embodiment of tall, dark and handsome. Annabel knows she should probably stay away, but with everyone looking at her with judgemental eyes, Owen is the only one she has to talk to. And that is the start of a strange friendship. Annabel finds that Owen is not who he appears to be — rumors say he’s been in fights, has ended up in jail and so forth — but Owen is refreshingly honest. He says he never lies, which Annabel scoffs at, but then she realizes that yes, he is — always! That makes it harder for her to lie to him and pretend everything is okay. Owen and Annabel bond over music, and a mutual need for having someone you can be truthful with.

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Slowly she starts remembering what happened during the summer. What happened to make her a bitch in front of her best friend and everyone at school — when actually she’s just a victim. Everyone thinks she tried to sleep with Sophie’s boyfriend when really it was him that tried to force himself on her. Scared, lonely and no one to believe her, she takes the blame for it. She is still scared of the dark, hears his voice whispering to her at night and still cannot make up the courage to talk to anyone about what happened — not even her supportive mom.

The only thing that keeps her going is Owen, and his music. She finds solace is having one person who she can be honest with, even when she’s hiding from herself. That’s when she finds out that the same thing happened to her friend Emily. But Emily is stronger than her and fights back — has him arrested. She faces up to what happened to her, figures out a way to talk to her family and Owen, and finally goes to court.

Entwined in her story is the story of her two sisters, poles apart but still finding it in themselves to care for each other and her family — which while imperfect- is perfect in every which way that counts. The author focuses on issues like rape, victim blaming but at the same time, gives us a peek onto other relevant issues too — like having anorexia, or feeling like you’re not beautiful enough, anger issues and even depression. We might feel like this book would be depressing, but surprisingly, Dessen manages to pull us into the story and just twines all these story threads so perfectly that when we come out of the book at the end, we feel refreshed and empowered.

Many times, we’ve heard stories of women speaking up about sexual harassment, but there’s not a lot that points to the struggle beneath — of feeling like it’s the victim’s fault, or the feeling of being scared even in daylight, of not having enough courage to speak up. This book looks into the dilemma that every victim must surely go through, but at the same time, it also imparts courage to us. Like the author says in the book — the best way out is always through. This book gives us the confidence to fight any situation, to face up to anything and never ever doubt in the ability of truth to come to light.

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It’s not a book about a teenage girl finding love. It is about a girl who has been battered and bruised, confused about why something heinous like rape happened to her, scared if someone would actually believe her words. It’s about a girl who finds courage is the most terrifying situation and who fights back. In the end, it’s about a girl who finds herself.

So, this one is for all of you who have read a particular book and just felt like it shook the very foundations of your life, and for every one of you who wants to read a good book. I suggest you start with this one.

Feeling the beat

I fell in love with dancing early on in my life. I was probably 6 when my mom and dad helped me begin my dancing lessons and I hated it!!!

That just sounds contrary right… The thing is, as much as I loved to dance, I hated the classes and all the other perfectly beautiful girls over there, who always seemed to do better than me. There was  a point of time in my life where I became really self conscious and somehow my passion just wasn’t enough to make me believe in myself. I stopped dancing altogether and that hurt.

But then I realized that it need not be like that. It is not like I’m dancing for someone else’s approval right? I dance because I love it! It is as simple as that.It hasn’t been that long since I reconnected with my passion towards dancing and the one thing that I’ve kept in mind this time around is to NEVER let anyone belittle my talent. Not to say that I can compare to any of the legends in dancing, but I do think that whatever love I do have for dance, it shines through every single time I feel the beat.

Is it hard? Yeah, but I’ve always felt like the good things in life are hard to attain. But when I do strain my muscles and dance so much that my feet hurt and my ears are filled with that single piece of music, that’s when I feel like myself. I relish that feeling!

It’s so amazing how one can get lost to the music! It is almost as if we’re in a trance and the only thing that matters is the next beat, the next step and just like that you start swaying in time to the music. It is not so much as staying true to the practiced version but staying true to that beat and if you’re really really lucky, there will be a moment where it will seem like every breath you take and every one of your heart beat is in time to the rhythm.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, don’t let go of your passion just because of others opinions. Whatever you love, believe that it is yours to love. It doesn’t matter if people think that it’s worthless, if you love it, it is bound to be worth everything! When you sacrifice your passion just because it doesn’t “seem good” to some random person, the only one you’re hurting is yourself.  So, how about we promise to never let go of our personality, never let fear rule our passions and be free, for once in our lives??                                                         

 

Life

Life, such a simple word isn’t it?
But honestly, it’s the most important word of all.
Haven’t we all heard some love-sick person saying that the other person is their “life”!!
Haven’t we all lamented that our “life” is over just because of some petty issue!
Seriously, we’re categorizing this whole wonderful experience that is life to some minuscule incident or person. But you know what I think?
Life is all of this and more.
Life is the little moments and the big picture.
Life is falling in love but it is also being broken hearted.
Life is the bond between a mother and child but life is also the way we hurt our Mother Nature.
One smile and a lot of fights.
Life is you, me and everyone else. But life is also putting someone else’s happiness before our own.
Life is both good and bad.
And, I’ve come to know that the best things in life are like that; not black or white but a combination of both.
Life is grey and that’s why for me, life is the way I fill it with colours!
If all we have is this one life to live, wouldn’t we want to live to the fullest, doing all that we love!?

rant!

So yeah,  I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing right now, but let’s just go with flow alright?

I’m Anjitha, an Indian girl with a lot of dreams and an even bigger imagination. This is my first time doing a blog so bear with me please…. Since we’ve already established that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing,  if you want to stop reading, this is the time.

I’m just going on a rant here but the first thing I want to talk about is respect. Needless to say,  it’s connected to something that happened in my life recently.

The thing is that most people don’t realize the value of giving respect to others. It’s so important because mutual respect is what creates a good relationship, be it love or friendship or anything else. And,  it’s my personal opinion that if a person cannot treat me with the respect I deserve then they are not worth my time and energy…

So my dear reader(s),  any thoughts????