Review: When Joss Met Matt

Review: When Joss Met MattTitle: When Joss Met Matt
Author: Ellie Cahill
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: February 24, 2014
Genre/Age Group: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Source: Netgalley
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 1.5 Stars
Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

MY THOUGHTS

I don’t even really know what to say about this one. You can blame that on a mix of me being generally unimpressed with what was going on here, the fact that I read it months ago when I needed a cute pick-me-up, and that I didn’t bother to take many notes at the time. What I do remember is that When Joss Met Matt was absolutely not the pick-me-up I’d expected it to be. It wasn’t cute. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t endearing. It was an annoying and disappointing hot mess of bland characters and boring sex.

I just don’t think there’s a whole lot of story here. Most of it is told during this one night when Joss and Matt have plans to meet up and Joss remembers all the times before that, from their meeting during the first week of college to right now when she’s working up the nerve to tell Matt she has more than just “sorbet” feelings for him, plus all the hook-ups during those seven years. And it’s boring. It doesn’t really help that this set-up gives me the impression that she just lives from Matt hook-up to Matt hook-up, which doesn’t do anything to convince me that they are actual friends with benefits, let alone friends because honestly what do you two even have in common except for breaking up with people so you have an excuse to bang each other, instead of two people who are just too afraid to commit.

I’d actually be okay with the “people who don’t want to commit” spin, especially since this is mostly set during college, if it had been executed well, or, you know, at least halfway decently. The problem is that I don’t think this is even half as sex positive a read as it would like to be. First of all, we have Joss, our amazing awesome super inspirational sexually empowered female lead, who both slut- and virgin-shames as if it’s what she actually majors in. Then there’s the fact that this whole friends-with-benefits/let’s-call-it-sorbet-because-words-like-sex-and-penis-are-just-much-too-mature-for-us is passed off as clearly a phase all chilluns have to go through before they grow up and decide that a conventional relationship is the only legitimate way to show your love and attraction to someone.

Look, I know that in some cases friends-with-benefits relationships do indeed lead to this “something more”, but that isn’t always the outcome, and that’s okay too. When Joss Met Matt, however, seems to think that casual sex relationships will inevitably lead to committed relationships and that anyone who doesn’t agree with that is just fooling themselves. That’s not sex positivity. In fact, it’s very close to a “hell yes female sexuality, as long as it means that she falls in love with this cute guy and they HEA” line of thinking that I’m starting to hate. Not that I’m not for sexually empowered girls falling in love and having monogamous relationships, because that’s awesome too, as long as it’s what they want, but this kind of mentality sets up a framework of acceptability, and that’s what bothers me. There shouldn’t be conditions à la “as long as they get together for real” or “as long as you end up with one stable girlfriend/boyfriend” attached to things like FWB relationships or sexual liberation in order to make them acceptable or legitimate. That’s false acceptance, by the way, and not everyone always wants something to lead to a monogamous relationship. (Though it’s totally fine if you do.)

I’m not surprised this is the way Joss and Matt’s understanding seems to go, though, and not only because we’re dealing with a rather standard NA romance here. From the beginning, it was very clear that Matt was into Joss, but she had a boyfriend at the time. Their whole meet-cute or whatever is actually pretty gross. First of all, there’s a casual rape joke in the second chapter and it’s not as if the overall narrative seems to realise that rape jokes are not fucking funny. Then, Joss has to actually tell Matt she has a boyfriend before he backs off and can we just hit pause for a moment and acknowledge what a truly disgusting thing that is? Her saying no simply isn’t good enough for him to get she’s not into it. She has to bring up a boyfriend and the moment that happens, oh man, she’s another man’s girl and universal bro code, you know? I hate them. Like I said before, they’re not funny, they’re not cute, if there is banter it’s so flat I simply didn’t notice and *Emma Roberts Wild Child voice* if this were America I would sue. Maybe I was just too distracted by Matt’s super smooth game because who can resist a guy who says he’s not going to move in on you and then does exactly that after he got you drunk. The struggle is so real.

I also thought the whole sorbet execution was just laughable. First of all, what kind of ridiculous “code name”. You’re not fooling anyone and also you are not saving the world. Also, how are you going to write an NA romance almost exclusively focused on sex and then not show the actual sex? To be fair, there might have been some showing I didn’t notice because the sex came in the two very exclusive flavours of “boring” and “fade to black”. Yum. I think this could have worked as a movie because at least movie people would have had the sense to just show it as a two-minute sorbet montage and then move on to an actual story with characters who have more than three personality traits, one of which is “red curly hair”. THE DEPTH. Oh, and then there are these last few chapters involving a time jump and forced conflict that are dramatic as hell and both of them being major dickheads because. Hard pass.

MEMORABLE QUOTES

I could get mean and say “Time left in book: 0 m.” but I actually have one memorable element I’d like to mention (though, understandably, I didn’t exactly mark quotes to commit to memory). At a certain point, one of Matt’s family members dies and he takes it pretty hard. I mean, I think you can guess how these two deal with that, but I’m glad it was shown that physical nearness and/or sex can provide a certain comfort. However big of a mess the rest of this book was, I’m glad that got included.

Top Ten Favorite Heroines

ttt
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

We’re a little late with our Top Ten Tuesday this week because lol planning, but who cares, because this is our favorite topic ever and we still wanted to talk about it. This list is a random mix of our favorite heroines from books and TV shows in no particular order because lol organization. We are such amazing bloggers, I know.

read more…

Review: My Best Everything

Review: My Best EverythingTitle: My Best Everything
Author: Sarah Tomp
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Genre/Age Group: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Won
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars

Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end.

As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?

The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?

my thoughts

What an unconventional but delightful little book! It’s pacing is a bit slow at times, but yet it’s still completely unputdownable. My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp is unlike any other YA book that I’ve ever read, and nothing at all like what I expected from a book that centers largely on moonshining. Sarah Tomp is an author to watch, y’all. Her words are so lyrical; she can take a very basic idea or even unpleasant thought and describe it so that it sounds like the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard. Needless to say, I ended up with a lot of favorite quotes from this book, so it was just plain torture to try to narrow them down to a select few to include below. I never in my wildest dreams expected to be so captivated by a book about moonshining, but yet, here I am, still thinking about Lulu and Mason and Bucky and Roni a week after I finished reading their story.

There are so many things to discuss with this book, and I’m not even sure where to start, so I’m just going to try to highlight my favorite parts and hope that’s enough to convince y’all to read My Best Everything (I’m just going to skip the recap since y’all can read the Goodreads summary above). First, and most unique about this book, is the way the story is told. I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a YA book that’s written entirely in 2nd person, but this one is. It’s obvious from the beginning that Lulu is telling the story to Mason, almost as if she is writing him a (400 page) letter. It’s such a clever way for Tomp to tell this story, because it immediately makes you wonder why Lulu is talking to Mason—to tell him goodbye? Or is it simply a love letter? The answer really isn’t clear until the very end, and I loved that about it, though I admit that not knowing caused minor distress for me because I considered every possibility, even the horrifying possibility that Mason dies at the end. My lips are sealed, but I will say this: I think the ending is one that will leave most readers satisfied (I thought it was perfect. Really perfect).

I’m a sucker for all small-town stories like this one, which I guess stems from the fact that I’m from a small town myself. Though I love my small hometown (most of the time), I’m fascinated by the stories that show more of a love-hate (in this case, mostly hate!) relationship between the characters and the town. In this book, Dale, Virginia is basically a nothing town—the population is tiny, the people are poor, and the economy is struggling. Lulu and Roni actually have one of the better jobs in town, which is working in the office of the local junkyard. Lulu has been dreaming of getting away for as long as she can remember, and I couldn’t help but make the comparison to the way Skylar feels about Creek View in Heather Demetrios’s I’ll Meet You There, which if you’ve visited Paper Riot recently, you probably already know I adored it! After I thought about it, there are a lot of similarities between these two books: during the summer after graduation, Lulu/Skylar falls in love with a “broken” Mason/Josh, which threatens to keep her from leaving Dale/Creek View for college. There are significant differences beyond the basic storyline, but I definitely recommend My Best Everything to others who enjoyed I’ll Meet You There.

I have to make a confession: when I first read the synopsis of this book, I expected a far-fetched but fun contemporary. I mean, teenagers making moonshine? That’s just for old men in the hills of Tennessee, right? I was proven oh so wrong. Mason is older than Lulu and her friends, and even older in experience, having grown up in a moonshine family and being around it since he could walk. He brings the knowledge and experience to the table, and the others bring the intense motivation, and together? They make a great team. That’s not to say that they don’t make some silly, amateur mistakes, and Lulu is very naïve at the beginning of the book, but that makes the story even more feasible and enjoyable, in my opinion. Side note: I would absolutely love to know how Sarah Tomp was inspired to write this story.

Finally, there’s one last thing I want to mention about My Best Everything: all of the relationships in the story are insanely well-developed! From the get-go, Tomp gives us several really important scenes between Lulu and her parents so we have a good idea of her close but rocky relationship with each of them. Then there’s Lulu and Roni, best friends and total opposites. I love that Tomp doesn’t gloss over the female friendship in favor of the romantic relationship between Lulu and Mason—BOTH relationships are important, well-developed, separate entities. Y’all know I love my romance, but I also love great friendships just as much! And yes, you know I have to say it. Mason is SA-WOON. ;)

So, obviously I’m a fan of My Best Everything. There were a few moments when I felt like the action dragged a bit, and one instance at the end when I was a little confused by what was happening, but those moments are completely overshadowed by the incredible writing and storytelling. Seriously y’all. Sarah Tomp hit a home run with her debut novel, and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future.

memorable quotes

“You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate. Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.”

“You turned and looked at me then. The way your eyes bored into mine, it felt like you were trying to read my deepest thoughts. I think that’s the moment you reached inside me and changed the rhythm of my heart. Back then I thought I was simply drunk.”

“You should have steered clear of me after that. But maybe you wanted to fix me. I was like a piece of wood, something to sand and shape. Or maybe the smell on my breath, the way I staggered and slurred, felt familiar. Maybe I reminded you of something you missed. Like I miss you right now. There’s a fine line between toxic and intoxicating.”

Review: Finnikin of the Rock

Review: Finnikin of the RockTitle: Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 29, 2008
Genre/Age Group: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.

my thoughts

I thought I was ready for Finnikin of the Rock. I was wrong. I thought that there was no way this book could live up to Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son, both of which I read earlier this month and adored. I made a mistake. I thought that because it took me a while to get through the first 150 pages, I would not end up loving it as much and it would not cause me as many tears. I’ve been an inexplicable fool. Finnikin of the Rock is the first installment in Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles, and because I’d only read contemporary novels by her before this, I was not sure what to expect from her in this completely different (but equally special to me) genre. I should not have worried, though, because like her other books, Finnikin is filled with all things I’ve already come to distinguish as so quintessentially Marchetta: incredible writing, well-rounded characters, and the overarching theme of the importance of love in any form.

Finnikin of the Rock is the story of the people of Lumatere, a country destroyed and taken over by an imposter king sent by an enemy country. In the ten years since the slaughter of their royal family and the curse that was cast to keep some of the people locked in and most of them out, the people of Lumatere have wandered the land, without home, without purpose, and ultimately, without hope. That is, until Finnikin of the Rock and his mentor, the King’s First Man, Sir Topher, meet Evanjalin, who is determined to return home to Lumatere. Though Finnikin has no idea what to think of this strange girl who walks the dreams of their people, together they start to search the country for the heir she claims is still alive. It is a story of travel through unfamiliar lands and politics of foreign courts and questions about what actually happened that night ten years ago, but in the end, it is a story of a people who are lost and desperate to go back home.

I struggled with this story at first, and it took me a while to get through the first 150 pages. It’s not that I thought it was bad per se, but I just didn’t immediately connect with this story like I did with Marchetta’s contemporaries. I don’t know what it was that eventually made me never want to put this book down again, but after that first part, I became hooked. A large part of my love for this book came because of Evanjalin, who I didn’t immediately like but over time grew to worship. Evanjalin is a girl from the Monts and a novice of the goddess Lagrami. She also has a gift that means walking the sleep of the Lumateran people, and seeing their dreams. But more than that, she is a flawless human being who, in my opinion, is the real main character of the story. I think I fell in love with her when Finnikin was frustrated because she was better at everything (honestly boy) and with every little thing she revealed along the way, I loved her more.

Connected to Evanjalin is my love for this world and all Marchetta stories I’ve read so far, in which the women excel. Marchetta portrays men as warriors and loving people, but ultimately, it is the women who rule the world (not always in the literal sense, but if you read her books, you’ll know what I mean). It was evident in the way that Evanjalin was the one who convinced the men to go where she thought was right, and in the way that Lady Abian refused to let her husband tell her what to do, and in the way the queen raised her daughters to care about all the people of Lumatere (sob). Perhaps my favorite moment was when Evanjalin explained the nature of her (literal) sleepwalking and how it aligned with her period, which caused the men to feel awkward and a bit disgusted (honestly boys). Marchetta shows in a flawless way the strength that women possess, and that aspect of the story made my heart sing.

Now that I’ve discussed the women, I suppose I should talk a bit about the boys of this story as well. Finnikin was one I struggled with at times, which is what made those first 150 pages so hard for me, I think. He was very stubborn when it came to taking directions from a girl (he never specifically said that, but it was obvious) and I wanted to punch him several times. As the story continued, my affection for him grew, and I now truly appreciate his character arc (even if his indecisiveness toward the end made me want to go right back to punching him). I had stronger feelings about Froi, a young thief who grew up among exiles instead of in Lumatere like Finnikin. Froi is interesting because I really hated him for a while (god, that one scene with Evanjalin) but then I suddenly really loved him. I think it is because Froi and Evanjalin have such an interesting connection, and he grows to be truly loyal to her, and I loved that. Froi was also one of the few who recognized the women’s strength, and his POV chapters were so endearing.

There are so many relationships that I still want to talk about, like Finnikin and his father, or Finnikin and Sir Topher, or Trevanion and Lady Beatriss, or Finnikin and Balthazar and Lucian – but then this “review” would turn into a novel and I don’t want to do that to you. Just know that as always, relationships in Marchetta books are the best because they are so natural and so passionate at the same time. For now, I will just say that I can’t believe how much this book has affected me. I mean, I’ve only slept two hours last night because I couldn’t stop thinking about. Because even though this book dragged a bit for me at times, and I don’t think it is without flaws, it is ultimately a book I care so much about that I probably won’t even remember the moments I struggled. These characters have stolen my heart and I can’t wait to read more about them in Froi of the Exiles, which, surprise, is lying next to my laptop so I can start it immediately.

memorable quotes

“Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?”

“You list the dead. You tell the stories of the past. You write about the catastrophes and the massacres. What about the living, Finnikin? Who honors them?”

“Who’s in charge here?” Finnikin asked. “Me or you?”
There was a sneer on the thief’s face as he made himself comfortable. “I fink she is.”

They were just in time to see Finnikin trapped in a headlock by a man who was twice his size.
“What are they doing?” Sir Topher asked in alarm.
“They’re proving their manhood,” Evanjalin said in a bored voice.

“I know they suffer,” she said quietly.
“More than the exiles?”
“How does one measure it, Finnikin? Does a man who’s lost his family to famine suffer less than one who’s lost them to an assassin’s knife? Is it worse to die of drowning than to be trampled under the feet of others? If you lose your wife in childbirth, is it better than watching her burn at the stake? Death is death and loss is loss.”

He shook his head with disbelief. “Do you belong to the Charynites?” She clenched her fists as he stepped forward. “Or are you one of Sagrami’s dark worshippers, bent on more destruction?”
“If I am, then burn me at the stake, Finnikin,” she cried. “As they did the last time they found out a king was dead in Lumatere. Someone had to be blamed. Someone had to die. Because that’s what happens when logical men can’t explain why an old woman has the blood of an innocent on her hands, or why another can walk through the sleep of our people. What you can’t understand, you destroy.”

“That’s the different between the king’s son and the queen’s daughters. The king’s first priority was the survival of his wife and children. But the queen’s? Survival of the people. Because the people were Lumatere.”

“A queen never bent to her people.”

“You’re scared of the women?” Trevanion asked, amused.
“I am not ashamed to say so, and you are a fool if you’re not,” Lord August said pointedly.

Review: The Piper’s Son

Review: The Piper’s SonTitle: The Piper's Son
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: March 1, 2010
Genre/Age Group: Contemporary, New Adult
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving.

After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either?

An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.

my thoughts

Melina Marchetta has ruined me for all books I have ever read and all books that are yet to come, because honestly, I don’t know how I’m ever going to love another book again. How am I ever going to care about characters who are not Francesca Spinelli and Thomas Finch Mackee and Tara Marie Finke? How am I ever going to read stories that are not those of Siobhan Sullivan and Justine Kalinsky and Jimmy Hailler? How is anyone’s writing even going to compare to Marchetta’s ability to capture the biggest of feelings with the smallest of words? The answer is: I’m not. I’ll just have to keep rereading Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son for the rest of my life. Thank god the key to running a successful book blog is reading the same two books over and over again, right? I have the best ideas.

The Piper’s Son, a companion novel to Saving Francesca, is the story of Tom Mackee, one of Francesca’s friends from St. Sebastian’s. It is also the story of his aunt, Georgie Finch, and the rest of the Finch Mackees, who are a loud, intense but loving bunch. It’s the story of how both Tom and Georgie are completely lost after their uncle and little brother gets blown to pieces, the story of how Tom has pushed everyone away and is completely broken, the story of how Georgie has a hard time coping with her entire family and how she is more alone than ever. But in the end, it’s the story of how both of them, and Tom mostly, find their way back home. That’s what Marchetta does well. Write about family and friends who are the most important people in each other’s lives, and how the people we love are our real home.

I find it hard to talk about Tom because I get emotional just thinking about him. At the start of The Piper’s Son, he has hit rock bottom. His uncle has been killed in a bombing in London, and his father is drinking to get through life, while his mother and little sister have moved to a different city. Tom couldn’t deal with his friends being sad and he pushed them all away, treating them like shit, and he knows it. He has lost his way in every way, and it is a minor accident that is the turning point. He moves in with his aunt, starts working two jobs, and slowly starts to reconnect with his old friends, Frankie and Justine. It is this part of the novel that was my favorite, because I can’t describe in words how much I love the St. Sebastian’s gang and how much joy their friendship and dynamic gives me. It’s so incredible to see that even Tom had a falling out for a bit and who knows what happened to Jimmy, they still all care about each other, and Frankie, Tara, Siobhan and Justine are still an epic group. The humor and love that came from the tiny moments we see these characters together made me so incredibly happy, and I want to read about this group forever and ever.

Then there is Tom’s love for Tara Finke, which is a very tiny part of Saving Francesca (I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if Ellis hadn’t told me about them first) and only a part of this story. Love in Marchetta is a part of these characters’ lives, but not their whole lives. It is natural and realistic and honest and very, very real. There are struggles, but there is also passion, and all the romantic pairings in the two-and-a-half books I’ve read by her so far have consisted of two people who really were each other’s favorite person of all time. We saw it with Frankie and Will, and her parents and grandparents, and now we see it with Tom and Tara, his parents, his grandparents, his aunt and uncle and their partners. The way Marchetta writes romance is breathtaking. Tom’s love for Tara is just a part of his story, but it is so much of who he is as a person and how he deals with getting his life back together. Even though I wish we’d seen them together a bit longer, especially because I wanted more Tara, reading about the way Tom has always loved, and will always love Tara is so beautiful it made my heart ache, and I want more more more.

The other half of the chapters are told from Georgie’s point of view and they deal with her unplanned pregnancy and her relationship with her ex, as well as the way she is struggling with her family and friends. I had loved Tom since Saving Francesca, so I was a bit nervous to read about a new character all of a sudden, but Georgie is so easy to like. I love how her point of view gives this book a new adult/adult crossover and how easy it was to switch from Tom’s perspective to hers. Georgie’s chapters were what made me really fall in love with the Finch Mackees, and though they are far from perfect, the love in this family burst from the pages. Though I enjoyed Tom’s chapters more, I think Georgie’s story really added to this novel, in the way that it makes the reader understand so much more about this family and their history. (Also, the combination of Georgie’s chapters and Tom’s chapters show so much of Tom’s relationship with women, and it is pretty much the best thing ever. Just the way he deals with so many women in his life – his mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, Frankie, Justine, etc. – is hilarious and warmed my heart.)

This may be a tough story, with lots of breakdowns and emotional moments, but it is also a story that shows how important love is, but without being written in a preachy way. It is just written like the most natural thing in the world, the way only Marchetta can write it. And for a story that is pretty heavy, there were so many happy moments that made my heart sing. The tiny moments of banter and humor, like in the way Tom talks to his sister, or when Frankie and Justine threaten to send Siobhan after him, were ultimately what made this story better. The Piper’s Son is a book unlike any I have ever read. There is something about Marchetta’s writing and characters that gets to me in a way that other books can’t, and I just want to read her words forever. Despite the fact that I loved Saving Francesca slightly more because I could relate to it in such a personal way, this is one of my favorite books ever. But I will never stop loving Tom Mackee and the rest of the characters in this story, and I will forever want more.

memorable quotes

“I’m texting Siobhan.”
He looked at them both with disbelief. “As if I’m scared of Siobhan.”
Francesca got out her phone, and in desperation he had grabbed it from her.
“Please, Frankie. I’m begging. Don’t text Siobhan.”

“The grief hits her hard one day. The way it can’t be controlled. The way that yesterday can be good, and so can the day before, and so can the week and fortnight before that, but then today comes and she’s back to zero. How she can’t type words into her computer or even press the in-box for her mail. The effort it takes to walk. How words can’t form in her mouth and how her blood feels paralyzed.”

“He cried when those two muppets climbed that mountain in New Zealand . . . I want those ten hours of my life back.”

“He might be an arrogant and introverted cold fish at times, but ask him the question in front of his macho engineer buddies, “Where do you see yourself in ten years time?” and he doesn’t miss a beat. “Wherever Frankie is.””

“She looks at Tom. “And if I get a little chemically imbalanced in the head, like we all know I tend to get sometimes, and I don’t want my parents or brother knowing, Will’s like, “We’ll deal with it.” He’s never said, “Snap out of it,” and he’s never said, “I don’t get it,” and he’s never said, “I’ll fix it up.” He just says, “You’re not up to going back to uni to finish your Honors this year? Big deal. There’s next year. We’ll deal with it.” She nods. “That’s what he does well.””

“She was the reason he came into their group. It was her misery that united them, and somehow it ended up being her personality that kept them together when everyone split. She’s the one who writes the letters that keep the world informed. She listens to the news every hour to make sure everyone’s safe.”

“I think the worst thing that ever happened to me was leaving home,” she says honestly.
“Why?”
“Because I miss it like you’d never believe, and then I go away from this place and I miss here too. I’m scared I’m going to spend the rest of my life in a state of yearning, regardless of where I am.”

“They used to talk about you a lot,” Ned says. “Frankie said you had all waited forever to meet each other and that it was the real thing as friendships went. “He’ll come back to us,” she’d say. I heard every story in the world about every moment you all had and I remember once you came in and they pointed you out. “That’s him. That’s our Thomas.””

“Justine and Francesca laugh. Ned does too. And there it is. The knowledge that it makes him happy to hear it. So simple. They laugh and it makes Tom happy.”

“Are you over it now?” she snaps. “Let’s go!” she says, grabbing their mother’s keys out of her hands. “I’m sick and tired of you people living interstate and overseas from people you want to be with. You’re ruining my life! All of you!”