When Benjamin was first born, there was a *lot* of down time. With him breastfeeding for what seemed like half the day, there was plenty of opportunity to whip out my Kindle and read. Now? Not so much. Life has moved on from those sleepy newborn days and I am finding it harder to steal snippets of time for reading. I'd still really like to read 52 books this year, which means another 13 before the 31st December. Not the easiest challenge in the world, especially with taking on #NaNoWriMo as well and factoring in the busy-ness of the Christmas season. But, I love reading and I want to make time for it, even when it feels like I am rushed off my feet.
This is a total gut punch of a book and I think it should be required reading to be a human being in the world. I have waited for this book to be published for what feels like years (and may very well be) and it was entirely worth the wait. This is a painfully honest and beautifully vulnerable memoir about food, weight, self-image, sexual assault and hunger, and it will absolutely blow you away. Roxane Gay has a unique perspective when it comes to the body, but I think everyone will find a little bit of their own body's story in her words. Her experience has been vastly different from my own, but I still gasped in recognition at moments. There were parts that made me cry for her pain, and others that moved me to anger for how she has been treated. I don't want to spoil it, because the revelations come thick and fast and I think that's the power of the book - but be prepared for an emotional response to this book, whatever your body is like.
I've been avoiding thrillers recently, because they often seem to hinge their shock factor on descriptions of brutalising women without much substance behind them. I have been burnt too many times by lazy plotting where sexual assault is thrown in for the sake of it. But, He Said/She Said was recommended by Bethany and Alice on the Hello Friend podcast, and I trust them so I put my reservations aside. This book actually puts sexual assault front and centre; a brutal attack is at the heart of it. But, it didn't feel gratuitous and so my mind was put at ease.
My favourite part of this book was that Kit, one half of the couple that witness the attack, is obsessed with total eclipses. It's so fascinating, and punctuates the book as they chase them across the globe every few years. It's in the aftermath of a total eclipse that Kit and Laura witness the attack, and their lives are changed forever. From the day of the attack to the trial and beyond, they are wrapped up in the events and what happens means they end up living in fear. I don't want to tell you too much, as the joy of the thriller is in finding out the truth, but it is *very* cleverly done and I didn't see the ending coming at all. Just when you think you're sorting out the pieces, everything is turned upside down.
I read the first book in this series last year and was so eager to get my hands on the next instalment, I put down everything else I was reading as soon as I had it. This book is a futuristic Gossip Girl, with everything from stolen identities and forbidden love to family drama and illegal brain-computers (to put it very, very simply...). Like Gossip Girl, this elite group of teenagers are living the high life of parties, shopping and manicures, but there is so much more bubbling under the surface. It was really fun to revisit these characters (although it took me a few chapters to remember the back story of everyone - I should have reread the first!) and to escape to Manhattan in 2118. I'm already looking forward to the next one...
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