The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story – R J Palacio

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder StoryTitle: The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story
Series: Wonder, #1.5
Author: R J Palacio
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers, May 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com]

Over 1 million people have read Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Now readers will have a chance to hear from the book’s most controversial character—Julian.

From the very first day Auggie and Julian met in the pages of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder, it was clear they were never going to be friends, with Julian treating Auggie like he had the plague. And while Wonder told Auggie’s story through six different viewpoints, Julian’s perspective was never shared. Readers could only guess what he was thinking.

Until now. The Julian Chapter will finally reveal the bully’s side of the story. Why is Julian so unkind to Auggie? And does he have a chance for redemption?

I thought I could never stand Julian, but I was wrong…

When I read Wonder,  I got the impression that Julian was a spoiled kid.  I thought his mother was unsympathetic and I was relieved when the middle-school director hinted that he wouldn’t be coming back in the fall.

In The Julian Chapter,  we got to see everything from Julian’s perspective.  While his parents were supportive, I wouldn’t say they exactly understood what their child was struggling with.  I got that Julian’s mom was trying her best to protect her son.  I could understand why she wanted Julian to be happy but the approach she used was just awful – she was making things worse for everybody.

After reading The Julian Chapter,  I felt relieved to say that Julian wasn’t a bad kid.  He could sound mean and cruel at times but he wasn’t heartless.  It was good to see him making some amends in the end and I liked that he learned to own up to his mistakes.

What I didn’t expect was the amount of tears rolling down my face while reading the story.  I guess I was being caught off guard as I never suspected I’d become emotional as I got to know Julian and his family.  It’s wonderful to see the growth in Julian and the story helped me see why we could never run away from our fear.

Rating:

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Breathe Annie Breathe – Miranda Kenneally

Breathe Annie Breathe Blog Tour banner

Welcome to my stop on Breathe, Annie, Breathe  blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.
Click HERE to see the rest of the blog tour schedule!

Breathe Annie BreatheTitle: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Series: Hundred Oaks, #5
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published: Sourcebooks Fire, July 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

“Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet.” — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You.

Read an excerpt here.

Previous Books in the Hundred Oak Series:
Catching Jordan Stealing Parker
Things I Can't Forget Racing Savannah

Catching Jordan [goodreads]
Stealing Parker [goodreads]
Things I Can’t Forget [goodreads]
Racing Savannah [goodreads]

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Review:

A story about learning to love again, Breathe, Annie, Breathe  explores the pain of guilt and shame of an eighteen-year-old and how her life transforms as she comes to terms with herself.

Annie didn’t think she could ever forget Kyle.  To honor his memory, she started preparing for the marathon he intended to race.  Since Annie believed she played a role in Kyle’s death, she had a hard time accepting herself as a trustworthy, lovable person.  And when she started having feelings for her running coach’s younger brother (Jeremiah), she believed she must neglect her heart’s desire in order to keep honoring her love for Kyle.  Could she run away from her feelings?

To be honest, I found Annie self-critical and at times, overly harsh on herself. I guess an uneasy childhood shaped her to be strong and responsible but she felt inadequate in so many different ways.  Her inner conflicts felt real and I think a lot of us can relate to her perception about school, friendship, work and life.

I liked Annie’s focus and determination.  It’s not an easy thing for anyone to go through the death of a loved one.  In the story, Annie had her moments of ups and downs.  She felt helpless as she could not control what others thought about the death of Kyle or what she had to come to terms with when Kyle passed.  She wanted to do something she felt she was capable of but running was not something she had liked since she was little.  And when she decided she’d sign up for the marathon, she had no idea what challenges she might face during her preparation.  Her struggles were very realistically portrayed and while it’s unpleasant watching her suffer in agony, I learned to admire her level of endurance as well as tenacity.

I liked her relationship with Jeremiah.  It wasn’t something fanciful but I liked that they both challenged each other to leave their comfort zone in order to feel alive again.  I particularly loved the moment when they confessed their true feelings at the hospital.  It’s a moment of grace that helps me realize why honesty and love are so crucially powerful in our everyday lives.

I also liked that we got to see characters from previous books in the series.  It’s great to see the positive impacts they made and their appearances offered some hearty laughs that helped to counterbalance the sobering tone in some of the passages of the book.

If you’ve enjoyed reading other books from the Hundred Oaks  series, you’ll love the banter and connection between Annie and Jeremiah.  Be sure to get yourself a copy of Breathe, Annie, Breathe  or enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a signed copy.

Rating:

Buy This Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

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About the Author

miranda-kenneally

Follow Miranda:
Website | GoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Giveaway

  • End Date: July 29th, 2014
  • 2x 50$ B&N Gift Card
  • 3x Signed copy of Breathe, Annie, Breathe

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Good Luck!

 

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The Stories We Tell – Patti Callahan Henry

The Stories We Tell

Title: The Stories We Tell Author: Patti Callahan Henry Published: St. Martin's Press, June 2014 Source: received a copy from publisher Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository] Bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry is back with a … [Continue reading]

One Past Midnight – Jessica Shirvington

One Past Midnight

Title: One Past Midnight Author: Jessica Shirvington Published: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, July 2014 Source: received a copy from publisher Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository] Name of overseas edition of Between The … [Continue reading]

How To Tell Toledo From The Night Sky – Lydia Netzer

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky

Today, I'm going to share a book excerpt as well as a Q & A with author Lydia Netzer. Lydia is the author of How To Tell Toledo From The Night Sky. The Hardcover was just released on July 1st, 2014. Title: How To Tell Toledo From The … [Continue reading]

That Night – Chevy Stevens

That Night

Title: That Night Author: Chevy Stevens Published: St. Martin's Press, June 2014 Source: received a copy from publisher Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository] Rating: As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical … [Continue reading]