BOOK REVIEW: THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD by CLAIRE LOMBARDO

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Image result for the most fun we ever hadThe Most Fun We Ever Had grew on me like a rash. Its bloated length⁠—532 pages⁠—is almost designed to make its every fault as glaring and grating as possible. The more I read this book the more I grew firm in my opinion that not only did I dislike it, but that I in fact actively hated it. (i started listening to its audiobook at 1.25x speed and finished it listening at 2.5x speed so make of that what you will lol)

Here’s a very extensive list of some of the things about Lombardo’s writing that irritated the shit out of me. Enjoy! 

► The amount of times Lombardo mentions how much Marilyn and David love each other. OHHH MYYY GOOODDD. we!!! get!!!! it!!!!! marilyn needs david like she needs air to breathe !!!! david worships the ground marilyn walks on !!! they have sex like 4097234 times a day and touch each other all the time and somehow communicate paragraphs’ worth of information with a single look and wE GET IT YOU HAVE MADE YOUR POINT PLS STOP

► The amount of times characters watch other characters having sex. I’m honestly sorry I just made you read that⁠—hell, I’m sorry I just made myself read that. There’s at least 3 instances in this book where a character stumbles upon 2 other characters on their way to having, or actually having, sex. wtf ? a single time is one too many times⁠—BUT 3 ??? one of those times involves a 15-year-old character watching some guy giving his aunt oral sex and the other a teen girl watching her parents on their way to having sex on the sofa and that is, on both counts, some deeply disturbing shit, to say the least. and the scenes are described in detail too and I just…did we really need this kind of disgusting voyeurism ?

► The amount of times Lombardo uses the phrase “sitting Indian-style.” JUST FUCKING SAY SITTING CROSS-LEGGED AND MOVE ON. why use dumb and offensive antiquated language when you can just use the perfectly serviceable alternative of “sitting cross-legged” ???

► Lombardo doesn’t seem to have considered a lot of the shit she decided to include in this book because so much of it is questionable at best and extremely problematic at worst. Here are some particularly egregious examples:

“His name…[is] Jonah Bendt, unfortunately; like, cool, why not just cement the kid’s fate as a pipefitter?

isnt it funny to shit on people’s jobs lol how hilarious

“Lathrop House had gotten cable specifically so this one fucked-up kid with Asperger’scould watch it.”

why include the “fucked-up” ???? why not just say “a kid with Asperger’s” ??? i swear im getting riled up writing this because this book is so unnecessarily shitty so many times

“We’re in a weirdly speedy schedule tonight. Mom’s in schizoid mode.”

this one’s especially hilarious because this book tries⁠—and miserably fails⁠—to sympathetically portray mental illness and then turns around and has a character basically shit on any kind of positive mental illness representation by saying a dumbass thing like “mom’s in schizoid mode.”

while we’re on the subject of this book’s shitty mental illness rep, i wanna talk about how the book portrays the husband of one of the main characters, Ryan, who has depression. i don’t have depression so definitely take my opinion with a grain of salt, but the rep was, in my view, Not Good. in fact, it was Bad, Really Goddamn Bad. the moment Lombardo introduced him i knew it wasn’t going to go down well. because all he is in this book is a huge burden to his wife. that’s literally it. he’s a pathetic “man-child”⁠—and I’m quoting straight from the book here⁠—who sits at home all day and plays video games and thwarts his poor wife’s every attempt to get him to do something productive. i don’t even know where to start unpacking the shitstorm that is his portrayal. first of all, HE IS DEPRESSED. i think that would qualify as a HUGE extenuating circumstance. it’s not like he’s some lazy slob who’s sitting at home all day for no reason. but more than that, the way he’s represented makes it seem as though it’s his fault he’s depressed. like if he’d just get up and make an effort, everything would be okay. like oh his poor wife is working sooOoO much and trying soOoO hard to be good for him and he’s refusing to cooperate or do anything for her sake !!! isnt he such a huge burden !! if only he would just, like, do better !! not only is all this bullshit, but it’s extremely reductive. mental illness is complicated—giving me a depressed character and telling me he’s a “man-child” because he’s depressed is not gonna cut it. not even fucking close.

second of all, NO ONE DOES LITERALLY ANYTHING TO HELP HIM. it’s quickly mentioned at one point in the novel that’s he on Prozac, but that’s about it. no one suggests therapy, or better medication, or new medication, or literally any help of any kind. does his wife think his depression will just disappear ?? that if he works hard enough he’ll beat it or something ?? oh yeah, and his wife has a degree in PSYCHOLOGY—the irony could not be more painful. i s2g im so done with this book and its bullshit i need to move on from this point or else im just gonna keep rage-typing

~~ok back to your regularly scheduled programming of examples of shitty and offensive writing!~~ 

“Who’s that horrible Judd Nelson boy who was sitting in the back row? He looks like a school shooter.”

completely unwarranted and such a shitty thing to say, but at this point ive stopped expecting decency from this book’s writing

“Jesus, Viol, he’s not r*tarded.”
“Her r*tarded eraser collection means a lot to her.”

ah yes, here we are at the crème de la crème of the shitty things included in this book. it’s 2019. there is ZERO reason why anyone should feel compelled to use such an offensive and problematic term, much less use it TWO TIMES, in anything they write. did no one read this book over???? did no one think to, i dont know, NOT INCLUDE THE R-WORD IN IT ???

Aside from the mess that I just outlined, I also didn’t like any of the characters. Most of them were annoying more than anything else, but ooooooooh boy one of them, Wendy, might be the shittiest character I’ve read so far this year. I hated her with a burning passion. she was an absolute dick 99.9999% of the time and no amount of tragic backstory can convince me that she wasn’t.

Anyway, a family saga is only as good as its family, and when you don’t give an iota of a shit about the family that said family saga hinges on, then that’s not an especially good sign….

ok im gonna go do some deep breathing exercises or something rn because writing this review has riled me up, if you couldnt tell lol

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ARC REVIEW: A LADDER TO THE SKY by JOHN BOYNE

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I tried not to have high expectations for this, I really did. I absolutely ADORED Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies, so naturally I was eagerly looking forward to whatever he would release next. But try as I might to moderate my expectations for this novel, A Ladder to the Sky still disappointed me. By and large, my biggest problem with this novel is that–and this is gonna sound harsh–its story felt like nothing special. The main character was a horrible person, sure, but not in a particularly interesting or compelling way. The plot was very linear and predictable; once you establish what kind of character Maurice is, nothing he does comes as a shock. The other POV characters of the story didn’t interest me in the least; they seemed like a means to an end as far as Maurice’s story was concerned. And then on top of all of that the ending was just underwhelming, a that’s it? kind of ending.


This book is definitely not gonna deter me from reading Boyne’s other books, but on its own it was just not a standout book for me.

(Thank you to Crown Publishing/Hogarth for providing me with an eARC of this via NetGalley!)

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ARC REVIEW: STRANGE GRACE by TESSA GRATTON


Strange Grace has such a compelling, eerie premise: every seven years, a boy is sent into the Devil’s Forest as a sacrifice to allow the village and its occupants to remain safe and prosperous for the next 7 years. Except, one day, this spell is inexplicably interrupted 3 years into the 7 year interval. THE MYSTERY. THE SUSPENSE. And I gotta admit, the first couple of chapters of this book were very exciting. I wanted to find out what would happen and the air of mystery surrounding the whole thing was enticing. I also really appreciated the prominent role that diverse representation played in this story. There’s great LGBTQ rep (it’s hard to tell what the characters identify as since they don’t explicitly use labels, but to me it seemed like the main characters were bi- or pansexual), gender identity rep (again, I can’t tell for sure, but one of the main characters read to me as non-binary), and also one of the POV characters is black. Regardless, my initial interest in all of these things–the premise and the rep–waned and I was just left feeling more underwhelmed than anything. About halfway through the book I realized that I wasn’t enjoying this story anymore. 

I think my issue with this is that the story feels very static. It has plenty of highs and lows, and yet they never really feel all that high or low. Consequently, neither the story nor its characters end up reading as dynamic. Also, something about the writing style made this quite hard to follow. I don’t know if this was just me, but I had a lot of trouble visualizing scenes because the logistics were so hazy and the transitions very abrupt.

Strange Grace wasn’t a bad story, but the fact is, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I loved the outline of its story, but its characters and writing ultimately fell short for me.

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