Image result for This Is How You Lose the Time War COVER“Words can wound—but they’re bridges, too . . . Though maybe a bridge can also be a wound? To paraphrase a prophet: Letters are structures, not events. Yours give me a place to live inside.”

This is How You Love This Book:

You start reading it and it’s this cat-and-mouse back-and-forth between two women from two opposing sides of a time war, of all things. But what begins as an adversarial, albeit playful, show of bravado unfurls into something unexpected: a connection. It is a thread that is tenuous, unsure of its presence, but present nonetheless. And then the adversarial becomes symbiotic; these two women hold each other up in and through their letters. They are each other’s confessionals, writing and ciphering, deciphering and reading. The thread becomes taut, asserts its presence, makes itself known—that is to say, these two women fall in love.

Zoom out from the moving, almost effortless beauty of this story and you remember: oh yeah, we’ve got a time war on our hands. There are pasts to modify, futures to alter, courses of history to reroute, to nudge this way or that. This is not a metaphor; this is the world of these women. There is a war to win, agents to outsmart, rules to follow, secrets to keep.

The thing about This is How You Lose the Time War is that it does both those things simultaneously and masterfully; it is both the forest and the trees. You are so absorbed in the almost intoxicating intimacy of Blue and Red’s correspondence, the way they increasingly skirt closer to truths about themselves and what they mean to each other. But this is not happening in a vacuum: they live, after all, in a world where they weave and up down the course of time at their will, where what is at stake is the future of their respective sides. This is a world with its own terminology, its own tangled history, its own rules and fine print. But you finish this novel having such a complete sense of both the trees and the forest; the searing closeness of its protagonists, but also the backdrop which has at once enshrined and obstructed this closeness. The more the trees of these characters grow taller, the more the forest sprawls like a carpet to ground them in their world. That is to say, this novel draws the contours of its world even as it colours in those contours with characters of vivid, layered interiorities.

Reader, I loved it.


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“It is easy to forget, but stories need not always have a purpose. We are quick to say that folktales have a moral or a lesson or a creed. But most of the stories that have survived the ages are told for one purpose only, and that purpose is to say this: ‘Being human is difficult. Here is some evidence.'”

Just absolutely exquisite storytelling. Drager has written a story about stories–in the moment of their telling and through time–and about the powerful bonds that tie siblings together. Her novel is sprawling and specific, widening and narrowing the scope of its story with beautiful fluidity. The biggest compliment I can give this book is, I would love to study it in class. Write essays about it. Talk about it with other people. It’s incredibly layered and genuinely meaningful, simple in a way that makes it affect you all the more.

“In order to record a tale, something must always be lost. Some things must be left unsaid and disguised. The art of storytelling, his brother said, is all about where and how to leave the voids.”

The Archive of Alternate Endings is by far the most surprising book of the year for me, not to mention a severely underrated one. I picked it up expecting nothing at all and finished it knowing it was a new favourite. I want to reread it already.


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nothing emma mills writes could ever disappoint me

idk how to articulate the reasons why this book felt like when youre walking outside in the cold but then you hit a patch of sunlight and stop to bask in its warmth for a moment bc damn its like mother nature herself decided to momentarily give you a warm hug when you needed it most on your unforgiving treacherous walk to class

I just love Emma Mills’s books. so much. so so much. First of all, I love YA contemporaries because at their heart, they’re all about character. So many books I read are so embellished with convoluted plots and ostentatious writing that the characters end up barely recognizable. Emma Mills, though, is so ridiculously, undeniably talented at writing characters. Part of that is because she intuitively just gets how to write dialogue—it’s always realistic, organic, funny, believable. And Foolish Hearts is no exception to this. The fact that I’m able to review this book in JULY even though I read it in January should tell you how much its characters have stayed in my mind. I absolutely adored Claudia and Gideon (omg he was the cutest) and Iris. I’m basically gonna be using every superlative in the book to describe my love for this book: I absolutely, totally, completely, wholeheartedly loved everything about it. Also, Emma Mills’s books are hilarious. They’re pretty much the only contemporaries out there that have made me actually laugh out loud, A LOT. I wish this review was better or more specific or something, but I don’t really wanna be technical about Foolish Hearts. I just want to get across how freaking much I loved it, and how I have loved (and will love) anything that Emma Mills could ever write. 

Yeah. Go do yourself a favour and read Foolish Hearts, and then after that all of Emma Mills’s entire body of work.