on April 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult
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A rock chick.
An artist with attitude.
A girl with a past.
A party animal.
Four lives collide when one of the world's most famous paintings is stolen. It's a mystery that has the nation talking, but while Picasso's Weeping Woman might be absent from the walls of the National Gallery, in other parts of Melbourne the controversial painting's presence is being felt by Guy, Rafi, Luke and Penny for four very different reasons.
Life, love, art and one giant party intersect in this offbeat comedy about good intentions, unexpected consequences and the irresistible force of true love.
The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex is a new Australian title meshing different age groups, with two teenagers and two characters in their early 20’s. Mixing a light heist story with some major character development, it presented an interesting perspective of life from majorly flawed characters.
This book takes a while to warm up. After meeting all of the characters, I wondered whether to continue on, seeing as I didn’t know where the story was going to go. What I found within it’s pages, was a light heist story where all four characters will learn some crucial life lessons about what’s important. Each character is terribly flawed, which made them hard to connect with at the start.
A Bastard Ex – a truly great Bastard Ex – managed to act like an arsehole at the same time as making you desperate for his approval. He made you hate him and adore him (with the scales tipping more towards adoration). He scored zero on the list of reasons to stay together, but topped the list of guys you most wanted to be with anyway.
The Guy has forged his results on his report card and seemingly has no direction in life. The Girl has a broken family, having lost her brother. I did like Rafi’s perspective with her Spanish descent though, which made things more diverse. A Spanish legend was covered which presented a large part of the book. I wasn’t a fan of The Artist Luke though, who is a lying cheater who has knocked up his ex girlfriend and treats her like rubbish. He forges famous paintings for a living and is only focused on his latest heist, instead of his baby.
The last character, Penny really pissed me off. Even though Luke cheats on her and treats her terribly, she uses their baby as an excuse to constantly go back to him. I was really disappointed to see that she never learnt her lesson, and her feelings that his behaviour was justified. I was disgusted by how she presented herself as a doormat to his bad behaviour, because somehow she tells herself that he still cares. It’s even sadder because I know this happens in real life, and I wasn’t happy seeing it consistently happen throughout the book, with no major life lesson as a result. Every woman deserves a man who will treat her right, but if you willingly go back and make excuses for the man, then you’ve only got yourself to blame.
In a perverse way, the more badly he had treated her, the more important she had felt. She had thought she was showing him how much she loved him by taking his shit.
I found The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex difficult to get into, but ended up being swept away with its diversity and flawed characters. Unfortunately I couldn’t warm to a lot of the characters, aside from Rafi, although I did end up liking the brief romance towards the end. An interesting perspective, but the characters weren’t for me.
Rating: 2 out of 5
Thanks to Allen & Unwin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Published by Penguin Australia on January 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher
A novel about love and the things you can and can’t change, from the winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for young adult fiction, Sue Saliba.
‘I want to tell you that he’s coming home. . . and it’s going to be like it was before he went away, before everything broke apart.’
Nella waits for the swallows by the creek each spring. It’s a secret vigil she’s followed ever since her father left.
This year she’s going to take him with her . . . but can we ever return to the way things were?
For the Forest of a Bird is a poetic, beautiful novel about a girl who is struggling to cope with abandonment. Her father has left. Her mother has become mentally ill. And her older brother distances himself from her.
She had wished for it before, this exile, but never with such force, such heated desire: to go, to end, to stop being.
As Noella struggles with the loss of her father, she plots out a plan to bring him home to a place where she finds some quiet refuge since he left. The creek where the swallows always return. It’s described beautifully and vividly, in an incredibly enchanting manner with Sue Saliba’s writing.
I read this novel in one sitting, and it captures Noella’s emotion and pain as she learns why her father left. Why shouldn’t a young child be the most important thing to her father? Through her subtle emotional journey, she’ll slowly come to terms with everything and realise not all is forgiven.
A love for her father and a love even for herself. She would tell her father how she felt.
While I enjoyed For the Forest of a Bird, it alludes to a deeper meaning that may be lost on some. Due to Noella’s youth, her thoughts and emotions aren’t necessarily clear at times, as she combines wishful thinking with what she struggles to understand. It’s an enchanting, quick read, that also borders on being a bit too vague and subtle at times. It’s a soft, elegant novel rather than one that will make a huge emotional impact.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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