Mini Reviews #1: Seven Days, Magonia, How They Met

July 8, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 1 star, 2 stars, 4 stars, Books, Mini Reviews, Reviews

Mini Reviews #1: Seven Days, Magonia, How They MetSeven Days by Eve Ainsworth
Published by Scholastic Inc. Australia on February 5, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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This bold, compelling and topical story about bullying is told from the perspective of the bully and the bullied. You won't be able put it down until you've reached the conclusion. Jess's life is difficult enough without Kez picking on her – it’s turning school from a safe place into a nightmare. Kez has plenty of problems too but she finds comfort in knowing she is better off than Jess - or so she thinks. A hard-hitting and even-handed look at bullying and the issues facing teenagers today.

Seven Days is a compelling and disturbing story of bullying and abuse, from the perspective of the bully and the victim. It started out rather cliche, with the mean girl Kez and her band of skinny, popular friends cheering her on. Their target is the overweight Jess, who has low self esteem and suicidal tendencies. But it starts to spiral too far out of control and it’s absolutely confronting and horrifying, the depths that Kez goes to, to make Jess pay.

Bullying is never, never okay. Yes, Seven Days attempts to paint two sides of the story, from both the perpetrator and the victim, but I did not feel sorry for Kez. At all. I’ve often thought that those who like to inflict pain, who like to bully other people like to feel in control of their lives and are often suffering greater issues of their own. Which was certainly true in this case, but honestly. It was all so dramatic and black and white, you know?

Kez is a horrible human being and suffering from an abusive family life, but honestly, does absolutely no one, not even her friends, other students, or teachers see the impact on her behaviour? Same goes for what she does with Jess, it’s easy to see her self loathing behaviour, but are people blind to that as well?

Poor self-loathing Jess, I struggled to feel sorry for her as well. Not because I’m cruel and heartless, but because she doesn’t want to do anything to help her own situation. She’s letting someone else get in the way of her thoughts, of her self view, of her livelihood but I’m glad she finally grew some balls to stand up to her.

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Seven Days is a confronting bullying story which attempts to paint two sides of the story, but guys, this isn’t bullying. This is straight out verbal and physical abuse which definitely did not deserve the ending here. I find it hard to sympathise with these characters that seemed so one-dimensional, although I appreciated the creative “7 days” coverage of the story.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Thank you to Scholastic Australia for sending me this book for review.

Mini Reviews #1: Seven Days, Magonia, How They MetMagonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Published by HarperCollins on April 28, 2015
Source: Borrowed
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Magonia is an ethereal, breathtaking read that really took me back to the days of fairy tales. With a girl who didn’t belong, the discovery of mystical creatures living among us and a faraway land, Magonia is a completely whimsical delight.
I originally got this title confused with The Girl at Midnight, with the similarities in flowery writing and bird people, but they were executed differently. I loved Magonia’s absolutely beautiful writing, with poetic phrases and creative formatting that really convinced the reader to the objectivity of the story.
The characters, Aza and Jason are both quirky and charming. Aza, while being sickly all her life with a lifelong disease that has her doctors stumped, really grows into a confident and strong hero. Jason was adorable with his scientific calculations, genius ability and his repetitive recitations of pi to calm himself. It was nice to see the best friends look out for each other, connecting to each other’s sharp minds, before realising that their feelings ran deeper.
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Magonia brings me back to traditional fairy tales which whisk you away into the stuff of dreams. With ethereal bird people, cute and quirky characters and stunning writing, this is an adventure that you’ll never forget. I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty in this novel and hope that you will too.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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 Mini Reviews #1: Seven Days, Magonia, How They MetHow They Met and Other stories by David Levithan
Published by Text Publishing on January 29, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Eighteen stories, all about love, and about all kinds of love.

From the aching for the one you pine for, to standing up and speaking up for the one you love, to pure joy and happiness, these love stories run the gamut of that emotion that at some point has turned every one of us inside out and upside down.

What is love?

With this original story collection David Levithan proves that love is a varied, complicated, addictive, wonderful thing.

When you think about a book about romance, you think sweet, fluffy, fuzzy and emotional. But How They Met and Other Stories covered a whole spectrum of scenarios featuring love, not romance, from the closet gay, the unrequited love, the gay guy who is dating a female just for the sake of it, people who are just meant to be or couples who are just dating for the now. Most of these are teenagers, with the prom being a common scenario. When I realised the commonality between the stories early on, I got excited and thought it was all going to link together, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case.
Due to the short story format however, I couldn’t really connect to any of the characters. This is a common problem that I have with anthologies and novellas. I can’t just start from a random point in time that will end in another random point in time, without giving me time to become emotionally invested in a character, so they become fleeting. When I reached the end of How They Met, I ended up thinking….so what? I realise the point of the book is to capture different scenarios for romance, that someone out there can relate to. But this didn’t really work for me, because I couldn’t end up connecting.
I also don’t think David Levithan’s writing is for me .The first book I read of his, Two Boys Kissing, was memorable and monumental for what it was, but I felt like it was like BLARING HORNS in my face like “we’re gay and it’s okay!!!” Now I realise that’s the author’s style. Everything seems to be over emphasised and in your face, he can get rather deep at times but this seems to muddy the plot and the point for me.
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Considering how this book is now 7 years old, perhaps times were different back then. We’ve progressed so much with LGBT and diverse fiction in those years, where I feel like it’s advanced to a point where it can be applied subtly with effect (such as More Than This by Patrick Ness). Perhaps back then, the author needed to tackle the topic with guns blazing. But I just feel like it’s too IN YOUR FACE now.
Rating: 2 out of 5 
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Thank you Text Publishing for sending me this book for review.
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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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31 responses to “Mini Reviews #1: Seven Days, Magonia, How They Met

  1. Thanks for the excellent review, Jeann. As someone with an interest in teen psychology, Seven Days is a must-read for me. But from the review it really sound like an anger triggering book.

  2. Charnell

    Great mini-reviews. I have only read one David Levithan book, which was Every Day and I really didn't like it. You hit the nail on the head, his style is very IN YOUR FACE. But it gets a bit boring and feels like he's trying to ram an idea straight down his readers mouths, which is not a pleasant feeling to get when reading something. Especially when Every Day is trying to say be acceptable of everyone and then goes on a rant about fat people…. URGH! Sorry… that book still bugs me.

    Magonia is one I want to read myself, so I am glad you enjoyed it.

    I've heard mixed things about 7 Days and it's made me nervous to try it myself.

    • Magonia was amazing Cyn, I enjoyed it more than I thought it would! Yeah, I've read 2 David Levithan books and I don't think I'm a fan. Thanks Cyn!

  3. I had a really involved review ready for 7 days, and accidentally deleted from my blog before posting. I had so many issues with that book and would go as far as to say I was truly disgusted. There was no message in there, and for a book aimed at teens, that's even more disturbing. That bullying the bully is a solution, then you'll work it all out and become friends? I mean, WTF was that ending! So many people let her character down, and if that was my child, I'd be on that parents doorstep so effing fast. It seemed to excuse her bullying because she had a shitty home life. Oh FFS, what utter bullshit. I was fuming, so effing angry at not only the characters, but this book felt so incredibly careless. No learning curve.

    Sorry for hijacking your wonderful review for Magonia with my weirdo book rage Jeann <3
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    • Oh no, that is the worst Kelly! I hate it when that happens. (WordPress automatically saves drafts every few minutes or so, so it\’s hard to lose reviews completely). It was super disturbing, and the happy ending was like whhhhat. Man it was such a frustrating book lol. I totally understand the rant!

  4. keionda

    LIKE DUH Bullying is wrong! But if the character is unwilling to change her predicament or change in some way, what's the point? You say you weren't able to feel anything when she was being bullied? Gosh. And I still haven't read Magonia yet….I shall get to it one day. Hehe

  5. i have no idea how to feel about seven days. i wanted to read it but if it's trying to say that "oh bullies have feelings too and therefore shouldn't be held accountable" then i don't think i could get through it.

    i haven't read magonia but it sounds really good – plus i've seen really good reviews for that one!
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    • Glad to hear you\’re keen on Magonia, it was such a beautiful book! The best friend romance was awesome 🙂

    • I know, it\’s frustrating reading books like that but I guess it has to be done! Magonia is fantastic! I loved the writing.

  6. I agree about 7 Days. Blah. 🙁 I also got very upset at how the boyfriend (omg I can't even remember his name??) turned around and bullied/abused Kez because she was a bully. I mean, HELLO. Bullying bullies is still wrong. *sigh*
    I HAVE MAGONIA ON MY IPOD I CANNOT WAIT TO START IT SOMEDAY REALLY SOON.

    • Oh man, I was kind of glad that the bf stuck up for that girl getting bullied but anyway, it was just disturbing. I can\’t wait to hear what you think, I have a feeling you\’ll love it Cait!