Without Merit by Colleen Hoover is quirky, but not in a good way, and a departure from her past novels-it's "darker." The Voss family is weird. They live in a repurposed church with their stepmother, stepbrother, biological mother, and secrets. I hated their quirks ever since I read a sample of this novel; they don't make sense, and they don't add complexity. They were mish-mosh, random, and half-baked. I commend Hoover for writing about depression, how subtle it sometimes is, but I don't know if it was accurately portrayed. However, I do know that the LGBTQ representation was written in a harmful manner. It left such a bad taste in my mouth. I know that it's not the author's opinion, but the character's ignorance and irrationality were infuriating. The protagonist is unlikable, the love interest is unnecessary, and the plot is mediocre. Pseudo-meta novel that you should pass. 

I've read few stories that elicit strong feelings of disgust, repulsion, and fear. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates left me reeling. I read many analyses afterward to make sense of everything. Thanks to a past AP English assignment, I was aware of the darkness in Oates' novels, but I didn't expect the reaction I had. The story has you at the edge of your seat, heart pounding, and wondering what's going to happen. While I was reading the story, I connected it to my favorite book-Stolen by Lucy Christopher. The two shared a dark obsession and similar themes that made the story so much more impactful.  It's disturbing and so good. If you enjoyed The Lovely Bones, you might enjoy this short story.
I had to read Beowulf for a different English class. I ended up borrowing the book from the library and reading it on my own. You know those douchey guys that brag all the time, that's what Beowulf is, but with Christianity, more drunk people, and fighting. I also read The Catcher in the Rye for my AP English class. I'm glad I read this with my teacher's guidance because I wouldn't have been able to appreciate or understand the subtleties of the novel. I hated Holden's hypocrisy, but I understood why he's like that. 
I hate World War 2 novels, so I don't know why I read The Book Thief in my free time. I enjoyed the beginning of this book. However, I grew to hate it as it progressed; it developed slowly, and it bored me. The author spends an incredible amount of time developing characters and stories for their deaths to be personal, which makes the development futile in my opinion. Oh my gods, Vivien, you just spoiled the book! It takes place in WW2 and Germany, do you think no one's going to die? When you begin reading, you think the writing is cute. As you progress, you get sick of it. Is a flowery, metaphorical prose necessary for this story?

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