Review: Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Genre: Nonfiction, journal
Publisher:  April 1st 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 9781402287589
Source: eARC from Netgalley


Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary RoseGo Ask Alice was a hoax. But Dear Nobody is a true teen diary so raw and so edgy its authenticity rings off every page

"I am a freak."

The words and drawings of Mary Rose present a gritty, powerful, no-holds-barred true experience of a teen girl so desperate to be loved, so eager to fit in that she'll go to extremes that could cost her her life.

This is not a story about addiction. Or sexual promiscuity. Or cystic fibrosis. It's the story of a young woman with a powerful will to live, who more than anything wants to be heard...and loved.

This compelling, emotional account ensures her voice will not be forgotten.





I don't even know where to begin with this book. The array of emotions I felt after finishing Mary Rose's diary ranged from utter sadness to anger. I was sad because there is no cure for the illness that ultimately took her, but I was most upset because her story is too common.

This poor child was let down by everyone she knew, whether she realized it or not. I just cannot begin to imagine what her life was life. It's hard to review a book that is made up of diary entries. They aren't fabricated or altered; you're reading her history. I can't comment on character development, because people aren't characters. I'd like to say that certain relationships were touching and left me with goosebumps, but I'd be lying. Within Dear Nobody is a history with a list of sore spots for me. 

First, let me start with the dirt bag mother. I am sorry to call her that without knowing her personally, but I know this type. I've worked with kids in similar home situations. But if you cannot respect yourself enough to leave an abusive and deadly relationship with a loser of a man, you are an idiot. It just floors me to know what this kid went through because of her mother's selfishness. I've seen it too many times! So Mary Rose's long list of problems begins with her mother and the lack of a strong, female role model. But I think what really got me was the Acknowledgement at the end, written by the mother. It did not match what Mary Rose wrote about. Do I think her mother loved her? Yes.  Even the most apathetic mother loves their child to some degree. What gets me, though, is the number of times I read about the mother disappearing at night to be with her abusive boyfriend, or some other loser man. Or the mom not being around at all to feed her kids. Oh! My personal favorite-- the number of times she got high with her daughter. Yes, mother of the year material right there. But yet, in her Acknowledgement she looks like a saint. Of course, she has to point out that her daughter exaggerated some in her diary and that she knew she was loved. ** tangent-- IF Mary Rose exaggerated like her mother claimed, I'm going to point out the hole in that claim. Her biological father would not agree to the diary's publishing because he was worried of what was said about him.It took months of tracking him down to get him to agree to it. But that was only after reassuring him that nothing would be said about him in the book. To me, that says that this child was speaking the horrible ugly truth of her life. You can't hide or cover some things, and people don't want their shortcomings brought to light. So I don't think she exaggerated at all. I think she was perceptive and called her mom out on a lot of her BS. ** But if you read this book and the synopsis, you'll realize this child did not know love at all. She knew some horribly distorted idea of what love might be.

So this idea of love... How would Mary Rose know what love it? Her father was absent. The man she thought of as a father threw her mom on the bathroom floor when she was pregnant with a child, beat the crap out of Mary Rose, and eventually threw them out on the street. Then her mom shacks up with another psycho that threatens to cut their throats. They escape him but she keeps going back. It was an endless cycle. If this is the only vision of a loving relationship with a male that she knows, no wonder she runs into the arms of the first moocher she finds.

Enter Geoff. Ugh. Young love is so hard to understand. The boy is older, so he's mysterious. He has similar interests (partying and drugs). He's elusive, so that makes him poetic and dreamy. But really he takes advantage of her too. He uses her for money and drugs. He verbally abused her. It was her mother's relationship with men all over again, and you couldn't blame the child for being in it. She didn't know any better.  

These things upset me about Dear Nobody. I really have a hard time getting beyond the mom and her role in her daughter's dysfunctional life. But what breaks my heart the most is how real this was. So many kids in America are dealing with what Mary Rose went through. She has given the voiceless a voice, and a painful one at that. The kids might not be living with cystic fibrosis, but they know what it's like to feel alone. They know first hand the ridicule of their peers. They can relate to feeling worthless, alone, and forgotten. The need to be loved by someone--even if that person is not good for them-- is alive in all their hearts. And I have to say, it absolutely breaks me to think of how many kids feel that kind of loneliness.

If you read Dear Nobody and you only take away one thing, please let it be that your words mean more than you will ever know. Don't ridicule and shame someone before understanding where they are coming from. Don't just assume you know, because you probably don't-- and being the one to step out could make all the difference in a life.






Review: Plus One (Elizabeth Fama)

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 373
Publisher:  April 8th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN: 9780374360078
Genre: sci-fi, dystopian
Source: eARC from Netgalley



Plus OneDivided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.




First, let me start by stating the obvious: this cover is beautiful! I have to say it is one of my favorites, and it perfectly captures Plus One.

I thought Plus One had a very original concept at its core. I do believe this is the first dystopian that I have read that doesn't take place far into the future after society collapses. Instead, it's an alternate reality with a very modern setting. For the most part, it was believable-- but there were a few gaps I had a hard time navigating. 

For starters, the romance between Day Boy and Sol baffled me. The progression I felt was too quick and depended on a memory far more than it should have. Sol was the first to profess her change of heart, which I admit, made me roll my eyes. I think the slow realization on Day Boy's behalf made his side of things more real for me. It might seem that I did not like their connection, but that's not true. It worked; it just needed a bit more developing.

There were also a lot of unanswered questions. I mean A LOT. Where did Gigi go? What happens to her? But most importantly, WHAT KIND OF ENDING WAS THAT?! Talk about an emotional cliffhanger. I do hope there is another book in the works because there are a lot of loose ends that need tending.

If you can't say anything else about Plus One, you will have to admit that the writing is phenomenal. Elizabeth Fama has a way with words. Even if the story does not suck you in from the start, you will find yourself continuing to read because the prose is flawless. It produces a picture in your mind. My heart raced, my emotions swelled, and I felt the despair Sol faced on so many pages. It was powerful stuff.


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