BOOK REVIEW: The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley – by Shaun David Hutchinson

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Title: The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: January 20th 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Finished reading: February 14th 2017
Pages: 297
Rating 3,5qqq

“I realize that adults are just as fucked as the rest of us. No one really grows up. No one unravels all of life’s many mysteries. They just grow up older and become better liars.”

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The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley has been on my TBR pile for a while now, and recently my TBR jar thought it would be about time to finally pick it up. I still posponed it for way too long, but I’m glad I finally gave it a go in the end. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up this novel by Shaun David Hutchinson, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. True, some of the story was a bit too weird to my taste, but in general I enjoyed reading it. The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley is part graphic novel, part GLBT contemporary romance and part magical realism (which includes all the weird parts). I don’t mind a touch of surrealism, but the whole Death thing and even the main character Andrew himself made me raise my eyebrows more than once. I also had some difficulties with the credibility of part of the plot. I mean, how on earth is Andrew to be able spend so much time at the hospital without raising suspicions? And what about the total disregard of protocol and protection of the seriously ill characters/friends when Andrew banters into their rooms and even takes some out of the ward? Health risk much? That said, I can’t deny it’s an entertaining and original read and I really liked the graphic novel bits with patient F.

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Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night his parents and sister passed away. But he survived, and he now lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, is friends with the nurses and sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Nobody knows who he really is and I tries to hide his past from everyone. Because if Death finds him, she will take him too. Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, a teenager with half of his body burned by hateful classmates. Andrew feels a strange connection to Rusty, and decides he needs to protect him from Death. Because Death is always looking for her next victim, and Andrew refuses to lose Rusty too.

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I like that The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley is actually a mix of different genres that work quite well together. The surreal elements were a bit too weird to my taste, but there is no denying they were original. The contemporary romance bit can be a bit cheesy at points, but I liked the dynamics between the main characters in general. I’m still wondering about the title though, because the supposedly ‘five stages’ weren’t mentioned anywhere… The graphic novel bits were definitely a highlight though and I liked how the pages were incorporated into the rest of the story. All in all a very interesting read!


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WWW Wednesdays #124 – February 15th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently still reading the Rebel Of The Sands sequel, and I can’t wait to properly dive into the story later today. It took me a little longer to finish my review than I thought, but no more excuses now. Traitor To The Throne it is! I haven’t made any progress with my newest audiobook (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison) this week though…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer, a new detective series I requested after hearing a lot of great things about it. It’s definitely a worthy psychological thriller! Lots and lots of plot twists and the writing style is really enjoyable… I wasn’t a fan of all the characters and there were a couple of cliches, but the rest of this messed up story makes up for it.  And even though I saw part of the ending already coming, a couple of facts/twists will definitely surprise you!
* I then read Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, a book I’ve been posponing for way too long if you ask me. I finally picked it up after receiving an ARC of the sequel, and I’m glad I finally gave this story a chance. I loved it even better than expected! I’ve fallen in love with the worldbuilding, characters and writing style and I’m already reading the sequel right now.
* The last book I finished was The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson. I’ve been posponing this TBR jar pick for way too long and I’m glad I finally gave it a go. I still have to read the previous TBR jar pick as well (Little Women), so I won’t be picking a new one until I do. This one was better than expected even though some of the story was a bit weird (especially the whole Death thing and Andrew himself). The story is without doubt original and I liked the graphic novel bits with patient F.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have two pending ARCs next: A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles and The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer. (Ok, actually I have a whole mountain of pending ARCs, but I’m going to try and read these two first…) I also want to read both The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken VERY soon. So many books and so little time!


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WWW Wednesdays #123 – February 8th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading one of my pending Netgalley ARCs, Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer. I requested this one after hearing a lot of great things about it, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint so far. I’m also about to start Rebel Of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton… I’ve been wanting to pick that one up for a while, and now I’ve been approved for the sequel there is really no excuse to pospone it any longer. 😉  I haven’t made any progress with my newest audiobook (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison) this week though.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I was able to finish since last week is Missing by Monty Marsden. This one sounded like such an intriguing read and I still like the setting in Italy, but it took me a long time to finish it. I know this story is actually a translation, but it just all felt too chaotic and it took a long time before things started making sense. The many POV switches distracted from the main plot and had me confused which characters were actually important in the story. Claps was an interesting character though.
* I then read The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak, which was actually published yesterday. It’s such a brilliant read! I completely fell in love with the writing style, plot and characters and it just such a great feel-good story full of nostalgic feelings and flashbacks to the 80s. And even though I grew up in the 90s myself, it was really easy to connect to the story anyway.
* The last book I managed to finish is The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I was really looking forward to this one and maybe my expectations were just too high, but this story wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I was actually confused by the chapter introductions for a while and didn’t get a proper feel for the story straight away. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, but it took me longer than I thought I would to finish it and frankly I expected something a little more ‘mindblowing’. Note to self: get the Chaos Walking sequels ASAP!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’ll probably pick up my Netgalley copy of Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton as soon as I finish the first book… Although I have been wanting to read both The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult for the Beat The Backlist challenge as well.  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #122 – February 1st

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness; I’ve been wanting to read another of his books for ages now and I’m glad I finally decided to pick one up. It’s not as mindblowingly good as I thought it would be so far though… I’m also reading Missing by Monty Marsden, a pending Netgalley ARC I wasn’t able to read before the publish date last December. Lastly, I’ve started a new audiobook: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. So far it’s without doubt interesting, although it’s going to take me some time because the file is HUGE (18+ hours…)

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I was able to finish since last week is Stake-out by Lily Luchesi, a paranormal fantasy story with vampires I ended up enjoying a lot better than I thought I would given I’m normally allergic to fanged characters. There were a bunch of other supernatural creatures as well and I liked the whole clash between ‘real’ world and supernatural.
* I then finished Blink by K.L. Slater, which was BRILLIANT. I was already looking forward to this psychological thriller, but boy this one is definitely a treat. Basically I was on the edge of my seat the whole time trying to figure out what was going on, and I ended up being SO wrong about everything. Excellent prose, excellent plot and plot twists, excellent use of suspense, excellent character development… The main characters maybe are not all that likeable, but I didn’t care. I loved every single minute of this story anyway. Also the ‘paralyzed’ chapters are without doubt intriguing and add an extra original touch…
* And just when I didn’t think it could get better, I was presented with another title that would give me a book hangover. I had already heard great things about Making Faces by Amy Harmon, and that’s why I basically broke down the request button as soon as I saw it at Netgalley. All the raving reviews were right: this story is a little masterpiece. I fell in love with both the characters, writing style and plot, and this story will definitely stay with me for quite some time. Sure, some of it might be a little cheesy. But if you have characters like Fern, Bailey and Ambrose, it’s really easy to forgive the story for it. I LOVED the war veteran elements as well; it’s such an important topic and definitely deserves more attention.
* The last book I picked up on a whim after browsing my kindle: The Wrong Side Of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne. It turned out to be a bittersweet read after all the immigration chaos that is going on right now in the US IRL… I did appreciate the immigration elements in the story, but it took me a while to really connect to the main characters and it all just felt a bit too cheesy for me. Not a bad read, but maybe not exactly for me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The first book I’m picking up next is another pending Netgalley ARC: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak, which is due to be published next week. I also want to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, as well as the ARC Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #121 – January 25th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading two pending ARCs… The first is Blink by K.L. Slater, which I will continue as soon as I finish the other one: Stake-out by Lily Luchesi. I’m normally not a fan of vampire stories, but I’m enjoying this one a lot better than I thought I would. Scary vampires and vampire/creature hunters without it being fluffy? Definitely positive for me! Also, since I haven’t been making progress with Little Women due to a mountain of pending ARCs, I’ve decided to put it on hold and no longer mention it until I have made serious progress again.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* First up is the YA Spring/Summer edition of Buzz Books which I downloaded on a whim. I won’t be reviewing this one on my blog, but this edition shows that we have some great YA books to look forward to this year! I’ve already had the pleasure to read The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, which is in one word BRILLIANT. Other titles that stood out for me after reading the previews were Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh, Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs, Roar by Cora Carmack, This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack, How To Be A Supervillian by Michael Fry and Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt. What a great selection of promising stories from a variety of different genres!
* I then decided to finally pick up my copy of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken as part of the #beatthebacklist challenge. I’m still ashamed it took me over TWO years to pick up this copy, although it looks like I have been punished enough because I have been missing out on a great story. The plot might not be all that original, but the writing style is great and I liked the character (minus a few small complaints). I will definitely pick up at least book two next month!
* The next book I finished was Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell, which I read over at RivetedLit for free. It was a close call, since I finished it on the last day the book was available… When I first started reading it, I was more than excited about this Peter Pan retelling, but as things advanced and the Neverland revamped worldbuilding was revealed things fell a little flat for me. It might be the hint at a love triangle, it might be the whiney character, but I didn’t enjoy Unhooked as much as I thought I would. The ending was not that satisfying either.
* The last book I finished since last week is Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt, which is actually the second book in the Detective Eden Berrisford series. I enjoyed this psychological thriller so much better than the first book! The main character Eden has started to warm up to me, although now some problems in her private life have been revealed she does look more like the cliche detective character. Still, the case in Don’t Look Behind You felt just so much more intriguing than the first book and the whole abuse topic is without doubt a very important one. The story reads like a train and the writing style is very enjoyable to read; the amount of plot twists just right. I will definitely be looking forward to the next installment of this series!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Next up are two Netgalley ARCs: Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer and Making Faces by Amy Harmon.  I have one of Harmon‘s other novels on my January TBR, but I’ve decided to read this one first since it’s an ARC and all. I also want to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult…  And my newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #120 – January 18th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell over at RivetedLit, and although I’m not that far into the story so far I’m really enjoying it! It’s only up until the 23rd, so this is my priority read now. I’ve also started Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt, which is a very entertaining psychological thriller so far. I’ve also made some progress with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, although I still have a long way to go before I finish it… I guess I’ve been focusing on finishing some ARCs and other pending reads first?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I’ve managed to finish since last week is The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about this new story and I was actually kind of afraid to pick it up, but I ended up enjoying this story a lot! I loved the characters and the fact that they are not the typical ‘white-American teenagers’; as an immigrant living in Argentina I could really relate to some of their problems. The prose is excellent as well and just the ending deserved an extra 1/2 star to be added to the rating.
* I then read another pending ARC The Thankful by Jamie Campbell. It’s a historical fiction story about the May War of 1940 in the Netherlands, and without doubt an interesting read. The choice to leave many Dutch and German words without translation is without doubt original, although I do think it would have been a lot more difficult to enjoy the story if I wouldn’t have been able to understand those languages myself. The geography can be quite confusing as well, but those are only two minor details in an otherwise interesting description of the May War.
* I then picked up my Netgalley copy of The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr straight after receiving it, and I completely agree with all the other raving reviews out there. This book is brilliant! I loved LOVED the main character and the fact that amnesia plays such a big role in the story. Sure, there is a hint of a love triangle and she doesn’t seem to care much about hurting her best friend’s feelings when she kisses the boyfriend. Sure, if you think about the plot critically it’s not exactly all that credible. But to be honest, I didn’t really care. Flora managed to win over my heart from the very first page and I loved both the writing and how Flora managed to do so many things suffering with anterograde amnesia like she does. And that ending! I’m already having a feeling this one will appear on my list of 2017 favorites.
* I then read another graphic novel ARC: It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot. It switches between short essays and illustrations that show the reader Ruby’s experiences living with social anxiety and the daily struggles of life with mental illness. I  enjoyed reading this graphic novel and found it really easy to connect to the little stories. The author shows life as it is without trying to hide the ugly parts, and I appreciated the sincerity of it all.
* The last book I finished is Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey, another ARC and quite entertaining psychological thriller. The main character suffers from mild amnesia and has a very messed up past and a history with mental illness and eating disorders; basically the perfect unreliable narrator and an easy victim to anyone who wants to play with her mind. The writing was very enjoyable and the story itself quite intriguing, although I do have to say I kind of already guessed the ending about 60% into the story and it was kind of predictable.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Next up is probably another Netgalley ARC: Blink by K.L. Slater. Although I have been in the mood for fantasy, so I might pick up either Splintered by A.G. Howard or The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken first. Although if I have to be honest, it will probably be the second that I will end up reading after hearing so many mixed things about the Alice In Wonderland retelling. 😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #119 – January 11th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently almost finished with The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about this book and to be honest I was a bit afraid to pick it up, but the story has pleasantly surprised me so far. I like the main characters and the fact that they belong to different ethnicities rather than the typical stereotype ‘white-American’ main character. I guess as an immigrant in Argentina, I can really relate to some of the problems they have to face. As soon as I’ve finished it, I’m reading The Thankful by Jamie Campbell, an ARC set during WWII I’ve been meaning to read for a while now. I’m also still reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, but I haven’t been in the mood for classics so I’m not sure when I will actually finish it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first picked up The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, a title that has been recommended to me over and over again and wasn’t able to pick up before the end of 2016. And boy do I wish I would have read it sooner! I can understand why so many people seem to love this story, because I’m now one of them. I was a little worried about the amount of religious talk included when I first started about it, but that soon went to the background. The story is exceptionally well written and basically an emotional rollercoaster. What an excellent way to start 2017!
* I then read a pending short story ARC I have been meaning to for too long, Americosis Vol. 3 by Haydn Wilks. I had forgotten just how weird and messed up this story is! In one word MADNESS, although you have to be in the mood to absorb such an amount of crazy action and weirdness.
* Afterwards, I picked up one of my most-anticipated-2017 releases, The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, and it turned out to be just as good as I thought it would be. Well written, fast-paced, plot twists, suspense… Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and my first 5 star read this year.
* I then decided to pick up Mosquitoland by David Arnold on a whim; another title I have been wanting to read for a long time now. I literally flew through the pages, and enjoyed every single minute of the ride. Another well written story with interesting characters and (road trip) plot… Looks like I have been lucky with my reading choices so far!
* Next up was another pending ARC, That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson. I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially if they are set during or around WWII, but I wasn’t too convinced by this one. It took me a long time to get a proper feel for the story, although I cannot put my finger exactly on the why. It might have been the tone, it might have been the pace, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.
* The last book I picked up is You by Caroline Kepnes, a book that has been on my radar ever since I found out it had a serial killer element. I was so excited about this one, but to be honest I don’t understand why so many people seem to love this book. It might just be that this isn’t for me, but I had to make the tough decision to DNF it after only 5%. Between the annoying prose and constant swearing and sex talk/scenes, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have to Netgalley ARCs pending I want to get to first: Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey and Missing by Monty Marsden. I’m also searching for my next fantasy read, which will probably end up being Splintered by A.G. Howard since I’m in the mood for an Alice In Wonderland retelling. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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