BOOK REVIEW: Suicide Notes – by Michael Thomas Ford

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Title: Suicide Notes
Author: Michael Thomas Ford
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 14th 2008
Finished reading: April 13th 2016
Pages: 295
Rating 3,5qqq

“I’m still kind of a mess. But I think we all are. No one’s got it all together. I don’t think you ever do get it totally together. Probably if you did manage to do it you’d spontaneously combust. I think that’s a law of nature. If you ever manage to become perfect, you have to die instantly before you ruin things for everyone else.”

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Suicide Notes is not the first book I’ve read that uses an interesting mix of humor and a serious theme like mental ilness and (teenage) suicide and therefore its plot is not exactly original. In fact, both It’s Kind Of A Funny Story and The Shock Of The Fall use quite a similar setting with a main character inside a psychiatric ward and if I have to be honest I feel those two books mentioned above did a better job especially when it comes to character development and credibility in general. (I’m aware the second title was published years after Suicide Notes, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I think it was better). I want to make clear that I am by no means saying this novel by Michael Thomas Ford was a bad read and I mostly enjoyed reading it, but I did have a few minor problems with it that influenced the rating. First of all, I wasn’t completely convinced by the credibility of the characters and their (lack of) development of both the main character Jeff and the other patients. Also, I’m not sure I appreciate some of the mental ilness, suicide and glbt related humor used during this story. Not only can some of it be found offensive (especially the glbt related parts), I also thought the humor felt forced at points… I do agree the pace is fast and the story is easy to read even though it’s about such a serious theme. I would probably have given it a higher rating if it wouldn’t have been for the last part… I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but it has something to do with the glbt theme that I found slightly offensive and the (sort of) love triangle was somewhat annoying as well.

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When fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year’s Day, he finds himself inside the psychiatric ward. Even though he doesn’t really remember what happened the other day, someone clearly made a huge mistake when they brought him to the ward… Jeff is determined to leave as soon as possible, claiming he doesn’t belong there along with the ‘nutjobs’. But what about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart? Jeff doesn’t see what the big deal is about what happened, but other people do seem to be worried about him. It turns out Jeff is part of a forty-five-day program and won’t be able to leave early even though he thinks he is perfectly fine and ‘normal’. But as the days go by, the ‘crazies’ start to seem less crazy and Jeff slowly starts to accept what happened to him…

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Suicide Notes is without doubt an interesting read with a fast pace and a healthy dose of humor to lighten up the serious theme. Still, I do believe there are better books out there with a similar plot. And although I enjoyed reading this novel in general, the characters were not always completely credible and I wasn’t always completely convinced by the humor either. The glbt related parts were probably my least favorite and sometimes even slightly offensive and cliché… But otherwise it is still worth reading if you are interested in the theme.

WWW Wednesdays #87 – April 20th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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 actually opened my copy of A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab as soon as I finished the first book, because I simply LOVED A Darker Shade Of Magic. Since I haven’t been able to write a proper review yet though, I decided to put the sequel on hold until I do so I won’t be mixing up the plots… So I decided to start The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza instead. The plot is really intriguing so far and I like the detailed descriptions, but unfortunately I’m not really a fan of the main characters. There’s too much ‘bitching’ and too little character development or other things that might make me like the characters better… Hopefully things will improve later on.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first title I managed to finish since last week was Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford. It’s not a bad read, but the plot is not really original and most of the humor felt either forced or was even slightly offensive…
* I then decided to read Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper and that turned out to be an excellent idea. Like Wonder, this middle grade book has a strong message that people shouldn’t discriminate or judge people by what they look like; it is what is on the inside that truly counts. A really fast read and definitely recommended even though some parts of the the plot are not completely plausible.
* I then finally started with A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab, and I’m still trying to finish a somewhat coherent review without it being just me fangirling all over the place. This book was BRILLIANT! I should have known after so many raving reviews and recommendations… Without doubt one of my all time favorite fantasy series.
* The last book I finished was The Beginning Of Everything by Robyn Schneider, which turned out to be a big disappointment. Such a shame, because I loved her other novel Extraordinary Means! Unfortunately, The Beginning Of Everything is basically full of cliches and annoying characters I really couldn’t care about… More in the full review.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really should start reading Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor next since it was the winner of the which series to read next? poll last month. I have been wanting to read it for ages, but decided to pick up Shades Of Magic first. I also want to try Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover… I’m keeping my fingers crossed this one will be as good as November 9 (unlike Ugly Love). The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is also still on my list… Hopefully some time soon; I just haven’t been in the mood to read historical fiction lately. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson.

WWW Wednesdays #86 – April 13th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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 actually started the two other books first, but I needed something completely fantasy/romance free after I finished my last read. Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford sounded like it would do the job and so far it’s turning out ot be an interesting and fast read. The other two books I’m reading are A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab, with I’m loving so far and I’ve only put on hold because I’m not really in the mood for fantasy and I don’t want to spoil it… And I’ve also finally picked up Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I’ll probably finish this one first before continuing with ADSOM

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I wanted to escape the whole YA/love triangle business, so I decided to pick up this mystery/thriller kindle freebie: Blood Orchids by Toby Neal. Unfortunately not even changing genres helped me escape a love triangle and it did ruin the story slightly for me, but the story itself is still quite entertaining in general. There were quite a few things that bothered me though; more about it in my full review.
* I decided to pick up my TBR jar pick next, and boy was that the best decision I could have made! I LOVED The Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall despite the hint of a love triangle… Fast pace, international setting, a conspiracy, plot twists, interesting characters: this book is almost everything I want in a series.
* I picked up the sequel Map Of Fates straight after finishing the first book, and while it was not as good as The Conspiracy Of Us and the romance scenes became more annoying (read: love triangle related), I still pretty much loved this one as well. The wait for the third book will be a long one!
* I was actually already reading All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders before I started any of the books mentioned above, but it took me a long time to finish it. Boy, this book was WEIRD! I guess this is one of those where the story either works for you or it doesn’t. I definitely belong to the second group and I wasn’t convinced by this story at all. The plot was all over the place, the pace a bit slow, I didn’t particularly like the characters and the story didn’t really make sense. Also, I thought this was an adult novel, but most of it felt more like a middle grade/YA read; up until a few sex scenes were thrown in. WTF?! I need more time to gather my thoughts…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have been in a weird reading mood lately so I will probably end up reading completely different titles instead, but here’s what I would like to read. First up is Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper since I have been wanting to escape from the whole fantasy/romance/love triangle theme… And I guess both The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah would probably work as well. My new TBR jar pick is The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson, which I’m really excited about since I have been wanting to start this series for a while now. Jack The Ripper twist, yes please!

Friday Finds #40 – June 12th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. This week four books I’ve recently gotten myself a copy of; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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