2017: The Best Year

It’s finally coming to the end of the year, and what a year it has been. I was recently flicking through photographs and old journal entries, and on reflection, couldn’t believe how great this year has been. So I thought I’d write a post about everything that made my 2017 as amazing as it was.

My Year Abroad
How could I not begin with my year abroad? I spent the majority of this year on the continent, in either Spain or Portugal, and I had the absolute time of my life. I am still so heartbroken that it is over, but the memories I have taken away from spending my year abroad are precious and irreplaceable. As are the friends that I made! I have walked away with not only memories, but with lifelong friends who I know I can always count on, which is definitely something to treasure. On reflection, who wouldn’t have had the time of their lives when spending the majority of their year in hot countries? I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity.

Travelling
I know that this sort of links into my Year Abroad, but I actually had the opportunity to travel at leisure this year, when previously I hadn’t traveled extensive amounts and I was limited to having only visited a couple of foreign places. This year I saw the majority, if not all, of the Spanish provinces, of which I can’t choose a favourite (all too beautiful!) and most of mainland Portugal, which was already my favourite country to begin with. I feel super lucky to have done this, I walked away with amazing memories, an extensive postcard collection and many, many travel posts on my blog.

My Blog
Speaking of my blog, 2017 was the year I finally put my years of ideas and dreaming into practice, and really developed my blog! I’m super proud of how it turned out, and while I know that improvements can be made, I really love my blog and the work that I’ve put into it. I had previously never had the courage to start one, nor the confidence to post my writing on it, as I feared judgement from others and what they would think/say, but I learned to conquer that fear and just do it! I’m so glad that I did.

My Final Year of University
I’ve reached the end of my degree at the University of Manchester, and while it is extremely tough, I’m trying my hardest to treasure every moment of this final year, because I know reality will kick in once I have graduated! I’ve started working for my university as a Spanish & Portuguese Ambassador and have met some really great people through my job (I wish I’d have done this sooner!) and in all, I have grown so attached to Manchester. Being away for a while made me miss the city and made me realise just how much I feel at home here.

Vegetarianism
In July I took the decision to become a vegetarian, and I am so happy that I did. It’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. In honesty, it was always in my plan, I’ve never been a major meat eater as it was, never eating red meat and sticking to mainly chicken/fish, but being someone who has always had compassion for animals, I decided 2017 was the time that I would act on it. So one day I just decided I wouldn’t eat meat again, and I’ve never looked back since. It’s resulted in me loosing a considerable amount of weight, which is always something I have wanted to do, and so I’ve found myself feeling so much happier in myself. But also, it’s improved my education of the environment, and the effects that the meat industry is having on the environment. I plan on writing more posts about this, but I’m so happy/proud of myself for finally taking the step!

And so there we have it, a few things that made my 2017 so amazing. I’m hoping for an equally fantastic year in 2018, Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you have a prosperous 2018!

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Update | Returning to England, the Upcoming Year & Where Have I Been?

So… I’m back, in every sense of the word: I’m back here, on my blog, writing a post and (hopefully) starting a fresh, and also, I’m back in England. I was previously writing from Madrid, Spain where I spent six (utterly amazing) months. And, in honesty… I’m not entirely sure where to start in my return to blogging. I’m slightly unsure if any of my almost 300 followers (thank you for sticking around!) would remember my blog or not, but after revisiting some of my old posts and replying to comments that are seemingly months old, I decided it was finally time to sit down and start again. ‘Start again’ might be the wrong phrase, as after reading back through my old posts, I was left inspired to continue rather than start again. I’m still really proud of my writing and feel almost a little bit dismayed that I decided to stop, but I have good reasoning, I promise.

Context: as I said, my last post was written in Madrid, during which time I was spending a year abroad in both Spain and Portugal. I’ve written about this many times, travel posts were my favourite ones to write and take photographs for, and if anyone stuck around to see my five part series of ‘The Barcelona Diaries,’ then you will know that these were the last travel posts that were added to my blog. When I was approaching the end of my time in Spain, I decided to go traveling in the south, and made a conscious decision to just put the camera down for the 10 days I was traveling, and look at the sights I was seeing through my own eyes, rather than a camera lense. And I guess this is where my dwindling of ideas and subsequent imposition of the good old ‘writers block’ began. I traveled through Cordoba, Sevilla, Malaga and Granada and I had the time of my life, avoiding my phone, avoiding the camera (although admittedly I did take a couple of photographs), and I didn’t regret my decision not to write travel posts.

Following my 10 day traveling stint, I spent two more weeks living in Madrid, in the heights of freedom after finishing my job as an English teacher, and all I felt was dread at my impending flight home and the prospect of integrating back into my own culture. One thing nobody ever tells you about your year abroad, is that coming home is so much more difficult than taking the leap and leaving in the first place. After coming home, I felt uninspired, unmotivated and in honesty, a little miserable. I had always planned to take a little blogging hiatus, being that I am now in my final year of university and have tonnes of studying to do, but I just never got around to writing a post explaining said-hiatus, and so that brings us to the here and now: hiatus over.

As I write this it is Christmas Day 2017, my blog is almost one year old. I am still so happy and proud when I look back through it, and so I’m taking the conscious decision to not give that up. To situate us in the here and now: I am home, back at the University of Manchester and studying as hard as I possibly can to make it to graduation in July. But I have had a surge of ideas for my blog, and I intend on acting on them: feminism, popular culture, post-modernism, book reviews (of course, that would never change), and this year I also transitioned to vegetarianism, which has been such a journey and something which I feel has had a really positive effect on me, so I’d really like to write some posts about that. I also want to round off my year abroad, talk about the transition back to English life and maybe even write a post from a retrospective point of view, something to invoke nostalgia when I look back. I have tonnes of ideas, and I’m super excited to get back to it.

I was reading back through some older posts from this time last year, and I wrote in this post, ‘here’s to a prosperous 2017.’  And prosperous it definitely was, I have had the best year of my life so far, maybe I’ll even write a blog post about it. So here’s to an even better 2018, with more blog posts and a little more uncertain, yet exciting future to come. (And hopefully there’s someone out there, just one person, that is still interested in reading my blog?!)

Additionally: the photos included in this post are some of the photographs I have taken of Manchester since returning home.

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A Few Of My Favourite Things About Madrid

Having spent months living in Madrid during my year abroad, I definitely fell in love with the city. I thought it would be interesting to share a few a favourite of my aspects and places in the city!

  • La Plaza de Cebada, La Latina – I had heard so much about the edginess of Madrid; the youth, the flea markets, the cool cocktail bars etc. La Plaza de Cebada was my first taste of this, having visited the first time on a Sunday, it was full of young people like me. There was live music, cold beers on sale for €1 and really cool graffiti everywhere. It was super chilled, and a really good place to relax on a Sunday afternoon. Take the metro to La Latina and you’ll find it straight away – super cool, ‘edgier’ area.
  • La Bicicleta Café – Malasaña in general is one of my favourite areas of Madrid: home to the best tapas restaurants, cocktail bars and book shops. Having mentioned cocktail bars, La Bicicleta is definitely my favourite in Madrid. My usual order being the red fruits mojito, it’s definitely the best place in Madrid to people watch, drink cocktails and listen to some really good music – a mixture of Spanish and English. It’s usually filled with young people, of all different cultures, and a great place to socialise. There’s usually a long wait for a table/space, being that it is so popular, but it is definitely worth the wait.

  • El Teleférico de Madrid – Having caught the metro to Casa de Campo and walked all the way to the top of the hills to catch the teleférico (cable car) to the city centre (Templo de Debod), I can safely advise you all to not do this. In the heat, and definitely the wrong footwear, I was exhausted by the time I reached the top. But the teleférico was absolutely gorgeous, you could see the whole of Madrid, the views were stunning. I would recommend walking to the the Templo de Debod (you can navigate your way from Plaza de España metro station) and take a return journey to the top of Casa De Campo and back again – the views are incredible.
  • Casa de Campo – Speaking of Casa de Campo, how could I not include this area? Being on the same line as Casa de Campo is amazing, as if I’m ever feeling bored of the city, of business and traffic, it’s easy to escape to the somewhat countryside. Casa de Campo is almost entirely rural, with huge parks and gravel pathways allowing you to wander through the trees and escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Madrid. (I sound like a travel guide, don’t I?) But seriously, it is a super tranquil, calm area to relax. Also, the theme park and zoo of Madrid are at the bottom of the hill in Casa de Campo, so if that’s more your thing, or if you even just have a fondness for nature, this is definitely an area for you.
  • La Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes – This was one of the first places I ever visited in Madrid – the rooftop bar at el Círculo de Bellas Artes. We made the effort to visit it at sunset, and though it was extremely busy, it was absolutely stunning to watch the sunset behind the Madrid skyline. It costs €4 to go up, but it is so worth it. A popular spot for sunset watching, there are tables, sun-loungers and comfy corners to relax and watch the skies.
  • Cuatro Torres – maybe this is one of the more boring ones? But I know that when I see the Cuatro Torres, I’m home. Whether that’s coming out of Chamartín train station after a journey to another part of Spain, or landing on the runway in terminal one and just seeing the towers in the distance after a visit to England or Portugal – you know you’re back in Madrid when you see them. The four towers are made up of Torre Espacio, Torre de Cristal, Torre Pwc and Torre Cepsa. They represent the business district, wealth and overall luxuriousness of such an amazing city, and when I see them, I instantly feel at home.
  • La Rosadela de El Retiro – the Retiro in general, is one of my most favourite places in Madrid: it’s beautiful, and there is so much going on. There can be yoga in one corner, live music in another, and even birthday parties going on. But my favourite part of the Retiro (aside from the Palacio de Cristal – a must see!) is La Rosadela: the rose garden. Walking under the archways of roses into the garden thats filled with all the colours of the rainbow in rose form, fountains and lines and lines of flowers is stunning! In a cosmopolitan city that is constantly bustling, visiting the quiet of the rose garden and ambling through at your own pace is refreshing.
  • El Edificio Metrópolis – in English, the Metropolis building, is my favourite building in all of Madrid. It is the first building that stuck in my memory during my first few days of living here, I am so in love with it. You can see a beautiful view of it from La Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes which I wrote about earlier in this post. On the corner of Calle de Alcalá and Gran Vía, and inspired by French architecture, it really is one of the most spectacular and famous views in Madrid.

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Saudade

saudade
saʊˈdɑːdə/
a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent
yearnings, saudades, those sonorous fruits grown for overripe hearts”
While my time living in Portugal is over, and in fact my time living abroad is over, I miss Coimbra every single day. It was a city that grew to be my home, a place that I felt welcomed, comfortable and very much happy! The Portuguese have a word – saudade – which is used to refer to a type of yearning, a type of longing as such, which doesn’t directly translate into English. It is my favourite word of all languages, not just Portuguese, because I think the meaning it holds and its unique Portuguese nature is beautiful. During my time in Coimbra, ESN (the Erasmus network at A Universidade de Coimbra) told us ‘aprende-se dizer saudade’ (learn to say saudade). I never really understood, but now I do. I’ve learnt to say saudade, because I love Coimbra, and I miss it so much, but going back wouldn’t feel the same: it wouldn’t be the same without the season, the friends, the atmosphere. But Coimbra was and still is one of my favourite places in the world, and I want to go back and visit soon. Here are a few photographs that I took in Portugal to look back on my time spent there, as I sit in rainy old England preparing for my final year of my Bachelors Degree!

 

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6 Similarities Between Madrid & Manchester

Having lived in Manchester for two years, and spent a lot of time there growing up, I would say I know the city quite well. Having lived in Madrid for five months, maybe I know it less so, but it got me to thinking how Manchester and Madrid differ, how they are alike, and what elements they have in common. When it comes down to it, there are a few ways in which the cities are similar to each other, and I thought it’d make an interesting read!

  • Unique, quirky areas: Manchester is renowned for its Northern Quarter, where you can find an edgy vintage shop selling reconditioned denim on one corner, and a cocktail bar selling drinks of all strange concoctions and creations on the opposite. Madrid has areas like this too, such as Lavapiés which is an area made up of mainly immigrants, so if you want to sample some real, authentic and extremely tasty food from differing cultures, this is definitely the place to go. There are also eccentric little cocktail bars here, not unlike the ones in La Latina. You could even take the metro to Tribunal and wander in the surrounding area, where you’ll find amazing street art similar to that of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and where, most like Manchester, you can find groups of bloggers taking photographs with the oh-so-edgiest of graffitied walls and authentic houses.
  • Football: football is such a big part of Manchester culture. Derby day is horrific for anyone who needs to pass through the city centre, use the metrolink or in fact any of the public transport systems. But theres something uniting and powerful about being apart of a football team, and in Madrid, it’s much the same as Manchester United vs. Manchester City. The city is divided into two: Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. The city experiences the same excitement and the same anticipation on match days, and it reminds me a lot of Manchester’s love for football.
  • The LGBT community: it makes my heart burst with pride to walk around Manchester and see such support for the LGBT community. It’s common to see stickers/posters and other such materials popped around the city in support of the community, and Manchester is home to one of Britain’s largest ‘Gay Villages’ – Canal Street. I love nights out on Canal Street, and similarly Madrid has Chueca, their equivalent ‘Gay Community.’ The metro station is my favourite thing, clad in all colours of the rainbow. Nights out there seem to rival that of Canal Street, and Madrid’s support and acceptance of the LGBT community is both similar to that of Manchester’s, and also heart-warming.
  • The student atmosphere: Manchester is home to six universities, plus more subject-specific college centres, and so the city is absolutely full of students. Being an undergraduate student at the University of Manchester, I can fully comply with the thousands of articles that brand Manchester as the best UK student city, the atmosphere is incredible, and also very comfortable for young people moving away from home for study. Madrid is home to at least 15 universities, some of them international, public, private: there is such a huge range. Like Manchester, the city is full of students, and gives off the same exciting, comfortable feel for both home and international students. There’s nothing quite like it.
  • Shopping: one thing I adore about Manchester? The shopping. The Trafford Centre is my saviour – it has everything I need, in one place. It even has cocktail bars, and a place to eat sushi. Literally, what more could I ask for? Aside from The Trafford Centre, Manchester city centre is unreal too: the Arndale has a Topshop superstore, and besides that, there is a huge, 5-floor Selfridges too. You couldn’t want for anything in Manchester, because everything you’ll need is there! Madrid is much the same, from Fuencarral and Gran Vía to The Style Outlets and Plaza Norte in northern Madrid, you really cannot ask for much more. Madrid is home to one of the biggest Primark superstores in Europe, and on the opposite end of the scale, you can find boutiques with handmade clothes tucked away in the streets of Tribunal. Like I said, everything you could need.
  • Food: Manchester is home to some of the most amazing food places: from Almost Famous to Home Sweet Home, from Rosso to Panama Hatty’s, whatever type of cuisine you’re looking for, Manchester has something for everyone! Madrid is much the same, as previously mentioned, Lavapiés is home to some amazing Indian restaurants, amongst other amazing cuisines. If it’s traditional, authentic Spanish tapas you’re after: visit Tribunal. And if you’re looking for a tasty brunch on a Sunday morning, Federal has eggs benedict that is worthy of rivalling that of Manchester’s Moose Coffee. You won’t be disappointed!

Disclaimer: all images, if not my own, are taken from weheartit.

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The Representation of British Youth in ‘Skins’

Having only just jumped onto the Skins bandwagon (about 5 years too late), I quickly became addicted and binge-watched the entire seven seasons. Generation two was definitely my favourite: Effy, Cook and Freddie were obvious favourites, although I also loved Sid and Cassie from the first generation. It got me to thinking about the representation of youth culture: the reckless house parties, the struggle to achieve educational success, the pressure on ambition for the future. Skins definitely takes a unique approach to the representation of this topic, in many ways being wholly realistic and others being slightly exaggerated. Focusing on generation two alone (seasons three and four), the show is a marker of representation for various themes in the lives of the British youth.
Mental Health
Possibly my favourite thing about Skins: it doesn’t make a taboo of mental health. I’ve written about it on my blog before, but in a day and age when depression and anxiety is rife amongst young people, I think it is super important that the topic is discussed and young people understand that there is help out there. Making a small reference to generation one – Cassie’s eating disorder takes precedence, and the episodes surrounding her, delve deeper into the world of alimentation struggles. The episodes depict not only the physical struggle of eating disorders, but the mental struggle too, and I think the episodes did a really good job at conveying the intricacies of such a disorder and opened the audience’s eyes to something which, in a world of social media and image expectations, is rife. Additionally, going back to the focus of this article (generation two), I think the execution of Effy’s storyline is actually, in turn, a positive thing. I’ve read many things stating that Effy Stonem is ‘goals,’ in how she dresses, in how she behaves, in having Freddie and Cook be in love with her. I strongly disagree with this, Effy was an extremely troubled character, and I think the producers intentionally made her this way to make her an anti-role model. She isn’t someone to aspire to, yet the producers don’t degrade the issue of depression: they are conveying depression in a different light. I think a lot of the time, the stigma around depression leaves people with the idea that it is something which has set signals and indications: maybe the said sufferer can’t bring themselves to do much, cry a lot of the time, avoid contact with other people etc. And I’m not disputing the fact that those are common symptoms. (Disclaimer: I am certainly not a doctor, these are merely my thoughts!). But what the show does so well is show the opposite side to these conventions: the erratic behaviour, the overcompensation with emotions, the lack of crying, the acting like everything is fine. Effy has ‘psychotic depression,’ and I think that the producers were skilled in showing a different side to depression, especially when you consider the society we live in, where youths have easy access to drugs and alcohol, and partying is a social norm. What is questionable, however, is their portrayal of help and rehabilitation. Yes, Effy was rehabilitated, and she had therapy too – both great options when regarding her state of mind. But her therapist turned out to be slightly psychotic himself, and killed her boyfriend. True, it makes for a great, entertaining storyline, but how well did this contribute to the portrayal of depression, and how to help the problem?
Sex
I think that when you think of Skins, sex is one of the first things that comes to mind. There is a lot of sex throughout the seasons, but particularly in generation two. Effy and Cook, Effy and Freddie, Naomi and Emily, Katie and Freddie, the list goes on. I don’t want to critique Skins too much when it comes to the topic of sex, but I am slightly torn. I say I am torn, because I feel there is two approaches to this topic: the accuracy of the representation, and the influence of the representation. In regards to the accuracy, I think that Skins does a good job at conveying a realistic image of sex in today’s society amongst sex. This is not the stone age anymore: young people do not wait until marriage, having sex is a social norm, and it is much more accepted than it was. Sexual freedom and even promiscuity is much more accepted in society nowadays than it ever was, and whether you agree with that or not, that is just how things are. Personally, considering myself a feminist (i.e. equality between both genders), I think that everyone has the right to a sexual prerogative, and nobody should be judged on their sexual choices. Thus, the conveyance of this group’s sexual escapades: their freedom, their promiscuity, is wholly accurate, if not slightly exaggerated for the purpose of entertainment and storyline. On the flip side, the influence of this representation is the opposing argument. I am fully aware that this point brings with it a range of contradictions, but playing devils advocate, I think there is definitely room for hypocrisy in regards to this topic. But, I think that the rife inclusion of such sexual scenes, is desensitising for an audience of young people that already don’t value sex as something of importance. While I don’t think that sexual freedom should be stigmatised, I also don’t think that sex should be passed off as something so unimportant. Effy’s flitting from one boy to his best friend, while being her choice and entirely not for the judgement of anyone else, is something which dispels the element of emotion and feeling. I feel the show failed to convey the feelings inflicted due to this and thus the characters just seem to be entirely hedonistic and pleasure-driven. As I previously wrote, I am an advocate of sexual freedom and it is very much a social norm, but I think that equally there should be an emphasis on feelings and importance of sex.

Alcohol & Drugs
Once again, alcohol and drugs are two things that are becoming much more normal in society these days. This isn’t necessarily something which I support in as much as I support sexual freedom, but there is no escaping the fact that they are two things that are very accessible to young people, and Skins conveys this entirely. Generation two, I would argue, are the generation that abuse drugs the most, and spend the most time drinking alcohol. The endless house parties (a staple in youth culture these days), the smoking of weed in ‘The Shed’ with Freddie, Cook and JJ – they’re passed off as normal parts of everyday life. I’m not sure how accurate this representation is, I’m not a spokesperson for the whole of my age group nor my generation, but I don’t consider drugs to be a normal, integrated part of life for most of my generation. I don’t agree with the way that the group pass drugs around like they’re merely sweets, as I think this negatively affects and even influences an audience of young people through, once again, desensitisation. Additionally, in linking points together, there were episodes where Effy used drugs and alcohol to remedy her problems – her psychotic depression, her torn feelings between Freddie and Cook, her familial problems. This is more than certainly one of the most negative parts of the show for me, as I think that this isn’t a message that should be sent to the youth of today – drugs and alcohol are not a remedy for life problems. Aside from this, I think the exposure to drugs and alcohol in the show are partially accurate of how exposed the British you actually are, if not a little exaggerated for entertainment purposes. But what I think the show does well, is convey consequences of drug and alcohol use – the characters often end up doing things they regret in the morning (i.e. sex) and this is shown profusely throughout, and so I think that the show gives a sense of consequential and purposeful happenings thanks to drug and alcohol use.
Friendships & Relationships

Moving onto a more than positive point is Skins of conveyance of relationships and friendships, I think this is the one thing that the show does absolutely perfectly. Nothing is romanticised, the real dynamics of relationships are conveyed – the pressure of expectations, of being young in today’s society, the pressure of the future, they are all factors that effect the groups relationships, both romantically and platonically. Emily and Naomi for instance, are a couple which are effected by Naomi’s desire to travel, thus causing arguments, a breakdown in their relationship. While discussing Naomi and Emily, I think that Skins representation of homosexuality is skilled too. The show successfully conveys the struggle of being homosexual in society without degrading the sexuality itself – it shows how Naomi struggled to come to terms with her sexuality while Emily struggled against the reluctance of acceptance of her family. The show is unapologetic, it conveys every last detail and thus becomes a respectful yet honest representation. What I also love is the solidity of their friendship group, no matter what happens within the group, their friendship always remains and they’re there to support eachother, even in the absence of parental guidance (i.e. in the case of Cook, Effy, even Thomas etc). I think this is a really good thing to convey, and a good example to set to an impressionable audience, and above all I think it really demonstrates the importance of friendship in today’s society. Additionally, I love the diversity of the friendship group. From their demographics – Thomas coming from the congo, to same-sex couples such as Emily and Naomi to Effy who suffers from depression. With regards to their familial situations: Emily and Katie who come from a nuclear family, Cook who can’t rely on either of his parents, Freddie who sadly lost his mum. The group is diverse yet fully functioning, and I think Skins sends the greatest of messages that no matter who you are, where you come from or what has happened: friends are amongst the most important things in life. 

Disclaimer: all images used in this post were taken from weheartit.
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5 Great Books I Recently Read #2

  1. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan: The structure of this book is something which caught my eye and part of the reason I picked it up. Written from the point of views of various students, this book is an insight into the world of high school, and an insight into the minds of the modern adolescent. Being a modern adolescent myself (although I could technically be classed as an fully grown adult now, sob!), I found the book relatable. I found the description of the high school atmosphere nostalgic: the gossip, the friendships, the arguments. It’s a book that discusses the struggles of high school but isn’t a book that dismisses them, Levithan conveys the importance and struggles of young people, and for this I think the book is brilliant.

  2. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman: I had high hopes for this book, as I’ve wanted to read it for a long time; I wasn’t let down! Truth be told, I wanted to read this book in desire for wanting to watch the film. I hate watching films that are based on a book, without reading the book, is that just me? So I picked up a used copy from a charity shop, and I loved it! The style of writing and the plot very much reminded me of ‘The Lovely Bones,’ which is a book that I’ve read over 20 times, (if you have never read this book, I highly recommend it, its super special to me!). The character development in this book is really good, and the story too is gripping. Would highly recommend!
  3. After You by Jojo Moyes: I’ll start by saying the obvious: it wasn’t as good as the first book. But I really don’t hold it against Moyes, ‘Me Before You’ was a masterpiece, and super hard to follow, and for all other soppy romance novel lovers like me, I think you’d all agree that a sequel wasn’t even really needed to this book. I say that with the greatest of intentions, because ‘After You’ was still a brilliant book. I still found myself encapsulated in the lives of the characters, which seems to be something that Moyes does really well. While I think a sequel wasn’t wholly necessary, I simultaneously think that Moyes rounded off the story of Louisa Clark’s life really well, and I’m super glad I read this book.
  4. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini: Okay, so this book was a little out of my comfort zone, I’m known for reading either as many tear-jerking, soppy romance novels as I can get my hands on, or a classic, a book from years ago which is studied in English Literature classes all over the world. But I decided to pick up this book because I’d heard it was highly acclaimed and praised as being a masterpiece. The praise wasn’t wrong, I read this in a day, and I found myself completely attached to Craig! It reminded me of ‘Girl, Interrupted’ a little bit, which is one of my favourite books and films. I liked how Vizzini took a taboo subject, and made it relatable, he wrote about suicide in such a way that it took away the fear of asking for help, as Craig did – a review on the cover of my copy says ‘this is an important book,’ and for my generation, and generations to come: it truly is.
  5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: this book gives me vibes of ‘The Virgin Suicides’, in that the style of writing seems to be voyeuristic like that of Jeffrey Eugenides, the book is confined to one space, and we see the unfolding of events through the eyes of Cadence. The thing about this book was that it was a short read, but it was a read that had me turning page after page until an hour later, I was done. I couldn’t put it down. By the end of the novel, my jaw had hit the floor! The ending was completely unexpected! Giving an insight into both the world and the prejudice of the rich, this book truly transports you.

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