**Disclosure** These books were sent to me free of charge for my honest review from my participation on the Z Blog Squad.Both Of Me
It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.
When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.
This novel is very focused on the tragedies that have occurred in the lives of both Clara and Elias. Both feel guilty for something in their past and find themselves unable to live a normal life due to the guilt they are running from. It takes the entire book to reveal what those tragedies are, but from the beginning it’s clear that both are running from something in their past. The book ends on a tragic note with some hope restored for one of the characters and only a little more hope restored for the other. Clara does have an experience with God at one point that leads her to suspect God delights in her. There is implication that the loved ones lost to death are in Heaven when it says, “Above, they would always be with me”. There’s no salvation through grace kind of experience, just a recognition that God cares and an assumption that because of this loved ones are in Heaven and the character will be someday as well.
For as long as she can remember, Sarah’s family life has revolved around her twin sister, Annie—the pretty one, the social one, the girl who can do anything. The person everyone seems to wish Sarah—with her crippling shyness—could simply become.
When Annie suddenly chops off her hair, quits beauty pageants, and gains weight, the focus changes—Annie is still the star of the family, but for all the wrong reasons. Sarah knows something has happened, but she too is caught in her own spiral after her boyfriend breaks up with her and starts hanging out with one of Annie’s old friends.
Annie is intent on keeping her painful secret safe. But when she and Sarah start spending time together again for the first time in years, walls start to break on both sides … and words that had been left unsaid could change everything.
The book is about twins who both have issues, Sarah is suffering from severe social anxiety and Annie is suffering from a mystery ailment throughout the book, which comes to light at the end. This book was exactly what I expected from the synopsis and even the mysterious ailment of Annie was pretty expected, but the book overall was a good one. It is not religious at all from what I can tell even though I received it from BookLook Bloggers and the message is just that you should come together as family to help each other.
The book may be a trigger for some, so be forewarned. However, it was very well done and I think the author did a good job expressing the changes that can happen to people based on horrific experiences. I think that it did a good job identifying Sarah’s social anxiety and what it is like for those who suffer and how people react to them. The ‘she’s just shy’ thing drives me crazy, no, not shy… it bring you physical pain to be in front of others and if not pain, an anxiety like no other.
The Looney Experiment
You enter the mind of Atticus, a middle school student who has a very active imagination that seems to take over his mind when it wants and not always at the ideal times. Dealing with some issues that so many middle-schoolers face, bullies, the cute girl and a Dad who left this book is a relevant work that was enjoyable to read. Atticus encounters Mr Looney a sub in his English class. Through Looney’s teaching Atticus finds his own way to navigate the problems he faces. This book will be great for any middle-school aged kid because they are all going to face one or more of these issues. I loved that Atticus’ imagination was a character unto itself in this book. As light hearted and fun to read this book also doesn’t stray fro dealing with the issues its character faces.