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A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares Hardcover – September 5, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Esther's family is cursed; according to her grandfather, everyone Esther loves is doomed to be killed by the thing of which they are most afraid. Her twin Eugene is terrified of the dark, her mother is a superstitious compulsive gambler, and her father is agoraphobic and hasn't left the basement in six years. Esther's fears are elucidated in her "Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares." After reconnecting with her elementary school valentine Jonah, her list is stolen by said valentine, and the recovery of the list leads to a relationship between the two. As Esther comes to trust Jonah, they work together to overcome her fears, one by one, by facing them directly. Lobsters, graveyards, and heights are a few of the anxieties they tackle together, with Jonah filming the process and, unbeknownst to her posting it to YouTube. Esther, Jonah, and her family are complex and lovable characters fighting their individual demons. Woven throughout is a subplot concerning death incarnate that somehow manages to lighten the tone of the novel. VERDICT Rainbow Rowell devotees, John Green junkies, and fans of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales will find a lot to love here.—Deidre Winterhalter, Oak Park Public Library, IL
Praise for A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares:
An Amazon Editor's Favorite YA Book for Fall 2017
An Amazon September Best of the Month Pick — YA/Teens
A Hello Giggles Best of September Pick
A Bustle Best of September YA Pick
A 2017 B&N Best Young Adult Book
“[A] bewitching book . . . Sutherland's fertile imagination makes this book a deep dive into the intricacies of family, friends, and personal history. . . . A fresh and compelling look at mental illness.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] darkly ironic tale about an offbeat dysfunctional family.”—Publishers Weekly
“Rainbow Rowell devotees, John Green junkies, and fans of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales will find a lot to love here.”—School Library Journal
“[I]mmediately hooks readers . . . Libraries should purchase this for readers looking for something quite out of the ordinary.”—VOYA
“Dark, magical, and humorous, this is a quirky and cohesive novel about fear, depression, and obsession with death.”—Booklist
“[A] magical take on mental illness that feels very real.”—Bustle
Praise for Our Chemical Hearts:
Indies Introduce Summer 2016 Pick
Autumn 2016 Kids' Indie Next List – "Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers"
“The most romantic read of the season is an arguably anti-YA story… It’s the complex chemistry between Henry and Grace that touches the heart and doesn’t let go.”—USA Today
“The author pulls no punches… emotionally engaging.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Eloquently conveying the complexity of love and grief, debut novelist Sutherland creates a story filled with intriguing and memorable characters.”—Publishers Weekly
“This much-buzzed-about debut captures the messy, awkward, all-consuming emotions of a teen’s first love.”—Entertainment Weekly, Fall Books Preview
“Emotionally complex, funny, filled with well-realized and diverse characters and realistic motivations, Sutherland’s debut will stick with readers.”—Booklist
“This magnificent debut from 26-year-old Australian author Krystal Sutherland tracks the unlikely romance of Henry Page and Grace Town, two very different teens chosen to edit their high school paper together…You could probably learn a thing or two from [Henry’s] and Grace’s emotional odyssey.”—Teen Vogue, “October’s Best New YA Books”
“This book delves far deeper than the typical high school romance, and its savvy wordplay and Henry’s self-deprecating charm will win over fans of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.”—School Library Journal
“Henry is surrounded by well-drawn friends and family, and Grace is a fascinating cipher, in a book that’s anything but a predictable romance.”—B&N Teen, “Most Anticipated October YA Books”
“I'm sorry to have to do this to you, but the love story of Henry and Grace is going to kick you in the emotional gut.”—Bustle, “Best New YA Novels Coming in October”
“Perhaps one of the most entertaining features of the novel is the irreverent and funny teen banter that masks their deeper feelings. Best of all, though, is the engaging story that unfolds at just the right pace, drawing the reader in as the stakes get higher and decisions must be made.”—VOYA
“Henry’s first language is clever, angst-driven wit, and this pair is as sharp and quippy as John Green’s Hazel and Gus … Fans of romance driven by stylized narration are the audience for this.”—BCCB
Top customer reviews
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The idea of having a list of nightmares and trying to overcome all of those fears really intrigued me. I thought it was so unique and completely addictive. I found myself cowering right alongside the characters while they were tackling each fear and I felt that rush of adrenaline once they completed the task. The list of nightmares sent the characters on such a fun and extraordinary journey, and I loved every moment of it.
The characters in this book were all so unique and wonderful in their own ways. Esther, Jonah, and Eugene were characters that grew to love and care for deeply. I truly adored how different they were from the "norm". They all went on such emotional journeys throughout this story and my heart truly ached for me. This author made me care for the characters like they were my friends in real life.
Hephzibah was another character that I liked a lot, but I wish there would have been more of. She was the best friend of Esther and Eugene, and I loved those friendships, but I wish I would have seen a little more of it.
I just want to touch on how much of an absolute DELIGHT Jonah was. Jonah was a ray of sunshine that warmed my heart and soul. He did some sketchy things in the beginning, but it was easy to forgive those things once I got to know him more. Jonah was such a kind, thoughtful, resourceful, charming, and easy-going character. I loved how he was up for any and all adventures. JONAH WAS MAGNIFICENT AND EXTRAORDINARY.
The romance in this book was swoony and completely adorable. I shipped the couple from their very first interaction and I never regretted it. The romance was well-paced and so FREAKING CUTE. I loved that the romance never took over the plot or felt too heavy. The author excluded the romance PERFECTLY. I WANT MORE OF IT, PLEASE?
Going into this book, I was not expecting the emotional punch it was going to have. A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares touched on a lot of dark topics including mental health and abuse. Mental health was a large element of this book and I thought the author handled it in an honest and healthy way. There were multiple types of anxieties, fears, depressions, and other health concerns that were discussed in this book. It was nice to see mental health discussed so openly and freely in a YA book.
Overall, this book was an addictive and memorable story. This was a book about fighting your demons, loving yourself, and so much more. A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a book I would recommend to everyone and anyone.
4.5 / 5 Fangs
*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. *
MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It Book Reviews
I did not know this is going to be one of the best books I’ve read in 2017 when I started reading it. And now I cannot wait to get my hands on a finished copy so I can read it again.
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a unique take on addiction, and mental health illness. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything that comes close to how amazing this is. It was pure brilliance from start to finish.
The author accomplished to write a book about serious and sensitive issues without making the book feel too dark and heavy. It was filled with humor and romance without lessening the impact of the message it wanted to get across.
I absolutely loved everything in this book! I love the idea of the list- how Esther tempted Death one fear at a time. It honestly made me want to conquer my own fears. I felt inspired and I wanted to try and be as brave as Esther too. I loved Esther’s grandfather, Reginald. I think he’s my second favourite character. (Jonah being the first.) And I don’t know if this is weird but I even liked Death. His character was written in a way that is both mysterious and compelling. But the definite highlight to me was the portrayal of Esther and Eugene’s relationship. They had such a strong bond that reminded me a lot of Khya and Yorri (Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron). I love how they got each other’s backs like only siblings can.
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares was also a rollercoaster ride of emotions. One minute I’m laughing at how hilarious Esther is, the next minute I’m swooning over Jonah for how sweet, kind, gentle, and considerate he is and then I’d suddenly find myself crying and my heart breaking for Esther and her family. I constantly found myself wanting to hug the Solars and just keep them safe. You know that protective feeling you get when someone you love and care about is hurt and you’re willing to do anything to help them? That’s how I feel about the Solars. I don’t know about you but I have never felt this strongly over a fictional family before.
This book had me in such a tight grip I found it hard to stop reading. (Not that I’d want to.) I lost eight hours of sleep and I don’t regret a thing.
Seriously. Read this.
(Oh and btw. Don’t let the first chapter deter you from reading this book. It was kind of a put-off (at least to me) but trust me it gets so much better from there.)
Most recent customer reviews
Esther Solar's family is cursed.Read more
I laughed, I cried, and I really loved this book.
Pro: So many awesome and quirky characters to love.Read more