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A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares Hardcover – September 5, 2017
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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] 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
About the Author
Krystal Sutherland was born and raised in Townsville, Australia—an inhospitable land where crocodiles, snakes, and jellyfish are always on the prowl. She grew up living directly across the road from the local library and spent almost every day after school (and weekends, too) having adventures between the pages of books (mainly because it was too dangerous to go outside).
She moved to Sydney for college (and safety), where she cut her writing teeth as the editor of the student magazine at the University of New South Wales. She kept gathering tales as an exchange student in Hong Kong and as a foreign correspondent in Amsterdam. Her first book, Our Chemical Hearts, was released in 2016, and was published in over twenty countries.
Her three greatest fears are heights, dark caves . . . and (perhaps worst of all) frogs.
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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
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a hilarious and inspiring take on fear, growth, and battling your inner demons. Esther Solar is cursed. Her family has been cursed by Death to succumb to their greatest fears. For her father that’s agoraphobia, her mother bad luck, and her twin brother Eugene it’s the dark. But Esther doesn’t know her greatest fear, and she’s in no hurry to find out, that’s why she keeps a list of all her “worst nightmares”. But a surprising reunion with her childhood friend Jonah Smallwood leads Esther down a path to confront her fears in an attempt to try and stop her family curse before it consumes them all.
Things I Liked
I absolutely LOVED the fun and humor in this book! You might not expect a book about your worst fears to be so light-hearted, but I found myself smiling or laughing in almost every chapter. Esther, Eugene, and Jonah all have a jovial sarcastic personality. Even though they all are dealing with their fears and anxieties, they maintain really snarky humor that I loved.
I really liked the inclusion of little mini-lists that were observations or facts about a certain situation from Esther. I thought they worked really well in the story, they added more information and context - especially regarding her grandfather Reginald.
Jonah Smallwood is a treat. He’s so charming and suave and devil-may-care. I really liked him (even though I got mad at points). I loved that he wanted to do special effects makeup - it’s a truly unique artform, and I loved that we got to see a character pursue art in a different way. I love how relentless and charismatic he is, it’s so easy to follow these adventures he and Esther are on, because he is such an effervescent personality.
I really liked how Death/The Man Who Would Become Death were personified in the story, through Reg’s stories. It really made this abstract concept/curse more grounded and gave a depth and history to the story and their family.
The writing in the story was so easy to fall into. The story had this grand adventure feeling. It was so lively, humorous, and fun, when it easily could have felt formulaic or repetitive with the fear-a-week method Esther and Jonah used.
Things I Didn’t Like
I would have liked to see more of Hephzibah, Esther and Eugene’s best friend. I felt like I didn’t really get to know her, therefore I didn’t care about her relationships with either Eugene or Esther.
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a story of finding the strength to battle your demons, both real and imaginary. I loved the humor and the joy I had while reading. I like that we get to see the characters trying to fight their fears in different ways - facing them head on, talking to each other, talking to a therapist - it was nice to show that growth comes in many different forms. This was a great story that was filled with fantastic characters and large personality.
*Trigger warnings for: suicide, self harm, and abuse
I received a copy of the books from G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
I laughed, I cried, and I really loved this book.
Pro: So many awesome and quirky characters to love.Read more
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This book starts out super fun and quirky, and to be honest, that's all I was expecting out of it, but it turned into something more.Read more