Normal People by Sally Rooney

Wow we have not written a blog post in a HOT minute!! But we are back and better than ever and I have a LOT of books to talk about!

I just finished reading Normal People, and my first impression of the book was that it was definitely not what I thought it was going to be. I thought this was going to be an easy-to-read, Taylor Jenkins Reid-esque book; a light romance with some shocking but eventually easy-to-digest twists. That is not what I got.

Rooney’s writing style is definitely easy-to-read, in the sense that I read it in less than two days. But the story itself was heavy, thoughtful, and just straight up depressing. As I read, I just became more and more lonely, as if I was living inside of the heads of Connell and Marianne, experiencing their melancholy versions of love, never truly understanding the meaning of happiness.

Despite its gradual downward spiral into a deep depression, it is a very good book. The subtleties of the way Marianne and Connell show their love to each other is so intriguing, and the paralleled between their relationship and their other relationships is so deep and important.

This is a book that makes you feel things, and most of them are not good things. Still, it is a work of art in the sense that it evokes a strong emotional response in the reader. These strong emotions make it so that when there is a good moment, or a line (i.e. “I’m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me”) it tugs on your heart even harder.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely pretty heavy and mature, but it was a fast read and it really made me think.


Daisy Jones & The Six

In honor of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Carrie Soto Is Back releasing soon, I thought it would be fitting to review Daisy Jones & The Six

Author’s note: I saw the cover reveal and read the first chapter of Carrie Soto Is Back in TJR’s newsletter a couple days ago and recommend you subscribe to her newsletter to see more of an inside look while you wait for her new book to release. Also, the book seems like it is going to be amazing, but let’s carry on with this book review! 

If you have read Daisy Jones & The Six, I hope you got my reference above!!

To begin, this was TJR’s second book in her period pieces— this book takes place in the 70s. I love her approach to writing because her books are always so different, but I love them all and I can always recognize her writing. In Daisy Jones & The Six, TJR writes in an interview style which is very experimental for her. I really enjoyed this technique because it was easy to follow and interesting to hear opinions and stories from the perspectives of every character. My fellow blog mate Bella has taken inspiration from this interview style of writing when creating her own story (which is phenomenal)! 

Here is a quick summary:

Daisy Jones is a wild girl who grows up in L.A. hoping to get noticed for her songwriting and singing skills. Meanwhile, the band The Six is also gaining popularity through their lead singer, Billy Doone. When Daisy and Billy meet and decide to create a song together, the entire world loves them and Daisy Jones & The Six work together to become legends. Of course, the story is not as simple as that, each band member learns that fame does not always bring happiness and sometimes morals are more important than glory. We witness the fall of the band as we see who chooses fame or family. 

I love how natural it is for TJR to create the summery, wild child, 70s rock band aesthetic throughout the book. I am even more excited to see how this aesthetic transitions to the TV adaptation that is hopefully coming by the end of 2022. 

Per usual, TJR’s books have plot twists by the end and this ending definitely did not disappoint. It usually takes me a couple weeks to read a book since I have other activities going on, but I read this book in 3 days which is a sign that this book is amazing and hard to put down. Please everyone and anyone, GO BUY THIS BOOK!! 


Georgia 🙂

Folklore/Evermore Songs as Little Women Characters

This Is Me Trying: Amy March

Amy March is seen as a simple, shallow, and annoying little girl, when in reality she is complex and important and interesting. People love to quickly call feminine girls annoying or weak, and they tend to overlook Amy’s dreams and aspirations. They praise Jo’s temper and complex emotions, but when Amy acts the same way, she is chastised. In reality, Amy is just trying.

I’ve been having a hard time adjusting/I had the shiniest wheels, now they’re rusting

Amy was once a very childish and immature girl, and all at once she must adjust to high society and the reality of her dreams. When she was young and naive, she thought she would be great—her wheels were shiny. Now, she realizes she cannot possibly be great, and she has to face that—she’s rusting.

I didn’t know if you’d care if I came back/I have a lot of regrets about that

Amy has a lot of fear about how Jo feels about her after she’s taken her place to go to Europe. She feels as maybe she has left for good, and that it might not matter to her family if she comes back, so she doesn’t. In the end, she misses Beth’s last days and comes back to a virtually empty house.

I just wanted you to know that this is me trying

She’s trying to be an adult and to make smart decisions, but she’s never known how and she doesn’t know how to be herself and still make others happy.

They told me all of my cages were mental/So I got wasted like all my potential

Amy’s dreams were always overlooked as childish or not important—at least not as important or successful as Jo’s. As a result, she resolved to waste her talents and her potential to be great because of the discouragement she always received—except from Laurie.

And my words shoot to kill when I’m mad/I have a lot of regrets about that

As Amy grows older she becomes less impulsive in her anger and more precise with it—like an assassin. She knows exactly what to say to hurt someone in such a calm way, even if she ends up regretting it later.

Fell behind all my classmates then I ended up here

Amy never fell behind academically, because Amy was always smart and had Jo’s help. But, she fell behind financially. She was never on the same level as them with trends or style, yet somehow she landed in a social position above any of them.

I just wanted you to know, that this is me trying/at least I’m trying

Amy is just trying to grow up and into her skin, and she feels as though others (Laurie, Jo) are not trying as hard as she is and that she’s suffering for them and they are not returning the effort.

And it’s hard to be at a party when I feel like an open wound/It’s hard to be anywhere these days when all I want is you

At the New Year’s party, Amy feels forgotten by Laurie, and it’s hard for her because she is so confused about what she wants for her future and she doesn’t want those feelings for Laurie, despite them being strong. She finds it hard to live the life she expects when she just wants to be with him.

You’re a flashback and a film reel on the one screen in my town

Laurie is a reminder of Amy’s past, and him arriving randomly in Europe is a giant surprise to her. He is the one thing from her childhood that has come back, and he is the one thing in her childhood that she is willing to fight to keep.

At least I’m trying…


Folklore/Evermore Songs as Little Women Characters

My Tears Ricochet—Laurie (and Jo)

I know it seems like all of these are about Jo and Laurie—I promise the next one is not, it’s just how the first few songs on the albums fit the characters.

This song connects to the part of the story after Beth dies, when Jo is home alone with her mother. Meg is with John, Amy is in Paris, and Laurie has run away to Europe. I kind of think about it in the point of view of Laurie, because of what he comes home to. Jo is so far in her grief that she resolves to settle for marriage with Laurie, while Laurie has moved on from the hurt that she has caused him—hence the sadistic line, ”my tears ricochet”.

“We get back here, we line up, weeping in a sunlit room”

For a while, everyone had been away from the March house. Laurie and Amy in Europe, Jo in New York, Meg with her family. But, after Beth’s death, they all come back to the house for the funeral—“weeping in a sunlit room”.

“If I’m on fire, you’ll be made of ashes too”

I interpret this line to be describing the fact that two people are so close that they are almost connected emotionally, like if one is upset, the other is too. This is how close Laurie and Jo were, before they both left. They’re still very close now, but there’s a small rift between them. They are also both very all-or-nothing people—if one burns the other one burns too.

“Even on my worst day, did I deserve, babe, all the hell you gave me?”

Jo broke Laurie’s heart, plain and simple. He was definitely angry about it when he went to Europe, as well as just hurt. He was definitely running away when he left, and that’s why he seemed like such a mess.

“Cause I loved you, I swear I loved you, ‘till my dying day”

When Laurie proposed to Jo, he swore she was the only person he’d ever loved. In that moment, he was very all-or-nothing, naive, and immature. He was young and truly believed he would love only her forever. Of course, he does still love her when they reunite, but he acknowledges it’s a different love.

“I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace”

Laurie left and made a mess. He went to Europe and acted a fool. Even Amy pointed out that he needed to mature and stop moping, and when Amy tells you to stop moping you know you’ve done something wrong.

“And if I’m dead to you why are you at the wake?”

This line fits in with the theme of death and funerals, since when Laurie and Amy come home it is for Beth’s funeral. But, it is also when Jo is grieving, which makes her dig up feelings for Laurie in order to cope. Laurie doesn’t know this of course, but if he did he would be appalled.

“Cursing my name, wishing I’d stayed, look at how my tears ricochet”

At first, both Jo and Laurie thought they’d lost each other. Laurie figured Jo hated him—that’s why she left. For those fleeting days, she’s ready to take him back. He would never agree to it, not after Paris.

We gather stones, never knowing what they’ll mean, some to throw, some to make a diamond ring.”

This line shows how the two characters have grown apart from each other, and how Laurie found love with another.

“You know I didn’t want to have to haunt you, but what a ghostly scene.”

Neither of them wanted what happened between them to end the way it did. But, because both of them left the way they did, there was never any closure. Now, they haunt each others’ memories, and they long for the friendship they once had.

“You wear the same jewels that I gave you as you bury me.”

Here we see the ring again. For some reason, Laurie still wears the ring that Jo gave him, despite her breaking his heart and leaving him in the dust. He seems to have set her behind him (“buried” her), yet he still wears that ring.

“And I can go anywhere I want, anywhere I want, just not home.”

Both Jo and Laurie ran away. Jo felt as if she was losing everyone—Meg to marriage, Laurie to love—and she left home because she felt it was her only option. Laurie went to Europe and went everywhere but back home to see the March family. As we see when he reunites with Amy, none of them had seen much, if any, of him since Jo broke his heart.

“And you can aim for my heart, go for blood, but you would still miss me in your bones.”

No matter how badly Jo hurt Laurie, she always missed him and wanted him back. In the end, she even tried to save that relationship, willing to settle for a marriage she didn’t want because she didn’t want to lose everyone from her childhood.

And I still talk to you, when I’m screaming at the sky. And when you can’t sleep at night, you hear my stolen lullaby.”

Laurie and Jo will always love each other, but they were not meant to end up together. Their love is deep but it’s immature and romantically one-sided. It hurt both of them to leave, and they will always remember that hurt.

“I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace, and so the battleships will sink beneath the waves.”

Back in strictly Laurie’s POV, we are referencing his running away to Europe again. He left the fight, or whatever we want to call it, up in the air, and now all of the hurt and damage is buried instead of dealt with.

“You had to kill me but it killed you just the same. Cursing my name, wishing I stayed, you turned into your worst fears.”

Jo broke Laurie’s heart, making it clear she never wanted to get married, and would never love him that way. Now, she’s regretting it. She wishes he stayed and she claims that she will marry him, because she’s lonely and she craves being loved. She’s become the very thing she swore she would never be.

“Drunk on this pain, crossing out the good years.”

Jo is grieving, and everyone sees it. Her pain is so bad that she’s making claims she never would have before, making rash decisions about love, and trying to grasp the tiny fragments of her past that she has left. By doing this, she’s simultaneously destroying the person she was during her ”good years”.

“Cursing my name, wishing I’d stay, look at how my tears ricochet”



I’m sorry, but Orwell’s 1984 is arguably the worst book I’ve ever read in my entire life. The writing is bad, the plot is bad, and the characters are flat and predictable. I cannot understand why English teachers are obsessed with this book, and I cannot understand what exactly I was supposed to learn from reading it.

The setup of a dystopian society could be a good thing, and it’s been successfully done many times (The Hunger Games, Handmaid’s Tale), but this was not one of those times. The world felt unfinished and almost lazy when reading, as if Orwell was making it up as he wrote and not really paying attention to consistency.

I really cannot recommend this book to anyone. Not only is it objectively bad, it borderlines on misogynistic at many points and writes women as stupid objects in a supposedly “future” society.

If you want to read a really good dystopian novel from the same time frame, I recommend The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It does everything 1984 tried to do world building-wise; but did everything right. (Don’t worry—there is a review on that book coming soon).

All in all, I absolutely despised this book and would recommend that you keep at least 10 feet away at all times.


The Secret History

After about a month, I have finally finished The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Usually, a book like this would not take so long to read, but the slow beginning mixed with the end of the school year made it hard for me to get into the book at first. Warning: there are spoilers ahead (don’t read this one yet Zoe ;)).

The book follows college student Richard Papen. He travels from California to attend Hampden College in Vermont. He joins the notoriously exclusive Greek class, taught by a man named Julian, and attended by only five other students; Henry, twins named Camilla and Charles, Francis (affectionately called “François” by some of the classmates), and Bunny.

Now, it’s no spoiler or surprise that Bunny is murdered—shoved off of a cliff in the middle of a snowstorm—by his classmates. That is announced on the first page of the book. It’s the events leading up to that murder, and the events after, that really make up the story. Yet, the reader is left feeling odd and unsatisfied after reading, and that is due to the fact that Richard is an incredibly unreliable narrator.

Richard is arguably a worse narrator than Nick Carroway in The Great Gatsby. He has little to no idea what’s going on for most of the book, and he knows very little about the people he calls his friends. He also is depressed, drunk, or high the entire book, so some of his accounts of the past events are foggy.

This is not to say that Donna Tartt is not a brilliant writer. The storyline and the way the story is written is genius and the ack of information and detail adds to the book.

Actually, the lack of information about each character is exactly what makes the book so endearing. At first, the reader idolizes the characters (like Richard)—they’re cool, smart, mysterious, and well-dressed. As the story goes on, we learn things about the characters. They’re all dark, twisted people—oblivious to the fact that they’re all dark and twisted. Even Richard is a horrible person (specifically seen on page 484), yet he never admits to his faults.

The entire book itself is satirical commentary on wealthy, upper class students. Donna infiltrates these peoples’ groups and shows their true colors. There’s the fact that though they all seem to be extremely wealthy, almost none of them actually have any money. Either they have an allowance from their parents, or they are genuinely just faking it. They also are incredibly sociopathic, depressed, and/or just insanely weird. Like, for example, sleeping with your twin (spoiler alert!).

Overall, I think that this book has become one of my favorites of all time. Sure, it was slow at first, but the detail, the storyline, the characters, and just the entire overall aesthetic is amazing. I recommend this book to everyone, no matter what you usually prefer to read. It’s definitely a modern classic.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


All The Young Dudes

Honestly, I’m not sure where to start with this book.

I guess, I want to start off by saying that this book is fanfiction—it is a fan’s telling of the Marauders’ time in Hogwarts and beyond, based off of the characters by JK Rowling. But, it didn’t feel like a fanfiction. It felt like you were truly in the world of Harry Potter, like the characters and the events were real.

The writing of this book was so well-crafted and natural. The characters were all so three-dimensional—it was like they were real people. They were so easy to relate to, despite being magical. It was so easy to find parts of myself in all of them, which is a telling sign of an amazing book.

This book made me cry. A lot. A lot more than any other book I’ve read. When I finished, it felt like I had gotten so attached to the characters I’d forgotten they were fiction. The world that was built inside those digital pages was just so real to me, it was like I genuinely lost people I cared about. That sounds cheesy, I know.

It’s easy to get attached to this book. It’s 188 chapters, and none of them are short. They’re long and full of detail and each one sucks you in farther than the last. It feels like you’re not even reading a book, but rather, being sucked into a world full of magic and werewolves and danger and love. It is truly an adventure.

Of course, you’d probably have to be a Harry Potter fan to read this book. You could honestly read it without having read or watched Harry Potter, but I’m not sure it would have the same emotional connection. But, if you love Harry Potter, I highly recommend this book. Even if you’re not normally a big reader. This book is worth it.

Here’s the link if anyone is interested in reading:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

I don’t always like assigned reading. The idea of being forced to read a book tends to take the fun out of the whole experience for me. Every once in a while, though, I’m lucky to be assigned a book that I wouldn’t normally pick out and end up really enjoying. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is one of those books.

Persepolis is an autobiographic comic book about Satrapi’s coming-of-age in Iran in the 80s. For historical context, Iran was dealing with the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution and entering a war with Iraq. Two things that I didn’t expect to like about this book – the comic book format and history lessons. I don’t read comic books, and history has never been my favorite subject (but anything’s better than math). However, I found that the format of the story helped it move along faster; I finished the book in a couple hours. I would actually recommend taking your time to appreciate the drawings, though, if you’re not in a rush to finish a school assignment. As far as the historical aspect: did I fully understand what was happening in Iran at all times? No, but I wasn’t as confused as I expected to be.

This is one of those books where you realize that people around the world are really all the same. Satrapi is like most children – inquisitive, mischievous, adventurous. Even in the circumstances she grows up with, she spends a lot of time thinking and talking about childish things. One example is when she constantly compares her relatives to her classmates’ relatives, based on how heroic they are. Finally, she meets a family member who was a war prisoner longer than her friend’s dad – a true hero in the family! I really enjoyed Satrapi’s unique (and often funny) perspective as a young girl experiencing a shift in Iranian society.

I’ll be reading the sequel Persepolis II: The Story of a Return soon, so I’ll update with my thoughts on that!

Note: If this sounds like something you might like, I would also recommend the Maus books by Art Spiegelman. They’re comic books about the author’s father and his experiences during the Holocaust. Another school assignment that I liked!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Folklore/Evermore Songs as Little Women Characters

Exile-Jo and Laurie

This song is a duet and the parts work out perfectly for Laurie and Jo. Justin sings as Laurie, and Taylor sings as Jo.

“I can see you standing, honey, with his arms around your body

After Laurie and Amy come home from Paris, Frederich shows up at the March house. Laurie immediately becomes defensive and standoffish, demanding to know who he is.

And it took you five whole minutes to pack us up and leave me with it.

After Jo rejected his proposal, she ran off to New York to be a writer. Laurie most likely viewed her leaving as her running away from him, which honestly most likely was a factor in her decision to leave. Losing yet another person was enough to drive her away completely.

Holding all this love out here in the hall

This line is pretty literal in terms of Laurie and Jo’s relationship. He is literally standing in the hall when he first meets Frederich. As he said during the proposal scene “You will [fall in love], it’s your way, you will and I’ll watch.” And he does watch; he watches from the hallway.

You were my town, now I’m in exile seeing you out

Laurie was in love with Jo. Sure, it was a juvenile, naive love, but he still felt like he loved her enough to marry her. Now, he watches from afar as she does the one thing she swore she’d never do.

I can see you staring honey, like he’s just your understudy. Like you’d get your knuckles bloody for me.

Now it’s Jo’s turn. She knows seeing her with Fred hurts Laurie, but he already hurt her. She knows Laurie sees Fred as not good enough for her, because he’s defensive and protective and some part of him still loves her. He always will.

Second, third, and hundredth chances, balancing on breaking branches. Those eyes add insult to injury.

Jo was about to give Laurie a second chance when she came back. She was going to marry him and out everything aside. Of course, this was probably directly in response to Beth’s death, which rattled her due to losing yet another person. She probably realized that the only way to make sure no one else left was to take Laurie back, but she most likely didn’t really understand that was why she did what she did. Unfortunately, Laurie comes back married, and then she’s walking on eggshells because of her strong feelings about him. The way he talks to her and acts loving toward her just makes it worse.

I’m not your problem anymore, so who am I offending now?

Jo realizes she has caused Laurie a lot of pain. She’s used to her temper causing issues in her life, but he always stayed with her. Now that she’s lost him, she wonders who she will hurt next.

We always walked a very thin line

Laurie and Jo were best friends, but as they got older, they walked a very thin line between brotherly/sisterly love and romantic love. Everyone thought they should have gotten married. Laurie crossed the line. Jo didn’t.

”You didn’t even hear me out (you didn’t even hear me out)

For Laurie, this line means that he tried to “make you hear now and give me an answer” when he proposed. He thought they’d be good together because they were so close. For Jo, this line is different. She tried to make him hear her out in why they wouldn’t work. She wanted to be independent and she knew her stubborn, headstrong tendencies would ruin any marriage, and that would ruin their friendship.

You never gave a warning sign (I gave so many signs)

Laurie thought Jo loved him back, and was naive to the fact that she didn’t want to marry. Her reaction to Meg’s marriage should have been enough proof, but he was blind and believed she felt differently.

All this time, I never learned to read your mind (never learned to read my mind) I couldn’t turn things around.

I think that the complications of Jo and Laurie’s relationship would definitely be solved if they weren’t such opposites. If they had understood each other as they grew older and “read” each other’s minds, all the confusion never would have happened. When Jo came back from New York, she tried to turn things around, but in the end it was too late. Of course, all of this was for the better, and the two of them matured and stayed friends. Romance was not for them.

I think I’ve seen this film before, and I didn’t like the ending.


Folklore/Evermore Songs as Little Women Characters

The One-Jo March

Welcome to my (Bella’s) new installment on the blog! I’ll be going through Taylor Swift’s new albums (Folklore and Evermore) and connecting the songs to characters from Little Women.

I easily and quickly connected this song to Jo March, and more specifically to Jo’s relationship with Laurie.

“I’m doing good I’m on some new sh*t”

I see this song as Jo’s narrative in regards to Laurie, and the way she views their relationship now that she’s grown up. She’s gone away to New York, onto some new things, meeting people and living life. She thinks about her childhood best friend often, though.

”I hit the ground running each night, I hit the Sunday matinee

This line is pretty straightforward, as well as specific (in regards to the (2019) movie—not so much in the book). While in New York, Jo goes to many plays, one of them being the play she meets Frederich at. This is also a parallel to the play(s) she attended with Laurie when she was younger.

And if you never bleed you’re never gonna grow, and it’s alright now”

Jo hurt herself in rejecting Laurie, though it’s not because she was in love with him in the same way. She lost him as her friend because she ran away from her problems. But, she became a grown person with a semi-successful career and found love—different love—but still love. It’s alright now.

And if my wishes came true, it would have been you”

Jo tells her mother that she regrets not accepting Laurie’s proposal, and that if he asked her again she would say yes. She even writes him a note, but destroys it before he can find it. She is desperate, and wishes to be loved, and wishes for the people she had in her childhood to come back.

“In my defense I have none, for never leaving well enough alone”

Jo simply could have accepted the proposal and been happy with Laurie (or at least that’s what she thinks). The relationship was comfortable, if unfulfilling, and friendly. She could have pushed down her pride and not been so headstrong, and she could have kept him. Not because she loved him romantically, but because she was afraid of losing yet another person from her childhood.

“I had this dream you’re doing cool sh*t/having adventures on your own”

After Jo leaves, Laurie goes off to Europe. He does have adventures on his own, then…not on his own. Jo doesn’t know this though, not until they are reunited a while later.

“You know the greatest loves of all time are over now”

Everyone expected the pair to marry—according to Laurie at least. Everyone thought they loved each other, and they did, just not in the same ways. Jo loved Laurie as a friend, a comrade. Laurie loved Jo in a juvenile, puppy-love kind of way, like he’d had a crush on her for so long that he viewed that familiarity as love. As they grew, they both recognized their love for each other was not the kind of love you marry for.

“And it’s another day waking up alone”

When Jo talks to Marmee, she admits that she’s “so lonely” and only desires to be loved.

“In my defense I have none, for digging up the grave another time”

Jo stirs these feelings up herself after she comes home. She is confused and sad and grieving, and misses the one thing she believes she can get back. She’s lost everyone else; Meg, Amy, and Beth are all gone. Laurie, she believes, is still reversible, and then she’ll get to keep some part of her childhood bliss. Of course, as the lyrics explain, that is already dead, and she’s just digging up old feelings that have no right coming back into the light.

But it would have been fun if you would have been the one.