Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Me on Let's Revisit a Book (1)

Hi there! So, this spring and summer I've come across a lot of books that I've read and afterwards thought, "Well, it was okay," and that's not exciting for you. Review after review of me saying it was okay or fine is boring. I don't know if it's me or the books I've been reading or both, but it feels like fewer books have stood out for me so far this year.

So I thought I'd do something fun and revisit a book I read years ago to see if it still holds up, if I still enjoyed it, if I think you should go check it out at the library or if you happen to find it at a new or used bookstore (because it's possible it's hard to find or out of print now), of if it's horribly dated or insulting.

And I'm going to start with one of the first books I reviewed: Dia Reeves' Bleeding Violet. (Note: don't go back and read my old review. It's so bad. Long story short, when I read this in 2010 I loved it.)

Title: Bleeding Violet
Author: Dia Reeves
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

From Goodreads:

Love can be a dangerous thing...

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

My revisit conclusion: For the most part, this book is still really good. It's dangerous and silly and serious. It really fits in with what's coming out these days, what's coming out in the next year or so. It's got Hanna talking openly about being biracial and how hard it is to fit in when people keep asking where she's from, Hanna talking openly about her mental health and mental illnesses, her bipolar disorder and her depression and her hallucinations, and Hanna talking rather openly and practically about sex. It's about a town where really weird things happen and the townsfolk don't hide it. It's about secrets and family dynamics and wanting and enacting plans and plots. It's about making the impossible possible. It's about Hanna being Hanna, that the weird things she says and does doesn't mean she's broken.

Hanna's relationship with Wyatt is interesting in that she very clearly states that, in a town as weird and dangerous as Portero, she doesn't need him to protect her or keep her safe (which confuses the heck out of his ex-girlfriend). Hers is a practical no nonsense kind of confidence. She's attracted to him, sure, and he's attracted to her, but does she need him to save her? No. She needs him in other ways. It can look cold, the ways Hanna uses and needs Wyatt, but when you step back and look at everything that's going on, the conclusion that Hanna reaches, it's all very practical. And Hanna's not a cold, unfeeling girl. Look at how much she craves affection from her mother, who's unwilling to give it at the start because she believes that love only leads to pain and sorrow.

Everyone in Portero is a little broken, a little messed up. To be honest, Hanna's the most normal out of everyone in town. The only thing is it's a little gory at times, a little bloody and gruesome, and I'd certainly give it a trigger warning for self-harm and suicide. During my re-read, it felt a little like some of the discussions about mental illness and suicide were too light and flippant.

So, after all that, if you're still interested, then check out your local library or bookstore or e-book provider or choice and give it a read. I think it still holds up, but I'm wondering what someone else who's read it thinks, if there was anything they didn't agree with or thought was poorly discussed.

I'll probably do another one of these posts on Friday, so see you then!

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