Check it Out!
What I'm Learning
Hi, I'm Chelsea! I’m on a mission to help you find joy and goodness in every day.
On this blog we talk about the big things (like chasing dreams) and the small things (like what books we're reading) because happiness comes in all sizes.
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Plot: On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness– one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.
As the days on the mountains become weeks, their survival become increasingly perilous. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever?
Both a tender and page-turning read, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us. via Goodreads
My thoughts: I’m a huge fan of Charles Martin’s books, so it’s no surprise that I thought this one was beautiful. What did surprise me was how much it caught me off guard–it went in a direction I didn’t expect at all, and I loved it.
Should you read it? Absolutely yes.
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Plot: Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.
My thoughts: I’ve talked before about how Sarah Dessen is my favorite, so whenever she has a new book, I buy it immediately. This one did not disappoint! She went in a darker direction that normal for her and explored what it’s like to have a family member struggle with addiction and reckless living, and then have to live in their shadow. It was a beautiful portrayal of the realities of that.
Should you read it? Definitely!
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Plot: For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.
Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down. via Goodreads
My thoughts: This was the first Laurie Halse Anderson book I’ve read. I’ve heard people rave over her books, but I wasn’t a huge fan. The writing was a little too obscure for a YA story-line, I think. It was beautiful, yes, but it took me awhile to get through it because I just couldn’t get into it.
Should you read it? I know I will probably be shamed for this answer, but I wouldn’t put it at the very top of your list.
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Plot: The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.
Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.
As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.
This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper’s most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not. via Goodreads
My thoughts: This book was so inherently sad, and not in a sweet, sad story kind of way. It was a real, brutal story about life and death and family, and it left me feeling so sad. But I would also relate to the characters, and many times they reminded me of my own family. So I think that even though it’s kind of a downer book (while also hilarious!), the author did the story justice by keeping things real and honest.
Should you read it? Yes. Maybe.
What have you been reading?
Sign up with your email for a weekly pep talk, just for you. Delivered to your inbox Sunday night to combat the Sunday scaries!