Can the narrator please shut up? ‘Aurora Rising’ Book Review

While the chatty, informal style is for fans of Percy Jackson, the main difference between Percy Jackson and Aurora Rising? Percy Jackson is actually funny…

Name: Aurora Rising

Author: Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

Published: 2019

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


While the chatty, informal style reminded me of Percy Jackson, the complex space tech is for fans of Gideon the Ninth. It’s very sci-fi! Lots of made up words, space stations and astro-physics – if you’re not into all that, I’d keep 10ft away. And I’d maybe advise sci-fi fans to steer clear too, because the main difference between Percy Jackson and Aurora Rising? Percy Jackson is actually funny…

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book. Once you got your head around it, the space world was super immersive – not only did the authors create new space species, but new cultures and traditions for each one which is really cool. There’s subtle commentary on ethics, climate change and family under the (many layers) of snark. The action is really well structured and I was pretty emotionally invested in a lot of characters. There’s a good dollop of pining and romance. Fast paced, emotional and pretty disturbing, the ending was near perfect and almost made up for the rest of the book. Almost.

My biggest gripe was the writing style. While the heavy sarc works for a short story, I didn’t enjoy it for a full book. There was some really good moments! But there was no need for a lot of poignant scenes to be interjected with a ‘funny’ quip – I don’t care! Can the narrator just shut up? Just my personal opinion, but it felt a bit overdone and did my head in after a whole 500 pages.

Aurora Rising is did feel like a Marvel film – perhaps one that was dropped because the cast would be too big! One main character? Yes please. Dual narrative? Sure. Six quite similar perspectives in a book where 50% of page time is taken up by quips? There just wasn’t enough time for each character. I was genuinely interested in each storyline but there were too many characters for the depth of background the authors were aiming for. Some characters were pushed aside: I really wanted more time exploring Aurora, who was dumped on a space station 200 years in the future. That’s interesting! And there’s literally four pages on Zila, their violent, space-tech. Leigh Bardugo managed to pull 6 narratives off in Six Of Crows by sharing the backstories between books, so maybe I’d learn more about the characters in the later books. But I won’t be reading the rest of the trilogy – I don’t think I could put up with the narrator…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

🪶 The Raven Boys Cross-stitch 🪶 


I lost the thread (literally and metaphorically), pricked my fingers and messed up the pattern too many times for this, so I hope you enjoy!

Ever since I finished The Raven King (and subsequently binged all the released books in The Dream Thieves series) I’ve been in a reading slump: Maggie Steifvater’s world is unparalleled. If you’re not familiar, The Raven Boys a four book series that’s a blur of almost every genre under the sun, wrapped up in the most beautiful, chilling writing. While the trippy plot kind of makes you lose your mind, the characters are messy and perfect. It’s a very, very cool series andI wanted to commemorate my new obsession with a cross stitch!

Check out my review comparing my experience listening to the (insanely good) audiobook of book one vs physically reading book two here!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I got into cross-stitch over lockdown and have kept it up ever since. I’ve been really enjoying the total range of things you can make – you can find my other cross-stitches of fanfics, book covers, characters and favourite quotes here. Like I said, a range!

I’ve always wanted to cross stitch the Raven Boys gang because I have loads of great patterns for the trees and flowers of Cabeswater – I’m working from a pattern book from the 80’s, so there’s a lot of flower motifs meant for cushions. Poor cushions. So in the cross-stitch, you’ve got vines and flowers for Cabeswater; an Irish celtic knot for Ronan that my eyes did not appreciate; a cute sleeping cow; one of my favourite quotes nestled in the side; and the gang – can you spot who’s who! Let me know in the comments!

What do you think! Are there any crafts or hobbies you’ve been enjoying recently? Have you read the Raven Boys? Let me know in the comments!

Recent Release Review: She Gets The Girl

Although the book brings a lot of much needed representation to rom com genre, I doubt I’ll remember it very well…

Name: She Gets The Girl

Author: Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Published: April 2022

Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.


For fans of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, She Gets The Girl follows Alex and Molly in their first year of college as they struggling to get (or in Alex’s case keep) their girls. Both characters were so likeable: Molly felt similar to Fangirl’s Cath as she struggled to fit in at college, while Alex’s confident exterior masked a complicated back story. There were so many female characters! So many queer women! And a non binary character!

She Gets The Girl has flawless rom-com energy, complete with a ‘teaching to flirt’ scene and a shopping montage. I do love a good friends to lovers, falling for each other while trying get other people deal… even if Alex’s motivation for getting Corey and Molly together was a bit weak. I didn’t think her girlfriend would really care that she’d been playing Cupid, but as long as it meant loads of tropes, I don’t mind!

This will be easy. Selflessly help Molly get with Cora. Show Natalie I’m basically Mother Theresa, and not an emotionally unavailable and unable to get close to people. She gets the girl. We get back together. Everyone wins.

– THIS WAS ALEX’S LOGIC! IS IT SOUND? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Also, it’s super easy to read – there’s loads of action and no info dumps or unnecessary scenes. Alex and Molly had nice character developments that weren’t overly predictable (I know! In a rom com!). A range of tricky topics are handled well, so that they don’t overshadow the plot but are not just there to tick a diversity box. And if that won’t make you read it – just look at the cover!

My only criticism is that, because She Gets The Girl is dual narrative and a relatively short book, you don’t that time for much depth of character for both Molly and Alex. It was also a very slow burn: I’m talking snail’s pace, yelling through the pages for both characters to please be more observant… For such a fast paced book it was surprising how slowly the romance moved. What did you think? Have you read this book? Let me know if you also thought the romance was too slow in the comments!

The downside to it being the perfect rom-com is that a lot of the scenes weren’t particularly original, although the book brings a lot of much needed representation to the genre. It’s a fun book and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a fun light read, but I doubt I’ll remember it very well.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Feelings Book Tag

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I did a tag, so I thought I’d give this a go! I’ve done a lot of tags, but never a ‘feelings’ tag, and it was really fun to try – and super quick! A huge thanks to Riddhi over at Whispering Stories for the nomination, find her post here.

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to the blog. 
  • Answer the 5 feelings given to you.
  • Write the reason in 5 to 6 lines of why does that particular book come under that feeling. 
  • Nominate between 5-12 other bloggers.
  • Give your nominees 5 feelings too.
  • Notify your nominees once you’ve uploaded your post.

My Feelings From Riddhi

A book you did the mistake of reading during a slump

A book that I thought would get me out of a slump, but only made it worse? I literally just finished Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn – I thought it would be brilliant, and while the queer rep was great and the story was fun, the writing style made me want to rip my head off. It was very primary school-esque.

Although, it’s made me appreciate how good the writing styles are in most of the books I read!

A book that is super unrealistic, and unreasonable, but you love it all the same

All the best books are completely ridiculously! It’s pretty unlikely that The Nobleman’s Guide To Shipwrecks and Scandal would have actually happened, given the historical context, but it makes me love it even more. Find out why in my review here!

A book that was way too deep for you to enjoy.

The Great Gatsby totally went over my head. I found all the characters irritating and really didn’t understand the big meaning behind it. Did you? Let me know in the comments!

A book character you feel a strong connection to.

I really love Leah from the Simonverse – I got into that series when I was pretty young and it’s like I’ve grown up with her. I’d also love to be able to play the drums as well as she does!

A book that made you feel whole.

That’s a pretty hard one. The feeling of completing a series, especially if it’s an exceptional one, is always bittersweet but turning the final page on The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater made me feel pretty whole. I knew I wouldn’t be forgetting the series in a hurry!

People I tag:

My prompts:

  • The saddest book you’ve ever read
  • A character that made you really angry (this was one of Riddhi’s prompts and I really like it!)
  • A hopeful book
  • A book coming out soon you’re excited for
  • A book that made you feel clever – the opposite of the prompt I answered, one that was deep but you enjoyed!

‘Lady Midnight’ Book Review: Is It Worth the hype?

In an unexpected plot twist, I actually ended up loving this book!

Name: Lady Midnight

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: 2016

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.


Cassandra Clare is incredibly good at the found family trope, witty one liners… and writing ridiculously long books!

Lady Midnight is 700 pages long. I could maybe exuse the length if it was the finale of a series, but as the first book? However, I’m being forced to read the next two books because the characters have stolen my heart and will only give it back if I pay buckets of money for the sequels, but I’ve heard that the sequels are also super long.

However, despite the length, I flew through Lady Midnight. I never thought I’d describe a 700 page book as a sort of ‘guilty pleasure’, but honestly; the drama! The gossip! The relationships! I always feel that Cassandra Clare books consider themselves quite high with the biblical references, and complicated lore… but they’re really just teenagers being dramatic and fighting demons at the weekend. Lady Midnight is packed full of action, with really strong main characters to pull you through the few moments of peace.

Strong main character no.1: Julian. While at first I was worried he’d be a copy paste Jem/Jace bad boy, Julian felt like an empathetic, really likeable love interest…with enough bad boy energy for the fangirls. He had to raise his siblings himself, and I’m ridiculously invested in his relationship with them all. His struggles bring real depth to his character and I found myself reading on to catch a scene with him and his siblings.

Ahhh Julian’s siblings! Cassandra Clare has mastered the found family trope, and manages to juggle an engaging mystery and romance whilst fleshing out all of the (many) Blackthorn siblings. While they’re a little contrived in places, I love Ty’s neurodivergent storyline and Dru’s struggle with Shadowhunter beauty standards. I really enjoyed seeing the (already immense) Shadowhunter world expand again.

Ty’s thoughts, his beautiful, curious mind, were not like everyone else’s. Julian had heard stories— whispers, really—of other Shadowhunter children who thought or felt differently. Who had trouble focusing. Who claimed letters rearranged themselves on the page when they tried to read them. Who fell prey to dark sadnesses that seemed to have no reason, or fits of energy they couldn’t control.

Whispers were all there were, though, because the Clave hated to admit that Nephilim like that existed. There were no words to describe Shadowhunters whose minds were shaped differently, no real words to describe differences at all.

– LADY MIDNIGHT, CASSANDRA CLARE

There’s another Blackthorn sibling who deserves my love: Mark! He’s a half fey estranged brother that The Mortal Instruments series loosely followed and one of my new favourite characters. Bittersweet and a little wild, he’s the strongest character I’ve read in a while. There were a few other characters I recognised from previously books and if you’re an avid CC fan, you’ll be very excited by the return of some of them.

Mark set his jaw. He had never looked more like a Blackthorn. “If there is one thing I have learned in my life, and I grant I have not learned much, it is this: Neither Fair Folk nor mortals know what love is or is not. No one does.”

Last but not least, I really liked Emma too. With a strong sense of self, she was funny and not deterred by gore (which dear reader, you will also need to get through this book). Julian and Emma were inevitable, and I’m intruiged by the dangers that come from them being parabatai but they were so INTENSE. They went from 0 to 100 in a second (although that wasn’t a bad first kiss for Julian…). I don’t understand how clumsy some of Julian and Emma’s big moments or relationship were when other characters are so nuanced.

I thought I wouldn’t like Lady Midnight. I haven’t particularly enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s earlier books, so it was a welcome suprise to have it be… actually amazing! It’s such a unique position to be able to see how her writing has improved over the course of nearly two decades. Lady Midnight feels like a much more refined writing style than first books in the Mortal Instruments series. Although one similarity – the plot twists were sooo gooood in both. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Maybe this is a lesson: don’t give up on an author too soon! Give them a second chance, see if they’re worth the hype surrounding them. Because Lady Midnight was certainly worth the hype!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

#TTT 12/4/22 – Quiz! Which fantasy books are these places are from? ANSWERS

As always, this great tag was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. I thought it would be fun to do a quiz, so can you guess which urban fantasy books these words are from? And as promised, here are the answers! I’ve also got some shoutouts for the highest scores – I think it was a little harder than I meant it to be, so well done to them. Let me know how you did in the chat!

If you missed it, here is the quiz without the answers!


The Answers

  1. Mundane – The Shadowhunter World by Cassandra Clare
  2. Speaker – Americans in Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  3. Muggle – Harry Potter by J.K Rowling!
  4. Normal – British people in Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  5. No – Maj – Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Now for some places from some of my favourite urban fantasy books! How are you doing so far?

  1. New Beijing of the Eastern Commonwealth – Luna Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
  2. Aglionby Academy – The Raven Boys Series by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. Erudite Headquarters – Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
  4. Kerenza IV – The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  5. Cairnholm, Wales – It’s where Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is! The books are by Ransom Riggs

Shoutouts to…

The quiz was a little harder than I thought it was… so a big well done to these top three for getting the highest scores! Go and check out their brilliant sites 🙂

  1. Jordyn Reads
  2. Down The Rabbit Hole
  3. Fangirl Flax

#TTT 12/4/22 – Quiz! Which fantasy books are these places are from?

As always, this great tag was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. I’d messed up my dates, so I’m doing last week’s freebie prompt this week! I thought it would be fun to do a quiz, so can you guess which urban fantasy books these words are from?

They increase in difficultly as you go along (number 10 is pretty nasty, I’ll be impressed if you can get it!). How many do you know? Let me know in the chat and I’ll give a shout out to those with the most correct answers when I post the answers tomorrow!


Some names for ‘non magical people’ in urban fantasy books!

  1. Mundane
  2. Speaker
  3. Muggle (if you don’t get this one…)
  4. Normal
  5. No-Maj

Now for some places from some of my favourite urban fantasy books! How are you doing so far?

  1. New Beijing of the Eastern Commonwealth
  2. Aglionby Academy
  3. Erudite Headquarters
  4. Kerenza IV
  5. Cairnholm, Wales (this one’s quite hard!)

How many do you know? Let me know in the chat and I’ll give a shout out to those with the most correct answers when I post the answers tomorrow!

3 Bookish Things Tag

Can I squeeze in this tag before it’s been a year since I was nominated? You’re reading this, so I guess I can! I was nominated for this tag by the amazing Madeline Todd nearly a year ago – backlog piles are the real deal. Go and give their brilliant site some love, and here are my (long awaited) answers!

3 Read Once and Loved Authors

  • Maggie Stiefvater. She’s not my favourite author, but she has my favourite writing style. Ever. Want to know the comparisons between reading her books and listening to the sumptuous audiobooks? Find my review of the Dream Thieves here!)
  • Mackenzie Lee. I read one chapter of her hilarious, witty characters and knew I was done for. Find my review of her book that made me cry the most sad tears, the Nobleman’s Guide to Shipwrecks and Scandal here. The one that made me cry the most happy tears, the Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy here.
  • Leigh Bardugo. She wins the prize for my favourite author. Ever. Find me alternating between ranting and crying in my review of possibly the last book in the Grishaverse, Rule Of Wolves, here.

3 Titles I’ve Watched but Not Read

  • The Kissing Booth. Although I have no desire to see the film again, or read the books.
  • Gone Girl. That was a good film.
  • The Hobbit I got up to the bit in the book where the Hobbit is in the hole in the ground… and then gave up. Is that the first sentence? Maybe…

3 Series I have Binged

  • Sadly, I think I read too slowly to count reading a full series as a ‘binge’. If it takes you months to finish the series, would you count it as a binge? How long does it normally take for you to read a full series? Let me know in the coments! However, I just finished The Bell Jar, and read it pretty speedily. Find out why in my review here!

    The reason isn’t because it’s only 200 pages, I promise.

3 Characters I love

How can I can only pick three!

  • Remus Lupin. I love you bby xxx
  • Baz Pitch. Is he the reason I play the violin? Maybe. The obsession is real, so find my soundtrack to if Carry On was a movie here!
  • Felicity Montague. She would have made me a woman in STEM… if only I liked Science.

5. 3 Current Favorite Covers 

I think it’s a sort of Stockholme Syndrome from staring at these covers for too long recently, but all these books are ones I’ve finished super recently.

  • Mister Impossible. I loved the Call Down The Hawk cover more, but I’m living for the whole ‘white border interrupted by the drawing so it looks 3D’. This cover also has Ronan Lynch and Jordan Hennessey on it, so it’s an objectively cool cover. Objectively.
  • The Bell Jar. I just love the symmetry! One of the best ‘rebrands’ of a classic I’ve seen in a while.
  • The Starless Sea I couldn’t have a favourite book cover list without having at least one Erin Morgernstern book. I think the cover perfectly encapsulates the madness within, and it was included in my list of the most aesthetic book covers ever. Check the list out here!

6. 3 Things You have used as bookmarks

  • Ribbon. If I’ve paid all that extra money for a fancy hardback with a ribbon inside, I’m using it!
  • Train tickets are my personal favourite at the moment – they’re the perfect size to not fall out of a paperback.
  • Bookmarks…? I’m not one to fold over pages, so I’m the friend with a stash of bookmarks to throw at you the minute I see a folded corner.

8. 3 Unpopular Bookish Opinions

  • I really don’t like Cassandra Clare books. Her writing style irks me, as do a lot of her characters. Find out why ‘Clary Fray Is Not My Bae’ in my City Of Bones review here.
  • Regulus Black deserved more…
  • Just because it’s on Booktok, doesn’t mean it’s a good book. Some of the books I’ve read because of Booktok have been… awful. Has that ever happened to you? Let me know in the comments!

9. 3 Book Goals For the Year

  • Read 65 books. This is a bit less than normal, but I have loads of exams this year.
  • Read more classics! Now libraries are opening again, they’re a great place to get classics from because they nearly always stock some.
  • Not have more than physical 5 books to read at once. It’s only March, but so far I’m sticking to this rule! Last year I just ended up buying so many books, and it took ages to get to the ones I actually wanted to read.

And that’s all for the tag, now it’s time to tag! There’s no rush to do it, under a year will be faster than me 🙂 If you’d like a go and I haven’t mentioned you, let me know in the comments and I’ll link your site below!

  1. Hardcover Haven
  2. Lost in Neverland (one of my favourite sites!)
  3. Her Bookish Desires
  4. Caley Kapowski’s Blog
  5. Another Bookworm
  6. Frappes and Fiction (love the name!)
  7. Monogamist Reader
  8. Tessa Talks Books
  9. The Sassy Library Fox (another of my favourite sites!)
  10. Frayed Books
  11. Word Wonders
  12. CJR The Brit

If you like this Marvel character, you should read…

I’ve finally watched every single Marvel movie! In Lockdown, I began this long journey (this is could be an advert for Disney Plus), because somehow I’d never seen any of them before. Now I’ve officially joined the cult, and am obsessed with these brilliant characters and the plots and how every movie links together. My favourite character is Black Widow’s sister Yelena because she’s very funny, because she’s Florence Pugh and because there are painfully not enough female characters. The franchise does have a few things to work on (have you seen how little of them pass the Bechdel test?). My favourite movie is Spiderman: No Way Home because I cried multiple times when watching. It’s too good.

Being the book enthusiast I am, as soon as the credits rolled on Avengers: Endgame, I thought to myself – which books are most like these characters? While there are some very easy comparisons (Iron Man and Terminator have one too many similarities), I’ve gone for more obscure picks, mostly YA fiction and fantasy. What’s your favourite Marvel character? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!


Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was, I feel, one of the most innovative Marvel movies. You’d have thought Marvel would have exhausted all possible fight scenes, but the scene on the bus was brilliant. I chose The Priory Of The Orange Tree because some of the legends in the movie reminded me of the book even as I was watching the film. Also because they’re both packed full of dynasties and myths.

I love Natasha so much, and her fighting stances are the coolest (unlike Yelena, I’m a fan of the hair flick) so I picked She Who Became The Sun. If you love the Black Widow, you’ll appreciate this book’s training montages, ingenious fight scenes and found family. Sexism and gender is also a key theme in it. Find out why in my review here!

Would you agree that Tony Stark’s life gets taken over by his machines? That’s why I picked Crier’s War, because it details the hierarchal divide between machines and humans in a dystopian future. I’m also a sucker for Tony and Pepper’s romance and the love story in Crier’s War was cute. Find out why in my review here!

For Black Panther (one of the most stressful films I’ve seen in a long time, I was so invested in all the characters), I picked The Gilded Ones which I finished super recently. I loved the whole concept of female demons discovering their powers, the training montages are great and the representation is even better.

Who do you think is the most popular Marvel character? I don’t know how many people have Doctor Strange as their favourite because personally I found the film really trippy and confusing… so of course I had to pick Gideon the Ninth. The most confusing, and spacey, and badass book I’ve ever read. Which describes Stephen pretty well I’d say. Find out more about Gideon and her badass bone nuns in my review here!

Aaaannnddd if your favourite character is Tom Holland’s Spiderman (it’s a close one with Andrew Garfield but in my humble opinion, Holland’s films have better music), then I’m guessing you want a book that’s sweet and funny. You also seem like a bit of a romantic, so I’m going for Yes, No Maybe So which also has teenagers standing up for what’s right… albeit with slightly fewer aliens. Find out about the (equally terrifying) election candidates the couple has to face in my review here!


That’s a wrap! This was so fun to come up with, and I loved making the graphics, so I might be back with a part two for characters I’ve missed out. Have you got any ideas of possible books for characters? Have you seen any of these films, or read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

A Teen Girl’s Review Of ‘The Bell Jar’

I always shy away from reviewing classics because, as a teenager, I feel like I’m not qualified enough talk about these great works of literature. But, I love talking about books, I love (most) classics and I loved The Bell Jar. Here’s why.


Name: The Bell Jar

Author: Sylvia Plath

Published: 1963


When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into serious depression as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take her aspirations seriously.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath’s own life and descent into mental illness, and has become a modern classic.


The Bell Jar was akin to time travelling to the heart of 1950s society. It’s so interesting to see how much has changed in society, and so scary to see how far we have to go. What surprised me first was how much chattier and more informal the writing style was, and it made me really feel for Esther. In was rooting for her throughout the book. She feels like a relatable character to anyone a little lost with their direction in life and the reader gets to really know her, making her deterioration in mental health all the more tragic.

The first part of the book is mostly memories and anecdotes, and while simply written, there are some beautiful moments of writing. The effort to understand Plath’s metaphors actually pays off (unlike my nemesis The Great Gatsby!). I’d love to analyse it in an English class, it would be the sort of classic I can stand! My interpretation is that there’s almost a volta that splits the book in two – after Esther leaves New York, the writing becomes much more disjointed and focusing on random events that don’t appear that meaningful. I also thought it was interesting how it opens with the electrocution of the Rosenburgs (foreshadowing?) and the trial was interspersed throughout the book. The apathy their deaths were met with gave me the chills. The second half of the book gets quite dark and heavy, so check trigger warnings before trying this book. Do you agree? What’s your interpretation? Let me know in the comments!

“Because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” 

– THE BELL JAR

In some ways it reinforced, and in others destroyed, my previous view of 1950s society. Honestly, the casual way it discussed suicide and sex shocked me because I had thought these topics would have been total taboo. As I said, the tone is casual and chatty, making the book super easy to read – refreshing for a classic! The conversational way it approached these topics was unexpected.

However, despite expecting it, the treatment of Esther and women in the story made me so angry. It’s interesting (and horrifying) to see the number of similarities between 50s and todays society, whether in regards to mental health, marriage, healthcare and sexual assault. There were a few comments that were a product of its time (let’s never use similes about race, Sylvia) but aside from that, there were moments where The Bell Jar could be describing today’s society.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” 

– A long quote but my favourite. It really resonated with me.

To finish, this does not feel like a novel that’s nearly 60 years old. As a teenager, it felt refreshing to have such an understandable classic with a complex, relatable female character as the lead. You’re drip fed these really ominous statements and I loved the cohesion between chapters – I genuinely raced through this book and couldn’t put it down. If you’re looking for a short classic, especially around International Women’s Day, give The Bell Jar a go! You won’t regret it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read The Bell Jar? Are there any books you’ve reading for International Women’s Day? Let me know in the comments!