Standalone Sunday is a feature created by Megan@bookslayereads where each Sunday a standalone book (not part of a series) that I loved or would recommend will be featured!
I love that meme as it takes little time to do (I’m always running like the real busy bee I am) AND I get to promote a book I really loved. This is the perfect idea for me!
If you want to play, feel free but don’t forget to tag Megan’s blog.
This standalone made me cry and think and… It’s a teen fiction broaching several delicate topics with a twist I did not see coming. Once again have tissues at the ready! I’m nominating Stop! by Alison G. Bailey
5 “I can’t stop thinking about this book” stars!
I read “Present Perfect” by Alison Bailey years ago and it was one of these books that made me cry ugly tears. It was nearly too overwhelming for me. I was so angry with the heroine because she sacrificed herself. I thought it was sometimes borderline stupid how she would push this perfect boy away.
Anyway, when Alison Bailey offered to send some Stop! copies in exchange for an honest review, I prayed she had some left as her book made such a lasting impression.
Here is my review and no, I never give 5 stars if I don’t honestly think it’s worth it, even if the author gave me the book (incorruptible is my middle name).
Stop! Is like a Russian doll. You open the first doll and there is a second one inside, then a third and a fourth. When you reach the core (the pinnacle of the story) it ends on a loud “bang” and you heart is ripped off your chest. I could not believe what I’ve just read. I was left with my mouth open like a dead fish (not an attractive sight), my thoughts in a jumble. No, oh no, no, nooo! This just not happened! I was lucky the author did not leave me with this last scene but added a happier epilogue. Still, it’s a story that makes you think and see the ugliness of many “normal” people, the battle “imperfect” or different people have to fight in their everyday life just to mingle among their peers, to be recognized and accepted for their true self.
Get ready to be shaken, stricken and overwhelmed but all happening in a crescendo.
Some input on the story now, to give you an idea of what this book is about. Know that some important aspects of the story won’t be revealed as I don’t want to spoil your fun.
Hollis is about to begin her first college year. She is a math geek and wants to become a college professor. She’s been in an accident a year ago that left her disfigured. The half of her face and her arm have been deeply burnt and even with the skin graft and surgery, her skin isn’t smooth anymore and a big scar runs from her eyebrow to her chin.
She tried to go back to school for her last high school year but:
”The stares were relentless. They weren’t the good kind either…They held their ground and let me know in no uncertain terms that I didn’t belong…These people I considered to be friends were acting like I had the plague.”
She then asked her parents to be homeschooled and kept herself isolated.
Hollis wanted to live the life she had planned though and that’s why she convinced her parents to let her live the college experience.
Here is the first layer of the story: Hollis battle to accept her “new self” and face the outside world.
”I hoped the day would come soon when I could look in the mirror and notice my heart-shaped lips, my long lashes, and my bright blue eyes, instead of this giant splotch.”
”There had to be a purpose. People didn’t suffer for no reason.”
On her moving day, she’ll meet Risher, tall, handsome and gorgeous green eyes Risher. She’ll be attracted to him right away but won’t dare hoping he could be interested in someone like her, so imperfect, so scarred whereas long legs big boobs blonde bimbos like Leah (I wanted to slap that girl so bad!) were on the prowl for boys like him.
Risher is persistent though and he’ll push through Hollis walls. Their love story was sweet. He is one of these perfect romance boys.
Usually the male character makes a stronger impression on me than the female character, even with the “real” hero being the female protagonist. This was not the case: my heart has been stolen by a side character: Abigail.
Abigail is the second Russian doll in the story. Blonde Abigail, Hollis roommate, with pink luggage and very pink clothes. Elusive Abigail, always gone when Hollis wakes up, never in the room before Hollis is asleep. Abigail will shatter your world, make your soul weep until the very end. I can’t tell more without giving away her secret but know that she’ll remain in my heart for a long time. Readers who loved Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma will feel the same emotion. They will be lost once the story ends, even if this is not about the same taboo topic.
I love Alison Baily for writing about such sensitive topics. She does not shy away and goes straight to the heart of the matter. We feel and hurt right along her characters and at the end of the story, we’re left with a bittersweet taste and a new insight. Thank you Alison for speaking about these topics, thank you for being “their” voice, thank you for opening my eyes.