July 25, 2013

Evergreen by Prisca Primasari

Evergreen

oleh Prisca Primasari
Terbit 2013 oleh Grasindo Publishing
Indonesian fiction/Romance
203 hlm
Buku lain dari Prisca: Eclair, Kastil Es & Air Mancur yang Berdansa, Paris: Aline

***

Konichiwa! Selamat datang di Evergreen, kafe es krim penuh pelayan baik hati, lagu The Beatles akan melengkapi hari-harimu. Tempat yang menghangatkan, bahkan bagi seorang gadis pengeluh dan egois sepertimu, Rachel!

Di kafe itu, kau menemukan sebuah dunia baru, juga pelarian setelah dipecat dari pekerjaanmu. Menurutku itu bagus! Apa enaknya sih kerja jadi editor?

Namun, sebenarnya butuh berapa banyak kenangan dan sorbet stroberi untuk mengubah sifat egoismu? Atau yang kau butuhkan sebenarnya hanya kasih sayang? Mungkin dariku, si pemilik kafe? Hmmm?

"Kalau suasana hatiku sedang kacau, aku biasa datang ke kafe es krim Evergreen,"

Rachel Yumeko River—selanjutnya lebih sering dipanggil dengan Rashieru/Riba-san—baru saja dipecat dari pekerjaan yang sangat ia cintai di Sekai Publishing. Ia marah, kesal, kecewa dan merutuki diri serta nasib buruknya. Lebih sedih lagi ketika mengetahui teman-temannya malah meninggalkannya berlibur bersama tanpa mengajak Rachel sama sekali. Rachel merasa tidak dipedulikan. Ia juga sangat frustrasi, sampai-sampai sempat berniat untuk jisatsu—bunuh diri.

Dalam keadaan kacau, Rachel pergi ke Evergreen, sebuah kafe es krim manis yang terletak di Komazawa-dori, Shibuya. Disana ia bertemu banyak orang: Yuya si pemilik kafe, Gamma, Fumio, Kari, hingga Toichiro-san, pelanggan yang tiap hari datang ke Evergreen. Kunjungan Rachel ke kafe Evergreen berbuah baik. Atas kebaikan hati Yuya pula, Rachel ditawari untuk bekerja di Evergreen. Awalnya Rachel menolak. Ia gengsi. Tapi karena butuh pekerjaan, dengan berat hati ia menerima tawaran tersebut.

Evergreen seolah punya dua cerita utama. Yang pertama tentang Rachel dan usahanya membangun hidupnya kembali—berkenalan dengan orang-orang di Evergreen yang sedikit demi sedikit membuatnya menyadari dan mau mengoreksi diri serta memperbaiki kesalahan yang membuat ia dipecat dari pekerjaan. Yang kedua adalah tentang Fumio dan Toshi, adik Fumio yang menderita Alzheimer. Fumio berusaha sedapat mungkin supaya sang Adik tidak melupakan kenangan-kenangan keluarga mereka yang paling berharga, tapi usahanya kian berujung kecewa karena penyakit itu terus menyerang ingatan-ingatan Toshi tanpa ampun.

Tipikal buku-buku Prisca Primasari lainnya, world building di buku ini juga bagus dan kuat. Setelah Rusia, Prancis, kali ini Jepang. Saya selalu terkesan tiap kali baca buku beliau karena deskripsinya bikin imajinasi di kepala kita tentang latar tempat dan suasananya jelas, seolah-olah kita benar-benar ada di Evergreen yang manis, yang dapurnya senantiasa menguarkan wangi harum yang berasal dari menu-menunya.

Tembok kafe berwarna krem, dengan aksen garis-garis tipis cokelat tua yang mengesankan kulit dan kambium pepohonan. Papan bertuliskan Evergreen dirakit dari jati pipih dengan pinggiran yang mengikuti bentuk huruf-hurufnya. Jendela-jendela mungil di sana bergorden putih tipis, diikat menyamping dengan pita emas. Boneka-boneka beruang kecil tersemat di beberapa bagian gorden.
Rachel melihat banyak kursi puff, sofa mungil, dan meja-meja bertaplak handmade. Tembok dipenuhi kertas dinding nuansa oranye dan kuning, dengan motif bunga-bunga kecil. Para pengunjung dapat duduk dan menikmati es krim dimanapun.

July 23, 2013

Ten Words or Topics That Will Make Me Ignore a Book

Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
You know sometimes when you visit a bookstore or going through books trying to find a new one to read, there's a book that interests you, but after knowing one thing or two about the book, you decided to pass it on and look for another one. Happens a lot, right? I really don't want to sound bitchy by writing all these points, so I apologize if I do, but here is my list of

TEN WORDS OR TOPICS THAT WILL MAKE ME NOT PICK UP A BOOK


There were moments when my parents would buy be religion-themed books, but now I just had enough of them...


I would never, ever, ever buy a book where the characters/the characters' parents cheat. I could stand divorce, and I've read books where the MCs were abused as a kid (and ugh aren't they painful to read) but I could never understand cheating, I loathe people who do, and I would never want to own a book where the characters are cheaters.


Words like For Fans Of ___ or The Next ___ annoys me, to be honest. It's like, using other book's names & fame to attract people to read your books. And I'm sure authors won't want their works to always be compared with another books, right? Next publicity tactics, please.

I've had my fair share of reading Twilight, Vampire Academy, Blue Bloods, Shiver, Hush Hush, Wicked Lovely... Basically, books with vampires/werewolfs/fairies/angels and their friends. It's now time to move on :D ((But my dear Akiva, my lovely angel, is an exception. I'm still here, patiently waiting for his finale *wink*))


 I hate Jacob, I hate Julian, I hate everyone who comes in the middle of my lovely, favorite couples. Everytime I find sequels which added new boy to the circle I was like, "UGHHHH" 
But I could not hate Warner :( He's awesome :( Dear Tahereh Mafi, please just let Juliette be with Adam so I can have Warner all for myself, okay?

I'm not talking about those Twilight fanfictions because I've actually read one or two of them *eheheh!* But I'm talking about this trend in my country where many people have published their fanfictions without changing the names. Mostly it's asian fanfiction (where the characters are named after members of Korean boybands...), but there IS actually a fanfiction book (written by an Indonesian) titled Robsten Story where the author blatantly wrote her own version of Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart's relationship and published it. I don't know whether to laugh or cry whenever I think about this book...



I don't know what's the appeal of using a celebrity's face on the covers of fiction books when s/he isn't even the author of that book, lol. I would never pick up a book like this. Movie tie-in, of course, is a different story....


I once read a book where some guys were pranking another guy (their rival, kind of) by kidnapping his girlfriend in the middle of the night, dunked the girl to a pond and burned her hair. And it was described graphically! I just... Ugh, I nearly puked.
I also can't stand animal abuse :( I cried a bit even by just reading the part where Murphy the dog had been left alone by its previous owner in Second Chance Summer...


Of course we won't know about it unless we read the book first... It's just this naughty habit of mine, checking on the last page of the book before I actually bring it to the cashier :P No matter how awesome a book is, if it's gonna end tragically I'd rather borrow it from a friend or libraries than having it on my own. I live for happy endings!


This one is definite. I would never ever touch a horror or thriller books, mostly because I will be too scared reading them and won't finish the book anyway. I don't watch horror movies, and I also don't read horror books. What can I say, I'm a coward that way............

July 21, 2013

What Makes You Like or Dislike a Book?

This post right here is inspired by a post written by the lovely Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner  on 2011. What Makes A Book Good or Bad? Of course, everyone has their own opinion regarding this matter. We all have our own reasons on why we like a certain book (when our friends basically say that book sucks) or why we don't like another book (eventhough TONS of people love to fangirl over it). I would also love to hear your opinions about it!



**the book doesn't need to have all of these points together, though

1) I like the characters
I admit, I'm a bit of character-driven. If the author could make me like the characters, the author could make me like the book. Books with TONS of readers usually have amazing characters! Or, even if they don't, at least they're interesting enough to make us want to know their stories. I love stories with likeable, fun, interesting and relatable characters. A certain character doesn't have to own all these traits, but at least one. I love seeing them develop into a better person and overcome their problems.
(Example of books on this matter: The brave Tris Prior from Divergent, the fun Emaline from The Moon and More)

2) FEELS!
Books are great when they could make me drowning deep in FEELS. Not just sad, but sad enough to make me sob in the middle of the night. Not just funny, but funny enough to make me roll up into a ball or giggle like a mad girl. I like being emotional while reading a book.
(Example: You want to talk about FEELS? The Fault In Our Stars! If I Stay!)

3) Great World Building
Don't you love it when you could literally feel like you're in Paris with Anna & Etienne? Or being inside a horse-carriage with Laura Ingalls, in the middle of a prairie? Or in Hogwarts, feeling the magic with Harry? Feeling the heat of Australian wilderness with Gemma & Ty? Books with lovely world building that could suck you deep into their world, it's almost as if you could feel yourself being pulled into them. You could feel yourself listening to the conversation among the characters, being there without actually being there. Love it.
(Example of local author: Prisca Primasari. She's so good at describing details of the setting! I've been to Russia, France, and the latest, Japan, through her books <3)

4) Romance, fluff, cuteness, swoony moments
Personally, for me, books with no romance = bleh. Slight or minimal romance is okay, as long as it's there. If the story gets nowhere, at least there's the romance that I could expect to. Exception to this point applied to nonfiction books, though. I love romance!
(Example of book with minimal romance, but I love it: Murakami's 1Q84. While they never actually have direct interaction *in present days*, but Tengo & Aomame are just.... *sigh*)

5) Plot?
I still don't understand what is a good plot or a bad plot, actually. Most of the time, I just depend on my feelings when judging a book. But for me, at least if the turn of events on the story aren't jumbled, the chronogical timeline could be easily understood and the process between conflict-resolution-another conflict-another resolution are clear, then it's okay.

6) The book changes my view on certain things
I love life-changing books. It feels as if a big, dark cloud are being shoo-ed away from your mind, so now your mind's clear. Oh my god, that's so true. Why didn't I realize it before? Or maybe, this is so right. Yes, yes, I totally agree with this book! Or maybe, with no thought at all, but you can sense that your view about certain things in life is being altered. Feels good.
(Example: Every Day, by David Levithan.)

Plus points:

6) Artsy Books
I love when an author filled the blank pages with relatable, good quotes, or things that could spice up the story (song lyrics, pictures, receipts, playlist, doodles, maps, sketch, anything!). Books with gorgeous covers got a plus too. And cute fonts! Cute fonts always makes my day.
(Example: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour with the road trip pictures and cool playlists)

7) Quotable lines
If the books make me want to highlight/quote lots of lines from it, or get swooned away because of its beautiful, breathtaking prose, or simply makes me want to shout:

I heart it.
(Example: John Green is the man. And Tahereh Mafi's books!)

July 18, 2013

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer

by Morgan Matson
Published May 8th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
468 pages
Stand-alone
Other books from the author: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

***

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Name: Taylor Edwards
Hobby: Running away when things get hard

On the first few pages of Second Chance Summer, we got to know Taylor as a middle child with two very different siblings—they have their own things while Taylor does not really have anything special about herso running away from home has been, in a way, her own trick to get the attention. Taylor does not feel like she has a super strong bond with her family, but she's pretty close to her dad, who had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

But the fact that her dad's going to die isn't the only thing Taylor has to face at Lake Phoenix. There's Lucy, her former bestfriend, and Henry, her first boyfriend (and first attempt at something called love) because things certainly were not good after Taylor ran off from them when something bad happened, five summers earlier.

pic source
 Second Chance Summer is a story which focused a lot in The Edwards' family dynamic with a side of romance, completed with a lovely setting and set in summertime. I love how the author portrayed Taylor's relationship with her dad (I'm a bit daddy's girl myself so I feel like it really got me)—their habit to get breakfast at a diner or buying groceries together, how her dad encouraged Taylor to get a job, have some fun and 'do great things', such lovely moments—also showing Taylor's struggle to say 'I love you' to her dad but never finding a perfect time... I felt myself teared up a bit when little by little, day by day, her dad's situation get worsened :'|

But it's really good that this time Taylor's forced to actually face things instead of running from them. She quickly reconciled her friendship with Lucy (although not without some difficulties before), and smooth things over with Henry (have I told you the fact that Henry is a bakery boy? He works with dough and bread and make cookies and cupcakes daily! Oh how I love it!). Taylor also learned to enjoy her job at the snack bar by the beach, and getting over her public speaking problem through Movie Nights (They have a movie night by the beach on summer! Wonderful). And finally, understanding the fact that this, is actually the last time she and her family could do things with her dad, thus they have to make the most of it.

“The thing is that people only get hurt—really hurt—when they’re trying to play it safe. That’s when people get injured, when they pull back at the last second because they’re scared. They hurt themselves and other people.” —Lucy Morino

July 16, 2013

Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the awesome girls at The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is

TOP TEN AUTHORS WHO DESERVE MORE RECOGNITION

or in my own version: TRANSLATE THEIR BOOKS ALREADY!


I know that Rainbow Rowell's getting more and more popular nowadays, and she definitely deserves it. Her works are incredible! Eleanor & Park is the first book of her that I read and Attachments was really enjoyable as well. I can't wait for Fangirl & been wanting for a publisher in Indonesia to translate her books.


Katja Millay started her career in publishing industry as a self-published author. If you've read this interview with her over at The Midnight Garden, you might have known the struggle she did to get her books out there until Atria Books picked The Sea of Tranquility to be mass-published. I remember that time when I tweeted that I cried after reading TSoT, and Katja replied saying "Sorry for the tears!" Oh don't worry Ms Millay, the tears meant I've-read-such-good-book-and-it's-so-fantastic-it-made-me-cry.

Oh, you haven't read My Life Next Door? WHY? Why, why, why? Don't you want to get to know my-ultimate-book-boyfriend Jase Garret and his awesome family? I could hardly believe that My Life Next Door was actually Huntley Fitzpatrick's debut novel. The book is light, fluffy and fun, with slightly minor angst. But one book is enough to make me want to read her next novels!

A local publisher have publised some of Simon Elkeles' books and I'm wondering why they haven't published Katie McGarry's books yet. In my opinion, these authors have the same level of awesomeness. Their books are filled with hot boys and mostly deals with tough subjects that will pull your heart inside out from the angst. Angst are good, especially when they're ended with HEA ;)

Honestly, I just read Ms Kirby's book for the first time this year (Golden, that is) followed by another one and was asking myself why I didn't get to know this author sooner. I'm in love with Jessi Kirby's writing style and there are lots of people who praise her books. If you're looking for a coming of age story (and may want to take a break from Sarah Dessen or Courtney Summers), her books will definitely be a good choice!


Ok, call me a cheat cause I actually haven't read Lovely, Dark and Deep but I'M DYING TO READ IT! The reviews I've came across Amy McNamara's first book was mostly positive and I'm sooo interested by the premise of Lovely, Dark and Deep. Also, the cover! Oh my, the cover.

Morgan Matson, Morgan Matson, Morgan Matson! PLEASE, ANYONE, TRANSLATE HER BOOKS so more and more people will get to read the great epicness of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour! I love, LOVE every bit of that book. The playlist, receipts, pictures... That is how exactly a road-trip book should be written! And I just recently finished Second Chance Summer too. Gah. What can I say? Morgan Matson is amazing and I can't wait to read more of her writings.

I think the first YA book I read before the one that actually got me hooked up to YA genre  (cough*Twilight*cough) was Looking for Alibrandi. On 5th grade, maybe? There were some parts I didn't understand but I remember how I fell in love with the boy (Jacob?) and the relationship between Josephine and her father. Years passed and I adore Melina Marchetta even more when she came back with a fantasy novel that are equally awesome as her contemporaries! Her books have been translated here, but I don't think there are actually many people who know and read it....

The idea of writing a book about stockholm syndrome from the victim's point of view may not be that special, but would you believe it if I say that the writer had also succeeded in making the readers of the Stolen book to suffer from the syndrome too? Seriously. Read the book and you will not not fall in love with Ty & the Australian wilderness. I do think lots of people have recognized Lucy and her works but none of it have been translated in Indonesia. Why?

Dum, dum, dum... Here it is, the one and only local author on this list. Maria Jaclyn has only written one book (published 2007!) but one is enough to make her my favorite teenlit author. De Buron was light, funny and overall great, I love it even more because the author provided a sketch of Kimly's room. Such a unique idea! It's small but definitely matter for the reader. But unfortunately.... She hasn't written any book since :-( *pouty face* Where have you been and why did you go, Maria Jaclyn? Please come back with a new book, pleaaaaaase.


What do you think? Do any of the author above also made it to your list? Have you seen and meet them in book tours, book discussion or book signing in your place? Do share your links so I could check out your list, too! =)



July 15, 2013

Hawa oleh Riani Kasih

Hawa

oleh Riani Kasih
 Juara #2 Lomba Penulisan Novel Amore
Diterbitkan Juli 2013 oleh Gramedia Pustaka Utama
254 hlm

***


Empat tahun menjalin hubungan tidak menjamin Hawa berjodoh dengan Abhirama. Hubungan mereka luarnya saja tampak mesra, padahal mereka dua orang yang memaksakan saling memahami, tapi sayangnya tak berhasil. Akhirnya, Hawa membatalkan sepihak rencana pernikahannya dengan Abhirama.

Karena sedih, malu dan kecewa, Hawa menenangkan diri ke rumah Omanya di pedalaman Kalimantan Barat. Di situlah Hawa bertemu dengan Landu, polisi yang bertugas di Kapuas Hulu. Perjumpaan mereka yang berawal dari kejadian tidak mengenakkan lambat laun menumbuhkan bibit cinta. Perlahan, kehadiran Landu yang pendiam tapi dewasa menyembuhkan luka hati Hawa.

Tetapi, sanggupkah Hawa menerima cinta Landu pada saat Abhirama menyusulnya dan memintanya kembali ke pelukannya?


Sejujurnya setiap kali saya baca buku hasil menang lomba yang diadakan oleh sebuah penerbit, biasanya lebih sering kecewa daripada setuju dengan pilihan juri. Lagipula saya belum pernah baca genre Amore. Tapi karena ini diadakan oleh penerbit besar dan disebut-sebut di twitter salah satu editor kebanggaannya, saya penasaran juga.

Apa yang saya suka dari kisah Hawa?
1. Fisik dulu ya. Covernya cantik! Manis, pink pula. Tadinya saya niatnya cari Mahogany Hills (yang menang pertama Lomba Amore ini), tapi karena kebetulan adanya Hawa dan covernya attractive, jadi saya beli deh ;)

2. Latar cerita yang nggak biasa dan world build-up yang kuat. Sejiram, Kalimantan Barat digambarkan dengan baik oleh Riani Kasih. Suasananya, kehidupan para masyarakatnya. Hal-hal yang dilakukan Hawa dan Landu di kencan-kencan mereka juga asyik euy: sepedahan bareng kemudian nonton sunrise, belajar naik speedboat, panen madu. Jadi semacam great escape dari buku-buku lain yang kebanyakan nyeritain kisah-kisah berlatar kota metropolitan.

3. Kisah Landu dan Hawa ini berproses. Mungkin karena saya kebanyakan baca YA dimana *uhuk* insta-love udah nggak asing lagi *uhuk*, Landu dan Hawa yang awalnya nggak suka satu sama lain ini jadi 'wah' buat saya. Iyalah, belum apa-apa Hawa udah ngelempar kaleng minuman ringan aja ke Landu. Landu nganggepnya Hawa cuma cewek angkuh, Hawa juga berpendapat bahwa Landu aneh. Baru setelah beberapa kesempatan, mereka akhirnya lebih tau pribadi asli masing-masing.

4. Landu si polisi yang romantis ini.... Likeable banget deh ((senyum-senyum menye)). Berdedikasi terhadap pekerjaan, baik, ramah, penyayang pula. Rasa sayangnya Landu buat Hawa itu kerasa banget, terutama di bagian kedua dimana hubungan mereka bener-bener diuji.

Apa yang saya nggak suka dari kisah Hawa?

July 02, 2013

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Genre: Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
Pages: 231 pg
Published Date: December 28th 2006
Publisher: Speak
Stand-alone.

 ***

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

                                   “When I look at my room, I see a girl who loves books.”

So, I finally read Looking for Alaska!
This is one of the books that have bugged me for long, because I've heard a lot and stumble a lot into it almost everywhere: tweets, tumblr posts, book blogs, and so on. Some friends said they didn't like it, but some other people said the book is brilliant. There was of course an expectation from my ownself to also find Looking for Alaska as enjoyable & as brilliant as any other people have said, until it becomes a problem when I didn't.

In short, no, I can't say that I like it in the same level as I like The Fault in Our Stars (the first book of John Green I read). For me, these two books are totally in a different level. I adore Miles and his desire to seek a Great Perhaps (whatever it is), and I found his gang of friends on Culver Creek (which consists of Miles himself/Pudge, Chip/Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska) to be super cool and totally fun to hang out together. There's a lot of crazy pranks and hilarious moments on almost every part of the book and that made me LOL a lot. They're silly, crazy and freaky, but I couldn't relate or sympathize with their needs to booze a lot of times. Sure, these teenagers are flawed and broken, and maybe it's just my dislike toward such a messed up lifestyle, but their habits and constant needs of alcohol, sex, and smoking (graphically described, too) was kinda a turn-off.

The Colonel led all the cheers.
"Cornbread!" He screamed.
"CHICKEN!" The crowd responded.
"Rice!"
"PEAS!"
And then, all together: "WE GOT HIGHER SATs."
"Hip Hip Hip Hooray!" The Colonel cried.
"YOU'LL BE WORKIN' FOR US SOMEDAY!"

But there's this aspect of Looking for Alaska that's more interesting for me to tackle on, and it was what kept me going. In the book, John Green did not only write about this life of 4 teenagers in a boarding school doing their crazy stuff, but he also brings the subject of life, death, mortality, suffering, grief and many other heavy things. Miles' favorite class was World Religions taught by Mr Hyde, which I also favorited through the book. To be honest, as a teenager myself, it's been a long time (since around 8th grade, I guess) that I started asking my ownself about these topics. What happened after we die? What does it feels like to be dead? Does an afterlife really exist, or is it just made up by human? I mean, no one who've experienced it ever come back and tell us about it, right. How could we be so sure heaven and hell are really there? For final, the students in Mr Hyde's class was asked to write about 'what the most important question facing people is', and Alaska's question was: "How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?"