Book Review – Hold Me Closer : the Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

A book you can’t help but sing along to!

9780525428848_HoldMeCloser_BOM_CV.inddGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 208

From Goodreads:

Jazz hands at the ready! Tiny Cooper (“the world’s largest person who is also really, really gay”) finally gets to tell his story—from his fabulous birth and childhood to his quest for true love and his infamous parade of ex-boyfriends—the way he always intended: as a musical! Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers.  

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I had to pick this up – curiosity got the best of me after having read ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ and a couple of my friends raving about it. But be warned – this is not a novel, but a screenplay (of sorts). What a surprise! I wasn’t expecting to be as entertained as much as I was. There are many laugh out loud moments.

We got snippets of Tiny’s play in ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ but here we get the fun, fabulous and full play Tiny wrote, complete with stage directions and notes from Tiny himself.

I thought there would be some more poignant moments, true to the styles of musical theatre and David Leviathan, but ‘Hold Me Closer’ fell slightly short of the feels in that department. But it is still a laugh riot, and I could easily picture it as a stage play in my mind’s eye.

We get to live in Tiny Coopers head for a while, as opposed to third person in the novel starring his best friend Will. There is a true spirit of acceptance, love and an indomitable spirit for life that shines through. 100% Tiny. This work really embodies all things Tiny Cooper.

Hold Me Closer Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

He is articulate and sensitive to all the characters he’s based his musical on, without apology. It was ballsy, comical and touching. ‘Hold Me Closer’ is a quick, fast read.

I’m glad I added this to my collection, even though this is not something I would have readily picked up – because written as a script, it was difficult to get into the narrative. Sometimes it felt jarring. And sometimes the cadence of the melody was difficult to pick, which annoyed me, dragging me out of the story all too frequently.

Where some novels or series that release something extra to the collection usually consist of novellas, I enjoyed of point of difference in the reading a new format and getting to explore the play that was so prominently depicted in the story line of ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson.’

I’d recommend it to fans of David Levithan, lovers of Will Grayson, and anyone who has an itch for musical theatre.

 

Overall feeling: Psychedelic Fun

Hold Me Closer Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Hold Me Closer Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Top Ten Reads for 2014

Top Ten reads of 2014 by Casey Carlisle

Out of all the novels I’ve read (and reviewed) this year, I thought I’d list my top ten and why they tickled my chicken…

 

The Fault in Our Stars Title by Casey Carlisle

 

This book completely destroyed me. I mean messed me up. It was really beautiful… and sad. But I loved it and it is my top pick for this year. The fact I’ve had my own battle with cancer (twice) it really struck a cord within me… but I’m still waiting to meet my Augustus.

 

Anna Dressed in Blood Title by Casey Carlisle

A great mix of horror, dark humor and ghost slaying. With some witty banter and not-so-cookie-cutout characters, I was really impressed. It took me back to my Buffy the Vampire Slayer days. Can’t wait to see what the movie is going to turn out.

 

Cinder Title by Casey Carlisle

A surprising take on the classic fairy tale. Usually this type of book is not one I’d pick up, but given the science fiction twist I was curious. And then fell in love. A cyborg, Moon people, a prince and a robot bestie, what’s not to like?

 

Hyperbole and a Half Title by Casey Carlisle

I squirted tea out of my nose reading this – so fair warning, don’t eat or drink while reading Allie Brosh’s novel, you’ll laugh a lot. And loudly. I definitely got a great ab workout. I was even surprised at how much expression was conveyed in the child-like graphics accompanying her stories. Brilliant.

 

Beautiful Creatures Title by Casey Carlisle

So the movie inspired me to start reading this series, and I was not disappointed. The language itself is worth reading for, even if you aren’t interested in the story. I was in awe at the lyrical tone in the narration. The charm of the South oozes from the page really placing you in the bayou and battlefields.

 

Eleanor and Park Title by Casey Carlisle

This was my childhood – growing up in the 80’s I loved all the pop culture references and the quirks of the characters. The story is unassuming, yet packs a beautiful punch.

 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Casey Carlisle

Mysterious. I loved how this book built up a story without delivering a punch line. The language is beautiful and builds slowly easily dragging you into Mara’s world.

 

Obsidian by Casey Carlisle

I really loved this. Although I don’t like chauvinistic characters, the love story sizzles on the page. It has elements of Roswell and I Am Number Four. A guilty pleasure that I am looking forward to continuing with the series.

 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Title by Casey Carlisle

The first book I’d read of Green and Levithan, and enjoy the satire and metaphor embedded in the text. They manage to slowly peel back the layers of their characters to reveal someone completely different by the end. Plenty of witty banter and colourful characters.

 

Flat Out Love Title by Casey Carlisle

A pleasant romantic read with a touch of mystery solving. The main reason for loving this book is the research that went behind it – Park really knew her characters and their motivations. A prime example of character driven plot. Celeste had me rolling on the floor with her blunt one liners.

 

What books made your top ten? Tell me what your favourite read for 2014 is.

UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Once more with feeling…

Afflicted with writers’ brain…. more commonly known as an overactive imagination.

Once More With Feeling by Casey Carlisle

Like the Emmy Award winning episode of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ giving the musical treatment to a genre that you don’t typically associate bursting out in song with – amongst beheading demons and avoiding the pointy end of wooden stakes. I was wondering what some of my favourite books would be like if re-vamped with show tunes.

Once More With Feeling by Casey Carlisle

Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, The Hunger Games, Divergent, even some of the contemporaries; The Fault in Our Stars,  Flat Out Love, Mara Dyer, and well, Will Grayson sort of already was… there are so many scenes where bursting out into song would appear camp, or just wrong. I was chortling to myself while in the waiting room to visit the dentist.

Trying to avoid the stares from others seating nearby at my spontaneous outbursts of laughter I couldn’t help picturing other real life situations, like say your at the Gynaecologists and the doctor breaks into song…

 

images (2)It pains me to say

I wish my news was nice

        But in fact my dear…

You have an infestation of pubic lice!images (2)

 

Or even better you are out walking your dog and he decides to take a crap… and a duet ensues!

images (2)I need to poo

This is so embarrassing

        Look at me poo

        Here comes a cute boy jogging

        ….. poo ….

        Not so entertaining

        Morbid and disgusting

        Vulnerable and compromising

         I really should get moving

        But my dogs’ bowls are evacuating

         Thoroughly disturbing

        Do something distracting

        The cute boy is smiling

         It’s squishy and it’s smelling

        There’s no way of telling

         If that boy thinks I’m amusing

        With my dog who is pooping

         Why o why is this happening

        The cute boy is passing

        I FINISHED MY POOOOOOOO!    … Oh, a bee!

        That’s relieving…

images (2)We’re leaving!

 

I could go on and on… I was in that waiting room for an hour – do you know how many situations you can dream up in that time?

Keep laughing, keep writing…

UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson book Cover for Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens – both named Will Grayson – are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in a new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of heart and humour that have won both of legions of faithful fans.

The relationships in ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ were complex, realistic and stood out in the YA genre with a line of humour woven throughout. The combination of Green and Levithan produced a diamond in the rough where controversial topics are dealt with class and aplomb. Just like in real life, sexual identity and relationships for those struggling with this issue, can be both easily accepted and subjected to scathing and ridicule from peers – and this novel danced the line for both elegantly.

It was a pleasant and easy read, both authors’ styles meshing seamlessly. The kind of wit and character development both men are famed for writing juxtaposes in ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ – even in the alternating points of view from the two Wills. With such an array of colourful and strong cast members, and misunderstanding of the narrator, it brings friendship and loyalty to the forefront.

The storyline was fairly predictable, but the surprises came from the delicate language and inner musings from the main characters – leading opposing perceptions of the central character of Tiny – of whom I feel this novel is really all about. It was also great to see a stereotype deconstructed in an intelligent and sensitive way to uncover the beautiful core of the person underneath.

I don’t want to talk too much about the characters, because in doing so I’d just be listing spoilers, and it is really a great book to read. It’s about people, friendship, and the nature of what we do when they are put to the test. ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ warmed my heart and has a spot in my top ten reads for the year.

The only reason I’m not giving the book a top rating is that I’m not a massive fan of contemporary, and it sometimes lacks that compulsion you get in an exciting and adventurous read. I’d highly recommend you add this book to you collection, it’s funny, and really gets you questioning about values…

Will Grayson Book Review by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

   © Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.