17 July 2016

Book Review | What Things Mean by Sophia N. Lee (@sophialeewrites)



What does it mean to be different? 14-year-old Olive is struggling to find out.

Everything about her is so different from the rest of her family. She is big-haired, brown skinned, and clumsy in a family of cream-colored beauties who are all popular and Good At Sports. She closely resembles a father she has never known, and about whom her mother never speaks, and no one wants to tell her why. She turns to books and other things in her quest to find answers, and as a way to cope with her loneliness. When she learns the truth about her father, she must decide whether or not she will let the differences in her life define her forever.

A unique coming-of-age story unfolding through dictionary-style chapters, What Things Mean takes a closer look at the things that define a life, and the many ways in which we find meaning.

*Grand Prize Winner, Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014

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Maybe, that's how it's meant to be. Maybe we all have to let go of things, and people, in order to keep our balance. Maybe that's the only way to keep moving forward. 

How can this short book, filled with simple words be that beautiful and complex?

I can normally finish a book in one sitting, and it's a thick one at that. But this one literally had me pausing every now and then, sighing, and realizing (simple) things that I have completely forgotten. This book has a way of hypnotizing it's readers that I, myself has the tendency to stop for a while, digest every word, every sentence, every paragraph before moving on to the next chapter.

I'm sure a lot of people can relate to Olive, who feels she is different from the rest of her family. This book gives you a glimpse of the Filipino culture and a young girl's struggle of finding herself amidst everything that is surrounding her and searching for answers to the questions she had been dying but forbidden to ask for quite a long time. 

I like the idea of jam. It's comforting knowing that even the sourest things can be honeyed in some way, knowing that some joys can be bottled up and reached out for on days when you need just a little bit of sweetness. I hold on to that feeling for as long as I can 

This book definitely deserves the award it receives (it won the Asian Book Award). The book seems so simply written, but definitely laced with beautiful, powerful and thought provoking words that would simply have you hooked and leave you with so much things to think about.

Indeed, this book makes you ponder, makes you smile and can make you feel a little teary. This may have a young adult theme, but I would recommend it to everyone no matter what the age is. This is a great read for anyone who is trying to find themselves.

In Math, they tell us that the simplest way to think about infinity is just to add one to whatever is the biggest number you can think of. But I've read that you can also find infinity between any two numbers or any two points - all you really have to do is to keep diving the distance between them in half. Each time you do that, you are bound to find an entirely new number, and Math tells us that there isn't any reason that you would have to stop. Thins means that no matter how close two things may be, you can always find another point between them. That's how I feel right now - with everything. Close, but still not close enough

Rating: 5 Stars

Sophia N. Lee

Sophia N. Lee wanted to be many things growing up: doctor, teacher, ballerina, ninja, crime-fighting international spy, wizard, time traveler, journalist, and lawyer. She likes to think she can be all these things through writing. She loves words and the meanings behind them. Her favorite word is 'chance'. What Things Mean is her first book. She lives in Manila, Philippines.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

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