Book Review: Antisocial

Antisocial by Jillian Blake has been following me around on Amazon and Goodreads since it’s release in May. After reading One of Us Is Lying last month, I was looking for another YA suspense or thrillerish fix.

Antisocial opens on our main girl Anna as she walks the gauntlet of the cafeteria, literally and figuratively looking for her place in the posh private school outside D.C. ¬†Anna was recently dumped by her basketball star boyfriend, and since she ditched her “real” friends to hang out with him, she’s cast adrift without lunch table. While Anna tries to make amends with her hodge-podge friend group, she contrasts her position in the social hierarchy against the popular kid group known as Instas.

Things quickly escalate when the whole school’s internet history is released and everyone is attempting to link searches to students. As more and more private information is leaked and lies are exposed for all to see, Anna questions her friends and desperately tries to hide her own betrayals. Accusations are levied and consequences are faced, as Anna tries to uncover who is responsible. Her hacker bestie? A social climbing weasel profiting off of everyone’s misery?

Throughout the entire story, Anna works to overcome her crippling social anxiety disorder and reveals her journey for mental health that includes a therapist and a recent stint at a mental health facility. I’d read some comments about her struggle being more plot device than realistic representation of a person with SAD. I can’t speak to that argument, but I appreciated looking through her lens and the ramifications of living with an anxiety disorder. Books are supposed to broaden our view on the world, and in this case, I think it did. I know no two people share the exact same experience when it comes to anxiety, but I don’t think Blake’s intentions were malicious.

I devoured this book in just a couple of days. There were a few plot points that didn’t speak to me and some drama that was way overdone even for a high school student. I wouldn’t say its drawbacks took me so far from the story that I didn’t enjoy it. Any book that makes reading feel compulsive is a win for me. I’d certainly recommend it to any fans of One of Us Is Lying.

Book Review: The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World

I live to travel, so when I saw Kristin Rockaway’s new book–The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World–I was intrigued. It was billed as a novel for fans of Sophie Kinsella and The Devil Wears Prada. Naturally, I bought it right away.

The story opens on the main character Sophie in Hong Kong where she is being abandoned by her best friend on the first day of their trip. Sophie works for an IT consulting firm that has her traveling constantly, but this works for her since she has a serious case of wanderlust. After embracing her solo traveler status, she comes across artist Carson, who is on an extended trip around the world. Sparks fly and the two begin a whirlwind romance that takes them from Hong Kong to Macau.

When Sophie returns home to NYC and her job, she finds herself wondering about Carson and his life. Sophie is a regimented planner, and takes her career seriously, but she can’t seem to shake the feeling that she’s missing out on life. A surprise turn of events (no spoilers, y’all!) forces Sophie to choose between the safe route and the one she’s always dreamed of–seeing the world without the restraints of her five-year plan.

I really enjoyed this book! Kristin did a great job of painting Sophie’s travels and translating the sights, sounds, and flavors onto the page for her readers. I have a craving for a pineapple bun now and I don’t know what I’m going to do! The romance between Sophie and Carson was white hot. I ended up loving his character and his free spirit.

As a fellow woman following her dreams, I can relate to Sophie’s struggle between her practical nature and the pull of possibilities when you let go of fears and embrace what you love. If you love to travel–either for real or via armchair–I definitely recommend this one!