Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Song for the day: This Isn’t the End by Owl City

When Theodore Finch a.k.a the freak and Violet Markey a.k.a. the good girl coincidentally met in a ledge on top of their school’s bell tower, they did not expect the effect that they will cause in each other’s lives.

(Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18460392-all-the-bright-places)

Note: Spoilers Alert! Read at your own risk! 

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I will repeat what I previously said in my short Goodreads review about this book here: It isn’t like The Fault in our Stars or Eleanor and Park. This book is much, much, more than that.

It’s true that like TFIOS, the guy also dies. And that this book also deals with living after a really terrible storm but, no. It, of course isn’t like Eleanor and Park at all. I don’t know why this novel is even mentioned. (But then again, this is only my opinion.) With that said, I will now begin this review.

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First of all, I would like to warn the people who are interested in reading this book because I assure you, you will cry. And no, it isn’t the peaceful kind of crying. Truthfully, I was a huge mess when I finished reading this book. Like eyes-puffy-head-and-chest-aching-snot-all-over-my-pillow-and-bed mess. But don’t worry because the pain and crying is all worth it.

It was really hard to read the last chapters of All the Bright Places because I know that something bad is going to happen and when it did happen, I felt like I stepped on a thousand shards of glass. That’s how much it hurts.

Now that’s settled, let’s start.

THE CHARACTERS:

Theodore Finch. He is the kind of guy who is impossible to exist in real life but I still love him. (Because who cares about real life? I’m in fiction heaven right now.) He plays the guitar, has a nice voice, writes songs, quotes dead poets, and writes cheesy lines like:

“You make me love you, 

And that could be the greatest thing my heart was ever fit to do… 

You make me lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love.” 

He’s like the perfect boyfriend every literary fangirl is waiting for. But it’s not just those things that made me love this character. I love his humanity. His look on things. And my heart aches for him because all he ever wanted was to be treated like a person. Not a freak. Not someone who has an illness. He just wants to be Theodore Finch. A friend, a classmate, a son. A human.

Violet Markey. She’s good. She’s a writer, popular, down to earth, have a super famous blog with her sister, beautiful, nice, outgoing, and fun. But all of that was before her sister, Eleanor died in a car accident. After that incident, she turned into Violet Markey: the person who can’t wait to graduate and escape Indiana. Violet the coward, Violet who can’t drive, Violet who blames herself for her sister’s death, angry Violet, sad Violet. Empty Violet.

I like Violet’s character and as much as I want to say that a girl as perfect as her (the before Violet) doesn’t exist in real life, I know I’m just going to lie because I know a handful of individuals who are as perfect as her.

I feel so much pain for Violet. Her sister died in a car accident and she had a hard time dealing with that. But then she met Finch and he made her realize how good life is. And then she started to heal, started to talk about her sister, started to drive, even. But bam! Finch dies. He gave up his fight and she is left behind…again. I mean, how painful is that?! But I know that she won’t give up. After all, she made it this far.

THE PACE:

I love the way Violet and Finch’s relationship grew. They met by chance but they did not suddenly fall in love with each other. The relationship wasn’t sudden or hurried or slow. It was just…right. Both the characters have established themselves before the book turned upwards which is a really good thing because the readers have enough connection to the characters to understand them and sympathize with them.

I also like that they both took their time to share their own respective secrets to each other and that Finch waited for the right moment to kiss Violet. They even waited for each other to be ready before having sex. How nice is that?

THE WRITING: 

Jennifer Niven wrote this novel perfectly and even though I am still asking: “Why did Finch killed himself? Why? Why? Why?!” I know that it’s an important part of the story and that this book wouldn’t be this book if the author removed that part. (It was after all, the theme of the novel.)

I actually almost lost it again when I read in Jennifer’s note that she experienced the same thing as Violet. She was also left behind by a boy whom she loved so much and that she’s the first person who found the body, too. It’s all too sad and depressing. But I’m glad that she was able to turn that traumatic incident into this book that I know will help a lot of people.

FINAL REMARKS: 

I know that suicide isn’t an easy subject especially when the author had a close encounter with it yet I believe that this book did a good job in depicting the life of a boy who committed suicide. Because at the end of the day, Finch is just a boy. A boy who have seen the ugly parts of life earlier than most of us. A boy who just wants to be treated like a person, for once. A boy hungry for love and attention and care. A boy who got tired in dealing with life.

It pains me greatly that at the beginning of the novel, Finch promised to himself that this time will be different. This time, he will stay awake. But he didn’t. He gave up the battle. He stopped swimming.

It hurts me even more that we can’t always save the people who have saved us. Especially when they think that they can handle it alone. It’s true that you need to take the first step. That you have to decide to help yourself. But you can’t do it alone. You can never do it alone. You need support which is one thing that Finch didn’t realize. He was too afraid to be labelled as an illness. Too afraid to be the freak that everyone thinks he is. Too afraid to hurt Violet and his family. Too afraid of himself.

It isn’t a lie that living is painful. It’s painful to think, to care, to trust, and to love. But just like this book, it is painful but good. Living, is still good. I guess that’s the ultimate message of this story. That even though life is full of shit, we must understand that it is just like us. Life is like humans. There are ugly and beautiful parts. There are lies and truths. There is darkness and rainbows. There are winters and summers. There is evil and there is good.

And sometimes, all we need is a map, a hopeful heart, and a piece of paper and pen to appreciate life. All we need to do is to let go of the bad and remember the good. We need to believe that this isn’t the end. The bad things will eventually stop and someday you’ll learn how to control them and not let them control you.

All we need is to wander through all the bright places and breathe. Breathe and look.

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My rating: 5/5 stars

My 2014 in Quotes

My year-end song: Hero by Family of The Year

Two days from now, another year will start and I just want to look back to everything that I have learned, experienced and realized this year. Let me guide you to my 2014 through these quotes.

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1. “Because then maybe she’d realize, if only for a split second that even though the world doesn’t matter to her, she matters to the world.” -David Levithan, Every Day

-This year made me realize that I am important even though I repeatedly convince myself that I am not. I have learned that I can touch people’s hearts, that I can be a part of their lives. That I am not just. I am someone. And this someone, matters.

2. “I guess I’m sorry is a way to say I want it to be better. Even if it’s difficult. Even if it hurts.” -David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List

-Saying I’m sorry sincerely was the one thing I cannot do. Especially when I truly need to say it. It’s one of my level five diseases and I struggled so hard to get rid of it. This time, I finally succeeded.

3. “We always see our worst selves. Our most vulnerable selves. We need someone else to get close enough to tell us we’re wrong. Someone we trust.” -David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List

-I am made of walls. Thick, indestructible walls. Only a few people can enter them and because of that, I found it hard to connect with people. Whenever someone tries to know me in a deeper level, I put my walls up. But this year, I tried to open it bit by bit. I told myself to trust those people, to relax and let them get to know me. It wasn’t that hard, after all.

4. “I think a lot of people want to be someone but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.” -Ava Dellaira, Love Letters To The Dead

-I fear disappointments. I fear the look in people’s eyes when they realize that you are not what they think you are. I wish I could say, “To hell with people. I don’t care about their judgments.” But I do. I do care about what they think of me. But at the same time, I don’t want to be just an imagination. I don’t want to be just a thought. I want to be someone. I want people to really know me. To know that I am just like them, that I am also filled with flaws, that I also make stupid decisions, and that I also have limitations.

5. “So maybe when we can say things, when we can write the words, when we can express how it feels, we aren’t so helpless. Maybe when we can tell the stories, however bad they are, we don’t belong to them anymore. They become ours.” -Ava Dellaira, Love Letters to the Dead

-Most of the time, I keep to myself. I never really like telling people stuff even if I am friends with them. But Ava Dellaira is right, when we tell people about our stories, those stories become ours–no matter how powerful those stories are. Sure, you’ll feel vulnerable but that’s alright. At least, you can get rid of the heavy feeling in your chest.

6. “Life doesn’t have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen.” -Jenny Han, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

-I always wonder why fate screws up with my plans every time. Then I realized that sometimes, you just need to let things happen. That you don’t have to be so cautious all the time, that you must meet with the moment not plan your way through it.

7. “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” -Veronica Roth, Divergent

-Growing up, people will tell you how to not be afraid. How to be fearless. But you cannot really be afraid of nothing. There will always be something that will scare you and that’s okay because we are made to be afraid of things. That’s how we learn how to be brave. That’s how we discover courage.

8. “Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real.” -Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

-No one’s going to make my dreams happen. No one’s going to flick his or her wand and make my dreams come true. I must do it myself.I must take the steps into making my dream a reality. It would be a hard and confusing road. But it’s a road that I am willing to take.

9. “I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there.” -Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

-A lot of not so good things happened this year and although all they left me were ugly scars, I am still glad that those things occurred. It’s a bit cliche, but if not for those things, I wouldn’t be this strong. These scars are my trophy. They are my daily reminder that I have survived a very difficult battle.

10. “Don’t cling to things because everything is impermanent.” -Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

-Cling to words, to moments, to memories, to infinities, to feelings–to people. Cling to them because most of the time, these things could stay forever.

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Aaaand, that’s it. I really don’t know how to end this post. Lol. Thank you for being a part of my 2014. See you next year! 🙂

Book Review: Fire with Fire

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Note: This is a re-post from my other blog and SPOILERS ALERT!  

 

After the perfect revenge plan of Lilia, Kat and Mary failed, they are back to square one. (Not to mention that they have to avoid going to jail.) Reeves is still an asshole and Reenie actually got MEANER. So, the girls struggle to their daily lives because really, what can they do? Until one night, Mary found out Reeves’ secret. He likes the straight A+ princess; Lilia. Now, the operation break Reeves’ heart starts!

 

Fire with Fire. Oh, what can I say? It’s as good as the first book but with more mind-blowing plot twists that I never even predicted. (For the first time in forever~) Long story short, this novel is also AHHHH-MAZING! I swear Jenny and Siobhan are perfect authors!

 

The characters are still not annoying. Well, except for Alex who needs to get his shit right. I mean, I get that he’s a teenage boy and with all the hormones he have, it’s possible to be a confusing person. But, ughhhhh. In the first book, he hooks up with Kat and of course, I ship them because DUH. And after that, it was revealed that he’s actually in love with Lilia. What the hell, man?! You can’t possibly be in love with two beautiful girls! You will ruin their friendship! Or their lives! (But most likely, their ovaries. Lol. Kidding.) Of course I’m ready to forgive him because I cannot hate someone like Alex. He’s so sweet and nice. Really, he’s the embodiment of the perfect guy in every girl’s dreams. But seriously, he needs to choose.

 

Meanwhile, I don’t have any complaints with Lilia except for her getting all the blessings that the universe could provide. Seriously, HOW CAN YOU BE PRETTY, SMART AND RICH AT THE SAME TIME?! It’s so unfaiiiiiiiir. She’s even surrounded with boys like Alex and Reeves. That’s just so messed up. (In a good way) If Lilia exists in real life, I would probably hate her for being perfect. (Gahd, I’m so shallow but seriously.)

 

Anyway, time to talk about my favorite character, Kat. I don’t know why other readers hate Kat. How could they? She’s the most realistic character among the three and she’s everything I want to be. Strong. Honest. Brave. It’s like the world can never bring her down no matter what kind of problems it throws to her. Also, I can relate to her wish to leave Jar Island. I want to do that, too. To leave my hometown and forget every damn thing that happened to me in here and start anew. Create a new phase in my life and control the parts of me that they will know. It is my dream to escape this paper town with so many paper people and shitty memories. Maybe that’s the reason why I can understand Kat more than anyone else in this series. Because I can see a piece of me in her.

 

Moving on with Mary. Oh, Mary. Or should I say Elizabeth? Uhm…no. I shouldn’t. Because if I do, I won’t be able to sleep tonight. I’m pretty sure that thoughts about the third book will fill my mind until I cannot think of anything else besides it. Anyway, in the first part of the novel, I pitied her. Because she’s miserable and living with a witch-like, half-insane aunt is not helping her. Not to mention that she’s in love with the sick bastard; Reeves. (Although, I kind of like Reeves now. But only when he’s with Lilia. They’re perfect for each other!)

 

Life is so mean to Mary. I know that she shouldn’t be paranoid that she’s got super powers (I’m calling it super powers. :P) and instead use it to blur her attention to Reeves and shift it to another one like, I don’t know, magic? Witch craft? Whatever.

I love Mary, I really do. Although sometimes her weakness is driving me crazy. That’s why when it’s revealed that she’s actually dead, I’ve completely loss my ability to think and speak. Because, Oh. My. Gosh. It cannot happen. NO. I mean, that’s freaking impossible. And MEAN. Also, creepy. NO. IT CAN’T HAPPEN. THEY CANNOT BE SERIOUS! JUST. NO.

 

But of course, they’re serious. She’s dead. Really dead. Her dad’s dead too. UGHHHHHH. This is so damn depressing and mind-blowing. Thank you Reeves and may you accept the fucking asshole of the year award!!! This is crazy. But then, I realized the many signs that I didn’t notice in the first place. I think that Reeves knows that Mary is dead which is a completely sane reason as to why he said “Go fuck yourself.” to her on Halloween night. And the name. Lilia mentioned it to Reeves the morning after Rennie died and he just exclaimed, “Who’s Mary?” Also, when the mummy boy from Halloween asked for her name, she said “Elizabeth.” And there’s the bouncer, too. OMFG. THIS IS SO FREAKING REAL. I can’t believe it. Asdfghjkl.

 

Mary is officially dead, and she realized it after accidentally killing Rennie. (I ain’t even mad.) Now, she’s on a murderous hunt. Well, good luck Reeves. I was hoping Lilia and you can have beautiful babies but if an insane teenage ghost is out there, thirsty for your blood, how can you freaking live?! Thinking about it makes my head hurt. I SERIOUSLY NEED BOOK THREE!!! 

 

But, all in all, it was a wonderful read and I’m definitely recommending it to all of you! Again, the writing is perfect. I cannot ask for more. Jenny and Siobhan, you guys rock! So please, pretty please, can you release it a month earlier? Like maybe, on August? Because September is too far away and I think I might die waiting for Ashes to Ashes. Have mercy on your readers. Please? No? Okay. Lol.

 

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

15749186Song for the day: TC and Sam Kang’s Kiss. ♥

Lara Jean have loved exactly five boys in her life and to each boy that she have loved, she dedicates a letter. To her, those letters are a way of saying goodbye because in those letters, she doesn’t hold anything back and once she finished writing them, she will no longer be consumed by her all consuming love. But one day, her teal hatbox goes missing and her letters got sent to the five boys she have ever loved.

 

Note: SPOILERS ALERT!!! 

 

Okay. *breathes* This.book.is.ADORABLE! Seriously, how did you manage to write a beautiful story out of a simple plot, Jenny Han? How?!

I admit that it wasn’t as good as the Burn for Burn series but who cares? This book made me laugh, smile, cry and squeal and that’s the important thing, right? Actually, I listed my top five squeal-worthy moments in this novel.

Here it goes:

5. The scene in the library wherein Peter K. rest his head on Lara Jean’s lap!!! I was so disappointed when NOTHING happened on that part. Lol.

4. The cupcake baking scene! This scene is overflowing with cuteness! It feels like they are newlyweds and Kitty is their adorable daughter.

3. The Peter Parker scene. Because, duh.

2. The I-kissed-you-because-Josh-might-be-looking-even-though-I-will-still-do-it-if-he’s-not-looking scene!

Aaaaaand….

1. “I think I like you, Lara Jean.” Ughhhhh. PETER K!!!!! I will give everything just to have someone like you in my life. Haha. But seriously, I was squealing like crazy in this part!

 

In case you are curious as to why I didn’t include the hot tub scene, I have only one answer: That scene is HOT. I didn’t squeal in that part because I was too busy screaming out loud. So there you go! The five most squeal-worthy moments in this novel. But of course, this review will not end here.

Moving on…

This novel somehow reminds me of Korean dramas. For example, the fake boyfriend and contract thing. If you’re an avid fan of Korean dramas, you will probably understand me. This ‘thing’ is so famous in dramas especially in Korean ones but Jenny Han managed to write it smoothly. (Another reason why I love her.) Also, it doesn’t have the annoying cliches that you’ll find in a K-drama.

Another thing that I love in this book is the characters. I know that some people think that Lara Jean is childish but I think it’s just appropriate for her age. Well, not too appropriate but enough. I like that her family is important to her and that she isn’t one of those typical High School characters who thinks about sex and making out too much. It’s also nice that I can relate to her and understand her in some ways and levels.

On the other hand, Peter Kavinsky’s character is all too old for me. Not that I’m complaining but, you know what I mean.

And Josh. I still have to make up my mind whether I like or hate him. Still, he’s a pleasant character.

What really made me act like a crazy old woman was the ending. Man, the ending. Endings are very important in books of every genre. It will determine whether the hours you spent reading was well spent or not. And Jenny Han ended this novel PERFECTLY. I still remember how my jaw ached because of smiling way too much after reading it.

And that’s it. I am officially in-love with Jenny Han and Peter Kavinsky. Although, I kind of hate myself for reading it already because I have to wait for a YEAR (Yes, a year!) in order to read the second book. Still, I REGRET NOTHING. (Lol joke. I really do regret reading it early.)

All in all, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a must-read for people who wants to spend their whole life loving a fictional character. And by that, I mean YOU. All of you.

 

P.S.

I acted extra crazy whenever Peter K. says Lara Jean’s name because I have the same name. (The ‘Jean’ part at least.) Yes, I am definitely insane.

 

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Book Review: Burn for Burn

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Note: This is also a re-post and SPOILERS ALERT! 

 

Lilia, Kat and Mary doesn’t have so much in common– except for one thing; they’ve all been hurt by people they trusted the most. But they are so damn tired of waiting for karma to come and teach those people a lesson. Karma can suck it. They’re big girls now and big girls don’t cry. They get even.

 

I was so excited in reading Burn for Burn because I was getting kind of tired in paranormal and supernatural stuff from YA. And this novel is like a breath of fresh air. I’ve read it for four hours straight because I literally cannot make myself put the book down. It is so, so amazing and although the ending left me hanging, it is just right because you will definitely look out for book two. (Because if you won’t, you’ll die out of brain explosion, trust me.) To be honest, after I’ve finished the book, I cannot think of anything else but Fire with Fire and what will happen to the characters; praying like crazy for the authors not to kill my favorite ones. (What else can I do?)

Anyway, the entire book is a gem. No. Scratch that. It is a freaking diamond. The characters aren’t perfect but they’re lovable and even though I’m not a pretty, popular or troubled teenage girl, I found myself relating to their problems and their stories.

I was very alive while I’m reading it. Like, whenever Kat says a smart-ass line, I cheer for her. (Literally, cheer for her) Or when Lilia broke the glass of Alex’s SUV. I was screaming “Way to go, Lilia!” at the top of my lungs.  (It was fortunate that my Mom is not in the same room as me.) I also felt all the emotions of the characters like they really exist. A good example’s when Mary (finally!) spilled the beans on how Reeve destroyed her life. I was mad and crying at the same time. It’s just so twisted and I can’t even imagine myself as Mary at that time. It was horrible. More than horrible, even. (If that’s possible.)

I can’t even say what my favorite part of the book is. It’s perfect. It’s wonderful, amazing and I’m running out of positive adjectives.

I won’t keep this review long because I will also write a review of the second book later which I also read for four hours straight. (It’s a 4 hour problem.) (Oooh, Sherlock! Lol.)

With that said, I want to say thank you for the two fantastic ladies who wrote this novel! (Thank you for replying to me in twitter! <3)

siobhan!!!

 

 

To Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, thank you very much! I love you both! *virtual group hug!*

 

My rating: 5/5 stars.

 

A little too late introduction?

I’ve been blogging here in WordPress for about six months now and I still feel like I haven’t introduced myself to all of you properly. Well, at first my plan is to be as mysterious as I can but what’s fun about that? So, I decided to talk about myself a little bit in this entry. Forgive me because I don’t really know how to start for I hate introducing myself to people. It’s my disease.

Anyway, here goes nothing…

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Hi! I’m Jean, a sixteen year old girl from the Philippines who currently studies BA Journalism. I started blogging mainly because I love writing but I’m not confident enough to let the people around me read it. So, I started posting poems and prose that I wrote under a pretend name and much to my surprise, I received likes and positive comments from all of you! (Thanks! )

Yes, I'm the one with the glasses. This is the reason why I hate wacky photos. Lol

Yes, I’m the one with the glasses. This is the reason why I hate wacky photos. Lol

I came from a big family. I have 2 sisters and a brother and I love them no matter how annoying they are. I am the youngest child and I know that a lot of people thinks that we have the easiest tasks at home but, no. My family loves ordering me around and I don’t know why. Maybe because they know I won’t refuse them. Well, I don’t refuse them sometimes. (A LOT of times.) But they still love ordering me around. Trust me, they don’t get tired.

One thing that is so obvious about me is the fact that I love books. Scratch that. I live for books. I started reading Alice in Wonderland when I was six. And on my seventh birthday, I received books about Tom Sawyer, Aladdin and Rip Van Winkle. Then, Harry Potter got big and of course I became a Potterhead. (Who isn’t?!) I loved those books and they were the start of my unfathomable love for reading. Now, I’m in love with classical and YA novels.

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Some photos of my books! 🙂

Meanwhile, the thing that most people are surprised about me is that I listen to K-pop. Not just K-pop but Korean music altogether. It’s not a secret that a lot of people thinks K-pop is dancing and singing upbeat tunes while wearing crazy and colorful costumes but, it isn’t. There are various genres in Korean music and K-pop is just one of them. To be honest, I don’t like the upbeat pop tunes so much. Sure, I listen to them now and then but my real love is for alternative hip hop, rock, electronic, indie and R&B genres of Korean music. I also love sad and romantic soundtracks from Korean dramas and movies. (I watch them and variety shows, btw.) That’s what started my K-pop journey, actually.

Here’s my favorite Korean song as of now:

Speaking of music, I am also a big fan of YouTube artists like David Choi, Tyler Ward, Kina Grannis, Kurt Schneider, Sam Tsui, Alex Goot, Aj Rafael, Alex G, Tori Kelly and many more!

I love Asian YouTubers, too! From nigahiga, kevjumba and The Fu Music to YTF. I basically, live in YouTube. Lol.

I am also a fan of American and British TV shows. From The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, Once Upon A Time, The Originals, The Big Bang Theory and Castle to Sherlock and Doctor Who. You name it! I am a fangirl to the core.

Damon and Alaric bromance. D'awww!

Damon and Alaric bromance. D’awww!

Of course, I also watch anime and read manga. Actually, my favorite past-time with my brother is watching Detective Conan. (We are currently in episode 394. I know. We are so slow.) But I only watch it once in a while. My first love will always be and forever will be reading.

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Writing is my sanity. I think it’s my only purpose in this world. That’s why no matter how stupid and impossible my family thinks my dream of becoming a novelist is, I am still not going to give up. Because if I stop writing, I will be just a body with an empty soul. I just don’t love writing, I live for it. I live because of it, even. Writing isn’t something I just do, it’s a part of me. So, I will never, ever give up.

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I know that there’s still a long road ahead of me and that I’m just starting my own adventure but I am very grateful that I’m here and still battling with my demons.

I hope that all of you won’t get tired of my blog entries and I promise that I will write better poems and prose in the future. Also, thank you for your positive comments. It really means a lot to me. I love you all! *virtually hugs everyone*

-Jean.