Review: Camille Pagán’s I’m Fine and Neither are You

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Y’all I had to take a week or two in order to digest I’m Fine and Neither Are You. Even after finishing it a few weeks ago, this book’s message has stayed with me. I have to thank Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Camille Pagán for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m Fine and Neither Are You tells the story of Penelope Ruiz-Kar. She’s a wife, a mother, a friend, the financial backbone of her family, and she’s barely keeping it together. To make matters worse, Penelope feels her life pales in comparison to her best friend, Jenny, who appears to juggle it all. After an unexpected tragedy occurs, Penelope realizes that her best friend’s life was not what it seemed. Determined to take control of her own life, Penelope vows to commit to total honesty in her own marriage. What she doesn’t realize is that total honesty will either save her marriage or tear it apart.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy books that are driven by character development
  • you are interested in books that cause you to become introspective upon reading
  • you are interested in the multi-faceted roles adults often play (partner, parent, friend)

You might not like this book if:

  • you prefer plot-driven novels
  • you dislike lengthy inner monologues
  • you prefer linear storytelling (this novel has flashback memories)

The reason I put off writing this review for so long is because I just wasn’t sure what I thought. There were elements that I loved and there were some that I hated. So, let’s break it down. I loved the title and the message that it conveys. How often do we say “oh, I’m fine” when it is far from the truth? Sometimes I’m just not fine (and neither are you.)

Second to the title, I loved the way this book made me feel. After reading, I couldn’t help but look and question my own life. Was I happy? Was I being honest? Am I fine or am I actually fine? Any book that forces me to become introspective is one that I’m interested in.

On the other hand, there were elements I just did not enjoy. While I generally go for plot-driven stories, I can appreciate well-written character-driven stories. With that being said, this character-driven piece had so much inner monologue. So much! I felt like I was being told a story the entire time without being shown. So much of the story seemed to take place in the Penelope’s thoughts/consciousness instead of the actual world. While I understand this may lend itself to character-driven stories, I thought it was too heavy handed.

Further, there was a lack of tension that made me feel a little…bored. While this book did tackle huge, emotional issues, it just lacked tension. Penelope’s life never seemed like it was at risk of ~actually~ changing. I normally need tension/conflict to make me afraid for my characters or nervous to see how it’s going to turn out in the end. I just didn’t feel that here. Although there was character growth – the story lacked tension. It was just a bit boring for me in that regard.

Overall, I have to say that I’m happy I read this one. I thought about this book long after I finished it. It made me think about what I can do in my life to change. Am I fine or am I fine? It was also refreshing to see a woman character that fulfilled so many roles (friend, employee, mother, spouse) and how she struggled to meet the requirements that each roll required. I’m here for any book that shows women in a complex, realistic way. I gave this one a 3/5.

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I’m Fine and Neither Are You is domestic fiction, and it was published on April 1, 2019. It’s 270 pages and has a 3.82 rating on Goodreads. As of 4/29/19, it is on Kindle Unlimited.

get more info: visit Camille Pagán’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find I’m Fine and Neither are You on Amazon

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Frances Vick’s Two Little Girls

I want to say thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!

Two Little Girls tells the story of Lisa and Kirsty. They are Best Friends Forever. At least, they are until the day Lisa disappears. It’s 1985 and Kirsty, afraid for her friend and traumatized by her disappearance, helps provide evidence to put the killer behind bars. The killer even gives a confession. So why, ten years later, is Kirsty still haunted by the thought that she made a terrible mistake?

spoiler free: I really wanted to love this one, because I was so captivated by the premise of the novel and the first third of the book. The author wrote a compelling, chilling, and questionable friendship between two young girls. The first third of the book explored their warped friendship through a child’s POV and it was eerie.

I loved how from the very beginning we were introduced to the theme of real vs. fake. Lisa told so many lies that we were left, alongside Kirsty, to wonder what was real after all? I was excited to see how the author was going to play off this theme when exploring how time distorts memory and how the line between real and fake becomes blurrier as time marches on.

It was really the latter half of the book that fell flat for me. I just could not buy that Kirsty was so unconcerned that she potentially put away an innocent man on a murder charge. I kept wanting her to wake up with some drive or intensity to uncover the truth. That never really happened. Instead, Kirsty was pulled along throughout the book until the truth literately fell into her lap. This was unsatisfying.

Further, I felt like the author missed an opportunity to really play up the theme of memory distortion. There were some moments where Kirsty potentially misremembered aspects of her childhood, but she pretty much stood firm on what she saw as a child. I felt like the novel would have been so much stronger (and quite honestly Kirsty’s attitude more believable) if she were constantly questioning what she truly saw back then.

Instead, we were left with the (pretty much) absolute truth of her memory and this caused there to be so few characters to pick from when questioning who the murderer was. There was a minor red herring, but this was hardly strong enough to mislead the reader. Instead, the ending felt obvious and inevitable, which never bodes well for suspense/mystery.

Overall, this was a 2/5 for me. (I did not enjoy the book overall, but there was some aspects that were ok).

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Two Little Girls is an adult suspense/mystery. It releases on April 17, 2019 and it is available for pre-order now.

get more info: visit Frances Vick’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Two Little Girls on Amazon