Send help

Guys.  Send help.  Seriously, I feel like I’m drowning in my own mediocrity this week.

Plan was to go to the gym on Wednesday and Friday.  Wednesday did not happen.  Friday is still up in the air.

I haven’t gotten more than about four hours of sleep a night.  None of that is uninterrupted.  I sleep like garbage.  I tried to remedy that by using Law and Order SVU to sleep by (surprisingly, this usually works).  It’s not working right now.

Due to to the financial burdens of separating, my bank account is…sad.  We’ll say sad.  Savings is good, checking blows, D’s car payments this month came out of my bank account instead of his, and though I AM going to get that money back, you can’t get blood from a stone, as they say, and D now owes me $300 for this month.  Super.

Oh, grad school?  BAHAHAHAHAHA.  I am about halfway finished with The Behemoth.  As for reading for my other class…not even close.  I emailed the two Civil War historians on campus, per my thesis adviser’s orders…and they haven’t responded.  Thanks, guys.

I vacillate between “I am okay with getting divorced, this is going to be a new start”, terror about the idea of dating, feeling sick over the idea of divorce, and freaking out because this was not supposed to happen.

Hopefully I’ll be feeling better tomorrow.

Death of all dreams

We’ve been separated now for two months.  There is a reason why we’re not divorced yet, and that reason is twofold.  1) Because as much as D wants to be single and live by himself, he is not ready to fully take responsibility for his actions.  And 2) because I’ve been deluding myself the entire time, hoping that his reluctance to proceed heralded him rethinking this, that maybe he would undo what had been broken, and maybe — just maybe — we didn’t have to do this.

That’s not true.

I cried last night (this is nothing new, I cry all the damn time).  I cried because everyone is right; certainly, he is dragging his feet, but I am not forcing him to face up to what he has done, what he has destroyed.  I am not facing up to what he has destroyed.  There before me, on a funeral pyre, are all the dreams I had for myself, all the unfulfilled promise that we had when we met, aged 23 and 24, so ridiculously in love, ready to embark on this great journey of life.  We were going to be different.  I know that nobody goes into a marriage planning on divorcing.  From day one, we said that divorce was not an option.  And then…it was.

They lie there, on this mythological pyre, so many memories and dreams and plans.  I turn them over in my hands before putting them back down.

Lazy summer days at Hampton Beach, watching the sun go down, laughing at chubby-legged infants being bounced in and out of the waves by their proud parents, imagining bringing our own chubby baby with brown curly hair here someday.

The way he would languidly grab my waist when I tried to get out of bed on Saturdays, dragging me back in, begging for just ten more minutes of cuddling before we actually had to get up and face the day.

That wonderful afternoon we spent at the reservoir in Lawrence, rolling down the green sloping hill, throwing new fallen autumn leaves at each other, kissing, always kissing.  I never imagined a day when those kisses would stop coming.  I never knew they had a finite end, that within five years I would not be able to coax a kiss from him again.

The future — the dreams we had.  The house in Wakefield, Massachusetts, with a finished basement and an office for me.  Children, a boy and a girl, hopefully, that we would send to private school, that I would teach to ice skate, that he would play catch with.  A husky puppy.  Growing old together, just like his grandparents, two people in mutual love forever.

All of that changed the day he texted me at work, the day he told me he felt nothing for me anymore.  It’s been a year and a half, almost.  And although he has stripped the memories, the dreams, the hopes, even the love, bare, and laid them on the pyre, I haven’t been able to set the pile alight.  Because you see, he won’t.  He won’t do it.  Only I can do it.  Because he never will.

He left them there and walked away, he thinks I can never bring myself to end what I never wanted to end.  To light all of those dreams on fire, watch them melt and run together and evaporate into thin air.

He doesn’t realize that once they are burned, once they are gone forever, once I give them up…I can start dreaming again.  I can hope again.

I just have to find a way to strike the match.

Lord, help me find a way to strike the match.

Personal growth

Do you ever feel, sometimes, like you are just never changing?  Like you are stuck in a rut of failure and it just never ends?  Sometimes you need a tangible reminder that you have changed, that your life is changing, and that, even if you don’t see it day-by-day…things are altering, ever so subtly, until your whole world is different from what it used to be.

I got a searing reminder of that on Saturday night, when D and I went to file our taxes for the second and last time as a married couple.  Because D works for a nonprofit and doesn’t think of his withholding status until tax time, we got screwed big-time.  As in, we owe the IRS $1,200 between our state and federal taxes.  This happened last year to a lessened degree, and me, being me, decided to choose this as a good time to take our marriage counselor’s advice and relinquish my need to control everything.  I left the changing of his withholding status up to D, and I got burned by it.  It’s not a huge burn, just a small one (well, if you can count $1,200 as “small’), but I have to say that there were a few minutes where I covered my eyes with my hands and felt the tears burning my face as the words “How many times are you going to screw me over?” went through my head.

But I didn’t say those words.  I didn’t scream at D or rail at him or ask him why, why, why, exactly, was he letting this happen again, why did he sit by and allow himself to get fucked over at tax-season, and not only him, but me, too?  And while we’re on a roll here, why did he choose to emotionally give up on our marriage a mere two years after saying his vows to me?  These are all things that, a year ago or more, I probably would have just let fly.

Instead, I saved the progress on TurboTax, shut my computer’s lid, and asked him if he wanted to go out and get a cup of hot cocoa from Dunkin Donuts.  (Before anyone echoes my mom’s sentiment of “Because the best reaction to finding out you owe money is to spend money!”, I had a GC left over from Christmas, so nyah).  We went, got our hot chocolate, and drove around, for a little while, chatting on topics, some heavy, some not, talking about our impending divorce and our fears and our dreams for the rest of our lives.  When we parted it was on good terms, which wouldn’t have happened if I had lost my temper.  Had I lost my temper and said all of those terrible things that went through my head up there, we would have accomplished nothing.  It wouldn’t have made me feel better; D would have gotten upset and screamed back at me; it all would have gone to hell very, very quickly.

It doesn’t save me the $600 that I now owe the IRS because of him, but at the very least, it did save me more emotional pain.  Instead of feeling like a horrible person, I feel like I grew up some.  That tangible reminder that, yeah, in the past few years, I have grown.  I have changed.

We all do, I guess.

 

Lately, I have these moments where I am fine, and then I’m not.  Like I function just fine during the day, I face what happened with D and I and I acknowledge, it, and I’m okay.  But then I just fall apart.  It hits me in the chest, fresh, and I am doubled over with it.  That horrible aching yaw in my chest of My husband left me, he doesn’t want to be with me, he doesn’t love me and he never will again.  And oh, that ache, that ache comes and I would give anything to go back to being 27 years old, happily married again.

And then I remember that it wasn’t perfect back then; I only thought it was, because I didn’t know what was going on in D’s head.  I didn’t know that he was unhappy, restless, looking for something other than what I could give him.  I didn’t know that he was already thinking of leaving me.  And when I remember that that life, it wasn’t perfect, somehow it is easier to go on.

48 Questions

It’s late on a Friday night, my laundry is done and my pipe are (thus far) still thawed (finger crossed).  I’m yoinking a survey from Salt over at Salty Mom.  (Seems like this survey is getting around.)

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Yup, only Mum (thankfully) botched the spelling.  In 1983 the miniseries The Thorn Birds (starring sexy Richard Chamberlain) was released on TV, and everyone had the hots for Richard, the oh-so-sexy Catholic priest Fr. Ralph de Bricassart, and his scandalous love interest, pretty red haired Meghann Cleary (played by Rachel Ward).  Called simply “Meggie” in both miniseries and novel, Meghann Cleary was the catalyst for the name Megan (in all its variations) being so popular in 1983.  My parents went for the short and easy version.  I read the book when I was 16, after being scandalized that my parents named me after a woman who had an affair with a Catholic priest.  Oh, and I hate the nickname “Meggie.”

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Monday.  Bad counseling session.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Yes.  It’s super-tiny and neat.  Like type.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Roast beef.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Someday, I hope.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
I’m not sure.  We all hope to be someone likeable, but I think I’d just drive myself crazy.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
I speak it fluently.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
I think it would hurt my back.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Crap, I love cereal.  Wheaties, Total, Honey Bunches of Oats, Kix, Corn Pops, Rice Krispies, Life…I can’t pick.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Never.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
I don’t know.  People tell me I am sometimes, but I have trouble believing anyone who cries so often is strong.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
This is worse than the cereal question.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Whether or not they are staring right at me.

15. RED OR PINK?
I’m going through a pink phase right now.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Physically, my chin and my belly.  The belly I can fix, the chin not so much.  And I can’t stand that I overanalyze everything, and have difficulty letting things go.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My grandmother.

18. WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?
Making a decision and sticking with it, without second-guessing myself.

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
None.  I’m barefoot.

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Fried dough.  My mom makes mini ones on Friday nights when she doesn’t feel much like cooking, and because of the impending “blizzard” (hah) I was down visiting my parents.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Water barely dripping in the sink.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Emerald green.

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Lilacs, woodsmoke, L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines, cloves (the spice, not the cigarettes, because ew).

24. HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO YOU?
Pretty important.  I’m not the type to go around picking fights with people about who should be president, but I’m pretty vocal about things like women’s rights and health care.

25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
Mountain hideaway.  With water near it.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Football, figure skating (yes, it counts)

27. HAIR COLOR?
Dark brown.

28. EYE COLOR?
Brown.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
For special occasions, definitely not every day.

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Chicken of any kind, steak tips, potatoes.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy endings.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
To Catch a Thief — old Alfred Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Black ON tank top under a gray Salve Regina University sweatshirt.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Winter.  I hate humidity.

35. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Vanilla bean creme brulee.  Or creme brulee of any kind.

36. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
Cardio, I guess.

37. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
Computer.

38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
A World On Fire by Amanda Foreman, about English/American relations up to and during the American Civil War.  It is REALLY good, and it is going to be a secondary source for my senior thesis, but it is loooooong.

39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I don’t have one at home.  At work it’s Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”  I don’t know where it came from, I didn’t pick it.

40. FAVORITE SOUND?
“I love you.”

41. FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC?
Alternative.

42. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
England.

43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Writing.  So I’m told.  And remembering useless historical facts.

44. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Middletown, Connecticut.

45. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
Not far from where I started.

46. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?
White.

47. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?
Beige.

48. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 48 QUESTIONS?
It was fun 🙂

Little Victories, Week Four

For 2013, I’m going to have a Friday post every single week, for positive victories in my life.  They may not be big things, but they will be things that I am proud of, things I did in the past seven days.  I’m hoping this will keep me focused on the positive, all the good things that are going on in my life.

Week Four:

– Had my first meeting with my thesis instructor and got the all-clear to start research on my capstone paper.  First assignment is an 817-page history book that I affectionately refer to as The Behemoth.  I am on page 85.

– Went out for dinner with Samantha and Aly and dished about boys, marriage, and the future…certainly felt more optimistic and happier about being single again after that talk, and we made plans to meet up for drinks this upcoming week!

– Ran into Marissa from Sephora again, who (sadly) told me that she was laid off after the holiday season.  But we have each other’s email addresses and we’re friending each other on FB.  She’s going to try to work for MAC, or another cosmetics department, so I hope I’ll see her again soon at the mall.

– Found the L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines hand cream that I described in this entry, and realized after applying it that this is the personal scent I’ve been looking for for years, it just screams me and makes me feel so girly and pretty and at peace.  I’ve been scent-less since I gave up wearing the B&BW Black Currant Vanilla that I wore on my wedding day (my olfactory senses are very tied to my memories), so finding something new to wear that just makes me KNOW it’s me was a nice little perk to buying a hand cream for my chapped skin.

– Made it through the horrific cold this week with pipes (thankfully) still intact, due to the efforts of my father (my landlord) yesterday.  With any luck, the cold is going to break today and everything will be all right *fingers crossed*.

– Seriously — SERIOUSLY — contemplated signing up for a study-abroad course in June.  I need to go over my finances and see if I can swing it, but for now, it’s a beautiful, glittery dream that’s keeping me going.

Items put in my 2013 jar: 2.

TGIF!  Have a great weekend!

A girly crisis

I know we all go through “crises” in our lives.  Mid-life crisis.  Quarter-life crisis (I think I hit this at 22, but whatever, close enough).  Is this what’s called the divorce crisis?

Because in the last few months, my obsessions and outlooks have changed.

I want to travel so badly it itches.  I dream about Paris, London, Prague, St. Petersburg…anywhere, everything.  I want to see it all.  I want to ride on a double-decker bus again and disembark in front of Westminster Abbey.  I want to wear a cute little sundress and ride an overpriced gondola in Venice.  I want to see the Northern Lights in Oslo, skate on a frozen pond in Salzburg, have an oh-so-cliched kiss at the base of the Eiffel Tower…I want it all.

And I want to do it alone.  (God, that is so Eat. Pray. Love. and overdone)

But I want that.  I want to find myself on cobblestone streets that are hundreds of years old, breathe the air of thousands of pilgrims in ancient cathedrals, revel in my complete inability to understand other languages, and speak rough, American English alone in the center of a thousand foreign voices.

This isn’t me, guys.  The person I am got absolutely completely panic-stricken at age 23 when I went to England with my best friend.  And I wasn’t alone.  And I spoke the language.  But it was less than a year after my accident, pre-medication, pre-therapy…pre-any real conception of love or heartbreak.

I’m obsessed with all things girly, feminine, delicate.  I am 29 years old and I’m suddenly seized with the desire to make my entire apartment airy and pastel.  I spent my 20’s eschewing pink in all shades and becoming obsessed with football.  My wardrobe was built around bootcut jeans, long-sleeve t-shirts, and sneakers.  Now I want to wear sundresses and lace and ballet flats and skinny jeans, I want to deck my entire apartment in candles and pictures of Europe and white lights and birds.  I want to paint my fingernails sky blue.

I want to replace the beat-up piece of furniture that’s serving as my dresser and vanity table for this:

I was in the mall the other day and I couldn’t resist trying some of the L’Occitane Rose hand cream, and it brought me back to being a child, in my grandmother’s pastel-bedecked spare bedroom, sniffing her bath products and dreaming of the day when I’d wear makeup myself, when men would think I was beautiful, when I’d think I was beautiful.

Who is this person?

Everyone around me says that my weird changes are harmless.  I’m not blowing tons of money or doing anything particularly destructive.  It’s not like when I was 19 and going through a really abusive relationship and breakup, where I hacked off all my hair and went through a brief “punk grunge” phase that thankfully, no photographs exist of anymore.

But it scares me, because underneath I feel stripped, and if these brief moments of girly euphoria, solitary excitement, and finding joy in just myself fade away, what’s underneath will be ten times more raw.

We all have to trailblaze sometime, right?

Little bitta backstory:
I started grad school in 2005.  I was supposed to, at least.  I graduated from my undergraduate university in May of 2005, and was set and ready to go in August of 2005 and start grad school.  Disaster (and an SUV) struck me on August 27th, a mere 48 hours before the semester was supposed to start, derailing my graduate career and my life for five months.  When I did get back to school, I was an absolute mess of anxiety, pain, accident-related PTSD, etc., and though I tried to struggle through it, it took two and a half years of slipping grades and horrible anxiety attacks before I realized that maybe going into debt $10,000 a year isn’t a worth it if I’m on the verge of being kicked out of the program.  So I dropped out of school in order to get medicated, get therapy, and get my life back in order.

With me so far?

The downside is, when I finally got my shit together and went back to school in January of 2012, my cumulative GPA was a lousy 2.64.  The standard set by my university is a minimum of 3.0.  Clearly, I had a lot of work to do.

In the last three semesters (Spring ’12, Summer ’12, and Winter ’12), I’ve earned GPAs of 3.85, 3.75, and 4.0, and my cumulative GPA has jumped from 2.64 to 2.97 in a year, which I thought was a pretty awesome jump.  With two semesters to go, I was sure that I would be over the 3.0 by the time I register to write my thesis in Fall ’13, and definitely by graduation.

Unfortunately, yesterday, I received a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies, informing me that since their standard is a minimum of 3.0, and my GPA is 2.97, I am on academic probation for the Spring ’13 semester.

 

I bet I’m the only person in the world who ever got put on academic probation a mere three weeks after earning a 4.0.\

It’s one of those “so ludicrous, you can’t help but laugh” situations.  I’m not nervous at all, because unless something else horrific happens to me and I completely lose my mind, I’m not going to miss that 3.0 again this semester, and I’ll be off Ac Prob by Fall ’13.

When I got the letter, David suggested that I print out my grades from last semester (with the 4.0) and frame them and the Ac Prob letter side-by-side.

I might do it.  It’s just too funny.

Yarn Along! – January 23, 2013

I am pretty much the slowest knitter ever.  I am still working on the Noro Silk Garden off-the-cuff hat that I was working on a week ago.  I know.  A better knitter would have done like two or three of them by now.

But I think I have an excuse.

yarn along

This BEHEMOTH of a textbook is World On Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War, and it is the first of many, many secondary sources I’ll be using for my Master’s thesis.

Because I started my research yesterday!!!!

It’s ridiculously exciting, but also quite daunting.  The book clocks in at 1,008 pages, but fortunately, only 816 of those are actually writing, the rest is just notes and bibliography.  I did what I usually do in cases like these where the actual length of the book is deceptive: I stuck an extra bookmark where the notes begin, so I could see how much I actually had to read:

book

The top bookmark is where I am (page 13).  The second bookmark is where the notes begin (page 817).

…Yep, not making me feel much better!

But it’s a good read, and so far it’s entertaining, so I’m enjoying it thus far.  My goal is to read 100 pages a day, and if I can do that, there’s no way I won’t finish this behemoth by the deadline.  Yes, there’s a deadline.  By February 5th.

Halp.

Hooking up with Ginny on Small Things

Just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die

When there is desire, there is gonna be a flame.
When there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned.
But even if it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.
You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.
Pink

I’ve been hearing this song on repeat the whole last weekend, and it was an extremely emotional weekend for me, in a lot of respects.  I saw David every day from Friday until Monday, and let me tell you from personal experience: that is way too much time to spend with your estranged spouse.  Way too much time.  I also drank way too much over the weekend, and was way too emotionally invested in the Patriots/Ravens game (my boys lost, by the way, and yes, I’m still in mourning).  I don’t really feel like rehashing the rougher parts of my weekend, but suffice to say, I ended my weekend yesterday afternoon by bawling on the phone to my friend Drea about how it doesn’t matter how many advanced degrees I earn or A’s I get, or what I do or where I go or the experiences I have; in the eyes of society I will always be a failure because my marriage fell apart and I have no children.

Going to bed at 9:15 PM was probably the kindest thing I could do for myself, and that’s exactly what I did.  I slept on and off for most of the night, and woke up this morning feeling still tired, but a lot more positive and happy than I was.

There are some definite truths to what I was thinking last night.  My parents (particularly my mother) have put a lot of pressure on me to get divorced as soon as possible so I could move on and get remarried and produce grandchildren.  But from the start, my motivation to get divorced was never about having children as soon as possible.  It was about hope.  It was about knowing deep down that, so long as I stay married to David, there is no hope.  He is never going to love me the way I deserve to be moved, and I am never going to fully be able to trust him again after he had an affair.  I’ve tried.  It isn’t working.  And he’s never going to want to make it work the way I do.

Family life and kids DO factor in.   I want to marry and have children, I really do.  It’s not in the cards right now, and even if I was married, it wouldn’t be.  I put off the idea of having children in my 20’s when I signed on to finish my Master’s Degree back in late 2011.  I know too many people who either never went back to school, or had to indefinitely postpone it, because they had children.  I didn’t want to do that.  Nor did I want to try and juggle writing a Master’s thesis while taking care of a newborn or toddler.  One thing at a time.

More than that, even if the societal belief is that a woman who is divorced and childless is a failure, no matter what else she accomplishes, it is not true for me.  Society and I apparently have different definitions of “failure.”

Failure would have been staying in this marriage and letting it suck my life and soul and will to live away.
Failure would have been accepting a lack of love, just to retain the diamond ring and the title of “wife”, in the vain hope of one day getting back everything we lost.
Failure would have been falling down and throwing away almost five years of working on my anxiety disorder, and letting myself fall apart again.
Failure would have been allowing my personal life to overtake my education, dropping my grades and getting me kicked out of school.
Failure would have been accepting the love that I’ve always felt I deserved…which wasn’t love at all.

I didn’t do any of those things.

When all this is said and done, I will be single, divorced, and 30 years old.  I have about 10 – 15 years of childbearing ability (with any luck) ahead of me.  I am (reportedly) still young-looking enough to pass for mid-20’s, according to people who are not close enough to me to lie to make me feel better about myself.  I am smart, I have my B.A. and I will have my M.A. by the end of this year.  I will be financially independent, and comfortably so.  I will know myself better, because I have gone through this experience.

I know who I am, what I’m worth, and what I want.  Three things I didn’t know two years ago when I got married.

My plans for the next few months are pretty crazy.  My intention over the next few years is to do anything that I previously thought “I could do this, but it would be tough to do when we’re married and are trying to save money for a house and a family.”  I still want those things, but I also want…memories.  Life.  Joy.  Experience.  And to get married again, and have a family.  Those are dreams, too, but they don’t have to be the dream.

I’m going to buy my new (to me) car in February.
I’m going to apply (finances willing) to that course in June and go to study-abroad (if I can swing it).
I’m going to volunteer to be an organizer at Wildfire, and attend both May and August Wildfires, if I can swing them financially (will be about $240).
I’m going to climb Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with Drea and Sam in August (or September).
I’m going to write my thesis (and it is going to be amazing).
I’m going to graduate in December.
I’m going to throw my resume at colleges and high schools anywhere in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
I’m going to live my life.

And I’m going to

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Two years ago, in 2011, I made a goal to read 100 books in a year, which I accomplished (you can read my old reviews on the blog I kept that year, Read.Knit.Spin.Blog.), but due to returning to graduate school in 2012, reading sort of fell by the wayside.  This year, I’ve renewed my goal, but amended it to 50 books in 2012.  I will publish reviews as I go along.

Book 2 for 2013 is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.

Confession: I have a love/hate relationship with YA literature (and Philippa Gregory, but that’s another story for another time).  While sometimes I find the books to be entertaining, I also find myself eye-rolling at times.  For every Hunger Games, there’s at least one Abandon *shudder*.  And after I hurried out to buy Insurgent this year (after LOVING Divergent the year before), and being horribly disappointed, I pretty much gave up YA lit again.  When I got an offer on PaperbackSwap to finally, after almost two years, receive a copy of Hex Hall, I hesitated.  Did I really want to use my last credit on a questionable YA novel?  But I took the plunge, and read it in two days.

I like it.  I really do.  I want to read the sequels now please.

Hex Hall is told from the POV of Sophie Mercer, a young witch who has been busted one too many times for using magic incorrectly.  For her protection (and the protection of those around her) she’s been sentenced to Hecate “Hex” Hall, a reform school for Prodigium (witches, shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, and faeries).

This is sort of a Princess Diaries meets Harry Potter type of novel, though I wouldn’t put it on the level of Harry Potter, and Sophie, unlike Princess Mia, isn’t quite as eye-rolly and overdramatic.  She’s dealing with some tough issues — an incapability of harnessing her magical powers, bullying at the hands of pretty sociopaths, an outcast roommate who is in desperate need of a friend — but like any teenager her age, Sophie just wants the guy she has a crush on to notice her.  In that respect, she is relatable and understandable, and at times, very funny and witty.

I agree with other reviewers that say that the writing can be somewhat juvenile.  Constant references to current pop culture (Britney Spears, Abercrombie and Fitch) won’t help the novel’s relevance in the future, but then again, Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series made many mentions of current pop culture and is still a goldmine in the publishing world, so what do I know?  Still, the book is a quick read and the ending is a cliffhanger, and I really, really want to read Demonglass and find out what happens next.  Definitely an enjoyable YA read.

Length: My hardcover copy was 321 pages.  It feels like a lot less.

Recommend: Yes.

To Whom? Fans of YA and magical literature (Harry Potter, Princess Diaries, etc).

Rating: **** (out of 5)