On Feels

After recently completing two books that gave me (very different) feels – Gone With The Wind and Armstrong & Charlie – I realized it’d been a while since a book truly moved me.

Some of you might be asking, what the fuck are feels?

-Puts on glasses and a tweed jacket- Well, class, “feels” is modern slang short for feelings. For example, if a book “gives you feels” or even “gives you all the feels”, it was a very emotional experience that is otherwise hard to describe. Now, I don’t classify anger at terrible writing as a feel, but some others may do so. Feels are open to interpretation, but for me, they encompass sadness and love and excitement and nostalgia and emotions along those veins. A book that gives me feels moves me in the best way (unlike books that move me to chuck them out my front door -cough-EdgeOfReason-cough-).

-Takes off glasses and tweed jacket- So, feels!

After finishing  Armstrong and Charlie and putting a cork in my waterworks, and finishing Gone With The Wind and wanting to hurl it off a cliff in the best way (yes, you can also want to throw around a book in a positive way, I’ve decided), I was reveling in all the feels I was feeling. I’ve read some excellent books this year (and I still want to scream in your face about how fantastic Warbreaker is) but nothing really hurt my heart or made me want to cry until the aforementioned books came into my life.

I missed having feels and it was great to be experiencing them once more. But I also realized, if most of the books I read treated me this way, I’d be fucking exhausted. I’d probably be an emotional wreck and a terror (or more of a terror, if you ask Sweetbeeps) to deal with and everyone around me would be like, Millie, get a friggen grip!

So like most things in life, there needs to be a balance. I’m glad that some books I read are mediocre, or some are awesome but not deeply emotional so that when I come across a book that gives me all the feels I can wallow in them without destroying my psyche.

I’ll wrap this up with an utterly random of some other books I’ve read that gave me feels: The Mists of Avalon, The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy (still can’t think about the ending without tearing up), Liesl and Po, Beastkeeper, Alias Hook, Pax, True Grit, The Road, Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Monster Calls.

Do you tend to get the feels often? Do you agree with any of my recommendations? I’d love to hear what books give you feels so I can read them and feel more feels.

Book Review: Armstrong & Charlie

pic from NetGalley

Armstrong & Charlie
By Steven B. Frank

My Edition,
ARC e-book, 304 pages
2017, HMH Books
ISBN: 9780544826083 (Hardcover)

Charlie is dreading sixth grade because when he completes it, he’ll be older than his brother Andy who passed away recently. To make matters worse, right before school starts, Charlie finds that most of his friends have switched to different schools. Armstrong has found out he’ll be attending a new school as well, courtesy of the new Opportunity Busing Program – he’ll be joining Charlie’s formerly all-white school and both boys will have a tough time adjusting.

Armstrong & Charlie is one of those books that I greatly enjoyed and just can’t find the words in me for a good review. I hate when this happens because we all know I can rant for days about terrible books, yet there are times when I read something I would gladly recommend and I choke up! Ugh! -_-

This book is set in the 1970s in California, which is a big change of scenery for me, especially for middle-grade. Armstrong and a handful of other students were selected to be bussed to Charlie’s school, Wonderland. This is a new experience for both boys and on the first day of school, perhaps because tensions are high and perhaps because the students are afraid of being misunderstood, Charlie and Armstrong get off on the wrong foot. This starts a feud between the two of them that carries itself throughout the school year, slowly morphing into a solid friendship.

I wanted to slap both boys just as much as I wanted to see them get the upper hand over the other. Charlie and Armstrong are both clever and stubborn and Armstrong’s wit had me laughing several times.

Towards the end I wanted to cry, but Sweetbeeps was in the room and while he wouldn’t have minded my waterworks, he would have been confused as to why I was sitting in front of my laptop sniveling and then I would have had to explain like, the whole book, and he wouldn’t have had time for that, so I just bottled it up.

I know this review is basically rubbish very vague as far as giving you any information on what I liked, but I warned you! I just want to shout in your face that I love this book. I found it poignant and funny and I think that this is a book that perfectly captures that awkward time in sixth grade where you’re not quite a little kid anymore, but also not a teenager yet. The running theme throughout the book is “different, yet the same” which is something we all could think about more often when it comes to our social interactions with others. This is an excellent contemporary (wait, is it still contemporary if it’s set over 40 years ago?!) read if you’re looking for strong social themes in your middle-grade or a story line that is a little deeper and more meaningful. Again, sorry this review is so awkward! But I really enjoyed the hell outta this book!

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
Steven has a great looking website and he talks a little there (and in the note in the back of his book) about how he experienced the start of the Opportunity Busing program at his middle school and the friends he made because of that change.