*glares at all of you that recommended this!!* Glares? Thaaaaaaaaaaaat’s right!!! GLARES! (<— it was a much angrier-looking smiley, but “Bright Side” taught me not to indulge that kind of face and emotion, so… you know. It’s a “baby glare”).
Lin: You.guys!!! You must pick up Bright Side by Kim Holden. I’ve never ugly cried so much since I’ve read Arsen. What a beautiful book!! Make sure you have tissues ready!!
but she adds…
Lin: Don’t compare Bright Side with Arsen… I just want to clarify that I never FELT so much since that book did a number on me. Bright Side has ruined me for any other book. Seriously, this book is the book you want to read.
Kim: Almost finished with Bright Side..I started last night…definitely a MUST read! I’ve never come a character so genuinely beautiful as Kate. She’s by far my favorite female character ever… Head’s up be prepared to be shocked to your core and make sure you have multiple boxes of tissue available…. A phenomenal read!
Melannie: Does it pick up after the first few chapters? I read the sample but it was a little slow…
Amy: I was up until midnight reading this book and bawling. I don’t think I’ve cried like that in a really long time. Amazing book!!
Kandace: Yay, I just sampled too and it seemed slow.
Summer: I also sampled it and agree with kandace and melannie seemed slow I will go for it if it picks up. But it sounds like it may break my heart
Heather: Bright Side is good….total ugly cry. Well written, cute, fun, witty writing yet kind of slow build up but hang in there.
Melanie: I was in the car after picking up my daughter from school and a song came on the radio that reminded of that ‘one scene’ in Bright Side, and I started balling in front of my 5 year old. JEEZ, I just got rid of the cry headache from reading that book.
Lise: Ha Maryse, I read Bright Side on Sunday (non stop) I was going to message you and tell you about this, but figured you already had a heads up. It is so sweet and touching and yes, Kate is a favorite heroine for sure, dude!
Ha! Dude. I was totally wondering… “why is Lise calling me “dude”? She never calls me dude. Nobody calls me dude…” LOL!!!! I totally get the “dude” part now…
But yep. Y’all wanted me to drown in my own tears, didn’t you? Well I can’t say you didn’t warn me. Bunch of meanies. *shakes head* P.S. I glare at y’all with love. And thanks. And rainbows and unicorns.
That was something else. Beautiful, sweet, positive, quirky, bittersweet, poignant. Valuable life lessons learned via a colorful cast of characters, each with their own personal issues, and the heroine that is the center of it all. Even when things get tough, Kate (aka “Bright Side”) is always the first to shed light… “…peace and love and good happiness stuff.”* It’s like it’s simply… ingrained in her. She can’t be anything but positive, and boy do I love that message! We need a little more “Bright Side” in our lives.
Smiles aren’t always happy, but hers is. It’s open, content, and confident. She looks friendly in the most literal sense of the word, like you’d swear you’ve known her for years and she knows all your secrets. And still likes you in spite of them.
So what’s it about? Gah! I don’t even know how to describe it, well I do… to someone like my husband that won’t be reading it. That notices I’m crying again, even after I’ve finished the book and has to put “Elf” on again to help fix me. It did help. But here I am, writing the review, reflecting on a few particular scenes and I’m getting all choked up again.
Okay so I’ll just give a quick… intro.
Even though she’s lived a tough childhood, one *mostly* in love (at least by those that should have loved her), Kate simply doesn’t want to be… angry. Can’t hold a grudge. She’s not shy, she loves BIG hugs, she loves to take care of those that need it. LOVES I tell you. Not out of obligation, but out of her big heart. Some take to her so well… (even those that have built walls around them), but some… not so much. That alone made me sad.
But that doesn’t deter Kate. She’s does her best with what she has, and doesn’t worry about the details. Fun, life, love, family and friends, and at least “trying” to help even those that act as if they don’t want it.
“Not sure what you’re going for, but you do know that the twins are on full display, right?”
She shrugs. “Yeah.”
I throw her a thumbs up. “Okay, you’re all good then sister. See ya.”
Tee hee!!! Well, at least she tried to help.
So Kate leaves behind her lifelong gorgeous best friend “Gus”, to go to college (while he begins his tour with his up and coming and already almost famous, rock band). She’s up to making new friends, having new experiences, even surviving “snow” for the first time in her life. No love, for her though. That is one complication she can do without. But you know how that goes… A new crush flourishes no matter how hard she tries to stifle it, all while she and Gus hold onto their forever-bond via Skype.
It’s sweet… in fact, at first I found it all… a bit too sweet. She was a bit too peppy. Too quirky. Too original. Too giving. Too patient. Too perfect… in that delightfully imperfect (or at least, unconcerned) way. Musical virtuoso, big into unknown/indie bands, makes her own unconventional but cool t-shirts, gorgeous (but unassuming). You know… in that “I just rolled out of bed and yes my hair’s a mess but no biggie” way. Will befriend anybody, and will make them feel like her very best friend ever… being in her head felt almost… a little… well… just not what I was used to. But then again… I don’t think there are many “Kates” out there.
But at 50% (yep… it took until 50% for me to truly latch on), I was IN!!! Once we hit that part, we were in full-on “love drama”, a bit of personal character drama (social issues, appearances… you know the real stuff). While the characters are “deep” (or at least “meant to be deep” from the start of the book), their personalities and depth really kick in at about the halfway point. Again, I’m not sure if I just got attached to them by then, or if the story and characters found their rhythm or what, but it took awhile for me (’cause at times I found some of them to be a bit over-the-top in their actions). Mind you, the adamant reader recommendations kept me going, ’cause I knew I was in for something BIG!
Meredith: I downloaded “Bright Side” two days ago and CANT. PUT. IT. DOWN. I have loved ALOT of books, but this one has a special place in my heart. The characters are so LOVABLE and the story SO tragic!! I will read it over and over and over. Its one of those books, that just stick with you long after its over. I rate this one right up there with all my favorites, this author is just incredible!! Even if you don’t review it, READ IT! This book needs to be shared!!!! I am going to stalk you EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. until you read Bright Side!!!!!!
Traci: I’m about **% in Bright Side. I think it’s really good so far.. I’m scared to finish it though …I went in pretty blind…I guess I’ll just bite the bullet @ finish it…ughh..
Brynne: Read Bright Side this week. It was soooo good! I loved it! Must read!
Traci: Finished “Bright Side” my eyes are still red from ugly crying..Think I need a drink now & a lighter book…on the bright side (haha) *spoiler* has a story coming in 2015!! Woohoo
Cheryl: Just have to finish crying, I mean reading Bright Side…
Cheryl: Finished Bright Side. Dear God I’m wiped. Oh yeh, UGLY CRY.
Denise: OMG!! I am so happy that you are reading Bright Side !! It is easily one of my favorite books of this year and will go down on my list of FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME. It’s simply amazing. It’s inspiring, uplifting, humorous, and gut-wrenching.
How could I possibly resist? Plus the threat of stalking up there…
Maryse: …excuse me while I go wipe my face. And change my pj top. And dig myself out of these crumpled soggy tissues.
Lin: Maryse, sounds like you just got done reading Bright Side.
Maryse: I did, Lin… I did. I’m still all melancholy…
Jean: Poor Maryse, she’s melancholy today…. Ugh! Was it worth it Maryse? Like really worth it??
Maryse: Yah… I’m just… melancholy. I’m gonna write the review (trying to, right now) but I’m afraid I’ll cry again…
Tessa: Here Maryse. *hands over the manatee* You probably need this. That book broke me. I even woke up in tears just remembering it. (Especially the studio part)
Maryse: *snuggles soggy manatee* Thanks Tessa. GAH!! The studio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG. That KILLED ME.
Amy: Who has Manny? *holding hand out* His mama needs him. So…Bright Side. Ugly cry and melancholy morning after? Huh. I’m in.
Tessa: I handed Manny to Maryse. She needed it.
Maryse: I snuffled on him. He’s gross again, Amy.
Cheryl: One last cuddle with manatee, hands back to Amy. *sniff* still melancholy this morning just thinking about Bright Side (great descriptive word Maryse).
And that’s where I’m ending off. There’s not much more to say other than, I was eventually… truly affected. And I still am, right now. And I’ll never forget this one.
4 to 4.5 stars (3.5 stars for the first half, and 5 stars for the 2nd half)
P.S. *There’s a “Steve Vai” (guitarist) reference up there, in my review if any of you are fans. My husband said one of my lines reminded him of a song, so I creatively edited my line for him. Since Gus is a rock star, I thought it fitting…