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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chasing Crazy by Kelly Siskind

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Dear Mom & Dad, I dropped out of school. I’m going backpacking. Sorry. Love you both.

At nineteen, Nina has endured two lifetime’s worth of humiliation. Tired of waiting for it to get better, she decides to get going—across the globe to New Zealand. There she soon faces what she most fears: a super sexy guy ready to be Nina’s next mistake.

Once Sam’s life was all about having fun. That was before the accident. Now his friends have bailed and his world is broken. But when a gorgeous girl on his flight looks at him with passion instead of pity, Sam feels his old self coming back to life. 

Now traveling together, Nina and Sam know this isn’t just a fling. They’re falling fast, hard, and deep. More than anything, Sam wants Nina to forget her fears. But to help her do that he must reveal his own painful secret—and risk Nina never seeing him the same way again.

My thoughts

4 “Being crazy is the new normal” STARS

The second book I devoured this year! YAY!

CHASING CRAZY was one of my most anticipated reads of January – see here – and you guys have no idea how thrilled I am that it didn’t disappoint.

Get ready to meet Parafinina (yep, her parents named her that) a.k.a Nina a.k.a the girl who is a complete mess. Not a mess in the “something tragic happened” or “I lost a loved one” way – but more in a “I can’t barely walk without tripping and falling on my face” way. Nina is funny, like ridiculously funny, and you know that from the first couple of paragraphs. She starts her tale explaining the three “have-to-pee stages” in what soon becomes a hilarious airplane experience like one you’ve never seen.

We follow Nina’s rushed decision to get away from everyone she knows and travel to New Zealand after another of her “disaster-magnet” situations. Before she gets on a plane, though, we meet Sam a.k.a Frickin’ Hot Guy a.k.a the guy who lost his mother and his confidence after a car accident.

Nina and Sam believe they’re searching for different things when they pick New Zealand as their destination. While Parafinina is trying to be a different, more “normal” version of herself by becoming Nina, Sam is searching for the guy he was before the accident that left him physically and emotionally broken. But you know how life works… Instead of getting what they initially wanted, Nina and Sam find each other.

I know I’m making the story sound way too serious, but trust me when I tell you it’s serious while being hilarious. The author uses a lot of humor, absurd situations and clever dialogue to address the journey of these two people who, by leaning and falling for each other, learn how to embrace who they are.

I was glad to see that instead of molding Nina to what society believes is normal, the author chose to explore what made her different. Nina invites disaster, that’s true, but she doesn’t need to live in chaos. She can learn how to be an “under-control-disaster”, and that’s exactly what happens as she lets Sam in and trusts him to embrace her quirkiness. By doing that, she learns how to accept and embrace the crazy. She stops wasting time and energy fighting who she is and spends them simply being, living and loving.

And Sam… Sweet Sam also accepts who he’s become. We didn’t get to see who he was before the accident, but from the way he talked about his past, I bet Sam was pretty much every NA’s love interest. Sexy. Confident to the point of arrogance. A player. Don’t get me wrong. I love those types, too, but I won’t complain that we got to meet the caring Sam instead. And that Sam cared for Nina from the moment they met. Sure there was a lot of lust involved, but from his monologues (Yep, this is dual POV, people) it was pretty clear Sam was falling hard and fast for the unique Canadian girl.

She was falling for him just as hard.

I fell for both of them.

For being able to make that happen while still leaving me with the message it did, Kelly Siskind (who I keep mentally referring to as Kinkid for some reason) deserves my praises. Go, girl!

She’s also done a stellar job creating Leigh. Man, I loved her bluntness. She’s exactly the kind of character I love. She made me laugh out loud more often than Nina, which is impressive since she didn’t become a major character since later on.  

But, even though I loved this (I guess that’s pretty clear), there were a couple of things I thought needed improvement. I recognize them as part of the subjectivity that comes with the book world, but still…
First, I wish the author could’ve used the setting better. New Zealand is such a beautiful place, but its beauty didn’t come to life in the book, which is a shame since Nina and Sam spend the entire story traveling around the country.

The whole thing with Nina’s mother (can’t elaborate because of spoilers) in the end came out of nowhere and felt like something that only happened to guarantee the ending played out like it did. I didn’t think it was needed.

Like I said, those are small things that didn’t impact the book and my feeling so much. Although something else did, and I have to blame it for my 4 instead of 5 stars – let’s call it the girlfriend thing. You’ll understand when you read it.

**SPOILERS** Again, this is something that probably only bothered me or a limited number of people, but Nina lost some of her light when the whole “I have a girlfriend” happened. I’d be okay reading about a girl who *thinks* or *assumes* the boy she’s falling for has a girlfriend and for that reason tries to fight her feelings. What I’m not okay with is being inside Nina’s head while she flirts with Sam and wonders when he’s going to leave his girlfriend to be with him. While I knew it was a lie (Sam had broken up with his girlfriend before the trip), she didn’t and the way she acted around him made me cringe a bit. Same goes for Sam. While the author explained the reasons for Sam’s lie, it made me sad to see that he’d think flirting with Nina while pretending to have a girlfriend was something that would be acceptable in any level. The whole thing came too close to cheating, and any sort of cheating pushes my buttons. It’s disappointing that this plot was such a big part of a great book. I would’ve sure loved it more without it. ***END OF SPOILERS***

Overall, this is a MUST-READ if you love New Adult. Or romance. Or anything sexy, funny and well written. And I'm sure you do, because what more could you want, right? 

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