Reviews tagging 'Fatphobia'

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

290 reviews

fionamatilda's review

Go to review page

adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring lighthearted mysterious reflective relaxing slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

phvntom's review

Go to review page

emotional funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

roseltov's review

Go to review page

adventurous emotional lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.5

Aaaaaaargh, this book. 
About halfway through the fatphobia was getting to me, so I decided to read some reviews and see what other people thought. By that point I had figured out how I felt about the stilted dialogue style, the lack of world building, and the overall cheesiness, so I wasn’t really surprised at people’s negative opinions about those aspects. It was what TJ Klune said the inspiration for the book was  that’s really made me feel tricked and baffled. 

I’m not going to write about the “inspiration” here. 1) because I don’t think anyone is reading this review - it’s mostly here for me. 2) there’s been plenty written about it before. But this wasn’t the way to go about doing what Klune was trying to do. 

Other than the fatphobia, the bizarre dialogue, the lack of world building and the very obvious narrative, the book was - surface level - pretty cute. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

blkudrna's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous hopeful lighthearted fast-paced

3.5

A very sweet concept and fantastic world building but a bit too cheesy for me, and predictable. I’m probably being a bit too critical and cynical of this sweet YA Fiction. 

Some of Linus’ character traits seemed a bit wishy-washy to me which was annoying. Is he a sticker for the rules or has he thrown all caution to the wind? There never seems to be enough internal dialogue to decide how he’s really feeling. The only thing consistent about him is that he’s overweight, something that is brought up at least 5 times a chapter (and always in a negative connotation).
Spoiler The ending seemed a bit rushed and forced for me, Arthur and Linus’ coupling was almost like someone taking two dolls and saying “and now they kiss”!
Spoiler  I did appreciate though that these two main characters being gay was simply a fact about them, rather than a dramatic plot point. 


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

thedulcineaeffect's review

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated
I'm extremely conflicted on how I feel about this book so I don't feel I can give it a rating. 

One of the other reviews did mention this was inspired by a real life and very dark, traumatising event for many children, and it feels a bit icky to appropriate off of that specific event and make it more lighthearted than it is. I think this could have been resolved by just basing it off of the foster care system in general rather than a very real struggle that people still bear the scars of if Klune wanted to show how children who are minorities are sadly often still treated.

The story itself has a bit of tonal dissonance: on one hand it wants to be a feel-good, "save the orphanage!" story that often had me mentally drawing comparisons to the French film Les Choristes (if you loved this book, I highly recommend you watch that film). I certainly did feel good and there were times I teared up, but overall it was a touch on the saccharine side. I also found myself skimming towards the end because the final chapters really did try to delay the inevitable.

On the other hand, we have a story about an isolated institution consisting of marginalised magical children (an obvious stand in for minorities) that neighbours a town paid to keep quiet with hush money. Residents of said town often engage in prejudiced behaviour towards the orphanage, and while certainly bad and a reminder that not all bigotry is overt, it felt like it was trying to have its cake and eat it; it was something that was necessary for the circumstances of the plot, but if Klune intended it to be a critique on how society treats minorities, it didn't go far enough in my opinion... but then any further explicit incidents would have not meshed with the feel-good narrative the book was going for. By the end of it, said subplot felt very easily wrapped up and resolved, and made me wonder
Spoilerwhy the mayor character didn't get involved sooner.


Also I do agree that the morals of the book are very on the nose and would be more in line with a children's book, rather than the audience it was trying to court - particularly if you are a minority (especially an LGBTQ+ individual, as I found it came across as preaching to the choir).

I know a lot of people didn't like his attitude but I think Linus was one of the strongest characters in the book. He's a very good example of how a capitalist, bureaucratic society strips people of their individual qualities and indoctrinates them into how the system is absolute and nothing exists outside it... only to find that he is incompatible with said system, but he has yet to find a way to actualise himself outside it. People like him after often so bullheaded simply because it's not safe to take the plunge, and even if they have the support, they may struggle to realise it. Also I like the fact that
Spoilerwe didn't need to have a sex scene between him and Arthur to prove that they were in love and their relationship was the real deal, even if them getting together did feel a bit rushed.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

jessabr's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

dhiyanah's review

Go to review page

emotional hopeful inspiring lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

This book felt like a bright, warm hug for me. Linus is used to a daily grind that kept his life small and dreary until he's sent on an assignment that opens his heart up to choices. A space that's utterly surprising to him, we see how at home he feels in the new environment yet how he resisted it, which created many laughable moments in the book. His cat acts as an emotional barometer throughout the story, which I thought was super cute and clever.

Our experience of this magical world that poignantly parallels our own - where those who are different are systematically isolated and marginalized - is shaken up as Linus himself embraces a new trajectory. I appreciate how serious issues are brought up in a way that doesn't leave the readers stuck in re-living traumatic triggers. There is flow here, and enough resolution towards the end so that we land softly in the realm of possibility, which I thought was very important.

Through this story, we see how the changing tide of Linus' life is responding to structural needs for change and healing. We join him as he navigates the challenge and the courage to be led by love. The pacing, writing, and characters were enjoyable. I had to remind myself it was okay to finish reading this because it meant I can re-read it later (lol). Highly recommended for a cozy, hopeful read that brings in a boost of chosen family love, heartfelt character growth, and funny dialogues 🌈

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

katievallin's review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

minervacerridwen's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous emotional lighthearted reflective relaxing fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

After hearing so many good things about The House in the Cerulean Sea, I finally got around to reading it! (Thanks to my Secret Santa, Matty. <3)
The book definitely is hard to put down, so it was a fast read, and all the scenes with the children on the island were absolutely adorable. I loved their magical forest, and how much the main character sometimes reminded me of Aziraphale from Good Omens, who is one of my absolute favourites.
Still, I feel like this story didn't quite meet my (very high) expectations. It took about 150 pages before I finally had the feeling that it had really started, and while it makes sense that the reader needed to be given a lot of information about this world, I really felt this could have been tightened up with some thorough editing.
My biggest issue was that I didn't quite "feel" the romance.
SpoilerTo me, it felt a bit as if Linus at first fell for Arthur simply because he was the first handsome man who gave him as little as a friendly smile, but I generally prefer if romance stories give me, as the reader, some sense of "why that one?". By the time the story made me feel that a little more, even Linus had already realised he had fallen for him.

Looking back at my review for Under the Whispering Door, I'll have to conclude that TJ Klune's writing style is just a little bit too zoomed out for me. Seeing everything at a distance can be useful to maintain the sense of comfort that his books all have, but for me personally it makes it harder to really be as invested in the characters' emotions. Then again, I doubt I'd call The House in the Cerulean Sea a "comfort read" for myself, considering the underlying themes that made this world so unsafe for children that are "other", and I wasn't entirely satisfied with how Linus' internalised fatphobia was handled.
I'm definitely happy that many readers got to know this book and the cosy fantasy genre in general thanks to the marketing behind it, but for me personally, it didn't quite hit the spot I'd hoped it would.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

madelinedalton's review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

Okay WOW??? I am not a fantasy girlie, so I went in with a lot of skepticism, but I LOVED IT. This is such a great book for folks like me who typically don’t read fantasy but want to step outside their comfort zones. It is so cozy, heartwarming, and lovely. 

The fatphobia at the beginning was a bit jarring. The third-person narration reflects how Linus sees himself at the beginning—it’s not the author condoning those beliefs, so as the story progressed, it stopped bothering me. But even though it did have a point and was addressed properly, it still felt a tad much. I also found the book to be rather predictable, but it doesn’t detract much from the story at all, so that’s a very minor criticism.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings