Reviews tagging 'Forced institutionalization'

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

165 reviews

glitterstained's review against another edition

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emotional funny hopeful lighthearted relaxing medium-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? Yes

4.5


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silverhill's review against another edition

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emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted mysterious fast-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

4.25

Go with the audiobook. I usually prefer print, but the audio was a delight with all the different voices! 

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redheadorganist's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional funny inspiring reflective 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

5.0


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julierambaeck's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring medium-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? Yes

4.5

I wanted to cry in every chapter because of the wholesomeness! Probably the cutest book I have ever read! Loved it loved it loved it!!!!

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bean_7088's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted sad 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? It's complicated

4.0

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but make it sweet, gay, and political. 

I loved everyone. It was sweet, and gay, and Theodore and his little buttons. 
I found Linus a bit inconsistent at times, a little too off the rules too quickly, but I don't really care. I still loved this. 

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lwprice1209's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring reflective relaxing fast-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

Such a sweet book! Highly recommend!

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dhiyanah's review

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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 🌈

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lilacs_book_bower's review against another edition

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

4.0

On the surface this is a sweet book.  A bureaucrat named Linus goes to an orphanage to see how things are going with the magical children and their mysterious headmaster, for lack of a better term.  The kids are sweet and he comes to love them and Arthur, the headmaster (who deeply loves and cares for the children).  I was very fond of Arthur and the children, and was passingly fond of Linus.  We are told he is by the book and seems unflappable, which is why he was chosen for this review by the government agency he works for.  But he sort of dithers around and seems very surprised and shocked by the kids.  We are constantly told how wonderful he is, but I don't quite see it?  Because he is open-minded and not a jerk to the kids?  I also think the book is a smidge too long.  I found it to be a soothing book about giving people chances and not judging them for being different, and that everyone deserves a place to call home with people who love them.  

HOWEVER, there are some controversies about this book, as Klune was at least partially inspired by residential schools, where Indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in to orphanages, treated brutally (some even killed) to try to assimilate them into white society and culture.  There are also some excellent points to be made about trauma and children in foster care systems, and whether or not that is accurately reflected here in the book.  As I have no experience with the foster care system, and I am not an Indigenous Person, or even a person of color, I do not want to make a judgement call on this, nor do I feel able to.  I have seen comments on both sides about these issues.  What is clear is that Klune is using the magical children as an allegory to show the oppression of a marginalized group by society, culture, and the government.  I think we can all appreciate the attempt. But how people feel going from there is really going to be up to each person and their individual lives and experiences.  The story and the characters are sweet and soothing, but there is still a lot I feel uncertain about.  I did not want to ignore the issues that many other readers have addressed much better than I have.  

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minervacerridwen's review against another edition

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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.

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katiej's review

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

5.0

What an absolute joy of a book! This has has completely overtaken every book this year by a million miles! All of the characters were a joy to go on an adventure with. Talia was by far my favourite, her wicked sense of humour and her gnomish ways.
Arthur and Linus were a gorgeous pairing who deserve all the happiness in the world. 
A huge cup of coffee and a warm blanket of a book!

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