Catcher by Kalyn Nicholson Review (spoiler-free)

          It’s safe to say that Kalyn Nicholson is my favourite YouTuber – ever. I’ve been watching her content for a couple of years now and she has blossomed with her audience which I find beautiful and poetic in a way I think Kalyn appreciates too. So when I found out that she’s writing a book, a futuristic book about a girl who meets her dream boy, literally meets her dream boy I was instantly interested. I am a writer, my favourite YouTuber is a writer, this is amazing, right?

          I waited until her book came out, I even waited for it to go on sale and was bummed out when she delayed it. Then I got it, read 23% of it in one night and stopped until yesterday when I read the whole thing in one sitting during a readathon. This is not to say the book is bad or anything. For a debut novel, it’s actually quite good.

          The story of Carson and Grey is set in the future in a utopian society. Carson was four years old when she lost her baby brother in a car crash and due to her parent’s strict upbringing, she grew up very sheltered – except that she started dreaming of a boy she named Grey at four years old. It’s her 18th birthday and she is hoping to make it to Yorker, her dream university in the big city but her parents aren’t having it then a fire breaks out and engulfs her childhood home and she is relocated to the big city by her uncle, Char. There, on the first day, she meets Grey in a coffee shop called Koze and the story goes from there.

          To start with the characters, the first time I read it I began noticing the lack-lustre main character and the fact that I don’t like her parents and even her best friend, Mina. It took me ages to get through that 23% because nothing was happening to these characters. It felt like I was reading one of Kalyn’s morning routine videos (which are great in video form) rather than reading a fantasy romance that was meant to make me fall in love with the characters. Nothing truly made me didn’t care for Carson. Heck, I even forgot her name throughout the book because she’s simply not a character I care about. She does her morning routine and feels crappy about being held captive by her parents but she has no insightful thoughts and ideas, she has no set morals that drive her. In fact, nothing drives her throughout the book, she’s mostly going through the motions and letting everyone walk all over her.

          The more I read about these characters the more I realized that I don’t like them – Carson is boring and easy to walk all over, her parents are forgettable until the end of the book when they become despicable, her uncle Char is probably the most interesting character thus far and Mina, well, she had potential but we didn’t get to see it. I quite liked dream Grey and I liked Hale with his sarcasm and asshole-like behaviour because it woke Carson up, it made her snap back and be interesting. I think the thing that bothers me the most about Carson is that she feels like an insert-character to the point where I could almost picture Kalyn as Carson.

          I also disliked the songs at the beginning of the chapters, the repetition of basic words like “portal” and “kissed” and the few spelling mistakes throughout the book. Not to mention that she threw us into this new, futuristic utopia with no explanation. What’s a portal? What’s a lift? It took me a while to understand that a lift is a futuristic version of a damn car.

          On the other hand, I really enjoyed the storyline, even though nothing really happened at the beginning of the book. I liked the pace of the book and I liked the way Carson discovered things in a digestible way. And that twist, oh that twist was SO GOOD it blew my mind and made me shiver and it made me love the story despite the lacking characters. And if we’re really being honest, one of the things that Kalyn did really, really well is the way she described the dream sequences, those are the parts that really made the book enjoyable. It made me see the world she built as I was reading and it made me fall in love with Grey just as much as Carson did.

          In conclusion, Catcher is a good book. I gave it three stars on Goodreads – one for the storyline, one for Grey and one for THAT TWIST that still makes me shiver when I think about it. Sure, the characters are lacklustre but they can be improved in the second book which I’m looking forward to, especially knowing that Kalyn is taking writing classes.

          Anyway, have you read Catcher? What did you think about it and if not, are you going to give it a try?

          Thanks for reading!

          With love,        

          Sonny xx

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Using YouTube for Escapism + 3 Favourite Youtubers

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          Like many other people, I too, am obsessed with YouTube. It started sometime in 2011, this obsession of mine and changed slightly over the years. I am the kind of person who is so awfully aware of everything I do and why I do it so I realized that the reason why I started watching YouTube back in 2011 was because it was so new and interesting, the connection between creator and viewer seemed personal. Then every YouTuber and their mother started putting out merch, they started doing weird tags and challenges and there was no creativity on YouTube anymore. Of course, I don’t really mind or care that these YouTubers turned their channels into businesses, everybody has to make money, but personally, I am not a big fan of tag videos or the Q&A format. But the more I watched YouTube the more I grew accustomed to this content and started watching it mindlessly. Watching the same content over and over made it easy for my brain to switch off and use YouTube as a form of escapism. It was no longer relatable, just a way for me to stop thinking for a damn minute.

          Again, I am a very painfully aware person. I know I use media as a form of escapism and that it really doesn’t do much good for my mental health, but that’s the fun part of being a teenager/young adult, I grew up mindlessly watching content I didn’t care for without realizing that this is a habit that will be so hard to kick. I started being interested in the idea of self-improvement back in college. I was having a hard time focusing and being generally happy and I just wanted to feel good about myself for once so of course, I went to YouTube. I looked up basic words like self-care and self-improvement and I spent hours, days and weeks just mindlessly watching these videos. They were different from what I was used to, British YouTubers doing absolutely nothing but showing off. These videos were inspirational and made me want to become better, but as I said earlier, using YouTube as a form of escapism is a habit that’s very hard to kick. I had to actively think about my reasons for watching these inspirational videos and motivate myself to get up and put them into practice.

          I’m not going to lie and say I completely changed. I didn’t, I still watched YouTube mindlessly (I binge watched Dan and Phil’s Undertale series at least 10 times, not to mention all the Sims 4 let’s plays I’m still obsessed with) and I will probably always do that to some extent. But at the same time, I learnt to take a step back and spend some time in the present. I started following YouTubers whos content matched my goals and slowly started changing my routines, habits and outlook for the better.

          Without further ado, these are my three (current) favourite YouTubers. I will link all their channels at the end of this post.

Kalyn Nicholson

          Kalyn was one of the first lifestyle YouTubers I followed back in college and I can safely say that she honestly changed my life for the better. At first, I watched her content because I was desperate for a change but slowly came to love her personality and her outlook on life. She began changing her content last year and now makes videos on spirituality, being happy yet she still makes those lifestyle videos I originally fell in love with. She makes videos like ‘coffee talks’ (as videos and podcasts) which are basically advice videos, rosé rambles where she talks honestly about her life, GYST videos which are basically videos of her getting her sh*t together and so many more. She makes me want to travel and allow myself to be in touch with my spirituality. 

          Content: Lifestyle, spirituality, personal development

Rowena Tsai

          I started watching Rowena sometime last year when I was going through a slump. As I do, I found one of her videos in my recommended section and I completely fell in love with her message. She’s not militant, in fact, I like how she’s not afraid of her own slumps yet she always gets back up. Rowena is that person who’s videos I can watch and they instantly make me feel less shitty about myself. Plus her voice is very calming.

          Content: Self-care, personal development, life advice

Madeleine Olivia

          Madeleine’s videos are my latest obsession. I started watching her two months ago when I went fully vegan and I haven’t stopped since. Madeleine’s videos focus on veganism made easy, minimalism, self-care and living an ethical life. Basically all the things I aspire to be good at. She helped me a lot in feeling more comfortable as a vegan, I don’t cook very well but she made everything so easy. I have also started watching her minimalism series and while I really like the idea, I am also a bit of a maximalist (is that even a thing?)

          Content: Veganism, Minimalism, Ethical Living

          So here it is, an explanation of how I used YouTube and social media as a form of escapism and how I’m working on changing that as well as my top three favourite YouTubers. Feel free to let know who your favourite YouTubers are and make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of my seven favourites Monsta X songs. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!

          With love,

          Sonny xx

 

Kalyn Nicholson’s Channel

Rowena Tsai’s Channel

Madeleine Olivia’s Channel