Stories We Never Tell || confusing and surprising

stories we never tell book cover // book review by the wordy habitat

Title: Stories We Never Tell
Author: Savi Sharma
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Category: Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book was a total impulse buy. I was going around the bookstore looking for books that I haven’t seen before and was open-minded to read something new.

This book boasts that the author is “India’s “highest selling female author” and that hooked me in. That tagline was the reason for my purchase, and I really hoped that it would be good.

Content warning for the book: Drug and alcohol abuse, over-dosage.

THE PLOT

The book follows two characters Jhanvi and Ashray through a difficult time in their lives which were turning points for them.

Jhanvi is a social media influencer who dropped out of college to pursue her Instagram career. She works hard at her job, which bleeds itself into her life. Her life is a series of mistakes and coping from them due to the limelight.

Ashray’s life seems to be only looking up, with a new job and prospects of a lovely new girlfriend. He has everything he can dream of. Sure, he can be naive about love, but as long as he can make him mother happy, he’s content.

The book shows Jhanvi and Ashray both going through difficult times in their lives which barely intersect.

MY REVIEW

I started this book with a lot of hopes. I hadn’t read an Indian book in a while and was looking forward to it.

But I quickly disliked it. Until 60% of the book, I really disliked the book. Everything seemed predictable, the female lead was annoying, and I did not understand where the story was going. I decided to fully read it only because I bought a paperback copy.

But after 60% of the book, it did a 180 degree turn. I FINALLY understood what the author tried to do, and where the story was going. I finally understood the purpose of this book. And I LIKED IT. I really liked it.

So that’s the one thing this book has going for it: it will surprise you. I was not expecting the turn in the story but I wholeheartedly welcomed it.

It’s going to be really hard to not spoil the surprise in my review, so please bear with me being vague.

  • Jhanvi was the source of my annoyance.

I’ve read a fair share of books involving celebrities and popular people. At this point, their stories are quite predictable. The fame gets to them, people don’t stick around them, they lash out, and things go wrong with drugs and alcohol.

Usually, the stories show them being saved by love. And that’s what I was expecting here. But the book surprised me.

  • Jhanvi’s journey and growth was the best part of this book.

She’s not a perfect character with a pretty story. Her story is one of mistakes and faults. Jhanvi is a flawed person with insecurities who tries to make the best of her life.

I felt like I was in constant competition with a world of woman. It drove me to pursue perfection even more relentlessly, in a bid to show them that they were not in my league.

I really like her journey, especially in the second half of the book. The way Jhanvi reacted to things and her actions then defined her character. It’s the best character growth in a woman.

  • Ashray’s journey was… okay.

I was quite meh about Ashray right from the start. I didn’t dislike him but I didn’t like him either. The point in his story was not clear.

He’s a kind man who thinks the world of his mother (who adopted him from an orphanage) and his only goal is to make his mother happy. Ashray is also not one of the normal men who grow up with toxic masculinity. His mum brought him up right.

So Ashray was quite perfect in my eyes. I didn’t understand his story. It took until the climax of the book for me to get it, but it was too late to become invested in him.

  • Friendship is one of the main themes in this book.

Most of the books I read somehow revolve around finding love, whether they’re a romance book or not. This was one of the few books where friendship mattered more than love. I really liked that.

  • T H E R A P Y .

This is an Indian book, and knowing the Indian society, I was NOT expecting this book to openly talk about therapy. That was quite surprising and I was very impressed with the way the author showed it.

  • The book’s messages was nice.

Jhanvi and Ashray’s stories are quite different.

Jhanvi’s showed that it’s never too late to turn your life around. That was a very uplifting message.

Ashray’s story showed that even if you do everything right, life can still throw you down. All you can do is get back up and make something out of those troubles.

No one ever fully recovers. Recovery is a process, ongoing and always changing.

  • The writing was really annoying at times.

I’ve noticed how many Indian authors write super deep quote and words in order to bring depth to their story and characters. It’s not required, and sometimes it feels out of place.

For example, in this book most of Jhanvi’s chapters start with some super deep reflection on an abstract concept.

Destruction. The kind that only you can prevent or the type only your behaviour can provoke. A downward spiral, an annihilation you could have prevented if you had decided to. If you chose to take a second to breathe, to think, but you didn’t; you thought you couldn’t, and now, in the aftermath, all that is left is wreckage.

This is fine normally but this musing right before the main character wakes up on the bathroom floor seems out of place.

  • The book doesn’t seem cohesive until the end.

The message was confusing. The story was confusing and annoying. And I could not like the book. Even the synopsis of the book is very vague compared to what the story actually is.

The overall message could have been made a little clearer. I would have liked the book better if I had known that it was not going to be another version of “love saves everyone.”

I was disappointed that the book was good but the message was so unclear that I spent half the book annoyed.

OVERALL

The book was okay.

It could have been done better, though. Even having a proper synopsis at the back would make SO MUCH DIFFERENCE.

The title of the book makes some sense, but not total sense. By the time I realized why the title was chosen, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to finish the book.

Do I recommend it? Not sure. It was good at the end but I can’t ignore the fact that most of the book had me annoyed.

Pick it up if you’re ready to be confused for half the book.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars


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Have you ever been sorely disappointed by a book? What was it?

4 thoughts on “Stories We Never Tell || confusing and surprising”

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