Posts Categorized: Young Adult

ARC Review: Words in Deep Blue

June 12, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

ARC Review: Words in Deep BlueWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
on June 6th 2017
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley
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five-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.
Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Words in Deep Blue is easily one of the best books that I’ve read this year. I’ve actually never read a book by Cath Crowley before, though I’ve heard nothing but positive things. After reading this amazing novel from here, I absolutely believe the hype and look forward to reading more of her books in the future. This was a brilliant book with a wonderful concept that had an even better execution. I imagine that book lovers especially are going to love this book. It’s been out in Australia for awhile now, but has only been recently released in the United States. I imagine that the popularity and hype of this will only grow as time passes by. This was a beautiful and easy to read book. I loved every second of it! I don’t have a ton to say about it because this is one of the books that you simply need to pick up and read for yourself. I’m so happy that I got to read this and I hope that you pick it up as well!

Rachel is my girl and I’m not just saying that since we have the same name. She’s a strong and fierce character. I loved and related to her right away. She was rude at times and suffering from severe depression due to the recent death of her brother. My heart bled for the grief that she was feeling. I can’t imagine going through something like that. However, sometimes it was a bit awful because of some of the things that she had to Henry and others around her. I get that she was hurting, but I can’t deny that some of it was definitely on the borderline of crossing the limit. It was still fascinating to be inside her head for a portion of the novel.

Henry was the other main character and we also got a chance to see his POV. I really liked Henry as a character. Though it did piss me off a bit that he was so hung up on his ex girlfriend who was basically the worst anyway. He did some dumbass things throughout the book. He was also rather pretentious when it came to books and mostly quoted the classics and things like that. He didn’t always quote modern books besides like John Green and a few Australian books. He wasn’t a book boyfriend that completely swept me off my feet or anything, but I didn’t necessarily hate him either. I liked him a whole lot actually, just didn’t love him.

The relationship between Henry and Rachel was pretty cute though sometimes you wanted to yell at them to get their shit together. They were best friends but things changed once Rachel moved away. Now, she can barely look at him. But they slowly work back to becoming friends and then eventually they become more. There is somewhat of a love triangle involving Henry being a dumbass and going back and forth with his ex girlfriend. Anyway, the banter between Henry and Rachel is beautiful and fun right from the start. I adored them as a couple and felt as if the buildup was well written.

I could keep going on and on about how this book is so remarkable, especially for people who adore books. How great is the concept of writing letters in books? It’s a beautiful way to communicate with other book lovers. The supporting characters featured in the book are also downright amazing. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we learn a lot of background on two of the supporting characters through the letters that they left each other in books. There aren’t many flaws with this book honestly. It’s one of those books that you aren’t going to want to put down once you pick it up. I can’t recommend it to you guys enough!

five-stars

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ARC Review: One of Us Is Lying

June 11, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: One of Us Is LyingOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Published by Delacorte Press on May 30th, 2017
Pages: 370
Source: Edelweiss
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three-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

So I wasn’t totally sure how I should rate One of Us Is Lying. On one hand, it was fast paced and held my attention for the majority of the novel. On the other, I felt like there was a lot of problems with the characters and the plot. I feel like maybe the author was being overly ambitious with having four different POV’s. Some of these characters seemed to blend together instead of having distinctive personalities. I was also extremely disappointed by the ending. Ultimately, this was an entertaining read, but it wasn’t the thriller that I was expecting it to be.

As mentioned, there’s four main characters instead of just one. The characters are kind of (except for one) similar to The Breakfast Club gang on the surface: we have a popular Princess, jock, criminal, and then we have the smart girl. When you take a closer look at them, they turn out to have much darker secrets that challenges these identities. Bronwyn is the super smart, Ivy League bound next valedictorian at the school. Bronwyn was a decent character, and I found her relationship with Nate to be one of the highlights of the book. Nate is the criminal, the misunderstood bad boy who has a reputation for doing drugs and hooking up. Once we get inside his head, we learn that he has a rough past and we learn that he isn’t capable of murdering someone else, though he probably seems like the most likely suspect based on his history alone. I’m not going to lie, Addy was a little boring and hers and Bronwyn’s points of views ran together at times. I felt bad for Addy once her secret was revealed, but I still felt like she wasn’t a totally unique character. Cooper is the All-American athlete with a bright future in baseball, and a secret that may or may not ruin that entirely. I thought Cooper was a pretty interesting character as well, though his secret was a little predictable.

So there obviously isn’t much romance in this book since it is meant to be a thriller. However, I felt like the romance was still a sweet part of the story, even if it was rather small. Early on in the story, it becomes obvious that Nate and Bronwyn have a connection between them. Like I said, Bronwyn is a serious student who hasn’t had any time for dating in the past. Nate is a guy who has no problem with messing around. Ultimately, they end up exploring the spark that they have and taking it a step further. I thought it was adorable, and I loved all the texts and calls that went down between them.

Though I’ve hinted at it some already, I want to talk more about how the thriller aspect of the book. So basically, there are five kids in detention. All of the kids there were there under shady circumstances. Each of them had phones confiscated that didn’t actually belong to them. In the end, one of them doesn’t make it out of the room alive. It appears as if someone put peanut oil in his water and he’s allergic to peanuts. They tried to get him an EpiPen but there were none in the nurses office. He ended up dying, and the police thinks that one of them had to have done it since there’s no way anyone else could have done it. The kid who was killed ran a gossip blog about people in the school, and his reports were always accurate. Things get interesting when they find that he had a post in his drafts about secrets belonging to all four of the people in detention. So who killed Simon? You have to read to find out!

One of Us Is Lying wasn’t a bad book, but I still found it slightly disappointing. I was expecting way more excitement and thrills. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. There were some characters that I obviously liked more than others. I felt like some of them could have been more developed so they were more distinguished. In the end, it was still a book that I wanted to keep reading. I don’t think I put it down once after I started reading it. While I’m glad that I read it, it still wasn’t a super memorable thriller as a whole.

three-stars

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ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

June 10, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Eliza and Her MonstersEliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
on May 30th 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: Made You Up
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three-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

I thought that Francesca Zappia’s debut novel was absolutely stunning, so I couldn’t wait for her next book. Unfortunately, I found Eliza and Her Monsters to be a little on the disappointing side. This wasn’t exactly the worst book I’ve ever read, I still actually enjoyed reading it and devoured it in only one sitting. I thought that the premise was really unique, but I was expecting more from it. It’s highly possible that my standards were just set far too high because of how much I loved Made You Up. Whatever the reason might be, I wasn’t a huge fan of Eliza and her Monsters.

Eliza was a decent enough of a character. My favorite element of the story was probably her art. She created this wonderful comic that has such a large and popular fandom behind her. However, her identity is kept a secret. No one knows that she’s a high schooler with severe anxiety who would rather make friends online than in the real world. I could definitely relate to this part of the story. Like Eliza, I also find it easier to communicate with people online than in person. So yeah, I felt like she was a realistic character who I enjoyed reading about. The only thing I didn’t like about her was her treatment of parents. I felt like the way the book portrayed parents in general was a bit cliche. There was the whole “no one understands” me thing going on that I didn’t really like.

Wallace didn’t completely blown away. My heart did totally break for him once we discovered his story. And of course I wanted to give him a huge hug. I’ve seen some reviews where people strongly disliked Wallace in the second half of the book. I was expecting him to like get with another girl or do something evil. But I felt like his reaction wasn’t totally awful. I didn’t think it was okay, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be either. So basically, I wasn’t in love with Wallace but I didn’t think that he was the worst either. He wasn’t as swoony as I was anticipating, which was truly disappointing for me.

Since I had a few issues with both Eliza and Wallace individually, you might be able to guess that I didn’t really ship them as a couple. I thought they were just okay, not my favorite couple or anything like that. It was great and relatable how they bonded over fandom. The friendship that they started off having was extremely sweet. I also loved how they opened up to one another. They were mostly a kind and lovely couple, though I didn’t completely get it.

Eliza and Her Monsters was an alright novel that I wanted more from. I think the concept was creative. I love the idea of someone creating something so popular without their identity being revealed. The various online and real life relationships that were portrayed in the book felt very realistic. One of my other main issues with the story was that it felt slow to me. For whatever reason, the book felt much longer than it actually was. It could have been cut down a hundred pages or so. I hope that whatever this author writes next will work better for me!

three-stars

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ARC Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

June 8, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: When Dimple Met RishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse on May 30th 2017
Pages: 380
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

When Dimple Met Rishi was definitely a funny and charming read. However, I still felt like I liked it just a little less than everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderfully diverse, awkward, swoony, and unique. For me though, I felt that it was missing something. It was still a fun book and I’m happy that I picked up. I totally get the hype that’s been surrounding this book for months now. If you’re looking for something that is fairly light and will make you laugh out loud, this is the book for you.

First things first, I love the name Dimple. I think it’s unique and lovely. So now let’s talk more about her personality. Dimple is one fierce girl. Whenever she first meets Rishi, she greets him by throwing ice coffee in his face. To be fair, he did say, “Hello future wife, I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives.” Dimple knows exactly who she is and what she wants to do. She wants to develop apps and she’s great at coding and all that other technology stuff that I know nothing about. I loved her independence and personality as a whole. I will say that I didn’t agree with some of her choices towards the end of the book. I wanted to shake some sense into her for sure. At the end of the day though, Dimple is still a wonderful character who I truly enjoyed for most of the story.

Guys, Rishi has my heart. He’s awkward, funny, sweet, and charming all at the same time. His first encounter with Dimple reminded me a lot of Dexter and Remy’s from This Lullaby. It broke my heart how desperately he wanted to please his parents. His parents wanted him to marry Dimple, so he followed her to the summer program for aspiring web developers. I don’t know exactly how to describe him, but he’s just so freaking previous. No matter what he does or says, you just want to give him a big hug and protect him for anything bad in the world. You need to read it in order to capture how awesome he is.

So as I mentioned, they meet because Rishi and Dimple’s parents want to set them up in an arranged marriage. Dimple obviously doesn’t go for that because she’s ready to become a developer and attend college long before she gets married. Rishi is the opposite, he’ll put his dreams on the back burner in order to do what his parents want for him to do. Once he ends up at the program, he eventually enjoys it. Although they start off as just friends, they make a good team as they make their own app together. I thought the build up from friendship to more was very realistic. Once they became a couple, they were pretty adorable.

Although it wasn’t my favorite book of the year, it was still pretty good. It was still probably one of the best YA romantic comedies of the year. It definitely did a wonderful job at making me laugh out loud from the very beginning. I think I had a tough time with Dimple’s actions towards the end of the book. In my opinion, Rishi didn’t deserve some of that treatment. Other than that, it was a decent book that I enjoyed reading. I recommend if you want something light and fun to start your summer off right.

four-stars

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Windfall Review

June 6, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★½

Windfall ReviewWindfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Delacorte Press on May 2nd, 2017
Source: Library
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
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two-half-stars
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

I’ve only read two books by Jennifer E. Smith, and I wasn’t all that impressed by either of them. But I was still seriously looking forward to Windfall. The concept sounded totally unique: you buy a lottery ticket as a present for your crush and he ends up winning. Unfortunately, the concept itself was more intriguing than the execution turned out to be. Smith’s writing is really beautiful and quotable. What didn’t work for me is that I wasn’t invested in the romance or either of the main characters. I can see the appeal of this book, but it just wasn’t able to work for me. It wasn’t a terrible book, but it wasn’t a great one either. I felt like it could have been about 100-200 pages shorter and still be enjoyable. While I’m sure that a lot of readers will love Jennifer E. Smith’s latest work, it wasn’t totally for me.

Alice was such a sweet girl, but she wasn’t my favorite. I did sympathize with the fact that she lost both of her parents at very young age. I can’t imagine going through something like that and my heart broke for her. I thought that her humanitarian work was admirable. I loved that she volunteered frequently at the soup kitchen and tutored a little boy who also lost his parents. I also identified with her struggles with figuring out what she wanted to do with her life. I have to say that I did want to shake her for turning down half the money. She was the one who bought the lottery in the first place, why in the world would you ever turn down receiving a chunk of that change?! It didn’t make any sense to me. I know that might seem like a petty thing to note, it just bothered me. You have so many bad things happen in your life so you’d think that getting a large sum of money would be some good karma, but I guess she didn’t see it that way. Alice wasn’t a bad character, but she wasn’t the most memorable one either.

You guys, Teddy was a total jerk. I didn’t really see what Alice saw in him honestly. I will admit that it was nice of him to offer half of the money to her in the first place. However, that still didn’t make him all that redeemable in my book. Alice and Teddy have been close friends for a long time now. Alice has been in love with him for a long time as well, but he proceeds to spend a majority of the book jerking her around. There’s no way that he doesn’t know her feelings, yet he never directly talks about it and just keeps leading her on. It also bothered me how he just kept buying pointless things instead of saving his money. I know that it was a luxury to him, but he really has NO interest in saving some for college in the beginning? Maybe I’m just being picky, but all of this seemed weird to me.

I’m not going to waste much time going into details about the romance since it was rather disappointing. I’ve already summed up most of it, Teddy strings Alice along for most of the book. I usually like friends to lovers but it didn’t work for me in this case. So I want to talk more about Leo. He’s Alice’s cousin and is absolutely adorable. He was nerdy, wise, funny, charming, and just wonderful. I wanted more of him! I thought his relationship with his boyfriend was so freaking cute. I honestly wished that this was Leo and Max’s story instead. Maybe they could get a novel focused on them still? I’d be down with a companion.

Windfall was a disappointing read for me. As I’ve said, I wasn’t overly in love with either of the Jennifer E. Smith books that I’ve read in the past. I know that so many contemporary romance fans adore her books and I figured that I’d give this one a shot anyway. I felt like this book was truthfully boring and WAY too long. In my opinion, it wasn’t necessary to make the book as long as it was. I wish that I liked this book a lot more than I did, but it turned out to not really be for me.

two-half-stars

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ARC Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

June 5, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: I Believe in a Thing Called LoveI Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
on May 30th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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three-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love was a fun and entertaining book, but not my favorite. In the end, I found it to just be okay. I’m happy that I read it because it was relatively fast paced and easy to read. The writing was also pretty good. The concept of a main character following the steps of a K Drama to win over a guy was entirely unique, though I felt like some of the things she did took things a bit too far. Overall, this was still a nice debut novel and I look forward to seeing what this author writes next.

Desi is our main character here. I had problems with her character from pretty early on. In the beginning, the awkward situations that she found herself in around guys was obviously embarrassing but also relatable and realistic. I felt like she took things too far once she followed the steps of a K Drama. She seemed to have little issue with staging a car accident and other strange things just to get closer to him. I don’t know you, but if I found out that someone was doing those things to win me over, I’d find it creepy and run far away. I found a lot of her actions to be uncomfortable and hard to accept.

Luca was a decent enough guy. He loved art, and was extremely good at what he did. I’m not sure how realistic it is that he was as popular as he was, but that’s besides the point. I thought that he was a charming and swoony guy. He didn’t really stand out to me other than those minor things. I feel like his character just wasn’t all that memorable as a whole. I will admit that he was still too good for Desi. What she did was pretty creepy, and I’m not sure if I could personally get past that if it were me.

One thing that I did enjoy about the book was Desi’s relationship with her father. Her mom passed away, so her father and her have a very close and loving relationship. I thought it was hilarious how her Appa (Dad in Korean) watched K Dramas religiously. I’ve never watched them before, but the book made me desperately want to watch some. After seeing so many that were mentioned here, I definitely looked up quite a few up on Wikipedia and they look great! Anyway, her Appa was a lovely character who clearly would do absolutely anything for his daughter. I also thought Desi’s friend were funny and I enjoyed reading about them. Though a lot of the plot focused on the romance, I thought that friendship and family were also entertaining and memorable points of the plot as well.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love might have not been a perfect book, but it was still alright. I was hoping for a story that was a little less predictable which is sadly not what I got here. It wasn’t the worst book that I’ve ever read by any means, I just had higher expectations. Desi’s actions were sometimes extremely creepy in my opinion. I just wanted her to act a little more like herself and not just follow some set formula. I’m glad that I read it because it was fairly light, but not nearly memorable enough in my personal opinion.

three-stars

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Blog Tour: The Unlikelies Review

May 30, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 0

The Unlikelies

by Carrie Firestone
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: June 6th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg
Synopsis:
Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.
Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.
Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?
This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

I thought that this was a solid and feel good novel. The concept itself was actually pretty unique. We have five teenagers who are recognized at an award ceremony as being “hometown heroes.” Sadie is our main character, and she stumbled out this newfound fame through a total random accident that happened. Anyway, it was a refreshing contemporary read. Though it wasn’t entirely unique, it still had different elements that were enjoyable to read about. Although the events were extremely unrealistic and far fetched for the most part, this was still a fun and mostly light read. I recommend this if you’re looking for something not too heavy, but that also manages to tackles some important teenage topics at the same time. It isn’t the perfect or most memorable novel, but it was a quick, easy, and fun read and I’m glad that I picked it up.

I can’t say that Sadie was the most spectacular character ever. A lot of her characteristics weren’t all that memorable. Of course, she did do something that was honorable at the beginning of the novel that led to all of this attention in the first place. She stopped a man who was clearly not in his right mind and had a young baby in the back of the car from running off with it. Sadie was a very caring person for the most part. You could tell that she truly cared about all of her new friends and that she would do anything for them. Other than that though, she didn’t do a whole lot to stand out.

There is romance in this book, as you might have already been expecting. I’m not really sure how much to say about it since the blurb doesn’t reveal too much about it and it doesn’t happen until pretty deep in the novel. I will hint that you’ll probably suspect who it is very early on in the book. I thought that the romance was a sweet side to the story. I liked Sadie’s relationship with this person, though I can’t say that it was my favorite. The book was more focused on friendship and personal growth then romance, but I still like to highlight on this plot at least a little bit.

One of the best part of the books was definitely the five main characters. Each member of The Unlikelies had different things to offer to the group. They were all diverse and fascinating characters as a whole. Alice was a girl who Sadie knew from when they were younger. Now she’s as smart, spirited, and sassy as ever. Alice was probably my favorite of the group. Val was a fun character who had an awful boyfriend. Jean was a sweet boy who had a huge heart for working with kids. Gordie is a boy who goes to school with Sadie and is super smart and funny.

All in all, this was a decent book as a whole. I can’t say that I totally loved it, but I still found it fast paced and entertaining. I was able to read it in just a sitting or two. As I mentioned earlier, I feel like the events were not realistic. It did take on a heavy issue like teens being addicted to heroin, which is becoming more and more relevant in today’s society. That being said, the concept of them becoming that popular and making such an impact overnight seemed improbable to me. However, I enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to whatever this author writes next!

three-stars
Carrie Firestone has lived in rural, urban, and suburban places, and, while she currently lives in the suburbs, she is decidedly a CITY person. She loves parties, and all kinds of music, and books about random people doing random things in random places. She loves to travel with her husband, and two daughters, Lauren and Emily. When she isn’t writing, you might find her reluctantly sharing her popcorn at the movies, trying to get people (or dogs) to do a conga line, or adding items to her loose ends list.

 

 

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Honestly Ben Review

May 26, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Honestly Ben ReviewHonestly Ben (Openly Straight, #2) by Bill Konigsberg
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on March 28th 2017
Pages: 330
Source: Library
Also by this author: Openly Straight (Openly Straight, #1)
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three-half-stars
Ben Carver is back to normal. He’s getting all As in his classes at the Natick School. He was just elected captain of the baseball team. He’s even won a big scholarship for college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg last semester is over now, and he just needs to be a Carver, work hard, and stay focused.
Except…
There’s Hannah, a gorgeous girl who attracts him and distracts him. There’s his mother, whose quiet unhappiness he’s noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there’s Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else…and maybe the real normal that Ben needs.

So I definitely had some high standards for this one. I thought that Openly Straight was a pretty good novel, and I loved Rafe’s voice. Of course, I also loved Ben and wanted to know even more about him and his background. He was just as fabulous as I was hoping he’d be, which is why it hurts me that I was so torn on this book as a whole. I still loved Ben and wanted the best for him, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the love triangle. I never am a big fan of them, but I thought it might work this time just since Ben is such a solid character. While I do feel like the love triangle wasn’t written for no reason, it was still difficult for me to stand behind it. Anyway, I think this was a decent follow up to Openly Straight, but I can’t say that it totally lived up to the first one.

So yeah, Ben was a fabulous character. I wanted to hug him for basically the entire duration of the novel. I loved that he was just trying to figure himself out, and has accepted that he still has a lot to learn about himself. I loved learning more about his family life, it certainly gave us more background on the way he grew up. His dad constantly told him that he wasn’t allowed to show emotions or be vulnerable in any way. I also related to him in the fact that he doesn’t have much money. I understand having to be completely aware of how much money you’re spending at all times. I’ll talk more about the whole Hannah thing later on, but I’ll say that it did frustrate me to an extent, but I also understood why he entered the relationship in the first place. Look, no matter what he does, Ben is still going to be an awesome and memorable character in my book.

I don’t have a ton to say about Rafe since I’ve already discussed him in my review of Openly Straight. I think he’s a fascinating character, and I just really enjoy him all around. However, some of the things that he does here disappointed me a bit. Some of his friends in GSA (gay straight alliance) say things like “bi is a gateway” and it doesn’t seem like Rafe says that this is not an okay thing to say? It just seemed as if he brushed it off as a joke. I also didn’t like it when he kept trying to put a label on Ben when he seemed against it. Other than that, I did like Rafe for the most part.

I’ve read some reviews where people were offended that the author didn’t have Ben identify as bisexual. I’m not an expert on sexuality, but in my own personal opinion, I didn’t have an issue with this. I felt like it was appropriate because Ben felt like he didn’t belong in any box. He’s been attracted to girls his whole life and only been attracted to one boy. I definitely see why people find this offensive. At the time though, Ben is just a teenager who isn’t sure exactly what his sexual identity is yet and that’s perfectly okay as well. View Spoiler »

Ultimately, I am torn on my feelings for Honestly Ben. I think that it’s a great story about a teenage boy who doesn’t have it all figured out but he’s doing the best that he can. It was one of those books that I wasn’t able to put down once I started. I thought the supporting characters were great too. Specifically Toby, who I could read about for days. There’s this hilarious and endearing moment where Toby passes out fliers to his classmate, and I seriously laughed out loud. This wasn’t a flawless book, but I’m so happy that we were able to revisit Rafe and Ben.

three-half-stars

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Mini Review: I Am Princess X

May 25, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★½

Mini Review: I Am Princess XI Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on May 26th 2015
Pages: 256
Source: Library
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two-half-stars
Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.
Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.
Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.
Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.
Princess X?
When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon---her best friend, Libby, who lives.

I thought that I Am Princess X was a unique book. It was definitely different from most books that I’ve read. It honestly took me by surprise. I’m not sure what I was expecting it to be about, but what I got wasn’t it. On the positive side, it’s a quick read that you can devour in just one sitting. I thought that the illustrations were interesting enough. However, I would have liked to see more character development. I also felt like the story was all over the place in some areas. This wasn’t a terrible story, but it was mostly forgettable. It depends on what kind of book that you’re looking for. If you just want a novel that you can read quickly, this might be what you need. If you want something that will stick with you for a long time after you’ve read it, this probably won’t be for you.

If it tells you anything, it hasn’t been all that long since I’ve read that but I still can’t remember a lot of what happened. That’s why I’m trying to make this a short review since I don’t have a ton to say about it. I thought that it seemed like it was marketed more towards younger kids, possibly 12-16, because of the writing style. The subject matter was a little more mature, but it still felt young for the most part. Another problem was how unrealistic and off the wall the twist was. I couldn’t see it happening in a million years. It was weird, in my opinion. I won’t go into too many details, but if you aren’t a fan of reading books that you can’t see happening in real life, this probably isn’t for you. I also mentioned earlier that the characters should have been more developed. I felt like there wasn’t enough pages dedicated to their personal growth. It felt like we didn’t really get to know them well enough.

I Am Princess X wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. I felt like the twist could have been better, but what do I know? I don’t regret reading this, still not my favorite though. Like I said earlier, I simply don’t have a lot to say about it. It was something that I pretty much enjoyed while reading, but it didn’t leave much of an impact on me after I finished it. I was expecting it to be about friendship and fandom and that’s not really what I got. This was a unique type of book that was easy to read, but not the best one either.

two-half-stars

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ARC Review: Queer, There, and Everywhere

May 22, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: Queer, There, and EverywhereQueer there and Everywhere: 22 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager
Published by HarperCollins on May 23rd 2017
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This first-ever LGBTQ history book for young adults will appeal to fans of fun, empowering pop-culture books like Rad American Women A-Z and Notorious RBG.
World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 22 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.
By turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement.

Queer, There, and Everywhere is a wonderfully fascinating look at the history of queer people all over the world. I thought that it was extremely well researched and well written. It was never dull or boring, it held your attention the whole time. There are 23 queer people who receive pretty short biographies on their lives and what all they contributed to the community as a whole. There are familiar names like Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo, and Harvey Milk. And also not so familiar names like Kristina Vasa, Albert Cashier, Ma Rainey, and many others. I found that I ultimately enjoyed reading all of these stories. I think this is such an important book to read regardless of your sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or race, all of us could benefit from reading this comprehensive and beautiful book. I really hope that the author will write another one featuring other queer figures in the future!

So you might be able to tell by looking at some of my past reviews, but I don’t read a whole lot of non fiction, especially not Young Adult. However, I knew that I should read this one. I wanted to learn even more about queer history and this looked like such an intriguing work. Though it’s not something I’d normally read, I’m still glad that I did. I also learned so much from it. About a day after I finished it, I told my dad (who is a historian) about Abraham Lincoln and his buddy Joshua. I don’t think my dad still believes that they were actually a thing, he hit me with the fact that it was a common thing for guys to sleep in the same bed back then. But it did feel good to hit him with some interesting information that I read in the book. Anyway, this book was filled with people that you might be familiar with to an extent, but it’s still neat to learn more about their personal lives. Did you guys know that Greta Garbo had a female lover? I didn’t. She’s not featured, but her lover Mercedes De Acosta was.

So basically, I would read one of these biographies and automatically go off to Google to learn more about them. I really wanted to know about Ma Rainey, since she sounded like such an eccentric and amazing human being. I also had to know more about Harvey Milk, Frida Kahlo, Josef Kohout, and Glenn Burke. There were some truly touching stories as well. Specifically the story of Albert Cashier, a transgender soldier who fought in the Civil War. Although you hear stories about women who dressed as men in order to fight for their country, this isn’t one of those stories. Albert truly identified as a man, and was miraculously able to keep the fact that he was assigned female at birth a secret. I thought it was beautiful how the people who did find out ultimately kept it a secret, and accepted that he was a man. The story about his funeral will make you sob. Though so many other stories touched me as well, I’d have to say that this was probably my favorite.

There’s so many good things to say about this book. One of the few complaints that I have about it is that it was rather short. I would have loved to have some of these biographies be a little longer. But I understand that some who were less famous might not have as much information about them out there like others did. So this was my first non fiction YA book, and it definitely won’t be my last if there are other books released in the future that are similar to it! I highly recommend that you pick this up for both yourself and a teenager that you know. I’m honestly upset that we don’t learn more about these figures and what they’ve contributed to the queer community in history class.

four-stars

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