Girl out of Water – A story of Self-Discovery, Family and a Dimple

Girl out of Water

Publication date : May 2nd, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Sourcebooks Fire

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 320

Synopsis : Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 4.5 stars

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*I received an Arc of this book from the author and publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

This book made me SO HAPPY? I can’t even form coherent thoughts right now because my brain is taken up by all the feels. Seriously, it is such a quiet beautiful book that I’m sure everyone would love. So I’d encourage you to run and pre-order it right now *waits for you to come back* Now that you have done that we can go one with the rest of the review. Oh, what made my reading experience all the more awesome is reading the book with my best friend  Sara @ Freadom Library which made it our first -of many- buddy-read. And don’t ask, I don’t know what took us so long.

The writing is both exquisite and very simple. It also feels personal, very unique to Anise -the MC-‘s voice. It naturally is written from her POV, she has a very honest and spontaneous voice that reminded me of myself. I actually saw a lot of me in her, and that alone has made Anise a huge win for me.

This is the story of how Anise was taken away from what she expected to be the summer of her life, from everything she knew and loved to help her aunt take care of her home and kids after she was in a bad accident. And how she adjusted to all the changes in her life and how she dealt with them. Which made this a very character driven story with a lot of growth, family and friendship.

Anise’s mom is absent, she comes and goes like the wind, has never been and never will be a pilar in her life and I loved how that was kept that way until the end, there was no reunion, no closure, no understanding her mom’s behavior. She was just this presence -or rather absence- that affected Anise’s life more than she liked to admit. Because of her absence, Anise is very much afraid of being like her so she doesn’t like leaving home, not to go to her aunt’s, not to go to college, not ever. She’s so afraid of abandoning the people who matter to her that that’s exactly what she ends up doing to her friends back home.

As you may have gathered, Anise is a very flawed character, which made her all the more loveable. She’s a very well written, three-dimensional character with strengths and weaknesses. She’s very caring and sweet. What I particularly loved about her is how responsible and mature she was about the whole situation. She wasn’t resentful, she understood why she had to do what she had to do even though she was really disappointed which showed in the writing, but never in the way she behaved around her dad, her aunt, or any of her cousins, her conversations with them were warm and natural. One thing that’s hilarious about her (and that annoyed Sara while I was enjoying it immensely) is how big of a sore loser she was. THAT IS SO ME! I hate losing and I behave the exact same way she does when that happens.

The character development she went through was remarkable. Through her time away from home, she realized that change wasn’t such a bad thing and that home wouldn’t disappear just because she leaves for a few months because her people will always be there when she gets back and that rings so true. Slowly but surely, she frees herself from her mom’s hold and is able to see things differently.

This book has a big focus on family and I loved how close and genuine the family bonds were. I adored how open and honest her relationship with her father was, he was everything to her from a dad to a bestfriend and that’s amazing to read about. Her aunt -her mom’s sister- was as close to a real mother figure as she could ever have, she loves her like her own children and that love is reciprocated. Her little cousins are the definition of adorable, the twins so sweet and endearing but what I liked more is how she behaved with her cousin, Emery. She was like a big sister to her and did everything to make her comfortable and get her to trust her and see her as a friend.

Her group of friends back home, although only physically in the book in the beginning and the very end of the book played a big part in it, through Anise’s descriptions and thought process, I felt like I knew them as much as if they were there. Their little group is so tight-knitted that it felt really realistic. I loved Tessa -her bestfriend-‘s strong personality and how she called her out on her shitty behavior during her time away.

Last but not least, LINCOLN. That beautiful boy is one giant dimple (I’m not obsessed, what are you talking about?). He’s so charismatic and precious, he also does everything to make Anise comfortable while pulling her away from her comfort zone. I loved him, he has a very laidback, go with the flow type of personality and he’s also very teasy. Through their romance, the author was able to picture the bitter-sweetness of a summer fling perfectly, they were so good for each other and their chemistry was effortless.

Although the ending felt a bit rushed and like it didn’t have all the attention I thought it deserved, I really loved the open ending tying some loose ends while leaving room for questions, like what’s next for Lincoln and Anise? What is she going to decide for college? etc…. That also makes me secretly hope for a companion novella or book. Shhh. Let a girl dream.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Girl our of Water? If so, what did you think?

What did you think of Anise’s character? Did you love the romance as much as I did?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Noteworthy – Where I went for Fluff and got a Punch of Real

noteworthy

Publication date : May 2nd, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Amulet Books

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 400

Synopsis : It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for. (From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

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*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

You know how sometimes you go into a book expecting a lot of fun, heart eyes and fluff but you’re surprised, completely swiped off your feet because in addition to that, you get a story of self-growth that has a settle way of dealing with important social issues, creating discussion around important topics through conversations, thoughts and reflections. I buddy-read this one with one of dearest blogging friends, Puput @ Sparkling Letters and we expected to love it but I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that Noteworthy exceeded our expectations and it is safe to say now that will be one of my favorite reads of the year.

The writing is gorgeous while still being easy to follow. I absolutely loved Riley Redgate’s style which takes turns being serious and funny depending on what the scene at hand demanded which can seem simple but is delicate when you want the book to flow nicely without any glitches or weird changes in the pace. The narration is from Jordan’s point of view and she has such a genuine, witty voice that I couldn’t help falling in love with her.

The story is one of a girl who finds herself by loosing it in a character that she makes up named Julian. In order to join the A-cappella group, Jordan had to cross-dress as a boy named Julian and to be completely honest I was very apprehensive going in because crossdressing isn’t something to take lightly and it can be handled very badly. And I think that the author did a great job in addressing the fact that it isn’t something that should be taken lightly, dedicating a small section of the book to Jordan doing research about the implications of what she was doing.

Back to the self-discovery. I felt like this book at its heart is a beautiful coming of age story. Jordan, who never felt very comfortable in her own skin, how she dressed and presented herself found a happy middle when after being Julian for the majority of her time, she discovered that in him she set free parts of her that were vital and that she kept repressed because she thought they clashed with who she needed to be. And that is such an important story to tell.

As I said, I loved Jordan‘s character. She’s a Chinese-American, bisexual girl and was in more ways than one relatable to me, to the lost teenager I once was and I’m sure a lot of people will relate even more to her and realize that it’s okay to not know who you are. She’s very sarcastic and quick-witted which spoke to my soul, her humor was right up my alley and I found myself laughing in multiple occasions. She also grew up poor, her parents always struggling to meet ends each month which is something so important to acknowledge in books, especially YA, because not every kid has the means to have a car, go to fancy schools or have fancy clothes but it also showed how she wasn’t miserable and she managed to make it work. I’m grateful for that.

When she joined the Sharpshooters, Jordan found herself in a little family, an amazing group of boys who were there for each other, stood up for each other even while having their own disagreements. Seeing the competition and rivalry with the other groups made my life, because it kept me on my toes and made the book read like a movie. Which makes me think: Can someone make a *good* movie adaptation of this? Please, and thank you!

The boys’ friendships were ADORABLE. The group is friendship goals. An other thing I loved about them is how amazingly and deeply diverse they were, there was so much work put into the side-characters to make them whole and not just stereotypes of what they’re identities are perceived to be. Isaac who is the second most important character is a Japanese-American boy with whom she creates an amazing tight bond that is so genuine and endearing, it gave me ALL the feels. There’s also Nihal who is a Sikh gay kid and through him she discussed how it can be tricky for religious kids to find a happy balance between their religion and their sexuality. Jordan finds a bestfriend in him, he confides in her and she in him. There are other characters, but these two stood out the most to me.

In addition to the topics mentioned above, the author discusses through her characters’ experiences a hip of other subjects like equality, feminism and what it means to be an ally. Which makes this book such an incredibly important read that I think everyone -whether you like A-capella or not- should read because at the end of the day it’s about the things that really matter.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Noteworthy? If so, what did you think?

How did you think the nuanced discussions were handled?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Out on Good Behavior – The Cute Book that got me Back into New Adult

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Series: Radleigh University #3

Publication date : June 14th, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Self-published

Genre : New Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 290

Synopsis : Frankie Bellisario knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn’t mean she should—not when the person she’s eyeing is Samara Kazarian, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren’t meant to be crossed.
But when Frankie learns she’s been on Samara’s mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam’s not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing, and she’s afraid she’ll never find it as long as Frankie’s in her head.
Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who’s been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy…under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she’s afraid she might, she doesn’t want to throw Samara’s life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie’s heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 3.5 stars

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No New Adult in a year and then two in a month, WHAT DO YOU MEAN? It means that I got back into it and freaking loving it. This is another companion series I’m reading out of order. When will I ever learn? This is also the book that showed me just how much I missed reading about people my age which means that you’ll be seeing more NA on the blog (YA will still be predominant, fret not). This is another one I’ve been hearing a lot about when asking about F/F NA romances and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s real, cute and just very down to earth.

The writing is witty and funny from our main character, Frankie’s POV and guess what she is? Yes, you’re right, she’s witty and funny. One problem I had with the writing itself was how redundant some sentences are, especially “turns me to liquid”, I like the imagery, I get it, but once it’s used every other page I just start rolling my eyes because it starts feeling cliché and out of place. Other than that the writing was good and easy on the eye.

Frankie is a pansexual artist, which I loved reading about because if I have a soft spot for a type of characters, it’s artists. She’s smart, witty and very scared of commitment (relatable af) and it was really cute and funny to see someone like that slowly turn soft and mushy as she started developing feelings for Samara. Samara is everyone of us in our twenties reading YA books, she loves getting lost in books and I appreciated that very much. She’s sweet, gentle and very caring. From first glance she’s very shy and conservative but she isn’t (not as much as she seems to be at least), she’s just scared of an accidental outing especially with her parents being bigots.

Speaking of which, one of the few problems I had with the book is that considering how big the part her parents played in the book was, I expected them to make an appearance, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s more of a me thing because I was convinced it would happen. To get all problems out of the way, I have one last one to talk about, which is the bar scene towards the end, it is very important for the development of the story so I was kind of disappointed when it was a bit rushed. I would’ve wanted it to be explored a bit more.

Now for the romance. You know how in M/F romances, there is this common overused trope where the guy doesn’t want to get “tied down” while the girl is ready for commitment. Well, I LOVED seeing a spin of that in an F/F romance, and in this case, I didn’t mind it at all, mainly because it wasn’t used dry. Frankie realizes she’s developing feelings for Samara early on and I absolutely adored how she wanted to take time and make sure that everything is right. Their relationship is absolutely adorable and heartwarming, I liked the way it progressed and how they spent most their days doing casual things, being cosy and comfortable.

This is another one with amazing friendships (God, how I love this type of books). Frankie’s friends – Lizzie and Cait (whom book 1 & 2 are about) are the best and their group banter is very funny but get real quickly when necessary. They rooted for her and Samara so much and did everything to make her comfortable and include her in their little group.

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a cute, fast to read F/F to lift their spirits up with awesome girl power and witty banter.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Out on Good Behavior? If so, what did you think?

Do you think the bar scene was satisfying?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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How to Make a Wish – A raw, heatbreaking story of Love and Grief

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Publication date : May 2nd, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 336

Synopsis : All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 4.5 stars

How to make a wish quote

Trigger Warning: Emotional Parental Abuse

(No Spoilers)

How to Make a Wish rendered me speechless, let’s start with that, it is so beautiful and honest that I couldn’t help feel every emotion it conveyed, every one of them. Oh and before I forget, I read this with my lovely fellow Moroccan blogger, Maha @ Younicorn Reads and we both adored it to pieces. It is just the kind of book that takes a hold on your heart with no intent of ever letting it go, not like you would mind, you really don’t want it to go away.

First of all the writing, oh boy, it’s art. It feels like a punch, it is so powerful  and emotionally packed while being poetic and flowing very effortlessly. What’s most striking about it are the descriptions, they’re raw and gutting and just uuugh, I’m at a loss of words and I apologize deeply for not knowing how to English anymore. One thing I really appreciated is how comfortable Ashley Herring Blake is with writing explicit content (re: sex, masturbation) which in my honest opinion teenagers should be exposed to because it’s par of their reality (not all of them obviously).

How to Make a Wish is the story of two girls broken by their moms. Eva, the love interest has lost her mom and has no other family while Grace, the MC loves her mom more than anything but the latter cannot seem to *see* her. And God help me, I was so so angry at that woman, her behavior towards her daughter made my skin crawl (and the worst of it, is that I know that it is some people’s reality). She was manipulative, selfish and delusional.

Her mom listened and paid attention to everyone BUT her, prioritizing which ever guy is in her life at the moment, and the worst of it all is that she’s oblivious to how wrong and hurtful her actions are. She brushed off Grace each time she was concerned and tried to call her out on them and the girl can do nothing more than that because she loves her mom very much and keeps holding on to that sliver of hope that she’ll get better one day.

The cast of characters is probably one of the most realistic cast I’ve ever read in a YA book. They’re all flawed, fight and then make up. I loved the dynamic and energy that were carefully threaded into their relationships which made them unarguably believable.

Grace was such an amazing main character, strong and brave, spoke her mind loud and clear when needed, and didn’t let anybody squish her down. Unless that somebody is her mom. She’s also very closed off to people, had a hard time opening up to anyone in the fear of getting hurt, which she wasn’t even conscious of. Through her experiences, the author very subtly addressed and explained bisexuality. I loved her relationship with best friend Luca, who was basically a brother to her, he was very sweet, caring, supportive and protective of her. He also never shied away from telling her the truth as it is and even though she refused to hear it, she appreciated it in the long run.

Eva is a very complex character, I really liked how she had this kind of quiet vibe of wisdom and she didn’t run away and was never ashamed of her sadness, she embraced it. Again, through her experiences, Ashley Herring Blake tackles biraciality issues and what struggles some biracial kids may go through (and from what I read in #ownvoices reviews, it is one of the best portrayals out there). THEIR ROMANCE WAS HONESTLY SO PURE, OH MY HEART !! It is so true, gentle and heartwarming that I couldn’t help but root for them, they had their issues, which complicated things for them but they ultimately got past them.

All in all this was such a heartbreaking and -at the end- heart-mending story that deals with the loss of a parent, grief, toxic, abusive parenthood and the importance of having a strong support system. It is relentlessly hopeful, I loved how by the end not everything was fixed but you could see the light at the end of the tunnel.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read How to Make a Wish? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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The Paths we Choose – Where a Girl with Pink Hair Finds her *Maybe*

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Series : Lillac Town #2

Publication date : April 6th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Self-published

Genre : New Adult | Contemporary

Page Count : 118

Synopsis : Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.
A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.
Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.
 

Rating : 4 stars

The Paths we Choose Quote

*I received an ecopy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

Today is an exciting day, because today is the first time in forever I post a review less than a week after finishing the book. Anyway, I’m not here to brag but to review this delightful book. A few weeks back, as I was trying to find diverse New Adult books to read this one called The Melody of You and Me (which I yet have to read *hides in shame) kept coming up so I decided to add it to my TBR and follow the author and just as I did, she was sending out Arcs for the second book is the companion series, I applied and GOT IT. I was so excited because I was hearing only great things. And the people were right, Maria Hollis knows how to write her F/F romances.

The writing, is good, simple and sturdy. No over flowery imagery or anything which I really appreciated because this way I could give 100% of my focus to the romance. The Paths We Choose is written from Lily‘s point of view, a Brazilian girl who is such a peculiar character. And no, peculiar isn’t bad, I actually cherish her very much. Let me explain myself. Lily has resting bitch face (me), often comes off as bitchy because she’s blunt and sarcastic (also me), she’s the mom of the group (guess what? me!), I could relate so much to every decision she’s made that it started creeping me out -in a good way. All of this being said, she’s a fantastic character, caring, loving and passionate.

I really loved how Mayte balanced her out. She’s a bisexual black cuban girl, very chill and easy going, she reminds her to breathe when she gets too intense. She’s also very sweet and loving. Can we talk about their romance? (well, yeah we can since it’s the major part of the story) It’s the most precious thing, it’s also sexy, very sexy. Anyway, I loved how their relationship progressed from a casual thing to this situation where they were willing to give a chance to a serious relationship. I also deeply appreciated how the author included a talk about boundaries as well as what they were and weren’t okay with sex wise. That’s something all books should have but that is unfortunately not very common.

One little quibble I had is that it felt a tiny (really, just a tiny) bit rushed and I would’ve wanted a bit more build up but considering how short the book is (it’s a novella) it’s perfectly understandable. And another thing is how cheesy that last scene was, I laughed sooo much but it was kind of cute as well and the epilogue made up for it because it was the MOST cozy, adorable thing ever.

The Paths we Choose branches out from the romance a bit, it gets into Lily’s relationship with her estranged family especially her teenage brother as he tries to make amends and actually be there for her. Another non-romantic part I absolutely adored is her friendship with her roommates, they’re absolute squad goals. Hope, Karen and Anika are always there for her to smack her on the back of the head and push her in the right direction and they’re family to her.

All in all this was a very quick to read, cute story that made me want to read about all the other characters, I now want and will read The Melody of You and Me in the next few weeks and I’m looking forward to reading book 3 because it’s about Hope and Karen which I predicted from reading this one so I’m VERY excited. The Paths we Choose is coming out tomorrow, so be sure to get it, you won’t regret it!


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Paths We Choose? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Things I should Have Known – Sibling Love and a Romance that didn’t win me over

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Publication date : March 28, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 320

Synopsis : From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.
Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal. (From Goodreads)

Rating: 3 stars

Things I should have known - quote

*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

Trigger Warning: Fat Shaming

(No Spoilers)

Not gonna lie, I requested this book a hundred months ago -exaggerating but you know- and I kept pushing reading it until the last minute humanly possible to be able to write the review on time. Why? Because I was dreading the Autistic representation and how it will be handled, especially from a sibling’s point of view because my past experiences with this kind of scenario are bad. Anyway, even though it is good overall, I still had some problems with it, most of which have nothing to do with the representation.

My first and biggest problem with this book was the writing, definitely not the kind I enjoy. Even though I eventually got used to it as the story progressed I didn’t like it, it was too conversational and I thought it lacked that little something that can set it apart. It read kind of juvenile. I know this is a YA, I read my fair share of it -just look at all my reviews- but this has nothing to do with the narrator’s voice, it’s more of a writing style thing. I don’t know how to explain it better than that. I also picked up on a few ableist words and phrases like “nuts”, “a tiny edge of hysteria”, etc…

The story in itself is very heartwarming, honest and felt authentic. I can’t speak for actual human experiences but from what I studied, the Autism representation is true to *some* people on the spectrum. As with most mental illnesses, it isn’t something set in stone, different people experience it differently and I thought that was well expressed through Ivy and Ethan, who are similar in some ways but very different in others. Although my favorite thing about it is the unconditional sibling love. Both between Ivy and Chloe as well as Ethan and David.

Since the book is from Chloe’s POV, that relationship takes front stage and I loved it. Their love for each other is so raw and real, they both were there for each other no matter what. It was also realistic because they still got frustrated and mad at each other. For all the standing up Chloe did for Ivy, she went completely silence when her bestfriend and boyfriend said offensive things and that’s what annoyed me the most. She was rioting in her head but never said anything so that “She’s not that girl” to ruin the fun and all that. That and the fact that she tried to make Ivy something she’s not (which was called out eventually). That kind of dampened my liking of her for all the good things she is/does.

Ivy is such a sweet girl, she not only is a shy quiet girl but she’s also strong af, she stands up for people she cares about even when everything inside of her tells her not to. Ethan on the other hand is very talkative, especially about movies, he loves them and can go on about them forever. He’s also such a cute romantic boy and I was really sad when Ivy didn’t return his feelings (she’s gay so ya know… she can’t).

David is something, oh yes he is. A very frustrating something. He was arrogant and rude to everyone with no obvious reason whatsoever. And although I appreciated that not being explained by some kind of tragic deep reason, it felt completely unnecessary. I loved who he was around Chloe and the friendship they built was really cute, it was leading up to a romance that everyone seems coming but that… falls flat. I was disappointed because I kept waiting for it but when it finally happened, it was anticlimactic because one second Chloe didn’t even think about him that way and the next thing you know she was confessing her crush to him and I was just ??? Even though I saw it coming, it still felt rushed and out of the blue. I make total sense, thanks.

The girls’ mom is another big turn off for me, she was so passive and NEVER stood up for her daughters when her husband -their stepfather- was a douchbag to them, she just sat there and sometimes even defended him *sigh*. Their stepfather. That man is a piece of work, he’s the reason I put a trigger warning to begin with because every time he opens his mouth to talk to Ivy, he’s talking about her weight, what she eats, how she doesn’t exercise, etc…

To sum it up, this book is cute, the sibling love is REAL, and it does a good job at pointing out harmful comments through Chloe’s thoughts, even though that sometimes doesn’t show through her actions. I think I would’ve loved it if the romance was developed better and Chloe had stopped caring about “being that girl” earlier in the book.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Things I should have Known? If so, what did you think?

If you know of any #Ownvoices reviews for this book, tell me so I can link them.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Queens of Geeks – Cuteness, Geekiness and all the Feels

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Publication date : March 14th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Swoon Reads

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 288

Synopsis : When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.
Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
 (From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

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*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

SWOONS. SQUEALS. SCREAMS. AAAAH ALL THE HEART EYES AND LOVE TO THIS BOOK. Lo and behold, this is my first 5 stars rated fiction book of the year, so it’s something to celebrate. I’m completely and irrevocably in love with this book, the characters, their romances, the issues it discusses. It does everything right. It’s an #Ownvoices book at its finest. I really felt the authenticity and honesty of it. I want to talk about all the things this book stands for but my words are failing me, they jumble up in my head, collide and combust into fairy dust, rainbows and unicorn poops.

The writing is fun, fast paced and very quotable. I genuinely want to get myself a physical copy just to tab all the parts I loved. Queens of Geek is written in duel POV through Charlie and Taylor’s eyes and it was fantastic because both girls are very different and still manage to have a beautiful friendship. Aside from the classic formatting of the text, the book also has text conversations as well as Tumblr posts that Taylor types on the spot.

Queens of Geek is the book all of us proud nerds have always wanted but never knew we needed. I can’t begin to describe how happy this book made me, it is so heartwarming that just thinking about it puts the biggest smile on my face. So many pop cultures references and relatable fangirling moments that I’m pretty sure everyone can relate with, especially if you’ve been to a convention -I haven’t- because the vibe is so well encompassed in the pages of the book.

The romances are INCREDIBLE. Both of them. Both are two of my favorite tropes. The first one being bestfriends to lovers, Taylor and Jamie have been friends for years, in love for years as well and everyone knows it but them. They act like this adorable old couple but without the coupley stuff, and I lived for the awkward moments each time they started getting too intimate, it was so real, relatable and just funny. I specifically loved seeing them through Charlie’s eyes, she had this “KISS ALREADY” attitude that was hilarious. The second one is an F/F fan to lover type romance, except that both girls having been fans of each other for years, harvesting these innocent crushes that developed into more once they met. I must admit that this one evolves much more quickly and can feel like instalove but it isn’t because the girls knew each other beforehand.

Taylor is such a smart, kind and strong girl who’s into everything book related. She’s a neuro-diverse character on the autism spectrum (Asperger’s to be more specific) who has anxiety and what I loved most of all is how none of it defined her, her story wasn’t about it, it was about her being a fangirl, going to a convention, having a crush on her bestfriend and spending a great time with her friends. Her anxiety was always there and so well explained and dealt with. As she put it:

“Anxiety isn’t an attack that explodes out of me; it’s not a volcano that lies dormant until it’s triggered by an earth-shattering event. It’s a constant companion.”

but she kept challenging it as best as she could, meeting new people, doing things she wouldn’t normally do and I honestly loved that. I also adored the body-positivity in this book, how Taylor was totally and utterly comfortable with the way she looked and didn’t care one bit what people might think. Also, this might seem weird to you but SHE WEARS GLASSES, do you know how rare that is in books?

Charlie is a force of life. She’s a proud Chinese-American bisexual youtuber and rising actress with pink hair (hence the cover) who’s confident, empathetic and sensitive. What I admired is how she wasn’t portrayed as this almighty, fearless creature. She had her doubts too, was scared of falling in love after a tough break up and needed her friends as much as they needed her. I liked how through Charlie, the author addressed biphobia in the form of her ex-boyfriend who was a total tool and couldn’t wrap his head around how her  being with him and being bisexual could coexist. On the other hand, Alyssa, her crush, was so patient and reassuring, and made sure to hear her and make her comfortable, she also planned the most perfect date for the two of them.

Jamie is the softest, most caring boy ever, he’s quite frankly redefined the meaning of book boyfriend. He was inseparable from Jamie and had -figuratively- “protect Taylor at all costs” written on his forhead. He knew when to be there for her and when to give her space, he was just honestly perfect.

The three of them make such an amazing trio of friends who plan their futures while making sure to always be around each other. I lived for their banter and healthy friendship, how they understood when one of them -aka Charlie- needed to go off and spend time with her crush and encouraged it instead of getting mad because she didn’t spend all her time with them. I especially loved Charlie and Taylor, they had such a supportive friendship when despite of having their own problems, found time to listen to each other and be there.

All in all, this book is the perfect mix of cheesiness, adorable banter and dealing with important issues. I adored it and would recommend it to everyone, their mom, their neighbor and their neighbor’s dog. GO GET IT AS SOON AS IT IS OUT. You won’t regret it.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Queens of Geek? If so, what did you think?

Which romance was your favorite? And which character did you relate with the most?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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The Inexplicable Logic of my Life – A Meaningful Story turned Hurtful and Offensive

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Publication date : March 7th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Clarion Books

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 464

Synopsis : Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Rating: 2 stars

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*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault – Successive Deaths.

(All Spoilers are hidden)

Oh boy I’m mad. When I first started reading the book it felt like I was finding a new favorite, I knew that I was going to be giving it a 5 star rating, but as you can see that didn’t happen. The Inexplicable Logic of my life took all the wrong turns when they could’ve been avoided, it was problematic, hurtful and ruined a story that could’ve been amazing otherwise. And I’m disappointed in the author. And sad. So prepare yourselves for one of my rants. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

The writing is good, beautiful even, it’s Benjamin Alire Saenz so what else can you expect? The prose is lyrical and that’s what saddens me. ALL THE WASTED POTENTIAL. The beauty of it was ruined by a whole bunch of offensive sentences that played on bad stereotypes. Especially when it comes to the gay representation. I lost count of how many times I cringed because the author used sentences like “For a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight”, “That’s so gay”, and “You ARE gay” referring to a gay character that chose a cute dress for his friend.

Oh and we can’t forget about how it would probably even hurt Mexican-Americans who are already trying to figure out their identities with phrases like “All three of us wouldn’t make one whole Mexican” and “You’re not a real Mexican”. Last but not least, the all so overused ableism like “Emotional Anorexic” and “Schizophrenic dork”. The only thing that comes to mind when I think of all this mess is WHY? These sentences can easily be deleted and it wouldn’t change anything to the core of the story.

I’ve read around that the book has no plot which in a sense is true, but it’s a character driven story, focusing on the growth of the main character and his close entourage, so I didn’t mind that, I actually liked it. It is about family, friendship, grief and love in all of its forms, I liked how it put emphasize on how love is expressed differently by different people. The characters all had separates plotlines -or journeys- of their own that explored them as individuals and made them ultimately grow, even the secondary characters.

Now onto the part of it that enraged me. This is about how the sexual assault scene was handled and I’ll be blanking it for multiple reasons. Sam who is the main character’s bestfriend was dating this guy that wanted to rape her but she managed to escape and call Salvador (the MC) who came to the rescue. All is good. He often thinks about beating him up. All is good. When he finds her talking to the rapist -and the guy apologizing- he’s about to do it but she slaps him. What I have a problem with here isn’t the fact that she slapped him, because she did it for him not for the rapist. But why was she talking to him in the first place? Why was she listening to what he had to say? What he did was sexual assault and no apology can make it alright, and it’s wrong to make people believe anything else. But the WORST, is how it’s dealt with for the rest of the book. Or how it’s NOT dealt with. The author never calls it what it is -rape, sexual assault- he kept saying that he tried to hurt her. For 1, he DID hurt her. For 2, THAT WAS SEXUAL ASSAULT, saying the words won’t kill you.

Salvador, the main character, is a very sweet guy, but a very lost one. He starts having these urges to punch people who hurt him or the people he cares about and he doesn’t know where they come from. His relationship with his bestfriend is the softest friendship ever with cute banter.

But Sam, oh Sam! She has some really good qualities, she’s very caring, and a smart-ass witty girl but as all the good things in this book, she was ruined. The author tried so hard to make her “not like other girls” (which I hate) that here again he played on some really wrong stereotypes. She was made to be this girl who calls other girls bitches, didn’t befriend them and didn’t respect other people’s privacy, being very pushy and invasive at times. Oh there’s also the all so famous “One thing about Sam is that she didn’t throw like a girl”. Someone tell me what throwing like a girl looks like, because I sure don’t know. Lord have mercy.

Vicente -the dad- would be, if this book wasn’t so problematic, my favorite parental figure in YA. He’s such a gentle wise man who’s so generous and knows how to be the kids’ friend while still being the dad and having them not cross boundaries. I also liked how the family was so close knitted. It just felt real and authentic.

I think that’s it for this review. I’ve talked about it all. To be honest, I’m very frustrated with this book, because it’s wasted when it could’ve been beautiful. It honestly doesn’t feel like Ari & Dante and The Inexplicable Logic of my Life were written by the same author. Just because of how unproblematic and representative (the words of people who are represented in that book) the first was and how messy and hurtful this one is.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life? If so, what did you think?

If you have an #Ownvoices review, please let me know so I can link it here.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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You’re Welcome, Universe – Graffiti, Friendship and an Angsty Teenager

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Publication date : March 7th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Knopf

Genre :Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 304

Synopsis : When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.
Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.
Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.
Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia’s graffiti tags, You’re Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.

Rating: 4 stars

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*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

I’ve been eyeing this book since it was announced because ILLUSTRATIONS. Call me shallow if you please, but my eyes like all things pretty and I can do nothing about that. I even mentioned it in my Most Anticipated Books of 2017 post. So, when I saw that it was available for request, I jumped on the occasion and was thrilled when approved. Although this book took a little more time than I expected to win me over, once it did, I really enjoyed it.

You’re Welcome, Universe is written in 1st person from Julia -the MC- ‘s perspective. I loved the writing style, it is great and powerful especially with the main character having such an honest strong voice. I think the author managed to depict a true teenager’s voice. One thing that annoyed me (really, the only thing I couldn’t brush off) is the use of some ableist language, like psycho and hysterical when really the event or person described is none of those things and it was unnecessary.

This is a very character driven story, we follow Julia’s journey as she struggles to trust anyone after her best friend sells her out and get her expelled from school, as she tries to find herself and her voice through her graffiti, trying to balance between the part of her that tells her that what she’s doing is illegal and the one that cares only about expressing itself through street-art. And I loved it. The character development she went through was so raw and real that I couldn’t help but adore her. This was the kind of book that made me think by the end, this girl will be alright.

The main character is a Deaf Indian-American girl who just got betrayed by her so called bestfriend and that shows in the writing. It is intense, and very emotionally charged, even though she pretends not to care about anything or anyone anymore, she does, and very deeply so. The first word that comes to my mind when I think of Julia is angsty. Oh lord! No one can compete with the attitude that girl has got going, and that’s what made it hard for me to get into the book at first. But then I remembered what an angsty teenager I myself was (yep, 14 y/o me was no joke, all emo and dramatic) and all my frustrations with her behavior went away because they’re simply normal.

She’s just a caring passionate teenager, scared to get hurt again who puts up walls around herself, and really, who can blame her?

My favorite thing about You’re Welcome, Universe is with no doubt its focus on friendship. It has no romance whatsoever and I appreciated that so so much (and this comes from a sucker for everything romance). It shows the difference between what a real friendship is and a toxic friendship is. And that’s such an important thing for young teenagers to see, because not everyone who is present in your life, is present FOR YOU. It also shows friendship in its truest form with its ups and downs, fights and make-ups. It’s not made up to be this perfect thing where people never get hurt. It’s human.

Jordyn is the so-called bestfriend who betrays Julia to save her own skin and the worst part is that she expected Julia to be there for her and listen to her complaints despite it all. There was so much entitlement and manipulations in her behavior and I’m glad that was called out and challenged in the book. She was so self-centered, and just all around awful. My hate for her is very deeply rooted. In contrast with that there was sweet, lovely YP and I’m so fond of her. She was there for Julia even when she didn’t see it, listened to her, confided in her and it went both ways. She stood up for her, called her out and loved her.

Another relationship that I loved is the one she had with her moms Ma and Mee. It was so realistic and heartwarming. She was much closer to Mee than to Ma -which happens to most teenagers, being naturally drawn to a parent more than the other. Here again, they never hesitated to ground her and putt her back in her place when needed while being present and loving her all the same.

The illustrations added a nice touch to the book and I feel like it wouldn’t have been the same without them. It was a mix of her graffiti, things from her daily life as well as some ASL signs that were mentioned in the text. I kind of was disappointed at the end when the author didn’t show the last graffiti but I was pleased all the same.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read You’re Welcome, Universe? If so, what did you think?

What did you think of Julia’s behavior and her character development?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Everything, Everything – Taking a chance in Love. In the World. In Everything.

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Title : Everything, Everything

Author : Nicola Yoon

Publication date : September 1st, 2015

Publisher : Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Genre :  Young Adult | Contemporary

Synopsis : My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
 
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 3 stars

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“Sometimes I reread my favorite books from back to front. I start with the last chapter and read backward until I get to the beginning. When you read this way, characters go from hope to despair, from self-knowledge to doubt. In love stories, couples start out as lovers and end as strangers. Coming-of-age books become stories of losing your way. Your favorite characters come back to life.”

*Thank you SocialBookCo for sending me this book in exchange of an honest review*

(All Spoilers are Hidden)

Review edit (January 2017): 

I was made aware by a few discussions I had on Twitter that Everything Everything isn’t as amazing as I initially thought. This book is so so beautiful and cute but it also very very much ableist which saddens me a lot. It could’ve been great without all the harmful things it contained. The major and most popular one being the “You’re not living with a disability unless you tell it to go to hell and risk your life to do things that could kill you” and that’s not good. Maddy put her life on the line for the sake of love and kept on endangering herself. Anyway, here is a review from someone who knows what they are talking about.


THIS BOOKS PLAYED ME and it played with my head and my feelings. I just love it! I don’t know why I’ve been putting off reading it for more than a year now, I mean, it got to a point where I wasn’t even thinking of reading it (I don’t know why, don’t ask) but then the urge of reading it came back and more urgent than ever. So, what do I do? I JUMP ON IT. Look at that gorgeous cover though, it is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen, who could resist it? I know I couldn’t.

What took me by surprise when I first skimed the book are the illustrations, notes, etc… they’re so cute and make the reading experience that much more enjoyable and personal to the reader.

The writing in this book is so gorgeous, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve already witness the ridiculous amount of tabs I have in my copy and those are ALL for quotable sentences (If you haven’t, here‘s the tweet I’m talking about). It is also funny and had me laughing quite a few times, which is something that hasn’t happened in quite some time. The descriptions in it are magnificent and very vivid, making common everyday things stand out. <Spoiler> I genuinly think that the first kiss here is one of the most beautifully described one I ever read, and most memorable too.<End of Spoiler>

Everything, Everything is told from Maddy’s POV which is great because she had such a perky and enjoyable voice which helps a lot with the book’s flow. I seriously think I could’ve read it in one sitting if I didn’t have life and adulting stuff getting in the way. I flew through it compared to the pace I normally read at.

So, the plot is really quite simple. Stranded Maddy, hot boy next door, they find ways to communicate and get to know each other without meeting and that was such a great twist on your classic romance, it made it stand out. Here they got to know each other through emails and IMs and the like which helped them get to know each other on a deeper level faster. THE CHEMISTRY IS SO REAL and it made me swoon and squeal and flail and all things crazy fangirls do. <Spoiler> And that made the first time they met, albeit awkward at first, go by smoothly and naturally because they already knew so much about each other <End of Spoiler>

I had two tiny issues with the book though. The first one is that I would’ve liked for SCID to be A LOT more detailed and explained to the reader because all we are told is that it means that she’s allergic to a lot of things and she never know what might trigger her severe immune reaction. The second one is <Spoiler> how she actually got the money to buy the plane tickets to Hawaï without her mom knowing, she doesn’t work or anything so that just didn’t sit well with me <End of Spoiler>

Maddy is such a strong and beautiful character, inside and out. She’s lonely and alone which really broke my heart but she didn’t let herself be defeated by her disease. Even when her little world wasn’t enough for her she kept relentlessly fighting for what she wanted which I must admit led her to being reckless. Olly, though… He made my heart flutter. He’s so sexy and sweet and just all around awesome. He took care of her, tried to understand her, and was considerate of everything she went through.

I really loved the relationship she had with her nurse, Carla, it was refr eshing and she was like a second mom and a best friend to her. She adored her and was always there for her, her joys and her heartaches. Her complicity with her mom was lovely as well with their little rituals and all the time they spent together.

BUT THAT ENDING THOUGH!!! It made me question EVERYTHING and I just couldn’t handle it. <Spoiler> What her mom did was such a crazy and drastic thing and WOW, JUST WOW… and that’s when I understood some of her behaviors that seemed a little overboard <End of Spoiler> People kept telling me it’s going to blow your mind and bla bla but I just couldn’t believe it or see how it would be the case BUT IT DID. IT REALLY DID!

This story made me think about and acknowledge the simple things in life that I usually take for granted like going outside, meeting new people, having spontaneous experiences, physical contact and so on and so forth which I am really greatful for.

Find this book’s cheapest retailer on SocialBookCo*

*This is an affiliate link.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Everything, Everything? If so, what did you think of it?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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