Like a Love Story: My Review

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We received copies of Like a Love Story at work upon the French release (yay) and my first reaction was: how did I not hear about this before? Well now I have, and I’ve read it, and I’m all empty of tears. I’ve been sobbing A LOT.

Me trying not to cry while reading this book in public transports (and failing, mostly)

Title: Like a Love Story
Author: Abdi Nazemian
Release: June 2019
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Can a book that takes place in 1989 be labelled as historical fiction? I thought about this for a moment and figured: if it was about the fall of the Berlin Wall, another event that took place in the same year, I would label it historical fiction without blinking. Like a Love Story is about ACT UP, and the fight against AIDS (and so much more!) and the scene has changed since then. At least in some parts of the world. So yes it has evolved. But let’s not forget that the fight for equal rights is not over yet.

The story:

Like a Love Story takes place in 1989, New York. The city is covered in ACT UP posters, and every ten minutes, someone dies because of AIDS. In this climate, we follow Reza, Art and Judy as they navigate friendships and family, first love and their senior year of high school.

Reza is an Iranian boy who just moved from Toronto to New York when his mother remarried. He is trying to adjust to his new life, and hasn’t told anyone that he is gay. But things are bound to change when he meets Judy, an aspiring fashion designer who falls for him almost immediately, and her best friend Art who is the only out & proud kid in school.

As this book is a rather accurate representation of reality, TW for homophobia, racism and fatphobia. Like a Love Story is an #ownvoice story, and a phenomenal one.

And before I go any further with my thoughts on this book, here’s a very low quality meme made by yours truly to sum up my reading process:

So yes, in case you didn’t get it yet, this book made me cry. A LOT. But was it worth it? YES. Absolutely. I want to give a hug to Reza, Art and Judy so badly, and protect them forever. They deserve the world. And also, I think everyone should read this book. It hits right where it hurts, and it is excellent.

Like a Love Story is #14 on the list of books I have read for YARC2019. In the author’s note, Abdi Nazemian writes that he has always loved writing about Iranians and gays, but that he has heard a lot in his career (and especially at the beginning) that he should stop because he doesn’t sell. Well, I’m glad he didn’t. And this is just one more reason why you should check out this book!

In case you didn’t notice, the title of this book is a reference to Madonna’s song “Like a Prayer” — the album was released in 1989 — and I have been listening to it over and over while listening to this book. It’s so good and the most perfect soundtrack to this book.

This book is SO IMPORTANT. It deals with the AIDS crisis, a topic that we NEED to talk about. And it does it in a way that is both beautiful and heartbreaking. (Off topic, but if you are curious about artists & NY in this time and age I would most definitely recommend The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, which is a series of essays.) Abdi Nazemian is not afraid of tackling prejudice, racism and homophobia, while at the same time creating beautiful and realistic characters. Yes, they do make mistakes, but it is what makes them human and relatable. It’s what makes this book hurt so much, and what made me love it so much. I am pretty sure it will make it to my list of top favourite books of 2019!

I Binge Read The Folk of the Air

Okay so I had seen The Cruel Prince around for quite some time, and figured it would be a book that I could enjoy. And now all I can think is: I can’t believe it took me so long to pick it up.

However the good news is that I didn’t have to wait for any of the sequels! I started book one, directly jumped into book two, and a few days later, The Queen of Nothing was out and I’m wondering what to do now that I have finished the trilogy. I guess I can still turn to reading fanfiction, because it certainly feels like I haven’t had enough.

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For the anecdote, I am subscribed to Owlcrate, and they had announced that the November box would contain some merch related to The Cruel Prince so my immediate reaction was “I have to read the book before I get the box!!” and here we are now, I have read the complete trilogy, and the companion novella, and I am obsessed with it.

For those who don’t know, this trilogy by Holly Black is made of The Cruel PrinceThe Wicked King, and The Queen of Nothing which was just released this week. I gave all of them a solid four out of five stars. It’s a fantasy story about a human girl called Jude, who was raised by her parents’ murdered, a redcap, in the dagerous Faerieland. Jude must navigate the dangers of the court, and tries to find a place where she belongs.

I remember that many years ago, I read Holly Black’s middle grade series The Spiderwick Chronicles and I really loved them. At some point after I joined bookstagram I realised that she also had written several YA books, and decided that I should check them out at some point, because I had loved the universe she had created. It simply hadn’t happened yet, and now it has, and I can’t get enough! *adds The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and The Darkest Part of the Forest to never ending TBR*

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So yes, you get my point, I loved those books. I’m also really glad I actually waited: it feels good to not have to wait for the sequel, and this was also the perfect opportunity to prove to myself that I CAN ACTUALLY FINISH AN ENTIRE BOOK SERIES and I’ve been thinking very intensely about this…

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But to get back to The Folk of the Air: oh boy did these books keep me on the edge until the very end. Page after page after page, I was stressed about what would happen, what could possibly turn bad, and who would be betrayed. I am completely fascinated by the world of faeries, what dangers lie ahead (don’t dance, don’t eat, and so on, you know the drill if you have been reading some fantasy). I love how Jude keeps beating the odds, against all adversity. She is one of the strongest, most fascinating leads I have ever seen. And I am definitely inclined to read more fantasy, faerie-related stories in the future!

So in conclusion, I wish this book was translated in French so I could shove it into everyone’s face at work!

Thoughts On Again But Better

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Let’s try to keep up with at least one post a week! I’m reading so many books these days, it shouldn’t be that hard.

Okay so I just finished reading Again, But Better by Chistine Riccio, and this book MADE ME FEEL THINGS, y’all. I’d been meaning to pick it up because I knew that it was a book about college, and about studying abroad, and I’m so glad that I did.

Title: Again, But Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release: May 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The story:

As per the blurb, Shane had been “doing college all wrong”, going home all weekends, and hadn’t really met any friends. So she decides to go abroad to London for a semester and fix all that. Armed with as much as courage as she can, she goes outside of her comfort zone, and hopes for the best…

Mood by now: I’m wondering if I should go back to college in the next couple years to complete a second master’s and this book didn’t help. This is an idea that I’ve been turning in my head for the past couple months, and I’m still not sure what to do.

Also: I always want to read more books about college and studying abroad, so of course I had to pick up Again, But Better —  and I loved it. Maybe the reason I liked it so much is because it hit so close to home when it comes to what I enjoy doing (reading and traveling) and the questioning surrounding what one should do with their life.  I’ve seen a lot of people shitting on this book, but as far as I am concerned, it was a cosy 4⭐ read!

Overall thoughts:

The general plot of Again, But Better is nothing special: shy girl goes out of her comfort zone, makes friends, goes on an aventure, and eventually falls in love. But it doesn’t mean that it is not enjoyable. Maybe partly because it’s relatable but who cares! I could recognize myself in Shane. Wanting to study abroad is something that I had always wanted to do, and my experience as an exchange student is something I will never forget. My only regret from this book was that we did not see her struggling with any language barrier (as an American going to England), which is something that also makes the experience of studying abroad as part of Erasmus so unique. Everyone is thrown in the same basket where we are not speaking our mother tongue and it’s awesome! It was also weird to see her only hanging around other Americans (but, ya know, I saw Americans doing this as well when I was in Germany… Y’all are missing out on having international friends!! But I’m going off track.)

Okay so back to trying to write a review of this book rather than talking about my own experiences. Sorry. I’m facing a very strong need to go back to Berlin these days, but I’m not here to talk about this.

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*inserting this very cool gif of Druck by tumblr user druck-in-love for the Berlin atmosphere before I move on*

I read this book in the blink of an eye. It was sweet, and I just really wanted to know what would happen next. Shane could get a little bit frustrating sometimes (supermarket situation at the beginning of the book, I’m looking at you, but mostly, the whole situation with the lying to her parents), but again: RELATABLE so what can I say. Comparing your home country to the place you are moving to in the most ridiculous ways is a pretty normal thing to do as far as I’m concerned. The awkwardness (although a bit over-the-top), the Taylor Swift listening, the blogging. It’s good to see a character you can relate to like this (like Cath from Fangirl!)

I should have seen it coming because of the “a little bit of magic” mentioned in the blurb, but I did NOT expect that turn about half-way through the novel. And I loved it. Maybe it’s a little bit trope-y but I just love when characters are put into this kind of situation, and genuinely trying to do better. It warms up my stone cold heart.

YES I am aware that this blog post is a messy ramble, but this book just made me do a lot of thinking and I had to share it. Before I picked it up I was torn between “it’s a book by a booktuber it’s probably not that good” and “OMG a book about college and studying abroad I HAVE TO READ IT”. I’m glad my final opinion is balancing towards the second option!

I Hope You Get This Message: My Review

Title: I Hope You Get This Message
Author: Farah Naz Rishi
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Release: October 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi in my October Owlcrate and picked it up immediately. My only regret is that I binge read it and now I’m sad that it’s over. This book reminded me of both The Awakened by Sara Elizabeth Santana, and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, which was a surprise both unexpected and pleasant. At the beginning of the book, it is announced by planet Alma that Earth has entered an eight days trial, through which it will be decided whether humans are to be disposed of — or not. Obviously, everything turns to chaos. Through the story, we follow three teenagers: Jesse, who apparently has built a machine allowing him to communicate with Alma; Cate, who is looking for a father she has never met; and Adeem, a genius with a radio who is looking for his estranged sister. Without their knowing it, their paths seem to be intertwined, and leading them all to Roswell…

I fell into this world really easily, and was immediately drawned to the characters. Truth be told, I just want to give them all a big hug. The story is told through three different point of views, and while this may be unsettling at first, it quickly becomes clear that they have more in common than their final destination — Roswell (oh how ironic it is to be in Roswell, New Mexico when the world is on the verge of extermination by the aliens, that was a really nice touch!)

Despite all the apocalyptic stuff going on, I Hope You Get This Message also has time to lean on other important subjects, and mainly FAMILY LOVE: through Adeem’s relationship with his sister who ran away from her family after telling them about her girlfriend; through Cate who is looking for her dad in a world gone crazy, just because that’s what her mother wants, because she loves her; through Jesse’s relationship with his mother, just because they don’t always get on doesn’t mean he doesn’t want what’s best for her; and finally through Corbin and his sister Mari. This book was so precious and beautifully crafted.

The only thing that remained obscure to me was the whole radio business. I find it absolutely fascinating to see humanity turning to radios in a world about to end, and yet I cannot help but thinking about how I have absolutely no clue how that works and it’s absolutely fascinating. (If anyone can explain very simply, you’re more than welcome!)

Before I end this review, a small spoilery section:

First of all, I should have seen the fact that Jesse and Cate had the same dad coming. I remained completely oblivious until the end, but it actually works really well! I’m also super glad that Adeem got reunited with his sister and I love what she managed to do with her life, restarting from scratch (I also TOTALLY SAW IT COMING which is super satisfying). And finally, I actually really liked the open ending of the book, it couldn’t have ended any better way… All through the story you can’t help but wonder what will happen, and yet all you are left with by the end is pretty much more questions…

END OF SPOILERS

Anyway, this was such a good book, and I’m not about to forget it any time soon! I would most definitely recommend it (and I think I will still be talking about it for a while). So if you have read it, feel free to share your thoughts!

Update Livresque | En Français

Depuis ma fabuleuse lecture de Nuit Espagnole (j’en parle ici), j’ai lu un peu moins de livres francophones, mais il y en a quand même quelques coups de cœur que je voulais vous partager !

Le premier est une bande dessinée qui s’appelle Enferme-moi si tu peux, qui a été réalisée par Anne-Caroline Pandolfo et Terkel Risbjerg, et est sortie au mois de mai. Les thématiques principales sont la folie et la pauvreté, mais surtout la création artistique. Chaque chapitre retrace la vie d’un artiste du début du XXe qui sort un peu de l’ordinaire. C’est un ouvrage qui m’avait tout de suite attirée lors de sa sortie, et qui m’a beaucoup touchée. Je vous le conseille si vous êtes à la recherche d’une BD qui sort un peu de l’ordinaire !

En ce qui concerne les parutions de la rentrée littéraire, je voulais aussi absolument parler de La maison allemande d’Annette Hess. Il s’agit d’un livre cette fois traduit de l’allemand, et paru chez Actes Sud début octobre. L’intrigue se déroule à Francfort en 1963 lors du second procès d’Auschwitz, et on suit une jeune fille qui devient traductrice pour le groupe des témoins polonais. C’est un livre bouleversant, qui soulève la question de la culpabilité à petite et à grande échelle, et nous amène à nous questionner sur tout un pan de l’histoire allemande comme européenne d’une manière plus générale. À ce propos, je conseille aussi La plus précieuse des marchandises de Jean-Claude Grumberg !

Pour poursuivre sur ma lancée de livres qui parlent de l’Allemagne, mais cette fois en jeunesse, j’ai aussi lu Août 61, le nouveau livre de Sarah Cohen-Scali. Cette fois-ci, l’intrigue suit un vieil homme atteint de la maladie d’Alzheimer, qui se remémore toute sa vie depuis la libération des camps de concentration où il a été prisonnier, jusqu’au présent, en passant par son adolescence en Angleterre, jusqu’à ce weekend d’août 1961 où il était parti rejoindre Tuva, cette jeune fille originaire d’un Lebensborn qu’il avait rencontrée à la fin de la guerre et dont il était tombé amoureux. Et bien sûr, il ne s’agit pas de n’importe quel weekend, comme vous l’avez deviné, il était à Berlin le weekend où le mur a été construit. Un roman coup de poing que je ne suis pas près d’oublier. Conseillé à partir de 14 ans.

Et enfin un deuxième coup de cœur en jeunesse, il s’agit du livre Le manoir des Sorcelage de Marie Alhninho, paru chez Poulpe Fiction. Tout d’abord, la couverture est absolument magnifique. Mais un peu plus sur l’intrigue, qui se déroule dans le fin fond du Berry. On suit un frère et une sœur qui sont issus d’une famille wiccane, mais vivent une vie tout à fait tranquille, à cela près que leurs parents ne sont pas très présents. Mais tout va changer le jour où un démon est libéré dans les environs : avec l’aide de H, un esprit frappeur voisin, et de leur meilleure amie Nour, ils vont tout faire pour remettre les choses dans l’ordre… J’adore les histoires de sorcières, et il va sans dire que j’ai été conquise par ce roman que je vous conseille vivement ! A partir de 9 ans.

Voilà pour aujourd’hui en ce qui concerne mes lectures fétiches de ces dernières semaines ! Et bien sûr, n’hésitez pas à me partager les autres !

October Owlcrate Unboxing | Dawn of a New World

I haven’t done an unboxing on here in FOREVER so of course I was going to unveil all the wonders that I got in my October Owlcrate. Well, to be fair, I hadn’t received any kind of bookish box in a VERY long time. And I’m so glad I ordered one again. Simply getting bookmail puts me in an excellent mood, and this is even better!

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My favourite goodie is probably this necklace inspired by The Lunar Chronicles! Here’s a picture of me wearing it in the storage room at work, I absolutely love it, and I’m delighted to add it it to my collection of nerdy fandom necklaces! I also love that if you don’t know, it’s just a moon shaped necklace, which is already pretty cool, and discreet enough! (Like, it’s not as obvious as a time-turner for example haha)


My second favourite thing about this box is that it contained not only one but two books! They both have gorgeous covers. I already had the time to read I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi, which is an apocalyptic story with aliens who want to destroy the Earth, and I absolutely LOVED it. I have a few things I’d like to read for work, and after that, I cannot wait to pick up Crier’s War by Nina Varela.

This box also contained a set of magnetic bookmarks, a sticker inspired by Warcross by Marie Lu, and two enameled pins to match each of the books! I have also ordered the November “Through the Enchanted Forest” box and I cannot wait to see what it will contain!

October Wrap Up

To start this off with a very original thought: this month has come and gone so fast, and I cannot believe it is already November (AKA MY BIRTHDAY MONTH). In terms of what’s going on with my life, I have officially been working at the bookstore for more than six months now! And in terms of reading, this has been a pretty successful month yet again!

Books I read this month:

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I had read Shadow and Bone such a long time ago that I never thought I would pick up the rest of the Grisha Trilogy, but after reading King of Scars last month and falling madly inove with it, I knew that I would actually finish this series. So here we go, and I really did enjoy this one more than the previous one! Also have I mentioned how excited I am for the TV Show? 🥰

Hey Grandude! by Paul McCartney ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This wonderful picture book was recommended by a customer at the bookstore where I work, and when I heard that the story was imagined by Paul McCartney I knew that I had to check it out. I loved it, and it really moved me because it resembled some of the stories I used to tell my brother when I put him to sleep years ago, on evenings when our parents were absent.

The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix (The Greystone Secrets vol.1) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This one is a middle grade books with a bit of an urban fantasy vibe, and it was a FANTASTIC discovery, I absolutely loved it! It follows three siblings, as they discover that three kids with their exact same names and birthdays have been abducted. And as if that wasn’t of a coincidence, their mother leaves them in the care of someone they barely know the next morning, to seemingly go after those kids… (Full review)

Vengeful by V. E. Schwab (Villains #2) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up Vengeful. I love anything Victoria Schwab writes, and the sequel to Vicious was no exception. I’m pretty sure this was one my “end of the year” TBR last year. I absolutely love the concept/the world she created here, and it was such a fun thing to be back with Victor and Sydney and Mitch. 100% would recommend those books!

#murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil ⭐⭐⭐

I picked up this book on a whim, and while it was a bit gore at times, I still enjoyed it! Basically, it’s an interesting reflection on reality TV and social media, as well as whatever shithole our world is heading right now, so kudos for that. Also if you have read it, I would love to discuss it! (Full review)

The German House by Annette Hess ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
[Translated from German; original title: Deutsches Haus]

I miss Berlin terribly these days, and I’m picking up all the books that talk about Germany, and end up loving them because I am biased. But really, honestly this one was excellent. It takes place in Frankfurt in 1963, during the Second Auschwitz trials, and it follows a young woman who becomes the translator for the Polish witnesses. It’s a very powerful read which questions our humanity and raises the question of “what would have I done in such a situation”. If you get the chance to pick it up, I would most definitely recommend it!

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This one is an apocalyptic read about a potential alien invasion/destruction of planet Earth. It was the Owlcrate book of the month for October and I absolutely LOVED it. I binge read it and I CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. I loved all three main characters and basically want to give them all a giant hug because they deserve it!
// N°13 on my YARC list //

Heartstopper vol.2 by Alice Oseman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I finally volume 2 of this adorable comic book, and it’s the cutest thing I swear. It is super relatable and the bisexual rep honestly had me crying in my hot chocolate. I just want to slam these books in front of everybody, to make y’all read them! (But maybe you have already!)

Books in French:

Bug vol.2 by Enki Bilal ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This one is a sci-fi graphic novel about a world where all of Internet has been erased, only to be found again in the brain of one man. Of course, all governments and organisations are trying to find him. This series is pretty dope, and I’m also quite sure that it has been translated into English, so if you have the opportunity to check it out, the drawings are amazing and I would definitely recommend it!

Phobos² by Victor Dixen (aka Distortion) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’m slowly making my way through this French book series (which has also been translated into English!) It’s a YA dystopia, featuring a TV show about young couples going to live on Mars. This one is the second book in the series, and just like the previous one, it ended on a crazy ass cliffhanger, and I cannot wait to pick up the sequel!

The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A well-known graphic novel about the author’s life. This first volume follows his childhood between France, Lybia and Syria. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you check it out!

Nuit Espagnole by Adel Abdemessed and Christophe Ono-dit-Biot ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This one is a non-fiction new release, about two artists who spent the night in the Picasso museum, and the throught process they went through. It also explored a bit of Adel Abdemessed’s life in Algeria, and it was super interesting. (Full review in French)

Le manoir des Sorcelage (Wicca #1) by Marie Alhninho ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another kid lit book I instantly fell in love with! It’s about a family of witches, living in the French countryside. One day, an old demon has been released, and the two kids will do anything they can to stop it, with the help of their best friend as well as a friendly neighborhood spirit. It was absolutely fantastic!

Août 61 by Sarah Cohen-Scali ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

When I was talking about books set in Germany earlier, I was also thinking about this one. It takes place between France and Germany, with at its center the weeked the Berlin Wall was built. It’s another stunning historical fresco, by the author of Max. I can only recommend it, and hope that like her previous works, this one will be translated to a larger audience as well.

Le peintre dévorant la femme de Kamel Daoud ⭐⭐⭐

This one is another book about an artist spending the night in the Picasso museum – the only difference being that it features a different exhibition, and therefore a wholly different discourse. While it was really interesting (a customer recommended it to me at work) it was not my favourite in the series.

And three more comics/graphic novels:
Ces jours qui disparaissent by Timothée Leboucher ⭐⭐⭐
Un maillot pour l’Algérie by Bertrand Galic, Kris and Javi Rey ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rendez-vous avec X : Mata Hari by Virgini Greiner and Olivier Roman ⭐⭐⭐

Currently reading:
Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Wings of Olympus by Kallie George

Movies I’ve seen this month:

Pitch Perfect 🌟 Yes man 🌟 Downton Abbey: The Movie 🌟 True Story

TV shows I’ve been watching:

La Casa de Papel 🌟 Anne with an E 🌟 The Good Place


An update on my reading challenges:

Goodreads Challenge: 110/120
Audiobook Challenge: 10 books (currently listening to one)
YARC: 13 books

While this has been an excellent reading month (I read 18 books) I haven’t been posting that many book reviews… Or blog posts in general for that matter! But I guess this also means that I have been busy which is great! Hopefully I get to post a little bit more through November!

And in the meantime I have also posted two videos on my channel, after months of absence, you can check them out here!