Same Love: My Review

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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This doesn’t affect my thoughts in any way.

Title: Same Love
Author: Tony Correia
Release: August 10th
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
My rating: ★★✩✩✩

Trigger Warning:

I honestly would like to put trigger warnings for homophobia, racism and slut shaming because some elements made me really uncomfortable, and if this is something that triggers you, then you may want to avoid it. Oh and ableism too. This book has a gay main character, but so many people were against it and really homophobic it really pained me. If you’re looking for a gay positive book, you might want to read something else (even if the ending was decently positive).

The story:

Adam’s very religious parents are scocked and ashamed to find out that their son is gay and send him to a Christian camp for the summer, using his university savings. There, he makes new friends and tries to find an equilibrium for his religion and his sexuality. And little by little, he falls in love with one of his bunkmates… That’s the basic plot of the story, which also flirts with issues such as depression and slit shaming.

My opinion:

I would honestly really like to have someone else’s opinion on this book. So many things made me really uncomfortable, and I would love to discuss it, to see if I’m the only one (like, am I becoming really paranoid and see hate everywhere). I suppose it was made at least to some extent to reflect “real life”. I know this definitely happens to some teens. But is it really necessary to reflect such hate in fiction? This is open to discussion. I really want to know. It’s a bit hard for me to write this review because I have some really conflicted about this book.

What I did find interesting is that we got to see characters who are both Christians and gay, and it’s not something we get often in YA. However, I feel like it could have been dealt with in a better way. There is this post going around tumblr, where someone shows (by quoting the Bible) that being a loving person, and accepting people is the most important thing in religion. This is something I would love to see in a book, and I wish we’d had more of that in here. Sadly, I also know this is also often how things are in the non fictional world (and it’s also why I’m having so much trouble with religion, but it’s a complete other topic). What I want to say here, is that this book was heartbreaking in many way when it comes to family, and contained a lot of negativity, and it was, in my opinion, a pity.

I also had issues with slut shaming and racism in this book, and maybe it’s just made in a way to show that some people think like that and it’s bad and it’s find because our main character doesn’t. But really. It made me jump in my seat to see how Rhonda and Paul were treated (by Randall for example). And by the way, Paul is almost all the time described as Asian, but that’s not enough information. I believe he is Korean? I think that’s mentioned at some point. But again, you can’t just give minimalistic characteristic like that to your love interest. I think this should have been explored a bit more – once again, a pity.

And don’t get me started on the ableism. First we get Randall shaming Martin for being diabetic. And then the entire camp is shaming him for his mental illness – which was another issue overlooked by the book.

I want to believe this book was full of good intentions, and just badly executed. There were even some cute parts I enjoyed, but it’s overshadowed by all the parts that disturbed me.

I did like the ending though. But in the end, I don’t know what message I’m supposed to get from this book. Sure, our main character gets to accept himself more in a way. But most issues aren’t even solved in the end. The book isn’t even that long and I feel like a lot of elements could have been explored in a better way.

I really wanted to like this book, but so many things clicked wrong, I just couldn’t. (And on an afterthought, I checked other reviews on Goodreads and people seem to overall agree with me…) So I guess that’s it. Please let me know your thoughts if you have read this book as well. Thanks for reading this article, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Love Is Love: My Review

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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This doesn’t affect my thoughts in any way.

Title: Love Is Love
Author: Mette Bach
Release: August 10th
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
My rating: 3,5 stars ★

The story:

Emmy is a high school student dealing with body issues as well as anxiety. After attempting and failing a relationship with a popular guy in school, she decides in agreement with her mother to leave Winnipeg, and start a new life with her uncle and aunt in Vancouver.

After years spending away from Vancouver, her father’s hometown – one reason among many others being the over perfectness of her cousin Paige – she is back and meets again with Paige’s trans friend Jude. Emmy is instantly attracted to him, even if both her cousin and mother warn her that he is trouble.

But Emmy finds herself spending more and more time at the café where Jude works and presents poetry and slam. And slowly, the wto of them grow closer.

Warning:

I found that this book inluded a lot of body negativity and it made me sometimes really uncomfortable. It does end on a positive message, but if it is something that triggers you, you may want to stay away from it.

There are also some passages where Jude is misgendered, so again, if it’s something that triggers you, you might want to stay away. It also made me uncomfortable. I get that there are (in real life) some rude people who refuse to gender trans people correctly. But is it necessary to include something harmful like this in a book which is supposed to have a positive message? (By the way, this is an open question, if you have an answer for that, I’m interested.)

My opinion:

First of all, I picked up this book because I absolutely loved the concept. It is unique, and unlike anything I have read before. An overweight protagonist and a trans love interest are sadly not common in literature, though they have so much potential. And I do feel, however, that this could have been exploited a bit (a lot?) further. The book is roughly 180 pages, but it could have been so much more. It was still great though, and had many passages I greatly enjoyed. I also really enjoyed Emmy’s character development through the book, and could really relate to her anxiety and lack of self-confidence, however I did find that it sometimes became a little bit unhealthy and harmful to read. She had lots of issues with her bodies which I can understand, but she was also very self-deprecating. And yes, it felt very realistic. But some body positivity would have been nice.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that I find the cover actually quite inaccurate, so don’t be fooled by it. For some reason it doesn’t seem to mach any of the protagonists?

I also appreciated the fact that the book was set in Canada. When it is not Fantasy or Dystopia, most of the YA (and fiction in general) I read is set in the US, or sometimes in the UK (which usually comes off as a nice surprise) so it was definitely interesting to see something playing somewhere else, even if the location didn’t play such a big part in the story.

The relationship of both characters to art and poetry was a great surprise, and I really enjoyed watching Emmy learning more about her dad. Her relationship with her mom was quite messed up, but seeing this bond with her dad – even if he has passed away already at the time of the story – was beautiful to read. And through writing of all things, of course I loved it.

I really like the fact that Jude and Emmy found each other through poetry, and got to realise they had a lot in common, and really understood each other more than everyone else did. But it felt that it all happened to fast. And I couldn’t help but think in the back of my mind that yes, it’s great to find love, but love doesn’t solve everything. Maybe I’m misreading it, but it seemed all too easy sometimes.

That being said, this book has overall a very positive message of accepting others as they are, and I couldn’t help but swoon at the end. I just wish it had been longer, and more deeply explored.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this book or my review in the comments, and have a nice day!

When Dimple Met Rishi: My Review

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When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my most anticipated releases for this year, and oh boy, I wasn’t disappointed! It was also our book of the month on the Booktube Book Club, feel free to join us for the discussion, all the information is here.

And first of all, how adorable is that cover?? ♥

Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publication: May 30th 2017
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Dimple Shah just graduated high school, and has a passion for coding. She is getting ready to attend Stanford in the fall, and wants to attend a special coding course during the summer. Except her mom’s biggest ambition seems to be to see her wearing makeup and find the Ideal Indian Husband.

Rishi Patel has been raised in a traditional Indian family, though he was born and raised in the US, and he deeply respects his parents wishes. He loves drawing comics, but agrees with his father that it will not provide him with a career. He is ready for his parents to set up a perfect wedding for him.

The Shah and the Patel have always thought their kids could get married, and the summer coding programm at Stanford university seems like the perfect opportunity for them to meet up and set things in process. Except personalities are about to clash, and who knows what’s about to happen…

My opinion:

This was such a beautiful, delicate and refreshing romance story. I have to say, I have a sweet tooth for romance, but it’s not always that I love a book this much. This book is bright and moving, and would make a perfect summer read: I definitely recommend you check it out!

Dimple is such a fierce character, she knows what she wants, but we also see her evolving, getting to take more things into account through the novel, and it was very interesting. To some extent, this can be a coming of age story, where she is right between high school and college. This is such an important time in one’s life, and it was a really great idea to set the book at this point in her life. Dimple is passionate about what she likes – coding – and wants to be the best. She can’t be bothered with makeup, and doesn’t understand her mom’s persistance with finding the Ideal Indian Husband.

So obviously, when she meets Rishi, who thinks an arranged marriage is the best possible plan, and wants to follow his parents’ will, things clash. However, as they get to know each other, they discover they may have more in common than they expected at first.

I felt like their relationship was really well built. They form a very strong friendship, and support each other – even if they also hide things from one another. It just made the book all the more realistic. I can’t help but think that the word “delicate” is a perfect word to describe this book. It was such an amazing and beautiful read from beginning to end.

Let’s talk a bit more about the other characters, shall we?

I also really liked Celia’s character, who is Dimple’s friend and roommate. She struggles with friendship and her desire to be popular and accepted. I thought her character was really realistic and beautiful. She was really a great addition to the story.

And then there’s Ashish, Rishi’s brother, who is his polar opposite, and keeps calling him out about everything he likes, stands for, or wants to do. The relationship between both brothers is a difficult one at first, but we see that evolving through the book, as they both grow up and get to understand each other more. And I loved it.

One more character I wanted to discuss is Dimple’s mom. She is a talkative, lively mom, who wants nothing more than to have her daughter find the perfect husband. She doesn’t understand why her daughter can’t bother to be more feminine. Dimple and her mom argue a lot, and can’t seem to understand each other at all. But through the book, obviously, we see things evolve, and it was really great and moving to see two different women’s point of view, and the evolving relationship between a mother and a daughter.

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I feel that there is so much more to discuss about this book, but I don’t really know how. It left me with a lot of feelings, and it was very hard to put it down. I just don’t know how to translate that into words. So I’m just going to say that: I loved this book.

Overall, this is a great novel with great character developments coming from basically all the characters, which is amazing. It is a beautiful, relatable, swoon-worthy romance with unique characters. Your perfect summer read. I definitely recommend you check it out!

Let me know your thoughts if you have read this book, and I hope you enjoyed this review! Let me know also if you feel there are other things I should have addressed in this article. And have a wonderful day ♥

Thoughts On The Queen Of The Tearling Trilogy

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Through the past few months, I have been listening to the audiobooks for The Queen of the Tearling trilogy, and I absolutely loved them. I have been seeing those books on Instagram every since I started by bookstagram account more than two years ago, but I didn’t really know what they were about. Now I know, and I think you should read them too!

The Queen of the Tearling (2014)
The Invasion of the Tearling (2015)
The Fate of the Tearling (2016)
Author: Erika Johansen
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Dystopia
My Rating: ★★★★✩

FOR OLDER READERS

Trigger warning: rape, abuse

Blurb:

Kelsea Raleigh has been raised away from New London, though she is heiress to the throne of the Tearling. On her nineteenth birthday, the Queen’s Guard comes to get her and get her throne back, a throne which has been occupied by her uncle ever since her mother, queen Elyssa, died when Kelsea was only one.

But this turns out harder than Kelsea could possibly imagine, considering some measures her mother took before her assassination, and soon, a war is on the way both inside and outside of the kingdom.

With the help of her sapphire necklace, which seems to have more power than she could ever imagine, her faithful guards and visions of the past and how her ancestors created the Tearling, will Kelsea be able to save everything and everyone she cares about?

My opinion:

The Queen of the Tearling was an incredible and unique trilogy. I absolutely loved it and definitely recommend it to everyone. It is a mix between fantasy and dystopia, set in some kind of magical, parallel universe, in an undated future.

The characters were really endearing, and I was really sad to part with them in the end. The fact that Kelsea is a hardcore bookworm only made me like the book even more. I also loved Pen and the Mace. And the villain, the Read Queen, was a really fascinating character as well. The story was well rounded from beginning to end, and full of crazy plot twists. Both the present and the fact were fascinating, and the world building is really well done.

My only regret is that it took me quite some time to get into the story at first, and it was sometimes a bit slow. But overall, I really loved it.

What I appreciated the most was probably how smart it was. I think it is an excellent critic of our society. It really made me think a lot. Even if it is set in a fantastic kingdom, it seems to be a very accurate, realistic representation of the struggles of politics and human kind. It also had a very conflicted view on religion which is someting I found in a way very relatable to my own relationship to religion in a real world. This book managed to depict a very accurate view on a lot of things, including positive and negative points, which I really loved. It’s a very deep reflection on what is good, and what is bad, and what if there’s no good and evil, and everything is more or less grey. I felt so deeply for all these characters, and the hard decisions they had to make.

The passages set in the past actually seem to be a very realistic depiction of what our future could be. It’s very critic, and trying to make the reader think, and I loved it.

I honestly think this trilogy is a masterpiece. It may at first feel like a random dystopia, but it is so much more. It is unique, endearing and impossible to put down.

Honestly, if you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?

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One Of Us Is Lying: My Review

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(Left: US cover, Right: UK cover)

First of all, huge thanks to Penguin Random House UK for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. This doesn’t affect my opinion in any way.

Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen McManus
Publication: June 1st, 2017
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller
My rating: ★★★★✩

The story:

The brain, the beauty, the crimminal, the athlete, the outcast.

Five students attend detention on a Monday afternoon, for something all say they didn’t even do. The thing is, before the hour is over, one of them is dead. Simon, creator of the school’s gossip app About That, died because of a peanut allergy, and the police seems to believe it was no accident at all. Indeed, the clues seem to lead to a murder, and soon, all 4 other students are put in the spotlight, and accused of having murder their comrade together. Especially since they were apparently Simon’s next target on About That, each one soon having their darkest secrets revealed.

 Is one of them really the killer? Or is the actual murderer on the loose and using them as scapegoat?

My opinion:

I saw a review of this book and immediately wanted to check it out, so I requested and received a copy from NetGalley. Thanks again to the author and the publisher for granting my request. This book was very clever and well-made, very fascinating. It is narrated through the point of view of Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper, the four students who get out of detention alive and all have something to hide, which leads to them all becoming murder suspects. They are what you can call unreliable narrators, hiding their secrets until the end when they can, and it’s something I really liked about the story. It just makes it more fascinating to read.

Overall, I felt like the characters were quite realistically depicted. They are in high school, they try their best, they make mistakes. In that extent, they were quite relatable. They also all had amazing characters development, which I absolutely loved.

Honestly, this book was fascinating and hard to put down. Every time a chapter ended, I had to know what would happen next. My only regret was that it was a little bit too cliché sometimes, but I guess that is also part of what makes this book what it is. Four students who have nothing in common, and are all high school cliché, entrapped into a murder case, trying to figure out who the real murderer is. Can they trust one another? They don’t even know it themselves.

I have to say, I had my suspicions as to who the real murdere was, and it turned out I was right. It was still very interesting to see everything unravel, and I have to admit, this book had some seriously interesting plot twists.

I won’t say more because I want to keep this non spoilery. But all I can say is that I definitely recommend this book!

Similar reads you might enjoy:

I don’t actually read that much mystery or thriller books, but when I do, I actually really enjoy them. This book kind of gave off the same vibe as Girl Last Seen by Anne Greenwood Brown and Heather Anastasiu, which is another YA Mystery/Thriller with crazy plot twists. So if you liked one of those, you might want to check out the other one! (Also you can check out my review here if you want to know more about Girl Last Seen).

Dear Martin: My Review

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First of all I wanted to thank the publisher, Random House Children’s, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Release date: 17th October 2017
My rating: ★★★★✩

The story:

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, and has great prospects for college. But when he is put into handcuffs by a cop just because he is Black, and was trying to help his drunk ex girlfriend go home, he is hit by the reality of things: people will always judge him because of his skin colour. He starts writing letters to Dr King, to help clear his mind, and try to make good decisions.

Things escalate when the cop who arrested him is killed by his best friend’s cousin. Things escalate even more when he and Manny are caught into an altercation just because they were playing loud music in their car.

And there is Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous (and white) debate partner with whom he is spending more and more time until he realises he might have a thing for her.

My opinion:

This book has been compared with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas in the sense that it was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, so if you liked it, I would definitely recommend you read this one as well. This book was extremely powerful. An eye opener. And I think, actually, that everyone should read it.

The story is told through different media, first through a more classical narrative, mixed between Justyce’s letters to Martin Luther King, and finally, some extracts from the press. I thought it was a rather original way of telling the story, and it really matched the important themes. I thought it was quite fitting and overall, the novel is very well written. This is Nic Stone’s first novel, and she really achieved something amazing here. My only regret is that I wished it had been longer.

As to the story itself, it mixed prejudices at school, Black Lives Matter and unarmed teens unfairly shot by the police, as well as touches of interracial love, and all of this was well executed. I really liked both Sarah Jane and Justyce’s character, they felt very realistic and human.

As for the issues raised in this book, as long as they exist, they will never be talked about enough. It is very important to educated ourselves and raise awareness, and I believe this book does so in a very delicate, moving and accurate way, which is why I definitely recommend you check it out as soon as it is released, or as soon as you get the opportunity to do so!

At the same time, it is also a harsh coming of age story, with a character full of good intentions, who just has life getting in the way all the time, and still manages to keep his head out of the water. It was very interesting, but also heartbreaking to see Justyce grow through this story.

Another character important to the story that I wanted to discuss is Jared, your typical rich white boy, who believes equality has been achieved, when it comes to both racism and feminism. He is the perfect example of people who can get on my nerves in real life. If you read this book, he will probably make you think of someone you know. His main argument being that his friend Manny’s family his richer than his own family, so he just takes that and concludes that equality has been achieved. And that, my friend, is wrong. But was also a very clear, realistic depiction of society once again.

This book points out lots of things that are wrong in our society, and it does so extremely accurately. It is a well deserved reminder that we still have a lot to do to set things right. I hope you check it out, and enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know your thougts on this book & my review if you feel like it! ♥

The Hate U Give: My Review

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With all the talk about this book, I had to pick it up, especially since it’s different from anything I had ever read before. And oh boy, it was amazing. Some books deserve all the hype they get, and even more. This is definitely one of them.

I finally finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and it was a lot to take in. This book is so powerful. A bit of a punch in the heart, and a well deserved one. It is definitely a book that will make you think, and realise how much we still have to do to make this world a better place. Well, at least, that’s what it did to me. And I think everyone should read it.

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication: 2017
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Starr lives two different lives. She lives in a poor neighbourhood where her father is a shop owner known by everyone. And she attends a fancy suburban high school. She always makes sure those two worlds never collide.

But when her best friend Khalil is unfairly shot by a policeman, and she is the only witness, the balance is about to be broken. Starr is teared between speaking up for justice and staying put to protect her life and that of her family.

But the media is describing Khalil as a drug dealer and a threat to everyone, when Starr knew very well that he was more than this, and that he was clearly unarmed that night. And as her community cries for the truth, she eventually has to come up with the right decision.

My opinion:

It’s a bit hard for me to gather my thoughts on this book, and I really want to say the right thing. At the same time, I also really want to talk about it because I feel like it’s important, so let’s get into it.

I picked up this book hoping for something mind-blowing, something life-changing concerning a topic I unfortunately don’t know enough about. And that’s exactly what I got. As a white, european student, I can’t say that I relate to Starr, the main character. However, what I can say is that reading the world through her perspective was an incredible experience. It made me realise how important her fight was. How much work we still have to put into this world. It is scary. But it is also so, so important.

The fact that we live in a world full of inequalities is something that I am concious of. And the fact that some people have the guts to still deny it really sickens me. This book is a jab, a reminder of how much work we still have to do.

The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and deals with topics I have only seen on the news, topics which are dealt with from the inside, with the insight of a character who was the witness to such a horrible and unfair crime. Throughout the book, the reader sees how hard the situation is on her. She has been witness to a murder and the entire world seems to believe Khalil deserved it. When clearly no one deserves such a cruel death, especially not a sixteen year old unarmed teen.

I believe this book was extremely well written, complex and deep. It pokes where it hurts, and that’s why it is so important.

Please, read this book if you haven’t read it yet.

And please let me know if you feel like I should add or correct something in this blog post.