In Which I Talk About Books That Are Dear To Me #RadioSilence #TheHennaWars #HarleyInTheSky

I am back with another one of my occurences where I talk about books dealing with topics I deem important! Truth be told, I’m trying my best to read only books with those topics, and also, I want to be endlessly screaming about books, but anyway. I’m back with three new contemporaries today, and they are all wildly different, but also super awesome. Just like I love it, these books feature queer characters and/or deal with mental illness. And without further ado, let’s get into it!

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (2016) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (2020) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (2020) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Radio Silence is one of Alice Oseman’s previous works, and was released in 2016, but Harley in the Sky as well as The Henna Wars were both released this year, and I’m also rally happy about the fact that I get around to reading recent releases.

Radio Silence, just like the rest of Alice Oseman’s work, features a highly diverse cast. *insert that EVERYBODY GAY song from TikTok that I just can’t get out of my head*. The main character, Frances, lives with her mother. She is head girl at her school, and gets excellent grades. She working hard on getting a spot at Cambridge University. But one night, when she is out with her friends, she meets Aled. Quickly, she realises that she can be herself when she is with him. And that will change her life and her perspectives forever. No, this is not a love story. It’s a story about friendship, and that’s even better.

Warning: Radio Silence deals with parental abuse, and depression. (And I thought it did so excellently)

I loved that this book was unapologetically queer. Frances is bisexual, and we know it pretty much from the get go.  Some other characters are gay, and one is questioning his sexuality. There are some great discussions revolving around asexuality, and the need for labels (or not). As someone who suffered from depression, this book felt like a warm, accepting hug.

I LOVED the fact that Frances was obsessed with a Podcast from the Internet, and had a complete other life there. At school, she’s all business, and a serious student. But at home, she’s on tumblr, and wearing fandom t-shirts. It’s not always easy to be a teen, between real life and expectations, whether those expectations come from yourself, your parents, or your peers, and I thought that she portrayed that really well. I also loved that she had a really wonderful relationship with her mother.

After reading Alice Oseman’s graphic novel Heartstopper, I knew that I wanted to check out novels she had written eventually, and I’m so glad I finally got started with them. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them, and especially her upcoming release Loveless.


The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar was just released at the beginning of May, and was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I started it on the day of its release, and finished it on the next day. It’s a beautiful story about friendship and sisterhood, first love, and also cultural appropriation, which is a very important topic.

Potential trigger warnings for: racism, islamophobia, homophobia and cultural appropriation. Bare also in mind that someone is outed in the book.

Nishat’s family moved from Bangladesh to Ireland when she and her sisters were younger. She is attending an all girls high school, and just trying to get by until she gets to college. Although her sister has always been supportive of her, when she comes out to her parents after attending a beautiful wedding, they act like nothing happened. But when Flàvia, the girl she has a crush on, decides to open a henna shop for a school project, simply because she saw it and liked it, Nishat can’t just stand by. Not only is it cultural appropriation, but it is also the very idea Nishat had.

The Henna Wars is a wonderful coming of age story, that navigates the complexities and difficulties of not only being a teen, but a queer POC. Nishat can be very stubborn, and she is full of angst, but rightfully so. I’ve seen reviews blaming her for that, but honestly? After all she’s been through, I totally understand, and really admire her. The only thing that saddened me was the miscommunications with her best friends, but hey, it’s okay to be a teen and mess up.

Overall, this was a really great book. If you’re looking for new releases for pride month, then I’d really recommend this one! Nishat is really unapologetic about who she is — as she should be! — both as a queer teen, and as a woman of colour. She is proud of her culture and heritage. I loved her discussions with her grandma over Skype, about henna, and about her family. I absolutely loved her relationship with her sister. And of course, I have to admit that the romance aspect of the story was also really cute! Full of angst, but I loved it.


And finally, Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman was released in March, and was also a book I was highly anticipating because I absolutely loved the author’s previous works. I was surprised by the setting at first, but once again, was swept away by the story.

This one is possibly triggering if you have depression and/or anxiety.

Harley in the Sky is the story of a girl who runs away with the circus… But she actually rans away FROM the circus. Harley’s parents are the successful owners of a circus in Las Vegas, but want their daughter to go to college. Except she wants to be an aerialist. So since her parents won’t give her the opportunity to train, she takes off with Maison du Mystère, a rival circus whose ringmaster has questionable morals.

The romance aspect of the story was hella predictable, but it was also super cute so I’m not complaining. What I didn’t expect was how it delved into mental health and mental illness — although having read Akemi Dawn Bowman’s previous works, I should have seen it coming. Although it is never explicitely stated, it is pretty clear that Harley has OCD, or at least, something very similar to it. And I really liked how it was dealt with throughout the  book. As usual with the author, the mental health rep is SO ON POINT.

Just like The Henna Wars, it’s a book about how teens can mess up, but also how it’s okay to mess up, as long as we work on fixing our mistakes. I thought that this book was very powerful, and I could barely put it down so of course, I’d definitely recommend it. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit different, if you have ever considered running away with the circus (I know I have!) then Harley in the Sky is definitely the thing for you! And if you’re looking for more queer reads for pride month, then you should go check out Akemi Dawn Bowman’s previous book Summer Bird Blue which has amazing ace rep!


And that’s it for today! This has been my segment where I talk about books with queer and mental health rep, because both are deeply personal to me. That being said, I also just fell in love with Elizabeth Acedevo’s latest release Clap When You Land which is a book about two teenage girls who just lost their dad in a plane crash. As usual, I’m trying to read more and more diverse reads. And of course, that does not only include queer books (although I do love them with all my heart!) I’m also trying to read books with POC protagonists, and support Black authors more than ever. And I’ll try to have it show on my blog, so hopefully I can get my words together to write a review for this one, because it’s definitely making it to the top best books I have read this year!

The Fever: Rant Review

I bought The Fever by Megan Abbott at Festival America in Paris back in 2016, right before I moved to Berlin. Now that I think about it, and considering where I bought it, I should have figured that I wouldn’t be able to relate, because I would end up finding it too American. But anyway. Maybe this also has to do with how my taste has evolved when it comes to reading.

If you liked this book, be prepared, I’m going to complain a lot, and criticize it. You don’t have to read. Now you have been warned!

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Title: The Fever
Author: Megan Abbott
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release: 2014
My rating: ⭐⭐

The story:

A small town turns to chaos as girls start having seizures at school, and people attempt to find out what caused the sickness. Throughout the book, we follow the points of view of Tom, a popular teacher at school, as well as his two teenagers Eli, who is a popular hockey player, and Deenie, whose friends have gotten mysteriously sick.

My thoughts:

I don’t make a habit of talking too much about books I didn’t like. I’d rather talk about those I enjoyed, and share the love, rather than complain. But I’ll make an exception for today because I really have to get this off my chest, and it’s been a while since I was THIS ANNOYED with a book. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I didn’t give it only one star was because I didn’t have the heart to. And the writing was actually good, unlike the story.

The Fever is supposedly a mystery/thriller kind of book about “bad girls” but honestly, I didn’t see it. I know it has received a lot of praise, and the blurb on the back of the book made it seem really catchy, but it just didn’t work for me. The story WAS intriguing and I kept reading until the end (with diffuculty) because I really wanted to see the cause or the culprit or whatnot, but even that was underwhelming.

Off topic, but if you want to read a YA contemporary about “bad girls” instead, I can totally recommend See all the Stars by Kit Frick instead. The mystery aspect of it was more interesting, and the characters more complex! In my humble opinion at least. But back to business.

First of all, let me get this out of the way because it’s probably the thing that annoyed me the most: throughout a huge chunk of the book, we see people arguing that the mysterious seizures have been caused by a vaccine. The amount of antivax talk I had to go through with this book was INSANE and just made me want to throw the book across the room. This kind of thinking is HELLA TOXIC and if this is something that triggers you in any way, then please stay away from this book. I know it made me super uncomfortable.

On top of the insane antivaxxers that constantly pop up, there is also some mysterious talk about the lake of the town. Apparently the waters are weird, and it ended up not playing a part in the book, and I was confused.

Overall, there was a lot of talk about sex, and a lot of lying, and a lot of hiding the truth from people who were supposed to be your best friends. This book took the whole concept of it’s okay to mess up when you are in high school to a whole new level that I was absolutely not invested in. I guess this was my mistake. I was hoping I would find great family support and/or a sense of sorority among the group of girls. I don’t know, anything that would make me root for them. But it just didn’t happen. Instead, we got girls hating on each other, and trying to put each other down, and I ain’t got no time for this. We stan girls who support each other. The rest is a result of patriarchy and we have to break the cycle.

Another thing I heard this book compared to was the Salem Witch Trials, and considering people spend at least half of the book arguing that those seizures have been caused by a vaccine, yeah, you see where I’m going with this: there was no such thing as a witch trial. I was expecting people to be accused, girls trying to protect each other because they were innocent… I got none of this and once again, I was disappointed as well as thoroughly underwhelmed.

Finally (and once again, this is just personal) this book had a very strong “small American town” vibe that was utterly foreign to me. I remember noticing this in other YA book like This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp for example, and lots of other YA contemporaries that take place in small towns where everybody knows everybody. And usually I don’t really mind. I can’t relate, but I don’t mind. But in The Fever it just sounded too fake and unrealistic. All the school assemblies and whatnot. I don’t know, it just didn’t click right this time. But hey, I still managed to finish the book. And now I’m going to donate it because I need more shelf space.

In conclusion, if you want to read a book with strong female characters going through some shit, read Wilder Girls by Rory Power instead. It also has a weird epidemy that appeared because of unknown reasons, but it’s more mysterious, and has an (almost) all girls cast as it’s set up in an all-girls school that is stuck in quarantine. It has girls standing up for each other, it was much more interesting, and I loved it. Also it’s super sapphic and that’s always a bonus ♥ Basically, they had some ground topics in common, and Wilder Girls handled it much better than The Fever. (Again, that’s only my personal opinion, but if you haven’t read Wilder Girls, I’d definitely recommend it!)

And that’s enough complaining for today! Thank you so much for reading this far, and I hope you have a wonderful day ♥

Wilder Girls: My Review

I hesitated as to whether or not I should pick up this book, but I’m glad I did! It’s so different from anything I’ve ever read, and I was worried about the whole gore situation but I didn’t actually mind. I have to confess I haven’t actually read Lord of the Flies for that very reason (okay, I don’t know much about it anyway, but I have more often than not been disappointed by classics, which is also why I’m afraid to give it a try). But when I heard that Wilder Girls was a genderbent, feminist retelling of the classic, it suddenly was right up my alley. On top of it, I’m always looking for sapphic book recommendations, and here I am, I have now read it.

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Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: YA Horror
Release: 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

TW: violence, death, body gore, suicide

The plot:

Blurbed as a feminist, genderbent retelling of Lord of the FliesWilder Girls starts eighteen month after an epidemy, the Tox, took root on the island of Raxter. The only residents are an all-girls school, and all of them are either affected or dead. The whole island is in quarantine, only receiving food from the outside world who promised they were looking for a cure.

Month after month, the bodies of the girls are transforming, and they go through horrible seizures.

When her best friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to help. Even if that means going out of the school, into the forrest. But the girls are not the only ones affected by the Tox, the animals and the forrest iself are more dangerous than ever, and Hetty just might discover more than anything she could have expected…

My thoughts:

First things first, how absolutely gorgeous is that book cover? I love it. It is both disturbing and fascinating, and the last reason why I wanted to pick up this book. The other reasons being, as I mentioned before, the fact that it was a genderbent retelling of The Lord of the Flies aka a huis-clos following a bunch of girls stuck on an island and trying to survive. And the fact that, you know, I wanted to read a good original sapphic book. What can I say? None of these aspects did disappoint. And although I am slightly horrified, I am really glad I decided to give this book a try.

The story is overall a bit slow-paced, but I didn’t mind. Little by little, we as reader get to know how we got there, and what happened in the 18 month preceding the start of the book. As the characters are mostly in the dark about things, it still remains mysterious and scary through most of the book. But the pieces do come together. The book was intriguing at first, and quickly became enthralling.

The narration is divided between Hetty and Byatt, separated, as they both discover several aspects of the Tox and how it came to be. The story is full of suspense and secrets until the very end. I also really liked how it navigated the girls’ past, how they became friends, as well as their much horrible present. It’s a story about surival despite all odds. I want to say it’s inspiring, but that probably wouldn’t be the most appropriate term. What is for sure is that Hetty and Reese are some of the strongest characters I have ever read about, and I absolutely admire them.

And finally, what can I say, I absolutely loved the slow burn of Hetty and Reese’s relationship. I am so weak for the trope of one character saying I don’t want to be your friend and the other character understands it as I don’t like you when the first one ACTUALLY MEANT I want to kiss you. It is so EXTRA but also works every single time. And kudos to my girl Hetty for mentioning very early in the book that she has always been attracted to both boys and girls although she has never really been in a relationship. That made my bi heart a little fuzzy and I am here for it.

The end of the book was rather open which I didn’t really expect but I liked it. Most of our questions were answered which I didn’t see happening until the very last minute, so props for that. And although I haven’t mentioned them yet, I also really liked all the side characters like Carson and Julia. Welch and the headmistress were also more complex than they seemed at first, and I liked that. Overall, this book shows a large variety of girls and I want to protect them all from the world, both the one they live in, and the one we do! Rory Power really created a masterpiece.

Crier’s War | This Is How You Lose the Time War

I’m starting to really enjoy the whole “I’m talking about two books in one post” thing, so I decided to do that again. Of course, I’m talking about books that have something in common. Something else that just I really like them. Overall, it’s probably mostly going to be books that deal with mental illness, or books with asexual characters. But today, I’m going to talk about something else: I’m here with two science-fiction (ish? are they actually fantasy) sapphic novels, and incidentally, two of my recent reads I fell in love with.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela (2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This Is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Disclaimer: While Crier’s War is definitely YA, This Is How You Lose the Time War isn’t, and doesn’t necessarily target the same audience, and while I did notice that they had quite a few things in common, I just wanted to point that out, because it probably won’t appeal to younger readers as much as it did to me.


Crier’s War had been on my TBR ever since I received it in the October Owlcrate, and like many books on my TBR (this is a recurrent topic these days, and I know it) it had to wait until the confinement for me to actually pick it up, although I was really excited by the concept. And now that I have actually read it, September and the sequel cannot come fast enough.

Crier’s War is set in what seems to be a far future, but could also be an alternate timeline, where the world is divided between Humans and Automae, the latter being people who are not born but Made, who are stronger and more beautiful, and who have since they first appeared, gained power, and started ruling over humans. Lady Crier is a powerful Automae heiress, who is hoping she can built a better world. Ayla is a servant at the palace, and secretly part of a revolution to get rid off Automae authority. Through a series of events, she saves Crier’s life when she meant to kill her, and becomes part of her close entourage. While using it as an excuse to serve the revolution, she soon realises that they are attracted to each other…

I loved this book and the relationship between Ayla and Crier. I am a huge fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, so of course, I was bound to enjoy it. If you consider the fact that Crier and Ayla are not the same Kind (I’m pretty sure that’s the termination used in the book, to make the difference between those who are born and those who are Made) and considering in the setting of the book, it automatically makes them enemies because apparently one Kind has to serve the other, the book has a bit of a Romeo & Juliet vibe which I loved. It is also a forbidden love because Crier is a rich lady and Ayla is her maid, which is also a soft trope™️ which is my guilty pleasure. On top of that, you can add A LOT of mutual pining (yet another one of my favourite tropes) and there you have it.

There’s also some shady stuff going on involving Crier’s fiancé, Ayla’s long lost family, and a revolution, which of course contributed to make the book amazing. If you haven’t grasped that already, I really enjoyed it and I’m starting to wonder why I gave it four and not five stars. It’s a very good sci-fi / dystopia-ish / fantasy-ish book — the perfect blend just like I like it. I’m also left with many question, and I cannot wait for the sequel!

That being said, I’m so glad I found ANOTHER sci-fi book I absolutely loved. Of course I’m talking about This Is How You Lose the Time War. If you like mutual pining, then you will be fed with this one. If also has a top quality enemy-to-lovers relationship, as Red and Blue are part of enemy factions trying to control the timeline, and met for the first time on the battlefield. Apart from it having my favourite tropes, including the slowest burn of them all, the fact that Blue and Red exchange secret letters AND spread them throughout the different timelines, and the fact that they would DIE for each other, what I LOVED THE MOST about this book is the writing.

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*inserting gif of one of my favourite time-travelers, credit here*

Honestly, I think this is the most beautifully written book I have read in a long time. I had to put it down quite a few times just to swoon. And to write down some quotes. Obsessively.

“I have observed friendships as one observes high holy days: breathtakingly short, whirlwinds of intimate endeavour frenzied carousing, the sharing of food, of wine, of honey.”

The WORDS. The writing style. They made me feel things. It was an incredibly beautiful book, in ways I didn’t expect. And the way Blue and Red would declare their love to one another just made me go all soft deep inside. This book was brilliant. Let me just add one more quote.

“As each letter unfolds inside her mind, she frames it in the palace of her memory. She webs words to cobalt and lapis, she weds them to the robes of Mary in San Marco frescoes, to paint on porcelain, to the color incide a glacier crack. She will not let her go.”

Basically what I’m trying to say is, I didn’t know words could be that beautiful. I’m a huge fan of time-travel stories and this book had a bit of a Doctor Who / Timeless / Passenger vibe (the last two because of the two factions working against one another, and DW just for the hell of it). And while I love them, I often find the concept a bit difficult to grasp in some parts. And yes, it was the case here, but the writing style made up for it one thousand percent. This book was BEAUTIFUL. It was unnecessarily beautiful, and yet I’m grateful for all the emotions it made me feel. It did take me a while to get into the story, but the more I read, the more it got to me, the more beautiful it became. And while the book was not very long, it was intense in its own way, and I was swiftly swept away. I too want a timeless girlfriend who leaves me secret letters into the tea leaves of a fancy London café in the 19th century.

I am only now noticing the fact that both titles include the word “war” which should have given away the possibility of both of them having enemies-to-lovers relationships, and is yet another thing that they had in common. Anyway, I loved them both, and I hope you will too.


That’s it for today, thank you so much for reading, and as for the future I’m hoping to find more of those books I’ll fall in love with!

Love From A to Z: My Review

I said I wanted to write more blog posts, and I will. Last summer, as I was browsing English bookstores in Paris with a friend, I had of course decided that I would not buy any book because I had enough at home, I stumbled upon Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali, and I caved in and decided to buy it for three reasons: it’s a stunning, hardcover edition, I’d read her previous book Saints and Misfits and really enjoyed it, and this particular book was ALREADY on my TBR and I knew that would read it eventually (that’s sort of a lame excuse, I know, but I bought the book anyway). As soon as I got home, it ended up in one of my multiple book piles (the priviledged one right by my nightstand, not the ones by my bookshelf), I mentioned at least twice on this blog that I wanted to read it, but it took a whole month of confinement for me to actually pick it up. And boy am I glad that I finally did.

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Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S. K. Ali
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release: 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

TW: This book deals with Islamophobia

Before I go any further into this blog post, let me add that I loved this book from the beginning to the end, and it has made it to my list of top favourite books I have read this year. So far, the list also contains Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman, Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, and Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee. For some reason, they are all contemporaries (probably because the relatable weighs a lot in my liking a book) but we shall see if the rest of the year keeps it that way or not! (And maybe because the world looks like a dystopia right now, I will carry on with my contemporary books and be envious of book characters who get to go out with their friends, but that’s a whole other topic…)

To sum it up:

After getting suspended from school because she confronted a teacher who keeps targetting her faith, Zayneb is sent to Doha, Qatar, by her parents, so she can stay with her aunt and get an early start to Spring break. Unexpectedly, her path crosses Adam’s.

Adam was attending college in London, where he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last fall. He stopped attending classes, and instead decided to create things. Something he’s always loved doing, and something that helps keep the memory of his mother alive. He is very intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret, especially from his father. And then he meets Zayneb.

“I wanted to get to know one person more than I’d ever wanted to get to know any other person in the entire world.”

My thoughts:

This is not a love at first sight. This is the story of people who keep meeting, and each time confirms the fact that they could belong together. This is a story about getting to know one another. Adam and Zayneb have a lot in common, starting with the fact that they are both Muslim, which is closely followed by the journal of marvels and oddities they both keep, which was a very clever way of setting up the narration.

Love from A to Z is a beautiful book. It’s a rather quick and easy read — I read it in 24 hours, but maybe that was because I desperately wanted to know what would happen next. The chapters altern between Adam’s and Zayneb’s POV. Zayneb shares a lot of oddities: she is angry at the world for all it puts her through. The microagressions. Her islamophobic teacher who just won’t let it go. The school who is investigating her activist friends. The woman on the plane who asked to switch seats. The man at the pool who called security on her because she “wasn’t wearing proper swimwear”. But she is also full of love for her friends and her family. Hard-working and unable to bear injustice, she is a very inspiring character. Adam on the other hand is calm. While Zayneb strives for justice, he strives for peace. That’s the very reason why he became a Muslim at the age eleven. He has been through a lot but that doesn’t keep him from admiring what he sees in the world. He looks at the sky a lot, and shares marvels in his journal. He is an extremely kind and overall beautiful human being, but he is also dealing alone (at the beginning of the story at least) with multiple sclerosis, the illness who killed his mother, which is why he is scared of telling his father.

There is a lot of side-characters, starting with Adam’s friends who also all returned to Doha from Spring break, and who quickly adopt Zayneb as one of them, and of course, her friends back in the US. I really loved the relationship between Zayneb and her aunt, and of course, Adam’s little sister Hanna.

Love from A to Z is also a book that deals with grief. Six months before the story started, Zayneb lost her grandmother who was attending a wedding in Pakistan. The circumstances of her passing away are unclear, and Zayneb’s parents are trying to figure out what happened. And then we have Adam’s mom. He shared some cherished memories with her (which teared me up) and has to be strong for his father because the anniversary of her passing away is coming up. So yes, it’s a book that deals with hard topics on many different levels, but it does it in a way that is both human and beautiful. The characters experience grief, anger, being powerless and more. I had to put it down a few times to deal with the tears. But that only made me like it more.

Love from A to Z will hit you with some hard truths about the world. Things are not always easy. There are oddities, but there are also so many wonders, like this book, which is absolutely beautiful.

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In conclusion, if you haven’t read this book yet, I most highly recommend it. As for me, I’m wondering if I should reread Saints and Misfits because I can’t for the life of me remember how it ended. Anyway, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day!

Eliza ans her Monsters | Summer Bird Blue

And on how I’m finding new favourite books ❤

This post is a sort of sequel to a previous one where I talked about books with an asexual MC, and how I wanted to read more books with similar thematics. In my previous post, I talked about Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann, and Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, which has so far made it to the top books I have read and will have read in 2020 (40-ish books so far) along with the books I’m going to talk about today. With time, and reading experience, the way I relate to characters has become more and more precise. Anxiety often plays a big role, and for example Fangirl will always be a favourite. But now? Give me depictions of thought spiraling process, like in A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, which is an all-time favourite, or of course, in Turtles All The Way Down by John Gree. Give me a MC who questions their sexuality — bonus points if it’s asexuality. Give me a deep existential crisis. And well, I have found some, and they have become instant favourites.

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (2017) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman (2018) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
[TW: death]

I had heard many great things about Eliza and her Monsters, and to be honest, the reason I didn’t check it out sooner is because I was worried that it was completely overrated. Well, I was wrong. It was worth all the praise — and more. (Now is the moment I realise that I waited too long after finishing the book to write this article, but anyway.)

Eliza leads a double life. At school, she is average, invisible. She is just trying to get through high school before finally graduating. But online, she is the famous author of an extremely popular webcomic. No one knows of her real identity. But things get complicated when she meets Wallace, a new student at her school, who just so happens to write fanfictions for her very own webcomic…

While I am not sure it is ever stated in the book that Eliza has anxiety, she does have panic attacks, which hello, is extremely relatable. (I’m not counting the number of times I ended up in the nurse’s office in high school because I was sobbing uncontrollably…) She’s been through a lot psychologically, and I’m weak for characters like her. Who are creative and find solace in online content and online friendships.

I also LOVED her relationship with Wallace. While the whole romance aspect of the story was cute and adorable, I also loved that they could understand each other, and agreed to take it slow, so that both of them were at ease. I also really loved that Eliza didn’t get better because of a boy because that’s cliché YA romance (although I have to admit, most authors know better by know). She got better because she got help. Because her family finally supported her. Because she took matters into her own hands. She is such a strong character, and I loved that.

Your own mental health > Romance. And also, friendships are super important. This is what I took from this book. And while I’m talking about that, if you liked Eliza and her Monsters, do yourself a favour and check out Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman! It’s a book with an artist as a main character, who also deals with her own issues, and I thought it had a similar message which I LOVED!

As for the other book I wanted to talk about today, Summer Bird Blue, I was worried that Starfish had set the bar too high, and that I was wound to end up disappointed, but I actually liked it even more. It broke my heart even more, and i related even more, which are basically my main criteria when it comes to liking a book. I like to suffer, and this book was brilliant.

Summer Bird Blue is a stunning book about loss and grief. That’s not a spoiler, the main characters, Rumi, loses her sister in the very beginning of the book. Her mother, who doesn’t know how to cope, sends her for the summer to live with her aunt in Hawaii. She barely knows her, and feels abandoned by her mother at the worst moment of her life. The book deals with Rumi’s relationship to music: music was something she created with her sister, and now that Lea isn’t here anymore, she doesn’t know if she can do it anymore. Through the book, she will have to rebuild herself.

One of the things I took from this book was an idea that also is one of my favourite SKAM quotes: people need people. We can’t and shouldn’t suffer on our own. Communication is important. It feels good to have someone who will lend you their shoulder to cry on. Friends are hella important. (Have I said that already? I’m saying it again.)

And of course, the asexual rep was on point. Rumi has known for a while that she probably was asexual (or at least, on the ace spectrum). She thinks she might be aromantic as well. And she also doesn’t want to be defined by labels, especially as she is still figuring things out. Through flashbacks, we see her searching for herself. And maybe she doesn’t have all the answers, but she’s on a journey to understanding herself better, and I thought that was beautiful. You can be ace and still find people attractive. (Her attraction to Kai reminded me a lot of Alice’s cutie code in Let’s Talk About Love!)

In conclusion, I completely fell in love with this book. As I like to say, it completely broke me, but it was worth it.

Other diverse YA contemporaries I have really enjoyed recentlyOpposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds, Frankly in Love by David Yoon and American Panda by Gloria Chao.

Next on my reading quest for more books with asexual charactersEvery Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight: My Review

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I received this book thanks to my work, as it has just been translated to French. The release was originally planned for April, but was pushed to June thanks to covid-19 and confinement and bookstores being, you know, closed. I’m actually starting to miss work so I hope we see the end of this soon. Anyway. This book was originally published in August 2019. I have some thoughts and I wanted to share them.

Title: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight
Authors: Gilly Segal & Kimberly Jones
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release: 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

The story:

Lena and Campbell have nothing in common, except for the fact that they both attend the same school — and end up, together, at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Lena hangs out with the popular kids and the hip-hop dancers. She loves fashion. She just came to the game to cheer on her friends, and hang out with her boyfriend later that night.

Campbell just transferred schools to live with her dad after her mom had to move to Venezuela for work. She’s selling hotdogs and cola during the game because her professor desperately needed help, and wants her to make some friends.

But in the midst of the game, a fight between a Black and a White kid turns to racial riots. The city is on fire, and the two girls are thrust together by fate with one objective in mind: survive, and get to safety…

My opinion:

To be perfectly honest, I was really excited about this book. I feel like I don’t read enough books on topics like Black Lives Matter, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to fix that. If I wanted to describe it, I would say it features some of the concept used by books like This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp or Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau, meaning that the book only takes place in the very short time span of one night. And of course, the events are very intense/violent. Mix that with police brutality such as presented in, of course THUG by the one and only Angie Thomas, or Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and finally race issues and riots such as presented in Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap. And with that magical blend, I think we covered most of the elements of this book. (Now is the time where I ask you to recommend me similar books because I am here for them! Also I’m really excited about Nic Stone’s upcoming release Dear Justyce.)

So I think we have covered the fact that I had high expectations for this book. And while it was great, I feel like it could have been more. I really liked the dynamic between Campbell and Lena. While Campbell doesn’t come from a rich family, she has been really sheltered when it comes to violence and racial issues. But she is a good person, and we can see some character development through the story, which was nice. She can be passionate, and stand for what she believes in. Lena on the other hand hasn’t been sheltered. She seems to be living alone with her grandpa, and knows what she wants in life. She doesn’t take shit from anyone, and it was really easy to see and feel things through her perspective. (Basically, except when it comes to her boyfriend, she’s right.)

The story alterns between both of their perspectives very fluidly, however, I felt that it was lacking in some parts. Some things were really brushed over. I liked the fact that the book was short, but at the same time I also think that some things would have been better if developed a little more. Two come to my mind: the past event with the other school where some players did a blackface — it’s referenced quite a few times in the beginning, and not really explained, then forgotten — and secondly, the character of Marcus, Lena’s cousin, who could also have been presented with more depth in my opinion.

Overall, I feel like this book had good intentions when it came to the topic it wanted to deal with, but it only covered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to race issues, and that’s a pity. It was a nice, short book, but I believe that it could have been more!

Eve of Man: My Review

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I have finished this book earlier this month and I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole concept, so I figured I might as well write a review about it, to just talk and share my thoughts! (To be fairly honest, I was planning on making this article right away, but it just didn’t happen, so here we go.)

Title: Eve of Man
Authors: Giovanna and Tom Fletcher
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Release: 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Warning: May contain spoilers!

The story:

Basically, Eve of Man is a YA dystopia about a girl called Eve, who is the first girl to be born in 50 years. Raised apart from everyone else (among women who at this point of the story are all about 70) she is the only hope that the human race has to survive. She feels like she doesn’t have much of a choice. Until she meets Bram by accident. Until things are unveiled, and she realises… Is humanity worth saving after all? I guess that’s a question for the sequel…

My thoughts:

Before I delve any further into my ramble, I just wanted to point out that I read this book mainly because I got an ARC upon the French release (which was beginning of February) and I have to admit it got me really curious. And in addition to that, it’s also a fairly recent release and I like reading books that were released recently because it somehow makes me feel like I have it together so there’s that… ANYWAY.

While I did like the concept, I feel like I still had too many questions to fully understand it. I know, I know, I could have just accepted the whole thing — and I did. Okay, she was the first girl to be born in 50 years. But how is she supposed to repopulate the Earth ALL BY HERSELF? She can’t be the only mother, we all know that is not going to work. That never really made sense to me. Although some things were explained LATE in the book in terms of scientific experiments (which were to be expected although a sheltered Eve would not have seen it coming) I was still relatively skeptic.

A high fantasy with magical creatures? Yes of course, I can picture that. A world where a girl hasn’t been born for 50 years? Sorry, I don’t buy it. I guess that’s my bad. I feel like I was catapulted into this universe without enough world building. The information arrived too late into the book. (Or maybe I have become too picky when it comes to YA dystopia…)

I don’t know, this book left me frustrated, and I just wanted to put it out there. So here goes. Have you read Eve of Man as well? If you have, please feel free to share your thoughts with me, I would love to discuss it! Will I pick up the sequel? Probably at some point, because I have to admit that I am still really curious as to what will happen next. I feel like maybe the first book was too slow, although the concept definitely has potential!

I am also very curious to see how they will develop the concept of Eve being attracted to Bram fully knowing that he is Holly, and also being attracted to Holly when she knows that he is a part of her? I don’t know, that was weird and at the same time gave me strong bisexual vibes (but maybe I’m the only one) which is ironic considering that Eve is, after all, the last woman on Earth. But I’m rambling, and I shall see what happens in the future when the next book is released!

Overall, I was not entirely sold on this book, but I’m still curious as to what will happen next. There you have it.

Let’s Talk About Love | Tash Hearts Tolstoy

… and on how I need more books like these!

I have to admit, both of these books had been on my TBR for quite some time. The time has come, and I am so glad that I did finally read them. I feel like these books have healed me just a little bit, and I need more like these.

I need all the books with ace, and also aro characters. I need books without romance. I NEED BOOKS ABOUT FRIENDHIPS. Friendships are so important. Not being in a relationship when you are in your twenties needs to be normalized. Not everyone is in a relationship when they are in high school for heaven’s sake! Aaand I feel like I am already getting off track. Because there’s another thing that these books help normalize: yes people can be in a relationship without sex. People can fall in love and not want sex. And also, while I’m at it, you don’t need to be in a relationship to feel whole. Because that too, is important.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (2018) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (2017) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Let’s Talk About Love is the story of Alice. Her girlfriend just broke up with her because Alice doesn’t like sex. She moves in with her two best friends, and plans on spending her summer working at the library. That is until she meets Takumi. A never-seen-before code black in her cutie code. Alice has to navigate college and friendships and feelings, in a very relatable way that also includes my favourite kdrama trope aka taking care of your crush when they are sick. I read this one at the end of 2019 and it is, for sure, a book I won’t forget any time soon. Alice is biromantic and asexual and it feels so good to read about characters who share a bit of my experience, who navigate life and ways similar to how I live. It’s just so heartwarming.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy I wanted to read because the main character was ace, but also mostly because she was making a youtube series that was a retelling of Anna Karenina! Because come on, that’s awesome. This book deals with fame on social networks, and friendhips and family, and figuring yourself out. It’s a perfect coming of age story, with just the right amount of cliché, and I’m pretty sure it’s on its way to become one of my favourite reads of 2020. I fell hard for this book. I loved how Tash was trying to figure out herself on forums, and through quizzes on the internet. Because who hasn’t done that? That’s exactly the representation I needed.

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I can’t get enough of YA characters still figuring out things about themselves. What they want to do with their lives. Their interests. Their future. Their sexuality. What they want in life. I’m 24 and I still haven’t my shit figured out. Nothing is set in stone, we’re just winging in as we go! And I think that’s why those books rang so true to me.

So yeah, this was a ramble, but all you need to know is: those books are amazing, and I’m so glad I read them. They are precious, and I hope more people find comfort in them. And with that being said, please feel free to recommend me other books that sound similar, and of course, have a wonderful day ♥

Aurora Rising: My Review

I’m delighted to see that 2020 means I get to explore some of the 2019 releases I didn’t get to check out; and maybe that means I won’t get to die under the weight of my over-the-top TBR? Who knows. In the meantime, this is also my first review of the year so let’s rejoice!

Title: Aurora Rising
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Release: 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The plot:

A mismatched crew is sent on a meaningless mission, which turns out to be way different than what they were expecting. Accompanied by a girl who just woke up from a 200 years cryosleep, it also seems suddenly that the intergalactic stability is at stake. Will they rise to the occasion?

My thoughts:

Think Six of Crows meets Star Wars with a crew similar to that of The Gilded Wolves — basically an impossible heist IN SPACE with some unpredictable powers on top of that. All things I love. Of course I had to check it out.

I have to admit, some of the character descriptions made me cringe in the very beginning (which may also come from the translation as I read it in French) and I was worried that I would have to give up on the book altogether. It is, after all, about 500 pages long. But that feeling quickly went away and I devoured it. Once again, I fell for the gang of outcasts who quickly become a family, and will follow one another to the end of the galaxy… Quite literally when it comes to Aurora Rising actually!

The characters in general are a bit predictable, but the general plot managed to surprise me, so I’m quite happy about that. I have to confess that I haven’t read Illuminae (it’s not that I don’t want to, I just didn’t get the chance!) and Aurora Rising got me really curious as to what another Kristoff/Kaufman combination would look like! I am and will always be a fan of SFF it would seem, and this read just confirmed it yet again.

My only regret (apart from the momentary cringe in the beginning) was the fact that on several occasions I felt like I was rereading the plots of stories I already knew, combined together. It did give a strong Six of Crows vibe by combining super righteous characters such as Matthias/Tyler with less conventional ones (Finn and Zila being know respectively for scorching down the labs and shooting their roommates) more similar to the Dregs from SoC. And the list goes one: heist turns into giant trip and bigger heist. And when you think you’ve done it, you see the bigger picture and the very conclusion that you are absolutely not done with this fight. For some reason, it also reminded me of French Fantasy books Tara Duncan, and I just couldn’t shake the feeling off. But you know what? It’s okay. The alchemy of the story worked for me, and it appears that I have fallen in love with yet another fictional world!

In conclusion, I didn’t know if I would pick up the sequel in the beginning (because it’s a thing I tend to do, reading the first book and never the rest of the series…) BUT I am left with so many questions concerning that universe, that I kind of need it right now, and I have hopes I will actually read it some day!