History Is All You Left Me: My Review

After reading They Both Die At The End I felt like I needed to cry some more and picked up another Adam Silvera book, and I did indeed cry some more but it was absolutely worth it!

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Release: 2017

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Warning: This book deals with OCD and grief and it can be triggering in my humble opinion.

The story:

History is all you left me follows high school senior Griffin, after his ex boyfriend Theo died. We don’t know how at first, but what we do know is that Theo promised Griffin he would never die. Theo was not only his ex, he was his first love, his best friend, and the first person he came out to. But no one seems to understand his loss, except for Jackson, Theo’s new boyfriend, who he always refused to meet. The story navigates between past and present, following the first days of Theo and Griffin’s romance until their breakup and the present day, where Griffin has to deal with his grief and his OCD, as well as everything in between.

My opinion:

Before I say anything else, I just wanted to put it out there: although a bit triggering, I though the mental health representation was absolutely fantastic in this book.

Now. This book, oh boy. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and moving at the same time. I think I liked it even more than They Both Die At The End because we see a lot of character developement, when it comes to Griffin or Theo, and also Wade and Jackson. There is a lot of build up, and the elements slowly come together to make a beautiful puzzle of human beings.

This book is precious. It depicts its character in a very human way. Theo and Griffin both made mistakes at some point in their relationship, but they cared for each other from the beginning to the end. I liked the fact that it showed teenagers, who are still growing and learning how to live, how to deal with breakup and grief, and what to do with your life. I thought the book dealt with it in a very truthful way.

History Is All You Left Me is a slow burn, the more I read it, the more I liked it and was amazed by it.  It’s slow paced, extremely well-written, and beautiful. You simply have to read it.

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They Both Die At The End: My Review

I heard so many great things about Adam Silvera and his books, but hadn’t read any of them yet before that. They Both Die At The End had actually been sitting in my kindle for quite some time, and I finally picked it up the the other day, as I was procrastinating in the library instead of working on a paper, or my thesis, or whatever I was supposed to do.

Genre: YA, Contemporary with a SciFi-ish twist

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Warning: Do not, I repeat, do not read this book in a public place. I tried reading it in the commute on my way to work, and I had to close it and hold back the tears.

Goodreads summary:

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

My opinion:

I absolutely LOVED the concept of this story. The whole Death Cast idea is brilliant and at least I knew I wouldn’t have a bad surprise at the end. I mean, I had been warned. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t cry on several occasions while reading this book, because I totally did.

To be honest, my biggest regret was that I felt it took too long for the story to really get started. I had to wait for the second half of the story to really be immersed into it.

Otherwise I really liked that we got a dual POV, following both Mateo and Rufus throughout the story. It was also interesting to get some other perspectives and see how stories could get intertwined. I think the whole book was really well executed. The characters were both realistic and endearing, and it was extremely moving.

We also have some solid friendships in this book, whether it’s Lidia or the Plutos. All we get is teenagers uplifiting one another, that’s strong, and that’s amazing. I want more characters like this, I want characters like these everywhere.

Overall, the book is quite a quite read, it’s well-written and very moving, it has a great concept and great characters, and I would definitely recommend it (with a box of tissues by your side).

ARC Tour: All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

all of this is true tour

First of all, huge thanks to Marie from Drizzle and Hurricane Books for organizing this tour and allowing me to participate, and of course, thanks to Lygia Day Peñaflor for sending us an ARC of her book!

Title: All Of This Is True
Author: Lygia Day Peñaflor
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Release date: May 15th
My rating: ★★★★☆

Before your start, be warned that this book deals with abuse and toxicity.

all of this is true

Goodreads summary:

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined…

My favourite quote:

“It’s funny, he thought, the reasons we don’t talk about something are because it’s either not important, or because it’s too important.”

My thoughts:

This book was absolutely unique, it was so different from anything else I’ve ever read, and yet, it’s all I could ever have dreamt about when it comes to a book. It is told through different media and perspectives, from radio interviews, to journal entires, to chapters of a fiction based from the lives of the characters. Just from that, I was sold. The format of the book was unique and brilliant, but it was not the only great thing amazing about it. This book follows a group of high schoolers as they befriend their favourite author, which would have been the greatest thing of their life if not for the fact that she completely inspired her next books from their stories and secrets. It deals with toxicity and I believe that’s something that definitely needs to be talked about today. Truth be told, I’ve never really read anything about it before, but this was definitely an important issue raised by the book, and it really made me think. I also thought that the characters were extremely well executed. They do really feel like teenagers. They make mistakes, they get jealous, they fall in love, and they get excited about the things they are passionate about. They are still growing up, and dealing with something that might change their lives forever. The characters felt so real, and that’s one of the many things I loved about this book.

The story was fascinating and endearing, I just couldn’t put the book down. And yes, I read it in one day. I just had to know what would happen next! And even though I found most of the plot twists predictable (either because they were predictable, or because I have a twisted mind, who knows) it was still greatly enjoyable, because I just wanted to know how the characters would react to them. And trust me I was not disappointed. This was a hell of a ride, but oh boy, it was worth it, and I would definitely recommend it, if only for the fantastic format.

Let me know your thoughts if you have read All of this is true, and feel free to recommend more books in the comments!

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Ready Player One: My Review

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I think I’ve been hearing about Ready Player One since I joined the bookstagram community, or almost. I heard time after time that this book was amazing, and never got around to reading it. But now that the movie is coming soon (it’s released in France at the end of March) I finally made up my mind to read it, and I don’t regret it one second.

Author: Ernest Cline
Release: 2011
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

The plot takes place in 2045 and centers around Wade Wyatts, a teenager who lives in a trailer pile with his aunt and a bunch of strangers. The only time Wade ever feels free is once he logs into the OASIS, the virtual reality that is now used by everyone to escape their sad surroundings, attend schools, go to party, and win points while completing quests. When the creator died, he left behind a will, consisting of a quest: hidden in the game is a special egg, and the one who finds it will inherit his fortune, as well as control over the OASIS. However, no one seems to be able to crack the code, until one day, Wade – who travels the OASIS under the name Parzival – cracks the first clue, and things go crazy. The only way to save the OASIS seems to be for him to find the egg, but people want to get in his way, and it’s not as easy as it may have seen…

My opinion:

I honestly don’t know why I didn’t pick up this book sooner, because it was worth all the praise. It’s unlike anything else I have read, and the more I read, the more I realised how much virtual reality worlds and fictions about it are amazing and fascinating. This book is unique and brilliant, I would really recommend it to everyone, and I hope the movie won’t let me down.

While reading Ready Player One I thought a lot about why the main character is the one who finds the first clue, the one who is poor but incredibly smart, has a lot of culture and so on. This has a very simple answer: if the narrator or main character was a random character who barely found any clue, and didn’t solve the quest, why would anyone read the book, even if it would be easier to relate to? That makes some of the parts of the book slightly predictable, like, of cours Wade is going to find the first clue, but then again, he is not going to find everything first because in that case, it would be too obvious and predictable.

Then again, Wade/Parzival still has to do some incredibly reckless shit, and be a hero in the end. Then again, the book still managed to maintain great twists, which is something I really appreciated. It keeps some great suspense as to the identity of some of the characters secret until the very end, and I really loved the big revelations at the end. This book knows when to be funny or ruthless, knows when to make its reader wait, and when the wait has to end. It has a good pace, and a great writing style. I was worried that I would find it overrated, but I clearly did not and join my voice to the chorus that is praising Ready Player One.

Similar recommendations:

Warcross by Marie Lu (which I though I had reviewed, but apparently no)

Thoughts on the Blackheath Duology

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I absolutely love books about witches, but I have to admit I don’t read enough of them. I read a few books by Gabriella Lepore, and really enjoyed them, and now I finally picked up some of her work again, and I’m truly glad I did. This duology had been on my TBR for quite some time, and actually the first book also had been on my kindle for a while, but I only just now took the time to read it, and I don’t regret it. I am so busy with work and classes and my thesis these days, it is nice to have some lighter reads as well.

Book 1: Blackheath
Book 2: Blackheath Resurrection
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Oftomes Publication
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Maggie is an orphan who lives in the small town of Blackheath, sharing a room in a dorm with her best friend Isla. Blackheath seems to be a pretty boring town, and all Maggie ever has to worry about is being on time in class (and maybe her crush on Joel  Tomlinson, who used to be her best friend… Not that she’ll admit it to anyone.)

Suddenly, a new boys shows up at school, and everyone seems to be enticed with him. Except Maggie. Who suddenly finds herself spending more and more time with Joel, after accusing him of being a witch – which he actually is – in front of the entire class.

My opinion:

My apologies for the very bad summary, I didn’t want to give too much away.

Overall the story is simple, but since managed to surprise me in some great ways. It has magic, and well-developed romance. It also deals with the issues of family and friends which is something I always enjoy in books. It’s well-written and it’s a quick read, so I would definitely recommend it.

The duology is told through two different point of views – Joel and Maggie – which really complete each really well in my opinion, and give the reader a broader view on the story. The plot also contains a “chosen one” trope however I absolutely loved how it was dealt with. It seems typical at first (because you know, it’s a trope we have seen pretty much everywhere from Harry Potter to Percy Jackson) but for starters, the story doesn’t evolve about the chosen one which is an interesting twist, and it also shows that family is valuable even more than chosen ones, however messed up your family can be.

Blackheath and its sequel also contains a very interesting redemption arc which surprised me in the best possible way, and great twists until the end. It was definitely an enjoyable read. As soon as I finished the first book, I knew I had to dive into the second one as soon as I could!

As it seems, I am not able to make a proper review these days, so I will just stop there. If you have read this book, I would love to discuss it in the comments!

Turtles All The Way Down: My Review

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Don’t give up on me just yet, I’m still trying to post on here from time to time, and today I am here with a book review! I have read all the John Green books and really enjoyed them, so of course I was really anticipating his new book Turtles all the way down. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect because I grew a lot since his previous releases, and I wasn’t sure I would like this one quite as much. However, when I learnt that it was going to deal with mental illness, I knew I had to pick it up.

Title: Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green
Release: October 2017
Genre: YA, Mystery
My rating: ★★★★★

What the book is about:

The main character, Aza, deals with OCD and doesn’t know how to get out of her spirals of thoughts. When millionaire Russell Pickett disappears, leaving his two sons and his tuatara behind in his mansion, Aza’s best friend decides that they have to reconnect with Davis, Russell’s oldest son who used to be friend with Aza, and the two girls try to pierce the mystery of his disappearance.

My thoughts:

Honestly, the story didn’t sound like much, but I did love the book.

The first thing I noticed is how much John Green’s style has matured, and I’m so glad it has. The book is extremely well-written, and therefore really enjoyable to read.

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I also liked how it dealt with money issues. Aza lives alone with her mom, after her father died in an accident, but they do have money.  However, her best friend Daisy comes from a family with several kids, works a part-time job and is worried about her college fund, so when the reward is announced for any information concerning Pickett’s disappearance, she wants to go for it. But not just for fun, she wants to use the money to go to college. Now that’s an issue I’m not really familiar with, on the one hand because college education isn’t that expensive in my country, and on the other hand because it has never really been an issue with my family. However, I know it’s a problem for a lot of people, and it’s unfortunately something I don’t get to see a lot in books, so I’m glad John Green decided to address it here.

And of course, I loved the mental illness aspect of the book. What makes it powerful in my opinion is the fact that John Green also has OCD, and it’s the first time he addressed this very important issue in a book. No wonder it took him so long to publish a new story. And I’m so glad he decided to write it. I don’t have OCD but I do have depression and anxiety, and you have no idea how much I could recognize myself in Aza’s spirals of thoughts. And it feels to good to be able to read such a relatable character.

I definitely appreciate that we didn’t get a “love saves it all” ending because falling in love doesn’t cure mental illness, and I will never say that enough. I think the romance aspect of the story was well-executed and very realistic. Turtles all the way down feels like a coming of age story, and more than this, it feels like my kind of coming of age stories, and we need more books like this.

In addition, and this is something I like more and more in books, was the way it dealt with friendships and family. Aza and Daisy’s friendship is not perfect. They are very different though complete each other. They have their fights, they make up, and I think that in the fight with mental illness, friendship can be your best ally. Of course, that’s not all you need. But I loved that aspect of the story.

And finally, I couldn’t conclude this review without talking a little bit more about how Aza deals with her OCD. She sees a therapist, and doesn’t see how it helps. She is scared of taking her meds because she is afraid it will make her not her anymore. And I have those fears myself sometimes. Dealing with mental illness is a restless fight day after day. But I promise that seeing a therapist and taking your meds can help.

Meanwhile, I definitely recommend you check out Turtles all the way down, because it’s a fantastic book. And if you liked it, I can also recommend A Quiet Kind of Thunder because it also deals with similar issues and it’s a very wonderful book (review here).

Passenger: My Review

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For some reason I was in the mood for time-travel adventure reads in the summer, and along with The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (which I reviewed here) I also read Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I had heard a lot about this book on Bookstagram and in the bookish community in general, so it raised high expectations for me, and I was slightly worried it would be overhyped, but I absolutely loved the story.

Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication: January 2016
Genre: YA, Time-travel, Historical fiction
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Etta Spencer lives for her violin and puts it before everything else until one night she is thrust away from everything and everyone she cares about, only to discover that not only is she away from them through both time and space, but also that this was something her mother knew was going to happen.

Nicholas Carter has been trying to avoid the Ironwood family for most of his life, and dreams of living his independant life at sea with the help of the man who raised him. But again and again, the time-traveling family crosses his paths and destroys things he cares about. When his path crosses Etta, he is once again forced onto the path of time-traveling, in an adventure that could change the way the entire world functions.

My opinion:

Let me start by saying I absolutely loved this book. It was fantastic. It was a book that had been on my TBR for quite some time (ever since it was released I believe) and I am so glad I finally read it because it most certainly did not disappoint.

I’m a sucker for time-travel novels even if I often find the concept of time-traveling a bit confusing, and I absolutely loved the way it was executed here: it was rather well-depicted, and the fact that it could have heavy consequences was also made clear, which perfectly makes sense, and was well-inserted into the story. Kudos to Alexandra Bracken for creating such an amazing, well-crafted universe.

I really loved both main characters. Etta is a 21st century young violin prodigy, and Nicholas is an 18th century captain who also happense to be the illegitimate son of a slave (something that obviously has a major impact on his life, but I also believe it was quite well-depicted in the book. Let me know if you think I am wrong, I may have missed something).

A lot of people said the book was slow-paced and that it took some time for the pace to pick up. I honestly wasn’t bothered by it. I just really liked that the setting and the concept were well-described. One thing that I regretted though was the development of the relationship between Etta and Nicholas. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE them together. I think they really match and that it’s beautiful they managed to find each other through space and time. However, I do think that the relationship was a bit rushed and honestly happened way too fast. It seemed to much of an insta-love, while it could have been much more slow-paced. On the one hand, this is something that I often see in YA and even if I don’t like it, I can understand that it is for the purpose of the story. And on the other hand, this book was not your typical YA, so I guess that makes up for it. (And honestly, Etta and Nicholas are a match made in heaven, and they have so much to learn from each other, it’s beautiful).

As I just said, this book was not your typical YA novel, and I think it’s one of the things that made me fall in love with it. If you love time-travel, pirates and adventures, then this is something I can only recommend to you. Feel free to share your opinion if you also read (and loved!) this book ♥

Similar recommendations:
The Girl from everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Inherited by Freedom Matthews (review)