five YA contemporaries with ~unlikable characters~ because we’re all trash after all

Hello, friends!

And welcome to a recommendation post where I talk about messy characters, AGAIN. I love them, ok?

And I don’t know if it’s because of spending too much time on Tik Tok, which just feels a bit like Tumblr amped by 10 and appropriated by Gen Z, but OH MY GOD, have we normalized the word toxic to be used in every single scenario. I think people have come to forget that humans are HUMANS. And, by default, imperfect. Which doesn’t make every single one of them toxic.

BUT, if you’d rather see it this way, then here’s a list of toxic books that I absolutely love and that you should too:

CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT

Not me still talking about Call It What You Want.

I feel like, at this point, I’ve already made this book my brand, which is a bit embarrassing, considering I’ve only actually read it once and it’s possible that in revisiting it, I find out that it actually sucks. It’s pretty unlikely, though, because I went into this one with zero expectations and it blew me away.

IMG_3365

Call It What You Want explores the different lives of these two “high school social pariahs” – Rob, whose dad was caught in a major financial scandal that the town believes Rob knew of; and Meghan, who got caught cheating in her SATs and had everyone’s scores canceled because of it.

These characters are assigned a Math project together and the rest is history.

This book is fantastic at developing every single character and giving them a beautiful, satisfying arc. Not only the dynamic between Rob and Meghan is amazing, but all the other ones between them and the side characters are equally fleshed out and feel realistic.

It also explores morality and what does it mean to do a bad thing for a good reason impeccably well. I don’t have enough good things to say about it, except like, read it, for the 800th time.

SUMMER BIRD BLUE

When I first picked up Summer Bird Blue, I had no idea it would actually break my heart as much as it did, even though everyone says it’s a tear-jerker. I thought I was too much of a hard soul to crack, but… yeah, they were correct.

IMG_4175

Summer Bird Blue explores so many great topics, I might as well write a list:

  • Grief & regret. Our protagonist has just lost her sister and feels a lot of very complicated feelings over it.
  • Pretty much all the teenagers in this book are mixed, including our protagonist – half-white and half-Japanese/Hawaiian.
  • Rumi is also aro-ace!
  • There’s also an adorable platonic relationship between the MC and the bubbly boy next door and a hilarious, heartwarming friendship with the grumpy grandpa of the neighborhood.
  • Music. Is a huge part of the story and will make you cry.
  • The writing is simple, yet so stunning.
  • Rumi’s mom leaves her with her aunt after the loss of her sister and the exploration of abandonment from the two perspectives is so complicated it hurts.

Basically: this book will make you see grief in one of the most vulnerable and honest ways I’ve ever read. It’s not an easy one, but it’s rewarding.

ODD ONE OUT

I know a lot of people say there are certain tropes they are 100% done with, and I respect that. BUT, I am one of those that likes to think there are still interesting and entertaining ways to write every single trope, including the one feared the most by everyone who survived this trope’s epidemic during the early 2010s. Yes, I’m talking about him:

LOVE TRIANGLES.

IMG_0668

But hear me out: Odd One Out actually plays with love triangles but in a way in which EVERY PART OF THE TRIANGLE IS IN LOVE WITH THE OTHER. You can imagine how messy this is and that’s why is in list list.

These characters don’t make the right choices, for themselves or for each other. They pretty much give mixed signals and play with the other person’s feeling simply because they can (and also because they’re trying to figure their sexualities out, which is a pretty complicated and messy process inherently).

I don’t *love* this book, but I still think there are great discussions here. There’s also like a side mystery plot line where two of the characters team up to find this “missing TV show host” that was actually pretty cool.

I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN

Spot me talking about a 2014 book like a full on #BookToker.

Also, a fun fact for all of you that complain that BookTok is only filled with early 2010s titles: do y’all know that books DON’T actually have expiration dates and they can still be meaningful even YEARS after their release? I know, shocking!

IMG_1304

I’ll Give You The Sun is fantastic and if for some reason you haven’t read yet, I’m telling you: YOU CAN. Just because it’s a backlist novel it doesn’t mean is bad or aged or any of the sorts. It’s pretty great to this day (I can say because I re-read it like in 2019 and it still held up significantly well. Except for this one age-gap relationship that you CAN have issues with, and trust me, that’s part of the book’s experience. We’re talking about messy people here, after all!)

This book focuses so well on characters making bad decisions in name of *very* human reasons: anger, jealousy, resentment. Noah and Jude, our protagonists, are far from perfect, and yet you can’t help but understand and root for them nonetheless.

It also deals with art a whole lot: mostly paintings and sculptures and it’s impossible not to fall in love with Jandy Nelson’s writing.

FELIX EVER AFTER

If you’re one of those that I constantly see on Twitter asking for more messy queer stories: read Felix Ever After. I’m sure you already have if you’re a fan of this, but READ IT AGAIN THEN.

I don’t know exactly where I stand in the “messy queer media” debacle (because like, on one hand, yes queer people aren’t unicorn rainbow creatures, they mess up and they’re just as problematic as straights, but also isn’t that the way queer people have been represented in media for YEARS by straight writers?)

IMG_7390

Anyway. This is too much of a complicated debate and we’re here to talk about Felix Ever After.

Starring: Felix, cunning and low-key evil, Felix. Who gets a gallery made of his old, pre-transition pictures and also starts being harassed online and decides to end whoever did that. He suspects is this one mean preppy guy from his school, so he starts essentially cat fishing him, hoping to get a secret just to expose him later. Yes, very ~healthy behavior~.

I appreciated so much how this book allowed Felix to be messy and flawed and to discover himself and learn from his mistakes. His arc was SO deep, because a lot of this book is also about Felix questioning his gender and labels and also confronting his family’s past.

Pretty much all the side characters in this book are queer and they’re problematic AF as well at times. Which is infuriating, but also realistic! And we stan realistic in this household.

If you have more recommendations for this “trope”, I guess, let me know in the comments! And if you’ve read any of these books too and what are your feelings in them!

five book characters who share the same name

top5novo

I feel like, more and more, my top 5 themes are getting extra specific. But this is something I think about a lot – as someone who enjoys obsessing over names. There are a lot of names who appear repeatedly in YA fiction and it was about time we compared them. So I’ve taken one for the team, and we’re doing that today.

Most of these characters are from contemporaries that I have read, but feel free to add other examples in the comments!

FIVE. JACK

*inserts gif of Rose screaming Jack in Titanic*.

35380157. sy475 Jack from Opposite of Always is, pretty much, a sweetheart. He’s very awkward at small talk, has a really close and amazing relationship with his parents, and cares for his friends a ton. I loved the way he opened up to his family about everything, but they still respected his space when he needed it. He was also a really attentive and awesome boyfriend.

33158541Jack from The Wicker King was a *very* different character. First, he could be very self-centered. He was essentially a jock – very good at sports, popular and dating the homecoming queen. But, throughout the book, we also see him experiencing hallucinations that definitely show a more vulnerable side of him, as he’s trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not. His journey is a lot darker than the previous Jack too.

FOUR. ALEX

Name a more basic name. You can’t.

41717246. sy475 Alex from Don’t Date Rosa Santos was definitely not a favorite of mine. He was basically this dude, with a beard and a boat. His personality was sort of “cold and detached“, but then we start to learn that he does care, he just doesn’t show it often. Regardless, I found him to be 43744298quite a boring love interest, as he didn’t have as many layers as the other characters in the book.

Zan, on the other hand, was SO AWESOME, even though he was supposed to be nothing but the rich guy. He still had this really warm and friendly feel to him. He’s the kind of character that makes a room light up. He had everything to be an asshole, but really wasn’t, which I appreciate so much. Plus, his game was sleek AF.

THREE. PENNY

44017627In Carry On/Wayward Son, Penny is the brain of the group. She’s obviously very smart and a hell of a magician too. But she’s also incredibly stubborn. I don’t even know if stubborn would be the right word, because she’s more than a regular determined girl who fights for 40732563. sy475 what she wants. She simply can’t take no for an answer and will insist until she gets it her way, lol. But I think that’s what makes such a captivating character to begin with!

I’m pretty sure Emergency Contact Penny and Carry On Penny would not be friends. Probably, because Emergency Contact Penny would find the other girl rather pushy. But I do think they’re similar, as they can both be particularly judgemental about other people before even getting to know them.

TWO. ADAM

Oh, finally: the most awaited name ever because every single YA book has to contain at least one Adam.

17675462. sy475 Adam from The Raven Cycle is one of my favorite characters of all times and I’ll protect him forever. No, being poor is not his personality trait. His personality trait is being proud AF. To the point where he gets kinda blinded by it, because he believes every favor is charity and every person who cares is pitying him. But the way he develops into his powers and realizes that he can still be strong while accepting help is probably the most magical thing about this series.

40148146. sy475 I definitely think Adam from Love from A to Z shares a little bit of said pride. Or at least this habit of keeping everything in, until it bursts. Obviosuly, they’re both in really different positions, but much like the other Adam, this one will try to keep things for himself for as long as he can in order to not hurt or worry anyone. He’s also really sweet (the way he cares for his younger sister is SO adorable i can’t) and friendly, while still being an introvert at its core.

ONE. KAVINSKY

20698530Peter Kavinsky is a jock, yes, but also a baby. I think we can all agree that Peter is a character that you grow to love throughout the books. He’s obviously charming, but he’s also surprisingly carrying. Both Kavinsky’s share daddy issues, but unlike the other one, 17347389who’s comfortable just living up to his reputation, Peter works hard to be better and different from his dad as much as he can.

And then we have Kavinsky. I think these characters are pretty polar opposites, because even though they’re both popular in high school, it’s for very different reasons. Kavinsky is known for being a troublemaker, while Peter is adored by all the teachers. Kavinsky sells drugs and corrupts boys, and Peter takes packed lunch because he’s in a special diet. They couldn’t be further apart.

Now, let’s chat in the comments! Can you think of another character who shares the name to the ones I mentioned? Do you know any other two characters from other books that share the same name? How are they different or alike? Let me know!

monthly wrap up: march, ’21

monthlywrapupnovo

How have y’all been doing? Corona completed it’s 1st anniversary in March, the situation in my country has been the worst it’s ever been and our health system is close to collapsing. Besides that, everything’s fine! :)

Everything's Fine

Considering the circumstances, I don’t have that much to share in terms of highlights. We’ve gone to “remote school” so I haven’t been doing much in terms of my internship. I also was ghosted by a recruiter recently for a position I was actually really excited about and that did *wonders* for my mental health, lol.

Tell me y’all are doing better than me, PLEASE! Entertain me with great stories if you can!

BOOKS I READ

★★★★★

Remember when I read the first volume of Heartstopper and I was like? Uh, this is cheesy and predictable but cute! Yes, anyway, I was WRONG. This series is perfect. I found myself tearing up at this volume simply because of how adorable it was. I’m so glad that while there was potential for a number of conflicts in this volume, the characters communicated healthily and were able to figure things out easily. I just feel like the transition between scenes was a bit too abrupt sometimes, but it makes sense considering its original format is a weekly web-comic, so you’d have a bit more time between one issue and the next.

★★★☆☆

The Life and Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly is an interesting novel, but ultimately, I found there was a bit of a wasted potential in the overall premise. This book is about Kit Sweetly, who works on a medieval inspired restaurant, fighting to be able to work on the position of a knight – a role for cis men only. I think that the book would’ve been more powerful had it talked about the ways in which misogyny and different forms of opression just become more sophisticated over the years. In the Middle Ages, women wouldn’t be allowed as knights. So, had the restaurant in this book had a policy that allowed women as knights but still had other sexist practices and was not as “woke” as they made it seem, I think it would’ve been a lot more poignant for a book released in 2020. It read a bit too “#girlboss” at times. I did like the fact made sure to include other genders, though, as well as the discussion on financial struggles.

★★★★

Considering I live in a country without death penalty, I found This is My America to be a very insightful read. I think Kim Johnson did a brilliant job at exploring US’ legal system in a way that was palpable, even for me, as a foreigner. I didn’t think the romance was particularly necessary, but I do appreciate how Kim Johnson developed the friendships and even touched on the struggle to reinsert a person in society and even in their own family dynamic after they’re released. It was a book that challenged my own racial bias and one I think more people should read it.

★★★★

Perfect on Paper was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and I’m so glad it did not disappoint. I had very intense reactions to this book, like I did with Sophie Gonzales’ debut and that makes me hyped to pick up her other stuff in the future. The family dynamics were very realistic and there was a lot of make up references that made me smile as it was treated like an actual hobby, much like reading or singing would be. It also taught me a lot about Australia, surprisingly, and the bi rep was fantastic and will definitely resonate with a lot of people. I do wish we had a better closure on Brougham’s family situation, though, but it was understandable that not everything can be tightly wrapped.

★★★★

I finally read the most hyped book of 2020! I will admit I was a bit lost at the beginning of These Violent Delights (ok, more like very lost). Pacing-wise, I also struggled, as this book is a lot longer than what I typically read and it took me about two weeks to finish it, which was a lot. I still thoroughly enjoyed it, though! To my surprise, Juliette was my favorite character and I appreciated her strength and no-time-for-bullshit attitude very much. I also loved the conversation on identity, the landscape of Shanghai in the 1920s, the Romeo & Juliet references and, most importantly, the romance, which was slowburn – not my favorite -, but did have ICONIC scenes I’ll think about for years to come.

★★★★

And I finished the Truly Devious series! I was very excited to pick up Hand on the Wall and I found the conclusion to be very satisfying. The character dynamics are still very weird, in a way I can’t really explain, but it feels like they’re trying to be angsty or sincere and don’t come across that way at all. Still, I very much enjoy reading about them and David continues to be my favorite character, despite acting like a dick for most of this book. I don’t know if I’ll be picking up the upcoming series, but I’m not ruling it out completely, as I did find Truly Devious to be overall very entertaining.

★★★☆☆

Lastly, I picked up another new release which was Act Your Age, Eve Brown. I was hyped up for this one and I did enjoy the dynamic between the “hot-mess-express girl” and “stoic, grumpy guy”. There were some funny scenes and their relationship was overall cute. I still find that this series in general has VERY unrealistic dialogues (like no one would *ever* talk like that in real life, ever) and the pacing was a bit off, as I feel like the transition from disliking each other to being in love was a bit too abrupt. I also thought Chloe’s sisters’ behavior by the end of the book to be quite out-of-character and it was weird how Eve self-diagnosed herself in the autism spectrum by reading articles online, lol. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works, but appreciate the representation nonetheless.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

My playlist title makes me miss Lorde a lot. (She talked about making a comeback at the beginning of the pandemic and miss girl we’re WAITING). I also watched the movie Clouds on Disney+ and besides making me cry (A LOT), I also found out the soundtrack is really good. You’ll probably notice I rewatched Twilight too and nothing to add there.

LOOKING FORWARD

In April, one of my most anticipated releases – To Love and to Loathe – is coming out. I also plan on re-reading Six of Crows in preparation for the show coming out later on in the month. Taylor Swift will be releasing her version of the Fearless album and I’m PREPARED (or am I?) University will remain online, which I’m not looking forward to, but I do have hope the pandemic situation improves and that we get some better news soon.

How has your month been? What books are you anticipating the most for the spring/fall months? And how excited are you for the Shadow & Bone show?

a very late evermore book tag!

booktagnovo

Hello, friends!

So, a few months ago, Lauren and Dezzy tagged me to do the Evermore Book Tag, created by Rhi @ marshmallow harmonies. I am a huge Taylor Swift fan and really enjoyed the Evermore album, so really, I don’t know what took me so long to finally answer it! It’s happening now, though, so better late than ever, I guess!

IMG_7379Wherever you stray, I follow

This will probably come across as a huge unpopular opinion, but I actually really enjoy the romance between David and Stevie in the Truly Devious series. I was reading a recap of the first book and even the writer of the *recap* had not-so-great thoughts on these two. But I find their dynamic so interesting? David is an unique character, who puts up a wall for everyone, and I simply adore how he changes completely next to Stevie and allows himself to be vulnerable. He’s the epitome of “I hate everyone but her” and I think that’s cute.

IMG_7384Left you out there standing, crestfallen on the landing

Laia and Elias are possibily my least favorite thing about this series, lol.

It’s not even that I find that their dynamic to be bad. They make sense together, are very supportive of each other and don’t take too much space in this super intense narrative, which would’ve been annoying. But I just can’t see any chemistry between them and every time they’re in the same space together I eyeroll so intensely I can see the back of my brain. For real.

IMG_4051I don’t like anticipating my face in a red flush

As I’ve been watching the adaptation of this show, I’ve started to reminisce everything I love about When Dimple Met Rishi. This book is far from perfect, but I fell in love with both of the characters so hard and I *adore* their development and how much they bring the best out of each other. It’s about time I re-read it (I read it for the first time in 2018, I think, and even though I’d been in a massive slump for the whole year, I finished it in a couple days).

IMG_7386And the road not taken looks real good now

The Fill-in Boyfriend is a major throwback novel and my first Kasie West. If you enjoy teen-coms from the early 2000s (like Freaky Friday, Read it and Weep, Sleepover or A Cinderela’s Story), then you’ll probably enjoy this one, because it contains every single trope, including the moment when the main character pours their heart out in front of a crowd just for the sake of it. I was surprised that, apart from the fake-dating, the book also developed the family dynamics and friendships very well. 👏🏻

IMG_7387I know my love should be celebrated, but you tolerate it

I do know that books that talk about fandom and internet culture are very popular, and I wish Tash Hearts Tolstoy got the same recognition. This one centers on Tash who has a webseries with her friends inspired by Anna Karienina who goes viral overnight. It discusses very well being a creator who wants to follow their own initial ideas, but also answer to your public, as well as dealing with internet fame. Tash is also asexual and the friendships are A+.

IMG_7385She thinks I did it but she just can’t prove it

When I read The Sound of Stars, I found the beginning to be super strong, but the middle dragged so much I didn’t have many high hopes for the ending. However, it totally blew me away! I found it to be a surprising, but well crafted ending and I loved how the author tied everything together, including some entries I hadn’t found a purpose to yet.

IMG_7389But there was happiness because of you

This had to be the *hardest* question in this tag! (Didn’t help that I was listening to the album while drafting this post and I don’t like happiness at all. This song physically makes me cringe, lol).

After much thought, I had to give it to Eliza, from Eliza and her Monsters. Which is funny because I don’t actually like her character that much.

However, a big part of Eliza’s growth is realizing that just because she’s into things that people in her life are not, it doesn’t make her more “special” and that everyone in her life is going through something as well. I too spent so much time thinking I was so superior for “not being like other girls” and, looking back, just yikes.

IMG_6033You’re a queen, selling dreams

Here I am, hyping up Katie Henry. Again.

Let’s Call it a Doomsday is such a good story about friendship. It’s not only about the friendship between Hannah and Ellis – a girl who’s terrified of the apocalypse and the other one who believes to know when it will happen – but also about the eccentric friend group Ellis finds, of boys who find interesting to sit under a tree, get high and discuss Jane Austen. It’s poetic, really.

IMG_7388Sorry for not making you my centerfold

I know I talked about in my February Wrap-Up giving this book 2 stars and not loving it. But I can’t deny the prose IS beautiful. Jandy Nelson has a fantastic way with words and some of the one-liners about love, grief, relationships, missing someone and also resenting them are absolutely beautiful. Makes me think a lot about how come she never released anything after I’ll Give You The Sun. I feel like if she did, she could single-handedly end the pandemic.

IMG_7390And now I’m covered in you

I finished Felix Ever After in the last day of February, so I didn’t have the chance to talk about it yet.

But this book features a *series* of hard choices, mostly because this is a story about Felix growing and accepting himself, and that’s never easy. I love that Felix not always makes the right choice, between choosing to hurt someone or not, or be honest to himself or not, but that’s what made him an interesting character after all.

IMG_4679Now I know I’m never gonna love again

I realized that while typically I’d hate to live in any fictional world, the one from Lobizona actually seemed so interesting! There are some parts of it that can be daunting, but the world of the Septimus is full of lush forests, witches and werewolves, and if I could be, like Manu, a lobizona as well – a female werewolf – I’d be the happiest.

(Werewolves are my favorite fictional creatures, in case you couldn’t tell. I dream of being one since I first watched New Moon).

IMG_4452Now I’m all about you

I have a recent addition to my list of comfort reads, which has to be Only Mostly Devastated. I’ll probably re-read this book every year, like I do with Where She Went, The Dream Thieves and Ari & Dante. Everything about this just makes me so happy and I could listen to Ollie talk about life for hours and hours on end. The relationship, the family dynamics, the Grease parallels. Just… beautiful.

IMG_7391You’re alive, you’re alive in my head

I already knew that Second Chance Summer was a book about grief and I still found myself dreading it and crying when it happened. I think that it’s even more interesting because Taylor’s dad is a terminally ill patient, so there are also some opportunities for Taylor to get to know him more and get closer throughout the summer. It also makes things a bit more complicated nearing his death, but I love how the author didn’t sugarcoat it and showed the reality of those moments.

IMG_4565Yes I got your letter, yes I’m doing better

I really wish that Robin Roe would release another book! Besides her debut, A List of Cages, I haven’t heard any news on her releasing anything new, and I’d love to read more from her. I think she talked about the topics of adoption and family incredibly well and the platonic relationships developed throughout this book are somethat I think about to this day. If she had more books coming out that also discussed such themes, I’d be the Happiest.

IMG_7377And when I was shipwrecked, I thought of you

It’s been a while since I last concluded a series, friends.

The most recent finale I read was probably Crooked Kingdom, way back in 2019. It definitely broke me, and the release of the Shadow and Bone series next month has made me even more hyperaware of all the things that broke me in that last book.

That’s it, friends! What are your favorite songs from evermore? Are you excited about Taylor’s version of Fearless? Do you prefer evermore or folklore?

five YA books set in new york city for when you want to live your devil wears prada dreams

book recs.(1)

Hello, friends!

So, last year, I wrote a post recommeding books set in California because I was in a Teen Beach Movie mood. Now, we’re going to the opposite coast, as I find myself in a Devil Wears Prada mood. (Not in a romanticizing and glamorizing abusive work environments, but in a Devil Wears Prada mood nonetheless).

Soooooo, to honor that, I shall recommend five YA contemporaries set in NYC – or the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, Blair Waldorf’s reign, etc.

10 pontos no seu currículo que agradam os recrutadores | Prime Cursos

NAOMI & ELY’S NO KISS LIST

IMG_7380This book inspired one of my favorite movies of all times and I haven’t shouted about it not ONCE in this blog???? Unacceptable.

Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List is a multi-perspective novel where we follow, of course, Naomi and Ely – childhood best friends and next-door neighbors. Ely is gay. Naomi is in love with him. It’s complicated and messy and overdramatic and INCREDIBLY EXTRA.

The multi-perspective thing won’t be for everyone, but I love it. It made the read more fun and it allows us to see the Naomi-Ely dynamic from other angles as well.

I adore how this book puts such an emphasis os friendship and how hard it is to face a break-up there too. In the same beat, it develops two cute side relationships and also discusses how not every single change has to be a bad one.

Did I mention there are cupcakes? Because there are!

WE ARE LOST AND FOUND

IMG_5702We Are Lost and Found is set in the 80s and follows Michael, a young boy discovering his sexuality in the midst of the AIDS epidemic in New York. Not the easiest time to be doing that, may I add.

This book is compared a lot to Like a Love Story and I don’t understand why so many reviews tell you to *not* read this book and pick up the other one instead. Like, there’s SPACE IN THE WORLD FOR ALL OF US! I promise! Why are we limiting the number of queer stories out there, especially when they’re discussing something as important as AIDS for the queer community? Big yikes to whoever writes these reviews.

While I wouldn’t say go into it expecting an amazing love story, I actually really enjoyed how this book depicted the relationship between Michael and his older brother, who is gay and was kicked out after coming out to his parents. It definitely makes things more complicated to Michael, since he now knows what his parents are capable of, but it also creates a sense of support and love that wasn’t there when they were kids, which I think is sweet.

CHARMING AS A VERB

IMG_7117This book will ~charm~ its way into your heart. I assure you and not only because of my bad pun.

Charming as Verb focuses on Halti – son of Haitian immigrants who can charm his way out of everything, except when his upstairs neighbor Corinne starts threatening exposing the truth about his dog walking business.

This book is set in NYC but there are also some great scenes in Toronto. The ~big city~ atmosphere is all there. I also love how Columbia is one of Halti’s top schools exactly because the campus is so close to the city.

I talked before about how this book did a great job at showing a different perspective on the common “no-dad-it’s-your-dream” trope. But I also want to highlight how CUTE the romance is, how Corinne is a fantastic female protagonist considering she was written by a man (lol) and the side friendships were also great!

WHERE SHE WENT

IMG_7382Hi, it’s me.

Where She Went’s #1 fan.

Again.

I won’t promise this is the last I’ll talk about this book, because I LOVE IT. I love how Adam is this ball of angst and how his entire narration is about him being this broken-hearted guitar dude.

I also love how this is set in only 24h, but it *works*. It probably works so much because these characters have history and the chapters are also intercalated with flashbacks bridging books 1 and 2 (this is a sequel to If I Stay, in case you didn’t know), but it’s so well done and makes you root for the relationship instantly.

They also go through a lot of landmarks from New York City – like the Brooklyn Bridge and Port Authority – during the early hours of the morning and it’s POETICALLY BEAUTIFUL.

Or maybe it’s just because I love it, lol.

NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU

IMG_5704Not only is this book set in New York, but it’s also about movie stars in New York, so it really is the perfect combination between my latest recommendation post of books set in California and this one.

Now That I’ve Found You could be compared to a YA version of Evelyn Hugo. Following Evelyn Conaway’s granddaughter, an aspiring movie star named Evie Jones, Now That I’ve Found You has some cute mystery elements where New York City becomes the backdrop of Evie trying to find her missing grandma and at the same time restore her career.

This book also has the sweetest romance between Evie and Milo, who’s a musician, but not of the angsty type (which was REFERSHING for once). I love how they go through a lot of different places in New York that are important to each one of them – Evelyn, Milo and Evie – and this book’s conversation on fame and expectations are also *so* incredibly relevant!

Let me know if you have any more recommendations of books set in New York & what did you think of mine!

five first kisses in fiction that make me go feral no cap

top5novo

Hello, friends!

Does anyone still use the expression “go feral” in this economy? Does it feel like I’m a millennial still quoting vines and “I’m a potato” in 2021? I apologize.

But that’s the only way I can explain my feelings towards these scenes so it will have to do.

The title pretty much sums up what we’ll be doing today: chatting about some of my favorite first kisses in fiction. YAY! Will I be canceled for this because I’m talking about kisses happening between TEENAGERS and some of them are GAY? Likely. Do I care? No.

So, let’s go on then!

(WARNING: THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!)

FIVE. MACK AND LIZ, FROM YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN

50160619. sx318 sy475 The only possible word for this kiss is iconic. Revolutionary could also work.

Now, being 100% transparent, all the details from this kiss escape me, but I do remember that while they’re going at it a random passbyer screams at them something like: “YOU GO GIRL”. And I think that’s beautiful.

The idea of someone yelling while two girls kiss each other in public smells more like hate crime than excited support. And how great it was to realize that it was, indeed, just the girls being cheered on as they finally get together?

I won’t lie, I had the same reaction as I read that scene.

FOUR. TANNER AND SEBASTIAN, FROM AUTOBOYOGRAPHY

28919058. sy475 It’s not entirely about the actual scene in this case, but rather about how the kiss is referenced again throughout the book by the characters.

Basically: they kiss at the top of a mountain. And then the mountain emoji saga begins.

watugonna

Every single time that these characters want to say something deep to each other – whether that is: “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” or “I’m thinking about you” or “I miss you”, they just send a mountain emoji to each other. Not only because that’s their spot, but because they hope the other person can remember how it felt to be open and vulnerable and in love just like they were in the day of that first kiss.

And if that’s not the most POETIC SHIT YOU’VE EVER HEARD??????

THREE. LOLA AND CRICKET, FROM LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR

22247695Straights have rights in my list, I promise.

To me, this first kiss is just about the satisfaction. Because, Jesus, if these two didn’t take their timeeeee. I love it, though. Lola and the Boy has the most perfect pacing I have yet to find in any romance novel. I don’t like slowburn, but if the relationship moves on too quickly, I also tend to lose interest in the 70% mark and then hate-read the remaining 30.

With this book, the author was able to give us just enough to keep us coming back for more, and then give us a very satisfying conclusion with an amazing first kiss right by the end of it.

The wait was worth. it.

TWO. NOAH AND BRIAN, FROM I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN

20820994One word. ~Them~.

This scene to me is about the writing. Jandy Nelson has such a beautiful way with words and the way she creates the metaphors for this scene in specific are so on point.

Noah is a painter and throughout the book he has many instances of either thinking of things as paintings or colors, and this first kiss is no different. There’s also this beautiful line of Noah feeling horses galloping on his chest and the entire imagery throughout the scene is *chef’s kiss perfection*.

ONE. ALEX AND MAGNUS, FROM MAGNUS CHASE AND THE SHIP OF THE DEAD

tumblr_oyw0nxtQyH1v3je28o1_1280
art by @toastchild

This was actually the scene that inspired this list, so thanks Alex, thanks Magnus.

This kiss happens because both characters are trying to be warm by leaning in to each other and getting as close as they can. Which is like, cheesyness level 300, but I’m not mad.

And then there’s just the overwhelming satisfaction of seeing that Alex cares about Magnus just as much as Magnus cares about them. Basically: Magnus fell earlier. But Alex fell harder.

Actually, no, Magnus still fell harder.

But they’re perfect so it doesn’t matter.

I was so surprised when that kiss happened and yet it just felt like the perfect moment and the *perfect* way for these characters to get together. In a snowstorm, when they’re about to die and get frostbite. Yes. They don’t do romance like this no more.

That’s it, friends! I am very curious if you have a favorite first kiss in a book or movie/show and if you agree with my picks! Let me know in the comments!

book review: the mary shelley club, by goldy moldavsky

IMG_7172

New York Times-bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that’s Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.

When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:

x Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.

x Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out.”

x If there’s a murderer on the loose, do not make out with anyone.

If only surviving in real life were this easy…

New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring stabby serial killers and homicidal dolls to the bored rich kids of Manhattan Prep…and to certain memories she’d preferred to keep buried.

Then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious society of students who orchestrate Fear Tests, elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and movie tropes. At first, Rachel embraces the power that comes with reckless pranking. But as the Fear Tests escalate, the competition turns deadly, and it’s clear Rachel is playing a game she can’t afford to lose.

GoodreadsAmazon | Book DepositoryBarnes & NobleIndieBoundIndigo | BAM!

Get to know more about the author!

Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her family. She is the New York Times–bestselling author of Kill the Boy Band and No Good Deed. Some of her influences include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the esteemed works of John Irving, and the Mexican telenovelas she grew up watching with her mother.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Hello, friends! I am very excited to be taking part in the book tour for The Mary Shelley Club, as an own-voices reviewer since this book does have South-American rep (yes the one I constantly scream about wanting more of).

Trigger warnings: descriptions of home invasion, gore, violence, murder and stalking

  1. The characters – aka the Mary Shelley Club. I think the characters in here played very well in some well known horror movie tropes – the outsider (Rachel), the smart and cold one (Felicity), the jock (Bram) and his preppy girlfriend (Lux). Still, they had an interesting dynamic and it was very easy to connect with them, mostly because we also want Rachel to have a friend group and something she can be a part of.
  2. The horror elements were on point. This book is SCARY, y’all. In the first chapter, we already have a scene that had me on the edge of my seat, where one of the character keeps telling “scary stories” to others at a party. I did not expect to feel super scared right away, but it happened, and the suspense got more intense as the book went on.
  3. Discussions of economic disparity and trauma. Rachel went through something in her past that still affects her to this day, and I appreciate how the author talked about this as an on-going issue that shows up in the form of nightmares, sometimes visions and intrusive thoughts. Rachel is also not rich like her peers, which made the dynamic between her and Freddie – the only one in the group who’s also Latinx and poor – even more believable because of the way they related to one another and thought of themselves as a “team” amongst the group.

I think my issue with the book turned out to be the pacing. I feel like the middle dragged and I wish the ending had been more fleshed out, but then again, it may be because there’s a sequel on the way. I wouldn’t be opposed to it, as I feel like there’s still a lot to explore within the Mary Shelley Club and what we grow to learn about it by the end of the book.

I also think there was potential for the exploration of grief on top of Rachel’s thrauma.

IMG_7178Overall, I was surprised by how much I was able to take from the story. This reads sometimes as a love letter to horror movies, so if you’re a fan of those, you’ll probably enjoy this one even more than I did, as some references really went over my head, lol.

As far as the Latinx representation, I appreciate how the author touched on it (with the dynamic between Rachel and her mom, as well as Rachel and Freddie being the ‘outcasts’ of the group), but also didn’t make this the only trait of either one of the characters and they had much more to offer.

<

Make sure to check out the other stops of the book tour down below! Thank you so much for Colored Pages to offering me an e-ARC of this book!

March 1st

Jainny Reads – Review Only

Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile – Favorite Quotes  

 

March 2nd

Pastel Writer – Review Only

A library of my own – Review Only 

 

March 3rd

Books and Dice – Favorite Quotes

Mel Reads – Reading Vlog 

 

March 4th

A Cup Of Nicole – Reading Vlog 

Bookishplants – Favorite Quotes 

 

March 5th

The Bookish Skies – Review Only 

The Book View – Share an excerpt

 

March 6th

Sanjariti – Favorite Quotes

Loveless Degrees – Book Recommendations Based On Book 

 

March 7th

By My Shelf – Review Only

A Reader’s Reaction – Reading Blog 

Naturemamareads – Mood Board

monthly wrap up: february, ’21

monthlywrapupnovo

Hello, friends!

February was my first month back in my internship and it was a bit challenging getting back into a schedule, but I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of it now. I’ll have to adjust again soon, once the new school semester starts, but I like the way the routine looks now and I hope it’s not too much of a change.

I also got a really bad stomach bug during this last week and it was *awful*. I’m feeling better, but I ended up not being able to do much for a few days there, which is why I was behind on so many posts.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. I have to wear glasses now! I’m calling this a highlight but I’m not exactly excited about having to wear them. Basically: I look HIDEOUS in glasses. Honestly. It’s almost kinda funny because everyone in my life agrees, lol. But at least I can *see* the score of a football match on TV now, so that’s a win!

BOOKS I READ

★★★★★

I started the month with a re-read. I talked about Only Mostly Devastated in my favorite books of 2020 and how I was looking forward to revisit the story, and I’m so glad it worked out for this month. I’d watched Grease – the movie to which the book is a retelling of – only a couple weeks before picking it up, so I was able to recognize a lot more parallels/references this time around. I love Sophie Gonzales’ writing and this time around the family aspect was what resonated with me the most. It was special how Ollie didn’t necessarily have a perfect relationship with his parents, but that wasn’t made a huge deal of. It felt natural that they didn’t see eye to eye on everything, but still had love and respect for each other nonetheless.

★★★★☆

The Vanishing Stair is the sequel to Truly Devious, which I read back in 2019. I’m hoping to finish this series this year, and I really enjoyed this installment. I don’t think these characters will be for everyone, as the dynamics are a bit contrived and the characters are overall very weird, but I love them and they’re by far my favorite element in the book. I also enjoyed the pacing of this one better – a lot happened and I was able to dive back into the mystery easily. I really hope to love the conclusion just as much.

★★☆☆☆

While I was excited to pick up this book as I love Jandy Nelson’s The Sun is Also a Star, I was very much disappointed by her debut. The writing is still beautiful and poetic and I love how Jandy Nelson writes such flawed characters, that you still can not help but root for. Still, I was not invested in any of the dynamics – the familial ones were given depth a bit too late into the book and the romantic ones were so insta-love-y I couldn’t bring myself to care for either. It also bothered me how *dramatically* they were handled, as if their relationship was the most important thing in the world when they’d known each other for two weeks.

★★★★★

Dear Justyce is the sequel to one of my favorite books of all times and this one absolutely broke my heart. It’s such a short book, but packs a punch. It was very hard to read, as it discusses topics of abuse, neglect and the prison system in a very vulnerable light. I loved Quan and it was so easy to connect with him. I’ll say, this book experiments with genres and styles a lot (you have the typical narration, and then sequences called “snapshots”, and then the letters Quan writes to Justyce), and I wish that had been more intentional and actually connected to the plot or the characters’ personality in some way, as it felt like there was no particular reason for it to be written like that. It didn’t completely take away from the experience, though, as this book was heartbreakingly beautiful and what I consider to be Nic Stone’s best work thus far.

no rating

I ended up DNF-ing Desolate by Autumn Grey, mostly because I found the pacing of the book to be painfully slow. I am not a fan of slow burn, and I didn’t know going into it that this would be the first one in a trilogy. I mainly wanted to read about the forbidden romance aspect, but I found that the connection between Sol and God and his desire to be a priest to be quite one-dimensional and predictable. I also didn’t vibe with the writing and it felt like I was reading a fanfic at times.

★★★☆☆

Hillbilly Elegy was in my Out of Comfort Zone TBR and it was… a weird read. For some reason, I went into this book hoping to have more insight in the way this population has been failed or opressed throughout the years, which reflects their behaviors and lifestyle. It just happened that there’s no opression at all? Lol. If anything, these people just continue to be the way they are because society enables them, as they’re white. It was bizarre to realize that there wasn’t that much of a societal cause to these communities staying this way. It made a bit harder for me to empathize with the people in this book, but I still found it to be an interesting read overall.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

In all seriousness, 70% of this playlist is To All the Boys’ soundtrack, lol. I rewatched the first two movies in preparation for Always & Forever and decided to finally listen to the entire soundtrack. Besides that, I listened to a bit of NCT and am thankful for Sophie‘s recommendation of “is your bedroom ceiling bored“, which I became obsessed with.

LOOKING FORWARD

In March, I am most looking forward to the release of the Falcon & the Winter Soldier series on Disney+. I also have some ambitious reading plans, as this will be my last month before school starts. I hope everything works out!

How was your February? Do you have any songs to recommend to me? Let me know in the comments!

book review: concrete rose, by angie thomas

IMG_7114

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.

Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.

Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.

When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can’t just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

Hello, friends!

As I talked about a few posts ago, Concrete Rose was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and I’m so happy that not only I’ve already read it, but that I also enjoyed it as much as I did. Even though The Hate U Give is not one of my favorite books of all times, I loved Big Mave’s character enough to be excited about a prequel focusing on his life, that like I said, did not disappoint.

coisas-boas-novo-1

  1. The narration & the humor. I didn’t know Angie Thomas’ writing was actually this funny – probably because it’s been a while since I last read THUG, which I read in Portuguese, so it might have been lost in translation. Concrete Rose made me absolutely laugh out loud, though, and Mav’s narration was not only hilarious, but also made me connect with his character very easily.
  2. The contrast between Maverick and Big Mav. I remember reading THUG and just feeling more at ease whenever Big Mav showed up, because I knew he’d know all the right things to say and do. He had amazing advice and a reliable, trustworthy aura about him of someone that has all his shit together. How amazing it was to read about him here, as a 17 year old that has absolutely NOTHING together? I loved it! Knowing how great of a father he’ll become to his kids, it was particular emotional following his journey through parenthood and, overall, his journey into becoming a man. It was certainly not an easy path, but it made me grow even more admiration towards the character when I got to learn what he’s been through and how much he had to do in order to become the Big Mav we know.
  3. The discussion on how what happens to the characters is a symptom of something much larger. I think Angie Thomas did a brilliant job at crafting Maverick’s narrative to talk about issues that impact, mostly, communities of color. When we see Maverick becoming a teen father, when we see Maverick drug dealing, or joining a gang, all these things can not and should not be taken out of context. Because they’re all intertwined. One thing leads to the other, that is also connected to something even bigger – his family, his dad in prison, society, the government, education. All these problems are related to one another, and Concrete Rose makes that explicit in a very well-done way.
  4. Amazing focus on community. It takes a village to raise a kid, and I loved how the book approached that. While in THUG, we see Starr being divided between two worlds – her predominantly white school and her predominantly black neighborhood -, Concrete Rose focuses solely on Garden Heights. The characters we get to see – Mr. Wyatt, who gives Maverick his first job; Dre, his cousin and best friend who has the best advice, Maverick’s mom and even the woman next door who looks after baby Seven. I loved the focus on community that the book had and how all the characters were developed.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

Obviously, I adored this book, so there isn’t a lot for me to say here.

These aren’t things that bothered me, but beware that: this book doesn’t have that much plot and focuses mostly on character development; and it also reads as an older-YA book. While it doesn’t go into as many dark topics as THUG, I feel like the focus on, specifically the dynamic between Seven/Maverick and overall the protagonist’s journey into parenthood will probably be more appreciated by a slightly more mature audience.

(Not to say that 13 year olds can’t read this and understand and connect with it a lot, though!)

IMG_7115Overall, Concrete Rose was a fantastic prequel to THUG – it made me want to re-read the first book immediately! It was emotional seeing the beginning of it all, and kinda how these characters became the people they are today. Reading about baby Khalil definitely brought me to tears!

As someone who didn’t give THUG 5 stars, I appreciated Concrete Rose infinitely more. They’re very different reads, but I think both deliver important takes on the black community from very different perspectives, which I love.

5 ESTRELASNOVO

Have you read Concrete Rose or The Hate U Give? If so, what are your thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!

what i’ve been watching recently #10

O da minha

Hello, friends!

Sorry that two posts in this series were so close to each other. I ended up watching a lot of things I wanted to share with you in the past few weeks, but the next one won’t probably be for the next few months, as I haven’t had that much time to watch anything recently, lol.

LUPIN

5a6d20d52ee194a584080fd2cf25e1647d89f6bf

This super short NETFLIX mini-series gives me both Sherlock Holmes and Now You See Me vibes. I enjoyed it so much, I was mad when I realized there were no episodes left.

I think the show did a brilliant job with the characters by giving them fleshed out backstories through the flashbacks. I loved Assane and while I was familiar with the actor from other works of his, I was surprised by how quickly I sided with him and wanted him to complete his vengeance quest.

I’d only watched the first part of the trailer and I liked that it was a bit misleading throughout the entire 70% of the first episode. I am *super* excited for part 2 and hoping for the best for Assane and his family.

DIARY OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT

the future diaries | Tumblr

This original Disney+ show deserves *so* much more hype than it’s been getting and I really wish that it was airing right now on Disney Channel, as I feel like so many kids would relate and engage with it.

The show focuses on the Cañero-Reed family – the mom, Gabi, who’s starting to date again after the passing of her husband; and the kids, Bobby and Elena, who are both middle schoolers. Bobby is an 8th grader, while Elena just started 6th grade and I liked that because it gave more range to talk about the different experiences throughout middle school.

The show was *so* wholesome and adorable, while still discussing great topics, such as sexuality, racism, social activism and grief. It made me emotional so many times, as I looked back on my middle school year and got sad at how different my experience was from the supportive and amazing system these characters have. If you have kids in your life or you want to watch a show about middle-school experiences, I’d highly recommend this one!

OUTER BANKS

Tumblr is a place to express yourself, discover yourself, and bond over the  stuff you love. It's where your interests connect you with yo… | Outer banks,  Outer, Obx

This is the straightest show I’ve ever watched.

And I watch Riverdale.

But, seriously, why is Outer Banks just so PAINFULLY straight? I was so sure that at least one of the main characters was going to be queer, because how could they not, this is 2020. Yeah, didn’t happen.

I enjoyed it so much, though? I liked the fact the characters were different from what I typically watch – they weren’t city kids, but they weren’t country kids either – and the acting/filming surprised me. There were so many beautiful shots, I thought the shaky camera movement during some of the scenes actually added a lot, and the fact the actors were constantly sweaty/dirty/tanned made it more realistic. Plus, the actors had a really natural dynamic on screen.

It’s super action packed and easy to engage with as well, and though I didn’t find myself getting attached to any character in particular (I liked John B a lot, but his dynamic with Sara quickly started to annoy me), I’m still looking forward to season 2.

TO ALL THE BOYS: ALWAYS AND FOREVER

1719677d30293caa349c276b7a54b6181be18559

Of course, I needed to talk about this movie. I am a HUGE fan of the To All the Boys trilogy and was anticipating this movie for around a year now. I finished watching it and had to stare at my ceiling for about 20 minutes because I was so overwhelmed, lol.

I really loved it: it was romantic and cheesy, just how I love it; the soundtrack is perfection; I love the friendships and family dynamics; and the conflict was cliché but still done in an interesting way. Still, I have to say I prefer the book.

I think the book just did a better job at wrapping up all the storylines, while the movie struggled a bit. Overall, some changes really bothered me: like where’s Margot’s boyfriend? Stormy? Lara Jean’s birthday celebration? Also, why does the US only have two universties: Stanford and NYU (it didn’t even make sense for her to have Stanford as her option to be “close to home” since it was an out of state university anyway, lol)?

Like I said, I still cried a lot, but I think had it been closer to the book, I’d have enjoyed it more.

Let me know in the comments what have you been watching recently and what are your thoughts on Always & Forever if you’ve watched it!