21 of my favorite books of all times in honor of turning 21

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Hello, friends!

Today, I turn 21 years old. I honestly feel like I’m still 15 and haven’t aged a single year since that, but unfortunately, I have. Unlike most people, I actually really dislike my birthday, which is why writing posts like these is an attempt to make this day a bit more fun & reflective for me, instead of all the negative vibes that hit as soon as the clock turns midnight.

For this year, I decided to compile 21 of my favorite YA contemporary titles. YA contemporary is my favorite genre, so it just felt fitting to choose this one. It’s going to be a long post, so bear with me!

21 IS FOR THE WICKER KING, BY K. ANCRUM

He would crave the burn until he was dead.

33158541I remember reading this book while in Math class, back in high school. The story was twisting my insides and making me feel so sad, and I still could not put the book down. K. Ancrum creates such amazing characters with an unique writing to show a relationship that is imperfect, but still so so so compelling.

☔️ rep: m/m romance, neurodiverse protagonist
🌈 own-voices: no
🌪 trigger warnings: toxic relationship, codependency, parental neglect, anxiety and panic attacks, use of ableist language

 

20 IS FOR SHE DRIVES ME CRAZY, BY KELLY QUINDLEN

I had yet to learn that being a nobody is supposed to bother me.

52516406. sy475 On a completely different vibe from the last book which is tragic and gritty, She Drives Me Crazy is the F/F romcom of my dreams. With the same vibes to 10 Things I Hate About You, this book touched on so many different topics, of friendship, family, sexuality, being an athlete and misogyny, while still being a fun and light-hearted story full of teen-com tropes.

☔️ rep: lesbian MC, indian-american love interest, f/f romance
🌈 own-voices: yes for the queer rep
🌪 trigger warnings: bullying and homophobia

 

19 IS FOR DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY, BY ADIB KHORRAM

Everyone wants you here. We have a saying in Farsi. It translates ‘your place was empty.’ We say it when we miss somebody. Your place was empty before. But this is your family. You belong here.

44139389This book was able to deliver *so* much and make a story that is, objectively, quite far from my reality, feel relatable. Darius The Great tackles mostly identity and our protagonist learning more about his Persian roots, but even as someone who couldn’t see herself in that part of the story, the way the book tackles fatphobia inside your own family and the approach of mental health resonated with me very deeply.

☔️ rep: clinical depression, gay MC, fat rep and persian rep
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: fatphobia, bullying, depression, suicidal ideation, terminal ilness

 

18 IS FOR WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI

You are beautiful. Lajawab. My only worry is that I might not be able to do you justice.

28458598I recently re-read this book and it was such a great experience. While I was able to notice a lot more of its flaws (such as the slut-shaming, internalized misogyny and the lack of actual plot), I still stand by the fact that Dimple and Rishi are one of the best couples I’ve ever read in YA. They push each other to be the best, truer versions of themselves and their interactions are always so mature, with great communication and support.

☔️ rep: indian-american protagonists, latinx side character
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: misogyny, racism and bullying

 

17 IS FOR BIRTHDAY, BY MEREDITH RUSSO

We’ll always be Eric and Morgan. Nothing is ever going to change that.

39863399This is another one that I can definitely say has its flaws, but it’s one of the most compelling stories I’ve ever read. It’s extremely intense, and heartbreaking, and even though it is written in such an unique format, where you’re only spending one day each year with these characters, it’s so easy to connect and feel for them. It’s childhood-friends-to-lovers excellence and so, so, so well-written.

☔️ rep: trans protagonist
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: domestic abuse, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, internalized transphobia, homophobia, bullying, death of a parent

 

16 IS FOR HERETICS ANONYMOUS, BY KATIE HENRY

Aren’t most wonderful things a little bit strange?

34659293. sy475 I do need to re-read this book urgently, yes. But I can only recall the good vibes I felt when reading this story. I love the representation, the dialogues, the humor, and our protagonist. Michael is not likable and he can come across as a privileged douche sometimes, but I really appreciate how the story did not deny that and yet acknowledged that his problems were also still valid.

☔️ rep: colombian-american side character, gay Jewish side character.
🌈 own-voices: no
🌪 trigger warnings: slut-shaming and homophobia

 

15 IS FOR DEAR JUSTYCE, BY NIC STONE

We find the families we were desperate for and learn different ways of going about things. Ways that sometimes land us in places/positions we don’t really wanna be in.

37829267This won’t be the last Nic Stone you see in this list, because I do love this author more than life sometimes. Dear Justyce is what I consider to be her best work: it tackles anxiety, PTSD and being in the prison system at a young age in a way that is so honest and raw, and yet so poetic and lyrical and absolutely beautiful. I love how Nic Stone allows her characters to be imperfect and most importantly to *grow*.

☔️ rep: black MC and side characters, PTSD
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: PTSD and anxiety attacks, domestic violence, child abuse, gun violence, murder and incarceration

 

14 IS FOR CAMP, BY L.C ROSEN

I rock a tiara — but I can do anything he can do and be a princess while doing it.

52880287. sx318 sy475 I am still amazed by how this book was able to blow me away. I expected to enjoy it, but it was so refreshing to read a book that empowers queer people in a way that goes against everything the internet and pop culture have tried to tell me: there’s no one way to be queer and queerness can mean whatever it means *to you*.

☔️ rep: gay Jewish MC, gay korean-american love interest, asexual side character, genderqueer side character
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: internalized homophobia, sexual content, toxic masculinity, homophobic slurs (challenged)

13 IS FOR LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, BY STEPHANIE PERKINS

I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.

22247695I’m pretty sure I’ve forced every single one of my friends to read this book at one point. I love it so much, I can’t help but want to spread its word. It has the most perfect pacing of any romance I’ve ever read – the perfect amount of sexual tension and slow burn. It also has amazing family dynamics, laugh-out-loud writing and unique characters that you would never see in real life, which I actually love.

☔️ rep: MC is adopted and has two gay dads
🌈 own-voices: no
🌪 trigger warnings: N/A

 

12 IS FOR RADIO SILENCE, BY ALICE OSEMAN

Everyone’s different inside their head.

30653843. sy475 I think it’s remarkable how Alice Oseman is able to write a story that is so deep going from a plot that is so basic: two best friends making a podcast together. If you have read Radio Silence, though, you know how it’s so much more than that. This book makes me wish for a friendship like Frances and Aled’s so bad. I love how their relationship is this safe space where they get to be the most authentic version of themselves.

☔️ rep: biracial queer MC, demisexual gay MC, depression
🌈 own-voices: N/A
🌪 trigger warnings: parental abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, animal cruelty

 

11 IS FOR AMERICAN PANDA, BY GLORIA CHAO

I couldn’t go through life as a shadow.

35297380. sy475 Another book I need to re-read so bad. American Panda is one of those books where I fell in love with our main character so fast and just wanted to wrap her in a blanket forever. Mei is figuring out so much about herself and her future, and her journey to live as her true self is quite lonely. I really just wanted to become her best friend. I also adore the romance and the complex family dynamics that Gloria Chao creates here.

☔️ rep: taiwanese-american MC with OCD, japanese-american love interest
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: toxic family relationship, OCD, discussions on STDS and mentions of suicide

 

10 IS FOR CONCRETE ROSE, BY ANGIE ROSE

I like to be reminded that beauty can come from much of nothing. To me that’s the whole point of flowers.

52822210I finished this book back in January and is one I’m still thinking about. Not only was this hilarious, but it also brings such an authentic perspective of being a black man in America. Maverick really is a rose trying to bloom from the concrete, trying to make the best decisions he can in a world that thrives on his failure. The sense of community also makes my heart so warm.

☔️ rep: black cast of characters, bisexual side character
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: mentions of parental incarceration, death of a loved one, gang violence, gun violence, drug dealing, racism

9 IS FOR I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, BY JANDY NELSON

We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.

20820994This! freaking! book! Since the first time I read it, it’s one I still think about. I’ll Give You The Sun is an amazing story of characters that are incredibly flawed, but that you simply can’t help but root for. The way this book discusses family is so well done and how all characters are fated to be in each other’s life is absolutely beautiful. It also made me think a lot about the importance of art.

☔️ rep: gay MC, m/m relationship
🌈 own-voices: N/A
🌪 trigger warnings: death of a loved one, grief, sexual assault, bullying, discussions of addiction

8 IS FOR FAR FROM THE TREE, BY ROBIN BENWAY

They catch you before you fall. That’s what family is.

33830437. sy475 Another one that discusses family so well is Far From the Tree. The themes of this book are so incredibly well done: what family really means, how you can build a future without knowing about your past, how pregnancy changes a person and the importance of having a place where you know you belong. I cried quite a bit with this one too.

☔️ rep: mexican-american MC, lesbian MC
🌈 own-voices: no
🌪 trigger warnings: teen pregnancy, adoption, discussions of alcoholism, foster system

 

7 IS FOR TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, BY JENNY HAN

Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.

15749186Duh. Of course this one had to be on the list. I’m choosing the first one, even if it isn’t my favorite in the trilogy, because it is the one that starts it all. I’ll never shut up about how Jenny Han knows exactly how to use teen-com tropes and create stories that feel authentic and romantic at the same time. While the family in here is absolutely amazing, my favorite thing will forever be how great characters Lara Jean and Peter K are.

☔️ rep: korean-american MC
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: N/A

 

6 IS FOR FURIA, BY YAMILE SAIED MÉNDEZ

I’d leave this house the first chance I got, but not by chasing after a boy. I’d do it on my own terms, following my dreams, not someone else’s.

49150990. sy475 I had to include this book in the list, as it was one of the first ones I could 100% see myself in. Camila is a much stronger and badass protagonist than I’ll ever be, but the way Furia tackles misogyny and the numerous times women have to endure things in order to stay *safe*, was so heart-wrenching to read about. I also loved the romance and the setting of Rosario, which felt so relatable as well.

☔️ rep: argentinian cast
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: domestic abuse, allusions to femicide and violence against women, misogyny

 

5 IS FOR DEAR MARTIN, BY NIC STONE

If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be?

24974996I said this wasn’t the last time Nic Stone would show up in the list. This was the first book I read by her and I love it so much. The writing is so interesting, but most of all, this book has really tough conversations about how black people are perceived, no matter who they are. The main friendship at the center of the story is also so sweet and Justyce is a phenomenal protagonist that I connected with so easily.

☔️ rep: black MC and side characters, jewish love interest
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: death of a loved one, gun violence, police brutality, racism

 

4 IS FOR WHERE SHE WENT, BY GAYLE FORMAN

I find the need to remind myself of the temporariness of a day, to reassure myself that I got through yesterday, I’ll get through today.

8492825The amount of times I talk about this book is honestly worrisome. I can’t help but love it so much! I adore how much of an angsty narrator Adam is, how he feels things so intensely all the time, and how much music works in his life as a way to channel all these emotions. His growth is also so stunning to watch and, for one set in 24h, the development does not feel rushed at all.

☔️ rep: anxiety
🌈 own-voices: N/A
🌪 trigger warnings: anxiety and panic attacks, mentions of car accidents and grief

 

3 IS FOR ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED, BY SOPHIE GONZALES

Here walks Ollie Di Fiore. Master of his feelings, expert detacher, only mostly devastated.

45046743This book just makes me so effing happy. Honestly. It’s serotonin bottled in 300 pages. I never knew I needed a Grease re-telling, with a chaotic main character and a deeply relatable family dynamic, but here we are. I can see this becoming another one of those books I re-read every year just because I know it will never fail to put me in a good mood.

☔️ rep: gay MC, bisexual latinx love interest, wlw side character
🌈 own-voices: yes for the bi rep
🌪 trigger warnings: cancer, grief, bullying and internalized homophobia

 

2 IS FOR CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT, BY BRIGID KEMMERER

One choice doesn’t determine your whole future.

45164092Look, I didn’t mean to make this book my whole entire brand, but oh well. For a book I had no expectations when going into it, Call It What You Want most certainly made a number on me. I adore how the novel discusses morality: what does it mean to do a bad thing for a good reason, what is the line between good and evil, how do our actions define us. All that in an addictive, compelling story with an A+ romance. Brigid Kemmerer really did that.

☔️ rep: black gay side character
🌈 own-voices: no
🌪 trigger warnings: discussions of suicide attempt and abortion, student/teacher relationship (challenged)

1 IS FOR ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE, BY BENJAMIN ALIRE SÁENZ

The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.

12000020Lmao. I feel like at this point, every single one of my posts mention this book. I’m sorry, I’m a basic girl. Ari & Dante is another book I pushed every single one of my friends to read because I just had to make sure everyone I knew was familiar with this masterpiece. I don’t think I’ll ever relate to anyone as much as I relate to Ari and I love him so much for that.

☔️ rep: gay and latinx main characters
🌈 own-voices: yes
🌪 trigger warnings: homophobia, assault, mentions of a transphobic hate crime, car accident

 

Friends: let me know in the comments, do you have one favorite YA contemporary of all times? Is it a part of my list as well?

monthly wrap up: august, ’20

monthlywrapupnovo

Hello, friends!

I have been literally so busy the past few days, it’s been hard finding time to blog and draft posts. I really didn’t want to neglect my blog, but my mental health has also not been in the best spot, so we’re just winging it at this point. I hope I can go back to posting/commenting more regularly soon!

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. I got my first dose of the vaccine! Because I’ve been working as a teacher since April, I was able to get my first dose earlier, which was a blessing. My second dose is this September and I’m counting down the days, really.
  2. I might have gotten a plane ticket to Edinburgh. LOL. This can possibly be a HUGE mistake, because I did spend over 500$ in it and I don’t even know how the traveling situation will look like in December (when I got my ticket for). Fingers crossed??? I won’t be going totally alone, instead, I’ll go with my godmother, but she doesn’t know English, so I’ll be responsible for everything, which is pretty scary lmao. Everything shall work out, though! If you have tips/advice, let me know!
  3. I’m now in a new internship! Yes, this does mean that I’ve been in three internships so far this year and we’re still just in August! If you think I’m incredibly stressed and overwhelmed and tired, you’d be correct! I cope so badly with changes and there’s been so many. I’m also now interning at an international school, so there’s a lot of new terminology to learn and it’s a completely new environment too. I’m trying my best, but for now just very stressed and exhausted😓

BOOKS I READ

★★★☆☆

I was very excited for Like a Love Song, but ultimately, I found it to be a bit :/. The dialogues were quite unnatural and the protagonist’s arc didn’t make that much sense to me? Like, she ends the book saying she’s reconnected with her Brazilian roots, but she doesn’t do anything throughout the book to actually reconnect with her Brazilian roots? Except like not straightening her hair and calling her grandma once, which like LMAO. I am confusion.

★★★☆☆

Blackout was a very solid read! I love the idea of shorts stories during a blackout and it was very well executed. Nic Stone’s was my favorite (are we SURPRISED?), but I also loved Tiffany D. Jackson’s with amazing characters and Nicola Yoon’s fantastic writing.

★★★★☆

You Asked for Perfect had wayyyyy too many Harry Potter references, it’s true. But I liked the writing so much, the friendships and family relationships were so pure, and despite dealing with anxiety, this book didn’t leave *me* more anxious, which hardly ever happens lmao.

★★★★☆

I think like The Wicker King, which is K. Ancrum’s debut, Darling is going to be one of those books that will stay in my mind for a couple of weeks. There was a very disturbing twist I could’ve never seen coming, but I loved the dark atmosphere. I didn’t connect with any of the characters or liked the writing for this one as much for the author’s debut, but it was still a pretty solid thriller with fantastic Peter Pan vibes.

★★★★☆

I had missed reading from a *really* good male narrator and The Disasters def delivered. The world building for this series was a bit confusing and the familiar conflict for the protagonist was a bit dumb, but I loved the protagonist *so* much and the banter/writing was A+.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

 

Y’all!!!!!! Lorde released an album this month!!!!! It’s part of my September playlist though lol but this August I also listened to the best tracks from HSMTMTS, Inhaler’s new album and Lil Nas X, because how could I not.

LOOKING FORWARD

I don’t have anything specific that I’m looking forward this September except I want to hopefully acclimate better to my new job, afford the trip’s expenses and also get some reading done in between all that hehe

Tell me how y’all are doing! What’s your favorite thing you’ve done this month? What are you up to? And what good books have you read in August? Anything I should know that’s coming out this September? Let’s chat!

what i’ve been watching recently #13

O da minha

Hello, friends!

After having two weeks of job vacation, I was able to watch a lot of shows. Some, I had been following for a few months now, while others I just binged in one afternoon because I couldn’t stop myself.

LOKI

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Did I understand a single thing that happened in this show? No. Did I still love it? Yes.

LOKI was just a wild freaking ride. Again, I found the plot to be extremely confusing and I still stand by the fact that MARVEL writers have no understanding of the concept of *time*. Like, it’s not that hard folks. They also don’t know how to write romantic relationships and then get surprised that everyone ships the platonic relationships. It’s a mess, really.

But I adored Loki in here. While I don’t find that every single villain needs to be given a redemption arc in order for them to be likable, I think they were able to give Loki development but also keep his narcissistic tendencies and backstabbing habits. The dialogues are also hilarious and the supporting characters were all so great!

NEVER HAVE I EVER (S2)

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I talked about season one of Never Have I Ever in the blog before, and while I enjoyed it, it was never a show I thought much about. I still wanted to watch season two and I feel like this one really blew me away!

The dialogues are genuinely funny, and the acting has improved a ton! I feel like this is one of the best love triangles I’ve ever came across because I *genuinely* can not tell you which one I’d prefer for her to end up with. Also, Devi is such a fantastic protagonist. She’s so chaotic and hilarious, and yes annoying, but fantastic nonetheless.

I really enjoyed all the episodes and the side characters’ plotlines as well – Devi’s mom dealing with her grief and entering a new relationship, Kamala being a woman in STEM, Fabiola figuring out what queerness means to her. Even Paxton had a great development this season and his episode, with Gigi Hadid’s narration, was something amazing I never knew I needed.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL THE SERIES (S2)

It breaks my heart to say this, but unfortunately, I didn’t like this season as much as I liked season 1. I was anticipating this one so much, as I consider HSMTMTS to be one of my favorite comfort shows.

I think that there was a lot of production value for the scenes and songs, but not the same effort was put into giving every single character a satisfying arc. Overall, there were way too many characters and not enough time to develop all of them.

Also: why did they barely sing any High School Musical songs? Ugh.

I did enjoy a few things: some songs were amazing, I was so happy to see Portwell thriving and episode 5 made me cry like a baby. I don’t know if they’ll be returning for a S3 (fingers crossed?), but I hope they know to keep their focus for the following season. (And don’t try to make Ricky/Lily happen, pls).

OUTER BANKS (S2)

This was another season that didn’t not give as much as I wanted it to give.

There simply was not enough plot for ten episodes. The main plot had been resolved by episode 6, meaning that they had to add an entire different plotline by the 70% mark that was not interesting enough. They could’ve really done something amazing, by touching on transgenerational trauma, but they never really went as deep as they needed to in order to really make a statement.

As much as I enjoyed the new characters, I did find there were one too many conveniences and inconveniences to the plot that felt *so* forced, clearly to put the characters where they needed to be or not.

Also: can we please stop trying to make Kiara/JJ happen when Kiara is so clearly a lesbian? Lmao. I can’t.

Let me know if you’ve watched any of these and what are your thoughts on them!

what i’ve been watching recently #12

O da minha

Hello, everyone!

It’s that time again: the one when I’ve finally watched enough shows to share my opinions on. There’s a lot more coming out in the next couple months, so definitely expect a follow-up to this one soon!

LUPIN (S2)

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This show is just so entertaining, it’s pretty much impossible not to finish it in one sitting.

I do admit this second season had even more elements that felt too convenient, the first episode was very slow and they do sometimes overexplain a lot, but I still found it a lot of fun. More and more, I grow to love Assane as a character and I also loved how this season allowed us to see more of Ben, his best friend.

One thing I didn’t like was the romance, especially because it wasn’t the one romance I was rooting for, but oh well. Apparently, a season 3 is coming out, and I don’t know how necessary that will be either, but I can already anticipate it will be very entertaining.

THE CROWN (S1-S2)

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Ok, full disclosure: I didn’t watch *all* of both seasons, because uh hi I’m Lais and I don’t give a shit about prime-ministers.

I started watching The Crown after watching a doc series on the Royal family and feeling like everything would be more interesting if I could watch a dramatized version of those events. Then, I remembered that The Crown existed. I also had a friend show me a fan edit of Princess Diana and Charles to tolerate it, by Taylor Swift and that successfully convinced me to watch it.

Instead of skipping ahead to season 4, I decided I needed some context, so I watched seasons one and two. I did skip around and only watched the scenes of the royal family, but they were interesting. The pacing of the show is *very* slow, but the production value and the dialogues make it worth watching after all.

ÉLITE (S4)

Yes, I watched it. Yes, I hated it.

Ok, hated is a strong word. I went into it with low expectations, because some of my favorite characters were not returning for this season, so it’s not even like I was disappointed. Still, there was so much development from previous seasons that was just ignored here, especially when it comes to Guzmán, also known as my favorite character.

I didn’t care that much for the new characters and was annoyed at how the main plotline was so cliché and seen numerous times before. I did love the amount of angst we had between Ander and Omar and Samu looked the hottest he’d ever looked, but those were the only two things this season really had going for it.

To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be watching any upcoming seasons, as I’m scared they will ruin further my favorite characters (Rebe, Omar and Samu).

YOUNG ROYALS

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I imagine that if you’re active at all on Tumblr, you’ve heard of Young Royals. It is a NETFLIX Swedish original and it’s compared a lot to Red, White and Royal Blue as it follows a young prince figuring out his sexuality.

I was initially excited about the show, but I think the high quickly wore off. I really appreciated the fact they casted age-appropriate actors and the main relationship was adorable, but apart from that, there was nothing really that was interesting?

I found the side characters to be annoying at worst, forgettable at best. I also hated the fact there is an outing plotline as well as how little support one of the characters had after deciding not to come out. This is your friendly reminder that people don’t need to be out to have their sexuality be valid and they don’t need to be out to simply satisfy their partners. Let people choose the moment when they come out and not be considered bad because of it.

If you’ve watched any of these, let me know your thoughts! What shows are you currently watching? Which ones are in your to-watch list?

monthly wrap up: may, ’21

monthlywrapupnovo

Hello, friends!

May has been a weird month. I hope y’all are staying safe and mentally well during these times. Also, if you can, check this link out for places to donate & petitions to sign to help Palestine at this crucial moment, as well as this one with more resources.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. I taught high school students for 5 days. And it was awful, lmao. But are we surprised? Teenagers are just… terrifying and also the worst. I work mostly with kids ages 4-6, and moving from that to high school was daunting and not an experience I’d like to repeat. I’m still proud of myself for doing it, but it definitely was not an easy one.
  2. My parents are vaccinated! They have yet to get their second shot, but it will be a while until they do. Nonetheless, I am so happy! Both of my parents suffer from high blood pressure, and my mom is diabetic, which is why they got the vaccine earlier than most people. Still, I am so so sooooo thankful!
  3. Also, season 2 of HSMTMTS is here! It feels weird talking about something so shallow, but I also think shows/movies/music can help distract us from the atrocities of the world. I can attest that, during one of the hardest days I had this month mentally, this show was like a blanket of comfort and made me so happy. I am really enjoying the season so far and have high expectations for the upcoming episodes.

BOOKS I READ

★★★★☆

I was hoping to finish Born a Crime last month, but unfortunately, with my hectic schedule as I adjust to my new job, I couldn’t find time to do so. I expected this book to be funny, since Trevor Noah is a comedian, but it was honestly just a very sad and hard-hitting book. It discusses violence, abuse and racism at length and it was not easy to read. I still really enjoyed drawing parallels between Trevor’s experience in South Africa and my experience in Brazil (ofc they’re vastly different, but some similarities surprised me) and reading about Trevor’s beautiful relationship with his mom.

★★☆☆☆

Unfortunately, Counting Down With You turned out to be a disappointment, even though it was one of my most anticipated 2021 releases. Like I talked about in my Goodreads review, I mostly found the relationship between the main couple to be cringey and cheesy. I also found there was a lot of missed opportunities in developing the side characters, having a more nuanced discussion on religion and Ace as a protagonist read like a big cliché. I still think the friendgroup was iconic and the anxiety rep will definitely resonate with some people.

★★★★☆

Long Way Down is possibly Jason Reynolds’ most famous work and I am so glad I read it. It’s a very short book, set in the spam of an elevator ride from the protagonists’ apartment to the ground floor and I absolutely loved this setting. The discussions throughout this book – “don’t cry, don’t snitch, get revenge” – are very powerful and were definitely written for teenagers in similar situations, which I appreciated a lot.

★★★★☆

While I am not a fan of thrillers, I was very intrigued by the premise of The Sun Down Motel and I’m happy it did not disappoint. I found the resolution of the mystery to be satisfying, albeit the book was definitely longer than I think it had to be. I enjoyed both timelines and perspectives equally and the overall theme of feminism – how women are never listened to and how they mostly have to rely on other women to find help – was very well developed.

★★★☆☆

May The Best Man Win was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and my overall thoughts were… conflicting. On one hand, I appreciated the themes and how the book allowed the characters to be messy and flawed. However, I did find the character development to come a bit too late and therefore it felt rushed. I also felt like a lot of central themes of the book – such as Lukas’ grief and autism – were left off without any proper conclusion.

★★★★☆

This morning (yes, literally this morning) I also finished Boyfriend Material. I am so glad Ruby convinced me to read this, because it was indeed, amazing! I loved the banter between the characters and it was laugh-out-loud funny. I also appreciate how much information this book had on so many different themes. It might seem something weird, but it was genuinely interesting. I also loved the dynamic between the main couple and the friend group was so hilariously supportive.

 

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

“if i could make it go quiet” pretty much ruled my month. I love girl in red and I was so excited for her debut album and it absolutely did not disappoint. I was also surprised by the amount of female artists I’ve been listening to recently, and pretty proud of myself for doing so. Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR will only show up in my June playlist, but I have been loving that one too!

LOOKING FORWARD

June is Pride Month and I have some books I am super excited to pick up and finally read this month. S4 of Élite comes out this month as well and… yes, we have feelings. I am not hopeful about this season but I’ll watch anyway, ofc.

What are you excited about this June? Have you read some of your anticipated releases of 2021 already? How did they meet your expectations? Let’s talk in the comments!

what i’ve been watching recently #11

O da minha

Hello, friends!

I finally made some progress on my to-watch list, so I have new thoughts to share. I am also very excited because the next time I write one of these posts, I’ll be commenting on HSMTMTS S2 and I’m not emotionally prepared at all.

LOVE VICTOR (S1)

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As a huge fan of Love Simon, I was anticipating a lot the release of the show inspired by it, and yet it took me almost a whole year to watch it. Love Victor is quite different, as it follows a boy from a hispanic family, moving into a new town and school, finding himself a girlfriend and falling for his coworker – who has a boyfriend. Victor had a lot more going on around him, and I found very easy to connect with his character.

Originally, I hated the idea of adding a female character just for the guy’s development as he realizes he’s in fact *not* into her, but Love Victor developed Mia a lot as a character, which I appreciated. I also adored Felix, Victor’s best friend, and he was the most hilarious and adorable part of the show.

However, I did not care *at all* for the parents’ storyline (middle-aged people problems are just…. so boring), the acting was not the best and the script felt *so* forced at times it made me physically cringe and I also completely not bought into Victor and Benji’s romance. (Lowkey because Benji acted like a douchebag sometimes and it was a big yikes).

MISMATCHED (S1)

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This show was inspired by When Dimple Met Rishi, which was why I wanted to watch it in the first place. It is quite different from the book – it’s entirely set in India and for that reason, we don’t really get to see some of my favorite aspects of the novel, which is how Dimple and Rishi learn and grow from each other’s connection with their Indian heritage.

Despite that, I still enjoyed it a lot for the most part. The main couple had a lot of chemistry, there was great representation with a disabled side character and a lesbian side character and the way it was edited/directed was super dynamic and interesting.

However, the ending of the show really frustrated me. There is an outing of a side character and the way that person’s trauma was used for “conflict” for the main couple really bothered me. I also didn’t love the amounts of bullying (it was *very* unnecessary), but I do have to admit that I am intrigued by the new love interest and lowkey shipping them too (I’m a mess, I’m sorry).

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER (S1)

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Y’all. I love this show. Honestly.

While I was excited for it, I could’ve never predicted how much I absolutely adored all episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. There is so much powerful commentary in it, related to the black community in America, the symbol of Captain America for the US, what power does to people, immigration and community’s response to it, as well as amazing character development.

I already really liked Bucky and Sam’s dynamic from the other MARVEL movies and was so pleased with how they continued to be hilarious together. I also really enjoyed the villains – John Walker is fascinating and I loved to hate him; Karli and the Flag Smashers are also my favorite type of villains – the ones that the hero has to learn something from.

While I was a bit confused by the ending and I wish there was more attention given to the female characters in general, I am so happy with the show overall and anticipating season 2 pretty badly.

SHADOW AND BONE (S1)

The buzz around this show was massive and I’m so happy that it did not disappoint.

I was very surprised by the production value of the show, and a lot of effort was clearly put into it. I also did not expect that they’d be splitting so 50/50 the screen time between Alina’s arc and the Crows, which was very satisfying to see.

Overall, I found myself engaged with all the characters, even the ones I wasn’t super familiar with (like, anything happens to Mal and I *will* die). I was a bit confused by the plot, the geography of this world, as well as some of the characters’ motivations, but the cast dynamic is so perfect and the acting so good, I could very much glance over that.

Also: Nina/Matthias are even better in the show. I am LIVING.

If you’ve watched any of these shows, let me know your thoughts. Also: what are your theories for season 2 of Shadow & Bone? (Cause it will happen, it SHALL happen!)

monthly wrap up: april, ’21

monthlywrapupnovo

Hello, friends!

2021 is going by so fast is ridiculous. Like, how come we’re already in April? I am relieved, cause I can not wait to get vaccinated and for things to get back to normal. At the same time, I have no idea where time is going and it’s pretty weird.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. I have a new job! On one hand, it is pretty exciting, because I’m teaching English to young kids. On the other, it is incredibly overwhelming. I have made so many mistakes during my first week is not even funny and I have no idea how I haven’t been fired yet, lmao. I’m just trying to get by and adjust already, so hopefully I can be a better teacher too.

BOOKS I READ

★★★☆☆

I started out the month by picking up Going Off Script. I liked this one a lot. It’s Jen Wilde, so the writing is a bit juvenile, and this one felt like a particularly badly-researched view on the media industry (or simply what is like to have a job lol pls don’t talk back to your boss because you want to show him how badass you are), but the characters were so great and overall it was a really entertaining time.

★★★★☆

I was excited to read To Love and to Loathe and I really enjoyed it. The characters had a lot of chemistry,and it was well paced. I was also obsessed with the writing – it felt historical, but it was witty and hilarious as well. However, the representation of a lesbian side character was pretty insensitive in my opinion and made me take a star for the final rating.

★★★★☆

Considering April was Autism Acceptance Month, I wanted to read an own-voices autistic book and Please Don’t Hug Me was very interesting. I’m not used to books entirely written in letters, so I struggled a bit with the writing. Still, I loved the humor, the family relationship is A+ and most importantly: the protagonist finds comfort in sharing her experiences in A BLOG!!!! The way this book made me remember everything I love about blogging was beautiful. 

★★★★☆

I also got an unsolicited ARC of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun which was such a pleasant surprise! This book was adorable, though I wish it had gone deeper in some aspects at times. Nonetheless, it made me smile so much and saying goodbye to these characters – especially because the found family aspect is so big in this story – actually made me tear up. 

★★★★★

Ace by Angela Chen was such an eye-opening read. It’s one of those books that I encourage everyone to read, as I feel like its descriptions of sexual attraction, sexual desire, compulsory sexuality, queerplatonic partners, as well as how the author develops the intersectionality of asexuality and race and disability to be extremely important and not enough talked about.

★★★★☆

And, finally, I picked up The Tyrant’s Tomb, the fourth book in the Trials of Apollo series. I enjoyed this installment so much, and the more and more we read about Apollo, the more I fall in love with his character. He’s grown so much since book one is ridiculous. I was also happy to see again my favorite Camp Jupiter campers – Reyna, Hazel and Frank – and am looking forward to conclude this series soon.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) pretty much dominated my month. Out of The Vault tracks, Mr. Perfectly Fine has got to be my favorite, but I love That’s When a lot too. I also watched Billie Eilish’s documentary and found out there are actually a couple more songs by her I really enjoy.

LOOKING FORWARD

So many exciting things come out this May, including the second season of HSMTMTS, Olivia Rodrigo’s new album and a couple of my most anticipated releases, including May The Best Man Win and Counting Down With You. I hope May is as much of a good month as I am anticipating it to be!

What are you excited about in May? Which songs you loved hearing this past month? Let’s chat in the comments!

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?

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!

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

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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

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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!