book review: eliza and her monsters, by francesca zappia

IMG_0435Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Eliza and Her Monsters was an incredibly hyped book. Absolutely everyone in my Goodreads feed has given this book either 4 or 5 stars. As a book that has been compared many times to Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, which I love, I definitely had very high expectations. And I feel like I was ultimately let down.

Perhaps, having this book not be so hyped, I’d have let some things slide. But I was anticipating a perfect novel, one in which I’d fall in love with the characters almost instantly and relate to it a lot. This wasn’t what happened at all, but let’s discuss it here.

COISAS BOAS novo

  1. Fandom positivity! I love when I can read books that talk about fandom in such a nice and positive matter. Growing up as a fangirl and having it be such a big part of my life, I’m always happy to see it being discussed in books. The entire world around Monstrous Sea was very interesting to read about; how people memorized specific quotes and cosplayed as their favorite characters. It was all fascinating and super relatable.
  2. The way it talked about being a content creator with anxiety. I feel like, especially at this age, where anyone can have a public online life and share it with others, it’s a very important topic to be discussed. I’m sure many people, being bloggers or YouTubers or Instagrammers feel the pressure to post more, keep their relevance and the relationship with their audience. I’m sure it can be very overwhelming. I’m glad people will be represented in this one and feel connected to this aspect of our MC.
  3. Eliza eventually grows, thank God. As you’ll see by the end of this review, I had a very hard time connecting with Eliza. But I do need to acknowledge her growth. She starts out the book being quite selfish, but ends up being confronted with a much harder narrative than hers, in a way that she grows to be more grateful. Her development on her anxiety was impressive too and I think it can be a very hopeful story for people who relate to her on this level.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

  1. Eliza trying too hard to be edgy. I swear to God, there’s a line in this book that actually goes: “I have no friends. But that’s okay, I don’t want to be friends with these people anyway”. It was giving me Jughead vibes, with that whole scene: “I’m weird. I’m a weirdo. I don’t fit in. And I don’t want to fit in”. Ugh. Having no friends it’s not fun and definitely says more about who you are as a person rather than about your entire class. It would be understandable if Eliza acknowledged that she had a hard time making friends because of her anxiety or shyness, not because she felt like she was a special snowflake misunderstood by society. This trope should’ve died in 2010. Resultado de imagem para jughead i'm weird gif
  2. The family relationship. If you know anything about me, you know I die for great family dynamics in YA books. But this one was so messy. Eliza’s parents were truly just trying their best. Their daughter did not communicate with them and so they were just trying to understand her in the best of their abilities. It’s not easy, obviously, but it still bothered me so much how the book tried to paint them as villains for trying to take Eliza out of her room. She kept complaining about them when they were actually very nice parents. The fact that there was no proper apology at the end just bothered the heck out of me.
  3. Wallace and Eliza’s relationship by the end. I was feeling pretty neutral about Wallace and Eliza’s relationship, but by the end, they were just giving me very weird feelings. No spoilers at all, but it felt incredibly manipulative, from both sides. It was borderline abusive at some point, and I did not vibe with it at all.

  4. I didn’t care for Monstrous Sea at all. Because this book was compared to Fangirl so much, I was anticipating to fall in love with the fandom as much as I cared for Simon Snow, for example. But the thing is: I didn’t understand Monstrous Sea. The plot was very complex, there were so many characters and I was just lost completely. By the end, I was even skipping the chapters from Monstrous Sea, because I knew they weren’t adding to my understanding of it at all. It was quite disappointing, because I always love the idea of falling in love with two stories at once.

IMG_0438

Despise my hard feelings, I can still understand why people like this book. As I mentioned above, it talked about anxiety very well. I truly felt Eliza’s struggles, especially towards writing the ending of her story and producing more content. I think for other artists dealing with anxiety, this book will be very important.

But, still, I was very much let down by this one. I didn’t expect to dislike it as much as I did, so I’m reluctant in sharing this review, but it didn’t feel right hiding my opinions just because they’re unpopular.

2 ESTRELASNOVO

I know many of you love this book, so I hope there’s no bad feelings after reading this review, lol. Let’s discuss in the comments! 😊

Anúncios

book review: far from the tree, by robin benway

IMG_0179A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Far From the Tree can be considered a backlist novel (it was released in 2017), so it is one that has been on my radar the longest. I don’t even think I heard anyone in particular talking about this book, but I walked into a local bookstore once and saw that they had this book in their English section. The premise caught my attention and I sat there to read a couple chapters.

I loved what I read a lot. It got me absolutely wrapped up in the story and I barely saw time passing while I stood there. I obviously didn’t have the chance to finish the whole book in one sitting and I also didn’t have the money to take it home, so I left and prayed I’d have the chance to pick it up soon. It took a few months, but it happened, and I’m so glad it did. It broke my heart and made me feel everything, just as I’d predicted it would.

COISAS BOAS novo

  1. JOAQUIN. I feel like I have to mention him first, because Joaquin is the light of this book. Actually, it may be the complete opposite, because he’s in fact a very angsty and broken character. Joaquin is the only one out of the three siblings that has never been adpoted and his experiences in foster care have definitely left scars. His perspective was my favorite one to read about, and it broke my heart everytime. I teared-up multiple times reading his thoughts and his backstory. He was a very loyal and carrying person, but felt himself that he didn’t deserve happiness. I just really wanted to hug him forever.
  2. The discussion about being a non-white kid in a white family. Prior to picking up this book, I actually listened to Robin Benway on the First Draft podcast and I really appreciated how she mentioned approaching this discussion. As someone who cares a lot about adoption and follows a lot of interracial families on Youtube and such, it was super interesting reading from the perspective of the kid, who sees himself a in white family and is trying to come to terms with that. Joaquin is also the only one out of the three who is not white, which was a very interesting take.
  3. Demystifying adoption. There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to adoption and foster care. I am not even aware of all of them, because my country has no such a system as foster care, so I think American readers can take even more from this experience. The author is able to present a very realistic side of things; even though she tries to encompass as many different perspectives as she can, and tries also to break stereotypes around what “giving up” a child means, she makes sure to remind the reader constantly that this entire cycle is based on one thing: love. People adopt because they love. They also give up their kids to adoption because they love them. This book definitely does not lack on love.
  4. The talk on identity. This book is centered around these characters figuring out who they are. For Grace, that means coming to terms with the person she is now, after her baby. She spent 16 years being one person, just to become another after she got pregnant, and is not dealing with the aftermath. Grace 3.0 is broken, but determined to pick up the pieces. Maya’s identity, surprisingly, didn’t rely a lot on her sexuality, because, in fact, she was super unapologetic about it, which I loved. As for Joaquin, his is definitely the most complicated one. Joaquin craves for an identity, a backstory, a past that will allow him to have a future. He doesn’t have childhood pictures or stories. At some point, a teacher asks him to buy tapas from his family, beleving that they’re Mexican, and he doesn’t know how to react to that. He doesn’t even know how to speak Spanish. This book introduced us to so many conflicts on identity and I loved it a whole lot.
  5. Family dynamics absolutely everywhere. I love family dynamics. More than I love romance, most of the time. Like, sure, reading about two characters falling in love is always fun, but the love that comes from a sibling relationship, mother & daughter, father & son… It’s so much more intense. I had a field day with this book, truly. It had the most beautiful family dynamics and quotes I’ve ever read about. We’re constantly complaining about terrible or absent parents in YA, and this book delivers amazing and yet complicated family relationships all around.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

  1. Maya. As much as I loved this book, Maya’s character was hard to deal with. She was clearly written to be an unlikeable one. She talks too much, is quite snarky and doesn’t care about being nice to people whom she’s just met. Going through her narration was sort of painful, especially because I wanted to get to Grace’s and Joaquin’s already.
  2. The sisters relationship felt unrealistic. Maya and her sister, Lauren, have quite a complicated relationship. Lauren is a biological daughter and only one year younger than Maya. They’re written to be almost enemies, but also best friends, which I feel like should be realistic, since that’s exactly how I feel about my sister as well. But there was just something about the way they held grudges over the smallest things and kept apologizing that just didn’t work for me at all? If you have a sibling, you know you hardly ever apologize. One minute you’re screaming at each other, the next you’re laughing. That’s the beauty about having a sibling, and I feel like, ultimately, their relationship lacked this natural banter.

IMG_0183Overall, I’m just so glad that I read this book. There are so many important topics being talked about in here, and you can see the author made sure to treat it with a lot of respect. It truly puts you in these characters’ shoes, almost transporting you to the inside of their lives, as you follow their narratives.

I will point out, though, that the physical book may be a better fit than the audio book. I listened to it and I didn’t vibe with the narrator that much. Also, it is only one narrator for all three perspectives, which I find can be kinda tedious. If you have the chance to pick up the physical one, I’d definitely recommend doing so!

5 ESTRELASNOVO

If you survived this over 1k words review, thank you so much! If you have read Far From The Tree, please share your thoughts in the comments below!

book review: crooked kingdom, by leigh bardugo

IMG_0778Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Hello, fellow bookworms!

Today, I bring one of the most exciting reviews I’ve ever done and I’m the only one who’s excited about it, but STILL. It’s been a year since I read Six of Crows and definitely around four to six months since I’ve been procrastinating picking up Crooked Kingdom. Fantasy books terrify me, and this one’s not short at all, so I was very, very intimidated.

The experience turned out to be much better than I anticipated, though I definitely still had my issues after all. And, by the way, I still hate Kaz Brekker a lot.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: addiction, torture, violence, forced prostitution and sex trafficking and trauma-related mental illness.

 

  1. Matthias. And Nina. Mostly Matthias, though. When reading Six of Crows, my favorite character was actually Inej, but Crooked Kingdom changed my opinion completely and solidified Nina and Matthias as my favorites. Their banter is absolutely amazing, but as individuals they’re also incredible. Matthias is such a pure soul, while also being absolutely badass. Nina is hilarious and goes through so much at the beginning and still would defend her people to death. Plus: she’s not skinny, and that representation means more to me than I can put into words. They also happen to be ridiculously amazing together – the type of amazing that makes your heart hurt every time they look at each other.
  2. The growth from the characters. Because I love Matthias the most, I feel like I also have to mention his unbelievable growth throughout the duology. He starts off as a guy with a lot of stereotypical ideas about the Grishas, trapped in his own cycle of hate that he was taught his whole life. But after going through everything, he learns so much, which really shows how hatred can come from ignorance and education is the only way to stop it. In general, all the characters go through an amazing development and become better people – as good as you can expect thieves to be, anyway.
  3. Surprisingly, Kaz & Inej. I didn’t care for Kaz & Inej at all in Six of Crows, mostly because I love Inej and despise Kaz so the two just didn’t add up. This installment, though, had me crying (in public) with their interactions. I do still stand by the fact, though, that these two don’t need each other; what they need is some intense therapy. But counting on someone else was already a good start.
  4. Discussing important themes in a fantasy world. Leigh Bardugo was able to intertwine very meaningful topics in a fantastical story and it worked beautifully. She discusses trauma, disability, sex trafficking and a lot of other themes that you wouldn’t expect to be in a fantasy novel. I was surprised by how well these messages were delved into the story and it added a very important layer to the book.
  5. The world building and writing style. Granted: fantasy is not my thing, so take my praise to the world building with a grain of salt. I still love how we slowly got to know more about this world (especially since I am not familiar with it, not having read the Grisha trilogy), the people, the different languages and different cultures. Leigh Bardugo’s writing style is also fantastic: so beautiful and so atmospheric. It truly transported me to this world.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

  1. The ending. Everything was PERFECT up until the last forty pages. They’re a mess. I was so underwhelmed, as I feel like the story wrapped itself up in a way that didn’t match the build up. The stakes are always so high for this series, but it didn’t feel this way in this conclusion. I’m not saying that things happened too conveniently, but considering how dark this series was, I expected we’d go a little further. The character loss we have in here also felt dumb and unnecessary, so… Yeah. I’m mad.
  2. It’s not as atmospheric as Six of Crows was. Even though I’ve given both these books the exact same rating, I still prefer Six of Crows over Crooked Kingdom. I feel like the first book was more atmospheric, and had more banter between the characters, as they were just starting to work as a group and didn’t trust each other completely yet. I also still stand by the fact that Six of Crows could’ve been a standalone; even though I really liked Crooked Kingdom as a book, it still feels objectively unnecessary to me.

IMG_0783Overall, I still consider these books worth the hype. They’re very well loved by the bookish community, and frankly, despise the few problems I had, I still find them worth checking out. There are a lot of things that make it stand out from other YA fantasies out there, which is probably why it gets so much buzz.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be picking up Leigh Bardugo’s original Grisha trilogy and because of that, her most recent novel, King of Scars, but if she ever releases anything else following these characters you can for sure count me in!

 

4 ESTRELASNOVO

Let me know in the comments how you feel towards this series! I know it’s a very hyped and well loved one, but feel free to share some of your more unpopular opinions down below too!

 

book review: odd one out, by nic stone

IMG_0668From the author of Dear Martin comes this exploration of old friendships, new crushes, and the path to self-discovery.

Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.

I read Odd One Out during February, because of a personal TBR of mine in which I wanted to read only black authors for Black History Month. And since I was already familiar with Nic Stone – I actually re-read her debut, Dear Martin, this February too -, it felt like the perfect choice.

Now, I went into this book having already heard mixed reviews for it. My Goodreads feed was pretty polarizing: some gave 4 stars, others gave it 2. My expectations weren’t high, so I wouldn’t call this a disappointing read, but it was for sure an odd one indeed.

COISAS BOAS novo

  1. The writing style! I simply adore the way Nic Stone writes. Her contemporary is just my kind of contemporary, so we’re good. There are a lot of dialogues and very short chapters. The characters are hilarious and I for sure laughed out loud when reading this. Despise how entertaining it may be, she’s also able to address very serious topics as well, and it works like magic. This book follows three different narrators, and I feel like despise the perspectives sounding different, they still felt very connected through her writing voice, which I think it’s pretty impressive.
  2. The overall message. As the author mentions herself in the acknowledgements, this book was written from a very personal place. I think the way Nic Stone explored sexuality in this novel was great: it really is a fluid, ever-changing place. Jupiter’s character goes through a phenomenal development throughout the book and I appreciated that a lot. I feel like for other teenagers who are questioning their sexuality, this book can be truly helpful.
  3. The narrators for the audiobook were SO GREAT. I’m so glad that I gave this audiobook a chance! The narrator for Cooper, Dion Graham, was the best one. He was able to concieve all emotions and made the reading so entertaining and dynamic. I found out that he’s the narrator for Dear Martin too, and now I regret not having listened to it as well. Nic Stone herself narrates for Jupiter’s perspective, and I also adore her voice. Even if I didn’t like the narrator for Rae as much, this was still a 10/10 audiobook experience.
  4. The “mystery” was so fun! There’s a mini mystery subplot in this, surrounding Cooper’s childhood idol and it was so well done! I wish it had lasted a bit longer, though, and I certainly wouldn’t have minded at all if we’d spent the whole book trying to figure it out.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

  1. This is kind of a very messy love triangle. All the characters are kind of in love with each other, and I think it was one of the most complicated love-triangles of all time. These characters have no idea how to handle their feelings, and albeit realistic, I still feel like I would’ve liked for the story to provide more “healthy” ways to deal with your confusion. As these characters try to figrue out their miscommunications and lack of honesty with their own feelings, they end up getting each other hurt. I like to believe there’s a better way of figuring things out that do not involve hurting so many others in the process. (Probably some therapy?).
  2. It’s a Cooper-Jupiter story. I don’t know if it was because I was truly more invested in their narrations, but I feel like both Cooper and Jupiter were much more fleshed out characters, and they felt very real. Rae, in the other hand, was a bit left out. She’s the addition to the friend group, so I understand why maybe she wasn’t given as much attention as a character, but even towards the end, I feel like the story just left Rae in the outside.
  3. Jupiter. Honestly, Jupiter is one of the most unlikable protagonists I’ve ever read about. She struggles a lot in being honest with herself and just makes some decisions sometimes that had me eye-rolling sooooo bad. She would flirt with Cooper and then pretend it never happened; give him all these wrong signs and then act oblivious to it. I for real felt like punching her sometimes.

IMG_0671Overall, I feel like this was a weird book to rate. At times, I was sure it would be a 5-star read, just to move to the following chapter and hate everyone again. I feel just as confused as these characters are, but I think that was the author’s goal at the end of the day.

This story is not perfect, nor neat and nice, but it for sure gave me a lot to think about. It also solidified my love for Nic Stone and I can not wait to read more from her in the future.

 

3 ESTRELASNOVO

Have you ever read Odd One Out? If so, how did you like it? (Also, there are so many Queen references in this, which was amazinggg!)

book review: the illuminae files, by amie kaufman and jay kristoff

IMG_0477This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Finally, I’m bringing a review of one of my favorite trilogies of all times. The Illuminae Files was such a surprise for me, as I’d never been a fan of sci-fi. Picking up this series was an act very out of my comfort zone: firstly, because I read the entire trilogy in English, which is not my first language; and secondly because the format makes the entire experience very unique.

Told in a sequence of files and documments, Illuminae was still able to deliver amazing characters and relationships, taking me completely by surprise. And though not perfect, I enjoyed every single second of the ride.

COISAS BOAS novo

  1. The writing style! Because this series is told in very different documments, the writing style was always dynamic. In one page, you’re reading just instant messages; in the other, you’re reading very sarcastic camera transcripts. You don’t really have time to get tired of the style, as it was ever-changing, which made for a very fun experience.
  2. The characters & the relationships. Kady and Ezra are my biggest sweethearts. They’re funny, sarcastic and also incredibly loving and brave. I also really liked getting to know Rhys and Asha in the last installment, as well as Ella Malikova and her always snarky remarks. The characters were all incredibly fleshed out – which I didn’t expect, considering you’re not inside their heads as you would in a regular narration. Instead, you get to know them solely through their messages & conversations, but that was already enough to make me fall hard. The relationships – romantic and familiar – were also beautiful and heartbreaking.
  3. Our beloved villain, AIDAN. AIDAN is literally a computer, an artificial inteligence that is supposed to protect them. But AIDAN has a very interesting way of seeing “protection”. It’s also incredibly dramatic and has possibly the best narration of all. Incapable of understanding sarcasm – which is a problem, considering the cast of characters – AIDAN made me laugh as much as it made me furious.
  4. This series is ridiculously action-packed and impossible to put down. Important to note: these books are STRESSFUL. There’s so much happening and the stakes are always so high. These characters hardly ever get a moment to breathe; it is a constant go-go-go that really makes impossible to stop reading. I will say, though, that Obsidio, the last book, had a much more comfortable pacing than the previous two. It’s still dynamic and entertaining, but you can definitely take a breath between the pages.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

  1. Hanna/Nik. They’re by far my least-favorite couple and characters in the series. Even though I adored Gemina and had so much fun with that book, I just couldn’t stand them. Nik is sort of an asshole and keeps making moves on Hanna, even though she has a boyfriend + stated that she doesn’t feel comfortable with it. And, then, after all the inconvenient jokes, he’s still rewarded by the creepy behaviour? Uh, no thanks.
  2. Sometimes, it was too much. As much as I love the fact the series is action-packed, I will say that not always it was easy to read. I feel like I kept putting off the third book because I knew it would be a very stressful experience; and one you need to have time to commit to. Because it’s so hard to put these books down, I found myself sometimes refraining from reading, because I wouldn’t have enough time and couldn’t keep reading it.
  3. It’s hard to get into each book. Another thing I found hard in these books is that it’s quite confusing to get into them. Because I gave myself about a year between each book, I had already forgotten a lot about the previous one and it’s hard to ambient yourself again. The first 50 pages are all a bit weird to get through, but once you do, it’s majestic.

IMG_0482Obviously, The Illuminae Files has become one of my favorite trilogies of all times. Even if you’re not a fan of sci-fi, I’d still recommend picking it up! I didn’t think I’d be so invested in the characters as I was, and I certainly didn’t think I’d find myself wanting to read more sci-fi after this series.

These books made me feel everything, from anger to sadness to warm fuzzies. These characters go through a lot, but are always up to another fight. It doesn’t mean they don’t get burn out or depressed, and the authors made sure to create very fleshed out & three-dimensional personalities.

5 ESTRELASNOVO

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this trilogy and what are your thoughts on it. And also, who’s your favorite character? Mine is definitely Kady! She’s amazing!

book review: all american boys, by jason reynolds and brendan kiely

IMG_0515Rashad is absent again today.

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.

And that’s how it started.

And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

Rashad and Quinn—one black, one white, both American—face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.

Cuz that’s how it can end.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: racism, police brutality, assault, racial profiling.

All-American Boys is quite of a throwback read – but then again, isn’t that my brand? -, but it’s still so worth picking up. Covering similar themes as books like The Hate U Give and Dear Martin, All-American Boys is a powerful talk on racism, white privilege and speaking up.

This is told in dual perspectives – Rashad and Quinn -, written respectively by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. The book reads like one, though, and the perspectives, albeit different, weren’t conflicting to the point it felt like two different books in one.

By the way, I warn you: this is going to be a looooooong review. I apologize in advance, but this read made me think about way too many things.

COISAS BOAS novo

  1. Rashad’s father. Rashad’s father was one of the most interesting characters in my opinion. I can see how he reflects a great deal of society, and understandably so, as his behaviour is definitely a result of systemic racism. Rashad’s dad is a cop, and pressures him a lot into ROTC, for believing that this is the “only chance for a black boy in this country”. He also disapproves Spoony’s (Rashad’s brother) dreadlocks and even implies that what happened to Rashad was a consequence of him wearing baggy clothes. At the same time I was reading this, I also gave the movie for The Hate U Give a re-watch and it made me reflect how Starr’s father is the complete opposite. He makes his kids memorize the Black Panther Ten-Point Program. He reminds them that being black is a honor. Rashad’s father is the other side of the spectrum; he feels like being away from his own “blackness” is a way to remain safe. Personally, I know a lot of people like Rashad’s father. But the book makes sure to question that, introducing characters like Spoony and even Rashad himself, who are still trying to be connected with their own culture, despise what society may say.
  2. Quinn’s development. When we start the book, Quinn is just your typical white kid: he’d much rather stay away from all the rising “drama”. In a lot of ways, he believes that if he just ignores what happened, things will get back to where they were. He chooses to be blind to the conflict and to racism in general, but overtime, he grows to understand that he’s a very important piece in this board. I love that Quinn’s perspective calls out on white privilege, but also shows what we, as white people, can do to help. He learns how to speak up, how to stand up for what’s right, despise who he may hurt in the process.
  3. The cop wasn’t played as a victim. To make things more complicated, Quinn knows the cop who beat Rashad. They’re close friends and Paul – the cop – was an important paternal figure to Quinn, once his own dad passed away. When I first found this out, I felt like the book was trying to humanize the cop and play him as a “good guy who made the wrong choices”. But this doesn’t happen, at all. The man that Quinn knew and grew up with and the cop who beat Rashad are treated like two different people, and I appreciate that a lot. I feel like when narratives like that happen in real life, the white cop is always played as a “good man”, who “carried for his family” and it gets on my nerves sometimes.
  4. The similarities between the two perspectives. Even though Rashad and Quinn have very different lives, I appreciated how they still felt very similar. I think when we address diversity in books, it’s somewhat powerful being able to identify with someone whom you never thought you would. A lot of discrimination and hatred comes from the fear of differences, so I appreciate when a book is able to showcase the shared characteristics by two people who are put by society in two different worlds.
  5. How real the story felt. The ending of this book, similar to The Hate U Give, shows all the names of real black kids who died unarmed, killed by the police. It’s heartbreaking and definitely made me tear up a little. Even though this is a fictional story, Rashad’s story is not that different from what we see in the news sometimes. On top of that, I also love how real the characters were and how they were smoothly introduced in the story, not feeling like an info-dump of characters and personalities at all.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

  1. The ending. Obviously, I’ll try to keep things spoiler-free, but the ending was a bit too open, which frustrated me a lot. I like open endings, but this one did not give enough closure to these characters.
  2. The writing style. For the first two chapters, I felt like I was about to put this book down. The writing was digressive and a bit out of focus. It was also too slang-y to my taste? It truly was accurate to a teenage boy perspective, and I understand why it was done, but it felt hard to get through it. However, as the story grows more serious, the tone also darkens a little bit and I flew through the rest of the book very well.

IMG_0517Overall, this book was an amazing and powerful experience. With books like The Hate U Give and Dear Martin getting so much praise, I really recommend you also pick up All American Boys. It may be a backlist title, but it’s just as impactful as the more recent ones.

Books like this one remind me why I adore reading so much. I do love some funny and entertaining reads, but the hard-hitting stories are the ones I feel like inspire change. I think it’s phenomenal when a book gets so many thoughts in my mind, makes me reflect on storylines so different from mine and, mainly, inspires me to always stand up for what I believe is right.

4 ESTRELASNOVO

So, after the LONGEST review of my life: let me hear your thoughts! Have you ever read All-American Boys? If so, how did you like it? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

book review: american panda, by gloria chao

img_0308At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

TRIGGER WARNINGS: OCD rep, discussion on STDs, toxic family relationships and mention on suicide

American Panda was such a glorious surprise. I can not even being to describe how much this book made me think; as my first read of 2019, I couldn’t be happier that I ended up with a fantastic book.

Going into it, I thought American Panda was just going to be another fluffy contemporary about a girl dealing with strict parents while falling in love with a very-much-non-approved boy. But, in fact, there were so many other elements into this story that surprised me. It was a coming-of-age narrative (one of my favorite things ever!!!) that explored family, motherhood and being yourself in one of the most impactful ways I’ve ever read.

COISAS BOAS

  1. This book made me feel everything. I feel like, as everyone who’s read this, I spend the first half of the book annoyed & angry & frustrated. Mei’s parents are so strict and overprotective all the time. When she was with Darren, though, my heart warmed and I couldn’t stop smiling. And by the end, my eyes were watery (I know?!?! Me and my heartless soul?!?!) and I couldn’t stop thinking about how Chao was able to create an incredibly complex family dynamic that made me feel so much. This book was a rush of emotions.
  2. Mei & Darren. Needless to say, Darren is adorable. He’s kind, understanding and a total nerd. Their relationship blossoms in a way that had me literally gushing and it even reminded me of K-drama dynamics: confessing, holding hands, having a first kiss. They were flirty and cute and sweet and I’m going to stop talking now.
  3. Mei was too American to be Chinese, too Chinese to be American. I love when books get to explore the identity crisis that I believe most immigrants’ kids feel in their bones. Even though I don’t personaly relate, it still hits deep. I can’t imagine going through my life always feeling in the middle and this book made me feel intensely for Mei as she tries to navigate Chinese traditions and American culture.
  4. The family aspect had the perfect amount of duality. The thing is: Mei’s parents are strict and very, very traditional. This could’ve been an easy book to write: how Mei feels trapped and therefore hates her parents and what they put her under. In reality, though, it is much more complicated than that. Mei feels guilty because she’s going against them; she loves them and is so grateful for their sacrifices. There’s a specific scene where she remembers a childhood moment when one of her classmates said something rude about her parents; and even if that was true, she still defended them with all she had. Her love for her parents was immense, despise how much she disagreed with them, how much she was hurt by their treatment. And following that struggle and that duality was such an emotional ride.
  5. This book made me think. A lot. I’m always on board for a thought-provoking read and American Panda was definitely that. There are a lot of conversations about motherhood and the role of women in a traditional family. Mei’s mom was such an interesting character; though I disagreed with most of her actions and sayings, it was beautiful to see more layers of her by the end of the novel. It made me reflect a lot on how mothers are such unique and precious creatures, and made me feel a lot more grateful to my own mom too.
  6. The identity was on point! This book is sooooo Chinese everywhere. There are a bunch of Chinese words, traditions, sayings. To someone who’s not familiarized with the culture at all, this book was fascinating and very immersive.

COISAS RUINS

I think my only fault with this book (as I loved it so deeply) was the writing style. I recognize that it was confusing at times, and probably more digressive than I would like. Also, I swear to God, every time a character laughed it would be followed by: She laughs – a deep, loud laugh. Apparently, all laughs are required a description.

Also, the fact the book throws us into a talk about vaginas, rashes, herpes and chlamydia by Chapter 3 was a bit off. I didn’t even know enough about the characters to be that *deep* into the conversations, but oh well.

img_0312Overall, I loved American Panda. I will say, though, I don’t believe even for a second that Mei’s story represents the story of all Asian-Americans out there. And I don’t even think the book was trying to tell you that. As the author mentions in the acknowledgments, this was based off of hers and close-friends’ experience and obviously does not represent the majority of the Asian-American community. In fact, she encourages more representation on books, to be able to tell all these other stories that are different from hers.

What I’m trying to say is that even though I loved this book to pieces, I understand some may not. Or some will try to say that it’s perpetuating a false stereotype. But, at the end of the day, everyone has an unique story to tell, and Mei’s was just one of many.

My final rating:

FAVORITADO

Have you ever read American Panda? And what are your thoughts on it? (Also, I apologize for the longest review of my life. Apparently, I can never shut up, moreover about books I like!).

book review: queens of geek, by jen wilde

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please excuse me as i cry with my fandom merch

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself. 

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek was my last read of 2018. I couldn’t have wished for a better way to end the year, as this made me incredibly happy. It’s not a perfect read, by any means, but it was exactly what I needed to end the year on a positive note.

COISAS BOAS

  1. It was very diverse! When I first read the premise, I already knew Queens of Geek was going to have both bisexual & anxiety rep, but it had a lot more than that! Charlie is an Asian-American girl, who gets involved with another black girl halfway through the book. Taylor also fit in the autism spectrum. Overall, this was so diverse everywhere and it was refreshing to read!
  2. The fat-rep was on point. Taylor is a curvy girl and I can not even describe how happy it made me to read about a fat character that was also so much more than that. Actually, Taylor’s body is not a big deal at all, as she gets involved on cosplay contests, shows up on TV and falls in love with her best-friend. There are multiple occasions when Taylor comfortably eats hamburguer around her crush; and I know that this sounds so stupid, but it made me so happy? I am very self conscious to eat around people, but the fact that Taylor owed it gave me an unexpected boost of confidence.
  3. This made me so happy. I read Queens of Geek in one sitting and I spent the entire afternoon laughing and gushing. I’m glad that I wasn’t reading it in public, otherwhise it would’ve been embarrassing. The relationships are adorable, there’s so much growth and representation through the pages and the characters were always so supportive. This was a joy to read!

COISAS RUINS

  1. It reads like a fanfiction. And not even one of the good ones. I’m a big advocate on fanfictions, don’t get me wrong. Some of the ones I’ve read were probably better written than full on novels. But Queens of Geek just wasn’t one of the good fanfictions out there. Poor writing, cliché scenes and some quotes that made me seriously cringe. I swear to God I even wrote a scene just like the one when Alyssa and Charlie are recording the Youtube video together. When I was 12.
  2. Insta-love and insta-friendship. Because this is a very short novel, it is understandable that things had to develop fast. Still, it was a bit weird just how quickly some relationships became so important for the characters. Even though it threw me off a little bit, I still think you’re able to root for the characters despise that.

img_0224Overall, this made me so happy, though! I didn’t even care if the writing wasn’t great or if I could predict the lines they were saying next: this was still so fun to read. There’s so much to love about the characters and the amount of representation.

On top of that, the conversation on fandom was definitely an interesting one. Fandoms have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember – firstly, with Jonas Brothers (obviously), moving on to books & TV, and now where I’m kind in a mix of all of these, with a K-POP cherry on top. To follow these characters as they find themselves and life-time friendships because of something as a book series was relatable and inspiring.

My final rating is:

3 ESTRELAS

Have you ever read Queens of Geek? How did you like it? And what are some of your current fandoms? Have you ever made life-time friendships because of it?

book review: the outsiders, by s.e. hinton

photo-2018-12-28-17-37-35No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends – true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. And when it comes to the beating up on “greasers” like him and his friends – he knows that he can count on them for trouble. But one night someone takes things too far, and Ponyboy’s world is turned upside down…

I know The Outsiders is a common required read, but not where I live, which is probably why I read it (does anyone else loves reading but strongly despises required reads?). Last year, I started watching everything I could that was set on the 50s/60s – Forrest Gump, Rebel Without a Cause, and, of course, The Outsiders. I found out this is the time period I’m mostly interested in, so gravitating towards the movie was natural.

I was surprised by how much I liked the story and decided to pick up the book when I got a chance to do so. And, though it was a lovely experience as well, I do feel like there were a few missed elements.

COISAS BOAS

  1. The relationships between the characters. I fall hard for every single male character interaction there is, so to say I had a full course meal with this book is an understatement. The Greasers have such an interesting and unique bond. Johnny and Darry were a surprising one, while Ponyboy and Sodapop warmed my heart in the best ways possible. Even the relationships that weren’t all rose tainted, like Dally and Ponyboy, were beautiful to read.
  2. The setting. This book really threw me to a countryside city in the mid 60s. And not only because I had watched the movie before, but because the general ambience was very well done. You could feel it by the way they talk about the movies, their slangs and their outfits. As I mentioned my 60s obsession, I couldn’t be happier to be transported so easily to that time.
  3. The quotes. This book had beautiful passages that made me understand why it impacted so many people. I ended up highlighting quite a few! It’s interesting to me that the author wrote this when she was only sixteen, because some quotes really hit on me and I’m sure I’ll remember them for a long time. My favorite one is definitely: “They weren’t looking for a fight. They were looking to belong.

COISAS RUINS

  1. We don’t see enough from the Socs. One thing that the book definitely tries to install is that “things are rough all over” and the Greasers are not the only ones struggling. In reality, though, we don’t see enough to prove that. Cherry was an interesting character, but she didn’t fully represent the Socs to me. Randy was definitely someone that could’ve been more deeply explored. Even when he was talking about the problems in the other side of the town, it just felt like such a first-world problem. To have understanding and supportive parents doesn’t seem like the end of the world to me. Overall, I feel like the story would’ve been a lot deeper if we got to see more from an opposite perspective.
  2. Some elements of the writing style & pacing. When I picked this book up at the end of the year, I thought it was going to be an easy and fast-paced read. This was the shortest read of 2018 for me, and yet, I took about a week to finish it. The writing just felt stiff and not totally engaging. The way it presents the characters, for example, just felt like an info-dump and I wish I had met them as the story developed and not all at once.

photo-2018-12-28-17-37-36 2I still think The Outsiders is a great story. I know how many people love it and how much it has impacted them and I understand it, truly.

In terms of comparison between the movie and the book, I genuinely feel like they both deliver. The pacing of the movie was a bit more my style and I didn’t feel a slump at any point. On the other hand, I think we got to see more from the character’s relationships in the novel, and I definitely felt more of a connection when reading it. I still think both are worth checking out if you have the chance!

My final rating is:

4 ESTRELAS

Have you ever read The Outsiders? Or watched the movie? If so, what do you think of it? And who’s your favorite Greaser? (Mine would probably be Darry, just because of Patrick Swayze, though).

18 books in 2018!

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Hello, fellow bloggers!

While 2018 was a super slow reading year for me, things did speed up a little bit in the latest half, and I managed to complete 18 books for the year.

I didn’t have a reading goal for the year, as I knew how stressful it would be for me. I was, indeed, busy for most of it, but I didn’t expect just how much my mental health would be in the way for most of my accomplishments this year. In fact, my reading routine throughout 2018 was basically: not reading anything for two months – picking up a book and reading it in one sitting – not reading anything for the next two months.

Nonetheless, I’m still okay about this number. I obviously want to make my reading more consistent for the next year, and hopefully read more, but I also want to be more aware of my own feelings and give myself a break when I need to.

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. While everyone is doing a wrap up of their bests & worsts of the year, I just decided to do a general wrap up and share with you all the eighteen books I read in 2018:


7864437 This was, obviously, a re-read for me, as The Maze Runner series is actually one of my favorite series of all times. Death Cure is actually the concluding installment of the trilogy and it was a very interesting experience, since I re-read this after watching the movie. I know you’d typically read before watching the adaptation, but doing it the other way around was refreshing, as I pictured a lot of things in the book based in the movie – like having Dylan O’brien in my head everytime I read ‘Thomas‘, which I’m not complaining about. I’ll always love The Maze Runner series, and revisiting these characters and this story is a pleasure of mine.

23437156Six of Crows was, overall, a very good experience. Even though I went through a rollercoaster of feelings, never knowing exactly which character to trust, I loved so much about it. First of all, Leigh Bardugo’s writing style: I had never read anything by her before and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. She writes very character-focused chapters, which is what I prefer. Inej is by far my most favorite character, along with Nina and Matthias, who were my favorite couple I have read in a while. And, as much as I tried, I just couldn’t stand Kaz at all. It was slightly disappointing, since I wanted to love everything about this book, as everyone else. Also I did feel like this could’ve been a standalone, since the cliffhanger at the end was a bit unnecessary.

12294652By far, the most disappointing read of the year was My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick. When I picked this up, I was excited to read a cheesy romance, but it was way too cliché, even for me. Even though I rated this as 1-star, there’s nothing incredibly problematic about it. In fact, I can see a lot of people enjoying it. However, in my impression, it came out as a pretty flat and bland story, extremely vanilla. There’s no real plot, zero character development and the love interest was perfect as a Disney-prince, which was, in fact, very boring. As much as I wanted to like it, this one was just painful to get through.

I Resultado de imagem para your name manga volume 2finally moved on with the Your Name series! There’s one volume left now, and I’m taking forever to pick it up, probably because I’m not ready to finish it just yet. Though this volume was confusing, it was extremely enjoyable. Not to give any spoilers, but it allowed us to see more of Taki, and he’s such a great character to follow! I’m very excited to wrap up with this series and, finally, watch the movie. Let’s hope I’m not spoiled until then! To be honest, it’s a miracle that I haven’t yet, considering how popular this series is. I’m very excited to know what happens next, and would 10/10 recommend this manga.

35247769In 2018, I also re-read one of my favorite series of all times: the Lara Jean trilogy. I actually re-read this in May, way before the movie was released, but I’m so glad I did! I pretty much finished all of these in one sitting, and since I read it one after the other (literally started To All the Boys on a Monday and was done with Always & Forever by Wednesday), I really got the chance to deeply look at the character’s development. Lara Jean grows so much throughout this series, while still being true to who she is, and to watch that is magical. And, then, of course, we have Peter Kavinsky, whose lines had me gushing badly.

13262783The second incredibly disappointing read of the year was Every Day, by David Levithan. I know, two posts ago, I recommended the movie as one of the best teenage movies I watched in 2018, but the book was a whole new story. The thing is: I was actually really enjoying it. I recognize most of the problems people have with this book, but ultimately, I wasn’t bothered by any of those. The one problem I did encounter was with an extremely fat-phobic chapter that pretty much ruined the whole book for me. As someone who’s not thin, at all, the chapter severely offended me. It was quite troublesome because the entire book explores the idea of diversity: Rhiannon is falling in love with A, who wakes up every day in a different body. It doesn’t matter whether A is a boy or a girl, black or Asian, but suddenly, when they were in a fat body, it’s almost like A wasn’t lovable anymore. I don’t know exactly what message was trying to be set here, but is not nice to read a book that, purposely, excludes fat people. Skinny people culture terrifies me, and this book is just another example of its bullshit.

28458598Thank God the next book was a light one, because I was getting pretty heated-up at that last one, lol. When Dimple Met Rishi was such a refreshing and fluffy contemporary! I adored every second of it. First and foremost, the way it handled diversity was amazing. Though both Dimple and Rishi come from Indian families, they have very different views on it: Dimple is 100% American and not that connected to her family’s roots; while Rishi views his ancestors’ culture as a very important part of his life and personality. The book didn’t try to shame any of them: in fact, they both grew together because of their differences. Also: Rishi is kinda my new book boyfriend. Some of his lines had me actually blushing.

25558608I also finally moved on with the Ember In The Ashes series, by reading A Torch Against the Night. Considering the 3rd book came out this year, when I’m only getting around to the 2nd one, God knows when I’ll be picking up A Reaper at the Gates. But that’s okay, we’ll worry about that later. As expected from this series, this was an intense read. I did feel like the pacing was a bit off, though, as the middle part felt incredibly slow. Also, as the unpopular-opinion queen that I am, I preferred Helene‘s chapters over everyone else’s. I’m much more interested in the Empire’s political intrigues than in the Scholar’s rebellion. (I just also love Helene a lot. Who’s even Elias and Laia? I don’t know them). Overall, this book was great and I’m definitely hyped for the rest of the series – it just wasn’t as good as the first one.

33158541The Wicker King was one of the greatest books I read this year, and definitely a new favorite. I warn, though, that this book may not be for everyone. K. Ancrum has a very vague writing style, yet beautiful. There’s also a very predominant dom-sub dynamic going on, so if you’re not comfortable with that, you may wanna pass. I still loved every second of it! It gave me Ronan/Kavinsky vibes, and broke my heart to pieces, as I imagined it would. Even though I disagreed with most of the character’s actions, it was clear they were doing what they thought they needed to do in order to survive. The ending had me in near tears – which is great, considering I was reading this while in Math class.

35297394I really wish I had waited until Halloween to pick up The Wicked Deep, because it would’ve been the perfect read! This book has such a whimsical and magical writing style; it feels like the ultimate Fall read. The Wicked Deep is set in the town of Sparrow, which has been haunted for the past two centuries by the ghosts of three sisters. 200 years ago, they were accused of whichcraft and drowned – since then, they return every summer, in the body of three random girls, to drown boys as they were once drowned. The plot was intriguing and it totally delivered. The characters, though, felt a bit flat and the romance, very insta-love-y, as I didn’t feel they had enough time to connect so deeply as they did. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read, which I recommend for Fall/Halloween time.

37830514One of the true hidden gems of 2018 was Running With Lions, by Julian Winters. The book is set at a summer training camp, following our main character Sebastian, as he navigates through typical teenage dillemas: his sexuality, his future, his friendships. As cliché as this may sound, the book really got the chance to explore something I had never seen before, which was queerness in sports. Most of Sebastian team-mates are in the LGBTQ+ spectrum in some way, which was refreshing to see, considering the fact sports are typically tainted by toxic masculinity and homophobia. But Bastian’s friend group was amazing & supportive, and I loved our main character so much. However, there were other characters who were just assholes for the sake of being assholes, which is never enjoyable to read.

30057557The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is another underhyped contemporary that definitely deserves your attention. It follows our main character, Zander, who is sent to a camp for teenagers with mental-health issues. There, she meets kids going through various things: schizophrenia, depression, eating disorders. This book felt like a good slap on my face. I’d consider myself a pretty loyal person, who hardly ever gives up on others. But reading this book really made me question that. Though Zander is our main character, the book focuses a lot on Cassie – her bipolar roomate, who’s pretty much a bitch through most of the book. Even if Cassie treats Zander terribly, she does not give up on her. I was questioning Zander’s sanity throughout the entire story, because it was definitely not something I would be able to do! The book was beautiful, especially the ending, but I do wish the author had made it clear on page that most of Cassie’s behaviour was problematic and her past does not excuse her from her actions. She makes awful comments through the narrative that weren’t exactly problematized, which is why I rated it down to 4 stars.

25613472Thank God I already made a whole review about A List of Cages on this blog, so I don’t have to write a long-ass paragraph: though I probably will, anyway, ‘cause it’s me, after all. This book delivered everything I could’ve asked for: the brother dynamics, the beautiful writing style, the tragic backstory. Ultimately, though, I feel like the author went a bit too far in making Julian’s life a living hell, which was the only element that I really didn’t like. At some point, it got wayyyyy to unbelievable, which was very disappointing, because the book was perfect in all the other aspects! The friend group in this was amazing, supportive and added 70+ years in my life spam.

35406534One of my only five stars of the year (not considering my re-reads): A Hero at the Fall was the conclusion to the Rebel of the Sands trilogy and I can’t stop thinking about it! This is a desert-based fantasy trilogy that definitely deserves more hype than it gets. I loved every single installment in this series and it wasn’t any different with the last one. The characters are strong, and have some of the best dynamics – even the non-romantic ones had me swooning. The world is merciless and cruel, but that’s exactly what it makes it so interesting to read about. I’m in love with the fantasy that Alwyn Hamilton created and I’ll honestly shove this series into everyone’s faces, because more people need to read it!

176108I feel like I’m probably the only person who has read this book out of pleasure, not as a required read for school. The Outsiders is a classic, and I decided to finally pick up the book, as I only knew the story from the movie. (I’m lowkey obsessed with Patrick Swayze, by the way). Even though the writing wasn’t totally my style and I did miss seeing more from the Socs’ perspective, I still understand why everyone loves this story. It’s impressive to me that Susan E. Hinton wrote this when she was only 16, especially considering it was able to impact an entire generation. I definitely got what I wanted from this story, which was seeing the dynamics between the male characters up close. Still, if the book had explored more from the Socs, besides Randy & Cherry, it would’ve been a perfect 5 stars read.

28245707And the last book I read for the year of 2018 was Queens of Geek! I’m so happy that I finished the year with such a great book. The best way I can describe it is as a fandom celebration with all the diverse elements you could expect. The book follows girls of color falling in love, a bunch of fandom-related content (which was so relatable!) and a plus-sized main character who gets the sweetest boy in town. I read this in one sitting because I simply couldn’t put it down. I won’t say the writing is marvelous and it was definitely cheesy as hell at some points, but it made me smile so much. I want to recommend this book to absolutely everyone who may be going through a hard time, because this will definitely warm your heart.

Wow! That was a long ass post – if you’ve reached this far, let me know in the comments: what were your favorite reads of 2018? Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them?