Like Water by Rebecca Podos Book Reviewu

Goodreads Summary:A gorgeously written and deeply felt literary young adult novel of identity, millennial anxiety, and first love, from the widely acclaimed author of The Mystery of Hollow Places

In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, leaving her and her mother to care for him. Now, she doesn’t have much of a plan at all: living at home, working as a performing mermaid at a second-rate water park, distracting herself with one boy after another.

That changes the day she meets Leigh. Disillusioned with small-town life and looking for something greater, Leigh is not a “nice girl.” She is unlike anyone Vanni has met, and a friend when Vanni desperately needs one. Soon enough, Leigh is much more than a friend. But caring about another person stirs up the moat Vanni has carefully constructed around herself, and threatens to bring to the surface the questions she’s held under for so long.

With her signature stunning writing, Rebecca Podos, author of The Mystery of Hollow Places, has crafted a story of first love and of the complex ways in which the deepest parts of us are hidden, even from ourselves.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Like Water is a tragically beautiful story about family, love and identity that is guaranteed to make you feel a multitude of emotions.

There are many things I love about this book but one of them is the fact that it’s not a story like we typically get in Young Adult literature. Savannah Espinoza isn’t like most Young Adult characters who are graduating from high school In so many books college after high school is just a given but Savannah doesn’t have that privilege and must stay behind in her home town in order to help take care of her father who has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. While she is frustrated that she must stay in a town she had always hoped to escape, and this frustration is a key plot point, i think that’s it’s important to have characters like Savannah. Characters whose future doesn’t always go according to plan, character who must choose between themselves and others. The future isn’t always simple and I loved how Like Water showed us that.

Identity plays such an important part in this book. Savanna is Mexican and throughout the book, she speaks Spanish with both her parents and one thing that I found interesting was that they didn’t provide a translation. While this may be frustrating for some readers, none of these conversations were key plot points and I think that this would mean a lot for teens who do speak Spanish and rarely see their identity represented. We also have Savanna trying to figure out her sexuality as the novel progresses and it was nice to see a character who isn’t 100% sure about their sexuality and an another important plot point for many teens.

Savanna’s relationship with Leigh is very complicated and yet another part of the story that is very realistic. At first I wasn’t a huge fan of Leigh and found her to be kind of spoiled and bratty but she really grew as a character. While I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of her decisions, I understand why she made them. The thing that I loved the most about Like Water was that it was true to life. Life and people are messy and complicated but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. We need books that don’t romanticize everything and yet still manage to show the beauty that surrounds us. We need more books like Like Water.

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Mania by Fall Out Boy Album Review

So I have like ten book reviews but Fall Out Boy’s new album came out yesterday and it’s wonderful so I’d thought I’d do a little mini review of each song along with my favourite lyric and a ranking from my least favourite to my favourite. Some of these songs I’ve only heard like twice while others I’ve heard many many more times so even though some of these songs may be low on my ranking doesn’t mean I won’t eventually grow to love them.

10.Champion: I really liked this song when I first listened to it but now I’m just kind of bored to it. Its an okay song but I think it’s definitely my least favorite of all of them. I do love the chorus though and find it to be really inspiring but the rest just left me unimpressed

Favourite Lyric: “if I can live through this, I could do anything.”

9. Heaven’s Gate: This one is really slow and not it a good way. It kind of just bores me to be honest and I do like some of the lyrics but it just doesn’t captivate me as much as the other songs.

Favourite Lyric: “you’re the one habit I just can’t kick”

8.Church: I really like this song, I just found it’s a little repetitive and none of the lyrics really speak to me. I do like the rhythm but the rest is a little lacklustre. I couldn’t even pick a lyric that I liked, and the only reason I picked the one below because I like the way it was sung.

Favourite Lyric: “My sanctuary,you’re holy to me.”

7. Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea: This one of the more upbeat songs and it’s great. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to go start a revolution or at least do something wild. As an added bonus the title is so original and I’d love to know the meaning behind it.

Favourite Lyric: “the only thing that’s stopping me is me” and ” some princes don’t become kings.”

6. Bishop’s knife trick: I’m still not sure how I feel about this song, I do like it a lot though and I think that it’ll definitely grow on me the more I listen to it. I love the calmer aspects of the the song and I think that a lot of the lyrics are really beautiful. The stronger aspects of the song is definitely the chorus and the rest is just kind of meh.

Favourite Lyric: “the flows of the city below lead us back to the places we never should have left.”

5. Sunshine Riptide: I haven’t listened to this song many times but I do like it a lot. It’s a little weird but it also has a really nice beat. I also love the title and I think that there’s some really nice imagery associated with the title. I think that there’s other people singing in the song too which I didn’t really like that much.

Favourite Lyric: “cause I’m stuck in the sunshine riptide. Dancing all alone in the morning light.”

4. Wilson Expensive Mistakes: I listened to this song for the first time with the music video along with it and it kind of distracted me and was just really weird so I really didn’t like the song at first. But once I just listened to it by itself, I found that I actually really liked it. I love the rhythm and it’s super catchy. I love the chorus so much.

Favourite Lyric: “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour.”

3.Young and Menace: If I’m not mistaken I’m pretty sure this was the first single that was released off of this album and the minute I listened to it, I knew that this album was going to be great. I love the mood of this song and the buildup to when they start screaming “young and a menace.” is phenomenal. The music video is weird af but I wouldn’t expect anything less from fall out boy

Favourite lyric:“woke up on the wrong side of reality and there’s a that’s just madness coursing right through me”

2.Hold me Tight or Don’t: I’m not really sure why but this song always gets me really emotional and it’s just super relatable for some reason. ” this isn’t how our story ends” is such a wonderful Lyric and I love the way he sings it and I think it really encompasses the song really well. While it makes me kind of emotional it also makes me want to dance and it’s just such a bop. I didn’t like it that much first but I’ve grown to love it.

Favourite Lyric: ” this isn’t how our story ends.”

1. Last of the Real Ones: This my favourite one hands down no doubt about it and probably my top five favourite fall out boy songs. There’s just something so wonderful about the wrong that makes me so happy and pumped. The melody is brilliant as well as the lyrics and it’s one of the few songs that I never skip when it comes on shuffle. Also the piano at the beginning is on point.

Favourite Lyric:” cause you’re the last of a dying breed, Write your name in the wet concrete, I wonder if your therapist knows everything about me.”

What did you think of the album? What were your favourite and least favourite song?

You’ll Miss When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon Book Review

Goodreads Summary

Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

My Thoughts:

I always try to start my reviews with one specific thing about the book that particularly struck me but with You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone there’s so many things that struck me I can’t even begin to pick just ONE. THERES JEWISH CHARACTERS AND ITS ABOUT HUNTINGTON DISEASE AND THERE’S COMPLICATED FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS AND UNLIKEABLE CHARACTERS THAT YOU STILL LOVE. If you can’t tell, I thought this book was amazing. I love books that allow me to learn about new things. Prior to reading this book, I didn’t know anything about Huntington’s disease so this book helped shed some light on the subject. Since You’ve Been Gone is a heart wrenching novel about sisters, family and religion that is sure to make you feel a multitude of emotions. One of the type of books I’ve been looking for lately is novels containing Jewish protagonists and while I’m not a practising Jew, it was still nonetheless nice to see characters that are Jewish like I am.

The most interesting part of this story was definitely the relationship between Adina and Tovah who are twin sisters. Their relationship was very complex and while reading it I felt so conflicted because at times both Asian and Tovah did some horrible things to each other and even though they were so mean to each other I couldn’t help but root for them. I could definitely relate to how irrational they were being at times because my sister and I have our fair share of irrational fights. I think the best type of books are the one where you recognize that the characters are being super unreasonable while also completely getting where they’re coming from.

While I love both of the sisters, I think Adina was my favorite though I definitely related to a Tovah more. Adina was such a complex character and I like really hated her for a lot of the book but I also loved her?? Some of her anger and meanness was really misplaced but other parts made her really feel for her. Many of her feelings and thoughts had me close to tears and all in all the way her character development happened throughout the novel was so well done. I just really want to applaud the author for not only Alina’s character but all of her characters. They were all really well done, and i just loved the family dynamics not only between Adina and Tovah but also with their parents. One thing that I would have appreciated is a little bit more insight into some minor outside characters but other than the characters were definitely the highlight of the novel.

Nice Try,Jane Sinner Blog Tour (Review+ Q&A)

Goodreads Summary:

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

While many people are fond of us Canadians, I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read that are set in Canada and written by a Canadian author. There’s no point in denying the fact that we live in an American centric society which explains why the majority of contemporary books we read are set in the United States. When I found out that Nice Try, Jane Sinner was not only written by a Canadian author but also set in Canada I was over the moon. Add to a mix a blurb written by the one and only Becky Albertalli and a really interesting premise I knew that I would be in a for a real treat.

While this book deals with some pretty serious topics like mental illness and religion it’s still a really funny and quirky read that I guarantee will have you laughing out loud. This book has such an interesting premise and it isnt quite like anything I’ve ever read.I don’t know how Lianne Oelke came up with this premise because a reality tv show similiar to Big Brother starring community college kids who are fighting to win an used car is such a unique plot and not something that I’d ever think of writing about. I loved seeing the reality show, House of Orange, play out and read about all the weird challenges they had to go through. I also really enjoyed the interractions between the contestants  and found them to be really interesting. I’m still not sure how I feel about the sort of love interest Robby but I did like his character though some of his actions were definitely questionable.

I really liked the way the author discussed mental illness and portrayed Jane’s depression. This is not a book about depression but merely features a character who has it and the book does show how this has affected her. I really liked how we got a nice balance of topics, that while we did some insight into Jane’s mental illness, there were also other plot points. It was nice to have a book with a character that has a mental illness but doesn’t merely focus on that. While books with a plot that revolves around the character’s mental illness are great, I really appreciat the approach Nice Try,Jane Sinner took and I hope to find other books like this in the future.

One small critique that I have is that I found that the book could have focused a little more on characters such as Jane’s best friend ,Bonnie, and her sister, Carol. I really liked what we saw of  Bonnie  and thought it was interesting how  Jane’s upbringing made her react negatively when Bonnie came out as bisexual but Jane eventually realized that that was wrong. I love character’s who are inherently flawed but gradually unlearn their prejudices. I would’ve liked to see more of Bonnie’s relationship with Jane. Carol was also an interesting character and just a little more page time with Jane would’ve been a nice addition.

Q: How has being Canadian affected your writing and the general publishing process?

A: Long before I knew I’d be published, I knew I wanted the story I was telling to be set in Calgary (where I grew up). I’m proud to be Canadian, and I think we have something unique to offer YA literature. Now, more than ever, teens from all over the world need stories about diversity, tolerance, freedom, and hope. I was asked on two separate occasions if I’d consider changing the setting to the States, but I held my ground. Growing up, most of the contemporary YA I read was set in America. While I was still able to relate to the characters, I strongly believe that Canadians deserve to see themselves and all their toques and loonies and cities shown on the page. I’m happy to be living where I am now (Vancouver, BC), although at times it can feel like I’m removed from publishing life. Today, in fact, is my first day in New York City, and later this week I’ll meet my agent for the first time! I’m happy to bring a little bit of Canada to the publishing world, and as I explore New York, I’ll be wearing my biggest, reddest, maple-leafiest toque.