Goodreads Summary:I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.
Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating:4/5 Stars
I don’t exactly know why the “girl is stuck in her house due to a mental or physical illness and falls in love” trope is so popular but I was pleasantly surprised by Paper Girl. One of my main worries with books like these is that the love interest will try to “save” or “fix” the MC which is just such total bullshit. Love can’t save you, it can help you but it can’t save you. So while there was a swoon worthy romance, it was really important for the main character,Zoe, to go out of her comfort zone by herself. I really appreciated the fact that she recognized that there were some things she needed to do by herself to really get better.
There were some really serious issues that were addressed in this book like alcoholism, anxiety, agarophobia, and homelessness. I thought that they were all handled with an incredible amount of tact. While I did appreciate Zoe’s depiction of anxiety and found it to be very realistic, I would’ve just appreciated just a little more buildup to what led her to be agarophic. I think flashbacks could’ve been utilized really well for this novel. besides that, I really loved seeing Zoe’s gradual development and really liked the fact that her therapist was a big part of that. So often in YA novels there’s a certain amount of disdain associated with therapist but that sentiment wasn’t present in Paper Girl which was refreshing.
I always love when characters have unique interests and this book really delivered on that front. Zoe creates these artworks out of paper and the way that it was described was absolutely breathtaking and fascinating. Also both Zoe and her love interest, Jackson, were interested in chess which I thought was really interesting. Writing characters with unique interests make the characters and book in general much more enjoyable.
I really like the chemistry between Zoe and Jackson. I thought it was very realistic and sweet and loved how it developed. At times I felt there were aspects that were a little too unrealistic but I allowed my suspension of disbelief because it was so cute. I do think that there could’ve been a little more backstory to their story. We are told that they both had a crush on each other before the story even started but we only get like one scene and I feel like one flashback could’ve really helped in solidifying the foundation of their relationship. ( idk if you can tell but I love flashbacks)
All in all Paper Girl was a touching story that tactfully addressed a trope that so often goes wrong.
Have You Read Paper Girl? Do You Want To? What’s Your Favorite Book That Is Similiar To This One?
Goodreads Summary:When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
This is not a happy book. Are there happy moments? Sure, and actually this book features some of the sweetest scenes I have ever seen but this is not a happy book. This book is an investment both because of the sheer length and how much it will destroy you. I am not usually the type of person who will cry while reading a sad book but I was bawling not once but so many times that I started to lose count. There are so many trigger warnings so you absolutely have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. Trigger warnings for sexual abuse, physical abuse, cutting, suicide, pedophilia and probably a lot more that I’m forgetting. I had no idea what I was getting into when i started reading it so I read this book very slowly because there was only so much I could take before I broke. So don’t take the decision of reading this book lightly because while it’s an amazing book, it’s very intense and isn’t for everyone.
That being said, damn was this book phenomenal! It felt like it was never going to end but when it finally did, I wanted more. Not everyone could have pulled a book like this off but Yanigahara managed do it. You have to be a very good author to write a book with such disturbing content because most of the time it seems like the writer is using people’s suffering to their advantage. A Small Life wasn’t like that. Yes there was so many disturbing moments that made me want to barf but she managed to write it in a way that was tactful and heart wrenching. Writing a book like this is a mark of a truly remarkable author and I can’t wait to read her other works.
This book starts when the characters are in their mid 20s and ends when they’re in their 50s so spans many decades which are the best time of books. I loved seeing the evolution of the characters and really liked how information was slowly revealed throughout this behemoth of a novel. I started off liking the characters a little bit but by the time I was done, I was so emotionally invested in their lives and they felt like dear friends. The way the characters were crafted was so amazing and while this book did primarily focus on one character, Jude, all the other characters were just as interesting. Another really interesting thing about this book is that for the most part it was just expository prose with very little dialogue which is usually something that throws me off in a book but it was done so well. The writing style was so simple and easy to read that it didn’t make the huge hunks of texts as intimidating as it usually would be.
This book is about so many things but I think one of the most important things is that it’s about relationships. And not just romantic ones. Friendships, relationships that aren’t bound by blood but are just as important. Relationships that maybe aren’t the most traditional but are just as valid. They’re are so many different and unique relationships in this book and while some are downright disgusting, others are extremely beautiful. My favorite thing is when books have great characters and great relationships and A Small Life did both amazingly.
The last thing that I really appreciated was the fact that their was no easy solutions. The struggles that the main character, Jude, went through throughout the book was consistent and while there were good periods, his struggles never went away. I found that to be very true to life and while it really hurt to see him suffer so much, I really liked the fact that he didn’t miracurously get better. It was very difficult to read at times because of how true to life it was but I think it’s important to write a story like this. This is not a happy book. There are no happy endings. But every page was worth the sufferring.
Have You Read A Small Life? What Did You Think Of It? Did You Cry as Much As I Did?
Goodreads Summary:Sixteen-year-old Shelby Black has spent the past year training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy—a Catholic priest and Shelby’s guardian—believes she has a gift for expelling demons, and he’s put her through exorcist boot camp hell, but he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.
High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity quiet, especially from Spencer, her cute math tutor. Secrets run in Shelby’s family, though: her mother has been missing ever since an exorcism went horribly wrong, and Uncle Roy is tight-lipped about it. But Shelby’s hell-bent on finding her mom, no matter what—even if what it ends up costing her her soul AND a date with Spencer.
My Rating:4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The minute I read the tagline on the ARC, I knew that I was in for a wild treat. I mean how could you not be intrigued by “Some people have school spirit. Shelby Black has real ones.” Combined with a interesting summary and a stellar opening, I knew that I would have a fun time reading this. And I really did! I wasn’t quite as impressed with it as I had hoped to be but I didn’t have any major qualms with it.
I’m a huge fan of contemporary books that feature some unusual element which is what initially drew me into this and that aspect of the book was really great. How could you not enjoy reading about a teenage exorcist juggling training to expel demons, her schoolwork and first love? From the first line, I was widely smiling as I learned about Shelby Black’s wild life. While it was definitely a fun read and it was a book that I flew through quite quickly, I feel that the unique aspect of this book could have been amplified substantially. There is so much that we don’t know about exorcism in this novel and I would’ve really liked much more insight into what type of role exorcism plays in their society and how exactly Shelby feels about it. By the time the book was finished, it was still unclear to me if being an exorcists was something that was acceptable and known about the society. While obviously this is primarily a contemporary novel so I shouldn’t expect as much world building as I would like but a tad bit more would’ve been nice.
One thing that I always appreciate in YA novels is strong female friendships and this book had them and I’m so happy! I love how Shelby upkept her friendship with Vanessa throughout the entire book. In so many books like these, the MC drops her best friend because she’s too busy so I’m really glad that that didn’t happen.
No Swoonreads contemporary is completely with a swoon worthy romance and I really liked the Love interest! Spencer was a super sweet character with some secrets of his own which definitely kept things interesting. I think there could’ve been just a bit more development of their chemistry and relationship because it was just a bit too fast for my taste.
Have You Read When Life Gives You Demons? What Did You Think? Do You Want To Read It If You Haven’t? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Bellow!
Goodreads Summary:If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.
Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.
What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.
Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.
My Rating:3/5 Stars
I’ll Meet You There is a touching story that deals with poverty, PTSD and love similar to Making Faces by Amy Harmon. While I was not the hugest fan of the romance and wasn’t completely sold on the chemistry between Skylar and Josh, I thought that the portrayal of poverty and PTSD was excellent.
So few books feature characters who are truly poor. There are definitely YA books who have characters that struggle with money but I’ve seen very few books accurately depict poverty so accurately. It’s important to write about teenagers from all different types of backgrounds because I think that it creates a very interesting and unique plot because the majority of YA protagonists are comfortable and don’t need to worry about money. I also really loved how despite the fact that she was very poor, she kind of looked down on those people and couldn’t wait to escape her town and how throughout the book she realized how her looking down on the people in her town wasn’t okay. This was especially shown in her friendship with her best friend which was really well done and endearing.
The other great thing about this book was the depiction of PTSD. I honestly love reading about characters with PTSD because it’s such an important issue that is often ignored when people commemorate soldiers. Though the majority of the book was told in the perspective of skylar, there were chapters that were from Josh and they were like him talking to on his friends who died in combat and those chapters were so amazing. The way that his trauma was depicted was so on point and raw and it affected me so much. It was so well done and I applaud the author for her depiction! Josh was such an interesting character and I really loved seeing his journey throughout the novel.
I know it seems like I really enjoyed the book so you may wonder why my rating is only 3 stars? While I did really like this book, there was one reoccuring element that really annoyed me and made the book less enjoyable and that was the bigotry. There was a lot of homophobic slurs and people calling things “gay” and it was just so unnecessary. I don’t know why the author felt that these words were essential to the dialogue but it just ruined the story for me. Though it is called out, it’s called out in this very passive way and I just don’t see the point in it being there. Every time this would happen, I had to stop and reasses my enjoyment of the story because it just took me out of the novel which really sucks.There were no gay characters and bigotry wasn’t a plot point so it just so felt weird and unnecessary. I felt like I was reading a book from the early 2000s and it just made my enjoyment of the book decrease considerably.
Have You Read I’ll Meet You There? What Did You Think Of It? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!
In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.
Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.
Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.
Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it
My Rating: 2.5/ 5 Stars
This could’ve been a great book. it had all the elements of a book that I could fall in love with. Awesome characters? Check. Queer Black MC? Check. Interesting plot about an important time period? Check. This would’ve have been easily one of my favorite reads of 2018 if not for one issue. Lies We Tell Ourselves is written by a white women and for a book about such an tumultuous time and important event not be ownvoices rings so wrongly to me. Had this book been published this year, the book community would be in an up-roar but unfortunately this book was published in 2014 where books like these were still considered revolutionary. We didn’t have books like The Hate U Give, Dear Martin or Tyler Johnson Was Here. #ownvoices books that are so powerful and successful and that have touched so many people lives. If I had read this book when it had come out I would have probably loved it but I’m more aware now and I just can’t condone it.
Am I saying that white authors can’t write black characters? Of course not. But there are certain issues that haven’t been written about by black authors so for white authors to pave the way is kind of disgusting. To my knowledge, Talley was the first and quite possibly one of the only YA authors to write about integration in schools and it really sucks because if a black author ever wants to write about this, they’re going to be compared to Talley. If a black author had written this book, I probably would have loved it but when reading Lies We Tell Yourselves I felt like Talley was profiting off of the oppression of black individuals. To add to this this is also a book about a black queer teenager which I honestly can’t remember ever seeing in any other book so yet again Talley is overstepping her boundaries. I also really hated how often the n word was used and like I know it’s supposed to be “authentic” but I could have done without that.
Putting that huge issue aside, I really enjoyed the character of Sarah and really enjoyed reading about her struggle in integrating into an all white high school. I felt that the white perspective of Linda was really uneeded and though I know that she supposedly learned about her mistakes, she never really saw the errors of her ways and merely saw Sarah as the exception. Also the romance in this was super unbelievable and there was no chemistry whatsoever.
Have You Read Lies We Tell Ourselves? What Did You Think of It? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
Rating For Both Books: 5/5 Stars
There are few authors that I trust to write a truly amazing dystopian and Neal Shusterman is one of them. I didn’t think that anything could surpass how mind blowingly awesome the Unwind series was but he outdid himself. I kept on seeing Scythe around but for some reason it didn’t appeal to me that much?? I don’t know why since Shusterman is an absolute genius. I decided to pick up Scythe on a whim and oh my god I’m so glad that I did. I cannot remember the last time that a book has enraptured me at this level. For the most part when I read a book that’s part of a series and the next book isn’t coming out for awhile, I don’t care that much and can survive but I don’t know how to survive until 2019!!!!! The ending for Thunderhead was amazing and I need the next one so badly. I need to know what’s going to happen to all my amazing cinnamon roll children.
I feel like we’ve reached a point in literature where there’s really no such thing as an original idea and there will always be some element that has been done before but Scythe had such an interesting and unique concept. A world where death, illness and chaos has been eradicated due to this sentient AI type being called The Thunderhead? The idea of needing to keep the population under control so having these scythes who are the only people who are not subject to the rules of The Thunderhead? This concept is so interesting and I’m probably going to be thinking about this world for the next year because there’s so much to think about. Shusterman is a master world builder and every tiny detail of the world is fascinating and I could honestly read a huge volume all about this world. It’s so well done that this future seems kind of plausible and that’s kind of terrifying to think about.
One of my favorite parts of the book were the interlude type entries that occurred in between chapters. In the first book they were entries from The Scythe’s journals while in the second book they were commentaries from The Thunderhead. Though they were very short, they were so interesting and it was really in those short writings that made me think the most. Some intense truth bombs were dropped.
Shusterman knows how to write series and not once during Thunderhead did I feel like it was suffering from Second Book Syndrome. His books are unpredictable which makes you always on the edge of your seat. I love how consistently good his books are and I know that the third book will be just as amazing as the first two.
While the concept is the thing that really drives this series, all of the characters are really interesting. The two main characters Rowan and Citra are both trying to fight for the greater good but they go about it in different ways which makes for a really interesting dynamic where the reader questions how good these characters actually are. I loved them both and they were just so precious. I also really liked the different scythe characters especially Scythe Curie and Scythe Farraday. The villain scythes were also very interesting and though we didn’t really see much of their backstory, their reasoning behind their actions was very concerning. I also loved seeing what different historical figures the scythes chose to be named after.
All in all I highly recommend this series if you’re looking for a morally complicated dystopian series that will leave you thinking long after you finish reading it.
Have You Read Scythe? Do You Plan To? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!
Goodreads Summary:On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.
Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. She assumes it’s a case of mistaken identity, yet when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore. It’s her best friend Morgan’s.
Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life, yet Liv must navigate endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety—and a romance that feels like a betrayal. Torn between the boy she loved as Liv and the boy she’s grown to love as Morgan, Liv still has to survive Morgan’s last request
My Rating:4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Honestly I think some of my favorite books to read are those that maybe aren’t the most edifying or deep but are just really fun and grab me in and don’t let go until the very end. I don’t believe in guilty pleasure reads: if you enjoy reading it you shouldn’t be guilty about it. My reading tastes are so eclectic that one day I’m reading a classic and the next I’m reading the fluffiest contemporary out there and I don’t hold one to a higher standard than the other. I love all books regardless of genre or content. All this to say that Like Never and Always was such a wild ride and I’ve honestly hadn’t had that much fun reading a book in a long time. It was a total blast and if you’re in the mood for a great page turner this is the book for you. No it wasn’t life changing but I enjoyed every second it so at the end of the day I think that’s all that counts.
One of the really great things about this book is that it is constantly throwing twists and turns at you. You think you know where the book is going and then it just does a complete 180. Pretty much every chapter ends on a cliffhanger so if you’re going to read this book, you better clear your schedule because you’re not going to want to put it down. While Like Never and Always does remind me of a couple of books I’ve read, it does something completely different and unique and will definitely surprise you. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where a girl wakes up in her best friend’s body.More than once I had to put the book down just so I could process what I had just read. I
I really liked all of the characters, and there was definitely some really interesting dynamics. I liked how how though Morgan was popular, she wasn’t depicted as a completely vapid girl and had a genuine passion for the arts. I also really appreciated Liv’s love or science and liked seeing her persevere despite obstacles and all the other problems she had to deal with.I also surprisingly really liked the romance in this book. I really misjudged the love interest at first but once I grew to know him, I really loved him. I love the trope of bad boys who are actually softies.
I only have two problems with this book. The first being is that it was hella white and hella straight beside the token gay character and a couple of PoC minor minor side characters. The second is that there were a lot of plot points that kind of come out nowhere and never get truly resolves which was a little frustrating.
What’s your favorite “Guilty” Pleasure Reads?”
Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.
Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.
With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review of the book
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I absolutely love books like these: contemporaries that you can just fly right through and leave feeling 10X happier than when you started. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of YA contemporaries and can easily see my 60-year-old self rereading the books that never failed to put a smile on my face.
I don’t know about you but I live for books where the MC learns that they’re the child of some famous or influential person. It’s so interesting to see the aftermath of such realization because it’s one thing to have an absentee parent come into your life but it’s a whole other thing when that parent is hella famous. So when I read the synopsis of Here We Are Now and saw that the protagonist, Taliah, has a father who is a famous musician I knew that this book would be awesome. I really liked seeing Taliah dealing with her father showing up on her doorstep and the subsequent events that occur. I do kind of find that the moment from him arriving on her doorstep to her leaving with him to visit his dying father is a tad bit quick and I would’ve appreciated just a little bit more apprehension. I am glad tha she brought along her best friend with her though because going with some stranger is never a smart move even if he is a celebrity.
I also really liked how we alternated between Taliah confronting her father about abandoning her while getting to know her father’s family and then her mother’s and father’s history. I loved learning about Taliah’s Mother’s experience as a Muslim immigrant and seeing her love story with Taliah’s father blossom. Honestly their story was so enrapturing and I was always looking forward to the flashbacks and I would totally be down for reading an entire book dedicated to them because they’re both really interesting and developed characters.
As I said before, I really appreciate the complex relationships that this book sets up between different characters such as the relationships between Taliah and her father, Taliah and her mother, Taliah and her best friend, and Taliah’s father and his father. Stories like these always provide the perfect backdrop for some really nuanced discussions and Warga did a really great job with crafting really complex and diverse characters. That being said my one qualm about one of the relationships is the one between Taliah’s and a friend of her father’s family, Toby. A YA contemporary is never truly complete without a love interest so Toby serves that purpose. While I love romantic subplots for the most part this one felt a little unnecessary and I would’ve prefered it if they had just remained friends, They did have pretty good chemistry for an insta-love type story but it’s too short of a time period for me to genuinely care about their romance. Not every contemporary needs a romance. That being said, this book was pretty short so if there was like 100 or more pages, and the romance would’ve been developed a little bit more I would have liked it a lot more.