The Henna Wars || wholesome sapphic story

Title: The Henna Wars
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

Happy Pride month y’all!! It’s fitting that this is my first review of the month.

This book came to my attention purely through Twitter. I saw the word henna, then I noticed the entire cover, and it was in my TBR. The reason I picked it up so quickly was because it was the May new release pick for the South Asian Reading Challenge.

Content warnings: public sexuality outing, racism, homophobia, bullying.

THE PLOT

The book follows Nishat, a lesbian Bengali teenage girl living in Ireland. When she comes out to her parents, they don’t say anything immediately. But they let her know that she can be anything—a doctor, an engineer, an artist, but she can’t be lesbian.

Struggling with the new situation at home where her only support is her sister, she just tries to get through her days. But her childhood crush transfers into her school and it’s harder to stay straight (pun intended).

But things take a different turn when her crush goes against Nishat with the same business idea—drawing henna designs.

We follow Nishat as she navigates through messy school days, tries to not like her crush, and also try to make her parents accept her for who she is.

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed this book so much! I think I read it in two sittings. It was too good to let go of. This review is definitely one where I try to sell the book to you.

Reasons why you should read this book:

  • The culture.

Through food, henna, and family, this book talks about all the Bengali things.

Nishat’s parents migrated to Ireland from Bangladesh so they could give their children better opportunities but the whole family is very fond of their culture. Their love for it clearly shows through the book and it was so nice to watch.

  • Sapphic representation.

A huge part of Nishat’s identity is her sexual orientation. When she comes out to her parents only to be received with stony silence and, later, flat out non-acceptance she is heartbroken.

Not only is Nishat lesbian but she also goes to a Catholic all-girls school and this adds another layer of hurdles. We see her trying to navigate all these situations in this book.

One thing I liked in this book was how the parents’ perspective was shown. Generally we only see and talk about the main character’s experiences and struggles but we usually don’t ever get to really understand the parents or where they’re coming from.

  • The love story.

Nishat and her crush Flávia’s story is friends-turned-competition-turned-lovers.

First of all, Nishat is SO CUTE. She’s absolutely adorable when she’s crushing. I have to say, the teenage feeling of having a crush was quite on-point here. The new-ness and excitement that comes with crushing on someone is a whole experience on it’s own.

  • Sibling relationship.

I don’t have any siblings but I’ve always wanted a sister because of my mum’s relationship with my aunt. Sisters who are close in age are usually very close and it’s a relationship to cherish.

Nishat and her sister Priti’s relationship was like that. They support each other through everything and are very close. They’re pretty much best friends.

  • Discussion on cultural appropriation.

I really like how the reason why cultural appropriation is bad is shown in this book through events and not just talk. I’ll admit, I was confused about the concept when I first heard of it as well. And I can see why people who take elements of other cultures and use it to make profit would think that they’re doing others a favour.

But through two small henna businesses run by high school students, Adiba Jaigirdar shows why cultural appropriation is hurtful and damaging.

When you “adopt” a part of another culture and make a business out of it, you take away the business from people of that culture. And more often than not people who appropriate culture get more business than the people representing that culture. And that is NOT. GOOD.

  • South Asian and Black representation.

I already spoke abo there’s South Asian rep through the main character and her family. There’s also Black representation through Flávia, Nishat’s crush. There is also some light on micro-agressions that Black people face through White family members.

  • The book as a whole.

While it talks about complex and heavy topics, it’s still a fun and bright young adult contemporary novel where two girls like each other. And it is so nice to read.

OVERALL

Go read it!!

I rate this book..

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4/5 stars

What books are you planning to read for Pride month? Is this book on your TBR?

www wednesday @ the wordy habitat, all the bookish updates, currently reading, mini book reviews, books to read next.

WWW Wednesday // 27th May 2020

It’s the end of May, y’all!

Time is flying by, especially now that I’m kind of used to staying at home and am adjusted to this routine. It’s been almost three months of staying at home.

How are y’all doing? I really want to know. This crazy situation started in March and it’s showing no signs of reducing. How are you doing physically, mentally, and emotionally?

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
picture of book and tea

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading two books right now. The first one is The Color Purple by Alice Walker which I started over a week back. I’m about 35% through it. It’s a hard read and I’m not able to pick it up very easily. I’ve decided that I will read a part of it every few days. It’ll take a while to finish it but that’s okay.

The second one is Emma by Jane Austen which I’m only 6 chapters through. I should read a few more by this weekend because we have another discussion then.


WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

#1

The first book I finished in the last week was Pride by Ibi Zoboi which I had read as an audiobook. It was quite nice. I enjoyed the new setting for P&P and while it doesn’t exactly follow another version of the same plot, it was close enough. Some things felt rushed and off but overall I liked it.

3/5 stars.

book, tea, and flowers

#2

The other book that I finished was Beach Read by Emily Henry. It’s a popular book receiving a lot of talk recently and I wanted a romance to breeze through so I picked it up. While I don’t agree with the hype, it was quite nice. Some things about the story are things that have been done a lot in romance books and I wasn’t interested in another spin on them. It was okay but wouldn’t recommend it over several other great romance books.

3/5 stars.

#3

Another book that I finished is The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar which is this month’s new release pick for the South Asian Reading Challenge. I was supposed to finish it yesterday but wasn’t able to read all day due to work and college work. But I did get some time to read before work this morning and I finished it!

I really liked it and will probably write a review soon.

4/5 stars.

#4

Okay this book is not a “finished read” but I’m technically done with it so I’ll talk about it here.

I was really looking forward to The Betrothed by Kiera Cass because I enjoyed the first three books of The Selection. I started it on audiobook but it was not great. At about 45% in, I spoke about it on Instagram and my friend commented like “NO STOP READING IT DON’T READ IT”. I asked him why and read reviews on Goodreads, all of which said that it is super disappointing.

Because of them, I decided to read a spoiler-y review and that cemented the decision to abandon the book for me. It’s a stupid story and its a good thing my friend warned me about it.

Did Not Finish.


WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

No clue at all. Hopefully something nice though. At least 4 stars.

an open book with a lot of tabs

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What are you currently reading? Have you read any of the books that I mentioned?

100 Days of Sunlight || the feels <3

Title: 100 Days of Sunlight
Author: Abbie Simmons
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book has been on my TBR since it released. I used to read Abbie’s blog very often and I was very excited to read this book since she kept posting and talking about it. Back then she just had a blog and not a YouTube channel.

I finally got to it because of the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. This book also qualifies prompt “A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision).”

THE PLOT

Tessa lost her sight in a car accident and the doctors said that she might regain her sight in 100 days. All Tessa has to do is hold on for a 100 days and try to live without sight. But that’s hard when her only outlet is writing poetry and she can’t blog poetry without sight.

Enter Weston. He is hired as a typist for Tessa, but he’s much more than that. Weston knows how Tessa feels because he lives with prosthetic legs after an accident. He vows to help Tessa understand that life is still beautiful.

“Visual beauty is only one form of beauty.”

MY REVIEW

I LOVED THIS BOOK.

I also read it in almost one sitting. Meaning, I started it in the morning before work and read it every single spare second I got.

  • The characters were great.

I absolutely loved reading about all the characters in this book. Tessa and Weston were good, but so were all the supporting characters. Tessa’s grandparents, Weston’s brothers and best friend—all of them captured a piece of my heart.

  • Struggles and character growth.

Although this book is mainly about Tessa, we also see Weston’s journey through flashbacks. It was incredibly humbling and inspiring to read the stories of both these characters. Especially Weston, who is an inspiration. I could totally picture real life Weston growing up to become a motivational speaker.

“Letting go feels like giving up. But if you don’t let go, you’ll drown. I know the feeling. And it sucks. But Life sucks sometimes. And yeah, it gets back up. But you don’t have to stay on your knees.”

  • Tessa + Weston

Through Weston helping Tessa through her current situation, they start to have feelings for each other. This romance is purely young love.

And I like that their relationship was simple. A lot of YA books try to bring in tons different things into the story for the relationship in order to make things interesting. Hence this simple relationship where two people start to like each other without a metaphorical obstacle course was refreshing.

“This stubborn, kind, impertinent, obnoxiously optimistic boy is doing something to me.

And it feels good.”

  • THE FEELS.

This book made me feel so much! I felt awed, inspired, sad (I did cry), happy, and content. Reading this book was like having an emotional journey.

It was amazing to read.

  • Bits of the author’s personality.

Since I followed Abbie for a while and know a little bit about her, I could see how she put herself into the book. The most obvious thing was her love for waffles which translated into the book as well.

“Well?’ he asks when I don’t open my eyes and silently savor the goodness. ‘What do you taste?’
I smile despite myself. ‘The most amazing waffles under the sun.”

OVERALL

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It’s the perfect YA contemporary to read in one sitting because it WILL absorb you.

Recommended to anyone looking for a book with depth but also warmth and sunshine.

I rate it..

4.5/5 stars


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What book did you finish last? How was it?

Frankly in Love || what a good book.

Title: Frankly in Love
Author: David Yoon
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book has been on my radar since it released, and I was gifted a paperback copy of it from my secret Santa last year. I was super excited to finally read it because it’s been widely praised.

THE PLOT

The book follows Frank Lee as he navigates his high school senior year. It documents all the parts of an Asian-American teenager’s life such as parental expectations, the problem of not completely belonging anywhere, teenage love, and goals for life.

At the center of all this is the story line where Frank falls in love with a girl named Brit. But her parents won’t approve of her since she’s American. They want him to only be with a Korean-American like himself. He concocts a plan to fake-date Joy Song, a fellow Korean-American, to appease his parents while actually hanging out with Brit.

We all just want to love who we want to love.

But life is much more than what he thinks it is.

MY REVIEW

> This book was a journey.

I didn’t like the book much in the beginning because the writing style was a little different. The vibe and emotion in the writing was not what I’m used to reading.

But once I got used to that, I got immersed in the book and Frank’s story.

> Frank is Korean-American.

His parents came to America with not much money so that he and his sister can have a good life. He is expected to study well, get high scores on the SAT, get into an Ivy League university, get a good job, and settle down with a girl from their tribe.

> We follow his story where he struggles with wanting to make his parents proud as well as live his own life.

One of the most profound discussions in this book is about identity. Frank struggles with identity along with other Korean-Americans of his age. He’s in the middle, stretched between the two ends, trying to fit in one place where he’s not completely accepted.

He likes American food, but he also feels at home with traditional Korean food. He’s not an expert in Korean traditions, language, or food but he will always feel at home among them because of his parents. Yet, he’s an American teenager through-and-through.

White people can describe themselves with just American. Only when pressed do they go into their ethnic heritage. Doesn’t seem fair that I have to forever explain my origin story with that silent hyphen, whereas white people don’t.

> The book also shows the divide in linguism.

Frank’s parents did not teach him Korean. They want him to succeed in America and hence encouraged him to only learn English. That’s entirely because of their dreams for him, but it affects his life in different ways as well. It’s difficult for him to communicate with his grandparents or family who speak in Korean.

Try as he might, he can’t fit in with the Korean crowd because of the language barriers.

There were two pages in the book where the conversation takes place in Korean. Frank’s dad and Joy’s dad speak in Korean and hence it is printed in Korean* as well.

This conversation is later referred to and told in gist to Frank by his parents, but we never find out exactly what was said. That’s because Frank himself never learns of the conversation entirely and since we read from his perspective, we don’t as well. We’re not even given a translation at the back in a note, leaving us clueless like Frank. That was an interesting way of getting us to experience the divide due to language.

*I found someone online to translate the two pages for me line-by-line so I can find out lol.

> Frank’s relationship with his parents.

Multiple times, Frank wonders about his parents’ work ethic. Rain or shine, holiday or sick, they always go to work in their store. They never take a day off. And Frank, grown up American and looking at American parents, regards his parents as an anomaly.

This, of course, leads to Frank not really knowing his parents. His parents speak broken English and throughout the book we see Frank struggling with his bond with his dad. The divide between immigrated parents and first-generation American kids is shown really well.

Dad settled into his role as breadwinner, expected me to settle into my role as disciplined academic, and we both put our noses to the grindstone and never looked back up.

Frank’s parents are also really racist. They regard Koreans as the best, Americans as ones who have succeeded, and look at everyone else under their noses. This makes Frank’s relationship with them very complicated, especially when he likes a White girl.

> This also means that while Frank loves them, he constantly struggles with correcting them and hates their policies.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this addressed because usually racism is kept only to White people. But Asians can also be racist. It’s true.

> Frank learning about the complications of love and what a relationship is was nice to see.

At the heart of this story is Frank navigating high school relationships and his feelings. I really like how it was connected back to who he is as a person and his upbringing.

> The friendship in this book TORE me.

Y’all. Forget the love. The friendship between Frank and his best friend Q is the BEST. THING. EVER. It’s too pure. I could cry.

> Character growth.

When I said that this book is a journey, I really meant it. The book takes us through Frank’s thoughts and realizations through the book. We see how he learns and grows.

I really liked Frank as a person and his growth in this book.

> Reading this book was like peeling the layers of an onion.

The book adds on more details and uncovers facets to life as the book goes on. We start with Frank liking a girl, but end with so much. From life as a Koran-American, to social-standing and comparative preferences, to what a family means.

The book really delivered on plot, information, characters, and emotion. I am not ashamed to say that I cried towards the end. I cared too much about these characters.

OVERALL

Frankly in Love‘s premise is simple. A Korean-American boy starts fake-dating a Korean-American girl so that he can really date an American girl and not disappoint his parents.

But that barely covers what the book is really about. It is so much more than just another teenage romance with the fake-dating trope.

I HIGHLY recommend it. Everyone should read it.

I rate this book..

4.5/5 stars


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Have you read Frankly in Love? Have you read any book that delivered more than what it promised?

Love From A to Z || READ. THIS.

love from a to z by S.K. Ali

Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

This book had been on my TBR* for a LONG TIME. Although I had heard really good things about it, I just was never in the mood to get it and read it. Thankfully, that changed recently.

When I got an audiobook subscription, I started going through all the book available and this caught my eye. Since 2020 so far has been reading backlist books, I thought I will tackle this as well. And that was a very good decision.

*To Be Read list

THE PLOT

Adam and Zayneb record their lives in their “marvels and oddities” journals. Although they got the idea in different ways, it’s how they see their lives.

Fate decided to push them together. They come across each other in the London airport waiting for the same flight, and then met each other again through family in Doha.

This book is a love story through and through. But it is made of so much more.

MY REVIEW

THIS. BOOK.

I shouldn’t have waited so long to read it. It’s so damn good.

Love From A to Z is the love story of Adam and Zayneb, who live in different countries and have entirely different plans for life. Their lives are very different, and yet they feel pulled towards each other.

Let’s do this in a list, because lists make everything better.

  • ZAYNEB.

Zayneb is an angry person. She becomes angry when any injustice occurs and cannot sit quietly, accepting it. Especially when it comes to her religion.

Zayneb got suspended for a week right before spring break from school because of a seemingly threatening note against her Islamophobic teacher. After her suspension, she decides that she will become a new person this spring at Doha. A quieter Zayneb. A softer Zayneb.

  • ADAM.

Adam is studying in London, but he stopped going to classes two months ago. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the same condition which took his mom away, he has decided to LIVE. He’s on his way home from University and is faced with the decision to tell his family about MS.

  • CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

Both Zayneb and Adam go through leaps and bounds in this book. They learn, and they mature. They learn about themselves and find courage to be truly themselves.

Zayneb’s development was especially lovely to see. She wants to become a muter person who will cause less trouble for her parents, but this spring she learns that her experiences aren’t meant to be shushed. I loved that.

  • ISLAM.

This book teaches us so much about the religion, and the beauty of it. I’ll be honest, the only reason I know anything about Christianity is because of books. And I’m super glad that books about Islam are coming up too.

Books have the capability to teach us so much, and this one took the opportunity.

  • ZAYNEB’S AUNT.

I just love her. She’s awesome. I want her as my aunt.

  • MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.

As Adam has MS, we learn a lot about it as well. The book has a very raw depiction of living with MS and I almost cried at one point. Although I knew the basics about the condition, this is the first time that I learnt about it in detail.

  • MARVELS AND ODDITIES.

The book is written through their journals. As Adam and Zayneb record the marvels and oddities of their lives, we see how they view life and it’s moments.

It was a new way of writing a book and it was nice. I enjoyed the format.

OVERALL

A really REALLY nice book that I totally recommend. I “read” the book through audiobook and it was well narrated so I would suggest that too. It’s the best narrated book I’ve listened to so far.

I rate this…

4/5 stars

Loveboat, Taipei || unpopular opinion alert!

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

There’s been a lot of talk about this book since before it’s release. Bloggers who were lucky enough to get an ARC of this praised it a lot. The word got out pretty well, and tons of people got to reading it.

Everything I heard about this book was good. It was only positive. And that’s the reason why I expected it to be really good. I did not expect for it have elements that I really dislike.

But I did.

THE PLOT

Ever is a first generation Chinese-American. And like all Asian parents, they have high dreams for Ever. She’s expected to become a doctor.

But all Ever wants to do is dance. She loves to dance and choreograph dance routines. Her dream is to get into NYU Tisch School of Arts.

During the summer after high school, when she had plans of dancing and other things, her parents suddenly send her to Taipei for a summer programs. They want her to know her culture and learn Mandarin.

But the program nicknamed “Loveboat” is much more than a clean summer program to learn things. And this summer is going to shape Ever’s life in ways she never expected.

MY REVIEW

Let’s do this review in list format because I have MANY POINTS.

WHAT I LIKED:

  • Asian-American life representation.

Life is a lot like that even in Asian countries. Parents sacrifice SO MUCH that us only thinking about doing what makes us happy is almost a crime. I’m literally an engineering student in college and not doing literature because of my parents.

It’s so normal for us. And I love how it’s represented accurately, describing how it is for the kids AND the parents.

  • Complex relationships.

There were so many relationships shown that had layers to them. Between Ever and her romantic interest. Ever and her parents. Ever and her roommate.

There were even second-hand mentions of relationships not explicitly shown in the book. I loved reading all of it because it’s how life is. And the author managed to show just how many different complex relationships exist for just one person.

  • What it’s like to be Asian in America.

As the summer program is full of Asian kids living in other countries, we got a few bits of proper focus on how life is for them. The way they are treated, the almost-normal racist comments. It hit hard, but I feel good knowing that non-Asian readers will understand what it’s like.

  • Dreams and sacrfices.

We know that how we are brought up affects us a lot. It shapes our self-worth, our attitude towards life, and our ambitions and goals. This book really showcased the different types of lives and how parents really affect children.

  • Supporting characters had significance too.

Every supporting character we saw had dreams and goals. They had desires in life. The author showcased so many different scenarios through them. This one group of guys just went around breaking Asian stereotypes and I LOVED IT. Huge points for these things.

  • Character growth.

There was so much of it! Characters learned through mistakes, learnt new things, started having different outlooks and became better people by the end. That was lovely to watch.

What I did not like:

  • The middle of the book was dull and uninteresting.

The beginning started off strong. The ending was good. But damn the middle was annoying.

After Ever got to the program, it became all about teenage rebellion and boy crazy thoughts. It felt like a full one eighty from the first few chapters.

It got me so disinterested in the book that I PAUSED listening to it as an audiobook. In order to make myself finish the book, I had to pick it up as an ebook after a week.

This alone ruined the experience for me.

OVERALL

Other than the random boy-crazy rebelling stuff in the middle which threw the entire book off for me, it was really good.

I recommend this book for the Asian-American representation, complex relationships, and character growth.

But if you don’t like ANY of boy crazy random things, you won’t like it much like me.

I rate this book…

3/5 stars

My So-Called Bollywood Life || the book I needed

my so called bollywood life by nisha sharma book cover // book review by Sumedha @ the wordy habitat

Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I picked up this book as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge, and I was NOT disappointed. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read it in January but after Kafka On The Shore I needed something light and this was perfect.

THE PLOT

The book stars Vaneeta “Winnie” Mehta—a film enthusiast (particularly Bollywood films), type A Indian student, and dramatic enough to make Bollywood writers proud.

After Winnie is cheated on and dumped by Raj, whom she thought was “the one” because of an astrologer’s prophecy, she sets out to change her destiny in the stars.

Enter: Dev Khanna, a guy Winnie had a spark with in freshman year before starting to date Raj. A guy who, while not matching her true love prophecy, feels more right for her than Raj ever did.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is perfect for readers who like YA. But it’s even more perfect for Bollywood-lovers. Following Winnie’s complicated life about teenage love, future plans, and family dynamics with Indian traditions, this book will transport you into a fun world.

MY REVIEW

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

I cannot describe just how much I enjoyed this. It has all the Indian elements I ever wanted in a YA setting. As someone who loves YA and barely sees true Indian representation, this warmed my heart so much. I could cry.

All the things I loved:

(pretty much everything lol)

  • Winnie Mehta is awesome. I absolutely loved reading through her perspective. She’s energetic, exuberant, and is very passionate about films. I adored her. ❤
  • EVERYTHING INDIAN. Of course, I have to mention this. Even the few Hindi sentences (smoothly translated in English for everyone else) were a huge addition. I felt included. *cries* The traditions, beliefs, everything was amazing to read about. #relatable

“Kamina, kutta, sala,” she said sweetly when she answered (the phone).

  • Family presence. Winnie’s relationship with her family, especially her dad and grandmom, was so nice to see.
  • It wasn’t just romance. A lot of YA novels tend to sideline everything else in the favour of scenes that contribute to the romance. That didn’t happen here. We saw enough about Winnie’s culture, other relationships, and mostly importantly her drive towards film. She was determined to do anything to get into NYU. The struggle and stress was shown.
  • Winnie and Bridget. These two best friends were adorable to watch and I loved everything about their friendship.
  • The romance. I mean, come on. Of course I’m going to mention this. As the heart of the story, the romance did NOT disappoint. Honestly, it gave me quite a few feels.

“I’m done with romance.”

Nani snorted. “You’re Indian! We live for romance.”

A book is not just made of major plot points, but also the small settings. My So-Called Bollywood Life was chock full of small scenes/parts which make a difference to the reader. From Winnie dreaming about her favourite actor to people belittling Indian beliefs, there were tons of moments that added to the experience.

OVERALL

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, and totally recommend it to all YA lovers.

I did notice that it’s not specifically targeted for Indian readers, as in that the traditions are subtly explained and Hindi terms are translated. So if you want to have a fun and light YA read, you can pick this up without any worries.

I’m so glad I was introduced to this book through the challenge because I doubt I would have come across it otherwise.

I rate this book…

4.5/5 stars

The Gilded Wolves || full of adventure

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Book 1 in The Gilded Wolves series

Goodreads

Even though I haven’t read much Young Adult this year, I still notice the popular books and trends. One of the books which has been HYPED UP is The Gilded Wolves. Almost everyone was talking about it. Especially since it involves a diverse set of characters, the praise was high.

So when I got the mood to read a YA book, this was the first one that I picked.

SYNOPSIS

The book is set in France, 1889. But we don’t really see the mundane France. Right from the beginning, we’re introduced to the new concept of “Forging” and the hidden Fantasy world.

In this hidden world lies The Order, and the Four Houses that protect the art of Forging. Severin, the last heir of one of the houses, was denied of his birthright as patriarch of the house years back. Ever since, he has been on the path of revenge, and his only mission is to be instated with his birthright.

Over the years, he has brought together a band of people to work with him. Laila, the dancer from India with her own mission. Enrique, a well-read historian looking to be recognized. Zofia, a very smart engineer with a debt. And Tristan, Severin’s brother in everything except blood.

Right as Severin’s dream is close enough to reach for, things go awry and the group is thrust into a mission they didn’t sign up for. Together, they discover hidden truths and learnt what it truly means to be family.

MY REVIEW

First of all, this book reminded me why I loved the Fantasy genre. It has been so long since I read a Fantasy book, and reading this was like breathing fresh air. It was wonderful.

The plot is very captivating. We are taken on an adventure through this book. An adventure with a denied birthright, Forging, mystery, manipulation, secrets, betrayal and magical objects. Basically everything you want in a great Fantasy book.

The writing was very descriptive. We are given details about everything, especially the history in this world. At times, I found the descriptions and background information too much. Yes they’re planning something and are researching a lot for it, but there was way too much unnecessary information for me to read through with concentration. That could have been reduced.

Even though the plot was really good, what really made the book great were the characters. The characters were brilliant. They were each unique and fully-fledged i.e. with depth and layers. Every character was endearing in their own way. They are precious.

There was also enough highlight on each of them. I never felt like we saw more of one or two and less of the others. They were all equally the main characters of this book.

The found family trope was executed beautifully. The relationships between the characters, and what the relationships mean to them, was shows really well. The interactions were very fun to read as well, and didn’t feel like an overkill.*

*cough Aurora Rising cough

Many readers have compared this book to Six of Crows. While I do see the similarities—with the plot type and character relationships—I still think that they are entirely separate books. They have similar concepts but each with their own spin and meaning to it.

OVERALL

I’m very happy with this book. I absolutely loved reading about the characters going on their dangerous adventures together. It also brought back some of my love of YA Fantasy.

Would recommend especially: if you’re looking for a book with the found family trope, with a very Fantasy-world, and adventure.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Have you read The Gilded Wolves? Do you like the Fantasy genre?

Wilder Girls || gory and creepy

Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

When this book was released, it became a huge hit in the Bookstagram community. Everywhere I saw, people were reading or talking about this book. This cover was shown to me so many times that I didn’t even have to add it to my TBR, it was just imprinted in my head.

It took me a while to pick it up since I wasn’t in the mood for YA. But the second I wanted to, I read this one. And it’s safe to say that I went in with HUGE expectations.

SYNOPSIS

The book is set on Raxter Island, which has been taken over by a disease called “The Tox”. It has affected the entire island including the trees, the animals, and even the people. Ever since it hit, the island has been put on quarantine.

The girls in Raxter School, a boarding school which has now turned into a weird hell, have scales on their body, bones sticking out, and other weird body parts which have developed because of the Tox. They were told that a solution will be found, and to just hold on, but it’s been 18 months. They stay locked up in the school, only a few wandering out for supplies.

Hetty, Byatt and Reese are a tight knit group. When Byatt goes missing, Hetty vows that she will find her. In the process, she discovers so much more that she was looking for.

MY REVIEW

Let’s do this in parts.

THE GOOD

This book is unique. I have never come across a story like this in YA, and it was very interesting to read. The Tox is an unknown thing, and no one knows what it is, how it actually came to Raxter, or how to get rid of it. They’re just hanging on and living with it.

Reading the book will put you in that world. The writing is highly detailed and eerie. Sometimes, I could barely handle it because I was so grossed out with the descriptions. The author hold back from exactly detailing everything related to the Tox. I was slightly nauseous a couple times as well*. The writing also sets the creepy vibe well. This is not a happy book. It’s one meant to creep you out.

The characters and the relationships were nice. We focus more on Hetty, Byatt and Reese. The complex relationships between these three was nice to see. They’re super close and will always have each other’s backs.

*note: don’t read when eating, or right after eating.

THE OKAY

I feel like the characters were sometimes underdeveloped. Since we read through Hetty, we know a lot about her and she’s a full-fledged character. I can’t say the same for Byatt and Reese, and we barely think about others if not Tox-related. The characters could have been worked on much more. Byatt especially confused me. I always felt like I’m reading a surface-level version of her. There was no clear depth.

The plot, overall, was quite unimpressive. The book spends so long describing the Tox and it’s effects on everyone, and how daily life has become since the quarantine. But it never pays off. It’s as if the author thought of this situation and somehow constructed a plot around it, but the plot was never the main focus. It didn’t feel like there was a point to it.

THE BAD

I’m someone who is ALWAYS up for romance, no matter the genre. So when I saw the hints of romance in this book, I was ecstatic at first. But a while later, I wish it didn’t exist.

The romance felt like a needless addition to the plot, and at times it took attention completely away from the main plot*. The timing of the romance scenes was very inconvenient as well. I just could not go with it. I wish there was no romance at all.

*if there’s actually a main plot.

The book got pretty boring about halfway. By that point, all the Tox descriptions and intrigue was waning. I needed some actual plot, but none was forthcoming. I actually had to pause reading it, read another book, and then get back to it. By the 80% point, I was speed-reading so I could be done with the book faster.

But the book’s ending was NOT satisfying. I really hated the way the book rushed through to provide some form of an ending. But it doesn’t actually end as well.. It was an open ending! There’s still so much mystery around the Tox and what happens to the three girls. We still barely know anything. It’s like the author gave us clues and told “figure it out yourself.” To have sat through an entire book, that was highly underwhelming.

OVERALL

I was highly disappointed. For the amount of hype going around, this book is not worth it. Sure, the concept of the Tox, and the descriptions and vibe were cool. It was very different than the usual YA books we get. But I still would have liked a proper plot and some form of definitive ending.

Considering that the book was about the Tox, the least it could have done was leave me with no questions about it. But I still don’t exactly know what the Tox is.

Would recommend: if you’re looking for a unique YA with creepy vibes.

Would not recommend: if you can’t handle descriptive gore, and like proper endings.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

The Poet X || brilliantly written and told

Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Poetry
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I have seen praise for this book for a long time. I even gifted it to a friend in the beginning of this year, but I didn’t read it until recently. I waited because I wasn’t sure that I’d like poetry. And this book is a novel written in poetry form. It tells a story. I was hesitant to pick it up because of the format since I have never really liked poetry before.

THE PLOT

Told through poems, each with their own peaks and lows and different intonations, this book documents Xiomara’s first year of high school. Xiomara is a 14 year old with “a body too big for her age”. Ever since her body developed curves, she has had to use force to fight because she’s not left alone. That’s a huge part of Xiomara’s daily life.

Not only does she have to deal with attention from outside, Xiomara also has to deal with her mother who is very conservative and religious. While Xiomara wants to explore things with boys and wonders about kissing, her mother drills words into her about “good Christian girls”.

X’s life is completely changed when she discovers slam poetry through her English teacher. She thinks about how she would deliver her poems and how she would emphasize some parts. When X is invited to join the poetry club, she doesn’t because she knows her Mami won’t approve but that’s all she can think about.

We’re different, this poet and I. In looks, in body,
in background. But I don’t feel so different
when I listen to her. I feel heard.

The Poet X takes us through a very critical year in X’s life as she begins to question God and Christianity, as she rebels against her mother’s ideals and comes to terms with her body, and as she begins to truly find herself.

If my body was a Country Club soda bottle,
it’s one that has been shaken and dropped
and at any moment it’s gonna pop open
and surprise the whole damn world.

MY THOUGHTS

I really shouldn’t have been hesitant about picking up this book. Once I started reading this while, I couldn’t stop. The writing style just drew me in. As I read the poems, I was reciting them in my head and they were damn good. I got completely immersed into the book. In fact, I read the book in almost one sitting! Even when I required breaks when I got too many feels or needed a break from the heavy topics, I returned within minutes because I wanted more.

My parents probably wanted a girl who would sit in the pews
wearing pretty florals and soft smile.
They got combat boots and a mouth silent
until it’s sharp as an island machete.

Xiomara is a tough girl, with words flowing in her head all day in poems and rhymes. She starts writing poems in her journal (gifted by her Twin to put her thoughts somewhere) and it becomes therapeutic for her. She writes out her thoughts, doubts, feelings and opinions in her poems.

I empathized with X, and I felt for her. Her story brought so many issues into the picture. We read about sexism, eve-teasing, catcalling, Christianity, teenage attraction, sexual desires, racial discrimination, and so much more. I particularly related to X as she questioned faith.

What’s the point of God giving me life
if I can’t live it as my own?

Why does listening to his commandments
mean I need to shut down my own voice?

X’s words are very powerful. I felt it as I read it. The words that she writes down are brutally honest, and show various sides of her. Sometimes I recited the poems twice or thrice in my head, changing the intonations until it worked best according to me. I know that I can just listen to the audiobook, which is narrated by the author, but at that time I wanted to read it. When I tried the audiobook after finishing reading it first, I didn’t like it as much (but then maybe it’s because I’m not into audiobooks).

It’s just a poem,
Xiomara, I think.

But it felt more like a gift.

Sexism was brought out really well in the book. Xiomara has a twin brother, named Xavier whom she just refers to as “Twin”. The blatant contrast in how conservative families treat children based on their gender is seen through them. They’re wildly different in personalities and interests, but they’re also not treated the same now that they’re older because of their bodies.

And I think about all the things we could be
if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.

I did notice some similarities between X’s upbringing and mine. Particularly the parts about religion. Like X, I truly questioned my faith in high school. And I had around the exact same questions as her. I also related to her on the restrictions put on her about dating.

Mami’s Dating Rules

Rule 1. I can’t date.
Rule 2. At least until I’m married.
Rule 3. See rules 1 and 2.

This bullshit. I feel it in my soul. My mum has these exact rules.

OVERALL

There are so many things in this book which hit me in the heart and there were so many sentences and phrases which were concise brutal truths. I can talk for a long time, mentioning every single thing that this book deals with, but I’d rather you read it yourself. You should experience firsthand the impact that this book had on me.

I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you want a serious book to read which will grab your heart and head while reading it.

My rating: 5/5 stars

Fake It Till You Break It || all my favourite tropes

fake it till you break it book cover.

Title: Fake It Till You Break It
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I had been looking forward to this book since the beginning of this year. I was checking out upcoming releases and this sounded SO GOOD. Not gonna lie, I had a lot of expectations. Mainly, I wanted a super cute and adorable book with the hate-to-love trope. It’s one of my most favourite romance tropes, and I’m always looking for books with it.

THE PLOT

Mia and Jake have known each other for all their lives, and have been pushed together for most of it. Their moms decided that they would be perfect for each other and hatch matchmaking plans everyday. Mia and Jake hate spending time with each other, especially because of their moms who expect them to fall in love any second.

After the latest cute boy is scared away by her mum, Mia has had enough. She suggests that she and Jake fake date for a while and stage an epic heartbreak. Their moms will stop pushing them together if they realize that Mia and Jake will not work, right?

Just like any other fake dating plan, though, once these two truly spend time together they realize that they don’t actually hate each other. If their moms didn’t push them together forcefully, they could have been friends. And maybe even more?

WHAT I LOVED

Um, basically everything??

  • Mia and Jake were awesome. I loved them. They’re typical teenagers with their own problems. I connected with Jake a little more emotionally but liked them both equally. Other than the romance part, we also saw them try to figure out their future plans. Typical teenage things, and it made me nostalgic. I miss being in that position, considering different options and having a dream.
  • Mia is such a mood. Seriously, though. She’s very bubbly, cannot run for her life, is quite dramatic, loves Kdramas (like me!), and has lots of ideas in her head. Her dream is to be on stage, part of a theatre group, but she’s unsure of her voice for singing parts. She’s confident and not shy, but she also has vulnerabilities. I loved reading through her perspective. It was truly a ride.

Maybe this was how I was going to die. When I had so much unfinished business. I still needed to go to college. I still needed to meet Lee Jong-suk, my Korean Love.

Mia, after running to find Jake, so their cover won’t be blown.
  • Jake is Mia’s complete opposite and is so endearing. I totally see why their moms pushed them together. Jake is much more mellow and thoughtful. He is a talented singer and songwriter but he hasn’t tried performing ever since his brother, the other half of the “Adler brothers” duo, suddenly left one day. Jake is really hurt by that and he doesn’t to leave his mum, biologically his aunt, and go. I’m really glad we had chapters from his perspective as well.
  • Mia and Jake’s relationship was so adorable. When they finally did “pretend” to date, they realized that they don’t hate each other as much as they thought. Since they grew up together, they’re also kind of best friends because they know everything about each other.

We haven’t been friends for nearly ten years, but today it felt like we never stopped. And I was glad some things never changed.

  • This book includes THREE of my favourite romance tropes. There’s fake dating, hate-to-love, AND best-friends-to-lovers. Because in a roundabout way, Mia and Jake are best friends, which we see later. This book literally has everything you want.
  • I loved the plot. There were hilarious parts, swoon-worthy parts, and even sad parts! I had a smile on my face for most of the book. And since I read it in one sitting, my cheeks were hurting by the time I finished.

Even though I put him through all of that, he still came to sort of give me his blessing and—Oh my God, he was the Second Lead Syndrome. My had suddenly officially turned into a K-drama.

OVERALL

Fake It Till You Break It was definitely worth the wait. I honestly cannot believe it doesn’t have more hype. It EXCEEDED my expectation.

If you’re looking for a Young Adult book that will put a semi-permanent smile on your face and leave you happy, pick this one up. If you just want some cute afternoon chill-time reading, pick this up. If you’re looking for a vacation read, PICK THIS UP.

I will not stop pushing this onto people now.

I rate this book..

5/5 stars

What are your favourite tropes? Hint: if a book has it, you will pick it up no matter what.

An Ember in the Ashes || a great plot with great characters

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Book 1 of the An Ember in the Ashes series

Goodreads

Why did I wait so long to pick up this book?! I’ve had it on my TBR ever since it’s hype first started online and I’ve had the paperback for MONTHS now. Just sitting on my shelf. And yet I didn’t pick it up until a couple days back.

First of all, can we appreciate this GORGEOUS cover? It’s back is even more pretty* but I didn’t really notice it until I actually started reading the book. Even I’m surprised at how the back of the cover slipped my attention.

*I’ll upload a picture sometime later, maybe.

THE PLOT

Laia is a Scholar, and hence she is a slave to the Martians. When her brother is taken by a Mask, one of the deadliest Martian soldiers, for breaking the rules and trespassing, Laia is determined to get her brother out of prison before he dies.

The Resistance, a group of Scholars who are fighting against the Martians, agree to get Laia’s brother out on one condition—she has to spy on the Commandment of the Blackcliff training academy for Masks in return.

Elias is on his last year at Blackcliff, but he plans on deserting the night of his graduation. If he is caught, he will be executed. But it’s a risk he will take for freedom.

But something new happens at the graduation ceremony. Elias, his best friend and two other graduates are chosen as candidates to be the next Emperor. Suddenly, Elias is stuck at Blackliff again, this time for the Trials. If he wins the Trials, he’ll become either the Emperor or the new Emperor’s Blood Shrike. If he fails, he will be executed.

Laia and Elias meet innocuously but their lives become intertwined, and their choices affect the future of the entire Empire.

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. Such moments are tests of courage, of strength.”

MY REVIEW

I LIKED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I read it in TWO sittings, and I read almost 300 out of 448 pages in the second sitting. Once I got hooked into the book, I couldn’t put it down.

The plot was super intriguing. It’s been a long time since I read a YA fantasy book whose plot truly lured me in. Even when the chapters didn’t end on cliffhangers, all I wanted was to find out what happens next.

“There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”

There were also a few fantasy elements thrown in. While I liked the fantasy creatures, I was also disappointed because they were literally thrown in. Jinns, efrits, and whatever else creatures were spoken about and shown but we didn’t get any real introduction on them. The book has ended and I still don’t know much about them.

The characters were A+. This book has a great plot but it felt character driven because of the focus and emphasis on the characters and their actions. I really liked Laia and Elias. I also enjoyed reading about the supporting characters, whether they were good or evil, because each was properly formed and shown. Each character was unique and had depth. They had layers, which I noticed as the book went on.

Also, the character development was so good! Laia grows from a “cowardly” and “weak” character to someone who is brave. I especially loved her growth.

“Once, I’d have wanted that. I’d have wanted someone to tell me what to do, to fix everything. Once, I’d have wanted to be saved.”

I absolutely loved the writing. Sabaa Tahir wrote the book SO DAMN WELL. There were so many great quotes which I marked, and there were scenes that were poignant in meaning and emotion. The book is character-driven but has such an amazing plot that it could be plot-driven too.

OVERALL

I regret not reading this book sooner, and I cannot wait to get the next book. I now understand the hype for this book.

This book is perfect if you’re looking for a good YA fantasy book which has a great plot and great characters.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

The Boy Who Steals Houses // honestly broke my heart

Title: The Boy Who Steals Houses
Author: C.G. Drews
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone book
Goodreads

Synopsis:

Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie. 

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

I’ve been waiting for this book ever since Cait AKA C.G. Drews AKA PaperFury posted the first sneak peak. I knew then that just like A Thousand Perfect Notes, this would slowly crack my heart until it’s in pieces. And I couldn’t wait.

The Plot

“If Aunt Karen doesn’t want us, we can find our own house.” Sammy takes Avery’s hand to cross the road.
“Can you do that?” Avery whispers. “Steal houses?”
“Yeah,” Sammy says. “Yeah, of course I can.” 

The book follows Sammy Lou, a fifteen year old boy and his autistic older brother Avery. They’ve been homeless for over a year, and all they want is to buy a house of their own. These two boys have a lot of scars, with their dad beating them up to their aunt not ready to accept their flaws. They’re running and hiding and making do with the dream of having a home someday.

One day, Sammy breaks into a house and falls asleep, expecting no one. But when he wakes up, the house is buzzing with activity. He tries to stealthily leave, expecting the house owners to throw him out or report him to the police. What actually happens, shocks him.

The DeLaney family, comprising of a dad and 8 children, are joined by many of theirs friends resulting in chaos on that day at their home. Every person who sees Sammy assumes that he is a friend of one of their siblings. Sammy is told to grab food and a seat before he has to sit with the babies.

Sammy is shocked, and very wary. But he won’t turn down food.

“He’s officially taken house burglary to the next level. Forget stealing a bed, a key, a home for the night. He’s stealing families and their Sunday lunches.” 

From there starts Sammy’s weird relationship with the DeLaneys where they don’t actually know how he came there and he doesn’t want to leave because their home is comfortable. Sammy also ends up liking Moxie DeLaney, the beautiful and bossy one of the family.

Sammy gets caught up in their lives, but is also afraid of when his life and past will catch up with theirs.

All of my thoughts:

  • I almost cried in public.

No, I’m not kidding. I was reading it in college when it just made me SO SAD that I got tears in my eyes. I had to take a break and blink really fast so I won’t cry.

  • This book will break your heart.

Cait has a way of writing books and conjuring up plots which are prime to BREAK YOUR H E A R T. I started the book with a “bring it on and break my heart” attitude but I was still not ready for the way it happened. The book hit me slowly and slowly, cracking my heart until one scene just broke me.

  • Sammy Lou was flawed and real.

I saw multiple facets of Sammy in the book—the younger brother, the boy longing for a home, the boy who wants to stop running, the boy who liked a girl, the protector fighting against anyone who hurts the people he loves, the boy who is an expert at picking locks and stealing, and the boy wanting a family more than anything.

All of it made Sammy so real. I got attached to Sammy right from the start. I just wanted to hug him and take him home. I loved getting to know Sammy and going on this journey with him.

  • Sammy and Avery’s relationship was too pure.

The two brothers have been together through so much—from their dad beating them and abandoning them, to their aunt not wanting them; from Avery being bullied to them running away together in search of a home. They have been through so much and the strength of their bond shows it. But the cracks in their bond shows just how tired both of them are.

Just seeing some moments between them in the book broke my defenses down. I couldn’t handle it.

“We’re stealing a house, because you know what we need?”
Avery shakes his head.
“We are the kings of nowhere,” Sammy says. “We only need us.”
He’s a very good liar.” 

  • Moxie was like solace to Sammy, and I felt it too.

Good writing makes you understand what the characters are going through. Great writing makes you feel it too.

Sammy started liking Moxie and even though he kept holding himself back, he couldn’t really hold himself back. Sammy steals moments with Moxie saying it’ll be the last before he leaves but those moments make him feel at peace.

“Moxie’s body relaxes and her shoulder leans against his. The pressure is warm and soft and everything. And he falls into it. Just a little. He won’t let himself get too comfortable – he’s not that stupid. But for the barest moment between patchwork frowns, he’s wanted.” 

  • I loved Moxie.

She’s confident and bossy, which she has to be to get her way in a house full of men. Moxie is confident voicing her opinions, and I LOVED that. She’s also really talented in fashion. Her hobby and love is to make clothes.

Ever since the DeLaney mum passed away, she’s been saddled with the duty to take care of the baby DeLaneys. Even though she understands that someone has to, and her dad has a lot on his plate, she hates that she’s seen as the substitute mum. One of the babies even calls her mom and she’s frustrated and worn thin. She just wants to be herself.

Moxie was real, too. I loved her, empathized with her, rooted for her, and wanted the best for her.

  • Sammy becoming a part of the DeLaney family was so nice and also sad to see.

Watching Sammy being around a true family who love each other was like watching a baby human trying to walk. Sammy was scared the whole time that they would find out about him and beat him up, or call the police.

Sammy’s experience with adults has never been good and he’s extra scared of Mr. DeLaney. But he can’t bring himself to leave and not come back. He longs for their home, their relationships and their support. He longs to be a part of it, while also feeling guilty that he’s duping them.

“He’s not exactly a stranger anymore. He showed Jack how to do a backflip. Someone tipped sand down his shirt. He gave Moxie a leg up over the chain fence on the way home. He’s eaten their potato salad and worn their clothes.
The trouble is he stole it all, every moment. And that’s the part people don’t overlook. They feel betrayed. Betrayed people have the hardest fists.” 

  • The ONLY thing I didn’t like about the book is the style of writing Cait uses when she’s writing a particularly sad scene.

For example,

“So Sammy Lou

picks

up

the

phone.”

It works well in some areas but not everywhere. Sometimes, I felt that it ruined the mood instead. It was unnecessary.

Conclusion

I definitely suggest this book, especially if you’re looking for a book that will make you feel good but will also completely break your heart.

Cait writes damn well and I can’t wait for her next book.

4 out of 5 stars.
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Fake It Till You Break It // Can’t Wait Wednesday

Hey everyone!

I’ve never done a Can’t Wait Wednesday post because I usually just read books according to my mood. (I’m a huge mood reader.) But recently, an unreleased book caught my eye and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to share the books that we’re waiting for.

Fake It Till You Make It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

I found this book on the waiting list of a blogger (I forgot who) back in January. I just love the synopsis so much that I want this book RIGHT NOW. Since the time I found out about it, I’ve checked it’s release date at least 4 times until now.

Why does this book appeal to me?

  • It’s a hate-to-love romance!! It’s one of my favourite tropes!
  • The book has meddling moms. It’s always funny when family meddles in teenagers’ love lives.
  • It’s the first YA contemporary in SO LONG that has really appealed to me. The others that I’ve read this year have had a unique thing about each of them, such as focus on #BlackLivesMatter or autism. It’s been a while since I wanted to read a YA book just for the romance.
  • The story contains a fake relationship! Everyone knows how fake relationships end. It’s a trope and yes, I like it.
  • IT’S GOING TO BE SO CUTE I JUST KNOW IT AND I WANT TO READ IT RIGHT NOW.

Fake It Till You Break It releases on May 28th, 2019.

Is there any book that you’re waiting for? Tell me in the comments!

What If It’s Us // sadly disappointing.

What If It's Us book cover

Title: What If It’s Us
Authors: Becky Albertalli, Adam Silver
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

Synopsis:

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

I was so looking forward to this book. I liked both of the authors’ previous works and couldn’t wait to see how their collaboration would turn out. It felt like the whole YA book community was talking about this book when it was announced, it’s that popular.

When I saw it in the bookstore, I immediately picked it up. In fact, I chose it over a Murakami book because I knew these authors and I thought I’d like the book.

HA. Let’s get to my thoughts now that I’ve finished the book.

My thoughts in a list, because lists are awesome:

  • I’M SO DISAPPOINTED, Y’ALL. I’m not kidding.
  • I expected so much from this book. Becky Albertalli plus Adam Silvera, two really good YA authors, collaborated on this. Of course I expected it to be really cute and make me love it.
  • While the book was cute in some areas, I was mostly bored with the book.
  • I liked the beginning of the book. Arthur and Ben’s meeting was super cute and I started shipping them immediately. I liked the book when they looked for each other, anxious whether their feelings would be returned.
  • When they finally met again was when my problem began.
  • About two paragraphs into their first date, I stopped shipping them. They did not feel like the same boys who had a connection.
  • After that my disappointment continued growing.
  • The biggest problem was that there was ZERO chemistry between Arthur and Ben. There was nothing. When they met again, I immediately felt the lack of it.
  • The reason I started disliking the book was because the two main characters were not right for each other.
  • The characters had too many individual issues, and they weren’t in the place in their lives to date, especially each other.
  • Ben had just broken up with his ex Hudson, and he hadn’t moved on yet.
  • Ben pursued a relationship with Arthur even though he wasn’t ready for a new relationship and THAT ANNOYED ME. That wasn’t right. Ben thought about Hudson a lot during that first date with Arthur.
  • Ben was also really sensitive about a few topics and became offended/upset easily. I didn’t like that.
  • Let’s just say that at that point, I was ready to dislike the book completely.
  • Arthur had his own issues but his were understandable.
  • I felt that Arthur was a pushover. He tried really hard to have a good time with Ben and put way more effort into their relationship.
  • I didn’t like the fact that he kept being optimistic about him and Ben, and that he gave Ben too many chances. Arthur never argued or fought. He kept giving.
  • Arthur was also insecure, but I completely understood that.
  • So basically, I didn’t like the main characters.
  • I didn’t like any of the supporting characters as well. I didn’t relate or connect with any of them.

Some miscellaneous points:

  • There were way too many Harry Potter and Hamilton references. I like fandom references in a book but that doesn’t mean that a huge part of the book is just references.
  • I know Harry Potter so I could at least understand references to that, but I was completely lost about Hamilton. It wasn’t a good move to connect many important parts of the book to references. I didn’t understand completely, and hence, I didn’t connect to the book.

In conclusion, I didn’t like most of the book. There were very few cute parts in between which made me smile, but I was bored for most of it. I took a long time to finish the book, I even considered giving up on it a couple times.

I don’t recommend the book, honestly. You may like it but I say skip it. I had wondered before how the book would turn out considering that the two authors have completely different styles (Adam Silvera—characters with layers and sad endings, Becky Albertalli—adorable characters and happy endings), and I’m sad to say that the result isn’t great.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? If yes, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments!