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Normal People: A Book Review

  Normal People  by Sally Rooney TW for the Book: Assault/SA/Abuse/Disordered Eating/Suicide/Suicidal Thoughts Overview: Connell and Marianne have always weaved in and out of each other's lives. Having a close relationship but never being an official couples has led to plenty of turmoil and awkward situations as they try to form a tentative friendship as they navigate university in Dublin. Even though they date other people and never seem to be able to fully commit to each other, there's something unshakable about their bond. And over months and years we watch them drift apart and back together, like a gently rolling ocean wave. Overall: 4 Mixed Feelings Doesn't Even Start To Explain How I Feel About This Book Characters: 3 I don't even know how to start talking about the people in this book. These characters baffle me. The book is incredibly passive in its approach to just about everything, and that's mostly lead by the characters. Connell and Marianne can't ha
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Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi: YA Book Review

  Follow Your Arrow  by Jessica Verdi  Overview: CeCe and Silvie are truly couple goals. Or that's what everyone who ships #ceivie thinks. Until Silvie breaks up with CeCe. Not only is CeCe heartbroken, but she's also dealing with how to address it with her nearly a million followers on the ominously named "app". CeCe is also navigating how to balance sharing her political beliefs with her fear of internet backlash. And to complicate things further, she starts dating a guy for the first time ever (a fact that she keeps from her followers). If you love influencers, books with bi girls, or pondering the pros and cons of the internet, you'll probably like this one. Overall: 3.5  Characters: 3 I'm craving more character development. Silvie is a junior in high school and an influencer with a stable family and her life together. CeCe is also a junior and an influencer. They rose to fame together, and their relationship definitely helped that along. They gathered man

Once Upon a Quinceañera

Once Upon a Quinceañera   by Monica Gomez-Hera Overview: Carmen hasn't graduated high school, even though it's the summer after senior year. When her senior project fell through, Carmen has to scramble to complete the project over the summer. That means no college (not that she applied) and no future plans beyond becoming a Dream (floating around in a Belle costume at children's parties) with her best friend Waverley. So maybe it's not the summer Carmen wanted, but it's fine. At least until her ex-boyfriend who ruined everything, Mauro, also shows up on the team and then they get assigned to work her nemesis and younger cousin's quinceañera, which becomes the big event of the summer. Nothing ever quite goes to plan for Carmen, does it? Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I enjoyed hanging out with Carmen for a while. She's super witty and cynical in a way that I appreciate. I also loved reading about a character who's just out of high school and doesn't have a

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Writing Morally Gray Characters: A Guest Post by Laurie Devore, Author of A Better Bad Idea

Laurie Devore is stopping by the blog today to talk about her new book from Imprint, A Better Bad Idea , which is out now! This mystery/thriller/romance fusion is Laurie's third book, and it's a new twist on her usual contemporary YA stories. For this guest post, Laurie talks about crafting morally gray characters that your readers will still feel attached to and cheer on. Here's her best writing tips:  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of what people will do when they’re pushed to their brink. While my new novel, A BETTER BAD IDEA, may seem like a departure in some ways from my previous novels, I actually think their DNA is quite similar. The stakes are higher, but as ever, this book is about girls making unimaginable choices because of their circumstances, whether self-inflicted or not.   I’m constantly thinking about what it means to write morally gray characters, and I think the main takeaway from me is that I’m just much more interested in what people do and w

Four Years of Reading, Writing, and Me

Sooooo it's my blogiversary, and in true blogger form, I am writing this post the night before. I've been thinking about how to celebrate or what to say for a month, ever since Google sent me the email telling me that I once again have to pay to renew my domain name.  I've been a blogger for four years now. That feels surreal to say. I started this blog in 8th grade as a 13-year-old who had just picked up her first YA book ever (still thoroughly intimidated by that section of the library because I didn't feel teen enough. Now I'm grappling with suddenly not feeling adult  enough). I'm writing this close to turning 18, taking Zoom college courses from my bedroom. The me that started this blog would think you were lying if you told her about me today. And yes, the math between my grade levels is weird because I've blogged through a whirlwind 2 years of online high school that ran through weekends, summers, and holidays and a gap year working at my local bookst

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

Into YA with Sophie Gonzales (author of Perfect on Paper, Only Mostly Devastated, and If This Gets Out)

I'm so so excited to bring you my quick conversation with author Sophie Gonzales because it's been months in the making. Perfect on Paper  was the first 2021 ARC I let myself read last November, and it immediately ran away with my heart. I've been talking about it on all my social platforms ever since. I was so thrilled to get to chat with Sophie during release week to get into the creation of Perfect on Paper  further.  1. In my review, I likened Darcy to a Hannah Montana of sorts because she has a secret identity only her sister knows about. She runs Locker 89, infamous at the school for giving expert relationship advice. Did you ever encounter a real life version of the locker, or what inspired that part of the book? How did Darcy evolve into a relationship researcher? I never encountered a real life version – although I would’ve loved it! Darcy’s interest in relationship advice stems from a fascination I had with self-help books as a teenager, combined with the incredib

Talking Everything Yolk with Mary H.K. Choi and Shea Serrano at Blue Willow Bookshop

 I've been lucky enough to get to see Mary H.K. Choi at two different stops on her virtual book tour for Yolk - once at Books Are Magic (located in Brooklyn) and once at Blue Willow Bookshop (located in Houston). I didn't take many notes during Mary's conversation with Jenny Han, but last night, at Blue Willow, I took tons of notes as Shea Serrano and Mary H.K. Choi discussed fascinating questions that gave more insight into how her new book took shape. Here are some of my favorite moments!  One of the opening questions of the night hit at something that I've been wondering a lot about on the eve of making a major leap to New York City myself. Shea asked Mary if, similar to the characters in her book, she felt compelled to change when she moved to New York in the early 2000s. Mary talked about how she felt like for so long she was saving up all her energy to totally start over in New York. She talked about how difficult it is to navigate a new city and so much change at

My Most Anticipated New YA Contemporary for March 2021

March is delivering so many books I need in my life right now. March is one of my favorite times of year as a book blogger because it's the month of my blog anniversary and it's also a month that publishing dumps a ton of amazing books from the sky all at once, and I get overwhelmed in a really happy way. Here's a longer than usual list of all the YA contemporary books I'm looking forward to for March and have been anticipating for months now. Yolk by Mary HK Choi March 2nd Mary is one of my favorite YA authors and has been since her debut. She's also just the coolest person, and I think because of that she writes some of the most unique YA. Her books tend to hit towards the oldest of the YA age range, which, as an older teen, is super appealing. They also just have a very distinct style to them that's comforting and realistic and extremely grounded in this world. Her characters are always as lost and messy as I am. June is the older sister by three years. She w