Skip to main content

Weekly Book Reviews and Recommendations: Week 5



This week has been a bit crazy. With a four day weekend because of Easter, I thought I'd get some extra reading done. Lo and behold, that's not exactly what happened. I was way busier than I thought I'd be, but better late than never, I guess. Anyway, I read three great books this week that were all very different but also very good in their own rights.

"You Matter"

1) Girl In Pieces  by Kathleen Glasgow (406 pages) 
This book was so beautiful and amazing that I had to write a Standout Review for it. I published that earlier in the week, and you can check it out here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/04/standout-book-girl-in-pieces.html


P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (337 pages)
Overview: P.S. I Still Love You is the second installment of Jenny Han's YA series. (You can check out my review of the first book To All The Boys I've Loved Before here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/03/reading-reviews-and-recommendations.html ) In this book, we catch up with Laura Jean right where the last book left off as she wades through her new relationship with Peter, deals with some pesky issues that can't seem to go away from the past, and keeps her family (and the Bellview Retirement Home) running. This book has the same feel and charm of the last book. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 4.5 Han does a nice job of making all of her characters feel real and relatable. Each is vibrant and has their own distinct traits, quirks, and habits. She writes all the different dynamics between each character well along with adding and building on them from the last book. I have always enjoyed reading about and related to Laura Jean, and the second book didn't disappoint me with any of the characters.

Plot: 4 These books are the story of Laura Jean Song Covey. We see her work through school and relationships with her friend and boyfriend. We see her take leadership at the retirement home and in her own family in an attempt to fill the hole their mother left. Every action and feeling is authentic to the characters and to teenage life. While, by nature, a story like this doesn't have the chance to go for the emotional gut bunch or the deep contemplation of serious issues, it is still a great read worth every second I spent reading it because it speaks to and works a different part of by brain that is less empathy to another life and runs much closer to my own. Also, it's nice to read feel good books. After each of Han's books that I have read I've always felt refreshed and energized.

Writing: 4.5 I give Han props for her work with this book. Usually, second books are never as good as the first ones, but not for Han. She picks the story up exactly where it left off with no excess backstory, recapping, or over explaining. It is as if they just cut the original book in half, which is how I think sequels should be though they rarely are. Though, admittedly, I did have a few seconds of wondering "Who's xyz" I always remembered very quickly, but I prefer making my memory recall work a bit than getting a page about each character we already know. The same goes for the plot. Han did not fall victim to the normal decline of the plot either. The characters, actions, and the stories that unfolded felt authentic to Laura Jean. Of course, I am now very exited to see what Han can do with the third and final installment Always and Forever Laura Jean which comes out on May 2.

I love the doodles!

Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin (345 pages)
Overview: In a world where everyone knows when they are going to die, Denton Little is approaching his expiration date after only 17 years of life. Knowing in advance has its advantages, it also creates new problems. Meeting Denton two days before his death date, the book follows him all the way through midnight of the fateful day. As there is a second one (Denton Little's Still Not Dead) you can probably guess the ending. But regardless, that oddly isn't really the point in the grand scheme of things. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 4.5 Denton had me laughing the whole way through. He has the perfect sense of humor and attitude to make such a depressingly premised book a comedy. His perfectly chosen friend Palo, his parents, and neighbor Millie, all perfectly complement the story and are well crafted.

Plot: 4.5 This is one of the more original ideas I've seen in a while. The story falls into a slightly tweaked world that has the advancement of knowing when you die. Aside from that, it is pretty much a contemporary novel which makes it the perfect read for me by adding a bit of foreign interest while well within the modern, convention world. As for the actual plot, I thought the book displayed a well crafted story with more twists and turns than I anticipated. I never got bored or felt like something was too predictable.

Writing: 4.5 Ruben writes with a heaping tablespoon of humor and sarcasm which I love. After reading a slew of serious, emotional novels or even ones so close to life and romance centered, this was the perfect refresher. Though I not only laughed, the book does raise some interesting questions to think about even if it is entirely light hearted and action packed. But the book does not rely solely on laughs. The plot structuring is well done, always taking the story in directions I did not anticipate. And the characters and world was well developed and described. Overall great job. Fun, lighthearted read with substance.

Random Note: Lance Rubin is also very funny and entertaining in real life. He really brought energy to the book con panel. And he also, in my opinion, did the best job of reading an excerpt. I noticed he narrates his own audiobooks, so I definitely think that's worth checking out if you are looking for an audiobook to listen to and laugh with.

Comments

  1. I want to read To all The Boy's I loved Before so baddd!!!! I have watched the two Netflix movies and loved themmm!! I need to get the books though.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Into YA with Lindsay Sproul

Hi, everyone! I know I've been gone for a minute, but I'm excited to come back with my interview with Lindsay Sproul. Lindsay and I have been working on this interview for a while, ever since I first read We Were Promised Spotlights. I'm so excited to have a more in-depth discussion about the book and get to look at it through this new prospective. It was a super eye opening read for me and probably most other teens my age who weren't alive when the story takes place. If you haven't had the chance to read Lindsay's book, you can check out my review here to get up to speed.


1. The most notable part of the book right from the start is that it doesn’t take place in 2020. It’s set in 1999-2000 in a small beach town. Why did you decide to set it in the near past? How do you approach writing a book for teens who mostly hadn’t been born when the story takes place? 

Aside from the fact that I was a teen in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, I think it’s important for teens to b…

Bi Book Love

I'm so excited about this list and the upcoming list on Aro/Ace/Demi rep because I feel like these areas of representation have grown so much recently. I also feel like it's harder to find these identities on specific lists or super easily, so I wanted to share some of my favorites for those of you who are seeking them out. I've made book rainbows for Pride Month and made general lists (which you can find here), but I wanted to do something different this year. I didn't want to repeat the same list, and I also realized I don't have a complete rainbow of LGBTQIA spines anymore after getting rid of most of my books. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I picked a couple of my favorites that I wanted to spotlight. To learn more about each book, click the title to read my full review.

Verona Comics  by Jennifer Dugan This is one of my new all time favorite books (which I'm extra pleased about because my expectations were sky high from waiting well over a year). …

YA Book Review: I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver 
Overview: Ben is nonbinary. The book opens with them working up the courage to finally come out to their parents. Even though his parents are religious and conservative, Ben feels like it might be okay. Mostly, they feel like they can't keep living with a secret that big. They want their parents to know them fully. Instead of love and support, they get thrown out of the house. Ben calls their older sister who they haven't seen in ten years, but she shows up right away. As Ben transitions to living with their sister and her husband, they have to navigate a brand new school, a new family situation, and a new therapist all at once. While it's a lot to process, Ben comes out stronger, healthier, and happier on the other side. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Ben and I have honestly nothing in common yet I found them so incredibly relatable on a minute detail level. We have a ton of similar thoughts and reactions and just life philosophies, which…

Ace/Aro/Demi Book Love

Last week, I shared all my favorite recent releases with bi main characters. A lot of you commented and shared your favorites as well, and it was so fun to learn about some new books! As Pride Month comes to an end, I wanted to make one my post to celebrate. Today I'm talking about my favorite books with Aro, Ace, or Demi representation. Again, I've found it tricky sometimes to find books with this specific representation, so I wanted to share in case some of you are looking for new books! This is a quick, little post, so if you want to add more books to it, just leave a comment!
Tash Hearts Tolstoy By Kathryn Ormsbee I've been a huge fan of this book since I first read it a couple years ago. It was the first book I ever read with ace rep. Tash is such an intelligent, lovable character, and the friendship story is also strong too. Even as she achieves career success with her scripted YouTube series, she's still navigating what her identity means to her, and being open ab…

Books I'm Looking Forward To: July

Can you believe it's almost July? I'm shocked that June is coming to a close. Just like last month, June is packed with an amazing set of books that I can't wait to start reading. We're also starting to see some of the spring books that got pushed because of COVID come out, and I'm so glad that these authors are getting that chance, even though conditions are still less than ideal. I've been waiting for most of these books since I seriously started blogging again back in March, and I'm so excited to finally start reading them. I wanted to share a quick list of some of the books I'm most excited to read over the course of the month. I have ARCs for all of these, so expect reviews coming soon. I just started I Killed Zoe Spanos, and I'm already sucked into its atmospheric, mysterious world. 
As always, preorders, especially now, are so important for supporting authors. Many of them are offering fun preorder incentives if you send in your receipts. I&#…

My Eyes Are Up Here- YA Book Review

My Eyes Are Up Here by Laura Zimmermann
Overview: Greer's life has been governed by body insecurity. She hides in XXL sweatshirts to try to take her chest out of the conversation. It doesn't stop the cruel jokes, the pain, the logistical nightmare with sports, and the impossibility of finding a dress that feels made for her. Over the course of her sophomore year, she starts to test the self-imposed limitations as she gets closer to the new guy, tries out for the volleyball team, and takes her voice back from society and her body image constraints. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Greer is such a fun main character to follow. She is sarcastic and has a worldview that really matches my own, so we clicked quickly. She's a realist with a streak of idealism. A lot of identity comes from her braininess as she leads all her classes, and she uses it as a way to compensate for trying to pretend her physicality doesn't exist. This emerges for a wide variety of societal pressures that is u…

YA Book Review Parachutes by Kelly Yang

Parachutes by Kelly Yang 
TW: Sexual Assault
Overview: Claire and Dani start out feeling like they live on two different planets. Claire has lived a glamorous life in China, cared for by live-in help and constantly picked up after. Every argument with her dad ends in a new purse or pair of shoes, and she's never had to seriously want for anything. Dani and her mom work for a housecleaning service to stay afloat. She attends American Prep on scholarship and works hard to fund her debate travel. Eventually, her mom signs up to host an international student to make a little extra money. While Claire and Dani originally clash, their experiences over the course of the school year make them realize they have more in common than they originally thought. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Every single character in this books was so well drawn and thoroughly paid attention to. Through subtle nuances, even the most minor characters were stunningly clear and realistic. Every character had their fair mix…

I'll Be the One Review

I'll Be The One by Lyla Lee
Overview: Skye loves K-Pop, singing, and dancing. She's studied for countless hours and has gotten really, really good. When the first LA based K-Pop competition starts holding auditions, Skye knows it's her time to shine. While her dad and her friends are supportive, her mom hates the idea. She doesn't believe fat girls can dance. This only pushes Skye more as she's determined to prove to her mom and to all the fat-phobic haters that she can do whatever she wants and be proud of it. Even though the competition isn't an easy road, it's full of fun new friends, self discovery, glitzy performances, and a possible love interest. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Skye is a character that's easy to like. She radiates light and determination without ever crossing into annoying territory. She has a clear view of what she wants, and she's not afraid to work for it. Despite years and years of hurtful, self esteem wrecking comments from her m…

You Should See Me In A Crown YA Book Review

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Overview: Liz never thought she'd run for prom queen. It's a deeply entrenched tradition on the suburb of Campbell, Indiana. Though it's mostly a show of popularity, there is a scholarship for the king and queen. When Liz doesn't get as much financial aid as she needs to go to her dream school, she signs herself up to compete. After many weeks of community service and competitions, prom season manages to change the course of Liz's senior year. Overall: 5

Character: 5 I loved Liz! She was such a great main character to follow because she has the right amount of optimism and reality. She has a lot happening in her life that she has to juggle and keep up with, and I could definitely identify with her feelings of never having done enough. Over the course of the prom season, she forces herself to come out of her shell a little more and get comfortable with throwing herself in the middle of the mix. It also causes an identity st…

Into YA with Jennifer Dugan

I'm so excited to introduce my first repeat author for Into YA! Jennifer Dugan is back on the blog to chat about Verona Comics, one of my favorite books of the year (and probably all time). If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you probably know about Verona Comics by now, but if you want a refresher or some context for our conversation, check out my review of it here.
Also, if you're curious about my first interview with Jennifer about Hot Dog Girl, you can find it here.  And if you want to get a copy of Verona Comics or learn more, here's a link to her author website with all the links.

1.I absolutely love that Verona Comics is such a clear nod to Romeo and Juliet. Did you set out to write a modern retelling? You explore and contextualize a lot of the more toxic elements of the original story. Were there any major changes that you had to make to Shakespeare’s outline to make it fit YA today?   
I actually didn’t go into Verona Comic’s with the idea of mak…