Skip to main content

Reading Reviews and Recommendations: Week 14



Hello, everyone! This week has been both busy and exciting. If you haven't heard already, Germ Magazine has requested to publish two of my poems on their magnificent sight germmagazine.com (The first of which went up yesterday). I've also been doing a ton of reading lately. I've gone through the John Green section of the library (I have some really cool articles planned for these books), and yesterday I got my hands on Jenifer Niven's Holding Up The Universe which I'm so excited to read. Aside from my regular articles, expect to see a few book/ movie comparison articles over the coming months and a feature piece on The Catcher In The Rye. And again, if you haven't already, please follow the site on Facebook and Instagram @readingwritingandme and Twitter @readwriteandme. Also, tell your friends about the site, and let me know what you like and what you think could be improved.


My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Wanga (302 pages)
Overview: Aysel's life had never been great. Her parents divorced barely a year after her birth, and she spent most of her childhood living with her father only "intruding" on her mother's new perfect family on the weekends. Already put behind at school for looking different from all her Kentucky classmates because of her Turkish descent, her position as an outsider is sealed when her father murders the town's teen Olympic hopeful and is arrested. As an alien in her home and town, Aysel rightfully sees her life as pointless and empty, and combined with her fear, stoked by the stigma in town, that she has some crazy gene that she wi end up like her father, she decides that she wants to take her life. Her problem is that she wants to make sure she doesn't do it halfway. Through a suicide partners website, she finds Frozen Robot, otherwise known as Roman, a local seventeen year old boy also looking to die. Through their planning meetings they start to fall for each other as they finally find someone who understands. This makes Aysel realize that her life does have value and potential. The question is if she can convince Roman of this before it's too late. Though it is a very serious topic, Wanga mixes in plenty of levity and sweet romance that makes this an impactful read. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 Our POV character Aysel has quite the engaging voice. She has a hint or sarcasm and a bit of dark humor to her, and her outlook on the world is an interesting and relatable prospective. Her narration of the book and her growth which is subtle but evident throughout make this a fascinating read.
As for Roman, he is also an interesting character. He, unlike Aysel, is 100% sure ending his life is the only viable option. Getting to know Aysel and experiencing the growth of their relationship makes him realize that he wants Aysel to live, but he still feels that he has to die because he feels responsible for his sister's death.

Plot: 5 The plot and plot evolution of this novel is touching, beautiful and needed. Seeing Aysel's eyes opened to the possibilities of the future and her heart open to hoping for something greater than what she has is something to watch. The sweet and unlikely love story and unexpected plot twist will keep the reader turning the pages. )(I finished it in one four hour day of reading.)

Writing: 5 I have to aplaude Wanga for her writing talent, especially in regards to character development. Her writing has a subtle nuance to it that executes all the nessicary writing mechanics to make a story glitter while letting the character fully speak to herself. I also have to commend her for her beautiful handling of a very difficult topic.


The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schnider (335 pages)
Overview: Ezra Faulkner was always the golden boy, prom king, captain of the varsity tennis team, and generally popular guy. That had been his place since freshman year, so when his wrist and knee are destroyed in a hit and run accident at the end of junior year, the new Ezra, who can never play sports again, wears a wrist brace, and carries a cane, must reevaluate his place in the world. As a senior he realizes that the popular kids might not be the group he belongs to. Spending more time with his friends from debate, Ezra meets Cassidy Thorpe who really changes everything. Opening his eyes to life and living, Cassidy becomes an important part of Ezra's life, so when she disappears the night of homecoming, Ezra is rightfully jarred and confused. The reader gets to see Ezra realize that what he thought he wanted, what everyone said he wanted, was not the life he wants to lead. While the themes of this novel are wonderful and beneficial to readers, some of the execution left me a bit disappointed. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 These characters started the novel pretty solid. Ezra is a funny character and quality narrator, though there was some places where you could hear the female author's voice coming through. I loved the character of Cassidy until they reach homecoming (About 2/3 through the book). Afterwards the characters seem to blur and start acting in strange ways that feel out of character even if some of their past actions justify the plausibility.
The popular group, and sadly some of the debate team remains a bit plastic in my opinion. Of course, humanizing or adding depth to the popular crew goes against Ezra, the POV character's, stance, but making them seem a bit less cardboard would have been nice. It seems Cassidy was the only character that really exhibited complexity.

Plot: 4 Again, I really enjoyed the story until homecoming. Afterwards the plot started to go a bit haywire as Ezra jumped from one place or idea to the next. Despite it being a bit flimsy, the overall story is pretty good and shares quality messages.

Writing: 3.5 In my opinion, this book has a problem that could stem from one of two things: the author lacks faith in her writing or she lacks faith in the ability of the reader to assume deeper meanings and draw conclusions. This, unfortunately, leads to the issue of chronic over explaining. After nearly every important moment, Ezra gives a long, drawn-out monologue about what moral lessons he learned from the situation and how he has grown. The scenes communicate this information to the reader well without the explanation, and reading the following paragraphs makes the impact less strong. Also, there are only so many times "Deadpanned" can be used as a speaker tag.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

My Most Anticipated of 2021/2021 ARC TBR

  A few days ago, I put out a list of my favorite books of the year that I couldn't stop talking about all year long. Now I'm here to introduce you to a brand new slate of books that I'm predicting will make my favorites list next year. These are the books I can't wait to get my hands on because they sound absolutely amazing! I've decided to separate the list into an ARC TBR so far for 2021 of ARCs I have and then to make a wishlist section below that with ARCs I hope to get or books that I'll splurge to buy. I'll include preorder links to the books that are already up for preorder so that you can easily grab a couple surprise gifts to show up throughout the year if any of these books look exciting! These will be affiliate bookshop links which means shopping the links support the blog at no cost to you. Also, if you're looking for even more 2021 books, Rachel and Vicky made the most amazing database/spreadsheet/blog to collect all the 2021 debuts togethe

More Than Maybe Review

More Than Maybe  by Erin Hahn (May 2020) Overview: Vada works at a dive bar, scraping together money for college and learning about running from a show her soon to be step-dad to get closer to her future dreams. She also runs the Loud Lizard's successful music blog Behind the Music. Vada is about to head off to LA and start working towards her music journalism dreams, but she has to make it through senior year first. Luke Greenly is the son of famous British punk rocker, Charlie Greenly. The whole family has set down roots in Michigan where his mom works at the university, but remnants of his dad's past life still follow them. Luke loves writing songs but hates performing, and, because of his dad, he's been thrust into the spotlight more than he'd like. For now, he'd rather stick to making successful podcast The Grass Is Greenly with his twin brother, Cullen, and hopelessly pining after Vada through stalking Behind the Music. Overall: 5 Characters: 5 Vada is a

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon: YA Book Review

Super Fake Love Song  by David Yoon Overview: Sunny Dae is sick of his California neighborhood where everyone pretends to be something they're not to keep up with all the other rich families. He's happy in his own world, LARPing with his friends, even if he gets made fun of for it at school. That is until Cirrus comes into the picture. She's undeniably cool and he's undeniably a loser in everyone's eyes, so he finds a new personality. He borrows a life from the coolest person he used to know, his older brother Gray, who's on his way to becoming a rockstar. Of course, lies like that always fall apart, and the music industry is unforgiving. It's a long fall from the top. Overall: 3  Characters: 3 This is the weirdest book I've ever read, which I'll get into more later. One part of that is the book is basically only told in details. You'd think this would help with characterization, but so many characters are left completely flat. Sunny is unashamed

Positions Book Tag

Today, I'm sharing a new book tag created by Cielo over at Bellerose Reads who tagged me in her new Positions book tag. I love working on book tags inspired by pop music, so I was thrilled to get the tag. If I'm being totally honest, I wasn't super into Positions, Ariana Grande's latest album. I'm much more of a Thank U Next fan because that album was far more lyrically focused. Positions reminds me a lot of Sweetener. I do like "POV", the closing track of the album. Still, I'm super excited to share the tag because these are some of the best tag questions I've ever seen. Cielo did a wonderful job coming up with really cool prompts. I had a blast thinking of books that fit them. As always, just click the book title to read my review of any of the books I mentioned. And don't forget to read the original tag here .    shut up – a book you couldn’t shut up about  There are way too many. Honestly, a ton of them are already sprinkled through this po

evermore book tag!

As you probably know, I absolutely adore Taylor Swift, and I recently did a folklore book tag, so I figured I should make a version of evermore as well! If you want to read that post, you can find it here . And if you want all my thoughts on folklore, you can watch my original folklore reaction on my YouTube channel here.   I'm so happy to have found an evermore book tag I loved created by  Star Is All Booked Up ! That post is linked (I really enjoyed it!), and those are the prompts I'm using here.  In this tag, I just talked about books for the prompts and didn't get into the songs. If you want more of my evermore thoughts specifically, check out my blog post of favorite lyrics here and my new reaction to evermore here . You can also scroll to the bottom of the post to watch the video as well. If you want to know more about any of the books I mention, all of their titles are linked to my review.  I hope you love the post, and let me know your favorite evermore songs in the

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant: YA Book Review

  Happily Ever Afters  by Elise Bryant  Overview: Tessa gets the writing opportunity of her dreams, but her words run out at the same time. While she can't wait to take a novel writing class at her new school, the idea of sharing her work with anyone but her best friend, Caroline, makes her unable to keep writing, even for herself. Caroline devises a plan to get her to fall in love so that she can jumpstart her creative juices for the romances Tessa writes herself into. Real life inspiration is clearly not the answer, and Tessa is left even further from the answer to all of her problems. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 While I knew this book was going to have a kind of forced dating situation as Tessa tried to get this boy to fall for her, I didn't predict the love triangle till I started reading. I'm not going to fault Bryant for using a love triangle because everyone does it, but I do have to note that these characters fall into the unfortunate side effect of most love triangles

This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry: YA Book Review

  This Will Be Funny Someday  by Katie Henry Overview: Izzy is sick of being 16. She's sick of being the "easy kid" who never causes a problem for the family or demands attention. Her mom is always busy working at her law firm, and her dad just isn't super invested. School is awful, and her controlling boyfriend makes her question what it means to be in love. And then she stumbles into a bar on comedy night, and suddenly, she finds a world so different from her own- one that's better. Though it requires maintaining more than a few lies, this new life with her college friends is too good to give up. That is, until it all comes crashing down. About growing up, being your authentic self, and navigating intense relationships for the first time, this book is incredibly relatable and quite unique in the way it approaches common YA questions. Overall: 5 Characters: 5 I relate to Izzy on a deep, deep level. From the second I read the synopsis, I knew the book was going to

Coming Up in February 2021: Can't Miss YA

It's almost February which means it's time for tons of brand new books. I picked the five I was most excited about to spotlight in this post! There's a mix of past favorite authors (like Courtney Summers and Phil Stamper) and some new authors I can't wait to read for the first time! I'm so excited to dive into these soon. A couple are on my ARC TBR, and the rest I put in library requests for. If you have a local library, placing a request for a book purchase from your library is a great, free way to get new books. You help the author with a sale, and the library also offers them more exposure to new readers!  If you do want to add some of these books to your personal collection, I will be adding purchase links that go to Bookshop to this post. Clicking the affiliate link means that the blog might get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Shopping these Bookshop links is a great way to support the blog, authors, and independent bookstores!  The Project by Court