Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 20

Hello, everyone! So sorry that I completely blipped and didn't post last week! I've been reading a ton and writing plenty of reviews, and I guess I just had a slip of the mind. Anyway, I guess you'll have back to back reviews to enjoy. I got this selection (and tomorrow's) from randomly exploring the library. It's a great way to discover new, great titles, though there is some risk involved. This week illustrates that perfectly as I found one book I loved, and one that really fell flat. Also, just walking through the shelves highlights the importance of eye catching titles and covers because that's what gets me to read summaries of books I've never heard of. So again, I can't believe this post is so late, but better late than never.


OCD Love Story by CoreyAnn Haydu (341 pages)
Overview: Bea has OCD. She's been in therapy for anxiety for a few years when she finally receives this diagnosis. She's left to sort out what this means to her and her identity alone despite her supportive parents, therapist, and seemingly supportive best friend. But none of them can truly understand what she's feeling leading to strain on her relationships. To make matters worse, her checking and note taking compulsions lead her into trouble with the people it is targeted at. She's been accused of stalking before, but when signs she's falling down the same path crop up, Bea is powerless to stop them and too ashamed to share with anyone besides her best friend who does not understand her OCD and sees it as a harmless game. As Bae grapples with this, she is also confronted with a new possible relationship with Beck, a boy she met at a party who appears in the support group Dr. Pat forces her to attend. Though they both must contend with OCD, it manifests in each very differently leading to strain when one cannot understand what the other is going through despite feeling they should. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 Bae is a great narrator. She is able to ground the story in a unique way and lead the reader to both understand and sympathize with her behaviors and struggles that might be looked on very differently from an outsider perspective. Also, very importantly, her OCD does not define her. She has her own personality traits and interests. But she also does a good job of accepting her thoughts and compulsions as a part of her in a very healthy way.
Then there's Beck who is pretty singularly defined by his compulsions. I'm sure if the book was written in his voice he would have much more depth, but Black isn't the focus of the book. He is used as another person Bea has in her life to help her as well as showing his own battle.
Finally, there's Lisha, Baa's best friend. She's an interesting character because she entertains Bea's compulsions and obsessions when they seem cute and minor. She may have even encouraged the negative behavior, but when Bea's OCD gets worse, she starts to shy away from her friend becoming cold and distant because she can't understand Bea, and people tend to shy away from things they cannot understand.

Plot: 5 This was a super entertaining book. Each chapter made me want to keep reading to answer more and more questions. The action moved along at a great pace, and it never felt stale.

Writing: 5 The writing with this book is absolutely excellent. One thing I was super impressed with was the author's ability to write a character with mental health issues while maintaining a light, fun tone that was not disrespectful to the issue but served it because it showcased the other elements and nature of Bea's personality. This also felt like a genuine teenage voice and a genuine, three dimensional voice as well which was enjoyable to read. Both plot and character development was spot on, and Haydu nailed the evolution of the intensity and her coping ability with her OCD as the story progressed. The only reason this story did not receive five stars is that while I genuinely enjoyed reading it and could no fault with this lovely book, I've gotten really picky with saving my Overall 5's for those extra special books that touch you in an indescribable way. And that means to take away nothing from this great novel.


The View From The Top by Hilary Frank (232 pages)
Overview: Annabell is finally finished with high school, and along with that, the town of Normal, Maine. Only, her clean break to college won't be as easy as she hoped. When long existing problems with her boyfriend boil to the surface and her romantic life becomes suddenly complicated, Annabell must sort out her problems before she can leave. She confronts her feelings for the town bad boy, Jonah when he expresses his feelings for her. She also runs into an awkward situation with her friend from orchestra, Toby, which she must figure out. Over the course of the final summer, she must settle her feelings for old friends and make new ones. Overall: 2

Characters: 2 I found these characters not enjoyable in the least. Annabell is flat and seems to have no self esteem what so ever. Matt, her longterm boyfriend, seems borderline verbally abusive, not that this is an issue brought to light, and just a creep in general even though it's said that Annabell is so lucky to have her. Then there's Jonah who is simply the bad boy, bland archetype, and Tobin, the sweet geek who has a heart of gold, who both have suddenly decided they've fallen for Annabell.
Finally, there's Lexi, a girl who struggles with her sexuality and wants to find a way to express that to Annabell, but never does leaving the reader wonder whatever happened there when she's never mentioned again, and Mary-Tyler, a rich girl who meets and spends the day with Annabell getting a narration part for no apparent reason.
These are cardboard characters. I'm fine with taking known or already explored character archetypes and making them your own in some way, but these characters just felt stale.

Plot: 2 I felt like there was no point to the sequence of actions that unfolded. Really, it seemed pointless as none of the events ever peaked my interest or seemed important to the plot of the story. The plot seemed aimless and underdeveloped, and I never understood what the point of the story was.

Writing: 2 Unfortunately, this was a major barrier for this book. The writing felt like a wall blocking me from getting deeper into the narrative or connecting with it on any level. With writing just as stale as the characters, I can't even say that it was written at a reading level for middle grade, it just didn't work here.
Also, the book is split and narrated by a different character each time, though it always remained in third person with the same voice. I feel if a book is split between multiple narrators there should be strong differentiation in voice and a true reason for doing so. Overall, I just couldn't get into this book no matter how hard I tried.


If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and check out our other articles ranging from book reviews to poetry and short stories to editorials. To get updates about new posts and extras, please follow us on Instagram (@readingwritingandme), Twitter (@readwriteandme), and Facebook or sign up for email alerts by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the sight. Also, please leave comments or email us (readingwritingandme@gmail.com) with your thoughts or review requests. 

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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'

Once Upon a Quinceañera

Once Upon a Quinceañera   by Monica Gomez-Hera Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC so I could share my honest thoughts with all of you! 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

Olivia Rodrigo'a SOUR As YA Books: Track By Track

This list turned out to be much harder to make than I anticipated when I came up with the idea last week. I set out to match songs to SOUR because what goes better with an album written by a 17/18 year old than YA books, but it turns out that YA books are just too hopeful for this album. Unlike many of these songs, I couldn't find books where the characters ended the book totally despondent and broken up. It took a bit of brainstorming, but I think I found a book to match the essence of each SOUR track. Le me know in the comments which songs on SOUR are your favorite. Mine are "brutal", "favorite crime", "deja vu", and "jealousy, jealousy".  1. "brutal" : War and Speech   by Don Zolidis War and Speech just radiates the same badass, discontented with teenage life energy as "brutal". This was the first book that popped into my mind when I thought about making this post. Just look at the cover. Sydney's life has been fa

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

My First Time Trying a Book Box: Literati Luminary Book Club Review

I am incredibly excited for today's blog posts because I'm working with Literati to share my experience with their Luminary Book Club. If you've been keeping up with my posts, I recently talked about how book clubs are an amazing way to fend off a reading slump, especially when life gets super hectic, and even with a super long TBR, I've still felt lost when I go to pick out my next read. I'm so grateful to Literati for sending me a book box and sponsoring this post!  On top of feeling stuck with choosing what to read, I've also been trying to explore more genres and the world outside of YA. YA has been my home base for so long that I always get overwhelmed trying to figure out what I want to read in other genres. Luckily, Literati had just what I needed. I got the chance to choose from 13 different book clubs all curated by Luminaries who are amazing, award winning writers, thought leaders, and artists you most definitely know like Malala and her Fearless cl

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

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: Adult Literature Reviewed

  Everything I Never Told You  by Celeste Ng (Just a warning, this review will have some degree of spoilers cause I don't know how to write a full review without them) Overview: Lydia is dead. Just turned 16 and already gone. With no close friends to point to a possible explanation and no leads, her family is left confused, forced to confront a world without their favorite daughter. Instead of a murder mystery, what unfolds is a heartbreaking story of a family in 1970s Ohio forced to confront every tiny, fractured web that led up to Lydia death. Bouncing around with no bounds for time, space, or narrator, we hear stories from Nath, Lydia, and Hannah's childhoods, Marilyn's young adulthood, and Jame's struggles to rise through the ranks as a Chinese American professor in small town Ohio. What it leaves is a heartbreaking portrait of how little we might truly know about the people we sleep in the same house with every single night. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 This is a hard

What's on my YA TBR: September 2021 Edition

September is always a magical, busy time in bookland because there are always a million books releasing to get ready for the holiday rush. That's how this list wound up featuring 7 books. There are a couple like Never Saw You Coming  and As If On Cue  that I've had my eyes on for almost a year, and then there are some new discoveries that I'm super super excited about. From heartfelt contemporaries to K-Pop to a musical anthology and a summer camp of animators, there's something for everyone on this list. I haven't been this excited about a TBR of books in a while, and I'm sad that with starting school, it'll probably take me a while to get through them, but I'm hoping my local library will pick up copies soon. Speaking of which, I have tons of new libraries to explore around campus! As always, I want to make it as easy as possible to preorder these books and connect with the authors who wrote them! If you click the link in the title of each book, it wil

Fresh by Margot Wood: YA Book Review

  Fresh  by Margot Wood Get a Copy (this is an affiliate link. purchasing through this bookshop link helps support indie bookstores and this blog at no cost to you) Overview: Elliot isn't really sure why she's going to college. It's the next step that people take in life, I guess. She also isn't sure why she's at Emerson. It sounded better than Ohio State. She has no plan, no clue and how to approach college life. Quickly, Elliot gets sucked into a whirlwind of all the worst college tropes- the endless cereal bar, hooking up with everyone in the Little Building, not paying attention in any of her that classes she doesn't really want to be in anyway... the list goes on. She quickly forms a tight group of friends on her floor, but even those connections get tested as the year progresses. Eventually, Elliot is forced to realize that she needs to care about the academic side of college, and she craves closer connections than a trail of hook ups. Elliot, like most co

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