Posted in Book Tag

Book Tag: Avatar – The Last Air Bender

Hello!

Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of my favorite shows when I was little, and the amazing characters still stick with me today. When I saw A Clockwork Reader do this tag,  I got so excited. Bringing one of my favorite childhood tv shows to the world of books. The way this tag works is twelve questions, 3 for each nation/element in the show (water, earth, fire, air). So, without further ado, the tag!

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1. Sokka and Katara – Best sibling relationship

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Jude and Noah’s relationship has it’s ups and downs, but that makes it that much stronger. I haven’t read a lot of books with good sibling relationships, but this is definitely one that’s stuck with me over the years. The book has beautiful writing, and you get so attached to these two as you go through their story.

2. Yue: Favorite star-crossed lovers

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Nikolai and Vika from The Crown’s Game

These two have such an interesting relationship. From the very beginning, they are pitted against each other, and they know only one of them is going to get out of this competition alive. Still, they find a way to connect with each other, in a way that wasn’t insta-lovey. I also loved how their characters developed over the course of the duology.

3. Blood-bending: Book with a disturbing/unsettling topic

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This duology is amazing, but it’s premise, the idea that Hitler’s forces and the Axis powers won WWII is deeply unsettling. I can’t imagine what horrors would have taken place in that world.

 

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4. Toph: Character whose strength surprised you/the characters in the book

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5. The Tales of Ba Sing Se: Best short story/poem collection

25453426Through the Dark is definitely the best novella collection I’ve read to date, though I definitely need to read more. I don’t read many short stories or poetry, so I had to go with a novella bind up for this one, and Through the Dark is by far my favorite.

6. Kyoshi Warriors: Best warrior character

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Manon, from Throne of Glass. I love that she just doesn’t take any crap from anyone, but she also has a soft spot for her wyvern. Once she lets you in, you’re in. But, if she hates you, you better watch yourself.

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7. Zuko: Best redemption arc/redemption arc that should have happened

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The Darkling from Shadow and Bone. UGH I want a redemption arc so badly. I had so much hope at the beginning of this series, and just. Nope.

8. Iroh: Wisest character

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I honestly loved Brimstone so much when I first read these books. He’s so wise and sassy, and such an amazing parental figure for Karou. I want so much more Brimstone in my life!

9. Azula: Best downfall

I had to go with The Darkling again for this one. It just came so far out of left field for me, and that was the first time I’d read a book that does this. It was so infuriating but also really interesting and exciting.

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10. Appa: Favorite fictional animal/pet

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Hedwig… Beautiful, beautiful owl. If you don’t love Hedwig and her sass I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Fiercely loyal and proud. Such a good companion for our little baby Harry. Too good for this world…

11. Aang: purest cinnamon roll

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Is there any character more pure than “Little Buddy”? I mean seriously. He was so sweet, so gentle. I could also put Zu in this category of cute cinnamon rolls, but Jude won out…. Because reasons.

12. Avatar State: a stubborn character/character that struggles with letting go

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Yeah… I don’t think there are many characters that are more stubborn than Aelin from Throne of Glass. Tell her not to do something? Too bad, she’s probably already done it.

 

Did you watch Avatar: The Last Airbender as a kid? Who was your favorite character? Mine was always Katara. Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Book Haul

Book Haul: PRIDEMonth #ownvoices Queer Books

Hello!

June is Queer Pride Month, and as a queer book blogger, I wanted to show my love for #ownvoices queer authors this month. So, I bought a bunch of books that, to the best of my knowledge, are all queer books written by #ownvoices queer authors. I don’t think I’ve ever done a book haul before, so I’ve decided I’m just going to put the books along with the Goodreads description in case you want to check them out! Happy Pride Month to all my fellow queer folks out there!

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Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever. The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger: A high school jock and nerd fall in love senior year, only to part after an amazing summer of discovery to attend their respective colleges. They keep in touch at first, but then slowly drift apart. Flash forward twenty years. Travis and Craig both have great lives, careers, and loves. But something is missing …. Travis is the first to figure it out. He’s still in love with Craig, and come what may, he’s going after the boy who captured his heart, even if it means forsaking his job, making a fool of himself, and entering the great unknown. Told in narrative, letters, checklists, and more, this is the must-read novel for anyone who’s wondered what ever happened to that first great love.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: The first day of senior year: Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief. Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

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More Than This by Patrick Ness: A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive. How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place? As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife? From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash: All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak. At once romantic and devastating, brutally honest and full of humor, this graphic-novel memoir is a debut of the rarest sort. Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen: In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public. Charlotte’s attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets. But when the attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he’s Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too. As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive … and what makes life worth living.

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Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour: A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still. A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world. Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

As I Descended by Robin Talley: “Something wicked this way comes.” Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them. Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word. But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily. Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

What #ownvoices queer books have you read? What are you reading in honor of PRIDE Month? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Discussion, General Information

Dream Author Panels

Hello!

Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world, and they help people organize and plan conferences and events. Check out their conference management software! They reached out to me to invite me to participate in a project where book-bloggers like myself imagine their dream author panels that they would love to see at book conferences. As I’ve never been to a book conference before, I was very excited to participate and it didn’t take me long to figure out exactly who I’d want to hear from in an author panel.

I came up with five panels, each consisting of authors that fit a certain genre or category that I came up with. Here they are!

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Panel #1: LGBTQIA+ Authors

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Since June is PRIDE month, I of course had do include a panel of #ownvoices authors who write books with queer representation. For this panel I chose:

  • Adam Silvera – a gay man from the Bronx who writes M/M YA fiction (More Happy Than Not, History is All You Left Me)
  • Patrick Ness – a gay man from the UK who writes a variety of YA fiction, including gay main and side characters (Chaos Walking, More Than This, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, A Monster Calls, and more)
  • Meredith Russo – a transgender woman who recently published her first novel about a transgender girl named Amanda (If I Was Your Girl)
  • Nina LaCour – I believe she is lesbian, but I’m not sure so I’m not going to put a label, but she has a wife, so her books with F/F relationships are #ownvoices (We Are Okay, Everything Leads to You, Hold Still, The Disenchantments, You Know Me Well, and more)

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Panel #2: Feminist Authors

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It’s so important to have strong leading female roles in YA literature, and all four of these lovely ladies have written some AMAZINGLY badass female characters. Plus, they all have the cutest, sweetest presences on social media, and I would love to meet them all in person.

  • Becky Albertalli – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited
  • Mindy McGinnis – A Madness so Discreet, Given to the Sea, The Female of the Species,  Not a Drop to Drink, and more
  • Alexandra Bracken – The Passenger duology, The Darkest Minds trilogy
  • Leigh Bardugo – The Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows duology

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Panel #3: Diversity (non-white authors)

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All of these authors have such amazing and unique books, and I think it would be fascinating to see how they’ve brought their own experiences into their writing. It’s so important to read diversely, but it’s also important to read #ownvoices books, which provide a more accurate depiction of marginalized identities. Honestly there were a bunch more I could have added, but I wanted to stick to four per panel.

  • Angie Thomas – and African American author. She recently came out with her first book, inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement (The Hate U Give)
  • Evelyn Skye – I’m not sure her exact background, and I’m not going to guess. She has just published the second book in her duology about Russian enchanters (The Crown’s Game)
  • Khaled Hosseini – an Afghani author who has published three books set in the Middle East. (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, And The Mountains Echoed)
  • Sabaa Tahir – again not positive on her background, but she is currently working on her third book in her amazing trilogy inspired by Ancient Rome (An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night)

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Panel #4: Non-fiction Authors

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I’ve cheated a little bit here, as these are all authors who have written their own memoirs, or autobiographies. I don’t read nearly as much nonfiction as I should, so this is what I was able to come up with. All of these people have had such unique lives, and I think hearing from them would be life-changing.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – she’s a Nigerian author who has written several books set in Africa, and has spoken about her feminist beliefs (Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah, We Should All Be Feminists, and more)
  • Malala Yousafzai – she’s a Pakistani girl who, at the age of 15, was shot by the Taliban for speaking about about her beliefs that all should receive an education. She has since become very active in the UN, and has become the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize (I am Malala)
  • Marjane Satrapi – she grew up in Iran during the Iranian revolution, and wrote about it in her graphic memoir (Persepolis)
  • Bill Hayes – a gay man who is a photographer and author. He was in a relationship with the late Oliver Sacks, and wrote about their time together in his beautiful book (Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me)

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Panel #5: My “Fictional” Dream Panel

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Ok, so for this last panel, I wanted to bring some people back from the dead. Just for fun. All these (dead) authors produced some of my favorite works of all time, and I would love to hear what writing advice they would offer, as well as more insight into their works. Plus, I’d love to see how they’d react to the popularity of their writings today (Van Gogh in Dr Who anyone?)

  • Jane Austen – my favorite book of all time is probably Pride and Prejudice, and getting to meet its creator may actually put me into a coma (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, and more)
  • William Shakespeare – who would turn down the opportunity to meet him and hear him talk about writing??? An eclectic playwright who created some of the most famous works of all time. Please, please bring him back. (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and more)
  • Emily Dickinson – I’m less familiar with her writing, but what I have read of it has left me absolutely breathless. I want to know how she chose her words. Can I just have her brain, please? (so many poems. so many)
  • Oscar Wilde – I want to meet this man. Please. Plus, I want him to see a world where it’s ok to be LGBTQIA+ and just. Yes. His writing is so great, and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him. (The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and more)

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What authors would be on your dream panel? Have you been to any author panels before? If you could bring any authors back to life, who would they be? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

 

Posted in General Information

May Wrap-Up/June TBR

Hello!

Who thinks it’s still March? ME! This year is just flying by, and I really don’t know where the time has gone. I had a decent reading month in May, I managed to read a total of 8 books. I’m not sure how much I’m going to be able to read in June, as I’m actually taking 4 summer classes at my local community college in order to make up for the semester I missed. So, who knows? Regardless, I have a bunch of really exciting books that I want to read this month. But, before we get to that, here are the books I read in May!

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The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath: ★★★ I was really excited to read this book, as it’s a classic that I’ve heard really good things about. Many people whom I’ve spoken with have loved this book, and really appreciated its depiction of mental illness. I liked this book, it was ok, but I really didn’t like the writing style. I felt like it was pretty similar to the writing in The Catcher in the Rye, and I HATED that book. So, even though I can appreciate this book, it just wasn’t enjoyable for me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: ★★★★ This book was so sweet, and funny. I loved all of the characters, and the dry, witty humor that is characteristic of Britain was beautiful. All I want to do now is go live on an island like Guernsey. It sounds so quaint and wonderful.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: ★★★★★ I’m sure this book needs no additional hype, as it’s been incredibly popular recently, but I’m going to give it anyway. This book is absolutely amazing, and it’s so important. I really hope this is required reading someday, because everyone needs to read this.

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Wildthorn by Jane Eagland: ★★★★ This book was recommended to me by Clara (as usual), and I finally got around to reading it. I really enjoyed it, though I didn’t get quite as attached to the characters as I was expecting to.

Strange the Deamer by Laini Taylor: ★★★ I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, but I had no idea it was going to be this. I really liked the characters, but for the first 300 pages of the book there seemed to be absolutely no plot. Also, the main relationship seemed super insta-lovey and just meh.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ★★★★★ This is the first nonfiction feminist book I’ve read, and it did not disappoint. Adichie has a way of putting everything I believe about feminism into incredibly elegant and somehow also funny, witty, and relatable words. Definitely going to read more by her in the future.

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The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich: ★★★★ I liked this book a lot, but there were a few issues with it. If you want to read my review of this book, you can find it here.

Pure Drivel by Steve Martin: ★★★ My mom and I were looking for a quick, short book to listen to on our drive to/from work. It was relatively funny, but the second half in particular was just UTTER nonsense. It got so ridiculous that I couldn’t really even tell what was going on anymore, and it just wasn’t all that enjoyable.

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And now, my June TBR! 

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What books did you read in May? What books are you planning on reading in June? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in book review

Review: The Love Interest

31145148The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Themes: LGBTQIA+, dystopian, parody/literary commentary

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Summary: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets. Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad? Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die. What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

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My Review

First of all, I’ve been excited about this book’s release since October of last year. The premise of the subversion of YA tropes was fascinating, and I was really happy that someone was finally going to point out all of the things wrong with Young Adult books that have been published in the past, and the harmful tropes that are often interlaced into some of our favorite books. However, around the release date, when I picked up my own copy, I started noticing that there were a lot of mixed reviews. I didn’t read ANY of them in order to avoid spoilers, but seeing all of the ratings started making me a little bit nervous, but I was hopeful. This book had the potential to be everything I had ever wanted in a YA novel. After finishing it, I find that I’ve come away with pretty complicated feelings about this book, especially after reading several reviews (both positive and negative).

The Love Interest is clearly meant to be a parody on the typical “love triangle” trope, and I think it needs to be treated as such. The main characters, Caden and Dylan, fit the “nice” and “bad” boy molds that they’ve been trained to fill, yet that isn’t entirely who they are. They both have their own ideas about who they want to be in life, and they have their own interests and personalities outside of the job they’ve been given of winning over “the love interest”. Honestly, that wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting sort of robotic characters who just spit out the answers that were expected of them, rather than actual human beings who had been trained into a profession. While I feel like there could have been a bit more character development (especially in the side characters), Dylan and Caden were a lot less one-dimensional than I was expecting.

I think this worked for a couple of reasons. One, it made the characters more interesting, and made it easier to become invested in their stories. Two, Dietrich used it to bring in a lot of pop culture references that I really liked. I love it when characters actually have hobbies, or like music and reading, because it makes them more relatable. Three, it gave Dietrich more room to play with his commentary on their roles in the love triangle. It allowed him to add in a lot more commentary on the problematic aspects of the male stereotypes that often accompany love triangles. One of my favorite lines in the book is a comment that Dylan makes to Caden, wherein he states that he has to be rude and mean to everyone to make himself look stronger, because “strong nowadays means being a total dick”. A tragic backstory and a hard outer shell (put up to protect oneself) do not excuse attitude towards others, and general unkindness. You can be a nice person and have had a hard life. On the flip side, there is also the idea that being the nice guy doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for yourself. Early on, Caden is walking with Juliet (the love interest) and they are mugged. Caden knows that as the “nice” guy, he isn’t supposed to fight or be confrontational, but he does anyway because he knows he should be able to protect himself and Juliet. He knows he doesn’t have to let everyone walk all over him. You can be nice and still stand up for what is right, and protect yourself and others from harm. This subtle commentary wouldn’t have been possible if Dylan and Caden were truly their characters, and not just acting the part. My biggest complaint in regards to the actual love triangle is that we only see Caden’s perspective, so a lot of Dylan’s role as the “bad” boy is never shown. I would have loved to see more of Juliet’s interactions with Dylan, and how the LIC sets up those characters to succeed in winning over the intended love interest.

Yet, in a way, I’m glad that there weren’t multiple perspectives/POVs in this book. This book was attempting to do A LOT, so I think having more than one point of view would have just over-complicated things to the point where the book would either feel too short, or everything would just get muddled. I’ll go into detail with this more later, but while I appreciate what this book was trying to do, I felt that rather than commenting on EVERY issue in YA lit, it may have been better to focus on just a few and develop a stronger argument about them. Sort of an issue with quality over quantity with the commentary. The commentary that was there was good, but because there was so many different topics addressed, I felt like there wasn’t enough room to go in-depth on any of them. There were a lot of details and aspects that got a bit pushed to the side, and I think they could have (and should have) been more thoroughly developed.

One piece of commentary that this book did really well was the commentary on queer characters in YA lit. Dietrich is pretty open about his opinions on the treatment of queer characters in books and I’m really glad he used his platform as an author to explore these issues and showcase them in the novel. Many LGBTQIA+ characters in books that are being published are either minor side characters, token characters, or they get killed off. There was a big point made in this book that Caden, a queer boy, is the protagonist. He is the main character in this story, and there is no room for debate.

Another thing that was done really well is the plot. The book moves quickly, but not too fast so that it gets confusing. There is never a dull moment, and the fight for Juliet always feels high-stakes. A life is at stake, and that aspect of Caden and Dylan’s story doesn’t get pushed under the rug. It’s always there, lingering at the back of their minds, fueling their desperation as they each try to get closer to Juliet. On top of that, Dietrich also managed to throw in plenty of twists and turns that I wasn’t at all expecting. This made the plot even more engaging, and I never wanted to put the book down. The only point where the plot got a bit confusing was toward the end, which felt a bit rushed,  but it wasn’t ever bad enough that I felt like I needed to reread a section.

The biggest complaint that I have was that the writing wasn’t particularly great. It definitely wasn’t terrible, but much of the dialogue felt a bit unrealistic and at times incredibly awkward. I can sort of see where this could have been intentional, as Caden and Dylan were raised without a lot of normal human interactions, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t be absolutely perfect conversationalists when they’re not following the scripts that have been written for them, but it felt a little bit overboard at times. Dialogue between teenagers can be awkward at times, but it isn’t always that way, and in order for readers to be able to relate to a book like this the dialogue has to be realistic, and at times it just wasn’t. 

One complaint that I saw pop up in many of the reviews I read was that the world building is lacking. My response to this is similar to the response that many people have towards Kiera Cass’s The Selection series, which is largely based around the drama and “Bachelor”-style of the royal hierarchy. The Love Interest is a parody/commentary on tropes. This book isn’t meant to be the greatest dystopian novel ever written, and I think it’s wrong to expect Hunger Games or Game of Thrones-level world-building going into it. There are some plot holes and issues with the world-building, but this book just wasn’t trying to accomplish anything miraculous on that front. I think it’s important to suspend disbelief where the book requires or asks us to, not where we want to.

Well. This review ended up being ridiculously long, and I’m really proud of you if you stuck with me all the way to this point. Congratulations! You get a gold star. I do actually have some more thoughts on two problematic aspects of this book, but they are SUPER spoilery, so I’m actually going to add a section down below all this containing those thoughts if you’re feeling brave and want to check that out. Overall, I can see where a lot of the negative reviews are coming from. This book definitely isn’t perfect, but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying it anyway.

-Sky

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SPOILER SECTION OF MY REVIEW

Ok, so I’ll start off with my less-aggravating issue that I had with this book. The relationship between Natalie and Trevor. I wasn’t super thrilled with the normalization of cheating in their relationship. I don’t approve of cheating (defined by me as engaging in a relationship with more than one person when one or more people did not consent to a polygamous/polyamorous relationship), in absolutely ANY circumstance. It just isn’t ok in my book, and I don’t approve of treating it as something that is normal and something that can be easily brushed aside. The only reason that I gave this particular situation a bit of a past is because Natalie and Trevor’s relationship was based in a lie to begin with (since Natalie is a love interest). However, both of them agreed that their love had moved beyond that “lie” stage, and Natalie’s original indifference toward him had indeed moved into love. I don’t really think it’s that easy to get over the love of your life cheating on you.

My larger issue with this book is Dylan’s queer-baiting. I despise it even more because it could have been fixed with just a bit more dialogue added for clarification. We do get some hint from Juliet that he is indeed gay, despite his rejection of the notion, but it would have been so easy for some dialogue to be added explaining exactly WHY Dylan wanted to lie about his sexuality after all that time. He isn’t gay up until the final battle, and then miraculously in the epilogue he’s come out completely and is in a full-on relationship with Caden. That’s a pretty big plot point in my opinion, and I definitely think it deserved more attention than it got. I also don’t really like that Dylan’s sudden retreat back into the closet is used as a “plot twist”, especially without the explanation as to why he made that choice.

Posted in Recommendations

If You Like That… Try This! #2: Divide

Hello!

If you’re at all into pop music, then you’ve probably heard at least one song from Ed Sheeran’s new album Divide. I’ve been complete obsessed with this album since it came out, and my favorite song by FAR is “Castle on the Hill”. For some reason I’m a sucker for songs with banjo in the background, no clue why.

Dive —————> Wildthorn (Jane England)

If you like the song “Dive”, you might like Wildthorn. I just read this book recently, and I think this song sums up the relationship between the main character Louisa Cosgrove and Eliza, who is an assistant in the insane asylum where Louisa has been placed. They are both hesitant around each other due to their circumstances as well as their individual histories, but the connection between them is undeniable.

Shape of You —————-> Empire of Storms (Sarah J Maas)

If you like the song “Shape of You”, you might like the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas, in particular book five: Empire of Storms. Without going into too much detail, because of spoilers, I can definitely say this is the book with the most romance (and sex). Many of the characters either begin to show interest in another character or deepen relationships that have popped up in previous books. Definitely an intense and passionate book about doing everything for the person you love.

Perfect —————–> The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)

If you like the song “Perfect”, you might like The Fault in Our Stars. This book definitely doesn’t need any more recommendations after it’s surge of popularity when it first came out a few years ago, but this was the first book I thought of when listening to this song. Two kids fighting against all odds to be together for their little infinity. Their love is pure, unabashed, and hopeful despite the almost certain promise of an expiration date.

Happier ———————–> The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald)

If you like “Happier”, you might like The Great Gatsby. I’ll admit that I sort of stole this answer from A Clockwork Reader‘s “Divide Playlist Book Tag”, but really, what book could be more perfect for this song than this one? The relationship with Gatsby and Daisy HAD to have been the inspiration behind this song. I’m absolutely positive.

New Man ———————-> The Selection (Kiera Cass)

If you like “New Man”, you might like The Selection series. Upon listening to this song, I immediately thought of America’s relationship with Aspen and Maxon. I can completely picture Aspen singing this to Mer while visiting her in the palace.

What Do I Know? —————–> This Lullaby (Sarah Dessen)

If you like “What Do I Know?”, you might like This Lullaby. I really want Dexter to have written this song for Remy. It wraps up all her cynicism towards romance and falling in love and flips it on its head. I can picture this being the song he uses to woo her into going out on a date with him, the ultimate “just give me a chance” song.

How Would You Feel? (Paean) ——–> Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)

If you like “How Would You Feel? (Paean)”, you might like Anna and the French Kiss. Actually any book in this trilogy would work well for this one, but I felt like Anna fit the best. Anna and Étienne will always be my favorite, and I love how we get to see their relationship throughout all three books. Their relationship is far from perfect, especially at the beginning, but they find a way to make it work.

Supermarket Flowers ———–> A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)/If This is Home (Kristine Scarrow)

If you like “Supermarket Flowers”, you might like A Monster Calls, and you might also like If This is Home. I couldn’t pick which of these two fit better for this song, so I decided to just recommend both. Both of these books are such beautiful illustrations of a relationship between a mother and her child, and how strong that relationship can be in the face of hardship and adversity. Plus, they’ll all make you cry.

Barcelona ———> Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon)

If you like “Barcelona”, you might like Everything, Everything. The main character of this book, Madeline, is allergic to pretty much everything (no pun intended), so her relationship with the outside world is pretty much just in her imagination and in the books she reads. The idea of her and Olly together in her spotless, completely sterile house dancing around imagining themselves in a world Madeline will never be able to see is just completely adorable.

Save Myself ——–> If I Stay (Gayle Foreman)

If you like “Save Myself”, you might like If I Stay. In this book, our main character is in a car accident, and falls into a coma. However, her mind is still conscious, and she spends the course of the book deciding whether (after the events of the crash) it’s worth it to keep fighting to stay alive, or if she wants to let go and never wake up. She spends the book reliving her life as well as revisiting her relationships with family and friends, trying to decide what makes life worth living.

Do you agree with my choices? Did I make you want to go pick one of these books up, or make you want to listen to Divide? What’s your favorite song on Ed Sheeran’s new album? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Summer Reads

Hello!

I exist. I swear. I do. I’m still here… Occasionally. It’s almost the end of May already, and I have no idea where the year has gone. It still feels like it’s March, honestly. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature at The Broke and the Bookish, this week’s theme is “Summer Reads Freebie”, and I decided to list my favorite books that I think should be read during the summer. Here’s what I came up with –

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The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: I actually just finished this book about a week ago, and I’m so glad I read it when I did. It’s the perfect summer read – complete with an island getaway, fantastic characters, and a witty, sassy author narration. Definitely a book to take to the beach.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh: This is another book that is perfect for summer because it’s light, funny, and totally relatable. I think this book would be great to read right at the beginning of summer, or just before it starts (it would make a GREAT hour-ish break from finals stress).

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon: I think this book would make a good summer read because of some spoilery things that I won’t get into. Overall, I think the ambiance of this book is pretty light and fun, and feels pretty summer-y. Since our main character can’t go outside, there’s a lot of focus on the beautiful aspects of life outdoors, which is perfect for the hot summer weather.

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: To be fair, I don’t think there’s ever a bad time to read this book. Summer in particular though seems like a great time to read super light and fluffy contemporaries, and this is exactly that. I’d love to take this book to the beach, curl up on a towel, and read this while eating a case of Oreos.

The Selection by Kiera Cass: The Selection series isn’t the best dystopian series out there, but it is one of the most fabulously dramatic series out there. This is the perfect series to read when you want something that you’re going to get totally invested in and fly through. It isn’t super deep or profound, but, like The Bachelor, you’ll get totally sucked into the drama and escape the summer heat while diving in to some hot (get it, it’s a pun… ignore me I’m a nerd) romance.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith: Everything about this book reminds me of summer. I don’t remember much about it, since I read it a couple of years ago, but what I remember of it my mind has completely associated with summer. Blackout in New York, buying ice cream, and again a light and fluffy contemporary.

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: This book is not a light and fluffy contemporary. However, it takes place on an island where our main character’s family vacations every summer. Hence, there are some very beachy and summery vibes going on throughout the story, interlaced with a much darker and mysterious plot.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: It’s been a few years since I’ve read this book, so I don’t remember much of it. What I do remember of it is that it made me laugh, and overall was a really fun book. I think the funny and quirky characters combined with the slightly ridiculous plot makes it a fun summer read that you can get through quickly without having to devote too much energy to it.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: What could be more summery than a beautiful garden? I love this book because it’s a children’s classic, so it has all the beautiful ambiance of historical novels and classics, without the difficult language. A great book to read on a gorgeous summer day in your garden among the flowers.

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman: This book is about a girl who goes on a trip to Europe, and gets sidetracked by a boy. It’s pretty light and fluffy, and on top of that has the wonderful setting of different European countries. I love the idea of reading this during the summer and feeling like you’re going on vacation, or even reading it while on vacation.

What books do you think are perfect for summer? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky