The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins | REVIEW

reviewsThe You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 24th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Pages: 608
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The You I've Never KnownFor as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

🌟🌟🌟

3 Stars

** Received an ARC from Simon Schuster Canada for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all. Thank you!! **

First Line:

To Begin

Oh, to be given the gifts

of the chameleon!


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟      ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     FEELS 🌟🌟🌟


The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins is a contemporary YA written in prose about a girl living someone else’s life. What she doesn’t know is that her mother didn’t abandon her, but her father kidnapped her and that’s the reason they have been constantly moving around the country. (Sounds like a spoiler, but it’s not… it’s in the synopsis).

The Good

The Writing

The You I’ve Never Known is not only the first Ellen Hopkins book I’ve read, but it is also the first book I have read in prose. I didn’t know what to really expect from it, but I was completely enamored by it. I thought it was a unique way to tell a story and I will definitely be on the look out for her other books/other books written in prose.

Hopkins knocks it out of the park with her very real and raw writing style. We not only read Ariel’s emotions, but we feel them on an authentic level; something I find hard to do when it comes to contemporary novels. We see Ariel for who she is deep down, and that’s a testament to Hopkins’ talents for the written word.

Bisexuality Exploration

It is rare to find a young adult contemporary that explores bisexuality. The You I’ve Never Known does a spot on representation of it. Ariel struggles to find herself throughout the course of the book. She knows she is attracted to guys, but she also has growing feelings for her best friend Monica. Everything her homophobic father as drilled into her brain about her lesbian mother has left a huge block in her mind against it.

Hopkins doesn’t brush it off as “just wanting to have fun,” or “being greedy and not wanting to choose a gender” like the many people that have preconceived notions about bisexual people. She shows that it is possible to love more than one gender and that their is nothing wrong with that. Ariel goes on an emotional journey of self discovery and ultimately comes to terms with herself.

Dual Perspectives

I loved that The You I’ve Never Known is told in dual perspectives. We get an insight on both Ariel and Maya’s lives and the trials and tribulations that they have to overcome. While Ariel’s perspective is written in prose, Maya’s is written in a letter style. This adds a layer of depth to the story overall that I quite enjoyed!

Hopkins takes you on a journey about love, abuse, and self discovery through these two girls. It was nice to see the two stories intersect with each other as the story unfolds. It ends quite ambiguously which I liked. Let’s me know that there is more to their story that doesn’t necessarily need to be told.

The Bad

Slow Moving

I felt The You I’ve Never Known was extremely slow moving. There were bits and pieces that I felt could have been left out of the story to move it along a little quicker. What interested me the most about the story was the aspect of being kidnapped and not even knowing it. Sadly, Ariel doesn’t find this out until page 406. That’s a long way to go to finally start picking up speed in my opinion.

No Plot Twist

So what drew me in is also what I didn’t like about The You I’ve Never Known. Had the synopsis not spilled the details about Ariel being kidnapped by her father and her mother’s never ending journey to find her, might have made for a major plot twist.

Put it this way, we got a dual perspective of two teenage girls whose stories will eventually intersect. It would have been perfect if we didn’t already know the major plot line of the story.


If this is your first Ellen Hopkins book, then I recommend you pick up her other highly acclaimed stories before this one, but if this isn’t your first Hopkins rodeo, then I think you will quite enjoy this step in her literary career! Let me know what you guys thought of The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

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Ellen HopkinsEllen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the “only one who understands me”, and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine | REVIEW

 

reviewsThe Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 3rd, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 432
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The Cursed QueenAnsa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

5 Stars

*** CHECK OUT THE REVIEW FOR BOOK ONE: THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN ***
** Received an ARC from Simon and Schuster for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all.**

First Line:

She’d never seen fire as an enemy, not until it crept like a snake along the grass to where she lay bleeding, not until it struck.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟      ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     WORLD 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine is the sequel to last year’s action packed fantasy, The Impostor Queen. The story picks up across the sea with our new main protagonist, Ansa. She was part of the big take over that we see in the first book and as events intertwine with both stories, we get to explore a new side of this world!

The Good

New Characters

As this is a companion novel to The Impostor Queen, we get a whole new cast of characters to explore. In The Impostor Queen we met Elli, the one they believed to be the next Valtia but as we read wasn’t true. But in The Cursed Queen we meet an orphan to the Krigere tribe, Ansa, that happens to be the real Valtia without her knowing. I loved how strong Ansa was. She has fought her whole life to fit in with the people that destroyed her life and stole her away from her village. This shows in her bloodthirsty demeanor and attitude.

The Cursed Queen does not fall in terms of their strong representation of tough female characters. We also meet Thyra, the chieftains daughter. She was one of my favorites in the book. She proved that you didn’t need to kill to get what you want. She proved her skills on the battlefield as well in the mental fields!

World Building

We cross the sea in The Cursed Queen and get to witness life away from the Valtia’s reaches. Life across the sea is savage and primitive. They are filled with warriors that kill and maim their enemies and innocents alike. We explore new cities and villages and it shows how vast the world Fine has created really is!

Fine’s descriptions are vivid and beautifully depicted. I did not have trouble picturing what was going on!

LGBT Representation

LGBT representation is not a must have for me in every story I read, but when it’s there I jump for joy. Especially when it is harder to come by in the fantasy genre. Our main characters Ansa and Thyra both harbor feelings for each other. We see them struggle with them throughout The Cursed Queen. Do I think they are a good fit for each other? You’ll just have to read about it below. Just know that I really enjoyed having LGBT characters in the story.

The Bad

Bad Romance

As I said above, Ansa and Thyra have blossoming feelings for each other. But sadly it falls flat for me. I don’t think they connect well with each other and I don’t see a spark between them. Does this mean that one won’t develop in the next book? Who knows, maybe I will change my mind then. But as of now I just don’t see them being a a good fit for each other.

 


I highly recommend this one if you are a fan of high fantasy and badass female characters. Let me know what you guys thought of The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

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#BloodAndVictory

Sarah FineSarah Fine is the author of Of Metal and Wishes, Of Dreams and Rust, and the Guards of the Shadowlands series. She was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she’s working as a child psychologist.

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson | REVIEW

We Are the AntsWe Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on January 19th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT+
Pages: 455
Format: Hardcover

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

5 Stars

First Line:

Life is bullshit.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟        FEELS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Depression isn’t a war you win. It’s a battle you fight every day. You never stop, never get to rest.

We Are the Ants – Shaun David Hutchinson

The Good

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson is a beautifully written novel about a boy who must decide if the world is worth saving. Henry’s dad left him and the family when he was younger, his mother is struggling with work and money, his grandmother is suffering from Alzheimers, and his boyfriend Jesse committed suicide last year for unknown reasons. To top it all off he is constantly getting abducted by aliens. And these aliens have given him a big red button to press. If Henry pushes the button the world will continue going on, but if he doesn’t the world will end. They have given him 144 days to decide.

Now if this is starting to sound like a sci-fi dystopian, not to worry. It is far from it. I can say that the alien abductions are a metaphor for something else, that of which I can’t tell you. But now it is up to Henry if life as we know it, is worth saving.

The plot is beautiful executed with Hutchinson’s raw and truthful writing. He makes you really think about what matters in life, all the little things we do. Is it all worth it in the grand scheme of things? If we kiss our boyfriend/girlfriend today will it end world hunger? If we do our homework or study for our next test are we going to be the next noble prize winner? Most answers to that is no. But that doesn’t mean that these little things don’t matter. They matter to us, and that’s the most important aspect you take away from We Are the Ants.

The characters are all flawed in some way or another. Poor Henry is a lost soul. He has no idea why his father left them all those years ago, he has no idea why Jesse killed himself, and he has no idea if life is still worth living. I have never connected with a character more in any other book. There are times in life where I have felt just as lost as he has, but that’s totally normal. Then he meets the new boy in school, Diego. Diego is everybody and nobody. Because of his shady past he lives each day as a new one to make up for all the time he has lost. He has a ton of issues he needs to work through, but he meets Henry and things change. He makes it his mission to prove to Henry that life is worth saving.

The romance was adorable, and it wasn’t the typical swoon worthy romance you usually find in other contemporaries. It was raw, and real. It was flawed.

We Are the Ants makes you feel a ton of emotions as it takes you on a bumpy roller coaster ride. I’ve learned a lot from reading it and I can’t express enough how much you guys need to get your hands on a copy of this book. It’s a story we all need to hear… well read. I know you’ll love it!

We may not get to choose how we die, but we can chose how we live. The universe may forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.

We Are the Ants – Shaun David Hutchinson

The Bad

I can honestly say I have no issues with this novel. Shaun David Hutchinson knocks it out of the park again with his masterful story telling with real, and raw emotions. I do wish that we got to find out what happens after day 144 because ends on day 143. A bit of a cliffhanger where we get to imagine our own ending!

Sometimes I think gravity may be death in disguise. Other times I think gravity is love, which is why love’s only demand is that we fall.

We Are the Ants – Shaun David Hutchinson

I loved The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley last year by Huthinson, and he doesn’t disappoint this time around either! Let me know what you guys thought of We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

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#EndOfTheWorld

Shaun David HutchinsonShaun David Hutchinson is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letter, fml, and the forthcoming The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He can be reached at shaun@shaundavidhutchinson.com. He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who.

Do-Gooder by j. leigh bailey | COVER REVEAL

Hey guys!

I have an exciting post for you today! It is the cover revealing for this cool new book by j. leigh bailey from Corvisiero Literary Agency. Check it out!


Do-GooderDo-Gooder by j. leigh bailey
Published by Harmony Ink Press on September 15th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT+
Pages: 200
Series: Standalone
LINKS: Good Reads
No good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.
However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.

About j. leigh bailey

j. leigh baileyj. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.

She wrote her first story at seven, which was, unbeknownst to her at the time, a charming piece of fan-fiction in which Superman battled (and defeated, of course) the nefarious X Luther. She was quite put out to be told, years later, that the character’s name was actually Lex. Her second masterpiece should have been a best-seller, but the action-packed tale of rescuing her little brother from an alligator attack in the marshes of Florida collected dust for years under the bed instead of gaining critical acclaim.

Now she writes Young Adult LGBT Romance novels about boys traversing the crazy world of love, relationships and acceptance.

.

LINKS:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Good Reads | Tumblr 


Let me know what you guys think. I can’t wait to read this one!

Until next time,

Sig 2

 

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Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate | REVIEW

Seven Ways We LieSeven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
Published by Amulet Books on March 8th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

Seven-Ways-We-Lie-Rating.gif

First Line:

 “All right,” I say, “Either the furnace is on over drive, or we’ve descended into the actual, literal fiery pits of hell.”


Review

** I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book.**

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate is a young adult contemporary about a group of high school students, their lives and a shocking scandal at their school. I found it quite entertaining and gripping and has a great cast of characters that you can’t help but want to know more about.

Seven-Ways-We-Lie-Quote-2

The Good

The Characters

First I will say this book has a lot of POV’s. Seven of them to be exact. Each character represents a deadly sin and must work through their own issues to eventually impact the overall story in some way.

Olivia and Kat (LUST & WRATH) are twin sisters both dealing with their mother leaving in two different ways. Olivia is exploring her sexual independence and Kat is hiding behind a computer screen and taking her anger out on Olivia.

Juniper (GREED), one of Olivia’s best friends is picture perfect on the outside. Perfect looks, perfect grades, perfect life. But what is not perfect is the secret she is hiding from everyone, one that could make or break someone’s life.

Claire (ENVY) is Olivia’s other best friend. No matter what she does, whether it be running student council, or being on every team or extracurricular activity, she never feels good enough. Her insecurities effect the way she thinks of herself and effects her actions in the process.

Lucas (GLUTTONY), Claire’s ex-boyfriend grew up in a shitty household. With very little money, he compensates by being his school’s drug dealer/alcohol provider. But that’s not all he’s hiding, he is also a pan-sexual.

Matt (SLOTH), Olivia’s project partner and Lucas’ number one customer finally finds a reason to open up his heart. With his parent’s at each others throats and his little brother in the middle of it all, he spends most of his time high and crushing on Olivia.

And finally, Valentine (PRIDE) the socially awkward kid in school. For what he lacks in social skills, he makes up for in academics. He catches the eye of Lucas, but doesn’t understand the reasons why. He struggles with making the right decision when he is the one who exposes the school scandal to the faculty. Does he go through with the doing the right thing, or save his new found “friends.”

All the characters portray their sins well and it was nice to see how their thoughts affected their actions in the story.

Seven-Ways-We-Lie-Quote-1

The Bad

The Plot

Now I’m not saying the book was bad at all. I rather enjoyed my reading experience with it. All I’m saying is the plot wasn’t very unique. The way it was executed with the seven deadly sins was though.

I haven’t read that many YA contemporaries, but the major plot line wasn’t anything new to me.

The other issue I had with the plot was that it doesn’t really get resolved by the end. I feel like the author tried to close off all the character’s stories, but fails to do so successfully. Some characters I am left wanting more out of their ending, but was left short.


Ok, that’s it. Let me know what you guys thought of Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

#SevenDeadlySins

Riley RedgateRiley Redgate is an economics major at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Her expected graduation date is May 21, 2016. She grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and hopes to work in a bookstore after college. Seven Ways We Lie is her first novel.

The Great American Whatever | Waiting on Wednesday [#1]

Waiting-On-Wednesday

Hey guys!

Starting today and every Wednesday after that I will be doing the Waiting on Wednesday Meme. Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

So here’s what I’m waiting on this week!


The Great American Whatever

Author: Tim Federle
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT+
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 29th, 2016

goodreadsThe Great American Whatever

 

Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.


Why I’m Waiting

Tragedy turned love story with LGBT characters? YES YES YES!


 

What has you guys waiting this week? Let me know down below!

Until next time,

Sig New

Carry On Review + Why Simon/Baz Belong Together

Carry-On-Review

Carry OnCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin’s Grifin on October 6th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Fantasy
Pages: 522
Format: Hardcover

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry-On-Rating

First Line:

I walk to the bus station by myself.


Review

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a fantasy/contemporary about a young magician that literally sucks at magic but happens to be the chosen one! With a cool concept, interesting magic system and great characters this book takes you on a wild ride.

Carry-On-Quote-2

The world building is a bit heavy with this book since it is a standalone and has to throw in 17 years of Simon’s life into 500 + pages. But aside from that Rowell did well with the concept and making it her own. There is also the unique magic system she created. Casting spells using certain phrases like “Open Sesame,” or “I Wish I Could Fly.” I thought that was rather cool and interesting. Some of the spells had me giggling and others had me face palming over the awkwardness of it all.

Simon and Baz were such rich characters in terms of being 3-dimensional and relative. Simon is a klutz, he sucks at controlling his magic, and fumbles through relationships like any other teenage boy out there. Baz is sophisticated and poised. He may be hiding major secrets and likes to keep to himself because of it, but there was just so much that pulls you in with intrigue.

Now comes the hard part, what I didn’t quite enjoy about the story. We’ll start with the writing. I hated and quite found it annoying all the parentheses that were used in the story. I felt it repetitive and redundant. One or two every now and then is fine, but when it is used 11 times in one chapter (see chapter 2) it just started to get under my skin.

I didn’t like the actual plot itself. I thought it was messy and not that well played out. And don’t get me started on all the POV changes. Don’t get me wrong, I love multiple POV’s in books, but only when it is written well. Unfortunately for Carry On, it was not. I thought it was all over the place and a lot of chapters weren’t really needed.

So I over all liked the book, maybe not as much as others, but still enjoyable none the less.


Why Simon/Baz Belong Together

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT UP AHEAD.

Probably one of the only saving graces of this book is the relationship between Simon and Baz! I was completely enamored by these two that is was borderline creepy how much I wanted them to end up together in the end. And here is why:

Simon is completely lost without Baz and vice versa

All Simon could think about in the beginning half of the book was where Baz was. His whole living revolved around Baz’s whereabouts.

As for Baz he has been harboring feelings for Simon since they started school together 7 years prior. He lives and breathes Simon day and night.

Carry-On-Quote

Their banter is life

They can’t help but be mean to each other. And because of this, it made for an enjoyable dialogue between the two.

That kiss though

I think I might have actually squealed when it happened. There was such a build up to that scene that I was on the edge of my seat praying it would happen!

Carry-On-Quote-3

Chemistry was perfect

They are complete opposites in almost every way. So I guess the saying “opposites attract” is perfect for Simon and Baz.

As much as they would never admit it, they need each other. One is like anchor for the other and vice versa. They live and breath each other and it is completely adorable!


Ok, that’s it. Let me know what you guys thought of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Signature


Rainbow RowellRainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

3 Items You Need to Read #MoreHappyThanNot + Review

More-Happy-Than-Not-Review

More Happy Than NotMore Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Published by Soho Teen on June 2nd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Sci-fi
Pages: 293
Format: Hardcover

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

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First Line:

It turns out the Leteo procedure isn’t bullshit.


 

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A box full of tissues

This is very important. Even if you are not a book cryer you may need something to shred from the pain this book causes you.

We follow Aaron Soto, a seemingly normal teenager living in the projects of New York City somewhere in an alternate future then our own. When his girlfriend goes off to art camp for a couple weeks in the summer, Aaron finds it hard to control his feelings for the new boy he has met, Thomas.

This begins a downward spiral for Aaron. His story starts to open up and we learn about his troubled past before his father’s suicide. It is filled with abuse, self confusion, homophobic “friends,” first loves, and heartbreaks. So when I say you need a box a tissues, I’m not kidding!

A pillow to scream into

This somewhat goes along with the first one. As a reader of many LGBT centered books, I am not a fan of characters who are dating the opposite sex and then half way through the story figure out they are gay after falling for their bestfriend or the new kid in school etc.

So I was constantly screaming into my pillow out of frustration thinking that was where this story was heading and how typical it was. But that twist half way through the book (if you read it, you know what I am talking about… you know the flashbacks), had me caught off guard but in a good way.

I loved the struggles that lead up to Aaron’s breaking point as a character to measure of wanting to “straighten himself out” with a Leteo memory procedure. Brilliant.

Snacks to stuff your face with

Believe me when I tell you this, you are in for an addictive read. And what I mean, is that this story is so fast paced you will need to replenish your tummy without putting the book down. From the beginning you connect with Aaron you feel the need to always know what happens next.
Whether we see him in his happy moments, or his horrifying ones, you’ll be in it for the long haul.
My choice of snack was peanut butter cookies and milk when I realized I wouldn’t be putting this book down for anything.

More-Happy-Conclusion

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera is an excellent book with very important messages to the readers. Whether you’re looking for a romance, or a LGBT tear jerker, you should all pick up a copy and read it! A great story + an amazing main character = a fantastic book!
Let me know what your thoughts are and if you had to use any of the items suggested above!
Until next time,
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Adam SilveraAdam Silvera was born and raised in the Bronx. He has worked in the publishing industry as a children’s bookseller, marketing assistant at a literary development company, and book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. His debut novel, More Happy Than Not, received multiple starred reviews and is a New York Times bestseller, and Adam was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. He writes full-time in New York City and is tall for no reason.

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson | REVIEW

The Five Stages of Andrew BrawleyThe Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on January 20th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Death, Fiction
Pages: 297
Format: Hardcover

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Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.

Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.


The-5-Stages-of-Andrew-Brawley-ReviewThe Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson is a touching story about a boy who has lost his family, lives in the hospital, and tries to find a purpose in life. He serves food in the cafeteria, hangs out with the nurses in the ER, and visits the sick kids/teens in the pediatrics. All while he draws an epic graphic novel/comic about an anti-superhero depicting himself.


The-5-Stages-of-Andrew-Brawley-Plot-+-WritingI thought that The Five Stages of Andrew Brawely was extremely well written. I loved Hutchinson’s style of writing, as well as his story telling capabilities. The story was tragic, heart breaking, funny, loving, and inspiring. It’s a story like this one that needs to be told.

It references topics like bullying, acceptance, LGBT lives, love, death, and so much more. Andrew as a main character was truly inspiring to me. We see him go through so much as the story progresses that you can’t help but care deeply about him, the loss that he’s suffered, and the blurry future that’s ahead of him. The same goes for Rusty, Lexi, and Trevor.

The most important subject this book talks about is death. Death is all around us. It’s inevitable, and there is nothing we can do about it. We have to accept the fact that things happen for a reason, and we can’t always be the hero that saves the day.

“Life is about more than hate. It takes more than anger to make a hero.”

“There’s a hole in me. A gaping wound. Every part of me misses every part of them. And it never stops hurting. I can’t bear the thought of missing you, too.”


The-5-Stages-of-Andrew-Brawley-CharactersAndrew Brawley is such a tortured soul. After losing his parents in a dangerous accident, he takes up residence at the hospital as a way to pay his penance. He is very selfless and everything he does it’s for the sake of someone else. I truly admired him and found him to be quite relatable. His love story with Rusty wasn’t pushed or forced. It wasn’t quite insta-love either. It was perfect. It’s not everyday that you can fall in love with someone that has physical deformities such as burns, but that is the kind of character Andrew is. He wanted to do everything in his power to save Rusty, even if it meant putting his life at risk.


The-5-Stages-of-Andrew-Brawley-SettingThe majority of the story takes place in the hospital. We get to see how Andrew is able to live there undetected and how easily it is for him to navigate around without catching the eye of death her self. The setting of the book also sets the tone of the story as well. Although hospitals are scary and quite sad, Andrew is still able to find slivers of hope there which brings about the overall mood and atmosphere.

Finally I want to talk about the graphic novel portion of the story. After certain chapters we get to see the story that Andrew created. It helps paint the picture of how he is truly feeling when he’s too afraid to admit it out loud. He feels everything that happened was his fault and it really showed through the character that he created in his world. It was a great addition to the over all story and it wouldn’t be what it is without it. It adds a little bit more to the setting and lets you see inside Andrew’s mind.


The-5-Stages-of-Andrew-Brawley-In-ConclusionThe Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson was a truly touching coming of age story. With a lot of angst, sadness, cuteness, hope, and love, this book has everything to offer.

If you’ve read this book let me know down below. What are some ways you used to cope with the loss of a family member? Do you have that one person that you can confide in about anything? I’m curious to know!

Until next time,

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The-5-Stages-of-Andrew-Brawley-About-the-Authorauthor1Shaun David Hutchinson is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letter, fml, and the forthcoming The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He can be reached at shaun@shaundavidhutchinson.com. He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who.

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Review

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 7th 2015
Genres:
Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, LBGT
Pages: 303
Format:
Hardcover

5Hearts


Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.”

REVIEW

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the debut novel by Becky Albertalli. It follows the main protagonist Simon and his email correspondence with a mystery boy from his school. We see Simon’s world unravel as he navigates his friends, family, school life, and cyber life in this too cute for words coming of age story!

I can’t express my love for this book enough then I already have through twitter and such, but holy jeez where do I begin? Let’s talk about how real of a character Simon is and how much I related to him. It brought back so many fond and not so fond memories from my high school days! He’s honest, blunt, clever, funny, and all around normal teenager. We get to see him succeed, and we get to see him fail, but that is what made this book all the more real!

If you think you’ve found your perfect book couple to ship, think again! You will not believe how adorable and cute Simon and Blue are until you read this book. Even though they have never met face to face and are dying to do so; fear is what’s keeping them from that. They manage to forge real feelings and emotions just through emailing each other. We get to see their ups and downs as a real virtual couple until they meet in person finally. And to keep the mystery alive, I won’t spoil it Blue for you. Albertalli had me guessing all the way till the end.

“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.” 

This book has a lot of diversity to it as well. Firstly the main character is gay, he has a wide variety of friends of different cultures and races. Albertalli also teaches us that books don’t always have to be so blonde hair blued centered all the time! It’s nice every once and while, but every single book it gets quite annoying!

“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”

I have nothing but praise for Becky Albertalli’s writing. She created real and relatable characters. The dialogues between them were great, and the overall story telling was awesome! 

If you are looking for a book that talks about deep issues and acceptance, then you need to go out and pick up a copy of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. You won’t be disappointed!

See ya next time,

Jesse Nicholas 

About the AuthorBecky AlbertalliBecky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. She now lives with her family in Atlanta.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is her first novel.