Genre: Contemporary

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Posted May 15, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments

Bad Romance by Heather DemetriosBad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on June 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Emotional.
Cringe-Inducing.
Intense.
Realistic.

I’ve lived this book. Perhaps not to some of the extremes Gavin went to, but I’ve been the other half of a verbally abusive and emotionally manipulative relationship. After one daughter and four years of my life, all I can do is reflect and learn from that experience. This book was so uncomfortable at times. At one part I even had to stop and vent to my friends in a chat about it. I dreamt about it. It consumed me for the two days I was reading it. It is most definitely a love story in reverse.

Some people doubt the reality of abusive high-school relationships, but they exist. Some people define abuse by physical touch. This book demolishes those two misconceptions. Gavin Davis is the epitome of a heart throb in Grace’s, and many other females’, eyes. He plays the guitar, has perfect hair, and seems tragically romantic whenever he attempts suicide after a breakup. When Grace falls, she falls hard. She’d been secretly crushing on him for years and reached out whenever he was in residential therapy. Once he was back, they quickly became a major part of each other’s life. He told her she was the only one who understood him. He was her knight in shining armour when it came to her overly-strict parents and rough home life. The red flags are everywhere, it just took her, like many, seemingly a lifetime to see them. By then she’s in too deep.

Beyond the story and message itself, I adored Demetrios’ writing style. I’m already adding her other books to my TBR because it just spoke to me. I loved the pop culture references, like Beyonce lyrics. I loved her character development. Grace was so well-rounded and alive. Her best friends, Lys and Nat, were people you could imagine knowing. It really added to the story.

I loved this book. It hurt at times, but I loved it. I’m thankful for it. I think it’s incredibly important and therefore I give it all the stars.

*Note-I think this could be intensely painful for past abuse victims and those who have dealt with suicide or suicidal thoughts.

After reading the book and writing this review, I stumbled upon this slam poem. It’s breath-taking and perfectly meshes with this story. Here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MXRAZ4pjZo

five-stars

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali

Posted May 5, 2017 by Emily in Review / 1 Comment

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky AlbertaliThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
on April 11, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.
There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
Right?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Upside of The Upside of Unrequited was one of the best books I’ve read this year. It was maybe one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. However, it wasn’t an easy read or a comfortable read. I saw myself in Molly so much. I was Molly growing up. Maybe a lot of me still is. It was painful and difficult to see so much of my high school experience laid out on the page. Especially when it wasn’t particularly happy.

Molly is fat. She is mistreated by her peers because of it. Molly and I were the same down to our humiliations. In the story, there was a particular incident in the lunchroom that causes Molly anxiety and her sister rage. I won’t spoil what Molly’s was but I will tell you mine. They are very similar and it breaks my heart that it still happens today. One particular way my peers bullied me was to call out numbers when I walked. If I ran or jumped the numbers got higher. After a day or two someone enlightened me to the fact that they were predicting the score of the earthquake I was causing on the Richter scale.

People online have reviewed Molly as desperate or this book as a Fat girl loses weight and finds love book, but that isn’t it at all. Everywhere we turn, girls are told that they should love themselves for who they are but also that they aren’t loveable if they aren’t thin. Fat people don’t deserve love and affection and they shouldn’t hope to find any until they lose the weight.

Everything Molly felt was just like my heart was on the page. This was true in her feelings about her weight and her feelings about romance. When I was that age, I ached for romance in my life but at the same time I didn’t feel like I deserved it. MOLLY DOESN’T LOSE ANY WEIGHT. She doesn’t even try. It’s not even about her weight because she loves herself the way she is. She wants other people to get with the program and I loved her for it.

This book was complex and perfect. I loved how Molly struggled with herself too. She both wants a special romance all her own and also is afraid it will never happen for her. She’s scared to hope and frightened that she doesn’t deserve it.

This book is for every girl out there who has miserably watched her friends shop for hours in a store where nothing fit.

five-stars

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The One Memory of Flora banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr Published by Philomel Books on May 2nd, 2017 Genres: Fiction, mystery, Contemporary Pages: 304 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home. […]

Posted May 2, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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Joint Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

Joint Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon Published by Simon Pulse on May 30th 2017 Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, romance Pages: 320 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? Dimple and […]

Posted April 10, 2017 by Emily in Review / 1 Comment
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Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashers

Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashers

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares Published by Delacorte Press on April 25th 2017 Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Pages: 304 Format: ebook Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met. Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past. The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love. I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of […]

Posted March 27, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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Waiting on Wednesday: Ramona Blue

Waiting on Wednesday: Ramona Blue

I completely adored Dumplin’, also by Julie Murphy. That was the first book where I’ve seen a fat character, happy and proud of herself and her body. Representation is so important. Everyone should have the opportunity to see themselves in a book. With Dumplin’, Julie Murphy earned herself a fan for life. I will read anything she writes. Ramona Blue looks excellent in it’s own right, as well. I lived in Louisiana when Katrina and Rita hit and there are still people displaced today, 10 years later. Julie Murphy writes touching, realistic and important stories. I’m sure this one is no different!

Posted March 22, 2017 by Emily in Uncategorized / 1 Comment
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Review: American Street

Review: American Street

American Street by Ibi Zoboi Published by Balzer + Bray on February 14th 2017 Genres: Contemporary, romance, Young Adult Pages: 336 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream? I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My favorite part of this book was the voice of the narrator, Fabiola. She’s a teenage immigrant from Haiti whose mother gets detained when they attempt to come into the country. Her mother sends her ahead to Detroit where her aunt and cousins are waiting for them. The story is of her journey to get her mother released and her first few months as […]

Posted March 21, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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Arc Review: Literally by Lucy Keating

Arc Review: Literally by Lucy Keating

Literally by Lucy Keating Published by HarperTeen on April 11th 2017 Genres: Contemporary, romance, Young Adult Pages: 256 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins. Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine. It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.” I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This was such a sweet book with a really original premise behind it. Annabelle is a seemingly normal teenager living her life trying to make it through her creative writing class. When […]

Posted March 16, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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ARC Review: Dreamland Burning

ARC Review: Dreamland Burning

Dreamland Burning is beautifully written with a contrast between present day and 1921 and the racial issues that plague the United States. It’s not always a “pleasant” read, but it the impact was enormous. As a white person, it’s painful to read how African Americans were treated in the not-so-long-ago past. To be black and to read this must be an entirely different level of anger and disgust. I liked the characters and how they were from all walks of life, past and present. I think those were really intelligent choices made by the author. For example, the present day teenage main character, Rowan, was a biracial girl living a considerably privileged life. Her family was wealthy, her father was white and from a powerful family, and she went to a private school with mostly white students who she fit in with well because of her finances. This made her somewhat out of touch when it came to situations that afflicted other black Americans who didn’t have the same lifestyle. To balance her out, she had an asexual black best friend who sometimes put her in her place, so to speak. Her job in a clinic was also eye opening for her. On the other hand, the teenage boy from 1921, Will Tillman, presented an entirely different perspective. His journey was obviously the more horrendous because it depicts the […]

Posted February 23, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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Waiting on Wednesday: When Dimple Met Rishi

Waiting on Wednesday: When Dimple Met Rishi

The thing that really draws me to this book is the cover. I love the girl’s face on the cover. That grin!!! It’s just so joyous. I’ve never seen a cover that exudes so much happiness. Past the cover, the book sounds perfect. Enemies to loves is always my favorite trope. I love the idea that these two kids have been promised to each other in an arranged marriage. However, they don’t know it and they don’t even like each other! Can’t wait to read this one!

Posted February 8, 2017 by Emily in WoW / 1 Comment
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