Mini Review: #8 Not Now, Not Ever

33602144It’s been a million years or at least a frozen period of time since a review.

College has really turned up (not turnt¬†up; there’s a subtle difference :p) the difficulty level in some classes.

Anyway, this review is based on the ARC (Advance Reader Copy), which I won in a Goodreads giveaway. This book comes out November 21st!

Also, I have never seen/read Much Ado about Nothing so even though this is a retelling of it, I was new to it all… ūüėõ

STORY:

“I took in a breath so deep that it burned the back of my throat, killing a sob before it could start. I could taste the eucalyptus¬†baked into my sweater” (pg 90).

Perhaps, not the best quote to start a review with, but it embodies the wonderfully quirky vibe of this book well. Also, I really love the trivia/language/sci-fi bits that are constantly present.

The premise of  Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (320 pages) is about a teen going to a genius camp with elimination games as a way to win a scholarship to her dream college. This college is important for Elliot Garboche to take control of her destiny instead of being pigeonholed into to enlisting in the army like her mother or becoming a layer like her father and step-mother desire her to be. Of course, Ever can let her overbearing family members know her true intentions to break away from the mold, so she lies and goes to the camp under the guise of Ever Lawrence. Getting into the camp was easy but staying is harder than ever for Ever!

The romance is in the background and any progress between Ever and Brandon is slow. Depending on who you are, that might be a great quality this story exhibits. For me, I don’t mind the slow start and the focus on the camp itself, but the romance isn’t aww-worthy (i.e. no fangirling moments).

Well… The first kiss scene was incredibly cheesy, but the line, “He smiled. ‘I really like you, Elliot” warmed my little young adult heart.

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CHARACTER:

This book has some nice diversity considering the genius camp has contestants from every race and background. For example, the main character Ever has significant Creole ancestry.

Eh, my first impression of Elliot (better known as Ever) was a bit prickly. I thought she was a little combative against a counselor named Cornell in their first meeting. Throughout¬†the story, lowkey Ever needed to mind her own business. What’s it to you that someone didn’t solve a Rubik’s cube? Anyway, she was mad intrusive and a bit judgemental, though the latter is a very common realistic trait she wasn’t a character that I actually liked. I think the reason that particular personality trait turned me off is because¬†I try my hardest not to assume things about people (despite it being a knee-jerk human behavior).

However, I like that Ever was very confident about herself especially being a tall girl who did martial arts and loved sci-fi books, especially Octavia Butler.

The rest of the cast never really stood out to me. I’m sure others will connect with the quirky, competitive¬†array of characters, but I was not personally invested in them.

OVERALL:

“Do you ever miss things before they’re over?” (pg 174)

It’s certainly worth a read. Not Now, Not Ever is also a fun way to learn a bunch of cool trivia with a tiny bit of mystery and romance.

The ending also had a good dash of realism because sometimes YA-fiction, in general, can end either downright angsty or too fairytale happily-ever-after-ish.

 

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Book Review: #27 Reindeer Boy

Okay, this was silly but super cute. I believe it’s an OEL¬†(Original English Language [manga]), and it read like a shoujo.

30621322STORY:

Reindeer Boy by Cassandra Jean (192 pages) is about Quincy, a normal girl who has nubs growing out of her head. The arrival of a mysterious boy, Cupid, who has full-blown antlers growing out of his head takes not only Quincy’s school by surprise, but Quincy herself begins to take an interest in him. Of course, Cupid’s had his eyes set on her for a while now, much longer than Quincy ever anticipated. She meets his array of fellow antlered-companions and learns something new.

I really liked the Christmas-y spin on this story because I’ve never read anything reindeer-centered before. But I don’t get the point of the story. Was it about Quincy’s heritage (which was never really explained) or the romance?

ooo

CHARACTERS:

I have to say the characters are really flat even though Cupid’s pretty lovable in that celebrity I like but don’t know personally type of way. Okay, what was the deal with Conway, the childhood best friend (if you read shoujo, you know the childhood best friend almost never wins XD)? Why was Irena so flaky? Where was Quincy’s mom? Deceased? Divorced? Adopted?

Quincy is a cutie (especially, as a kid; yay, for her being a woc). I guess she was just a girl, curious and a lover of a photography. I couldn’t pinpoint her actual personality because I didn’t honestly see one. I supposed she was reserved.

Cupid, I liked the most. He was smug without being a flirty playboy. It’s really hard for some writers to have cocky characters that aren’t grating, and I’m glad Cupid’s one of the few likable ones.

I liked the Reindeer friends/family, but they weren’t too memorable though. Blitzen stood out to me since he so looked cool (reminded me of an action star).

Santa‚ÄĒKris Kringle here‚ÄĒ was very interesting, to say the least. He had like a one-page cameo.

ART:

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I adore the art! Everyone dresses like hipsters and the artwork’s done in the style of a generic¬†shoujo manga or manwha. I think Cupid looks adorable and his hair is so fluffy.

Overall:

Yeah.

I would most definitely¬†read a sequel. I enjoyed reading this a lot, and it’s sure to make someone smile. Give it a chance!

Mini Review #7: Eliza and Her Monsters

31931941“I do have friends. Maybe they live hundreds of miles away from me, and maybe I can only talk to them through a screen, but they’re still my friends. They don’t just hold Monstrous Sea together. They hold me together” (page 36).

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesa Zappia (385 pages) is a nice change of pace from the usual plots YA fictions sometimes have.

I really liked it, and it was especially nice getting a narrative from a creator/artist. I was mad disappointed in Wallace toward the end. I hadn’t expected him to act that way since he seemed so understanding but boy was he a‚ÄĒAnyway, Eliza never tried to explain herself to her parents. She just always blew up. I can acknowledge there are times you tell your parents stuff, and it doesn’t stick as if your explanations dislodge from their brains and slide right out their ears. But Eliza’s mom and dad were honestly making an effort, a futile one, but an effort none the less. The last of Eliza’s family, her two younger brothers, I really loved. Sully and Church were so adorable. We weren’t shown too much of Church, but Sully was very vocal about his support of his sissy.

The romance squeezed in here wasn’t truly needed. And I know that sounds weird coming from me, but even if friendship was only prevalent I think this would have been just the same.

OVERALL:

It’s worth a read. But if tumblr, fandoms, Wattpad, and fan fiction turns you off there will be nothing for you to like here. Also, there’s a half-baked suicide attempt in this book because the way it was handled was a bit cheesy.

So yeah. ¬†Not too much talk about fandom because it’s just here and there. But I think the average teenager would like this book. Three stars from me.

Monday: What I‚Äôm Reading Now 6/26/17

Hey guys, I thought I would give a little update because I’m always reading even if I don’t review.

What I’m Reading Now:

31177599The Adventures of John Blake by Phillip Pullman (illustrated by Fred Fordham).

I have read 23 pages so far. I somewhat have an idea of what’s going on.

 

What I Read Last Week:

33956433City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Pretty good! A little slow and dragged at times but good. I was so mad at first when I thought Tina was in love with her half-brother. I was like all these cute Kenyan boys and she got to like her brother!? With that being said (no, he wasn’t her half bro after all), I didn’t care for the romance at all and didn’t see why Michael was so pretty. Throw stones if you wanna, but the book could’ve done without Michael and not missed a beat.

I absolutely loved Bug Eye and detested Ketchup pretty much like everyone else did.

There were some heavy themes of rape, survivorship, and family bonds. I liked Tina, but I didn’t exactly care or not care for her. I know some people didn’t like it, but I was genuinely¬†surprised at who the big boss was.

Overall, it was good (but too long) and I wouldn’t read it again.

28686840Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

People on Goodreads were so maddddT (yes, I meant the T) that a fat girl wanted a relationship and with a good-looking guy at that. What? Can’t round girls desire to be loved and be with attractive people? And yes, it’s dumb and unrealistic for her to think she would marry and have a kid with her (first?) boyfriend, but she was also a teenage girl. Let her have her dreams.

With all that being said, I didn’t enjoy this book. It was hard to read through Jack being so jerky (when he could’ve just told his family!). I liked Libby’s narrative better but she was whiny too.

I also really liked the sprinkle of diversity since Jack and his brothers were multi-ethnic and the few diverse school friends. I was surprised when Carolina the super-model pretty, popular mean girl was dark-skinned because generally that character trope is written as a blonde or brunette white girl. Anywho, Carolina was too flat of a character too.

I had never known about prosopagnosia, so this book definitely brought awareness to me.

Overall, I don’t recommend the book because it ended too cliche and high school love is oh-so-special and long-lasting. And I just couldn’t STAND Jack’s cheating¬†dad. He just burned me up.

30419642Kid Savage by Joe Kelly and Ilya

Hated it. I didn’t like the art, story, or characters. Would not read again.

 

 

 

34057436Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special by Rugg and Maruca

It was okay, pretty cute. I found Jesse’s school friends to be adorable.

 

 

 

 

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Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

 

Everything, Everything was okay. (Movie thoughts)

This is somewhat a movie review! I don’t plan on doing more movie reviews in the future, but I did see Everything, Everything and wanted to say my thoughts.

Everything, Everything was okay.

So, I saw the movie yesterday with a theater full of teenage girls, parents, and grandparents.

The movie didn’t have nearly as much detail as the books, but the visuals were beautiful. The location and room-building were excellent. I wanted Maddy’s room (or better yet her house). And if it was the movie’s purpose to make Hawaii seem like the best tourist attraction ever, it succeeded.

Consumerism was very low. But I wished it had been higher. All of Maddy’s outfits were so cute!  Where are they from? Forever 21? I would love to buy some of the dresses she had especially the yellow one with the zipper.

It had a nice soundtrack too. I definitely perked up at hearing Ari Lennox’s distinct voice in the movie.

There were some major pacing issues. Introducing Rose (who is only mentioned in the book) was cool, but not at the expense of cutting out major moments, which are in the spoiler section.

The kisses were good. The love scene was tasteful.

I loved the inner-thought bubbles when Olly and Maddy had like their third meeting. The direction the director took to show their text messages was creative too.

I liked the ending a lot more here! The book’s ending felt too open-ended.

Overall: Not totally exciting unless you have read the book, and then you might feel disappointed because some of the best parts were condensed or passed over. Still, I am glad I got to see it. I haven’t been to the movies in a while.

[SPOILERS INSIDE]

Continue reading “Everything, Everything was okay. (Movie thoughts)”

Book Review #18: Everything, Everything

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Just in time for Mother’s Day! This book has a huge focus on the mother-daughter relationship!

Everything, Everything was everythang! Nicola Yoon has quickly¬†become one of my favorite authors. I reviewed The Sun is Also a Star before this, and Yoon’s¬†first book is just as good (TSIAAS is just a bit more polished).

STORY:

“…The world barely knows I exist. I mean, I exist online. I have online friends and my Tumblr book reviews, but that’s not the same as being a real person who can be visited by strange boys bearing Bundt cakes” (pg 29).

In Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (310 pages), Madeline Whittier (I’m going to be calling her Maddy throughout the review) is sick, in a way, she’s allergic to the entire outside world. Her mom and the best nurse ever, Carla, keep her monitored closely and on a tight schedule. Nothing in Maddy’s life is unplanned or out of the ordinary until (wait for it…) a boy, parkour-black-clothes-only-wearing boy with one dimple in his right cheek, moves in next door.

Yoon is awesome at “showing” and not telling. I love reading her descriptions of characters and things, basically just nouns. She describes nouns well.

“Maddy: What color are your eyes?

Olly: Blue

Maddy: Be more specific, please.

Olly: jesus. girls. ocean blue

Maddy: Atlantic or Pacific?

Olly: Atlantic. What color are yours?

Maddy: Chocolate brown

Olly: More specific, please

Maddy: 75% cacao butter dark chocolate brown

Olly: hehe. nice” (pg 51).

I also like how the real-world references didn’t feel cringy. This book taught me a word that I never knew existed, uxorious. Aww! My favorite English word is pugnacious (or adore), but it might change!

“Maddy: Friends don’t kiss, Olly.

Olly: really good ones can” (pg 123).

I want to say Olly and Maddy were attracted to each other too quickly (instalove!), but if you were basically trapped in an impenetrable bubble your feelings might be intensified. Also, hormones.

There are some mentions of domestic abuse (not with Olly and Maddy btw), and a heavy-handed hint at mental trauma. Oh yeah, there’s a sex scene too, a little edgy but not explicit. Blink and you miss it. I don’t know how I feel about it.

No one had to tell me, but I just knew from the minute I picked up this book that there would be adorable “aww-worthy” moments and some punches in the gut. This book has a mean right hook.

CHARACTERS:

Maddy was sheltered and compliant, but her head was also in the clouds (or rather outer space) and Olly sent her thoughts and health awry.

Olly was agile, witty, and fun. He harbored a lot more pain than he let on, and Maddy intrigued him in every way. He also loved black clothing but wasn’t goth.

Wow. The mom was so believable. I just… She really loved Maddy, almost to a fault.

I loved Carla! She was the absolute best!

OVERALL:

I enjoyed it! The characters, the humor, and, even though it made my heart physically drop, those gut punches. The climax was very climatic. I can’t wait for the movie!

Mini Review #3: Off the Page

29358306So, I stayed up until 1 am last night (or day? I don’t know,¬†man) because I just had to know what happened in the last book. Did the book redeem itself? Would I actually care about Deliah and Oliver’s love? How would Oliver be in the real world?

“The really crappy thing about being a teenager is that even if you have a legitimate, monumental problem– the sky is falling or the zombie apocalypse¬†has begun or you’ve contracted the plague– you still have to do your geometry homework” (pg 295).

Well, Off the Pages by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer (368 pages), got better and worst.

What did I like? I thought the death in the book was handled pretty good. I know it sounds morbid to like a fictional death, but I hadn’t expected it in such a cookie-cutter book. Thankfully, there were no do-overs either! Some of Oliver’s confusion of the real world was somewhat fun. The author (the real one) tried to add some last-minute depth to the mean girl, Allie but it was like trying to add pecans to an already cooked cookie. You know what I’m saying?

I thought some scenes in this book could have been condensed like Deliah helping Seraphima pick out a bra at Victoria Secrets because all her fat goes to her breast! Yeah, that was an actual line in the book.

The romance was dry. Oliver and Deliah are just too perfectly¬†in love. I don’t feel anything for them.

The ending was going to be unsatisfying either way. I don’t want to say it, but the ending was a bit on the garbage end. It was so unrealistic… And I am someone that loves happy endings!

I still liked Edgar (and Jules) the most as they had the most personality out of everyone.  Chris was a cool one-note character!

OVERALL:

Off the Page¬†gets 2 stars from me. Should you read this book? I don’t think anyone over the age of ten would be amazed by this story. It’s a cliche book (but the premise is not) but some might find it fun and innocent!