Why Parachutes By Kelly Yang Was Wonderful {Book Review}

Kelly Yang’s Parachutes had been on my radar for months ever since it’s release in May. I was excited when my copy arrived at my library and I started reading immediately (after first Clorox wiping it down and then letting it dry. Pandemics are weird).

Goodreads Synopsis of Parachutes {Kelly Yang}:

Speak enters the world of Gossip Girl in this modern immigrant story from New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang about two girls navigating wealth, power, friendship, and trauma.

They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the US while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California. Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.

Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate-team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. When her debate coach starts working with her privately, Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course.

Desperately trying to avoid each other under the same roof, Dani and Claire find themselves on a collision course, intertwining in deeper and more complicated ways, as they grapple with life-altering experiences. Award-winning author Kelly Yang weaves together an unforgettable modern immigrant story about love, trauma, family, corruption, and the power of speaking out.

My Book Review of Parachutes {Kelly Yang}:

I really, really loved this book.

This is the kind of book where if I had an entire day to myself I could have EASILY read this entire book in 1 sitting.

476 pages absolutely flew by! The interesting and extremely complex story lines, the characters, all of it.

Short chapters are my absolute FAVORITE…whyyyyy do authors write long chapters???? This book had 85 (!) chapters, each just a few pages long. I absolutely LOVE this and wish every book could be written like this! The BEST!

After I closed the back cover, I sat in silence to reflect upon this book. So much to think about and so many viewpoints to consider.

What a special book! It explores SO many relative and important topics and issues….the specifics of which I will not be discussing (see THIS POST for details as to why).

Highly recommend!

This book should absolutely be required reading for all high schoolers. So much that teenagers (and adults) would learn from reading this wonderful book.

Bottom Line:

If you are a fan of YA, this book should absolutely be on your to read list.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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2 Book Reviews: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda AND Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertalli}

Thank you all SO MUCH for your amazing and supportive comments on my LAST POST 🙂 It has been such a fun time over these past 11 days and definitely continues to be such an awesome experience! A giant warm welcome to all of my new readers 🙂 I absolutely love sharing my blog with all of you and today, I have 2 book reviews to share! Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda has been on my to read list for YEARS. A few months ago, when Jenna from Jenna Stop Reading posted a giveaway containing Simon’s sequel, Leah on the Offbeat, I knew I had to enter! Once I won, it was exactly the push I needed to finally read Simon. I immediately put it on the wait list at my local library and I’m so glad that I did! (To see the other 3 books that I won in that giveaway, you can read about them HERE).

Book Review #1: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda {Becky Albertalli}:

Goodreads Synopsis of Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda {Becky Albertalli}:

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. 

My Review of Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda {Becky Albertalli}:

Oh I absolutely LOVED this book!

Becky Albertalli has such an awesome way of getting into the minds of a younger generation and writing from their point of view. The dialogue in this book felt like actual teenagers were speaking!

These characters were so wonderful and the rich storylines were so detailed.

And FUNNY. Becky Albertalli is so funny! I found myself smiling through so much of this book. I absolutely love the way that she writes! She must be such fun in real life 🙂

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is such a beautiful, emotional, and powerful read which discusses such important topics.

This book was made into the movie Love, Simon which I haven’t seen. I did see the trailer, however and I have so many thoughts. In the 2 1/2 minutes…I already can spot 100 differences from the book. I actually have zero desire to see this movie because I can already tell that the differences will annoy me! Side note: seeing Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel play the roles of the PARENTS of the high schoolers just makes me feel old.

The movie trailer:

Have any of you seen the movie? I’d love to hear how it compares to the book. I WILL say that I like the movie title a WHOLE lot more than the book title…

There is also a tv spinoff currently available on Hulu called Love, Victor…have any of you watched? I have not.

Basically this book was everything I was so hoping that this other book that I read a few months ago was going to be.

Bottom Line:

Absolutely loved it.

Book Review #2: Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertalli}:

I started to read Simon’s sequel Leah on the Offbeat immediately after I finished reading Simon. There are actually 3 books in this series but Leah is the sequel to Simon even though there is a book in between? Becky Albertalli’s website addresses this:

My first three books are part of the same universe, so if you want to experience the full story chronologically, you should read SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, then THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED, then LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT. That said, The Upside of Unrequited takes place in a different setting, and can easily exist as a standalone story (meaning: it will make total sense if you read it on its own, and also, you do not need to read it to understand Leah On the Offbeat). You can read Leah On the Offbeat on its own, but I think you’ll get more out of it if you read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda first (or at least see Love, Simon)(but seriously, IMO, Leah is much more exciting if you read Simon Vs first).

Goodreads Synopsis of Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertalli}:

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

My Review of Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertelli}:

So one of the very best things about Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the very reason that I had to STOP reading Leah on the Offbeat. Becky Albertalli has such a gift of getting into the heads of these teenage characters and truly writing as if she were a teenager. The way they think, the way they talk, the actions they take. It’s amazing!

HOWEVER…

Finishing Simon and starting Leah literally within the span of less than 1 hour was TOO MUCH time spent in the heads of teenagers and I just needed to get out, lol. I read about 120 pages and finally…this grown mother of 2 just needed a break from very literally being inside the minds of teenagers.

Becky Albertalli is AWESOME and truly has a gift for writing from the INSIDES of teenagers minds. It’s very hard to find a YA author that masters this the way that she does! Reading these books back to back was just a bit…too much teenager thought for me.

Would any of my local readers like my copy of Leah on the Offbeat? I can leave it on my front porch for you! If not, I will put it in my local Little Free Library.

Bottom Line:

This is truly a case of (most likely) good book, wrong time.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the images below to order the books through my Amazon affiliate links. When you order through these links, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

The 12 best books I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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1 Positive Review, 1 Negative Review, 2 Book Bloggers Candidly Discuss Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}

One of the interesting aspects of being a book blogger is when you have feelings on a book you’ve read, you read another blogger’s thoughts on the same book…and you discover that they had a completely different takeaway than you did. I actually love when this happens because I find it so interesting to see others’ viewpoints which are so different than my own. Clearly this was the case when Melissa Amster and I both read Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After. One of us has a very positive review while the other one of us…unfortunately has a negative review.

Like everything else in life, people will always form opinions on books they’ve read. What may positively resonate with one reader may have the opposite effect on another reader. I love discussing books, and I REALLY love discussing opposing views on books. How boring would life be if everyone shared the same opinions all the time? Our opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints are makes make us unique.

I’m so happy to welcome back Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central to do a guest book review with me today! This is the 3rd book that Melissa and I have collaborated on reviewing but the first where our reviews are on opposite sides of the review spectrum.

Goodreads Synopsis of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Jenny Share’s Review of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

I really, really, REALLY wanted to love this book. Sadly…I did not.

It starts off SLOOOOOWLY, like, 200 pages slowly. Around page 200 was when I felt it start to pick up and then I enjoyed the last 150ish pages significantly more than the previous 200.

The biggest issue that I had with this book was its dialogue. I felt that most of what was said between characters was so unrealistic and WORDY. Not every dialogue needs to include a lengthy monologue! I hate when authors do this, it’s so completely unrealistic and takes away from the actual story.

This whole book felt like I was reading one long therapy session. I’m all for being interspective but these characters literally spent what felt like each second analyzing and reflecting on EVERYTHING. Yes, the main theme of this book is looking within and living your authentic self but it was all just too interspective for me.

Did you ever watch Dawson’s Creek? I kept thinking of comparisons to that show while reading. Great characters, great storylines, but HORRIBLE delivery! Every conversation on Dawson’s Creek included long monologues, insane dialogues, ridiculous words that real life teenagers would never use, SO much interspection, and certain situations that would be unrealistic for teenagers to be in. Exactly how this book is! The only difference being that despite all of that, I loved Dawson’s Creek and I did not love Felix Ever After.

Let me clarify that statement. While I did NOT love this book, I DID love the idea behind the story of Felix Ever After. Knowing and accepting your authentic self is a beautiful and complicated thing. I DO have a few positive things that I will say about this book.

First and foremost, I will always support ANY book which brings awareness to topics that may otherwise not receive the attention they deserve. This book is a perfect example. It’s such an important book with such beautiful messages of acceptance of complicated topics. Also, I love that it has the ability to reach such a broad audience in terms of age range. Finally, many (not all) of the storylines were wonderful and can absolutely educate people on so many different levels. I can definitely see how somebody going through the same emotions as Felix would feel such a powerful connection and understanding to this book.

However even with these few positive aspects, I just can’t recommend the actual writing or it’s delivery in this book. Nope.

Melissa Amster’s Review of Felix Ever After {Kacen Callender}:

I had bought Felix Ever After on Amazon a while back because it looked interesting to me. Then I shelved it on my Kindle for a while. When Jenny said she was reading it, I decided to give it a try, since it was something we could easily review together at her blog. 

I liked this story a lot. It was edgier than most LGBTQ novels I’ve read. There was more grit and intensity to it. It hurt me to read the transphobic messages that Felix was receiving. I know some people who are transgender and it sucks that someone would say such horrible things about anyone like that. I appreciated Felix questioning their identity throughout the story; that gender is a construct in this day and age and not everything is black and white. The story made me think of a friend who just came out as male-to-female transgender and how I had no idea they felt that way about their gender identity when they were younger.  I’m glad books like these are available for teenagers (and adults), as you never know who might pick it up one day and be able to relate. 

Kacen Callender’s use of description and details to bring the story to life made me feel like I was watching everything happen right in front of me. The emotional levels were really strong too.

 I have been watching Degrassi the Next Generation and was impressed by how they handled the topic of transgender on that show. So I was pleasantly surprised to see it referenced in the author’s note at the end of the book. I even got emotional from reading that part. Some character names made me think of the show (Declan–Keane and Coyne sound similar–and Marisol, basically), so it was on my mind while reading it. 

I look forward to reading more of Kacen’s novels and recommend this to anyone looking for a thoughtful story.

Book Coffee Happy Bottom Line :

Sooooo clearly some people love this book while others clearly do not (worst bottom line on a book review blog that’s ever been written, lol).

So…there you have it. 1 book, 2 bloggers, 2 completely different book reviews.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Melissa! I loved working with you, can’t wait to work with you again soon.

Have you read Felix Ever After? Do you agree with Melissa or myself? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

You can read the other collaborations that Melissa and I have worked on together HERE and HERE.

*If you are a blogger interested in a possible future collaboration with Book Coffee Happy, I’d love to talk! Send me an email to bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com*

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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Book Review: You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}

I started reading Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me In A Crown while on our most recent trip to Michigan (you can read about our previous trips HERE and HERE). Having heard GREAT things about this book, I was excited to read and review it!

One of the best mornings of our trip was when we had a lazy morning. My husband drove to pick up our favorite breakfast and I slowly sipped coffee, read my book, and cuddled my kids in bed while we waited for him to return. Absolute vacation relaxation perfection.

Village Baker breakfast was ON POINT.

Take me baaaaaaaaack.

Goodreads Synopsis of You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}:

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

My Review of You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}:

Reading in front of the electric fireplace in our cottage. Heaven.

So…I loved this book. I did. There’s not much NOT to love. Liz is such a lovable, wonderful character with a heartbreaking family history. Her journey to live life as her true self is filled with determination, drive, and so much more. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I loved it. I truly did. BUT…

What I DIDN’T love were all of the overly cliched high school personas. The jock? Check. The mean girl? Check. Plus so many more. While I DO agree that every high school has these types of people, their cliched personas aren’t quite as drawn as this book tells. It was even mentioned IN THE BOOK that when drawing these lines, that the lines aren’t so straight….and yet….so many cliches throughout this entire book completely disputed that statement.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the MULTIPLE hugely dramatic VERY public scenes where Liz found herself smack in the center. One scene like this? Awesome. Two? Ok fine. But SO MANY? Unrealistic.

I love YA books but I don’t love when authors make high schools sound like absolute battlegrounds. And yes, I understand to many that is exactly how high school feels…but…it would be so nice to read a YA book where high school is portrayed in a positive light. I’m VERY fortunate that I absolutely loved my high school experience! I can’t help but feel sad when authors make high schools sound like war zones with everyone out to get everyone else all the time.

And I’ll just say it. I didn’t like the ending.

BUT…

The actual story told was AWESOME. I loved it! It was deep and beautiful and tragic and heartwarming and happy and sad and wonderful.

So….that’s quite the mixed review, huh???

Bottom Line

Would I recommend this book? ALL DAY LONG. It’s a wonderful story filled with love, acceptance, and being true to your authentic self. However, as much as I loved the story…this clearly wasn’t a totally perfect read for me.

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

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What I’m Curretly Reading, What I Recently Read, What I Think I’ll Read Next (WWW #16) {Book Coffee Happy}

I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate in WWW! The Three Ws: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words for hosting this fun weekly post!

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What Are You Currently Reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads of Woman on the Edge {Samantha M. Bailey}:

A total stranger on the subway platform whispers, “Take my baby.”

She places her child in your arms. She says your name.

Then she jumps…

In a split second, Morgan Kincaid’s life changes forever. She’s on her way home from work when a mother begs her to take her baby, then places the infant in her arms. Before Morgan can stop her, the distraught mother jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Morgan has never seen this woman before, and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life. She also can’t understand how this woman knew her name.

The police take Morgan in for questioning. She soon learns that the woman who jumped was Nicole Markham, prominent CEO of the athletic brand Breathe. She also learns that no witness can corroborate her version of events, which means she’s just become a murder suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically retraces the last days of Nicole’s life. Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia or was she in danger? When strange things start happening to Morgan, she suddenly realizes she might be in danger, too.

Woman on the Edge is a pulse-pounding, propulsive thriller about the lengths to which a woman will go to protect her baby—even if that means sacrificing her own life.

I started reading this book 2 days ago night and I’m already over 100 pages in! I’m LOVING it so far, I can’t put it down. I’ll post a full review once I finish reading! Stay tuned…

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads of The Wife Stalker {Liv Constantine}:

Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them? 

I finished reading this book 2 days ago and am working on my review. I’ll have it posted soon!

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

Synopsis from Goodreads of You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}:

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

I’ve been excited to read this one and was so happy when my copy arrived at my library! I’ve heard it’s wonderful. I’m REALLY hoping it is as good as I was wanting THIS BOOK to be (I was so disappointed in that book than I returned it’s squeal to the library without even opening the cover). Fingers crossed this book will be better!

Have you read any of these 3 books? What did you think (no spoilers)? What are you currently reading? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Be sure to check back as I’ve got some AWESOME blog posts coming up! Spoiler: I’m hosting a giveaway on Monday for a WONDERFUL book…can’t wait to share it with all of you 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

Click on the images below to order through my Amazon link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

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Book Review: If I Was Your Girl {Meredith Russo}

My cousin texted me asking if I had yet read If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo because she LOVED it (side note…follow my cousin on Instagram HERE! She’s beautiful and wonderful and awesome). After reading the book synopsis, I immediately went to put it on hold at my library and was pleasantly surprised that they had a copy in stock! Perfect.

Goodreads Synopsis of If I Was Your Girl {Meredith Russo}:

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

My Review of If I Was Your Girl {Meredith Russo}:

I absolutely love the plot idea of this YA book. Such an important topic and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m automatically a fan of ANY book which brings awareness to important topics.

(Throwback to the beautiful weather when I was reading this book a few weeks ago. Today it’s cold, raining, and I had the heat running in my car.)

However, as much as I loved the IDEA of this book, I didn’t love it’s execution…

This story goes back and forth between the present and the past which I normally love but this time it just made the story feel so disjointed. I understand that it wasn’t supposed to follow a sequential order but it was a bit too “bouncy” for me. Present day to 11 years ago to 3 years ago to 5 years ago, etc.

I also wish there was more character development. Other than Grant, I felt that each character was given such a small amount of any kind of development and as a result I kept interchanging them as I was reading (especially Amanda’s friends).

Without giving away spoilers, I will say that there was one MAJOR story line that I completely disagreed with throughout the entire book which clouded my thoughts on just about everything else…??

Random positive side note: This is one of the only books where I actually appreciated having the photo of a real person on the cover! I usually HATE when books have that as my imagination NEVER matches the photo on the front. This time, however, I appreciated having the beautiful picture on the cover as it gave me reference as to how Amanda looked. I think this gorgeous model was the perfect representation. I also appreciated how she was given a shout out in the author’s note at the end!

Bottom Line:

Loved the story, loved the beautiful cover, didn’t love the writing.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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Book Review: Scars Like Wings {Erin Stewart}

I love, love, love reading YA (young adult fiction). Some of the best books I’ve ever read have been YA (HERE is a link to one of my very favorites). When a dear friend of mine told me about Erin Stewart’s book, Scars Like Wings, I knew it was a YA book that I needed to read.

Synopsis from Goodreads of Scars Like Wings {Erin Stewart}:

Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.

A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.

But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.

My Thoughts on Scars Like Wings {Erin Stewart}:

Omg this book. It’s a BEAUTIFUL book. I sobbed, I smiled, I LOVED IT. Such a beautifully written story. It shattered my heart and filled my heart all at the exact same time.

This book is HEAVY, definitely not a light read. However, Erin Stewart took such heaviness and perfectly paired it with moments that made me smile through my tears.

There are so many messages that this book delivers and every single one of them spoke directly to my heart. Acceptance, devotion, love, and strength are the most prevalent themes which stuck out the most to me as I was reading.

I finished reading a few days ago and have not stopped thinking of these characters and story lines since. This book has truly touched my heart.

What a stunning debut novel from this author. I can’t wait to read more!

Bottom Line:

Read this. Have Kleenex.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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Book Review: I Wish You All The Best {Mason Deaver}

Ok. Time to write my very first book review since this whole WordPress new editor debacle (aka how WordPress pissed off millions of bloggers). THANK YOU to the MANY of you who reached out after I wrote my last post! Apparently there are many, many, MANY of you out there who are struggling with this as well. UGH. Ok here goes post #2 in this stupid new block editor. I reaaaaally hope I can do this…I figure that the very least I can do is to choose a FANTASTIC book from the pile that I’ve been reading to apologize for not giving you a review in over 2 weeks! If you haven’t yet read Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All The Best, you must. It’s so wonderful.

Goodreads Synopsis of I Wish You All The Best {Mason Deaver}:

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

My Review of I Wish You All The Best {Mason Deaver}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics not spoilers)

Oh I loved this book. It was so beautifully written!

The characters were detailed, the story lines were easy to follow, and the overall “YA” feel was perfect (unlike the last YA book that I read). I Wish You All The Best touched my heart, made me smile, made me tear up, made me THINK, and overall made me so glad that I read it. I highly recommend this book.

I applaud ANY book which tackles topics which at times may be hard to discuss. This book brings awareness to such an important topic and really discusses it in such wonderful detail. I will admit that I learned so much from reading this book! Aside from being a wonderful story, I Wish You All The Best is a wonderful resource. ALL teenagers (and adults) would highly benefit from reading this book!

If you love YA (young adult fiction), read this.

Bottom Line:

A beautiful, important, and wonderful book.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}

I randomly came across One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus while searching through books online (man I miss doing that in person at the library).  I thought it sounded great!  I couldn’t wait to read it and to write my review.

Goodreads Synopsis of One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}:

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Review of One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I LOVE a good YA (young adult) book.  In fact, some of the very best books I’ve ever read have been YA (you can read my reviews on a few of these HERE, HERE, and HERE).

So this book was good.  It kept me interested enough that I wanted to see how it would end although I very much figured out the ending significantly earlier in the book then the author intended.

HOWEVER, this book was just a bit tooooooo YA for me.  Does that even make sense?  The language, the actions, the stereotypes of characters/scenarios, all of it.  I felt like I was reading a book MEANT for high schoolers which again, I understand that the typical audience of YA books is just that…young adults.  However, most YA books that I have read have been so well written and contained such deep messages that they appeal to ALL ages.  This book, however…was most definitely written for high schoolers.

Even the names of the characters just made me feel like I’m way too old to be reading this book.  Bronwyn?  Cooper?  Keely?  Maeve?  Janae?  Ashton?  I’m too old for this.

This book had a very “Gossip Girl” vibe.  I LOVED Gossip Girl…a very long time ago.

One Of Us Is Lying is the 1st in a series of 3.  Will I be reading the next 2?  Not unless they take place 25 years into the future, lol.

Bottom Line:

If I were 25 years younger, I would have LOVED this book.  Unfortunately, I’m not.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

I Highly, Highly Recommend This Book!

My friend Jana and I refer to each other as “Book Twins”.  Not only is our taste in books so similar but we know and trust each other’s tastes enough to know that when one of us has a book to recommend to the other….it’s highly likely that it’s going to be a hit with both of us.  I had never heard of The Fire on High or of it’s author Elizabeth Acevedo.  However, as soon as Jana sent me a message a few weeks ago saying this book is now one of her favorite books of 2020…I immediately put it on hold at the library.  Thank you, Book Twin!

Goodreads Synopsis of With the Fire on High {Elizabeth Acevedo}:

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

My Review of With The Fire On High {Elizabeth Acevedo}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

Oh this book is BEAUTIFUL.  I absolutely loved everything about it!

I love a good YA (young adult) book and this one is an absolute gem.  A must read.

The characters are so well developed and each will stay with me for a very long time.  I haven’t stopped thinking of them since I finished reading the last page yesterday!  The story lines are rich in detail, description, and depth.  This book was so beautifully written.  Even the cover art is stunning!  I absolutely loved everything about this book.

My one and only complaint with this book is something that I usually love in books!  The chapters in this book are SHORT…like sometimes just 2 pages short.  While I usually do love this, I did feel at times like they were a bit TOO short and just as a story line was really taking off…the chapter abruptly ended.  However, these short chapters did make it so easy to fly through this book!  I easily could have read this entire book over the course of 1 or 2 days if I wasn’t currently quarantined with 2 young children 😉

This book is absolutely BEGGING for a sequel…so many story lines that I would love to see extended!  Fingers crossed…

My book twin did not disappoint me!  She rarely does.  Except that one time.

Bottom Line:

If you love YA, you will LOVE this book!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think? 

Have you read any of Elizabeth Acevedo’s other books?  Which would you recommend? 

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE