Review: Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber

Only Love Can Break Your HeartTitle: Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Author: Katherine Webber
Genres: Young adult contemporary
Goodreads

Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you…

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I was send a copy of this title for review by Walker Publishing. This does not influence my opinion of the book in any way. 

When I first saw the cover of this book I knew I had to request it. I already bought a book by this author last year – Wing Jones – and while I hadn’t gotten around to reading it myself, I had heard the most wonderful things about it from people I trust, so I was sure this book was probably going to be wonderful as well. And it was.

The writing in this book is very atmospheric and pulls you into the book from the first page on, and doesn’t release you until you’ve finished the whole thing. That’s how I ended up reading the whole evening instead of studying for my finals, which might not have been the best decision but I don’t regret any of it. And no matter how heavy the subjects you read about are, the writing still feels so incredibly comforting. It’s almost like a big, warm hug. Lees verder

Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #2
Genres: Fantasy
Goodreads

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

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It’s not too long ago that I read the first book in this series, Every Heart a Doorway, and completely fell in love with it. I loved the writing, which completely sucked me in from the start, I loved the world and all of the potential it had, but most of all, I loved the characters and couldn’t wait to see more of them and see more of their stories in the next books.

As you can see, my expectations for Down Among the Sticks and Bones were HIGH. Incredibly high. That’s why I was very hesitant about starting it at first, because I didn’t want to end up feeling disappointed once I finished this, but I can safely say that that didn’t happen. Moreover, I can say that I loved Down Among the Sticks and Bones even more than I loved Every Heart a Doorway, and that obviously says a lot.

This book focuses on the story of Jack and Jill, twin sisters who we’ve already met in the first book. From reading Every Heart a Doorway we already got to know a little bit about their story, but I had no idea how dark and incredibly interesting it actually was.

A lot of the book focuses on parental expectations (and emotional abuse), and how they can mess with your heads. Jack and Jill’s parents have this picture in their mind of what their perfect family should look like, and when their mother gets pregnant with two girls they’re disappointed because they wanted a girl and a boy. They decide they’ll each ‘get one’ of the children, and Jack is raised to be her mother’s perfect daughter (quiet and pretty) and Jill is raised to be her father’s perfect ‘tom-boy’.

Jack and Jill both don’t get a say in this, and they start to resent each other because of it. So when they get to the Moors, it doesn’t take long until they separate.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a short book. An incredibly well-written one which sucks you in from the first page, and will make you finish the book in just one sitting. It’s also incredibly atmospheric, dark and intruiging. And although the book is so short, it does include a lot of things that will keep your mind occupied for days on end.

I loved seeing the relationship between the two sisters, and the effect the parents had on that relationship (well, loved might not be the best word for it, but it was incredibly interesting and I loved reading about it). I loved Jack as a character, and I really feel like she’s going to be my favorite character of this series. And I loved how Jack had a fat, female love interest, because I’m a complete sucker for f/f romances.

Overall, Down Among the Sticks and Bones certainly exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait for what else this series is going to bring.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter • Instagram •  Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Review: Warcross by Marie Lu + Theories

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
Genres: YA Science-Fiction
Goodreads

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

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Penguin has send an ARC of this book to me in an exchange for an honest review. 

I’ve been in a bit of a book slump lately (read: the last few months). Not a very big one where I’m unable to get into anything, luckily, but a small one where I can really like a book, but I still have to force myself to actually sit down and read it because sitting on the couch and watching Elementary is a bit more appealing. While reading Warcross, however, I really felt myself looking forward to having some free time so I could go read, which is something I haven’t felt in months. And I think that definitely says a lot.

Like a few people before me have said, Warcross was everything I hoped Ready Player One would be. It has a strong and badass female main character, amazing world building, a plot line that keeps you at the edge of your seat at all times, and mysteries and ethical dilemmas that will keep you hooked until the very end. But the thing that I loved the most was definitely the world.

I’ve been trying to write this paragraph explaining the world a little bit for half an hour now but I just can’t explain it in a way that does it justice. It’s just so, for lack of a better word, awesome. Marie Lu has described everything in this amazingly visual way that enables you to picture everything and just fall in love with it. It’s beyond perfect and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Besides that, I think Marie Lu’s writing overall was incredible. It sucked me in from the start, is perfectly paced and just, again, absolutely incredible. I can’t believe that it took me this long to pick up a Marie Lu book, and I’m definitely starting The Young Elites series soon!

I also really liked the characters. I fell in love with Emika from the start. She’s badass, is incredibly inteligent and has a lot of hacking-skills, she’s independent and stands up for herself, and she’s basically the perfect character. She also goes through a lot of character development throughout the book, and I especially loved seeing how she goes from someone who always works alone, to someone who is finally trusting other people and working with them. The scenes in which she works together with her squad left me cheering and so incredibly happy.

There were only three relatively small things that I didn’t like about this book. 1) The author used the words crazy and insane to describe people or situations multiple times, which is ableist and hurtful, 2) the action-packed scenes often felt chaotic, which is why I had to reread a couple of paragraphs multiple times to understand what was going on, and 3) I personally didn’t care that much for the romance, because Emika was incredibly dependant on Hideo when they started their relationship (Hideo got her her job, her money and her current position) and that made me feel a bit uncomfortable, because I was scared that if Hideo did something that made Emika uncomfortable, she wouldn’t be able to refuse him because of the threat of losing her position/money/job. (Spoilers) This luckily didn’t happen, and Emika was able to stand up to Hideo in the end, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it made me feel very uncomfortable throughout most of the book. I just wish they had waited until they were on a more equal footing before they started dating, but that might just be me.

So overall, even though the book has some small flaws, I loved it a lot! The world is one of the best worlds I’ve ever encountered in a book, and Emika is definitely one of my new favourite characters. I cannot wait until this book is officially published so I can hear everyone screaming about how amazing it is, because I’m sure that that’s going to happen. This book, and this series, are going to be big.

What I want to see in the second book/questions I want answered/theories (this obviously includes spoilers so please don’t read this is you haven’t read the book yet):

  • What happened to Sasuke? Was he really kidnapped? Did Hideo have something to do with it? How come that if Sasuke had a Warcross account, Hideo had never been able to find him? Because he’s the Warcross Boss so you’d think that if someone with his name logged in, never mind how secured he is, he’d notice?
  • I really hope that Emika doesn’t team up with Hideo or Zero because I just want her and her team fighting and being badass together and just YES
  • Also, did anyone else think about how good Hideo’s ‘invention’ would be for people with a mental illness? Like, it could actually help me stop having panic attacks??? SIGN ME UP
  • I’m also still on the fence about the ethics of his invention? Like, it does take a bit of our freedom away but if that freedom includes being incredibly violent and murdering people, that might be a good thing? AHH I DON’T KNOW
  • But one thing that Hideo said is that the system is reliable because it’s just code and no one controls it but WHAT IF in the second book someone evil starts controlling the code?? And thereby controls all people??
  • Okay that scenario just made me think of the Spongebob movie (you know, with the bucket hats) and I SHOULDN’T compare this book to the Spongebob movie
  • But I really think that something like that is going to happen because just them going after Hideo would be cool but there’s almost always a twist in books like this?
  • But also, what if Zero isn’t really Sasuke but just someone posing as him?? Maybe his kidnapper?
  • Maybe one of the people from the Warcross games is involved with this because AGAIN TWIST
  • ALso, why did Zero have people involved all over the world? I didn’t really get that? Because he wanted to stop Hideo but he was always in Tokyo and the final game would be played in Tokyo so why have people in different parts of the world?
  • Okay this is long enough already I should stop BUT I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS
  • Also, am I the only one who ships Emika and Hammie a little??

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter • Instagram •  Goodreads

 

Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

32601841.jpgTitle: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Author: Lauren James
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Goodreads

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

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Thank you to Walker YA for sending me an ARC copy of this book for review.

Well, this book was intense.

I started reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe yesterday because I was in the mood for a cute and easy contemporary book with sci-fi elements, and that’s basically what I got during the first half of the book. Then, during the second half, I realized that I wasn’t reading a cute book but a thriller. Something that my anxiety wasn’t too happy about.

The book had already grabbed me during the first half of the book. I couldn’t stop reading because I simply enjoyed it so much, but during the second half the hold the book had on me became even stronger. I just had to know what was going to happen, and my body was filed with adrenaline. I just couldn’t stop reading, and I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting.

To be totally honest with you, I find it quite hard to review this book. It had amazing twists and turns and it definitely scared me shitless, which is what a thriller is supposed to do, but my anxious self didn’t enjoy that very much. But just because it wasn’t the best for my anxiety, doesn’t mean that it’s not a good book. Because it really was a very good book.

The thing I loved most about this book is probably the way it dealt with mental health. The main character, Romy, has anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD and, as someone who deals with the first 2 things as well, I found the rep to be very accurate. I loved seeing this in a book because usually, when a character goes through something traumatic, it’s kind of brushed off as it being no big deal. This felt a lot more realistic and I loved how, even though Romy deals with all this, she is still portrayed as a very strong, intelligent and brave character, which is definitely something that I want to see more of in books.

I adored Romy’s character in general. She’s incredible, super badass, and she’s still very relatable. I also adored how fan culture was interwoven within the story, because Romy is a huge fan of a TV show called Loch & Ness and she even writes fanfiction for it and you get to read snippets of this. It was great.

The plot of the book was incredibly interesting and, like I mentioned before, so different from what I expected. In the beginning of the book you learn that Romy hasn’t always been alone on this spaceship, but what happened remains a mystery. Then there’s this guy in another spaceship coming closer and closer to Romy’s ship and he seems super nice, but can you really trust him? Plus, there’s also something going wrong on earth. So yes, there’s a lot going on and a lot of questions you want answers to. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat, and you definitely won’t be bored while reading it.

I really enjoyed the writing style, and I found that it fit incredibly well with the plot. It gave the book a great atmosphere and it was very fast paced, but not to a point where it felt too hurried. The book also deals with a lot of technical stuff (I mean, it takes place in a space ship in space, it wouldn’t make sense if there wasn’t any technical stuff) and even though things like that tend to confuse me a bit, I felt like the author explained everything amazingly. I definitely want to pick up more books from this author, but I also kind of want her to be my chemistry tutor, haha.

All in all, this book was very different from what I expected, but I had a great time with it. There was great mental health rep, I adored the main character, and the plot and writing were fantastic. I would, however, make sure that people know that it’s a thriller when I’m recommending it to them, because the surprise isn’t great for people with anxiety.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter • Instagram •  Goodreads

Review: The Paths We Choose by Maria Hollis

The Paths We Choose (Lillac Town, #2)Title: The Paths We Choose (Lillac Town #2)
Author: Maria Hollis
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads

Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.
A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.

Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Just a few months ago I read the first book in the Lillac Town Series, The Melody of Me and You, and I loved it so much that I started following the author, Maria Hollis, on Twitter. When she tweeted about ARCs for The Paths We Choose I, of course, immediately jumped at the chance. And I might have screamed a little bit when my request was accepted.

I read The Paths We Choose in one sitting (with a few snack and toilet breaks), and it’s safe to say that I loved it.

The thing I probably loved most about TPWC was the amazing female friendships. We don’t get enough of those, and this one really made me aware of what I’ve missed in other books. I loved seeing the girls interact, have deep conversations, and even fight. Seeing such a real and amazing female friend group in a book made me so incredibly happy.

I also loved our main character, Lily. I love how she doesn’t label herself, and I loved seeing her affection for (my new book girlfriend) Mayte grow. Their relationship was so great, and I loved them together. Also, that airport scene? Iconic.

A thing that made this novella extra special to me, is that Lily gets in contact with her little brother, whom she hasn’t seen since she moved out of her family’s house. Having a little brother myself, this meant so much to me. The scene where he asked for her forgiveness made me tear up. Damn, even thinking about it makes me tear up again.

Another thing that’s worth mentioning is how sex-positive this book is. Lily and Mayte even have a conversation about what they do and don’t like in bed, and set boundaries. I’ve never seen this in a book before (at least, not in a ‘serious’ way), and I really appreciated it.

The Paths We Choose is definitely one of those books that I will pick up again on days where I feel shitty, because this book makes me so incredibly happy.

I will definitely read anything that Hollis writes in the future. I can’t wait to read the next novella in the Lillac Town series! (Seriously Maria, please hurry up, I need it.)

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads

 

Mini Reviews: a Comic, a Novella and Feminist Essays

The Backstagers, Vol. 1 (The Backstagers, Volume One)

The Backstagers by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh

All the world’s a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic literally!
When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he s taken in by the only ones who don t treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen.
James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast.”

I recently got an eARC of The Backstagers through Netgalley, and I had such a fun time reading it! The artwork was very cute and colorful, the the cast was very diverse and fun (and I see a potential squad forming and I love it!!!), and has a wonderful and magical setup. I will definitely be picking up the other volumes!

The Melody of You and Me by M. HollisThe Melody of You and Me (Lillac Town, #1)

After dropping out of university and breaking up with her girlfriend of three years, Chris Morrison’s life is now a mind-numbing mess. She doubts that working at the small neighborhood bookstore is going to change that. The rest of her time is spent mostly playing guitar and ignoring the many messages her mother keeps sending her about going back to college.

But one day, an adorable and charming new bookseller waltzes her way into Chris’s life. Josie Navarro is sweet, flirty, and she always has a new book in her hands. The two girls start a fast friendship that, for Chris, holds the promise of something more. But is she reading too much into this or is it possible that Josie feels the same way?

I. Loved. This. So. Much. The Melody of You and Me is one of the cutest f/f romances I’ve ever read, plus it’s set in a bookstore, so what’s not to like? And even though the novella is only 100 pages, I felt very connected to the characters, and was incredibly invested in the romance.
Just in case I haven’t convinced you to read it yet, let me sum up some other reasons why you should read it: the MC is pansexual, there’s a Filipino lesbian love interest, and it’s sex positive. Oh, and it’s free on Amazon Kindle this weekend 😉

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real WorldHere We Are: Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen

Let’s get the feminist party started!

Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist. It’s packed with essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia, politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular YA authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. Altogether, the book features more than forty-four pieces, with an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.

Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.

This was incredible. Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World teaches people about feminism, while also talking about intersectionality, gender, sexuality and so much more. And besides consisting of a lot of essays by amazing people, it also includes book recommendations, comics and playlists (also, by amazing people). It’s diverse, thoughtful and I wish I could get every single person on earth to read this.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads

Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a WishTitle: How to Make a Wish
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Goodreads

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.’

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim★★★★★/5 stars

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book through Netgalley, but this will in no way affect my review.

How to Make a Wish is about a girl named Grace. Grace is a pianist who wants to audition for a top-music school, but her unreliable mother Maggie, who is unable to stay in one place for more than a few months and drinks too much, makes life very difficult for her. It gets even more difficult when Maggie picks Grace up from summer camp, and tells her that they’ll be living with Maggie’s new boyfriend from now on. A boyfriend Grace had never heard of before, and who turns out to be her ex-boyfriend’s dad.

But then Eva appears. She has just moved to town because her mother died, and she soon becomes all Eva can think about.

How to Make a Wish is hauntingly beautiful. The way the author describes the relationship between Grace and her mother is very hard hitting, honest and real. And just like the relationship, the characters feel extremely real too. Every single character has such a distinct voice, and they felt very three-dimensional. Like they were real people, in a real town, dealing with real problems.

The romance between Grace and Eva was easily my favorite thing about the book. I loved them from the moment they first met, and I loved reading about their cute midnight adventures and late night talks. It made me unable to put the book down, which is why I stayed up until 2AM to finish it.

Besides all this, I also loved the bi representation in this book. It was spot-on (at least, to me) and it made me fall in love with the book even more. It also tackles some other topics that aren’t spoken about enough in YA books like female masturbation and the racism in the ballet-world, and I really appreciated that.

But, honestly? Nothing I write will do this book justice. I just really hope you will pick up this book for yourself so you can fall in love with it, like I did.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness Twitter Instagram •  Goodreads

Review: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal

Title: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No NormalMs. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal

Author: G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona
Genres: Comics, Graphic Novel, Young Adult

Goodreads

Marvel Comics presents the new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation!

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

It’s history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (RUNAWAYS)! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5 and material from ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1.

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

★★★★/5 stars

I have to admit that I have never read a comic before, and I haven’t even seen any superhero movies. Okay, I might have seen one of the Batman movies once, but that’s about it. I just can’t see myself liking them, because there’s often not much of a story line, and a lot action that feels unnecessary. That being said, I actually rather liked Ms. Marvel.

I picked this one up because a lot of my friends raved about this one, and one of my favorite TV-show characters (Alex Dunphy from Modern Family) has a poster of the comic hanging on her wall. When I noticed this, I just knew I had to pick this one up.

Ms. Marvel follows Kamala Kahn, a Muslim teen with traditional parents living in Jersey City. She is bored with her life, longs for more freedom than her parents give her, and dreams to be as extraordinary as the Avenger she idolizes, Captain Marvel. After secretly attending a party, she develops superpowers, and soon figures out that this thing she thought would solve all her problems, only makes her life a lot more complicated.

What I liked:

  • Kamala was a very fun and relatable heroine.
  • There were a lot of fun side characters.
  • The artwork is gorgeous!
  • It definitely made me want to pick up more comics in the future.
  • Diversity!!

What I didn’t like:

  • Because I’m so used to reading normal books and getting lost in a story for hours, reading a comic in 20 minutes was very unsatisfying. I craved more. But I guess that’s the point of comics, right?
  • Even though I loved reading about a Muslim family, it felt very stereotypical.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one, and I hope I’ll be able to pick up the next one soon!

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness

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Review: None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

Title: NoNone of the Abovene of the Above
Author: I. W. Gregorio
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

★★/5 stars
TW: sexual assault, transphobia, bullying

I want to add a little disclaimer to this review to say that I’m not intersex, so I can’t judge whether this book is realistic or not.

None of the Above was the 3rd book I read for the #DiversityDecBingo, and was my pick for a book with a non-binary MC.

None of the Above is about a girl called Kristin who learns early on in the book that she’s intersex. The book is about her dealing with the news, figuring out her identity, and the intense bullying she faces when the news is leaked to the whole school.

I’m going to be upfront about it and tell you that I didn’t like this book. At all. But let’s start on a positive note and tell you the 2 things that I did like about it.

  1. The book was extremely informative and eye-opening.
  2. It wasn’t that kind of book where someone goes through something ‘life changing’, is able to deal with it in a week, and then gets a happy ending. Kirstin really struggles with what’s happening, and it takes time for her to process things.

Now onto the things that I didn’t really like about this book.

  1. There was a lot of insensitive language, not only towards being intersex  (the word ‘hermaphrodite’ was used very often, and so is the word ‘tranny’), but there were also quite a few ‘jokes’ that I couldn’t appreciate, like:

    “My mom would have sooner slit her wrists than parade her prepubescent daughter around wearing a two-piece”

    and

    ‘I turned the radio on as I navigated through town.”You care what we listen to?””Anything, as long as it’s not by someone who rose to fame on a Disney Channel show.””Please.” I gave him the stink eye. “Give me some credit.””No judgement. I’m just giving you my trigger warnings, that’s all.”

  2. This one contains spoilers.
    At the end of the book, Kirstin is making out with a guy called Josh at a club, and he figures out that she’s the Kirstin everyone is talking about instead of Lara, the fake name she gave him. He get’s furious, and then proceeds to sexually assault her to ‘look for her penis’. The scene was absolutely heartbreaking to read, but, in my opinion, it’s also handled very poorly.
    After her sexual assault, Kirstin thinks that ‘her worst case scenario has now happened to her and she’s still here, so she’s ready to pick up her life again and go back to school’. This made me extremely and incredibly angry. Not only does the author treat sexual assault as a minor thing, she even tries to put a positive spin on it and insinuates that the only way Kirstin could’ve fully accepted herself was by going through this. This is highly insensitive, and so not okay.
  3. I didn’t really like the writing style. The pacing felt very off, and I sometimes felt weeks passed in the story, while it had only been a day. The characters, especially the side-characters, felt very underdeveloped and one-dimensional, and like a lot of the characters I’ve seen in other books. The extremely bossy popular girl, the extremely nice popular girl, the very sporty boyfriend and ‘the-long-term-friend-who-has-always-had-a-crush-on-her-but-she-never-noticed-but-now-she’s-falling-for-him-too’-guy. It just wasn’t great.

Overall, this book was very informative, but that’s also the only thing I liked about the book. I can’t give this book more than 2 stars.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness