Weekend Must Read #3: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Happy Friday everyone! It is me, your friendly neighbourhood book blogger coming at you with another weekend recommendation.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Truly loved this book. I finished reading this shortly after binge watching “Dear White People” on Netflix. You hear a lot about police brutality on the news, but other than being sad when I hear about it and chatting about how terrible it is, that is really the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I loved this book because while it dealt with some incredibly heavy material, it was not preachy or aggressive but incredibly eye-opening and informative.

The main characters were your typical teens. They had typical teen problems, until one night when a routine traffic stop goes haywire and their world changes forever. The story references real-life people that have been killed in incidents involving police. This book deals with topics such as survivor’s guilt, gangs and the media portrayal of “gang bangers”.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Period. It is an incredible piece of fiction that speaks openly and honestly about a phenomenon that happens way too often in today’s society.

Girl Online On Tour by Zoe Sugg

“Penny’s bags are packed.

When Noah invites Penny on his European music tour, she can’t wait to spend time with her rock-god-tastic boyfriend.

But, between Noah’s jam-packed schedule, less-than-welcoming bandmates and threatening messages from jealous fans, Penny wonders whether she’s really cut out for life on tour. She can’t help but miss her family, her best friend Elliot . . . and her blog, Girl Online.

Can Penny learn to balance life and love on the road, or will she lose everything in pursuit of the perfect summer?”

This is such a cute series. I love how it would be just another fluffy rom com series, if not for the topic of anxiety. I feel like it is more realistic than most versions of panic attacks I have read in novels.

I liked Penny throughout the book, but I kind of loved her towards the end when she embraced the anxiety and decided to be brave through her fear. I will be reading #3 and I truly hope she stays in that mindset and does not regress into how she was before the break-up. I liked post-Noah Penny. She was kicking butt and taking names. She was pursuing her dreams and conquering her fears. So I am not sure with that ending if they are back together or not, but I hope she continues to rise above and be bad ass.

Weekend Must Read #2: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This book was an atypical read for me. Usually, I see movies because I read the book in the past as a loyal consumer of books I feel the need to watch the film to see if it did the book justice. But this was not a book I had heard of before I saw the movie trailer. The trailer was so darn cute that I picked up this book and finished it the same day. For those who have not seen the movie (I did after reading the book) or read the novel, I would recommend both. I think the movie was quite good for a book to screen adaptation.

“My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

How did it take so long for me to hear about this book?! I have not loved a book so thoroughly in a while. It had me so enthralled that I had to finish it the same day I started it.  I feel like I just want to reread it again, and it has only been a day.

I really liked the characters and their development. Maddy, in particular, grew so much right before our eyes. I loved her! It is rare that I love a book so much that I want more, but simultaneously am 100% happy with that being the end. This book is cute and magical, but without being overly unrealistic. I love the drawings and IMs throughout the book that add some fun commentary to an otherwise straight forward narrative and dialogue style.

I would and will recommend this book to anyone. It is a beautiful coming of age story. It is not only for those that enjoy YA fiction, I think it would speak to anyone who has had to make hard decisions in their lives in order to truly “feel alive”.

 

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

“Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.”

I quite liked this book. Honestly, I am a sucker for the “plot twist” of mistaken identity. I also quite liked the idea that blogging was the main characters oasis away from the world. I totally related to her statements about trying to journal things and instead dropping it shortly after. I feel like blogging while still anonymous enough to feel like you are spilling your thoughts into a void, does feel more like sharing with a friend, especially when people start to leave their comments.

I am currently on book 2 of this series, so we shall see how the characters develop. I did feel like we spent so much of the book learning about the characters that I am not sure that counts as development. Noah’s identity was hinted at, but we really only learned in the last chapters what he does, who he is in this world. I look forward to seeing how this relationship works long distance and how the characters change.

Weekend Must Read #1: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Since I am back to blogging, let’s try something new! Instead of simply blogging each book I read, I will also post every Friday with a book I highly recommend. While I will probably end up liking other books that I read/post about these Weekend Must Reads will consist of the crème de la crème. Please let me know if this is something you would like me to keep doing after the month of August.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

I truly love every book Sarah Dessen has written. Which might make me biased. But I loved this book. There is something about the storylines and characters she writes that I just can’t get enough of. This book is no exception.

I really loved the main character Louna and her story. She was smart and cynical (for good reason) and incredibly witty. And I loved her dynamic with Ambrose, the goofy, kind rich-boy. It was refreshing to see a rich character that did not live up to pompous rich-boy stereotype, while being from a wealthy family did come up a few times in the story (who has never been to a dollar store before??!), it did not define him. His quirky views and complete self-confidence is what I will remember about him.

I really liked the story line about school shootings. I feel like while we hear a lot about shooters in schools these days, we move on so quickly to the next story often without thinking of the lasting impact of the victims and their families. You hear their name in the days after the event and then we move on to the trial (if the shooter survives) and then it disappears from the news as do the stories of the victims. This was a nice tribute to those that have been taken too soon and their impact on the people in their lives.

I can’t wait for her next book. She has some amazing novels for those who have not had the pleasure of reading one of her works. I recommend them all, and this one is great!

 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

I am back! After a year on hiatus, I have finally gotten the blogging groove back. Since I last logged in I have moved away from my home province for work. In the past two years, I have become permanent at this company (I am currently learning the ropes of a different department on a term-basis) and became a first time home buyer.

All this aside, I have decided to set aside more time for reading and blogging about my love of books. I found myself not only neglecting blogging but also gobbling up books like I used to, and as such I set myself the goal of reading 50 books in 2017. Until about a month ago, that goal was far from being accomplished. But suddenly, the reading bug got me again and I have been reading 1-2 books a week!! Almost on par with my high school self…

Without further blabbing, here is the book that inspired me to jump back in.

“When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.”

I really loved this book. It was kind of addictive to me. I have always been a sucker for anything with the Cinderella trope. All those cheesy Cinderella Story movies? Those are my crack. So of course, it would be a Cinderella-plot mixed with a story line of a Comic-Con like convention and a blogging fangirl that would resonate the most with me.

I am not sure what it is about the original Cinderella that I love, but my favourite part of remakes are that the female lead has some quality, talent or skill that makes her perfect for the “prince”. In this book the female lead is incredibly strong, smart and loyal. She is alone without friends or family for the first half of the book and clings to memories of her dad and their love for a TV-show and the corresponding convention he founded for the shows’ fandom. But while she is strong and quick witted, she is also weak, stubborn and unforgiving (announcement of Carmindor casting).

This book was a fun look at fandoms. It shows the loyalty and the instant friendships that come out of loving something as a collective, while also showing the nasty side of fandoms. When the casting announcement comes out, the Internet does not agree with the pretty boy actor being cast as their serious intergalactic prince and they take that anger to blogs, forums and social media. I loved the realism in this story. For anyone who has trolled Tumblr, this is 100% realistic. Casting announcements bring a level of excitement of the possibilities and many expectations are set incredibly high with speculation, fan-made trailers or dream cast lists. It is impossible for a casting announcement to make everyone happy and I loved how the author addressed that part of rebooting franchises.

Overall, this book was incredibly cute and touching. I would definitely recommend it!

The Heir by Kiera Cass

theheit

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.

This book was so good. I liked that this sequel had a time jump. At first I was wondering who the heck was narrating because I had not looked at the synopsis but I quickly figured out that the first three books were the story of this girl’s parents. I love love love this idea. I really liked this character, she is flawed but expected to be perfect. I got to the last page and cried out MORE! when I realized they ended it there. I am so excited for the next book that doesn’t even have a name yet.