Books

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli

19547856

4.5 Stars

Ok, this book was all kinds of adorable. And, once again, I go into a cutesy romance novel expecting to hate it, and loved it. Why can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic. 😉

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a light, fun, LGBT romance novel. While it’s not particularily dark or twisted (like I usually prefer), it still manages to push some important values while being refreshingly different in certain ways.

The star of this book is without a doubt Simon. Other than the fact that he’s funny and adorable, he’s so dang relatable.  When I heard Harry Potter references like this, I just died from affection:

“It’s a dementor robe over my clothes. I think you’ll survive.”

“What’s a dementor?”

I mean, I can’t even. “Nora, you are no longer my sister.”

(And right now, my autocorrect is telling me ‘dementor’ is not a word, much to my dismay)

Continue reading “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli”

Advertisements
Books

The Love That Split The World, by Emily Henry

25467698

4 Stars

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

It’s quite hard to review The Love That Split The World, probably because it’s different from anything I’ve read before. It’s even hard to fit into a specific genre, it contains fantasy, sci-fi, and magical realism into it, and it’s done surprisingly well.

It’s hard to juggle so many supernatural and psychological elements, and I would obviously avoid that. But, Henry brings something totally new to the table in this book. Time-travel, dimension-jumping, and psychology (all of my favorite things!) are combined to create something totally original and exciting. You can almost feel the magical energy buzzing through the pages, as you imagine the warm Kentucky setting and the mystical events happening in Natalie’s life. There is a good amount of depth involved in there as well, especially when exploring “Grandmother”, a possible celestial figure that visits Natalie at night to tell her life lessons disguised by short stories.

I enjoyed most of the characters thoroughly. Natalie is a realistic, wise, and likable character. It’s pretty enjoyable to read her narration, as she’s witty, smart, and admirably courageous. She’s not over-the-top or unnecessarily dramatic, all she does is try to understand her complicated-life, where she fits in, and how she can find her true self. She tries to be as honest as possible throughout the book, but she obviously needs help in her situation.  She might seem like a ‘perfect’ character to you in the beginning, but her flaws and growth are explored well throughout the book. Natalie’s insecurities are mostly surrounded by her Native American heritage (Yay Diversity!). Along with her journey to figure out Grandmother and the psychological and supposed supernatural elements she’s been experiencing, she’s learning how to love herself and how she plays a part in the world. Her narration was very easy-going, thoughtful, and entertaining.

Continue reading “The Love That Split The World, by Emily Henry”

Books

New Releases in YA for April 2016

coming-soon

I know. I’m a terrible person. The fact that I haven’t found the time to write the new releases for two months is the least of my crimes, with the victims being Haven and you guys. So, without any further ado, I present the new releases for April, and I hope I can make it up to you.

1. The Raven King, by Maggie Steifvater – Coming April 26th, 2016

17378527The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: “Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close.

I haven’t read Steifvater’s famous Raven Cycle series, but it’s very hypes, and fans should be eagerly awaiting this conclusion.

Continue reading “New Releases in YA for April 2016”

Books, YA Fiction

The Impossible Knife Of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

18079527

2 Stars

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

I didn’t expect The Impossible Knife Of Memory to be all that, but I thought I’d be able to feel some strong emotion, considering it’s about psychological affects of a bloody war. This book let me down, especially concerning the characters.

I haven’t read many books or seen many movies about PTSD, but I knew the basic premise of the condition prior to read the novel. I had my doubts concerning the accuracy of the portrayal of it, and I think there is a lot missing. One does not need to be an expert to realize that having PTSD does not only mean having mood swings, facing depression, and being constantly drunk. There were little descriptions of the war and the bloodshed along the way, but they didn’t really contribute to Andy’s character. I do applaud Anderson for trying though. It’s hard to write about a character facing such a situation when it’s not in their POV.

Characters in Young Adult Contemporaries can either be really layered and likable, or really annoying. But, this is one of the few times a character is perfectly in the middle. I think Anderson wanted to portray Hayley as a strong and pretty destructive girl, and I can understand that. I also liked her wit and cleverness to a certain extent. Unfortunately, her character was so forced and cringey most of the time. I didn’t get much from her besides her stereotypical teenage angsty and brooding attitude. It’s understandable that she is fighting demons of her own, but she’s just too unlikable. She’s usually always rebelling or spewing hate over the tiniest things, and I couldn’t emotionally relate to her consistently.

The romance is sweet, but it has no basis. Finn gets to know Hayley for approximately 10 seconds before he starts following her around, trying to get number, and pressuring her to random things for him. He has serious stalker issues, and needs to get help. After their relationship fell into place, I will admit that it’s very cute. There are many sweet moments and not-so-sweet moments highlighting the strengths and flaws in their relationship as well as their own. But, I do think this romance will be a miss for most, due to the lack of foundation behind it.

The Impossible Knife Of Memory is not a bad book, and I do think you can try it. But, if you were looking for an accurate description of PTSD and an emotional love story with a basis, I suggest you look the other way.

-Haven