Books, Original Post, YA Fiction

May 2017 Wrap-Up – Haven

Hey guys! This is my first wrap-up post and I’ve actually been meaning to do this since April, but due to testing it was pushed back. Anyway, I read 9 books this month, which is pretty amazing considering all the projects I’ve had to do (why do teachers insist on overloading us with work when the school year is coming to an end?).

Books I’ve read this month




























History Is All You Left Me, by Adam Silvera (3.75-4 stars): I quite liked this very emotional and honest LGBTQ contemporary. There have been so many positive comments on Silvera’s More Happy Than Not, making him out to be a very hyped author. I was not disappointed with History Is All You Left Me, if you are looking for a diverse and raw read on love and loss, this is the one for you. You can find my full review here.

The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater (4 stars): This was a great sequel, and while it take a bit of time for me to truly get into it, it did not disappoint at all. I loved the introduction of new themes and characters, and the writing was totally upgraded. This series is already becoming one of my favorites and hopefully the next two live up to expectations I have. You can find my full review here.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (4 stars): I remember being extremely excited yet anxious when picking up this book, but it definitely lived up to the hype. This book reaches out to a range of messages on courage and hope, while detailing some necessary truths of the society we live in. Everyone should read it. My review can be found here.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson (2.25 stars): Unfortunately, I wasn’t huge fan of this much-loved contemporary. While I appreciated the attempt to combine deeper themes and a lighthearted road trip, I couldn’t find the balance between the two and the execution was simply not for me. I’m disappointed in my disappointment, but I’m still looking forward to reading Matson’s other contemporaries. You can find my in-depth review right here.

A Gathering Of Shadows, by V.E Schwab (5 stars): This was easily the best book I’ve read this month and probably one of the best I’ve read this year so far. After re-experiencing the glory of A Darker Shade Of Magic, I started this one and had the time of my freaking life. I adore these characters, this plot, this writing, everything. While it can be classified as a ‘filler’ book, I loved it nonetheless. I’m going to start A Conjuring Of Light soon and am totally not ready for the emotional destruction I’m about to face.

All The Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven (1 star): I strongly disliked this book, and most of my dislike stemmed from plain disinterest in the pretentious themes that are forever running through YA contemporary. The book’s view and depiction of mental illness was also quite off-putting, and while this aspect is praised and put down among readers, it simply made me uncomfortable for a number of reasons. Not for me guys, nope. You can find my in-depth review here.

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer (3.5 stars): So, I decided to re-visit this classic this month. Interestingly, I had never read Winter, so catching up on the rest of the series was necessary. Cinder didn’t really capture me the same way it did in the past, but it definitely brought up a wave of nostalgia. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series though.

Shadow And Bone, by Leigh Bardugo (3.5 stars): I read this book way back in 2014 when the hype was just picking up, and remember being very ‘meh’ on it. I decided to give it another try this month and found myself enjoying much more this time around. Yes, it’s an older book so many of the events that took place are reminiscent of the tropes found in YA fantasy today, but I don’t regret picking it up again.

Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman (5 stars): This book totally took me by surprise and is actually one of the easiest 5-star reads ever. The messages it means to convey are told so subtly and earnestly, and the whole book simply exudes charm through its characters, themes, and writing. Look out for my review coming soon. 🙂

May was an incredibly scattered month, but interestingly, I’ve read the most books this month in the year so far. Hopefully the summer helps me prioritize so I can read and blog a whole lot more than I am doing now. Thanks for reading, guys!


Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour || a surprisingly deep contemporary that is surprisingly not for me

7664334Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

I had a certain image of Amy And Roger before starting it. I expected fluffy, cute, tons of witty banter between our leading characters, and an overall lighthearted vibe. Boy, was I wrong. To put it bluntly: Amy And Roger could be considered an exact opposite of everything I’ve listed above. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad, it could actually be a good thing because I love deeper contemporaries too. But, among the occasional well-written and emotional moments, Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour was executed in a way that isn’t my cup of tea.

That writing + plot: The writing is on the wordy side. It often read very formally, specifically toward the beginning, but managed to capture me well enough. It wasn’t too much, not too little. There were many moments in which the emotion was strongly enhanced by the prose, specifically when it came to Amy and how she deals with her grief. Unfortunately, this wasn’t kept up throughout the novel and I found myself skipping paragraphs every now and then. The “not too much not too little” can have a downside to it and it shows in this book, because the writing was only mildly engaging. Not without personality, but not too memorable either. But I suppose the characters play a part in that debacle too.

Despite a surplus of events and characters, the book did have a direction in all of its detours. What was even more surprising, was the amount of depth that the story possessed. Here I was, ready to go into a happy-go-lucky adventure and a totally adorable romance when all of a sudden Matson starts hitting me with all this grief discussion and death and guilt and deep shit in general. I don’t mind deep shit at all, in fact I like emotional contemporaries more than fluffy romances. Unfortunately, I have some issues with the execution of this concept and it mostly has to do with the fact that Amy and Roger’s EPIC detour, was not actually that epic. While the documentation of their trip is certainly present, there aren’t any groundbreaking events that truly challenge Amy and Roger’s relationship or cause any sort of realistic unsettlement. They never seem to struggle with money or gas or food and most of their feelings are kept to themselves, which creates a huge lack of excitement. I commend the story for trying to explore deeper themes, but the events taking place and the people Amy and Roger met tended to be forgettable. There wasn’t much propelling the emotional elements of the book besides the parts where the prose kicked in, and those actually turned out to be great scenes.

The characters: Amy and Roger are both likable and relatable characters, but aren’t really that memorable. Amy is clearly struggling, she’s dealing with the sadness and guilt caused by her father’s death. She isn’t the most lively person, and her quiet and unintentionally awkward nature is out in the open. But, she wasn’t very interesting to me. I just couldn’t connect that deeply with her grief, her character, her personality and this happens from time to time, it just doesn’t work out. I couldn’t connect with the ‘old her’ itself because it was barely shown, which leads me to say that Amy doesn’t entirely stick out from all the other heroines in YA contemporaries. I expected Roger to be the traditional funny guy that brings Amy out from her sadness, and while it didn’t really work out that way at first, I liked it anyway. Roger’s ‘baggage’ isn’t as deep, but I liked how Matson managed to create a fleshed-out conflict for him too.

The romance: Amy and Roger seemed to evade the rules of typical contemporary pairings, as they weren’t constantly talking about shared interests, engaging in witty banter, or being adorable while doing childish things together. Hell, they hardly spoke to each other in the beginning because Amy hardly says anything out loud. They were simply a boy and girl forced to go on a road trip together, without much complications at all. It wasn’t the most entertaining, but it was certainly realistic and not as predictable as it could have been. They did start bonding progressively though, and while it was slow journey, they ended up being a pretty likable and realistic couple. Realistic, however, is a tad disappointing in a book such as this because I didn’t want them to be as individualistic. The title has the word ‘epic’ in it and the cover shows a couple holding hands, I expected Amy and Roger to be cute and funny in a non-cheesy way, much like a fluffy contemporary. But, this book was not a fluffy contemporary and I shouldn’t judge it as one (you would’ve thought I’d get it by now).

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, is unfortunately, another book I’ve ruined for myself due to expectations. Not necessarily high expectations, but … different expectations. There are better stories out there that mix lightheartedness with emotional themes, and hopefully Matson’s other book (which I will hopefully obtain soon) achieve that better than this one did.