Mini Reviews| Important books tbh

20701984El Deafo by Cece Bell

Published: September 2nd 2014 by Harry N. Abrams

Page count: 233

Rating:★★★★

Summary: Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

Thoughts: This was sooo adorable. I found this to be amusing at time yet very educational. I’m a hearing person so it was fascinating to see how people who are deaf grow up. Cece kind of dismisses ASL and it was interesting to see behind her reasoning and how she feels about that way of language now. I took an ASL class in college and so I saw a lot a parallels between the struggles people who are deaf have to go through (people mumbling, covering their mouths, the stigmas behind people who are deaf/hard of hearing/ dismissiveness towards the community, etc).  Also, I liked how the graphic novel explored the themes of stable friendships and forgiveness two themes that are extremely important, especially for a young audience. I think children and adults will appreciate the cuteness of the comic and will learn a thing or two. This little gem is absolutely worth reading.

 

23341894Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Published: June 16th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion

Page count: 233

Rating: ★★★

Summary: Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Thoughts I read some reviews before diving in that this was a more Disney-fied version on mental health but I think I’m going to have to disagree on that notion a tiny bit. I will admit, the romance seemed and I wasn’t really on board with Sam and AJ (note: I put ASH first because I thought that was his name lmao) because I felt like there wasn’t much connection there. I felt disconnected from the other characters and even Sam at times. However, what I really enjoyed and appreciated about this book was the amazing presence and effectiveness of Sam’s psychiatrist, Sue. Far too many times in entertainment/media, we see counselors and therapist as these bad guys and how people can’t confide in them. It was honestly such a breath of fresh air to see that psychiatrist are depicted greatly and how she helped Sam with her thinking process rather strictly telling her what to do. I also really liked the poetry aspect of the book and it made me want to buy a journal and start writing (though it would be very bad).  I didn’t completely guess the twist but I knew that some things didn’t make complete sense throughout the novel. Nonetheless, that was still an interesting addition to the book itself.

 

Mini Reviews| Aristotle and Simon!

I don’t write a review for every book I read for a couple of reasons. Some of those reasons being that I don’t have the time, the book is too short to review, sequel to a series so I don’t want to spoil, read too long ago to even do a full review or perhaps I just don’t want to spend an ample amount of time constructing one. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by  Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Published: Febuary 21 2012 by Simon & Schuster

Page Count: 359

Rating: ★★★

Summary: Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Review: I read this on audio book solely on the purpose that Lin Manuel Miranda would be narrating the story. I enjoyed the story, the family dynamics, etc. Although I did enjoy reading these aspects of the novel, I couldn’t connect with it and therefore the story was meh to me. I didn’t like Ari too much and I kind of felt he was rude to Dante at times. I know the title says “Aristotle and Dante” but I wish the family conflict was more fleshed out rather than just in mere mentions because that was something I was looking forward to. I felt like this was supposed to be an emotional read (sad? happy?  happy-sad?) but I felt deadpanned. I actually read this in the beginning of February and I don’t remember much of it, so unfortunately for me, it wasn’t memorable. I do remember loving the story while listening to it but after I was done, I was like “oh okay next?” Though, LMM did a great job on the narration!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Published: April 7 2015 by Balzer + Bray

Page Count:320

Rating:★★★★★

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.

Review: THIS. Oh gosh, this may have been the reason why I docked a star from the above review. I also read this on audiobook which was awesome but may have been a mistake since I was grinning and giggling to my classes and people probably thought I was on something. I loved the romance between Simon and Blue SO MUCH. Honestly, it takes a lot for me to get on board with a romance but Simon and Blue from the second email exchange got me hooked.  They just made me extremely happy. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda explores identity, acceptance, fear and friendship all in a realistic matter. The story talks about homophobia and racism in the south and the struggles of expressing oneself. At times, I hated characters, then loved them, then hated them again and it was all so confusing but amazing. This was HILARIOUS. I want to buy the book so that I can annotate and underline all my favorite quotes. The writing was no pretentious which I’m glad because I’m tired reading quirky books with pompous ass writing. Not every book needs to be John Green. Also, being in Simon’s head was such a treat but sometimes frustrating because using context clues, the audience knows who Blue is but Simon doesn’t. I kept wanting to scream OPEN YOUR EYES. Overall if you want to read something honest, cute and inspiring, I HIGHLY recommend this.

Read any of these books? Leave your thoughts down below!

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Mini Reviews| #Diverseathon Wrap Up Edition

#Diverseathon Wrap Up

WOW, what a crazy week. I almost made (and still tempted) to make a post about my thoughts on what’s going on in America (though, it would mostly be angry) but I want to make the post organize and thoughtful, so we’ll see. Again, reading usually calms me down and I’m glad I participated in this readathon!

Anyways, in my TBR post, I said that I would most likely read only two books and I was completely right! I ended up reading and finishing Shadowshaper. I decided to not read George because at the airport, I saw a hardcover of Difficult Women on sale for 40% off and I was like “ima buy dat” since it was on my most anticipated list (when I make those lists, I never actually end up reading those books because I hate buying new releases since they are so expensive, I ain’t rich). But I bought it and read it! Both the books I read were also #ownvoices! On to the reviews!

 


22295304Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Published:  June 30th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Page count: 304

Rating:★★★

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

Review: I really enjoyed this book but something fell flat with me. I’m not sure what that is, but I want more from the world, from the characters. I loved the magic system and found myself memorized when Sierra or Robbie would use their Shadowshaper powers.  I think the concept of using art to manifest spirits is incredibly fascinating. However, for some reason, I didn’t care for the plot. Most of the time, I felt ‘meh’ about everything. The character development lacked to me and wished Sierra was more complex (though I did like her as I will mention later).  Like I said in the beginning, I wish there was more. It’s pretty face paced and i think that’s where the novel fell. It was too fast pace and a lot of situations seemed convenient. However, what I appreciated about the story was the subtle and not so subtle discussions on racism. The cast was also extremely diverse, containing POC (lantinx) and individuals who are in the LGBT community. Also, Sierra as a character felt real to me. She’s slightly insecure about her wait and second guess whether if she’s going on a date or not with Robbie (something I do all the time when someone asks me to go somewhere with them). I thought the relationship between Sierra and Robbie was a tad bit fast, but nonetheless really cute. Overall, it was a good quick read. If you want to read about a cool magic system with diverse character, I recommend this one!

 

28818921Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Published:January 3rd 2017 by Grove Press

Page count: 260 pages

Rating:★★★★★

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the marriage of one of them. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

Review: WOW. Just wow. The first story definitely sucked me. Roxane Gay’s writing is honestly just memorizing. It’s easy to read yet contains so much depth. All the women she constructs in her stories were all so memorable. They were “difficult women” they were real. Throughout these collections, I was stunned and uncomfortable. A lot of these stories were harder to read than others because how vividly Gay describes the events that are occurring. Her writing was compelling, honest, real. One of my favorites was the first one, “I will follow you” where Gay tells the story of two sisters who were abducted when they were younger and as adults they are inseparable that many seem to be weird. I also liked “Mark of Cain” where a woman marries a twin. The twins switch places (the husband with a mistress) and the women pretends to not be aware of the swapping and accepts what’s happening. Another being “Difficult Women,” where Gay lists distinct groups of women(crazy women, mothers, loose women) and expresses why they are misunderstood.  These are just the first stories and I can easily list all of them because they were just absolutely stunning.The characters were 3-dimensional, the love stories seemed realistic, the situations many characters are in are heartbreaking. Each story is unique in its own way and many of them I will reread in the future. Also, the representation of WOC and LGBT is also presented, making this more relatable to me personally (especially the biracial representation). If you’re a woman, a man, a LIVING person, you should read this (I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately but you should make this one a priority). I can’t wait to read more by Roxane Gay. TW: abuse, rape.

 

 

Read any of these books? Did you participate in #Diverseathon?  Let me know down below!

 

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Mini Reviews| The Bad, The Good, The Great

I don’t write a review for every book I read for a couple of reasons. Some of those reasons being that I don’t have the time, the book is too short to review, sequel to a series so I don’t want to spoil, read too long ago to even do a full review or perhaps I just don’t want to spend an ample amount of time constructing one. 

So, instead, I write 3-5 mini (emphasis on the mini) reviews for the books that didn’t make my “prestige” full book review list.

 

The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1)The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
Published: October 12th 2011
Page count: 260 pages
Rating:★

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist….

Review: The first sentence of the plot summary should have been a deal breaker but I was in the middle of my first semester of college, I was stressed, pimples kept getting plastered on my face and I just wanted to read something cheesy to relieve my stress. Somehow, this book made me more stressful. Both characters were shitty which I should have known from the get go since cheating is romanticized (which this could have been avoided by, well, I don’t know, BREAKING UP WITH HIM???)  Ash was dull and frustrating, Beau was trash and everyone else and the plot was irrelevant.

20821614YOU by Caroline Kepnes
Published:September 30th 2014 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Page count: 422 pages
Rating:★★★★

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

Review: I read this almost a year ago and I have to say, I still think about this book. No, it’s not spooky, it’s not too thrilling, but it’s no doubt extremely compelling. Being in Joe’s head, knowing his every move, knowing what he’s thinking always grabbed my attention. The second person narrative absolutely enhanced the overall experience of the story.

The Grownup

The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn
Published: November 3rd 2015 by Crown
Page count: 64 pages
Rating:★★★★★

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

Review: Honestly, I rate 5 stars anything Flynn writes. Once again, Flynn left me in shocked by the end of the short story. Her characters are always complex yet beautiful and her writing definitely never lets me down. Highly recommend if you’re looking for something short yet engaging.

 

Read any of these books? Let me know down below!

 

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