Tyler Johnson Was Here| A Book About Loving Your Blackness and Fighting For Those Who Can’t Fight For Themselves

Tyler Johnson Was HereTyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Goodreads Summary: When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean

TW: Racism, Police Brutality, Death of a Family Member/Sibling, Grief

TheBlackLit (3)

“I tell myself that I love this skin, that I’ve always loved my blackness, that if the world doesn’t love me, I will love myself for the both of us.”

OKAY, THIS IS NEARLY 5 STARS IF IT WASN’T FOR THE WEIRD PACING.

Although my rating may not reflect it, this was the best depiction of police brutality, the black lives matter movement, and racism.

This book made me tear up literally 4x

BLACK LOVE. Don’t get me wrong, I love interracial relationships (I’m mixed myself), but I HARDLY SEE BLACK LOVE AND IM DIGGING IT. God this book was just so pro black 😭😭✊🏿Also, being black in a predominantly white setting is relatable. I love that it talked about not wanting to be a “token.”THE FRIENDSHIPS IS JUST SO PRECIOUS

TheBlackLit (5)

The Plot/Pacing

My only gripe with this book is the weird pacing. According to the synopsis, we know that a police officer shoots Marvin’s twin brother, Tyler without any cause. However, we actually didn’t get to that point until about 50-60% of the book so for about half of the book, Marvin is worried the whereabouts of his brother, but we know that he’s dead. I don’t know if this was a creative decision by the author but I just thought it was awkward and kind of made the book slower paced than it needed to be.

The Characters

Marvin was just the best. Although he’s passionate about academics and his future, he recognizes the importance of caring for the ones he loves. His strong bond with his brother is so sensible, and his worries about his brother make the audience worried as well.  He also cares for the well-being of his friends, his mother and even his crude principal who constantly puts him down. However, don’t think he is incapable of standing up for himself because he does that several times throughout the book. Marvin overall is just an extremely compassionate character and one I won’t forget.

I would also like to mention the diverse set of side characters. We have POC and queer side character that are naturally included. We even get a glimpse of the hardships that different marginalized groups have to endure, including deportation.

There’s also huge importance of friendships. Marvin and his friend group were just so precious and healthy. You know when a tragic event happens to a character, and he withdraws himself from their friends, but the friends get all butthurt, so the character apologizes? Guess what, it’s non-existent in this book. The friends are understanding empathetic. They still care for Marvin even though he slips away from them. Marvin also acknowledges his behavior which again demonstrates just how selfless he is.

No relationship drama and no friend drama…this book is underrated.

The Romance

One thing I find iffy about these types a book that explicitly is about a social issue is the incorporation of romance. For some reason, I just find them unnecessary and never really fully developed. However, I adored the relationship between Marvin and Faith. It felt authentic and not really just added for kicks. Also, this is an all black romance! Now, I know that you may be wondering, “but Q, interracial is amazing, right? You’re biracial yourself!” Yes, I understand it’s importance since our westernized society is mixing, even more, these days and overall just promotes inclusion. I love reading about interracial relationships, especially when both persons are POC (Let’s Talk About Love!). However, I rarely see a black/black romance in ANY YA novel, so this was just a breath of fresh air! The way Marvin treats describes respects faith is just beautiful. Black people loving other black people is so meaningful, and I want to read more of these types of relationships. Also a YA book without the miscommunication trope?!?!?!?!

Race, College, Police Brutality

“Who gets to be free?
Is someone free when they don’t have to think about the way people look at them or treat them because of the color of their skin? Is someone free when they don’t have to spend time on this earth with people who have hearts made of hate? Or is someone only really free when they’re no longer a part of this world?”

Like I said before, Marvin is ambitious when it comes to his life after college. He thinks he wants to go to MIT but questions if he’s the right fit. Okay, it’s no lie that when it comes to non-historically black colleges, the black population is significantly lower than other races (at least when it comes to Califonia universities). He questions his fit when a college recruiter repeatedly hints they only want Marvin not just because of his stellar grades and extracurriculars (both that fits the MIT build), but because of the color of his skin and even his “tragic” story. He feels uncomfortable when they imply that they think his brother getting shot was an “obstacle” he had to jump. Getting a shot by a person who is supposed to protect and serve the community is not an obstacle (college admissions get off on tragedy porn). When it comes to affirmative action or other similar topics, think that people of color want a higher advantaged because of their race which is not true at all (I can talk about this topic forever). Marvin is a pivotal example of black people not wanting to become a token at a higher institution. Black people want the equity of treatment.

The book also addresses the opposition when it comes to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. Marvin makes it clear the “All Lives Matter” is just a phrase to silence marginalized voices because the “all” means just white. Marvin makes it clear that, yes, not all police officers are bad, but that doesn’t mean we ignore the blatant superiority and racism that many of them do possess. Marvin makes it clear that it shouldn’t matter if his brother were a “thug” or a straight As student because no one deserves to die, especially black people. That’s why I said in my initial thoughts that I believe this to be one of the best books that talks about the Black Lives Matter movement because it debunks so many of the false narratives opposers tries to push. 

TheBlackLit (7)

There are so many other topics that are discussed in this book such as toxic masculinity, gang violence, representation in popular culture, and mass incrimination, but I don’t want this to be a 10-page review. I will just say if you read this book, you will fall in love with Marvin, the brilliant writing and I will guarantee that this book will stick with you. I also recommend the audiobook because there are some extras that you might enjoy!


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Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg {Review}

16100972Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate break down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate feeling different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

CURRENT GIVEAWAY —–> HERE

-Review-

We were dancers and drummers and standers and jugglers, and there was nothing anyone needed to accept or tolerate. We celebrated.

This was such an amazing read. I know my star rating doesn’t reflect my feelings but this was truly astounding.

Rafe was such a lovely cute but oh-so frustrating character to follow. Rafe leaves his old like to go to this all boy prep school and tries to abandon his label as the “gay kid.” Labels suck,  there’s a reason why I love the quote “labels are for jars and not for people.” I was 100 percent behind Rafe when it comes to this philosophy.

But… oh Rafe you simple fluffy cupcake. I love you, I truly do but you were so not smart about everything. It was so difficult to read through this book because when it comes to lying, especially in a possible relationship, nothing can end well. Despite this fact, I actually still enjoyed reading his voice and seeing how he justifies certain decisions in his mind.

What really did it for me was the side characters. I love Toby and his wild self (even though he sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time). I loved Rafe’s best friend Claire and despite some of the things she says in the beginning, she always has Rafe’s back. Rafe’s parents are honestly the best and probably one of the most supporting parents in YA history. They are a tad over the top but you can tell they truly love their son and would never ask or want him to change.

And of course, the love interest, Ben. I wanted to shake Ben and tell him so many times that “YOU AND RAFE ARE DESTINED TO BE TOGETHER” It’s so obvious it honestly hurts my little heart. Ben is that typical philosophical always got something  wise to say type of guy but I surprisingly still loved him. Ben and Rafe’s relationship was so darn adorkable and was so well developed.

I LOVED how the book explored the difference between tolerance and acceptance. My views on these two words changed me completely and if you read this, you will change too. The book also dives into the topics of listening and self-confidence. Definitely made me think.

Despite these amazing elements of the story, I’m going to have to say some not so positive things about this book. One thing I hated was how we had to read about Rafe play sports with his jock buddies. It was just so descriptive and long and frankly sooo boring. I feel like that’s a personal preference but I felt like there could have been a better or more engaging way to describe these sporty scenes.

Also, even though I loved the relationship between Rafe and Ben, it’s ultimately built on lies. So many times, I wanted to scream at Rafe because so much drama could have been easily avoided if Rafe just spoke during certain situations. RAFE I LOVE YOU BUT PLEASE JUST STOP OVERTHINKING EVERYTHING. I was just so vexed about the situation.

I will tell you that this book is incredibly diverse. We have a gay Jewish main character, POC representation for mental illness and other LGBTQIA+ side characters.  I heard the next book is even better on representation and I look forward to reading about more people. This book is also OWN VOICES so it’s even better!

Openly Straight was a great novel about being proud of who you are and this certainly made me proud to be who I am.

Reading this, I hope you too will love yourself.

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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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Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung {Review}

 

Lucy and LinhLaurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle of girls who wield power over their classmates – and some of their teachers.

Entering this world of wealth and secrets is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches The Cabinet in action, and is courted by them – as she learns about power and repression – Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity.

Few genres are more enthralling than the school story. In Laurinda, the acclaimed Alice Pung tells an involving, original story that captures the drama and pain of school life today, as well as revealing much about the choices of young women.

REVIEW

Lucy and Linh was marketed as a “literary Mean Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat” so naturally, I was excited. If you watched Mean Girls, you would probably know how this story would end but nonetheless it wasn’t about how the story end but rather how Lucy would get there. Lucy and Linh captures the life of a fifteen year old Chinese girl, who came from parents who immigrated from Vietnam to Australia as refuges, accepting her status, culture and most importantly herself. The story is beautifully written in the form of letters to her best friend, Linh.

(NOT RELEVANT TO THE REVIEW) I would also like to point out that the author comes from a similar background as Lucy which is pretty neat! Also fun fact, there’s another title of this book: Laurinda.

CONT

Lucy earns a full ride scholarship to the prestigious all girls school, Laurinda. What sets her apart from everyone at the school is her background. While all the parents of the students have fancy dancy jobs, Lucy’s dad has a job at a factory while Lucy’s mom (who speaks no english) sews in their garage. As the reader, we get to see how she maneuvers in Laurinda without losing her moral compass and letting the eminent Laurinda consume her.

And that’s all that is about. No romance! No drama about who she’s going to take to the dance, no any of that. Instead of Lucy focusing on boy relationships, she focuses on the relationship of her parents, teachers and peers.

And honesty, that was refreshing

It took me a while to connect with Lucy but I soon began to relate to her a lot despite our different cultural backgrounds. I also used to be the new girl and I also used to be the girl with no friends and so the administration had to tell the students to include me in their activities. I also  found that Lucy was smart, even though a lot of characters in the novel thought otherwise. She has this knack to see through others and sometimes throws backhanded  ridicule at them without them even knowing. I also appreciated how they story focused more on her identity. Where she fits in at Laurinda, what is considered to be the “Laurinda spirit,” how can she succeed if she didn’t believe in herself?

Lucy ‘s  dry sense of humor is something I can’t help but commend, even though students at Laurinda can’t spot sarcasm.

“What part of China are you from?” Aaron asked me, in the way you would as a four-year old to hold a handful of fingers to show their age.

“I was born in Vietnam.”

“Hmm, how does that work?”

“Well, my mum went into labor and I popped out.”

“What?”

(NOT RELEVANT TO THE REVIEW) I get those “how does that work” questions when I tell people that my mom is German and that most of my family are Hispanic, Dominican and Filipino (then there’s just me, the one random ass black girl. Though next month, my sister is marrying a half Filipino and half black guy so now I won’t be the only black person at family gatherings). It’s like, wow, people have never heard of interracial marriages before. I don’t know why, but that quote flooded a lot of memories for me.

CONT

We now get to the nitty gritty. Pung introduces us to a trio called the “Cabinet” (Brodie, Amber and Chelsea) who supposedly runs the school (much like the Plastics in Mean Girls). They were used more as satire because I can’t imagine the things they did are quite realistic but I think the exaggeration was needed to drive the plot. These girls I guess you can say keep the school in order. They are the top dogs of the social order. Instead of being right in your face about it, it’s subtle which makes them even more “dangerous.” They’re the classic teachers pets while treating everyone like pets too. Lucy spends a lot of the time in story observing them but one day, they decided to put her under their wing. However, Lucy is smart and saw right through them, right then and there. She sees she’s use as a pawn just to prove how diversity the school is and how popular girls come in an assortment of colors. “Oh we’re so diverse!”

Speaking of diversity, the novel also tackled the issues on race, class and privileged, all oh-so relevant today. There were racists remarks curtsy of the Cabinet (“curry cruncher?”) and Lucy coming to terms of other privileged and even her own (despite her having significantly less than the people at her school). Before she got accepted to her new school, Lucy accepted where she came from because she went to a school where everyone had similar backgrounds. In Laurinda, Lucy was sort of taken back on how different everyone was compared to her. She started to question her own culture, becoming insecure.

One instance that I could remember at the top of my head was when Lucy’s dad brought home McDonalds to celebrate a movie that was going to be on TV about the war. He wanted to have Lucy bring her “friends” over but she told him he didn’t invite them (because she was too embarrassed about her house). She then thought how the Cabinet would think if they came over to eat McDonalds with them since it would probably be foreign to them. She thought the Cabinet would be disgusted with the McDonalds (rich or not, McDonalds fries will always be life, though I recently found out they use Beef-flavoring, not vegetarian or vegan friendly *sighs*).

I  have to applaud Pung for making the this story work. When you hear the synapses, some might stray away cause it may seem childish but her writing and character development really demolishes those worries.

Although it may seem unappealing to most people since many  (including me) are tired of the petty mean girl trope, it was actually engrossing. The Cabinet were kind of morally grey characters because at one point you like them, but then at another you despised them, especially with some of the pranks they pulled on others. They are actually generally nice but once someone started rise above the status quo, they make sure they stayed down. But what sets them apart from Regina’s clique is how involve their parents are (story wise). Amber’s mom shows great interest in Lucy because of her culture and the other moms pretend they know about all about Lucy’s ethnicity by adverting to stereotypes. The parents are highly involve in their lives socially and academically and so they are quite active in the plot.

The only negative thing that kinda ticked me off throughout the novel was the main character judging every SINGLE PERSON in the book. She judges her parents, her teachers, her friend Katie for talking to much, and the Cabinet (calling them, in her words, “slutty virgins”). The last 3 could be justified but I hate it when people call other people sluts or something similar.

Also, the beginning is awfully slow, like really slow. It took me quite awhile to reach the 100 page mark. This felt like a 500 page book rather than a 350 pager. I almost DNFed it, yikes! However, I pushed through and after the 150 mark, the ball started rolling. Soon, I started to like Lucy and I loved Lucy’s family, especially her parents. They were so realistic and hardworking and it was refreshing because I feel like in a lot of YA books it’s either authoritarian parents (extremely strict) or permissive/nonexistent (pushovers) and I just wanted to see the authoritative parents for once (mixture of both). Lucy’s mom was probably the best because although she may seem rude and over exaggerates things, she gives some advice that really hits home with me. I think when we doubt ourselves, we need Lucy’s mom to tell us to get our shit together.

The ending was surprising in a way you wouldn’t expect. I know that contradicts what I said in the beginning but it will surprise you in a way you wouldn’t expect.

I truly adored this coming-of-age book. The themes made me think of my background, where I come from and how my experiences affected me today and how will it affect me in the future. I know what I may have described above may seem like petty high school drama but it’s truly remarkable (in my experience, high schoolers were extremely petty, since social media plays a huge role nowadays).

I’m glad I didn’t give up on Lucy and Linh and I hope you don’t either.

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Series I REALLY want to complete (2017)

Alright, I think it’s time to admit something..

I have an addiction of not finishing series.

Whew

It’s not that I LOVE having so many unfinished series but I just really suck at completing them. I start a series, scream OMG I LOVE THIS SERIES, and then never even start the second book. Well, it’s 2017 and I have a feeling that this might be my reading year…hopefully. SO, here are the top 5 series that I will hopefully complete in the new year!

Warning: There are a few cringe worthy puns…sorry.

 

17756559The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutksoski 

Read: Only book 1

I read The Winner’s Curse in 2015! It’s 2017 and I have yet to even read the second book. BUT I still am interested in the story but I might have to look at a spoilery review so if you wrote one (I did but there were no spoilers whoops) or know someone who did, let me know!

 

 

8709527

BloodLines Series by Richelle Mead

Read: Books 1-3

This series has been on my,  “YES I WILL FINISH THIS” lists for sometime now and yet, it has not been crossed out. At least I’m half way through the series. I just need to sit down and binge read these books. It doesn’t take me a long time to read Richelle’s Meads books because her writing it’s so addicting! I love them and I think it’s about time I finish this series that I have been reading since 2014!

 

6345999Death Note Manga Series by Tsugumi Ohba

Read: Vol 1-Vol5

Another series I started in 2014 that I have yet to complete. This one is the one I will hopefully finish by the end of the month. HOPEFULLY is the key word here. I love L so much, he’s such a cutie. He will be the death of me.

 

 

 

Poison Study (Study, #1)

The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder 

Read: Books 1-2

Okay, so I can’t tell if this is a trilogy or if this is a series because the 4th book is also part of the soulfinders series. I’m just going to assume it’s a trilogy so I can finish the series faster. I ‘ve enjoyed the world, the characters and just everything about it. Valek just yes, yes and yes. He’s poisoning my mind… I want to read the entire chronicles of Ixia but I’m not going to make that a goal this year (if it happens then great!).

12954620Falling Kingdom Series by Morgan Rhodes

Read: Books 1-3

This one isn’t finished yet but I think it’s supposed to conclude by the end of this year. I really really like this series because it’s fun, the characters are morally grey and I just like where the story is moving. I guess you can say I’m falling in love with this series??? However, there are two books that I still haven’t read that are already out but I am giving myself some time to read these since the last book won’t be released until November.

I will finish these series I will finish these series I will finish these series

Do you have trouble with finishing series?  

 

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Goodreads Summary: Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.

Review

I don’t know if I’m being too generous with my star rating, or if I’m not being generous enough. It was a gripping story, without having too much plot. It was a story of self-love, acceptance and getting over one’s fears.

Some people criticize this book because they feel as if this isn’t “realistic.” I don’t know if this is “realistic” because I never had to go through the same struggles Amanda had to endure. However, I do confidently feel that every person’s experience is different and it took me a while to come to terms with that notion. Not everyone is going to have the same experience as each other, that would make life too easy.  Not ever trans person is going to have the same experience, not every bisexual is going to have the same experience (trust me on that one lmao). Some are positive, some are negative. This one was a mixture of both and is one that everyone should read. Hell, everyone should read multiple perspectives in my opinion.

If I Was Your Girl is not the depressive, heart-wrenching, serious book that I was expecting. Instead, I got a cutesy, light romance which actually is refreshing. Yes, suicide and depression are common topics in the book, but it didn’t seem that they took the spotlight. Amanda finding friends, love, acceptance were the ones that triumph. I awed at the cheesiness of Amanda and Grant, I squealed at the star wars references (the homecoming proposal MY HEART) and I just I loved everything about it.

I adored Amanda. It was hard to really criticize Amanda. Her ambition, her road to self-love, her strength was amazing. In the author’s note, Russo was afraid that the whole book would seem preachy, but to me, it didn’t. I felt like I wasn;t forced to sympathize her, I felt like I wasn’t forced to accept her or to just like her. I just did all those things because she was an awesome fucking person. I think Amanda is a strong, stunning character that everyone wants to root for, everyone wants her to get a happy ending. What’s amazing about this is that no one gave her the happy ending, she created it. In her words she “deserved it.”  Yes girl, you absolutely did.

Furthermore, we are also introduced to a cast of characters that we get to mildly explore.

Grant: Oh Grant, I love you I love you I love you. I loved that you put Parker at his place when he making sexuality jokes, I love how hardworking you are, I love that you love Amanda *sighs.*  He’s a complex character with his own struggles at home and has experienced a great deal of loss. I love how he wants to understand. When Amanda’s secret was finally revealed, I feared what might happen to his character and his relationship with Amanda. At the end, what happened, happened and I hope that both Amanda and Grant can move forward.

Bee: Bisexual and the one who, besides Grant, is the closest to Amanda. They ditch art together, make jokes and tell each other secrets. I stopped liking Bee at the end because well if you read if you know.

Chloe: Although we don’t get to explore her story a whole bunch, we do get to discover a little about herself such as her living on a farm and also a secret she’s been hiding. I ended up really enjoying her presence in the story

Amanda’s Dad: This one is the big one. Throughout the story, he urges Amanda to keep everything on the DL and to just graduate. He inadvertently picks fights with Amanda and can see his constant struggle. He’s timid, a little intimidating and has an alcohol problem, but you can tell he still loves his daughter. It almost reminds me of my own relationship with my father (though that’s a different story since we are only on texting terms and have never actually spoke to one another in over 5 years).

There were plot holes and the story could have easily been longer. I thought it was rushed and I was hoping Amanda would reveal her transition in a better fashion rather than what really happened. If I recall right, the turning point happened really close to the end. Everyone’s reactions seemed to be rushed and I was hoping it would be more fleshed out. However, I really did like the ending because it ended on a hopeful note.

Honestly, that is what Amanda represents–hope.

“You can have anything once you admit you deserve it.”

 

If you read this far, thank you very much!

What are your thoughts?

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge Day 3

I was tagged (ALMOST A YEAR AGO) to do the 3 days 3 quotes challenge by Naomie @professionalfangrl. Thank you so much for tagging me and I’m sorry for this being hella late but hey better late than never(?)

THE RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day.

 

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An old favorite of mine. I take this quote to heart because I’ve always had trouble expressing who I am since I come from a VERY conservative family. I always felt broken because I never felt comfortable in my family and so it was difficult for me to be a “family oriented” person. This year, I’m making it a goal to tell someone my struggles, tell someone who I am and to EXPRESS myself.

YEAH I COMPLETED THE CHALLENGE

TAG YOU’RE IT

@anyone who wants to participate.

TELL ME YOUR FAVORITE QUOTES

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