So enjoyable: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

32596757Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
First published in May 2017
Tags: Young AdultContemporary, Romance, LGBT+

Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: four stars_zps2ktftgcp

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is.
Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.


There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
Right?

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“But you know, there’s an upside here. Because when you spend so much time just intensely wanting something, and then you actually get the thing? It’s magic.”

It’s been a hot minute since I read this, but let’s try to scrape up some thoughts. 

Molly has had 26 crushes in her life. She’s never gotten to really know any of these boys, and none of them ever knew of her crush, so nothing has come of any of them. Molly scared of rejection, and most of it revolves around how she feels undesirable because of her weight. So she’d just rather not try than to try and fail and be humiliated. I think a lot of people can relate to this feeling, no matter the root of the issue. 

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They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera

33385229Title: They Both Die At the End
Author: Adam Silvera
First published in September 2017
Tags: Young AdultContemporary, LGBT+

Source: Audiobook (Storytel)
Rating: four stars_zps2ktftgcp

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

“I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line but I never ran the race.” 

Beautiful cover alert!

I think I’ll have to give up on trying to catch up on reviewing all my reads. I’ll just catch up with the most recent (English) ones. So sadly that means I’ll be skipping the review of More Happy Than Not, and instead only review this one, even though I liked MHTN better. 

They Both Die At the End is similar to More Happy Than Not in the sense that they’re both kind of science-fiction-y. And they’re both really tragic. In this one, every person is called by a company called Death-Cast on the day they’re doing to die. You don’t know how you die or why, just that sometime within 24 hours you will be dead. How do the Death-Cast people know who’s dying? We don’t really know, but it’s not the point either. 

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A Mix of YES and WTF: Release by Patrick Ness

31194576.jpgTitle: Release
Author: Patrick Ness
First published in May 2017
Tags: Young AdultContemporary, Magical Realism, LGBT+

Source: Purchased hardcover
Rating: four half_zpszfonypqk

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.


 

“When I realized how things were, when I said to myself that I am not this thing that I’ve been told I have to be, that I am this other thing instead…the label didn’t feel like a prison, it felt like a whole new freaking map, and now I can take any journey I want to take and it’s possible I might even find a home there. It’s not a reduction. It’s a key.”

Okay, so, people have mixed feelings about this book. It reminds me of The Rest of Us Just Live Here in the sense that it’s somehow both contemporary, and fantasy.

The contemporary every-day aspect of Release is the biggest part of the book, but it’s interrupted by short chapters of a truly bizarre tale about a dead drug addict looking for her killer and… a faun? I don’t know, it’s weird, and I admit I didn’t pay enough attention to it in the beginning so it went over my head a little. I’m sure if I read it more carefully I’d get it, but alas. There’s some Deep and Metaphorical Meaning here, but honestly, I just care about Adam’s storyline. 

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Sob-fest: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

32621710Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
First published in March 2017
Tags: Young AdultContemporary

Source: E-arc (NetGalley)
Rating: three half_zps8cnkrlqd

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?


Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review. 

It’s been a hot minute since I finished this book now, but I wanted to get the review up and oh lord, where to start. First off, this is just a downright tragic book. Don’t read this if you don’t want it raining on your face because I swear, you could cry through this entire book non-stop if you wanted. 

I like sad things though, so I enjoyed this reading experience. I felt for Carver and I could truly feel and understand his guilt, even though he wasn’t at fault. And that’s where one of my main issues with this book lie. The premise of this story is that Carver’s three best friends die in a car accident because the driver, Mars, was replying to a text that Carver sent. This somehow spins into an entire case where Carver is being investigated for murdering these teens because he texted Mars even though he knew he was driving at the time. HOW IS CARVER AT FAULT WHEN MARS IS THE ONE WHO WAS TEXTING AND DRIVING. I refuse to believe this would happen in real life, but who knows, I don’t know. 

Apart from me not being able to suspend my disbelief about that, I enjoyed the book. I liked getting to know these boys, who are now dead, through the “goodbye days”. My favorite goodbye days were definitely Blake’s (sob) and eventually Mars’ (sob again). At the time of finishing writing this review, Blake’s is the one I remember most vividly. 

You get to know all of these people, and it hurts that they’re dead. I found the writing truly beautiful, the panic attacks super well done, and I’m looking forward to read Zentner’s The Serpent King, which is apparently set in the same universe as Goodbye Days. I heard a TSK character has a cameo in Goodbye Days, but since I haven’t read it I don’t know who it was. If you’ve read The Serpent King you might enjoy that. 

All in all, a good read, even if I couldn’t bring myself to believe in the main premise. Let me know if this actually has happened in real life though and I’ll eat my words. There are some weird justice systems out there. 

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Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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Beautiful and important: George by Alex Gino [REVIEW]

25615902Title: George
Author: Alex Gino
First published in August 2015
Tags: Middle GradeContemporary, LGBTQIA (T)

Source: Storytel (audiobook app)
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her (4th grade) teacher announces their class play is going to be “Charlotte’s Web.” George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part …because she’s a boy.


With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.”


“Mom, what if I’m a girl?”

A mini-review for a mini-book. It’s short and sweet and definitely worth picking up because oh my god, this book is so lovely. I adored it to pieces. I listened to it on audio, and it was such a pleasant experience. 

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Another effed up tale: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas [REVIEW]

22907937Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
First published in August 2014
Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller 

Source: Purchased
Rating:  photo three half_zps8cnkrlqd.png

It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder…? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces…


 

Okay, so last year I read Abigail Haas’ Dangerous Girls. It was one of my favorite reads of the year and I knew I had to get my hand on this one again. I have a thing for stories about messed up teens that mess with your head. The two books are not connected whatsoever despite their similar titles, the only common ground is the fact that they’re both thriller novels about teens where someone’s dead but we don’t know why or how. 

We have the narrator Chloe, who’s just graduated and dreams of getting out of the town and go to college like all her friends. However, her mother suffers from severe depression (which was written very well, I thought) and Chloe realizes she has no choice but to stay home and take care of her. Enter Ethan, a sweet and handsome boy she quickly becomes attracted to. They start dating. And then, enter Ethan’s older brother, Oliver. He’s  what you could call a typical “bad boy,” who seduces and gets under your skin even though he’s a giant jackass. Pretty sure Oliver is a sociopath. 

What we know from the beginning is that Chloe’s pulling one brother out of a burning lake house, while the other one is left to die inside. Now, why were they at the house? Which brother’s dead? Was it an accident or was it murder? 

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Emotionally Captivating: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick [REVIEW]

18774013Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
First published by in January 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: Library

Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.


In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

 

You ever feel like you’re sending out a light but no one sees it?

First off, the name Leonard Peacock is amazing. Second, this book is amazing. I’ve wanted to read it ever since the first time I read the synopsis, and when I found it at the library I just had to bring it home.

I inhaled it in one sitting. Wow. This is exactly the kind of book I love to read. As someone who loves to read about dark, twisted, and dangerous people, especially teens, this was perfect for me. Poor, poor Leonard. Someone give him a hug and a good psychiatrist. The way he so desperately wanted to be saved broke my heart.

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