I read some really great and really not so great YA books over the summer!
Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins – 3.5 stars
I definitely like My True Love Gave to Me better than this one.
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo: 3 stars
This one was just alright for me. I didn’t really connect with the characters and they seemed a little generic to me. I figured out the plot twist pretty early, so that was disappointing. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the story other than it was predictable.
The End of Love by Nina LaCour: 4 stars
This one was really cute! It made me want to look into reading more by Nina LaCour.
Last Stand At The Cinegore by Libba Bray: 2.5 stars
This just really wasn’t for me. I wasn’t really looking for reading a horror story and it was just a little too out-there for me.
Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block: 1 star
I just really didn’t enjoy what happened at the end of this story and it completely ruined the rest of the story for me.
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins: 4.5 stars
It was so great to catch up with the characters from her story in My True Love Gave to Me. I really enjoyed reading about where they were and what happened once they reconnected.
Souvenirs by Tim Federle: 3.5 stars
The main love interest was kind of a jerk, so I wasn’t the biggest fan of the story. But it was pretty cute overall.
Inertia by Veronica Roth: 4 stars
I love the idea of getting to share last memories with someone who is going to die soon. I feel like it is a way to get some closure. And I liked how the story ended up playing out afterwards.
Love Is The Last Resort by Jon Skovron: 4.5 stars
I just really liked all of the characters in the story. I liked that they all supported each other and that they worked together to make sure each other were happy.
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert: 3 stars
Again, this was just alright for me. I didn’t particularly care for the main characters and I didn’t really want them to end up together, to be honest.
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare: 3 stars
It had a clear story arc, but I was still not totally into the story. But that was mainly because I wasn’t particularly looking to read about a dark carnival where dark magic is involved.
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith: 5 stars
I absolutely loved the representation of Autism and Asperger’s that Smith had. I love that one of the main love interests is on the spectrum. I just loved all of the characters and the story and everything was just cute. I almost wish that this was a full-length novel rather than just a short story.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman: 4.5 stars
I loved the idea of the same day repeating over and over but the two main characters looking for little perfect moments. I was trying to figure out why the day was repeating, and was completely wrong when it was revealed, which I liked. Plus, Sean Bean cameo. It was overall a really cute read.
Everland by Wendy Spinale – 4 stars
I really really enjoyed this retelling of Peter Pan. I’ve never read the original story, but I’m really familiar with the Disney version and one of my favorite movies is Finding Neverland. I thought adding the steampunk aspect was brilliant. I loved how all of the characters had distinct personalities and that they stayed true to their original version without being a copycat version. I liked that Gwen and Peter went from almost immediately hating each other to respecting each other to something more like a relationship. I loved the idea of why they are the Lost Boys. I actually really liked Hook and his origin story. I am really looking forward to the next book. Though I do wonder how they expect to get to where they are going when they are in a Marauders ship…it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out!
All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely – 5 stars
Wow. Just wow. I have no words right now.
Everyone needs to read this. Just stop what you’re doing right now and go pick up this book.
The writing is beautiful. The story is hard to get through. But it’s so relevant it hurts.
I am so torn on the ending. I love it the way it is. It’s so powerful. But I still also kinda want to know what ended up happening for Rashad. Did he ever get the true justice he deserves?
My only complaint is the texting in the book. I honestly don’t think that teenagers text that badly, and I don’t know why, but it really bothered me. But that is a personal thing.
The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer – 1 star
I have feelings – most are not positive
So I told myself that I would get the receipts as to how many times Meyer used abuse (whether physical or sexual) in the backgrounds of her female vampire characters, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go through the book again, even skimming. And I realized too late that I should have been keeping track. But just know, there is an abundant amount of this bullshit used by Meyer and literally none of the male vampires have to go through that. The worse a male character has to go through, really, is Emmett being mauled by a bear. I kinda enjoyed Alice’s story, as sick as that is, because it makes perfect sense for her. However, I was less than impressed with the rest of the Cullens’ stories because we read almost all of them in the main series. I was also hoping for a bit more about Renesmee’s future, but it literally cuts off where she was born. The werewolf stories were boring. It was kind of cool to read about the rest of the vampires. The illustrations of the characters were gorgeous, but for an illustrated guide, there was a serious lack of them. Really. It was just the Cullens, Victoria, James, Laurent, Jacob, a tiny picture of Charlie (no Renee), and I think some of the human characters. The rest of the pictures were just of unnecessary things like the Cullens’ house. The interview at the beginning of the book was long and again unnecessary. The timeline at the end doesn’t match up with the previous entries. There are several typos. The car section was stupid. And just. Yeah. I’m kinda glad I only paid like $2 at my Half Price Books because reading this was a waste of time.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – 5 stars
This book solidified to me that I am turning into Hades/Persephone trash and that I need to read more retellings. I also really want to read more Indian mythology.
So basically, I was freaking out the entire second and third parts because I needed my babies to get back together. I just. I was about to throw my book at the wall when I still had 20 pages left and they were still not together.
As with The Vishakanya’s Choice, the writing was absolutely beautiful. I am happy to call myself a Roshani Chokshi fangirl and she is an auto-buy for me now. I cannot wait until A Crown of Wishes comes out because a) I need more of Chokshi’s writing and b) I need more of Gauri because she’s one of my babies now, too.
I love the rich world building and how fast-paced the story was. I love Amar and how mysterious he is but also how much he truly cares for Maya. I love Maya and how independent and strong she is and also how much she fights for Amar in the end. I just love these two together and need more.
While it’s definitely a strong standalone and I am happy with the way it ended, I so wish there was a true sequel and not just a companion novel (though like I said earlier, I am pumped for it!). I just need to see Amar and Maya ruling together side by side as equals being all powerful and also crazy in love and just aahhhh.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy – 3.5 stars
I was super excited to read this, especially after seeing a decent amount of positive reviews. However, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with Willowdean. I myself am a fat girl, so I did understand where her self-hatred/insecurities comes from, but at the same time, there were points where I thought it was over the top. I also thought she was an absolute shit friend to Ellen when Willowdean finds out that Ellen is also doing the pageant. It’s not like Willowdean had the only right to compete. Though to be fair, I wasn’t on Team Callie and thought that Ellen should’ve stuck up for Willowdean a little bit more seeing as they were best friends for basically their entire life.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the relationship between her and Bo. It just felt weird and almost forced at places. I also felt really bad for Mitch. He was genuinely into Willowdean and she just kinda used him as a crutch at times. Or at least, that’s the feeling I got from their interactions.
I’m glad that Ellen and Willowdean made up in the end, but I wanted more in the ending. It just didn’t live up to the hype for me.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – 4 stars
I really hate to say that this did not live up to the hype for me. I did enjoy listening to Lin Manuel-Miranda narrate the audiobook. But I also found the dialogue to be choppy and was not a fan of the super short chapters. I did love the diversity in the book, and I appreciated that this is a coming of age story revolving around discovering one’s identity in more than just one aspect. I’m not really sure I can put my finger on why this isn’t a 5-star read for me, but it just isn’t. I kind of understand where Ari’s anger issues are coming from, but there were times when I thought he was being an asshole just to be an asshole (like almost every time he interacted with Gina and Susie). I don’t know. I just didn’t really connect with Ari or Dante the way I was expecting, I guess. I’m really sad that this wasn’t a 5-star read for me because I had such high hopes. But then again, that might be why. I might have been expecting too much.