Rating: 3.5 stars

“I couldn’t quite believe how much I seriously loved Aled Last, even if it wasn’t in the ideal way that would make it socially acceptable for us to live together until we die.”

I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved a lot of it, but there was this off-putting feeling about it as well that has made me not like it either. I will say as of right now, the rating I have given it will remain, and when I give it more thought, I may change it.

I did really like the characters a lot, I thought they were very well developed and special, and just overall realistic.

I really liked the concept of having a platonic relationship. In most young adult books, there never the main focus of a book, they’re always in the backdrop. It’s always focused on romance, and then having the friendships basically as subplots, but as much as I love romances, I feel as though it’s unrealistic. Friendships are key factors in life, maybe even a bigger role than that significant others because friends are more likely to last longer than other relationships unless they get married, and even then, some marriages fail.

I cannot exactly relate to this whole platonic friendship exactly because I don’t have many friends, I only have one, and even then it doesn’t even feel like a full-time friendship. And of course, I’ve had friends in the past, but I don’t really remember much about their lives, or our friendship altogether. But this book only made me want a friend, someone like Aled, or even Frances.

“Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to get into university.” 

I do appreciate how this author has put non-heterosexual relationships in this book, and none of them were ever detested because of it. It was more so normal for people to be heterosexual. I also really liked the different types of sexuality that was presented in this novel, for example, Aled was Demi-sexual, which means that he isn’t sexually attracted to anyone, and is only willing to have sex or a relationship if they feel emotionally connected with another person. And that is what I am as well, so I’m glad I could relate in that aspect.

I also liked the diversity of the characters. Examples, Frances is biracial (Ethiopian and Caucasian), Aled is demisexual, Daniel is gay and Korean, Carys is a lesbian, and Raine is Pansexual and Indian. I mean you don’t typically see this many diverse characters in young adult, and I’m really glad the author decided to portray these characters so uniquely.

I thought Frances’s mother was so cool, she seemed a bit strict at the beginning about school, and towards the end, she loosened up and was okay with Frances’s choices and how helpful and considerate she was to others, was really great. I think we all can say that Aled’s mother, wasn’t so great.

I think the whole concept of Carys running away was portrayed very weirdly. It was as if it was leading towards a mystery way, and it seemed random. I didn’t see why it needed to be conveyed that way, I understand that they didn’t know what exactly had happened to her, but if it was straightforward in the beginning, it didn’t really need the jumping around, mystery aspect.

The overall concept of Universe City was interesting because we only got a glimpse of the episode, and I felt that as a reader, it felt that it should have been explained more to us. The meaning behind it was really good but in the sense of how we discovered it almost felt rushed.

I did appreciate how the author even made the approach to add in abuse, because the way it was phrased in the story was that it isn’t the “normal” abuse that we see with physical and verbal, it was the fact that it was just harsh punishment for not living up to the parent’s expectations, and yet even then can deal great damage to someone’s emotional state. Which it did, after seeing how Aled’s mental health declined, was saddening, but also very realistic.

I think the thing that left me with feeling like I didn’t enjoy it as much is because I felt as though I didn’t fully connect with this story overall. I did feel excited when they went to Aled in the end, but I think the disconnection of Aled and Frances for a long while in the middle of the story, through off that balance for me.

Overall, I still am having mixed feelings about this novel. I really enjoyed the diversity and the different aspects it brought, but I still can’t give it higher than 3.5, for now. I still would recommend people to read this.

“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.” 

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