Girls On the Verge – Mini Review

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Rating: 3.5 stars

“Thirty minutes feels like forever when you’re standing in a hot alley with abortion pills under your tongue.” 

I know 3-star books aren’t considered bad and this one definitely wasn’t. The reason why I rated it kind of low was that I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. It was an enjoyable read but I never found myself feeling strongly about it.

That being said, the topic of abortion is very important within the book. It’s addressed accordingly. Before I go more into the details of the story, I want to mention that I never read the Author’s Note at the end, but for this book I did. It gave me a sense of the authors’ motivation and knowledge of the topic, and it’s really impactful. Especially since the new bills have been recently passed to ban abortions and sentence women and doctors for abortions, it is more important to read this book.

This book takes place mostly in the present on the road, but with some flashbacks to when Camille found out, she was pregnant. Bea and Annabelle ride amongst Camille to receive abortion pills at the border of Mexico. It’s interesting to see them support Camille even though they have different views about abortion, especially Bea. Bea grew up in a very religious household and is against abortion but since Camille is her best friend, she fights her feelings against it in order to support her.

I believe that this was a very well written book, however, this book was very short, and some of it seemed like it was rushed. Although this book was realistic, I feel as though some of it wasn’t. Especially the timeline of their trip and the inferences along the way didn’t seem realistic.

Overall for me, this was an okay book but has a very impactful message within it that I believe that everyone should read.

What If It’s Us

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Rating: 2.5 stars

“I believe in love at first sight. Fate, the universe, all of it. But not how you’re thinking. I don’t mean it in our souls were split and you’re my other half forever and ever sort of way. I just think you’re meant to meet some people. I think the universe nudges them into your path.”

I didn’t go into this book with hardly any expectations and it’s probably a good thing because I don’t think it would have lived up them if they were higher. I think it was enjoyable in some parts but other times it was just meh.

The diversity in the book was a nice touch with ADHD, different ethnics like Puerto Rican, and sexuality. I just wished that the characters themselves were diverse because the main characters were very similar to the fact that I forgot whose perspective I was reading. The side characters were also very similar, they had the same kind of energy and the way they talked was almost the same to me.

It also seemed like there wasn’t really a plot because after they found each other after their first encounter. It was essentially Ben and Arthur have multiple dates and side characters hangout of with them and then summer ends. There wasn’t really anything special about the plot in the book.

“We all talk a big game like the universe is actually setting us up for something epic, and then everything ends. If we were all just a little more realistic, we wouldn’t keep losing people.”

Ben and Arthur are described to be very different people but when they are interacting they are very similar and it’s not in a good way. I had to occasionally check to see whose perspective I was reading. Their relationship was realistic in the beginning especially on the first couple of dates; it was awkward but it’s how you would expect going on a date with someone you don’t know. As it progressed they didn’t have any chemistry but they acted like they have been together for a longer time than they had. I do like how the authors made it show that both of the characters were flawed in their own ways, and they accepted each other. It was nice to see them knowing they have flaws, and sometimes people can get insecure about them but in this book, they didn’t make it so it consumed them.

I will say the ending was realistic. It was a plausible decision for both of them and considering they were both 17 or 18, it makes sense that they couldn’t stay in one place for the sake of the other one. I also liked how it didn’t mean that they weren’t going to see each other again, but I’m still glad they stayed in touch though.

The friends of either Ben or Arthur were okay. Dylan was kind of annoying, his energy didn’t seem realistic to me, and I think during the problems/fights he had with Ben, he didn’t understand him fully and brushed it off. Arthur’s friends felt like they didn’t seem like they were friends with him for as long as they said they have been.

Overall, this was book was okay. The characters felt underdeveloped because they were all very similar. I did enjoy different parts throughout the book, mostly through reading Arthur and Ben’s relationship because it was cute when they got past the awkward parts of the beginning of their relationship.

“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.” 

I Knew Him

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Rating: 3 stars

I want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

I read the synopsis for the book briefly and said alright, I’ll request it. I went into this book with no expectations because I only heard about it from NetGalley. It was an okay book, I still enjoyed reading it.

I really liked the character development with Julian because he starts out in a bad place because he doesn’t want other people to find out he’s bisexual, so we learn about his journey dealing with the fact that he can’t hide his feelings about it.

The beginning was fairly slow-paced, but once we got around the 40% mark, it picked up. The side characters weren’t really any special. I felt like Julian and Sky were kind of average characters. The relationship between them I did like because it was cute and a nice addition to the book.

I also liked the fact that the book accepted that not having sex was okay and that you don’t need a relationship solely with sex. With that, it talked about if you’re not ready to have sex with the person you are with, it’s okay. I feel like that doesn’t happen in a lot of YA romance books often, and it was a nice touch in this one.

Overall, it was okay. The characters were average nothing special. I found myself thinking “Oh that’s so cute!” a few times, but nothing was jaw-dropping. I think that the plot in the book was nice, nothing was left unmentioned; everything happened for a reason. It was just something that was nice and easy to read.

 

Red, White, and Royal Blue

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Rating: 4 stars

I want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

I went into this book with hardly any knowledge about this other than the fact that it has m/m romance and contains politics. I was not let down by any means, this book is fantastic. I will admit that it starts off fairly slow, but once Alex and Henry are introduced as more enemies to lovers and develop their relationship, it definitely picks up.

This book is so diverse. It has a lot of elements that fit so well into it, and nothing feels like it could have been explained more. Alex is biracial; Mexican and white. He’s also bisexual, and it was interesting to me that his history of discovering what his sexuality is, it was never exactly categorized until he met Henry, it was more of “it is what it is” and he just went with it. Alex is also the first son and his sister, June is also biracial and the first daughter. Henry is a prince, and totally gay, and it was nice to hear about that he was proud of it in his own way without anyone in his family knowing. Nora is Alex and June’s best friend who is also bisexual. And Bea, Henry’s sister, she’s known to be a former cocaine addict. All of these things are big issues, especially in the political system, but the way it was written and conveyed all throughout the novel was amazing.

I really liked the way the politics worked throughout the book. I don’t read many books dealing with politics, and this one was well written. When they were bringing up these issues, all they wanted to do was cover up from the media until became too much of a burden on their shoulders to not be open about it, especially Alex and Henry’s feelings towards each other. It shed light on what a general life is like most in America being a president and what evolves around that but also what life looks like for a prince as well. The reality they had to face when they found of Henry was gay, it had positive and negative backlash from the media and society, but it was dealt with such love and everything that it didn’t matter. 

The relationship between Alex and Henry was beautiful because they managed to communicate so well with each other long distance, and the emails they sent made my heart melt. The references to history were refreshing because I normally read books about characters talking about pop culture. It was nice how it relates to their situations and how they felt about each other but it was also teaching each other different parts of history that they haven’t learned about.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were some parts, mostly in the beginning that were slow and made me questioned if I liked it. I think this book was very well written and by the end, I had so many emotions about these characters, and the things that happened throughout the book and towards the end made me desperately want Alex and Henry together. Many books don’t make me have a lot of emotions towards either the characters or the story, but this one definitely did.

Hard Sell

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Rating: 3 stars

I want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

I requested this book off a whim of thinking that this kind of romance novel might be something that I’d enjoy. I didn’t go into this with any expectations so there couldn’t have been anything to disappoint me with.

I didn’t dislike this novel nor did I like it. It was as if I was reading it to read it. I didn’t feel any particular emotion towards this book. I think it might have had to do with the writing because it was way too informal for me. I understand why the author chose to do different character perspectives but it was too much.

This wasn’t as I was anticipating, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters because they’re not in the same social class as me and their age. I have nothing against people on Wall Street, it’s more of that I cannot connect with older adults who have a successful job and having a lot of money. I think if they had been more realistic as in, the constant going out, shopping and all that, instead they would stay inside on a Friday night or had some kind of response to the stress that they were going through would have made it more interesting. If the author hadn’t made them live basically in a perfect world, currently, then maybe things would have happened better.

The characters themselves were okay, they seemed like typical human beings, I didn’t really find one more interesting than the other. Usually, for me, I find characters more interesting and realistic during first-person perspectives but this time around, I didn’t unfortunately.

Overall, this was an okay novel. I think that if you have read this and enjoyed it, I’m happy. If you like cheesy, guilty pleasure reads, this book may be for you, even though it wasn’t for me.

Radio Silence

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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.” 

My Plain Jane

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Rating: 3 stars

“If there was something strange in your neighborhood, you could, um, write the Society a letter, and they would promptly send an agent to take care of it.” 

I went into reading this book with thinking this book had the potential to be even greater than My Lady Jane because I was rather impressed of how well that book turned out because I had fairly low expectations of that book. But this, I was very disappointed with it.

I felt as though nothing really started to happen until it was halfway through, and so the beginning was just some set up for what happens later on, and I think this book could have been condensed into 300 or so pages instead of 450. In the end, I felt that it dragged on for longer than it really needed too; I found myself saying, “I have this much to read still?”

I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the main characters since it’s based on three, Charlotte, Alexander, and Jane. I think out of those three, I liked Charlotte the most, I found she had more character to her than the others. I, however, loved Helen, I think without the comical relief she brought, it wouldn’t have been as good. She was the equivalent of the little angel on the shoulder trying to get Jane to do the right thing and steer away from trouble.

I loved the writing in this story, it was formal but not too complex to have to push through to read it. This was a fairly fast read, and I was happy that I didn’t have to read Jane Eyre before reading this one, so it didn’t change my reading experience, and I don’t think even if I had read it beforehand, and probably understood the “inside jokes” inside this story, it would have influenced my rating.

I was also disappointed in the fact that it says there’s romance in this book, but it made it sound like it would be all throughout, but in reality, the only true romance we see is in the last twenty pages, and by then, I don’t even know if that was needed because we went for so long without having any. I also don’t know how I feel about the implied romance at the very end, maybe it was just to give Jane some hope after what she had gone through previously in the novel.

My rating is still set as a 3 because although it did disappoint me, and there are more things I didn’t like that I did, I still kept reading because it still captured my attention, and the whole ghost situation was interesting enough to me.

Overall, this was a pretty underwhelming story, and I wish that the plot had been either condensed or was set out evenly throughout this book, but it didn’t. I think that if you loved Jane Eyre, you might still like this book.

“Miss Eyre, listen to me. I believe there is a string below your rib, and it stretches across class and age to me, and it is attached beneath my rib. And if you find another suitable position, and leave me, you will pull it out. And I will bleed.”

Nightingale

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Rating: 1.5 stars

I want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

I really liked the synopsis of this story, so I was pretty intrigued by that, and that’s why I requested to get an advanced copy. It was nothing like I had anticipated. I had to look a few times at the synopsis because I had to remind myself of what it was about and where it was taking place.

I thought this story took places in the 1800’s, but I was wrong, it was the 1950’s. I felt as though it didn’t really get that from the reading, it did a few times because of her mother’s type of living, making sure the house is neat while the husband is at work, and trying to get June to cook and clean as well. I also kind of saw it when June was set to date Robert, as basically an arranged marriage.

Another thing I was very confused about was the time change in the story. I felt as though there was no warning. It says either Institution or Days Past, and it may have been me being ignorant of that change but I also wasn’t quite sure what, Days Past meant because it didn’t make a connection to before she went into the institution.

I think this story was very confusing as well, the way the story was told during the Institution was hard to figure out what was going on. The characters are hard to keep track of and the reason why they were there. With June’s situation, I feel like that it was very under-explained, especially in the first half of the book. Also June’s roommate Eleanor was confusing too because she said she has died, but it’s hard to tell if it’s the mental illness talking or if she’s a ghost of some sort.

The idea of this novel being horror isn’t what I would call it. It was very underwhelming, it was more so of a mystery for me because I was trying to figure out what was happening throughout this book the entire time. It also had a similar sci-fi style, especially having to do with aliens. It jumps between before the institution and during, and it just keeps leaving me with trying to figure out why she’s there and trying to distinguish what’s real and what’s not. Even at the end, I still have no idea.

I will say that I did like June’s character the most because I feel like she’s well developed and she’s a very strong person. When her family disapproves of her passion for writing, and denial of her mental illness, she continues to do it regardless of their opinion, and she has gotten help. I also do feel sympathy for her since her parents refuse to accept her so they don’t visit while at the asylum.

I did also like the sexual orientation representation in this novel, I felt it gave it a little bit of diversity in this novel because I felt that the elements presented in this novel were very generic and standard that without it, it wouldn’t have made it somewhat interesting, character relation wise.

Overall, this was a very confusing novel and I’m not entirely sure if I’d read this again or purchase a copy when it comes out to give it another try.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

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Rating: 2 Stars

“I believed, and still believe, that you can build your dreams brick by brick. That you can accomplish anything with persistence.” 

When I heard about this book, I was excited because it dealt with a love story but also dealt with Korean Dramas. When I was entering high school, and a couple years into it, I was Korean Drama obsessed, this was before I fell in love with reading. So, I finally got this book, oh boy was I disappointed.

I gave this book two stars because there were a few things I enjoyed in this book; one being her relationship with her father. I think that their relationship is so special and I wish my relationship with my parents were like theirs, but seeing how close she is with him and being able to rely on her father is really admirable.

Another thing I liked about this book was how Desi was willing to give up her interview for Stanford just to be with Luca since his mother was rushed to the hospital. I think that shows Desi’s character well.

“Real love: It was all about risk and having faith. There were no guarantees.” 

I really didn’t like the writing in this book, it was awful. It was so immature and unrealistic of how the characters would talk. It was a struggle to make it through reading, and because of it, I almost didn’t finish it.

I saw the point with the whole Korean Drama tactics, and the fact that they worked was good but what bothered me was as I said Desi was willing to give up her Stanford interview for Luca, he refused to forgive her at first when he discovered her plan to seduce him by using Korean Drama steps.

I thought that Luca was a promising character in the beginning, but as time went on, it’s as if his persona changed entirely, and it wasn’t as good, to begin with. The scene that bothered me the most was because of the writing was the part where Luca agreed to get back together with his old girlfriend but he immediately realized she was still her old self, and they broke up, again. It’s good for Luca on his part, and I’ll say that’s a step up for him but how that scene was written was the most cringy part in the entire novel because that isn’t how people talk.

Overall, the book was very disappointing to me and was mostly because of the writing style of this book which was clearly not for me, and that some of the characters were flat but the concept of this book was a good idea so I’ll give that to the author.

“These were the girls who had boyfriends. Not girls with keratosis on their upper arms, or morning breath, or who spent an inordinate number of evenings watching K dramas with their dads, or … girls who at the age of seventeen still hadn’t had boyfriends.”

The Last Time I Lied

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Rating: 4 stars

I want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

“Everything is a game, Em. Whether you know it or not. Which means that sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes it’s the only way to win.”

This book was a whirlwind for me. I don’t read many thriller novels, but I’ve seemed to be picking more and more up recently, and so far none have disappointed.

I was engaged for a good majority, but it was a little slow in the beginning, but that’s how most books are for me. I was on edge, anxious and felt uneasy the entire time I read this book. I wanted to know what happened so bad, but there were lots of twists and turns. It’s as if you think you know what happened, something would change, and you’d have to figure something else out.

I really did like the back and forth between present time and 15 years ago, I think it helped guide the story more smoothly. It was very engaging how 15 years ago also almost tied-in with the present day and Camp Nightingale. I also loved the writing in this book, it was simple but detailed enough to keep you going, and helped imagine what was going on.

“I remember seeing him quite a bit around camp, constantly tinkering and fixing. He was younger then, of course. Better looking. Possessed a brooding intensity that intimidated some, intrigued others.”

I think Emma’s character was really developed, and the tie-in with her mental illness played out well in this book. I liked how she saw Vivian, and somehow helped her out in the end.

The other characters like Franny, Lottie, and Chet, I didn’t like very much. They just seemed very mysterious, but also very rude people to begin with. Franny didn’t seem like that in the beginning but when the other girls went missing, she was different, a little off-putting.

The other thing which I felt wasn’t exactly needed, was the weird romance between Theo and Emma. I know at the end they agreed to start over, which is great because of all that happened, it felt like it was needed. I just don’t think that there needed to be a sign of romance because it just felt like a random add-on.

Overall, this was a very detailed, engaging thriller. I really enjoyed this novel, it was fairly intense and I think that this book is totally worth the read.

“Although their eventual fate remains a mystery, I’m certain that what happened to those girls is all my fault.”