The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

What is there to say about this book that hasn’t been said already? Honestly it’s such an important book and I feel I shouldn’t really be reviewing it because it’s not my place as a white woman. However I want to write a review to try and put my feelings into words really.

I thought I understood Black Lives Matter pretty well prior to reading this but now I feel on a whole other level. I’m always going to be learning about the struggles black people, and black women more specifically face on a day to day basis and I could never truly understand it because i come from a place of privilege. 

What really struck me with this book was that it dealt with such horrible issues and would have a scene that would shock the daylights out of you or make you feel really affected then the next you would be laughing your heart out. Angie Thomas really has a knack for making you think whilst laughing at the same time. 

I honestly feel like this book should be required reading for every person especially kids in their formative years to really understand privilege and race issues. Like I just feel like my life has been changed by reading this book that’s how much of an affect is has had on me. 

I absolutely adored Starr, our MC, she’s feisty and smart but not scared to learn. She’s loyal and proud and I feel like a lot of young black girls will be able to see themselves in her. She doesn’t have the typical “sassy” personality that black women are always portrayed as having she feels real, which isn’t to say sassy black women don’t exist but they’re not as common as the media portrays.

I cannot wait to see what Angie Thomas writes next because I feel like whatever it is it’ll be magic. 

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The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle

Arianna Barrington needs to get away from her mother after a sex tape leaks of her, so she flies with her brother to New Orleans where she meets Sol DuMont, hotel mogul. Sol is still getting over the loss of his dad, the breakdown of his marriage and his complete lack of interest in life. The pair instantly click and begin a wild affair.

As a chubby girl this book meant so much to me. The MC is fat and I’ve read a fair few romance books in my life but this was such a breath of fresh air and it didn’t make me feel like an absolute mess who could never get a man because I’m not thin enough. And to add to that the love interest is a bi male, and it’s not just like a stated fact either, he references his past relationships with men and flirts with other guys a lot. You don’t read a lot of bi men in books. I think the biggest thing that I loved was just how casual everything was, from Arianna’s weight to Sol’s sexuality. Arianna is fat and it’s not made out to be a bad thing, it’s not made out that she’s beautiful despite being fat. She’s beautiful and she’s fat, it felt quite empowering for me to read.

Now there was insta-love in this, however when you’re reading it you kind of forget about the concept of time and just fall so into the story and Rain and Sol’s relationship. There was a couple of times where I did roll my eyes at how fast they seemed to be moving but the characters themselves were aware of how fast their lives were moving and weren’t acting like what they had was normal.

Any book is better if it includes dogs and this was extra good because it has a corgi and corgis are some of the cutest funniest dogs out there. Corgis are high up on my list of dogs I want to own so reading this made me so happy whenever there was a scene with the dog.

There is an age gap in this book, and if that makes you uncomfortable don’t read it. However consent is very important, and Sol is very aware how much more experience he has compared to Rain and tries very hard to make sure that he isn’t don’t anything to lead her into something she might not be into.

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Our MC is on the verge of divorce from her husband after he gets to the end of his tether with her putting her job before family and so he goes to visit his family for Christmas leaving her there. She finds a phone that magically allows her to speak to her husband in the past before they were married with kids and this helps her think about where she wants her life to go.

I felt like I couldn’t really relate to the characters because I’ve never been married and they were much older than me. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but at times it felt like I didn’t really get their motives because I’ve never been in any situations like it.

I absolutely adored the idea of this one phone being a gateway into your past. And that whilst in the past it was him who had made a mess and was thinking about what he wanted from the relationship, in the present she was trying to work through her own feelings and how she’d made every thing fall apart. It was like a really nice magical way of having someone think about why they got together with their significant other in the first place.

I did have a few problems with the discourse in this book because at times it did feel like the husband was mad at her for wanting to excel in her job. I completely understand that he wanted her to be around more for the kids because that’s important but it did feel like he was giving her an ultimatum. Like you either need to stop being so involved in work or I leave you. Like why couldn’t he just tell her she really needs to balance everything better. I would’ve liked to get to know present husband more than we did because to me he came off as a bit of a chauvinist compared to the past version of himself who read like an absolute sweetheart. There was a bit of a disjoint.

As with all previous Rowell books I’ve read the writing style was really easy to follow and I read this pretty quickly. Though at times I did find it a little on the slow side.

Overall I feel like the idea was really interesting and the execution was ok for the most part but it could’ve done with a bit more fleshing out in some areas and less in others.

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History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I’ve had Adam Silvera on my TBR for a while now and just never got around to reading anything. But then I saw History in the airport on my way to Italy so I just though I would get it, especially since the only other physical book I took with me was SOC. Like all of my reviews, but specifically the ones which have sensitive topics, if I say something wrong or offensive let me know please.

Griffin’s first love has died in a tragic accident and Griffin has to navigate the world without Theo in it suddenly. On top of that Theo’s new boyfriend is constantly trying to make friends with Griffin when all he wants to do is hate him, since he was the new boyfriend.

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t read much books involving gay male teens written by gay male writers. For some reason all the kind of popular gay books are written by women, which is another discussion for another day about sexualisation of gay guys. It was refreshing to read something like this, where it was just about these kids trying to live their lives after such a bad experience.

Theo was honestly really annoying. He thought OCD was a “cute quirk” and he moved on immediately to some guy who looked exactly like his ex. And then jerked his new boyfriend about because he still liked said ex, which just made me very uncomfortable.

Something I really liked about this book, well not necessarily liked, was that it had a good representation of grief. How people do silly things when they’re grieving. It showed the different reactions people go through which I thought was done really well, a lot of books just show a person being sad and miss out on the whole slew of emotions that a person will go through. There was a couple of twists because of the grief all the characters go through that really had me quite shocked, and that takes a lot.

 

To add to that it also had good representation of OCD. I don’t know if Silvera has OCD, I don’t know how life, but if he didn’t it still felt real. There was some stereotypes and some lesser known OCD related habits. I could tell that he’d done his research into it.

At the moment I have this book as on my faves shelf on goodreads, but I’m not really sure about it. Like I really loved it but I feel like it wasn’t quite up there with other books I’ve read recently. I don’t know.

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The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

Thank you to netgalley and Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is about someone with mental diversity so if I have made a mistake with wording please let me know, like I ask for all my reviews!

The State of Grace follows Grace, a teen with Asperger’s whose dad is a wildlife photographer as a boy takes a romantic interest in her for the first time ever. But then things start to change at home and her whole world seems to go skewiff.

I haven’t heard much about this book online really which I think is a shame because it’s a nice read. It’s an own voices book so I’m sure it’ll ring true with a lot of people.

This book was a really good read. I would say it was a joy but it wasn’t because I got so annoyed all the time by the mother’s terrible parenting. Grace’s mum was having a midlife crisis of some sorts, and wanted to be a teen again, which is how it read to me and so she took it out on Grace. She should’ve known that her actions would’ve impacted Grace negatively and caused her to have a lot of anxiety. She’s her daughter and has lived with her 15 years after all. But this random woman who knows nothing about her current life appears and she drops everything for her. I just got so angry, but that shows that it was written well and realistically, it caused me to have a strong emotion. But before any of that even happened, Grace’s mum was so casually ableist all the time and I just sat there getting so agitated reading it. She was just such a jerk, but she thought she was so well meaning and Grace just accepted it often.

The pacing of this book was really good, I was addicted to reading it and it went really quickly. I started reading it on my flight to Italy and was reading it constantly in the car to the resort.

My one thing that I wasn’t such a fan of was at times the writing felt a little childish. Obviously this is a young adult book but it did feel like the reader was being spoken down to at times. It wasn’t a big concern and it is a debut novel so it’s not a major issue¬†for me.

If you want a sweet contemporary with some autism rep then I recommend this. I don’t have autism so I can’t speak for how good the rep is of course but I enjoyed the book and I felt like it read well.

 

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The Romantics by Leah Konen

Thank you to netgalley and Amulet Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In The Romantics we follow Love who has messed up by letting a marriage end in divorce because he thought they would be fine and wouldn’t drift apart. So to try and make things right she wants to help the couple’s son fall in love with the right person.

This book is told from the perspective of Love which I found to be a really interesting premise. Her voice was quite funny and she was her own character that I got to know and love. I liked that even though she is a godly/spiritual entity she had her own wants, wishes and regrets.

All the characters were pretty likeable; Gael was an absolute sweetheart and my heart went out to him so much through all the mess his parents had left. And his parents just didn’t really seem to care about how upset their divorce had left him. His little sister was adorable. The only person I wasn’t a huge fan of was Cara, Gael’s love interest for a lot of the novel, something about her was just off to me, she felt a bit fickle.

This was a really easy book for me to read, the pacing was just right and it read really easily. So if you want a funny YA romance novel that you can read in a short space of time and get quite wrapped up in then I would say that this one is right up your street.

One thing that I have to point out is that there were a lot of current references, which I enjoyed whilst reading as I love stuff like that because it feels more lifelike because I relate in a way, but this could date the book quite a lot. Like whilst I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a YA classic just because it’s not got the hype, but that could hold it back from being read a few years from now because people don’t understand the references, especially teens who constantly have new fads and language.

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George by Alex Gino

I’m cis so I’m sorry if I say anything offensive in this review by mistake, as with all reviews please let me know.

When I become a teacher this is one of the books I’m going to recommend to all my children. I think it perfectly summed up what being trans is for a child’s mind. And it really came at gender from a point of view that so many children won’t be exposed to.

All George wants is to play Charlotte in their school’s production of Charlotte’s Web but her teacher tells her she can’t because she’s a boy and Charlotte’s a girl and that would be too confusing for he audience. Instead George’s best friend gets the role and George feels incredibly downhearted.

The thing that really stood out to me was from the beginning the author called George she, there was no transition moment where it went from male pronouns to female pronouns or anything like that and I imagine it’s because the book is own voices. I think that was really good at explaining what being trans or non binary is, you don’t suddenly wake up and feel different, that’s who you are. Which I know, and I’m sure you know, but this is a middle grade book and for kids who might have never heard of being trans before it would be a lot more understandable for them and could be a gateway into learning more.

It’s a short book and a quick read so if you’re looking for a positive Trans read then this will get you feeling emotions in a short space of time.

George was the sweetest character and he relationships with both her brother and her best friend made me so happy because they were so understanding. I was brought to tears by her interactions with these characters sometimes. But then I was also brought to tears at interactions with George’s mother, who wasn’t understanding. It was important to be shown both sides of the coin though because too often trans kids don’t have any support from anyone.

As I’m not trans I can’t speak for the representation in this book but I felt like it was pretty spot on and from the reviews I’ve seen people seem to be happy with it. I hope you all find time to read this book because I think it is incredibly important.

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