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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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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Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephenie Perkins

Like a lot of people this was my favourite of the Anna and the French Kiss series. There wasn’t a weird cheating undertone, and it just felt nice and natural, with some conflict that didn’t seem to come out of nowhere.

Isla has had a crush on Josh for 3 years but life has never worked right for them but then they bump into each other before going back to Paris for school and everything falls into place.

Isla has a best friend who has autism and she’s so incredibly protective of him and does not take any shit from anyone. The portrayal felt really positive and I liked that it was part of the story. It’s not ownvoices I don’t think so I’m not sure how true to autism it was but when I was reading it it felt good. It didn’t feel ableist or ignorant but if I’m wrong feel free to correct me please. 

I felt like the contrast between their lives in New York and their lives in Paris worked really well. We get to see different sides to the characters and got to know their families. It felt like the coming together of Anna and Lola’s stories in a way because Anna’s was set in Paris with little familial interaction and Lola’s was all about family. 

Again like with Lola this could totally be read as a standalone, and even though there are cameos from other characters in the series you can totally enjoy the book regardless. I would actually say if you were going to read just one book from the series because you aren’t a huge contemporary lover and just wanted to try one or whatever reason then I would recommend Isla.

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The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Thank you to netgalley and Corgi Childrens for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. And thank you Corgi for also sending me a physical copy of this book from winning a goodreads giveaway.

Natasha is about to be deported. She’s trying everything she can to get her family to be able to stay in the US but she’s booked on a flight that night. While she’s running about NYC speakng to different lawyers and people who could maybe help she bumps into Daniel who is having a bit of a crisis over what he wants to do with his life. Daniel is immediately smitten but Natasha tries to hold herself back knowing that she

This is an example of when insta-love just really works. People have a big hatred for insta-love, and personally I’m not really for or against it. If it’s really bad then I hate it but with YA you’re reading about teenagers, I don’t know about you but when I was a teen I definitely suffered from insta-love.

I really enjoyed how this book played with fate. I loved learning the stories of the random people that the MCs bumped into, getting to see how their lives were changed from that run in. Seeing how people’s lives were so intertwined that they kept bumping into each other without even trying.

This was everything I wanted from a book about illegal immigrants that I didn’t get from Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz, which whilst a completely different story and background definitely felt really cliche at times. This book felt so real, it felt so lifelike, I loved getting to read about both Natasha and Daniel and their lives, but also their families lives. Everyone had their own story of how they got to where they were in life.

I loved how the book played off stereotypes, like Daniel being a super smart Korean kid and his parents wanting him to be a doctor, but he didn’t want to do that and wasn’t really sure what he was going to do with his life, and his brother wanting to completely immerse himself in American culture and forget his Korean roots.

This book was just an absolute joy to read to be honest. The writing style flowed so well and I think I read it in 1 sitting. You got just enough of each POV before a change so that you didn’t feel short changed but also didn’t get sick of that characters voice. I just really loved this book.

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We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Thank you to netgalley and Bloomsbury Childrens for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book features a lot of racism towards Romani people, and a lot of parental abuse so if you don’t think you can read that, don’t. As well as that, I’m not Romani and neither are the authors so I’m sorry if I missed something problematic in the book or if I say something wrong in this review, please let me know.

After reading One by Sarah I thought I would read this, as Brian recently won some awards for his book The Bombs We Brought Together I was interested to try a joint foray by the pair. And I was impressed.

We Come Apart is about Nicu, who is a Romani Romanian who has immigrated to the UK so that his parents can earn money for his arranged marriage, and Jess who is struggling a lot at home as her mum’s boyfriend is abusive. Nicu starts at Jess’ school and Jess finds herself defending Nicu against her racist friends who she begins to realise are horrible people.

One thing I really loved about this book was that it was about a Romani boy, I’ve never read about someone who is Romani and I’ve never even heard of one. Romani people are basically the UK’s punching bag, I couldn’t even explain to you the disgusting tv shows I’ve see about them or the characters they are made out to be in dramas, it’s gross. So because of this I thought it was really good to read from the point of view of someone who is Romani, again I will say though that neither of the writers are Romani and I don’t know how much research they did so it might not be accurate. But based on my knowledge of the UK and the people who live here and how cruel British school kids are I would say that the the bulling the Nicu experiences is pretty accurate, in fact I felt like it was pulled back a bit.

What I would have to say about the Nicu story is that I felt like the whole “parents forcing him to get married” thing was quite a harmful stereotype. Of course with stereotypes there will be some people who are true to that stereotype but there’s so many that aren’t and I wish this book had given him a different storyline because I’m 100% sure there is more to Romani people than what we see in the media.

I’m still not really sure how I feel about books written in verse. They’re great for a quick read and the often pack a real punch but I don’t think I get the effect of them that other people get.

At times this book was super hard to read but it felt honest. Jess’ home life was horrible but it wasn’t glossed over. Neither was the life of teens living in an area which is considered to be impoverished. A lot of adults writing YA books seem to be under the impression that kids don’t get violently drunk or have meaningless sex or get involved in drugs, but this book showed these things in a brutal light. I’ve lived in Glasgow I’ve seen the ways some people live when they don’t have much money coming in, I’ve seen how their children grow up and this book felt very true to that.

I found this review on goodreads from a Romanian immigrant, I don’t know if they’re Romani or not but I wanted to include it to give you an idea of what someone who has been through similar experiences felt.

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