Contemporary · Romance

Perfect Ten by L. Philips

I wanted to read this because (1) the cover is cute, and (2) it looks like a fluffy romcom, which I prefer in movies but sometimes still read in books. It didn’t QUITE live up to my expectations, though – there’s a slight magical element to it which I’m okay with but was surprised by at first, and Sam Raines, the protagonist, isn’t really someone I was rooting for all that much. I sympathised with his dilemma – having broken up with the only other (eligible) gay guy at school, he had no one else to date – but his list of ten traits (that he wants in a boyfriend) was just too shallow for me.

Of course, I was expecting him to learn that there are more important things than looks or money or talent, since this was a romcom. I was ready to overlook his list. The way he treated his best friends and potential boyfriends, though, almost had me DNF-ing this one. I’m glad that I persisted, as by the end Perfect Ten revealed itself as more than a fluffy romcom, and Sam Raines learned more than the fact that there’s no such thing as a “perfect ten” – he also learned that there was more to love than the romance, and that a healthy relationship requires work. Now that, I truly appreciate.

Note: I received a review copy from Times Distribution Malaysia through work; thank you, Jacky!

Contemporary

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Maya Aziz is Indian, Muslim, and American. She is also crushing on a non-Muslim classmate and dreaming of going away to film school one day, both of which are far from what her parents expect from her. The first part of the book focuses on Maya’s inner conflict, and are mostly cute as her relationship with Phil (her crush) progresses, and she gets to know Kareem, the guy that her parents would approve of. When I read this I knew that some of my Muslim friends are going to hate this book, because while Maya is Muslim, she isn’t exactly devout. Continue reading “Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed”

Contemporary

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin

I originally gave this book a 5-star rating on GoodReads, which I only give to books that either (1) completely blew me away, which doesn’t happen that often, or (2) affected me in a very personal way, which happens more often. Obviously, I have this 5 stars because of reason no.2, but after having a LONG time to think about it, I’ve re-rated it with 3 stars, which to me means that I like it okay.

This epistolary novel is about two best friends who go to college on opposite sides of the country (for some reason that is never explained). Told in a series of texts and emails between Ava and Gen, the book pretty much chronicles their first year in college… where a lot of things happened, and yet not a lot of things happened.

Verdict: To be honest, I both loved and hated reading it – on the one hand, Ava has anxiety and OCD and I related to the anxiety bit, and all the ways it affected her college experience. On the other hand, Ava also said a lot of transphobic and biphobic things in her texts/emails that Gen calls her out on (which is good), but she never learns (which is bad). And Gen. I don’t know. I’m just tired of the trope of bi/pansexual characters sleeping with everyone, and I’m equally tired of the whole college = lots of drinking and sex and drugs thing. I guess if that’s your thing, you’d like this book? As for me, my favourite YA book set in college is still Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin.

Note: I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Contemporary

Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis

“When you think of yourself as so different, you become so different. All you’ll be able to think about are the ways that you’re an outcast.” – Everything Must Go, Jenny Fran Davis

I started this book knowing absolutely nothing about it, other than the fact that it’s YA, it’s contemporary/mimetic fiction, and that I love the cover. One of the things I didn’t know was that it’s an epistolary novel. The whole story is told in a series of letters, emails, blogs and journal entries.

Another thing I didn’t know was this story is about Flora Goldwasser, a rich kid who loves vintage clothes, who falls in love with up-and-coming artist Elijah Huck. Elijah told Flora about Quare Academy, a Quaker school where he would be teaching, causing her to change schools to be closer to him.

Continue reading “Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis”

Contemporary · Fantasy

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

“No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”

 

I don’t know how to write about this, or any of the previous Adam Silvera books. I just realised this as I have gotten over my reading slump but still can’t start on writing this post, and when I went to check what I wrote about his previous books… it turned out that I skipped them.

When More Happy Than Not was released, it was on my must-read list because it was queer YA speculative fiction, which is still SO VERY RARE. I never saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, nor will I ever see it (I don’t think I can take something that depressing), especially after reading More Happy Than Not. It was good, really good, but also made me cry buckets – at one point I had to put the book away for a day or so, because it triggered a panic attack. Then I read History Is All You Left Me, which is almost better, and even more depressing, especially in the wake of my sister’s death. And now, a book with a pretty cute cover saying They Both Die at the End. Continue reading “They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera”

Contemporary

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

“The bookstore is a building, but it’s not only the building. It is the books inside. People are not only their bodies. And if there is no hope of saving the things we love in their original form, we must save them however we can.” – Words In Deep Blue, Cath Crowley

Truth: I wanted to read this book because it was blue, it had books on the cover, and the characters work in a bookshop. All those times getting inquiries from customers looking for some mysterious blue book had that effect on me.

On the surface, this book sounded like a decent YA romance: Rachel have had a crush on Henry Jones for a long time. Before moving away, she left him a love letter, and waited, but he never came. Years later, Rachel returned to work at the bookshop owned by Henry’s family, even though she would rather not see him again. And that’s where it becomes more than a contemporary romance – rather than chasing after a lost love, Rachel was looking for a distraction. Her brother had died, and she kind of withdrew from everything and everyone.

Continue reading “Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley”

Contemporary

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

I don’t know why I requested this on NetGalley. And then, when my request was approved, I don’t know why I chose to read it before the other books I’ve been anticipating for so long. But I did request this book, with the title and synopsis that interested me somewhat, and a cover that left me cold. And I did read it. And I am so glad I did.

This book is narrated by three teenage boys – Ryan (a swimmer), Harley (a rebel), and Miles (a nerd). These boys only have one thing in common: their best friend was Isaac. As far as everyone else knew, they were a quartet. But to them, there was Isaac, and then there was them, the sidekicks. They weren’t friends with each other, and at the beginning of this book, they had no interest in being friends with each other. Continue reading “The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis”