Posted in 2019, Fiction, LGBTQ, Romance, young adult

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

This book was a fun read. It’s refreshing to read a Young Adult book where everything doesn’t feel so life and death. It’s a good book to read when you want to escape for a while. I read it in two days because I didn’t want to put it down. I’m not saying that it’s addictive, I just meant that it was a good escape. It’s like hearing good gossip. It takes you out of your mind for a while but not enough to obsess or spend too much thinking about. Simple.

The background: Abby, our main character, is a fashionista who sees herself as the sidekick rather than the main character. Maliah, her best friend, is currently dating a boy named Trevor so she’s been a little too preoccupied to hang out and her sister, Brooke, went away to college leaving Abby alone with her parents. Her mom started a blog called Eat Healthy with Norah! which eventually became a show and will eventually become a book (as the story progresses) and it drives Abby insane! Her dad helps in the company so Abbys is pretty much not allowed to openly hate it.

Luckily, this summer she won a summer internship position working in one of her favorite (yet expensive) clothing stores near her house called Lemonberry. The internship is given to one person a year and that person gets the opportunity to work in the store once the internship program is done (and there’s a rumor that the intern gets free clothes). It’s perfect, right!

One of the reasons she got the internships is because of her blog Style+ where she writes about her fashion opinions. This made her great for a possible role in the social media department. Abby, for the most part, is a bubbly confident girl. She is overweight but has no problem dressing up. She thrives with peppy outfits and colorful dresses. Meliah insists that she should post pictures of herself in her blog but Abby refuses. Although Abby doesn’t hate her body, she doesn’t understand why anyone would want to look at her. Therefore she pretty much doesn’t think she stands a chance with dating or falling in love.

The conflict: Maggie, the owner of Lemonberry, decided to hire two interns this year because she couldn’t decide between the two of them. This is when Jordi Perez comes into the picture.

Jordi got the position because of her photography skills. Jordi is the opposite of Abby. She likes to wear jeans, T-Shirts, and boots. She doesn’t like to dress up much. She keeps to dark tones and comfortable wear. Suddenly Abby feels very threatened. Now she has to compete for the possible job opening once the internship is over. But Jordi is so nice to her that she feels really guilty wanting to win. I mean how can she hurt Jordi? Especially since Abby is realizing how much she loves it when Jordi smiles?

Cute, right?! Nothing too intense. 1st world drama.

In order to bring more depth to the story, the author introduced Jax to the picture. Jax is the best friend of Trevor and he decided that he and Abby should be friends since they are practically best friends-in-law. They venture the summer by trying out different burgers in the Los Angeles area to help his father with a restaurant app he is going to launch. It sounds boring but these are the times when we get to see Abby take down her wall and talk about the things that she can’t talk about with Maliah anymore.

The character development did feel a bit fast towards the end but overall it was a good pace. Abby was dealing with so much change in such a short time that I guess it could make sense. Evolve or get left behind, so to speak.

Overall I’d recommend it if you just want an easy read.

 

 

Posted in 2019, Fiction, LGBTQ, Romance, young adult

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour was one of the E-books available at the library for Pride month.

I’d rate this book 2 out of 5. I would have given it a 3 but it was missing something. I enjoyed it while I was reading it but it’s nothing memorable.

The premise is that Emi, our narrator, and Charlotte, her best friend, discover a letter in a record they bought at an estate sale from a famous movie cowboy, Clyde (forgot his last name. I was so over it by the end). Clyde wrote this letter to her daughter whom no one knew he had. He died a single, fatherless man according to the news. Emi and her brother were obsessed with Clyde so this became an immediate obsession. Emi and Charlotte spend the beginning of the book trying to locate the daughter. They eventually find his granddaughter, Ava, and become friends.

I’m going to split this review into two parts: what worked, what didn’t.

What Worked
From the very beginning, we discover that Emi, is an openly out lesbian who is in the middle of a break-up from an on-again-off-again relationship. Therefore, we can conclude that this won’t be your typical coming out of the closet story (those get old after a while).

The setting was set in Los Angeles, therefore making the Hollywood fantasy seem romantic and possible. Emi’s passion for the sets and the details really added to it. Her very accepting parents were also a nice touch.

Making this into a mystery novel instead of a typical romance novel really helped grab the attention in the beginning. I liked that towards the end, it became more about Ava solving the mystery of her past instead of it being about Emi finding Ava. It felt very Gatsby-esque (where the narrator is not really the protagonist).

What Didn’t
Let’s talk about Morgan. Morgan is Emi’s ex-girlfriend. Including her in the picture was fun in the beginning but had a boring follow through. Morgan has a history of dumping Emi constantly because she wants a little more freedom and doesn’t want to feel tied down. The story starts with it being their 6th break-up. Although I’m not into toxic relationships, it does cause some tension in the story. The first few chapters are about Emi trying to forget about Morgan but still missing her. Wishing that Morgan would just beg for her back. Wanting to talk to her but knowing it’s a bad idea. That’s all great for drama.

However, for someone who speaks beautifully about detail, Emi doesn’t spend to much time really painting the picture of why she loved Morgan. Morgan is just a fact. There were a few attempts to show why they were so good together, but Emi was so stuck in her head that I don’t think the relationship was ever really serious. I feel like Emi was so wrapped up in her fantasy world that it’s no wonder Morgan was able to keep dumping her and getting her back. More on that later.

Charlotte acted as a perfect best friend. She hated Morgan, as she should. And warned Emi about falling in love with Ava (which, given Emi’s obsession with fantasy, is smart!). I wish we got to know more about her. She was more of a prop than a person. Charlotte is a confident, well-organized, intelligent, determined girl and yet, the most interesting characteristic LaCour gave her was that she was in love with Emi’s brother. They barely touched on it though, and given that Emi was totally fine with it, it didn’t add to the story at all. It just gave Charlotte something to do. Something to feel since she was sounding rather robotic on how perfect she was. Then again, we are living in Emi’s mind. The bad thing about 1st person point of view is that we don’t get the best of everyone.

Let’s come back to Emi’s fantasy world. I did not like the love interest at all! I liked Ava as a love interest, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like Emi was more obsessed over the detail that Ava happened to be her favorite’s celebrity’s granddaughter. If you remove that, Emi wouldn’t have cared so much. Yes, Ava was beautiful. Yes, Ava was gay. Yes, they had chemistry. Still, so many comments were made about the fascination Emi had about Ava’s past…not Ava herself.

The pacing of the romance was too fast. Emi’s quick to obsession process really eliminated the possibility of us falling in love with them falling in love. As I mentioned before, Emi is really good at describing a set but really bad at describing love.

Conclusion
Not sure if I’d recommend it. On the one hand, it’s refreshing to treat a lesbian love story as normal as any heterosexual love story. Yes, there was a moment where the characters had to come out to each other but it wasn’t a big deal. There wasn’t this secrecy. The issue was that they weren’t sure if the other person felt the same way. Or that neither felt good enough for the other. There wasn’t this whole “what if she finds out I’m gay and she hates me?” monologue. Or the “I can’t like women” denial story.

On the other hand, it’s a pretty pointless story. Come to think of it, most mystery novels are pointless.

Bitmoji Image

Okay, I guess if you’re into YA, it wouldn’t be a terrible read. There are some fun parts and I don’t have any regrets reading it.

 

Posted in 2018, Fiction, LGBTQ, Romance, young adult

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

This is the second book of Sara Farizan that I’ve read. I wasn’t too impressed with the first one, but I gave this one a shot anyway. I’m glad I did because I thought it was great (at least in comparison with Tell Me How A Crush Should Feel).

In this book, we have Nasrin and Sahar keeping their love a secret because, in Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death.  But since they are best friends, no ones thinks any differently that these girls love hanging around each other.

Conflict: Sahar’s parents have arranged her to marry a man.

Solution: Nasrin attempts to try to change her gender (because being a transexual is legal in Iran, did not know that) so she could marry Sahar instead.

This books is funny, emotional, entertaining, slightly annoying (it’s not uncommon to be annoyed of a character when you are binge reading first person point of view.) but overall educational on the experiences of a teenage Iranian coming to terms with the injustice.

One thing I did like about this book is that both characters loved each other equally, although they showed it in different ways. There was no pity love. There was no “I’m better than you, and I can have anyone I want so you better be good to me (which is how I first thought Sahar’s character would be like).” Both character were committed to each other, but circumstances got in the way.