Posted in 2018, Becky Albertalli, Fiction, LGBTQ, young adult

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I read this book because I was discovering the books of Becky Albertalli. This book is somewhat a spinoff of Simon Vs The Homesapiens Agenda. Only not really. It’s about the cousins of Abby. Simon and Abby do make an appearance in this book but its not about them at all.

In this book, our protagonist (Abby’s cousin) Molly is learning about falling in love. Sounds yucky, I know, but really, it’s funny. She’s used to just crushing on people and never really any real opportunity for love, but once her sister Cassie starts dating this girl seriously (Cassie is known to be player), she starts feeling more left out and starts searching for the company of others (#NoMoreSafetyBlanket).

This book is written in 1st person point of view. For someone who’s lonely, Molly is very nice and upbeat (unlike Leah. Leah, I feel, is like her negative energy counterpart. Interestingly enough, Leah sounded a lot like Molly in her book rather than sounding like Leah from Simon and the Homosapien’s Agenda. That sentence only makes sense if you’re read all three of Albertalli’s books).

I’d recommend this as a fun read if you just want to read something cute. However, it has very little to do with Simon (as mentioned earlier) so if that’s the reason you’re reading it, you will be disappointed. I was able to finish this book in a day so it’s not a hard read whatsoever.

I will say this, Molly has done such a great job being a people pleaser, that we don’t get to know too much about her. I feel like I knew more about Cassie than I did about Molly.

There weren’t any memorable quotes but here are some passages I liked:

I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.

There was a book I read a few years ago called Human by Matt Haig where he stated how improbable it is for two people to meet, let alone connect. That stuck with me and it’s great to read a story where someone questions it.

The silence is a little painful. It’s funny, because you always think the hard part is meeting someone the first time. It’s not. It’s the second time, because you’ve already used up all the obvious topics of conversation. And even if you haven’t, it’s strange and heavy-handed to introduce random conversational topics at this stage in the game.

One of the things I hate about “just be yourself” is that I am many different versions of me. It’s not a lie, it’s adaptation. Which version should I be? What if one version is more interesting than the other. What if one of my versions is too snobish for someone. So yes, although I am one of the few people who want to be more than just internet friends, I am always nervous that I can’t keep up.

I’m not trying to overthink things. I’m trying to be less careful. But you have to be your heart’s own goalie.
And if I’m going to be rejected, I want to see it coming.

The sad thing is that if it got to this far of the tought process, chances are, you already rejected yourself. You’re not a goalie, you’re a future teller.

Maybe my company is even better than making out–which is pretty much my goal as a human being, honestly.

This was just hilarious. Back story on this quote, her twin sister was hanging out with her girlfriend for Independence Day event. Our protagonist kept trying to give them space but they kept following her including her in all the activities. They sacrificed their “together time” to hang out with Molly.

Image taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30653853-the-upside-of-unrequited

 

 

Posted in 2018, Fiction, young adult

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I read this book because Entertainment Weekly said the author was just as good as J.K Rowling. In my opinion, that was untrue. J.K Rowling spends her time writing in great detail to set the scene. It’s one of the advantages of writing in 3rd person.

Since this story is in 1st person point of view, it’s harder to set the scene. I like the idea behind the story, but I am not a fan of the execution. For one, it felt rushed. I was okay with the timeline being rushed since it had a purpose. I was not okay with the love being rushed.

Prince Inan fell too hard for Zélie. There was no obsession turned into feelings that the hunter usually gains for his prey. They also had no chemistry other than the mutual fear for and of each other. Adeyemi tried to portray this prince as a complicated character but in reality, the princess should have had the crown. She was best friends with a maji and she saw her getting killed by her own father. Prince Inan just had to compete for his father’s approval. Yes, giving him powers (which the King strongly loathed) was a great detail to his character, but not enough to value him as a narrator.

Princess Amari was a great compliment to Zélie. Amari was genuinely nice and naive, yet fierce. Zélie was distrustful, selfish and paranoid. This isn’t a slight at Zélie’s character. She saw her mom being killed for having magic powers. Her father kept getting threatened and taxed by the people of the palace. She grew up in a tough world. Having Amari and Zélie become friends would make for a dramatic story of how friendships can overcome differences. However, that’s not what’s happening. Zélie has only tolerated Amari because it was in a prophecy. Amari tries her best to be nice but it goes unrewarded until Amari became of use to Zélie. Again, not a slight, just an observation. I look forward to what see what the sequel has in store for these two.

I will hand it to Ademeyi. Creating a world in which the magical are oppressed and feared is indeed thrilling. Having them slowly regain their power is heartwarming. I am excited to read more of this world.

Now here are some of my favorite quotes:

“On earth, Sky Mother created humans, her children of blood and bone. in the heavens she gave birth to the gods and goddesses. Each would come to embody a different fragment of her soul.”

Poetic.

“Showing the princess what it looks like when her life is actually in danger!”

Back story, Amari (the princess) was telling Tzain (the brother) that her life was in danger. Zelie became angry because she has this stereotype that this princess is a weak spoiled brat who doesn’t know any hardships. This is a good attribute to show in the book. How it’s easy for people to jump to conclusions based on very limited information.

The sears on my skin are nothing compared to the guilt that scalds my heart.

Whoa! Deep.

“But he wasn’t wrong to take magic away. He was wrong for the oppression that followed.”

I feel like this is a suitable argument for gun control (given that this book is already political enough). Funnily enough, when I read this passage, I didn’t know this book was meant to be a statement about Black Lives Matter.

“Your people, your guards–they’re nothing more than killers, rapists, and thieves. The only difference between them and criminals is the uniforms they wear.”….
“Fool yourself all you want, little prince, but don’t feign innocence with me. I won’t let your father get away with what he’s done. I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.”

Another political statement.

 

Featured Image taken from Goodreads

Posted in 2018, Fiction, LGBTQ, young adult

Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

This was awful. I, at first, really liked our protagonist Leila because…what’s not to love? Persian closetted lesbian who hates working out and is constantly feeling disappointed with the fact that she will never be better than her older sister. All traits of an interesting character.

Then we meet the possible love interest whom we don’t really get to spend time with knowing because we are too busy being in Leila’s fantasy world whenever she is around her.

Tess, Lisa, Greg and the tech crew were far more interesting than the love interest. But because she was so infatuated with Saskia (the love interest) we don’t really get to know more about them other than surface identities. But that whole fantasy fiasco ends as quickly as it started and it just feels like a bad soap opera that is trying too hard to be dramatic. I wish there was more substance to the story…to the main character.

It just all felt…fake (and yes I know its fiction). It felt like a dream where you lose track of time but the story still keeps going and dragging you along with it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t really boring….but it also wasn’t impactful.

Oh! And the ending is so abrupt! That was perhaps the most painful part (I actually screenshot it and texted my friend texting “what the fuck”.) I mean, if you want to be cheesy….then own it. No shame in cheesy endings but…abrupt endings? Now unless there is a sequel (or spinoff…preferably in Lisa’s perspective) to this, I feel robbed of a world.

We were barely getting to know the real Leila…the Leila not hidden from the world or the fear of her parents lack of undestanding and we get absolutely nowhere with that freedom. I mean come on! There aren’t that many stories with Middle Easters lesbians and we only got a glimpse of it. Nothing new (except the language) that I haven’t read from other religious characters realizing they are gay.

It wasn’t all bad though. I liked how the author kept slightly foreshadowing the ending so when it gets to it, it’s a sigh of relief. It’s cute (butterfly in stomach, blushing kind of cute). But it’s really not worth the read. She just spent her attention in all the wrong places. But maybe that’s the point. I know when I was a teenager I focused on all the wrong things. Which if that was the point to the story, then this book is actually brilliant! I, personally, just wanted more out of her already interesting characters.  She paints a picture but never finishes is. If this were a movie, it would be great! Straight to the point and everything. But as a novel, we (well, the author anyway) have more freedom to tap into more lives.  But maybe she didn’t want to overcomplicate things.

Either way, probably wouldn’t recommend this one. Then again, I’m not the targetted audience. I feel like the targetted audience spans from 13-16 year olds.

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.