Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Meet Cute Diary,” by Emery Lee

  • Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars

There’s much to say about this story, but overall, it wasn’t a great read. I believe it had great potential but it felt flat to me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the representation on this book, which is the main reason I kept reading it in the first place; however, the storyline was all over the place and oh man, that main character *insert eye-roll emoji*.

In this book, we follow the story of Noah, a trans kid that is leaving his very conservative town in Miami and staying with his brother in Colorado for the summer. He has this popular Tumblr blog where he writes up meet-cute stories about potential meet-cutes that could’ve happened. And what I mean by that, is that he is making up these stories about these trans people meeting the love of their life and posting about them on his blog making people believe they’re real. There’s also this online troll who tries to take down the blog by telling people that these meet-cutes are not real. This sends Noah into a panic while he tries to save his blog by “fake-dating” this kid in Colorado who’s also a fan of the blog. The thing about though, is that he also meets this other kid at his job and it makes things just a little complicated.

Know that no matter what description you read of this book, you probably could never guess how it’s going to go. That’s to say that my description isn’t probably too accurate, but I tried my best to describe it without giving much away. This entire story revolves around this sixteen-year-old kid trying to save his blog and that’s pretty much what you need to know.

Now, let’s step into the juicy stuff. Our main character Noah is one of the most annoying characters I had to read. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’d rolled my eyes throughout this book. He was a very selfish character that most of the time cared only about himself. And, can someone explain to me why he was always so angry? He snapped at everybody almost all the time, he wanted to keep his brother all to himself but at the same got annoyed at his brother regularly, and he was always complaining about something. I don’t mean to nitpick his personality but I know IRL, he and I would not get along.

I also didn’t like how things always seem to work out for him. I don’t want to give too much away but the fact that he never gave his brother’s girlfriend a chance, and his brother ends up breaking up with her. Sure, she insulted Noah behind his back which is more than enough reason for him to break up with her, but that wasn’t the only time things worked out in his favor. He was a shitty friend to Becca (his best friend from out of town), and yet she comes over and forgives him twice over. When he snapped at Devin for absolutely no reason and Devin ended up creating this entire date as a way to reassure Noah, when he didn’t have to. The entire way his relationship ended with Drew and the fact that Drew never showed up again in the rest of the book. There are so many more, but you get the point.

There were also so many inconsistencies throughout the story. The way the whole blog drama was handled could’ve been better. His entire relationship with Drew was very underwhelming and not to mention a waste of time. Also, I did not like how they ended up the relationship–it was very immature of both of them the way they ended things. However, because they’re both teenagers it makes sense. That doesn’t mean I have to like it though.

With that being said, let’s talk about the things I did like. I loved the representation. Our MC besides being a trans boy is mixed. There’s a lot of important talk about what it means to be biracial and trans. There’s also talk about trans relationships and what it means for different people. The nonbinary representation was the one I was most intrigued about. I always thought that nonbinary meant your pronouns were they/them at all times but this book taught me otherwise. Apparently, when you consider yourself nonbinary there are so many pronouns that could apply to you, you do not need to comfort to just a certain set of standards ones to make it easier for people to interpret who you are. Your pronouns are important to you as a person and you should choose them in terms of what feels comfortable to you and not other people. I loved reading about all of this in this story and I recommend you read it mostly for this part.

If you like authors like Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli, Aiden Thomas, David Levithan, etc., then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. This book is fourteen years old and older. Thank you for reading my post, I truly appreciate it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Realm Breaker” by Victoria Aveyard

  • Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wow, this book was heavy, literally and figuratively. This new installment by Victoria Aveyard, author of “Red Queen,” is a very interesting story. Realm Breaker reminded me a little of her other series, heavily based on fantasy and if there’s something you’ll always get from Aveyard is amazing writing. There’s so much great world-building here heavily based on geography that’s impossible to skip any pages because you really don’t know what you may be missing.

Banking on hope without sense is a certain oath to failure

In this book, we follow the story from multiple perspectives, each of them playing a role in saving their realm as they once knew it. There are four main characters at first, who all join together to close down spindles that are being torn into their realm threatening to destroy them. Later on, as they recruit more people to join a lost cause, three other characters join and the seven of them go on to save what others don’t want to. One of the POV we follow is a princess trying to recruit people to join the cause of saving the realm and throughout the story, we find out how many people think that saving their realm is a lost cause–which is why the band of saviors so far only consists of seven people.

I believe there’s so much to unpack throughout this story, not to mention how we follow seven points of view (there might be more) and have to keep up with the incredible world-building that Aveyard brings upon us. The first thing that I’d like to mention, which to me is the most relevant and the main reason I kept reading this book, was her world-building.

Victoria Aveyard’s world-building was heavily based on geography. If you have a copy of the book you’ll see that the book opens to a map of her world. Which was incredibly detailed and well designed. Throughout the entire story, she described every place these characters happen to be upon and it was so entertaining although tedious at times, to keep going back and forth between the map and the descriptions to see where these characters were according to the map. Not only that but trying to find the locations that the author described in the story on the map (making me feel like Dora the Explorer) was challenging but fun. She did such a great job describing and building up her world, that if you don’t like anything else from my review, I recommend you read it for this part alone.

Moreover, you can always count on Victoria for having great storytelling abilities. This may not be the story for you, but you can’t deny her great writing style. Every time I turned a page, I was so impressed by her writing skills that it just made me want to keep going and going. I hate to repeat myself, but she has great attention to detail and ways of describing her characters which amazed me. Although I didn’t enjoy her Red Queen series as much (I only read the first and second book), I must say that this was a pleasant story.

With that being said, this may not be the story for everybody. I believe she did a great job writing it, but I think she may have written for the wrong target audience. I’m not saying that people won’t like her book, I just think that if she had written it as an adult fantasy it would be appreciated better. This is a heavy high-fantasy-based book where its main components were adventure, friendship, banter, and world-saving, which is different from the kind of fantasy we see on YA. Most Young Adult books have an element of romance in their stories and which is not the case for this book. Again, I’m not saying it’s a bad book or anything, it’s just that it may not appeal to teens as much because of the lack of romance in it.

Even though this story was beautifully written, this story wasn’t meant for me. I may read the second book but I’m not sure. I admired her writing style throughout the entire book; however, it took me longer than I anticipated to finish this story. And it wasn’t so much because of how long it was (because it was really long and it felt even longer with her descriptions), it was mostly because I lost interest in the story at times. I cannot tell you how many times I put this book down with no intention of picking it back up and now that it’s over, I’m glad. Again, this doesn’t mean it was a bad story, it just means the story wasn’t for me. I can see this book being more attractive to an older audience, though. So, if you like authors like Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, N.K. Jemisin, R.F. Kuang, etc., then this may be the book for you.

If you enjoyed her other series and enjoy authors like Rebecca McLaughlin, Margaret Robinson, Kristin Cashore, Keirsten White, Maggie Stiefvater, etc., then you may enjoy this book. This book is for fifteen years old and older. And as always, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my post, I truly appreciate it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Take Me Home Tonight,” by Morgan Matson

  • Rating: 2.7 out 5 stars

LOL, where do I even start? I have a bone to pick with this one. I’ve read three of her books, Since You’ve Been Gone (which is my favorite), The Unexpected Everything (which was okay), and finally, Save the Date (which I didn’t like). This book reminded me of Save the Date in a way, it was unnecessarily long and with too many details that really didn’t need to be in the story–we’ll get into it later on the review. However, halfway through the book did pick up and it was enjoyable.

In this book, we follow the story of Kat, Stevie, and Teri. They’re best friends and part of the theater group of their school in Connecticut. One night, Kat and Stevie decide to sneak out and spend a night in New York City to celebrate Stevie’s birthday–telling their parents that they were going to be staying at Teri’s house–while Teri covered for them. The issue is, the three of them end up without phones and are not able to communicate with one another. Kat and Stevie get into a huge fight and they separate in the City (which reminded me of the movie New York Minute in a way), and Teri ends up babysitting these kids that Kat was supposed to babysit but they end up getting kidnapped…? What a mess.

I genuinely don’t even know where to start. Kat and Stevie felt like those very passive-aggressive friends that have been friends forever and end up exploding on each other all of the sudden. This is exactly what happens, kind of like in the movie, New York Minute with the Olsen twins. So, they go into the city, run into Stevie’s stepsister who needs them to do a favor for her and then they end up getting stuck with this dog, a one hundred dollar bill that apparently no one in NYC can break, and worst of all, no phones. Then they get into an argument and break up and decide to go their separate ways for the night.

Stevie gets stuck with the dog and recruits the help of her step-brother which makes them get closer together and she’s grateful for this. I liked her character–I think she needed to gain some balls and be a little more sure of herself, but otherwise, she did well considering the circumstances.
Oh God, Kat was annoying. Yeah, I agree with Stevie, she was a lot. But I understood where she was coming from. She did most of her decisions keeping Stevie in mind. I like her love interest in the book and I think they make a cute couple. There isn’t much to say about Teri because her POV was randomly introduced to us. Like her part of the story was so random I was confused when I was reading it. I was like, “What does this have to do with two girls getting lost in NYC?” LOL. It was such an entertaining surprise to read her POV, I think I liked her the most out of the three.

Another topic I’d like to discuss about the book is how long it was. Damn. This book was so detailed and not in a good way. The author described every single thing possible, for absolutely no reason. I’m not going to lie to you, I skipped 55% of the book and still got the entire story. This was one of the things I hated from her “Saved the Date” book–she spent too much time describing everything even when it had no purpose to the overall plot of the book. There was a scene at the beginning of the book where she literally spent two paragraphs describing a group project that they had that had nothing to do with the main character. Like, the MC was describing her two other friends’ group project as if we really cared. Had she taken that off the book, the storyline wouldn’t have changed–at all. And I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be mean or too harsh reviewing her book, and it would’ve been fine had it only been once but the entire book is like that. It’s overwhelmingly long, for no purpose. I feel like if Lord of the Rings was a contemporary story about three teenagers in NYC and one of them ended up kidnapped, then this would be the one because of how much detail she described in this one. This book felt like 75% descriptions and 25% the actual storyline.

I believe I also have to mention, WTF was that with Tori? That shit came out of nowhere and there was no reason for her to put our poor girl through that. It was too much and so unrealistic. Her POV felt straight out of like one of those Tom Cruise movies, where you know it’s a movie because it’s too unbelievable. But, whatever, to each their own. And I must say, it did add a little spice to the story (not the romantic kind though, the action kind). LOL, (sorry I keep laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of the story), what was that about this white girl discovering her privilege? It was unbelievable.

With that being said, read this book if you enjoyed her other ones. Read this book if you enjoy authors like Emery Lord, Brigid Kemmerer, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Kasie West, etc. Anyone 14 and over could read this book. And as always I want to thank you for reading my post, I truly appreciate it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Blade of Secrets,” by Tricia Levenseller

  • Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Another great book by the amazing Levenseller! What I like about her books is how fast and quick they’re to read. I read this in one sitting and I’m not disappointed. There’s not a time where I haven’t enjoyed a story by this author (except Daughter of the Pirate King because I haven’t read that one yet), so I wasn’t surprised when I finished this one and still enjoyed it.

In this book, we follow the story of eighteen-year-old Ziva. She’s a bladesmith, loves working with steel and iron, and crafting weapons–is one of the things that brings her the most joy in life. She and her sister, Temra, lost their parents when they were younger, and ever since it’s just been the two. Ziva is the most famous magic smith there is, she has the ability to infuse power to all the weapons she creates. This couple with the fact that she has crippling anxiety and gets panic attacks on the regular, does not bode well for her. But lucky for Ziva, she can always count on her sister to do most of the talking. In this story, a powerful warlord comes seeking her assistance and asks her to make a blade so powerful, no one can destroy it and offers her a job at her residence as well, it isn’t until she accepts that she finds out what the blade is truly meant for. Now, they’re on the run, with a hired mercenary and a scholar trying to get rid of the sword before it falls into the wrong hands.

“I do live in constant fear of others. Sometimes it’s overwhelmingly hard to leave the house.”

When I say this book is a bit different from her other ones, I’m not lying. First, I’m used to only reading bad bitches from her. Like, all of her characters are so sure of themselves, so confident, and for the most part, they’re willing to take on any challenge no matter the case. Well, that’s not the case with this story. It’s clear what she was trying to do this time around. Levenseller created the main character the total opposite of her other ones. Ziva suffers from really bad anxiety and panic attacks, she doesn’t speak much nor does she like people. When it came to selling her weapons, she always let her sister do the talking. She never feels comfortable around people and the idea of being around a lot of people sends her anxiety spiking. Which I think is something a lot of people could relate to. I believe she’s over six-foot-tall, if not six foot, which is something that I loved, being a tall girl myself. But regardless of her insecurities and her social anxiety, she still knows what to do to save those she loves.

“[…] You should be uncomfortable. Love is uncomfortable at first. It’s terrifying and exhilarating. But that will pass. It will become easier and something that you need rather than want. And if that doesn’t happen, then you’re with the wrong person.”

The only thing I would say that bothered me a bit was her naivety. Because she was naive to think that people would only seek her weapons to do good in the world and the first that should’ve popped into her head when the warlord came to ask her for a weapon, she should’ve immediately been suspicious just as I was. That being said, she was so strong to deal with all her issues and her anxiety at the same time. The author does a really good job at expressing how anxiety feels to someone and how hard it is at times to overcome those attacks.

One more thing I’d like to mention is that–I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed this pattern lately in fantasy where if there’s magic involved, is always the people with magic agaisnt the people without, or viceversa. It doesn’t matter the setting, it doesn’t matter the story, it’s always something along those lines. And well, that is the case with this story even though magic is no longer illegal in their world. I just wanted you to be aware just in case you happen to be curious.

This story is full of adventure, laughter, friendship, love, and more. Read it if you love Tricia Levenseller, if you like Brigid Kemmerer, Nicola Yoon, Becca Fitzpatrick, etc. If you’re 13 and older, you can read this book. And as always, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my post. I truly appreciate it.

Books · Reviews - Adult books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “People We Meet on Vacation,” by Emily Henry

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This was a cute story, it gave me Love, Rosie vibes. Imagine pinning after your best friend for many years and going trips all over the world both in love with each other but not saying anything—that’s this book.

In this book, we follow the story of Poppy and Alex as they travel for the summer to a new adventure. They’ve traveled together for almost every summer since they met each other in college. Ever since they met, they’ve been inseparable. Both of them are ambitious in their own way which makes them separate as they pursue their own dreams. Alex stays in their home town and becomes a teacher and Poppy gets to move to New York and travel constantly for her new job. But after their last trip together two years ago they haven’t been able to connect like before. Now, after two years of not seeing each other, they’re finally able to go on a trip together and all these feelings that have been bottled up come to the surface to either destroy or save their friendship. 

Now, I understand the concept of this story. Best friends (who have been best friends forever) have feelings for each other and in fear of losing that friendship they never say anything until it all comes out in one rushed heated discussion. My issue with this concept, especially in adult contemporary, is the fact that two grown adults that have known each other forever have to tiptoe around their feelings in fear of being rejected. And I get it, I truly do. I understand that is easier said than done but as grown adults you think they’d be able to have an honest conversation for once in their life and express how they truly feel. If they were truly friends and one of them didn’t feel the same about the other person, the other shouldn’t fear losing them at all because then they weren’t true friends at all. I don’t know, I guess I’m saying that the story would’ve gone so differently if they were honest to each other from the beginning. 

Another thing about this book is that the title was very confusing. I kept thinking that People We Meet on Vacation meant that the main character was going to go on this self-searching vacation and she was going to find her long lost love who she’s never met hence the met on vacation part, but no. I was just expecting something different with that title, that’s all. 

Other than that, this is a cute best-friends-to-lovers story that I’m sure many of you will enjoy. The spicy scenes were cute and reminded me of the spicy scenes in her other book. I give it a two out of five on spice. But if you like to read a cute best friends romance story, then this is the book for you. If you like authors like Christina Lauren, J. Daniels, Belle Aurora, Alice Clayton, etc. then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. And as always, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my post, I truly appreciate it. 

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Kate in Waiting,” by Becky Albertalli

  • Rating: 3.5 out 5 stars

What a nice refreshing read. This is my fourth book by Becky and ugh, it just reminded me of how much I love her writing. Her books are like the perfect friend group and I truly enjoy her stories. This is why I need to mention that 3.5 stars is not a bad review at all, I do think that the story was a little predictable and I didn’t like the dynamic between the best friends, but it was a good story overall. Highly recommend. Another aspect of this book that’s important to mention is that Kate and her group of friends are theater kids, they like musicals and plays, but mostly musicals, so if you’re into that…

In this book, we follow the story of Kate Garfield, whose whole life honestly is based around her gay best friend Anderson. They are the kind of cliche girl and gay guy best friends that do everything together. One of the things they do together is sharing crushes. Like they like the same person at the same time. Anyways, they meet this cute guy over summer camp and he’s their crush for the entire summer but when they come back into town they find out that the same guy from camp has moved to their town and their school. Now, they both have to deal with the fact that they are crushing very hard over this boy and neither of them wants to give this boy up. 

Kate’s pov is the only one we follow in this book but Becky is a great storyteller and we are able to get insight into everything going on around their school and their lives. So, the majority of this book develops on the importance of a school musical and how Kate and her group of friends are auditioning for parts of the play. I guess you can say that Kate is one of those theater kids that loves musicals and theater but is also shy, (because of a traumatic experience when she was young), so it’s hard for her to perform in front of people. That being said, she overcomes her shyness eventually and lands an important role in the play, which she is super excited about. 

In terms of her relationship with her best friend, I had many issues with their dynamic. Let me explain. I understand that both of them were sixteen and juniors in high school and this is the first time she and Anderson were sharing a real crush that they both really really liked, but there were so many better ways of handling this situation. And if you’ve read the book, I guess you can argue that they are kids and this is how they learn, by making stupid decisions and mistakes, again I understand. And you know, they did talk about each one of them really like Matt (crush guy), but there were so many instances were the big “plot twist” in the end could’ve been avoided or just, you know, could’ve been handled more maturely. I like to think that, (hopefully–but I also say this from experience), if this situation was happening to adults, the whole book would be over in the first two scenes. Just saying, lol. But I get it, we need the story and the plotline, so I’m not mad or anything, it’s just something I wanted to point out. 

Moreover, the storyline was very predictable. I think it’s one of the things that disappointed me the most from this story. Becky introduces this secondary character that has an obvious crush on Kate and she obviously can’t see it, but we all can, and well… I don’t want to spoil anything, but again, very predictable. 

With all of that being said, it’s a great funny story. There’s cussing in this book which makes this book more real. There’s funny banter and a great and diverse group of friends. This book is Queer because representation matters and we can always count on Becky for giving it to us. It’s a nice story and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the heck out of it. Read this book if you like authors like Nicola Yoon, Adam Silvera, Julie Murphy, Jennifer Niven, etc. This book can be read by liberal fourteen years old and older. Anyways, thank you for reading my post, I truly appreciate it. Now, I’m omw to re-watch Tangled for the millionth time because I agree, it’s one of the best movies ever.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Cemetery Boys,” by Aiden Thomas

  • Rating: 3 out 5 stars

What a cute story. Very straightforward and to the point. Loved the representation and the fact that this book is Latinx made me even happier. This book reminded me a lot of the movie “Coco” by Disney Pixar. It was nicely written as well, which was a great bonus. Highly recommend you reading it if you’re part of the Latinx community or part of the LGBTQ+ community as well. However, I do think that this is a book everyone should read because representation matters and because it’s important for people to understand our culture so that they don’t end up appropriating later on. 

In this book, we follow the story of Yadriel, a trans boy born into his very traditional Mexican family that comes from a long line of Brujx. Brujx are people that can see ghosts and that help transfers souls to the land of the dead after a person has died. All Yadriel wanted was to be accepted as who he was, a boy and brujo, but because of their traditions, it’s been really hard for him to be accepted. Then all of the sudden, someone goes missing and in the middle of looking for the missing person, Yadriel and his best friend Maritza find Julian. Julian is a ghost who has no idea why he died and can’t remember much about his death either. The only way that Julian agrees to go to the land of the dead is if Yadriel helps him find his friends to figure out if they’re okay. This is a story about acceptance, fighting for a place that’s rightfully yours, and the changing of traditions. 

I’d like to start by saying that this story was a super quick read–I finished it in two days. Overall, it was a cute story. I loved how it talked about the tradition of “El Dia de los Muertos,” which is mostly known as a Mexican culture tradition, but that according to this book, many other cultures in Latin America celebrate. The author brought to light many of the prejudices made against this tradition and cleared them off for good. Many people, especially in the Latinx community consider this a scary tradition, not understanding fully well the concept of the day of the dead. However, the way the author wrote this story made you not only respect the tradition but also helped you understand it better.

Furthermore, the representation in this book is so important. Especially because Yadriel is Latino. Imagine how hard it is for a normal American teenager to be accepted as queer, well, it is so much harder for Latinxs to be accepted into that. I’m not saying it like it is a competition, because it really isn’t, nor am I saying that Latinx have bigger issues than any other American kid, but being a Latina myself, I’ve seen how hard it has been for my queer Latinx friends to be accepted. I say this to say, it’s important to have authors like Aiden Thomas that take the initiative to write about these overwhelming issues that plague the Latinx community and it’s even more important because they help bring awareness.

Now, let’s talk about the things I didn’t like about this story. Although beautifully written, I found this story to be extremely predictable and a little lackluster. Not saying it was a bad story, but it just didn’t do it for me. At least not all the way. Yadriel made me angry at times, and Julian brought some great points in the book, about who Yadriel was trying to be. But those questions never got answered in a proper way and because of that, the story felt a little lost.I do think is a cute story that everyone should read because of representation and culture and I highly recommend reading it if you like stories like Nocturna. If you like authors like Ashley Poston, Adam Silvera, TJ Klune, etc. Anyone 14+ can read this story. And as always, I want to thank you for reading my post. I truly appreciate it.

Books · Reviews - Adult books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “The Midnight Library,” by Matt Haig

  • Rating: 4 out 5 stars

This book reminded me a lot of the movie Soul in away. It’s about this girl who kills herself (TW: Suicide) and it talks about how different her life could’ve been had she made other choices in her life. I say overall this is a book everyone should read, especially if you’re depressed and thinking about suicide.

“Because, Nora, sometimes the only way to learn is to live.”

In this book, we follow the story of Nora Seed, who’s depressed and thinks no one loves her. She was done with life and giving up on everything. After she dies, she enters this world where “spirits” get to live their lives again had they made different choices within it. So, depending on a different choice that Nora could’ve made earlier in her life, she gets to live it in this Midnight Library.

Think of it as a limbo space between life and death, you’re not quite dead yet but you are also not alive. And time in the real world doesn’t change while you’re living all those lives you could’ve had. The Midnight Library is there to help you choose a life that you can stay at after your death.

“Happy moments can turn into pain, given time.”

The only thing I didn’t quite understand was who gets to have this choice. Does everyone in this world when they die by accident or by suicide get to experience one version of the midnight library, like the Hugo character she met while living one of her lives? Or do killers and abusers also get this opportunity? Because the purpose of the library is to offer you another chance to live and if so, do those people deserve another chance? I’m not here to play morality police, but I’m just wondering.

“You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.”

I guess this book brings the question of is life really worth living? That’s why I think this book is so important to read because regardless of whether the story is impactful in your life or not, it talks about the important fact of the will to live. That if you don’t live your day to day like it was your last, you’ll end up regretting many things in life that you honestly didn’t have control over.
That’s also another point this book made which I thought explained really well how the human mind worked. Sometimes, or most times humans tend to worry and regret things that they initially didn’t have any control over. We get to see this a lot with Nora. Many of her regrets in life were over things that were outside of her control, teaching us that it is okay to let things go and focus on the now.

I highly recommend this book if you feel like your life has lost meaning over time. If you’re having a midlife crisis. If you happen to worry a lot about things you can’t control. This book is for 16+ and over. And as always, thank you for reading my post. I truly appreciate it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “The House in the Cerulean Sea,” by T.J. Kline

  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

OMG! Wow, what a feel-good book. It was such a wonderful quick-read story. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised by this story. I’ve seen it everywhere on Booktok and I decided that it was finally time to bite the bullet and I’m so glad I did. Again, beautiful, captivating. I don’t even know what the book was about and was just so satisfied with the entirety of the story. Please go read it if you want a hilarious feel-good story to brighten your day.

“…Because even the bravest of us can still be afraid sometimes, so long as we as we don’t let our fear become all we know.”

In this book, we follow the perspective of Linus Baker, he’s always the one to follow the rules. He’s worked for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth for seventeen years as a caseworker. He goes and reviews orphanages that are home to magical children to make sure they are suitable for them. But in all of his years of working cases, he’s never taken one of them personally–that’s until he gets assigned the case of the orphanage on the remote island of Marsyas. Six peculiar children that are said to be more dangerous than any other magical creature, a master of an orphanage with a secret, and an island caretaker with a temper–Mr. Baker had no idea what he’d gotten himself into but in the end, what he finds on that island ends up changing his life forever. 

“The things we fear the most are often the things we should fear the least. It’s irrational, but it’s what makes us human. And if we’re able to conquer those fears, then there is nothing we’re not capable of.”

I’d like to start by saying that although the main character is forty years old, it doesn’t take away from the Young Adult element. This story was very easy to read and written in such a spectacular way that you found yourself not minding the fact that our MC is not the normal age for a regular YA book. With that being said, Mr. Baker made me laugh so many times with his reactions to certain situations. Picture this, Mr. Prim and Proper, that always follows the rules and who’s never left his gloomy, rainy town, is overwhelmed by everything he finds on that island. Everything he sees or hears seems to startle him and it’s hilarious to read because his reactions are always so exaggerated but in a proper way. The way he talks, honestly, had me laughing so hard, LOL. But anyways, Mr. Baker is a lonely queer man. When he was told that he had to stay a month for the new assignment he was very skeptical. He was a man of habit if nothing else and the fact that he didn’t know his world was about to be turned upside down made this story even funnier to tell.

“Sometimes, things get chipped and broken but there’s still good in them.”

I would like to spend some time talking about our secondary characters as well. The children, the housekeeper, and the master of the orphanage. Such special characters, each in their own unique way. I don’t want to say much as to not spoil the book, but wow, these characters were so beautifully written and so well thought out, I had a hard time letting them go in the end. Each of these children were orphans (hence the orphanage) and the only person they had was Arthur Parnassus, which they considered a father figure. Arthur was very protective over these kids and you could see how much he loved all of them regardless of their differences. As I read the story, my heart ached for the children because they have gone through so much at such a young age and all they wanted was stability. 

“We are who we are not because of our birthright, but because of what we choose to do in this life.”

In this world, there exist prejudice and discrimination against people with magic, so from very early on these children knew hatred and knew what it was to not be accepted because of the way you looked or where you came from. And despite being so young, they knew that they weren’t accepted in the real world, that’s why that island was their safe place. A place where they could be who they were without judgment. A placed where they could be loved. There are so many lessons to learn throughout this book. About prejudice, about finding yourself, about learning who you are, about accepting everyone with flaws and all. Lessons about loving yourself, loving those around you. If you take the magical aspect out of this book, you’ll find it’s very similar to our world. Similar to the discrimination these children received, we see it every day in our POC community. The way Black, Asians, Latinos, Middle Eastern people or any POC for that matter in America have received hate for where they come from, is very similar to the way these children were treated because they had magic. If anything, this book teaches us to not discriminate and to love each other no matter what. I believe this book to be an important book to read throughout our lifetime, just so that it teaches us to love life and those around us a little more. 

This story is not only about finding a family, is about finding yourself and that regardless of your differences, but you’re also still loved and accepted. I highly recommend you read this book, not only because of the important topics it touches or the lessons it teaches but also because this book is hilarious. These kids will have you rolling with laughter, especially Lucy and Talia. Those two are the worst in the best way, ugh the torment that they caused Linus. I’m telling you, I haven’t laughed this hard reading a book in a long time. 

Read this book if you like good heartfelt stories about finding a new family, love and if you enjoy beautiful writing. Anyone thirteen years old and older can read this book. This book is also queer by the way, although there’s only a kiss in this book, it does happen between two guys, okay moms? Just making sure you are aware. I don’t want you coming for my neck later on. Anyways, thank you for reading my post, I truly appreciated.

Books · Reviews - Adult books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “The Vanishing Half,” by Brit Bennett

  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

An incredibly written story with characters so gripping you forgot you were reading a book at times and found yourself transported to this other world. This world full of deceit and lies, but also love and longing. This story really had me grasping at the strings of my heart, hurting for two people who were never mine to begin with. 

“That was the problem: you could never love two people the exact same way.”

In this book, we follow the story of the Vignes twins. They were from a small town in Louisiana and were desperate to get out of the small town. The twins, Desiree and Stella were inseparable. Desiree always being the wilder one and Stella the quiet and demure one. One day, they are tired of the hassles that her mother and the town made them go through and they decided to leave. They were sixteen at the time. Moving away from everything they knew and being light-skinned proved harder and harder as the girls struggled to get by. Back in the 1960s, the world wasn’t so diverse and inclusive as it is now. They suffered for being Black even though they were white-passing. But this is how our story starts, two sisters separated by their desires to be different people regardless of how thick each others’ blood ran through their veins. 

“Negroes always love our hometowns,” … “Even though we’re always from the worst places. Only white folks got the freedom to hate home”

Page 21

I’m going to start off with Desiree because the book starts with her as well. The author starts telling us her story first—well, the stories of the twins through Desiree’s eyes. And Desiree was just as any other small-town girl with too big a dream. She was tired of being treated less than she was. She was tired of people telling her what to do, of her mother dictating her future. She was tired of everyone in that small town knowing her business, she was so tired until one day she couldn’t get enough. I like to think that Desiree was strong when it came to making the decision to leave but in all honesty, she was just afraid of what her life would become if she stayed in that small town of hers. In the end, it didn’t matter and you’ll have to read the book to understand why. She was too young and too naive to think she could’ve made it back then as a colored woman in Louisiana. It was hard for her t to find jobs, to find nice men—all because of her heritage. I wish I could say I feel sorry for her, but after everything she went through I feel sympathy and respect.

“You tell yourself no before anyone ever even says it to you.”

page 244

Stella always seemed like the quiet one from the beginning but when she finally left her small town, she showed her true colors that’d been hiding all along. It was hard for me to like her, based on the decisions she made. Stella was always quiet because she was always planning something. I guess I sort of grew to like her because she and I were the closest ones when it comes to ideas about the future, but as soon as she left her small town she became a shell of what she used to be. I like to think I admire her decision of abandoning her sister and moving to a whole different State to pretend to be someone she wasn’t, but out of the two sisters—she was the one I pitied. To a certain level, I understood why she did it, shy she pretended to be a race she wasn’t. Being white back then gave you privilege, hell, it still does now. But it was the way she went about doing it. Being white never gave her a happy life, it consumed her inside out. She was living a web of lies that was so deep she didn’t know how to get out. Not only that, but she conceived a daughter under that falsehood. A daughter that had to live with the lies her mother built as well. All of the ways she was feeling she deserved it. That’s all I’ll say about that.

I also think it’s important to mention the secondary characters in this story and how important each of them were to the development of the story. The twins’ mother played a pivotal role in uniting the twins back together in a way. The twins’ daughters, Jude, daughter of Desiree, and dark as the night–and then Kennedy, white as snow, daughter of Stella. These two girls had significant roles throughout the book because in part the story develops through them. Reese being dark was teased and bullied all her life until she left that small town for college and met the love of her life, Reese. Reese had his own secrets and his own struggles. Beautiful the story of the two. Kennedy, the white privileged girl who was raised without the knowledge that her mother was Black. The naive, stupid mediocre girl who was so spoiled she couldn’t get ahold of herself. The entire concept of this story and the way it was told will have you wanting to finish this book in one sitting.

With that being said, this story is very heavy. Not only because of the content of this book but also because of the way it was written. I don’t think that the author meant for this book to be read in one sitting, I think it’s meant to be read slowly. To be taken apart and devoured as you truly analyze and mull over every situation because of how important it is to understand these different perspectives. Our world now is not as different as it was 50 to 60 years ago. Sure, we made progress but there’s still a lot of fo work to be done: towards racism, towards queer people, towards colorism, and more. I beg you to read this book and keep these topics in mind when doing so and giving it a fair shot. 

This is not the normal genre I tend to go for but I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised on how this book turned out and I look forward to reading more books by this author. I recommend this book if you like to read historical fiction or if you like authors like Kristin Hannah, Ruta Sepetys. And as always, I want to thank you for taking the time for reading my post. I truly appreciate it.