The Sunday Post | Weekly Wrap up

I’m linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly @Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Hey y’all! I’m trying to think of what’s been going on around here andddd pretty much nothing! I’m done with school and things are easy and kinda delightful. I’ve been reading a ton so yay.

Also I dyed my hair and I’m kind of living for it! So fun and so red yesssss.

I did two book reviews this week! (click on the picture to see the review):

Time Bomb Novel See All the Stars by Kit Frick

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau, a YA about and from the perspective of six kids stuck in their high school, where bombs are going off.

And See All the Stars, a YA with alternating timelines, about a girl who has now lost all of her friends/boyfriend in a mystery incident.

I liked both of these quite a bit more than I expected! (Not that I actively expected bad things, but they were both ones I thought could go either way.)

I have a tonnnn of arcs (what else is new?) which I am very excited about! Here’s what I’m currently reading! Click the picture to see the Goodreads page!

  

Bookish Boyfriends is an arc I’m aboouuuttt halfway through! And I love it. I don’t feel it has nearly enough hype. It’s SO fun, and very well-written. Just like adorable, solid fun.

The Girl and the Grove I’ve only just started. I’m really excited! The author is a really awesome guy so I’m hoping the book is great!

Leven Thumps #1 is not an arc, it came out many years ago, but I’ve decided to start adding the books my kiddo and I are reading together! This one is really fun so far at about 100 pages in, but maybe written too advanced for a typical MG reader, just imo.

           

I did one other post, Way Hyped Books that I STILL HAVEN’T READ. These aren’t even books from last year? But from like several years now where I have not read the things I’d like to.

books

I’m not going to do a whole blog post on this one, but I feel like it definitely needs a mention! I read this book of poetry this week, also. In about an hour! Not just because it’s easy to get through, which it is, but I also just really adored it. I will definitely go buy a physical copy and read it more than once.

The Witch Doesn't Burn in this One

I hope everyone is having an incredible week, and I can’t wait to read your posts!

Time Bomb Novel

Time Bomb: A YA that Goes There with Social Issues

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Published by HMH Books: scheduled for March 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Suspense

Pages: 352

I just want you to know it took ALL my self-control to NOT name this review something silly and insanely punny like TIME BOMB IS EXPLOSIVE or something.

Time bomb was one I felt could really go either way! I was nervous about a few things but I really like this one!

Time Bomb Novel

All the Wrong Chords Book

A congressman’s daughter who has to be perfect. A star quarterback with a secret. A guy who’s tired of being ignored. A clarinet player who’s done trying to fit in. An orphaned rebel who wants to teach someone a lesson. A guy who wants people to see him, not his religion.

They couldn’t be more different, but before the morning’s over, they’ll all be trapped in a school that’s been rocked by a bombing. When they hear that someone inside is the bomber, they’ll also be looking to one another for answers.

Time Bomb Novel

I was intrigued by the premise immediately. I am very sensitive to school violence/guns/the way America handles (doesn’t handle) guns/the way schools handle (or don’t) safety in general. Given these issues, I was worried about how well I would handle this. But I feel this is done really well.

I am a mother, with a 5th grader in America and deal with these fears enough already, and this definitely reminded me of that. So I wouldn’t go so far as to say trigger warning? But several times while reading while my kiddo was at school, I wondered where he was and how he was doing and mildly fretted.

The Writing

The writing is third person, but alternates through the perspectives of the six main characters. I couldn’t help but draw parallels between this and One Of Us Is Lying.

The narratives for the different characters feel different enough that alternating so often through so many characters isn’t awkward or uncomfortable.

Time Bomb is written very well. It takes place over the course of only one day, (really, only a few hours of one day), so the pacing is definitely something I was worried about. It holds up so well, though. It is nerve-wracking and suspenseful and everything you want from a book with such high stakes.

The Characters

I won’t get too crazy specific on each character. I didn’t like all six of them. Really, I only liked two. Two and a half. But, I found all of them incredibly believable and (mostly) relatable. Some people aren’t going to be likable in a stressful situation, and the reactions feel natural and real.

We have Rashid, a Muslim boy, dealing with exactly what you would expect in the aftermath of a bomb. Tad, a gay, mixed-race kid. Diana, a senator’s daughter obsessed with being perfect. Frankie, the quarterback. Z, a kid already thought to be a trouble-maker. And Cas, a victim of bullying.

Given these characters, a lot could have gone wrong. I do think these things, especially the treatment of Rashid’s faith by the author and the treatment of Rashid by the other characters in the book, were handled very tactfully. (I am not Muslim, so I can only say this from my limited perspective. It felt real and natural and not gimmicky, and a great way to talk about race/religion. The kids talk among themselves about these things, and I think it’s handled very well.

Even the shitty kids find a balance and look out for one another, for the most part, and I am a HUGE fan of stories where kids come together. So that was possibly my favorite aspect.

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

One, I don’t feel the ending is all that much of a surprise. I did guess it a little more than halfway through. I guessed the correct bomber, though I was wrong about the motivations which did make it interesting. I did feel moments of this were fairly irrational? But I don’t want to go into spoiler territory.

I also really need to figure out how I feel about cursing. SO, y’all know I curse a bit. That being said, I have no problem with books with no swearing. I pointed out in my review of The Lost Causes that they didn’t curse, and I thought that was cool because it felt authentic even if I have a hard time believing so many kids from different backgrounds don’t curse in a stressful situation. What happened here though was that there were, like, filler swear words? Like there’s LITERALLY A BOMB GOING OFF and a kid thinks: Oh, hell! Now maybe I’m being crazy, but I do NOT think oh, hell, when serious shit is going down. You know? It almost made me laugh? And pulled me out of a fairly serious narrative. Like. Take the words or leave them but don’t add filler words.

Overall, I think this is a very interesting read with some important things to say. It’s available to request on NetGalley!

Thanks to NetGalley for advanced access to this book in exchange for an honest review!

See All the Stars

See All the Stars Gave Me All the Feels

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

Published by McElderry Books, Scheduled for August 2018

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Pages: 320

I knew this was special right away, commenting on how I loved the voice as early as the first few pages. But HOLY COW did I not know how much I would ultimately love this book.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. (Venus. Earth. Moon. Sun.) Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself. 

See All the Stars by Kit Frick
See All the Stars does something I LOVE which is that it makes me care a ton, even though I don’t love the characters. For the most part.

Ellory, our narrator, is so special. I adore her in both the Junior and Senior year timelines. Ellory feels real. Flawed in all the right ways and so, wholly teenagerific. Nothing bothers me more than when teenagers in books don’t feel like teenagers, and Ellory is spot on.

Matthias, Ellory’s boyfriend in the THEN timeline, is perfect. Not likable, an important distinction. But perfect for what he is. Sometimes, the good girl and bad boy thing is so very nauseating. But this is utterly believable. I believe Ellory would fall for Matthias. Their relationship feels real to me.

Ret, Ellory’s best friend in the THEN timeline, is kinda the same. I love her character, even though as a person I can’t stand her.

Also, I wanna say, I tweeted a very long time ago: “I just want to read ONE book with two female characters where it’s not a main plot point that one is jealous because the other is prettier.” WELL IT FINALLY HAPPENED. There are FOUR main female characters, and there is none of that shit in this book. Thank. Goodness.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick
The writing is wonderful! SO much can go wrong with alternating timelines, and I’m generally weary, but this is done so very well.

The differences between the two are perfect, also. The THEN timeline being more about relationships and dialogue, and the NOW timeline being more about solitude and with very, very little dialogue. To be able to pull off both writing styles so well is wonderful. Magic.

The pacing is spot on, too. I enjoyed the first half, but the closer we got to the end I HAD to keep reading, had to know what would happen.

I don’t want to say too much, no spoilers, but the end made me SHOUT SO LOUD. I was genuinely surprised. I had a lot of theories, and this wasn’t one of them.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

Way Hyped Books That I STILL HAVEN’T READ

It’s officially 2018. How does that even happen? The last few years seem to have flown by in a manner that I’m deeming simply unacceptable. And somehow, still, in 2018, there are some REALLY popular books that I still haven’t read. Here’s a list! Please let me know which ones you recommend I move to the top of my list.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Okay this story about not-so-openly-gay Simon has a 4.27 on Goodreads, and MANY bloggers I follow and trust gave it amazing reviews. WHY HAVE I NOT READ THIS YET? (No, seriously, why?)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

This I know has to be a masterpiece. I love the title, love the cover. Ah. I’m obsessed. About Aristotle and Dante and their relationship. It has a 4.34 on Goodreads! WHY?

Geekerella

Geekerella

FIRST OF ALL THIS IS ABOUT A GEEK GIRL. That’s my everything. Geek girls are my everything. WHY HAVE I NOT READ THIS. With a 4.08 on Goodreads. I need it. I don’t love the cover? Has that deterred me? I don’t know what in the world my problem is.

Cinder

Cinder

THIS WHOLE SERIES THOUGH. It’s fairy tale retellings? I love fairy tale retellings. This has a million jillion reviews, most of them amazing, and has a 4.15 on Goodreads. Is this the year? I did finally buy this.

Legend

Legend

Okay I recently bought this one too! And with this one, I have more of an understanding of why I haven’t read it. I know it’s gonna be good, okay? I get it. I just don’t love dystopians much anymore? It’s not my favorite. This one has a 4,19 on Goodreads and I know I’ll get there when I’m in the right mood for it.

Red Queen

Red Queen

This one sounds so amazing. ANOTHER that I have purchased but have not read? Why. WHY VANI? I’ll get there. 4.08 on Goodreads.

Six of Crows

Six of Crows

Okay I’m gonna tell you the truth on this one, don’t throw rocks at me. I tried. I started this. I got about thirty pages in? Y’all. It’s SO MANY CHARACTERS. And like so much world-building so fast? I was exhausted. I think I need to start again in a better head space. 4.46 on Goodreads! That’s nuts! I gotta make it happen.

Illuminae

Illuminae

SCI-FI! I love YA sci-fi. I don’t know that much about this one? I know from the reviews I’ve seen that I’ll like it. I trust that I will. It’s just… low on my radar? 4.32 on Goodreads!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Okay real talk, I recently found out I’m mixing this up with like three other books/series? I don’t even know. I have no excuse for myself. 4.28 on Goodreads!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

This sounds so cute. And right up my alley! I love contemporary YA. I know I will love this. Why haven’t I made it happen?! 4.11 on Goodreads.

 

Alright! This is my list of shame. Let me know which ones are the most dire, please!

Moxie Novel

Moxie is an Absolute Must

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Published by Roaring Book Press, September 2017

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Pages: 326

Hi! Well. I have taken quite the hiatus. Incredibly necessary, but I’m back! And I could NOT be more pleased than to come back with THIS book!

Y’ALL. Moxie is a game-changer. A life-changer. I have never, EVER had a book so clearly portray what it is like to be a girl, and ultimately a woman, in America (obviously experiences differ). The beauty and excitement and the sometimes seeming fucking futility in fighting against a system that, quite frankly, blows.

Let’s get into it!

moxie

All the Wrong Chords Book

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Moxie. I’m ECSTATIC when a YA book even positively mentions feminism. And thrilled when a YA book has feminist ideals without directly referencing it. But I LOVED the idea of a YA book ABOUT feminism. About a girl fighting back WITH feminism. I could not have been more excited.

Add to that the history with Viv’s mom having been a Riot Grrrl, awesome references to girl power punk bands like Bikini Kill, and girl friendships?! I was IN. And I was not let down.

The Writing

The writing is incredibly fun and fast-paced, zero lag throughout the story. I could not wait to get on to the next page and the next, sometimes shaking waiting for another of Viv’s Moxie zines to come out.

The plot is what really shines. It is just. So. Relatable. Moxie is set in small town Texas, but there wasn’t a single thing in it that I didn’t go through in LA. I think most girls/women who read it will either have gone through or had someone very close to them go through every single thing Viv fights against. Dress code violations that focus solely on girls. Hallway groping that goes ignored by school staff. Money shoved into the budget for football but rarely girl’s sports or even textbooks written in the last three decades. It’s all just so very important. And Moxie opens up a dialogue.

Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein

Viv is ABSOLUTE MAGIC and here’s why. She’s scared as fuck. She knows what needs to be done and she does it, but it is scary for her the entire time. A lot of the time we think we need “strong female characters” (gag, first of all) to be strong and only strong and never break down and if they have sword-wielding skills that’s really going to be best okay. Viv is a normal girl. Viv is a normal girl who is sick and fucking tired of what is happening at her school. She is smart and tough and interesting but very real and human and just so easy to love.

We also get this amazing ensemble girl cast. Lucy, the new girl in school who is and has been a mega feminist. Claudia, Viv’s long-time best friend who is not about it. Kiera, Viv’s friend who reminds her that feminism can’t just be white feminism. These relationships are so varied and dynamic and I adored them all for different reasons.

Of course we have a grip of people we love to hate, starting with some dudes on the football team and the school’s principal.

And we have Seth, the male lead. There’s a lot that is great here, but two things stand out to me. Seth is a great kid, but he’s also a great way to point out a lot of the areas where even great men go wrong. “Not all men” and “but do you think she’s telling the truth?” can come out of the most progressive mouths, and male allies have to learn the harm in these statements. Seth is so supportive of Viv and their romance is swoony af and it’s awesome.

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

Y’all I SOBBED reading this book. I happy cried, sad cried, angry cried. I did crying I’m not even sure can be described with a particular emotion. I have never had a book make me feel quite the way Moxie does. I’m reading it again already with my son, who is loving it.

I cannot stress this enough. YOU NEED MOXIE IN YOUR LIFE.