Latinx YA Book Recommendations For Your TBR! {2018 + 2019}

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞📚✨ With Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month right around the corner (September 15- October 15), I thought I’d recommend a list of some upcoming YA Book Releases coming out this fall, written by Latinx Authors!

The list includes: Contemporary, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Paranormal, & Retellings!

And I’m even adding in some upcoming 2019 YA Releases I’m eagerly waiting for & ones I recommend adding to your TBR right away if you haven’t already! (Get those 2019 TBRs ready!!)

With that said, onto the list!

And if there’s any I may have missed, please let me know in the comments!

Contemporary

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes1.Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Pages:
416
Summary: Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process? (ARC Review To Come!)

American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott2. American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse Henry Holt & Co.
Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Pages:
272
Summary: With a strong, loving family, an incredibly loyal best friend, and a budding romance with the girl of his dreams, life shows promise for seventeen-year-old Teodoro “T” Avila. But he takes some hard hits the summer before his senior year when his nearly perfect brother Manny returns from a tour in Iraq with a devastating case of PTSD.

In a desperate effort to save Manny from himself and pull their family back together, T’s fiery sister Xochitl hoodwinks her brothers into a road trip with many stops along the road to visit loved ones from their past.

The Resolutions by Mia Garcia3.The Resolutions by Mia Garcia
Publisher: 
Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date:
November 13, 2018
Pages:
416
Summary: New Years are for fresh starts, but Jess just wants everything to go back to the way it was.

From hiking trips, to four-person birthday parties, to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable—and unstoppable. But now, with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been splintering off and growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan.

Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them for each other—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, show your paintings, learn Spanish, say yes to everything.

But not even the best laid plans can take into account the uncertainties of life. As the year unfolds, Jess, Ryan, Nora, and Lee each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heart breaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems. 

Fantasy

Beneath The Citadel by Destiny Soria1.Beneath The Citadel by Destiny Soria
Publisher:
Amulet
Release Date:
October 9, 2018
Pages:
480
Summary: In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves.

Magical Realism

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore1.Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date:
October 9, 2018
Pages:
384
Summary: The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price wepay to protect our hearts.

Paranormal

Seventh Born by Monica Sanz1.Seventh Born by Monica Sanz (The Witchling Academy #1)
Publisher: 
Entangled Teen
Release Date:
September 4, 2018
Pages:
400
Summary: Abomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she’s the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.
 
Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.
 
The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he’ll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she’ll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn’t the only thing that makes a witch burn.

Retellings

Pride by Ibi Zoboi1.Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Publisher: 
Balzer + Bray
Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Pages:
304
Summary: Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

Upcoming 2019 YA Latinx Books

While this list features my top 7 anticipated 2019 YA Latinx releases, definitely keep an eye out on the blog for a full list of YA & MG Latinx releases closer to (or in) early 2019!

Now here are the upcoming 2019 YA Latinx book releases I am beyond excited to get my hands on and read! I definitely recommend you add these to your TBR! ❤

1.We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

2. The Last 8 by Laura Pohl (The Last 8 #1)

3.Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

4.This Just In by Maritza Moulite & Maika Moulite

5. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

6. Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

7. Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

What Latinx YA Releases are you looking forward to?

*I’ve also linked each book cover to its Book Depository page if your interested in pre-ordering (*It is an affiliate link) If you like my content & would like to support me through those links, it would mean a lot!

YA Contemporary Books That Need Netflix Adaptations {Book Blog Discussion}

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanThe long awaited film adaptation of Jenny Han’s YA Contemporary novel To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, debuted on Netflix August 17!

As a fan of Han’s To All The Boys trilogy, I was incredibly happy to finish the film asking myself a couple questions:“P.S. I Still Love You is going to be a thing, right?” but also, “What other YA Contemporary Books do I need to see adapted on Netflix, like in the near future?”

With the well deserved love of Han’s spectacular novel come to life on the small screen, I have a list of YA Contemporary books that I would love to see on screen and if we’re lucky, could be Netflix’s next YA Contemporary adaptation! (For either show or film💕).

(* And because I’m always looking to support diverse/inclusive books, I’ll add the rep. within each book if it has any!)

The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes1.The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes (Cuban-American MC & anxiety rep. and overall diverse cast) 

Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing-stage-fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists.

But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To do that, she must confront her insecurities and break away from the treadmill that is her life. Suddenly, Victoria is faced with the choice of staying on the path she’s always known and straying off-course to find love, adventure, and danger.

Why It Needs A Netflix Adaptation: This YA Contemporary is so heartfelt, funny, and really centers around family and friendship! With the main character Victoria really growing over the course of the story, she finds the courage to come out of her shell and pursue her passions, its something I’m sure many can relate to! Milanes’s debut has such a unique plot, so much heart, dynamic & diverse cast of characters, and focuses on music!! The Victoria In My Head just hits all the notes for a perfect adaptation!

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia2. Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (Social anxiety/anxiety rep.)

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Why It Needs A Netflix Adaptation: This story includes an exploration of mental health (anxiety and depression). The way these deeply complex and relatable main characters are developed, is something not usually seen on-screen! There’s webcomics, fanfiction, internet culture/fandom, and the overall perspective of an online content creator, that aren’t usually explored in mainstream entertainment! There’s themes of family, heart-warming friendship & maybe even romance! (And as a plus: It would be so cool to see Eliza’s webcomic & Wallace’s fan-fiction animated or edited somehow on screen!)

Flight Season by Marie Marquardt3.Flight Season by Marie Marquardt (Brazilian/Brazilian-American & Indigenous Guatemalan MC’s)

Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

Why It Needs A Netflix Adaptation: The way love, loss, family, acceptance, forgiveness, and countless other themes are explored in this book, would make this such a moving story on-screen! TJ, Vivi, & Ángel’s lives weave together and through that, the story explores complex, beautiful dynamics of their friendship and how they grow + learn from each other. With exploration on topics of immigration, grief/acceptance, economic struggles, and so much more– it’s a character-driven story that becomes so real!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi4.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (Korean rep., Korean-American MC & side characters that have Black & Mexican-American rep.)

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him. 

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Why It Needs A Netflix Adaptation: Emergency Contact is truly a contemporary romance like no other! There’s such a focus on the main characters Penny & Sam, as they find solace in each other while they navigate family, obstacles in life, & loneliness. With their relationship explored via texting too, I think this element of the story would be nice to see on screen. With the story told through Penny & Sam’s POV, also as college students, elements from starting out in college, working while in school, etc. is something that I would love to see explored on screen too!

Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine5.Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine ( Saudi-Arabian rep.)

Sixteen-year-olds Leena and Mishie are best friends. They delight in small rebellions against the Saudi cultural police—secret Western clothing, forbidden music, flirtations. But Leena wants college, independence—she wants a different life. Though her story is specific to her world (a world where it’s illegal for women to drive, where a ten-year-old boy is the natural choice as guardian of a fatherless woman), ultimately it’s a story about friendship, family, and freedom that transcends cultural differences.

Why It Needs A Netflix Adaptation: Set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this story emphasizes so much on female friendships, the various dynamics of that friendship, and the power of it! The complexity to this novel from the politics within Riyadh, Leena’s dream to continue pursuing a higher education, exploration of friendship, love, and seeking independence, Driving By Starlight is a powerful and incredibly moving story that would be amazing to see adapted on screen!

And those are 5 of my all-time favorite YA Contemporary books that need Netflix adaptations!! I highly recommend checking out each of these books, they are incredible!! 😍📚🎉📽

Out of each of them, I can definitely picture these as films: Eliza & Her Monsters, Emergency Contact, & Driving By Starlight!

As for the others, it seems they could go either way, but I feel they would be better suited as shows!

Have you found your next YA Contemporary read & would these be the next Netflix film or TV show to watch?

Any YA Contemporary books you want to have Netflix deals? Let’s Discuss In The Comments!

June 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin + Nina Vakueva1.Heavy Vinyl Volume 1 by Carly Usdin +Nina Vakueva (Heavy Vinyl #1)

Owned | Started/Finished June 1 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Heavy Vinyl Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, diverse, graphic novel with so much girl power set in 90’s New Jersey! Heavy Vinyl follows Chris who works alongside her all-female co-workers at her local vinyl store. With anxiety, she wants to fit in with her new friends but hasn’t gotten the chance! That is until a case of missing singer introduces her to the world her co-workers have been hiding from her: their vigilante fight club! Now she’s tagging along with them to solve the mystery and maybe uncover more along the way! This is an incredible graphic novel that’s character-driven, diverse, and just a fun story! Friendship is at the heart of Heavy Vinyl and it really shows with each page. Additionally, there’s a lot of fantastic representation among the main cast/side characters: f/f & m/m relationships, lesbian rep., black & Puerto Rican rep., interracial relationships! I adored this graphic novel so much & highly recommend it!  I think there’s only 1 volume planned which is sad, because it ends on at place leaving you to want more from the story & characters, so definitely pick it up & support it, you won’t be disappointed!

Running With Lions by Julian Winters2.Running With Lions by Julian Winters

Owned| Started June 3 + Finished June 7 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½| Running With Lions Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A coming-of-age YA sports contemporary, that really focuses on characters! Sebastian Hughes is ready for his last summer of soccer training camp with his teammates, before senior year. However things get a bit complicated when his former friend, Emir Shah, shows up. Though regardless of their past, Sebastian is eager to make Emir feel at home! Through a 3rd person POV, the characters, plot, summer setting/atmosphere come to life! A huge aspect of this novel is the way Winters explores sexuality, with characters identifying as gay and bisexual + through the teammate’s support + acceptance of each other throughout the entire book! The characters really grow as they spend their time at Camp Haven and I loved seeing their friendship dynamics with each turn of the page! The plot, characters, etc. are all wonderfully developed and the pacing is great! Highly recommend checking out Winter’s debut!

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl3. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

ARC| Started June 9 + Finished June 12 |Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾| Neverworld Wake Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Neverworld Wake was an intriguing YA Contemporary that blends with science fiction! Beatrice Hartley gets the opportunity to reconnect with her friends from boarding school at an estate, since the year or so since her boyfriend Jim’s passing. But when a mysterious man arrives, he tells them they’ve been caught in the Neverworld Wake and only one person can make out alive by the end. The mystery that surrounded Neverworld and how the info was revealed was both delivered and explored at perfect moments throughout the story. While the plot and mystery remain such huge parts of the story, I did find myself not enjoying this book as much as I’d hoped. The writing (which is 1st person) never really made me find a connection to Bea as a character and with the simplicity to the writing, some elements of the story, like side characters were pretty forgettable. However, what definitely made Neverworld Wake an immersive read, was definitely the mystery, and exploration + complexities to the Neverworld!

Not The Girls Your Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi4.Not The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

ARC| Started June 13 + Finished June 18 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½| Not The Girls You’re Looking For Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Aminah Mae Safi’s debut explores the complexities of family and friendship (especially female friendships) in her debut! I connected with Lulu, the main character, from the very first page! She’s outgoing, not afraid to speak her mind and I just–loved her character so much.  This novel explores the messiness of friendship in an honest + complex way, and its such a huge theme of the story. Safi really allows for both friendship & family to be explored, and I was able to really see the many different sides to these dynamics. The unique plot, themes explored, character dynamics, etc. all came together so wonderfully in Not The Girls You’re Looking For to make for such a fantastic YA Contemporary!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir5. A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #3)

Library| Started June 19 + Finished June 25|Rating:★★★★☆| A Reaper At The Gates Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is very much a darker continuation to the An Ember In The Ashes series! Character development and lore/mythology are such huge parts of this book and really take center stage. I loved seeing the development and growth to Laia, Helene, and Elias. They are such phenomenal characters and you really see where their fates lead them in this book! War and the dark aftermath of it are explored in this novel and its just heartbreaking. While this was such a great book, I found for me personally that the pacing in the first 1/2 or so made this book a bit difficult for me to really love it as with the previous ones. With the pacing, I felt that with the urgency of the stakes that are given + alongside the writing that made side characters, setting, etc. feel a bit under-developed and not as fully immersive for me in previous books. However regardless of that, as soon as I reached the end, I needed the next book right away. So, I am beyond excited to read the final book and see what Sabaa has in store for the world/story of Ember! 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #12

Audio Dime Museum Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Currently Reading & YA Books On My June 2018 TBR!

Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye Exclusive Cover Reveal

Dark Ages Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Plans For July:

~READ MORE!! I feel like I just haven’t been reading much as I’d hoped (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`) & before summer ends, really want to catch up on my TBR! If you have any tips to read more, definitely let me know!! 😭💕📚📚

~ Post more podcast reviews for Literary Listens! June was my first month posting audio drama podcast reviews & they were such fun posts to make!! I really hope to review/recommend more audio dramas next month too!! 🎙✨💖

~Continue working on my summer bullet journal 😍📒💕☀

What books did you read this month?? 😍📚

+ What are your bookish goals for July? Lets discuss in the comments!! ✨✨

Not The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi ARC Review

Not The Girls Your Looking For by Aminah Mae SafiNot The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: June 19, 2018

Pages: 336 (327 ARC)

Summary: Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

*Received ARC through Yallwest*

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Not The Girls You’re Looking For is a YA Contemporary that explores with such complexity: friendships, love, family, and self-growth! Safi’s debut also seamlessly weaves in humor while navigating a complex and heavy topics!

Through a 3rd person POV, Safi’s debut centers around Leila “Lulu” Saad as she’s continuing to navigate her life + high school with her friends: Audrey, Lo, and Emma by her side!

But aside from high school there’s also family, friendships, and so many different facets to her life that are explored throughout the entire book! From the very beginning Lulu came to life on the page and with each and every moment, Safi continued to develop her character with so much depth!

I loved that there were just–so many different sides of Lulu’s life that are explored and seen throughout.

Friendship is a huge element of this book, obviously seen through Lulu and her core group of friends. As the friendship hits a few bumps along the way, it allows us to explore the complexities of it through Lulu’s eyes as she finds herself attempting to mend the conflict that has driven her friends apart.

Safi tackles the messy aspects of friendship in what I found to be an honest and complex way that is a big element to the story!

With Lulu a bit lost and unsure of how to mend and repair those bonds, it allowed for numerous amounts of page time of seeing Lulu’s complexity and the differing sides of her life!

It really allowed for me to connect to her even more and see her struggle to find a balance with various obstacles that appear as the story progresses.

Lulu was easily my favorite character of the entire book! She’s outgoing, reckless, sarcastic, and some would say “imperfect” but that’s what makes her such an incredible character!

She loves going out to parties, making out with guys, drinking + hanging out with her friends, etc. and I loved how she’s very outgoing and just always willing to have fun!

For me personally, at certain moments it definitely takes time to be very outgoing, but reading about Lulu and how confident she was, was just really inspiring and I just loved reading about a character who’s personality is different than mine but also very much like mine in ways too!

She is very much trying to find a space for herself, both as a biracial teen (white mother & Muslim + Iraqi father) finding where she fits in with her other family members, & overall just on her own.

I loved how Safi explored Lulu’s character and made it such a grounded element to the story!

Family is also a huge aspect to this book as Lulu confronts her uncertainties of her identity as she spends Ramadan with other family members and also explores the complex relationships/dynamics with them.

Additionally, I loved the sibling dynamics explored with her older brothers Ben & Reza. Though they aren’t present for the whole novel, their moments with Lulu are done so well as we see the sibling banter between them and as they try to help Lulu navigate the rift between her friends.

I also loved how integral her parents were! Her relationship with her mother and father is explored so well throughout the entire book. For me I did find the growth and development was slow and gradual and something that really took its time to develop and change, which I loved!

Also the way Safi crafted them as characters, their development/dynamic growth with Lulu and overall through Safi’s writing-style, they really did feel so real and I found them to be so memorable and real!

While there’s definitely memorable parents in YA Contemporary, there’s just something about Safi’s complex writing that added unique layers to Lulu’s parents, Aimee +Ahmed as well!

From family to friendship, Safi makes it clear that there’s so many differing sides and the dynamics and relationships we have with them aren’t just one sided and I loved how she explored that through her writing.

There’s also a character named James who Lulu finds herself falling for and I love how their relationship was developed! She finds herself really opening up to him over the course of the story before + after the obstacles with her friends arise!

She’s very outgoing + bold and it was great seeing that part of her shine through even more as she got to know him!

Plot-wise, it was very unique! There was never a moment where I knew where the plot was going and I found that made this reading experience so great!

From Lulu’s family life, school, celebrating Ramadan, etc. I loved the way Safi developed her plot while also making it both slow and fast paced & having work perfectly for the story!

Not The Girls You’re Looking For also discusses a number of complex/heavy subjects involving consent as it becomes a relevant topic to the overall story.

There’s just so much I loved about this book!! From the amazing focus on family and family dynamics that are so central to the story, importance of finding yourself, and the messy/complex dynamics of friendships!

Overall Not The Girls You’re Looking For is a must read YA Contemporary! It explores numerous topics from friendship, family, self identity, and so much more! Safi navigates the real and messy moments in life, while also balancing with the wonderful and memorable ones too!

What I’m Currently Reading & YA Books On My June TBR!

Book Blog Discussion BannerThere’s been a lot of books I’ve made made plans to read over summer and now that I’m officially on summer break, I’m hoping to read as much of these as I can this month!

So, today I’ll be sharing with you what I’m currently reading and the other books I’m planning on getting to!

Currently Reading:

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl1.Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

I was able to get an ARC of Neverworld Wake from Yallwest and finally started reading it early last week, but sadly put it down to catch up on a graphic novel & Running With Lions (which I’m hoping to post my review of next week!). I’m still very interested in reading Neverworld and want to try and finish it within the coming week + post my review!

From what I know about it & have read so far, it follows Beatrice Hartley who lives in her small town working at her parents ice cream parlor.

She’s been disconnected from her 6 friends after graduation for a while, with the loss of her boyfriend Jim.

Then she returns with her friends to “Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world…”

Soon, they receive a mysterious knock at the door and I think, find themselves caught in a Neverworld Wake??

Overall I’d really been enjoying it so far and want to finish it! I don’t read much mystery, but Neverworld Wake has had me intrigued!

June TBR

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova1.Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova (Labyrinth Lost #2)

I read and loved Labyrinth Lost when I read it back in 2016! It centered around Alex who is a bruja and an adventure that takes her on a quest to find her family after a spell she preforms, causes them to disappear!

From the Latinx rep. to themes of family (and sisterhood), all of which I could relate to so well, I fell in love with this book, from the story to the world–everything!

Now with Bruja Born finally out, I am beyond excited to get back into this amazing world & follow even more of Alex’s adventures!

Mariam Sharma Hits The Road by Sheba Karim2.Mariam Sharma Hits The Road by Sheba Karim

Similar to Neverworld Wake, I was also able to get an ARC of this from Yallwest! This book basically centers around a group of friends who go on a road trip after their freshman year at college!

As always, I’m always looking to read more #OwnVoices + diverse books and overall, Mariam Sharma just sounded like such an amazing read, perfect for summer, so I’m definitely going to be reading this one soon as well!

And being a college student myself, I’m also just looking forward to reading more college-centered & about college-aged YA characters!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir3.A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #3)

I’m such a big fan of An Ember In The Ashes quartet, so of course I would definitely have this on my TBR list! I can’t wait to read where Sabaa takes the story, characters, everything!!

I’ve had just– so many theories for where I think A Reaper At The Gates will be going, so I’m just counting down the days until this is out!

I’ve really been looking forward to reading more from Laia, Elias, etc. and am beyond excited to finally get my hands on A Reaper At The Gates!

Not The Girls Your Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi4.Not The Girls Your Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Similar to the other ARCs above, I was also able to get a copy of Not The Girls Your Looking For at Yallwest & even met Aminah, who was so nice! Getting the chance to talk to her about the importance of representation and books in general was just so great & I’m beyond excited to read her debut novel!

Definitely check out the summary for Not The Girls Your Looking For below & add it to your TBR if you haven’t already!

“Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.” 

A Thousand Beginnings And Endings by Ellen Oh and Elise Chapman5. A Thousand Beginnings And Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

I don’t usually read many anthologies, but when I first read the summary (& saw the gorgeous cover) of A Thousand Beginnings And Endings, I knew I’d have to read it!

This book will contain 15 short stories from authors of East and South Asia background, writing re imagined folklore and mythology!

I love reading about mythology and the blend of fantasy + mythology in this anthology sounds like it’ll be right up my alley!

I also do want to try to get into reading more YA anthologies and in general, it just sounds like an overall great read!

The Game Of Hope by Sandra Gulland6.The Game Of Hope by Sandra Gulland

Additionally, this was also another ARC I was able to get from Yallwest @ PenguinTeen’s booth, out of I think 3 other choices, The Game Of Hope was my pick!

Set in 1798 Paris, France, this novel is a YA Historical Fiction that centers around Napoleon’s step-daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais.

Wanting to go into this book without much knowledge, I do know it essentially follows Hortense as she goes about her daily life in boarding school, studies, arts, etc., but is unsure of where her future lies when her mother marries Napoleon.

I don’t usually read much historical fiction, but this novel just intrigued me from the summary and I’m beyond excited to read it!

And that wraps up my June TBR! 📚✨😍

What are you planning to read this month? Any of the books on your TBR similar to mine? Let’s Discuss! 📚✨☀

May 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Here’s my wrap-up for May 2018! Now that I’m officially on summer break, I’m hoping to read + review more this month!! 

Out Of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee1. Out Of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee

ARC | Started April 28 + Finished May 10 |Rating:★★★★☆ | Out Of Left Field Full Review

Overall Thoughts: If your looking for a contemporary that doesn’t focus on romance, this is the book for you! Out Of Left Field is about Marnie as she takes the place of her best friend Cody on her high school baseball team after he gets injured. There’s such a big focus on the dynamic of friendship, life after college, + Marnie’s passion for baseball and I really loved that. The plot, in my opinion, just went in such unique directions compared to other YA Contemporary novels and continued to surprise me with very interesting plot twists! There’s also representation through the side characters (Filipino + Latinx & bisexual rep., Indian-American rep.). The pacing does get slow at some points & I wish that some of the main/side characters had more expansion + development, additionally there are some plot threads I wish could have been expanded on. However, overall Out Of Left Field is a uniquely plotted YA Contemporary that really focuses on its characters and the complex dynamics of friendship! Definitely recommend Kris Hui Lee’s Out Of Left Field if your looking for more sports in YA Contemporary!

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo2. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Owned | Started May 11 + Finished May 13 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | The Way You Make Me Feel Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Having been a big fan of Goo’s previous novel, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, I knew I would be picking up, The Way You Make Me Feel. Clara is a bit of a troublemaker, so when she gets tasked with working on her father’s Korean-Brazilian fusion food truck w/ her school nemesis, she feels her perfect summer (w/ plans of visiting her mother) has come to an end! But, she soon finds herself changing and growing throughout the summer, making new friends, and maybe finding romance along the way. The development of family and the complex dynamic was developed so incredibly well in this book as was the friendship! The Way You Make Me Feel was a book that captured my heart from page 1 with its character-driven story, wonderful writing, and summer adventures! The Way You Make Me Feel is a must read for summer!

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter3. Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

Library | Started May 16 + Finished May 19 |Rating:★★★★☆ |Not If I Save You First Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Carter delivers another political thriller, with a mystery that keeps you turning the page as the stakes continue to build! Maddie, daughter to a secret service agent and Logan, the president’s son, have been friends since they were little. However after an attack at the White House when they were 10, leads Maddie to stay off the grid for almost 6 years in the Alaskan wilderness alongside her father. Maddie & Logan are soon reunited and their friendship is no longer what it used to be, yet when its revealed someone may be after Logan, they have to team up and uncover the answers. Carter does a fantastic job at seamlessly integrating politics and mystery within her novels and I always look forward to reading her books! However, through out Not If I Save You First I felt the pacing was pretty slow and while the build up to the mystery was done incredibly well, when answers are revealed it felt not only rushed, but a bit disappointing in its execution. Additionally,there was a bit of repetitiveness when it came to the setting. Overall though, Not If I Save You First was definitely an entertaining mystery thriller that really kept me turning the page!

Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine4. Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine

ARC| Started May 21 + Finished May 22 |Rating:★★★★★ |Driving By Starlight Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Driving By Starlight has easily become another one of my all-time favorite novels and is one that I will never forget!! I haven’t seen a lot of buzz for Driving By Starlight, but if you haven’t read it, please do, its phenomenal!! Set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia crafted an honest and moving YA Contemporary, which follows Leena & Mishail, who are no strangers to a bit of rebellion within their town. Due to strict laws however, they find themselves unsure of their futures as women within society. Leena dreams of attending university and studying law, but with the absence of her father (who is a rebel), needing to take care of her mother, and not wanting to leave her friends/life behind, its becoming uncertain whether she will be able to follow her dreams. Over the course of the novel, Leena goes through quite a journey! From the powerful messages, themes of family & friendship explored with such depth, incredible cast of characters, thought-provoking & beautiful writing, Deracine’s novel is phenomenal! There’s honestly so much to this amazing novel I can’t put into words, but I highly recommend reading Driving By Starlight, its a must read!

caraval-by-stephanie-garber5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Library |Started May 23 + Finished May 26 |Rating:★★★★☆ |Caraval Full Review

Overall Thoughts: I’d been putting off reading Caraval because of all the hype, but I’d recently been fortunate enough to get an ARC of Legendary and felt I’d give it a try! I’m so glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it! Garber’s writing easily pulled me into the story and crafted mystery into her novel so well, as we follow Scarlett attempting to find her sister throughout Caraval. Garber’s novel surprised me in ways I wasn’t expecting and I really enjoyed it. I did find that the repetitiveness of color to describe setting/emotion didn’t really click with me and I found other than Caraval, the world-building wasn’t really expanded on either, & I was expecting a bit more from the ending. However, I was definitely more surprised by Caraval than I expected and found it to be an immersive, mystery adventure!

Legendary by Stephanie Garber6. Legendary by Stephanie Garber (Caraval #2)

ARC |Started May 28 + Finished May 30 |Rating:★★★★☆ |Legendary Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary takes what you knew in Caraval and really makes it more of a mind game, which was very interesting! Following Tella, were back into the game of Caraval, but there are very much real-life stakes involved. I loved how Garber seamlessly weaved in the fantasy elements, however all throughout Legendary I was thinking ‘why wasn’t this introduced more in Caraval?’, but I’m glad it was added into the story! Garber introduces new settings and a character by the name of Jacks who I really loved! It takes a bit of a darker, more fairy tale vibe, but I really enjoyed it! The plot is filled with intrigue, magic, mythology of the world of Caraval, and really had me guessing & on the edge of my seat wondering where the next book is headed!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #11

The Last 8 Cover Reveal

Author Interview w/ Maura Milan about her upcoming novel Ignite The Stars

Plans For June:

~ Catch up on reading, now that I’m officially on summer break & work on my summer reading bullet journal!

~Post upcoming TBR lists/other posts that I’ve had drafted for a while! 😂✨📚

~Planning to hopefully create + share another Literary Listens post! 🎙✨💕

Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine ARC Review

Driving By Starlight by Anat DeracineDriving By Starlight by Anat Deracine

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Pages: 288

Available for purchase through The Book Depository: Driving By Starlight

Available for purchase through Bookshop (to support a local indie bookstore): Driving By Starlight

Summary: Sixteen-year-olds Leena and Mishie are best friends. They delight in small rebellions against the Saudi cultural police—secret Western clothing, forbidden music, flirtations. But Leena wants college, independence—she wants a different life. Though her story is specific to her world (a world where it’s illegal for women to drive, where a ten-year-old boy is the natural choice as guardian of a fatherless woman), ultimately it’s a story about friendship, family, and freedom that transcends cultural differences.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Driving By Starlight is a phenomenal YA Contemporary! Set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia best friends Leena and Mishail are no stranger to small rebellions! Told through an impactful and beautifully written 1st person POV, Deracine’s debut explores with such depth  family, love, friendship, feminism, and so much more!

You know when a book immerses & impacts you so much throughout its entirety and it leaves you thinking for so long after the final page?

That’s what reading Driving By Starlight felt for me!🌟❤

Driving By Starlight is a thought-provoking read and I loved every single moment of it!

Deracine’s debut is one to read ASAP + Add to your TBR if you haven’t already!! This gem of a novel follows Leena on her journey as she navigates love, family, friendship, and contemplates about her future during her senior year, while also encountering strict laws and rules for women within Riyadh.

It was just so moving and captivating, this novel has easily made it to my list of all-time favorite YA Contemporary novels + favorite books of all time!!

Told through such an emotional, thought-provoking, and descriptive POV, we follow Leena and her best friend Mishail who are inseparable!

With strict rules within their town, they find themselves being a bit rebellious. Whether its walking out on their own late at night, wearing western clothing, changing out of or not wearing their abayas etc.

However because of the strict rules within society & fear of being caught by the religious/cultural police , Leena, Mishail, and her friends find themselves unable to fully take hold of their futures.

Deracine’s writing is poetic, moving, and honest! While reading, I may have tabbed quotes/passages at least 20+ times!! 😂💞✨

Told through a first person POV, we follow Leena who has such courage and determination throughout the entire novel shows us how much she is willing to sacrifice for her friends, family, and future!

She lives with her mother and spends as much time as she can with her best friend Mishail! However, her father is in prison for being a rebel against the government and in his absence, must take care of herself and her mother, while also working her hardest towards a future she dreams of!

As for Riyadh, from the descriptions of the deserts, city, clothing, politics, society–everything, Deracine delivers the setting in such a way that it balances the beauty and everyday life for Leena, while also discussing in such a real and honest way, the injustice within society for herself, among other women.

Leena dreams of continuing her passion and pursuit of law after high school. However, the strict rules for her within her town make it increasingly difficult for her to pursue her dreams.

Leena herself is so worldly and just wants to fight for a future she dreams of and, just wants more! However, her fears of what it could mean for her best friend + family, just captured my heart and I rooted for her with each and every page!

I’m not really sure how to go about explaining the plot, because there’s just so much that happens! But, I will say that all though it follows Leena & her story, its also about her friends and family, who come to life through her POV.

Additionally, you truly understand each and every one of the characters when you reach the very end!

There are also quite a number of themes explored throughout this novel, with the three main one’s being family, friendship, and the complexities of being a woman within the restrictions of society!

There’s mystery as well, in terms of the fate of Leena’s father, who we know is currently in prison. However, though he is mentioned throughout the novel, Deracine builds his character with such complexity and mystery, that we see the impact he has made on a number of characters as we delve further into the plot! I loved how Deracine explored his character!

I also loved how female-centered this story was! A majority of the cast is female and this novel also explores female friendship + dynamics incredibly!

Leena, Mishail, and her friends Bilquis, Sofia, and Aisha all attend the same all-girls school and are not strangers to a bit of rebellion themselves (which is why Headmistress Maryam Madam does what she can to ensure their safety, even if she’s well aware of their rebellious schemes).

However, things begin to change when an attack on a neighboring all-girls school, Najd National, introduces the girls to a new friend + Saudi American, Daria Albukhair.

Daria slowly but surely joins Leena + her friend group, but as Daria introduces the girls to a bit more rebellion, Leena not only finds herself worried for her friends safety, but feels she may also be losing her best friend Mishail to Daria.

While this fear that Leena encounters does take more of a central role towards the middle of the novel, the complex friendship is explored so incredibly well, with its ups, downs, and everything in between throughout the novel’s entirety!

Deracine also does a phenomenal job at weaving her characters together! From side characters that become such more prominent as the story progresses, to characters who you see a multitude of sides from as well, the threads of each of these characters weaves in such a way that is truly unforgettable!

While I honestly loved each and every character so much, there are a few I wanted to talk about!

First is headmistress Maryam Madam! While its clear she only wants whats best for the girls, we see how she connects more with Leena and her family as the story progresses! She is such a great character and I loved seeing how her character evolved throughout the novel and that there’s so much more to her than we first expect!

I also really loved Faraz, who is the son of Hossein, (who was a friend of Leena’s father, growing up)! He is so kind and supportive of Leena throughout the entire book! While he only has a couple scenes, he becomes such a prominent character and I loved him so much!!

Similarly, I also really loved Ahmed’s character, who is Daria’s cousin! He connects with Leena easily through her father, who he knew as rebel! Seeing how they connect through a way that Leena finds such difficulty talking about was also so incredibly explored + developed, and similarly to headmistress Maryam Madam & Faraz, Ahmed is a character who develops so much and you see differing sides of him throughout Driving By Starlight!

Continuing with the writing, there were just so many quotes and moments that were so thought-provoking and really left me seeing Leena and her story from so many different angles.

I honestly adored everything about Driving By Starlight! Its immersive, makes you think, has heart wrenching + heart-breaking moments, builds characters and their stories is such a fascinating and absolutely incredible way!

I loved the complex characters, story line, themes, powerful messages of hope–basically everything!!

So, if you haven’t picked up Driving By Starlight yet, I cannot recommend it enough! This novel is truly such a gem!!

Driving By Starlight is a spectacular novel! With an honest, moving and emotionally captivating story, phenomenal characters, and powerful messages, Deracine’s debut is a must read!

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo Review

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooThe Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: May 8, 2018

Pages: 336

Summary: Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

**TW for trypophobia*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Way You Make Me Feel is not a YA Contemporary to miss! With a phenomenal cast of unforgettable characters, brilliant writing-style, and a plot that will immerse start to finish, this is a must-read summer YA Contemporary!

The very 1st novel I read by Goo, was I Believe In A Thing Called Love! I love YA Contemporary and after that book, I knew I would read her future books as well!

The Way You Make Me Feel is a book that is not only a fun and unique story, but also weaves in serious themes revolving around friendship and especially family!

What I also loved about The Way You Make Me Feel, is that even though I got through it within a matter of days, it felt I was with these characters + this story for so long! For me, that’s the best kind of story, where you become so attached to the story, setting, characters, and can’t believe the story is over when you’ve reached the last page!

Clara Shin, our main character, is the star of this novel and I loved her so much! She’s fierce, confident and a bit of trouble-maker!

As summer vacation is on the horizon, Clara has it pretty much planned out: she’s counting down the days to visit her mother Mãe in Tulum, Mexico, while her dad Adrian, works on his KoBra food truck (Korean & Brazilian fusion food).

However, when a school prank gets out of hand with her school nemesis, Rose Carver, her summer is about to change!

In order to pay for the damages caused by the prank, she now has to work on the truck with Rose and feels her entire summer has come crashing down!

Now she’s working with her nemesis, trying to find time for herself and friends Patrick + Felix, make time to plan her trip to visit her mom, and maybe begin to have feelings for a guy (Hamlet) she meets near one of the KoBra stops!

Goo’s writing not only brings the characters to life, but also the vibrant + diverse LA setting! I loved how she brought the setting to life through the littlest details, like the never-ending traffic XD, the weather, food and classic LA stops!

There is also such great diverse representation and I loved that!!~♥♥*:✧ From the Korean-American & Korean-Brazilian rep., to Hamlet who is Chinese-American, Rose who’s Black, hinted at gay rep. (Patrick), and Mexican-American rep. (Felix), Goo does such an amazing job at creating such a diverse cast of incredible characters!!

I loved each and every character! From Clara, her parents, her friends Patrick Keen & Felix Benavides, to Rose, Hamlet Wong, all the main characters just came to life from their very first introductions and I loved them so much!!

The relationships and dynamics are so real and just develop so wonderfully! From Clara & Rose’s development into a beautiful friendship, to the dynamic between Clara & her dad, + the slow but steady development of Clara’s relationship with Hamlet!

Clara is a very confident and rebellious teenager! She speaks her mind and I just loved her so much! She starts off a person who quickly brushes things off, but over the course of the novel begins to find herself changing and growing throughout the summer.

From her outlook on relationships, friendships, commitments, etc. I adored her fierce and confident side, while also loving how she began to view things from a new angle as her summer plans turned out different than she had hoped!

The relationship she develops with Hamlet was so cute! Hamlet was so kind, optimistic, ans just so sweet and I loved his contrast to Clara, seeing their dynamic grow was so lovely!!~ Their development was so well done, I loved their banter and how they grew and changed with each other throughout the summer!

Now as for the dynamic with her dad, Adrian Shin, its clear that while there is such a strong father/daughter bond between them. What I found relatable to their dynamic with my own parents, was the fun/comedic moments they’d share♥♥*:✧~

I loved seeing how Clara not only strengthened her relationship with her dad, but by the end was able to see how even though she saw a lot of herself in her mom, also saw the strengths in her dad that her mother didn’t have.

What I also admire about Goo’s work, is the development of family in her novels, especially this one! From Clara’s parents not being married, but still keeping in contact, the bond Clara has with her dad, and the overall the complexity of family in this novel is something I love and related to so much in this book! Also the family dynamic Hamlet has with “grandparents,” who are actually grandparents of family-friends while his parents are working in China!

I also adored the friendship that developed between Clara & Rose! While they didn’t get along in the beginning, they really formed this beautiful friendship and learn a lot from each other along the way.

Their forced to work together on the KoBra truck, but what surprised me (considering Rose’s very upfront/honest personality) was how she really opened up to Clara + we learn she really finds it difficult to make friends and has anxiety! Seeing how Clara really made so many efforts to make Rose feel included + get her out of her shell was so beautiful to read!

Now I’m going into 1 aspect I didn’t really like (mentioned in the TW), so I may rate this book at 4.5 instead of 5, but still deciding on an exact rating:

**I suppose my only minor issue was the “trypophobiascene. Now, I’ve never felt triggered while reading a book before, so this was–an odd experience. I personally did find this scene triggering and just wanted to mention where it is, in case others who read this book are unaware! I find explaining this for me personally is also a bit triggering, so readers, just be wary & apologies if I’m a bit vague because of it.

I don’t usually read reviews before starting a book (so I was unaware of this scene before hand), but I had seen a couple reviews mention it, after I finished the book and looked on GR. Note: its discussed on pg. 84* (Basically Clara mentions wanting to send her dad certain triggering photos, (aka where the Trypophobia is discussed).

*Acquadimore’s reviews are always so great and found the TW discussed in her review of The Way You Make Me Feel as well!

Aside from that scene however, I really did love this book so much!

Clara undergoes quite a journey as she begins to consider and change her rebellious nature from the start of the novel. She see’s friends + family in a new light, and finds herself growing because of that!

The themes central to this novel that are explored so incredibly well and are at the heart of this story are family & friendship! There is such depth to them that are explored through Clara’s POV and her adventures throughout the summer and I loved that!

The Way You Make Me Feel is a fun + delightful YA Contemporary that captured my heart from page 1! With such incredibly developed characters and themes, a unique and immersive plot, summer adventures, and so much more, this is a perfect YA Contemporary for summer!

April 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 3

April wasn’t the best reading wise, but overall it did give me more time to come up with posts that I can’t wait to share this month!! ^_^

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen1.Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Owned | Started/Finished April 6 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Legendary Ladies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary Ladies is a beautifully illustrated book that chronicles the tales of goddesses from around the world! With a selection of goddesses from a variety of cultures, Shen not only shares their stories, but also a guiding sentence at the end to offer words of wisdom inspired by each heroic goddess. What I found while reading, was how goddesses tales across time and cultures seemed to weave together and connect! I just wish there were more stories, because Shen not only does an incredible job at summarizing their legends, but also accompanying them with such vibrant illustrations! This colorful and inspiring collection is a must read!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi2.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Library | Started April 3 + Finished April 8 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Emergency Contact Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Emergency Contact was a book I knew I would go into really enjoying, but did not expect to love it as much as I did! I don’t usually read contemporary books that a very romance heavy/centered, but this one was just incredible! Choi delivers such a character-driven, raw, modern-day romance that is just so unique and moving! I found myself re-reading this book twice & annotating my own copy when I bought it late last month, because I just loved it so much! Told through dual POV, it allows you to really understand the main characters Penny & Sam, how they really escape their loneliness through one another, and seeing the development of their deep friendship & connection with each other. It was so interesting to see how their text messages with each other vs. real-life interactions differed. Overall added such a unique layer to their relationship/development. It has a deep and moving story, is romantic, and has such emotional depth! If your looking for a unique,modern-day romance, Emergency Contact is definitely a book to check out! 

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi3.Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Library | Started April 11 + Finished April 24 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Aru Shah And The End Of Time {Mini Review}

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi delivers a heroic fantasy adventure weaved in with Hindu mythology and folklore! Aru Shah And The End Of Time also emphasized family and friendship throughout the entire story, which is so wonderfully explored (And I loved that!). The 3rd person POV really allowed for the mythology, characters, and world to get such an expansive view and great development! Sadly the plot did get a bit slow for me as I read nearing the middle and the end. However, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not a book to miss! She brilliantly blends fantasy w/ the modern day, delivers a dazzling writing style, and immerses you into an unforgettable fantasy adventure!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #10

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

Top 10 Tuesday: Podcasts I’ve Recently Discovered {Freebie!}

LA Times Festival Of Books Wrap-Up {2018} + Giveaway {INTL + Open until May 15th}

Plans For May:

~ Now that finals are close, I’ll be on summer break (finally!) and catch up on so many books!!

~Planning to finally post my SFF TBR! 😍💞✨⚔🚀💫📚

~Share the posts I spent time drafting last month!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi Review

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. ChoiEmergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Pages: 400

Summary:For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Emergency Contact is character-driven and complex YA Contemporary, with so much heart and depth! Through Choi’s writing, Emergency Contact handles and discusses a number of difficult subjects, develops a dynamic cast of characters, and delivers a romance like no other! 

Okay so originally I got an ARC of Emergency Contact, but at the times I really wanted to read it, school just got so busy! So when my library copy came, after about being maybe 100+ pages in, I decided to start it over.

I’m so glad I did because while I really loved it the first time, taking the time to re-read & catch-up had me even more invested in Emergency Contact than I was before!!

I adored Emergency Contact so much & if your familiar with my blog, you’ll know I hardly read contemporary romances. But from the summary (& amazing cover!! ♥♥I knew I had to read this book!

And this YA Contemporary has easily made it to my list of all-time favorites!!

This novel follows 2 POVs with the 1st being: 18 yr. old Penny Lee, who is about to start her first year of college in Austin, Texas and dreams of becoming a writer, then there’ Sam Becker, 21 yrs. old, who works at House Coffee in Austin (+ is an an incredible baker!) and dreams of becoming a documentary filmmaker.

Penny has a difficult relationship with her mom and has felt she’s been forced to grow up on her own. She feels college (in a new state) will make things different for her and allow her the new start she needs.

Sam is stuck. He’s working/living at the coffee house and barley getting by, while also having been neglected by his mother as the years went by and having an absentee father. He also has an ex-girlfriend Lorraine, who’s recently decided to contact him, though he is still trying to get over their break-up.

Penny’s college roommate Jude (and her friend Mallory) decide to take a trip to House and it turns out Sam is Jude’s uncle.

Jude makes it clear to both Penny & Mal that she doesn’t want them to get into any kind of relationship with Sam. Both Jude & Sam are close, so Jude doesn’t want things to be complicated.

However, when Sam’s ex comes back into his life, with news that she may be pregnant, Sam is not sure what to make of the situation and quickly gets overwhelmed.

After having a panic attack, Penny notices him shortly after and decides to help him. Offering to take him to the hospital then back to House, the two talk for a bit & soon form a bond with each other. Then they decide to be each others emergency contacts.

Not long after making sure each of them is okay after that, they begin messaging each other and form an even closer connection via text.

What I loved about Emergency Contact so much was seeing how both Penny & Sam could relate to each other on such an emotional and deep level. They both feel such an intense loneliness and find comfort + solace with each other through the friendship/bond they share by text messaging.

Penny finds it very difficult to connect with people or surround herself with people who really understand her. Because of that, her friendship with Jude + friendship/relationship with Sam has its ups and downs.

I definitely related to Penny at times throughout, but seeing her continue to do her best to connect with Sam and better understand herself was just so beautiful to read!!

Additionally, while its clear that a friendship (and maybe something more) is forming between them, I loved that it really took its time to develop and a majority of this novel is really about Sam and Penny navigating the situations they encounter in life, while finding a deep and personal connection with each other.

Seeing Penny’s relationships change and grow with the people around her, especially her mother Celeste was so well developed and you fully understand their complex relationship by the end of the novel.

Penny and her mom haven’t always had the best relationship. Penny has felt like her mom has never been the mom she’s needed and at a young age had to be independent and do things on her own.

It honestly was so beautiful seeing their relationship grow & develop throughout the entire story! We better understand Celeste and while Penny hasn’t always had the best dynamic with her, its clear there’s room for change.

What really surprised me was the dual POV! Going in I thought it was just going to be Penny’s POV, but having both Penny & Sam’s perspectives really brought so much depth and growth to the characters (especially the one’s they both know/encounter) like Jude.

Overall the 3rd person POV really allowed me to see Sam & Penny grow and develop on their own. Additionally, seeing how they tackled the obstacles in their life & how their relationship really provided them the opportunity to form a deep connection they could never make with anyone else, was just so beautiful!!

From Penny’s POV there was Mal, Andy (her fiction writing classmate; I really like his character & his how his short relationship w/ Penny worked out), J.A. Hansen (her fiction-writing professor), and her mother!

From Sam’s POV there was Lorraine, Al (owner of House), Bastian (a 12-year old who later becomes one of the subjects for his documentary), and his mother as well!

From their very first meet where their practically wearing similar outfits, and later to the relationship they develop through text, it was all just developed so wonderfully! You really see how similar they are + how they really understand each other, and find comfort in their relationship when they both clearly feel lonely + sense of abandonment.

I also really loved the friendship between Mallory, Jude & Penny. While Mal + Penny’s dynamic doesn’t start off too well, seeing their friendship change and grow when they are given time to better know each other was just so great to read!!

What I found also added depth to this story was seeing how different they were through text vs. in-person. Seeing how they allow their relationship to grow through text and noticing how different it is in person just added a completely different layer to the romance and dynamic to Sam & Penny’s relationship!

It was also great to see such diversity/rep. in this YA Contemporary! There’s Penny & her mother who are Korean/Korean-American, there’s J.A. Hansen who’s black, and Bastian who’s Mexican-American!

My only minor issue was some moments of slow pacing, but aside from that this book just went above and beyond my expectations (So, I’m still debating between 4.5 & 5, but I think I’ll end up staying w/ 5)! Its just such a unique and deep YA Contemporary!

Emergency Contact is a raw, character-driven, coming of age YA Contemporary! Real, romantic, witty dialogue, with a unique and moving story, and such emotional depth, makes Mary H.K. Choi’s novel a must read! If your a fan of YA Contemporary or Contemporary Romance, Emergency Contact is a must read! Highly recommend it!!