Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin ARC Review

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskinRonit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 192

Summary: This beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred. Ronit and Jamil fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can be kept secret for only so long. Soon, the teenage lovers must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.

*Received/Reviewed a physical ARC, this in no way influences my thoughts*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Ronit & Jamil is both unique and unforgettable! Told through lyrical verse, Laskin’s modern take of Romeo & Juliet centers around an Israeli girl & a Palestinian boy and the connection they share in Israel.

This book captured my heart! 

Through Laskin’s writing-style, I was immediately transported + found that it really captured and symbolized the complications and triumphs of their instantaneous love for each other.

Getting to read from both Ronit & Jamil’s points of view really allowed me to see what both of their hearts longed for, which was freedom and a place to call their own!

Even though there was a quick and fast-paced writing-style, I felt I knew Ronit & Jamil and could sympathize with them and the obstacles they encountered.

Additionally, another fascinating aspect of the writing was the similarities between both Ronit & Jamil’s POV’s. Though they have been raised with families that have differing points of view, each of their sections throughout the novel show just how similar they truly are and how these differing ideals + beliefs clash and cause difficulty for their forbidden relationship.

Complete strangers at first, they encounter each other when Ronit’s father delivers medicine to Jamil’s father at a clinic where he works.

Though they live on opposite sides of the border and their families don’t see eye-to-eye, they can’t help but fall in love with each other!

Ronit gives Jamil her number and the two soon start texting and meeting up in secret. They find solace in each other and long for what is beyond their reach. The wall and conflict on their sides keeps them separated, but they know deep down it wont fracture the love they have for each other.

Family plays a huge role in this novel! The parents want what is best for their children and though they have the best intentions to keep them safe, Ronit & Jamil begin to question the division of their land.

There are multiple sections with both parents points of view and it adds so much depth to the story and lets the reader understand the difficulties and sacrifices both sides have encountered.

However, conflict arises in the war-torn regions and both are left to ponder if there is someone to blame, is it the opposing side? Yet even through those difficulties they push the disagreements aside and decide that what they truly long for is to be together and escape the conflict in their lives.

I did take off 1/2 a star b/c there were moments that I was unsure of who was speaking + there were some moments I felt were a little rushed.

I loved that the novel had additional notes throughout the story which helped with words or phrases I was unfamiliar with. I also loved reading the acknowledgements where Laskin explained the research and inspiration that went into her story! It was clear that this was a story she was truly passionate about telling!

Laskin’s novel delivers a captivating tale of star-crossed love that transcends and delivers messages of hope and understanding even when times may be difficult.

Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez Review

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchezBecause Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

Summary: Dani Falls learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy Why care? It will only hurt. So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes into an even deeper protection mode, total numbness. It’s the only way she can go on.

But when Dani chooses The Stranger by Albert Camus as summer reading for school, it feels like fate. The main character’s alienation after his mother’s death mirrors her own.

Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develop between Dani and Paulo, and Dani begins to heal. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.

*Note this novel does contain physical/emotional abuse*-Be aware if those are triggers for you.*

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Because Of The Sun follows Dani as she grieves the loss of her mother. Told through a unique prose, this novel discusses death, family and love.

This was a unique contemporary I won’t forget!

What made this novel truly stand out was the atmospheric writing-style! Written in an almost “stream of consciousness” we follow Dani Falls, who has lost her mother due to a violent accident and must now leave her home in Florida behind to live with her aunt Shelly in New Mexico.

After spending weeks at her aunt’s house, she rarely leaves and manages to speak only a few words at a time. We begin to wonder if Dani will ever recover and find the strength to accept.

Blurring the line between reality and dream, a bear is mentioned when Ruby passes away and throughout the novel and just like Dani, we are left to question whether it was ever truly there to begin with.

Through out the story, she struggles with the fact that she had a very difficult relationship with her mother and wonders if she ever even truly loved her. When truths about Ruby Falls comes to light, Dani questions whether she even knew her mother at all.

The characters were all very well written and I could truly picture them and understand them fully through Dani’s eyes!

She comes to know Paulo and the two bond over movies! Dani gets to know Paulo and while the do start a relationship Sanchez never makes it a central part of the novel and truly focuses on Dani’s personal growth as she grieves and comes to terms with whats happened. I adored the dynamic between the two of them and no matter what, Paulo respected when Dani wanted to help herself and always gave her the space she needed!

I do wish Paulo was included more, because he was a very loving and supportive friend/boyfriend to Dani. However I loved that Sanchez really left the romance in the background!

There is also a big emphasis on family. With the loss of her mother, Dani comes to know her aunt Shelly and understands she isn’t alone and that she can confide in her through her struggles. She also finds comfort with Paulo and his grandmother as well. They provide her with the emotional support and love she never had.

In terms of plot, it mainly focuses around Dani and her new life when she moves to New Mexico and comes to terms with her mother’s death. What I also really loved about the plot was how this novel truly centered around Dani and her personal growth.

After completing the novel it was clear that Dani still had a long way to go to recover and was doing it slowly but surely, however Sanchez did a fantastic job to show that her recovery wasn’t going to be an easy transition and would take time. She was still accepting the truths she learned about her mother, but with her new family and friends it was clear she would be okay.

I will admit I did take off a star, because while the inclusion of Shelly’s POV added much more to the story and really gave more background to Dani’s mother Ruby and why she was very detached, it did slow down the story for me. However, I really got to know more about Shelly and that was great because through Dani’s POV, I felt there was still a lot to learn about her.

Additionally after the section centering around Shelly + Ruby’s past, I felt that the ending felt a little rushed and wanted more page-time/interactions with Dani & the side-characters who now really supported and helped her when she needed it most.

Through a dream-like writing style we follow Dani as she adjusts to a new home and grows to find the strength to accept her mother’s death and all the complexities that come with it!

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera Review

history-is-all-you-left-me-by-adam-silveraHistory Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Pages: 294

Summary: When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Silvera delivers a gem of a story where the reader follows Griffin on a journey of love, loss, acceptance and friendship!

Definitely a character-driven story, we are introduced to Griffin who comes to terms with the death of his best friend and first love, Theo McIntyre, as he recounts and weaves together the history he had with him.

From page 1 Silvera shows this is not just a story, but Griffin’s story! This novel is told through Past/Present narrative and I’m usually hesitant about that particular style, however Silvera brought aspects into both that made them flow well with the overall story, while also weaving differing emotion and unique tone into each which made the story even more memorable!

The tone of this novel, while sad does have its positive moments and shows these characters face grief over the loss of Theo, but find themselves recollecting on their past with Theo and finding the courage to move on.

Silvera brings in great representation through his discussions on Mental Illness (OCD)! It is such an integral part of Griffin as a character, but also it was wonderful to see how accepting his friends and family were about his OCD, by supporting him even if there were times he struggled with it.

The best aspects of this novel was Griffin as a character + the writing! He is such a wonderfully developed character and by the time I finished he truly felt like more than just a character! I was able to sympathize with him and overall be a part of his journey to reminisce on Theo, find the strength to move on and accept what occurred.

You really see Griffin grow over the course of this story and come to learn more about not only Theo, but himself too and it was great being a part of that journey!

As for the other main characters like Jackson and Wade, while I did feel Jackson was the more developed between the two, overall both truly came to life on the page through Theo’s POV.

Through the “History” POV, we come to learn how Theo &Griffin’s relationship started, what first love was like for them and see just how how strong their friendship was (not only  just the 2 of them, but w/ Wade too!), which really sets the tone for the entire story.

Griffin unravels the events of how Theo not only died, but how their relationship started and ended through different circumstances.

We get introduced to Jackson, Theo’s new boyfriend, when he moved to the west coast for college. Griffin has his own perception of Jackson, but over the course of the story comes to accept that they had history too and while Griffin’s+Theo’s didn’t last and he’s still grieving, that doesn’t mean he’s the only one.

This novel really focuses on the relationships (friend, romantic, etc) we have with people and how the history and memories we create with them are both unique and special even as time goes on and those same people begin to change.

However I did have a few cons.

– I did feel the pacing was a little slow in some parts, but overall it never felt like it was dragging which was a plus!
-I wont spoil it, but there is a plot point that gets revealed closer to the end of the novel which I felt could have used a little more development.

Regardless of those minor issues…

Overall Silvera delivers a story with memorable characters, spectacular writing, and messages of friendship, honesty, love and loss which will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Top 5 Wednesday {#2} Underrated Books

top-5-wednesday-booktube-bannerTop 5 Wednesday is a weekly book/booktube meme hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes

originally from Lainey over @ Gingerreadslainey

To learn more about T5W here is the goodreads group: http://bit.ly/1kmldQ6

This weeks T5W I will be listing the Top 5 Books:

Favorite Underrated Books

Listed below are books I absolutely loved that I feel need to be talked about/read more & overall just need more bookish love! 💕

Do you know of any books you feel are underrated? Let’s discuss in the comments below! 🙂

Truest1.Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

I read this book last year and I can honestly say this book has truly stayed with me since then and tops my all-time favorite books list! There’s so much depth and heart to this novel with topics of family, love, loss + it really takes time to discuss topics such as religion and mental illness in a very honest way. The characters, which are wonderfully written/developed will capture your heart + the writing is so beautiful and really creates atmosphere and depth to West’s (the main character) World. I know I was skeptical based on how the summary was written, but if you’ve had this book on your TBR or have been wanting to read it, DO IT!! You won’t be disappointed!

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore2.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is a marvelous & magical tale more people NEED to read! McLemore delivers a magical-realism story with lush and wondrous writing, phenomenal characters and storytelling! There are so many important messages of culture, identity and family. But overall its the story of Miel and Sam and the strength of their beautiful friendship. The magical-realism elements blend beautifully with the captivating writing and while reading you can feel the magic with each page. This is a very character-driven story and one that is truly unforgettable! Highly recommend!

The Forbidden Wish3.The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

This is a book that I feel more people need to read, especially if you’re a fan of retellings! If you’ve enjoyed reading The Wrath And The Dawn, this book would be perfect for you! Khoury delivers a retelling of Aladdin w/ Zahara a jinni, who wants to be free from her lamp and a deal with the King of the Jinn may be her only way to freedom. Through her writing and wonderfully developed characters it delivers a spark that really makes this retelling her own. There is so much girl power + the romance is written beautifully!

kingdom-of-ash-and-briars-24hryabookblog4.Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West

In this standalone YA Fantasy, West weaves together classic fairy tales. In this novel, Bristol discovers she’s an elicromancer and must use her magic to unite the three kingdoms before an evil force takes over!

The writing pulls you in from the start and West’s fantasy world of Nissera comes to life on the page! If you are looking for a unique YA Fantasy that will keep you turning the page, I highly recommend Kingdom Of Ash And Briars!

the-queen-of-blood-review5.The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

Its books like this that remind me why I love to read YA Fantasy!💕 Durst creates a fantasy world heavily based around spirits and nature and through her writing it comes to life on the page! The characters and world are so memorable and unlike any YA Fantasy I’ve read before.

The story centers around Daleina and her journey (along with other women just like her) to becoming a queen in the magical world of Aratay. And then there’s Ven, a disgraced Champion who finds himself teaming up with Dalenia when they both realize the spirits of their world are becoming restless.

If your looking for an immersive YA Fantasy that has atmospheric writing and an engaging plot and characters, then definitely add The Queen Of Blood to your TBR!

The Weight Of Zero by Karen Fortunati Review

the-weight-of-zeroThe Weight Of Zero by Karen Fortunati

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 387

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt.

Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a matter of time.

And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list.

The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it. 

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Fortunati delivers a  YA Contemporary with an informative look at bipolar disorder, strong emphasis on the bonds we create with others, and the hope to keep going when all seems lost.

Catherine struggles with her bipolar disorder and depression. Her grandmother passed away right in front of her and her friends have left her, so she knows “Zero” will return. Because of that she’s made a plan to take her own life. After making new friends (Krystal at therapy & Michael her history classmate and soon boyfriend) she begins to feel hopeful again.

However, her fear of admitting to her new friends of her bipolar disorder makes her worry that they won’t understand and abandon her as her ex-best friends did years ago. She then begins to withhold the truth from them and with “Zero” never too far, she’s not sure what to do.

Fortunati doesn’t shy away from the elements of Catherine’s illness and what made the novel so much more richer in terms of plot/characters was the inclusion of how Catherine’s illness affected the people around her like her mother, friends, etc.

The writing itself is very captivating and reading from Catherine’s POV really brings such rawness and honesty to this story.

Reading Catherine’s struggles felt very realistic because it was clear to see after what happened to her in the past she truly feared being judged for her disorder and being abandoned again. It took her quite a while for her to open up to people as she withheld the truth about her illness from her therapy group and lied to Michael about it. Over the course of the story begins to see her lies catching up with her.

Now she must face her truths in order to save these newly forged relationships that mean the world to her

Additionally another great aspect of this novel was the emphasis and positive messages about therapy and treatment. Fortunati delivers these messages all through out the novel through Catherine’s interactions with her therapist, her new friend Krystal, and mother. With Catherine’s therapy and new relationship with Michael, Fortunati shows the mental illnesses/difficulties many families may have when one notices, but that there is always a way to make the best of tough situations.

Out of all the friendships/relationships in this novel, I adored reading the relationships Catherine made with Kristal and Michael and seeing just how happy she became because of them.

Another plot point of this book that I loved was the soldier history project! Michael + Catherine have their plan to report on Jonathan Kasia but after a trip to the local museum with Kristal, she discovers Jane Talmadge (part of the 6888th, the first black female unit to go across Europe during WW2!) Through reading her archived letters, Catherine comes to find her story inspirational and moving! The letters help Catherine through difficult times throughout this story and through her POV you could really see just how inspired she was from learning more about Jane!

There is also a big emphasis on family, especially through the relationship between Catherine and her mother + the strong relationship Catherine sees between Michael and his family. While I do wish Fortunati gave more page time to the side characters, she managed to bring them to life and show just how flawed they were as well through Catherine’s eyes.

I did take away .5 stars because once I neared the end, I did feel it was a bit rushed and just wanted more from Michael & Catherine. Additionally, as mentioned above I also wish there was more interactions/page-time with Catherine and the side characters!

Overall Fortunati’s debut delivers a realistic, raw and engaging story about mental health. Through Catherine’s POV, you’ll join her on her journey to recovery as she finds happiness again during dark times and sees that there is always hope!

 

Book Bytes I #9

Book Bytes 24hryabookblog Banner

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!

1.Wayfarer Tour

Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger duology will come to an end with Wayfarer releasing January 3, 2017!

As of November 4, Bracken revealed her tour dates for the upcoming novel and will be joined by Susan Dennard, author of Truthwitch + the upcoming novel Windwitch.

2.Roshani Chokshi Book-Deal

NYT Bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen Roshani Chokshi, had a new trilogy acquired by St. Martins titled The Gilded Wolves.

With plans for a Fall 2018 release, this trilogy is set in a darkly glamorous Paris and “Follows a charismatic but cursed heir of a massive fortune as he plots to steal one of three ancient and powerful artifacts of fate. He and his crew will navigate the elite gatherings of secret occult societies, traveling through Paris’ catacombs where they must confront their worst secrets as well as a destiny they never imagined” (Source: PW)

a-criminal-magic3. A Criminal Magic Bought By CW

Lee Kelly’s YA Historical Fiction/Urban Fantasy is set in 1926 Washington D.C. where magic is illegal!

According to Deadline as of November 11, The CW picked up the novel and is set to be an hour-long drama from the team who brought iZombie.

However according to the article the show will be: “Set in present-day Los Angeles, it revolves around two warring street gangs who fight the cops and each other to corner the market on the most lucrative contraband of all: magic. A young woman hiding spectacular magical powers and an undercover cop must try to survive this glamorous world of speakeasies, crime and danger. “

4.Before I Fall Movie Trailer

Lauren Oliver’s 2010 novel Before I Fall movie trailer debut November 17! The movie is set to be released March 3, 2017 and stars Zoey Deutch as the main character Samantha Kingston!

EpicReads also revealed the Movie-Tie in edition cover + cast list which you can check out on their blog!

 

5.Lin Manuel Miranda set to adapt Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicles

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is set to adapt the trilogy along with Rothfuss for TV w/ Lionsgate!

Miranda is set to compose original music for this project as well!

More info can be found on these articles: Deadline + Variety

6. Everything,Everything 2017 Release Date

The adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s Everything,Everything is set to be released: May 19, 2017!

Amandla Stenberg is set to play Maddie and Nick Robinson is set to play Olly!

What Book News Have You Heard? 📚✨

November 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.indd1.The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon 

The Sun Is Also A Star ARC Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 384

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: In another incredible contemporary from Nicola Yoon, she explores themes of destiny and love. Main characters Daniel and Natasha are complete opposites, but learn more about themselves, confront tough obstacles and come to bring out the best in each other.

The Midnight Star Cover Reveal2.The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (TYE #3)

The Midnight Star Full Review

Publisher: G.P.  Putnam’s Son’s Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 316

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Adelina’s dark story comes to an end in this fast-paced conclusion. The world does continue to expand in some aspects and the plot definitely keeps you surprised.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.24.46 AM3.Blood For Blood (Wolf By Wolf #2)

Blood For Blood Full Review

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 481

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The stakes are raised in this conclusion to Wolf By Wolf. The world continues to develop and world/character development play a huge part in this novel. Tone and pacing are quite different than book 1, but Graudin delivers a fantastic plot that will keep you turning the page!

the-grift-of-the-magi-by-ally-carter-book-review4.The Grift Of The Magi by Ally Carter (Heist Society #3.5)

The Grift Of The Magi

Publisher: NLA Digital LLC

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 105

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Readers return to the world of Heist Society in this holiday novella! Kat and her crew come together to save a charity when one of its valuable auction pieces has been stolen! The plot is fast-paced and entertaining! Characters are given great development and the plot, while wrapping up quite quickly in the end, is filled with mystery and surprise!

labyrinth-lost-by-zoraida-cordova-book-review5.Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)

Labyrinth Lost Full Review

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: September 6, 2016

Pages: 336

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Weaving together Latinx Culture + Urban Fantasy, we follow Alex, a bruja who is unsure if she wants to keep her powers. When a spell makes her family disappear to Los Lagos (a mythical land) she must find a way to bring them back. The world/plot could have used more development, but regardless its a magical story of self-identity and family!

bound-by-blood-and-sand6.Bound By Blood And Sand by Becky Allen (Bound By Blood And Sand #1)

Bound By Blood And Sand Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: In a magical desert world water is running out and Jae may be the only one who can bring it back. This novel is filled with remarkably written/developed characters that truly come to life on the page. While the world could use a little more development, both world/plot are fascinating and unique. The little-to-no romance leaves so much room for character/plot development.

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #8

What Did You Read This Month? 🙂