Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga Review

Here We Are Now by Jasmine WargaHere We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 304

Summary:Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Here We Are Now is a moving YA Contemporary that follows Taliah when she meets her rock-star father for the first time, connects with him and his family, and learns more about her parents past! Plot, writing, characters, and themes all come together to deliver an unforgettable tale of family, love, and new beginnings!

I read Warga’s debut novel My Heart And Other Black Holes & just loved everything about it, from the characters to the writing and was definitely excited to pick up her next book the moment I heard it was announced!

With each page, I just continued to fall in love with this book! From the wonderfully written characters to the mystery that unfolds surrounding the past of Tal’s parents to the importance and power of music that weaves its way into the characters and strong theme of family that is such an important part of this story.

Tal has always had her suspicions growing up that her father may be rock-star Julian Oliver, though her mother usually avoided the topic. When he shows up on her doorstep one day to explain to her that his father is gravely sick. and may be passing away soon, she knows its a lot to take in.

But she knows its her only chance, so she takes the opportunity with her mother out of town on business in Paris, to reconnect with her father and figure out how Julian and her mother Lena met and exactly what happened between them that caused them to split up.

Though her friend Harlow is hesitant at first, she’s convinced to tag along and join Tal on her adventure.

Now she’s in Oak Falls, Indiana meeting Julian’s family, from his mother to the cousins, aunts, and boy next door Toby.

I loved how character-driven this book was! It was beautiful reading how Tal grew close to the father that she had always thought of meeting one day, how music shaped her father’s life and how it inspires her too (with her dream to become a song-writer too).

This novel is also driven by the important theme of family. Not only through learning more about her parents past and getting to know her father better, but through Tal connecting with her father’s family and just reading how happy they are to get to finally meet her. Family is such a huge part of this story that you sense it with each page.

Also told through Lena’s past, we better understand by Tal’s mother grew to avoid talking about Julian and how their relationship shaped her and how it really connects with Tal as she learns more about her family.

The intricacy of the plot and storytelling was done so perfectly and really allows you to solve the mystery of Tal’s parents past as it unfolds for her with each and every chapter!

While the pacing was slow at some points, I felt it really allowed me to immerse myself into the story and really understand the amazing characters.

This is also an OwnVoices story as Tal’s mother is Arab-American! It was also great to read such diversity in this novel with Harlow’s f/f relationship with Quinn that’s mentioned, and Tal who is biracial (1/2 white and 1/2 Jordanian).

The theme of friendship is also makes its way into this story as we learn that Tal feels her friendship with Harlow is slowly fading as she spends more time with her girlfriend Quinn & her band. Tal and Harlow used to be so close, writing and preforming songs with each other or just hanging out. She feels their friendship is slowly fading and you really understand how Tal feels when Harlow later decides to leave join Quinn back home and tell Tal that she shouldn’t only rely on her. I felt bad for Tal, but she takes charge and decides to let Harlow’s tough words inspire her to connect with her family.

Similar to My Heart And Other Black Holes, Warga also explores mental health as Tal overcomes her anxieties and opens herself up to better knowing her father, his family, and having more confidence in herself (and her music).

I loved the writing so much, following Tal’s POV! Not only with the themes of family, music, and love that weave their way into the depths of this story, but also through Warga’s beautiful and subtle writing that brings so many aspects from themes to the characters of Here We Are Now, to life.

While I just adored this book with each and every page, I can’t really explain why but Tal’s friend Harlow was just not really my favorite character 😂 She was pretty pushy at times with getting Julian to open up more and just wasn’t a supportive friend when she decided to leave Tal. I just felt the overall story felt odd with her there, if that makes sense? 😂😂

Here We Are Now beautifully explores the strength and fragility of family, love and how it changes over time. With themes of family, music, love, character-driven storytelling, and an intricate but moving plot, Warga’s latest YA Contemporary is not one to miss!

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Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia Review

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca ZappiaEliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Publisher: Harpercollins

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 400

Summary: 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.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Discussing social anxiety, depression, fandom/fanfiction, and internet culture, Eliza & Her Monsters is a thought-provoking and engrossing YA Contemporary that will captivate you from page 1!

I adored this book + I practically flew through it!

Through first person POV, we follow Eliza as she goes through her final year in high school while also being a popular web comic artist of Monstrous Seas!

Having anxiety myself, I felt Zappia’s discussion and portrayal of it through Eliza was well represented! Throughout the course of the novel, she explains her struggles with connecting with her classmates and in general being more social was so relatable and reading from her POV, really made me connect to her even more! + It was great to see the discussion/inclusion of therapy as well.

I went into Zappia’s novel with high expectations because I adored her debut novel Made You Up and Eliza blew me away!

Comparing her web comic to blogging, I could definitely relate to her when she discussed the interaction in the community and having online friends! Additionally, reading about the work she puts into her comic and how it becomes a part of who she is, was another aspect that I could see in myself when it comes to Book blogging and writing!

When Eliza discovers a new classmate (Wallace) writing Monstrous Seas fanfiction, she begins to see how her work impacts and is beloved by people even in her own town! While she did have her fears of explaining to Wallace (among others) of being the creator, I could definitely see where she was coming from!

I’ve been working on a few story ideas and reading about her anxieties + fears of explaining the work to others was also something I could totally relate to! She’s always felt invisible and like she doesn’t belong, however through her online comic she finds a community and people who she can connect with. It was great to see the discussion on the importance of online communities and friends!

Over the course of the novel, she develops a friendship and relationship with Wallace and I felt it was so well done! It was never rushed and really took time to develop + I loved seeing their bond grow over Monstrous Seas.

However, troubles arise when her identity gets discovered and it took the novel in a more serious direction as we see how it impacts Eliza’s mental health and her passion to continue her story.

I loved how Zappia really took the time to show the different sides of Eliza’s work and as mentioned above, the line between creator and fan, internet privacy and above all the impact of social media on arts/works online! It brought in so many different discussions throughout and it brought even more depth to the story.

+*~ I loved the Final Fantasy references 😍😉✨

Additionally, Zappia’s writing in general really gives the story a heartwarming feel to it, while balancing the more serious moments!

This novel also discusses the barrier and obstacles that come with Eliza being a creator and having fans/dedicated readers that follow her comic.

It really takes time to also discuss family as we see how Eliza’s dedication to her comic makes her realize and understand more about her brothers and parents + how the internet can sometimes take away from moments that go on in daily life when we don’t notice! That was another aspect of this novel that really resonated with me and really made me think!

The first person POV really allows you to get into Eliza’s head and really understand/connect with her. Additionally through her POV, all the characters felt real and developed!

I did feel at points, the plot itself felt rather rushed in some places, mainly towards the end and in some places it could have been expanded on just a little bit more! Mainly with Eliza & Wallace’s relationship, I wanted a little more development as I reached the end!

Eliza and Her Monsters is fantastic YA Contemporary that weaves in themes of family and friendship, while discussing important topics such as anxiety. Throughout the novel, Zappia also discusses the multiple sides that come with online communities and artists/creators. Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this novel will capture your heart!

Internet Famous by Danika Stone Review

Internet Famous by Danika StoneInternet Famous by Danika Stone

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

*Received ARC from a Goodreads Giveaway*

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: This YA Contemporary discusses fandoms, internet culture, family and weaves in romance. While covering a number of themes and topics, Internet Famous has both serious and light-hearted moments making it a “perfect for summer”-read!

Internet and blogging culture was a huge part of this novel. Being a book blogger myself, that aspect is what got me to add this book to my TBR!

Reading Madi discuss the culture of the internet, followers, and everything that comes with blogging through her MadLibs site was so relatable!

The addition of text messages, tweets, snapchats, and tumblr posts were added to chapters and moments of the novel and also just delivered it in a fun way in between moments of the plot that would make sense. Above all, I loved the overall presentation of the book, it was really cute!~

Every time she’d bring up the connections she’d make with readers and fans of her blog, I was thinking “yes! exactly!!” Above all, Stone really captured the fandom and blogging culture wonderfully!

Through the 3rd person narrative, it was easy to get a grasp on the rather wide cast of characters, from Madi’s family (father, mother, & sister Sarah) to internet friends like Laurent, and Ava, among others.

The 3rd person also really delivered an overall atmosphere of a fun, fandom-filled cute romance, which is what I was anticipating!

However, aside from Madi, Sarah, their parents, & Laurent, the other characters for me personally were kind of easily forgettable. And for me personally, 3rd person POV, is usually just a writing style I find it difficult to connect with. Regardless, Stone really developed the main characters and overall kept the fluffy contemporary mood present throughout the novel.

It was great to see inclusion of a character on the autism spectrum (Sarah~Madi’s sister) and overall just reading that representation. I do have some knowledge on it and was able to understand Sarah’s decisions or reactions to certain situations that happen throughout the novel. So above all, she was a great character to read about and it was fantastic to read the strong sibling bond between her & Madi! ❤

When their mother decides to leave for a business trip, we also see how it impacts Madi and her relationship with her parents, considering she is mostly left to take care of her sister because her parents are so caught up in work. Through that however, Madi is able to connect more with her sister and makes an effort to put aside her blogging as things go on in her personal life.

As for plot, I was genuinely surprised at how the plot progresses. From Madi’s first interaction with her fans, to her relationship with Laurent, and the fandom/internet issues and trolls she encounters along the way. I’ve read quite a number of YA Contemporaries and just love how Stone delivered the plot in a unique and unexpected way that kept me invested throughout.

However, I did feel the plot dragged for me at points throughout and felt the ending was quite rushed, which is why it isn’t at a full 5-stars.

Additionally, there was the unresolved plot with her mother (when did she get back? Would she & Madi resolve their issues or discuss what went on with Madi’s blogging? )

She is brought up towards the end, but aside from that it would have been great to get more mother/daughter moments and development between the 2 of them!

Regardless,
This is a story about more than just fandoms, blogging, and the internet, its also a story that weaves in themes of independence, familial and sibling bonds and brings up issues like cyberbullying!
Internet Famous discusses serious/important themes and topics, while above all being a fun and cute YA Contemporary! It’s a delightful read!

May 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan1. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amnia’s Voice Full Review

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 208

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This book was incredible from the writing, to plot & characters! Khan weaves in so many themes such as family, friendship, and identity! Following Amina’s journey through middle school, she begins to question as people and things around her begin to change. This novel has so many different and complex layers, that anyone can find an aspect of Amina’s Voice to relate to! Highly recommend this gem of a novel!

Another Castle Grimoire2.Another Castle: Grimoire by Andrew Wheeler + Paulina Ganucheau

Another Castle: Grimoire Full Review

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 152

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Another Castle: Grimoire is a graphic novel that puts clever twists+spins on classic fairy tale tropes! Following Princess Misty, she sets forth to Grimoire to defeat Badlug and keep her kingdom safe. While the story is a little slow paced, its filled with action and adventure! The art is bright and colorful too! There’s a big emphasis on friendship and its filled with empowering female characters!

Shadow Run  Cover Reveal3.Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland + Michael Miller (Kaitan Chronicles #1)

Shadow Run Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Filled with action + adventure and a diverse cast of characters, you’ll be immersed in Shadow Run as you follow Captain Qole and Prince Nev and as they learn more about “Shadow” and how it impacts their world. I adored the characters so much! While I definitely wanted a little faster pacing + more world-building/development, this book is one I recommend if you’re looking to get into Sci-Fi! It’s very character driven and above all, a fun story! Can’t wait for Book 2!

Teenage model in hear shaped glasses laughing4.I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe In A Thing Called Love Full ARC Review

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date:May 30, 2017

Pages: 336

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A delightful YA Contemporary with the perfect blend of humor, romance, and has themes of family and friendship weaved throughout. Told through 1st person POV, you follow Desi Lee as she creates a plan with the help of K-Dramas to help her find love. 

Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka5.Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka {Flying Witch #1}

Flying Witch Volume 1 Full Review

Publisher: Vertical Comics

Release Date: March 8, 2017

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A slow paced manga that follows Makato as she continues her training to become a witch. The story is very character driven and the story while it has its quiet magical elements, follows a “slice of life” approach. I did want more plot-wise, but above all this is a lovely manga! Highly recommend!

when-dimple-met-rishi-cover-reveal6.When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 380

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Balancing humor with more serious and heartfelt moments, When Dimple Met Rishi is a perfect summer contemporary! Its very character driven, and the magic & spirit of first love is captured through 3rd person POV as you follow Dimple and Rishi who have been set up in an arranged marriage. They have differing views of life and love, but throughout the story their relationship slowly develops and they learn more about themselves and each other along the way!

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren7.The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said Full Review

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Ben and Lucy have lost Trixie (a dear sister + friend). Told through dual POV, you follow them as almost a year has passed since Trixie’s death and the complex emotions that’s still with them and how they are coping. Biren does a fantastic job with developing the emotional complexity of her characters and its present all throughout the story. Slow pacing and difficult character decisions made this novel a little disappointing. However, with strong elements in terms of character and development, this novel is very unique in its discussion of grief. 

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Shadow Run by Adrianne Strickland + Michael Miller Review

Shadow Run  Cover RevealShadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland + Michael Miller (Kaitan Chronicles #1)

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Pages: 400

Summary: Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power–and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Shadow Run is a fun, action-packed space adventure, with a diverse cast of characters + twists and turns!

The characters were all phenomenal! They are not who you expect when you’re first introduced to them and there are secrets and unexpected surprises uncovered about them along the way. While told through Nev and Qole’s 1st person POV, you really get attached to these characters and really feel the bonds they have with each other and how they are strengthened as the story progresses!

As always I’m always on the look out for diverse books and loved reading the gender-fluid representation + POC characters!

The inclusion and discussion of Shadow (a dark energy of sorts) that travels freely across space was such a fascinating concept of this novel and it really brought a unique element to the story that I don’t really read much about in science fiction! It was definitely reminiscent to me of fantasy/Sci-Fi video Games!! ❤ ❤

Nev Dracorte (a prince) finds himself on Qole’s ship, the Kaitan as he tries to convince Qole to return to his home planet so they can better study Shadow (which Qole harbor’s within her).

I was not expecting Qole to have a shadow ability and felt it added a great twist to the story!

The banter and interactions between the characters was amazing! I could really feel the connections and bonds they had with each other!

I don’t want to go too much into the plot, b/c there’s so many twists and turns, that I feel its just best for you to read it for yourself!

The writing (1st person POV) really helped me to connect so much to Qole and Nev! Understanding them fully through their POV also helped me to better understand their own worlds and the internal struggles they face!

While there were so many wonderful aspects to Shadow Run,  the pacing did make it difficult to stay in the story every now and again and I wish there was more description for the atmosphere + background of the different planets that are discovered along the way, it would have helped to connect me more to the world!

Regardless, I’m definitely eager to read the 2nd book in the Kaitan Chronicles to see where the story is headed! ❤

Shadow Run is a character-driven story that puts its characters first, delivers a unique world and premise, while also adding tons of twists and turns to keep the reader turning the page!

Highly recommend if your looking to get into more Young Adult Sci-Fi!

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan Review

Amina's Voice by Hena KhanAmina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 208

Summary: A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Amina’s Voice is a beautifully written and above all fantastic novel which weaves in important themes, following Amina Khokar as she navigates culture, family + friendship, and identity!

Amina’s Voice is a novel I highly recommend! It was fantastic!

Khan’s writing delivers so many facets to Amina’s story! Not only do we see Amina’s strong family dynamic, her struggles with shyness and fears of losing her closest friend Soojin, but also the questions she has about her culture and religion.

This novel discusses the importance of culture, faith, and community.

I don’t think I’ve read any novels with Pakistani/Muslim representation, but I’m glad Amina’s Voice was the first! I adored this novel so much!

Amina and Soojin are best friends, however when Emily (a classmate who’d bullied them in the past ) begins talking with Soojin and gets invited to join them on a class project, Amina feels she may be losing her best friend.

Additionally when Amina gets signed up by her parents for a Quran recitation (being extremely shy/nervous in front of crowds) she begins to feel her world is falling apart.

The first person POV allows the reader to get into Amina’s head, follow along her journey to find her voice and slowly but surely find strength to tackle the problems she encounters.

Family is a huge part of this novel. The importance and discussion of culture and faith is prevalent all throughout, especially when Amina’s uncle comes to visit.

I adored the family dynamic all through out this novel. Not only with Amina’s parents and brother, but also the dynamic of her strong/supportive community.

Regardless of age, I was able to relate to Amina so much at times I find it difficult to find my voice/speak my mind, but reading this novel just left me feeling hopeful and overall was an amazing + inspiring reading experience.

This novel is filled with such unforgettable characters and plot! If you have not read this book, definitely pick it up! You will not be disappointed.

As the story progresses, we learn that the local mosque is vandalized, and the community is devastated. However, the mosque slowly gets rebuilt with the help of so many people/communities rallying together.

Amina’s Voice is a novel that is relatable to anyone! Throughout the novel Khan weaves in themes of faith/religion, importance of family, identity and community, friendship, and the complexities of growing up. 

March 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones1.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong Full Review

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 436

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There was so much pre-release hype + buzz surrounding this book and I was not disappointed! The writing-style (1st person POV) really sucks you into the story and brings the setting and characters to life! Elements of family, loyalty + independence were weaved all throughout this magical tale. What really stood out to me though was the atmosphere Jones created which really made this book stand-out! Highly recommend!

Daughter Of The Pirate King2.Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Daughter Of The Pirate King Full Review

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved everything about this book! We follow Alosa as she plans her own capture aboard The Night Farer in order to help her father “The Pirate King” locate a map! Levenseller blends action, adventure, and romance perfectly! The plot surprised me with every page! The characters, plot and world are wonderfully developed. This was a perfect pirate adventure & I cannot wait for Book 2!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20173.Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (EOATS #1) 

Empress Of A Thousand Skies Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A unique and fascinating character-driven Sci-Fi/Space Opera! Belleza discusses and expands on very timely topics and she kept those a central part of the novel! Told through 3rd person, she does an incredible job with dual POV! Additionally, the plot, characters (+diversity), politics, world, etc. are all put at the center which was fantastic! However I do wish the world was expanded on more (more/richer atmosphere)! Regardless, there were so many great elements to this novel & I cannot wait to see how it wraps up in Book 2!

The Girl From the Other Side-Siúil, A Rún Vol. 14.The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {TGFTOS #1} by Nagabe

The Girl From The Other Side Full Review

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This manga was fantastic! Both dark + enchanting, we follow Shiva & “Teacher” as they live in a world with “Insiders” + “Outsiders” (monsters, similar to what Teacher is). Teacher wants to keep Shiva safe so they live in a quiet cottage near the woods. Themes of family + the shades between light vs. dark are central in this story! It kept me surprised with each and every page! The artwork is wonderful and really brings the story to life! 

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornall5.Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under-Rose Tainted Skies Full Review

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Norah has both agoraphobia & OCD and with that, finds it difficult to leave her house. However along the way, she comes to understand the bravery that she’s had all along. While reading, I could really follow Norah’s thought process and could really relate to her, in regards to her anxiety. However I did feel the ending was rather rushed near the end. This novel emphasized personal growth and I adored that so much! If your looking for a great YA Contemporary (+ #Ownvoices) definitely check this book out!

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour6.We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay Full Review

Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 234

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The writing is what brought so much emotion and depth to Marin’s story.  Additionally, it also brought the characters to life + atmosphere to the setting! While there is slow pacing, themes and character development are weaved throughout! This novel discusses themes of friendship, family, grief/loss, and love! 

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review7.Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Crazy Messy Beautiful Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique contemporary that puts an emphasis on friendship. In English class, Pablo gets assigned a research paper on a classmate. Pablo & Callie really develop a friendship/bond over the course of this novel. However Pablo realizes he may be falling for Callie. I did find that aspect to be rather rushed + some other plot elements that felt incomplete! Regardless, Arcos really makes friendship a huge factor of this novel while also delivering a unique take on love.

However:*There was one line I *personally found to be questionable, which can be read on my Review* I would love reviewers to give me feedback, perhaps I just misunderstood? 

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Warcross by Marie Lu Cover Reveal