Satoko And Nada Vol. 2 by Yupechika {Manga Review}

Satoko And Nada Volume 2 by YupechikaSatoko And Nada Vol. 2 by Yupechika (Satoko & Nada #2)

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: June 25, 2019

Pages: 128

Available Through The Book Depository: Satoko And Nada Vol. 2

Summary: Satoko, who is Japanese, has a new roommate in America: a Saudi Arabian woman named Nada, who practices Islam and wears a hijab. While under the same roof, Satoko and Nada learn how to live together with very different customs and still have all the fun young women crave! Through mutual respect—and the hilarious adventures of their daily life—Satoko and Nada prove that friendship knows no borders.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Satoko And Nada Vol. 2 continues the adventures of two women who pursue their studies abroad, in America! This manga not only focuses on friendship all while having such great humor, but it also deeply explores Japanese and Saudi Arabian culture! Satoko And Nada is a must read manga series for fans of contemporary!

I recently posted about Satoko And Nada on my twitter because honestly, this series needs SO much more love and it makes me sad its gone under so many book bloggers radars! (*I also see people constantly tweeting about wanting more New Adult/college-set novels that don’t focus on romance–well, Satoko And Nada is here!!)

It’s no surprise that I’d be picking up the second book in this series, because I adored the first volume when I read last year!

Satoko and Nada are both students studying abroad in America (Satoko from Japan and Nada from Saudi Arabia). When Nada is looking for an apartment roommate, Satoko hears about the listing and the moment she moves in, they instantly become the best of friends!

While volume 1 introduces us to these wonderful characters and their adjustment to life in America, Satoko And Nada Volume 2 shows how strong their friendship continues to be, in addition to illustrating how much they care about respecting each others culture!

Satoko And Nada follows a 4-panel style of manga. Each page (or couple) is set in its own scene and delves more into the different happenings of their daily lives.

Starting on the very first page of volume 2 in all honesty felt like reuniting with an old friend and that’s what makes this series so beautiful! Its through the writing, art, alongside Satoko & Nada as characters, where you feel so connected to them as you continue to read! From the very first page, it feels like you’re right there with them in all their adventures –and that’s really something special! 💖

It was great to see returning characters in this volume as well, like Kevin and Miracle! We also get introduced to a new character, Rahman, Nada’s older brother!

Seeing how Satoko and Nada continue to be incredibly supportive and encouraging to each other, was definitely one of the many highlights of this volume. Their friendship was already incredibly heartwarming to read, but seeing it go through even more development was fantastic!

For example on page 14, Satoko has already gotten a job at the university cafe (shown in previous pages) and Nada convinces their mutual friend Miracle to buy something for her during Satoko’s shift, but without her actually being there because she doesn’t want to stress her out and still wants to support her.

Then on page 15 we learn Nada had spent a while working on a project, which Satoko knew all about, so she snuck into class to see her present it!

Not only does Satoko get a job, both Satoko and Nada get invited to a party, they go out to tons of places to eat and shop, and there’s more preparation for Nada’s husband-to-be!!

Overall its a joy to see even more discussion between Satoko and Nada not just about the things they go out to do, but about their personal lives and opening up more to each other!

Their friendship has grown to the point where you can see its in the little moments, they’ve really influenced each other! On the page Powerful Presence, Satoko’s professor tells her how confident she’s gotten in her public speaking and by the end, Satoko comments that it may have been because of Nada!

One moment in this volume that left me with a bittersweet feeling was Someday! In this scene, its late at night and while Nada is sleeping, Satoko thinks about how their lives will be when they leave America. Its a really quiet kind of scene, but left such an impact because Satoko knows they won’t be there forever, which got her thinking that their their close friendship might one day be separated by distance!

I had so many favorite panels from this volume: Yogurt Time (the purest 4 panel page ever 💞), Sneaky, Transaction and Hot Chocolate. These pages in particular reminded me how beautiful their friendship continues to be!

As with the previous volume, it has its funny and heartfelt moments that make Satoko And Nada such a fantastic manga series, that’s really at its core, about a supportive friendship!!

This second volume delved more into the specifics of Saudi, Muslim, and Japanese culture that were more personal to Satoko and Nada (it was incredibly heartwarming). The moment they learn something new about each other’s culture, they not only incorporate it to make each other feel more at home, but also it shows us how they are always listening to one another & always have each other’s back!

One tidbit of info I found to be super interesting that was mentioned early on by Satoko in the manga, noted that in Japan (compared to America) they have food models instead of just descriptions, commonly used in other restaurants!

There’s no other word to describe their friendship other than wholesome, and that’s what really makes this story so incredibly special! As someone who takes friendships so seriously (also as a uni. student), it really resonated with me that Satoko And Nada captured the importance of that–this series truly has a special place in my heart!

Satoko And Nada’s art style is incredibly unique and is definitely something that makes this series stand out from other contemporary manga I’ve personally seen! Also, if you pay attention to each page, you’ll notice the quick pace never takes away from the great dialogue that builds on Satoko & Nada as characters! Each page is incredibly immersive and you just can’t put the book down!

Yupechika’s wonderful contemporary manga series is a must-read, not only for readers of manga, but those looking for new-adult/slice of life contemporary stories that focus on a powerful female friendship!

I’m looking forward for what’s next in this series and the last page of this volume definitely hinted at more to come for Nada’s story!

The only element that made me lower my rating was because we already know these characters and their friendship is a major part of the volume, the main over-arching plot points felt more dispersed across each page!

I do know that Satoko And Nada ends after just 4 volumes. Though I’m sad this series will end, my hopes for the next volumes are even more development to their already fantastic friendship alongside their others friends too! Exploration of each other’s culture is core part of this series and I’m looking forward to reading more about their lives in America, and how they continue experiencing each others cultures + have fun together!

Satoko And Nada Vol. 2 delves more into the beautiful friendship between these two women who’ve adjusted to their life in America! There’s wonderful humor, exploration of friendship, and culture in this brilliant manga series! Satoko And Nada will capture your heart, this series is so wholesome and a must-read!!

Satoko And Nada Vol. 1 by Yupechika {Manga Review}

Satoko And Nada Vol. 1Satoko & Nada Vol. 1 by Yupechika {Satoko & Nada}

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: October 9, 2018

Pages: 180

Available Through The Book Depository: Satoko And Nada Volume 1

Summary: Satoko, who is Japanese, has a new roommate in America: a Saudi Arabian woman named Nada, who practices Islam and wears a hijab. While under the same roof, Satoko and Nada learn how to live together with very different customs and still have all the fun young women crave! Through mutual respect—and the hilarious adventures of their daily life—Satoko and Nada prove that friendship knows no borders. 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Satoko & Nada is a fantastic manga debut that follows two women, Satoko & Nada as they become roommates while continuing their university studies in America! They learn more about each other’s cultures, go on fun adventures, & become the best of friends! This is a new manga series you don’t want to miss!

From the moment I heard about Satoko & Nada I knew I just had to give it a read!

I don’t usually read slice-of-life or contemporary manga all too often, but when I do read them I really want to pick one that I’ll truly love! Satoko & Nada was just that! I adored every page, panel, & moment, & am really looking forward to the future volumes in this series!

This manga follows Satoko who is college student from Japan and Nada, a college student from Saudi Arabia, and the two move to America to continue their studies!

The story starts off with Satoko heading to Nada’s apartment! Satoko’s decided to become her roommate and all the adventures begin from there.

Right away we see just how fast they become friends and all the random moments throughout their semester from eating out, shopping, driving, watching movies, & so much more, that we really see the power of their friendship! (´▽`ʃƪ)💕

Yupechika builds their friendship and dynamic in such a wonderful + fantastic way, that you really see how much they care for each other!

Satoko & Nada also discusses Saudi & Japanese culture in moments throughout the manga + by showing how both of them are adjusting to American culture!

Yupechika also elaborates on common misconceptions about Saudi & Islamic culture! (She notes where laws have changed within the text, considering Satoko & Nada was actually published already, back in 2017).

Satoko is curious about Nada’s Saudi Arabian & Islamic culture and because of that as the reader you get into detail about common misconceptions, Saudi Arabian & Islamic customs, laws, and different kinds of hijabs, etc.!

While this novel is also filled with such happy and comedic moments, it also tackles sensitive & real topics, from encounters with strangers & homesickness!

Aside from the incredible plot and dynamic between Satoko & Nada, there’s also such an amazing cast of characters!

Throughout the manga I was able to connect with every character in the main cast and I found they truly came to life with each panel! Aside from Satoko & Nada, there’s Kevin (Satoko’s conversation partner), Miracle (who Satoko helps to avoid a stranger kidnapping), & Nada’s friends Pakeezah & Ameena!

What I also love about this manga so much is how inclusive it is! From the leading main characters being Japanese & Saudi-Arabian, there’s also Kevin who’s Japanese-American, & above all the exploration of Saudi & Japanese culture!

The author does such a fantastic job at weaving in the characters, their story & allowing their personality to shine throughout the plot!

Their dynamics were so well explored!

There was honestly nothing I didn’t like about Satoko & Nada. The pacing is great, the comedic moments and real life/serious ones all arrive at perfect moments, alongside the characters and plot!

I also loved the artwork! Its detailed and has a very unique style that stood out!

Satoko & Nada is a fantastic manga and I highly recommend picking it up! I had high expectations for this manga & I’m happy to say they were all exceeded!

I’m really looking forward to more of Satko and Nada’s adventures in volume 2!

Satoko And Nada Vol. 1 is an incredible contemporary manga that follows 2 university students who go to America to continue their studies! The remarkable cast of characters, wonderfully executed plot, and emphasis on friendship, makes this such a unique manga! The focus on friendship, inclusive cast, and brilliant plot in Satoko And Nada will leave a smile on your face & have you eager for the next volume!

The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón Review

The Carrying by Ada LimónThe Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón

Publisher: Milkweed Editions

Release Date: August 14, 2018

Pages: 120

Summary: From National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Ada Limón comes The Carrying–her most powerful collection yet.

Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance. A daughter tends to aging parents. A woman struggles with infertility–“What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?”–and a body seized by pain and vertigo as well as ecstasy. A nation convulses: “Every song of this country / has an unsung third stanza, something brutal.” And still Limón shows us, as ever, the persistence of hunger, love, and joy, the dizzying fullness of our too-short lives. “Fine then, / I’ll take it,” she writes. “I’ll take it all.”

In Bright Dead Things, Limón showed us a heart “giant with power, heavy with blood”–“the huge beating genius machine / that thinks, no, it knows, / it’s going to come in first.” In her follow-up collection, that heart is on full display–even as The Carrying continues further and deeper into the bloodstream, following the hard-won truth of what it means to live in an imperfect world.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Carrying is a collection of poetry that explores nature, life & death, identity, grief, womanhood, love, youth, anxiety, loneliness and all the impactful moments that weave themselves into the everyday! Through lyrical and thought-provoking writing, Limón’s collection deeply allows the reader to examine the moments of the everyday that can leave a mark on our past, present, & future!

Next on the list of books from my Latinx Book Bingo TBR was The Carrying, which was the book I picked for the poetry category!

I finished Limón’s collection in practically one sitting and it easily became one of my favorite poetry collections of all time! Definitely takes the top spot! ❤❤

Limón’s The Carrying is broken up into 3 parts as it mainly explores the passage of youth and reflection during adulthood.

The writing creates such a real and vivid imagery that it paints so much emotion from anxiety, anger, grief and acceptance of a lost one, joy in the everyday, even the moments of loneliness that we undergo in life.

Limón crafts her poems in such a way where the descriptions really take root and forge their own space within your mind. Spaces where you think about the quiet moments in life, reflection, and so much more!

The poems also create such a lifelike and thought-provoking view of nature, in terms of the comparison to the cycle of life and death and even how we are the ones that move with nature.

Nature is one of the main topics explored in this collection and the way Limón paints the realistic + authentic, with the dream-like qualities really allowed the imagery portrayed in many of the poems to carry with me throughout the collection.

This can be seen through the descriptive imagery of the trees, flowers, gardens, oceans, water, and the forests! I found it showed how we can be connected to something much bigger than ourselves.

With each line I found they carried so much weight, depth, and complexity. From the deeply rooted emotion that’s expanded on, the passage of time especially, and overall reflection, are just some of the many faceted elements to this collection that were explored as it progressed.

While I genuinely loved ever poem in this collection with all my heart, one that really stood out to me was: On A Pink Moon, which explored the letting out of anger and reflected on growth through the planting of seeds.

This collection also explores such current issues such as politics, immigration, etc. which were described in such a brutally honest way. Also exploring anxiety and pain in many forms (chronic, loss, etc.) but how our ability to shift our focus and find solace when we find personal connections in the everyday, along with moments of observation and the ephemeral, allows us to view things from a new perspective.

The Carrying, like its title suggests, also explored what we carry with us through life from our memories, gains and losses, love, identity, and so much more that essentially make us who we are. But also what we can reflect on.

While reading this entire collection, I kept a notebook beside me to keep track of all the beautiful and memorable lines that I really loved!

As I was reading it also meant so much that I read from a new Latinx author and it made the reading experience all the more special! 😭💕

I wish I could put all my thoughts about this wonderful collection into words, but the best I can say is, read this collection and experience it for yourself!

The Carrying is a poetry collection that has really left an impact! Through Limón’s vivid and descriptive writing she explores the moments in life that shape us, our identity, and how they can allow us to change our view of the world. Limon’s marvelous collection is one that reflects on the intense and emotional moments in life, while reminding you, there is always something to connect to, that delivers strength!

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!

Book Bytes #14

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!!
I’ve now split up the news into categories, to make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d like to read about!

If there’s any book news I missed or any you want to discuss, definitely leave a comment!

Adaptation News

1.The Miseducation Of Cameron Post Trailer

With the August 3 release of The Miseducation Of Cameron Post film, the first official trailer was revealed July 5!

2. Sacred Lies Mini Series Trailer

Set to premiere July 27 through Facebook as a mini series (with new episodes each Friday), the trailer for Sacred Lies (based on Stephanie Oakes novel, The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly) debuted July 16 from Penguin Teen!

3. All The Bright Places Movie News

On July 23, Jennifer Niven, author of All The Bright Places, announced through her twitter that the character of Theodore Finch would be played by Justice Smith!

Additionally Deadline released an article stating that director, Brett Haley is also attached to the project!

4. Legend picked up by BCDF Pictures

Marie Lu author of the Legend Trilogy, announced as of July 26 that Legend was acquired by BCDF Pictures (after having been with CBS Films since 2011).

Through twitter, Lu stated “I want to emphasize that our rights were sold again MAINLY BECAUSE of your continued, steady love for Legend both online and in person. I cannot ever thank you all enough…”

According to The Hollywood Reporter a script has been put together, but no other news as of yet!

Book Deals

1.The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

NOVL announced as of July 9, that Holly Black’s The Folk Of The Air trilogy, would be getting an e-novella, set during The Cruel Prince & before The Wicked King.

According to The NOVL’s blog post, “It’s told in a letter from Taryn to Jude about how she fell in love with Locke.”

This $2.99 e-novella, will be released October 2, 2018!

2.The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

Set to be released June 13, 2019, The Paper & Hearts Society is book 1 in a trilogy, which follows Tabby Brown who is “tired of trying to fit in with her classmates. She doesn’t want to go to parties at the weekend – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

That is until she moves to a new town where a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society, is recruiting. Tabby might just be in luck. Enough of her old “friends” who only talk to her when they need something. It’s time for Quidditch themed fancy dress parties, games like “shut up and Shakespeare” … and LOTS of chocolate “ (Announced July 17).

3.Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Set to be released in Fall of 2019 is Isabel Ibañez’s debut, Woven In Moonlight, through Page Street Books!

This #OwnVoices Bolivian-inspired political fantasy follows “a magically gifted weaver who plays the role of double agent to restore her queen to a troubled throne, but upon confronting a masked vigilante and a warm-hearted princess, she discovers that corruption comes in all forms ” (Announced July 19).

4.American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Set to be released in Spring of 2020 with Knopf, Anuradha D. Rajurkar’s Contemporary debut, American Betiya follows “a teenage artist grappling with forbidden love, family boundaries, and her boyfriend’s exoticization of her Indian heritage” (Announced July 24).

5.Color Outside the Lines edited by Sangu Mandanna

Set to release Fall 2019 through Soho Teen, is a YA Anthology edited by Sangu Mandanna.

This YA Anthology centers around “interracial relationships and the complicated, rewarding and sometimes hilarious dynamics between friends, family, and first loves.”

The collection will feature authors such as Anna-Marie McLemore, Adam Silvera, Samira Ahmed! (Announced July 26).

Cover reveals

1.Internment by Samira Ahmed

On July 2, EW revealed the cover and excerpt to Samira Ahmed’s 2019 Contemporary novel Internment.

“Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.”

Internment by Samira Ahmed is set to be released March 19, 2019!

2.The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee

As of July 6, Paste Magazine revealed the cover, alongside an excerpt of Ormsbee’s upcoming Contemporary The Great Unknowable End!

According to Paste the novel “addresses suicide, complicated families and… cults.”

The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee is set to be released February 19, 2019!

3.Seventh Born by Monica Sanz

Revealed on July 6 through her twitter, was the cover to Monica Sanz’s debut novel, Seventh Born!

Seventh Born by Monica SanzAbomination. 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.”

Seventh Born in set to be released September 4, 2018!

4.Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

Through Barnes & Noble Teen Blog on July 9, a cover and excerpt was revealed to Amy Rose Capetta’s & Cori McCarthy’s genderbent King Arthur retelling: Once & Future!

Once & Future is set to be released March 5, 2019!

5.Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Revealed through Swoon Reads blog on July 14, was the cover for Jenn P. Nguyen’s contemporary Fake It Till You Break It!

Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen“Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…”

Alongside the official cover, Nguyen also shares her thoughts on it and how it came to be!

6. The Weight Of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

On July 18, Barnes & Noble Teen Blog revealed the cover, alongside a Q&A to Hanna Alkaf’s debut novel The Weight Of Our Sky!

This novel is”Set in Kuala Lumpur during the race riots of 1969, it centers on Mel, a Beatles-loving sixteen-year-old dealing with the OCD she believes is caused by the djinn she carries inside of her. When violent rioting breaks out, she must traverse a city in peril to reunite with her mother…”

The Weight Of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf is set to be released February 5, 2019!

7. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

The U.K. cover for Christine Lynn Herman’s debut novel, The Devouring Gray, was revealed through MuggleNet!

The novel follows “four teens who have the power to protect their town from a monster – if their families’ dark secrets don’t devour them first.”

The Devouring Gray is set to be released in 2019! (US release date is set for April 2, 2019!)

8. The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

As of July 18, the cover for Alyssa Wees debut The Waking Forest was revealed through her twitter!

The Waking Forest by Alyssa WeesPan’s Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unexpected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

The Waking Forest Alyssa Wees is set to be released March 12, 2019!

9. You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

The cover for Laura Silverman’s upcoming contemporary novel, You Asked For Perfect had its cover reveal + excerpt via Bustle on July 19!

Silverman’s novel centers around Ariel Stone, “the perfect college applicant. But a failed calculus quiz threatens his valedictorian standing and sends him into a tailspin. He reluctantly—secretly—gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in calculus, and Ariel is low on options. Their time together goes better than expected, and soon, their relationship ventures beyond textbooks.

Except throwing himself into calculus and a burgeoning romance detracts Ariel’s attention from his other classes. Ariel could lose everything he’s worked his whole life to achieve. But how much is Ariel willing to sacrifice in the name of academic perfection?”

You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman is set to be released March 1, 2019!

10. The Hate U Give Exclusive Covers

Announced through Angie Thomas’s twitter on July 26, it was revealed that her debut novel The Hate U Give would be getting 2 new editions, set to be released in September of this year!

A movie-tie in cover and an exclusive gold collectors edition! According to the publisher’s website, the gold collectors edition “contains a letter from the author, the meanings behind the names in the book, a map of Garden Heights, fan art, the full, original story that inspired the book, and an excerpt from On the Come Up.”

11. When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry

Revealed via Unbound Worlds, as of July 26, was the cover (alongside an interview) to Emily Henry’s upcoming novel, When The Sky Fell On Splendor, which is pitched as “The Serpent King meets Stranger Things in Emily Henry’s gripping novel about a group of friends in a small town who find themselves dealing with unexpected powers after a cosmic event.”

When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry is set to be released March 12, 2019!

12. Firestarter by Tara Sim

Released on July 31 via Hypable Books, was the cover (& excerpt) to the final book in Tara Sim’s Timekeeper trilogy, Firestarter!

Firestarter by Tara Sim is set to be released January 1, 2019!

Misc. Book News + Publisher News

1.Six Of Crows UK Collectors Edition

Leigh Bardugo announced through her twitter that there would be a Six Of Crows Collectors Edition coming October of this year, which will have: a new cover, character art, & a letter from Leigh!

For those not in the UK, Aus, & NZ, its also available through The Book Depository

2. King Of Scars UK Pre-Order

With King Of Scars releasing early in 2019, Bardugo also announced a UK Pre-Order for King Of Scars!

From pre-ordering through Waterstones, you could be entered to win 1 of 50 limited edition prints of Nikolai Lanstov (art by Kevin Wada).

3. Penguin Teen 2019 Cover Reveals

Throughout the week of July 23, Penguin Teen revealed 3 covers for their upcoming 2019 YA Releases!

The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston

Tarot by Marissa Kennerson

If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Tours

1.Wildcard by Marie Lu

Announced July 31, were the tour dates for Marie Lu’s Wildcard, the sequel/finale to the Warcross duology!

She will be on tour from September 18-24!

Full tour schedule can be found on Penguin Teen’s post Here!

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!

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!

March 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Here are the YA Books releasing this month, I can’t wait to read! 😍📚🎉

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi1.Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy of Orïsha #1) (March 6, 2018, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (FierceReads), 544 Pages)

Summary: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo2.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (March 6, 2018, Harper Teen, 368 Pages)

The Poet X ARC Review

Summary: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo3.To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (March 6, 2018, Feiwel & Friends (FierceReads), 352 Pages)

ARC Review To Come (Currently Reading)

Summary: Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth4.Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (Second Sentinels #1) (March 15, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 324 Pages)

ARC Review To Come

Summary:Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a super villain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Finding Felicty by Stacey Kade5.Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade (March 20, 2018, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 304 Pages)

Summary:Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

The Astonishing Color Of After by Emily X.R. Pan6.The Astonishing Color Of After by Emily X.R. Pan (March 20, 2018, Little Brown Books For Young Readers, 480 Pages)

Summary:Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi7.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (March 27, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 400 Pages)

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.

Moonstruck Vol. 1 Magic To Brew8.Moonstruck Volume 1: Magic To Brew by Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle (March 27, 2018, Image Comics, 120 Pages)

Summary:Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.

 

What March 2018 Books Are You Looking Forward To? 😍📚❤✨🍀