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. 

Additional Posts From This Month:

May 2017 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To

Literary Listens: Publishers & Podcasts

The Becoming Of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin Cover Reveal

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren Review

The Last Thing You Said by Sara BirenThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Last Thing You Said follows Lucy and Ben over the course of the summer as they continue to grieve over the death of a loved one. The complex emotions that weave throughout the novel, drive the story which follows two journeys of grief, loss, and acceptance in this YA Contemporary.

This was a very difficult book to rate, because it had strong elements that really made it stand out from other YA Contemporaries and above all aspects that made it a good story in general, however there were elements which disappointed me, that just couldn’t allow me to rate it any higher.

Biren does a fantastic job at developing and presenting deep and emotional complexity in her characters (clearly shown through Ben & Lucy POV’s). With how she executed her st person POV’s, I will definitely be interested to read more of her future works.

Told through 1st person, they felt so real I could sympathize with their differing stages of grief over their loss of Trixie. To Ben, she was a beloved sister and to Lucy, she was a dear best friend.

Seeing how this loss impacted them so differently was unique to see in a YA Contemporary and above all, they were so developed and it was interesting to read their story unfold as they come to terms with it being almost a year since Trixie’s passing.

Biren introduces such supportive friends and family helping the characters (especially Lucy) in coming to terms with the loss.

Lucy hasn’t spoken to Ben since Trixie died, so she still struggles with the hurt and grief she still has for her best friend, while also feeling she will never sort things out with Ben (who was also her long-time crush).

However, since then Lucy has come to know Hannah and the 2 are inseparable. Hannah was completely understanding of Lucy’s loss and no matter what, always made an effort to help her and just be there when she needed someone.

Then there is Simon, a new guy who rents a house with his mother next door to Lucy to stay for the summer and when the two quickly connect, he also is very understanding and supportive as Lucy grieves. He really likes Lucy and wants to help her move past her feelings for Ben, above all he was a great character to read about.

Seeing Hannah, Simon, and Lucy’s parents give her the time and space she needed was incredible to read. It was also great to read how much they also just wanted to help her gather the strength to move on.

Then there’s Ben, who is going through the grief much differently than Lucy. He’s drinking, out partying, and finding girlfriend after girlfriend.

While it added so much depth to the story exploring and expanding on grief and loss from differing characters, I felt the dual POV really slowed the story down and I did have problems with Ben’s POV.

Above all, reading from his POV made me really dislike his character more and more as the story went on. Even though he acknowledged his actions and how he treated people  poorly throughout multiple chapters, he really didn’t change at all throughout the novel and that was pretty disappointing.

Its revealed he and Lucy were together in the past for a short while, but got into an argument shortly after Trixie died and he pushed her away.

Aside from that, it never felt like he appreciated or acknowledged the pain/strain of certain relationships like his father who was also grieving (at least in the beginning), current girlfriend, or Lucy when he knew why he was feeling so upset and frustrated all the time. Above all it just didn’t seem like he ever wanted to make an effort for anyone else and only cared how things would benefit himself.

As I mentioned above, he does mend the relationships as the story progresses, but not till very later on in the novel and that really made this novel hard to get through. They were very understanding and it just didn’t seem like he cared. So while his POV really shows a different side of the impact of Trixie’s death, moments of his POV really dragged and ruined the story for me.

As for additional elements I really loved about The Last Thing You Said, Biren shows an array of positive role models from friends to parents that help/show support for Lucy and Ben as they grieve Trixies loss.

The formatting and presentation of the book also made it stand out! The text of the novel is purple and aside from that, it’s also divided into 4 parts (May-August), features illustrations of a lake + forest in between chapters, and inspirational quotes. Overall I really loved how the book was presented!

The dual POV really expands not only on how the grief impacts people differently, but in general delivers a unique take on an emotional summer contemporary!

The Last Thing You Said is an enjoyable summer contemporary that really tackles grief in an honest and unique way. While the pacing and some character decisions make it slow to get through at points, the story above all follows the impactful and emotional journey of grief and acceptance.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon ARC Review

when-dimple-met-rishi-cover-revealWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 380

Summary: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: When Dimple Met Rishi is funny and heartfelt. While capturing the magic and spirit of first love, Menon also weaves in themes of family, familial expectations, independence, and finding yourself!

There was so much buzz surrounding this book! I’m happy to say, When Dimple Met Rishi did not let me down!

There’s a sense of magic that comes with this bright and deeply moving rom-com. Through Menon’s writing, 3rd person delivers a huge scope on her characters and allows the reader to fully understand them by the end of this novel!

The characters will come to life from page 1!

Dimple is a determined and ambitious main character. Her dedication and passion for coding was so inspiring.

As a college student, reading this novel was just so relatable and brought me back to my experience with applying for college. Above all this novel reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing and why its important to be passionate and driven in what I’m studying

Dimple is eager to go to Insomnia Con, the place to be for up and coming web developers. However, her parents (mainly her mother) are set on her focusing on other things like finding the “I.I.H” (Ideal Indian Husband).

Dimple feels she is weighed down by her mother’s expectations, while  also feeling like she can’t be the daughter she wants her to be.

Dimple discovers she’s being set up in an arranged marriage and feels betrayed by her parents and upset. She is driven to forge her own path and marriage is least on her mind.

So Dimple wants nothing to do with Rishi and becomes a “hate turned love” kind of scenario, which is a trope I usually really don’t like, but Menon’s development, humor and banter in the beginning of their relationship really built it over the course of the story and above all just made  their relationship so well developed and I loved it!

~My favorite, funniest scene was definitely the Iced-Coffee scene! 😂😂

It did have some slow pacing for me personally, but aside from that I adored this book so much.

The story perfectly balances humor and funny/comedic moments with the serious moments and difficult decisions one must make for themselves before college.

The overall tone and atmosphere of this novel was magical. While reading, you will be captivated by the energy and passion that comes with first love.

When Dimple Met Rishi is sweet, character-driven, and above all a deeply moving YA Contemporary that will capture your heart with humor and swoon-worthy moments to keep you hooked till the very end as you follow Dimple, Rishi, and their both expected and unexpected connection! ❤

I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo ARC Review

Teenage model in hear shaped glasses laughingI Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date:May 30, 2017

Pages: 336

Summary: Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

*Got an ARC from a festival*

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Delightful, heartfelt, and funny, I Believe In A Thing Called Love had me hooked from page 1! With the magic of first love, themes of family, friendship and independence weaved throughout, Goo’s novel will capture your heart!

I adored this novel so much and refuse to believe its a standalone!!

We follow Desi Lee as she navigates her senior year of high school! She’s always got a plan, but when it comes to love, “Flailure’s” are never far behind.

Told from Desi’s first person POV, following her inner dialogue was relatable and had me laughing too! She is so ambitious, independent, and driven and I loved following her in her journey through senior year!

Her inner thoughts about talking to guys is so me! XD I could relate to the nervousness she was feeling and just being unsure of how to approach them! 

When she falls for a new student in her class, Luca Drakos, she devises a formula using plots from Korean dramas to see if she can plan out her first love, but of course she has help along the way!

Friendship and family were a big part of this novel! Even in her plan to find love, Desi tried to keep her friends Fiona and Wes in the loop no matter what and they stuck by her, even when her plans went a little overboard at times :’)

While I’m pretty new to K-Dramas myself, I was still able to understand the tropes that are mentioned and above all just loved how Desi referenced different K-Dramas + tropes through out the story!

With her mother having passed at a young age, she worries for her single, mechanic father and throughout the novel, its clear they have such a strong relationship! I adored the family dynamic!! Throughout this story, its clear family is such a huge part and while YA tends to put family off to the side, I Believe In A Thing Called Love kept this theme as such an integral part!

Goo’s writing delivers such well-developed and in-depth characters, that through Desi’s POV, they feel so real! Desi’s father, Luca, Wes, Fiona, even side characters like Cassidy and Violet really came to life on the page.

While this novel does have its sweet and fun moments, there are also a lot of important themes and messages (being true to yourself, following your dreams, independence) inclusion/diversity! There was so much depth to IBIATCL!

There was Korean, Mexican (Desi’s BFF Fiona) and lesbian representation! Above all, loved the diverse representation throughout this novel!! ❤

While there was a little bit of slow pacing for me personally, it worked really well with this novel! Through it, you really get time to understand Desi and her world. 

Through Goo’s writing the setting of Orange County, Desi and friends, themes/messages, and above all just the atmosphere of first love comes to life all through out the novel and I loved that so much!

I Believe In A Thing Called Love is filled with fantastic characters, romance, humor, K-Drama scenario’s, themes of family and friendship! A delightful journey from beginning to end! Highly recommend this novel!

Waiting On Wednesday I # 9

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly post originally created by the book bloggers over at

BreakingTheSpines to spotlight upcoming releases!

This week I will be spotlighting…

when-dimple-met-rishi-cover-revealWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Summary: A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

One of my top favorite Young Adult genres, besides Fantasy, is Contemporary, so of course When Dimple Met Rishi was an automatic add on my tbr! + I love reading/supporting diverse books!

I’ve heard great things about this novel and I know it won’t disappoint! I cannot wait to read a copy for myself in May!

Are you planning to read When Dimple Met Rishi??

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos ReviewCrazy Messy Beautiful

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique take on love and puts an emphasis on friendship!

Highly recommend this novel if your looking for one that focuses on friendship while also discussing the complexities of love! Crazy Messy Beautiful is YA Contemporary that delivered a unique plot that had me surprised with each page!

Written through 1st Person POV, we follow Pablo Neruda who is an artist at heart. When he discovers his long-time crush Autumn (crush #8) doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, he is heartbroken.

Then in English, the entire class gets assigned a research project on a randomly chosen partner. He gets paired with Callie Leibowitz. Though both have sat at the same group table together for months, they’ve never really talked.

He had his preconceived ideas about her, however over the course of the novel they both learn much more about each other and develop an incredible friendship.

Arcos really brings the main character Pablo to life and I felt he was given such depth and I really understood his character over the course of the story.

Callie and Pablo bond over a number of different things like movies and art! They encourage each other to pursue their passions and really get to better understand each other!

Pablo learns more about Callie’s passion for makeup & makeup design and Callie learns more about Pablo’s passion for art (sketching, painting, etc.)

However conflict arises when Pablo realizes he may be falling in love with Callie. Regardless, they really get to know each other and the friendship forged between the two was truly the highlight of this novel!

Arcos also delivers the novel through a thought-provoking + at times poetic writing-style where you really get to understand these characters, especially Pablo!

The plot itself is very character-driven and overall was very unique comparing to other contemporaries I’ve read recently! It went in directions I did not see coming!

When Pablo discovers some family secrets and comes to terms with his feelings for Callie, he learns more about love and its complications over the course of this story, while also coming to terms with his perceptions and concepts of love.

Arcos focuses this novel on Pablo and his development, while making friendship and family central parts of the story!

Additionally, I loved that there were diverse Main + Side characters! (Chilean + Mexican Representation!)

There were some moments when the pacing was rather slow and I felt Pablo’s feelings for Callie came rather quickly. Additionally there were plot points that felt not only incomplete, but unnecessary (b/c they were never really expanded upon)

Overall Arcos delivers an engaging YA Contemporary that focuses on friendship and family, while also delivering a unique take on love!

EDIT/UPDATE: *Perhaps I just misread/misunderstood this line, however after finishing, this line has still stuck in my mind. This line personally just left me uneasy b/c I’m surprised the MC would just assume that to begin with!! Just to be sure, I wanted feedback from fellow reviewers.*

Background: Ezra is a pen-pal that Neruda mentions he had when a class of his assigned students to inmates to write letters back & forth, and now is acquainted with Ezra who’s now out of prison, they still talk and hang out.

Over the years I’ve teased out bits and pieces of his story. From what I can tell, he was trying to help his brother,Rafa, and ended up going with him to rob a house. I think Ezra was trying to stop him from doing it. The house was supposed to be empty, but it wasn’t.  Rafa was shot and killed and Ezra was sent to prison. He was eighteen at the time and served ten years for an armed robbery conviction. But as soon as I got to know Ezra I immediately doubted his guilt. He just didn’t seem like the typical stereotype of a Mexican guy in jail, the one you see portrayed on TV shows and movies-shaved head, arms covered in tats, maybe even one circling his neck or a teardrop close to his eye…(page 24-25)