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Review: The Hate U Give

Review: The Hate U GiveTitle: The Hate U Give
Author(s): Angie Thomas
Genre(s): Contemporary, YA
Pages: 447 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

My Thoughts

I read The Hate U Give for book club. I have been a supporter of the BLM movement from the get go. However, reading The Hate U Give was a very eye-opening experience. I learned a lot. I learned that I’ve lived a very sheltered and, subsequently, safe life. I learned that being a BLM supporter isn’t enough. And, I learned that supporting BLM for the wrong reasons is just as wrong as not supporting it at all.

I thought Starr was a great character. I never realized how tough it was to live in two different worlds or even that there was a need. My naïveté shined through as I read her and Khalil’s story. I’m now wondering how many insensitive comments I’ve made without realizing it.

Never has “white privilege” meant more to me than it does now. Thanks to The Hate U Give, I want to do better. I want to be better.

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Review: By Your Side

Review: By Your SideTitle: By Your Side
Author(s): Kasie West
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 346 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

My Thoughts

I decided to read By Your Side because I needed a fluffy romance, but I got more than I bargained for.

I found I had so much in common with Autumn. Not so much my high-school self, but my current self because of her anxiety disorder. I suffer from depression and anxiety and it’s amazing how much your body plots against you. West did such a great job of showing that in Autumn. I almost wonder if she or someone she knows has an anxiety disorder.

I also loved watching Autumn and Dax together. I loved watching their friendship blossom and it turn into more.

This has happened with both contemporary novels I’ve read by Kasie West. The novels start out so-so. I like them, but I think I’ll only give them three stars. But by the end of the novel, I’ve fallen in love with the characters and the story that I can’t help give the book five stars. I now wonder if this will happen with all her books. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Review: The Joy Luck Club

Review: The Joy Luck ClubTitle: The Joy Luck Club
Author(s): Amy Tan
Genre(s): Contemporary
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Play Book Tag
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and wisdom, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. As each reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined...

My Thoughts

I read The Joy Luck Club because the topic for this month for my Goodreads PBT group is Asia.

The Joy Luck Club was a very interesting read. I especially enjoyed reading the mothers’ stories and their hardships in China and how they came to the US. I actually wish the book would’ve focused more on them and their time in China.

I also enjoyed the nods to Chinese and Chinese-American culture. I learned quite a bit while reading The Joy Luck Club. It was interesting that even though the mothers joined a Christian church upon their arrival in the US, they retained some of their Buddhist beliefs throughout their lives.

I also found it interesting to see the differences between the mothers and the daughters. Because of the American culture around the daughters, the daughters couldn’t help but grow up American. Yet, I thought the mothers would’ve taught their children more about their culture. The daughters could understand Chinese, but they couldn’t speak it very well nor could they read or write the characters.

While I found the book interesting, I found the characters to be a little flat. Their voices were similar and the only reason I could tell each of them a part was because each of their stories were different. And, as I said, I would’ve rather the book focused more on the mothers and their hardships in China than on their life in the US with their daughters. For these reasons, I’m only giving The Joy Luck Club three stars.

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Review: On the Fence

Review: On the FenceTitle: On the Fence
Author(s): Kasie West
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 296 (Paperback)
Source: Borrowed
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows--including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

My Thoughts

I borrowed On the Fence from my friend Suey over a year ago. 😳 I know, right?! I decided it was high time I read it and, boy, am I glad I did! I finished it in two sittings!

I adored On the Fence! It is the first 5-star read of the year. Heck, it’s the first new 5-star read of the last two years! It’s a new favorite. I loved the relationship that Charlie had with Braden and watching it build from friendship into something more. Friendship to romantic relationships are the best!

I also loved watching Charlie discover herself. She’d only ever known herself in one way before. Once she was thrown in all these difference social situations, she wasn’t sure who she was. She discovered she could be herself and a little more girly at the same time.

View Spoiler »

Anyway, I’m glad I read On the Fence and I wish I had read it sooner. I look forward to reading more books by Kasie West.

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Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

Review: Eliza and Her MonstersTitle: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author(s): Francesca Zappia
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 385 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

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.

My Thoughts

I had never heard of Eliza and Her Monsters until I saw Suey review it on her blog and then I saw it on a couple of other blogs right after that. After Suey’s review and her recommendation, I decided I needed to read it. Fortunately, it was available on Kindle at my library so I could.

I loved Eliza’s story. I loved her webcomic. In fact, I really want Zappia to publish a novelization of her webcomic as well as a graphic novel of Monstrous Sea now. The story was so interesting and sounds like something I would enjoy so much!

I wanted to strangle Eliza’s parents. I know they meant well like most parents do, but there were times when I felt like these parents just didn’t care because it’s not what they did. I felt like they didn’t try to understand her. It’s not completely their fault. Eliza could’ve talked to them more as well, but as her parents, it’s up to them not her.

I adored Eliza and Her Monsters. I adored the double entendre of the title. And, I sobbed as I read parts of Eliza’s story. Even though I’m not an introvert, per se (I’m an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert, lol), I related to Eliza and even Wallace in so many ways. I shared some of their monsters in high school and reading about them made me want to hug them both and tell them, “It’s okay. Life gets better.”

I’m glad I read Eliza and Her Monsters. I’ll definitely keep a look out for more of Zappia’s work.