Review: When We Make It

Title: When We Make It
Author: Elisabet Velasquez
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry
Publisher: Dial Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

An unforgettable young adult debut novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to make it, touching on themes of mental illness, sexual assault, food insecurity and gentrification, in the Nuyorican literary tradition of Nicholasa Mohr and the work of contemporary writer Elizabeth Acevedo.

Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied.

When We Make It is a love letter to girls who were taught to believe they would not make it at all. The verse is evocative and insightful, and readers are sure to be swept into Sarai’s world and rooting for her long after they close the book.

Review:

Sarai is a Puerto Rican eighth grader living in Bushwick with her mom and sister, Estrella, in 1996. She struggles with her family, while her mom just tries to keep them alive, moving from apartment to apartment. Sarai struggles to find her place in the community, knowing that her family doesn’t have the same lifestyle as her friends. There are pressures to follow a certain system, yet Sarai knows there’s the possibility of a different, and better, life that she could reach one day.

This novel was written in verse. This was the perfect format for this emotional story. Sarai and her family had a lot of struggles, though they didn’t always realize that things could be different. The rhythmic writing, and the inclusion of Spanish words mixed in with the English, made me feel like I was right there with Sarai.

There were some tough subjects in this story. These include addiction, mental health, postpartum depression, gun violence, and racism. These subjects were handled delicately, but are definitely important to telling this story.

When We Make It is a beautiful story about girls who can defy the odds.

Thank you Dial Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Have you read When We Make It? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – September 22

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline. The expected publication date is October 19, 2021.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898.png

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of The Marrow Thieves comes a thrilling new story about hope and survival that New York Times bestselling author Angeline Boulley called “a revelatory must-read”

Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up—or are re-opened—across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams.

Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to these schools and has spent the years since heading north with his new found family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is—and what it will take to escape. 

Meanwhile, out in the world, his found family searches for him and dodges new dangers—school Recruiters, a blood cult, even the land itself. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he is willing to go—and how many loved ones is he willing to betray—in order to survive. This engrossing, action-packed, deftly-drawn novel expands on the world of Cherie Dimaline’s award-winning The Marrow Thieves, and it will haunt readers long after they’ve turned the final page.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Happy Pub Day – September 21

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider

This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

As If On Cue by Marisa Kanter

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

Sidelined by Kara Bietz

She Who Rides the Storm by Caitlin Sangster

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles

Big Boned by Jo Watson

Spells Like Teen Spirit by Kate Williams

Maybe We’re Electric by Val Emmich

To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames

Gutter Mage by J.S. Kelley

What books are you most excited for this week?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2021 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Books On My Fall 2021 TBR. Here’s my list:

1. White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

2. You’ll Be The Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

3. Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat

4. Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

5. Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

6. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

7. Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline

8. The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

9. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

10. The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Blog Tour Review: This Is Why We Lie

Title: This Is Why We Lie
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

Review:

One morning, while Jenna was standing at the harbour taking photos, she found Adam pulling a body from the water. Her friend, Colleen, had drowned but it wasn’t an accident. Jenna’s best friend is the main suspect, but she is certain that her friend didn’t do it. Adam and his friends also had a connection to Colleen. She had threatened him and his friends the night before her body was found. Adam and Jenna bond over this tragedy. Everyone has a motive and everyone is keeping secrets, but the clock is ticking down until they find the murderer.

This was such a fast paced thriller. It had short chapters that flew by quickly. It was really hard to put this book down because there were so many twists.

It’s been a while since a thriller truly surprised me. I couldn’t figure out how this story was going to end and I was really surprised. I liked that there wasn’t any wasted space. Every chapter and scene was important to the plot and it wrapped up quickly at the end.

This is Why Why Lie is an exciting, fast paced thriller!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

About the author:

Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.

Have you read This Is Why We Lie? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – September 20

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Rule by Ellen Goodlett.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – September 19

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 7 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… This Is Why We Lie

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898.png

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Books I Think Should Be Studied in School

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Books I Think Should Be Studied in School. Here’s my list:

1. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

2. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

4. Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn

5. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

6. A Universe of Wishes by Dhonielle Clayton (editor)

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?

Review: Doctor Who: The Wonderful Doctor of Oz

Title: Doctor Who: The Wonderful Doctor of Oz
Author: Jacqueline Rayner
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: BBC Children’s Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 10, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Embark on a strange and enchanting adventure with old foes and monsters in this glorious crossover of Doctor Who and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

When a sudden tornado engulfs the TARDIS, the Thirteenth Doctor and her fam find themselves transported to the magical land of Oz. With a damaged TARDIS and an unexpected stowaway from the 1930s, their only hope of getting home is to follow the yellow brick road.

But when an army of scarecrows ambushes them, they quickly realise that everything is not as it should be, and they’re thrown into a fight for survival against a mysterious enemy. As each of her companions becomes a shadow of their former selves, only the Doctor is left standing.

Desperate to save her friends, she must embark on a perilous journey to seek help from the mysterious Wizard of Oz – and stop whatever forces are at work before she and her friends are trapped in the fictional world forever.

Review:

The Thirteenth Doctor and her fam, Ryan, Graham, and Yaz, travelled back to the 1930s to see the premiere of The Wizard of Oz. However, when they land, they discover that no one has ever heard of L. Frank Baum or The Wizard of Oz. Then, the Tardis is pulled into a tornado, landing them in the land of Oz. The Doctor and her friends, along with a young man named Theodore who stowed away in the 1930s, have to follow the yellow brick road to see the Wizard and save Oz.

This story was a clever combination of The Wizard of Oz and Doctor Who. The Oz that they visited was mostly based on the book, which is slightly different from the movie. In place of some of the characters from Oz, were Doctor Who characters, such as the Cyberman who stood in for the Tin Man. Each of the Doctor’s companions also faced the same problems that Dorothy’s companions faced in the original after some accidents: needing a brain, a heart, and courage.

Gender was an important part of the story. The Thirteenth Doctor is the first female Doctor. In this story, she meets the Doctor’s longtime enemy the Master, in her female form, called Missy. This was an interesting meeting since these two female characters never met on the TV show. Though Missy is on the cover, she wasn’t in the story for very long. I would have loved to see more of her on the page because she’s an interesting character. There was also a clever ending that you’ll have to read to find out!

The Wonderful Doctor of Oz is a fun Doctor Who story.

What to read next:

Doctor Who: Combat Magicks by Steve Cole

Doctor Who: Legends of Camelot by Jacqueline Rayner

Have you read Doctor Who: The Wonderful Doctor of Oz? What did you think of it?