Review: Rules for Being a Girl

Title: Rules for Being a Girl
Author: Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It starts before you can even remember: You learn the rules for being a girl. . . .

Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Marin’s future seems bright―and her young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. Beckett, is always quick to admire her writing and talk books with her.

But when “Bex” takes things too far and comes on to Marin, she’s shocked and horrified. Had she somehow led him on? Was it her fault?

When Marin works up the courage to tell the administration what happened, no one believes her. She’s forced to face Bex in class every day. Except now, he has an ax to grind.

But Marin isn’t about to back down. She uses the school newspaper to fight back and she starts a feminist book club at school. She finds allies in the most unexpected people, like “slutty” Gray Kendall, who she’d always dismissed as just another lacrosse bro. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and write her own rules. 

Review:

Marin is a stellar student with a dream of attending Brown University next year. She has a crush on her young English teacher, who is also her advisor on the school newspaper. She becomes closer to the teacher, which leads to him taking things too far for a student-teacher relationship. However, when Marin complains about what was done, she is blamed for leading him on. She gets in trouble in many ways, changing the path towards her future.

This story was so realistic. I had a sick feeling in my stomach while reading it because I could relate to it. Unfortunately, this is an authentic depiction of what it’s like to be a girl. There are so many conflicting rules that girls need to follow: don’t wear too much makeup, but don’t be ugly; don’t eat too much, but don’t have an eating disorder; don’t be a push over, but don’t be too bossy. Boys don’t have the same kinds of rules that they have to follow.

The way that Marin stood up to a teacher reminded me of a situation that happened in my high school. There was a student who called out a teacher for behaving inappropriately, and that student ended up getting punished and blamed for speaking up. It wasn’t exactly the same situation in this book, but it had similar consequences. It’s a sad reality that this is the way these kinds of situations end up. Even though this story was really heartbreaking at times, when Marin was blamed for something that was done to her, it’s a story that needs to be told so that things can change.

I loved this powerful story.

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Have you read Rules for Being a Girl? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – April 9

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. 

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Timesbestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Gotham High

Title: Gotham High
Author: Melissa de la Cruz and Thomas Pitilli (illustrator)
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex and Eliza and The Witches of East End comes a reimagining of Gotham for a new generation of readers. Before they became Batman, Catwoman, and The Joker, Bruce, Selina, and Jack were high schoolers who would do whatever it took–even destroy the ones they love–to satisfy their own motives.

After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.

When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect. 

With enchanting art by Thomas Pitilli, this new graphic novel is just as intoxicating as it is chilling, in which dearest friends turn into greatest enemies–all within the hallways of Gotham High!

Review:

Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City after getting kicked out of his boarding school. He meets his old friend Selina, who is dealing with looking after her sick father. Jack Napier is Selina’s sometimes boyfriend and Bruce’s frenemy. One day, a boy named Harvey Dent is kidnapped from school while he’s wearing Bruce’s jacket. Bruce has to investigate who is targeting him and kidnapping students from Gotham High.

I love these new DC graphic novels. The story is about DC characters as real people, before they become superheroes. These include Bruce Wayne (Batman), Selina Kyle (Cat Woman), and Jack Napier (The Joker). I loved seeing these characters as regular people. It makes them so much more relateable.

There was more diversity in this graphic novel than in the original DC comics. Bruce Wayne was from Hong Kong. His uncle Alfred was in a same-sex marriage. Barbara Gordon and her mother Principal Gordon were black. It was great to see cultural diversity in these characters.

The ending of the story was a surprise to me. It was open ended for a sequel, which I hope will be written! I loved this graphic novel!

Thank you DC Comics and FFBC for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore, Christian Wildgoose (illustrator)

Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle, Isaac Goodhart (illustrator)

Author Info:

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Have you read Gotham High? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – April 8

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 Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon. The expected publication date is May 26, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Beauty. Wealth. Success.

She’s got it all.

And it all should’ve been mine. 

When Eleanor Hardwicke’s beloved father dies, her world is further shattered by a gut-wrenching secret: the man she’s grieving isn’t really her dad. Eleanor was the product of an affair and her biological father is still out there, living blissfully with the family he chose. With her personal life spiraling, a desperate Eleanor seeks him out, leading her to uncover another branch on her family tree—an infuriatingly enviable half sister.

Perfectly perfect Victoria has everything Eleanor could ever dream of. Loving childhood, luxury home, devoted husband. All of it stolen from Eleanor, who plans to take it back. After all, good sisters are supposed to share. And quiet little Eleanor has been waiting far too long for her turn to play. 

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: See Me: Becoming Your Authentic Self

Title: See Me: Becoming Your Authentic Self
Author: Hailey Rodgers
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Publisher: New Degree Press
Source: Author
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A study by Collage Group found that the number one trait that young adults value in living an ideal life is happiness. So why is it that so many young adults identify themselves as unsatisfied or unhappy with their lives? There is a misconception that in order to be happy you must first be successful. In fact, the opposite is true: you must be happy first in order to be successful. This raises the question: How do I become happy? The answer: Discover your authentic self. 

See Me is about the importance of living authentically as a young adult. While young adults tend to talk about authenticity, it can actually be the hardest time in your life to feel confident in yourself. This book is a tool to help you stay true to who you are amidst the pressure to conform to societal norms. It aims to inspire young adults through guiding principles and the incredible stories of others who comprehend the value non-conformity and consistently work to live an authentic life. 

Review:

In See Me, Hailey Rodgers gives tips on how to live a happy life and be successful. The book is divided into thirty different principles. Each principle includes an example from someone’s actual life experience, either Hailey’s or someone else. Each chapter also ends with a recap of what important points to take away from the principle and how to apply it to your life.

This book is targeted towards young adult readers. Many of the examples are about people graduating high school or in university or college. This book is about figuring out your place in life, so it makes sense that it is aimed toward readers who are starting their adult lives.

There were some sensitive subjects addressed in this book, such as abuse. I don’t think these examples always pertained to the subject. There were also some generalizations that I don’t think everyone could relate to. For example, one chapter talks about doing what you want that will make you happy, rather than following what your guardians and elders tell you. She says they will be happy for you even if you don’t do what they want you to do. I think this is an idealistic way to view things. Many people don’t have the luxury of choosing to do what they love by going against the wishes of their guardians.

This is a really good book about learning to find your happiness for young adults.

Thank you Hailey Rodgers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life by Neil Pasricha

Have you read See Me: Becoming Your Authentic Self? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Read Because of a Review

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 I Bought Because… (fill in the blank). I made a list of books I read because of a review. Here’s my list:

1. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks (illustrator)

2. Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

3. The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly

4. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

5. Mending the Mind (Pillow Thoughts #3) by Courtney Peppernell

6. I’ll Be There For You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller

7. The Gown by Jennifer Robson

8. Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

9. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

10. Royals (Royals #1) by Rachel Hawkins

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

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

Happy Pub Day – April 7

Happy Pub day to all of these new books!

A Hundred Suns: A Novel by Karin Tanabe

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan

The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel by Pamela Binnings Ewen

We Didn’t Ask for This by Adi Alsaid

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Megabat is a Fraidybat (Megabat #3) by Anna Humphrey, Kass Reich (illustrator)

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

Dewdrop by Katie O’Neill

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak

The Lost Orphan by Stacey Halls

Gotham High by Melissa de la Cruz

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

What books are you most excited for this week?