Review: The Year They Burned the Books

35720930.jpg

Title: The Year They Burned the Books
Author: Nancy Garden
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of Annie on My Mind comes an unflinching novel about prejudice, censorship, and homophobia in a New England town.

As the editor in chief of the Wilson High Telegraph, senior Jamie Crawford is supposed to weigh in on the cutting-edge issues that will interest students in her school. But when she writes an opinion piece in support of the new health curriculum—which includes safe-sex education and making condoms available to students—she has no idea how much of a controversy she’s stepped into.

A conservative school board member has started a war against the new curriculum, and now—thanks to Jamie’s editorial—against the newspaper as well. As Jamie deals with the fallout and comes to terms with her own sexuality, the school and town become a battleground for clashing opinions. Now, Jamie and the students at Wilson need to find another way to express their beliefs before prejudice, homophobia, and violence define their small town.

Review:

After receiving this book on NetGalley, I was surprised to see that it was originally published in 1999. The story is still relevant today, so I can see why it was rereleased.

I loved the story. Even though it takes place in the 90s, it seems very contemporary. The only difference is they use typewriters to write their school articles and comment that certain people have a printer and computer at home.

Jamie was a great character. Jamie and her best friend Terry call themselves “Maybes” because they think they might be gay but they aren’t sure. Both of them have to come to terms with their sexuality, and have to become confident enough to share their true selves.

Though Jamie and Terry are learning how to express themselves, other characters, such as Ernie, hide behind what they think others want them to be like, instead of being themselves. This was sad but it’s something that still happens today.

The school newspaper was a great way for the characters to express their feelings. There was a lot of drama in the newspaper team that kept the story exciting.

I really enjoyed this story. Though it is almost 20 years old, it is still so relevant today!

Review: White Bodies

32920301.jpg

Title: White Bodies
Author: Jane Robins
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: September 30, 2017
Rating: ★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless façade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies—or was he murdered?

Review:

The concept of this book is so intriguing, but it had many weird aspects that were hard to get past.

First of all, this story talks about an important issue. Domestic violence. Particularly, abusive partners who are very controlling. There are some serious situations in the novel that show just how dangerous these relationships can be. It’s scary to imagine a loved one in this kind of relationship, while being helpless to get them to see the truth.

Callie is weirdly obsessed with her sister. She’s worried about her sister’s relationship which is valid, but the way she stalks her is strange. Callie waits outside her sister’s home to follow her and she sneaks into her house to find out stuff about her relationship. That was so extreme.

I found Callie super creepy. When she was younger, she would eat things belonging to her sister to feel closer to her. She would eat her sister’s hair, paper from her journal, and even her baby teeth. Yes her baby teeth. I was so grossed out that it made me really dislike Callie. I couldn’t get past her weird obsession with Tilda.

Some parts of the story reminded me of The Girl on the Train, in the way that the plot unfolded. Callie is an unreliable narrator, so it’s hard to know what to believe. But Callie was so creepy that I didn’t even want to get involved in her story. And she made some strange and dangerous decisions.

Normally I don’t mind an unreliable narrator because they can add to the mystery, but I couldn’t get past Callie’s strange tendencies in this story.

Review: Me Before You

17347634.jpg

Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: December 31, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Review:

I really loved this story.

I loved Louisa. She’s a funny and quirky character. She’s very positive, even when Will is constantly making her life harder. But he has some redeeming qualities too. He’s very thoughtful. And his bitterness can be understood, since he was in a terrible accident that left him paralyzed.

The ending of the story absolutely broke my heart. And it made me wonder how there could be a sequel (and another one coming out this year!). But I look forward to reading After You very soon!

Soon after After You was released, I went to a book signing and met Jojo Moyes! It was a fun event, where they even gave away bumblebee tights! Here’s a photo of her signing my book.

13221289_10156723513015467_4669741216062799619_o

Have you read Me Before You or After You?

Review: Queens of Geek

28245707.jpg

Title: Queens of Geek
Author: Jen Wilde
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: Purchased
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

Review:

I am so excited about this book. There are so many great aspects of it.

I loved the diversity in the book. Charlie is Asian-Australian and bisexual. Taylor has social anxiety and is on the autism spectrum. These aspects of the characters were discussed but they weren’t their whole identities. They seemed like real people.

The two love stories were very cute. I loved Charlie and Alyssa! They make such a cute couple! And through the whole book I wanted Taylor and Jamie to get together! I was rooting for both couples (and I really didn’t like Reese!)

I loved the SupaCon. It sounds like so much fun! It reminded me of the only fan convention I’ve been to, which is Fan Expo in Toronto. It’s like a ComicCon and I went a few years ago. It also got me thinking about my upcoming trip to BookCon which I’m super excited for!!

Another great aspect of this book is the way it was published. Swoon Reads accepts manuscripts from writers, and then puts them online for readers to vote for which ones get published. It’s a great way to see your favourite indie writers get published.

I loved this book! I think I’ll be recommending it for the rest of the year!

December Uppercase Reveal

Here’s my reveal of the December Uppercase Box. There were some fun goodies here!

This is a notepad for tracking the books you’ve lent to friends! Great for keeping track of all those books you may or may not have floating around your friends.

Here’s a cute pin from Swoon Reads: Shelfies over Selfies!

Of course, I can always use an extra pouch. As Hermione says “When in doubt, go to the library.”

Since I received this box, I keep seeing this book everywhere! I can’t wait to read it. The cover is so beautiful!

Did you get the Uppercase Box too? Have you read Foolish Hearts?

Review: The Wolves of Winter

35653012.jpg

Title: The Wolves of Winter
Author: Tyrell Johnson
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

Station Eleven meets The Hunger Games in this ruthless, captivating story of a young woman’s survival in the frozen wilderness of the Yukon after the rest of the world has collapsed.

As the old world dies, we all must choose to become predators. Or become prey.

The old world has been ravaged by war and disease, and as far as Lynn McBride is concerned, her family could be the last one left on earth. For seven years, the McBrides have eked out a meagre existence in the still, white wilderness of the Yukon. But this is not living. This is survival on the brink.

Into this fragile community walk new threats, including the enigmatic fugitive, Jax, who holds secrets about the past and, possibly, keys to a better future. And then there’s Immunity, the pre‑war organization that was supposed to save humankind from the flu. They’re still out there, enforcing order and conducting experiments—but is their work for the good of humankind or is something much more sinister at play? In the face of almost certain extinction, Lynn and her family must learn to hunt as a pack or die alone in the cold.

Breakout debut novelist Tyrell Johnson weaves a captivating tale of humanity stretched far beyond its breaking point, of family and the bonds of love forged when everything else is lost. Reminiscent of Station Eleven and The Hunger Games, this is a classic and enthralling post‑apocalyptic adventure and a celebration of the human spirit.

Review:

This book is a great way to start of the new year! It’s a cross between the Hunger Games, Station Eleven, and even a bit of The Maze Runner.

I love dystopia stories. Some seem so realistic, especially with the way the world is going these days. In this story, there has been nuclear war that destroyed a lot of the world. Asia was decimated by the Asian flu, which eventually made its way to North America. This future is terrifying, but unfortunately it is believable.

I loved the character of Lynn. She’s conflicted and takes chances but she sticks with her decisions. This doesn’t always have the best outcomes, but it made the story thrilling and unpredictable.

Also, while I’ve been reading this story, the weather in Toronto has been breaking records for how cold it is. This has nothing to do with the story, but it made me sympathize with the cold Yukon environment that the characters were experiencing. It really set the scene.

From the ending of the story, I hope there will be more to come. I’ll definitely be looking for it!

Best Books of 2017 – Young Adult Fiction

Here are my favourite young adult fiction books of 2017:

img_9676

The Empress

Author: S.J. Kincaid
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Canada
Release Date: 
October 31, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_9391

All The Crooked Saints

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher:
Scholastic
Release Date: 
October 10, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_9539-1

Long Way Down

Author: Jason Reynolds
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_9375

The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_9227-1

They Both Die at the End

Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Release Date: 
September 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_9160-2

She, Myself, and I

Author: Emma Young
Publisher:
ABRAMS Kids
Release Date:
September 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_9120-2

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Release Date:
September 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

326be-zerorepeatforever2b252812529

Zero Repeat Forever

Author: G.S. Prendergast
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Rating: ★★★★
My Review

img_8907

Geekerella

Author: Ashley Poston
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_8722

I Have No Secrets

Author: Penny Joelson
Publisher:
Electric Monkey
Release Date:
June 29, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

img_8619

Saints and Misfits

Author: S.K. Ali
Publisher:
Salaam Reads
Release Date:
June 13, 2017
Rating: ★★★★
My Review

img_8344

Follow Me Back

Author: A.V. Geiger
Publisher: 
Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: 
June 6, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
My Review

 

My list for the best Non-Fiction books of 2017 is here.
My list for the best Graphic Novels of 2017 is here.
My list for the best Adult Fiction novels of 2017 is here.