Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review | Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda 

Author: Becky Albertalli (@beckyalbertalli)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Number: 303
Genre: Contemporary
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My Review:
I read this book, when, in JUNE!?!?!?!? Procrastination skills on POINT. Just kidding.
ANYWAYS, I could some up this entire review with just two words: SO. CUTE. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda has got. To be. The CUTEST freaking book ever.

"White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default."

Simon was a quick read; I flew threw it in a day or two. And although I talk mostly about it's adorableness, there are a few great moments that truly demonstrate the LGBTQ+ aspect of this book.
Simon is the best character ever, from his amazing fandom references, which got me screaming like no other, to the sweetest moments between him and Blue (ship. ship. SHIP.) Simon felt so relatable. I wanted to be his best friend. He's so freaking heartwarming, and his dialogue, his sarcastic tongue, and EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING was perfect.

Simon coming out was one of the best parts. High schools is difficult as it is, and knowing that you're gay, and people are going to tease you about that is a big toughie. What I loved most about Albertalli's writing is how she made is so realistic. I started crying when Simon came out to (you know who). Simon's group of amazing friends (#squad goals) were so sweet and supportive, and you just feel mush for him. YOU JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH <3 <3 <3

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a heartwarmer, adorable, and ever so relatable and will always be remembered. And to those still debating on whether or not to read it?

Read it. Love it. Repeat. 

Final Rating: 



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review | The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1)The Sword of Summer
(Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
Author: Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Number: 528
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

My Review:
Words can't even express my excitement for The Sword of Summer. Riordan is, and will always be one of my favorite authors...but his two latest books fell flat-ish for me. Riordan's not losing his touch, by any means. It's just...time to get a-move on...

But that doesn't mean I hated The Sword of Summer. I enjoyed it nevertheless. The chapter titles were hilarious (especially the one with Jason Grace), and the characters were enjoyable as usual. The Annabeth cameos were by far the most anticipated, and probably my favorite parts. 

Magnus is snarky and sarcastic, and although his sarcasm far from Percy's level (Persassy FTW), but it's up there. And it makes everything 10x more hilarious. One thing Magnus lacks is character. Yes, he's sarcastic and snarky, but other than that, there's pretty much nothing going on for him. He's just...Percy.! Sam and some of his other buddies helped too. I especially loved Blitzen. 

I went into this knowing extremely little about the Norse gods, and although this did inform me a ton more, it info-dropped a lot. Not completely, but a lot. I found myself referring back to the back of the book, which explained which levels were which, as I got them confused a lot. 

The plot was standard Riordan, and I've come to peace with it. People might argue that it's predictable and simple and not original, but I've gotten so used to it, and it hurts to give Riordan's books less than a 3 star rating. They were my childhood. Besides, I like the classic Riordan plot. Ordinary boy/girl finds that they are special, then they come to this fabulous new place, find that they're destined for something great (or bad), and go on a quest, etc, etc. It's strangely warming. 

Final Rating: 



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

YA Summer Contemporaries: Saint Anything + Emmy and Oliver

Saint Anything

Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking, published May 5, 2015
Page Number: 417
Genre: Contemporary
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

My Review:
“I was used to being invisible. People rarely saw me, and if they did, they never looked close.”

Saint Anything was my first Dessen novel, and hearing that they have similar plots, I’m not sure if I’m going to pick up another one. The beginning started out interesting, and I found myself really enjoying the story, despite the dullness of Sydney’s characters. Insert the Chatham family, and I don’t know whether or not it’s a good thing that I like the secondary characters rather than the main character. There’s quirky Layla, who always falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, and Mac, who was a pain in the ass throughout the beginning of the book, with his strange diet and whatnot, but I grew to love him.

I just felt really bad for Sydney. Her mother was a pain the head, and Sydney had done NOTHING wrong. It was her brother, who I DESPISE, who was the drug addict and nearly killed someone. Sydney hadn’t even touched liquor! ERGH. NO, JUST NO.

Huge Dessen fan? Pick this up. Otherwise, go pick something else.

Final Rating: 


Emmy & Oliver

Author: Robin Benway

Publisher: HarperTeen on June 23, 2015
Page Number: 352
Genre: Contemporary
Synopsis from Goodreads:  

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story

Goodreads | Book Depository
  My Review:
“Love isn’t something you say, it’s something you do.”
Although Emmy & Oliver was compared to Dessen’s books, I found it a whole lot more enjoyable. You’d think this was a romance, but no, it isn’t. It’s that book, with family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships, growing up, and everything, and I loved it so much. It was SO CUTE.

In the beginning, Emmy and her group of friends are in second grade. Emmy, Caro, Drew, and Oliver. Oliver, Caro, Drew, and Emmy. Their friendship is genuine, and you know that, because they’re still friends to this day. Oliver then gets kidnapped by his father, and their little group hasn’t been the same since.

Unlike Sydney from my review above, Emmy was RELATABLE. And sarcastic, and embarrassingly awkward, but what’s not to love? She sees the her best friend from 10 years ago, and he’s hotter than before, but she doesn’t blush and look away (I HATE THAT), she pokes her tongue out and crosses her eyes. THE GUTS. And the guts of her to go out and surf every night for what, five years?

The dialogue is smooth and something teens these days actually would say. I feel like Caro and Drew are my BFFs. Hell, I want them to be my BFFs.

The only problem I had were Emmy’s parents. They were overprotective, just like Sydney’s parents. It frustrated me. *frustration dance*

Final Rating: