Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

July 7, 2017 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ½

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia LevensellerDaughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 28, 2017
Genres: YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Goodreads
half-star
There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: -5 (the single gay character is a villain and he dies; also, the book’s magic system relies on everyone ever being heterosexual)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Is it really so much to ask for if I want a YA fantasy novel free of rape threats and with no superpartiarchy in place? I know there’s plenty of YA fantasy like that out there, but I’m particularly bad at finding them and/or finding them interesting enough to read. I’m a bit fond of pirate books, so why wouldn’t I expect Daughter of the Pirate King to be fun for me?

It wasn’t, reader. It was fun until it got h*ckin homophobic, as @dog_rates might say. Then it wasn’t fun anymore.

Read more »

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Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

September 2, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 2 ★½

Review: Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8, 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, Retelling, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: ALA Annual 2016
Goodreads
one-half-stars
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0 (Hatter has a thing for Jest, but it falls into old tropes)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

The gleeful absurdity of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has always been up my alley, but no adaptation of it so far has impressed me. The renowned Disney film annoyed me the many, many times my teacher in elementary school put it on for the class and the live-action film was a boring technicolor nightmare. Heartless made me wonder for a hot minute if the key was to tell the origin story of Queen of Hearts instead, but it turned out to be worse than either film. If I were the Queen of Hearts, I’d want this book’s head in a heartbeat. Read more »

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Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

June 23, 2016 Reviews 0

Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. NguyenThe Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen
Published by Swoon Reads on June 7, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Goodreads
DNF
Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they're in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it's better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.

Readers will be ready to sign their own love contract after reading The Way to Game the Walk of Shame, a fun and addicting contemporary YA romance by Jenn P. Nguyen.

[No diversity rating because I couldn’t be arsed to note it for once. Such was my annoyance with this book.]

If I’d really thought things through, I would have avoided this book altogether. Fake-dating to save one’s reputation sounds super cute, there are plenty of ways to make something like this work, and it didn’t seem offensive to my sensibilities at the time.

Then I started reading. WHOO, BOY. Read more »

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Review: The Detour by S.A. Bodeen

November 6, 2015 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: The Detour by S.A. BodeenThe Detour by S.A. Bodeen
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 6, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Thriller
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
On her way to a writer’s conference, a bestselling teenage author takes a detour that has been deliberately set up by her biggest fans—a mother and daughter who kidnap her.

Livvy Flynn is a big deal—she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself.

When she’s invited to an A-list writer’s conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She’s on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference.

And then she hits the detour. Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s tied to a bed in a nondescript shack in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Livvy is multiracial; her mom is the child of a Vietnamese mother and a man with “some black ancestry”)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Misery by Stephen King was written, published, and made into a movie before I was even born, but it’s such an iconic horror story that it’s part of the cultural consciousness in the US–especially if you write. Then that story is your worst nightmare. Well, S.A. Bodeen’s newest novel gives modern writers a new nightmare to be afraid of while giving plenty of nods to King’s novel. Read more »

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Review: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall

November 5, 2015 Diversity 1, Reviews 0

Review: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy HallSigns Points to Yes by Sandy Hall
Published by Swoon Reads on October 20, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: BEA 2015
Goodreads
one-star
The author of A Little Something Different brings you the most adorkable romance ever.

Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo.

Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react.

In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 1 (Teo is Puerto Rican, Ravi is Indian, Asian girl in the background)
QUILTBAG: 1 (Margo is bi and her LI Kara is either gay or bi)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Funny thing: most of my friends fell in love with Hall’s debut novel A Little Something Different (I did not for girl hate-related reasons) and most of these same friends have been left unimpressed by Signs Point to Yes. So why did I bother with that kind of reputation? Because main character Jane reads/writes fanfic. That’s it. Don’t be me and make a decision on reading a book due to something so small because reading this was a horrible mistake. Read more »

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Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

May 18, 2015 Diversity 2, Reviews 1

Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori GoldsteinBecoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
Series: Becoming Jinn #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 21, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Paranormal
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Goodreads
DNF
Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 4 (wealth of women of color who share strong relationships)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: o
Intersectionality: 1

Oh, Becoming Jinn. It has some of the ideas and a fun premise and yet goes nowhere with it. Novels about jinn are rather rare in YA and thus it’s a subject with plenty of territory left to explore. The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar and Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios are two recent novels to play with that mythology and they did it fairly well, though the former did a better job than the latter in my opinion. Becoming Jinn wishes it could be one of those novels. Really, I should have known better once we got the old “almond-shaped eyes” description for a woman of color here (because that’s how WOC are exoticized in one way when white people are really the only ones with almond-shaped eyes). Read more »

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Review: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

May 7, 2015 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg CabotFrom the Diaries of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot
Series: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 19, 2015
Genres: MG Contemporary
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is a completely average twelve-year-old: average height, average weight, average brown hair of average length, average brown skin and average hazel eyes. The only things about her that aren't average are her name (too long and princess themed), her ability to draw animals (useful for her future career as a wildlife illustrator), and the fact that she is a half-orphan who has never met her father and is forced to live with her aunt and uncle (who treat her almost like their own kids, so she doesn't want to complain).

Then one completely average day, everything goes wrong: the most popular girl in school, Annabelle Jenkins, threatens to beat her up, the principal gives her a demerit, and she's knocked down at the bus stop . . .

Until a limo containing Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia pulls up to invite her to New York to finally meet her father, who promptly invites her to come live with him, Mia, Grandmère and her two fabulous poodles . . . .

Maybe Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison isn't so average after all!

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 4 (Biracial narrator, Indian best friend)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 1

I expect I’m not the only reader who saw the Princess Diaries movies, never read the books they were based on, and still wanted From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess like burning. Biracial princess! Illustrations! Meg Cabot! Despite the sparse content, this book is adorable and a great way to get MG/YA readers at those target ages right now to discover and love the Princess Diaries series.

Read more »

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