Publisher: Simon and Schuster BFYR

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Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

August 3, 2017 Diversity 4, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam RiveraThe Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on February 21, 2017
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
five-stars
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

Diversity: 4 – This Is Our World

Racial-Ethnic: 5 (damn near everyone in the book is Latinx)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 2 (Margot’s brother has a drug problem)
Intersectionality: 4 (much of the book is about Margot’s experiences specifically as a Puerto Rican girl in a very sexist, patriarchal family)

Ughhhhh, do I have to review this? I’m just a white chick, you should go listen to some Latinx–especially Puerto Rican, seeing as that’s where Margot’s family is from–reviewers who will have a much more worthwhile point of view. But I kinda got review copies of The Education of Margot Sanchez twice over, so I guess it would be polite to review it instead of just sending in a bunch of links to Latinx reviewers’ posts and saying “what they said” of all of them. Anyway, good book, 10/10 (or 5/5, as the case may be).

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Review: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

July 14, 2017 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz TashThe Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on June 14, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars
Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Archie and Veronica. Althena and Noth.…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxy, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 4 (Roxy and her family are Iranian, Felicia is Japanese, and Casey is Jewish)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 1

I’ve been to BookExpo back when it was still BEA and I’ve been to ALA Annual, but I’ve never been to a proper geeky convention. That might change soon, but for the moment, I just have other people’s stories and the photos I always seen when SDCC and NYCC come around every year. The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love takes place at the latter and it’s one heck of a ride! Read more »

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Review: Say No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson

April 17, 2017 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: Say No to the Bro by Kat HelgesonSay No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on May 2, 2017
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
two-stars
Ava’s plan for surviving senior year at her new school is simple: fly under the radar until graduation. No boys. No attachments. No drama. But all that goes out the window when she gets drafted into the Prom Bowl—a long-standing tradition where senior girls compete in challenges and are auctioned off as prom dates to the highest bidder.

Ava joins forces with star quarterback Mark Palmer to try and get herself out of the competition, but their best laid schemes lead to self-sabotage more than anything else. And to make matters worse, they both begin to realize that the Prom Bowl isn’t all fun and games. When one event spirals dangerously out of control, Ava and Mark must decide whether shutting down the Prom Bowl once and for all is worth the price of sacrificing their futures.

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (minor character Kylie is black)
QUILTBAG: 1 (another minor character named Denise is dating a girl)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 2 (Ava is a fat girl and losing weight is never part of the equation)

CHRIST ON A CRACKER, THIS BOOK MADE ME

SO

SO

ANGRY

BIGGEST TRIGGER WARNING IN HISTORY HERE: if you’re highly sensitive to sexism and sexual assault, this book is not for you and I will open the window for you to escape Scott Pilgrim-style before I dig into this quagmire of a book.

Okay, everyone out that wants to be out? Let’s get started. You’re gonna be here for a while.

I hope that bright book cover didn’t make you think this book was going to be a light read because it’s a fury-inducer the likes of which almost led to me giving the book no rating at all. There’s a lot of messed up stuff in here. It’s meant to be messed up, but then there are unintentionally messed up things going on too. Also, most of the book only happens because the two narrators refuse to communicate with one another.

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Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

August 11, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowanMaid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Series: Maids of Honor #1
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on May 7, 2013
Genres: YA, YA Historical
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
In this breathtaking start to a series, a secret society of young women make up Elizabeth I’s most trusted royal guard. God Save the Queen—or the Maids will.

Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: Not everyone is who they appear to be. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

I’m semi-proud to call Maid of Secrets a book I bought twice, but that’s not entirely on purpose. My cat Shadow threw up all over my hardcover, which had my preferred cover, so I had to buy the ebook to read it. Y’all don’t even want to know how thoroughly she wrecked that book with her upset belly. BUT ABOUT THE BOOK. It was absolutely worth buying twice because Maid of Secrets is a fun romp akin to the His Fair Assassin books–but without the paranormal fixins, of course.

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Review: Captive by A.J. Grainger

October 19, 2015 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ½

Review: Captive by A.J. GraingerCaptive by A.J. Grainger
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on November 3, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Thriller
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
half-star
When a teen is held hostage, her efforts to escape uncover a conspiracy that forces her to question everything in this psychological thriller with a twist of forbidden romance.

They told her not to worry—
because the man who shot her father was in custody.
They told her that she was safe—
because security had been increased.

All it took was one opportunity, one breach,
and then she was theirs. Kidnapped, confined, alone.

They told her she could go home when their demands were met.
That it wouldn’t take long, because she was the prime minister’s daughter.

But it has been days, and still no help has come.

She wonders when they will tire of this game and kill her.

She cannot wait around for that to happen; she will escape. She has to.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

If you’ve read and liked Stolen by Lucy Christopher, then I like you and we should be friends. You’re probably hoping Captive will be in much the same vein even though Robyn of this novel is held hostage by a terrorist group akin to Peta on crack so they can blackmail her father into releasing a comrade. Confusing the two novels won’t be easy, that’s for sure. But is Captive good? Nope. My good friend Bekka asked me to read this because she was uncertain about it and I’ll be sad to report to her that this book is just plain bad.

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Review: Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

August 31, 2015 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★½

Review: Lock & Mori by Heather W. PettyLock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
Series: Lock & Mori #1
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on September 15, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Retelling, YA
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
three-half-stars
In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students, one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James "Mori" Moriarty, meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more.

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London's Regent's Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James "Mori"Moriarty and Sherlock "Lock" Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock's one rule--they must share every clue with each other--Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can't trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

Diversity: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0 (one barely-there gay character)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: o

Believe it or not, I am a total Sherlock Holmes virgin. I’ve read none of the original stories, read no other retellings of those stories, seen none of the various film and television adaptations, or anything. None of it interests me, I guess. But Moriarty as a teenage girl competing with Sherlock Holmes to solve a mystery first and acting as her origin story for becoming the kind of personality Moriarty is in various canons? YES PLEASE. I had Natalie Dormer a la Elementary in my head the entire time (hey, you get on Tumblr and run into Dormer’s Moriarty eventually). Lock & Mori probably lost some of its charm on me because of my Sherlock virginosity, but it’s an intriguing novel nonetheless even if some of its ideas don’t pan out quite right. Read more »

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Review: Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither

September 19, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★½

Review: Falls the Shadow by Stefanie GaitherFalls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on September 16, 2014
Genres: YA, YA Sci-fi, YA Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
two-half-stars
When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?

Sci-fi still isn’t my thing, but cloning? Sisterhood? A fast-paced thrill ride? Two out of those three are so what I’m into that the third suddenly was too and therefore I needed this book. It sounds like a great recipe, right? It is a good recipe, but this book was missing quite a few vital ingredients, so the result isn’t quite as delicious as it needs to be. Falls the Shadow is a rapid-speed page-turner with great worldbuilding, but it’s heavily underdeveloped.

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