Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)

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Review: Exile by Rebecca Lim

August 17, 2017 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: Exile by Rebecca LimExile by Rebecca Lim
Series: Mercy #2
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 23, 2013
Genres: YA, YA Paranormal
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
five-stars
Mercy is an angel in exile and is doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, taking on a new human form each time she does. Now she "wakes" as unhappy teen Lela, a girl caring for her dying mother but never herself.

As Mercy's shattered memory begins to return, she remembers Ryan, the boy she fell in love with in another life, and Luc, the angel haunting her dreams. Will Mercy risk Lela’s life to be reunited with her heart’s true desire?

An electric combination of angels, mystery and romance, Exile is the second book in the undeniably mesmerizing Mercy series.

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Cecilia is Filipina and speaks in broken English; Sulaiman is a Muslim man from North Africa)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 1 (Lela’s mom has terminal cancer in, I believe, her intestines)
Intersectionality: 1 (Lela and her mom are dirt poor)

(vague description of violence against animals in the book)

Another series, another sequel I didn’t get to read until years after I read the first book. The gap between Mercy and Exile sets a new record for me: SIX YEARS! Well, I sure didn’t know the difference once I started Exile and found myself unable to put it down. Why can’t all sequels improve upon their predecessors so well and hook me as solidly as this one did?

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Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway

June 19, 2017 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin BenwayThe Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway
Published by Razorbill on June 2, 2011
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary, YA Paranormal
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
two-stars
I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn't imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.

Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents' divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood--powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds--everyone's but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they'll always have each other.

Because there's one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

 

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

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

Well, here I am. Years after buying all of Robin Benway’s books due to her outspoken support for Wendy Davis during the Texas filibuster of June 2013, I’ve read them all. And I’m honestly disappointed?I’d hoped someone so outspoken about women’s rights and feminism would have really awesome and feminist books, but The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June is such basic feminism. Yay for sisters and all, but wow, is this book white as bread and straight as a line.

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Review: If You’re Lucky by Yzonne Prinz

May 12, 2017 Diversity 0, Reviews 2

Review: If You’re Lucky by Yzonne PrinzIf You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on October 20, 2015
Genres: Mystery, YA, YA Thriller
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
zero-stars
Is Georgia’s mind playing tricks on her, or is the entire town walking into the arms of a killer who has everyone but her fooled?

When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life?

Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying.

As the chilling narrative unfolds, the reader must decide whether Georgia’s descent into madness is causing her to see things that don’t exist–or to see a deadly truth that no one else can.

Diversity: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: -5 (Georgia has schizophrenia and its handling is why this book gets 0 stars)
Intersectionality: 0
Sometimes, you read a book about or starring a person from a marginalized background and you can tell it isn’t meant to be read by someone from that same marginalized background. See: Thirteen Reasons Why and the massive amounts of controversy surrounding how graphic and triggering the Netflix series has been for suicidal, self-harming, and rape-surviving viewers.
If You’re Lucky is one of those books. Time to cut the bullshit and outline why you wouldn’t want to give this to a mentally ill teen, especially if they have schizophrenia like the main character Georgia does.

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Review: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

July 8, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth RossBelle Epoque Published by Delacorte BFYR on June 11, 2013
Genres: YA, YA Historical
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
four-stars
When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new "friend" is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTLBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

As I learned when pumping my mom for camping-buddy-related gossip, I learned a dear family friend of ours has a lot of self-esteem issues. I’d say I don’t know why because she’s gorgeous and funny, but of course I know why: our culture. The US is a patriarchal society built on knocking women down. Swimsuit ads, diet ads, makeup, it goes on and on and on. (The only thing she should feel bad about is being a fan of Donald Trump, but that’s totally unrelated.)

Anyway, if she were a reader, I’d give her Belle Epoque. If you feel ugly, this book will remind you that you’re beautiful inside and out no matter what your culture or your own insecurities have to say about it.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

February 18, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 5, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
one-star
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 1 (Lucien is missing an eye, but it doesn’t do much to impair him)
Intersectionality: 0

Ah, ACOTAR: the book so hyped up by the book blogger community that I waited seven months to read it and kept a lid on my thoughts while I did so. I needed the madness to die down a bit before I felt comfortable touching it; I did the same thing with Mad Max: Fury Road (loved it) and Hamilton (LOVE). Mentioning ACOTAR in the same paragraph as them feels a bit like an insult, though. Sometimes, the hype is absolutely justified. A Court of Thorns and Roses doesn’t justify any of its hype. It just takes tropes I remember from the heyday of paranormal YA and throws them into a fantasy novel. Read more »

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Review: 10 Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

October 8, 2015 Diversity 3, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: 10 Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah10 Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published by Orchard Books on January 1, 2009
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
four-stars
Jamie just wants to fit in. She doesn't want to be seen as a stereotypical Muslim girl, so she does everything possible to hide that part of herself. Even if it means pushing her friends away because she's afraid to let them know her dad forbids her to hang out with boys or that she plays the darabuka in an Arabic band.

But when the cutest boy in school asks her out and her friends start to wonder about Jamie's life outside of school, suddenly her secrets are threatened. Can Jamie figure out how to be both Jamie and Jamilah before she loses it all? Jamie's attempt to stop being the girl everyone expects her to be, and to start being the girl she wants to be, is a poignant, smart, hilarious journey that will speak to all readers.

Diversity Rating: 3 – Closer to Reality

Racial-Ethnic: 5 (lots of POC characters)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 3 (major point is Jamie’s dissatisfaction with the lack of freedom she gets as a Muslim girl)

Look at this cute cover. Look at the legendary-rom-com-referencing title. Does this book look serious to you? No it does not, and that’s how it goes right for your jugular with its talons and shows us anyone who stays silent when someone is being bullied for their identity is complicit in the related -ism (racism, ableism, etc.). So no, you’re not in for something cute with a swoony romance. There’s not really a romance at all. You’re in for a modern-day take on the inner and outer struggles of someone who works hard to pass as white, racism and what makes someone complicit in it, and learning to respect your own culture while living in another. AND IT’S GREAT.

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Review: Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

September 28, 2015 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: Bitter End by Jennifer Brownby Jennifer Brown
Published by Little Brown BFYR Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
two-stars
He told me he loved me and I believed him.
When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole -- a handsome, funny sports star who adores her -- she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, and increasingly violent threats.


As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose -- between her "true love" and herself.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

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

Jennifer Brown’s novels have made me sob and left me cold. The quality of them is pretty unpredictable, really. When they’re good, they’re great, but when they’re bad, they’re paint-by-numbers Social Issue kind of books: not necessarily bad but trying too hard to be current. I’ve eyed Bitter End for years and hoped it would work for me, but it’s probably my least favorite of Brown’s YA novels so far. Read more »

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