Friday, August 30, 2013

Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Bullen Coutts

  • Release Date : September 17th 2013
  • Genre : Contemporary
  • Publisher : FSG (Macmillan)
  • Pages : 384

Synopsis : The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand

 I think most of the criticism of this book comes from the misconception that this novel is a full on dystopian. When I started Tumble & Fall I got what I expected;  a contemporary with some pre-apocalyptic undertones. Even with that said,  this book doesn't hit a lot of high notes for me. 

 An asteroid is heading straight towards Earth and all hope is lost. Zan, Caden and Sienna are three teenagers living out their last few days on Earth.This story isn't about the teens who are going to save the world or the teens who have all the answers. It's about the average people who have the next 7 days to truly live, forgive and wrap up loose ends.

Tumble and Fall has a dynamic sense of place and setting. The dramatic backdrop of the impeding end of the world instantly adds a layer of tension to everything in the  the book. The way people toss out theories, gather around television and find comrade with strangers made this story seem eerily realistic.

Each main character has their own story told in alternating chapters. They overlap only a few times at the start and near the end, but for the most part are completely separate.

Zan  questions her late boyfriend's fidelity and love for her after finding some questionable information,  Sienna is rejoining her family after spending months in a rehab facility following the death of her mother only to find her father is ready to remarry, and then there is Caden who connects with a family member he thought was long gone.

Each character has a unique and different background and while their stories start off strong as the multiple story lines continued they seem to lose traction and fall all over each other. Somehow the concept of having 3 different stories just doesn't work.

I found the story of Zan and her mission to resolve one last clue from her boyfriend's death with her boyfriend's best friend to be a great journey for the end of the world. Her determination and the eventual end of her story I think will resonate best with readers. 

I had the hardest time with Caden's story. It just wasn't believable.  I won't give too much away, but his story started of interesting and then goes over the top. Towards the end it just got really...strange ? 

Sienna's story was middle of the road for me. I think it was supposed to be a love story but I found it a little dull. There are some touching family moments, insta-love and what I think was a cult ? But it didn't leave much of an impression. I'm not even entirely sure I understand why she was in rehab to begin with.

I think this would have worked better if the novel would have focused on one or two stories instead of three. The plots aren't  able to develop naturally with so many main characters, minor characters , plots and subplots to keep track of.

I guess there is something to be said about the stories being "wandering journeys" but it just seemed like each chapter was a bullet point of what has to happen and everything wraps up around the same time.

Tumble & Fall has a  unique premise and solid sense of place with an muddled message of faith and forgiveness, but it missed a few beats of storytelling. Maybe it comes from juggling to many stories and side characters but in the end I just felt like I missed something in the middle.

*ARC received from Book Expo America

I don't understand the cover of this book. It is kind of misleading.Yes, It's a pretty cover but I don't think it is a good  fit for the content of the book as a whole.

What frustrates me is that this is the third book I've read from a book packaging company that  just didn't do it for me. I don't want to be judgmental about packaged books but I've yet to find one that really stands out.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Title Twins

Ever notice how many YA titles are getting similar titles ? Here are a few we've noticed.

So, quick ! Which of these do you think of first when you hear the title ?

Do you know any more title twins coming out ?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Beginning of Everything (Severed Heads, Broken Hearts in the UK) by Robyn Schneider

  • Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
  • Release Date : August 27th 2013
  • Pages : 352
Synopsis: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

The Beginning of Everything tells the story of Ezra Faulkner, the popular high school tennis star with the perfect senior year in front of him. But it all falls to pieces in a moment when Ezra is hit by a car and left walking with a cane. Now, his girlfriends has left him, he doesn't know how to relate to his friends and has resigned to spending his senior year alone. Then he is taken in by his neighbor, Toby, and along with a few quirky debate team members  Ezra grows in ways he never expected.

I've been waiting on this book for a while. I was first introduced to Robyn Schneider through her YouTube channel RobynIsRarleyFunny. I liked her personality and how she straddled the line of beauty guru and nerdiness. And as a watched more videos where she discussed the book along with other personal anecdotes I found myself getting really excited for this release. And after finally getting my hands on an advanced copy, I have to say this book didn't disappoint.

Ezra's first person narration is laid back and tinged with humor, making it very easy to slip in to, I found myself just flipping through the pages. Despite his injuries Ezra still has remnants of being the the popular, but modest good looking guy, and this perspective is  not usually the one we get in YA

This novel also has a love interest in Cassidy Thorpe, the mysterious transfer student and former debate star, who takes Ezra under her wing when he finds himself on the debate team.  I was concerned Cassidy would be a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but she completely steers clear of that trope and has problems of her own. I don't want to get into spoilers, but I can honestly say I have never read a character written quite like her. In fact, by not making her a Manic Pixie it kind of made me see why we like Manic Pixies so much.

There are plenty of pop culture references to be had as well. Schneider is a commentator on a Dr. Who talk show, so there are quite a few Dr. Who references as well as very specific Harry Potter references and probably more that I didn't even catch.

I wouldn't be surprised if this book starts getting compared to John Green. If you are familiar with his work it's hard not to think of his novels while reading this book. I mean when Cassidy discusses escaping the panopticon (the idea the entire world is a prison) it's hard not to think of Miles and Alaska going to seek a great perhaps in Looking for Alaska. Or how when Cassidy talks about being misremembered it's hard not to think about Margo and Q in Paper Towns and being misimagined.

This novel isn't perfect. This book definitely screams "privilege" because all the characters are rich suburban kids who seem to live in a bubble. Not mention it is far from passing the Bechdel Test because the named female characters in this book never speak to each other and (outside of Cassidy) are only identified as girlfriends to male characters  And it is kind of hard to see those things in a book that at times can be very smart and witty. But, I don't think that should diminish from the value of the actual story.

A witty contemporary with an endearing protagonist about the tragedies in life we see in front of us and the ones we never expect.

*ARC received  from Book Expo America.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Algonquin For Young Readers First List Giveaway

 This Fall Algonquin (best known for publishing Water For Elephants) launched  Algonquin Books For Young Readers ! This new imprint will feature books for both children and YA audience with "unforgettable characters, absorbing stories and superior writing."

We were very excited to hear about this new literary minded YA brand and are so happy to host a giveaway of the first list novels from Algonquin for YA readers.

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.
So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they had before, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly. . .Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. 

Smart-mouthed and funny, sometimes raunchy, Richard Casey is in most ways a typical seventeen-year-old boy. Except Richie has cancer, and he’s spending his final days in a hospice unit. His mother, his doctors, and the hospice staff are determined to keep Richie alive as long as possible. But in this place where people go to die, Richie has plans to make the most of the life he has left.
Sylvie, the only other hospice inmate under sixty, then tells Richie she has a few plans of her own. What begins as camaraderie quickly blossoms into real love, and this star-crossed pair is determined to live on their own terms, in whatever time they have left.

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*A very big thank you to Algonquin for providing prizes

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review : If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

  • Release Date : August 20th 2013  
  • Genre : Literary Fiction
  • Publisher : Algonquin For Young Readers
  • Pages : 256
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.
So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

If You Could Be Mine is not only the debut novel of Sarah Farizan but also the first YA release for   Algonquin's newest imprint, Algonquin BooksFor Young Readers.

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend Nasarin most of her life and will do anything to be with her, but the romantic relationship between the two girls is forbidden by law.  Sahar's only chance to be with the one she loves is to have a government approved sexual reassignment surgery to fix her "illness."

Without context this might sound like speculative fiction,  but this is the reality of modern day men and woman living in Iran. A little background; the act of homosexuality is illegal in Iran and  even punishable by death, however the government will help pay for sexual reassignment surgery to cure their "illness", but the lives of  transsexuals is far from easy.

The girls in this book are polar opposites. Sahar, our narrator, comes from a working class family and is struggling to be a teenager while also cooking and cleaning for her father, who has fallen into a depressions since the death of her mother. Nasarin on the other hand is rich, popular and beautiful. She comes from a rich family where even Sahar admits that she has been spoiled.

Sahar was as great character. She is kind, non-judgmental and also a little self conscious. I particularity like how she wants to be a cardiologist so she can save other children from losing their parents from heart disease like she did.

On the other hand I felt that Nasarin was too idealized to be believable  When you have a character as dimensional as Sahar, Nasarin just seemed like an archetype. She is the predictably popular girl and everyone in the book seems set on making her happy. This is sort of a big problem as her being Sahar's love interest is the motivator behind the whole plot.

What the novel explores best is showcasing Sahar's main conflict in this novel, which  isn't so much with her sexuality (she has accepted it) but facing the decision if she is willing to undergo sexual reassignment. It was refreshing that Sahar was accepting of herself and who she is, she never doubts how she loves as wrong. I don't want to give to much away but I like how this book really takes apart the idea of gender.

Sahar often fantasizes about how great it would be to me married to Nasarin as a man but, what stood out to me was when she realizes that if she was a man she could be allowed more freedoms in Iran. Inversely, this also made me think about how the transgender female character in this book, Parveen, might of had to deal with having to suddenly cover-up.

Because this book will have a mostly western audience the writing is structured in a way that makes sure the reader understands Iranian culture. Despite being a first person narrative, Sahar will define or explains what some Iranian foods and clothing are. This technique works and falls in some places.

Algonquin does consider its YA line to be literary fiction, and while the term "literary" might make some YA fans uneasy, I found this novel, while more serious in theme and theme,  itwasn't so dense and dramatic that even the occasional reader wouldn't enjoy it. 

If You Could Be Mine encompasses the stories we hear on the news and personalizes them into a  complex and heartbreaking story of what is means to be in love with someone.

 At Book Expo America 2013, Algonquin BFYR editor, Elise Howard, described this book best by calling it the "The universal story of being in love with someone. . . that the whole world is telling you is wrong for you and you know it's right but you also know the world is never going to give you a chance to explore that." 

This book was featured at The BEA YA Editor's Buzz panel. You can watch Elise Howard speak about it here 


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kat's Bout of Books Goals

So, my goals have changed a bit from when I signed up. I'm adding a few books that I'm currently reading. I will also be counting pages instead of just number of books read.

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least 2 hours a day 

My Goals

The Gravity of Birds Audiobook
Wide Awake by David Levithan

I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan


Number of pages I've read today: 107
Number of minutes listened to today:
Total number of books I've read: 1-Wide Awake by David Levithan
Books: Wide Awake by David Levithan, The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater

Number of pages I've read today: 25
Number of minutes listened to today: 0
Total number of books I've read: 
Books:The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater

Jess' Bout of Books Goal Post !

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Time Devoted to Reading

I will be reading all week !

My Goals

  • Finish 3/5  books
  • Meet new bloggers !

Books to Read

  • How to Ruin A Summer Vacation  by Simone Eckles (235)
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (455)
  • The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (318)
  • Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas (417)
  • Insurgent by  Veronica Roth (222/496)


Number of books I've read today: 0
Total number of books I've read:0
Books: I read 30 pags of Insurgent

Number of books I've read today: 0
Total number of books I've read:0
108 pages of Insurgent (358/496)
35 Pages of The 5th Wave (35/455)

Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 1
Finished Insurgent (358/358)

Number of books I've read today: 0
Total number of books I've read: 1
How To Ruin My Summer Vacation (130/236)

Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 2
How To Ruin My Summer Vacation (236/236)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Kat & Jess Join Bout of Books 8.0 !

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog

We've been doing Bout of Books since 2.0 and as always we are going to try to make this one the most productive. This time we decided to pick two of our Bout of Books picks from the book jar. Want to see what we pulled ? Watch the video below.

We'll each be posting a goals post later this weekend !

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Kat's Books
I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Audiobook Review : Joyland by Stephen King

“When you're twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It's only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect that you've been looking at the map upside down, and not until you're forty are you entirely sure. By the time you're sixty, take it from me, you're fucking lost.” 

 Stephen King, Joyland

Release Date: June 4th 2013
Pages: 288
Hours: 7 hours and 33 minutes
Publisher: Hard Case Crimes
Audio Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio

Yep, I'm reviewing an adult book. I've been listening to the Book Riot podcast lately where they discuss mainly adult books, and it's made me want to get into more adult lit. Now, I read a few of Stephen King's well known  short stories like Children of the Corn and The Langoliers in high school. And while I never found the stories interesting enough to take on a full novel,I  remember the stories and writing were good, so I figured I'd start my adult reviewing with Stephen King.

Devin Jones will never forget the summer of 1973. He was a "twenty-one-year-old virgin with literary aspirations" on the precipice of a break up with a girl he loved. On a whim he decides to travel south and spend his summer working at Joyland, a North Carolina amusement park. As Devin becomes ingrained in the culture of amusement park life he stumbles into a murder mystery with a paranormal twist.

This novel is somewhat of a departure from King's latest bricks of novels like Under The Dome and 11/22/63 because it was published in paperback by a niche imprint for hard crime/crime noir fiction. Not that hard crime is a first for King, he published  The Colorado Kid (which the SyFy show Haven is based on) with the same publisher in 2005.  This kind of King novel is perfect for me because I'm not  not a big horror fan and could enjoy listening to the audiobook without throwing my phone in the freezer.

This novel reminded me a lot of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which features a young man running away to join the circus. Of course in this book the circus is an amusement park, but the culture is very similar. We get a behind the scenes look at what happens beyond the show. Devin has to learn the Talk, the vernacular used by the people who are "carny from carny".

This book is not without the occult.  There are psychics and ghosts at play , but it's not a major part of the story. When it comes to the murder I will say,I did figure out whodunit it pretty early on but that didn't ruin the experience of the story. King does an amazing job of building tension and creating some amazing stories.

I really liked the narrator for this audio book, Micheal Kelly. He has the perfect youthful voice for Devin, but  also does some amazing character voices and accents. There is a kind of gruff mean character with a Boston accent and when he does the voice he sounds  nothing like Dev's voice.

A departure from my usual reading, but a story that kept me interested with  fully realized characters I could hold on to. This book has a lot of potential for YA/ New Adult crossover. I think young people can related to Devin as he considers his future and place in life.

Also, Stephen King makes a Harry Potter reference in this book. Which is kind of awesome.

 Stephen King didn't release the ebook rights Joyland because he wanted to encourage people to go to bookstores. I think this is great, but  I kind of cheated this by getting  an audiobook, don't worry I went to a bookstore later to buy another one of his books.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

  • Release Date: August 20th 2013
  • Publisher: Amulet Books (Abrams)
  • Pages: 336
  • Genre: Contemporary
Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now . . . not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn't even know what they are?

It’s all ending for Wren Gray

Well, high school is ending anyway. Four years of straight A’s and doing whatever makes her parents happy. With graduation done Wren is preparing to leave her Atlanta suburb for volunteer work in Guatemala. All she has to do is wait out the summer.

Until she meets Charlie Parker. Suddenly Wren’s summer isn't full of waiting, but discovering the meaning of love, romance and her own sexuality.

I really enjoyed this book in the beginning; watching how Charlie and Wren’s lives intermingled. However, as the book went on I started to get really annoyed with Wren’s character. At times she seemed really self-centered and if something upset her she would just shut down and then ignore Charlie.

Myracle uses a really interesting narrative voice with this novel. The narration is broken into Wren and Charlie's POVs and is written in third person, which is pretty rare for a YA. I actually really adore third person, but most YA books (especially those with two narrators) stick to the first person. So,I was pleasantly surprised by this. It's strange I couldn't connect Myracle's writing style in this book with her writing in her 2011 novel, Shine. I think that shows a lot of diversity in Myracle's writing ability.

I’m sure (and I've seen) this book compared to Forever by Judy Blume. In a lot of ways they are similar thematically; the main story arc is two teenagers falling in love and having sex. But 37 years after Forever, sex and sexuality in YA doesn't have the same power to hold an entire novel. This book does have it's fair share of sex scenes that aren't fade to black, but I’m not sure what Myracle’s real intention is in including so many of these scenes. I feel like on one hand it is about showcasing the bond of the characters and on the other hand it could be about titillating the reader.

While it didn't blow me away, I have no doubt with a it's modern and intimate subject matter and a big name author name this book will end up on a lost of award list. The Infinite Moment of Us is a mature summer romance about the moment in life after high school when everything feels infinite.

*Received ARC at Book Expo America

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Sense List 25


On The Web


Cover Reveals

Cress by Marissa Meyer (Cinder #3)
Forever by Karen Ann Hawkins (Temptation #3)
Shelf Life  by Stephanie Lawton
Unforgotten by Jessica Brody (Unremembered #2)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer Road Trip Giveaway Hop !

For this hop I'm giving away a signed copy of Fingerprints of You by Kristen Paige Madonia. I reviewed this book last year after  meeting the author and really enjoyed it. In this novel , the protagonist Lemon takes a road trip from West Virginia to San Francisco to find her roots, but she also takes a symbolic road trip in looking for her estranged father. 

 Lemon grew up with Stella, a single mom who wasn’t exactly maternal. Stella always had a drink in her hand and a new boyfriend every few months, and when things got out of hand, she would whisk Lemon off to a new town for a fresh beginning. Now, just as they are moving yet again, Lemon discovers that she is pregnant from a reckless encounter—with a guy Stella had been flirting with.

This is a hop, so after you enter hop on to the next blog ! 
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

  • Publication Date: September 18th 2012
  • Genre: Science Ficton
  • Pages: 386 (hardcover)
  • Publisher: Little Brown For Young Readers

Synopsis: Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.
Among them are Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David, who are in Arizona when the disaster occurs. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway in the middle of the Nevada night, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won't tell them what happened, where they are--or how they've been miraculously healed.
Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction-and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

Sitting in a Phoenix airport, Reese Holloway's biggest problem is the humiliation of losing a national debate competition and letting down her partner and crush, David Li. And then things start falling out the sky. 

Thousands of birds and planes plummet to the ground turning the country into temporary chaos. When Reese and David  get in a car crash  trying to get home, they wake up to find  the chaos is just beginning and they've accidentally crashed into one of the country's biggest conspiracies. 

I'm really liking all of these science fiction-y YA books that are coming out. They have all of these out of this  fictionalized elements, but I don't have to worry about world building and  having to navigate an entirely different society and culture.

The story can be slow , but at times it's almost like a psychological thriller as Reese notices that something about her is different, but she has no idea what. Lo's writing is easy to get into and she really bypasses a lot of the usual YA tropes. Reese's parents are present in this book and Reese has a life and goals that extend beyond the present moment of the book.

Why yes that is a Buddy Valestro cut out in the background
So much of this novel is about Reese discovering what happened to her and learning all these secrets of why  birds are falling that I can't talk much about the book without spoiling it. So, I am going to talk less about the plot and more about the novel as whole.

I got this book at a signing Lo did while she was in Richmond at the James River Writer's conference and it was  great to meet her and hear her talk about all the research that went into this book. Reese and David spend some time at a place that may nor may not be Area 51 and for those scenes she did a lot of research. A character in this book is a conspiracy theorist and Lo took the time to learn all the popular conspiracies.

One of the reasons I admire Lo is because she is such an advocate for diversity in YA literature, she runs the Tumblr Diversity in YA. Something you can't really tell by this cover is that this book has a pleasant cast of diverse characters without beating you over the head with the "look at how diverse we are".  

 In fact, I want to talk a bit about how well Lo incorporates diversity by comparing a character in her book to a character in another  YA. In Adaptation, Reese's best friend is a half black, half Jewish gay boy named Julian, very similar to Jamie the "token black Jewish bi friend" in The Unbecoming of Mara DyerBoth characters main role is to support the protagonist, but I think  Lo does a better job of developing this character. Lo gives Julian  purpose and depth. Something I don't think Jamie had in The Unbecoming and I remember that really frustrated me. Also, my personal biggest gripe with Jamie is he has to come out and say he is the ""token black Jewish bi friend" Where in Adaptation we learn about Julian's ethnicity and sexual orientation based on his parents and his relationships not because he says it.

This book is a duology and I feel like this is just the first half of a story, maybe something like a roots or origin story I'm excited about how this will continue to finish the arc.


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