I never thought I'd get to count down the days to another Harry PotteSpoiler free review! This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books.
I never thought I'd get to count down the days to another Harry Potter release.
I was understandably hesitant about a sequel, but I'm relieved after having read it. It was everything I could have hoped for and not at all what I was expecting - seriously, not at all - but it was perfect. It was the type of story I play within my head when I have too much time on my hands. I was super lucky to be able to go into the story completely spoiler free and it definitely enhanced the twists and just everything.
I'm not going to comment on the plot or characters. I want others who wish to go in blind like I did to have that chance, and I don't want to be the one who spoils it for them.
Instead, I'm going to talk about feelings.
I remember the sinking sensation I had right after finishing Deathly Hallows for the first time - though that was enhanced by a combination of no sleep (midnight release party) and also being an eighteen-year-old-girl who just had her emotions ripped out and then torn apart by the lovely Ms Rowling. It lasted for days. It was a unique experience to have grown up with Harry and be just a year older than him during the Battle of Hogwarts. The end of Deathly Hallows essentially marked the end of my childhood.
Now, I'm a twenty-seven-year-old and those feelings have been ripped to shreds yet again.
Post Potter Depression.
But it's worth it.
Harry Potter has always been the most important book series to me since I first read them in 1999 - I reread the books every year, sometimes more because of reasons - so I'll gladly take the punches Rowling continues to throw at me.
3.5/5 I am so surprised that I genuinely enjoyed this. I read Throne of Glass and didn't like it. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses and thought it wa3.5/5 I am so surprised that I genuinely enjoyed this. I read Throne of Glass and didn't like it. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses and thought it was mediocre. But after reading ACOMAF, I *finally* get the SJM hype. It wasn't the most amazing book ever, but I wasn't counting down the pages until it was over...more
Holy hell, that ending. That last chapter. That last sentence.
Glass Sword was one of my most anticipated 2016 reads and it completely lived up to the hype, making it a fantastic sequel to Red Queen.
Without giving away spoilers, Glass Sword started right in the action, basically right where Red Queen left off. The main focus of Glass Sword is to search for and recruit others like Mare Barrow for the uprising against Silver Royalty.
After reading Red Queen almost a year ago, I impatiently awaited the sequel, but I was also apprehensive. Would it live up to the first book? It most certainly did! The entire story was like watching an action movie. No boring lulls in the middle of the story, no dull scenes slowing the narrative down.
Mare develops as a character—she becomes harder, colder, and it’s completely understandable and justifiable. Ironically, I like her because I don’t like her as a person. She makes mistakes, she makes bad decisions, and she’s selfish. It was wonderful to see her change from a scared and unconfident girl in Red Queen to a bold and powerful woman in Glass Sword.
My only criticism is at around the halfway point, we saw a whole group of new characters introduced in the span of just a few chapters, which made it a bit difficult to remember who is who and who has what powers.
Glass Sword ended on such a high note. I think Victoria Aveyard is becoming the queen of plot twists! The set up for the next book looks ridiculously exciting.
Thanks to Orion Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC of Glass Sword from NetGalley!...more
An Ember in the Ashes was one of my favourite books from the past few years so it's only natural that I counted down the days to the sequel. In fact, I found out my local book shop had it stocked a couple days before the UK release date, so I frantically ran over and recruited the bookseller to help me find it. Poor guy must have thought I was insane - I don't think I even brushed my hair I was so desperate to get my hands on it. Well, that wonderful man found the ONLY copy they received and IT WAS MINE.
For some reason I cannot possibly fathom, the UK edition doesn't include a map.
Siobhan was lovely and sent me bunch of photos of her map-abundant Canadian edition and I am forever in her debt.
I was so eager to continue Elias and Laia's journey I started reading straight away. Surprisingly, the first 100 or so pages didn't excite me the way Embers did. I started to get a bit worried. Would this sequel pale in comparison to such a strong debut?
BUT, after I passed the 150 page mark and got over the map snubbing I got that same thrill I did when reading Embers.
We got some pretty awesome fight scenes and great character development.
AND THEN we got the mother of all MOTHER FUCKING PLOT TWISTS.
Okay, it probably wasn't as shocking as I'm making it out to be but I never pick up on hints or foreshadowing so I was legitimately shocked.
My actual face:
While I think An Ember in the Ashes is the stronger novel overall, A Torch Against the Night was still a fantastic follow up. I can't wait until the third one (2018?!?!).
Sabaa Tahir, I bow down to you and your wonderfulness.
I had high expectations and low expectations stepping into Caraval. Everyone who's4.5/5 - This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books
I had high expectations and low expectations stepping into Caraval. Everyone who's read it has been gushing over what a masterpiece it is. But then it was also endlessly compared to The Night Circus. Confession: I didn't like The Night Circus, so I was concerned that I just wouldn't be the target reader for Caraval. Within the first few pages, it was clear that I was going to fawn over it.
"Remember, it's only a game..."
Is it just a game? Is any of it real? Like the players, it certainly didn't feel like a game judging by the amount of times my heart rate increased. I loved discovering new clues alongside Scarlett, stumbling into roadblocks, and overcoming seemingly life threatening obstacles. I haven't been swept away in such a carousel of a story in a long time and am delighted I got to experience such an adventure in Caraval.
Stephanie Garber is a beautiful writer. Her sentences strung together so fluidly, painting a fitting picture for the Caraval world she created. Scarlett, Tella, and Julian jumped off the pages straight away. She wrote such a strong opener with well developed, three-dimensional characters; I was sucked in immediately and had no choice but to stay up and read until the small hours of the morning.
The twists were clever and not too over the top, bringing the final chapter to a satisfying conclusion. I believe there is a sequel planned, but I felt a good deal of closure with the ending as it is (but I am definitely going to be first in line to step back into this world!)
Caraval may end up being one of the biggest YA books of 2017. And rightfully so!
Thanks so much to Hodder & Stoughton for giving me a copy to review through NetGalley!
An Ember in the Ashes has been hovering on my to-read list ever since it's release about a year ago. It got a lot of praise, a lot of hype, and it's all totally warranted. It even earned a spot on my 'favourites' list.
Laia's grandparents are murdered and her brother taken prisoner; her only course of action is to join the resistance against the empire to save her brother. Elias is a soldier for the empire, but wants nothing more than to desert.
Here is a 100% accurate reenactment of my reading progression:
At first, I was pretty into it.
Then I was really into it.
Then I couldn't stop reading
And now it's over.
Seriously, go read this. It's a fantastic fantasy story with great character development and it will keep you from sleeping because you can't imagine going to bed without finishing the story. (Amazon US / Amazon CA / Book Depository)...more
Abusive, creepy, controlling men that everyone finds irresistible? No thank you.
I don't care if he's an angel - he could work in a fucking soup kitcheAbusive, creepy, controlling men that everyone finds irresistible? No thank you.
I don't care if he's an angel - he could work in a fucking soup kitchen 50 hours a week and he'd still be an asshole - Patch was a disgusting 'love interest'. If you could even call him a love interest. He takes advantage of her body and her mind, but it's okay, he's dreeeeamy.
I'm so tired of unhealthy relationships being portrayed as normal and okay - especially in YA.
And then, let's not forget that this was essentially Twilight with angels instead of vampires. It's been almost 10 years since I read Twilight, but even after all this time the similarities were eeriily uncanny.
Marissa Meyer has recently become one of my honoured auto-buy authors. I read Cinder about a year and half ago, not really expecting much, and surprised myself by obsessing and devouring the rest of the Lunar Chronicles Books in record time.
I read Alice in Wonderland ten years ago and the Disney movie was one of my favourites when I was little. So, given that Heartless is an origin story for the Queen of Hearts written by Queen Marissa Meyer, no surprises that this was pretty much the most anticipated read.
Within just the first few chapters, I found myself constantly hungry due to the delicious food descriptions. Makes me wonder if Marissa Meyer is a great dessert chef herself! "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"
Cath was a wonderful character, complex and torn with emotions, going from a kind and innocent girl to the harsh queen we know so well.
The Cath/Jest romance could be categorized as instalove, but I do feel under the circumstances it worked. They meshed wonderfully and I was rooting for them from their very first meeting.
All of this is set to the wonderful world of Hearts, a quirky world, and a delight to immerse myself in the weirdness!
While I enjoyed Heartless, I didn't love it. It was not as magical as the Lunar Chronicles. In Cinder, I was sucked in just by the first few chapters. With Heartless, I didn't have the desperate need to keep reading. I read it over the course of a few weeks (I read Cinder in pretty much one go). "How different everything could have been if you had thought to ask me that before."
However, the last fifty pages were heartbreaking and perfect.
Marissa is a wonderfully witty author. Her style has become more pronounced in Heartless and I cannot wait for her upcoming book, Renegades.
If you've never read the series, it's essentially The Bachelor/The Bachelorette set in a dystopian future and with royalty. I also suggest you stop reading this review if you haven't read the series as there are spoilers for the first four books here.
The Heir (Book #4) takes place twenty years after the first three books and we find ourselves thrust into another selection. Except this time the girl chooses from a group of boys. The girl, Eadlyn, is of course the daughter of America and Maxon—the subjects of the first three books.
The Crown (Book #5) picks up where The Heir ends: right after we find out America has had a shocking heart attack and then follows Eadlyn to the end of The Selection.
Yes, the whole premise of this series is totally corny and there isn't anything spectacular about the actual writing itself, but it's so adorable and addictive. It's kind of like watching bad reality TV, you know it's bad, but you keep looking for more because you enjoy it on some strange level.
Overall, I did find it a great conclusion to the series. It was definitely predictable, but I think if Kiera Cass ended it any other way it wouldn't have worked, and I would have walked away feeling like all the time I put into reading this series was a waste.
All of the books in the series are quick reads, but I found I got through The Crown much faster than the others. It was very short: 278 pages. To put that into perspective, the four other books are all more than 300 pages. Since this was the last book and it was so short, it felt rushed.
I like who she ends up with but I wish we had more build up and a longer look at the relationships between all of the guys who were left in The Crown. Again, I feel this final book was far too short for a series closer. I wanted more side plots, more tension, more of a conclusion.
Yes, these five books have been drawn out when it really could have been just three, but I don't care. I want more.
I want to experience another Selection.
Thanks so much to HarperCollins UK Children's for approving me for a copy on Netgalley!
I wanted to read the Grisha trilogy before getting into Six of Crows, but this was pretty underwhelming. I don't know how the rest of the books play out, but based on the first book I feel that this series would have been better served as a duology rather than a trilogy. I'm definitely going to continue though. The world itself was intriguing enough for me to move forward....more
When I picked up Cinder by Marissa Meyer I did not expect to discover my favourite book of the year.
For the longest time, I had been staying away from YA series because the times I gave them a shot I walked away disappointed. Twilight? A hot mess. Divergent? First book was decent, but the rest fell apart. Eragon? Somebody get that boy an editor. Maze Runner? Just no. Apart from The Hunger Games and Red Queen, I deduced it just wasn't my thing.
So at 25 pages into Cinder, I was in love, and I was shocked by that.
A retelling of Cinderella with a cyborg mechanic and instead of a glass slipper she has a cyborg foot? And there are evil lunar people living on the moon? And an android with a faulty personality chip? And there's a plague?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Marissa Meyer is a fantastic story teller. Despite being set in a future Beijing with flying cars and robots, she still managed to keep a whimsical fairy tale atmosphere throughout. Of course we have the evil stepmother and stepsister, the charming Prince Kai, and a plot to take the throne of the Eastern Commonwealth.
I devoured this book in about three hours, and have already checked out the second Lunar Chronicles book, Scarlet, from the library.
Do yourself a favour and read this one; the hype is most certainly justified....more
Stealing Snow was one of my most anticipated reads for 2016. A retelling of The Snow Queen by2.5/5 This review can also be found at Dana and the Books
Stealing Snow was one of my most anticipated reads for 2016. A retelling of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen sounded so exciting and exactly what I needed, but I can't help but feel a bit let down.
Danielle Paige's technical writing style is wonderful. She's whimsical, magical, not overly wordy - everything I love in an author - but the story itself fell flat for me.
I think the main problem for me was that I couldn't figure what this story wanted to be. Was it a romance? Was it a fantasy? Was it a heist story? Was it a coming of age story? Was it an overthrow-the-throne story? Instead of focusing on one or two of those, we got a tiny bit of everything which made it feel underdeveloped and thin.
The first few chapters, which took place at the mental asylum, I found pretty decent. However, they could have been outstanding if a bit more time was spent developing Snow. She seemed too 'sane' to be constantly kept in an institution with her only illness being that she sometimes bites people. We also meet Bale, her boyfriend, at this institution who snapped her wrist after their first kiss. Despite the abuse, Snow vows to save him when he gets dragged into the magical realm of Algid.
Onto the boys.
There were WAY too many boys. I'm all for romance in books, but I couldn't see how the three boys moved the plot forward to feature so strongly. First Snow loves Bale, then she loves Jagger, then she loves Kai (all within the first 90 pages), then she loves Bale again, and then she loves Jagger. The love-rhombus was far too prominent in the story and took too much time and focus away from the actual plot.
Kai seemed unnecessary to the story progression. Cutting him out may have put the focus back on Snow and her journey and make it less cluttered overall.
Snow is supposed to be bringing down the King and working on her powers, yet she fawns and gushes over boys throughout the story.
"I was going to be his robber girl."
This was the quote that made me lower my rating down to 2.5.
Instead of spending pages on the romance, we should have been given insights into how Snow developed and mastered her powers. She seemed to have got the hang of how to manipulate snow and ice so quickly that I was sure I had accidentally skipped over a chunk of pages. One page she was struggling, then next she was able to perfectly control the snow.
The phrase "for a beat" or "after a beat" was used too many times throughout the book. Enough for me to notice the repetition.
Now, that was a lot of negatives so I come bringing a basket of positives!
I probably will carry on with the next book as I am curious what will happen to Snow. I'm a sucker for Throne Battle stories and this certainly fits the bill.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a fan of Danielle Paige's writing style. I do believe I'll give her Dorothy Must Die series a chance because I have heard fantastic things about that series. I have a feeling that series shines a bit brighter than this one.
And I leave you with my favourite quote from the story:
So, here's the thing. I read this book when I was 15 years old - about 13 years ago - and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Time travel = my oSo, here's the thing. I read this book when I was 15 years old - about 13 years ago - and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Time travel = my one true love. However, the 'romance' took the back seat for me when reading it because time travel and historical things were happening so Claire/Jamie bits didn't stick in my mind as much as the overall story arch.
Now, 13 years later, with the surge in popularity due to the show, I'm realising how.. wrong.. this book is, how horrible Jamie and Claire's 'relationship' is. She gets forced into a marriage and raped on their forced wedding night and numerous times after that. No. It's myriads of abuse wrapped up in in fake love. Their romance is described as 'passionate' and 'swoon worthy' even though it came from a place of sexual assault and abuse.
It goes to show how influential books can be, especially to young readers. I read this as a teenager and saw nothing wrong with this - I even read three more books in this series afterwards. If I read this for the first time today as a 28 year old I don't think I would have given it the 4 stars I gave it all those years ago.
I think I would have been disgusted.
EDIT: I'm well aware that 'back then' rape was commonplace. I'm also well aware that this book was written several decades ago. It still doesn't change the fact that I found the romanticized rape/abuse disgusting....more
I've been counting down the days to Traitor to the Throne ever since finishing Rebel of tThis review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books.
I've been counting down the days to Traitor to the Throne ever since finishing Rebel of the Sands last year. Rebel was one of my top 5 books from 2016 - a fantastic debut and a gripping a story, one that stayed on my mind even after reading nearly 50 books afterwards.
Traitor started a tad rough for me. During the first few chapters I found myself focusing on trying to remember who is who from book one (as much as I loved it, it has been a year since I've read it). The list of characters at the beginning detailing the most important facts about them was super helpful and probably saved my life. However, if you have read Rebel rather recently, you'll have no trouble jumping right in.
Once I got my characters sorted, it was one big thrill ride. I love love love Amani! She's a no-nonsense bundle of joy who won't hesitate to pull a gun on you.
Alwyn Hamilton's writing was already good in Rebel, but in Traitor I noticed a definite improvement in her style, making this a 500+ page book of top notch story telling. It was more pronounced, more.. Alwyn Hamilton.
"No more tricks, just a good old-fashioned rescue."
Traitor to the Throne has it all: a fantastic cast of characters, prison breaks, shoot outs, romance, humour, and a whole lot of feels. I loved it. It was everything I could have hoped for in a sequel.
And then the ending broke me.
Aaaaand Alwyn Hamilton just earned herself a spot on my auto-buy list of authors.
Thanks so much to Faber and Faber for giving me a copy to review through NetGalley!
I've said it before: my weakness is stories that mess with time. The Other Us definitely isn't as timey-wimey as that Star Trek episode "Tapestry", but it fits the bill just right when it comes to a light paradoxical story.
Forty-six year old Maggie is unhappy. Her daughter left home for university. Her marriage to Dan is stale. And she keeps wondering what would have happened if she ran away with her old university flame Jude on the night Dan proposed.
"What ifs" hi-jack her thoughts. Would her life have been any different? Would her life have been any happier?
Except.. one morning, she wakes up and she's no longer forty-six. She's in her twenty-one year old body.
The Other Us follows Maggie's life as she's thrust between two splintered timelines: an alternate life with Dan, and an alternate life where she ran off with Jude. We see how her decisions affect the course her life should have taken and the consequences that follow in these two new realities.
I found myself flip flopping between which of Maggie's lives was the better one. Both had positives and both had flaws. About halfway through, I just figured why not both?
Maggie was a good main character who managed to hold it together (for the most part) during her jumps in the alternate timelines. She wasn't perfect — definitely a bit petty — but it was great to see her grow up and learn from her past mistakes as she relived them over again.
The ending could not have been better! It was the closure Maggie (and I!) needed after being flung back and forth so many times.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is bit Stockholm Syndrome-y (I highly doubt that was the goalThis review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is bit Stockholm Syndrome-y (I highly doubt that was the goal though).
ACOTAR is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with nineteen-year-old Feyre at the helm. After killing a wolf in the woods while hunting, a scary monster-beast comes to her home and demands that she pay with her life for the murder of his friend. So she gets whisked away to the monster-beast's grand estate where it turns out he's faerie royalty. Evil looms and *gasp* Feyre develops feelings for her captor.
I was hesitant to pick this book up because I disliked the way Throne of Glass was written. However, since Throne of Glass was Maas's first novel, I thought I'd give this series a chance.
The writing is definitely better and the plot much less flimsy than Throne of Glass. The three main men in the story were pretty much the same person and if you swapped their names around they could have been interchangeable. Also the plot hangs on the silliest thing: "You killed my friend, you must die. BUT WAIT, you can let me kidnap you and live in my LUXURY mansion because you just killed my friend." What?!
I just couldn't really get into it.. It took me two weeks to make my way through it, which, for such a short book, is a looong time. Usually I'll make my way through Ken Follett's 1000 page novels in 2-3 weeks.
I think it just boils down to the fact that Sarah J Maas' writing style and characterization just doesn't mesh with my tastes. It definitely wasn't an awful book, and she is a good author, it just wasn't for me. I'll probably read the second one out of curiousity, but I'm pretty indifferent to the world she built.
Rebel of the Sands has one of the best opening chapters I've read in a long time!
We start by finding Amani Al'Hiza disguised as a boy and about to take part in a gun shooting competition. To escape her dead-end town of Dustwalk and her repulsive uncle (who wants to marry her), she needs to win the competition to have enough money to finally flee to Izman. At the competition she meets Jin, the mysterious foreigner, and Amani soon finds herself as part of the uprising against the Sultan and his destructive forces.
I loved this! It was so refreshing to read a fantasy book that wasn't set in an England-type environment; this was pure Middle Eastern desert with djinnis and mythical sand horses, but also had somewhat of a cowboy western vibe going on. Hell yes.
Amani carried the story wonderfully. She was sassy and strong but also incredibly naive about the world outside of her small town. Discovering the outside world alongside her was such an exciting experience. We see desert battles, gun slinging competitions, mythical sand horses, a train heist, I could go on, but I won't because you all should read the book.
Now, why did I give this four out of five rather than the full five? I found many of the supporting characters, who we meet past the halfway point, to be a bit flat, not quite as fleshed out as they could have been. Especially Ahmed, who should have been way more memorable. However, as this is the first book in the series so I'm banking on the fact that these characters will shine in the future novels.
Rebel of the Sands is Alwyn Hamilton's debut novel, which is absolutely ridiculous considering how well written and well paced it is. You can tell she's a natural storyteller, and I am SO excited to see what else she gives us.
Let us also take a moment to admire the gorgeous cover our eyes are thanking us for.
One of my most anticipated books for 2017, Flame in the Mist did not let me down!
Mariko is the daughter of a famous samurai and is about to be married to a prince. On the way, her convoy is viciously attacked by bandit group the Black Clan. As the only survivor, she escapes into the night but desires answers and revenge. Disguised as a boy, Mariko infiltrates their ranks.
Flame in the Mist was marketed as a Japanese retelling of Mulan. The similarities are there if you squint, but I found the Mulan comparison a bit of a stretch so I hope no one gets disappointed at the differences.
Renée had previously released the The Wrath & The Dawn series, but I must confess that Flame in the Mist is my first book of her's that I've read. Her duology has definitely moved closer to the top of my to-read list!
The writing style is so lovely with a fantastic attention to detail, but not at all excessively descriptive. AND it's written in third person, which is my personal preference and also a bit of rarity in the YA genre.
It was an easy, riveting read. I got through it in one sitting during an afternoon!
From the description it sounds a bit corny and that's because it is a bit corny, but that's what makes it perfect for a lazy afternoon in the sun. It was exactly what I thought it would be: quick, fun, and cute. The friendships were cute, the boys were cute, the girls were cute, and even the island was cute. I can see this being made into an adorable rom-com soon.
The plot was simple and predictable, so don't go into it expecting a ton of twists and insane drama. There weren't ulterior motives, no insane reveals that made your jaw drop - Sing just went from point A to point B and I loved that. It was so refreshing to have a straightforward standalone story with a straightforward happy ending.
I'll be honest, this was a total cover read. I fell in love with the minimalistic cover and we're still very much in love. We may even buy a house together soon.
Like many other readers, I pictured Taylor Swift as the lead surrounded by her squad.
So, put on your best sunglasses, sit under the sun, and open up Sing. I guarantee you'll soak up a good time!
Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Children's for giving me a copy to review through NetGalley!
The first thing I heard about Wintersong was that it was a Labyrinth retelling. Now, when I was a teenager I was OBSESSED with David Bowie and watched Labyrinth an embarrassing number of times (those tights omg). My Grade 12 art final was a massive pencil drawing collage of David Bowie throughout the years. So to say I was looking forward to this book is a massive understatement.
Even if the Labyrinth connection were not there, Wintersong would still have been high up on my to-read list. Music, magic, romance all in 18th century Austria. It sounded masterful. And it was. Music played a huge part and you could feel it seeping through the pages. The ups and downs, the highs and lows, it was almost like a symphony itself.
Liesl was instantly likeable as the main character. She was smart and brave, foolish and stubborn, and fiercely loyal. I took a bit to warm up to the Goblin King but once I did, I wanted to protect both him and Liesl at all costs.
Wintersong is all around gorgeous. The cover is gorgeous. The story is gorgeous. The writing is gorgeous.
At just over 500 pages, it's not the shortest of books, but you can read through it quickly without realising. But be warned, the ending will take your feels and shake them to the core.
Jess suggested we do a buddy read and since I've been hearing lots and lots about this book, why not? I ho4.5/5 Excuse me while I go cry in the corner.
Jess suggested we do a buddy read and since I've been hearing lots and lots about this book, why not? I honestly was not expecting to be so captivated. Contemporary Romance Dramas are not the type of books I go out of my way to read, but this one was fantastic.
Early on, you pretty much know how it's going to end. Even with that knowledge it doesn't make the last few chapters any easier to stomach.
It was a wonderful bittersweet story. Even though I detected a touch a manic pixie dream girl, Lou was a fantastic character and carried the narrative smoothly (though had it ended differently, I would be speaking far more negatively)....more
Who's the bad guy? That's the question on everyone's mind when flipping through th3.5/5 - This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books
Who's the bad guy? That's the question on everyone's mind when flipping through thrillers. Sometimes, the answer is so painfully obvious it's embarrassing, and other times you're guessing until the final word. Thankfully, I See You fell into the latter. I was 100% convinced it was Person X and I don't think I've ever been happier to have been wrong.
I See You is a novel you can breeze through easily in an afternoon. The first chapters were a bit on the rough side with too many unnecessary tangents from main character Zoe's point of view. However, that may have been intentional. Zoe wasn't supposed to be exciting. She was supposed to be a mundane, dull, average woman going about her day-to-day life. It was when Zoe got thrust out of her comfortable world into a whirlwind of panic that the story began to shine.
We get introduced to Kelly, the police officer investigating Zoe's case, and she steals the story. In fact, I wish we had a few extra chapters with Kelly as the focus as she felt a much stronger character than Zoe; Kelly's chapters had a bit more substance and mystery. She was a tough character with a complicated past that seeped into her present.
I'm not a fan of dual-POVs where the characters aren't narrated in the same POV—Zoe's chapters were in first person and Kelly's in third person. For me, I would have enjoyed the story more if both characters were in third person. Zoe's internal thinkings slowed the book down, making it a bit monotonous in a few areas where the tension could have been ramped up.
However, with that said, the tension is fantastic! It built up without me noticing, and I had to take a small break when when my knuckles turned white from clutching my book too hard. After a few cups of much needed tea, I finished the book in one go for a superb finale!
Maybe you're all better at guessing who culprits are, but I'm SO happy I didn't figure it out. That killer twist in the last chapter made it all worthwhile.
My face hurts from smiling so much. The Upside of Unrequited is the cutest book to ever cute.
It was a fantastic coming of age story about learning to accept yourself. Filled with diverse characters, sisterhood, and concerns people go through every day, it was a terrific portrayal of real life.
Upside is Becky's second book, her first being Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, one of my favourites and also so ridiculously adorable. It's hard to not compare Upside with Simon since they technically are related books. Not a sequel or prequel, but more of a side-quel. Plot-wise, I felt Simon definitely has the edge. I felt more happened overall in Simon, but that's not to say Upside wasn't good. It was still an adorable rollercoaster of fun.
And for the Simon fans: Simon, Abby, and Nick make perfect cameos.
I'm trying to think of the last book I read that featured a Jewish main character that wasn't in relation to the Second World War. I can't. And I'm also trying to think of the last time I heard the word 'mamaleh' used and wasn't from someone in my family and I most definitely can't. It was so surprising to see a Jewish person who wasn't really religious — more culturally Jewish than anything — because that is 100% me. I never thought I'd see that part of me represented in a book (even casually like in Upside)!
With two fantastic books written, Becky Albertalli is on her way to becoming one of the defining young adult authors of this decade. I cannot wait to see what her next book brings!
And I leave you with the truest of Jewish truths:
"I don't think of myself as super Jewish or anything, and I basically never go to synagogue. But there's this thing I feel when I meet another Jewish person in the wild. It's like a secret invisible high five."
Thanks so much to Penguin Random House UK Children's for an advance copy!