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Smash It!

(Smash It! #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  217 reviews
Refreshingly authentic and bold… Don’t miss this smashing #ownvoices novel from Francina Simone! Filled with heart, humor and a heroine to root for, Smash It! is a perfect read for fans of Julie Murphy, Ibi Zoboi and Ashley Poston.

Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants
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Published September 22nd 2020 by Inkyard Press
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Cavak Young black lady wants to stop stunting her growth, so this is the year she attempts to stop devaluing herself. High school love triangle and theater …moreYoung black lady wants to stop stunting her growth, so this is the year she attempts to stop devaluing herself. High school love triangle and theater hijinks included.(less)

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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
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Aug 12, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
DNFing this at pg167.

There was a very harmful joke about an Israeli/Palestinian character that made me so uncomfortable that I put the book down. Other characters make insensitive jokes about a Hawaiian character. I did not feel comfortable enough to continue reading.
10/07/2020: Clearing my star rating for this book because I don't feel good about its problematic content; leaving my original review of the advance copy up (for now). Thank you nitya and Shealea for highlighting this!

Specifically, this book contains:
– trivializing of conflicts in Palestine (TW: one character makes the joke (view spoiler))
– blatantly discriminatory comments toward Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians specifically

None of this is ad
Oct 07, 2020 marked it as will-avoid-forever  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't interested in this book, to begin with. However, since I'm seeing so many people comfortably promoting this book on my feed, I feel compelled to say:

Smash It! contains insensitive and hurtful comments, such as racist remarks towards Hawaiians and the trivialization of Palestinian genocide (e.g. "I'd let him holy war up in me"). Members from these marginalized communities have directly asked the author to address these comments, and I've yet to see her publicly acknowledge their concerns
Authentic and messy. Bold and real. Positive and questionable. This was a young adult retelling of Othello. Now having never in my life read Othello or know a thing about Othello I couldn’t tell you if it had anything to do with Othello or not. What I can tell you is I really liked the voice of the story. Liv is a 17-year-old girl trying to find her way. Dealing with her insecurities, wanting to be noticed, but afraid to be seen. After attending a Halloween party in a hoodie and khaki shorts Liv ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
GR won't let me remove the book ugh

Anyway, I was excited about reading this for the plus size brown/black girl representation; I have since learned there's anti Asian racism (against Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders) and trivialization of the Palestinian genocide ("I'd let him holy war up in me" REALLY.). How did an editor approve this BS???????

No thanks, goodbye.
Althea | themoonwholistens ☾
ARC received from -Inkyard Press- in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

— overall thoughts: DNF @47% / page 171 —

It makes me sad to just be saying this but it was cringey for me. From the writing style to how our mc was acting.

There were a number of insensitive jokes made but I think the biggest problem with that was that these jokes weren't addressed or resolved properly. (A character makes a joke -> mc says it's bad -> we move on). Info dumps were done every f
MissBecka Gee
Liv is a perfectly messy MC.
I enjoyed living inside her thoughts and sharing giggles, getting angry, sad and confused alongside her.
As much as I loved Liz, her supporting cast really brought it and made her shine even brighter.
Much love to NetGalley & Inkyard Press for my DRC.
Eshal Manha
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am so concerned with this book. The cultural appropriation here is staggering. It seeks to rewrite history, reframing one of the first sympathetic North African / Middle Eastern figures in the western canon as a Sub-Saharan African.

Anyone with even the most basic knowledge of history or Shakespeare will know that Othello was a Moor – and not a sub-Saharan African as Ms Simone insinuates when the book’s main character thinks: “Shakespeare was an old white dude who didn’t know shit about black p
Aug 18, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, it's 2020 and problematic trash like this is still being published? From the excerpts I've read, I will not be wasting my time reading from an author who writes to suit her own needs!!

dehumanising Palestinians and Hawaiians while claiming to 'uplift the world'???

you are trash bye
Blake the Book Eater
This is the first contemporary book I’ve picked up in a LONG time and I LOVED it.

The characters were so real and vibrant that it honestly reminded me of the people I knew in high school. Olivia is a real, flawed, main character but her journey is just so compelling. She makes a “F*ck-It List” to try to come out of her shell more and then her life gets flipped on its head.

The romance in this book was Messy is a understatement, honestly. But it felt real, and complicated and EXACTLY h
Melanie (mells_view)
Smash It! is a mature YA novel that has a bold character voice, and a unfiltered look at the high school experience of protagonist Liv. She’s a Black teenager in a mostly white school just trying to find confidence in her voice and in her look. She’s awkward and uncomfortable at first, but she has so much to give that she’s hiding from the majority of the world. She has two best friends, Dré and Elijah, a sister, and a mother who is insanely hard on her.

This book is also sold as an Othello retel
DNF at 38%

*sigh* I really wanted to love this. I love the idea of an Othello retelling and I like Francina's content as a YouTuber. Unfortunately this really wasn't for me, and there were a few things I was uncomfortable with. So....some thoughts.


- It's about a girl trying to find confidence to try new things.

- It's sex positive

The "It Depends!"

- It's a very voicy book and Olivia is a strong flavor of character. She's not necessarily likable (self-centered, can be a jerk, doesn't commun
Jodi Meadows
You're going to love this one!
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
This was a fun and messy story about growing up, finding confidence in yourself, and living life to your fullest - mistakes and all.

Liv James is determined to burst out of her comfortable and unseen bubble. To say yes to whatever life throws at her - or to at least take a minute before saying no. So Liv, with her two best friends, who she might be developing feelings for, all decide to go out for the school play. And with the drama department comes drama, obviously.

I thought that Smash It! was
May 30, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7-8-and-9
Thanks to HarperCollins for providing a digital ARC of Smash It! in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: I'm a shakespeare nerd. Second Disclaimer: I'm kind of a theatre kid.
Third Disclaimer: One of my favourite musicals (Venice) is a musical version of Othello.

An #ownvoices book about social issues, high school, and an Othello musical? The dream. Except for one rather large problem: Olivia drove me insane.

This is a character heavy story and yes, I get Olivia is supposed to be a flawed beca
Kai the Gemini
Thank you NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

And honestly, I don't know why I keep getting my hopes up over booktuber YA Lit. I have yet to be impressed with one and while I hoped this would be different, it's clearly not the case. Liv as a protagonist is hard to root for. Like many other reviewers noted, her Year of Yes (as Miss Shonda would call it) results in her being a dick to all her friends and the people around it. This is very much an older-YA self-insert book and w
Laura Steven
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Francina Simone is ridiculously talented and this book is EVERYTHING
Tanya Tate
Feb 10, 2020 marked it as to-read
I love Francina Simone on youtube so I can't wait to read this! I know she was teasing about it on her videos for a while.
Seeing the varying reviews for this book, I went into it not knowing what to expect.

I liked Olivia. She’s a good person who is trying to find her place and I fully expected her to make mistakes. Her BFFs were charming and annoying boys who made me laugh and cringe. I loved the relationship between Liv, Lennox, and Jackie and those scenes were some of my favorites.

Plot wise, it was okay. The story is basically told as a running inner monologue and I could have done with more showing, rather tha
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Smash It! (Smash It! #1) by Francina Simone sounds like it has so much potential. I mean, it's marketed as a YA inspired by Othello and that was intriguing enough. I also admired the three main things on Olivia's list. Of course, as things change in her life, she makes mistakes as she's a flawed figure. In the end, I didn't know quite what to make of this novel and for awhile I was on the fence between giving this two or three sta
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was intrigued by a modern YA taking on Othello. The juxtaposition of Olivia's story with Othello never quite clicks. We are hammered over the head with how Othello fits into Olivia's tale late in the novel. I wanted to see it and not be told it. That's what kept me turning the pages. Any play could have been used as it never comes together.

We're also hammered with how sexually liberated Olivia is because Olivia keeps telling us she i
Rachel A.  Dawson
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this one -- a coming-of-age story about a Black girl inspired by the "year of yes" Shonda Rimes did to create her own "year of f--- it". It's cute, it has a great diverse cast of characters, it isn't all just fluff, there's some great love triangle/square action going on, and it had such a sweet ending.

A winner of a YA book! (pub date 9/22!)
Heather Freeman
I am torn about this book, as parts of it are very fun and engaging, parts of it provide needed commentary on trauma and misogyny/slut-shaming, but parts of it are, as many reviewers before me have noted, very problematic and borderline racist. This problem comes particularly to the foreground with the character of Kai, a Hawaiian senior that main character Liv is immediately drawn to. But he's described in fetishizing, exoticizing, and massively stereotypical terms by Liv herself as well as her ...more
Jessica Haider
Smash It! is a modern day reimagining of Shakespeare's Othello set at a Florida high school. It all starts at a Halloween party, where Olivia realizes she just kind of lets life happen to her and that she isn't going for stuff and putting herself out there. She mostly just hangs out with her two best friends Eli and Dre and doesn't really have any female friends. She's also been secretly in love with Eli for awhile. After a few comments from people at the Halloween party, Olivia decides to make ...more
Samantha (WLABB)
Liv had been pining away for her best friend and allowing her insecurities to keep her from new experiences. Fed up with missing out on so many possibilities, she took a vow to say "YES". This new philosophy won her a part in the school play, some new friends, and a possible boyfriend, but saying "YES" also came with some bad decisions, which might result in the end of her longest friendship.

I read Othello a very, VERY long time ago for school, and never really looked back. Therefore, I did not
Isabella Ramirez
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Author, Francina Simone, has done a great job of describing the complexities that make up the live of female young adults in todays society. I was very impressed with all the topics she was able to address, body positivity and acceptance, dating, sex, friendships, affairs, being too black or not black enough, etc.

I quickly fell in love with the main character and saw so much of my teenage self reflected in this character. Heck, even at my age I still wish I could take a F*** it approach to life
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I rarely tear through a book in a day, but I could not stop reading this boldly authentic, hilariously funny (outrageously and brilliantly so), deeply poignant and surprisingly honest book about the confusing, exciting, painful, hormone-charged, beautiful and brave teenage experience (including biting social commentary and an honest look at the imperfect/supportive/cruel/kind ways that actual teenagers relate to each other - not the sanitized version - which makes the underlying themes all the m ...more
Evidently Bookish
actual rating: 2.5 maybe idk yet.

3 am just finished thoughts - there are so many moments in this book that are culturally insensitive and/or problematic. when i write my proper review i'll link to some OV reviews but in short: the comments made about a) a character who is of Hawaiian descent were completely necessary, not funny and frankly overused and b) a character of Israeli-Palestinian parents - you just don't say that. it's a shame because removing all these instances would literally not a
Sara “Girl in Tiny Hat”
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley, InkYard press and Francina Simone for the early copy of the ebook in exchange for and honest review.

This book was so fun to read! I tend to lean more towards YA fantasy than YA fiction but this book kind of blew me away. Liv was a dynamic character that I couldn't help loving from the moment she walked into a Halloween party in Florida in a hoodie to the last page. While I didn't love the body shaming that happened or her shame for her body rather I did totally love that
Katlyn Ulinski
ARC provided via Edelweiss+ in exchange for honest feedback.

Rating: 2

This book was fairly basic for me. I did read the whole thing, but I found myself wanting to skim over several sections. I thought that the main character was extremely immature and even though she apologizes for her actions in the book, I feel like she wasn't really held accountable. She was forgiven pretty easily for some things she did and said that I felt shouldn't have been so easily forgiven. I did think the romance was c
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Francina Simone is the author of The Guardians Trilogy, a young adult urban fantasy that explores the strength of love and lost. She was born in Germany, spent her childhood in hot the urban jungle of Orlando Florida, and now resides in the Rockies where she spends more of her time far away with her characters in their quest to make the right decisions in worlds brimming with romance, moral ambigu ...more

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