I am interested in finding out how the family dynamic plays out in this story. It definitely seems to be set up for lots of drama. The contemporary faI am interested in finding out how the family dynamic plays out in this story. It definitely seems to be set up for lots of drama. The contemporary fan in me is excited to find out more!...more
Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali is a book that is both uplifting and emotional as it follows two teens dealing with their own personal struggles. I enjoyed the book’s concept and the idea of marvels and oddities, and the main characters are both likeable. However, I found the romance to fall flat, which was a little disappointing for a book with “love” in the title. Even so, this is a powerful and pertinent novel that I would recommend to those looking for a book that has a balance of wholesome and heartbreaking moments.
After standing up to her teacher’s Islamophobic ways, Zayneb is suspended and flies out to Qatar to stay with her aunt. At the airport, she meets Adam, and they have the chance to reconnect through Zayneb’s aunt. I loved the idea of a marvels and oddities journal and how the book is structured like entries in such a book. It is a fresh format, and I enjoyed being able to read both Zayneb and Adam’s side of the story. As well, the novel is more than a fluffy romance as it tackles subjects like Islamophobia and chronic illness. The prejudice Zayneb faces is appalling, and it will awaken the reader’s desire to fight for social justice.
❀ FIERCE AND DETERMINED MAIN CHARACTER
I loved Zayneb’s character and how she refuses to be silenced. Honestly, she is a pretty angry character which I don’t typically love, but Zayneb is angry for a good reason and has every right to want to get revenge on those who hurt her. I also enjoyed Zayneb’s squad of friends who are dedicated to fighting with her for justice, and her fierce determination to stand up for herself is admirable. Adam, on the other hand, is similar to Zayneb on many levels but is also her opposite. He is quieter and is struggling to tell his family that he has MS, an illness that killed his mother. I wanted to cry for Adam, especially because he is such a wholesome character.
While I did enjoy the story and all that it accomplishes, I had some problems with Adam and Zayneb’s relationship. To me, there was not enough time spent going into depth to develop their connection, and I wasn’t really invested in the romance by the end of the book. For a book that calls itself a love story, I would have liked to see more interactions between the two so they actually get to know each other better.
❀ IMPORTANT MESSAGE
Love From A to Z is a heartwarming story that balances love and social justice. I enjoyed the idea of marvels and oddities, and the main characters are believable with their personal struggles. Despite this, I found the romance to be lacking, and I would have appreciated more development between Adam and Zayneb. I would still recommend this one, however, as it has an important message.
Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small is a book that tells the story of a fierce competition at a school for ballet, and it does not shy away from any details. The novel is pretty dark, but I was intrigued by the characters’ dilemmas and determination to win. This is a realistic story with developed characters and eloquent writing.
As a fan of both books set in boarding school and books about dance, I had a feeling I would enjoy this one when I first heard of it. The book follows two best friends as they compete for “the prize” at the end of their training. Essentially, winning the competition allows the winner to pursue their dream, and thus the students will do whatever it takes. The story delves into the fierce and competitive aspects of the dance world, and I was a little surprised at how dark it is. However, I think this is what makes the book so realistic, and the discussion of heavier topics adds complexity.
❀ DUAL PERSPECTIVE
It is interesting to follow both Kate and Marine through their journey to the prize. As best friends competing, they must decide if they value their friendship or first place, and their relationship deteriorates over the course of the year. I loved getting both of their perspectives as it offers so much insight into their individual characters as well as mutual experiences. Both Kate and Marine are developed, and each girl faces massive hurdles that she must overcome on top of the excruciating training at the school. I personally enjoyed Marine’s character more as I don’t agree with some of the decisions Kate makes towards the end, but that may be what is intended.
❀ GORGEOUS DESCRIPTIONS
One of the most notable aspects of the novel is the gorgeous descriptions of dance. It is easy to feel the author’s passion for the subject while reading. To me, reading about the characters’ movements creates immersion, and it is easy to become lost in the story. While there are many ballet terms and French words included, I wouldn’t say that knowledge of ballet is required to get the full experience of the work. Instead, it is a bit of a learning experience and a glimpse into the life of a dancer.
Bright Burning Stars is a dark read about unhealthy competition at a ballet school. I found the main characters’ relationship interesting, and the writing is so vivid. I would recommend this one to those with an interest in dance as I feel like this book provides an accurate portrayal....more
Prep by Kate Sullivan Morford really is a cookbook that has all of the essentials. The layout is simple and the instructions are easy to follow. Also, there are also lots of tips and tricks that will be of use to new chefs. Prep is a definite resource for any college student.
REVIEW: PREP: THE ESSENTIAL COLLEGE COOKBOOK
The one thing that draws me right into a recipe book is one that has beautiful images. Prep has bright and simple pictures that help to describe cooking basics. The no fuss pictures fit perfectly with the easy and straight-forward nature of the the cookbook.
❀ SKILLS FOR SUCCESS IN THE KITCHEN
The cookbook is laid out into ten different sections that vary from pasta to desserts. In addition, each section focuses on a skill that can be useful to create other recipes. Sullivan Morford really does help her readers achieve success in the kitchen by providing useful tips. Most importantly, to not strive for perfection.
❀ USEFUL RECIPES FOR STUDENTS
Many of the recipes that are included in the book are ones that students will find useful. Common take-out foods, such as Thai and Mexican are featured in Prep. Also, these recipes are lightened up and simplified for a student who is busy and wants a healthy alternative, I made the Greek Chopped Salad and really enjoyed how quick and easy it is to prepare. The use of pita chips as croutons and a simple oil and lemon dressing give it a lot of flavour. Prep is a cookbook that should be on every student’s wishlist....more
Shout Out is an anthology unlike any other that I have read before. This graphic novel is diverse and full of interesting stories. If you are a fan of the genre, this is one book to check out!
I haven’t read that many graphic novels, but this book is something that really piqued my interest when I first heard about it. The concept is so fantastic and the amount of thought that has gone into its design is absolutely phenomenal. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this one.
❀ INSPIRING CONCEPT
The inspiration for Shout Out was to create an anthology of stories about romance, adventure, and friendship that feature queer characters who are heroes. As well, the book is written by an incredible group of 37 queer writers and artists to tell the stories for a new generation. It is put together for “young queer readers to know that they can be heroes too, and that their stories deserve to be told.”
❀ WONDERFUL ILLUSTRATIONS
The beauty of an anthology is that there are always a few stories that you can really connect with. In Shout Out, there are so many enjoyable ones to read. I especially enjoyed 15 Minutes and Shine So Bright. The artwork is fabulous and the writing is unique. Also, the humour and illustrations are wonderful and really had me laughing out loud! I highly recommend picking this book up....more
I don’t think that I have ever read a Dessen that I didn’t enjoy. Her books are like food for me. Definitely perfect for fans of contemporary YA fictiI don’t think that I have ever read a Dessen that I didn’t enjoy. Her books are like food for me. Definitely perfect for fans of contemporary YA fiction. I think that The Rest of the Story is going to tug at some heart strings....more
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo is a touching story about following your passion and cooking. The main character is mature, and the subject of teen motherhood is handled in a way that is sensible, while it is not really in the spotlight of the story. Ultimately, I found this book original and very readable.
I am a sucker for any book about cooking, so I was very excited to learn about this book. It follows Emoni, a teen mom who finds herself with the opportunity to go to Spain with a school cooking class. However, she worries about cost, time, and her daughter holding her back from the trip. I enjoyed how the story is not simply about a love for cooking but it explores a deeper topic and the struggles Emoni faces daily as a young mom that many people overlook. The short chapters in the novel make it very readable, and I would recommend it to those looking for an inspiring read.
❀ STRONG MAIN CHARACTER
Emoni is such a strong main character, and I was rooting for her as the book progressed. She has a lot on her plate with her grandmother’s disability and a child of her own, but she handles situations responsibly and she is very mature. In the kitchen, Emoni faces criticism for her creativity which she resents at first. But as she gains more practical experience, she learns that there are times when you need to step back and follow instructions in order to gain a solid foundation. Overall, Emoni is a fantastic main character who is very well-rounded.
❀ TEEN MOM THEME IS HANDLED WELL
When I first saw this book, I was a little skeptical about the teen mom thing. I have read too many books containing 300 pages of a teen mom complaining about the difficulties of raising a child, which I understand, but I need something more. The subject of being a teen mom is handled really well in this story, and I love how Emoni fully accepts responsibility for her daughter and doesn’t grumble throughout the whole book. The fact that the main character being a teen mom is almost in the background of the book with the main focus being on cooking is an interesting choice that worked well. It showcases that fact that Emoni can be a teen mom and still have a life.
❀ HEARTWARMING STORY
With the Fire on High is a heartwarming story about following your dreams. I loved the descriptions of cooking and the strong main character. The subject matter is also executed in the perfect way, allowing for fresh content to shine. This is a powerful novel that I would definitely recommend.