The Year They Burned the Books

People die, but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons.

Title: The Year they Burned the Books

Author: Nancy Garden

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 5th 2017 by Open Road Media Teen Tween

Pages: 256

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

As the editor in chief of the Wilson High Telegraph, senior Jamie Crawford is supposed to weigh in on the cutting-edge issues that will interest students in her school. But when she writes an opinion piece in support of the new health curriculum—which includes safe-sex education and making condoms available to students—she has no idea how much of a controversy she’s stepped into.
 
A conservative school board member has started a war against the new curriculum, and now—thanks to Jamie’s editorial—against the newspaper as well. As Jamie deals with the fallout and comes to terms with her own sexuality, the school and town become a battleground for clashing opinions. Now, Jamie and the students at Wilson need to find another way to express their beliefs before prejudice, homophobia, and violence define their small town.


My Thoughts:

I am sad to say that I am one of those certain individuals who has never read Annie on my Mind, nor do I plan to. I know it’s supposed to be amazing, but it simply has never interested me. Now, imagine my surprise when I got a notification for this book – by the same author. So I decided to give it a shot. What I found was a sucker punch of a story considering our current political state today. The Year They Burned the Books is a masterful conglomerate of censorship, bullying, coming-of-age, homophobia, friendship, free speech, PTA mom politics, and sexuality. It is brutal, honest, and action based rather than character focused. You fall into the plot, and you get swept away by the visceral reality that the events in this book are still very much happening at this moment in time. It’s a bit of a startling wake up call.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

“You’ll see too, one day. Once you grow older, someone else will be waiting to take your place, someone younger and prettier than you. I knew that day was approaching for me. I knew even when you were still a child. So why am I so surprised to learn that I’m being thrown aside? Why am I always so surprised?”

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Series: Standalone

Publication:  September 5th 2017 by Flatiron Books

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.


My Thoughts:

You know those times when you struggle to get into a book regardless of its wonders? That is how I felt with Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Honestly, I can’t tell you if it was over hyped or if I simply missed the underlying message of what was going on. I’d heard amazing things about the book. I’d heard it was a wonderful feminist retelling of Snow White… but I struggled regardless. There was, is, so much more beyond the surface of this book and, in all honesty, I simply didn’t give it the time it deserved.

Continue reading

Blog Tour: I Hate Everyone But You

“I don’t subscribe to labels. Unless I’m labeling other people.” 

Title: I Hate Everyone But You

Authors: Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 5th 2017 by Wednesday Books

Pages: 352

Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

Continue reading

The Love Interest

“Do you think you will fall in love with her?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I say. “She’s the hero of this story, so how I feel is irrelevant.”

Title: The Love Interest

Author: Cale Dietrich

Series: Standalone

Publication: May 16th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


Basically:

That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about this book. I am in love with The Love Interest.  I love it, love it, love it. IT IS EVERYTHING I WAS HOPING FOR AND MORE! You want a feel good, squeal-worthy romance that’s also making fun of every trope in YA lit? READ THIS. It is amazing, and wonderful, and hilarious, and swoon-worthy, and the friendship… just ugh. I have so many feelings right now.


Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda

“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Series: Standalone

Publication: April 7th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

Pages: 320

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


My Thoughts:

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien’s Agenda is a paradox of light-hearted angst. It is the story of Simon Spier, a boy whose choice is stolen from him when a guy from school blackmails him about his sexuality. Simon Spier isn’t so sure he wants to come out to everyone, he hasn’t told his family or even his best friends. His life suddenly changes when he is confronted by Martin, a classmate who has screenshots of Simon’s private emails to his cherished pen pal Blue. This is a story that blasts through the narrow-minded idea, as Simon puts it, that “there shouldn’t even be a default” when it comes to sexuality and personal identity.

Continue reading

When the Moon was Ours

“But there was everything else. The idea of being called Miss or Ms. or, worse, Mrs. The thought of being grouped in when someone called out girls or ladies. The endless, echoing use of she and her, miss and ma’am. Yes, they were words. They were all just words. But each of them was wrong, and they stuck to him. Each one was a golden fire ant, and they were biting his arms and his neck and his bound flat chest, leaving him bleeding and burning.”

Title: When the Moon was Ours

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 4th 2016 by Thomas Dunne

Pages: 288

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.


My Thoughts:

If you don’t know this already, I adored Anna-Marie McLemore’s first novel, The Weight of Feathers. I mean, I have an obsessive love over this book. So, of course, when I was offered the chance to read her new novel, When the Moon was Ours, I jumped ten feet high at the chance. I am happy to tell you that yes, When the Moon was Ours is just as astounding, if not better than, The Weight of Feathers.

One of the most beautiful things about McLemore’s novels is the effortlessly lyrical quality the language possesses. It sucks you in, enchants you, and weaves a passionately poignant tale. The magical qualities of the writing only adds to the overall sense of other-worldliness the novel carries throughout. It highlights the ups and downs, the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters, and it makes for such a vivid setting you’ll forget it’s not real.

When the Moon was Ours is a powerful tale and an unforgettable experience. It is full of love, struggle, magic, and discovery. The veil of mystery surrounding certain characters and objects cloaks the plot in the softest velvet. It simply makes it possible to burrow deeper within the mysticism.

Love and family pervade this novel. Much like in The Weight of Feathers, falling in love and internal struggles with family and beliefs provide much of the central conflict. It works. Part of the beauty of McLemore’s writing is that she takes such care with the smallest of details. Everything is important in some way, even if the meaning doesn’t come to light till the end. As a whole, the most hard hitting aspect of When the Moon was Ours is that it ultimately deals with accepting and loving oneself. We are our harshest critics in every sense of the word, and McLemore highlights that beautifully.

The whole of When the Moon was Ours is unique. I have never read anything like it, and I probably never will again. When the Moon was Ours is a singular and emotionally agonizing exploration of some of our deepest fears – mostly the ones pertaining to ourselves that we bury so deep we have forgotten they existed at all. McLemore has created something wonderful once again, and I am so privileged to have been a part of the adventure.


Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Labyrinth Lost

We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.

Title: Labyrinth Lost

Author: Zoraida Cordova

Series: Brooklyn Brujas # 1

Publication:  September 6th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Pages: 336

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…


What I Liked:

  • Labyrinth Lost is basically the love child of The Mortal Instruments (which I adore) and Alice In Wonderland.
  • Actual racial representation, which is often lacking in YA literature. (Yes, I just went there. Deal with it)
  • Filled with shenanigans that would make Loki proud.
  • A delicious balancing act of the good and the not so good, leaving you with awesome in the end.

  • SISTERS RULE! Seriously. Siblings are a huge thing in this book and it’s amazing.
  • All of the relationships are complex, realistic, and wonderfully fleshed out – just like the characters.
  • Family is basically the main plot. Just… yeah.

  • Beware of how utterly consuming and addictive this book is. It will take over your life and you will love it.
  • The ending is ridiculous and crazy and it will drive you mad with need for the sequel. It’s painful in the perfect way.

If you noticed, there isn’t a “Things I did not like section”. That is because Labyrinth Lost is one of those books where the amazing outshines the little things that I would normally nitpick. It was fun, entertaining, unique, evocative, and everything that it needed to be. I can honestly tell you that Labyrinth Lost is now officially one of my favorite books about witches (which I usually avoid like the plague, so that’s saying something). I can’t wait to dive head first into the next adventure in Los Lagos.


Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble