NetGalley Reads: Prairie Fever

NetGalley Reads: Prairie Fever

NetGalley (2).pngBefore you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

NOTE: Hi, this is not the full review of the book, but more of a “my thoughts so far” kind of post. I will be updating this when I finish reading the book. Thank you and happy reading.

Hello again. Long time no see. Thank the Camila of the past for agreeing to write two reviews as part of blog tours on the same day. This book I’m going to talk about is Prairie Fever by Michael Parker, and I’d like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for inviting me to read and review it.

I started reading this book on June 22nd, and after a page, I put it down and kept reading other books because I wasn’t really interested in this one. I gave it another chance, though and I’ve been making some progress. I will say that this is not the type of book I can read in one sitting or spend hours reading. I need my breaks with this one. It is historical fiction and it features two sisters, Lorena and Elise, although it centers mostly on Elise. They are seventeen and fifteen years old, respectively and they live in what seems like the countryside and are farmers.

So far I’m not sure if there’s a point to this book, like something will happen that will make an impact on the characters’ lives. For now, it’s more like a slice-of-life kind of story. We read about the main characters going to school and the conversations they have, but not much. Prairie fever is a euphemism for typhoid fever, so maybe one of the characters gets sick. Oh, did I mention this is historical fiction?

Does this story sound appealing to you? What do you think is going to happen? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: In the Role of Brie Hutchens

NetGalley Reads: In the Role of Brie Hutchens

NetGalley (1).pngBefore you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. I woke up early today after a very bad night, did my makeup inspired by the bisexual flag and now I’m here to tell you about a book you need to read, especially if you’re looking to read more queer books. I’m talking about In The Role of Brie Hutchens by Nicole Melleby, which was sent to me by Algonquin Books as part of a blog tour. I’d like to thank them, the author, and NetGalley for this opportunity.

I read this book between June 19th and June 22nd, 2020, and gave it four stars, but it’s more like a 4.5 rating. At the beginning of every chapter, we get these headers which are sort of like commentary in soap opera scenes. This makes sense as one progresses with the reading because Brie, the main character is obsessed with soap operas and wants to become an actress. She is thirteen years old and about to graduate middle school (is that even a thing?) and she wants to go to a performing arts high school, but her family is struggling with money, so Brie is not sure whether she could attend if she gets admitted.

There are many things I like about this novel, and even from the previous paragraph, you can sort of deduce some of them. I like Brie’s age because I think it makes the book attractive both for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. To me, this would be great for someone who has outgrown Middle Grade and wants to start reading Young Adult. There are also so many layers to the story, like the fact that Brie’s parents are having financial issues because her dad had recently lost his job and is now working in Brie’s school. This also poses a conversation on the guilt and helplessness that children might feel when their parents are having problems of any sort.

Brie studies in a Catholic school and the depiction of her school life was spot-on. I should know because I studied in one and then worked at another. That means that I’ve been in Catholic schools for around sixteen years of my life. Religion is also an important aspect of this story because Brie is coming to terms with the fact that she likes women, but she is afraid and almost ashamed to tell her mom because she might not accept her. Brie even lies about this school event and her participation in it to hide the fact that she was looking at pictures of an actress online, all this so that her mom does not find out about what is going through Brie’s mind.

I have a lot more notes about this story, but I want you to read it first so that we can have a conversation in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: Miracle Country

NetGalley Reads: Miracle Country

 

NetGalley

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

NOTE: Hi, this is not the full review of the book, but more of a “my thoughts so far” kind of post. I will be updating this when I finish reading the book. Thank you and happy reading.

Hello and happy Friday. I barely slept last night and then woke up and did a full face of makeup, held a fun Instagram contest to celebrate Pride, recorded and drafted like six different TikToks, so it feels like I’ve already been up for a full day. I also continued to read Miracle Country by Kendra Atleework, and I couldn’t help but imagine that I was in the middle of a desert, surrounded by nothing by nature. Let me tell you, that’s a nice break, especially considering I have barely left my house since March.

I started reading this book on June 15th, 2020 as part of a blog tour I was invited to participate in by Algonquin. I’d like to thank them, the author, and NetGalley for this opportunity. Now, this is nonfiction but it is nothing like what I’ve read before. I say this because it seems as if the main character in this book, other than being Atleewood herself or her family, is the place where they all live. I might be wrong, and if I am, please correct me, but the author is from Bishop, which is a desertic land in California. That’s what I’ve picked up from what I’ve read.

To me, it has been interesting to read about the weather, and the elements, and nature itself as characters, especially in an autobiographical book. It is especially interesting considering I have only lived in the city, and Colombia is a tropical country so the climate, biodiversity, and pretty much all other natural factors are very different from what the author experienced growing up. I think for that reason it took me a bit to get into the book, to really connect with what Atleework was narrating and describing, but I’ve hit that point and now I feel like everything is flowing.

I will update you as soon as I finish this book, and I will share more of my thoughts on it as well as my rating.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

NetGalley Reads: Clancy of the Undertow

NetGalley Reads: Clancy of the Undertow

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Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. I have so ARCs from NetGalley to read that I feel that sometimes I get to a point in which everything I’m reading is sort of the same, and you can totally tell by my two or three-star ratings. Sometimes, though, a book will come along that is nothing like what I’ve read and that makes me super excited to read and review. An example of this is Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie. I’d like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

I read Clancy of the Undertow between September 29th and October 5th, 2019 and gave it three stars. Yes, I know it is my usual rating, but this book really grew on me and I think that more people should know about it. Is it life-changing? Not at all. Do I think it needs to go through a revision process? Yes, but that being said, the story that it tells is one that more people need in their life.

I’ll be honest and say that right from the start I didn’t like it; I thought the language was too flowery and there were many sentence fragments. However, I think that the author reconsidered his choices and we get a more straightforward writing style throughout the book. Part of why I thought I wouldn’t like the book was my own preconceived notions. For example, at first, when the main character was describing a woman, I thought it was a man talking because in my mind it made more sense that it was a guy having a crush on a woman. I then understood the main character was a female, and I was also a bit confused until she straight up said she was into women. When I understood all these and realize I was the one with silly ideas and not the author, I enjoyed the book a lot more.

Yes, this features a lesbian main character, and I really appreciated the fact that this wasn’t a coming-out/figuring-out-my-sexuality kind of story. She did tell her family and friends that she liked women, but she was sure about her sexual orientation and didn’t make a big fuss about liking women. I think that kind of openness with herself is what more young adult books featuring queer main characters need.

The story features what could develop as a romance, although that is pretty much left to the reader’s imagination but it doesn’t revolve around it. I think that people who read and liked Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen will feel compelled to read this one, with the added bonus that the main character is not straight and the story is set in Australia. There are family issues that tend to be the center of the plot at times, although the book manages to be an exploration of the main character and her identity.

There is a suicide attempt scene, so be weary of that, and there are a few “jokes” here and there regarding a man who’s deemed a pedophile because he never got married or had kids. Other than that, the typos and general lack of editing, this is a solid book that I think more people should read.

Do you have any recommendations for books featuring lesbian main characters? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: My Ladybird Story

NetGalley Reads: My Ladybird Story

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. Today’s post is a review on My Ladybird Story by Magus Tor. This ARC was provided by NetGalley for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank both NetGalley and the author. Let’s get started, shall we?

I read this book between April 1st and Aril 9th. It actually sort of ruined my average reading pace, as it took me so long to finish it. Let me just go ahead and say that I was super excited about this book, and I was hooked from the very first page. And then it all just fell apart, leading to the two-star rating I gave it.

My Ladybird Story starts with a guy in high school who is being bullied for being “weird,” which was a first for me. Something that really hooked me at first was that as the story progresses, we as readers are able to know how the main character feels, and we share those doubts with him. We doubt at first whether he might be gay, or what is “wrong” with him, as he puts it. Through these thinking processes, we come to realize that the main character might be trans. Again, that is a first for me, and I think there needs to be more representation in YA about trans youth.

Sadly, like I said, these internal debates that were so eye-catching for me at first get lost as the story progresses, and we read less and less of what the main character truly feels. The novel is divided into parts, so there is one for high school, one for college, and two for the life after college. For me, it was like each part was a separate book. I saw little connection between them, and for me, there wasn’t a cohesive flow.

There are several attempts of sexual assault, so if this is a topic you are sensitive about, do not read this book. Assault is handled in a very irresponsible way in this novel, with bits of victim-blaming and a recurring perpetrator who pretty much gets away with it. That’s not my kind of story.

I need to clarify that I know very little about transgender issues. I can only speak from my experience being a biological woman, and I think there might be differences between the way I think about womanhood and the way a transwoman does. I say this because as a feminist I do not agree with gender roles and stereotypical gendered behavior. In other words, to me, it’s not right to describe someone as acting feminine or masculine or to say that a specific attitude or behavior is manly or womanly.

Because My Ladybird Story is about a transwoman, the main character’s best friend gives her “lessons” on how to be a woman. These lessons consist of learning how to properly hold a beer bottle and to blot away tears when crying so that makeup doesn’t get smeared. Basically, the main character is being taught that being a woman means being weak and delicate, and I find that extremely messed up.

I think it’s key to have more works of literature that center around transgender people, but I would not recommend this book because I think it has structural flaws that send readers the wrong messages. If you know of books about this or any other LGBTQ* issue that needs more visibility, let me know about it in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Ann from Great New Reads sent me this tweet. If you’re interested, do participate.

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NetGalley Reads: The Anti-Virginity Pact

NetGalley Reads: The Anti-Virginity Pact

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Hello and happy Friday. I promised you a rant, so here you have it. I don’t know if you know Katie Wismer, a BookTuber. Her channel is called KatesBookDate. I found out about her novel, The Anti-Virginity Pact, through her channel and I was obviously drawn to it. Sadly, yes, it was a huge disappointment and I’m here to tell you why. I requested this book via NetGalley and I thought I had no chance to get it, so I’m thankful to them, the publisher, and the author.

I read this book between May 21st and May 26th, 2020, and gave it one star. Before the actual novel starts, there is a page with content warnings, and I appreciated that. I hadn’t seen that in a book before. That being said, it’s pretty much the only thing I can say I liked about the book. If you’re curious, this is what the author listed as content warnings: bullying, religion, sexual assault, animal abuse, substance abuse, anxiety, and trauma. That’s the exact list, but there’s more I’ll discuss later. Personally, I don’t like reading about three of the items listed (I’ll let you guess which), so I knew the book and I weren’t off to a great start. That doesn’t mean I was predisposed, but the title does make you wonder, doesn’t it?

When I give a book one star it is because I have found something structurally wrong with it, and since this is the case, I won’t go super deep into minor details. I want to say, however, that the writing style was not for me. I hate sentence fragments and this had a lot of them, especially towards the beginning. I also didn’t like how everything had an explanation like the author was telling us that she hadn’t left any plotholes, that her story was developing exactly how she had planned and that everything made sense. That is not life, and I’m no writer, but I don’t think that’s what writing is about, either.

The whole book is dark, because, well, duh. I mean, judging solely by the title and the list of content warnings you’d assume that’s going to be the tone, but besides that, it was all pseudo-deep and I don’t like that. I like simple language and I think that it can have as much effect as big words and metaphors and hyperbole can. Also, the main character is supposed to be eighteen years old, but she sounds way older. I am twenty-six and I don’t even sound like that. At times, reading this felt like I was back at university in my American Literature of the 20’s class in which everyone would say the biggest words they knew to try and impress the teacher. Well, reading this I was not impressed, I was annoyed.

Now let’s talk about the structural issues that I found. The title is pretty self-explanatory, right? The main character writes and signs this pact with her best friend that by the end of their senior year they’ll lose their virginity (not to one another, although that would’ve made the book way more interesting) and obviously everything goes to shit. There is no way to read this book without thinking about one’s own views, experiences, and lack thereof, is it? From a somewhat young age, I stopped considering having sex for the first time as “losing my virginity.” I rarely talk about the concept of virginity. To me, having sex was something that would happen if/when I was ready and with a person I trusted. Again, these are my views and this is my experience, but I think that for someone young, who has questions, who doesn’t have a clear idea, a book like this might be misleading.

I did not go to school in the United States. I went to a Catholic school for women in Colombia. Did this shape my whole view of sex? Probably. I never felt pressured to have sex because it was part of the things I was supposed to do in high school. I did talk about it with my friends, but in general, not about when we would each have sex for the first time. I know there’s a pressure and I know that there are cultural differences, but those might have prevented me from clicking more with the story.

Like I mentioned, the plot of the book is, this girl signs a pact that states she and her best friend will lose their virginity before graduating high school and everything that can go wrong goes wrong. My question reading this book was, what was the purpose? What did the author want to accomplish by writing this? It wasn’t really helpful for young readers that might struggle with the pressure others put on their sex lives or the choices they want to make. It wasn’t really sex-positive. I think it was more of a cautionary tale against having sex while you’re a teenager…which, seriously? Don’t have sex because you’ll get pregnant and die? I mean, I guess that is a valid purpose, but had I known it was, I wouldn’t have requested this book.

I had serious issues with Meredith, the main character. I know that I’ve said the story was not relatable to me, but Meredith read exactly like people I know and don’t like. She was the kind of person who would look down on everyone and think she was better than them whole simultaneously being jealous of them and wanting to be like them. I’m not saying the other people at school weren’t shitty as well, but that didn’t excuse her attitude.

Meredith has anxiety and she takes medication for it. This is how her character was portrayed and I’m going to tread carefully because I don’t want to say something that invalidates anyone’s struggles or experiences. As a person who has been diagnosed with anxiety and as a person who has read and felt represented in other books, I don’t think that anxiety was being portrayed accurately. I say this, and again, I am talking from my experience, because the main character describes her anxiety as something that comes and goes. I think she confuses being anxious with having anxiety, which I guess is a mistake people who don’t have anxiety can make. I’m not assuming that the author does not have anxiety, but I think she did not portray it accurately.

Let me elaborate more on the inaccurate portrayal of anxiety. Meredith starts seeing this guy, Sam, and when she’s with him it’s like she’s cured or something. She even says things like “I should feel this way, but because he’s here I don’t.” Honey, that’s not how anxiety works. Yes, the person you’re into makes you feel nice and cute, but the thoughts that anxiety provokes are always there. Anxiety is a constant. Yes, there are triggers and yes, there are flares, and also, yes, there are ways to soothe it, but it does not come and go that way, at least not for me. The idea that a romantic interest can make anxiety go away or whatever is not new and even authors like Sophie Kinsella in Finding Audrey (which I adore) explore it in a very interesting way.

Another problem I had was the use of ableist language, with words like “crippling” or “you’d have to be blind not to see this.” This book will be published in 2020. The author can do so much better. I mean, those comments did nothing at all for the plot, so it could have been fine without them.

Meredith is a white, straight, able-bodied, cisgender woman. She belongs to a Christian middle-class family. She has been diagnosed with anxiety, but other than that and being an atheist in a family of believers, she really doesn’t have any problems, or does she? She mentions that she feels forced by her family to participate and believe and whatever. I am not a Christian or a Catholic. I do not practice any religion, but I think it is valid that some people feel restricted by their families because of their faith, especially since Meredith’s dad is a pastor. What I didn’t get is the fact that she was never vocal about this up until she was confronted by her parents about something else.

Remember when I said that Meredith and her best friend signed the pact? Well, the best friend, Harper, decides that she will have sex for the first time with…her teacher. No. I’m going to talk from the perspective of a person who had crushes on teachers at school and a teacher, okay? Look, it’s no secret that teenagers are hormonal and yes, developing a crush on a teacher is not uncommon or unheard of. What was honestly cringe-worthy was the way in which the whole “relationship” was portrayed. I’m using quotation marks because, and hear me out here, people have crushes on their teachers all the time, but most times they amount to nothing because they are pathetic and illegal.

Now, let me talk as a teacher. Teachers are used to being misrepresented, misunderstood, and all the “miss” anything you want, both in real life and in fiction. It makes sense in books in a way because many authors do not have the experience of teaching students within the age range of their characters, and so they rely on what they think or what they remember from their own high school experience. The teacher Harper wanted to sleep with? He was a guy in his mid-twenties, minding his own business, who probably was kind of attractive and tried his best not to gag every time a sixteen-year-old would try and “flirt” with him. He did not engage in whatever Harper thought she was doing, and yet the way Meredith depicted him was like this pathetic loser who rejected her best friend.  They even say something along the lines of “he earns a crappy salary.” Yes, we do. That is a fact. He’s not a teenager who broke up with you via text message; he is an adult who doesn’t even consider being in a relationship with you because, among many other important reasons, he likes his job and wants to keep it.

Oh yes, the trigger warnings that were not listed. There are a few homophobic comments and a subplot regarding homophobia. Additionally, judging by the way the characters act when it comes to food, I could sense disordered eating. There is no specific mention of an eating disorder, but I noticed that the main character rarely ate, and when she did it was too little. There were also many mentions of her not being able to eat or leaving her food untouched.

That’s it for today’s rant. I am finishing this post as I listen to my boss giving us instructions for the end of the year and I can’t wait to hang up and play Sims. Do you have any book recommendations that accurately portray the topics I found problematic in this novel? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

NetGalley Reads: The Light Fantastic

NetGalley Reads: The Light Fantastic

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Hello and happy Friday. Today classes ended early, so I have more time and energy to blog. And of course, when I have time and energy, I like to use them for book reviews, more specifically book rants. The book I’m going to discuss today was sent to me via NetGalley for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank them, the publisher and the author for this opportunity.

I read The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs between October 28th and November 4th, 2019 and I gave it two stars. If I could summarize my reading experience, I would take a quote from the book: “a replay we couldn’t bear to watch but strangely couldn’t get enough of.” I could’ve binge read this book, especially considering the fact that I took in on a trip in which all I did was read, but I didn’t because I couldn’t stand it for more than a few minutes at a time.

This novel is written from multiple perspectives and it is about school shootings. Now, I’ve had this book for a while, so it’s not like the author was being opportunistic when she wrote it, capitalizing on the horrible events that have had a spike in 2019 in the United States. Nevertheless, I do feel like stories about shootings should be handled super carefully, and I don’t think this was. There was nothing structurally wrong with it, in my opinion, but in a way it gave me the feeling Thirteen Reasons Why did, in which they’re basically blaming other kids and negating the existence of other deeper issues such as mental illness and the overall toxic environment in which American teenagers live.

I don’t know if I could consider each of the seven narrators a “main character,” considering that at least two people were given more chapters than the others. Anyway, the first person we read from has this condition in which she has an amazing memory for events in the past. I found this very interesting, but my problem was that this character only tied her memories to traumatic events including, you guessed it, school shootings.

One of the characters is a mix of black and Caucasian and the way he speaks is absolutely horrible. The author is white but she is trying to “sound” black and the character’s voice is just this caricature. I don’t even know what the author’s intent was.

Honestly, there’s not much to say here. The more I read, the surer I was that I’d heard people talk about this book, and from what I recall those comments were not positive either. If you still want to read it, keep in mind the trigger warnings for school shootings and suicide.

Do you think there is a “good way” to address these extremely sensitive issues in literature? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

NetGalley Reads: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

NetGalley Reads: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Hello and happy Friday. I was invited by Algonquin to participate in a blog tour in celebration of the re-release of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami. I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for the opportunity. 

I read this book between March 26th and March 27th and gave it four stars. It is just under two hundred pages and the writing style is very simple and to the point, which is what I like. The book is divided into “Before” and “After” and it tells the individual stories of three Moroccans who decide to illegally migrate to Spain. The book actually starts in the “During,” which I thought was really shocking and also a great hook for readers, who get to see how they got to make the decision they made and also the consequences of it. 

I was not very familiar with how immigrants in North Africa made it to Europe. I’d seen news about the tragedies that happen in those boats and rafts and how many people drown, but reading a book about it is completely different. The process itself of the trip is not really explained much; like I said, it is the first chapter of the book, but the rest focuses on the time before and after the trip.

The characters’ stories focus on different aspects, like Islam, sexism and the lack of opportunities for women, unemployment and the search for a better life abroad. I would compare the narrative style to Orange Is the New Black, in which you get a glimpse of the characters’ lives leading up to their imprisonment and after they are released. Every story is unique because each of the characters is going through unique circumstances and though they all made the choice of illegally migrating to Spain, their reasons are different and so is the aftermath of the trip.

This is an important book for many reasons and I think it will resonate with many people. I do want to say, however, that the last chapter or story or whatever you want to call it has several fatphobic comments. Basically, there’s this secondary character who doesn’t even talk much, but whenever she is described, some reference is done to her weight. For example, we are told that hair sticks to the back of her neck because it is sweaty, or that after a walk uphill she’s wheezing. I’m sure had the character not been described as fat, these details wouldn’t have been mentioned. 

Have you read any books set in a country other than the U.S? Tell me about them in the comments below. 

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila 

NetGalley Reads: Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me

NetGalley Reads: Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me

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Hello and happy Monday. Trust me, I am as surprised as you about the date of this post, but I guess we’ll have the past me to blame. I don’t know what has happened lately with the books I’ve been sent so that I read and review them as part of blog tours, but I’ve either been indifferent, not liked them, or DNF’ed them. I know that sucks, but I am always transparent with my feelings and I’m not going to lie to you in a review so that the publishers continue sending me stuff. The last book I read as part of a blog tour (thank you to NetGalley, Macmillan and the author)  was Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner, and I didn’t like it one bit, so here’s my rant.

I read this book between April 2nd and April 4th, 2020 and gave it two stars. I think the very first chapters were misleading, and that infuriated me. The book opens with a letter the main character is writing to Aubrey, who we find out is her estranged best friend. I say misleading because the tone of that opening is so dramatic that you’d think Aubrey died or that something really bad happened between her and the main character.

Jean-Louise, JL, is almost sixteen years old, and that age just didn’t sit well with me. We get flashbacks to when JL and Aubrey were younger and there’s this one line that says something like “we were more than in love” which made me think this was a queer romance. We were going to see how Aubrey and JL grow together to realize they love each other as something other than friends, but that’s not what happens because it was just a dumb line.

If you’re thinking “oh, okay, this is a story about friends who have drifted apart,” think again, because that’s simply one of the many plotlines in this novel. Let me tell you: it was all over the place. You get JL, who’s no longer really friends with Aubrey but that’s kind of her fault because she’s dating this 19-year-old guy and spending all the time with him. We have the boyfriend who is openly pushing her to have sex with him or at least engage in sexual acts that don’t involve penetration. We have JL’s mom who suffers from depression and has dissociative episodes because her dad has been in California for months and doesn’t seem to come back. And finally, we have the butterflies that JL has raised.

I know that you’re probably wondering where the title of the book comes from. Naturally, the depressed dissociative mom writes love letters to Jack Kerouac. Everything makes sense now, right? Seriously, I don’t know what the point of this book was. I thought that if it had followed the friendship plotline I could’ve given it a solid three stars, but no. This is the kind of story that has so many subplots that in the end nothing gets resolved and I just don’t like that.

JL and her boyfriend Max made a horrible couple, but I will be talking more about their relationship in a NOTP’s post. I’m only going to touch on two points about it here. On one hand, I thought that making him nineteen years old was done only to make something in the plot make sense. I’m not telling you what because it would be a spoiler, but it was gross to read about him with this fifteen-year-old. The other thing that bothered me and that would make me not recommend this book to anyone was the fact that he was always pushing JL to have sex with him, or to touch him. He suggested touching her as well and looking at her naked and there was no conversation about consent. Again, that is gross, and that should not be portrayed in books that are being released in 2020 and that are intended for young readers.

Don’t read this book. It is totally not worth it. But also, recommend me something that features a wholesome friendship.

Happy reading!
Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: All the Wrong Chords

NetGalley Reads: All the Wrong Chords

Hello and happy Friday. How are you? Are you taking care of yourselves? My routine hasn’t changed much, really. I mean, I am used to staying at home for whole days reading, so it’s not like I miss going outside. I miss seeing my students in person, but we can do videocalls. To keep myself entertained since the way I do my job has changed, I read, and I wanted to tell you about a nice, wholesome book I finished recently. I’m talking about All the Wrong Chords by Christine Hurley Deriso. I got this book via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank them, the author and the publisher for the opportunity. 

I read this book between March 22nd and March 25th, 2020 and gave it four stars. I know I already used this adjective to describe this book, but I think it sums it up perfectly: wholesome. Scarlett, the main character, is spending the summer at her grandfather’s house before leaving to university. Her relationship with her grandfather is beautiful and stays that way throughout the book. 

The story has some hard-hitting elements that we read about early on. Scarlett’s older brother has recently passed away due to drug overdose, and our main character is dealing with the guilt of thinking she could have done something to help him or prevent his death. Liam and Scarlett were very close, and he’s the one who taught her how to play guitar, which, judging by the title of the book, we know is going to be a recurring theme. 

There is romance and it is super cute but realistic in my opinion. I don’t want to give away too much about it because anything I say could be a spoiler. The only thing I’ll say is that there is a meet-cute to end all meet-cutes. Also, there’s again the love for grandparents and family in general. I don’t know about you, but if a potential romantic interest does not openly show love for his grandparents, he’s not worth it. 

I smiled a lot reading this book but I also cried a couple of times. I think it was perfect to keep me entertained and I would love it if it became a series and focused on the other members of the band. 

 What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila