I’m Too Old For This || Estoy Muy Vieja Para Esto

I’m Too Old For This || Estoy Muy Vieja Para Esto

(English)

Hello and happy Wednesday. My name is Camila, I’m in my mid-twenties and most of the books I read feature teenagers. The more I read these novels, the more convinced I am that I outgrew them. I know about all the tropes and I can’t stand most of them. I’m over the fluff and the miscommunication and the unnecessary drama, and after reading The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski I have the feeling that I’m just too old for YA.

I read this novel between October 5th and October 6th, 2019 and gave it two stars. Right off the bat, I got the feeling that the author was an older woman trying too hard to sound like a teenager. I then looked at the author’s Goodreads profile and confirmed my suspicion. The chapters start with a quote, which is interesting because that often gives readers an idea of what’s going to happen, right? In this case, though, the quotes belonged to an essay written by the main character about animal mating patterns, which was very odd.

This is one of those stories that you can figure out entirely by reading the first page, and I know that sometimes we as readers need something like that, easy, predictable, quick. If you’re looking for a diverse read, look elsewhere because this is straight and white as can be. Additionally, if what you want is an original story, something you’ve never read before, this isn’t it. Like I said, it’s tropey, it’s predictable, and it’s also very stereotypical. Let’s just say that the author didn’t take any risks whatsoever regarding this plot.

The love interest is introduced in the very first paragraph, and it is not hard to gather that he is a tourist in the town where our main character lives and that there was some history there. Now, by history, I mean a kiss and maybe sex although that’s never told explicitly. The two characters had a “moment” right before a storm and then they got separated and didn’t hear about each other until the following summer. We all know that this “not knowing about each other” means we’re going to have a miscommunication trope, which I really don’t like because it’s plain dumb in this day and age when we have so many different means to stay in touch. I also don’t like the “getting back together with an ex” trope, so you see now why this book was definitely not for me.

As if this couldn’t be any more tropey, the main character, whose name is Lucy (I think), has a boyfriend. But don’t you worry, she’s quick to tell everyone who can hear that she only loves him as a friend and that she feels nothing romantic for him. Still, we have this dumb and completely unnecessary love triangle. Like I said, I’m in my mid-twenties, I’ve read my fair share of trashy YA, and this is the cherry on top. However, if you’re a young-ish teenager, like fifteen or so, and you’re just getting into young adult, you might like this book. The only plus side I see is that it’s a very quick read, so at least you won’t invest a lot of your time on it.

I’m not saying I would recommend this book, I’m saying someone else might like it. The reason why I wouldn’t recommend it is that there are male chauvinist comments about “girlish figures” that just made me gag. On top of that, there was a comment along the lines of “you’re not fat, you’re gorgeous,” and we all know why I think that is wrong. Some people are able to read stuff like that and not be bothered by it. I’m clearly not one of those people. Finally, because I’m old and bitter I must say that this novel needs some serious editing. There were so many grammar errors that you would’ve thought this was self-published.

Do you have any suggestions of YA summer books that I might like? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

***

(Español)

Hola y feliz miércoles. Mi nombre es Camila, tengo vientiséis años y la mayoría de libros que leo son acerca de adolescentes. Entre más leo estas novelas, más me convenzo de que estoy muy vieja para ellas. Ya sé todo acerca de los conflictos y no me soporto a la mayoría de ellos. Ya superé toda la suavidad y la falta de comunicación y el drama innecesario, y después de leer The Summer After You and Me bde Jennifer Salvato Doktorski tengo la sensación de que simplemente estoy muy vieja para leer libros de adultos jóvenes.

Leí esta novela entre el 5 de octubre y el 6 de octubre de 2019 y le di dos estrellas. Desde el comienzo, me dio la sensación de que la autora era una mujer mayor haciendo un gran esfuerzo por sonar como adolescente. Luego miré el perfil de la autora en Goodreads y confirmé mi sospecha. Los capítulos comienzan con una cita, lo que es interesante porque eso normalmente le da a los lectores una idea de qué va a pasar, ¿verdad? En este caso, sin embargo, las citas pertenecían a un ensayo escrito por la protagonista sobre los patrones de apareamiento de animales, que era muy raro.

Esta es una de esas histories que uno puede descifrar por complete leyendo la primera página, y yo sé que a veces quienes leemos necesitamos algo así, fácil, predecible, rápido. Si buscas diversidad en tus libros, mira en otra parts porque esto es lo más heterosexual y lo más blanco possible. Adicionalmente, si lo que quieres es una historia original, algo que nunca has leído antes, esto no lo es. Como dije, está lleno de clichés, es predecible y también es muy estereotípico. Digamos que la Aurora no asumió ningún riesgo con respect a esta trama.

El interés romántico se introduce en el primer párrafo, y no es difícil entender que él es un turista en el pueblo donde nuestra protagonista vive y que hubo algún tipo de historia ahí. Ahora, por “historia” quiero decir un beso y de pronto sexo aunque esto no see dice de manera explícita. Los dos personajes tienen un “momento” justo antes de una tormenta y luego fueron separados y no oyeron hablar del otro hasta el verano siguiente. Todos sabemos que esto de “no saber acerca del otro” significa que vamos a tener un problema de comunicación, y eso realmente no me gusta porque es tonto en esta época cuando tenemos tantos medios para estar en contacto. Tampoco me gusta la trama de juntarse con un ex, entonces ya ven por qué este libro definitivamente no era para mí.

Si esto no pudiera ser más cliché, la protagonista, que see llama Lucy (creo), tiene novio. Pero no se preocupen, ella le dice a todo el mundo que ella solamente lo ama como amigo y que no siente nada romántico hacia él. Igual, tenemos este triángulo amoroso tonto y totalmente innecesario. Como dije, tengo ventiséis años, he leído una buena cantidad de libros para jóvenes que son basura, y esta es la cereza en el pastel. Sin embargo, si eres un adolescente joven, si tienes quince años más o menos y apenas estás comenzando a leer libros para adults jóvenes, este libero te puede guitar. El único lado positive que veo es que es muy rápido de leer, entonces por lo menos no vas a tener que invertir mucho tiempo en él.

No estoy diciendo que recomendaría este libro, estoy diciendo que a alguien más podría gustarle. La razón por la que no lo recomendaría es que hay comentarios machistas sobre “figuras femeninas” que me hicieron querer vomitar. Encima de eso, hubo un comentario del tipo “no eres gorda, eres hermosa” y todos sabemos por qué yo creo que eso está mal. Algunas personas son capaces de leer algo así y no molestarse por eso. Yo claramente no soy una de esas personas. Finalmente, porque soy vieja y amargada debo decir que esta novela necesita un serio trabajo de edición. Hubo tantos errores gramaticales que alguien habría podido pensar que esto fue publicado independientmente.

¿Tienen sugerencias de libros para jóvenes que podrían gustarme? Cuéntenme en los comentarios.

¡Feliz lectura!

Con amor, Miss Camila

I’ve Been Dying to Tell You About This

I’ve Been Dying to Tell You About This

 

 

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 Wednesday. For some beautiful reason, the universe and my TBR list have conspired to have me read pretty much only LGBTQ* novels for a few weeks now. I think that’s awesome because for me there are still many people who are unaware of the amount of amazing YA stories that are out (no pun intended) and that feature a main character who is not straight. I also believe that part of my “job” as a book blogger is to raise awareness of all those beautiful stories that have yet to be discovered.

You know that I am always late to the party, so maybe No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace was a hit a few years ago and I totally missed it. I hope that was the case because I honestly don’t think I’d heard anyone talking about this book and I am not even sure how I found out about it. I’m glad that I did find it because after reading it between April 3rd and 4th, 2019, I gave it five stars.

One thing I loved about it was that it was told from multiple perspectives. Just by seeing the cover we can tell that there is some sort of hidden romance going on, and having the people involved tell their version makes the story more believable and it makes it richer. It also makes it seem more objective if that makes any sense because in a way we can confront what one character is saying by reading that same part of the story according to another character.

You know that I’m not really a fan of love triangles, but I had never read about one like this. Yes, I’ve read about triangles featuring two female characters and one male, but they are always about the two women “fighting” over the guy. This is an LGBTQ* story, so I guess you can figure out how this triangle works. (Hint: it involves a female-female romance). The main character’s love interest is also romantically involved with the main character’s brother, and just to clarify, yes, the main character is a woman. But we don’t get that sibling rivalry which I find annoying in YA because the main character and her brother are actually best friends. I know that this sounds like the biggest, most obnoxious trope of all, but the author had a way of twisting everything and make it healthy and positive, which sadly is rare for YA. Oh, there’s also hate-to-love, but again, it’s super sweet.

My only con is that there were some editing issues. I’m not sure what I meant by that when I wrote it down because it’s been a while, but it doesn’t affect the story or make it any less powerful, so there’s that. If you have any recommendations for LGBTQ* books that you find underrated, tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Mediocre

Mediocre

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 Wednesday. Yes, I’m super witty, so of course, I had to reference the title of the book I’m reviewing (and ranting about) today. Sadly, it didn’t live up to the expectation, and if I do say so myself, it wasn’t even close to what I was anticipating. I am talking about Great by Sara Benincasa.

I read this book between April 5th and April 7th, 2019 and gave it two stars. Like I said, my expectations before reading this novel were high because this is a retelling of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I love retellings and really enjoyed the original novel, especially because it was super extravagant.

There is one redeeming quality to Great, and it’s the relationship the main character/narrator/ Nick Carraway has with her father. I don’t think we see enough good parent-children relationships in Young Adult, and it was interesting to read about a daughter who doesn’t hate or resent her father.

I think the author was trying way too hard, and she totally didn’t need to. For one, this story features an LGBTQ* romance, which clearly deviates from the original story. I am all for representation and diversity in fiction, but not when there is an obvious hidden intention. To me, making the main romance a lesbian one wasn’t anything more than an attempt of a rebellious gesture that didn’t really pull through. I mean, yes, two females become a couple, but they are both white, as well as all the other characters in the story, so it’s not even an accurate representation of diversity. Also, I could write an entire essay about how the fact that a homosexual relationship does not necessarily imply that the members of the couple are both homosexual, but I won’t because I really don’t want to make this too long.

So, yes, the story just felt forced because it was trying very hard to emulate The Great Gatsby. Now, before you roll your eyes at me and tell me that was the whole point of the novel, I think it is important to understand that a retelling is still an independent story. What I mean by this is that the author might take elements from the original novel and put them into their own, but they also need to add new elements because that is where the success of the retelling lies.

The author might have had a good idea, to begin with, but it was not well-executed. I felt like I was reading a young adult novel written by a much older person, who was still stuck in the ’70s or something. Actually, had this novel been set in the ’70s, it would have worked way better than it did. I just pictured the narrator as Vivian from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt reminiscing about her youth instead of a teenager talking about her summer.

Honestly, if you’re torn between reading this or The Great Gatsby, I’d go for the original novel. It was a way easier, faster, and more enjoyable read altogether; and if the LGBTQ* aspect of the story was what drew you to Great, I am sure you can find something better out there. This really isn’t worth your time.

Have you read any retellings that you really liked? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Yes Please!

Yes Please!

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 Wednesday. I am super happy to be reading novels that focus on LGBTQ* topics again. I guess re-inventing my TBR list worked because I am now back to reading more of what I like instead of what I feel that I have to read.

A book I really enjoyed and I think you will too is One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva. I read this between March 25th and March 28th, 2019 and gave it a four-star rating.

Like I said, there’s LGBTQ* representation, but this is not the only reason why I thought this book was awesome. The main character is Armenian-American, and I had not seen that in any YA novel I’d read. This is a novel about identity and understanding what makes you who you are. I love that it’s beyond the typical “coming out” story that some YA authors serve us. I also appreciate that nothing extraordinary happens, it’s just a novel about life, but those are the books I prefer.

I also have good news related to this book. There’s a sequel coming up, so we’ll get more of Alek and Ethan. I requested it on NetGalley, and I hope to get it. If not, it might take me a while to read and review this book, but if I remember to do so, I will.

What sequel are you very excited about? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Dark Places Review (pt. 2)

Dark Places Review (pt. 2)

Hello and happy Wednesday. Last week I started talking about Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, but I did something I almost never do, which was post a review about the book before I’d finished reading it. I did that for the #BookReviewBlogChallenge, which I’m a part of and which has been really fun. Now that I’ve finished the book, I’ll give you another part of my review. I will try to avoid saying what I already did in the first one, so if you want to read about my initial thoughts on the book, click here

I finished reading this book on May 9th, 2020 and settled on a three-star rating. I feel like my new readers/followers are probably thinking that three stars is my go-to rating, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I have partaken in so many challenges over the years that my TBR is now a mess of books that are not really my type but that I read nonetheless because “what if.” Dark Places specifically caught my eye because it was written by Gillian Flynn and I wanted to compare my experience reading both books. In terms of enjoyment, the winner is Dark Places all the way, but there were still some elements that I considered weighed enough when it came to give it a higher rating. 

A quick reminder about the plot: the main character, Libby Day, was a witness to the murder of her older sisters and her mom when she was seven years old, and her testimony got her brother Ben in jail for life because of the murders. Now twenty-five years later, Libby is broke and in order to get money she starts helping this group of people who call themselves the Kill Club and who are obsessed with trying to solve the case because they believe Ben was innocent. The novel alternates between her perspective in the present as well as Ben’s and Patty’s, the mom’s, the day before the murders. We can actually read about the events leading up to the murders and I thought that was an added bonus because mystery/thrillers always tell us about what happened but years after it happened. Here, we are living it with the characters. 

Again, trigger warning for basically everything. I am serious when I say reading this while you are in a vulnerable or unstable state of mind could really mess you up. If you really want to read this book, wait a few months or years until you feel strong enough because otherwise it won’t be an enjoyable experience whatsoever. At first I thought that Libby sounded exactly like Amy from Gone Girl and I was disappointed. I mean, yes, Amy is a brilliant character, but I didn’t want to read about her over again. Fortunately, there was room to grow for Libby and I actually sympathized with her and rooted for her throughout the story. 

I know how you can think that the alternating timelines and perspectives might seem confusing, but it wasn’t, for different reasons. The first one is that Gillian Flynn is very organized with the structure of the story. Nothing is random or haphazard; everything is calculated, so we always got the same order: Libby, Patty, Libby, Ben. The chapters about Patty and Ben also indicated the time it was so there was that chronology to the whole thing. The story from Libby’s perspective takes place in a short time. I don’t think she indicates how much time passes between the beginning and the ending of the book, but it felt like no more than a few weeks. There’s also the fact that I read this book in five days because I was hooked, so my suggestion would be to read it at a time when you know you won’t be interrupted a lot so that nothing gets lost or forgotten. 

If you’ve been around, you know that my absolute favorite mystery/thriller/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and that, although I have read my fair share of books in this genre, nothing had come close. Well, Dark Places does. And I think, in a way, Gone Girl does too, and now that we’re in it, You by Caroline Kepnes does as well, although I’ll be talking about that one in a different post. What all those books have in common are unreliable narrators, and I don’t mean a depressed woman or an alcoholic woman (it’s almost always a woman). What I mean is that you cannot believe anything or anybody at pretty much any time of the plot. You doubt every single thing. You even think for a moment that the main character, the person who is supposed to be solving the crime, might have been the one who committed the crime in the first place. 

Now, this sounds like a review I’d given a higher rating, no? Where are the elements I didn’t like? Well, glad you ask because they’re right here. I think I touched on this in my initial review, and it was that Ben was thought to have committed the murders because he was part of a devil-worshipping cult or something like that. Well, as much as I love reading about cults, I didn’t like how that whole devil thing was explored. In my opinion it eas overdone, and in the end, the plot would’ve been exactly the same without that. I understand that the murders happened at a time when that was all the rage, but still, it could have been mentioned a few times, but not seriously considered an important part of the story, in my opinion. 

Another thing I discovered I wasn’t really into was all the gore. The murders were pretty brutal, each done in a different way, and that itself was pretty gross to read about. What I’m really talking about is a scene that involves animal brutality, and yes, I’m one of those people who can stand (to a certain degree) reading about (fictional) brutality against humans but not animals. To me, it was too much, even for Gillian Flynn, and it ties with this other opinion of mine, which was that we got 500 pages of buildup and then no more than ten pages about what actually happened. I would’ve been fine with only the buildup, but if you’re going to tell us what happen, Gillian, you can expand a tad on that, you know? Give us at least fifty pages. Reading about everything happening so quickly and so suddenly was confusing to me and anticlimactic. 

The end, in general, was a bit cheesy and rushed. Don’t get me wrong, I did cry at one part, but it was like the author had lost interest in the story altogether when she reached the 500-page mark and then did whatever she wanted to end the book. There are a few plot twists and I think they were done in a brilliant way, in which you as a reader kind of start discovering things alongside the characters, but you’re still surprised when they happened. Two particular plot twists, though, were maybe overdone. The twists were good, but then the author tried to establish these connections with other stuff that, again, weren’t really necessary and made the story seem like a cheesy detective novel, like “it was all part of this scheme.” No, that wasn’t necessary. 

Wow, I wrote an essay. How do you like your mystery/thrillers? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy reading! 

Love, Miss Camila 

 

NetGalley Reads: The Light Fantastic

NetGalley Reads: The Light Fantastic

NETFLIX TALK_.png

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

 

It Was Neither Thrilling Nor Mysterious

It Was Neither Thrilling Nor Mysterious

Hello and happy Wednesday. Some of you might wonder why I keep reading mystery/thriller novels when most haven’t gotten more than three stars and the reason is, I really want to find what I like within that genre. Judging by today’s title, we know that All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda wasn’t it.

I read this book between April 7th and April 10th, 2020 and gave it two stars. I knew I was going to give it a bad rating since the very first page because it was consistently bad. The first problem I had was that it started in the middle of a scene, which I know is common for mystery/thrillers but in this case, we get stuff explained almost as an afterthought, or at least that’s how I felt. 

Nicolette, the main character, gets a call from her brother and because of it decides to go to her hometown. Now, the reason we are told that she’s going is to have her dad sign some papers to be able to sell the house where they all used to live. Oh, and by the way, the dad apparently has dementia. I did not like the fact that dementia was used as a plot device, and I knew the moment I read about it that it was going to be used as such because it makes the character unreliable, right? That was lazy, in my opinion. 

So we said that Nic goes back to her hometown, and she keeps saying she’ll stay only for a few days, but she literally packed the contents of her entire apartment in her car before leaving. I overpack whenever I go on a trip, but I’m not going to pack my nightstand if I’m planning to stay only for a few days somewhere. That was one of the several plotholes I found in this story, which generally shouldn’t occur but even less if you’re reading to find out how a mystery happened, or who did it, or how it was solved. 

I don’t like “easy” mysteries. I don’t like when the main character finds out key information within the first minutes of talking to someone, and that happened in this book. The secret item she needed in order to advance with her “investigation” was found by chance in a drawer…on her first try. Okay. Oh, I haven’t told you what the mystery is about, right? So, Nicolette’s best friend had disappeared ten years earlier, which is why she decided to leave her town, and now that she’s back, another girl has disappeared. See, I told you it was lazy. 

Do you have any recommendations for mysteries that are actually mysterious? 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 

All the Coziness

All the Coziness

Hello and happy Wednesday. Today is time to review a book I took my sweet time reading but that I thoroughly enjoyed and I hoped that you do too. You see, I’ve discovered that I love stories that have to do with Old Hollywood, and when I say this I don’t mean I like the old movies but rather I like to read stories about the actors and their lives. If this is something you enjoy too then you’ll love All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani. 

I read this book between March 28th and April 7th, 2020 and gave it four stars. I’m never sure what genre to place stories like this in, but I would say it’s either literary fiction or historical fiction, with the added component that it is the novelization of true events. This novel follows the life of actress Loretta Young and her friendship with Alda Ducci, her secretary. 

Now, I used Wikipedia a lot while reading this book because I wanted to corroborate some facts, but I wasn’t really obsessed with knowing how accurate the novel is when it comes to how events truly unfolded. I say this because I know some people care more about the accuracy of the information provided than the actual novel. This is something you should look into more in-depth because, like I said, I cared about the novel as that, not as a true account of anything. For example, I am pretty sure the figure of the secretary was fictitious and so was her storyline, but I loved it nonetheless. 

We follow Loretta Young from her early 20s to her late 50s, and the story mostly focuses on her relationship with Clark Gable, which started in the set of The Call of the Wild. Again, I am more interested in reading about how the movie was filmed than I am about watching the actual movie, but I know that’s not everyone’s opinion. 

When I say this is a cozy story, I mean that it wasn’t something I wanted to binge read and be done with over a couple of days. I took my sweet time and enjoyed every page. I think this would be a great read for this time in which many people (myself included) are at home trying to find activities to do. I think this will keep you entertained for a week or so, and it has the advantage of being one of those books that many people will like regardless of the genre they usually read. 

What are you doing to help you pass the time at home? Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila 

 

All the Tropes

All the Tropes

Hello and happy Wednesday. A few years ago, when I started blogging, I made a list of all the YA books that were hot at the time. I am still going over that list, which has proven very interesting because I can clearly see how something could have been acceptable in 2015 but is a total no-no in 2020. There are even some tropes that could have been super original years ago but that are totally overdone right now. That’s exactly what happened with All the Feels by Danika Stone.

I read this book between March 20th and March 23rd, 2020 and gave it three stars. The story revolves around a fictional fandom, and I know that’s one of those themes that YA readers either hate or love. Considering that I do not belong to any fandoms, I am not as passionate about the subject as other readers could be, but I still think that authors can either make or break a book with the choices they make involving fandom culture. 

Something that didn’t sit well with me right from the start was that the book was narrated in the third person. I don’t like that in young adult books. To me, that automatically puts a distance between me and the characters. The redeeming quality was that the book contained inserts of texts, conversations held in forums and even pictures. I think that the “interactive” aspect made the story more fun and realistic, and I would’ve liked to read this as an ebook to see if the pictures came in colors. 

From what I read about the author, Danika Stone usually writes adult books, or she did when this book was published, so that might explain why the characters sometimes sound too old for their age, and some others they sound super young. Liv is a freshman in college, so rather than YA I’d say this book falls into the “new adult” age range. Then again, let’s consider that it was published in 2016 when this category was not as defined as it is now. 

I don’t think the author knew a lot about fandom culture other than what she researched. What I mean is that the whole conversation about the fandom Liv belonged to didn’t seem very authentic. It didn’t seem like the author was writing about her personal experience or something she knew first hand. Also, the jokes and comments were super dated, and I’m not talking 2016 dated but more like the early 2000s. 

Almost right from the start, I could predict what was going to happen in this story, and I get that it’s not the author’s fault but something you kind of expect in YA romances, right? You’re not reading a romance to know what happens but rather how it happens. In this book, I didn’t really care for the “how” either. Liv is a huge fan of this movie series, but when it ends abruptly with the main character dying she is heartbroken, so she decides to recruit Xander, her best friend, who (conveniently) is an actor to start a “revolution” among the fandom and get the attention of the movie producers. We all know what’s going to happen next. 

I’m not going to talk much about this because I will expand in another post, but oh, the romance was just horrible. Like I said, this book was tropey, but the tropes it included weren’t even the ones I liked. For example, towards the end, and I’m saying literally in the last chapter, there is an issue that stems from miscommunication. Seriously? Ugh. That being said, there was nothing I passionately disliked about this book, as there wasn’t anything I passionately liked. That’s why I ended up giving it a middle-of-the-road rating. 

What is a trope that was super popular in books five years ago and that no longer stands the test of time? Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy reading! 

Love, Miss Camila