Oh My John Green

Oh My John Green

100th (1).pngHello and happy Wednesday. Today I’m reviewing a game-changer. Honestly, if you haven’t read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, you should, now. This post can wait. I read this book between March 10th and March 14th, 2019 and I wish I would have read it when I was way younger. I could have used some words of wisdom. I gave it a five-star rating, but I have the feeling you already knew that.

I’ll keep this review short and sweet and I’ll let you decide what you think of this novel on your own. Personally, I just adore books that are divided into shorter sections, not necessarily chapters, but you know, smaller parts. To me, that’s what keeps me wanting to read more, especially if the narration goes back and forth in time like in this book.

There are footnotes throughout this novel and I find them absolutely hilarious. I understand why some people will find them annoying, but keep in mind that this is John Green we’re talking about, and he won’t make anything annoying or boring. If you really hate them, you could skip them, but you’d be missing out.

One thing that I love about all the John Green books I’ve read, including Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which he wrote in collaboration with David Levithan, is that his main characters are always huge nerds.  I haven’t read all of John Green’s novels, and I know that the two books I have yet to read might not have a super nerdy main character, but still. I also love that there’s a road trip because you know that’s one of the things that draw me to books.

Wow, so much for “short and sweet.” In the comments below I’d like you to tell me what is your favorite John Green book and why. If you don’t like me, also tell me why is that.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

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NetGalley Reads: Under the Dusty Moon

NetGalley Reads: Under the Dusty Moon

 

Hello and happy Friday. Today I tripled my moving goal according to my Apple Watch, and it shows because I am very close to falling asleep as I type. And yes, I’ve already taken a nap on the bus because being a teacher is tough, especially on a Friday. It was also very tough to read Under the Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland, which was provided to me in exchange for a review, so I’d like to thank NetGalley, the author, and the publisher. Let’s get started, shall we?

I read this book between August 3rd and August 8th, 2019 and gave it one star. It’s one of those books that misled me at first and made me think it was a middle grade when it totally wasn’t. Maybe it was the cutesy cover or the title, which to me suggested like a camping adventure among friends or something, or maybe it was the completely juvenile tone the main character had. Anyway, don’t get confused, this is a YA novel and there are mentions of sex and drug consumption. I’m not against the former, but the latter was unnecessary.

Pretty early into the novel, we are introduced to the main character’s mom, who used to be in a famous Canadian band years ago and is now a solo artist. You’d think, like I did, that the novel will revolve around the main character’s relationship with her mom (if I keep saying “the main character” is because I can’t remember her name), but it’s just one of those slice-of-life type of novels in which we just follow a character around for a while. In this novel, we suffer through her issues with her mom, the lamest romantic relationship in the history of trashy YA, and her adventures as an amateur videogame developer. I’m making it sound way cooler than it is.

I think the author had many chances to salvage this story, and she just ignored them. We’ve all read this story before because it’s full of tropes, and on top of that, it’s poorly written. There was no originality whatsoever, no wow factor, and that made the novel pretty boring. The main character, for example, was written to be relatable because, of course, all teenage girls have issues with their moms, but to me, she was pretty much the opposite. She was overly whiny and, honestly, most of the times she hated on her mom for absolutely no reason. We need more healthy relationships portrayed in YA, not the opposite.

The reason why I gave this one star and not two was a “joke” about child abuse made after the mom pokes her daughter or something. No, just don’t. Additionally, there is a comment about how one of the characters’ house is in a nicer neighborhood because the main character lives in a place where there are immigrants. The child abuse “joke” was plain stupid, but the comment about a neighborhood not being “one of the good ones” because immigrants lived there is simply unacceptable.

Do you know of any novels, YA or middle grade, that portray healthy relationships between parents and children? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Your Yearly Dose of Levithan

Your Yearly Dose of Levithan

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Hello and happy Wednesday. If you’ve been here around, then you know that I absolutely adore David Levithan and that throughout the years I’ve read my fair share of his works. I especially admire his originality and his way of making every story unique. The Realm of Possibility, which is the latest book I’ve read by him, doesn’t disappoint.

The stakes were clearly high because as I mentioned, I love this author and I have been reading his books for almost five years now. I have literally grown up with them, although I haven’t really matured much in these years. This book is super short, only a little over two hundred pages and it is written in verse, so I think it would be perfect for someone who is still in the process of getting into reading, or for someone who wants a quick read. This will definitely help to get you out of a reading slump.

David Levithan’s stories usually have a heavy LGBTQ* component, I think that’s his staple, and he does it really well. Along with Nina LaCour, I believe he is the best author I’ve read when it comes to LGBTQ* representation.

The Realm of Possibility is divided into sections, and each section has a set of poems from different characters, so each individual poem tells a story. All the characters attend the same high school, so we’re really being told parts of one big story. I think this is a super complex task that can easily go wrong, but the author did an amazing job of giving each character their own voice and style; each poem is unique.

There are descriptions of what seems to be an eating disorder. This is only present in two of the poems, so if you really want to read this book but are sensitive to this issue, maybe ask someone to read it before you do and tell you which poems are so that you can skip them. You won’t be missing out on key pieces of information.

What is a YA author that you have loved for years? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

This Is What I Needed

This Is What I Needed

 

Hello and happy Wednesday. I am a firm believer that books find us when we need them the most, and I could confirm that when I read Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick. This book will change your life, and if you feel like it doesn’t, then you need therapy. Even if it does, therapy is awesome and you should see a mental health professional at least once in your lifetime.

I’d already read The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick, so it’s safe to say that my expectations were super high. He’s got this style, that reminds me of Jonathan Safran Foer and that gets to me every single time. Spoiler alert: this wasn’t the exception.

I love that the author’s style is incredibly simple but captivating, and full of deeper, sadder undertones. I think that you need to have been through some sh*t in life to really get this book. The chapters are short, which I highly appreciate. This is clearly a psychological thing, but when the chapters are short, I can read the book faster.

From the beginning, we know that this is not your regular YA/coming-of-age story. I mean, the main character’s only friend at school seems to be her English teacher, and I think we can anticipate that this friendship might not end up in an ideal way. She reminds me of myself because when I was younger, way younger than the main character but still, I was a loner.

Nanette, the main character, becomes obsessed with this book her teacher gives her, and I can relate because there is this one book I have read four times already and it was like a bible to me. She meets the author of her bible and asks him for answers, which is something I should do too since I know the author of the book I’m obsessed with.

Every Exquisite Thing is definitely a must for me. It has made me question things about my life, and if it has that power for someone who is 25 years old, just imagine the wonders it will do for someone younger. I also love what it has to say about those friendships that kids establish with adults, in which the latter become the guides of the former. There is romance, as well, but it is not the main focus of the plot, and it is not your typical YA romance.

I also love the fact that we get inserts of poems in this story, as well as pages from the book Nanette reads and is obsessed with. I am a sucker for books that include different formats within the narration. I’m also a fan of plots that involve a quest, and this story has that. If you liked The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne, then you’ll love this book.

What is the book that has changed your life and why? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Help Me Title This Review

Help Me Title This Review

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Hello and happy Wednesday. Even though I diligently wrote notes on The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand, I feel like I don’t have the words to describe it in a single sentence that will attract people to read this review. I just don’t feel it’s that kind of book, you know? I certainly don’t think it’s meant for entertainment purposes, and it’s also not for everybody, but if you do read it, it’s going to impact you in ways you probably weren’t expecting.  I read this book from March 16th to March 25th, 2019.

Before you even consider reading this book, keep in mind that it revolves around the suicide of the main character’s brother, which is, again, why I say this book is not for everybody. And even if suicide is not a triggering topic for you, I would make sure to be emotionally ready, in the sense that I think to endure this book one has to be strong enough. I know this would have completely destroyed me a few months ago because I could relate to the main character and the way she was dealing with trauma, even though I have never undergone a situation as painful as what she was experiencing.

We follow the main character who, after her brother commits suicide, starts going to therapy, and her therapist suggests that she writes a journal/diary. We get to read excerpts from said journal, which I think added a lot to the story because it would let us see another aspect of both the main character and her brother. My younger sister is my baby, so the bits where the relationship between the two siblings is described really got to me.

You have to understand what the main character is going through because she reacts to her trauma by coming off as dry, and definitely not “likable.” If you don’t enjoy novels like this one or flawed characters, then I suggest you pick up something else because I don’t think you’ll get the point of this book. You’ll also end up drained, and that’s something you must anticipate when thinking about picking this book up.

I cry a lot for many different reasons, and though there were several parts that made me tear up, I only straight up bawled once, at the very end. For me, the story should have ended about halfway through the actual book, you know? I think there were some bits that just dragged, and some events that were included for dramatic effect but that to me only made the story lose its main focus. I was going to give this book three stars, but as I said, the ending was the redeeming quality, and it was honestly what made me give it four stars.

Do you know of any other book that in your opinion deals with mental illness in an accurate, respectful way? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Another Cookie-Cutter YA

Another Cookie-Cutter YA

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Hello and happy Wednesday. When I read the title The Night We Said Yes and saw the cover image, I thought I was going to be presented with something similar to How to Get Away With Murder, you know? Like, what did those four friends say yes to? Why are they all standing in what looks like the middle of the beach, or a deserted football field? And then I read the actual novel by Lauren Gibaldi and was very disappointed.

You know that once a book has let me down, I will find other flaws in it, and since I discovered that this was a teenage love story instead of a college murder mystery, well, let’s just say that I kept my eyes peeled for things that annoyed me. Now, I’m going to be totally hypocritical here and say that the main character was super negative. She does mention having being hurt in the past, which explains why she’s so bitter, but still.

A redeeming quality of this novel is the fact that it is a summer read, and we all know that those are my favorite books and the ones I read the fastest. I also appreciated that there was a gay character, only to find out that he was in the story as a filler and that wasn’t even present for 90% of the plot. Seriously, what was the author’s goal with that? To say that there is representation because out of all her (white) characters, one is gay? Technically there are two gay characters, but we are never introduced to one of them, we just learn from him because the other characters in the book talk about him.

Something that annoys me big time is when I can predict the plot of a book. Remember how I mentioned that the main character was bitter because she’d been hurt? Well, she’d been hurt by this Matt guy, and he’s mentioned earlier on in the novel. Also, I know he’s important because there is a companion novella titled Matt’s Story. The plot twists, right?

I really enjoyed the flashbacks and flash-forwards, and I really appreciated the fact that what happened in the past was narrated in the past tense. I think this was a clever choice by the author to give us a hint as to where we were standing in the story. It’s also one of those plots that take place on a single night, which I’m undecided about.

Like I said at the beginning, I thought there was going to be some depth to this novel, and that it was going to be more serious. At some point, it even gave me vibes similar to How to Love by Katie Cotugno or Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover. But no, there’s no depth to this book. It’s literally a novel about teenage drama. I didn’t appreciate the shallowness one bit.

Have you read any YA novels lately? Were they any good? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

I’m Too Cynical for This Sh*t

I’m Too Cynical for This Sh*t

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

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Hello and happy Wednesday. Are you excited that there’s actually going to be a review today? Me too, although I’m also a bit nervous because I’m sure today’s post is going to be full of unpopular opinions. A few weeks ago, I read Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith, and let’s just say, a lot has changed since I was the girl who raved about her fluffy, super romantic novels. Let’s get started, shall we?

I started this book while I was on vacation, and I was on a reading slump, so I actually hoped that this fluffy, cute, and let’s be honest, quick and easy read would get me out of it. I think in a way I underestimated this story, and I sort of forgot that Jen E. Smiths’s novels often have some depth in them, and they deal with family issues, not just romance. To me, that’s why I was so surprised at how original the beginning was because I’d never read a story that started with someone buying a lottery ticket. Another thing I appreciated was the fact that the chapters were short, especially because this book is borderline big in my opinion, with a little over four hundred pages.

Something else I liked about this book, and then again, it’s something I’d underestimated in Jennifer E. Smith’s books, is the fact that she doesn’t leave loose ends or is unnecessarily mysterious. She just tells things as they are without adding drama. I’m talking about when she introduced Alice’s cousin. There weren’t any awkward scenes that had the readers wondering who he was or anything like that, which happens more often than not in YA novels. I’ve read my fair share of Jen E. Smith’s books, but I think this is the first in which the main character is in love with her best friend.

Now that we’ve said all the good, let’s start with the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with the love triangle, okay? That’s something I have no passionate feelings about. I think sometimes love triangles are great and they add drama and they make me change my mind a thousand times, and sometimes I feel like they didn’t even need to exist in the first place. This is probably going to be a spoiler, so if you don’t want to read it, just leave for now and come back when you’ve finished the book. I won’t get mad, I promise. So anyway, this book has a love triangle, right? And it’s your typical love triangle including this guy who’s a complete dickhead and who only realizes he’s going to lose the girl he loves to this amazing, genuine guy who actually makes the girl happy. Guess who the girl picks. Ugh.

After that, it all went to shit for me because I was already upset that I knew how this book was going to end up and there was nothing I could do but keep reading and rant in here. I was so mad, that I caught a gem, the “breath I didn’t know I was holding” gem. Yes, even queens like Jen E. Smith, fall for that one. And while we’re at it, what’s with the editing issues, Jen? Besides that being super annoying for me, I found it uncommon for a book written by this author.

Before we finished this very weird review I must admit that, yes, I cried a few times here and there. That’s probably the “ugly” part of this review because I’m pretty sure I resemble Kim Kardashian when I cry. Now, time for the important question. There are three Jennifer E. Smith novels that I haven’t read. I don’t know what they’re about, and if I’m completely honest, I don’t think I even have them in my wishlist. However, it’s up to you. Should I read these three novels? Or one or two of them? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila