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

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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

To All the Fluff I’ve Loved Before

To All the Fluff I’ve Loved Before

Hello and happy Wednesday. Number one, please dear teenagers who love Noah Centineo don’t come at me after reading this post because I was reading this series when you still thought boys were dumb, and number two, isn’t this title genius? Today I’m going to share with you my (probably very controversial) thoughts on Always and Forever, Lara Jean, which is the last book in the To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before series written by Jenny Han.

Right when I started reading this book, I felt like I was reconnecting with an old crush. I mean, I’d read the second book of the series a long while ago and kinda didn’t like it, but I also was expecting to see what happened in this one. I obviously already knew what was going to happen at the end, but I wanted to know how that happened. So, basically, like with an old crush, I felt that the spark was kind of still there, but trying to pick up where we’d left off was awkward.

I guess now I understand more that feeling, and it’s simply that I outgrew the book. I mean yes, I was like twenty or so when I read To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before, but beyond age, I’ve kind of grown cynical when it comes to such fluffy romance-filled stories. I’m still down for some love in my novels, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not into the rose-tinted, cotton candy world where Lara Jean appears to live. And as sad as I am to say this, I think Peter Kavinsky’s character also got sort of “contaminated” by this fluff. I felt that, yes, I still loved him (like I still do most of my all crushes. No I don’t, I’m just kidding. Honestly.) but that he was just too loving and too caring and too perfect. And that’s fake. That made the conversations between him and Lara Jean just unnatural and scripted, like really the author wasn’t even trying anymore.

So yeah, I was totally disenchanted by this book. If we’re going to continue with the boy analogies, it was like that moment when I realized I no longer had a crush on a guy and all the stuff he did that I thought was cute became annoying. And I really had to make an effort at some point to continue reading, just for all times’ sake and in a way, just to “get it over with” already, but I’m telling you, it was hard. At times I found myself super bored wanting to read something, and I’d see that book and think “please, anything but this.”

One of the things that I maybe was more accepting of in the past but that I couldn’t stand this time was how Lara Jean referred to her mom and dad as “Mommy” and “Daddy.” You’re eighteen years old, woman! Grow up. Call them whatever you want but don’t refer to them like that. Please. And, on that note, I hated how childish she was, and how mean she acted towards Peter sometimes. You’re not in kindergarten, sweetie, you’re a senior in high school.

Also, Miss Han, and this is a favor I ask you on behalf of all the non-American readers you have out there. Please stop referencing Hamilton every two lines. You might get it, but we don’t, and we don’t have the time or energy to google them. Stick to something global, like Harry Potter.

Did you read this book or are you planning to? If/when you do, share your thoughts on it in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

21 Mini Reviews

21 Mini Reviews

Hello and happy Wednesday. I recently read 21 Proms and I was over the moon. Seriously, the fact that so many awesome authors collaborated in this book made me feel like going to a reunion party with a bunch of my old friends. Now because each of the 21 stories was written by a different author, I only think it’s fair to dedicate a little time to each, so that’s what we’re doing today. It’s going to be a long post, so be sure to grab some snacks and water and to get really comfy. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

 

You Are a Prom Queen, Dance Dance Dance by Elizabeth Craft 

I feel that the main character of this story was way too harsh, and I got the feeling that were she a real person, she’d hate me and everything I stand for. I honestly could relate more to her best friend and how she was obsessing over a guy who’s not her prom date. Yep, that was me. Also yes, as an afterthought, I’m pretty sure the hating would be mutual. I didn’t think this story was a good opener to the book.

All She Wants by Cecily von Ziegesar 

Oh, I so related to Brooke and her private-school life. Yes, I was that Catholic all-girls school girl. I fell in love with that story almost immediately and from the start I knew it was going to be super cute. Like, honestly, I only have fluffy adjectives to describe this story. It was so nice, and I loved the Molly Ringwald references and Brooke’s innocence. This should’ve been the opening story.

In Vodka Veritas by Holly Black 

This is not your “typical” prom story, okay? I could relate to the main character’s fear of prom approaching and not having a date. Again, been there. If you’ve read Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins, then you probably thought that the prom resembled the Cotillion scene. I totally thought that, and still, I also thought it was oddly cute for some reason.

Your Big Night by Sarah Mlynowski 

I was into this story from the start because I absolutely adore second person narration and I know it’s not something easy to pull off. I was all for the text-message inserts. You know I love that kind of stuff, and I think this story had many great elements. Sure, I could relate to Drew overthinking everything, and not just strictly prom stuff. The only bit I didn’t like was the whole not eating/dieting. You know I find this problematic and honestly the story could’ve done without that bit.

Off Like a Prom Dress by Billy Merrell 

I don’t have much to say about this one because it really was super short. It’s written in verse, and it’s a cute little thing.

“Mom called, she says you have to go to prom” by Adrienne Maria Vrettos 

This is one of those stories I couldn’t believe it wasn’t like a complete novel because I felt that there was so much in it. The main character is allergic to cats, just like I am, and I always like it when I can relate to what I’m reading. This story is really deep in terms of the main character’s family situation, as well as her own. There are issues regarding a dysfunctional family and a character with a mild cognitive disability, so it clearly goes beyond just “prom.”

Better Be Good to Me by Daniel Ehrenhaft 

I love the fact that this author sort of twisted the rules and actually had the dad tell the story of his own prom. I loved the formatting of the stories, with the subheadings, which may or may not have been song titles, and then an insert of a letter (yes, a full letter). Again, I felt like I was reading a whole novel. This was probably my favorite story of the book, and I will definitely be looking up this author in the future.

Three Fates by Aimee Friedman

Again, I totally relate with the whole not having a prom date issue. I also asked a guy and got rejected, and then found out he was going to prom with another girl, so, yes, that happens. All in all this was a cute story. Super improbable, but still cute.

The Question: A Play in One Act by Brent Hartinger 

Yes, this is a play, which is cool because it means a change in the format in which most of these stories were written. I really liked the fact that the main character was a guy because there’s a clear majority of female main characters. This is a very angsty piece, full of tension and anticipation. Prom is one of the themes, but is not like what they whole thing is about, which was pretty cool.

Shutter by Will Leitch 

This story is told from the main character’s dad’s perspective, but it’s actually about the main character’s prom. There is family drama involved, which makes this story way deeper than the other “typical” prom ones. It was good, kind of heartbreaking, really.

Geechee Girs Dancin’ by Jacqueline Woodson 

This story takes place in the 50’s and is written in a way that for me is odd. I know it’s like a jargon of the time or something, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, English is not my first language and sometimes that shows when I’m reading a certain kind of story. I don’t think I really “got” this story, and I think it has to do with the language barrier.

How I Wrote to Toby by E. Lockhart 

I really loved the format of this story because it’s actually a countdown to prom, so in a way it’s kind of like a diary with each day’s headings. I could relate to this story in the sense that I know what it feels like to pretend that everything is okay in your life when in reality your family is going through major shit. I know, and it’s horrible. This story is truly heartbreaking and it really got to me.

A Six-Pack of Bud, a Fifth of Whiskey, and Me by Melissa de la Cruz 

I don’t have much to say about this story either. It’s autobiographic, and I thought it was super cute. It also made me want to share my prom with you, so check out Throwback Thursday.

Primate the Prom by Libba Bray 

This was a very odd read because I thought the main character referred to his boyfriend as the “gorilla” because he was big and tall. Well, not really. This was the story of a guy who actually dated a gorilla. It did give me Will Grayson + Tiny Cooper vibes, and I think the whole gorilla thing was a metaphor.

Apology #1 by Ned Vizzini 

I got the feeling that this story was also autobiographic, and it’s actually pretty cool because it’s the guy explaining why he stood up a girl. I don’t know, I really like it when we get both sides of a story.

See Me by Lisa Ann Sandell 

I really liked that the main character of this story was an “invisible girl” because I think that was necessary. What I didn’t like was that this girl was just sitting around, waiting to be asked. Sorry, that’s not how we do things in 2018.

Prom for Fat Girls by Rachel Cohn 

Literally the only note I took was “judging by the title, I’m sure this story will at least be interesting.” It was okay, but not outstanding.

Chicken by Jodi Lynn Anderson 

This story kind of reminded me of the week I spent in rural Maine because everything seems so…well, rural. It’s about unrequited love and going to prom as buddies, which weirdly enough, is a topic that is not really explored much in this book.

The Backup Date by Leslie Margolis 

I thought this was your typical “rich people” prom story. The hidden romance factor, though, was what really made it interesting.

Lost Sometimes by David Levithan 

My hopes were up in the sky for this story because I hadn’t read anything by David Levithan in a while. It was alright but it wasn’t the best, and honestly I was sort of disappointed.

The Great American Morp by John Green 

I think closing with a John Green story was absolutely genius. I simply LOVE his writing style and I was super hooked with this particular story. I know a girl just like Maggie, the main character, and she would’ve totally thrown a morp with her best friend. Although, okay, Maggie had way better luck than the girl I know.

We’ve come to the end and if you’ve made it this far, then treat yourself to an ice cream because you rock. In the comments below, let me know which of these authors I listed is your favorite and why.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

I Don’t Know Why I’m Disappointed

I Don’t Know Why I’m Disappointed

Hello and happy Wednesday. I gave Jay Asher another chance by reading What Light, and yes, as the title indicates, I was disappointed. It was partly my fault, though, because this is a Christmas novel and I decided to read it in the summer, so clearly the mood and the vibe weren’t there. Of course, there’s more I have to say about this novel, so just keep reading this post. Let’s get started, shall we?

We all know what I thought about Thirteen Reasons Why, so it’s no surprise that my expectations towards this book and the author in general were pretty low. It wasn’t that I was determined to hate this novel, but I also kind of knew that I wasn’t going to love it. Again, the fact that I read this novel in June and it was set in Christmas didn’t help at all. Even if in Colombia we don’t have seasons, I’m a season kind of girl: I read about love in February, vacation in the summer, magic and horror in October, and yes, I like Christmas stories in December. There are many books that aren’t themed like this, or tied to a specific time of the year, but if one is, I want to read it in that time.

This story has nothing to do with the 13 Reasons Why universe (thankfully), but there are some similarities. There’s the family going through money issues, just like Hannah’s parents. I might be exaggerating here, but I really don’t like it when authors hold on to common places like this one and just exploit them in all their books. It just seems unoriginal.

So okay, at first I thought this was the typical story of the girl who moves away and has to start over or whatever. It’s not. I mean, she does move but only for the Christmas season every year, and she’s done that for her entire life. Still, her friends make a huge deal about it, like there’s a chance they might not see each other ever again. No overreacting at all, as you can see.

I believe the main character is called Sierra, but I just can’t remember. Anyway, she does go away for the holidays because her parents sell Christmas trees in California and oh, she meets a guy. And she’s just like me when I meet a new guy because even if she literally just saw him for the first time and doesn’t know his name, she’s considering that maybe they can date during the holidays. I clearly can’t criticize that, now can I?

Sierra’s love interest is not a regular guy because that would be too cliché, right? No, instead, he’s all mysterious and has a deep dark secret. Original, Mr. Asher. As you can see, I wasn’t really too thrilled about this book. I mean, I usually devour novels like this, especially if they’re in physical formal. I actually thought I could finish this entire book in my flight from Bogota to Madrid, because it lasts ten hours. Instead of that, I alternated between reading and watching movies.

I honestly got bored at how normal the book got. I mean, yes, we have the guy with the deep dark secret which is then revealed, so actually now he has a deep dark past everyone knows about, but other than that, it’s all a bunch of teenage drama and the main character overthinking everything. Here is where I could have appreciated a little more 13-Reasons-Why kinda drama, at least something small and juicy. I mean, I even wrote in my notes that I thought Caleb, Sierra’s love interest, reminded me of Steve from Full House. I’ll talk more about him in another post.

Just to wrap up this review, I want to say that yes, despite my initial reservations and despite how cliché the story was, I did find this book entertaining. I think I would’ve found it way more entertaining had I read it during the holidays, which was totally my fault for always going into books blindly. This is not a BAD book, okay? It’s simply not great, and this is my personal opinion. I mean, I’m 24 years old, I’ve become a little bit of a cynic with time, and this type of novel is just not my cup of tea anymore. Last year though, trust me, I would’ve lived and died for this story, but my taste in books has clearly changed.

Now help me out here and send me recommendations for holiday novels you love so that maybe I can get in the spirit.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

This Reminds Me Of…

This Reminds Me Of…

Hello and happy Wednesday. I have read my fair share of YA novels, so I think I have all the clichés covered and I can easily make associations between books based on a particular element of situation. If you’ve read some of my reviews, you know I actually say things along the lines of “this thing gave me major X vibes” or “this other situation reminds me a lot of Y.” Today, instead of sharing an in-depth review of Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill, I want to tell you about what this novel reminded me of. Let’s get started, shall we?

I have to clarify something and it’s the fact that this is the second novel from Lauren Morrill I read, and for some reason I struggled a lot with the author’s writing style. Yes, as I kept reading I sort of eased into the story, but at first I wasn’t having that much fun.

One of our main characters is into figure skating (or something of the sort, I don’t know if that’s the actual technical name), and that instantly reminded me of Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler. There are also family situations that indirectly interfere with the main character’s career, and that also made me think of Bittersweet. I reviewed that novel a while ago, so you can click here and check it out.

Lauren Morrill is the only author of this novel, but we have two characters who alternatively tell the story from their perspective. This kind of thing has been done by several authors, however, for some reason I was particularly reminded of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

Like in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, our two main characters share the name Sloane Jacobs. They meet and decide to trade places for the summer. I know, Parent Trap much?

Lastly, remember I told you there was some family drama involved? Well, one of the girl’s dad is actually a Senator and there’s some sort of scandal around him. That made me think of This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

Have you read Being Sloane Jacobs or any of the books I mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila