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’m Kind of Scared of Writing This Review

I’m Kind of Scared of Writing This Review

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 absolutely despise disclaimers because I am a firm believer that we should be unapologetic about our opinions, especially if they’re related to something as unimportant as a book. Now, I say “unimportant” when compared to more controversial issues, considering that for me books are no more than a form of entertainment and that I am not really big on having passionate debates on a book. I’ll share my thoughts, for sure, but I don’t expect you to agree with me just like I don’t want you to expect me to agree with you. Basically, we’re all entitled to our opinion and I really don’t want my comments section to become a forum in which you try to convince me to like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli because it is just not going to happen.

I read this book between July 17th and July 19th, 2019 and gave it two stars. Now, in this post, I’ll discuss both the book and the movie because I watched the movie before reading the novel and I think it might have negatively influenced my thoughts. I don’t know whether I wrote a separate review of it in the past, but whatever. Watching the movie meant that I already knew the plot beforehand. I knew in general what the story was about, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because by already having some information on the story and the characters, I read the book at a quicker pace, which is something I like, especially if I’m not liking what I’m reading. You already know that I didn’t like the book, but you should also know that the movie didn’t do it for me. I felt that, as time went by and I was able to process it and reflect upon it, I disliked it even more, and then of course after reading the book (how many times have I written the word ‘book’?) I felt that it missed the point on some key aspects.

I understand where the title change came from when the novel was adapted to a movie because the line “love, Simon” is present, but I think there was a bit of propaganda behind it as well. I mean, think about it, why would “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” be changed to a two-word title when we have “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and nobody said “let’s change it to “Harry and the Goblet”? Is it maybe the word ‘Homo’? (trust me, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but what do I know? I’m a liberal feminist who wants all babies to be aborted or adopted by the gays). It could’ve also been the word “agenda” because we all know how that’s used around. I’m sure there are many theories going around, and if you know about them, share them with me.

Another thing that bothered me was the token diverse love interest. I mean, yes, you have your gay character, and your black character and your Jewish character, and I think that representation was on point, but then you have the white gay guy’s love interest and he’s a black, half-Jewish gay guy? What? What that character did to me was pretty much forget about the seemingly authentic representation and diversity that I’d been given. And yes, I know there are black, half-Jewish gay teens out there, but seriously? Seriously?

I think that you’ve been able to appreciate the changes I’ve made in my reading. At least I’ve noticed that I am reading more intense contemporary YA fiction, even if there’s romance involved, and that my characters aren’t all white and straight. When reading about white and straight characters, I’m more critical about them than I was before because I understand that the world is a diverse one. This, however, has come with the knowledge that representation really occurs when I’m reading an own-voices novel. What I mean by this is that the author is actually part of an underrepresented group, like David Levithan or Nina LaCour, who write about gay and lesbian characters, respectively and Julie Murphy, who’s written novels featuring a fat main character. As cool as it is to see another book about a male gay teen, it wasn’t own-voices because Becky Albertalli is not a gay man. I just think that there are some really awesome authors who’ve come up with really awesome novels about male gay teens that we should give more recognition to, at least the same amount of hype as Simon got.

The story itself didn’t knock my socks off for many reasons. I didn’t think it was original at all. I think the coming-out plot is not for me because I want to see more queer characters who are out and about, you know? I want to see more of that person’s identity and story than their coming out. I’m not saying that’s not important or relevant or that these plots shouldn’t be written anymore, but that it’s not what I’m looking for and I’m grateful to have a wide selection of queer reads to choose from. The blackmailing thing and the online romance tropes have been done before, so I don’t feel like I was reading anything new.

I have so many more things to say, but I’m tired after a long day at work and I feel like I’ve ranted enough. Recommend me good queer reads please and thank you.

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

I Don’t Know What to Think

I Don’t Know What to Think

Hello and happy Wednesday. I hate the idea that some books are meant to be read by some people because what it implies is that they are not meant to be read by some others, you know? I feel like books are there, they must be available and accessible, and as consumers we are the ones to decide the types of books that we want in our lives. Now, I’m saying this because I recently read In Darkness by Nick Lake and my one persisting thought was “I wish I knew more about Haiti.”
I kept thinking that this book would’ve impacted me a whole lot more had I known more about the context and the history of where and when it was taking place. But I also thought that no, that’s not the idea of a book, is it? I mean, it’s great that I asked myself questions, but nobody should read a book feeling that they missed out on something because they needed to know more about a topic. Or at least I don’t think anybody should. 

I read this book between May 12th and May 18th, 2020 and gave it three stars. Now, before I continue this review, I want to share another reason why I don’t know what to think about this book, and it is the fact that the author is white. This book is set in Haiti and follows not one but two main characters, both of whom are black since most people in Haiti are black, and this white dude writes an entire novel, half of which is narrated in the first person? And he isn’t even Haitian! He’s British. Talk about neocolonialism.

No but really, am I saying that a white British guy shouldn’t be writing a book about black Haitians? I’m not going to answer that, but I know for a fact that there are many own-voices novels about Haiti that don’t have the recognition that they should because people are reading In Darkness instead of their story. Proof of that is the fact that I’m reviewing Nick Lake’s book in this blog. I keep saying that I will be more mindful about the authors I read and the fact is that I’m not doing a great job at that, so I’m sorry and please hold me accountable. 

The story itself was hard to get into. I felt like I didn’t make any progress on the first three days and that I had to force myself to keep reading. Then the reading experience got better for me, although clearly this is neither an entertaining nor an enjoyable book. I anticipated it to be more hard-hitting, and objectively, it was; it just didn’t reach me and my feelings the way I thought it would. 

We get two perspectives and two timelines: now, told in first person by a fifteen-year-old gangster, and then, a third-person narration about Toussaint L’Ouverture, a black enslaved man who led Haiti to its revolution and freedom from the French. These two characters, as we find out throughout the story, somehow share a soul because they both had twin sisters who died, so their souls are thought to be incomplete. I think this would be a required reading at school if the English and the history teachers decided to have a project about Haiti. No, that’s not a compliment. 

Do you have any recommendations of books written by people from historically oppressed countries or ethnicities? Let me know in the comments. 

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 

 

 

 

It Was Okay

It Was Okay

 

Hello and happy Wednesday. I remember listening to a review of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven in which the person said that they hadn’t loved it as much as everyone else did, or really at all. This was actually the first time I’d heard something concrete about the book, considering that I got it a few years ago because of all the hype it’d gotten. We all know, however, that people don’t always tell us much about the hyped book other than we should read it and that’s it. As you can probably tell by my recent reads, I am going through the books I own that won the Goodreads Awards or whatever, starting in 2015. This is one of those books, and though I can see why it was one of the winners, it didn’t do it for me.

I read this book between July 30th and August 3rd, 2019 and gave it three stars. Some might say this is a low rating but lately, I’ve been giving more and more books three stars because I think it represents my feelings towards stories that were just “okay” or “fine,” like this one. Of course, there are elements I’m into, like the multiple perspectives, because I think they always add a lot to a story that would otherwise seem incomplete, in my opinion.

Right off the bat, let me tell you that this book deals with suicide and this is a constant throughout the plot, so if you are sensitive to this topic, or to topics related to suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts, steer clear. We have two main characters who are very different to each other, but who meet in a tower at school and who, as far as we can gather, go there with the intention of jumping off. Again, suicide is a recurring topic and I personally think that it could’ve been handled way better than it was, but we’ll get to that later.

It bothers me that authors make dumb decisions just because that’s how they think their characters think. For instance, I thought the comments the guy main character made about the female students’ bodies were completely unnecessary. That stuff adds absolutely nothing to the plot and just makes readers not connect as much with the characters. On the flip side, I really liked how each of the characters was portrayed. They were so unique, and I know that’s no easy feat for an author to accomplish.

Finch, the male main character, is very unique, and you need to read the book to understand why. I don’t know if his representation is accurate or not, but I had never read a book about a character who’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I don’t know if this is a spoiler, but I think it’s better to say it before you read it because I think that if the rep is not accurate, it might be harmful to some readers. Finch is sometimes very pushy and he doesn’t understand when someone is saying “no.” Here’s where I’d like to know if this behavior could be considered representative for a person with bipolar disorder, or it’s just a stereotype or a trait that is not accurate. We all know that the conversation on consent must go beyond sex because one person should never force another one to do anything, especially after being told “no.”

There’s some conversation regarding the stigma around mental illness, which I appreciate, but considering that this is a predominant issue in this novel, I think it fell short. I mean, Violet’s (the main character’s) sister died in a car accident and nobody seems to notice how much she’s hurting because of that. There is also a mention of an eating disorder, but from what I gathered, it is only present once. If you are sensitive to this issue, you might want someone you know and trust to read this book before you and either tell you which part you should skip or maybe advice you on reading it or not.

I’m starting to increasingly see the class-assignment trope. I think, again, that the author of this book did a good job with it and the way the story was built around the assignment the main characters had to do together. I also liked that she included flashbacks and flash-forwards as well as inserts of text messages because by this point we all know that I’m a sucker for that.

Now, remember when I said we’d go back to talking about how suicide was handled? Okay, we’re back. I think suicide is one of those issues that I’d rather not see than see being poorly handled because of the dangers it entails. For example, describing ways in which a person has attempted or thought about suicide is extremely dangerous and it is present in this book.

The picture of this book is one of my most-liked pictures on Instagram, and I even got comments of people saying I’d cry reading this. I get why some readers might be affected by this, but I wasn’t. I just don’t see the purpose of this book, if I’m being honest, especially not the ending. The ending was what ruined the story for me, and because of it, this book didn’t get four stars but three. If you read it, you’ll know why.

What is a topic that’s trending right now on books that you don’t like reading about? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

A New Favorite

A New Favorite

Hello and happy Wednesday. It’s tough for me to feel represented in the books in English I read because the authors don’t really cater to my demographic, which sucks. I think the only author that I could somewhat relate to is Patricia Engel because she is Colombian and her characters are, too. That being said, there are different layers to my identity and I can feel represented in other ways. To me, YA lacks a lot of representation when it comes to neurodiversity, which is why I was so excited to find a book with a main character who shares a very similar diagnosis with me.

I read Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella between July 5th and 6th, 2019 and gave it five stars. I knew from the start that I was going to enjoy the writing style because I’ve read and loved other Sophie Kinsella books. This one was just brilliant. It keeps the humor of novels like Confessions of a Shopaholic, but the themes are clearly deeper and are dealt with in a very smart, respectful way. I also loved how the reader is hooked from the very first page and they’re just forced to continue reading. That totally happened to me, which is why I devoured this book in two days.

The chapters are really short, which we all know I love, and I also think that makes the book even more addictive. Like I said, I related to Audrey because of her diagnosis, but her parents reminded me a lot of my parents: the neurotic mom and the overeager dad are literally my mom and dad. The type of narration was really nice for me because Audrey, the main character, is talking to the reader. I get that some of you might not like this, but I do, and I think it added more to this particular story.

I would say that this book is a must both for neurotypicals and neurodiverse people. If you have anxiety and/or depressive episodes like Audrey or me, you’ll feel accurately represented, and if you don’t but you want to learn more about this, you might be educated on the subject. To me, at least, the way Audrey approaches and refers to her anxiety was very spot-on, and even her own thoughts about how the way her brain worked made her a freak were some I had when I started going to therapy. It was hard to open up about what I was going through, especially when people wouldn’t get what I was feeling or why because that itself was even more anxiety-inducing. I do not have social anxiety, so I don’t know whether this was well represented in the book.

The format of the book was amazing. I loved that we got different formats, like transcripts of a documentary Audrey was filming as an assignment for her treatment and little notes and texts that she’d exchange with Linus, her love interest. I think that all those additions made the story really come to life because we weren’t just being told of what was going on: we were shown that.

Yes, there is a love interest but no, this is not a romance novel. The plot does not center around a relationship, or at least not your neurotypical kind of thing. I heard someone reviewing this book and saying they didn’t understand how two people could have a relationship if Audrey wouldn’t make eye contact or even look in the direction of another person while talking. While this concern is totally valid, it shows just how we have normalized certain neurotypical behaviors and attitudes. We assume that a romantic relationship involves physical contact and face-to-face conversations, but that is not the case for many people, for many different reasons, and I think part of the educational value of Finding Audrey is showing the readers other ways in which people can interact.

Finally, I loved that Linus wasn’t portrayed as the savior or as the reason why Audrey “got better.” He doesn’t understand why Audrey behaves in certain ways and he thinks she might be able to control them, which, again, is a very neurotypical idea. You’re depressed? Cheer up! You’re feeling anxious? Face your fears! It makes sense that someone would think like that, right? Especially when they haven’t experienced any of those thoughts. It also makes sense because they assume that one can control their brain and “tune it down,” but reality is different. Linus tried to help and tried to understand, but we could see that sometimes he didn’t and that it was fine.

Do you have any recommendations of books that deal with mental health issues and that you feel are accurate in their representation? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

Spoiler Alert: It’s Not

Spoiler Alert: It’s Not

Hello and happy Wednesday. The title of this post seems a bit aggressive, but I want to let you know that if you plan to pick up It’s About Love by Steven Camden because you think it is a romance book, then don’t because it’s not. This book is about love alright, and it does feature romantic love, but at the center it is a story about love between brothers, about family and being proud of who you are and where you come from. It is definitely a refreshing take on what we usually think when we hear the word “love,” especially related to young adult literature. 

I read this book between February 2nd and February 8th, 2020 and gave it four stars. I did fall into the “trap” of thinking that this would be a cutesy, quick read, and I was honestly in need of that. It is a quick read because you simply can’t stop, you want to know what happens next, and I think the author does a great job at building up suspense and anticipation throughout the plot. It is not, however, cute, and I picked up on that right from the first scene. 

Luke, the main character, is really into films and filmmaking, so we get some movie script inserts throughout the story. The first scene reminded me of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson, so I knew that this book would have me hooked. Violence is present and it is a common theme, so if you are not into that, I don’t think this book is for you. 

Luke is attending college in the fancy part of town and he feels like he doesn’t belong with the rest of his classmates, but he is still very excited to be taking a film class. His life at home is complicated because his brother Marc will soon be released from jail after having been sentenced for physically assaulting the neighborhood bully. At times the sense of doom made me feel like I was reading an Adam Silvera book and I knew that there wouldn’t really be a happy ending. I did, however, appreciate how Luke’s and Marc’s relationship was explored because I don’t think that’s seen often. 

What type of relationship would you like to see more in the books you read? Let me know in the comments. 

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila 

NetGalley Review: And We Call It Love

NetGalley Review: And We Call It Love

Hello and happy Friday. I think last year I became stricter with my ratings and 2020 won’t be an exception. Today’s book is perhaps my second or third two-starred book of the year, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m talking about And We Call it Love by Amanda Vink, a book that was sent to me for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank NetGalley, the publisher, and the author.

I read this book between January 27th and 28th, 2020 and like I said I gave it two stars. The entire story is written in verse and that’s not my thing. I was only happy about the fact that I’d fly through it, and I did considering that I only had a few minutes every night. Judging by the title and the cover I knew it wasn’t going to be a lovey-dovey story, but it went in a completely different direction than what I’d anticipated.

I first thought it would feature a romance between the two main characters, who were both females, and I was excited about the LGBTQ* themes, but that wasn’t the case. I don’t even know what made me think that one of the main characters was in love with the other, but that’s what I thought. Besides that, I was very confused at the beginning because the narration, which is all in verse, alternates between the two main characters, Clare and Zari, but there’s nothing that explicitly tells you whose perspective you’re reading from.

Part of why I say that verse is not my thing is the fact that I feel like I’m always getting the general picture of the story, not the whole thing. I get the main idea but no details, if you will, and I am a sucker for details. Had the story been written in prose, I would’ve gotten the alternating perspectives way quicker, without needing any titles or any explicit indication of who was talking. All in all, I felt like I was reading the SparkNotes version of an actual story.

For such a short book, I thought there wasn’t a clear focus of the plot. We already know that there isn’t a romance between the two best friends, but the story doesn’t focus on their friendship either. It’s more of a coming of age story, in my opinion. Both Clare and Zari start dating different boys, and on top of that, Zari’s family doesn’t want her hanging out with Clare, so they drift apart. The synopsis makes it seem like it was Zari’s boyfriend who didn’t let her be with her friend, but the mom was also a huge influence on that friendship drifting apart. Zari’s boyfriend, Dion, is a dickhead, though, and he physically and psychologically abuses her, so trigger warning for that. Because this was such a short book, the ending wrapped up pretty quickly and in my opinion, it was way too happy considering the topics the story was dealing with.

Do you like stories written in verse? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila