We Were Beautiful by Heather Helper

07B8E370-7E57-43C8-865D-FED924181DADGenre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Shelf Location: Young Adult Fiction

Rating: ★★★★.5

I checked out a copy of this book from my local library. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.

 


Final Thoughts

This book is told from the perspective of Mia Hopkins, a fifteen-year-old teen girl trying to navigate her life after a tragic event. Mia’s life was healthy before a terrible accident left her family in disarray and her with both emotional and physical scars. Mia had a happy family and a sister that loved her until one night she can’t seem to remember. Mia and her sister were involved in an accident, but Mia can’t seem to remember what happened. She also can’t seem to look at herself in the mirror. Her family struggles to come to terms with the accident, and Mia must figure out a way to heal on her own. In an attempt to help her come to terms with the crash fully, her father sends her to live with her grandmother for the summer. Will this summer away help Mia heal or push her to her breaking point?

This book was absolutely heartbreaking, but it was very well written. The author does a great job diving into the challenges of overcoming loss and showcasing the complexity involved in the grieving process. However, I thought it was a bit cliche that Mia found a group of friends that all had scares of their own. It felt like everything fell into place for Mia. I personally wanted a bit more drama and turmoil, but that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good. I thoroughly enjoyed the depth behind each character, including the supporting characters. I wanted to learn more about her mother and grandmother’s relationship, but that would be great for a second novel.

If you’re looking for a contemporary realistic fiction novel that is heavy with emotion, then this may be the novel for you.


You can purchase copies of this book from: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Zoondervan

Happy Reading! Comment below any book recommendations or your thoughts on this book! You can reach by clicking the Contact link at the top of the page or email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com.

Black Enough Edited by Ibi Zoboi

IMG_0341Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction- Short Stories Collection
Pages: Print 416
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Edited by: Ibi Zoboi
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I purchased from Brazos Bookstore in Houston. I also listened to an eAudiobook using Scribd.  This review does not reflect the views of the publisher, bookstore, or app. 


Harper Collins Synopsis

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.


Final Thoughts

I initially decided to pick up this book after seeing a copy of it displayed on social media. I did my research on the author and the intended goal of the book. According to the School Library Journal, this book is geared for grades 9 and up. I thought this would give me more insight into what it is like to be black in America from a variety of perspectives of POC authors. I am a black female who grew up along the poverty line in a low-income city. Colorism is predominant in the black community based on skin tone, and I am considered fair skin compared to my family. I was interested to read this anthology of stories and found a few that reminded me of my teenage self.  There were a few that just did not work for me but served its’ purpose of relating to the target audience. The stories that did not work for me felt rushed without a clear objective.

This book contains short stories written by famous POC authors, and it does its’ job of shedding some light on the challenges faced by black teens in America. It showcases the challenges put on teens by their parents to succeed, the difficulties of fitting in, the problems of essentially being black enough, and the family dynamics. I faced some of these similar challenges as a teen, and this book is much needed. It provides stories that are relatable to black and African American teens. It also provides insight on the amount of diversity in the black community and the different upbringings. Each author provided insight on a variety of topics such as LGBTQIA, racial divide, educated black young men and women, grief, family, relationships, and friendship. This book provides an intriguing approach to breaking apart the stigmas that I was taught as a child and made me feel a bit empowered after reading it. I have not read a lot of books written by POC authors, but it inspired me to read more.

Below I provided a list of my top 5 selections from this book that you must read. Here are the ones I enjoyed:

Warning: Color May Fade by  Leah Henderson– It shows that black Americans in a different perspective and showcases the power of expression through art. It also showcases the challenges of the pressure of parents and finding who you are.

The Trouble with Drowning by Dhonielle Clayton – It showcases the challenges of dealing with loss and moving forward. A compelling short story about how one family overcomes a huge loss and how one sister comes to terms with it.

The (R)evolution of Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi- The daughter of a man who is starting a black movement faces the challenge of realizing that she doesn’t hate white people like her father and his followers. She wants to fit in and find her path while coming to terms with who she is. This particular short story ended on an embraceful note.

Wild Horses, Wild Hearts by Jaye Coles–  This is an LGBTQUIA story about two young males, one white and one black, living on two different farms. Their families despise each other, and both are feeling pressure from their parents. The good things are that they have each other.

Oreo by Brandy Colbert- A black family moves away from their hometown and are invited back for a birthday celebration for their grandmother. Tensions are high due to Joni’s families wealth and place of residence. Joni just wants to be accepted by her family and not be ridiculed for her choice of schooling or upbringing. This is a great short story to share insight on the challenges of colorism and judgment in black families.

I highly recommend you picking up this book and giving it to a black, African American, or diverse teen. It is intended for grades 9 and up but can be given to middle schoolers. You should definitely add this one to your list of must-have reads!


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the website at http://ibizoboi.net for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

24233708Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Science Fiction
Pages: Print 352
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Hank Green 
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I purchased from Amazon. I also listened to an eAudiobook checked out from my local library using Libby by Overdrive. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis 

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.


Favorite Quotes

“Basically, do your best to mock and deride their connection to and appreciation of you because, deep down, you dislike yourself enough that you cannot imagine anyone worthwhile actually wanting to be with you. I mean, if they like you, there must be something wrong with them, right?”

“Just because you can’t imagine something doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”


Final Thoughts

Let me start by saying that I loved all the books written by his brother John Green and only bought this book based on the assumption that he would be different. I usually don’t read a lot of science fiction books, but this one shook me to the core.

However, the book did start a bit slow and boring for me. It wasn’t until I started listening to the audiobook that it became interesting. There are so many complicated twists and turns in throughout the story, that there were points where I had to rewind and listen to a section again. The more I dived into the book, the more entertaining it became, and the more I started enjoying it. I liked the discussion of how people of today rely heavily on social media platforms to get news. The book is written as if the main character, April May, is telling her story from her perspective. April May tells her story to the reader by explaining every interaction between her and the Carl’s, every decision she made and even a bit of commentary of her choices, and a lot of self-reflection. It was a unique way to get into the mind of the main character and honestly watch her develop and understand her actions. April May is established as a sarcastic, self-obsessed, afraid, optimistic individual who later lets her selfishness consume her and the people around her. After her first encounter with Carl, she becomes the center of attention globally and her life changes dramatically. She now gets the attention she has always wanted, but in the wake of her being pushed into the media, she must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for Carl. Throughout the remainder of the story, April May builds new friendships, new relationships, and a who community of enemies that could have an ulterior motive for her life. She also works hard to understand the purpose of the Carls, whether or not they are harmful, and whether or not she is special.

Hank Green did a phenomenal job with the writing of this book and the development of each character. The main character is developed as a strong female lead who has some serious identity issues but is seen as normal. The supporting characters each have their storylines developed around the main character without discrediting their worth in the plot. I enjoyed the humor, the relation to society today, and the discussion of the influence of social media. If you haven’t picked up this book, I highly recommend it.


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the website at https://hankgreen.com for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

IMG_0138Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: Print 310
Digital: eAdudiobook 6 hrs 44mins
Release Date: October 15, 2018
Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book from Half Priced Books in Sugarland, TX. The copy used for this review was a printed copy for the first half and the second half was an audiobook from Scribd. This review is no way tied to any of the purchasing entities or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


Favorite Quote

“don’t give up on me. he wrote

And I never did.”


Final Thoughts

This contemporary young adult romance had me laughing and crying all within the same sentence. The author did a fantastic job with the character development, the discussion of social issues, and bringing in real emotion into this novel. The main character, Shirin, is written as a strong female protagonist who uses sarcasm and quick wit to seem tough. The author developed this main character with realistic emotions, strong core values, and a voice. The social issue of racism and discrimination is strongly exhibited in this novel but the author does it in a way to challenge and force the issue to the front. This entire novel is from the perspective of a muslim- American female teen who wears a hijab post-9/11. It takes a fictional approach to address the issues of racism and discrimination during a time when the entire country judge the actions of anyone they assumed a threat, which simultaneously correlated with attire. Mafi did a wonderful job addressing this issue in this novel and showcasing some of the challenges women faced as opposed to men. It also showcases the family dynamic and the challenges of staying true to your culture in a new country during a time where your way of life is being scrutinized. Shirin is also faced with a huge challenge outside of the normal gawking and rude comments, Ocean. Ocean is a teen boy who completely catches Shirin off guard with his calm and timid approach to interacting with her. No matter how hard she tries to deflect his feelings, he continues to pursue to interact with her. The further you read in the novel the more their “relationship” develops and they are faced with more adversity. Not only does the author discuss major social issues, she even touches (and I mean grazed) the topic of dating outside your race.

I  want to start by saying I have a BA in History and took a class in college that was solely about the events of September 11, 2001. This book address a large amount of the challenges faced by muslim-American women during the aftermath of 9/11. I saw this book and knew that it was something I had to read. I laughed as the main character interacted with her peers at her new school and cried when she had to choose between love or loss. I laughed when  mother criticized her for her attire and cried when her mom failed to even notice her daughter. There were numerous moments in this book that felt real and relatable. I personally gave this book a four point five rating because I wanted more detail. Pieces of the story was told after the event occurred instead of during each event. For example, something would happen and the main character would go through the telling of these events as if they were past events.  Albeit the story is told from the female protagonist perspective but I wanted more detail and a bit more action. I also hoped that the topic of interracial dating would have been addressed more in this novel. I felt like there was a giant elephant in the room and everyone kept ignoring it this entire novel. However, this did not take away from the overall storyline but would have added to it. Inevitably, I felt that portions of the book fell short for me. I wanted more depth when it came to the social issues displayed in this book and the interaction between main and supporting characters.  I also felt the supporting characters were glossed over and they only popped up here and there for small interaction with the main characters family. Overall, I did love this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in reading a compelling young adult contemporary novel. This is an appropriate read for teens and tweens with little romance and it does fall under the category of diverse reads.

Word of advice, PICK UP THIS BOOK!

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit Tahereh Mafi’s website at http://www.taherehbooks.com/the-books/  for access to purchasing links. 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

This Time by Azaaa Davis

40778146Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: Kinle: 205
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Author: Azaaa Davis
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished print copy. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book.


Goodreads Synopsis

Not even death can stop her.

Legendary demon hunter Nadira Holden has been torn from her next life and resurrected in present-day New York. The demons she once battled have made peace with humans. Or, so they claim. But brawls between demons and humans are becoming more frequent, and human leaders are disappearing.

Tasked by the shadowy organization that trained her, she must battle her own personal trauma and once again fight for the souls of mankind. Will Nadira remain a beacon of light to those fighting for humankind? Or will she lose her humanity to the darkness within?

Fight with demon hunter Nadira Holden in a new dark fantasy series that combines monster-slaying action, family drama and steamy romance. A complex heroine with inexhaustible courage and a terrifyingly changed world for urban fantasy fans of Vampire Hunter Anita Blake and Succubus Georgina Kincaid.


Final Thoughts

This book follows the journey of a demon hunter who seems to have awaken in a strange predicament. The beginning of the novel starts of strong with a great opening scene with Nadira waking up trapped in a box. The beginning of the book does not disappoint as it will have you holding your breath as events start to unfold.  As the story continues to progress, I noticed even more thrilling action scenes as the main character comes to terms with who she is. This entire book is packed with action, turmoil, confusion, revelations, and split second decisions made by Nadira, the main character.

Overall, this book takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as you read and learn more about Nadira. The author did a great job with this storyline and with the development of each character. The backstory of the main character is captivating and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about how Nadira become a master demon hunter. Nadira does face many challenges in this novel but in the end she seems to try her best to the pieces of her life back together and fill in the missing pieces of her memory. This book is based in a world where Demons and Humans coexist, in a sense. However, this did not come easy and a life was given up for this to occur. Whose life was sacrificed for peace?

The ending scene does not disappoint as it is filled with as much action as the rest of the book. You will be captured from the moment you open this novel and I am sad it took me so long to finish it. I combed through this novel once I got past the first few chapters and had hope for the main character, Nadira.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in a fantasy novel with a hint of romance. This book is a bit mature for young ages but would be great for older teens due to some violence scenes. It is more suited for young adults or adults. Take a journey through the world of demons, vampires, and humans with magic powers to help Nadira find something that has been stolen and help her figure out where she belongs.

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578412160 for access to Kindle version and print copy. 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: Print 417
Digital: eAdudiobook 13 hours
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked out an e-aduiobook copy of this book from my local library using Libby by Overdrive. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an unabridged e-aduiobook. Image taken from https://sarahdessen.com/book/saint-anything/


Goodreads Synopsis 

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.


Final Thoughts

This contemporary young adult fiction romance is written so well. The novel starts with a scene of Sydney and her family in a court room. Then from their the book continues by following her life after that day in the court room. Sydney, a junior in high school, is used to being invisible. Her brother Peyton has always been the center of her family’s attention and she has been in his shadow. Peyton has made a grave mistake that has changed her family’s life and the life of another family. Somehow Sydney carries some of the guilt from his mistake as she tries to start over at a new school. Imagine being invisible to everyone and then someone finally notices you. Sydney adjusts to her new school, she makes a friend that leads her to other friends, and she finds a new home in the Chathams family restaurant. She truly learns the meaning of friendship, of being there for someone, and she finds her voice in the shadow of her brother’s mistake. Her mother and father continue to put Peyton first, ignoring Sydney, until she makes a mistake that causes them to pay attention to her. In that moment Sydney wishes to become invisible again. In this novel written by Sarah Dessen, I could feel the emotions of each character and understand each decision made. Dessen has done an amazing job with this novel and the events inside felt real. Each supporting character playing a huge role in the overall dynamics of the story. The plot is captivating enough to make you want to not put this book down.

I stumbled upon this book while browsing through the available e-audibooks in Libby by Overdrive. I remember seeing this book when it first released in 2015 but I didn’t purchase it. I was so glad to get a chance to listen to the audio version of this novel. If you are interested in reading a novel that focuses on the importance of family, forgiveness, friendship, and first loves, then you should check this one out. The beginning will grab your attention, the middle will keep you interested, and the ending will have you wanting more. This novel is appropriate for upper middle school, teens, and adults interested in a good young adult romance novel. The romance in this novel is subtle, which is why I say it is appropriate for tweens.

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit Sarah Dessen’s website at https://sarahdessen.com/book/saint-anything/  for access to purchasing links. 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.


*You can also check out Libby by Overdrive, a new way to checking out e-books from your library. (This is not sponsored. I just love this app!)* 

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

c+E3loN5QcykIQPFTL+u4wGenre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: Print 312
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Author: Maurene Goo
Rating: ★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked out a copy of this book from my library. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished print copy.


Goodreads Synopsis 

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.


Final Thoughts

This contemporary young adult fiction follows the journey of Desi, an overachiever Korean American teenager raised by a single father. Desi is smart but seems to fall short when it comes to dating. Desi is starting her Senior year of high school off with a bang of embarrassments. She fails at an attempt to go on a date with a guy who is clearly interested in her and also fails as noticing when a guy is flirting with her. That is until she meets Lucas, a new boy in town who seems to be interested in Desi depict her lack of dating skills. Desi sets her mind on attaining Lucas, disregarding all social norms, and consulting her dad’s favorite K drama series as a source for dating advice. As the story unfolds, we watch as Desi learns that not everything can be controlled and how listening to those around you is something that always needs to be done.

The author took a common approach when developing this love story. I literally just grabbed this book randomly off the shelf at my library and decided to give it a read. I typically enjoy contemporary young adult romance novels but this one fell a little bit short for me. The huge scene toward the end of the book wasn’t actually that thrilling and left me wanting to making it more thrilling. I am not looking for a sparks to fly when something dramatic happens but I am looking for something more realistic. The emotions displayed by Desi when her secrets start to unravel felt real but the moment leading up to Lucas discovering them, was not. I personally wanted more depth in the story and more realism when it came to meeting the parents, going to a big event, and an accident. It is like there was a complete disregard for what would happen in the real world if someone did this. I mean I am no wizard in the dating scene but I somehow managed to snag my current boyfriend with me being myself. However, I do commend the author on showcasing the importance of being yourself and I did like the scene at the end. Unfortunately, I got to a point in the book where I was getting anxious and wanted it to end. I read as Desi went through a lot of unnecessary antics to gain the attention of a boy but in the end the truth came out. If the goal of this book was to be a mushy young adult romance novel then it did its job and more. If you are interested in getting your sweet tooth itched with contemporary young adult novel, then this is your book. Otherwise I suggest reading something a little more tame with more depth in the storyline. I recommend this book to early teens and adults interested in novel with a potential happy ending ( I will not spoil the ending). Sometimes the geeky, overachiever, underdog can have things malfunction but still learn from their mistakes.


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

 

Borrowing Christmas by Kat Bellemore

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Genre: Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: eBook 253
Release Date:
Author: Kate Beasley 
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished digital copy of this book.


Synopsis 

Two weeks before Christmas, Katie is kicked out of her apartment. Again. Rather than wander the streets and continue to work for a dirty cop, she decides to leave the city and disappear for good. But her car breaks down in a New Mexico town, and everything is threatened when she falls for the charming mayor.

Sam Freedman is the first bachelor mayor of Amor. After convincing the locals that having a mayor without family responsibilities means he can dedicate all his time to the community, townspeople watch his every move. Then Katie Andersen shows up. Against Sam’s better judgement, he hires her to replace his event coordinator. Now he can barely think straight, let alone run a town.

In the midst of half-truths and outright lies, Katie and Sam desperately search for the place where honesty and trust lead to love. Can they find it before the past catches up with them?


Final Thoughts

This book follows the life of the main character Katie who has been put in a challenging situation. She is forced to make fast decisions to either salvage the life she had or build a new life in a new town under a new name. She struggles to answer the following questions: 

Can she run from her past forever? Will her past catch up with her? Can she start a new life based purely on lies? 

Katie is developed as a strong character who has been given a short hand at life. She wants to run and start over but there are consequences for her actions. As she tries to restart her life in the small town of Amor, how ironic of the name as this is a romance novel, she meets a handsome gentleman who has more power than she could imagine. She continues to grow as a person and grows those around her. She grows close to the town bachelor, making enemies, friends, and making changes. Along the way she runs into problems as the lies she has told start to causing her problems. Soon she will realize she cannot run from her past forever. 

Overall I thought this novel took a unique approach to a romance. The main character is developed in a way that allowed for an understanding of her past and present. There are portions of this book that made me think, “yep this is a fictional novel, stuff like this doesn’t happen in real life.” This novel has the happy ending theme attached to it and I knew the ending before I finished based on the way the story was written. If you are looking for a fast paced romance adult novel then this is the novel for you. I personally would have loved for more of a character development and more depth added to Katie. I understand she had a hard life but I wanted to know more about her past to better understand her. I also wanted a bigger plot twist. The action/drama filled scene toward the ending fell a bit short for me. I was holding my breath the entire novel waiting for something big to happen but it fell short for me. There were also pieces that I felt was missing from the story, like how did I get from point A to point B. Overall, I thought this was a great novel and I would recommend this to anyone who is into adult romance. 


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

img_0895Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ Romance
Print: 303 pages
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book from my local bookstore. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.


Goodreads Synopsis 

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


Favorite Quotes:

“…I’ve been basically picturing this moment for ten hours, and now that it’s here , I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to say. Probably something awesome and witty and not school-related.” – Simon

“It’s strange, because in reality, I’m not the leading guy. Maybe I’m the best friend.”- Simon-

“This was supposed to be–this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.” -Simon-

Final Thoughts:

Simon Spier is a hundred percent sure that he is gay, but he is also a hundred percent sure that he is not ready to share this information with anyone else. He is so entranced with the fact that someone else at his school is also a “closeted gay” that he forgets to log out of his email at the school library. Simon has had a secret, email, relationship with a student attending the same school as him. However, he has no idea who this student is, and from the looks of the pseudonym Simon is using, he’s not ready to reveal his true identity either. Martin, however, is prepared to use any information he has against Simon to advance his love life. This story follows the life of Simon Speir, a teen male in high school trying to figure out a way to get through his junior year without any hiccups. Martin is a straight teen male who merely wants to get closer to Alice, Simon’s best friend, by any means necessary. Will Martin win the heart of Alice or will his attempt at blackmail fail? Will Simon ever figure out who the other closeted gay in his school is? Will Simon ever feel comfortable to tell anyone about his sexuality before Martin does?

Overall, I thought this book had a lot of potentials. I am a fan of Becky Albetalli and her other works such as “The Upside of Unrequited,” but I thought this book fell a little bit short for me. I wanted more from the author in this tell-all LGBTQ novel. I guessed who the secretly closeted gay was at the beginning of the book. However, I felt inclined to finish the entire story, and I am glad that I did. The book started off a bit slow for me, but I did love the email interactions between Simon and Blue. I enjoyed reading the responses from both parties. I also liked the writing style in this book. The author did a great job portraying the drama and using adequate descriptive terms for all the supporting characters. I was able to channel my inner imagination to create what I assumed Simon’s best friends looked like. There was an adequate amount of drama, romance, tears, and friendship turmoil. I wanted more information about Leah, but overall the author did a great job with this book. I especially loved the developed drama between Martin and Simon and I legitimately almost cried during the epic scene towards the end. I would say that I should not have watched the movie trailer before reading the book. I had preconceived notions of what would happen and how the book began. I recommend this book to any teen looking for a fun, heart-wrenching, LGBTQ romance novel that focuses on the right side of coming out.


Read any good LGBTQ novels lately and want to share it with me, comment below!


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

img_2886Title:The Poet X 
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo 
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: Print 357
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Epic Reads.


Goodreads Synopsis:

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.


Favorite Quotes:

“Their gazes are words are heavy with all the things they want you to be.”

“It is ungrateful to feel like a burden. It is ungrateful to resent my own birth.”

“….she should be remembered as always working to become the warrior she wanted to be.”

“If I were nothing but dust would anyone chase the wind trying to piece me back together?”

Final Thoughts: 

The Poet X is a compelling young adult novel written about the challenges faced by a young Xiomara. In a world that never hears her, she must find her voice and speak up. Xiomara and her twin brother are seen as their parent’s gift from God. Her parent’s struggled to have children, and the twins were their miracle. The two have to live up to the high expectations of their mother and the lack of awareness from their father.

Growing up in a Catholic household, Xiomara is taught not only the ways of her Catholic mother. She is continuously scolded when she breaks any rules. She learns to explore her feelings for the opposite sex while trying not to get caught. She experiences her first love, shares her first kiss, and hides a secret about her brother. Mami continues to put immense pressure on Xiomara, expecting her uphold to a high set of standards or be punished. X continues to be exploited solely for her looks instead of for her intelligence or words. Her only place of solace in the poetry club at her school. Her English teacher encourages her to apply for the poetry slam in the upcoming months. Xiomara expresses her feelings through her poetry until one day she goes mute after a terrible thing between her and her mother. Can she ever forgive her mother? Will her mother ever accept her? How long can she keep Twin’s secret?

Overall, I thought this was a great novel, and I enjoyed the relationship between Xiomara and her English teacher. I like the concept that teachers have a significant influence on students. It is always great to read about teachers encouraging their students. I think the author did a great job with the writing of this book and I enjoyed the poetry format. I felt more connected with each character as the emotions were eloquently displayed. I recommend this book to young adults between the ages of thirteen and up. I had a teen ask about poetry books recently, and I suggested this book.



Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com