Fat Chance, Charlie Vega | Review // THE Contemporary book to read this February!

Greetings readers!

HELLLOOOO EVERYONE! AND WELCOME TO A REVIEW I AM VERY EXCITED TO BE SHARING WITH YOU ALL TODAY!

Rendz, be cool with the all caps.

Sorry.

What can I say? When a book with a beautiful cover and and even more beautiful storyline walks into my life, I have to talk about it! I have to shout about it from the roof tops and tell you all to read it!

It starts with this review, which–if I am honest–is a little messy and everywhere because when I love a book so much I feel like I sound like that kid who struggles to form his sentence.

You know this kid:

Have You Ever Had A Dream Kid GIFs | Tenor

Yeah…that’s what I feel this review sounds like.

BUT REGARDLESS OF THAT FACT. I PRESENT TO YOU THE CONTEMPORARY BOOK EVERYONE HAS TO READ THIS FEBRUARY!!!

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Pub Date: Feb 2, 2021
Publisher: Holiday House
Buy Links

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.


*Thank you Penguin Teen CA for the digital ARC*

The Likes

How do I even begin to tell you about this book?

How do I begin to tell you how utterly and totally in love I am with this story?

Well I can say that it starts and ends with Charlie Vega. A character who I am sure will capture the hearts of so many readers! (She sure as heck captured mine!) Charlie is a wonderfully dynamic character that charmed me from page one! Told in a sincere, heart-felt and hilarious prose, Charlie’s story is one of a fat, half-Puerto Rican girl navigating high school life in the (very white) suburbs. And I loved it. From raving about #FatFashionistas to dealing with the very real fear of second-place syndrome and re-finding estranged family and culture, Charlie is a character whose experiences of self-doubt, jealousy, resentment, first times, rage, self-loathing, confidence and eventually self-love are multi-faceted and captivating.

I know resonating with characters are only part of the reading experience, but I have to say that whenever Charlie talked about her romantic experiences or lack there-of I couldn’t help but smash the #Relate button. While our reasons for lacking in love life differed, I still couldn’t help but feel a connection whenever she talked about that yearning she felt and the embarrassment of being so inexperienced! I loved that she found escape in her reading and writing and that she lived vicariously through her fictional characters! (Something I think a lot of us can relate to!) To make this ramble short, Charlie is a breath of fresh air character. She sounds and feels like a teenager on every page. She is sweet and fierce. I absolutely adored her!

Other characters…I really enjoyed Amelia’s character. As Charlie’s pansexual, cool, vibrant and beloved BFF she plays a very complex and integral role in Charlie’s story. Their friendship is in many ways the heart of this story, which is written so beautifully! Brian. OMG BRIAN. I was so soft for Brian who was so sweet and kind!!! And Charlie’s mom…..mmmm…I just didn’t love her. She is also in need of her own journey, that’s all I have to say.

The central theme of this book is embracing self-love and it was such a touching and raw journey for Charlie! It is well known how much we can be our worst enemies and this book is all about us being kinder to ourselves. Charlie’s journey to self-love is not easy, especially as she is constantly surrounded by people and media that tell her that she and her body are not enough or too much and do not deserve love until they say so. It’s an even harder road to travel when those messages become so ingrained within ourselves that we become the obstacles that prevent us from opening up! It’s a story that really hammered in the message to find love for ourselves, that in giving ourselves love we can find that happiness.

This story broke my heart and patched it back up in so many ways. Maldonado crafted a story that had me laughing and giggling on one page, raging on the next and being totally and utterly soft on the following page. Her writing style is clean, direct and enthralling! I was flipping the pages so fast, I couldn’t get enough of this story! It was laugh out loud funny and I was SWOONING with every interaction between Charlie and Brian!

On the one hand it has the feel of your typical Teen rom-com, but with the taste of a new and fresh story of love and friendship that has never been written before!!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Absolutely!


Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to reading this? What other books with fat MCs would you recommend? What are your favourite teen rom-coms and coming of age stories?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow | HOV Book Tour // Review in 5 GIFs & FAN ART!

Greetings readers!

Welcome all to my stop on the A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW Book Tour!

I am so excited to be bring you this post today! I had so much fun reading this book and creating some fan art for this wonderful book! Many heartfelt thanks Hear Our Voices Book Tours for welcoming me to the tour!

~ THE BOOK~

A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW
by Laura Taylor Namey

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2020
Genre: YA Fiction

For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.

Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.

A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.

Goodreads| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Bookshop.org

~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~

Laura Taylor Namey is a Cuban-American Californian who can be found haunting her favorite coffee shops, drooling over leather jackets, and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two superstar children.

This former teacher writes young adult novels about quirky teens learning to navigate life and love. Her debut, The Library of Lost Things, published 10/08/19 from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins. Her #ownvoices sophomore project, A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW is coming November 10, 2020 from Atheneum Simon and Schuster, with a third title to follow fall 2021.

Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads

~ REVIEW ~

Pack your bags, friends. We are headed across the pond! Forced out of her Miami home, we travel with Lila all the way to a grey and chilly summer in England. This proud Cuban-American girl experiences a bit of a culture shock in the midst of all these Brits, but I loved the adventure that we embarked on! (Also, this book was a practice in my British accent!! XD)

Hunger. You will feel it constantly while reading this very food-orientated book. Lila is an excellent baker and chef who knows how to make a kitchen her palace! I loved that Lila learned to remix her favourite dishes and combine British goodies with Cuban flavours. The different foods and sweets that she baked all sounded delicious and made me very very very hungry. I’m not exaggerating when I say my stomach grumbled every single time I opened this book.

Lila is such a great character! She’s a runner and more often than not the reader chases after her! Complex and savvy are two words that really capture her! She knows she’s the best, and I kind of love that she embraces it. However, she is not perfect and reading about her perseverance is very emotional! She has to take some “hard to swallow” pills which is not easy for anyone, but for Lila it is a huge moment of growth!

Slow burn romance! Like tea that you steep, you have to wait for it to get just the right flavour before you consume it! I loved the relationship between Orion and Lila. I loved that it bloomed from a hesitant friendship into something closer! I loved that they were realistic about their goals and aspirations before they decided on what their future as a couple would look like. Not to mention their relationship buds from tea tasting…I may not love the drink, but if a cute British boy was flirting with me via tea-tasting…I would swoon.

It was a love story and a story of loss! A story about embarking on new adventures and letting go. It’s always hard to let go of the things you love most, especially when they leave you so unexpectedly, but it is necessary for growth and change. Namey did an incredible job of showing this bittersweet aspect of life and how it is never easy, but sometimes essential to move on.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Yes! This is a delightful and delicious read!

~ FAN ART ~

I present to you “Hunting for castles” a piece inspired by the book! I really enjoyed creating this! The image popped up right into my head when I read a certain scene. If you’ve read or when you read the book you will definitely get why I named it that! XD

~ FOLLOW THE TOUR ~

Click below to find other amazing posts celebrating this book!


Let me know what you think! What are your favourite foodie books? Are you looking forward to picking this one up? Are you more of a tea-drinker or coffee-drinker?

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Furia | Review // How to articulate my love for this book?

I want to say in advance that this is one of those times where I feel like my words cannot accurately express my feelings for a book. There is just so much I want to say and I feel like the words I have don’t quite convey that love taking up my thoughts!

So please bear with my scrambled words and just know that I love this books with every fiber of my being!

Many thanks to Thomas Allen & Son for sending me an ARC!

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Furia
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Sept 15th, 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Goodreads

An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.


I loved everything!

How do I even begin to express my love for this book? I knew going in I was going to get the fútbol, Argentina, and girl power greatness. What I didn’t know was that I would be absolutely gobsmacked by my emotions.

This book has a lot, but it starts and ends with the amazing Camila Hassan. She was incredible. Wow. From her passion for soccer to her complicated love for her family to her dreams of success, Camila was a force in this story. She’s burdened with the weight of so many secrets and expectations that life gets way complicated for her. She falls hard for her childhood best friend but she doesn’t dare risk her dreams for it AND THAT’S WHAT I LOVED ABOUT HER. Yes, she’s makes mistakes along and she doubts herself at times, but it just made her story all the more compelling!

The family life is complicated on so many levels in this book. We have Pablo, the superstar brother who is not superstar enough, Camila’s hardworking mother who feels like she in general is never enough and her father who…who is stuck thinking about what could have been and that he can never have enough. It’s a family of very complex and toxic relationships on so many ends, with so many secrets and they make this story a wild and emotional journey. Then Diego walks on to the page trying to be all perfect and he is something alright. No spoilers here. But wow. OKAY THEN. I can’t say too much about him because I will spoil things! XD

This book is a lot more than just Camila playing soccer, it’s about her journey to proving that her dreams and aspirations are just as valid and achievable as her brothers, boyfriend’s or any other male athlete. And let me tell you this book is AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER! It had me feeling soft one moment and absolutely raging the next moment! The amount of opposition and disapproval that Camila faces from those closest to her is hard to read about, but also made me root for her even more.

This book takes machismo and wrings it by its neck. YSM doesn’t shy away from exposing the violence against women and toxic masculinity that have plagued this society. No, these problems aren’t solved in this book, but they are key reasons that lead Camila to fight back. This book screams girl power, that is not always easy to wield when faced with so much opposition, but something that is liberating and empowering all the same. Yes, this book is feminist af and brings to light the Ni Una Menos movement that is roaming its way through Argentina and the rest of Latin America, fighting for to end femicide and establish rights for women.

It’s a book about a teen being a teen in a little barrio called Rosario in Argentina. We get music references to Maluma and J Balvin, like YES AMAZING. Homework and menstrual cycles are part of this girl’s life, as they should be! Friendship and first love and all the complexities that come with navigating life at an age where huge decisions about the future make this book remarkable and intriguing at every turn of the page. Not to mention the Argentinian daily life and food and culture woven into every action characters make! (Every time alfajores were mentioned my mouth started salivating! *sobs*)

And the beautiful game. I haven’t played soccer in oh god YEARS, but this book brought me back to the pitch. It made my lungs burn, it made my heart race, my hamstrings tighten. It brought up the feelings of team-love, team-pressure and the thrill of competition! It brought joy and sadness! Just that feeling of being in a field chasing the ball and cheering and yelling for a pass! I—omg why am I getting emotional writing this?—Yes, soccer is an central aspect of this story, but more than anything the pitch is where we see Furia come alive and become the dreamer that she is.

So yes. I did tear up at the end. It was a culmination of so many big changes that happened in Camila’s life that brought both joy and sadness. It was a beautiful ending, one that gives mighty hope and vision for girls chasing their dreams against all odds.

And there was a Narnia reference. 🙂 Books always win when they have a reference to Narnia. 🙂


Overall, this book completely swept me off my feet! I can with absolute surety say that this book will be on my top 10 list at the end of the year! This book is a fierce tale of a girl pushing back against every barrier to achieve her dream. It’s a story about first love and the complexities of family. Your emotions will be kicked around from player to player until finally with the last turn of the page you can’t help but scream GOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: YES! PLEASE! EVERYONE! READ! THIS!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading it? Did you ever or do you still play a spot?

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From | Review // Happy Book Birthday to this amazing book ft. a half-Salvi MC — I’M LIVING.

Greetings readers!

I am so pleased to be bringing you a review for a book that releases today!

When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued because hello I’m in for any and all Latinx books. And then I heard whispers that the MC was actually half-Salvadorian and I couldn’t press request faster when the publisher sent out the request list!

Do you guys know how hard it to find Salvadorian characters in YA books? It’s hard! But I’ve been given a gift with this book, and I’m so glad to say that it was quite a success for me! I hope that my review makes even just a smidgen of sense as I tell you how much I enjoyed it!

*Many thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC*

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From
via Goodreads

Pub Date: August 18th, 2020
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Goodreads

First-generation American LatinX Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.

Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s fine that her inner-city high school is disorganized and underfunded. It’s fine that her father took off again—okay, maybe that isn’t fine, but what is Liliana supposed to do? She’s fifteen! Being left with her increasingly crazy mom? Fine. Her heathen little brothers? Fine, fine, fine. But it turns out Dad did leave one thing behind besides her crazy family. Before he left, he signed Liliana up for a school desegregation program called METCO. And she’s been accepted.

Being accepted into METCO, however, isn’t the same as being accepted at her new school. In her old school, Liliana—half-Guatemalan and half-Salvadorian—was part of the majority where almost everyone was a person of color. But now at Westburg, where almost everyone is white, the struggles of being a minority are unavoidable. It becomes clear that the only way to survive is to lighten up—whiten up. And if Dad signed her up for this program, he wouldn’t have just wanted Liliana to survive, he would have wanted her to thrive. So what if Liliana is now going by Lili? So what if she’s acting like she thinks she’s better than her old friends? It’s not a big deal. It’s fine.

But then she discovers the gutting truth about her father: He’s not on one of his side trips. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want to come home…he can’t. He’s undocumented and he’s been deported back to Guatemala. Soon, nothing is fine, and Lili has to make a choice: She’s done trying to make her white classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. Done changing who she is, denying her culture and where she came from. They want to know where she’s from, what she’s about? Liliana is ready to tell them.


The Likes:

At the centre and forefront of this novel is the incredible and very authentic voice. I can already see the complaints of people calling the writing juvenile and hard to understand because of the slang and can I just tell these people to shove off already? This story is being told by a 15 year old-girl, do you think that she always thinks in full sentences and with the vocabulary of a university professor!? No. I personally loved the writing style and voice! It really gave off the vibes of being in this teenager’s mind. The reader is put into her head so wonderfully, an effect that I think is best achieved when the vernacular of the text caters to the voice of the character. I mean did I understand every term used? No, but that’s what Urban Dictionary is for.

Liliana was a phenomenal character and I resonated a lot with her. She starts off this story your average teen living the high school life in Boston. She’s kind of moody, having to deal with her little brothers and her dad’s sudden disappearance, it doesn’t help that her mom isn’t letting up any details. Then things change, big time. She is accepted into the METCO program at a predominately white school in wealthy neighbourhood. She’s apprehensive about the move, but does it to make her parents happy. Then things get more intense as she discovers her father has actually been deported and that her mother is also an undocumented immigrant. These are not the most welcome experiences for her and she reacts in a very understandable way. She was angry and scared and most of all confused. Is she flawed? Oh yeah. And yet I loved her desire to learn more. To find the answers for her questions and find the voice to fight for herself. 

As she learns to navigate the halls of her new school she finds herself changing and is unsure how to feel about it. She begins to feel like she is losing herself as she is confronted with two very different worlds, neither of which seem to claim her entirely.  The trials of friendship both of maintaining connections you already have and creating new ones is a bug hurdle for her. There were so many different factors she had to balance at once. I was only ever the new-kid once, but this book does a great job of showing how difficult it is to navigate new waters especially in a school where there is so much division!

Reading about Liliana’s eventual awakening to the reality of her family’s story was so relatable for me. In my Latinx experience, it is very common that family stories and family secrets stay sealed among the adults. It’s when you reach a certain age, like Liliana’s 15 years, when you finally start to be trusted with the secrets. And sometimes these revelations weigh you down. I can only imagine the kind of hurt and confusion that Liliana felt about her parents and the idea that her dad might never come back to their family. Reading about how she dealt with this weight was poignant and really eye-opening.

Identity and knowing who you are is probably the biggest theme in this book. As someone who is both half-Salvadorian and half-Guatemalan, Liliana finds herself knowing very little about the countries from whence her parents hail. (And again so relatable) I loved that she took it upon herself to google, read books and ask questions to know more! Questions she asks her older family members that aren’t always answered in a direct manner (like is this my life?? I’ve done these very same things SO many times). She embarks on her own research about Guatemala and the hardships of immigration which was really admirable!

I don’t know much about the American school system, but reading this book was again very insightful. The complexities of the METCO program and navigating a school where you are constantly othered is scary. The amount of microaggressions and blatant racism that Liliana and the other POC characters face in the book is not shocking but pretty despicable. This book made a powerful statement on what it means to be open to diversity, navigating white fragility and the dangers of relying on BIPOC to “teach” people how to not be racist. It made me honestly reflect about my own experience in school. To be fair, my high school was not predominately white, but I still faced some of these very things from my own classmates. Some of these microaggressions I’ve done myself. I used to say–and sometimes still say–that I am “Spanish” when I am most certainly not. I was just so wowed by the truth after truth that this book spit out.

At heart this is a story about family. It was gut-wrenching at times because there is just so much heartbreak. This is not really a story about migration, although the dangers of crossing the US-Mexican border is a prominent worry for Liliana and her family. (Not mention the president that wants to build a wall.) And I really liked how the author approached it.  I feel like this book is for first-generation kids. The children of immigrants that are both of the nation they were born in be it American or Canadian (in my case) and that nations from which their parents come from. It’s about embracing that your identity is not limited to one single place, one single way of seeing the world. I might have cried just a little bit because this story resonated so much with me. In no ways is my life identical to Liliana’s, but just some of the things she thinks about and questions she asks reflect my experience too.

Nonetheless, this book leaves us all on a note of hope. It calls for holding yourself and your friends accountable.  It calls for us to never judge on first appearance and be open to everyone’s intersectionality. It calls for asking questions and being open to learning about the struggles everyone faces. It’s about facing that fear even in the face of rejection and embracing that each and every one of us is a complex human being worthy of going for gold to reach our dreams.


Overall, this book was a really amazing read. It grabbed me every time I opened the page and let me tell you that second half had me clutched by the collar, I couldn’t put it down! Centered around themes of identity, social justice and family, this book is sure to draw you in with its unique character voice and drama. It’s a compelling read and very relevant!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Oh yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you ever read a book with a character that shares your culture? Are you looking forward to reading this? What books about family and/or social justice do you love?

*Lebanon Needs You – Please Share and/or Donate + Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

 

The Beauty of the Moment | Blog Tour // Review

Greetings readers!

I have the amazing pleasure to be part of the Penguin Teen CA Blog Tour for The Beauty and the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena! This is a wonderful contemporary read and its Canadian YA, so you know I had to read it!

Be sure to check out all the tour stops for some fun interviews and more reviews!

The Beauty and the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena

The Beauty of the Moment

Pub Date: Feb 26, 2019
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Price: $21.99
Goodreads

Susan dreams of being an artist. Malcolm wants to move him and his sister out of a bad living situation. Sparks fly when the two teens meet at a fundraiser for Syrian refugees. A Canadian YA romance for fans of The Sun is Also a Star.

Susan is the new girl — she’s sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents’ expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy — he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan hasn’t told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn’t know what he wants — until he meets her.
Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.


Buy It!

Amazon | Chapters-Indigo


I absolutely adored this book.

Me.

Someone who rarely reaches for contemporary.

I completely, whole-heartily loved it!

The characters were phenomenal!

Susan! Oh Susan! We are literally carbon-copies of one another other than that we come from different types of brown cultures and family experiences. I have never related to a character so much in a contemporary novel like I did with Susan. Her shyness was so wonderfully depicted, but she most definitely had some fire. Her loyalty was admirable, but the trials she faces are so tough because of it. Her compassion and her charisma are lovely, but she most definitely has a meaner nature. Not to mention her love for art and her secret–or maybe not so secret–resentment of science and math. She is literally me and I am literally her. Except she got a boyfriend and I do not. O-O

Still…I JUST FREAKING LOVED HER. Her journey, her growth, her setbacks, her heartbreak and her stunning resilience and courage through it all. I wish I had as much guts as she did.

Malcolm. ANOTHER WONDERFUL CHARACTER THAT ABSOLUTELY BLEW ME AWAY! I mean it’s a typical bad boy story with a tragic–very tragic–past and I ate it all up!! Charming, dangerous, and a class-skipper! To be very fair though, Malcolm went through a lot and his decision making was not always that great. There was a lot of growing on this journey. Growth in self-respect, in learning to let go and in learning to move forward. It was really hard for him, and while I have never been in his situation, I can only imagine how hard it must be to even consider forgiving. And he messes up…a lot. But that’s okay. It’s all about the journey, it’s all about the learning. 

Other characters…I loved Malcolm’s best buds! They added in the perfect comedic moments and were such goofs. I would have loved to have Susan’s friendships to be further developed, but I understand that the whole point was to show how hard it can be for someone, especially an introvert, to get the guts to talk to people and keep talking to them.

The Family Dynamics

I don’t want to give anything away, but this was some tough stuff. Both characters had to go through a lot in their familial life. Parents can honestly suck sometimes. (I love you Ma and Pa 🙂 ) But they totally can. We’re all human, we all make mistakes but sometimes the mistakes that parents make can have bigger repercussions. Overall, I thought it was a great representation of what it’s like to be in a real, dynamic family.

And spiraling off the family talk comes the discussion on Academic Pressure

THE BEST REP THAT I HAVE READ SO FAR. Susan was born to Indian parents and was raised in Saudi Arabia, where life from ages 4 and up basically revolved around school. Susan was under the impression her whole life that in order to have her parents be proud of her, in order for her to be someone, she had to do well in school. Scratch that. Not “well” she had to be near or at the top of every class! 

And I saw myself in that. I truly did. I may not be Indian or Saudi, but I come from a Latinx household where doing amazing in school was an undisclosed demand. There was no room for a B+ on the report card, not once you head into middle school. But Susan (like me!) has a love for art and that is what truly makes her happy! The problem? No brown parent that I can think would ever encourage their child to pursue an arts degree. They may not discourage its practice, but it will forever be a “hobby.”

I just related to Susan so much. Every time she decided to not join a club so she could study, I have done that. Every time she doodled in her school notebook, I have done–and still do–that. Every time she took a Friday night or a weekend to get ahead on homework, I HAVE DONE THAT!!! Every time she complained and felt ashamed about getting a B on an assignment/test/quiz, I FELT THAT. Every time she tried to talk about pursuing art and the shrivelling of her spirit that came with thinking about how her parents would react. THAT. WAS. ME.

It got real personal for me, which I won’t divulge into anymore because this is just a review, but wow. It hit me.

Moving on…

CANADA.

It’s set in a city, outside of Toronto, Mississauga. (Which is part of the Greater Toronto Area…but not Toronto) Anyways, enough geography. NOW THIS IS A HIGH SCHOOL I CAN ACTUALLY RELATE TO. Four periods per day. One lunch hour. Crowded buses. Toronto Maple Leaf references. Malls I have actually been to. Like I was living my best life. I don’t travel to Mississauga often, but it’s not too different from where I grew up!

Still. Just the references and overall layout of the city structures were something I actually recognized.

And of course we get to see some ugly Canada. This story takes place during the heat of the Syrian crisis (which is still ongoing) and has a lot of discussion on immigration and the reception of immigrants in Canada, which is not the bestest. Trust me. We have bigots here too. So while it can be bitter to read about the ugly ideologies in Canada, it is truth that needs to be told.

The Romance

This was a love story in part and I think I just about melted of cuteness. It took a while for these two to get together, and when they did finally come to, they were just ahhh so cute. The fluff moments were a total overload! And hooweee do we get some great drama! I don’t want to spoil, but I adore how Bhathena handled the drama and the ending that she gave them. I really did. 


Overall, I adored this book. I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish reading the last 150 pages because I was so engrossed! There were never truly any dull moments. There is always something going on whether it be about Susan and Malcolm’s personal growth, their family lives, or their relationship. It is a story about family, love, loss, trust and courage to face the everyday. It is 100% one of my favourite contemporary books yet!

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Recommend: ABSOLUTELY!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you thinking about picking this up? Would you date a bad boy/girl? *winks* What kind of student were you in high school?

Be sure to check out the other tour stops for reviews, interviews and more! And don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of The Beauty of the Moment, on shelves now!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Confessions of a Teenage Leper | Blog Tour // Review & Character Aesthetics!

Greetings readers!

I have the honour of being the last tour stop for this wonderful book. I would like to thank Penguin Teen CA for sending me the invite and the book to take part in this tour and I want to thank all the bloggers before me who have had such incredible posts and reviews!

Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little

Confessions of a Teenage Leper

Publisher: Penguin Teen
Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018
Price: $21.99 CAD
ISBN: 9780735262614
Goodreads

Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She’s hot, she’s popular, she’s a cheerleader and she’s going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It’ll all be hers.

But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She’s tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she’s tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen’s Disease, aka leprosy.

Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can’t even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!

But it’s during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen’s Disease. She’s becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she’s on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn’t like what she sees. . .


BUY IT!

Amazon | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


Review:

Abby was an unlikable character no doubt. She was vain, shallow and selfish. And yet, I really enjoyed reading her confessions, her journey and her redemption.  The thing is that I understood and empathized with Abby. I’m not saying I was the type of girl Abby was in high school, the flirty, pretty and popular type, but I understood how Hansen’s disease was the most tragic thing to happen to her at the time. Her whole life (not to be dramatic) kind of depended on how she looked and the disease took that away from her, so she had to come up with a Plan B. And Plan B was where the real Abby shined. Where she finds that she can care about her appearance but not make it everything, where she can be compassionate and helpful but also take care of herself.

The writing was spot on. It had that teenage, snobbish vibe to it.  Ashley Little kept me hanging ever so often between Abby’s confessions which is what I really enjoyed. The plot was really well thought out. It starts before Abby shows signs of the disease and finishes off with not exactly an ending to Abby’s journey, but the end of one chapter in her life.

This book was uncomfortable to read sometimes, not gonna lie. Ashley Little holds back only a little when it comes to descriptions and stories. And sometimes Abby’s attitude made me uncomfortable, the tragic, dramatic way in which she viewed her life. But it all added to grander impact of the story and the important message that it left behind.

The subplots were also really well drawn out. I especially loved seeing the evolution of Abby’s relationship with her brother Dean. I was seriously worried for a while for *reasons* There was also even a smidge of romance in it! Nothing too much and it was sweet. I think that for a girl who thought physical attraction trumped all else, Abby had quite a surprise.

Overall, I thought this book was unlike anything. It was interesting, addictive, tragic and heart-warming.  It was sold to me as Mean Girls-esque story and it 100% delivers!!! Not to mention that it is short, fast-paced and more entertaining with each turn of the page! For someone who rarely–and I mean rarely–reaches out for a book like this, it was quite the read!

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Oh yes!

About Ashley Little:

Ashley Little
via PRHC

ASHLEY LITTLE received a BFA in Creative Writing and Film Studies from the University of Victoria and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her book The New Normal won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, and Anatomy of a Girl Gang won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and has been optioned for television. Confessions of a Teenage Leper is Ashley’s fifth novel. Ashley lives in British Columbia with her partner, their daughter, and her toy poodle, Huxley. (via PRHC website)

Now for the fun part!!

I wanted to leave this tour off with a little bit of pizzazz. Like many characters, Abby goes through a lot in this book. Her character doesn’t just learn to accept, she fights everything along the way, she goes through different trials, has many ups, but lots of downs too.

So I wanted to give you a little insight into Abby’s journey in this book, and what better not-so-spoilery way than through aesthetics! (LOL this is my first time making these collages so they may not be the absolute best, but a girl tries.)

Stage #1: Old Abby

abby 1

Stage #2: No Abby

abby 2

Stage #3: Still Abby

abby 3

*Disclaimer: I own none of the images used*

Each collage holds some subtle (and not so subtle) hints about what happens to Abby in the book, but in order to figure them out you are going to have to read it!


Let me know what you think! Are you going to pick up this book? Are you up for a mean girl read? What did you think of my first try at aesthetics?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Save the Date | Review

Greetings readers!

I have been bitten by that summer bug. And it infected me with a mood. A contemporary mood. I have like twelve different YA fantasies on my side table that need immediate attention and yet I want the fluff. I need the fluff. The summer sun and all the warm fuzzzy feels.

A couple of weeks ago, a YA contemporary Queen was in town and what better way to start off my contemporary summer mood than with a wedding book! Morgan Matson’s new novel, Save the Date sounded like the perfect way to start my summer and after attending her event, I was so excited to get to it!

Save the Date  by Morgan Matson

Save the Date

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date:  June 5th, 2018
Price: $23.99
ISBN:
 9781481404570

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.


BUY IT!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


Well, well. I had fun. Considering  it was my very first Matson book, I enjoyed it. Not exactly as much as I hoped to enjoy it, but it was a fun book overall.

What I Liked:

The Comic Strip. I thought it was such a cute touch. It really showcased the importance of the strip and it made it more than just a simple motif. Plus it added an extra amount of funny to the book.

I liked Charlie enough. She wasn’t my absolute favourite, but I did connect with her on some level. I totally related to her love of family. Her desire to have those together moments. Those times that are the memory makers. I often find myself searching for those moments with my own family and getting frustrated when we start to bicker or fight. Matson painted a real family. They were never perfect, but they had their moments of bliss and happiness.

Matson also approached the topic of change and how Charlie absolutely dreaded it. Especially as she was trying to figure out what she wanted for her future and how much she would have to let go in order to reach her goals. It was a very touching theme to the novel and I loved reading about Charlie’s journey to embracing change. It was not easy and she was quite stubborn, but I really connected to her struggle.

The book was also very humorous. The synopsis promises crazy and it delivered. Delivered to the point where I found it terribly ridiculous, but frankly I liked it. It was entertaining, the three days that this story spans is  filled with all sorts of trouble. It’s absolute chaos and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Bill. He was cute and charming and I wanted more from him. He did however come off as very flat, I would have liked a little more development in that area.

Those Canadian references! *Patriotic Rendz freaks.*

The ending, although bittersweet was quite heartwarming. I liked it a lot. I thought this was going to be really fluffy until Matson hit us with the hard ball and it hurt!

What I Disliked:

Okay. Here it is. The hard cold truth.

Every character in this Grant family was an asshole.

Especially Danny. JJ not that much. (JJ was actually my favourite of them all)

Their behaviour was disgusting. The way that this family treated outsiders did not sit well with me. My mom would call them “maleducados” i.e. rude. They were rude rude rude. Like, I get that family comes first, but these people were awful. Danny actually disgusted me, I was so unimpressed that Charlie practically worshipped him.

There was another asshole in this book, that I won’t call out for spoilers…but I knew knew knew that he was not worth it.

The fact that I didn’t like this family’s behaviour really spoiled a lot of he book for me. I often found myself rolling my eyes and disagreeing with many of their actions. I literally wanted to smack them all outside the head.

This book was wordy. It was long and it took forever. Plus the font was tiny! Okay maybe that was a little too technical, but in all honesty this book was too too too wordy. Charlie does a lot of thinking, some of it I could have honestly lived without. I got bored sometimes because there would not be a lot of character interaction instead it would just be Charlie in her head thinking thinking thinking.

The friendship theme in this book was very minimal. I was expecting a lot more from that element of conflict. It was set up really well, but there was no thorough execution. It left me disappointed.

The romance wasn’t even enough for me. WHERE WAS MY SUPER DUPER FLUFF??? THE SWOONY MOMENTS. BECAUSE I LITERALLY GOT ZERO. (I’m not counting the first chapter for *reasons*)


Overall, the book was good. It was not perfect and as you could see I had my issues with it. It was funny, ridiculous and despite its length, I think some people will fly through it! Did it fulfill my contemporary mood? For the most part. It did its job, but I am still very much hoping to jump into another fluffier book soon!

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Yeah, I guess… It was fun,  and a perfect summer read! Just beware of the super obnoxious characters.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? Who was your favourite character? What Morgan Matson book is your favourite?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Tell Me No Lies | Review

Greetings readers!

What do you do when you find yourself in a book and do not like that character? I had a bad case of this while reading this book. I found a character with an experience almost identical to mine and yet, I thought she handled it way worse than I did. This book started off with a lot of potential for me, but in the end it was one, big nope.

Tell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin

Tell Me No Lies by Adele Griffin
via Goodreads

Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pub Date: June 12th, 2018
Price: $27.95
ISBN: 9781616206765

Can the course of friendship or love ever run true when everyone has something to hide?

Lizzy Swift is a senior in high school, emerging from her nerd chrysalis to become a social butterfly. She’s dating Matt Ashley, the boy who’s been out of her reach since freshman year. Her bold, reckless new friend Claire Reynolds introduces her to Center City Philadelphia—clubs, street life, and the eye-opening art scene. And her Ivy League ambitions take a backseat to nights of partying, dancing, and dating.

But almost as quickly, the heady delight of Lizzy’s new life is clouded by doubts and deceptions.  While she has a special connection with Matt, it’s not the perfect romance she dreamed of. Claire carries around a mysterious sadness and talks about a breakup so bad she changed schools—but she won’t tell Lizzy the whole story. Lizzy wants Claire to confide in her, even as she keeps her own embarrassing secrets from her new best friend.

Will the truth come to light before it’s too late for Lizzy, Claire, and Matt to save their love and friendships?


Buy it!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


*I was provided a review copy by the publisher, Thomas Allen & Son, in exchange for an honest review.*

Look, I tried with this book, but if I am completely honest I saw it going downhill from the beginning.

What I Liked:

The main character, Lizzy, was basically me in high school. And I related quite hard. We were both the “nerdy” type, but not the trademark nerd. We had a very small social group and in terms of actually being a social person, we were not. We loved art, but couldn’t fathom pursuing it because our parents drilled it into us that art was a hobby, not a career. We were panning for college/university quite early on. And that’s where are similarities stopped.

Of course, she is an epileptic and I am not. Throughout the novel, she deals with having to hide her disorder because she doesn’t want it to define her or make people treat her differently. I have never read about an epileptic character and it was interesting to see how the author pursued the topic.

The only other character I liked-liked was Theo and he was in it for five seconds.

The ending was also okay. I was glad that the characters stories were fleshed out more and that they got some much needed revenge and that the circle of friends was pulled closer together.

What I Disliked

I understood that this was Lizzy’s journey to self-discovery, but she honestly takes a hard turn left and completely off the path. I did not agree with any of her decisions. (Well most of them.) I would be one to fantasize about a chaste kiss becoming more, but I think it would lose it’s spark four years later.

I thought the whole friendship theme in this book was really ummmm not great. Friends no matter how social or anti-social they may be are supposed to support you and care about you. I get that these teenagers had their secrets and pasts that barred them from opening up. But the way Claire, Gage and Mimi treated Lizzy was really not that great.

Speaking of secrets. I guessed them. I got Matt’s very early on and was just waiting for it to be confirmed. Claire’s was slightly more mysterious, so I stuck around to figure out what it was. Dave, I felt was really just a decorative character, I found no real purpose for him.

This novel deals with some very heavy subjects like rape, assault, homophobia and the stigma around epilepsy. I felt like some were brushed under the carpet. There was passing mention of it, one of the characters gave there perspective on it and that was it.

This was also set in the late 80s. Your girl got none of the music references. Okay maybe some, but most of the pop culture stuff went right over my head. I understand why this time frame was chosen…but to teens these days the 80s are very distant. Personally, I think they would have a hard time attaching themselves to this book.

It was also really boring and repetitive. Like super repetitive. The only reason I finished was to see Claire’s ending.


Overall, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t get the world. Did it have its sweet and heartfelt moments? Yes, but there were still so many issues I had with this.

Rating: 2 / 5 Stars

Recommend: It’s a no from me, dogs.

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What did you think? Would you get the 80s pop culture references? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Meeting Morgan Matson | Author Event Recap!

Greetings readers!

I feel like it has been forever since I wrote about an author event? Maybe it’s because I haven’t been to one in ages!! Well, I love author events. Even though I get a little nervous when I have to actually meet the actual authors!

Save the Date
via Goodreads

I decided to attend the Morgan Matson event in Toronto for three reasons.
1) My close friend has read one of Matson’s books before, so I decided to invite her so she could meet the author! (Plus she goes to events when I know the author, so it’s only fair!)
2) The event was for Save the Date, which I just started. It sounds fun, cute and fluffy and I am in a very contemporary mood!
3) Morgan Matson is such a big name! And despite having never read any of her books, I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity!

The Event & Discussion

The signing was held at Chapters Indigo at Yorkdale. The space is not huge, but my friend and I were able to find seats!!! There lots of people present, most of who had big stacks of books all by Morgan. As we sat and waited for the Morgan to show up, the Indigo employees played several rounds of trivia to win gift cards! Most of the questions revolved around Save the Date and since neither I nor my friend had read the book, we totally didn’t win anything! XD

Finally, Morgan arrived and everyone cheered quite loudly. She was interviewed by a Canadian blogger Tiff @ MostlyYALit! Tiff was a great interviewer and asked Morgan really wonderful questions about her books and her writing process!

With regards to her books, Morgan spoke a lot about the characters and how important it is to craft them. Save the Date has major themes revolving family and experiencing change. She also loves writing about realistic friendships and that they come with their own little flaws and perfections. In Save the Date, she reflects upon the friends vs family battle and the jealousy that is sparked between the two groups when they are not getting enough attention!

Although, I haven’t read any of her books yet, I am truly excited to see how she crafts these characters and relationships. Each book she writes is set in the same town, so for those Matsonverse fans out there, there are Easter eggs in every book that sort of connect them, which I find very cool!

With regards to her writing process, Matson talked about her satisfaction with standalones. She says that she loves a conclusive ending and that for her to write a series she would need to find the right story that was big enough to span more than one book! She went in-depth of how hard it was for her to write Save the Date. Most of her other books span a summer, a few months, but this book had only three days from beginning to end. She struggled with finding the right way to describe the time, but she is very thankful for her editors and writer friends that helped her through the process!

I take such crappy photos XD

Her least favourite part of the writing process would be the moments of the middle of the book where everyone is just standing around and she needs to make decisions for them. Matson said she is so indecisive about everything, so writing a book about it seemed like a good idea. Her favourite part of the process, is when things finally start working after a couple drafts and the story is finally something she can look forward to!

The best writing advice she has ever been given is to finish something. (Advice I definitely need to heed) She said that when you finish something you can finally say you have done this before and you can therefore do it again. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to make it to the end! The advice that she would give prospective writers is to read critically and write and rewrite. She said the best way to learn this craft is to study it, and understand what makes a story compelling and entertaining.

Final Fun Fact: Morgan let us know that the cover models on the Since You’ve Been Gone cover are actually wearing her own clothes and accessories!

Since You've Been Gone
via Goodreads

The Signing

In this moment, I’m giving my speech and Morgan’s signing my book!

This is the fun part, isn’t it. Well for me it’s the nerve-wracking part. Since I get quite anxious when I go to these events, I like to rehearse what I will say beforehand. Meanwhile, my friend kept asking me what she should say since she had never been to a signing before. I told her its best to talk about the book and soon enough we both had little speeches prepared when we got to her table.

When it was my turn up, I admitted that I haven’t read any of her books, but that I was excited for her new release as I have a wedding this coming summer! Morgan was so sweet and she hoped that I would enjoy the book and the wedding. My speech lasted a total of what 45 seconds and I ran out of stuff to say, so naturally I stood in an awkward silence. Thankfully, she’s a quick signer XD Then I got my picture taken with her and hopped off the little stand.

You’d think I would have made it through this signing without a fumble, right? Wrong.

As I turned to leave I felt like I was missing something, I had the book, but my left hand…it was empty, it had had something in it before.

Then I hear lots of people calling out my name, I turn and see the Indigo employee who snapped my picture holding out my phone and saying “Hun you forgot this! I don’t think you’d want to lose it.” I took it back in a flash and said my thanks, but I still turned very red since the employees, Morgan and some fans were all giggling and calling out my name.

Classic Rendz. Always has to look even just a little clumsy at a signing.


Overall, I really enjoyed the event! The discussion was great and I am honestly looking forward to going down a Matson spiral sometime soon. Plus, I have a new signed book to add to my collection! This one is actually double signed, since it is also a first signed edition!

I had lots of fun and Morgan Matson was so sweet and funny. I can’t wait to continue reading Save the Date and share my thoughts with you all!

Let me know what you think! Have you read books by Morgan Matson? Which one is your favourite? Have you had the chance to meet her? What author would you like to meet someday?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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A Prom to Remember | Review

Greetings readers!

Ahhh Prom. A life altering moment in one’s final year of high school, am I right? One’s entire social riding depends on the attendance of this formal, right? The whole point of high school is this party, RIGHT?!

No. Honestly, no. Prom is just a good time, if it’s your style. I guarantee it has no change in social status. That is…in my school it didn’t. It was just a really fun party!

Then again prom is not for everyone!

Also, not going to lie. Every time I read the title of this book, “A Night to Remember” from High School Musical 3 instantly starts playing in my head!

high school musical 3 GIF
giphy.com

A Prom to Remember by Sandy Hall

A Prom to Remember

Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
Price: $23.50 CAD
ISBN: 1250119146

Seven seniors, seven problems, one senior prom.

Cora: Head of the Prom Committee (and basically every other club in school). Has been dating Perfect Boyfriend Jamie™ for approximately forever, and has NO IDEA how to break up with him….

Paisley: Sarcastic feminist who wants nothing to do with prom. Has somehow managed to nominate her anxiety-ridden best friend for prom king…

Henry: Quiet ballplayer who hates social situations. Invited to prom by the most popular girl in school. SEND HELP!

Otis: Charming, popular, and one half of one of the cutest couples in his class. Doesn’t know how to tell his boyfriend that he’s not quite ready for a post-prom hotel room experience…

Lizzie: A little bit shy, and a lot excited to finally get out of her comfort zone and go to prom. With a boy. Whose name she doesn’t know.

Cameron: Loner with two jobs and zero friends. Is so done with high school and this whole town: the only thing he still wants to do is meet the mysterious girl who’s been leaving him notes…

Jacinta: Unnamed Nerd Girl #3. Determined to become the star of her own life, starting with prom. Now if only she could find a date….

A Prom to Remember, the newest book from Sandy Hall (author of A Little Something Different) is a funny and cinematic look at the biggest dance of every high schooler’s life.


BUY IT!

Chapters-Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 


*Thank you, Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC. All opinions are my own*

Well, well. I picked this up after reading a couple of fantasy books. I felt like I needed to cleanse my pallet before jumping into even bigger worlds, so what better way to do that than a cute, fluffy contemporary? And this book truly lived up to that. It was cute. It was fluffy. I laughed a lot. And it has a sweet ending!

What I Liked:

Characters: Holy moly there were a lot of people to follow in this book! A total of 7! There were some I liked more than others, but overall, I really enjoyed most of the characters!

Jacinta: I have to start off with my fave. Wow, I just really related to her a lot. Especially when she would talk about her familia latina. I also really related to her struggle of seeing herself as someone worthy of being important and not just a supporter for other people in her life. She was funny, shy and I totally loved watching her grow from a quiet background noise character to the up front and center wonder woman!

Henry: SO SO adorable! I absolutely loved him. Henry here experiences a lot of anxiety and unlike Jacinta he does not want to draw any attention to himself! He prefers the quiet life despite being told he is missing out on so much fun. His experience in the novel is one of learning to not allow fear swallow you whole and that sometimes we need step out of our comfort zones. Yet it also communicates that it’s just as cool to be alone and away from social situations as it is to be part of them.

Okay…now to the others.

I liked the other characters well enough. Otis was adorable and I loved reading from his POV. Paisley was also really funny. She had so much spunk and spark! Cameron’s story line was pretty entertaining too! I really enjoyed reading not only about his secret romance, but his trepidation about his new family. Lizzie was also pretty cool, although she did not stick out to me. And then there was Cora, whose POV I enjoyed the least. All she really did was complain and I was just not up for that!

The Switching of POVs:

There are seven perspectives to follow in this story. And yes, you are right that is a lot. I am usually one who likes several POVs, but even I think seven is way too many. Yet, I found it to be okay with this one. Hall switches often and a lot of the characters interact mutually so their stories intertwine. Each character has a distinct voice and personality too, so I didn’t find myself confusing people either, which was good.

The Romance:

How can I not talk about it? It was fluffy, it was cute. There were all kind of ships. Straight ships. Gay ships. Friendships. Otis and Luke were terribly adorable. My heart. And they were so funny too! Then there are other ships that I cannot talk about because spoilers, but it was all so fluffy. I know I’m not one for serious fluff, but when reading a book like this I don’t expect much else!

The Humour:

I was literally laughing out loud. Usually when something funny happens in a book, I just kind of snicker. Like my laugh is more of a hiccup in my breathing, but with this book I was actually laughing. Like hahahaha was coming out of my mouth. Hall really knows how to add in a punch line and set up scene that you know will end up in some sort of crazyness. I absolutely loved it.

What I Disliked:

The Problem With Seven POVs:

The story eventually gets lost. At one point I put the book down for a couple of days. I didn’t see the point anymore and I was seriously considering a DNF. While the switching might have been effortless and not too confusing, I was still left wondering where the build up was. It just fell flat to me. I decided to pull through and as I got closer to the end, I started to see the lines more clearly and their intersection was something I looked forward to reading. Basically what I want to say is that if you don’t attach yourself to at least a couple of characters, you won’t find this book to be too exciting.

This was really upsetting to me because I tried to get invested in the story, but I couldn’t quite grasp the ultimate point until the very end. I was lucky I got so attached to Henry and Jacinta, otherwise I don’t think I would have finished.


Overall, I ended up liking the story more than I thought. It was cute and funny. The characters do actually go to prom so at least that is delivered. It is a fast read, if you don’t take a five day break like me XD. It has an excellent assortment of representation from people of colour to queer characters and more. But above all, it is really adorable. Like squishy heart adorable.

Rating: 3 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Yes! For my fluff lovers!

Let me know what you think! Did you enjoy this book? How many POVs is too many for you? Did you get to go to a prom? Did you like it?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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