The Sun is Also a Star: Bright and Dim

Nominated for GoodReads Best Young Adult Fiction of 2016, The Sun is Also a Star is a poignant, sweet take on young adult love while exploring much more complex adult issues. Natasha, an undocumented immigrant, finds herself facing deportation amid her father’s missteps. Unwilling to accept their fate, Natasha seeks out a solution at the local immigration office in New York where they live. Meanwhile, Daniel, an American-born son of Korean immigrants finds himself on his way to entrance interview with an alumni for Yale where his parents have determined he will study to become a doctor.

While Natasha and Daniel are facing very different futures, their paths cross by a series of events that Daniel questions as to whether or not fate and destiny exist. Are all of life’s moments carefully orchestrated to lead up to the next to impact outcomes and events? Nicola Yoon successfully weaves a novel that tackles important philosophical issues through witty banter, short chapters, and insightful side characters/musings. Natasha is delightful in her scientific outlook on life whereas Daniel is determined to make Natasha a believer in love.

Yoon provides an insightful look into immigrant life amid the backdrop of New York City. Natasha and Daniel’s journey takes place over one day that is richly layered with details and characters. Although this book is a relatively quick read, this young adult novel hints at more sophisticated issues. However, the saccharine ending places The Sun is Also a Star firmly in the Young Adult category.

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Girl in Pieces: Takes a little piece of you

A New York Times Bestseller and named one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, Girl in Pieces is a hauntingly, traumatic read.  The opening chapters of the book finds Charlie as a patient in a mental hospital for young girls.  The beginning chapters are riddled with drops of clues that give you a little insight to how Charlie ended up in the mental hospital.  Soon, Charlie finds herself being discharged from the hospital—not because she is ready but because her insurance and financial assistance from her absentee mother has been depleted.

“Everyone has that moment I think, the moment when something so momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.”

Armed with a loose plan of what happens next, Charlie embarks on a journey of self-discovery and healing.  Although that sounds cliché, Kathleen Glasgow tells a very raw and emotionally gripping story.  I appreciated that this book did not wrap everything up into a neat bow.  After Charlie leaves the hospital, her journey is not easy and is riddled with self-destructive behavior which makes the story feel more authentic and honest.  While Charlie’s actions are sometimes hard to understand, Girl in Pieces is a journey that you will find yourself better for having experienced.

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Heavenly Bodies: A heavenly debut

heavenly-bodiesSometimes you need an escape and books are the perfect vessel for the voyage.  Enter St. Croix, the star of Rochelle Allison’s debut YA novel, Heavenly Bodies.  As an avid reader of fanfiction and Allison’s previous ff works (more on that on another day), I was greatly looking forward to her original fiction work.  Anyone who knows Rochelle Allison, and I’m fortunate to call myself one of those people, knows that her love of the land that spent her formative years, St. Croix, is beloved to her.  Most of us can only dream of living in such an idyllic setting, but fortunately, through her novel, we get a chance to live vicariously through Isla Kelley, the main character in Heavenly Bodies.

Isla finds herself in every teenagers worst nightmare—having to move just before their senior year.  But Isla doesn’t make just any move, she finds herself moving from Atlanta to St. Croix, where her mother grew up, to help care for her ailing grandfather.  Caught in between her life in the states and her new life in St. Croix in a private school, Isla is fortunate enough to have a built in friend through her cousin Camille.  Through Camille, Isla is shown the ins and outs of life in St. Croix as well as the tiny school she is now expected to graduate from.

If you are anything like me, I love YA novels, especially coming of age novels set in and around high school.  There is something about the nostalgia and angst of being taken back to the time period.  First loves, first tryst with alcohol, and first…everythings.  Allison is a master at captivatingly telling slow burning love stories and she delivers just that in her debut novel, Heavenly Bodies.  The setting of St. Croix is just the cherry on top.

***After reading Heavenly Bodies, don’t miss out on Allison’s collaboration For The Win.***

 

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Broken Prince: Royal cliffhanger hangover

Broken PrinceIt’s here! It’s here!  I don’t know how you have survived the MONTHS of anticipation after the cliffhanger of a book that was Paper Princess.  The highly anticipated sequel, Broken Prince, does not disappoint.  In fact, the only disappointing thing is how hard of a book this is to review.  Not because I didn’t love it, but because I don’t want to spoil it.  And it’s not that far into the second book when you get to the first big spoiler, the first among many.  What I can say is that, thankfully, we don’t have to wait that long to find Ella.  (Hint: she didn’t get that far)  In the first book, Paper Princess, I said that book reminded me of a cross between Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl.  For Broken Prince, I would add the TV show Revenge into the mix.  Remember that show?

Revenge

Gosh…it had the craziest story lines but you still couldn’t stop watching!  This is how I feel about this series.  Just when you didn’t think anything else could go wrong…plot twist!  Broken Prince goes Revenge in the very first chapter and just like the TV show, you have to keep watching, err reading, to find out what happens.

Revenge son of a bitch gif

           How I felt reading the plot twists.

I loved that we found out more of Gideon’s story in Broken Prince.  Although the twins play minor roles in this book, I definitely wouldn’t mind a spin-off series all to their own.  Easton is still in the mix and he deserves his own book series too.  And if you think that author Erin Watt didn’t leave you wanting more after the first book, then book two delivers a cliffhanger for all cliffhangers.

Looking at you, author Erin Watt.

Looking at you, author Erin Watt.

Fear not though, book three is due out in October.  If you are looking for a series to capture your attention in the same vein as Gossip Girl, you will not be disappointed.  Until October…..XoXo.

Revenge help us all

Till October.

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A Sweet Read: The Problem With Forever

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Don’t you love the cover of this book? The book cover, coupled with the book description, made me immediately intrigued. The Problem with Forever follows Mallory’s journey as she is adopted out of foster care after suffering a horrible tragedy. As a method to cope with her PTSD, Mallory no longer speaks and is homeschooled. In an effort to prepare for college and assimilate to being in public, Mallory enrolls in a public high school for her Senior year. Facing her fears and anxiety of being in public, along with the typical high school pressure, Mallory is fighting an uphill battle.

Mallory’s journey takes a turn when she unexpectedly finds herself in class with a boy that has strong ties to her time in foster care. When Mallory reunites with Rider, her childhood protector, things do not go as planned. Jennifer Armentrout weaves a story that is slowly revealed over time. Some would argue that perhaps this book was too slow. I found the story to have major angst potential although, in reality, the angst was very mild. Mallory’s connection with Rider is obviously very strong and one that lasts over time and tragedy that unfolds throughout the novel. However, some parts of the story felt unbelievable to me. Coupled with a few plot holes, if you are looking for a young adult high school based novel with mild angst, The Problem With Forever is a cute read that will do the trick.

 

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For fans of Gossip Girl: Paper Princess

Paper PrincessIf Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl had a literary baby, it would be Paper Princess.  If you are in the mood for a snarky, treacherous, young adult/new adult novel, look no further.  Paper Princess will leave you entertained in the best possible way.

Paper Princess, much like Gossip Girl, follows the lives of the super wealthy elite at an upper-class high school.  Ella Harper is plucked from her life slumming it in the public school poverty, or a “casual” as they are referred to in the book, and finds herself living with a super wealthy family.  What entails is full of high-school drama, mild angst, and the wildly indulgent actions of sexually charged teenagers.  This book will leave you thankful that you did not attend an upper-class high school, or in some cases, it will make you wish you did.  (In some ways, this book reminded me of the Fallen Crest High Series but with better writing).  But fair warning, this book ends on a major cliffhanger.  The next book in the series comes out in July so it’s not that long of a wait.  XOXOGossip Girl

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