The Downstairs Girl – Stacey Lee

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The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 13th 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Race, Gender, Poverty


REVIEW:

After reading a book with protagonists that did not inspire any reaction in me but one of absolute indifference, it felt almost magical to read a story with a character that absolutely popped off the page and claimed her rightful place as the heroine of this book. I live for these types of characters with personality, strength, ambition and a desire for change. Jo hasn’t had it easy at all but she’s working hard to support herself, survive and make something of herself. Historical Fiction is a hit or miss for me, because it can be more boring than watching a hamster go about its day. (Since I once had one I can tell you it’s very, very boring.) Luckily instead of incorporating every historical element possible in her story, Stacey Lee discussed key subjects that were of great importance to Jo, such as poverty, race and gender. All of which I was able to understand and all of which made me feel invested in this story. Continue reading

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Wicked Fox – Kat Cho

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Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: June 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mythology


REVIEW:

Somehow I knew this would not work well for me and I am all about mythology in my fantasy reads. But after reading the cheesy summary mentioning a forbidden romance that could potentially become Miyoung’s downfall, I was like, ‘‘I really hope YA Fiction moves on from this type of character arc, man.’’ I gave it a chance anyway because sometimes blurbs are awful but the characters wonderful so it’s always possible to be surprised when it comes to books. Continue reading

We Contain Multitudes – Sarah Henstra

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We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Family, Friendship, Death, Abuse, Bullying


REVIEW:

That was an intense reading experience. A rollercoaster ride, really. A thorn to the heart and a sunrise of a thousand different colours. Let me tell you right from the start that if Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe did not work for you, you will probably hate this. If you dislike epistolary novels, you will probably hate this. If you prefer your LGBTQIA+ reads to be light and entertaining, kind of like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you will hate this. Actually, it will hate you because this book deserves a reader who is ready for baggage and heartbreak and a hundred different conflicting emotions. Continue reading

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: July 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fiction, Romance, Family Drama, Friendship Dynamics, Books about Books


REVIEW:

This book, to me, was perfection. Beautiful story, astoundingly-relatable and charming characters that I could not get enough of, lovely fairytale-esque atmosphere and elegant writing style. Sometimes authors just mention that a character is a bookworm, hoping that the reader instantly connects, but instead of simply telling us about Nina Hill’s whole life revolving around books, she actually proved it to us, thus making her ten times more real and worth befriending to me. Continue reading

If I’m Being Honest – Emily Wibberley& Austin Siegemund-Broka

40087230If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: April 2019
Publisher: Viking BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling, Contemporary, High School, Drama


REVIEW:

This is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew that is both a comedy and a tragedy. It’s also everything I wanted it to be and so much more than this duo’s previous release – Always Never Yours. I was recently told that I am brutally honest, a statement I agree with and probably the main reason why I connected so well and so instantly with the heroine of this novel, Cameron Bright, a girl who says what she thinks 24/7. Continue reading

Shouting at the Rain – Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family, Friendship Dynamics, Summer


REVIEW:

I don’t typically dislike being in the minority because I can stand my ground, especially when it comes to book preferences, but I can’t help but be disappointed right now. This is an author that I have read twice before and both times she managed to impress me, plus this book was enjoyed by 98% of the people who have read it. Yet Shouting at the Rain is not as entertaining as Fish in a Tree or as moving as One for the Murphys. Actually, it’s somewhat annoying. Continue reading

Aurora Rising – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

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Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Knopf BFYR
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action, Romance, Friendship


REVIEW:

Part of me wants to give this book two stars because, looking back, I’m not sure I completely understood everything that happened and why. Another reason is that the characters’ ‘‘voices’’ all sounded the same so even if the narrator was announced at the beginning of a chapter I still needed to think hard at times to remember whose point of view I was reading. Continue reading