Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

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Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: October 29th, 2019
Publisher: Knopf BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Health, Family, LGBTQIA+. Friendship, High School, Theater


REVIEW:

I knew this was going to be an important and memorable story from the very first chapter. This was my first time reading about an HIV positive character and their struggles so I was paying very close attention to everything that was being said about the virus and how it affected Simone’s daily life. I did feel overwhelmed in the beginning because the author does not wait long to explain Simone’s situation to us and so it feels as though we are info-dumped. At the same time, I am really glad I know more about HIV and the U=U rule (undetectable = untransmittable) today. This book made me realize my own ignorance and corrected it. 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

The Test – Sylvain Neuvel

41940388The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: March 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Dystopia, Suspense, Family, Morality


REVIEW:

This is so messed up. I mean that in the best way possible. Do you want to read a soft dystopian that has been done before over and over again or something daring, captivating and all sorts of terrifying? I love an author who dares because tame stories are not for me. I want to be surprised and shocked and thrown into suspense instead of gently nudged in one direction or the other. Continue reading

The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Simon & Schuster Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Humour, Drama, Family


REVIEW:

My friend Jennifer said it best when she said that this feels like two books in one because I read the first one hundred and so pages thinking this would be a wonderful romantic comedy from start to finish, but alas drama llama made an appearance and did not want to leave the premises. It’s as though things started to become a bit too ‘‘real’’ because instead of relaxing on her fake honeymoon Olive started stressing out about everything and anything. Continue reading

There There – Tommy Orange

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There There by Tommy Orange

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Knopf
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Literary Fiction, Family, Generations, Native Peoples, Modern Life, Substance Abuse, Violence


REVIEW:

No one is lying. This truly is a necessary read. I thought it would read like a boring History textbook because the book literally starts by telling us some history so I immediately put it down. But I decided to give it a second chance, because how dare I abandon a story after a couple of pages only? I made the decision to push through that info-dumping part, but actually I didn’t have to force through anything because I really got into the author’s writing and wit quickly after and the reading began to feel actually natural. Continue reading

A Ladder to the Sky – John Boyne

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A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Hogarth Press
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Literary Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Historical Fiction, Books about Books, Writing, Family, Success


REVIEW:

I have never before genuinely despised an antihero. Antiheroes are hella fun. By that I mean that I love to root for them because they’re often unpredictable, unconventional and unusual and they don’t care to play the role of the good guy. They live by their own rules and that can be really entertaining to witness. Continue reading

Patron Saints of Nothing – Randy Ribay

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Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: June 2019
Publisher: Kokila
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Family, Coming of Age, Culture


REVIEW:

This felt like a familiar tale in the beginning. Someone close to the main character dies and the main character is angry and seeks justice. Except in this case the tragedy happens in the Philippines, far away from the protagonist, and Jay is reluctant to accept the events that lead to the death of his cousin so he travels to the Philippines in order to find out the truth his family is potentially hiding from him. Continue reading

Lanny – Max Porter

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Lanny by Max Porter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Strange Light
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Magical Realism, Dark, Creepy, Short, Family


REVIEW:

This is an odd little book that I did not want to stop reading one second. It’s perplexing, confusing and creepy at times, but it has a fairytale-esque atmosphere that gives it a mystical quality, as though you’re lost in a forest, trying to find your way out of it, and the only way you can do that is by getting to the end of this story. Continue reading

Where the Forest Meets the Stars – Glendy Vanderah

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Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Published: March 1st, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Family, Contemporary, Romance


REVIEW:

This is the second most unique story I have read this year, behind Daisy Jones & The Six. There are other books worth mentioning, but somehow very few stories manage to surprise you continuously and unfold so elegantly and meaningfully. This book deserves to be studied by aspiring writers out there, that’s how worthy of our attention it is. Continue reading

The Perfect Child – Lucinda Berry

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The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Published: March 1st, 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Family, Manipulation, Children, Mental Illness


REVIEW:

This is one messed up book and Janie is one messed up child. You’d think that the more psychological thrillers you read, the less they will affect you. But actually, it doesn’t work like that. If anything, your insides instinctively prepare themselves to be disturbed the moment you begin a new thriller. Continue reading