The Plain Janes – Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg

The Plain JanesThe Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: January 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Art, Friendship, Mental Health, Romance, High School


REVIEW:

This graphic novel makes the following claim, supported by multiple events, throughout its story: that art saves. That without it, we can easily drown underwater and lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us even in bleak times. Continue reading

How It Feels to Float – Helena Fox

41454344How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Dial Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mental Health, LGBTQIA+, Family Death, Friendship


REVIEW:

I will not always remember what happened in this book but I will always remember how this book made me feel. It is so lyrical I can remember clearly how it increased my heartbeat during stressful scenes and reduced it during really comfortable moments between Biz and the new people she meets. Everything Biz felt, I felt, which was heavy at times because she is not in a right space of mind right now. Her father’s death affects her tremendously even if it was a while ago. I can relate to that because my own father passed away when I was a baby and even if my heart doesn’t squeeze when I think of him I still wonder oh so many times what it would have been like to get to know him. Yet this book never got too overwhelming. Biz is drowning in her own mind—or floating out of it rather—but has people in her life who help her stay grounded. But you can’t always depend on others to feel sane and so Biz is losing herself more and more. Continue reading

Scars Like Wings – Erin Stewart

39353216Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: October 1st 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mental Health, Romance, Death, Friendship, High School


REVIEW:

This is such a realistic story that I had no problem picturing everything happening and understanding what the characters were feeling. As someone who enjoyed the book Wonder but wished it had been about a more mature protagonist, this was pretty perfect for me and a wonderful reading experience. The poems included had a huge impact on me because I strongly connected with the heroine whose heart was shattered into a million pieces when her parents and best friend died in a fire that she was the only one to survive. Everyone has scares but some scars, like Ava’s, are impossible to miss. This, of course, affects the way she sees herself and other people see her. Continue reading

You Asked for Perfect – Laura Silverman

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You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: March 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Mental Health, Romance, School Pressure, Friendship, Family Dynamics


REVIEW:

I could have used this book a year before applying to college. That year, and the one before actually, I was intensely focused on my studies and cancelled many plans with friends, so many that by the end of the school year, I barely had anyone to say goodbye, good luck to. And I only realized my mistake when I did get into university, went to a few classes and realized that it’s harder to make friends when the teacher lectures and there’s little time to discuss in or between classes. Unless you go to events, socialize. Continue reading

Dear Evan Hansen, The Novel

39088507Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: Poppy
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, High School, Mental Health, Suicide, LGBTQIA+, Romance


REVIEW:

This was my first time reading a novel based on a play. And you know what? Even though I had no idea what to expect and had mildly bad experiences with novelizations in the past, this was quite the positive experience.

It becomes obvious after the first couple of chapters that this story was modified to fit the novel format because of the way certain scenes unfold or the text itself, but that only adds to the specialness of the book. Continue reading

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare – Gabourey Sidibe

33550374This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humor, Coming of Age, Body Image, Mental Health, Celebrity


BLURB:

Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham. Continue reading

Starfish – Akemi Dawn Bowman

29456598Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mental Health, Art, Family Relationships, Romance, Coming of Age


BLURB:

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin. But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave. Continue reading