Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: It’s Not Like it’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura

It’s Not Like it’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura
Series: Standalone
Published: May 9th, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
400 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult/LGBTQ
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.

When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore.

Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy… what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.
 


I have mixed feelings about It’s Not Like It’s a Secret. On the one hand, I’m always ecstatic to find new f/f books, and the fact the main character is not only queer but also a person of colour overjoys me. Books like this are very slowly filling a gaping void in publishing, and I’m so, so happy to see them being published. I wanted so badly to like this book, but...it was overall pretty meh for me. It was slow and way too long, and the plot was all over the place. It also had the one consistent...flaw? Drawback?...I keep finding in contemporary f/f: there was very little focus on the romance. I JUST WANT A F/F ROMANCE WHERE THE FOCUS IS THE ROMANCE, WHY IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK FOR?!

Ahem. Anyway...

Sana was Japanese-American and I enjoyed learning a bit about the culture and traditions, largely through Sana’s interactions with her mother. I liked that when Sana’s family moved from the all-white community she grew up in to California, she finally found a place she truly fit and felt comfortable. I appreciated the open discussions about racism and stereotypes, especially among non-white groups (like, for instance, Sana’s Japanese mother had something racist to say about pretty much every ethnic group, and pretty much everyone stereotyped Sana and her friends as ‘smart Asians’ and Jamie and her friends as ‘lazy Mexicans’). It’s so important to talk about racism in an open way and to shine a light on people’s preconceived notions, incorrect perceptions, and prejudices...but...at times it felt like a story more about race than anything else. There was such a heavy emphasis put on the racism and stereotypes, and I know they’re important subjects and it’s important to see them addressed, especially in YA, but at times it felt like you couldn’t go more than a few pages without someone making a racist comment or the focus being brought back to some form of stereotype. I know I’m privileged in that I can’t imagine what it must be like to live with that kind of prejudice and hear those comments or know people are judging you based on the colour of your skin, but the heavy focus on racism added to the overall feeling of the plot being scattered.

On to the romance: Yay lesbians! Double yay for lesbians in YA! But...I wanted MORE. So much more. The interactions between Sana and Jamie were okay but not memorable. Half the time they were together, Sana was worried about Jamie’s friends and what they thought of her. I’d have liked to get to know a bit more about Jamie and WHY Sana liked her so much. It was an insta-crush, which is fine, but I didn’t feel like it ever went deeper than that, even when they were together. Then there was the...love triangle? I’m not sure you could totally call it that, but I’m going to since it led to a cringe-worthy cheating storyline. It’s pretty sad that in an f/f book, I liked the opposite sex non-love-interest better than the gay love interest. I understand that in YA books it’s important that the characters are flawed and make mistakes because that’s realistic, and that’s how they learn and grow. I usually appreciate deeply flawed characters because it often leads to poignant lessons and growth, but Sana did so many questionable things it had me shaking my head and rolling my eyes more than rooting for her. Because of that and because I feel like we didn’t get to know much about Jamie, the romance fell flat for me. I also felt like Sana didn't learn that much or grow that much as a person, which was a bit disappointing.

Overall, I was underwhelmed by It’s Not Like it’s a Secret. I appreciated the diversity, but honestly if it hadn’t been for that, there would have been almost no story/tension/conflict. I wasn’t able to connect with the characters, and the story - especially the second half - dragged. This story wasn’t for me, but as always, I encourage people to decide for themselves if it sounds like something that would interest them.




               
Have you read It's Not Like it's a Secret? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? What's the last book that left you feeling underwhelmed?
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mental Health Awareness Month: Books That Deal With Mental Health


May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is something I try to talk about openly and honestly as much as possible, both in real life and online. I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety since I was in college, which equals about a third of my life. It can be exhausting, frustrating, and disheartening, but I don’t let my mental illness define me. The beautiful thing about being part of the online world is it’s easy to find people who share my struggles. Who understand. Who have been there or are there. Alternately, it can be hard for people who have never dealt with mental illness to truly understand what it’s like, but when you find people who are willing to listen and try hard not only to understand but also to help, encourage, and be someone you can lean on, it’s an incredible thing. I've been lucky to have many of those people in my life.

When I started writing my first Young Adult novel, Waiting for the Storm, I didn’t set out for it to be a book about mental health. In my mind, it was about grief and family. I was drowning in my own grief at the time after the death of my grandmother, and I needed an outlet. In many ways, Charlotte is me. All of my characters end up with at least some of my traits, but Charlotte is the most like me - her grief, her anxiety, that was me. Her love of U2: me. Her love of books: me. Her fear of open water: me. Big and small, she's me. Writing this book made me feel vulnerable. I cried through a lot of it. I felt like I was cutting myself open and bleeding all over the pages. Because of those things - because of the vulnerability and putting so much of myself into the story and the main character - writing Waiting for the Storm was an extremely cathartic experience. It kept me going during a very difficult time.

Every person with mental illness or mental health issues experiences it differently. No two people will have the exact same experience with anxiety or depression or bi-polar or PTSD, etc. There is no universal experience. There will be relatable aspects, and it can be freeing and also comforting to discover there are people who go through the same thing and can truly understand what it’s like to feel as if your own brain is your worst enemy. 


It’s so important to talk about mental illness, and not just to show people they’re not alone, but also to help end the stigma associated with mental illness. To show people there’s no shame in seeking help. There’s no shame in being on medication or talking to a doctor or going to therapy. Remember: mental health is as important as physical health. Just like you take care of your physical health, you need to take care of your mental health, whether that’s practicing self-care, seeing a professional, or talking to a friend. You’re not alone. You don’t have to ‘suffer in silence’.


I, unfortunately, haven't read that many books yet that deal with mental health issues, but I do have a few favourites that I recommend often:

London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton ~ The main character, Alex, has anxiety and deals with panic attacks

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes ~ The main character, Maguire, has anxiety and PTSD

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone ~ The main character, Samantha, deals with purely-obsessive OCD

Upside Down by Lia Riley ~ The main character, Talia, has OCD 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli ~ The main character, Molly, deals with anxiety

And, finally, my little book, Waiting for the Storm, where, as I mentioned before, my main character, Charlotte, deals with anxiety


Have you read any books that deal with mental illness? Have you been able to relate to a character because of their mental health issues? Can you recommend any books that deal with mental health or neurodiversity?
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie

The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #2
Published: April 18th, 2017
Publisher: Flux
320 pages (eARC)
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart.

But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?

Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?


 

It’s been almost a year and a half since I read The Abyss Surrounds Us, but within a few pages of The Edge of the Abyss, I was sucked back into Cas’s world of pirates and sea monsters. This was a fantastic conclusion to a well-written, action-packed sci-fi adventure in a world that’s easy to imagine.

Picking up shortly after where the first book ended, Cas has left her life as a Reckoner trainer and sworn allegiance to the totally badass pirate queen, Santa Elena. As one of Santa Elena’s chosen few, she’s in training to one day take over as captain of the Minnow. Her one advantage is an extensive knowledge of Reckoners, which puts her at the forefront when the crew discover the rogue Reckoners that are swimming free in the NeoPacific and could cause irreparable damage in many ways.

I loved how The Edge of the Abyss built on The Abyss Surrounds Us. In this book, we get to see more of the pirates themselves and learn about pirate politics, which was fascinating. We get to see more growth from Cas, and we also get to see more of the secondary characters, which I liked. They became real people for me in this book, a true supporting cast.

I have slightly mixed feelings about the romance in this one. On the one hand, I understand Cas’s hurt and anger and being unsure whether she can forgive Swift for the things that came to light at the end of the first book. She and Swift are finally on equal footing, but so much has happened that seems impossible to get past. Their relationship was always complex, and I appreciated the slow burn of it, but there was almost too much back and forth. Cas has a lot to deal with besides her feelings for Swift - guilt over leaving her life and family behind, uncertainty over her future, trying to figure out a plan to deal with the Reckoners - so while I would have easily understood the romance not being a main focus of the plot, the way it was handled makes the plot feel choppy at times. That being said, the emotions were realistic. Their romance was never hearts and rainbows, full of mushy sentiments and pledges of eternal love, and that made it more realistic than a lot of other YA romances because young love is often rocky and uncertain and confusing. I was ultimately satisfied and I appreciated how things ended, but the rocky ride was a bit tiresome at times.

The Edge of the Abyss is fast paced, engaging, and full of thrilling action and great characters. I’d love to see this duology turned into a movie or TV series. 








{My review of The Abyss Surrounds Us}

Have you read The Abyss Surrounds Us or The Edge of the Abyss? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? Do you have any recommendations for books featuring pirates?
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #10

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date. The idea is to share what you've read lately, what you're currently reading, and what you plan to read next. I love seeing what other people are reading and then adding to my never-ending TBR, so I thought this would be a fun meme to participate in each week!

Happy Monday, book lovers! Can you believe we're already halfway through May? 

I participated in the Savvy Read-a-thon on Saturday and managed to get two and a half books read, which is amazing for me since I'm a really slow reader. It was a lot of fun - I met some new readers and even won a book! 

Here's what I've been reading since my last Monday update two weeks ago.

What I Finished Reading:
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas ~ I FINALLY FINISHED! Even though I really enjoyed this one, I kept setting it aside because I was getting behind on review books. Between that and the length and the fact I'm a slow reader, it took me ages to read. Now I can't wait to dive into A Court of Wings and Ruin
  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy ~ One of my favourite books of 2017 so far. A fantastic contemporary YA. 
  • The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans ~ An adorable, hilarious romantic comedy. This one comes out June 7th, but is available for pre-order now.
  • It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura ~ This was a story featuring a Japanese-American queer girl. I had mixed feelings about this one. While I appreciated the honest discussions/portrayals about racism, the story itself was pretty slow and draggy and way too long. I probably should have DNF'd this one but f/f stories are so rare, especially ones where the main character is also a person of colour. 
  • Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green ~ A sweet and poignant Middle Grade story told in verse about a Deaf girl whose family is growing and changing

What I'm Currently Reading:
  • Dust and Shadow: An Account of The Ripper Killers by Dr. John H Watson by Lyndsay Faye ~ Sherlock Holmes and John Watson + Jack the Ripper? This book was written for me!

What I Plan to Read Next:
I honestly don't know. I usually plan ahead so that I can fit all my review books in, but I want to read more 'me' books since I've been reading a lot of review books lately. I'm also trying to finish a few more squares for Bookish Bingo before the month is out, so I need to plan accordingly!

Recently on the Blog:
What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of the books I've been reading? I'll be doing the rounds of fellow It's Monday! What Are You Reading? participants, but in case I miss you, be sure to leave a link below so I can visit you! Also, if you did a general weekly recap, feel free to leave a link so I can check it out!
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Savvy Read-a-thon

Today is the Savvy Read-a-thon, hosted by The Savvy Reader as part of the 50 Book Pledge.

I've been posting updates on Twitter regularly (I'm @SweetMarie83 and the hashtag is #SavvyReadathon), but I thought I'd do a post here too to keep my progress all in one place.

Book #1: It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Suguira 


Next up on my TBR:
Macy McMillian and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green




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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim
Series: Standalone
Published: May 9th, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
288 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: This review contain marked spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}
 
Shabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After hooking up with the most racist boy in school and telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.

Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.

With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.

Featuring complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is an honest, moving story of a young woman's explorations of first love, sexuality, desire, self-worth, her relationship with her parents, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.


That Thing We Call a Heart can pretty much be summed up in two words: growing up. It’s a character-driven book with a sequence of events over the course of one summer, a lot of self-reflection, and little actual plot. These types of books can be hit or miss for me, but I really enjoyed this one.

Shabnam was a complex, believable character. She was an average girl - awkward, self-conscious at times, intelligent. Through most of the book, she’s incredibly self-centred; she’s aware of some of her faults, aware of the distance with her family and with her best friend, but she mostly just cares about herself, particularly her budding love life. Characters like her make me have that rare feeling of actually being a grown-up because the things they do and say drive me crazy. That being said, I appreciated how flawed she was, because it made her seem more real. I also appreciated the open and honest conversations (and inner monologue) dealing with things like religion, sex, desire, the ignorant and sometimes downright racist comments people make without realizing they’re being ignorant or racist, and natural things of a personal nature (for instance, Shabnam mentioned several times how much she sweated and she worried about BO, which is so rare and yet so refreshing, because honestly who hasn’t worried about that at some point?).

This was the first book I’ve read with a Muslim main character, and I enjoyed learning more about the religion, Pakistani culture, and bits of history. I also enjoyed learning about Urdu poetry, and I liked how it was something that connected Shabnam to her otherwise distant father (who was hilarious, by the way). I loved how the author worked in honest, natural conversations about religion and how Shabnam and Farah differed quite a bit in their thinking, especially when Farah started wearing hijab. This book had a great cast of side characters, from Shabnam’s parents to Farah to Jamie.

Speaking of Jamie...two spoilers ahead...

I never particularly liked Jamie. There was always something about him that made me wary, and as the story went on, I realized I had good reason to be wary. While I love a happily ever after and expect it in most contemporaries, I think the author made an interesting decision, and I’ll be curious to see how other readers feel about Jamie. I’m used to summer romances finding a way to work out, and was surprised when this one not only didn’t work out, but we discovered Jamie was a player who had a less-than-stellar track record with girls. As a romance junkie, I’m surprised by my own reaction to how the romance played out and the fact I actually appreciated it. Getting to see Shabnam heartbroken and working through it, realizing how selfish she’d been, and trying to make things right with Farah and her family made me like her even more. It’s also far more realistic than most YA contemporaries. We’re used to swoonworthy, mature boys, and while I’m a sucker for them in fiction, they’re extremely rare in real life. How things worked out - plus Jamie’s general personality and behaviour - was so much more realistic.  

It didn’t bother me that Shabnam and Jamie drank or that they and Farah smoked pot. Part of me even appreciated seeing it because some kids do it, and I don’t like to pretend they don’t (same with sex in YA - it happens!). However, what I was 100% not okay with was the fact Farah and Jamie both drove while high. Farah even said something to the effect of ‘I drive better when I’m high’. NOPE. Impaired driving is impaired driving, and I hate that it’s in a book, especially a YA book, as if it’s completely normal and okay. It pissed me off to the point I almost stopped reading. I get that some things happen in a book and it doesn’t mean the author necessarily condones it or agrees with it, but in this case - maybe because I’ve been in an accident with a drunk driver (a drunk driver hit us, and my toddler nephew was in the vehicle) and have driven with a person who was high and feared for my safety - it rubbed me the wrong way.
<end spoilers>

That Thing We Call a Heart is a story about love in its many forms. It’s about growing up, figuring things out, and trying to understand the world around you and your place in it. By the end of the book, I was impressed with and proud of Shabnam’s growth. She learned a lot of hard, painful lessons over the course of the summer, and she came out a better person for it. This is a funny, touching, realistic story, and I’d recommend it to fans of contemporary YA.

Have you read That Thing We Call a Heart? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Can you recommend any books with Muslim main characters?
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Review: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Series: Standalone
Published: May 9th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
432 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}
 


Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.



I hate to start my review this way, but I feel it’s necessary: I’m aware of the controversy surrounding Ramona Blue that started when the original synopsis was revealed. While I understand why people would be upset and offended over the idea of a lesbian ‘magically being turned straight when she meets the right boy’, that’s not what this book is. Ramona is SEVENTEEN. She’s young and doesn’t have a ton of experience. She thinks she’s a lesbian because she’s only ever liked girls. BUT people are allowed to feel how they feel, like who they like, and choose how to label themselves - and people have the right to change those labels. Or not choose a label at all. EVERY queer experience is valid and deserves to be told, and I think how Julie Murphy chose to tell Ramona’s story was pretty damn perfect. She took potentially loaded subject matter and handled it with thoughtful, insightful care and respect. As a YA book this book is meant for teens - they are its target audience. I can’t tell you for sure what I would have thought of this book at 17, but I’m pretty sure I would have appreciated Ramona’s honesty, bravery, and wisdom, especially as someone who was exploring and discovering her own sexual identity at the time. This book is about so much more than a girl who thinks she’s a lesbian and realizes the world is more than just black and white and that feelings change, people change, and circumstances change. This book is going to resonate with so many readers, and be NEEDED by so many readers. I would never want to invalidate anyone’s feelings or concerns, but I wanted to share my perspective and opinion on this as someone who has actually read the book, since the majority of pre-release reviews and 1-star ratings are from people who only read the synopsis.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get on to the actual review, shall we?

I read and enjoyed Murphy’s first two novels, Side Effects May Vary and Dumplin’ and was eager to read Ramona Blue. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I know I didn’t expect to be blown away the way I was. I loved this book so much. Featuring a complex main character, a fantastic and diverse cast of side characters, and strong emphasis on family relationships, self-discovery, and love in its many forms, Ramona Blue encompassed all my favourite aspects of YA.

Ramona’s self-discovery in this book was a thing of beauty. She was a complex character to begin with, but her growth and the things she learned - about herself, about love, about life and family and so many other things - was incredibly poignant. I connected with her easily, and rooted for her from beginning to end. This book was so much more than a story about Ramona being sure she was a lesbian and then discovering she liked guys, too. That realization and the romance itself actually felt secondary to the sister relationship and to Ramona’s own growth as a person. That being said, I adored the romance. I liked that Ramona and Freddie had a past and that they picked up their friendship easily and connected over heartbreak. Watching their relationship progress from friendship into something more was a pleasure and felt very realistic. Going back to my opening of the review, I’d like to point out that not once did the story veer into the territory of Freddie ‘turning Ramona straight’ or ‘fixing’ her. Ramona talks a lot about her feelings - her feelings for Freddie, her uncertainty and confusion, her resistance to put a label on herself once she falls for Freddie - and it was interesting and insightful to be inside her head.

One of the things I love most about Ramona was her strength and resilience. She’d been dealt a pretty crappy hand in life, and yet she didn’t feel sorry for herself and didn’t allow that to keep her down. She was forced to grow up quickly and take on a lot of responsibility. She worked hard and stayed in school, all while making sure her dad and sister, Hattie, were taken care of. She was used to making sacrifices for Hattie, but when Hattie got pregnant, Ramona was sure the rest of her life would be dedicated to taking care of her sister and her niece. She could have thrown an endless pity party or become a martyr, but neither of those things happened. There were several scenes that absolutely broke my heart because it was so easy to picture this young woman with this immense sense of obligation, sacrificing so much to take care of her family. Watching her learn that there was more than just work and school and obligation to her family filled me with so much happiness and hope.

Ramona Blue is a beautiful, touching story. I loved Ramona’s journey of self-discovery. Her loyalty to her dad and sister, as well as her sense of responsibility toward them resonated deeply with me. I connected with her on many levels. This was such a quietly powerful novel that made me run the gamut of emotions. I laughed and cried, and most importantly, fell completely in love with Ramona and her story. I can’t recommend this one enough to fans of contemporary YA.

 

{My review of Side Effects May Vary || My review of Dumplin'}

Have you read Ramona Blue? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? What was your last 5-star read?
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