Jun
15

Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: February, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 294
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Final Thoughts:
I don’t know why I did this to myself again. That’s not to say that this isn’t a good book—I felt immersed in Griffin’s grief, and loved all of the character building, both in the present and the flashback chapters—but there is a definite depressing undertone. I had to pick up another feel good book mid-way through this to give myself a break.

With chapters alternating back and forth between the past and the present, I struggled initially trying to find a balance. Having something interesting begin to happen in one time period, then being sent back to the other became frustrating. I would have preferred if the ‘history’ chapters were spaced randomly so you didn’t know when to expect one.

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Apr
29

Title: The Upside Of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April, 2017 Penguin
Pages: 340
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful. Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess.

Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Final Thoughts:
Oh my…gah—why does it have to be over? Though honestly, I felt like it ended perfectly. I lived for these characters. Reading well into the early hours of the morning, I forwent sleep in favour of some extra time with Molly and her family and friends. Randomly bursting out laughing, I felt like this was exactly the book for me. Suffering from anxiety, a lot of the struggles were in her head, which I found immensely relatable. I really appreciated finding a book like this. I just clicked with her from the get go and got so absorbed in her world.

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Apr
23

Title: Seven Days Of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse
Published: March, 2017 by Hachette Children’s Group
Pages: 304
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

It’s Sophia’s last week in Tokyo, and she’s going to make it count…Sophia has spent her life ping-ponging between different countries and schools, so, in theory, saying goodbye should be easy. But now she’s leaving Tokyo – the place that finally felt like home. The only way she can get through this is to make her final week perfect. Then Jamie Foster-Collins shows up, just in time to ruin everything. Jamie and Sophia used to be friends …and his return stirs up feelings she thought she’d forgotten. Suddenly, hours and minutes become meaningless. Only time spent together, exploring the hidden streets of the city they love, is real.

Final Thoughts:
Fun at times, and at others, a bit of a snore, this one took me three weeks to finish. I was drawn to the idea of reading about Tokyo, and got a bit of that in the beginning, but eventually it became all about the romantic drama. I’m usually down for that. If the characters strike a chord with me, the book could be about anything and I’d still devour it. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel connected enough to Sophia (Sofa to her friends), Jamie or David to get on board with either of the pairings the book tried throwing at me. Basically, I just wanted to be in Japan and leave these people behind.

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Dec
28

Title: How To Repair A Mechanical Heart
Author: J.C. Lillis
Published: September, 2012
Pages: 255
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Eighteen-year-old Castaway Planet fans Brandon and Abel hate bad fan fiction—especially when it pairs their number-one TV crushes of all time, dashing space captain Cadmus and dapper android Sim. As co-runners of the Internet’s third most popular Castaway Planet vlog, they love to spar with the “Cadsim” fangirls who think Cadmus will melt Sim’s mechanical heart by the Season 5 finale. This summer, Brandon and Abel have a mission: hit the road in an RV to follow the traveling Castaway Planet convention, interview the actors and showrunner, and uncover proof that a legit Cadsim romance will NEVER, EVER HAPPEN.

A Brandon and Abel romance: also not happening. Brandon’s sick of his struggle to make “gay and Catholic” compute, so it’s safer to love a TV android. Plus Abel’s got a hot new boyfriend with a phoenix tattoo, and how can Brandon compete with that? But when mysterious messages about them start popping up in the fan community, they make a shocking discovery that slowly forces their real feelings to the surface. Before they get to the last Castaway Planet convention, Brandon’s going to find out the truth: can a mechanical heart be reprogrammed, or will his first shot at love be a full system failure?

Final Thoughts:
So, this was fanficcing-tastisc. Aside from, maybe, Fangirl, I’ve never seen so much fanfic love in a book. And here, both the main characters were gay! It had me gripped in the best possible way. I should lament—but I’m won’t—the poor disintegrating Sunday that met its demise when I started and finished this book that day. With so much to love about this book, from the cross-country convention road trip, flirting, internal warring over a religious upbringing, the geeking out and more flirting, I can’t help but want to recommend this book. I don’t want to let go of these characters—Brandon and Abel (and Bec) forever.

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Dec
27

Title: A&B
Author: J.C. Lillis
Published: November, 2016
Pages: 318
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: Kindle

Eighteen-year-old Barrie Krumholtz is a super-tall optimist hell-bent on a single goal: securing a slot on Pop University, a reality show for singer-songwriters helmed by her #1 musical idol. When she humiliates herself on national TV and loses a spot in the finals to smug balladeer Ava Alvarez, the door to Barrie’s well-hidden dark side swings open. Never a quitter, she uses her bitter envy of Ava to shape a bold new artistic direction, and people love it. But when Ava ropes her into a secret collaboration, it sparks feelings neither girl expected—feelings that might threaten their creative identities and distract them from their professional goals.

Can love and ambition live side by side? Is happiness an art-killer? They’ll figure it out with the help of a blue guitar named Fernando, a keyboard named Rosalinda, and a few new friends who feel like home.

(Rated R for Rivalry, Romance, and Really Neat Subplot featuring Brandon and Abel from HOW TO REPAIR A MECHANICAL HEART.)

Final Thoughts:
Being the companion to my much loved, and favourite book read this year, How To Repair A Mechanical Heart, I’m probably going to judge this one harsher than if it were a standalone. Barrie and Ava were great characters, but fresh off the first book, my heart still lies with Brandon and Abel. Luckily for me, they did more than just cameo briefly—they got their own subplot! A decade has passed and the guys are now my age, so seeing where their lives had taken them was heaps of fun. But the heart of the story lies with Barrie, and her jealousy/humungous crush on the reality show contestant that knocked her out of competing in Pop University, Ava.

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Dec
22

Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: June, 2015 by Soho Teen
Pages: 300
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Final Thoughts:
It’s hard to decide which camp I’m in on this one. The first hundred pages seemed to drag on with so much set up. And the characters, I just didn’t feel connected to them. Each time I’d put the book down, it left me with no desire to continue. However, I kept going, and once I got past a certain point things just clicked and I raced through the rest of the book. I felt like I was running on minimal sleep so that I could fit in as much reading time as possible. With a twist that gripped me, I ended up loving the book, but with the wringer it put me through, I’m torn over whether I’m in a better mindset for having read it.

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Dec
13

Title: Anything Could Happen
Author: Will Walton
Published: May, 2015 by Push
Pages: 288
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Tretch lives in a very small town where everybody’s in everybody else’s business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his straight best friend. For his part, Matt is completely oblivious to the way Tretch feels — and Tretch can’t tell whether that makes it better or worse.

The problem with living a lie is that the lie can slowly become your life. For Tretch, the problem isn’t just with Matt. His family has no idea who he really is and what he’s really thinking. The girl at the local bookstore has no clue how off-base her crush on him is. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Tretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.

Tretch has spent a lot of time dancing alone in his room, but now he’s got to step outside his comfort zone and into the wider world. Because like love, a true self can rarely be contained.

Final Thoughts:
Having tried starting another book and failing to have it hold my attention, I switched it out for this one and found myself basically unable to function. I had to read this book. I haven’t switched on my TV since I started this one—that’s how much I needed to keep reading it. Tretch—while he may have had a weird name, he was very easy to sympathise with and cheer for. His plight may not have been anything ground breaking, but it reeled you in with its loveable characters and kept you wanting the best for them. Finding a YA book with a good coming out story 10 years back when I was a teenager was next to impossible, so it makes me happier to know that books like this one are out there now.

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