I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Release date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. 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. 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 a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
THIS BOOK! *flails* This book was perfect in every sense of the word. It was honest, hilarious, diverse and oh so real. This is my first book by Becky Albertalli (I know!) and I’m not sure why I haven’t read her previous release, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, before. I’ve been missing out! She just really gets what it’s like to grow up, to be a teenager…to be human. The ups and downs of relationships, the pressure to fit into society, the struggle to love yourself. It’s all here and done so well. *hugs Kindle* I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy of this book!
Reasons Why I Loved It:
- The diverse representation is AMAZING! And it’s not like these characters were afterthoughts or just added to include diversity. NO! These characters are well rounded and fully developed. There wasn’t any “look how special all these diverse characters are” either. They were written as normal people…as they should be! It was so wonderful to see. And this serves as a perfect example of why it’s not difficult to include diverse characters in YA books. So, for all of those people who argue that sometimes it can’t be done, read this! There is no excuse!!
- I smiled a whole lot while reading this book! The main character Molly was absolutely wonderful. Much of the book is her discovering who she is and it’s so darn relatable. I wish I had a character like her while I was growing up. She deals with a lot of self-esteem issues, especially related to her weight. I think a lot of young girls can identify with her struggles.
- The family dynamics were super nice to see. So many YA books lack parents or feature parents who have negative relationships with their children. Here, Molly’s moms (yes she has two moms) are involved loving and supporting parents. They are actual characters and not a random side character that goes in and out of the story to move the plot along.
- There are so many positive messages! I especially appreciate its messages on self acceptance and beauty. I’m an adult and still struggle with lots of the things discussed in this book and it’s nice to be reminded that you are perfect the way your are. You don’t need to change for others. You don’t need to be someone or something else.
I’m so happy that I read this book. If you enjoy a good heartwarming/breaking and sweet book, than this is totally for you! I can’t recommend it enough. GO GET IT WHEN IT IS RELEASED!!!! I just want to thrust it into people’s arms. Now excuse me while I go purchase Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda because I need more of Albertalli’s writing in my life. ❤
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Release date: March 28th, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.
*sigh* I loved the concept behind this book when I first saw it. The cover is oh so gorgeous and the title…YES! But sometimes the pretty cover is just a mask for something not as nice and that’s totally the case here. Blood Rose Rebellion was a complete letdown. I read up until the 50% mark and put it aside. I just couldn’t read anymore and I tried, I really did.
Reasons for DNFing:
- It’s a very slow book, one of the slowest I’ve ever read. Sometimes I don’t mind this. If it’s written in a compelling way, I won’t put it down. I just want to keep going. But that’s not what happened here. The chapters weren’t that engaging and I felt like I had seen it all before. There was simply nothing to stick around for. The characters, the story, the setting…nothing stood out or captured my attention.
- Talking about the story, I feel like I’ve read so many other books about a main character that’s unable to practice magic and is excluded from society.
- There were a lot of repetitive info dumps, especially in the beginning. I understand the need to introduce the magical world but sometimes it’s good to leave a little to the imagination. I was hoping that once the world was established that it would stop but it didn’t. The stop-go of the story and then a massive push of info just slowed everything down. It’s one of the main reasons I lost interest.
- Anna, the main character, was just bland. That’s the best way I can describe her. I didn’t care what happened her. I really just didn’t feel anything at all. And that’s horrible when the story is told from her point of view. She was just so boring!
- The constant use of a derogatory term for Romani really bothered me. It jumped out at me the first time it was used. I just told myself it’s based on a historical time period, maybe it will get better. But then it was used again and again. Characters pointed out to Anna how this particular term was hurtful but she continued to use it. Now, I’m not sure if this change in the second half of the book, but from some of the reviews I’ve read it seems doubtful.
Life is just too short to read books that you aren’t enjoying. Books are meant to act as an escape or to push you, challenge your thoughts and beliefs. This book did neither, so I’m happy that I gave up on it. There are plenty of other stories that have a similar concept and do it so much better.
Has anyone else read this book? Any thoughts or opinions? Does Anna stop using harmful language to describe the Romani?