Posted in Book Reviews, Chick Lit, Contemporary, General Books, Humor, Romance, Women's Fiction

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Fiction
Panda Rating:

Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page. 

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was just as quirky and relatable as I expected and I enjoyed every minute I spent with Nina Hill and the odd mix of characters we encounter in this book. This was one of the more hyped books in the last few months on bookstagram, which intimidated me for a while (hype and I have a love/hate relationship), but I’m glad that I took the plunge and finally read it!

“It also meant she thought of books as medication and sanctuary and the source of all good things. Nothing yet had proven her wrong.”

I’m not sure what expectations I had going in, but the writing style was very different to what I expected, though not necessarily in a bad way. It definitely enhanced the quirkiness of the story and fit it quite well, but I’m not sure if I’d prefer or enjoy this style in a different book. As this was a character driven story, there wasn’t much in the way of a plot. We follow Nina as she navigates having her perfectly structured world turned completely upside down with the introduction of family members that suddenly appear in her life, difficulties at work that could lead to the loss of her safe space, and Tom: #1 trivia nemesis turned potential love interest. The writing was simple, engaging and infused with great humor, which had me speeding through the pages and made it an even greater pleasure to read.

There was so much friendly banter between all of the characters and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, as as much as I was constantly smiling and laughing at their interactions. I really enjoyed meeting Nina’s many siblings and nieces/nephews. Peter was sassy, smart and I loved how he so readily embraced and accepted Nina. I also ended up really liking her brother Archie, but especially sweet little bookish Millie! Although I was initially unsure of how I felt about Nina’s character, she quickly grew on me, as did most of the others, and by the end I don’t think there was one I disliked (surprisingly). As a fellow bookworm and appreciator of all things bookish, but also as someone who really appreciates structure, it felt at times that Nina Hill’s story was picked right from my own life; obviously I related to her a lot. What I enjoyed most about Nina was that although she preferred being alone with her books, she still kept up a very busy and active social life — trivia nights, book clubs, yoga etc., and even though she was an introvert she never actually shied away from doing things that I personally would’ve panicked to get out of (i.e. go to a wedding alone). I really admired those traits in her and it was a refreshing perspective to see in a fellow bookworm!

“Being with you is as good as being alone.”

The romance aspect of Nina’s story also had me in giggling fits! The interactions between Nina and Tom were sweet but incredibly awkward at times. I loved that we got to see both of their thoughts during these interactions because it made it all the more hilarious and it endeared me even more to their characters. Their relationship is really a case of where opposites attract, and I thought Tom was such a sweetheart of a character. I do wish we got more personality from him, but he seemed like a really sweet guy that I wanted to give endless hugs to? I found it really adorable how he was so smitten by Nina!

“Being surrounded by books was the closest she’d ever gotten to feeling like the member of a gang. The books had her back, and the nonfiction, at least, was ready to fight if necessary.”

I was thoroughly entertained throughout Nina’s story. I honestly didn’t look too much into the believability and ease in which things happened because of course, life never falls so seamlessly into place as it does for Nina. BUT I still loved it because who doesn’t love a story about a character who’s so much like yourself? Especially when they get happy endings! Overall, this was the perfect fluffy read that I know many book lovers will get a kick out of reading.

Have you read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

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Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, Contemporary, General Books, Romance, Young Adult

My Life as Marlee by Victoria Anders – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: My Life as Marlee
Publish date: 18 September 2019
Publisher: Alt 19 Publications
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Romance
Panda Rating:

I’m officially a sixteen-year-old insane hermit, thanks to my best friend moving away.
Until I meet Noah.

Noah is my oxygen. He’s those fleeting, deep breaths keeping my world from going black, from drowning into the darkness of my past. He’s the one who helps me find my passion for swimming again, even though it’s a direct reflection of my nightmare. As my mom moves closer to the deep end, barely treading water, Noah’s the only thing holding me afloat. My fear is that her illness will drain her and I’ll have nowhere to go but across the country. Back to the darkness. Back to my father.

Not even Noah can extinguish my demons.

When my life gets sucked in by the riptides, I have to ask myself, is my father truly evil or just broken? Is Noah’s oxygen enough to save me as the muddy waters swallow me whole?

My name is Marlee, and this is my life.

This book started off very well for me but the further I got, the more I was confused about where the author was taking the story. Then at the turn of events in the last 10% of the book, I was left completely baffled (not in a good way) at the direction the book took. I think I understand what the author was trying to do but IMO it didn’t add anything to the story other than unnecessary drama.

*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*

Marlee is a typical high schooler who is trying to find her place now that her best friend has relocated and she’s left to deal with the last two years of school alone. I like how she decided to remove herself from a toxic group situation, even if it meant being alone/friendless. From the start you can tell that Marlee has been through a lot and that there’s some serious emotional and mental baggage in her past, but I liked how she kept trying to see the positive and the lessons life was throwing her way in each moment. Although most of it was cheesy for me now, I can imagine my younger teen self being totally onboard with all of the positive affirmation she kept on her wall. There were times when I really liked Marlee and how she was quite level-headed for a teenager, but then there were moments where she’d have these really nasty and incredibly selfish thoughts that just threw me off completely. Moments like these showed just how inconsistent her character was and I get it, she’s a teenager, but to be going on about how much her mum means to her and how much she missed her best friend, her actions in the story didn’t really reflect it very well.

SPOILER

This was especially the case when Marlee got home from Thanksgiving and her mother was feeling worse than usual. She hadn’t seen Noah in a few weeks, and was running towards him when her mother collapses and her first thoughts were something along the lines of: “why did she have to be so weak and collapse right now? if it weren’t for her, i’d already be in Noah’s arms, but instead he’s going to her.” I mean… Your mother has cancer dude. Are you serious rn?

END SPOILER

I’m also on the fence about this romance. It really comes off as insta-lovey because they become a couple 2-3 days after officially meeting. Their chemistry is pretty obvious from the start, but I also felt the ‘can’t-eat-can’t-sleep-can’t-breathe-without-you’ love happened FAST. I started off really enjoying the descriptions of having a high school crush, swimming in lust and all those raging hormones of teenage-hood. It sent me laughing down memory lane remembering my own very cringeworthy, boy-crazy moments. So I can understand getting caught up in emotions and everything, but I felt this crossed over to the unhealthy kind of love where they’re so codependent on each other. Maybe I’m too cynical or old (lol) but I don’t believe the kind of love that Noah and Marlee had was really healthy — especially when everything and everyone else falls to the side (like your very sick very dying mother). Marlee does face a moment where she realizes she has no idea who she is without Noah but other than trying for one activity without him, it really doesn’t go anywhere and that was disappointing too.

Noah was genuinely a very good guy though a little too perfect for my tastes and as a result, got slightly boring for me. He didn’t get much of a personality other than the shining, electrifying, life saving light to Marlee’s dark. Which as a teen I’d probably be all over but now not so much. I loved most of their friends, like Stella, who at times seemed much more likable than Marlee! I would’ve definitely liked to see more of them in it.

The really bizzare and out of the blue ending was what really brought the rating down for me. I don’t understand why it the author had to do it. I actually had to double take when I got to this part of the story because I couldn’t believe that the author brought it in this direction. It was just weird and so unnecessary. There’s a lot more I could get into about how the situation with her father was handled (amongst other things including the situation with her brother!), and how Marlee continued to hide the truth, but I’m not gonna go there because it’s just gonna end up being a rant.

In the end, even though this started off well, the inside content just wasn’t as appealing to me as the outside cover. The story was almost nauseatingly perfect at times–everything was so easily resolved and of course, it was predictable, which isn’t always bad if the execution is good. But in this case, it just wasn’t there for me.

Thanks to Book Sirens and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is now available.
Have you read My Life as Marlee? Let’s
chat in the comments!

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, General Books, Romance

Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G. – #BookReview

Goodreads: Two Weeks Notice
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter to formally announce my resignation from Parker International (& the arrogant, condescending CEO) effective two weeks from today.
This was a VERY EASY decision to make, as the past two years have been utterly miserable. I wish his next executive assistant all the luck in the world (she’ll need it) and if my boss should need me to do anything over the next two weeks, kindly tell him that he can do it [his] goddamn self…
Sincerely (Not Really),
Tara Lauren


That’s the version of my two weeks’ notice I should’ve sent to my boss, because the more professional version – the one where I said I was “grateful for all the opportunities,” and “honored by all the rewarding experiences” over the years? That letter was rejected with his sexy, trademark smirk and an “I highly suggest you read the fine print of your contract…”
So, I did.
And now I’ve realized that unless I fake my death, poison him, or find a way to renegotiate my impossible contract, I’m stuck working under one of the cockiest and most ruthless bosses in New York. Then again, I thought that was the case until he called me late last night with an emergency proposition…

Oh hello steamy, slow-burn office romance! I came across Two Weeks Notice on Katie @ inbetweenspines’ book blog and her review had me wanting to pick this up right away because I was definitely in the mood for it. And before you think you know what the emergency proposition is, well, you’re probably only partially right because it’s really only half-ish of the story! 😂

Even though the old CEO gets with the intern/EA/staff trope is pretty well used in romances, I still enjoy it when it’s done well, and I thought this was one of them! The story is told in alternating perspectives between Tara and Preston, although Tara’s POV gets more time than Preston’s. Usually I find it annoying when the chapters don’t alternate evenly, but I enjoyed Tara’s chapters a lot more since Preston’s was pretty typical of the CEO in these types of romances. I will say that I was curious to know more about him though. While I wasn’t impressed by either of their characters at the start of the book, both really grew on me. Tara was a boss ass bitch who took shit from no one and I honestly loved how she whipped the whole office into shape, and although it takes her a while to find a way, I’m glad that continued to fight for what she wanted in her career without letting a man stop her!

Preston continued to be that asshole CEO throughout the story, but I loved how we slowly found out about all the things he’d done for Tara. It was very sweet and had me swooning (just a little bit). Although sometimes I found the things Preston would say to Tara a lottle OTT, I’m glad that it wasn’t with every single interaction. There was a twist to this office romance that I didn’t expect and I thought it was a nice detail that allowed for Preston’s softer side to shine through even more. What did disappoint me however was that Preston’s history was hinted at so often and yet, there was never any satisfactory explanation as to why all of this happened. It was a little underwhelming and I wish that more attention was given to it, especially if it could’ve explained his character more.

Now let’s talk about the heat. This was pretty steamy and explicit. The chemistry between these two characters was F-I-R-E! 🔥I mean, wow. I’m used to these types of romances leading to the two characters falling into bed with each other as quickly as possible, so it was surprising that nothing more than a little something happened between them for a good majority of the story! The slow burn of the romance was done so well. The author definitely knows how to keep her readers on the edge of their seats with anticipation and all that damn angst! And the wait was so worth it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read. I devoured it in less than a night (lol) because I just couldn’t put it down (but I’m also the worst kind of insomniac) and I’m glad that I read it. I’ve read a few of Whitney G.‘s books now and I like the balance she strikes in her stories between character and plot development and steaminess, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of her books!

Have you read Two Weeks Notice? What do you think of this trope?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in Book Reviews, Chick Lit, Contemporary, General Books, Romance, Women's Fiction

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson – #BookReview

Goodreads: Matchmaking for Beginners
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed: January 2019
Panda Rating:

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.

“You need a mantra to help you. You can borrow mine, if you want: ‘Whatever happens, love that.”

What a seriously charming book! The characters are lovingly quirky and the situations they find themselves in are emotional and heartfelt, but not without comedy injected here and there to lighten the mood up a little bit. It’s also endlessly quotable!

Marnie McGraw doesn’t want for much except a normal life with the white picket fence, doting husband and adorable children, and she knows that being engaged to Noah (a.k.a. the man of her dreams) brings her one step closer to achieving all that. But life doesn’t always go as planned and she experiences that first hand when her world falls apart after Noah leaves her on their honeymoon, she loses her teaching job in California and has to move back home to her parent’s house in Florida. As she deals with the aftermath of her disastrously short-lived marriage, Marnie is beyond shocked to receive a letter informing her that not only has Noah’s ‘crazy aunt’ Blix passed away, but she has left her a home in Brooklyn.

Eccentric, life-of-the-party, and carefree Blix is the black sheep of her family. When she meets Marnie at a family gathering, she feels an instant kinship and spiritual connection to her and believes that Marnie is meant to take up her mantle of matchmaker once she’s gone. She tells Marnie that no matter how things work out between her and Noah, she has a big, big life ahead of her.Although she’s still reeling from recent events, and is convinced all of it is a mistake, Marnie goes to Brooklyn to fulfill the wishes of a person she remembers fondly and who gave her comfort when she needed it, despite only having met Blix all of two times.

“You need to forget what society has told you about life and expectations, and don’t let anybody make you pretend. You are enough, just the way you are—do you hear me? You have many gifts. Many, many gifts.”

What follows is an emotional, heartfelt, and comedic rollercoaster of a journey, as Marnie tries to leave the past behind and deal with an unexpected present that doesn’t quite fit with the picture she’s always had of her future. It is in Brooklyn, where she meets all the characters from Blix’s life and explores the magic of her matchmaking gift–not without plenty of mishaps along the way, that Marnie discovers the power of love and healing, and she finally finds where she truly belongs.

“It’s in the broken places where the light gets in.”

As corny as all of this sounds, I finished this book feeling so happy and comforted, and sometimes, that’s all you really need from a book, isn’t it? I’m glad that I followed along with the Audiobook because although it took me nearly three times as long to finish it, it gave me the chance to really immerse myself in the story and build a strong attachment to the characters. Although I found Marnie’s character desperate and pretty annoying at the start, her character growth throughout the story was very satisfying, and I’m happy with how she learned to embrace herself in the end. I think Amy McFadden does a wonderful job narrating Marnie, and I don’t think I could have picked a better voice than Joyce Bean for Blix. There’s something so grandmotherly and comforting about Bean’s voice and although it was only for the first few chapters, every time Blix would ‘reappear’ in subsequent chapters, I would still hear the part as if she spoke it. 😂

If you’re looking for a fun, sassy romcom, I’d definitely recommend this!

Have you read Matchmaking for Beginners? Do you like romance?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, Chick Lit, Contemporary, General Books, Romance

The Stopover by T L Swan – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: The Stopover
Publish date: 29 October 2019
Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

I was upgraded to first class on a flight from London to New York. The food, champagne, and service were impeccable—the blue-eyed man sitting next to me, even better. He was smart, suave, and sexy. We talked and flirted—and though the plane was unexpectedly grounded, we still felt sky high in each other’s company. We danced and laughed our way around Boston…and had a night of crazy passion that no woman could forget.
That was twelve months ago, and I haven’t heard from him—until today. I started a new job and met the CEO. Imagine my surprise when I saw those naughty blue eyes gazing at me from behind his mahogany desk. But I’m not that carefree girl anymore. I have a boyfriend now, and responsibilities. Now he wants to see me in his office for a private meeting. How can I resist?

I’m torn with how to review this because I won’t lie: I read it straight through the night and suffered from lack of sleep at the office the next day because of it. It’s a very quick and easy read, but there’s also nothing here that I haven’t read before. This was also one of the most toxic relationships I’ve ever read! I found myself laughing at how ridiculous the ‘relationship’ was, and then I was tearing my hair out and trying not to scream in complete frustration with what was happening. But then again, I couldn’t seem to put the book down and found myself staying up until 5am to finish it… So, there’s that? I’m warning you now, this is a fair bit of a rant (but I’ve tried to reign it in as much as possible)!

It me. FULL OF CONFUSION.

My favorite part of the book had to be the friendship and banter between Emily, Aaron and Molly. I was so worried the latter would end up being bad people but I was glad to be proven wrong! Their friendship reminded me a lot of how I interact with my friends and it just felt completely natural. The interactions between these friends brought much needed comedy to the story to distract from all the silly drama between the two MCs. I initially also liked Emily’s character, mostly for her drive to pursue her passion without letting anything deter her. She knew what she wanted and she went for it without letting anything hold her back. It’s a pity that all but disappeared the minute Jameson came into her life. She mildly protested every now and again but it’s like her backbone shriveled up whenever he came around.

Like I mentioned, this was one of the most toxic relationships I’ve ever read. Emily and Jameson/Jim/Jay’s relationship yo-yo’d from getting into ridiculously blown out of proportion fights over (literally) nothing, to jumping straight into bed for wild sex. It took a really long time for them to even get to the point where they would try being civil and having normal conversations without blowing up; and even then it didn’t really last long most of the time. The basis of their relationship was physical and in my opinion, it never really progressed out of that phase by the end. I will say though that their physical chemistry was off-the-charts. If you don’t like explicit sexual scenes in books, this will not be for you! If I had to rate the heat out of 5, it’d be a solid 5 though lol

But literally me throughout this whole read

For someone who’s meant to be an “older man”, Jay was the most immature rich CEO character I’ve encountered. He was petulant, emotionally unavailable and often times acted like a really big man-child, and at his office no less. He would be cruel and cold one minute and in the next he’d be messaging Emily, demanding she go with him to dinner, as if he hadn’t just treated her like trash not too long back? I wanted to slap him so hard. What gave me hope the first time was that she would say no and I’d be like HELL YEAH EMILY! And then in the next scene she’d cave and they’d end up screwing like rabbits before the night’s out. GIRL, PLEASE! *roll my eyes so far back they get stuck* 🙄 At the same time though, towards the end of the book, I found myself curled over with laughter over some of Jay’s drama queen antics–especially during the camping scene. It was actually hilarious and 100% amusing? Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to redeem his character from start to finish. There were other inconsistencies with the events in the book that had me scratching my head for a while before shrugging and moving past it because I was more concerned with other issues in the book.

All in all, I finished this book laughing in bewilderment (at myself mostly) and I was genuinely curious whether this is what people felt when they finished reading the After series. I’m referring to the people who acknowledge that the relationship in that series was toxic AF and yet they STILL couldn’t put that book down. Is this how you felt?? Haha I’ll still never read that series, but after reading this book, I do think I get what you mean with your comments 😂

Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is out 29 October 2019.
Have you read The Stopover? Have you read the After series? I’m still shook by how I just couldn’t put this down.
Come chat in the comments if you feel this! LOL

Posted in Book Reviews, Chick Lit, Contemporary, General Books, Romance, Women's Fiction

One Day In December by Josie Silver – #BookReview

Goodreads: One Day in December
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed: December 2018
Panda Rating:

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away. Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

My heart is soaring and a silly grin is still plastered to my face as I lie in bed with this book. What a roller coaster of emotions this book gave me! I was worried at the start that it would be a love-triangle-type of story that would leave me feeling uncomfortable and annoyed, but as I kept reading and realized that it wasn’t, I loved it even more. It’s a story of romance, passion, triumphs, loss, grief, secrets, family and friendships.

If you’re not into romances then this book might not be for you. I, on the other hand, am a hopeless romantic and I loved every heartbreaking, breath stealing, beautiful page of it. It could have very easily been just a sappy, romantic, not-so-well-done novel, but I think that Josie Silver did a fabulous job of writing characters that worm their way into your heart. I think that all of the characters are relatable, they’re not these perfect beings, and you can connect to them on a certain level. I particularly connected with Laurie – her slight shyness, awkwardness in social situations and devotion to family and her closest friends. All of them had endearing qualities that grow on you and by the end of the book it almost feels as if you’re closing a chapter on old friends.

There were several things I enjoyed with the romance in this book. I might have mentioned it previously in another review, but I have this thing for serendipity, fate, destiny or whatever you want to call it. I like the thought of “that one moment” and in this story, I liked how Laurie and Jack had their one moment at the start and although they didn’t get together right then, the world brought them back together in some way. What I also appreciated was the fact that although Laurie felt the way she did about Jack, she didn’t close herself up to the possibility of other love. Is there only one person made for you in this lifetime? In so many romances, it’s boy meets girl, they both fall in love and live happily ever after, the end. Although at times it felt like the characters would endlessly spin around in this dance of falling in love with other characters and it not working out because of their true feelings for someone else, I thought it added more realness to the story.

“I said I know how painful it can be letting someone you think you love go, but that I don’t believe there’s only one person in the world for each of us. It’s too fanciful, too limiting. … I told him that there comes a point where you have to make the choice to be happy, because being sad for too long is exhausting.”

I also liked that despite the tricky “triangle-esque” situation with Sarah, Laurie and Jack, it didn’t get in the way of the friendship between the girls, but also didn’t get in the way of a real friendship blossoming between the latter. I think I would have been as devastated as Laurie was at finding Jack again, only to know that it could never be and it could have been ugly between friends (in the name of love and all of that) but I’m glad that Silver respected that friendship boundary and even strengthened it in the end.

Was it sappy? Sure. Was the ending predictably happy and not at all unexpected? Yeah. But this is definitely one of those feel good novels that you journey through and that give you a satisfying ending and makes you feel happy to read. It makes you want to take chances and to do things that scare you a little bit a lot. That’s life, right?

Have you read One Day in December? Are you a hopeless romantic? Lol
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, General Books, Young Adult

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Hate U Give
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Fiction
Reviewed: August 2018
Panda Rating:

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Side note: I reviewed this book in 2018 and well, this was really at the start of when I started reviewing books more. I think I probably could’ve said a lot more about this book but I just really sucked at writing reviews back then, which you can obviously tell!

“Sometimes you can do everything right but things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right”

I think this book has shot to the top of my best reads in 2018 and I think it will be one of the books I recommend people read if they ask. I cried countless times and laughed like crazy while reading this. I loved the Carter family and their relationship with each other; I loved that despite the tough situation Starr found herself in, the family could still find reasons to laugh and they continued to live their life doing good and right. I also loved the sense of community that was shared too. It was like a shared commiseration of their situation but still, they didn’t let that get them down.

Honestly, I admit that I found Starr’s attitude a bit childish/petulant at the beginning, I realized that I was expecting her to act like an “adult” and to speak from that “adult perspective”. Once I realized how silly my perception was, and I changed how I viewed her character, I realized that Angie Thomas perfectly captured a young teenage girl who is not only going through the typical “high school drama” but is also trying to navigate her way through the two worlds she straddles, without having to diminish herself in any way. She struggles but she gets there in the end. It was a heart-wrenching, heart-warming journey that I’m glad we got to go on.

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

This book covers such important issues (prejudice, injustice, racism) that unfortunately haven’t lost traction in today’s “modern world”. It’s disheartening, frustrating and mind-boggling to know that issues people faced decades ago are still an issue today – it’s like humans haven’t progressed and we’ve only regressed. Okay, I’m discounting all the good people in this world, but it’s frustrating to know that people are still so arrogant and so blind to their privilege and that they refuse to acknowledge that they are, indeed, privileged…

Anyway, before I go on a crazy rant about this, I will say that I recommend everyone read this book. I hope people read this and come away with some understanding. Thomas provides a glimmer of light amidst the darkness with this one.

Have you read The Hate U Give? What’d you think of it?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!