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

Frankly In Love by David Yoon – #BookReview

Goodreads: Frankly In Love
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Romance
Panda Rating:

Frank Li is a high school senior living in Southern California. Frank’s parents emigrated from Korea, and have pretty much one big rule for Frank – he must only date Korean girls.

But he’s got strong feelings for a girl in his class, Brit – and she’s not Korean. His friend Joy Song is in the same boat and knows her parents will never accept her Chinese American boyfriend, so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom.

Frank thinks fake-dating is the perfect plan, but it leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love – or himself – at all.

My heart! I’ve had time to digest my thoughts on Frankly in Love and I’m still not sure if this will even be a semi-decent review. I really suck at writing good reviews y’all, but bear with me and sorry in advance for the rambling and incoherent thoughts! If you want to read a great review for this book I’d recommend checking out CW’s post because it is awesome. For those who look at this beautiful and cheerfully colored cover and read the synopsis thinking that you’re getting a lighthearted YA contemporary romance, I’d say adjust your expectations because this story is much more than that. It’s about immigrants, culture, identity and understanding yourself in a world that expects you to be one thing when you so badly just want to be.

Before I dive into my reflection, I want to take a moment to appreciate the friendships in this story; particularly between Frank and Q. They are the epitome of a bromance. Their interactions are so geeky and pure, and I don’t even have the words for how full of warmth they always left me feeling. I felt strongly for Frank’s character, but my love for Q knows no bounds! He’s the one that inspires you to forever protect because he deserves ALL THE GOOD THINGS. There’s a twist to Q’s arc at the end of the book that I kind of felt coming 3/4 of the way through the story, so when it happened I wasn’t necessarily surprised. However, I don’t know why Yoon threw it in because it didn’t add anything or really go anywhere, so that was a little confusing. That said, the scene still left me in tears because everything was ending and I was just so proud of that gorgeous, nerdy-licious, pure nugget. *insert a million heart-eye emojis*

Yoon’s debut was a well-written story full of heartfelt emotion and quirkiness. Frank and his friends are all pretty big huge nerds and that really came out in the way the story was written. I thought it was endearing, but I thought the quirkiness went a little OTT at times, although it did make me more fond of the characters. As I mentioned earlier, this book is less about romance and more an exploration of the immigrant identity, culture, racism and family (the parent-child relationships). The representation in this book was pretty amazing. I learned a lot about Korean culture and norms, and I enjoyed seeing the immigrant story through the eyes of a coming-of-age young adult. Frank’s parents were really racist and I thought it was an interesting perspective showing that other ethnicities can be racist too, which you don’t see a lot in many novels. It was pretty upsetting at times and I wish that Frank stood up to his parents more, even if he didn’t believe they would ever change. I thought all the teens were pretty ‘woke’ though and the discussions on racism and other sensitive topics were done well.

While it’s marketed as a romance, I think that aspect really takes a backseat, although it does stem from Frank’s desire to start dating Brit, a white girl (which is a huge no in his parent’s book). While a lot of the sensitive issues were handled well, my least favorite aspect of the story was how the whole fake-dating situation was dealt with because if there’s one thing I really hate, it’s exactly what Frank did.

Could you see that the situation was heading in this direction? Yes, but I was still a little disappointed that Yoon took it there when it could’ve been avoided. I was also a little ‘meh’ on the whole outcome of Frank’s relationship at the end of the book too. After going through all that drama I thought it would’ve been nice for a happier ending, but knowing that there is apparently going to be a sequel makes me curious to see if there’s a reason Yoon left it this way. That said, all of the disappointing romance drama didn’t massively affect how I felt about the rest of the book because for me it wasn’t about the romance; but it is where points came off on my final rating.

“I feel like I don’t belong anywhere and every day it’s like I live on this weird little planet of my own in exile,” I say all in one breath. […] “I’m not Korean enough. I’m not white enough to be fully American.”

Now’s the part where I reflect lol I’m not Asian-American and I didn’t grow up in America. I did however grow up internationally as a “Third Culture Kid”. From the age of 3, I went to American/International schools in several countries and by the time I hit my mid-twenties and realized that I’d have to move to Indonesia, I was feeling more than a little apprehensive. Indonesia is my passport, is where I was born, is where I came from but I knew almost next to nothing about the place and that was terrifying. I came back and the struggle was on: I wasn’t Indonesian enough to be seen as Indonesian, but I wasn’t foreign enough to be seen as a total foreigner either, and that identity struggle is still something I deal with today. So reading about Frank’s struggle with his identity really hit home. How he compared his relationship with his family to those of his friends and recognizing the stark differences in the warmth and openness was also something that I did growing up. TL;DR although I don’t have the same ‘background’ as Frank, there was so much about the exploration of his identity and relationships that really resonated with me and I think it’s what made this book great for me.

While the ending wasn’t really what I expected it to be, I thought everything was wrapped up nicely. I liked that Frank had a greater sense of optimism and assurance about who he is because despite the not-so-happy ending, there was still a sense of hope to it. Frankly, I fell a lottle in love with the story of Frank Li (yuh, I went there) and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a well-written own-voices story about immigrants, culture and identity. It wasn’t the book that I thought I’d get it was a great story nonetheless.

Have you read Frankly In Love? Were you happy with it or was it different to what you expected? Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, General Books, Magical Realism, Young Adult

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Astonishing Color of After
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Magical Realism, Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

“Depression, I opened my mouth to say, but the word refused to take shape. Why was it so hard to talk about this? Why did my mother’s condition feel like this big secret?”

The Astonishing Color of After is a heart-wrenching story of a teenager trying to come to terms with her mother’s suicide and simultaneously exploring a side of her heritage that she never knew before. This isn’t a fast-paced or action-packed read. While filled with beautiful and poetic prose and rich emotions that are captured through the full spectrum of colors, the pace is rather slow. It’s the kind of story that requires savoring because there’s a lot going on. If I think about the range of emotions that I encountered, off the top of my head, I’d say: grief, anger, sadness, desperation, longing, love, regret, and happiness. And it’s not just tiny bursts of these emotions either, but waves of them pulling you in and up and down… Like I said, there’s a lot going on in this story.

We follow Leigh Sanders. Teenager. Chinese-Irish-American. Gifted young artist. Also, someone who experiences the world in color. Literally. They call it Synesthesia. As a result, this book is so rich with it – swirls and whirls of color to describe emotions, events, characters. Then when she loses her mother, Leigh is mired in such deep grief that she sees things in black and white, when one night her mother comes to her as a bright-red beautiful bird. Desperate to understand why her mother was so unhappy, Leigh embarks on a journey which takes her to Taiwan, where she meets her Chinese grandparents for the first time.

I never was big on magical realism but I thought how Pan incorporates elements of it into her story was very fitting. I feel like magical realism plays a big role in a lot of Asian cultures; we have a lot of stories with ghosts, spirits and unlikely magical events that happen in many Asian cultures. I feel that the magical events in this story further highlighted just how affected Leigh was by her mother’s suicide. AsLeigh recalls more memories and events become increasingly bizarre, her desperation to understand the why and how becomes more palpable.

Here is my mother, with wings instead of hands, and feathers instead of hair. Here is my mother, the reddest of brilliant reds, the color of my love and my fear, all of my fiercest feelings trailing after her in the sky like the tail of a comet.

I have to be honest–there were moments when this book became too overwhelming for me. Not only because there’s so much going on in the story, but at the heart of it is a profound exploration of depression. I never really understood it when people said they read something and felt triggered, but I finally understood when I read this book. Pan does such a raw portrayal of depression; it’s just very honest and upfront. There’s no ‘explanation’ to depression; it wears many faces and seemingly comes and goes as it pleases. As someone who suffers from depression, reading about how Dory’s life was basically eclipsed by it, was quite terrifying in how relatable it was. So, I definitely had to take breaks between reading and I pushed myself to finish this, but this story was so worth it.

“Once upon a time we were the standard colors of a rainbow, cheery and certain of ourselves. At some point, we all began to stumble into the in-betweens, the murky colors made dark and complicated by resentment and quiet anger.”

This story takes us on a journey of discovery through dealing with depression, grief, love, family and friendship. I was feeling all the feels and crying buckets by the end of this book. Because of its subject matter, this book is undoubtedly one my reads that hit home the hardest. It’s not an easy topic to discuss and it’s definitely not an easy topic to read, but Pan does a truly incredible job of it.

Pan also does an amazing job in capturing the tumultuous thoughts, emotions, hopes and fears of a teenager who goes through an achingly big loss. In her search for answers, Leigh’s character also experienced a rich self-discovery of her Chinese roots and a deep understanding of family and friendship. We are with Leigh as she processes her grief, her confusion, her anger and frustration, and we are also with her as she finally gets her closure and finds peace with the loss of her mother. This is a highly recommended read.

Have you read The Astonishing Color of After? What’d you think of it? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

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

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Bride Test
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit
GR Rating: 4.13 stars


Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions — like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better— that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working… but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love…

I started this book for a group read with @travelingfriendsreads on Instagram. If I had no plans on the day I started this, I would’ve undoubtedly stayed poolside all day to finish reading it. As it was, I had to put it down and do things, but I was counting down the hours until I could pick it up again the whole time! This was such a fast, fun and sexy read. As an Asian, I find it so great to be able to read romances about Asians/Asian-Americans. Although I initially found the thought of Esme being a mail-order-bride not only stereotypical but intensely cringeworthy, I should have known that Helen Hoang would never have let it stoop to that level, so fear not book friends, this one is definitely a goodie! This wasn’t as sexy as Hoang’s debut novel, The Kiss Quotient, but I still found it fairly steamy (in the best way, obviously)!

I really enjoyed the characters and the chemistry between Khai and Esme was seriously electric! Like, it was palpable and it was really fun to see how their relationship evolved. It doesn’t happen overnight, but considering the time limitation of Esme’s visa, it happened faster than would probably be realistic. Although the speed in which they fall for each other is balanced out quite nicely by the ending! I thought their character development was done well. As someone on the spectrum, who “doesn’t feel and think the same way as others do”, Khai doesn’t believe he deserves love or is capable of giving love. He experienced the loss of someone he was very close to when he was young and since then he has been ‘stuck’ in that zone of no feelings. I can’t speak to the accuracy of how Hoang wrote Khai’s character, but I did find it interesting to read a romance from this perspective, and to see how Khai interacts with others and how he views and experiences romantic relationships. It was really heartwarming and satisfying to watch him slowly open up and learn to accept that he can love and be loved in return.

Esme was such a smart, strong and independent young woman and I was rooting for her the whole time! Although she and Khai were in many ways completely different, they were also wonderfully compatible and complementary. I was so pleased to see her stand up for herself and to go after what she wanted to improve her life by learning a new language and pursuing a degree; especially when things with Khai looked rocky AF. There’s a key aspect of her character that might be considered a spoiler, although you basically learn about it in the first few pages, so I won’t mention it specifically here, except to say that I wish this relationship in her life played a bigger role in the story. Especially considering how it was one of Esme’s main motivations. Probably the most unrealistic parts of this book occurred at the end — when huge life-changing secrets were revealed in the most casual manner and so readily accepted without thought. Literally no one batted an eye and it was eye-roll worthy.

If there’s one thing that I wished was discussed more was the perception of autism within Asian circles. In many Asian countries, you don’t ever hear people talking about the spectrum. It’s not exactly a taboo topic, but it’s something that many don’t understand or want to understand because it’s something to be pitied or just ignored completely. This was kind of demonstrated by Esme, who had no idea what autism was, when Quan mentioned it for the first time. I hoped that she would take active steps to learn about it and to understand more about Khai in light of her new knowledge, but I was disappointed when that didn’t happen.

That said, this book had me breaking out in continuous laughter with the character’s random quirks and funny and endearing interactions. Michael (from TKQ) also makes a small appearance in the story and it was such a cute little scene between Khai, Michael and Quan. And SPEAKING OF, can we talk about how much I LOVED Quan?! I’m hoping that Helen Hoang is writing his story next coz I’m sure he’s won the hearts of all the readers with this book and honestly, I just want more of him! IMO, there was very little to dislike about this one. It definitely lived up to the hype for me! If you’re saving this for the summer, I’ll say there’s no better time to read it; it’s definitely the perfect beachside or poolside companion. I’m so looking forward to reading what Hoang comes out with next (**cough**Quan’s story!**cough**)! 😉

Have you read The Bride Test (or The Kiss Quotient)? Is it on your TBR? Would love to your thoughts on it! Happy reading, book friends 🙂

Posted in Friday Favorites, General Books

Friday Favorites: Diverse Books

TGIF, book lovers! Who here is just as glad as I am that it’s the weekend? Having come back from an (almost) week-long break from work last week, it was a hella struggle to get back into the swing of things this week. Definitely going to have to knuckle down next week, but I’m looking forward to relaxing this weekend. My parents bought me two TBR carts/trolleys and a bookshelf from IKEA for my birthday, and I’m so excited to be setting it up this weekend. I’m definitely one of those people who love putting things together! Anyway, it’s time for another Friday Favorites, hosted by Something of the Book. This weekly meme is a chance to share all your book favorites based on the weekly prompts as listed on her page. Today’s prompt is: Diverse Books.

‘Diversity’ has become such a hot word over the last few years, but I’ve really paid it more attention ever since joining the book community last year. I now have more diverse books by diverse authors on my list than ever before. Although I do read a range of diverse books, I know that the majority of my reads are still about caucasian characters, written by caucasian authors. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I’d like to put more effort into consciously reading more diverse books, and not just adding them to my shelves where they remain untouched for years. Here’s a list of some of my favorites so far (although by no means is this all of them)!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This is hands down one of the most powerful and important novels that I’ve read in the last year. It is so relevant to today’s social discourse and Angie Thomas does an incredible job of creating a story that hits hard. This book was worth all the hype that it got and more and is one of the books that I recommend everyone picks up, even if they’re not “into YA books” because it’s a stunning read in every way.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This book (and movie!) completely wrecked me. Set in Afghanistan, this is a story about an unlikely friendship between two young boys, one from a wealthy family and the other the son of their servant. In a way it’s a family saga about betrayal, love, and redemption that spans over years. I remember reading this and feeling a whole array of emotions: heartbreak, righteous anger, happiness and love. This was the book that made Hosseini one of my favorite auto-buy authors and I haven’t regretted it since!

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. It has been so long since I’ve read this book, but I remember it sweeping me off my feet when I read it in middle school. It’s told through the eyes of Esperanza Cordero, a young latina girl growing up in a poor neighbourhood, and we follow her coming-of-age as she tells us about her life, family, neighbours and friends. I remember so clearly that this was the book that made me want to start writing, and soon after I made my own short novel written as a set of vignettes in the way this book was written. I don’t know what happened to it, but I was so, so inspired! I will definitely have to read it again.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I think this was the first science fiction (YA or otherwise) I read where the lead characters were of Asian descent. Did I mention that this kickass series are retellings of famous fairytales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White)? Starting off with cyborg Cinder, and Prince Khai of New Beijing. Meyer depicts an insane and amazing dystopian world with space, technology, and a slew of diverse characters.

The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. This was a sweet contemporary YA romance that had the hopeless romantic in me swooning. I loved that Yoon drew inspiration from her own story as a woman hailing from Jamaica married to a Korean-American man. I loved learning about Natasha and Daniel as they spent the day in New York city, trying to buy time and find a way for Natasha and her family to not get deported. Their characters seemed like opposites but they had such great chemistry. I thought it was also really unique how Yoon pulled the story together through seemingly insignificant side characters. It’s not just a fun, fluffy read, there’s definitely more depth here!

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. This was a beautifully written, sad but touching story about grief, love, friendship and family. When Leigh, a Chinese-American girl, loses her mother to suicide, she’s convinced her mother has turned into a bird. In an attempt to understand what happened to her mother, she travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. It’s a very emotionally heavy story as Leigh tries to process her grief. Taiwan is painted as a vibrant city teeming with all sorts of characters, and an endless array of rich and delicious foods. In between bouts of crying, I found myself constantly hungry and craving Chinese food while reading this one!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This middle grade fiction is a very touching and impactful story about August Pullman, Auggie, who was born with a facial deformity that has kept him from going to school, until now. We follow him as he tries to navigate in a new school and make friends, but with a face that scares other children, makes everyone do a double-take and at worse, gasp in horror when they see him, it’s not easy. Auggie is an amazing, inspiring and wonderful character, and his parents and sister are such good people. This book had me crying with frustration and happiness throughout!

The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. In both these novels, we not only get characters of Asian (Vietnamese) descent, but two of the main characters in both stories fall on the spectrum. The Kiss Quotient was one of my favorite reads last year, and it seems that The Bride Test will be following suit this year! I flat out love that the characters are Asian — you never read about Asians in romances. I love the diversity of the characters and getting to learn more about Vietnamese culture. These are fun, fast and sexy reads that I recommend to all (especially if you don’t mind when things getting a little steamy)!

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan. Undoubtedly my favorite graphic novel series of all time. The artwork is beautiful, the characters are diverse and have rich backstories, and the storyline itself is fast paced and full of endless action. I can’t recommend this graphic novel series enough. Basically, everyone just needs to read it ASAP!

Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu. This is a fairly dark graphic novel set within a dystopian 1900s matriarchal Asian society. Maika Halfwolf, an orphan of war, is magically linked to a powerful monster that makes her a target for both humans and otherworldly beings. It follows her story as she navigates this dangerous steam punk influenced world full of enemies. The artwork is insanely beautiful and the story, although slightly confusing at times, is fascinating.

What are some of your favorite diverse books? If you think I need to read any particular books, leave a comment below! I’m always looking to add more books to my TBR 😃

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, Crime-Thriller-Mystery

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – BOOK REVIEW

Goodreads: My Sister, The Serial Killer
Genre: Crime-Thriller-Mystery, Africa, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: ★★★½ (out of 5)

@dinipandareads

Synopsis

One evening, Korede gets a call from her younger sister Ayoola asking for her help. It’s a call she hoped she’d never receive again but, you know, life. Ayoola has killed another man and so Korede takes her cleaning supplies and goes to help her sister cover up a crime she claims was an act of self-defense. Does Korede believe her sister—even after three men have now died by Ayoola’s hand—or does she do something about it? Korede loves Ayoola, but she also wonders how her sister ended up this way–does she have more of their abusive father’s blood running through her veins, compared to Korede? Although she is fraught with worry about being found out, Korede is convinced the police don’t need to be involved; that is, until the day Ayoola attracts the attention of the man Korede loves and she finds herself torn between obligation to her sister, and a moral duty to not only protect the man she loves, but all the menfolk of Nigeria.

Review

“Have you heard this one before? Two girls walk into a room. The room is in a flat. The flat is on the third floor. In the room is the dead body of an adult male. How do they get the body to the ground floor without being seen?”

I want to start by saying that I love the title and cover of this book. Not only is the cover eye-catching, but the title definitely piqued my interest and these elements alone were enough to convince me to read it! I had also seen it a few times on bookstagram this year, so there was additional interest generated from positive reviews, and I was definitely ready to pick it up.

Oyinkan Braithwaite writes a compelling novel that explores the complicated relationship between sisters, the moral dilemmas that come from being complicit in a crime and male impropriety that spans across cultures. The big question she was posed though was: Just how far would you go to protect the one(s) you love?

This was a fast and easy read filled with lots of dark humor, which left me laughing out loud just as often as I’d mumble with disappointment at Korede’s enabling and be appalled at Ayoola’s remorseless and sociopathic tendencies. I found the novel’s exploration of male impropriety rather amusing, actually. All the men in the book had little to no character outside from being caught in Ayoola’s orbit. She was the ‘centre of everyone’s universe’ and it didn’t matter that she was fickle, narcissistic, a cheater, and cared for little other than herself, men loved and wanted her because she was beautiful. Ayoola had it right, “all they want is a pretty face”, but this pretty face knew that and used it to her advantage, and clearly, to their detriment. Although, to be fair, even the women were enraptured by Ayoola’s beauty, so maybe the issue is more about society’s acceptance of beauty on the outside, excusing the ugly on the inside? Because in this book that outer beauty literally lets you get away with murder.

The most enjoyable part of the book for me was in the realness of sibling relationships, particularly between sisters. No matter how much you care for your sibling and no matter how well you get along, there are always feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and bitterness, but also of love and the overpowering need to protect and defend. Korede’s struggle to reconcile her morals with being a big sister whose instinct is to protect her little sister, captured the complexity of these relationships very well. As much as she felt bitterness and jealousy towards Ayoola for her beauty and for having a relationship with the man she loved, Korede never seriously thought of exposing her sister to the public, no matter how desperate she was to do so. That said, their relationship was very messed up and there was a lot of underlying resentment and obvious manipulation between the two.

What I struggled with the were the characters because I didn’t particularly like any of them. I wonder if that was done purposefully because they all had highly unfavorable character traits that made it difficult to find any redeeming qualities in them. Most of the times I wanted to slap them really hard in the faces and shake them “awake”.

Ayoola, as princess of the family, has gotten away with everything her whole life because of her looks. She’s conceited, narcissistic, and selfish (also, a serial killer) and takes everything for granted. It was astounding that even in the face of getting caught, she so vehemently denied any wrongdoing by spinning absurds tale that everyone seemed to believe because of her extraordinary beauty. Korede’s character was even worse because of how she enabled Ayoola by falling into the same ‘trap’ she criticized everyone else for. Despite knowing the manipulative nature of her sister, she still allowed herself to be taken advantage of and constantly stepped on. Although at times I felt sorry for her because of that, Korede had such a cold and impersonal, ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards everyone—boxing herself off from those who could have potentially been her allies—that it rubbed me the wrong way and made it difficult to feel sympathy for her character. The men, especially dreamy Dr. Tade, were thoughtless and shallow. Apparently, all men really care about are your looks and you can cheat, act crazy, be cold and heartless until it suits you to be warm, as much as you want as long as you’re beautiful. Even a brilliant, charming doctor is not exempt.

“We are hard wired to protect and remain loyal to the people we love. Besides, no one is innocent in this world. …’The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.’”

I honestly thought that Korede would take a different route, especially after the (unsurprising) climax, so that was a bit of a let down. But despite the unlikeable characters, I still enjoyed this read—which is rare for me to say because characters are everything! I do still feel like certain elements could have been explored better to give the book some more meat. Overall though, I thought this was a great debut by Braithwaite, that presents a daring, funny, but dark family drama that explored larger elements which other readers can perhaps relate to.

If you’ve read this, what were your thoughts on the book?
If not, is it on your TBR list?