Help Me Set My October TBR!

Hello, friends! 

We’ve still got another ten days before the end of September but I’m already thinking of my October TBR.

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I’ve got a couple of books in mind already but since I’m reading more than ever (I’ve already finished my September TBR I set last month!) I’m looking for a few more for October.

This is what I’ve got so far…

What am I looking for?

Two things… 

  • A contemporary YA: As you know, I read mostly contemporary YA with the odd classic thrown in. Contemporary YA is what I love and it’ll always be my favourite. I have a long list of contemporaries I need to read someday but I’m asking YOU which one I should read first. So, tell me… what’s your favourite contemporary YA? Which one should I read RIGHT NOW?
  • A non-contemporary YA: Next month, I want to take a little break from contemporary (at least for a couple of days ahaha) and try something different. The problem is….I don’t know where to start.
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My world is limited to YA contemporary….help!

I’ve only read contemporary so far this year, so I’m out of the loop of what’s good and what’s not. That’s where you come in. I’m kindly going to ask you to give me a couple of recommendations, books I should absolutely give it a chance. I’m okay with all genres (but I’d like something space-related maybe??) so go nuts!

Give me all the recs!

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Details & Summary:

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Pages: 380

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My thoughts…

When Dimple Met Rishi is one of the most hyped books of this year. Before reading it myself, I’d read countless reviews and most of them were very, very positive. As a consequence, I had high expectations and I was very excited to read it. Sadly, I didn’t love it or like it as much as I thought I would. While Dimple and Rishi showcase a healthy, realistic relationship, which we need to see more of in YA, I had a few problems with the story outside the romance.

I’ll start with the good stuff. Dimple and Rishi are both great characters. Dimple knows what she wants. She’s passionate about coding and she’s going to study at Stanford and hopefully someday have a career like her idol, Jenny Lindt. She’s not interested in going to university for the sole purpose of finding her IIH (Ideal Indian Husband) like her parents want her to.

“She refused to be one of those girls who gave up on everything they’d been planning simply because a boy entered the picture.”

Then there’s Rishi, who values family, tradition, and culture. He’s more than okay with the idea of meeting a girl his parents chose for him. He’s also completely okay and confident about the person he is, which was my favourite thing about him.

“If no one says, ‘This is me, this is what I believe in, and this is why I’m different, and this is why that’s okay’, then what’s the point? What’s the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?”

Of course, the trouble starts when they meet. Rishi was aware he was being set up with someone he hoped he would marry someday. Dimple was not; she was kind of tricked by her parents.

All in all, I think the arranged marriage theme was done well. I understood both sides and sympathised with both Dimple and Rishi. I was interested to see how they’d get along after this misunderstanding. And, for a while, I really did like their relationship. Though rushed (they are completely in love in just a few weeks), I liked how it was a healthy, realistic relationship where both sides respect and value each other. Very nice to see in YA.

What I didn’t like was how the romance completely took over the plot. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a romance novel, but still. I respected Dimple so much for wanting a career and being passionate about coding and I felt like that all kind of disappeared into the background. Coding is supposed to be her number one passion, so I was very disappointed about how little time she seemed to spend on her project. It was mentioned a couple of times here and there, but I felt like she didn’t work on it that much. All of her time seemed to go toward dating Rishi, dealing with the Amberzombies (rich, mean kids? Really? Enoug with this overused trope already), and the talent show. Basically, the project kind of served as a background to their relationship, which is a real shame since I know how much hard work, time, and dedication it takes in real life.

I also wasn’t a big fan of how literally everything turned out okay in the end.

SPOILER ALERT….

Dimple and Rishi didn’t win but she did get a chance to meet Jenny Lindt who just so happens to love her idea so much she’s willing to invest in it. Dimple contacted Rishi’s role model / idol who also contacts him back. I mean, I really wish these kind of things happened in real life and I could get an answer from Elon Musk or J.K Rowling or anyone else who’s famous (and extremely busy!), but they rarely do.

The same thing goes for other plot points, such as Rishi’s relationship with his brother Ashish. They were all wrapped up rather fast and easy, which felt all a bit too convenionent to me and not very realistic.

While Dimple and Rishi deserves credit for showcasing a healthy, realistic teenage relationship and I loved reading about a different culture than mine, it’s a shame the romance dominated the plot as much as it did and their goals and interests were pushed to the background.

Rating

Waiting on Wednesday #4: He’s back!

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re all excited about! This week I’m waiting for…..

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Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Release Date: October, 10th 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Pages: ?

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward.
Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Why am I waiting?

This is the best bookish news I’ve heard this year and also my most anticipated read for 2017. I can’t believe I’ll get to read a new John Green in less than three months after FIVE years of waiting. I knew he was writing again because he’s mentioned it several times on “the pod”* and in his YouTube video’s** but I had absolutely no idea it would be published so soon. So it was actually a BIG surprise when he announced it.

Having said that, I’m scared because there’s a lot of hype surrounding this book. There are a lot of expectations and there’s a lot of pressure for this to be good. John actually admitted being really scared of the reactions because it’s his most personal book (for those of you who don’t know, John Green also has OCD, like the MC, and social anxiety). So, yes, I’m scared and nervous that it won’t be as good as I’m imagining it to be. I’m worried it won’t live up to the expectations, but I’ll try not to think about it too much and treat Turtles All the Way Down like any other book.

I hope you’ll read it too so we can share our thoughts.  I know John isn’t the most popular in the blogging community, but even if you didn’t love his previous books, I think you should give this one a chance. It’s been five years after all.

On an unrelated note: did you know he’s signing 200.000+ copies? If you live in the US and Canada (as an international book blogger I’m so jealous!) , here’s information on how to get your hands on a signed copy!

*Dear Hank and John (or as John prefers to think of it, Dear John and Hank). It’s a comedy podcast about death where Hank and his brother John answer all your questions, give dubious advice, and give you all the week’s news on both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.

**Vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green’s YouTube channel

Are you excited about Turtles All the Way Down? What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

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Top Ten Contemporary YA Books I’ve Recently added to my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where book bloggers from all over the world make a list of 10 things that fit that week’s topic. This week’s topic is “10 Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR List”. It was hard to pick just ten because I feel like I’m adding ten every day, but I did it. Go on, scroll down and see which ones I came up with…

  • It’s not Like It’s a Secret: cute contemporary f/f romance + ownvoices rep? I’m in.
  • Bad Romance: a romance between a boy and girl who wants to get out of her house and out of her town. “Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.”
  • War Cross: “When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, Emika Chen hacks her way into its dangerous depths.” Yay for diversity + I love the sound of a teenage girl as a bounty hunter, hacking to make ends meet. Sounds really unique. ***
  • Note Worthy: I’ve seen praise for this book all over the blogging community. “A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.”
  • Eliza and her Monsters: “Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.”

*** I’ve been made aware by May that this is actually not contemporary. I knew it was sci-fi but I blame my excitement for including this one in a contemporary list. I’m going to leave it in, though, because more people need to know about it. (Don’t hate me for it 😀 )

  • Little & Lion: “Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse” I really hope the rep is good in this one because you don’t see many stories where one of the main characters has bipoler disorder. Also, the whole falling-in-love-with-the-same-girl thing? Yeah, that’s going to cause some trouble.
  • Starfish: Kiko Himura doesn’t get into her dream art school, Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back.”
  • Grace and the Fever: A story about a girl who meets and falls in love with her idol, a member of an incredibly popular boy band. This book seems to have been written for 1D fans so I highly suggest them (and anyone who’s ever fangirled over anyone or anything) to add it to their TBR as well.
  • Textrovert: “Summer is nearly over and Keeley is about to start her senior year when disaster strikes: she picks up the wrong cell phone by mistake. 😞 Just her luck that it belongs to Talon, a totally arrogant jock 🏈 who’s just left for football camp—with her phone. Keeley doesn’t know him, but they’ll need to rely on each other to forward their messages for an entire week.” This is one of those guilty pleasure books. The story line isn’t unique by any means and there’s a good chance it’ll be full of clichés, but it could also be a very cute contemporary romance which is what I’m hoping for.
  • Saints and Misfits: “Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box. And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.” This sounds really interesting. 

That’s it!

Would you want to read any of these books? Which books have you recently added to your TBR? I’m always open to suggestions and recommendations, so don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section!

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Top Ten YA Summer Reads

Today, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! For those of you who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where book bloggers from all over the world make a list of 10 things that fit that week’s topic. This week’s topic is “Summer” so I’ll be sharing my summer must-reads for 2017.

  1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Diversity. Arranged marriage trope. Romance COMEDY. What more do you want? This seems like the perfect book to read on a beautiful summer day.
  2. Cold Summer by Gwen Cole: This one is not as light-hearted, but it sounds really interesting. Here’s the tag line: “Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
    Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.” Yes, this is a timetravel book!
  3. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: “Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.” A romance between two book lovers? Yes, pleeease!!
  4. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: Natasha’s amateur web series, Unhappy Families, goes viral and she has to deal with the expectations that come from being internet famous. Also, she has a crush and she’s trying to figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual. Yay for asexual rep! And Tolstoy!
  5. The Color Project by Sierra Abrams: I’ve talked about this one in my most recent Waiting on Wednesday. There’s a bit of a mystery in this one which I like.
  6. It Started with Goodbye by Christina June: “Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost.” I’m hooked.
  7. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus: “One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.” This reminds me of Pretty Little Liars in a good way.
  8. A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor: Two sisters have an accident and wash up on shore…along with “a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets“. I love books about strong sibling relationships, and I love a good mystery.
  9. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: I heard a lot of great things about this one. From what I can tell from the blurb, it’s about a girl who has to choose between two boys–one who’s perfect but only exists online, and an annoying, imperfect one she’s met in real life. I kind of suspect they’re actually the same person (and she doesn’t know it) but I hope I’m wrong and there’s another, less predictable twist.
  10. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber: This book is described as “Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights” and that’s all I need to know.
Which books do you want to read this summer?  

Review: History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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Details & Summary:

Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Teen
Release Date: January 17th 2017
Pages: 320

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.

My thoughts…

From the very first sentence, I knew this book was going to be one of my all-time favourites. I can’t put into words how much I love it. For all of you who’re wondering, here it is:

“You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real word, where this
morning you’re having an open-casket funeral.”

I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of opening lines that are objectively better than this one, but this one really gets to me. I’ve tried to pinpoint exactly why that is and, in the end, this is what I’ve come up: I think it’s all the emotions behind the words that make it special.

Just from that one sentence, you can clearly the narrator loves – present tense – this Theo character with all his being but at the same time is consumed by grief and desperation.

For me, that sums up both the narrator of this story, Griffin, and the story itself. There’s no arguing that love, grief, and desperation are at the centre of History is All You Left Me. It’s about Griffin’s love for Theo, but also Wade and Jackson’s. It’s about Griffin’s grief, but also everyone else’s.

That’s the beauty of this book: while Griffin believes he’s alone in his grief and no one could possibly understand it, he learns to share and heal with the help of others.

“There’s nothing wrong with someone saving my life, I’ve realized, especially when I can’t trust myself to get the job done right. People need people. That’s that.”

Does the healing process go smoothly? No, definitely not. Griffin is selfish, insecure, desperate, and reckless in the worst possible ways. He makes plenty of mistakes, but so does Jackson, and so did Theo.

That last part was really important to me. More than halfway through the book, I was a little scared Griffin would never see Theo as a real person who had flaws and made mistakes of his own. And I get it. When you’re grieving someone, you’re bound to push away the bad parts and only remember the good. But that’s not the real person you’re remembering, it’s an idealization you’re unwilling to let go of.

I’m glad Griffin realises Theo was not perfect, which is something he doesn’t consider when he begins to explore Theo’s life away from him in California, where Theo lived with new boyfriend Jackson. To me, the “relationship” between Jackson and Griffin is one of best parts in the novel. It’s really messed up at times, but I don’t think we can expect anything else from two teenage / YA boys who’ve just lost their first love. Their mistakes just make it all feel more realistic–more human.

“I look up, and Jackson’s eyes find mine. For a second, it almost feels like we’re about to race into the hole to join you. Being buried alive has got to be better than whatever comes next.”

And that’s exactly what this book is. It’s realistic. It’s devastating. It’s sad. It’s heartwarming. It’s an accurate account of what it means to come to terms with losing someone you loved very deeply.

It sounds very bleak, but there’s also lots of humour, teenages boys geeking out over popular culture (mainly Harry Potter & Star Wars), and a lot of warmth that comes from reading about first love. It’s also an accurate representation of OCD and a positive one of gay and bisexual teenagers, which is a huge plus.

In short, it’s a book I won’t forget anytime soon and that I’ll be rereading many, many times.

Rating

I recommend this to…

Anyone who loves YA (contemporary) fiction.