ARC Review: Yes No Maybe So (Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Publication Date: February 4th 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 440

Blurb from Goodreads

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

You have no idea how excited I was when I received this ARC in the mail.

This is my first time reading a book that is written by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed and man, they are truly great writers! They can write a YA book over 500 pages and I will never get bored.

At first, I thought I was going to read about teenagers and their problems with school and young relationships and I was definitely wrong. It is more than that.

Yes No Maybe So is about two teenagers with political aspirations to change America for the better. It is a moving moment for me to read the message from the two authors, saying that the 2016 election sparked the whole idea of Yes No Maybe So.

Yes No Maybe So is about Jamie and Maya, whom both have different practices of faith, work together on a campaign for a special election. They spend time together during the summer break to canvass and knock people’s door to encourage people to vote. They certainly have the bravery to do that because not everyone is welcoming enough to let a stranger preaches about politics. However, they overcome that obstacles to fight for the election. On the other hand, Maya is having another crisis at home as her parents are on a brink of separation. Her world is even more worst when her own best friend is busy for college and ignores her for a new roommate.

I love the setting of the book, which is during Ramadan. I can somehow relate to Maya because it is definitely tiring to do volunteer work when you are fasting and she makes it through nonetheless. I love the time when she spends at the mosque to break fast and it shows how the Muslim community can also socialize with other non-Muslims during this holy month.

I appreciate the family relationships between Maya and her family. Even though her parents are not on good terms, they make time and effort to support Maya during her canvassing journey. They reward Maya with a car because of her efforts to involve in the election. Her parents talking about the act and consequences of interracial dating is a highlight from the book because not all parents are understanding enough to let their kids date a non-Muslim. It shows how concern and open-minded they are as parents.

It is also interesting to read about Jamie’s background as he is Jewish and how Jewish holidays are celebrated. I applaud how diverse this book is and it shows how America is build based on diversity.

It is refreshing to see a YA book talks about politics. Even though Jamie and Maya are currently too young to vote, the political scene of their area opens their minds towards the political issues surrounding America, for example the bill where it targets Muslim women wearing scarves. It is a good opportunity to explore this area to enlighten our young generation how serious and detrimental this issue is.

I love it when they are also pop culture references such as Matilda, The Good Place and The Office. I am currently in the midst of binge watching The Good Place and I am surprised how coincidental the timing is.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in some politics and in for some romance.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for sending me Yes No Maybe So in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

ARC Review: I Owe You One (Sophie Kinsella)

43462771.jpgGenre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: February 7th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 374

Blurb from Goodreads:

The irresistible new standalone from Sophie Kinsella is a story of love, empowerment and an IOU that changes everything . . .

Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.

That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.

Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.

Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is actually my first time reading a Sophie Kinsella book and I am very excited to read it! I have read so many good reviews about the Shopaholic series so it is a great start to read her latest book.

I don’t usually gravitate towards Adult Fiction that much because of my interest consisting of reading Young Adult books only. However, I don’t actually have any problems reading this as the characters in the book are very easy-going and relatable at the same time.

I love reading about family businesses because it is interesting to see how each of the family members play a role in managing it. You can see that family don’t always agree to each other on decision-making stuffs hence it is their duty to convince and persuade why it is a good or bad idea to agree on something.

The important message from the book is that family can be tough sometimes. It takes great courage to stand to our enemies, but just as much to stand to our family. It is an unbearable thought to criticise our own family members, the idea of breaking the family bond seems terrifying.

I love the main character, Fixie with her love interest, Sebastian. I love all of the scenes when they are together and it shows that they are a perfect match. I hate reading parts where Fixie’s siblings are such unbearable and unhelpful characters ever. I find myself similar to Fixie, I grow attach to a person so quickly and if things go wrong, I will just move on from the scene. I love when Fixie discovers her true self, where she evolves from a shy and timid person to someone who can stand up for herself.

The characters have such interesting lives and problems that they face and I learn a lot of lessons from their adulting journey. The romance is so good that it is one of my favourite things from the book. I wish I have read Sophie Kinsella’s book sooner because her writing is so good and I am totally missing out now!

Thank you Times Reads for providing me this gorgeous review copy of I Owe You One!

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Sabrina

 

ARC Review: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (Shaun David Hutchinson)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: February 19th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 294

Blurb from Goodreads:

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is my first time reading Shaun’s book and honestly I have high expectations since one of his books, We Are The Ants is a very well-loved books in the YA community.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (yes, it is very mouthful!) is a story about friendship between long-lost ex-bestfriends who grew apart from each other. This story between Dino and July at first is very intriguing as I am very interested in reading male to female dynamic relationship that is not related to romance.

As the story proceeds, I cannot find any WOW factor, or any part of the book that is worth reading and impressive. The characters are very bland, they are extremely flawed and not interesting. I guess the author is trying to write characters with anti-hero qualities, the one who lacks the ‘conventional heroic attributes’ unlike what we see in movies or even books. Both of them also have opposite characteristics, one is passive and the other is hostile. The reason on why they grew apart is also so petty, that I think the relationship can be repaired by just only discussing the problems between them. The plot is also very forgettable and nothing special, at times I cannot even identify the conflict and storyline.

The one thing is really stood out to me is the theme of death. Someone’s death can truly change and effect our life as a whole. How the death can change their relationship. I guess that the author is trying to metaphorically explain the meaning and impact of someone’s death to people. However, it does not work for me.

I truly appreciate the LGBT references in the book as one of the main characters is gay and also about the support and understanding given by the people of him.

I am mildly disappointed by the book but it does not stop me to try and read Shaun’s other writings in the future.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me a review copy of the book!

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Sabrina

 

Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea (Tahereh Mafi)

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


RATING

3.5 STARS!

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I have been waiting for so long to read this book and write the review for this highly anticipated read for 2018! I was honestly stoked when Tahereh finally decided to write a YA contemporary book because I knew that this book is going to be perfect. I have only read two of her books, which are the middle grade series; Furthermore and Whichwood. The books are nothing but perfect!

The unique part of this story is that this book gives us an insight on what it means to be a Muslim in a non-Muslim country after the tragedy of 9/11. We get to see Shirin’s journey on how she goes through her life as a 16-year-old student, from being a friend and facing the family dynamics in her household. This book is brutally honest and raw, different from her other masterpieces. There are no flowery writing inserted. All monologues from Shirin is just purely straight forward and truthful.

I highly appreciate Muslim hijabi girls representation in Young Adult books, because I think they are not well represented in the society. Muslims are often mistaken for bad things and they are always treated horribly by the society. Their devotion to God is always mistakenly understood to be extremism. It is not always easy for immigrants to live a peaceful life in a foreign land as people will always have bad things to say. It is even worse when there is a sickening tragedy that involves the lives of many people. One of them, who is Shirin would be badly affected by the aftermath. We see how the society, in a smaller context, the students in her school treat her. They won’t befriend her, assume her like she is invisible and also throw brutal racist remarks to her. Being a Muslim in a non-Muslim country is different from being a Muslim in Muslim country. While reading, I compare myself, between the situation in my country with the struggles of Shirin’s. I think that never in my lifetime that I would understand what she has gone through. I understand my privilege and I will never abuse it to downgrade other people. I feel angry while reading because Shirin is constantly challenged with the society’s expectation towards her. She is always violently punished for something that she has never done. Everyone deserves to live in the world without being harmed.

I learn so much from the book, what it feels like to be in a xenophobic and islamophobic world but I think I am just given a tiny glimpse about what it feels like to be a Muslim in a non-Muslim country. This book is very important for readers to devour into, because it makes us understand the prejudice towards muslims in America. Seeing all of these makes us wonder the status of our education. Has our education done a perfect job in educating our children? It is our job to ponder.

I adore the male lead, which is the love interest for Shirin. I like the relationship between Shirin and her love interest, however, I hate for the fact that the romance has taken over the whole purpose of the book. I would want the book to focus more on Shirin’s journey for self-discovery. The romance factor has defeated the sole purpose of the book. I at times don’t feel comfortable reading about their relationship because I think it is too forced, and it is used as a plot device. This is the only reason on why I don’t give this book a 5 star. I would have to say that I am mildly disappointed with the relationship part.

My most favourite part of the book is that Shirin is a close reflection of the writer herself. I have never read any book that is very private and written based on personal experience by the author and the fact that Tahereh has published a book that is very close to her is such an amazing thing. It makes the book much more authentic and honest. It shows that Tahereh is very brave to show the world that her story is important enough for readers to learn. 

I now know the meaning of the title of the book! Only those who have read it may understand the meaning of it! 😛

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Sabrina

Review: Emergency Contact (Mary H. K. Choi)

38749034Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books
Publication date: March 27th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 394

Blurb from Goodreads:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


RATING

4.5 STARS

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I read this gorgeous book in a day! You can imagine how good this book is.

The fact that Rainbow Rowell, one of my favourite authors who introduced me to Young Adult Contemporary books blurbed this book, I AM ALREADY PUMPED!

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. Once I skimmed the synopsis when it was released, I was hooked and interested! This NYT Best Seller book did not disappoint at all! Even though this book received many mixed reviews on Goodreads, I truly enjoyed reading the story of Penny and Sam facing their inner demons and life obstacles. I was surprised that this book was actually a YA/NA contemporary. I don’t really read NA these days thus reading young adults who were trying to start their journey outside of their comfort zones was very special to me, as I am also searching and struggling.

Emergency Contact allows us to appreciate the growth of two struggling young adults who are finding the meaning of life and exploring the beauty of their friendship. I gravitate towards good friendship/relationship books, I love to see how relationships between two people starts to develop and bloom. I love Penny and Sam always find their ways to each other, their frankness in their relationship and also on how they depend on each other during hard times. The characters were realistic and fragile, there were times when I wanted to hug them so much because they were too vulnerable as they have went through so much in life 😦

The writing was good, for me it was fast paced as it kept me entertained and interested in reading till the end. I didn’t realise that the book was going to end until 360+ pages because I was so engrossed with Penny and Sam that I didn’t want it to end! I read somewhere that the writer is plotting on Book 2 and 3, so rest assured that there will be a sequel coming! YAY

Characters are not always perfect. Things in life change people, effect on how they react and think. One thing that truly disturbed my attention was the fact that Penny pushed her loved ones, especially her mom. I felt for her mom, because family always wants to be near us. I am no position to judge people on their relationships with their family, but take the time to appreciate them.

I would truly recommend this book to readers who would enjoy reading about blooming friendships who find peace in each other presence 🙂

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this ARC in exchange of an honest review!

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Sabrina

 

Review: Open Road Summer (Emery Lord)

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Source: Pansing Books

This book is available at all good bookstores.


Blurb from Goodreads:

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts.

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.


RATING

4.0 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I am glad that I totally enjoy reading this book. This is definitely my first time reading Emery Lord’s writing and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint! Her writing is honestly amazing and very entertaining.

I totally recommend you guys to read this during summer or vacation, because it is totally a fast paced and light read for you to devour in. Sometimes I would love to read light books that does not need extra attention to fathom the development of the world created by the author. You could be so engrossed to the book, not realising that you have gone through more and more chapters.

This book has received a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads, such as the main character being so annoyingly stubborn and angsty. However, I totally love all of the points that the book highlights, because that makes the book even special to me. YA Contemporary books like this often deliver profound messages for readers to appreciate and understand.

This book highlights on finding new hopes and dreams. Sometimes life can be very hard and disappointing but there is no reason that we cannot chase our very own happily ever after. Both of the characters pave their way to heal a broken heart after breaking up with their partners and it is interesting to see how both of them face their challenge with confidence and positivity. I also love for the fact that both of main characters are always there for each other no matter what. The major part of the story is basically they accept each other for their good and bad, flaws and wrongdoings in hope that both of them will find serendipity in their own ways. Thus that makes this story important to me ❤

I hope you guys will enjoy this book as much as I did 🙂

Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

Review: From Twinkle, With Love (Sandhya Menon)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Three starred reviews for this charming romantic comedy about an aspiring teen filmmaker who finds her voice and falls in love, from the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi.

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream comes true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily ever after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is honestly my first time reading Sandhya Menon’s book. I push myself while reading this because I want to understand the hype of her debut, When Dimple Met Rishi. Unfortunately, I am not impressed by this story.

The main character, Twinkle is a bit unbearable to begin with. The fact that she is 16 years old, she does things stupidly sometimes. I simply cannot stand with her. The plot is pretty much bland, with so little sparks, specialty and surprises.

I don’t know guys, maybe I just have to take a break from reading contemporary novels like this because mostly YA contemporaries follow the similar, cliché and repetitive endings. Like any teen, Twinkle faces parental expectations, peer pressure problems and also puppy love.

Apart from that, Twinkle is an aspiring Indian-American filmmaker who dreams high and wishes to pursue her career in film industry. She writes a series of “dear diary” to her respective idols who are her favourite female filmmakers. She is passionate in doing what she loves and protective when people criticises and demotivates her work.

From Twinkle, With Love has such important and remarkable points and issues for younger audiences to learn about. I think I will appreciate this better, when I read this in the right time and space.

I will love to give other Sandhya Menon’s book a try so, I look forward to read When Dimple Met Rishi next time!

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Sabrina