YA Mini Book Reviews

I recently read several YA books I have had on my tbr pile for a while, so I decided to share short reviews of them. Mainly because I loved them and I wanted to shout a bit about them, even if I am really late to the party.

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (April 2015)

Blurb: Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review: with the movie just around the corner, I finally picked this book. My first thought is: why didn't I pick it before? It's cute, it's fun, it's fresh, it's original and it's important. I enjoyed it immensely and I cannot wait now for the movie to come out. Plus, the sequel Leah on the Offbeat is out next month. 5 stars.

Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinsters Club #1) by Holly Bourne (August 2015)

Blurb: All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Review: I had heard all kind of amazing things about Holly Bourne and I had been following her on social media for a couple years, so I was expecting to be blown away by this story, I mean, I remember all the hype about this one when it first came up. And I was indeed blown away. Holly Bourne paints a really clear picture of what suffering a mental illness feels like (for the person suffering and for the people around them) and the way she added feminism to the story was so clever. I enjoyed every single thing about this book. A very important read that I wish I could have read when I was a teen myself. 5 stars.

Blurb: Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.

Review: As soon as I finish Evie's story, I jumped into Amber's. Although it is quite different from the first book in the series, How Hard Can Love Be is equally amazing. The three friends are still going strong with her Spinsters club and I love all her feminism discussions, but in this one Amber spends her summer in an American camp, trying to reconnect with her mother and also trying to figure out love. A very fun, cute and clever read. I now need to get the last one in the trilogy. I cannot wait for Lottie's story. 5 stars.

Blurb: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Review: when I first joined Instagram, this book was everywhere but since then, two more books of the series have been released, so it was time for me to catch up. And I am so glad that I did. I loved main character Lara Jean, she was like a ray of sunshine and I loved that she preferred her crafts and baking over going out and getting drunk (I could see a bit of myself here). Plus, all the talking about cake was mouth-watering. I had to bake cookies myself and eat them while reading. A very cute contemporary YA that stole my heart a little bit. 5 stars.

Blurb: Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Review: After finishing To All the Boys I've Loved Before, I really wanted to see how Lara Jean and Peter's story would continue. I have to say that it did not enjoy this book as much as the first but it was still a very entertaining and cute read. It's true that I think Lara Jean didn't make the best choices, but she is a teen after all, I probably would have done the same at that age. On another note, you can really see a development in her character and the cake mentions are everywhere again. So all in all, I had a great time reading it. I am now really curious about the third book but afraid at the same time that it is not going to go the way I want it to go. But planning on reading it really soon. 4 stars.

Mirror, Mirror by Cara Delevigne and Rowan Coleman (October 2017)

Blurb: Friend. Lover. Victim. Traitor.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits; still figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Life isn't perfect, but music brings them together, and they are excited about what the future holds for their band, Mirror, Mirror. That is until Naomi vanishes before being pulled unconscious out of the river.

She's left fighting for her life in a coma. The police claim it was a failed suicide attempt, but her friends aren't convinced. Will Naomi ever wake up? What - or perhaps who - led her to that hospital bed? And how did Red, the self-styled protector of the group, fail to spot the warning signs?

While Rose turns to wild partying and Leo is shrouded by black moods, Red sets out to uncover the truth. It's a journey that will cause Red's world to crack, exposing the group's darkest secrets. Nothing will ever be the same again, because once a mirror is shattered, it can't be fixed.

Review: I definitely did not enjoy this one as much I thought I would. I am actually a huge fan of Rowan Coleman so I picked this book for this reason, as I don't know Cara Delevigne that much. Also, the premise sounded very intriguing and I couldn't resist a signed copy when I was in Edinburgh last year. The story is interesting enough and it had me intrigued with the mystery/thriller plot but I am not sure I liked the characters and a couple of the plot twists. It was also a bit slow in the middle, although the last few chapters picked up the pace considerably. 3 stars.

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