Book Blitz: Despair (The Negative Ion Series Book 2) by Ryanne Anthony

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28114170Title: Despair
Series: The Negative Ion Series #2
Author: Ryanne Anthony
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Expected Publication: December 14, 2015
Publisher: Booktrope Editions

SYNOPSIS:
Cassidy Wren followed her dreams to sing from a farming community in Iowa to bustling New York City, with her small town boyfriend Eddie by her side. Tired of rejection, a fateful phone call leads them back to her hometown of Hampton, California.

Negative Ion keyboardist Greg Mitchell is embroiled in a nasty custody battle with his ex while attempting to heal and keep strong for the rest of the band members after the loss of a brother. Sparks fly when Cassidy and Greg’s paths collide, but the guilt from their unusual rendezvous may just be enough to destroy her. Plus, Cassidy’s new friend Kimber is hiding something and she suspects it has to do with missing Negative Ion drummer, Jaxon Malloy.

Cassidy soon finds her life in a complete flux and she doesn’t know who to choose: the man she knows will always be there for her or the man who sets her body aflame?

BUY THIS BOOK!


About the author:

Born and raised in the Midwest, Ryanne Anthony is a wife, mother of two, daydream believer and writer whose third passion is giving life to the characters that occupy her mind, in hopes that she thoroughly entertains her reader and earn a fan or two.

“My goals in writing are to make my reader laugh, gasp, scream, yell, get angry, cry and nod. At the end of every story, I want them to THINK on what I’ve written, possibly identify on a storyline or two. Every book, I try to do that. I want to entertain you, to not regret spending time ‘inside my head’.”

Connect with Ryanne:

HER WEBSITE ♥ SHORT STORIES ♥ FACEBOOK ♥ TWITTER ♥ AMAZON ♥ INSTAGRAM ♥ PINTEREST ♥ GOODREADS ♥ TSU

As part of this Book Blitz, Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours has had the opportunity to interview Ms. Ryanne Anthony about her life as an author and other bookish related things! And of course, we get to read it here in TCB!

G: What is your Name and/or Pen Name?
R: Ryanne Anthony

R: Is there a special story that explains how you got your Pen Name, if you have one?
G: It’s the middle names of my children.

G: Who is your favorite writer/author?
R: Judy Blume. Has been forever!

G: What is your favorite book/book series
R: Book: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Series: Neighbor from Hell by R.L. Mathewson

G: What made you decide to be a writer?
R: These voices! Argh! For years, I avoided them, ignored them. I could not figure out that I was supposed to write down what they were saying/doing until a shrink said I was NOT mentally incapacitated.

Kidding, but not about the voices.

G: Who/What inspires you the most to be a writer?
R: My brain. I have to listen to it and it never shuts off. Rest? No idea what that is, anymore. Next is my kids. Writing helps me avoid them, especially when they start acting like monkeys freshly escaped from the zoo.

G: What do you find has been inspiring your stories and characters?
R: People around me; family and friends, but mostly myself. I find different things are implanted in my female characters that are me. Names of relatives are used a lot, as well.

G: What do you ABSOLUTELY have to have with you while you are writing?
R: Good speakers. I cannot write without music. I love it. I live it. I breathe it. I like a lot of different genres so I have to have the Spotify blaring every time I sit at my computer.

G: What kind of music do you listen to, if any? Favorite singer/band?
R: Anything that makes me think. I like it all. My favorite band right now is Seether. I would listen to them all hours of the day, if I could.

G: What is your favorite research tool?
R: Google. Hands down.

G: What is your favorite part of writing a story/novel/song/poem/article?
R: Critiques, good or bad. I try to make people laugh, cry, angry, etc. in every book. If I don’t, I want to know it right away and attempt to fix it in my next work. If I have, I smile and hope I can do it again in another book.

G: What is your favorite genre to write/read?
R: I love to read and write romance. I like when the characters fight but only if it’s a fight worth having. I love when a man is dominant but still lets her do her thing.

G: If you could only choose 5 novels to read over and over again for the rest of your life, which ones do you choose?
R: Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret – Judy Blume, Sweet Dreams – Kristen Ashley, Effortless – S.C. Stephens, Wifey – Judy Blume, Madison – Me

G: If you could meet any writer, living/dead, who would it be?
R: Toss-up between (yep) Judy Blume and Kurt Sutter. His mind just thrills me!

G: What do you most want to accomplish as a writer?
R: To entertain. I want everyone who reads me to say, ‘Damn, that was one of the best reads I’ve ever had!’


ENTER OUR RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY BY CLICKING THIS LINK!

You’ll get a chance to win a copy of Despair of your own chosen format (.mobi or .epub) to be sent to you by us. This giveaway runs from December 15 until 25, 2015 and is open INTERNATIONALLY! So what else are you waiting for? JOIN NOW!

This book blitz is hosted by The Crazy Bookworm in cooperation with xpress book tours!

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Series: To All The Boys I’ve Love Before #1
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, YA Romance, YA Highschool, Chick Lit, Contemporary,
How I got it: I bought it

SYNOPSIS:
Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

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

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:
I had a really hard time getting into this book during my first few attempts at reading it. I was actually prepared to just write it off as “abandoned” on Goodreads (I have a shelf for it) because for some reason I just couldn’t get over how annoying the narrative was. But then I look at the cover and it’s so pretty and it makes me want to give To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before a second chance because honestly — how can you resist a cover like that?

When I first heard about TATBL, I was so happy. It’s still a bit rare to see a POC/WOC to be the main character in YA and to have it be this mainstream and this hyped up incredibly pleased me. I was so excited to read it and then I did, and it was hard at first, but after two months, I tried again and found myself able to move on from the first chapter. It definitely took me a while, though.

Lara Jean is our main protagonist and the narrator of the story. She has an older sister Margot, who she looks up to, and a younger sister Kitty, who she looks after. Their mom passed away when they were little, which left them to the care of their dad. Josh is their neighbor and Margot’s boyfriend for a little while before he became her ex, and Lara Jean always felt a certain kind of way for him but she never told because he was dating her sister (duh, right?). And then suddenly, he wasn’t. Not long after that, someone starts to send out letters Lara Jean wrote for the boys she loved before; hence, the title.

As I was reading, I found Lara Jean’s voice incredibly difficult to follow. She’s sixteen years old but it felt like I was reading about a thirteen year old girl. The narration was childish and silly to the point of irritation, and I had to check a couple of times if I was reading the same book as everyone else who gave it a five-star review. It’s always a bad sign when I start getting annoyed by the character I should sympathize with, and even though I was able to plod through the book, Lara Jean’s immaturity did not stop bothering me.

I guess I get what Jenny Han’s inspiration for this novel is. It actually wasn’t that hard to figure out since I live in the Philippines and have seen a handful of Korean dramas. If you’ve watched a KDrama before, you’ll notice that the female leads are always kind of silly and quirky and a tad bit annoying, in a way that’s supposed to come across as adorable, only Lara Jean wasn’t adorable at all. In fact, I’m so indifferent to her. I connect to her in one way and one way only, and it’s in how she values her relationship with her sisters. But aside from that, there’s practically nothing about her that resonates with me. She felt… flat.

The same goes for her love interests in the story. I think for a successful romance to work, we have to be enamored with the objects of affection as much as the main character is. In this book, only Peter evoked some sort of feeling from me. Not that I’d bank on it all that much since it was mostly annoyance and indignation. Josh is so dull and boring and one-dimensional that I don’t have any feelings for him at all. It’s not enough that Lara Jean gushes over him like a fan-girl. It’s all telling and no showing, thus it failed.

Nevertheless though, I understand what the hype is all about. Despite the story being formulaic, it is a formula that hooked readers just like those KDramas have addicted millions of people. I think I might have to applaud Jenny Han for putting it in book form, even though I don’t feel very strongly about it. I wasn’t a big fan of those KDramas either, so it makes sense. 

RECOMMENDATION:
Personally, I think the story is lacking in so many ways, particularly character dimension and development. There was nothing “heartfelt” about this book unlike what the Amazon synopsis suggested, and the drama surrounding the story is shallow at best. If you’re looking for something insightful, I wouldn’t suggest this book at all. It’s like one of those cheap thrills that you only read when you’re extremely bored and not in the mood for something far more sophisticated.

RATING:

2-coconut

Top Ten Tuesday (TTT #7)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and The Bookish. To learn more about how it works, please check the launch page here!

This week’s topic is:
Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels We Are Looking Forward To

I only have five books on my list, but let me just say that I am crazily excited over each and every one of them. I’m always so happy about seeing debuts become a big success. I guess you could say there’s a bookish cheerleader inside me waiting to be unleashed on everyone, but hey! Can you blame me? Books are great! And happy is the reader who scored a really great read from a debut author. There is always a need for fresh voices in the literary world.

T H E    L I S T :

Number one on my list would be This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. It has a really harrowing plot which reminds me a little bit of Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Hate List left a really bitter taste in my mouth but it also opened my eyes to this thing that’s been happening in so many schools around the world, and what causes it. I am hoping that this book would be as thought provoking as Hate List was. I haven’t read a book that affected me so in a while and I’m crossing my fingers that this might be it. (Expected Publication: January 2016)

Number two: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker”Jane Austen meets X-Men in this gripping and adventure-filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.” Please tell me that doesn’t excite you even just a little. Please tell me you’re not itching to get your hands on this book right now. You can’t tell me that because we both know you’re dying just as much as I am to get your claws on this book. I really, sincerely hope it delivers because gosh dang, look at that cover. I’m practically salivating right now. Good bye. (Expected Publication: February 2016)

Emily May, who is my most favorite book blogger of all time, probably, gave this book a glowing recommendation and a whopping four stars. If that’s not reason enough for me to read it, then there’s also the blurb which is really, really interesting. Firsts is about Mercedes, a girl who likes to sleep with other girls’ boyfriends (provided that they’re virgins) so they could give their girlfriends an amazing time in bed, which Mercedes herself never had. I am so curious as to how things would play out for her and I haven’t even started the book yet, so needless to say, I’m actively looking out for this one. (Expected Publication: January 2016)

Then there’s this: Kill The Boy Band. Wait, which one? I kid, I kid. As a self-confessed fangirl of One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, you can tell why this book would appeal to me. I’d say the cover needs something more but the premise is very interesting to me. I’m expecting a wild ride from start to finish, since, you know, fangirls are notoriously known to be a little cray. I don’t mind that at all. In fact, I look forward to it. We all need to read something cray once in a while, and if it includes hot, musically inclined boys (God, I sound like a pervert, don’t I? Sorry!) and a cute love story, then why the heck not, right?! (Expected Publication: February 2016)

Look at this pretty freaking cover! Oh my God. Last on my list is Save Me, Kurt Cobain. Aside from boy bands, I also like rock bands. And of course, I am in-love with Nirvana. The blurb hooked me right off the bat because *gasp* Frances Bean has a sister??? And her name is Nicola??? I think this would be such an interesting read, plus Jennifer Niven who wrote All The Bright places gave it a glowing review. It does sound a bit like it might hurt my feelings, but you know… Some sacrifices we have to make in the name of good literature, and books that hurt my feelings are often the best kinds. (Expected Publication: March 2016)


That’s it this week for me! So happy to be participating again in Top Ten Tuesday after my break from blogging. I’m hella excited to find out which books are on your lists! Feel free to hit me up with your comments and link me to your TTTs!

Thank you so much for dropping by TCB, and happy reading!

Book Review: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Title: The Art of Being Normal
Series: Standalone
Author: Lisa Williamson
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LBGTQA
How I got it: I bought it

SYNOPSIS:
Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan.

When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…


REVIEW:
I didn’t really know what this book was about when I bought it because I didn’t pay attention to the book jacket? And then I read the blurb and I was like OH MY GOD, this is the first ever trans-centered book that I’ve acquired! At first I was hesitant to read it because I wasn’t sure if I’m ready. I don’t actually read LGBTQA-centered books unless they’re highly recommended by my friends and favorite book bloggers, because I don’t want to be disappointed if it turns out to be not so good. I’ve had terrible experiences with books tackling controversial and sensitive topics before, and I don’t want any repeat of that.

However, I decided to take a risk with The Art of Being Normal. My first impression was that it’s very British. The author is clearly from the U.K. and is familiar with U.K. high school politics, which I don’t see enough of in YA. The language and humor is very English as well, which I’ve enjoyed a lot! It’s interesting to read the dialogue because I’ve been so used to American authors, so I found the change refreshing.

The book opens by introducing us David, a boy who feels like he’s not quite in the right body. He wants to be a girl, and he believes that he already is in all respects aside from his physicality. Then we meet Leo, a boy who just moved to a new school and is quite eager to stay under the radar. Only he can’t, because new kids tend to get noticed as per always, and the fact that wild rumors of why he transferred are escalating around school made it harder for him to be invisible.

I really, really enjoyed The Art of Being Normal. The story is so cute and David in particular is such a precious character. He’s like a puppy, all sweet and adorable and loyal. Leo was a bit of a mystery to me until slowly, the author unveiled his story, and then his moodiness and anger-issues became a bit understandable. The supporting characters were very vividly painted as well, which is always important to me when it comes to books. I liked Alicia even though she annoyed me after a while, but most importantly I commend the parents in this book. I may have teared up once or twice because of them, and I think how parenting is portrayed in this novel is so, so important.

The best thing about this book is how it’s not pretentious. Being transgender is terribly tough especially with how society is today, and we can only hope for it to get easier though the truth is, it probably won’t. This book says as much. You may have friends, family who accept you, but when you go out there in the world, you will still encounter a lot of resistance and criticism. I like how this book didn’t sugarcoat any of that. I also like that there wasn’t any forced romances in this book at all, even though I feared at some point that there would be. The author stuck to what’s important in the story, and though the dialogue is cheesy sometimes, it’s a flaw that I could easily overlook.

Overall, I really liked reading novel. It has some very strong moments which really moved me to feel certain ways. This is a very strong debut for Lisa Williamson and a really perfect introduction to trans-centered literature for me. It’s kind of a feel-good read, to be honest, which makes me think it would be a really good Disney movie because it discusses a relevant issue in a way that’s gentle and relatable, and not at all preachy or condescending.

RECOMMENDATION:
I think that everyone looking to read LGBTQA-centered books can do well to start with this one. It should be included in the starter pack, if there’s any. Sure, there are more books out there which are probably more politically inclined or what not, but Lisa Williamson’s approach in The Art of Being Normal is not to be dismissed. For those who don’t understand or who has vague interpretations at best of what it’s like to be transgendered, I highly recommend you read this one. I learned a lot in a level that’s probably more intimate than just doing plain old research.

RATING:

4andhalf-coconut

The Sunday Post #1: The Crazy Bookworm joins the fun!

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Hi! Eena here. I’m so excited for this post because this is my first time participating in The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviews. You can view the launch page for more information, but basically this weekly book meme lets you share newsworthy bits about your blog/life/readadventures, and about stuff that will be up and coming in your blog. This week, I have quite a few to share.

After two months of inactivity, I decided to pop back into blogging again and shared some of the important stuff going on with my life. I also managed to review two of the books I’ve read and finished in the past week!

BOOKS REVIEWED THIS WEEK:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #1)
The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Not only that, I’ve also managed to complete the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge for which I was nominated for by Bea @ Curiosity Killed the Cat, and bought some pretty lipsticks that I’ve reviewed and shared with you all. It’s actually been a pretty fun week for me, but I can’t wait until tomorrow rolls around to usher in a fresh new week!

UP AND COMING BOOKS TO REVIEW:

Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelly
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

I’m also excited to announce that I have a bi-weekly blog feature to launch next week that has something to do with Mondays! I’m not going to spill all the beans, but I’m really, really glad to have all my ideas finalized and ready to go. That’s something to keep an eye out for, yes?

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MOOD RIGHT NOW

So hopefully, I see you here next week for my announcement! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to leave me comments and such!

Happy reading!

 

Lipstick Adventures of The Crazy Bookworm

Hi.

You probably wonder what I do when I’m not drowning in feels while reading books, and honestly the answer to that is not much. My social life is still a bit sparse and wanting, but work is cool because I get to watch Jessica Jones when I’m not answering email inquiries.

But another thing that I obsess over aside from books would be… lipsticks.

I am a big fan of bold shades, which thankfully work for my yellow-tinged Asian skin. I’m in no way a make-up expert but I love being adventurous when it comes to lip colour.

Today, I’ll show you two of my recent purchases which I’m really happy about! I’ve been wearing these two shades alternatingly (is there such a word? I’m not sure) since I bought them, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

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NYX Butter Lipstick in Moonlit Night shade

I’ve never bought any NYX products before this one, mostly because I bought exclusively local brands before deciding to try out this particular shade (which was not available in my local brand, Ever Bilena, at that time). Needless to say, it’s quite surprising how it worked with my skin tone. I never thought it would match that well!

Photo on 26-11-15 at 4.26 am

PROOF.

Know what I mean? Okay.

Not only is it a good match with my skin tone, it’s also very creamy and has a velvety matte finish. The colour stayed put until the end of my shift, and though I had to re-apply after eating, all it took was two swipes to get the colour back to the intensity I wanted (which was very intense). It also didn’t dry my lips at all, which is a pretty great bonus!

Moving on, my next happy purchase was actually just inspired by the last one, but also by this BuzzFeed article that I’ve read which mentioned this product and swore by it. It’s allegedly long-lasting and comes in pretty colours. At first, I didn’t know how to get ahold of it since I’ve no idea if they sell it here in the PH, but then I found that they have an official distributor here! So I bought it for the reasonable price of PHP320.oo.

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Tada! Wet N Wild Megaslicks balm stain in Lady and The Vamp.

Surprisingly enough, it worked well with my skin tone too:

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Such pout. Very lips.

Not only that. It’s very easy to apply and the colour spreads evenly without me having to put on an obscene amount. It also feels a little tingly on the first application. Almost like minty? And then it wears out eventually and I get this really creamy finish. It’s a little shiny at first, but not like gloss. I’ve been drinking apple juice since I’ve put it on but it hasn’t faded at all, which I think is a good sign.

Overall, I’m very happy with these purchases and I’m so glad I’ve made them! Lipstick has always been a key ingredient in my confidence with going out and talking to people so good ones are worthy investments to me, not to mention that these particular brands aren’t even that expensive, so all the more reason to be happy!

I think I’ll buy more shades from these two brands in the future, and maybe try out other brands as well. I personally like matte and long-lasting tints, and varying shades of RED (because it makes me feel powerful and ready to take on the world).

How about you? What colours do you love? I would love, love, love to hear about your make-up adventures, or any kind of adventure for that matter! Adventures of any kind are generally great, in my opinion.

Thank you so much for dropping by this post about me and my love for lipstick! Leave me a comment, if you wish, and happy reading loves!

Book Review: The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

22522076Title: The Truth Commission
Series: Standalone
Author: Susan Juby
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
How I got it: I bought it

SYNOPSIS:

This was going to be the year Normandy Pale came into her own. The year she emerged from her older sister’s shadow—and Kiera, who became a best-selling graphic novelist before she even graduated from high school, casts a long one. But it hasn’t worked out that way, not quite. So Normandy turns to her art and writing, and the “truth commission” she and her friends have started to find out the secrets at their school. It’s a great idea, as far as it goes—until it leads straight back to Kiera, who has been hiding some pretty serious truths of her own.

Susan Juby’s The Truth Commission: A story about easy truths, hard truths, and those things best left unsaid.


REVIEW:

I read this book right after I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue, which is the third book in The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. I was in that period in reading where I was less than impressed by a book which I thought would be mind-blowing and I wanted something different to get me back on track, and after picking up several titles, I settled with this one.

It was a good choice. It was an excellent choice, and I’m happy I stuck with this book because it made me feel things. Most notable of such emotions was a significant amount of ANGER.

This book upset me so much. The level of my upset would be comparable to what I feel when I read Courtney Summers’ books, ala All The Rage or Some Girls Are. Only, where the reason of my upset in those two aforementioned books would be glaringly obvious, in The Truth Commission, it’s more subtle. It’s the little injustices that hint on deep-rooted issues, issues the main character herself dismissed as ‘kind of bothersome, but I can live with’ (not the actual words, but you get my point). The thing is, you don’t want her to keep living with it, but it’s how things are in her world and you just have to sigh sadly and go on reading, wondering how all of the bothersome little injustices would end up playing out.

Not well, I can tell you. The story, which is told in first person perspective by our main character, Normandy Pale, begins as a light and humorous conversational type of prose. Personally speaking, Normandy is very relatable to me. Her humanity and individualism is very palpable throughout the novel, and despite the dark undercurrents of the story, rarely is it whiny or self-pitying. It’s just matter-of-fact, like Normandy has already accepted the aspects of her life which are a little unconventional and peppered with varying degrees of injustices.

Aside from the excellently downplayed writing, there is also the matter of characterization. Susan Juby managed to paint quirky characters that come alive on the page and are not overdone. Even though the narrative centers around Normandy, all the supporting characters are vibrant and believable. There is good chemistry between the friendships, both the longstanding ones and the newly-forming bonds we witness in the book. All of them are unified by The Truth Commission, which is the brainchild of Normandy and her best pals Dusk and Neil.

This story is ultimately about the truth in all it’s form; how it sets you free or makes you wish you never knew. It enforces the idea that every one of us have different truths which motivates us to do what we do and act how we act. Rarely are these truths simple, and most of the time it’s tangled and/or interconnected, or buried within a web of lies. But nevertheless, all of these truths are important, even the ones that are hard.

This book is like many things in one. It’s about family, it’s about friendship, it’s about consequences and coping and learning to stand up for yourself. It’s about how there are no easy solutions because everything is so much more than what meets the eye. The upsetting thing about this novel mostly is the fact that the truth often renders us powerless in all it’s glory, and even when we tell it like it is, not everyone would believe us. They would prefer the lie, just because it’s easier to digest. We’ve always been told that the truth will set us free, but this novel shows us that telling the truth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, after all.

I’m so glad I’ve picked up this book because it’s definitely surpassed my expectations. Looking at the cover, you’d think it’s about something way lighter than what it’s really about. But instead of a cliched high-school story (which was what I was expecting) I got something very insightful, very different, and rather thought-provoking.

I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys YA, authentic characters, healthy friendships in literature, and who’s looking for something different and refreshing (if a bit upsetting) to read.

5coconuts