Title: Optimists Die First
Author: Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s/ Andersen
Publication Date: 02 Mar 2017
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mental Illness
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she'd kept an eye on her sister, if only she'd sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only...
Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula's ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.
But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange with an honest review.
Want to start by saying how much the cat references made me laugh hysterically while reading this book. The author even dedicated this book to all of the people who are like me.
" To all the other crazy cat people. You know who you are."
Reading the title of this book, and this part of the blurb " ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats." made me so excited to read this book.
The start and end were absolute perfection; I just felt a little bit bored in the middle of the book. I also wished that somethings were a bit more descriptive, than they actually were.
We meet Petula, who is more that just a pessimistic person. She is also struggling with anxiety. This was portrayed perfectly, that even those who believe that people with anxiety are over-reacters, would get to see the illness itself. Everything Petula does and believes may seem extreme at first, but all of that is 105% justified.
I really do need to take a moment and applaud Susin because of what she has accomplished with this book. She was able to send a loud, clear message to shatter the ignorance of the disbelievers, without them even realizing that.
I really want to read more books by Susin Nielsen. I absolutely loved Optimists Die first.
I give it 4/5 stars.
About the Author:
Susin got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards, as did her second novel, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, was published in August 2012. It went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, and a number of Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Author Wally Lamb named it his top YA pick for 2012 in his “First Annual Wally Awards,” and recently Rolling Stone magazine put it at #27 in their list of “Top 40 Best YA Novels.”
Her books have been translated into multiple languages. Susin’s new novel, We Are All Made of Molecules, will be published in Canada, the US and the UK in Spring of 2015. She lives in Vancouver with her family and two naughty cats. She is delighted to have finally figure out how to "claim" her author profile on Goodreads!
Title: The Infinity of You & Me
Author: J.Q. Coyle
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: November 8th 2016
Genre: Fantasy,Fiction, YA
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?
Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange with an honest review.
A Great concept, with beautiful lines that are 101% quotable.
I absolutely loved the idea behind this book. Alicia is misdiagnosed with many mental illnesses, where she tends hallucinate a lot. Her hallucinations keep her jumping from one world to the next, each of which has a different versions of the main characters.
I want to talk about one of the main characters, Hafiz, who is actually Alicia's best friend. I was really happy to see a Muslim character with an Arabic name in the book, yet I was disappointed. The only scene present in this book was when he was bullied in school and called a terrorist. Now, I am glad to see that author is trying to fight the wrong Stigma that is always thrown at muslims, but that was the only scene that showed me that Hafiz is a muslim.
I am really disappointed because this scene is always present whenever a secondary main muslim character is introduced in a book. I believe that it makes people think of terrorism whenever they hear the words: Muslim/Islam.
I also didn't like how certain things were explained in this book. I have already talked to the author privately about it, and it is a thing that not everyone would sense while reading it. She listened and acknowledged what I had to say, which was great. But I hope that in the future, books with diverse characters would be beta read by at least 5 beta readers who are a part of that diverse characterization.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It will take you places that you will be thrilled to see. I will definitely pick up more books written by J.Q. Coyle.
I give it 3.5/5 stars.
About the Author
Growing up, J.Q. COYLE was a fan of stories. But more than that, a fan of possibilities. So, it only seemed only natural to write a story in which the possibilities are limitless.
Title: Stranger Things Have Happened
Author: Jeff Strand
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genre: Humor, Teens & YA
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
Jeff Strand pulls another winner out of his hat with this hilarious tale of illusions and self-discovery
At 15, Marcus Millian III, the great-grandson of the famous Zachary the Stupendous, is already a talented illusionist. But when Marcus chokes during a card trick and leaves the audience unimpressed, prideful Zachary promises that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish. That night, Zachary dies in his sleep.
To uphold the honor of Marcus's beloved great-grandfather, the show must go on, and Marcus will need to make a shark disappear in front of everybody. It would take a sorcerer to pull this off, but, hey, Marcus is the next best thing…right?
I recieved an eARC of Stranger Things Have Happened from the publisher via netgalley, in exchange with an honest review.
I was really excited to read a book that revovles around the art of magic and the concept of illusions.
The story itself was okay. I was kind of hoping to see more of the "science* behind complicated magic tricks, but I enjoyed the ones present in this book.
Usually, I would have loved the kind of humor that is present in this book, which involves Tangent conversations. However, the way it was done in this book was the reason why I lowered my rating from a 3, to a 2.
The thing is, such methods of speaking is a unique characterization for a character, but this isn't the case. Almost every single character in this book had multiple ( going off a tangent) speeches, which in my opinion, is such a drawback. The characters were even in different age groups, yet they all acted like children.
Also, such conversations would go on & on for so long, constituting almost 50% of the written story.
This probably wasn't my cup of tea, so I want to try to read something else by Jeff Strand.
I give it 2/5 stars.
About the Author:
Author of a bunch of demented books, including PRESSURE, DWELLER, A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO, WOLF HUNT, SINGLE WHITE PSYCHOPATH SEEKS SAME, BENJAMIN'S PARASITE, FANGBOY, THE SINISTER MR. CORPSE, and lots of others.
Three-time Bram Stoker Award finalist. Three-time Bram Stoker Award loser. Four-time Bram Stoker Award Master of Ceremonies.
Title: The Sun Is Also A Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Genre: Contemporary , YA, Fiction, Romance
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Links: GoodReads Amazon
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
I received an eARC of The Sun Is Also A Star from the publiher via Net Galley in exchange with an honest review.
By only reading its prolouge, I realized that I was going to end up loving this book!!!
This book literally celebrates diversity in every aspect. It revived my faith in humanity, despite everything that is ongoing in the world right now.
With everything that was going on,and is still ongoing ,this diverse book restored bits of my shattered hope.
In its own way, the writing was very beautiful. No, not the kind where I stare at the beauty of the words, but the one where the metaphors,puns, and descriptions are seriously genious!
The interludes in the story were simply, magnificent. They gave the story a pretty, unique touch. If you've listened to Paramore's Self-Intitled album, you will get the complete picture.
This book proves the theory that states that opposites attract. I mean, a person who believes in Fate vs one who doesn't. Seriously, read this book.
I fell in love with characters, story, and events. Nichola Yoon has just become one of my favorite authors, and I seriously can't wait to see what she writes next.
I give it 5/5 stars.
Read my review of Nicola's Everything, Everything here.