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Stacking The Shelves

Today I’m posting over on Tynga’s Reviews for Stacking the Shelves.

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Stacking the Shelves

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2016 in Young Adult/Teen

 

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

EverythingEverythingCoverEverything, Everything

Part of this year’s Teens’ Top Ten voting (currently ongoing!), and such a sweet book full of first (maybe forever) love, new experiences, and making choices for your own life. I highly suspect this book will stay with me, and I’ll be trying to put it into everyone’s hands. (Thanks to Rachel from my TTT group who so highly recommended it!)

When a new family with an interesting teenage son moves in next door, eighteen-year-old Madeline cannot stop watching them from her window, firstly because Olly is captivating with his street gymnastics and secondly because she has SCID – Severe Combined Immunodeficiency – and cannot (read: never) leave her house. Basically, she is allergic to almost everything: chemicals, spices, perfumes, etc. Her only interaction with the outside world is through her mother and nurse, Carla, and occasionally (rarely) a teacher, like her architecture professor. Schooling, friends, other social interactions–all done online. However, when Olly notices her peering out her window at them, he can’t leave it alone. He and his sister Kara try to bring Madeline a bundt cake, which fails spectacularly (good thing too, because the bundt was as inedible as Hagrid’s rock cakes). Since Maddy’s mother refuses to allow contact with Olly, they begin to write messages to each other, first on their windows and then by email and IM. Carla finds out, but instead of telling her mother, she helps Maddy and allows him to come in. Their friendship blooms into love despite Maddy’s illness and prompts her life to change in unexpected ways. When Olly’s alcoholic father has a particularly bad episode of domestic abuse that causes a face-off between him and Olly, Maddy cannot stay in her bubble. She runs out the door to help him, shocking herself, him, Olly’s family, and most of all, her mother. Luckily, Maddy doesn’t get sick, but she does get grounded. Severely grounded. She cannot see Olly, IM, or email. Suddenly, there was life before Olly and now life after Olly. She can no more go back to her old life and her isolation than stop breathing. As her distance from Olly grows and she watches him bring home another girl and even cry on his front porch, she realizes she has two choices: the choice to be protected and safe forever with her mother but without Olly and the new Maddy that created, or the choice to live. Ultimately, her life is up to her.

(Maybe Spoilery talk below)

This book is so perfect for fans of Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Gus, and fans of Stephanie Perkins or Huntley Fitzpatrick. It is uplifting and light yet carries a deeper, inspiring message. Maddy is everything that is innocent and yet joyful, like a child. She just delights in her experiences. Olly is practically perfect in book form (definitely book boyfriend material), but is still a complex character. I loved how Maddy kept discovering things about him, and yet didn’t learn of a few of his secrets until after he was gone. One of the best things about Everything, Everything is the artwork. It is gorgeous. From the cover which is like a microcosm of beauty, life, and possibilities. It shows perfectly the symbolism of Maddy’s life before vs. after Olly. Don’t mistake me however. This is not a book all about the boy. It has feminism and Maddy merely learns what it is like to live – from the time of her isolation to her world expanding. Below are a few other gems of the unique nature of this story, which actually reminds me of the varied media of Illuminae. I am terribly excited to read my ARC of The Sun Is Also a Star now (coming Nov 1st).

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Author Spotlight: Renée Ahdieh

Debut 2015 author Renée Ahdieh has created a richly satisfying retelling of A Thousand and One Nights shows brilliant and delightful characters in an engrossing adventure that will leave you feeling as if you’ve been in the hot sands with Shahrzad the whole time.

The Wrath & the Dawn

Seeking vengeance for her best friend, Shahrzad volunteers to be the new bride of the Caliph of Khorasan, infamous for killing his many wives before the sun rises on their wedding night. Shahrzad is determined that she will not be killed by her monster of a husband, and so conspires to live by telling the caliph stories. She succeeds but is living each day trying to be the calipha she is, often pushing boundaries where no woman has before. As she grows closer to Khalid trying to trick him, her feelings become involved. He, who has been trying to push everyone away, has suddenly opened up to the one girl he shouldn’t, the girl who wants him dead. Khalid finds himself drawn by this girl who breaks barriers, who shows courage and strength. Just as they are finding out the truth from each other, enemies threaten from all sides, even Shahrzad’s own father. Can their growing attachment to each other survive such odds and even a curse?

The Rose & the Dagger

Shahrzad has left Khalid, intent on finding a way to protect him and her people of Khorasan from his curse. She returns to her family, who has allied with a border tribe and has been in talks with the neighboring King of Parthia, an enemy of Khalid despite being his uncle. Conflict also arises in being closer to Tariq, her former lover, and his deep hatred of her husband. Shahrzad finds there are enemies and assassins even in her own camp who would harm her because of her relationship with Khalid, and while trying to save her father from his destructive black magic, she must protect herself and her sister and father. At night, Shahrzad continues to teach herself more about her own magic if she hopes to be able to break the curse, and comes under much suspicion doing so. Meanwhile, Khalid suffers greatly from his lack of sleep in defying the curse and continues losing allies, while trying to repair the damage to his home and his relationships. As tensions rise, blood spills, and bargains are made to end the evil haunting their future and that of the people of Khorasan, Shahrzad and Khalid will only succeed if they are together and they trust their friends…

Notes: Though there is the implication of husband/wife/wedding night, there is little sexuality in this series,(or as little as there was in the written Divergent series [not the films]).

I am now a fan of Ms. Ahdieh. She’s an NC resident like me, and has the best Twitter feed. She chats all the time with other YA authors, and it’s great for fangirls. Totally makes you want to be a part of their bff friend group. She’s also hilarious. I’d like to really meet her some day now that I’ve read her stories and have gotten to know her through writing. I love that she brought such a unique story to life and is part of #WeNeedDiverseBooks. You will not want to miss this series!

I received my first copy of The Wrath & The Dawn for free at ALA 2015, THANK YOU! I love this series! Buying book 2 soon.

 

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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Keeping the Castle/ A School for Brides by Patricia Kindl

Teen and adult fans of Jane Austen or light historical romances will find this series quick, lighthearted, and highly entertaining.

keeping-the-castle-cover-photoKeeping the Castle

Althea Crawley must find a rich husband soon or her family home, the legacy for her little brother Alexander, will fall apart, not to mention their poor finances and hospitality. When a new Lord moves back to the country and brings new faces, Althea and her stepsisters, Prudence and Charity Winthrop, set their caps at finding a husband amongst the party. One member, Mr. Fredericks proves to be annoying and keeps getting into arguments with Althea when she’d like to be taking long walks with Lord Boring. Will she find only the rich husband she desires, or does she really want something more substantial from marriage?

 

23281631A School for Brides

Girls at the Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy are taught to be young ladies suitable for marriage, the only catch is that there are no appropriate men anywhere for miles. When a dashing young man falls from his horse and must recuperate at the school, his friends soon follow and chaos reigns as girls try to find romance, men concoct secret plots, women contrive to be great ladies, and favorite characters from the earlier novel sprinkle this mad romp with humor, mystery, heartfelt emotion, and hopefully happiness.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Historical fiction, Romance, Young Adult/Teen

 

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What I’m Reading: Graphic Novels

What I’m Reading: Graphic Novels

So, I have a few posts that I am working on currently, but I have also been reading a number of graphic novels which don’t exactly merit a full post like a book. Here’s a few I’ve recently read!

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Favorite new series: Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson

Kamala Khan is the new Ms Marvel, protecting her hometown of Jersey City. She tries to balance her new life as a superhero with school, friends, romance, and family. Her goals to protect those she loves often clash with HYDRA’s evil plans.

I love her and the series 1) because she is the first Muslim American female superhero and gives insights into her culture and family life, often providing a bit of comedic irony; 2) she’s such a relateable teen that she’s trying to pursue her goals, have a life, be responsible and a good kid, but also wants to be more, do more, offer her talents in a direct way to help others even when adults say she can’t or shouldn’t; 3) the humor and fun! There are sightings of other Avengers, famous villains, and other Easter eggs all interacting with her life and best friends to create excitement and delight — this is basically the best of the best in how it’s executed, what you’d always want in a comic! Lastly, the art! It’s easy to follow, bright, and provides fun scenarios that don’t always play out in the action but provide a behind-the-scenes feel to Kamala’s powers.

51YHqA2w0SL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_Second favorite series: Batgirl

Batgirl goes to college and Barbara Gordon finds drama, friends who might be allies, and plenty of conspiracies to discover and thwart. I love Babs Tarr’s illustrations as they’re fun and capture the freshness of youth in her new surroundings.

 

 

 

Stand-alone book: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

In a modern science/medieval mashup, Nimona is a unique character filled with spunk, unpredictability, and teen angst. She’s a shapeshifter with rage issues who applies to be the new sidekick to local villain Ballister Blackheart. Blackheart had been somewhat content in his role to be a bad villain in name and not action (he doesn’t kill people and is horrified when Nimona suggests it). When he signs up Nimona, she wrecks havoc that spurs harsher retaliation from Blackheart’s archenemy, Ambrosius Goldenloin. Suddenly, Blackheart’s villainy becomes more active and the Institute (officially the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics) instructs Goldenloin to kill Nimona, especially after she uncovers Institute secrets, that it’s using substances that it has outlawed and could harm the public. Blackheart and Nimona must expose their deeds and hopefully find the justice they deserve.

Subversive tropes, unusual illustration, and amusing situational irony mark this gem of a graphic novel that is both a quick read and fun for all readers. Good especially for upper elementary looking for crossover appeal into YA.

I really liked these, especially as I hadn’t been much into graphic novels before. Now I really want to read Lumberjanes, anything by the Tamakis, and classics like Maus, Persepolis, and other award winning titles! I plan to start a new Spider-Woman one soonish.

(Note: I will say I tried Squirrel Girl, and I just couldn’t do it. Well, reading is subjective. XD)

Do you have any favorites I should try?

 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2016 in Graphic novels, Young Adult/Teen

 

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