Book Reviews

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green – Book Review

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Even on this most terrible days, even when the worst of us are all we can think of, I am proud to be a human.

Well, this was super entertaining.

This book follows April May (still can’t get over her name being two months put together). She’s a twenty-three year old who becomes an overnight viral sensation upon her discovery video of Carl, a ten foot robot that shows up in New York. But there isn’t just one Carl. There are Carls all over the world. On top of these mysterious appearances, there are many other strange happenings in April’s life. All of it completely unbelievable, and yet totally captivating.

I’m not much of a sci-fi person, or a mystery person. But this book appealed to me. I’m not sure if it was because of the fleshed out characters, or because the prose was witty and had a humorous undertone at all times. I really enjoyed this. April was an excellent main character. I related to her impulsive, reckless tendencies. I understood her fear of intimacy. I was always rooting for her. And her quirky friends: Maya, Andy, Miranda, and Robin. These guys stole my heart from the beginning. I loved the way they worked together, all of them having April’s back. I even liked Carl, the fricken robot.

I loved the diversity, too. April was openly bisexual, and she never hid her attraction to others. I loved the way April saw her fame, and how she recognized the way it made her feel. It was so human. The concept of being human was challenged often, but in very interesting ways. There was a lot to philosophize, and puzzles to break, and pop songs to love. I especially loved the Queen shout out. Another reason to love this book, and Hank Green.

This book was incredible. I’ll be recommending it from now on. I can’t wait for the sequel!

4 stars

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Book Reviews

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura – Book Review

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And I remember that hiding the truth doesn’t stop things from being true. Not talking about things doesn’t stop them from happening. Pretending that a thing is something else doesn’t change its true nature.

This is a book of cheaters.

Sana is in high school when she’s forced to move to California. There, she meets Jamie, a beautiful girl she likes. Girl meets girl, and things are good for a while. I liked the diversity in this book. Sana is Japanese-American, and Jamie Mexican-American. They both have friends with the same backgrounds too. That was probably one of the few things I liked about the story.

I didn’t like Sana very much. At first, I could seriously relate to her. I’ve had many crushes on girls, unsure whether the girls even like girls in the first place. I loved everything about the first half of the book. But then, everyone started lying and cheating and it was a complete mess that I ended up kind of hating. There were also a lot of really harmful stereotypes expressed about Mexican-Americans that were really awful, and never really addressed.

I don’t have the energy to hate this book. It just makes me tired to think about it. This book had so much potential. I was sure it would be a new favorite. But it took all of the wrong turns.

2,5 stars

Book Reviews

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg – Book Review

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This summer. First time in my life I’ve been alive, really. I love it.

This book had me sold from the premise. It sounded like the perfect summery romance, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I listened to the audiobook, and the narration really brought the characters to life.

Max and Jordan are complete opposites. They don’t get along at first, even though Max jumps on board to help Jordan and his mom with their food truck business. Jordan and his mom are about to lose their house, and it all depends on whether Max and Jordan make enough profit from the food truck. It is a lot of responsibility for two teenage boys, but somehow, that’s how things play out.

I really liked the interactions between Max and Jordan. They made a really great team, and they always had each other’s backs. My favorite, by far, was Max. I loved that boy so much. He deserved all the good things in the world, but a really terrible thing happens to him, and that made me so upset. Jordan is also great, and I liked him a lot. Really bad things happen to him too. And then suddenly, it wasn’t a sweet summer romance anymore. It was a very upsetting story.

I understand that life isn’t all good times and sunshine, but things got so bad in this book that it just made it so hard for me to keep going with the story. I wanted to give up on it a few times, but the characters kept me going. I just hated so many of the scenes. It got to be too much for me.

I should warn that there are trigger warnings for rape, PTSD and abuse. Take these very seriously, guys. Stay safe!

3,5 stars

Book Reviews

Pet Sematary by Stephen King – Book Review

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Maybe she’ll learn something about what death really is, which is where the pain stops and the good memories begin. Not the end of life but the end of pain.

This book is so twisted.

I don’t know what it was, but while listening to the audiobook, this book made me feel ill. Granted, I have anxiety, so that might have been the reason why I had heart palpitations, headaches, bright red cheeks, and nausea while listening to this book. No book has ever made me feel this sick to my stomach. That should tell you how disturbing and upsetting it was. I’m actually convinced that this book somehow contains bad juju, or some curse that courses through your veins while you’re reading it. But I really can’t complain because it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I think it’s better to go into it not knowing much about it. Here’s what I’ll tell you: it’s set in Maine, it’s very much centered around death, grief, and loss, there are excellent characters that steal your heart, there are terrifying scenes that I will likely never forget, and it’s one of the most terrifying Stephen King books I’ve read to date.

Cats were the gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law and often dying there.

I have to say, I watched the movie a few years ago and figured I didn’t need to read the book. However, the new adaptation is coming out soon, so I decided to read the book before watching it. I thought I was prepared for what was coming because I knew to watch out for it, but I was wrong. I wasn’t prepared for anything. It was all shocking and gruesome and horrible. But I couldn’t put it down. I had to keep going.

Sometimes dead is better.

I’m not sure how I feel about death anymore. I’ve always feared it, but not for the reasons I fear it now.

4 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – Book Review

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I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the most beautiful book I have ever read.

This is a graphic novel set in the late 19th century France. It follows the lives of Prince Sebastian and a seamstress named Frances. The two of them strike up a friendship when Sebastian hires Frances to make him beautiful dresses that he wears when he becomes Lady Crystallia.

The story is fantastic. Sebastian and Frances come from two very different backgrounds, but they work so well together. They can be who they are with each other without any fear of judgement. And as their friendship grows, my love bloomed. I loved every single moment of this story, even the sad ones.

Sebastian stole my heart just as much as Lady Crystallia did. I was rooting for Frances every step of the way as well. I had the biggest smile of my face throughout the entirety of this. I laughed a few times, and I hugged my book at others.

The artwork was phenomenal. It was so bright and colorful and it accurately portrayed the giddiness I felt because of the story.

This story is described as a fairy tale, and I think that describes it perfectly. And I’ve never loved a fairy tale this much. This is a story I want to remember forever. A story I want to share with everyone. A story I didn’t know I needed this much, but now that I know it, I feel so grateful for it.

And that ending? Couldn’t have been better.

I realize I’m just gushing over how great this book is, but I don’t know how to talk about it in any other way. Just read it.

5 stars

Book Reviews

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – Book Review

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I didn’t believe it was possible to hide a woman’s beauty. I thought women were gorgeous no matter what they wore, and I didn’t think they owed anyone an explanation for their sartorial choices. Different women felt comfortable in different outfits. They were all beautiful.


I had a feeling this book would be special. The premise alone had me intrigued. I know this story is very personal to Tahereh Mafi, and I understand why. This is the story of Shirin, a young Muslim girl in high school in 2002. Being a Muslim in 2019 can be difficult, but a year after 9/11? That girl’s life could not have been harder. I loved Shirin from the start. My girl was fierce and badass and she could handle herself. I also liked her brother, Navid. He was such a good big brother. Protective, but not overdoing it. I loved his group of friends and how they were all sort of big brothers to Shirin as well.

When Shirin met Ocean, I knew there would be trouble. They had an attraction that I didn’t really understand, but I knew existed because Shirin would not stop thinking about Ocean. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I never rooted for the two of them. That’s not to say that I thought the romance wasn’t good, but I was never truly invested in it. However, I quickly realized that since this was a Tahereh Mafi novel, the romance would lead the entire story. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But part of me wanted to focus on the more present issues.

I wanted to know more about Shirin and Navid’s breakdancing club. The scenes were so few, and I didn’t really learn much about the subject. Also, I wanted desperately to know more about Shirin and Navid’s parents. In the one scene they appeared, I ate up their wonderful interactions with Ocean. I wanted more. So much more from them. But for some reason, Shirin described them as completely careless and indifferent towards her. I didn’t understand why this was, but there was no explanation given. I think this was a failed opportunity to learn more about Persian culture and get a deeper insight into this family that I cared about so much.

Regardless, I think this book is important. Muslim stories are so scarce, but so needed. We need more OwnVoices novels. I hope to read more books like this one!

3,5 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

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“Is it weird that this roomful of straight men is fighting over Reid and not me?”

My Favorite-Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren is a funny romance book that follows Millie and Reid as they navigate their new friends with benefits relationship while trying online dating for the first time.

Isis has read and reviewed a couple Cristina Lauren books before, but I never had a real interest before. Romance is typically not a genre I reach for. But for the month of February my book club wanted a romance and My Favorite-Half Night Stand was the winner of the poll we always hold. And I have to say, it was a lot of fun.

I think my favorite aspect of the book wasn’t even the romance, which I have to admit, was very cute. But the whole friend group Millie and Reid had was so funny and supportive. I even was wishing Christina Lauren would write companion novels of Alex, Chris, and Ed (my fav) each receiving their own romance. Not gonna happen, but it would have been great I tell you.

All the characters were really fleshed out and I personally loved Millie’s character arc. There’s family involvement too which I always love. There might be a bit of a stretch since they are five  good looking, successful, single teachers who get tenure (at least that’s what the women at my book club commented on),  but for me that was easy to ignore. I have seen other reviews complain about how the characters who dumb to online dating as well, but since I’ve never online dated, that also never bothered me.

Overall, it was a fun, fast read. I think in the future when I get into a slump or simply want a lighter read, I would pick up another book by Christina Lauren. 

4 stars