Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

Buy Just Visiting on Amazon

Reviewer: J

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

On the back of this book, one critic claims it to be “magical.” I had no idea how true that would become.

On one hand, I absolutely love the two main characters, their internal conflicts, and their relationship. All of that was amazingly crafted and brilliant. So I’ll talk about the good things first before I drop the one negative bomb I have.

This book felt like a modern twist on the classic “best friend road trip” plotline. Instead of the usual life changing spiritual journey, these girls are simply going on a college visit. That felt surprisingly normal and more realistic than most of these types of novels do.

It was also great that so many topics were dealt with in this book. The characters don’t live perfect lives; Reagan and her mother are struggling to make ends meet and Victoria struggles with her identity and being Mexican in a white-dominated small town. There are also many other secrets to both of the girls, but you won’t find that out until the end 😉

So, the amazing friendship was a pretty big plus for me. But here’s my concern. Are you ready? I’m about to put this author’s head in the slammer. (Not really. This book is a great one and I’m basically nitpicking here.) Okay. I wanted more pizazz. I know that sounds super stereotypical (and also oddly similar to an overenthusiastic teacher) but it’s kind of true. Yes, it was more original and unique than most road trip books, but I don’t know, I just thought the storyline fell a hair short of perfection.

But all in all, this was an amazing and thoughtful book. Use the link at the beginning of the review to preorder it, or purchase it once it comes out in November! Also, thank you to Spencer Hill Contemporary for giving us our first physical ARC! Ok, I’m done rambling. *drops mic* J, out!

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Mini Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes 

 The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly  

Reviewer: E

This is a really good book about a girl, Minnow Bly, who is trapped in a cult and gets wrapped up in a lot of trouble trying to escape and dealing with the consequences. The plot was something real and raw and original. You won’t find another book quite the same. It had a lot of themes and it was just…cool. Groundbreaking description, I know. 

The writing was very poetic and beautiful. Again, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just really good. Very descriptive, Ms. Oakes is very talented. 

The characters were very 3D, imperfect, even morally “bad” some would say, yet likeable all the same. I would honestly recommend this to anybody as it crosses over into a lot of genres. 5/5. 

Note from J: This is one of my favorites too and I literally shoved this book into E’s hands. Sorry not sorry. Anyway, it’s great and you should all read it. 🙂

Review: None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

 None of the Above  
Reviewer: J

None of the Above was a beautifully diverse and intriguing read, but it focused too much on unnecessary things. 

First of all, this book focuses on a medical condition called intersex. I vaguely knew what it was, but this book helped a lot to educate me about it. It would also be a great book for someone who is intersex theirself, because this is the first and only YA book I’ve ever heard of thats written about the condition.  

I didn’t particularly care for our protagonist, Kristin. She was unaccepting of herself for pretty much the whole book. Even by the end she still doubted herself a bit and was a very static character. I’d prefer if the author showed how Kristin’s attitude changed over the course of the book instead of just remaining the same. 

This isn’t technically a critique on the book, but I wanted to add my comments on the cover. Not only is the simplistic, minimalist design beautiful, but the cover also relates to the book and I think it has a great job at attracting the right audience for the book. 

And now, for the most conflicted part of this review, we have the writing style. It was enjoyable, with just the right touches of flowery writing here and there, but (this will probably sound super weird) I felt like it read really archaicly? Like, it almost read like a historical fiction work rather than contemporary. I don’t know. Also, it focused a lot about friendship, relationship, and school drama, but like I mentioned before it would be even better if the story was more about self growth and coming of age. 

Overall, this is a fairly well-done and very unique debut from I.W. Gregorio. I’m excited to see what she will do in the future. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

 Attachments: A Novel  
Reviewer: J

This book was so cute, but it was too dragged out and the ending fell a little flat.

The book’s written in a very interesting style. It’s a cutesy love story between coworkers Beth and Lincoln. It’s dual POV, with the chapters narrated by Beth are written in e-mails, and the chapters narrated by Lincoln are written in standard prose. The e-mail format took a little getting used to, but I actually preferred it to the prose chapters. Even though the e-mail format doesn’t give you a direct view into the character’s mind, surprisingly I felt closer to Beth than I did to Lincoln. I just didn’t connect with him.

I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing most of the time, but I felt like her voice didn’t really shine through in Attachments. If you’ve read any of Rowell’s work you’ve probably recognized her fluffy-romantic style. In fact, that was the main thing that made me fall in love with her previous novel Eleanor and Park.

Anyway, the two characters don’t even meet until the very end of the book, and then their relationship happens so fast and left me feeling a little betrayed. I mean, the author spent so much time building up to a barely-there climax. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales 

  
Reviewer: E 

Oh wow! I really loved this book. Ms. Sales is a favorite author of mine, and This Song Will Save Your Life was great, so I was excited about this book. It did not disappoint. 

The book is about 17-year-old Arden, on the cusp of adulthood, trying to find herself in her life. She has a best friend, Lindsey, and a boyfriend, none of whom are very nice to her. She is constantly having to clean up after Lindsey’s mistakes, and Chris never seems to have time for her. She is really lonely and feels like she has nobody, and she stumbles across a blog called Tonight the Streets are Ours.  In reading it, she sort of falls in love with the writer. The plot was some teen drama and fluff, but with a lot of substance as well. It combines the two elements quite nicely. 

The writing really sings in this book. It was beautiful and great. I finished the book in one sitting. Ms. Sales uses great description and vivid words that make it very fun to read. 

The characters in this book were honestly realistic. Lindsey was 3D and had multiple facets of her personality. It was interesting and upsetting to see Arden’s toxic relationships with Lindsey and Chris unfold. Both of them were manipulative and Arden interacted with them fascinatingly. I must say that Arden and Peter (and a few others) had zero personality. They were both just blobs of mush. 

**SPOILERS MAYBE?**

And let’s talk about the ending! I really expected it to end like some cliche, cheesy romance that we’ve all read too many times. Instead, it had an original take. An “I don’t need no man, I can still be happy” attitude. Which was really cool and awesome, and you don’t see many ya romance books these days with that ending. 

Okay, so this was a very good book. I take a few points off for the some bland characters. 4.75/5 stars! 

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

  
Reviewer: J

Magonia is one of those books where some people love it and others hate it, and practically no one has any other opinion. Well in my case, I’m happy to say I loved it!

The thing about it is that it’s very unique. Unique writing style, unique plot… eccentric would also be another good word to describe it. Some readers will love that but for some people that really doesn’t work for them, I just want to warn you. 

But I really liked the plot, I have to say! It started out as a contemporary/realistic fiction type, but that changed about 75 pages in. It became a fast-paced and super cool fantasy. 

And I know this is weird coming from me but I actually liked the side romance. (cue loud gasp. That’s right, folks, this review has a plot twist!)It added to the plot instead of taking away from it, which is really rare! And super amazing in general. It was also cool how there were almost 2 plot lines instead of one but they crossed over each other throughout. 

All in all, this was an awesome and beautiful story that I’d recommend all of you try! 

Rating: 5 stars

Review: Another Day by David Levithan

 
Reviewer: E 

Another Day is the long-awaited (by me!) sequel to Every Day. I loved Every Day. It had a really original and enticing plot. Another Day has the same plot- A wakes up every day in a different body, but they fall in love with the same girl. This book is told from the perspective of the girl, Rhiannon. Again, the plotline is fresh, but since it’s basically the same thing in this book, it felt a little “same old same old”. 

The writing is amazing. I will say. Mr. Levithan is a very talented and accomplished writer, and he knew just how to draw in readers and keep them hooked on the beautiful prose. I read this book in one sitting. Unputdownable! I do complain about one thing: the dialogue was literally copy and pasted from the previous book in the series. So you’re pretty much reading the same exact book, however good it may be. 

The characters are quite relatable. Maybe not in the whole switching bodies sense, but A and Rhiannon are really just two normal kids trying to live a normal life. They are likeable and have good qualities, yet are realistically flawed and 3D. A and Rhiannon’s relationship is complex and heartfelt. 

All in all, Another Day was a good book. The content was awesome, but I’m sorry to say that it really was too similar to its predecessor. I’m not really sure how to rate this. 4/5 stars sounds good. I hope there will be a sequel!! 🙂