Mini Reviews, Volume 1

I’d originally intended to cross-post most, if not all, of my book reviews from Goodreads, but there are some books where I didn’t have much to say and/or didn’t want to devote a whole post to them. Or, in today’s case, I didn’t want to clutter up my 2019 schedule with a bunch of reviews from 2018, so I’ve grouped a bunch of them together here.

Book links in this post include affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy a book I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. [Full disclaimers here.]

Happy Ever … After by Seb Earl

I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

Goodreads | Book Depository
Genre(s): Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Content warnings: rape & rape aftermath, PTSD, very mild sexual content

Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

I really wanted to like this because it tells such an important kind of story, but the execution was lacking. For how many times Emily claims her endgoal is to be independent, don’t need no man, etc., her recovery path sure revolves around her romantic relationships – she even says that she couldn’t have reached the point of recovery that she did without Olivier. Add in the obvious love triangle and the mixed messages about feminism (though the f-word is never actually used, just implied alongside the matter-of-fact observations and attitudes), and you’ve got an exasperating and slightly sanctimonious narrative. Emily does eventually take actions to change her own life, but everything was wrapped up too neatly and I had several issues with the narrative that were never resolved. [I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jonny Sun

Goodreads | Book Depository | IndieBound
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Poetry, Personal Development

Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

This is one of the purest sweetest things I’ve ever seen, which is fitting considering the brilliant minds behind this book. The tweets and drawings are beautiful in their simplicity, and I really want a copy to have on hand for bad days.

The Hourglass by Liz Heron

I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

Goodreads | Book Depository
Genre(s): Adult, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Content warnings: mentions of rape and domestic abuse

Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Unfortunately, I never really got invested in the story. The characters seemed pretty flat, defined by their circumstances and reacting to the plot rather than having complex individualized traits. And I’ve never liked the ominous foreshadowing statements β€” “I wouldn’t know it until later, but…” β€” especially when the “twists” to come are fairly predictable. You’ll probably also see the relationships coming from a mile away, not because they’re thoroughly developed but because they’re convenient and, to be frank, pretty heteronormative β€” especially the primary romance. It wasn’t awful, but I’ve read quite a few books that had similar premises but were better-written. [I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Goodreads | Book Depository | IndieBound
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Content warnings: pedophilia, sexual abuse of children, potential PTSD, substance abuse/addiction, parental neglect, minor violence, mentions of blood

Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Summers does a terrific job evoking an emotional response in the reader, the desperation to find Sadie and bring her home because no one can take another dead girl. Sadie’s own POV reminds you of her struggle, keeps her in your mind’s eye even as West McCray struggles to follow her trail, frustrates you when he reaches the wrong conclusion or pursues a red herring. Honestly, this is a hard review to write. There’s so much to dig into, but I don’t feel like I can do it justice; you might have to just read it for yourself. (But please be aware of the content warnings and make sure you’re in an okay headspace first!)

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Goodreads | Book Depository | IndieBound
Genre(s): YA, Romantic Comedy
Rep: gay main characters, M/M relationship

Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ 1/2

This is super super cute with a generous side of realistic teenage awkwardness β€” simultaneously cringey and relatable, the epitome of secondhand embarrassment. The diversity is also great, not just Ben being Puerto Rican but financially and academically less well-off; Arthur being Jewish and having ADHD. That said, some of the drama (offhand privileged comments, lack of clear communication) seemed a little manufactured for the sake of drama, which is where this book lost half a star. The modern references were also a little over-the-top (especially the same few Hamilton references repeated over and over again), and I was a little put off when I found out how self-insert-y the authors were (matching their initials and home states to the characters). Still, this is very sweet and very gay, and it’s a good time. [This was a buddy read with a GR friend!]

If you’ve read any of these books, what did you think? If not, are there any you think you might try? Let me know!

14 thoughts on “Mini Reviews, Volume 1

  1. I only read Sadie and you can find my review on my blog. What if it’s us is still on the list, but I keep procrastinating on this book so dam hard because I’m not sure whether I will actually be able to finish it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oof I know the feeling. I wasn’t super impressed, but it’s a cute story and other people have loved it, so if you’re ever in the mood for slightly dramatic young love it might be a better fit then?


      1. oh I know, I’ve read a few of his other books! “heartbreaking” is probably a better word for them than “cute” 😢


    1. I bet it would! LMM said in interviews that he just β€œwrites what he needs to hear, then switches the pronoun to β€˜you’” πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oof, Happy Ever After and The Hourglass didn’t sit too well with you! But fair enough. Sadie is getting so much hype and love and I can’t wait to read it. I think I want to listen to the audiobook and see how that goes for me πŸ™‚ I also will be reading What If It’s Us soon. I think the authors were just having fun writing together when it comes to too many pop culture references in the book πŸ˜› I could totally expect that from them xD

    Liked by 1 person

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