Bite Sized Books // Some Mixed Young Adult Reviews I’ve Been Holding On To

28 June 2017

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I have a couple of reviews for some YA books. They are linked in no other way than they are both YA. One was a fantastic read and the other less so. I reviewed both and as I am slowly catching up on some old reviews I figured I’d post both together.

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Published: 7th April 2015
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ
My Rating:
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
This book! Why did I hold out on reading it? What was I thinking? It was amazing! I'd already read Upside of Unrequited so I knew I liked Albertalli's writing but I didn't realise how enjoyable this book would be until I started it. I went in pretty much blind, I didn’t bother reading the summary I just went based on what I could remember from other’s reviews. So, essentially, I knew there was a gay MC and that was about it. I think that was probably for the best as I had no expectations.

I loved how this book is an exploration of people's personalities and what is is to change and grow. I completely related to Simon's struggles of feeling like he is in a box and a certain person with those who know him so he doesn't know how to break that and reveal more of himself. I mean, I think it’s way too easy to get stuck as a certain person. It’s why folks love university, it’s a chance to redesign yourself. I really loved seeing Simon's thoughts and I could totally relate to him. I think that’s why I enjoyed the book so much. I totally connected with Simon.

I liked the fact there were email exchanges between Simon and Blue interspersed throughout the book. That extra element was great. I love when books have that kind of interaction because it’s just not done anymore. You don’t email folks or write letters. I’ve definitely noticed a theme in some of the YA books I’ve enjoyed this year.

I really loved this book and Albertalli is getting herself a place on my favourite authors list.

Published: 13th June 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: DNF
New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack's young adult debut: Roar.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

I don't want to rate a book I haven't finished but I will say a few words. This book will probably appeal to many. I mean, I've enjoyed several Cormack reads, but they were NA and I suppose within that genre you have certain expectations. This book just didn’t click for me. I could get why people liked it, I was intrigued by the magic system and the story was vaguely interesting. I didn't love it, though. I didn’t hate it either, and that may be because I couldn’t make it beyond 25% so I didn’t have time to hate it. I don’t know.

I wasn’t as against the romance as one review I’ve read. Aentee really sums why the book is flawed and really says it best so go read that. But there were definitely glaring problems to be seen within the first few pages. I saw some things that definitely raised an eyebrow and I like romance, but our ‘love interests’ were way to full on and went beyond being an alpha male to just being creepy. Way too forceful and by the sounds of it that continued so I’m glad I got out when I did.

I don't know. If you're interested in the world building and magic system you may like it. If you're going to get angered by a questionable and potentially abusive romance really just don't do that to yourself.
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