The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Published April 11th 2017
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
I’d seen so much hype around this book and I was a little hesitant to pick it up because of that. I haven’t read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so I wasn’t familiar with the author and didn’t know what to expect. I tried to not have a really high hopes going into this book but the hype definitely got to me.
I really loved how cute this book was. It was a great mix of fun, cute contemporary and dealing with serious issues. The main character, Molly, has anxiety and I really appreciated the representation. I personally felt like it was an accurate representation and it helped me relate to the main character a lot.
I loved the writing style. I think the writing is my favorite part about this book. There was just something about how Becky described everything that blew me away. It was so wonderfully written.
This is book is also really diverse (anxiety disorder, lots of PoC, LBGTQ) so that was pretty great.
The only thing that hindered me from giving this book 5 stars was the lack of emotional investment I had in The Upside of Unrequited. Even though I loved the writing and liked the characters, I couldn’t really become emotionally invested. I had a hard time loving Molly because the whole thing with her crushes was a little annoying to me. It felt repetitive and a lot like puppy love.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the writing style, diversity, and anxiety disorder representation. And even though I wasn’t completely emotionally invested in the characters, I still really liked them. If you’re looking for a great contemporary, I’d recommend The Upside of Unrequited.
Ida by Alison Evans
Published January 1st 2017
How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?
Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths.
One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.
How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?
I have some mixed feeling about this book.
The synopsis sounded amazing but the actual plot is kind of confusing. I really paid close attention, thinking I wasn’t reading it well enough, but it was just confusing to me. I don’t know if it’s just me or others have had the same problem but I just couldn’t follow along with the plot.
I loved the diversity of the characters. There was a lot of different aspects of diversity in this book and I thought that was pretty great. However, I couldn’t connect with the characters because the writing style is so plain and even a little emotionless at times.
I really wanted to love this book because it’s so diverse but in the end, it just wasn’t as good as it could have been. If you’re looking for a super diverse read, I’d say take a chance and pick Ida up. But this isn’t the highest quality of writing I’ve read.
The Edge of the Abyss (The Abyss Surrounds Us #2)
by Emily Skrutskie
Expected publication: April 18th 2017
Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart. But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers Boa is not the only a monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against the creatures she used to care for and protect? Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?
As much as I enjoyed this book, I didn’t know until I was 40% into it that it was a sequel. Totally my fault but I’m surprised how much I liked this book considering I haven’t read the first book.
I loved the concept of this book so much. The concept of this book is without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever read. I love pirates so this book was right up my alley and I loved the fantastical creatures in this book as well. This reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean, which is one of my favorite film franchises, and if you enjoy PotC, I’d highly recommend this The Edge of the Abyss (but don’t be like me, you should read the first book before reading book two).
I was actually pretty invested in Cas and Swift’s relationship and I think their relationship is one of the best written that I’ve ever read about.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m excited to go read the first book. I loved the concept so, so much. If you’re looking for a really exciting and fun LBGTQ fantasy series, I’d definitely recommend The Abyss Surrounds Us series.
True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan
Published June 7th 2016
If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.
But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.
He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?
I wasn’t sure what to expect with True Letters from a Fictional Life but I ended up really enjoying it.
I really liked the writing style and how honestly it was written. I felt like the plot was fairly realistic and I appreciated that a lot. I didn’t really start to love this book until the second half. The first half was good but it wasn’t until the last 175-150 pages that I felt like the story really came alive for me.
I really loved James but I never really connected with him. I personally couldn’t relate to him but I think a lot of people could. I did become really invested in James though and I was really rooting for him.
I’ve seen a lot of people comparing it to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, which is an all time favorite of mine, and I do see how they’re similar because of the letters but other than that, I don’t think they’re very much alike.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, mostly the last half. I liked the main character a lot and I think quite a few people could relate to him. I wasn’t completely emotionally invested but I was definitely rooting for James. If you’re looking for quick contemporary or wanting to pick up an LBQTQ+ book, I’d recommend True Letters from a Fictional Life.