This week’s mini review round-up includes the following:
- YA paranormal fantasy novel
- YA contemporary novel
- YA m/m contemporary romance
- adult nonfiction poetry collection
TITLE: Hush, Hush
AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick
GENRE: Paranormal Fantasy/Romance
AGE RANGE: YA
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back?
“If I’d wanted you dead five minutes ago, you’d have died five minutes ago.”
It’s been about a year since I read this, so I’m not even going to try to give it a full review. I just really want it off of my “RTC” shelf, so I’m going to sum this up in a few points:
- I hate this writing. I hate it so much. The narrative voice is everything I don’t miss about late 2000s YA fantasy.
- Nora is a tremendously boring, unenjoyable protagonist. I remember nothing about her at all except how bored I was by her existence.
- I promise I’m not here to judge anyone, but I heard so many people swoon over Patch that I expected… well, not this. He’s awful, toxic, gross, pushy, has no respect whatsoever for Nora or anything she wants, and genuinely made me want to punch myself in the face at least three times a chapter.
That’s it. This book was awful. I had to force myself to skim the last third or so just because I wanted to see if it got any better. It didn’t. I have no desire to ever continue this series and will not recommend this book to anyone, ever. I’m so grateful that, over the last decade, YA romance has (mostly) moved away from this over-the-top toxicity in male love interests.
TITLE: American Street
AUTHOR: Ibi Zoboi
AGE RANGE: YA
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.
“We fold our immigrant selves into this veneer of what we think is African American girlhood. The result is more jagged than smooth. This tension between our inherited identities and our newly adopted selves filters into our relationships with other girls and the boys we love, and how we interact with the broken places around us.”
I had really high hopes for American Street because it’s an incredibly important topic that I would love to see explored more frequently in YA contemporary, especially from own-voices authors like Ibi Zoboi! That reason was more than enough to justify boosting this up to a 4-star rating, in my opinion, because there were just so many powerful quotes (like the one I chose for the block above). As someone who was born and raised in the US and has the privileges of being a US-born white woman, this story definitely helped me see even more ways that my little bubble of privilege has kept me from recognizing how hard and stressful immigrating to the US must be for anyone, but especially people of color.
All of that aside, I didn’t enjoy the actual writing of this book very much, sadly. I didn’t love the narrative voice as a whole and I thought the plot kept losing itself. It would focus on one major plot point for a few chapters, and then another wrench would get thrown in, and it would totally pivot. I think that can work well if it’s done in moderation, but there were just so many topics covered that none of them were given the time or exploration they deserved on their own, in my opinion.
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
AGE RANGE: YA
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity. It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
His smile ruins me.
I should have reviewed this when I read it almost a year ago, but now it’s been too long and I don’t remember everything I want to say. ?♀️ Whoops. A few pros and cons that I remember:
P R O S:
– Tanner’s family is super supportive of his sexuality
– Tanner and Sebastian can be super cute together
– I laughed a lot
– while the book calls out a lot of what is hard about being queer and Mormon, it also features some reasons why people might want to stay in the LDS church
C O N S:
– I just… really don’t like Sebastian at all
– like even a little bit
– he just made me mad all the time and treated Tanner like hot garbage 24/7
I’ve read some adult work by Christina Lauren since reading this, and vastly preferred their adult work. I’d totally try another YA release by them if they return to the age range, but this wasn’t a huge hit for me and I don’t look back on it as fondly as I hoped I would. 3.5 stars, rounded up
Buddy read with the ever lovable Taylor! ♥♥
AUTHOR: Wilder Poetry
AGE RANGE: Adult
Nocturnal is a collection of words and imagery inspired by darkened skies and sleepless nights.
It is a journey of healing and self-discovery whether love stays or leaves.
It is dreaming with your eyes wide open while the rest of the world is hiding.
i’ve always been told that
i was born chasing sunsets, but
sometimes i wonder if i’m really
just trying to find a way
to be in two places at once.
Nocturnal is an interesting collection; it doesn’t ever settle on just one main theme, but seems to flit between love and loss, insecurities and self-love, all tossed with a healthy focus on nature and all the healing it can offer us.
my heart tends to live
in the wrong place at
the right time,
but i’ve always loved
the sound of rain
on a sunny day
and the moon after
So many of the poems in this collection resonated deeply with me, particularly the creator’s acknowledgement of their own patient-to-a-fault attitude towards toxic partners (been there!). More than anything, I loved the sections on self-love, and would have enjoyed more of those scattered throughout. The only reason I’m giving this 4 instead of 5 stars is that some of the pieces felt repetitive or out of place in the grand scheme.
I also feel like I can’t complete this review without showing you an example of what I mean when I say that this is, without a doubt, the most visually beautiful poetry collection I have ever seen. It’s filled with illustrations and watercolor scenery that lend the most incredible atmospheric touches.
Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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