ARC Review // Release by Patrick Ness

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FTC DISCLOSURE

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ . 5  s t a r s

Adam Thorn hasn’t been having the best day of his life. His ex-boyfriend, who he might still be in love with, is going away tonight and Adam’s going to the going-away party, but the situation is bringing up old memories and pent-up emotions and the heartbreak Enzo left behind when he walked out of Adam’s life. Either way, Adam has a new boyfriend now, who’s nice and cares deeply about him, but does Adam love him like he loved Enzo? But there’s more – his brother drops a revelation that shocks Adam, and he has to come to make some difficult decisions regarding his ultra-religious parents and his sexuality; the fact that he’s fired from work the same day doesn’t help the day get any better. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the ghost of a murdered girl has risen from the lake…

Patrick Ness writes in his author’s note, “How do we ever, ever survive our teenage years? Every young person you meet is a walking, talking miracle.” Going into the book having read this line was an experience in and of itself, because it nudged me towards reading the book a certain way – a way that made me appreciate its weirdness, its sometimes-confusing components. Release cemented Patrick Ness’s signature move in my mind – he combines the ordinary and the extraordinary, and he blurs the lines between the two to the point where you ask yourself, “What?” at least a few times every few pages. The message takes some time to sink in, but when it does, it clicks into place: your life, your teenage years and the heartaches, the pain and the joys, in all their ordinariness, are no less extraordinary than fantasies. The parallels are muddled and confusing, so much so that sometimes I wondered what was the point of including the fantastical elements to the book, but look closely. It’s there – just out of reach, and it gives the novel a completely new layer. I was more interested in Adam’s “ordinary” story than the ghost of a murdered meth addict and dead queens and fauns- and ultimately, that’s the point. There need not be something magical for your story to be extraordinary. Ness’s devotion to the wonderful strength of ordinary teenage life speaks volumes throughout the entire body of his work, and it shines in Release too.

Perhaps one of the reasons I adore Ness’s work so much is because he doesn’t treat his young characters like an age, like many older writers tend to do when they’re writing YA. There is no condescension in Ness’s themes; his characters’ romances are as intense as they are for many of us when it comes to first love. Their pains aren’t dramatized and glamorized, but are given an incredible amount of empathy from the person writing them. Ness writes about young people for young people, and he never, ever sugarcoats it. I don’t say this lightly when I say that I wish I had something like Patrick Ness’s books when I was a teenager, when my feelings – whether they be positive or negative – were being invalidated because “I’m still just a kid.” I wish I had something like his novels to tell me that sure, I am a kid, but that doesn’t mean my feelings are less valid, and being a kid sure as hell isn’t something I should be ashamed of.

This book is #OwnVoices for gay representation – there are two or three main characters in this book, and none of them are straight, though Adam’s best friend is questioning whether she is bisexual. We have Adam, who is a young gay boy from an ultra-religious family, whose father is a preacher, who has been left and beaten down from all sides of his life. Everybody he’s ever been close to has moved away, and the people who were meant to be his family make him feel unwanted. He feels unloved, like he doesn’t deserve anything good, simply because he’s never gotten it. His development, over the course of the day, is glaringly apparent and you can’t help but love everything about him by the first few chapters. Ness does a beautiful job of showing Adam’s vulnerabilities; he’s a beefy boy who isn’t afraid to break down when he needs to, who isn’t afraid to tell the people he loves that he loves them, and that he will love them until the end of the world. We need vulnerable boys in YA literature; we need their vulnerabilities to be normalized and not made a big deal of, and this book is a step in the right direction. I can’t speak for the representation in the book, because I am straight, but this is an #OwnVoices review from someone who adored the book as much as I did.

As if my ravings weren’t already enough, I have more! Release depicts sex among young people without flinching; there are no fade-out scenes, and scenes that feel so overdramatic and flowery that you roll your eyes, and flip the page. The young people who have sex in this novel talk while they’re doing it, and they laugh, and it’s sometimes awkward. There’s talk about virginities, but losing it isn’t made a big deal of like it so often is – it can be painful, and it can be quick, and it mostly never is perfect… but that’s okay. The explicit talk and the sex scenes are a warning to sex-averse readers, so be careful about that, and if you don’t want to read about sex, don’t pick this book up. It’s unflinchingly honest, and it never shies away from the subject. I also really appreciated how it dealt with sexual harassment, unwanted advances and rape culture rather honestly and brutally.

In the end, this is an important book. It’s one of the most important books I’ve read, in more ways than one. And if I had any doubt in my mind that Patrick Ness is a writer for the ages, this book completely erased that inkling of doubt, and he has cemented his place as one of the most eloquent, wonderful writers out there – not only for young people, but rather especially for young people. Read the book. It’s out in the UK already, so order it if you can’t wait. And if you can wait, read it when it releases on September 19th. Just read it and devour it and love it as much as I did.

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TRIGGER WARNING

Sexual harassment, rape culture, homophobia, murder

BUY IT

Goodreads // Amazon (to pre-order in the US)  // The Book Depository (it’s out in the UK)

 

Book Review // Want by Cindy Pon

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FTC DISCLOSURE

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡  s t a r s

Zhou lives in a futuristic Taipei that’s divided on class lines and polluted beyond belief. The you are the elites who run businesses and large corporations, and continue to grow richer; while they have suits to protect them from their polluted surroundings, the mei – the lower, poorer classes – have a high mortality rate, and barely live past the age of forty. Zhou and his crew want to make a difference; most of them have lost someone or another due to the conditions they live in. They hatch a plan for Zhou to kidnap a you girl and hold her hostage for a large sum of money that will allow them to infiltrate the elite class, and start a revolution on their own, even if that means sacrificing their lives.

With Want, Cindy Pon launches you immediately into the action. When a book starts off with a kidnapping, a hostage and a ransom, you know it’s going to be exciting – and exciting it is, throughout. Pon does an incredible job of pacing the book – there’s a perfect balance of action with those slower moments permeated with introspection, conversation and character-building. The romance exists, but it’s slow-burn without much rush, but the focus of the story never shifts from the mission at hand to anything else; Pon set out on a mission with this book – to tell a story of a group of misfits, and one misfit in particular, who’s trying to topple the system, and that’s ultimately where the focus remains.

The world-building is incredibly vivid; although no dates exist anywhere in the narrative, you get a sense that it’s sometime in the near-future, maybe seventy or ninety years from present day. It can be difficult to represent futuristic technology without it seeming far-fetched, but Pon describes most everything with immense precision, but her imagination is reigned in and believable. Perhaps one of the reasons I don’t reach for sci-fi much is because despite being fiction, much of it is still aimed to be believable – and it very rarely is that for me. But with Want, I could see it play like a movie in front of my eyes, and that’s everything I could want from a science-fiction novel.

It’s a terrifying prospect – that within a century or so, the human race’s lifespan might fall thirty years, that the sky will no longer be blue because of the grime and the smog and the smoke, that people will no longer have enough money to take care of their sick family members who keep getting sicker because no place is safe, there is no food to eat. And at the same time, there will be people living lavishly – with apartments that, if they were sold, could feed an entire city, who turn the other way and eat finger food while children and the sick die in the streets from disease and hunger. And it’s even more terrifying when you realize that that is the way of the world even now. There is added technology in Want, sure, and increased pollution too, but the class and social dynamics are eerily similar. And it does raise the idea that… is this aggravated version of already existing conditions really what we’re heading towards?

One of my main negatives of the book was how little emphasis there was on the side characters, and I don’t mean that they were badly developed or flat, but that they were so well-deveoped and interesting that I wanted to see more of them. Zhou’s crew was made up of diverse, fascinating people – an Indian genius/scientist who works behind the scenes, a bisexual Chinese girl who’s the brains behind the entire crew, a quiet, lethal fighter who speaks with her weapons, and a tall, charismatic Filipino boy who likes to look dapper, yet aloof, while he orchestrates his role in the mission. I loved each and every one of the side characters, perhaps some even more than I liked Zhou (and I really did love Zhou) that I would have liked to see a bit more of them. Hopefully, there’ll be more emphasis on the crew in the next book.

Another critique I had was regarding the writing style; it doesn’t flow quite as well as I would have liked, and that’s mainly because Pon spends too much time explaining what’s happening. It’s not a case of “she was telling me, not showing me” but rather “she showed it to me and then explained what she already had shown me.” She would also spend time describing the clothes of secondary characters, who sometimes never showed up again. Both of these technique issues often broke the narrative flow, and it takes effort on the reader’s part to get back into the swing of things.

But apart from these minor issues, Want was an incredible start to what seems will be an incredible duology (trilogy?) and if the second book’s anything like the first one, I know I will enjoy it tremendously. If you enjoy sci-fi at all, or books with heists and crews, and slow-burn romances, definitely give Want a go – there’s a lot this book has to offer, and you won’t be disappointed.

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BUY IT

G O O D R E A D S   //   A M A Z O N

Book Recommendations for Your Hogwarts House

As readers, regardless of whether or not we’re fans of the Harry Potter series, we all know our Hogwarts house. You may have taken one of the thousands of quizzes all over the Internet, or it may just be intuition that tells you where you belong in Hogwarts, but chances are that you know where the Sorting Hat would put you if you were ever to attend. And, believe it or not, over the years I’ve realized that my Hogwarts house does accurately represent who I am.

If you didn’t know, I’m a Slytherin. Pottermore has always sorted me into Slytherin – the house that places ambition above all else, and it’s true. I’m an ambitious person, whether that’s my larger-than-life goals, or even the little things that I do everyday, setting goals that I probably will never reach but will try my hardest to get to them anyway. And because we all naturally tend to gravitate towards literature – or entertainment, in general – that speaks to our proclivities, I noticed that I enjoy books about anti-heroes and anti-villains, morally ambiguous characters driven by ambition (not that I’m morally ambiguous, but you know what I mean!) And that’s a no-brainer; it’s gotten to the point where books like these automatically make their way to my TBR list.

This post was inspired by the latest Top 5 Wednesday topic about five book recommendations for the Hogwarts house you’re in. But since I don’t participate in weekly features anymore, I thought I’d make an entire post with recommendations for all four houses. So without further ado, let’s get into it!


G R Y F F I N D O R

Gryffindor Recommendations

“You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart.”

Gryffindors value bravery and courage above all else, and to me, books about adventure and heroism with bold main characters are books that would appeal to Gryffindors. For me, Gryffindors would enjoy books that don’t shy away from hard-hitting topics, as long as there are underlying themes of overcoming adversity and exhibiting strength. All of the books I have chosen here are incredible stories about characters who remain steadfast despite everything that’s given to them – it’s okay to crumble under the pressures of life, but what matters is that you get back up and carry on.

♡  T H E  K N I F E  O F  N E V E R  L E T T I N G  G O  //  P A T R I C K  N E S S  //  goodreads

♡  T H E  H A T E  U  G I V E  //  A N G I E  T H O M A S  //  goodreads

♡  F O R G I V E  M E ,  L E O N A R D  P E A C O C K  //  M A T T H E W  Q U I C K  // goodreads

♡  T H E  W R A T H  &  T H E  D A W N  //  R E N É E  A H D I E H  //  goodreads

♡  N O T E W O R T H Y  //  R I L E Y  R E D G A T E  //  goodreads

♡  R E A D Y  P L A Y E R  O N E  //  E R N E S T  C L I N E  //  goodreads

R A V E N C L A W

Ravenclaw Recommendations

“in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind”

We all know Ravenclaws are smart, yes, but personally, I always thought Ravenclaws are more than that; they are people who seek knowledge, and strive to learn and educate themselves, favoring discussion, varying perspectives, nuanced looks at the world around us. They need not get fantastic grades in school to be a Ravenclaw; they just have the drive to learn. The books I chose above are all books that either have incredibly nuanced discussions about important topics like race, history, globalization, feminism, or science – or, they have characters who are multi-talented and sharp-witted (as in the case of An Ember in the Ashes, and The Winner’s Curse).

♡  T H E  D I V I N E R S  //  L I B B A  B R A Y  //  goodreads

♡  T H E  W I N N E R ‘ S  C U R S E  //  M A R I E  R U T K O S K I  // goodreads

♡  A N  E M B E R  I N  T H E  A S H E S  //  S A B A A  T A H I R  //  goodreads

♡  B E A U T Y  Q U E E N S  //  L I B B A  B R A Y  //  goodreads

♡  D A R K  M A T T E R  //  B L A K E  C R O U C H  //  goodreads

♡  E X I T  W E S T  //  M O H S I N  H A M I D  // goodreads

H U F F L E P U F F

Hufflepuff Recommendations

“You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil.”

Hufflepuffs are characterized by their loyalty and fairness; I feel like there’s a misconception that all Hufflepuffs are pure cinnamon rolls, when that’s not necessarily true, but they do have an unwavering affinity to being true to themselves and their cause, and the people they love. They’re patient, they’re not frightened of sticky situations. The books I chose above all have characters that often go through duress (More Happy than Not, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Under Rose-Tainted Skies, being the most prominent) but they remain kind and patient throughout it all. We have characters who exhibit devotion and trust (Aristotle & Dante and The Kiss of Deception). I think all six of these books would appeal to Hufflepuffs!

♡  T H E  P E R K S  O F  B E I N G  A  W A L L F L O W E R  //  S T E P H E N  C H B O S K Y  //  goodreads

♡  U N D E R  R O S E – T A I N T E D  S K I E S  //  L O U I S E  G O R N A L L  //  goodreads

♡  T O  A L L  T H E  B O Y S  I ‘ V E  L O V E D  B E F O R E  //  J E N N Y  H A N  //  goodreads

♡  A R I S T O T L E  &  D A N T E   //  B E N J A M I N  A L I R E  S A E N Z  // goodreads

♡  M O R E  H A P P Y  T H A N  N O T  //  A D A M  S I L V E R A  //  goodreads

♡  T H E  K I S S  O F  D E C E P T I O N  //  M A R Y  E .  P E A R S O N  //  goodreads

S L Y T H E R I N

Slytherin Recommendations

“Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.”

Slytherins are sharp and shrewd, strongly driven people who value ambition above all else. As a Slytherin, I know I appreciate characters who are morally complicated, who make questionable decisions – some are ultimately good people (like in Six of Crows and A Darker Shade of Magic, *cough* Holland *cough*), while others have darkness roiling within (And I Darken, and The Secret History). Most of these books are character-driven, with sharp characters, while two of the six are books that have dark content that would appeal to Slytherins’ aesthetic sense (Angelfall, and Everything You Want Me to Be).

♡  S I X  O F  C R O W S  //  L E I G H  B A R D U G O  //  goodreads

♡  A  D A R K E R  S H A D E  O F  M A G I C  //  V .  E .  S C H W A B  //  goodreads

♡  A N D  I  D A R K E N  //  K I E R S T E N  W H I T E  //  goodreads

♡  E V E R Y T H I N G  Y O U  W A N T  M E  T O  B E  //  M I N D Y  M E J I A  //  goodreads

♡  T H E  S E C R E T  H I S T O R Y  //  D O N N A  T A R T T  //  goodreads

♡  A N G E L F A L L  //  S U S A N  E E  //  goodreads

Have you read any of the books that I recommended for your house? What did you think of it/them? Do you have any more recommendations for me, a Slytherin? Let me know in the comments below – and as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Book Review // Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ . 5  s t a r s

When Saeed shyly asks Nadia, a woman in a niqab for a cup of coffee after class, she refuses, hops atop a bike and drives away, leaving him stunned. But that was just the beginning of their story. Soon, Nadia and Saeed form a tight bond, spending their days smoking weed, talking about nothings and falling in love. But the city that they live in  is soon overtaken by religious militants. Their lives are plagued with war, death and fear, and Nadia and Saeed decide to escape, even though they don’t really want to leave their home behind. Doors are popping up all over the world – doors that transport you from country to country, and soon, Nadia and Saeed find a door that lets them escape. But as now-refugees, they have other crises to face.

Told in a subtle amalgamation of contemporary and fabulism, Exit West reads eerily similar to daily news, our social media feeds and the issues we hear about almost constantly. Its scope regarding the topics it covers is vast without ever feeling like it’s doing too much all at once. From religious militants overthrowing governments, war-ravaged cities that once used to be like yours or mine, human beings in their diverse humanity fleeing from death and loss, the refugee crises, the concept of borders in an increasingly globalized world, xenophobia and fear of migrants in Western countries (specifically the United Kingdom), as well as tackling issues of politics, internalized prejudices, differences in practicing the same religion,  how people may be driven to terrorism and the complexities of the lives of displaced peoples. And believe it or not, it tackles each and every issue brilliantly, expertly while also focusing them in a sharp context. This is a book about all of these issues, sure, but ultimately, it’s a book about a man and a woman. Saeed and Nadia. Their love, their bond, how it changes, how it perseveres, and how it threatens to falter.

Saeed and Nadia’s origin city is unnamed, though Mohsin Hamid has said that he based it largely on the city of Lahore, Pakistan. As someone who’s also spent most of her life living in Lahore, I saw parts of my home city reflected throughout the pages, and the dystopian premise that in the future, it would be at war, my friends and family scattered, the buildings I used to frequent destroyed, life as I knew it stilled? That’s a terrifying concept, and Exit West does a brilliant job of terrifying you both on a macro and micro level. Because upon further inspection, the unnamed city could be any city, which means that the events could happen to several cities at the same time, regardless of where they are. The problems are no longer isolated incidents, but global catastrophes… and the burden of recognizing that it could be the reader’s own city – whether that’s Hyderabad, Dhaka, Jakarta, Mumbai, Lahore – is what makes the novel so powerful. It’s specific enough for you to think about these critical issues, but also vague enough that it forces you not to dissociate, to imagine yourself in the lives of these people.

“It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.”

The sign of a good novel like this is that it covers hard-hitting topics without taking a side; thus, it becomes a book that forces everyone, from each side of the debate, to think critically, and to consider a perspective you may not have considered before. It becomes a nuanced, complex discussion within itself, rather than a prejudiced agenda that’s preaching you to feel a certain way, though the general message does ultimately shine through. I don’t want to give anything away, so let me stick to just one example. There’s a discussion about how rich countries take in a small number of refugees, despite having the resources to support them while data shows that ten countries host 50% of the world’s refugee population, and these countries are far worse-off than the vast majority of countries in the West.

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The question of why this is plagues many people in the developing world, including me; places like Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Pakistan don’t have a lot to give, but they house the most refugees. Why doesn’t the developed world, the more privileged world, share the load? It’s a valid, important question – a question that you, unless you have lived in a developing country, might never have even considered, while for many of us, it’s a pervasive thought in our heads. And it’s a question that’s touched upon in the book brilliantly. Note:

“… the doors to richer destinations, were heavily guarded, but the doors in, the doors from poorer places, were mostly left unsecured, perhaps in the hope that people would go back to where they came from – although almost no one ever did – or perhaps because there were simply too many doors from too many poorer places to guard them all.”

Here, Hamid touches on the hegemony of wealth in this so-called global society; much like in countries themselves, the global stage is set apart by classes. And as any class system works, the poorest ultimately do the heaviest lifting, and while the rich get richer, the poor continue to grow poorer. But, at the same time, Hamid offers the opposing perspective – perhaps this is the case because poor countries don’t have much to lose, and so the fear of losing something isn’t as stark as it is in places that have plenty to lose. That was a perspective that I hadn’t considered before, and although I disagree with the sentiment itself, I understand it a little better.

I went off on a tangent there, but perhaps the fact that I did will tell you how much there is in this book to unpack and analyze. It’s not a long book at all – it’s just over 200 pages, and the text isn’t too small, and chances are that you’ll fly through it in one or two sittings (and I believe that’s the best way to read a book like this), but you won’t realize what hit you until you’re near the end. You won’t realize the extent of your investment in these characters’ lives, that you’re sitting on the edge of your seat, tears probably dripping from the end of your nose to a page filled with paragraphs written with single sentences, and only after the magic fully digs into your skin do you realize how moved you are by the quiet intensity of it. The silent power of Hamid’s writing, how he says so many things by saying one, how he makes you feel so many things with one glance, one movement from a character. This book’s sheer humanity will leave you dumbfounded – because ultimately, that’s what this book is about. Humanity. And the potential loss of it, if the dim lights we see occasionally are also extinguished.

TRIGGER WARNING

Public groping, war (some, but not much, graphic violence), some drug use

BUY IT

Amazon // Goodreads

Book Haul // Book Expo ’17

Hello, everyone! Today I come to you with a super exciting post (at least for me), and that is – as you could probably tell by my title – my Book Expo book haul. I was so fortunate to get to attend the conference this year; it took place from the 31st of May to the 2nd of June, and although I only attended the last two days, I had the time of my life!

Ever since I was a child, reading meant the world to me, but I never considered a career in it until I moved to the US. Since I finished my internship at Macmillan Publishing last December, I’ve been thinking about a career in publishing. It’s such an appealing option to me, and not just because I love to read… it’s also because I spent some time in a publishing office and saw the environment, saw the people working with me, saw how I could possibly thrive in the industry. Book Expo really cemented that passion within me; I loved each and every second of my time there. Watching people from the industry networking, talking to publicists and authors and editors; getting free books was just the icing on the top of the cake, honestly. Book Expo was a lot more than that for me.

But I’m rambling; I know why you’re here! The books! I was lucky enough to get my hands on some incredible upcoming releases, including some of my most anticipated releases of the year. I feel so incredibly lucky, I cannot even explain it. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Note: I couldn’t figure out how to arrange the photos, so I mostly just sorted them by color, hehe.

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♡ Warcross by Marie Lu // Goodreads

♡ Invictus by Ryan Graudin // Goodreads

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed // Goodreads

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani // Goodreads

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins // Goodreads

Dear Martin by Nic Stone // Goodreads

Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green // Goodreads

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The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo // Goodreads

Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss // Goodreads

Sourdough by Robin Sloan // Goodreads

Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis // Goodreads

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner // Goodreads

Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone // Goodreads

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Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen // Goodreads

All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry // Goodreads

City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty // Goodreads

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng // Goodreads

Release by Patrick Ness (!!!!!!!!)  // Goodreads

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao // Goodreads

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Mis(h)adra by Iasmin Omar Ata // Goodreads

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust // Goodreads

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert // Goodreads

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert // Goodreads

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater // Goodreads

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter // Goodreads

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken // Goodreads

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No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear // Goodreads

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins // Goodreads

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak // Goodreads

Liberty by Andrea Portes // Goodreads

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton // Goodreads

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This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell // Goodreads

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi // Goodreads

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera // Goodreads

27 Hours by Tristina Wright // Goodreads

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti // Goodreads

So that’s my Book Expo haul! It’s massive, and kind of insane (can you image what it was like for me to carry half those books each day on a two-hour commute?!) But I’m so happy with everything that I got, and they’re all books that I want to read. What are some books in my haul that you have your eyes set on? And if you were me, what would you get to first? Let me know in the comments! As always, thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

Wrap Up | May ’17

Hello, everyone! Today, I come to you with my first wrap-up in a couple of months. I know I’ve been severely neglecting my blog the past couple of months (the past forever, more like it), but I’m determined to put more of an effort now that my summer vacation has begun. With that said, let’s jump into the wrap up!


P E R S O N A L


So… I’m now a senior in college, le gasp. How did this happen? It was only yesterday that I was graduating from high school, and now I’m three-quarters of my way through university. It’s wild! I’m not going to lie – knowing that graduation is pretty much upon me, and this is my last year in what was supposed to be the “best four years of my life” is nerve-wracking. I don’t think I fully took advantage of the prestige of this city that I live in and the university I’m so privileged to attend, and I’m beginning to feel like I only have this one year left to fix it all – and that’s frightening, but maybe it will push me to do things I was too afraid to do before.

My freshman year of college was a lot of fun; I made friends, I was outgoing, and I was attending class and getting really good grades, and then after that, everything kind of fell apart. I don’t talk about it much, but I was overcome with social anxiety. Just going to class put me in such a dark place, and I was missing sessions, so my grades suffered – my third semester in college was… horrifying. My grades fell to a point where my school had to reach out and ask me to explain what was happening. Ever since, it hasn’t been quite up to the mark, but I’ve been steadily doing better. But that one semester made my GPA suffer quite a bit, and I feel like I really need to give 120% in my last year to come out on top of the game.

You might also remember that I was considering medicine, more specifically psychiatry, as an option for my career, and I’m still up-in-the-air about that. Which is another thing that’s messing with my head because I feel like time is running out, and I need to just take a breath and make a decision. But my career isn’t something I can take lightly, so how can I just wing it without knowing what I want? I’m trying to take this summer slow so I can figure out what I want to do, and how I want to proceed with, what may be, the rest of my life. If anything, the entire process has given me so much appreciation and respect for the people who do what they love, as well as people who set out on a path and follow it through no matter what. Major kudos.

In May, I also had an interview of an internship I’ll be doing next year as a major requirement for my school. I’ll be filming therapist-client sessions at the leading music therapy center in the United States (if not the world), as well as learning about new research in the field, and shadowing the people who conduct it. I was given several different options to choose from, and music therapy was definitely at the top of my list, and I’m incredibly excited that I got the ‘job!’


R E A D I N G


May was a decent reading month for me considering how terrible the months before it were. I didn’t read much, but the books I read were mostly wonderful, and I know I added a couple of books to my best of 2017 list that’ll come at the end of the year. Three out of five of the books I read have reviews, which I’ll link, and one review is coming up very soon!

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W H E N  D I M P L E  M E T  R I S H I  B Y  S A N D H Y A  M E N O N  //  3 . 5  S T A R S

read my review

When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I definitely think that my expectations for this book didn’t work in the book’s favor. Although it’s a perfect summer contemporary novel with incredible Indian representation and fun Bollywood flair and fluid writing, my main issue lay with the main character’s behavior in the romance – I expand more in my review. It’s still a book that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fluffy, romantic, fast-paced summer contemporary, because in that sense, it might be one of the better books I’ve read.

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Q U I N S E Y  W O L F E ‘ S  G L A S S  V A U L T  B Y  C A N D A C E  R O B I N S O N //

2 . 5  S T A R S

read my review

This was a book that started off with a whimper, and ended with a bang. The first 25% were rather dull, uneventful and I almost DNF’d it considering some of the problematic language thrown in, and the tokenism of a Middle Eastern character, but while these issues weren’t rectified (at least not in this first book), the plot really took off after the first quarter. When the gruesome, gory horror retellings were thrown into the mix with well-balanced romance and intense creativity, I began to enjoy the book a lot more.

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U N D E R  R O S E – T A I N T E D  S K I E S  B Y  L O U I S E  G O R N A L L  // 4 . 5  S T A R S

read my review

I think my review does a better job of explaining all my many, many thoughts and feelings about this wonderful, beautiful piece of art, but I’ll try to summarize. I basically loved everything about this book – from the well-developed, flawed characters to the well-rounded focus on family, friendship, romance and introspection, the writing, the world-building and the empathy this book offers even while discussing such specific, unique situations. The book does so much right, and almost nothing wrong, and I just really would love everyone to pick it up!

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E X I T  W E S T  B Y  M O H S I N  H A M I D  //  4 . 5  S T A R S

Exit West was a bit of a gamble for me; I haven’t read Mohsin Hamid’s other work, really, except for a couple chapters of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and I truly wasn’t a big fan of his writing. But I loved the movie The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which is based off a novel of his, so I thought I’d give this a go – and I was blown away, and there’s no other way to explain what I went through while reading this. I was so moved by its subtleties, its compassionate, entirely humane nature of the themes, the realities of the characters, and the quiet power of his writing. Such an incredible, profound, poignant read that’s both timely and timeless, and I cannot recommend it enough. Watch out for my review!

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W O R L D  A F T E R  ( A N G E L F A L L  # 2 )  B Y  S U S A N  E E  //  4  S T A R S

I read Angelfall last summer, and I honestly wasn’t the biggest fan – I thought it was alright, but my main issue lay with the romance, and the slow-paced nature of it. But World After completely took me by surprise – it was such a step-up, and while I didn’t feel anything for Penryn and Raffe in the first book, I was smitten with both of them – individually and together – in the sequel. I have a lot of thoughts about the intricacies and genius of this series, but I’ll say more in a trilogy review after I’m finished reading this third book!


M U S I C


I didn’t watch any movies in May, and basically stayed away from new TV too because of finals, and what not, but I’ve been listening to music non-stop for a few weeks now. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of music, and I enjoy putting my Spotify on shuffle and discovering new stuff. Here are some favorites.

G A L L A N T  –  B O U R B O N

I’ve heard Gallant’s music before – I remember listening to “Weight of Gold” last year, and I fell in love with his voice, but I never looked further. But I pretty much had his debut album “Ology” on repeat the past month. His falsetto, the chill and sultry, slick vibe of his music is perfect for rainy nights. For real. Give it a go.

C A L V I N  H A R R I S  –  S L I D E  F T .  F R A N K  O C E A N  &  M I G O S

This is just a link to the snippet, but the song’s available on Spotify. I’m pretty sure this is going to be the go-to summer song for me. It’s so smooth, and Frank’s voice can lull me to my death and I’d go happily, lol. I also saw him walking around in the Lower East Side, and listen, he’s so freaking beautiful!

P O R T U G A L .  T H E  M A N  –  F E E L  I T  S T I L L

Ahhh, I can’t explain how happy this song makes me feel, even though it’s not really a happy song if you listen to the lyrics. But the beat, and his voice makes it so… bop-y. LISTEN TO IT.

So that’s that for my May wrap-up! I hope your month was a good one, and you reached all the goals that you had for it. Let me know what your favorite book of the month was. Mine was definitely either Under Rose Tainted Skies or Exit West. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Books for Sale

Do you ever look at your shelves and think, “That’s gonna fall on me any time now,” because that’s what I’ve been thinking for the past few months. They are packed and overflowing, and it doesn’t help that I have no self-control, and keep buying more stuff. I’m also attending Book Expo this year, so you best believe there’s going to be more books in my room than actual air. Which is why I’m selling the ones that I don’t want.

I got this idea from my friend, Liv, over at Stories for Coffee – go check out her blog (she also has a neat Booktube channel, so go give her some love.)

G U I D E L I N E S 

♡ The sale is only for US and Puerto Rico, because shipping prices are steep, and I just don’t have the type of money to ship internationally. Sorry! 🙁

♡ I will be using PayPal to collect payments.

♡ There is a shipping flat-rate of $5.

♡ If you are interested in a book, e-mail me at bookshelvesandpaperbacks@gmail.comIf you want more pictures of the book, or are concerned about the condition, I can give you more details. Please make sure that you include your PayPal e-mail address in the initial e-mail as well as your shipping address. I will get in touch with you shortly.

♡ The books are first-come, first-serve. If a book is no longer available, I will cross out the name on this blog post.

♡ All sales are final, which means no returns.

S A L E

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♡ Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (HC) // perfect condition ~ $7

♡ Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (HC) // perfect condition ~ $7

♡ Talon by Julie Kagawa (HC) // perfect condition ~ $7

♡ Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (HC + SIGNED) // perfect condition ~ $7

♡ The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (HC) // remainder mark ~ $7

♡ The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (HC) // remainder mark ~ $6

♡ Reality Boy by A.S. King (HC) // remainder mark; otherwise perfect ~ $6

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♡ The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (HC) // remainder mark; otherwise in perfect condition ~ $6

♡ A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas (HC + SIGNED & PERSONALIZED) // the spine’s a little crooked, but otherwise good condition ~ $8

♡ Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (PB) // perfect condition ~ $5

♡ Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (PB) // a little frayed at the bottom, but not much ~ $5

♡ Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (PB) // perfect condition ~ $5

♡ Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (PB) // a little frayed at the bottom ~ $5

♡ Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes (PB) // perfect condition ~ $5

♡ Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican (HC) // remainder mark; otherwise perfect

♡ The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (HC) // remainder mark; otherwise perfect

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♡ The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (PB) // remainder mark ~ $4

♡ Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun (PB) // good condition  ~ $4

♡ Splintered by A.G. Howard (PB) // perfect condition ~ $5

♡ Parallel by Lauren Miller (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ The Luxe by Anna Godberson (PB) // perfect condition ~ $5

♡ One + One = Blue by Mary Jane Auch (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ The Princess Bride by William Goldman (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

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♡ Unwholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman (HC) // remainder mark ~ $6

♡ Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton (HC) // brand new and in plastic wrap ~ $10

♡ The Lux: Beginnings by Jennifer L. Armentrout (PB) // remainder mark ~ $5

♡ Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (HC) // remainder mark ~ $8

♡ Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven // perfect condition ~ $8

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♡ Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff (HC) // perfect condition ~ $8

♡ Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ The Hours by Michael Cunningham (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (PB) // perfect condition ~ $4

♡ A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (PB) // a little worn, but good condition ~ $3

♡ The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han (PB) // remainder mark — please note, I am selling the entire trilogy as a set.  ~ $12

♡ Reboot by Amy Tintera (PB) // remainder mark ~ $4

♡ The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston (PB) // remainder mark ~ $4

♡ Armada by Ernest Cline (HC) // perfect condition ~ $7


Again, if you are interested in any of these at all, please e-mail me at:

bookshelvesandpaperbacks@gmail.com

ARC Review | Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson

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FTC DISCLOSURE

♡ ♡ . 5  s t a r s

Perrie Madeleine lives a normal life in the town of Deer Park, Texas. She goes to a normal high school, and has normal people problems – a messy ex-boyfriend, a friend she feels for a bit romantically, and a cousin/best friend that she shares everything with. But people begin to go missing in this town, and the police have no leads. When a museum of sorts pops up in the town overnight, Perrie’s best friend Maisie applies for a job. The day of her first night of work, she goes missing, and so does Perrie’s ex-boyfriend. Perrie sets out on a mission – figure out what’s going on at this museum, and find her friend, no matter the cost.

Because I think problematic aspects of a book shouldn’t be tacked on to a review as an afterthought, let me begin by discussing them. I am aware that this is an ARC, and I sincerely hope that future publications will rectify these issues, but it’s important to discuss them now. Around the 5% mark, I came across this acephobic comment:

Maisie gets plenty of offers from both guys and girls, but as I have come to realize, there’s no one like her. Sometimes, I think she’s asexual like certain plants.”

If the author had simply left it at, “I think she might be asexual,” and explained what asexuality is, it wouldn’t have left such a bad taste in my mouth. It’s a micro aggression- relating an aspect of someone’s identity to plants and leaving it at that, as if asexuality is an identity inherently not human. Also, saying that there’s “no one like her” in the context of asexuality is extremely off-putting. Asexuality is real, and asexual people very much exist, and to pass this off as some unique, one-off thing just furthers stigma.

Another thing that didn’t sit right with me was the fact that Maisie is biracial (her father is Middle Eastern), but this is only referred to in passing. She could easily be white without there being any difference – not to mention the fact that the Middle East encompasses so many countries and ethnicities, and it’s never specified what ethnicity Maisie is. She is described as “brown because she’s Middle Eastern,” that’s it. When you include a character of color in your story, especially if it’s a Middle Eastern brown character in the middle of a small town in Texas, you need to give some substance to their experiences – whether this is done through some cultural nods, some dialogue in a different language, or even just some more discussion about their heritage. If this is not done, it screams tokenism, and people of color are not tokens who exist to lend some “diversity credit” to your stories.

Moving on: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is told through several retellings, and though it starts off dull and uninspiring, things pick up at the 25% mark when these horror retellings kick in. The world-building is delicious, and I can’t seem to come up with any other way to describe it, simply because the world-building was what made me devour the book in one or two sittings. Robinson sets up each setting of each retelling wonderfully, giving them all the time and attention to detail that they deserve, infusing true crime, fairytale, the paranormal and the realistic to form distinct experiences throughout each retelling. It’s unabashedly gory and violent; there are descriptions of horrifying scenes that genuinely made my stomach turn, and I’m usually not easily bothered by written descriptions of things. The magical aspects of it aren’t given too much description, but this works in the book’s favor; instead of getting bogged down in the technicalities of things, you are flung right into the action, ready to devour every scene as it comes. By far my favorite ‘portion’ of the retellings was the horrifying reworking of Snow White.

While there’s some romance, the book isn’t dominated or ruled by it. One of the strongest aspects was definitely Perrie’s love for Maisie, and vice versa. Seldom do books emphasize female friendships, but this is one that places friendship above romance; thus, the romance – when it existed – was done tastefully.

But, Glass Vault lacks in character development; the character’s introspections, their development and the space they need to be given to evolve and grow is vastly overshadowed by the very many things happening in the plot. It’s a short book – the paperback spans just over 200 pages, and because there’s so much action, it passes you by in a blur. But upon turning the last page, I realized that the characters were rather forgettable; none of them struck out to me as particularly lovable, or people that I wanted to know more about. They were just tools to further an interesting plot rather than integral components of the plot itself. I will, however, give Robinson credit for the end – I didn’t see it coming at all, and I’m inclined to give the second book a read, just to see how the story ends; Robinson has a way for making you think that you know where the plot’s going, but veering it completely off-course along the path. In a good way.

Ultimately, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is a fast-paced, fun, and deliciously horrific ride into the author’s creative talents, and there’s a lot going for it. If you’re a plot-driven reader, you’ll enjoy it, and if you enjoy retellings, this is the book for you. But be wary about the acephobia and the tokenism before going into it.

TRIGGER WARNING

Attempted sexual assault; violence; graphic depictions of gore

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Book Review | Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

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♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡  s t a r s

Norah is seventeen years old, and she hasn’t really stepped outside of her house since she was thirteen except for the occasional visit to her therapist. She has agoraphobia, anxiety and OCD, and there are too many things in the outside world that can cause harm – so she stays inside the four walls of her home, her safe haven, where she reads, watches movies, and builds forts and miniature structures from edibles. When the new boy next door starts making an effort to talk to her, Norah feels the pull to step out of her comfort zone. He’s charming, he’s cute, and has a smile that sends tingles down her spine, but Norah, despite wanting to, is terrified of letting him in.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is as beautiful as the title sounds and the cover looks. Written with fluidity and grace, Gornall weaves words like a mastermind, conveying emotion by employing just the right vocabulary, just the right tone. It’s poetic and lyrical, without ever feeling purple. There’s something incredibly challenging about writing a book set almost entirely within the four walls of one girl’s house, but Gornall’s writing never lets you notice this until you pause, think, and admire the feat. When we think of masterful world-building, we think about fantasy universes with their own continents, governments, schools, magic systems – but the world-building in this book is confined to a house… and it’s just as good as the world-building in the best of fantasy novels. That may seem like a hyperbolic statement to you, but I don’t think it is. The author focuses on micro-details and makes it work- from the texture of Norah’s bedsheets to the contents of her refrigerator, the feel of her hallway and the aura around her windows, everything is precise, polished, and wonderfully done.

But the writing style and the world-building are just two facets of this beautiful tale. Its empathetic portrayal of the relationship between a mother and her daughter, between a young girl and her mentor, her therapist, between a girl and a boy, and this girl and herself – each and every relationship is given the perfect weight, resulting in a wholesome, balanced story that never gets boring, never does too much. Make no mistake – this is not a book about romance, it’s not one about Norah’s therapy, and it’s not a book about her relationships. It’s not a book that uses mental illness as a plot point in any plot mentioned above; it’s a book about a girl with disabilities who’s living her day-to-day life, maneuvering through family, romance and therapy as best as she can. This is what we need in contemporaries. Books that place the person at the forefront, while never ignoring, glamorizing or romanticizing their mental illness.

What makes the story lift and soar are the characters, but most specifically Norah. She’s everything I love in a character – in a human being, in fact. She’s shy and introspective, she doesn’t say much but when she does, she’s smart and funny. Her incredibly empathetic nature, her genuine regard for other people before herself, and her strength and vulnerability make her such a beautiful character. Her voice in moments when she’s vulnerable beyond anything she’s ever known, as well as when she’s navigating daily life, to her desires and hopes and dreams – everything feels so authentic. I felt like I was reading about a friend, and I teared up multiple times, just because I felt so deeply for her. Not pity. NEVER pity, but empathy. This is an empathetic book, not a sympathetic one, and I think it’s meant to be that way.

Luke, also, was such a beautifully constructed character. When he was introduced, I was apprehensive because too often have I seen the trope where falling in love cures mental illnesses, but that apprehension need not have been there. I loved the slow-burn of Luke’s relationship with Norah, because it gave time for Norah to ease into an unfamiliar situation, and acquaint herself with feeling how she felt, and what it would mean for her. I loved Luke’s attitude; instead of giving her unwanted advice, instead of trying to change any part of her life, he sought to learn and understand. He’s not perfect; he makes mistakes, and sometimes I wanted to smack him, but he’s such an incredibly kind, soft person who tries his best to understand, falters along the way, but is determined to learn and straighten himself up. He was given complexities and dilemmas of his own outside of this relationship, and sure, I would have liked to learn more about his family, but I don’t say that as a flaw in the book – it’s actually a compliment, believe it or not.

Because, for the life of me, I did not want it to end. It read like a movie, something playing in front of my eyes, with characters that I loved, adored and wanted to stay with for much, much longer. I wanted it to go on, and I would have happily read on for a couple hundred more pages. Not because it was too short; no, it was the perfect length. I’ve just become so invested in these characters’ lives that I’m craving more, and I don’t think I’ve ever said this for a contemporary stand-alone before. Any stand-alone, in fact.

If you’ve been following my reading and my reviewing for a while now, you’d know that I don’t give out five-star ratings easily. Very rarely do I come across books that I can’t find a flaw in, that I can start over right after finishing them gladly, but this is one of those rarities. It flung itself in my ‘favorites’ list, and I didn’t even realize it until after I’d turned the last page, but here I am: enamored, gushing, and wanting – no – needing more.

TRIGGER WARNING

Anxiety-inducing scenes, some suicidal ideations, and self-harm.

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ARC Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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FTC DISCLOSURE

♡ ♡ ♡  .  5   S T A R S

Dimple Shah has issues with her parents, more specifically her mother. Dimple’s a career woman with a passion for education and coding; she can’t stand putting on makeup or dressing up, and she couldn’t care less about finding an I.I.H – the Ideal Indian Husband. The problem is that her traditionally cultural mother doesn’t understand this, and if it were up to her, Dimple would be married to a suitable, nice boy by now. When Dimple gets the chance to go to San Francisco for the summer to attend a coding camp, she encounters a nasty surprise: Rishi. He was sent by his and her parents who’d promised Rishi that they’d get married after they’d met. But their first meeting doesn’t go quite as planned. Now, they have to spend a summer together – Rishi, a hopeless romantic is smitten by her, and Dimple, frustrated and annoyed, needs to achieve her coding goals and possibly get by without murdering Rishi or her parents.

When Dimple Met Rishi is the perfect example of what a Bollywood movie on paper looks like. It’s heartfelt, it’s fun, it’s fast-paced, and at times it’s so melodramatic that it’s ridiculous – but mostly in a good way. Part rom-com, part coming-of-age story, Menon’s woven a story that will capture the hearts of hopeless romantics like Rishi, as well as the more ‘practical’ ones who put their career goals before their love lives. It offers well-integrated insight into Indian culture, includes Hindi dialogue seamlessly into the narrative with food and Bollywood references that any person who’s familiar with the culture will immediately spot and grin at, while those who are unfamiliar will learn, and may want to know more. But make no mistake, When Dimple Met Rishi is not about Indian culture – that’s just there.

Which is one of the things that makes the book so special, in my mind. So often, South Asian cultures are reduced to stereotypes – even, to some extent, by authors from the same background. Which is not me saying that their experiences are less. They’re not, but just that it can be incredibly alienating for readers to find the same type of narratives everywhere they turn. This particular book doesn’t do that; it’s about a young girl, living her life, doing what she loves, having her issues, falling in love. These stories far outweigh the negative ones, and we rarely get to see them in books. There is infinite value in books like these because they serve to diversify, not other.

There is also infinite value in Soft Boys – I’ve said this time and time again, but I’m sick and tired of the bad boy trope. I need me some soft boys in YA lit – guys who are just nice, and do nice things, and think nice thoughts, who respect other people and thus get respect back. Rishi Patel is the ultimate soft boy, and I love him. He’s such a kind, thoughtful person who does little things to make people happy; there are facets to his personality that everyone can relate to. His respect and love for his parents was something that immediately clicked with me, while his struggle with needing to be the perfect son and wanting a career in something that might not make him bags of money is something that I feel a lot of South Asian kids would relate to. Soft, but not without his own flaws and complexities, and I really loved how Menon executed his character.

On the flip side, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Dimple. I admired her initially – gutsy, outspoken, strong-willed and feisty, but as time wore on, her initial charm wore off – particularly when it comes to her behavior around Rishi. There is a scene near the beginning of their meeting where she forces him to drink alcohol at a party, after he repeatedly refuses. She pushes him into situations that are uncomfortable for him more than a few times; she crosses the line more than a few times, and even though I didn’t mind her individually, her behavior was frustrating and frankly, a little shocking. Some may say that this ‘flaw’ is what makes Dimple’s character complex, but I would disagree. Not to give anything away, but these things are never challenged. They just are, and Rishi goes along with them. If the genders were flipped, perhaps more people would notice that it is not okay for someone to constantly push and shove someone else into literal submission.

When you don’t like the main character, other things start to pop up. For one, the insta-love is an issue. I can’t say much about that at risk of spoilers, but falling so madly and deeply in love within a few weeks? Not buying it. On top of that, the romance was a little too cheesy for my taste, but some people enjoy the thrill of first-love cheese, so that’s entirely subjective. I also felt that the ending was rushed, and way too melodramatic – the ending was one I’ve seen in one too many Bollywood movies, and I felt that Menon could’ve done something different, something more interesting.

But ultimately, despite all the flaws, When Dimple Met Rishi is a good addition to your summer reading list; it is fun, it’s flirty, you’ll devour it because it’s addictive. And by the turn of the last page, you’ll definitely want more – come to me for some Bollywood recs; you’ll need them!

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