0

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

25695574Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung
Published 6th Sept 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Goodreads

Summary: Gilmore Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat in this witty novel about navigating life in private school while remaining true to yourself.

Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she’s worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular trio who wield influence over classmates and teachers alike.

Linh is blunt, strong-willed, and fearless—everything Lucy once loved about herself. She is also Lucy’s last solid link to her life before private school, but she is growing tired of being eclipsed by the glamour of the Cabinet.

As Lucy floats further away from the world she once knew, her connection to Linh—and to her old life—threatens to snap. Sharp and honest, Alice Pung’s novel examines what it means to grow into the person you want to be without leaving yourself behind.

94d79c435278d6937a056ac4bf97bd4c_13.png

Lucy and Linh is a fantastic addition to the prep school arc. When I first read this book, the first thing I thought about was Gossip Girl. Think of it as a more deep and intellectual version of Gossip Girl. I really enjoyed the character growth in this one.

Lucy and Linh is written in the form of letters, from Lucy to Linh. Linh is a bit of a mysterious character. Although Lucy writes countless letters to her, she never responds and occasionally shows up to fight against injustice against Lucy. Lucy is a wonderful character. She is an Asian, living in a poorer part of Australia, and against her better judgement, decides to take up the test for a chance to win a scholarship to Laurinda.

Laurinda is an all girls school led by three girls collectively known as the Cabinet. These girls are intelligent, beautiful, well liked (sort of) yet there’s something so cunning and horrible about all of them that people seemingly allow them to get them away with it.

Lucy and Linh is incredibly character-based. The story progresses on a day to day basis, but what keeps It interesting is how Lucy handles her day and navigates her new life in Laurinda. She recognises her weakness, her strengths, the bad in people, but also the good. What I love about this book is that there is absolutely zero love interest in this book. Just pure character development and girls, learning about themselves. I love it!

This book is so easy to fly through and so engaging and entertaining that you wouldn’t want to put it down. Definitely a heartwarming and beautiful ending, a total must have for your shelves.

5heart.png

Advertisements
0

People Like Us by Dana Mele

35356380People Like Us by Dana Mele

Published 27 Feb 2018

Goodreads

Summary: Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

94d79c435278d6937a056ac4bf97bd4c_13.png

Admittedly, when I first saw this on netgalley I was attracted to it because of its cover. It reminded me of Gossip Girl and intrigued me even more when I found out that it’s a campus mystery. I’m still high from One of Us Is Lying and I wanted more campus mysteries similar to it.

People Like Us has its own merits. We meet our protagonist, who turns out to be somewhat of an antagonist. Our main character, Kay, reminded me a lot of Tease, where both protagonist are antagonists. They are both bullies, self-aware and somewhat trying but not really. Kay is not supposed to be a likable character. She’s not supposed to have a moral compass. Kay is detestable, annoying and childish. From the start to the end, Kay controls her own destiny. She started investigating to save herself, to protect her past, and even to the vey last page, Kay Donovan only thinks about herself.

Sure, Kay grew as a character. She acknowledges her faults and owns up to it by apologizing to her victims. But the problem with Kay is that as she mends the bridges she’s burned, she breaks more bridges along the way. She’s neither genuinely good or inherently evil. I think that’s what attractive about Kay as a character. She’s very 3 dimensional, and feels very real. All of us are like this in some ways. We’re neither here nor there, neither good or bad, but we are all trying. And I think that’s what Kay is just trying to do. Try.

People Like Us kept me turning the pages. It started a little bit slow but got more exciting towards the middle. i enjoyed the idea of a revenge blog, though the first two missions seemed too easy and convenient. A filler mission, almost, just to rid us of some characters from the clique. The real exciting parts begin when we meet Nola, an outsider and the relationships that Kay tries to build with the people most unlikely.

People Like Us does leave a little bit unexplained. A lot of the why isn’t answered satisfactorily. I kind of get it, but it doesn’t explain why it had to be this way, why the killer backtracked in the end. It seems like the killer as a whole as another backstory that either I missed, or just wasn’t explained entirely. That’s the only reason why I knocked a star off People Like Us.

For fans of mysteries, campus mysteries, mean girls and One of Us Is Lying. Definitely one for the shelves, and one that’ll keep you talking for a while.

4heart_2.png

0

One of Us Is Lying By Karen M. McManus

32571395One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Published 30 May 2017 by Delacorte Press

Goodreads

Summary: The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

94d79c435278d6937a056ac4bf97bd4c_13.png

STOP EVERYTHING THIS IS MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK.

I knew right from the summary that this book is going to be my next favourite thing. It had potential to be great and it lived up to my expectations.

Throughout the whole book, I was thinking about who could have done this to Simon and its written so well that I couldn’t figure out who the killer was till the very end. This book was such a thrilling ride. It was so exciting, and I loved that it was told in four different perspectives. It’s always great to be able to see the same scene from different point of views and I think it helps to get into their psych and doing all the guess work. This book is just so addictive. Once things got started it was just extremely hard to stop. I had to force myself to pace through this book because I just didn’t want it to end so quickly.

There are so many interesting twists and turns to the plot that at once point it seemed like everything was figured out, but more angles were explored, more people were pinpointed and suddenly, everything isn’t so clear anymore. I thought personally the secrets that were exposed were kind of mild but when interlinked together, it sort of made sense of those whole situation. It sparks a heavy discussion about our current society, its demands, its prejudice. The entitlement. In a way, the conclusion of the murder case really made me think a lot about the motive and the question remains: was it worth it?

I loved this book. From the characters (and their self discovery and growth!), to the moving plot (when they started to take things into their own hands, that was my favourite!); everything about this book is perfect.

I want this as a Netflix original movie or even a series, kind of like Pretty Little Liars. I mean, why not? Please someone, grant me this wish!

5heart.png

0

Real Friends By Shannon Hale

31145178Real Friends By Shannon Hale, Illustrated By LeUyen Pham

Published 2 May 2017 by First Second

Goodreads

Summary: When best friends are not forever . . .

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group—or out?

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Timesbestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it’s worth the journey.

94d79c435278d6937a056ac4bf97bd4c_12.png

This hit home so hard.

I had a similar childhood. I had difficulties making friends, then I moved and thought I had a great group of friends before that turned out to be a sham. They were mean, nasty little girls and when I moved up to secondary school I thought I’d make better friends. Wrong. I didn’t.

I understood where Shannon was coming from. There is nothing spectacular about the plot — it wasn’t moving or gripping but it is important. It’s important because we need to talk about this more. We need to talk about bullying, about loneliness, OCD and our own battles with ourselves. This book isn’t riveting but it delves into some extremely real and relatable problems. Real Friends provides us with an outlook of something that everyone of us has experienced before: loneliness, struggling to fit in, fake friends, and the desperate search for true friendship. It talks about sibling rivalry, sibling bullying and even touches on the importance of asking for permission before doing something like kissing someone.

I read the acknowledgement that the author had written at the end of the book. One where she felt the need to have her main character (also named Shannon) to have the ability to say “no” to her bully instead of easily forgiving. She wanted to instil the idea that it was okay for us to say no and create boundaries between us and the bullies or the people who hurt us. I think this is important — because so often we’re told to live and let live, to forgive and forget, but they don’t tell us what to do when it gets hard and difficult to do that.

I want this book to be read by everyone, of every age group because of this importance. It is important to be able to make your own choices, to have the ability to say no when it is uncomfortable for you and not to give in because of what others will say about you. It is important that we keep talking about this, that we keep sharing our stories and continue to help keep each other afloat.

Read this. Please.

This is going straight into my favourites pile.

5heart.png

0

Username: Evie By Joe Sugg

Username: Evie By Joe Sugg
Published 22 Sept 2015 By Running Press

Goodreads

Summary: Like anyone who feels as though they just don’t fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself.

Despite his failing health, Evie’s father comes close to creating such a virtual idyll. Passing away before it’s finished, he leaves her the key in the form of an app, and Evie finds herself transported to a world where the population is influenced by her personality. Everyone shines in her presence, until her devious cousin, Mallory, discovers the app… and the power to cause trouble in paradise.

94d79c435278d6937a056ac4bf97bd4c

I tried.

I have a lot to say about Username: Evie. As you may already know by now, Username: Evie is written by Joe Sugg, an extremely popular British YouTuber. Maybe just like every other celebrity book, you go in with some kind of expectation, or in some cases, very little expectations.

Username: Evie is a graphic novel, so really, its much easier to grasp but it came with a lot of flaws.

The plot of Username: Evie was simple. Evie is an outcast, and one day, she discovers a whole new world / virtual reality world created by her father. The new world is fuelled by positivity and was designed to make Evie feel welcomed and loved… until her cousin comes and spreads negativity and it becomes a zombie apocalypse.

One of the major problems I had with Username: Evie was the plot.There was not enough world building after Evie comes into the new world. Not much about it was explained, other than its a safe place for her. There were a lot of holes — why is her cousin like that, why does her cousin become super evil in the new world, how is she allowed to come into the world, how negativity spreads and makes everyone zombies.

You get it.

The transition between one scene to another is too fast — more could have been done in terms of world building, explaining the relationships between Evie and her cousin. Its very difficult to feel much for any of the characters when there’s a serious lack in character development and introduction.

For a graphic novel, it came with a lot of flaws, especially since its the first book in the series. I’m not sure how its going to pick up, or if it will explore more into the world and characters but it is something I hope is addressed in the next book.

1heart

0

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Published 31 July 2016 By Little Brown UK

Goodreads

Summary: The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

 photo review_zps95cdca33.png

Wow.

Holy crap.

I had expected nothing, and so much all at once. I pre-ordered this somewhere early July, went straight to the bookstore in the morning of July 31st and on my train ride home, I began to read. I read as I walked home, I read through the parks. I just kept flipping pages.

Maybe this is what most of us needed. A closure, and a new beginning all at once. To be able to immerse ourselves into the magical world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts. Or at least, this is what I wanted.

The Cursed Child has everything and more. I flew through it, partly because its a script, but also because it was so interesting. I loved how the script stays true to the older characters and the interactions between our beloved trio is still, after all these years, as heartwarming and hilarious as ever. Its so interesting to be able to see how our trio has grown up and attempt a hand at raising their own children — the realities of being a parent; the ability to understand their children, or otherwise. But above all, they don’t forget what’s been taught to them in their younger years, from Dumbledore or their experiences for that matter.

The addition and our ability to now visualise the Potter-Granger children or Weasley-Granger children is amazing. I loved that we are now given new characters that are so different yet so familiar to us. I absolutely loved Albus Potter and his unexpected friendship with Scorpius Malfoy. Its also pretty interesting to see a Potter “deviate” from the Gryfindor loving, brave and unwithering Harry Potter prototype. It gives the Potter name a breath of fresh air.

Overall, I absolutely loved Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. I hope that the play will go wordwide at some point and that we get more books to continue on from The Cursed Child. Honestly, there are fans who are against this, fans who worry that The Cursed Child will ruin the initial story — but The Cursed Child isn’t the original story. It’s a continuation, with new (yet old) characters that are familiar and unfamiliar to us. I for one am rooting for there to be more books!

 photo fourstar_zps900cd6ef.png

1

The Worrier’s Guide To Life By Gemma Correll

The Worrier’s Guide To Life By Gemma Correll
Published 26 May 2015 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Goodreads

Summary: If you’re floundering in life, striking out in love, struggling to pay the rent, and worried about it all — you’re in luck! World Champion Worrier and Expert Insomniac Gemma Correll is here to assure you that it could be much, much worse.

In her hugely popular comic drawings, Gemma Correll dispenses dubious advice and unreliable information on life as she sees it, including The Dystopian Zodiac, Reward Stickers for Grown-Ups, Palm Reading for Millennials, and a Map of the Introvert’s Heart. For all you fellow agonizers, fretters, and nervous wrecks, this book is for you. Read it and weep…with laughter

 photo review_zps95cdca33.png

I was so excited to discover this book on goodreads that I immediately looked it up at my local library.

The Worrier’s Guide is essentially a collection of pictures that reflect a worrier and their view of the world.

I had expected the Worrier’s Guide to be a funny tongue-in-cheek way of describing what anxiety is. Sadly, I couldn’t find it too relatable. Very little pages resonated with me, and I am someone who has anxiety. Then again, I should say that different people go through different things and anxiety isn’t the same for everyone.

The book fell short of my expectations. It isn’t a book you need, but it’s a book that you can flip through quickly at the library or the bookstore. Interesting pictures, hilarious in parts, but nothing to really hold my attention.

 photo 3star_zpsb2dce710.png

0

The Rest of Us Just Live Here By Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here By Patrick Ness
Published 27 Aug 2015 By Walker Books

Goodreads

Summary: What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

 photo review_zps95cdca33.png

If you’re looking for a book about superheroes, then this book isn’t for you.

I’ve never read any of Patrick Ness’ previous work, so I went into this without expectations. But now I see why people say he’s brilliant. What I like about this book is that Patrick Ness took a typical story about Chosen Ones and made it into something simpler. Something so uncool that it became cool. Patrick Ness wrote a book about a group of ordinary friends who just want to graduate. How much simpler can you get?

The book begins with a group of friends discussing graduation, and noticing a group of Indie kids disappearing. The Indie kids are described as the Chosen Ones — constantly worrying and busy trying to save the world, where all Mikey and his friends want to do is graduate and talk about that new transfer kid.

What makes this book more interesting is that every chapter starts out with whatever is going on with the Indie Kids. In a way you’re getting a story within a story that correlates and helps complete the bigger picture.

Now, if the plot is too simple for you (yeah, I know, a bunch of kids and an apocalypse plot, sheesh) the characters are going to sell it to you. Seriously. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is character-driven. I appreciate that Patrick Ness took the time to create such a diverse group of friends. They’re so diverse that they become relatable. There’s bound to be someone in the group that you can relate to, or know someone just like them. The characters are what makes the book special to me. I honestly believe that if this book was real and in present moment, we are these group of friends.

Personally, I wanted to give up on this book. The first few chapters were confusing, and slightly boring that I just wanted to return the book and move on. But I’m glad I continued reading because I became completely invested in it.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here is maybe not everyone’s up of tea. Maybe it’s too simple, or too boring for most. Maybe it lacked the plot that people are looking for. But throw away all your expectations and strip it to its bare minimum — The Rest of Us Just Live Here is an average book about average people. And that’s all there is to it.

 photo fourstar_zps900cd6ef.png

0

Drama By Raina Telgemeier

Drama By Raina Telgemeier
Published 1 Sept 2012 By GRAPHIX

Goodreads

Summary: PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

 photo review_zps95cdca33.png

Two years ago I read Raina Telgemeier’s Smile for the #AntiBullyingReads challenge and absolutely loved it. Last year, I decided to pick up her other book, Drama and fell in love again. (Note: I wrote this review when I read it last year. Posted it on Goodreads — forgot to post it here. Enjoy!)

Drama offers the same writing and illustrative style that will be familiar to those who have read Smile. Drama revolves around Callie, an enthusiastic set designer for her school’s productions and theatre lover. Similarly to Smile, Drama not only focuses on Callie’s journey as a set designer for Moon Over Mississippi, but also touches on other relatable issues like fitting in, falling in love and acceptance.

Drama is Raina Telgemeier’s original work (unlike Smile which is an autobiography of the author), and is also told in a graphic novel format, but Drama is just as good as Smile. Drama offers the same qualities that Smile had — it was relatable, it was funny but it was also heartwarming. Drama also delved a little bit LGBT, with some gay characters and I loved how Callie had interactions with them and the different storylines that she had with them.

Drama is a wonderful book that talks about important and relevant issues in an approachable manner and I think people of all ages could enjoy reading this book. I would have given this a full 5 stars, but I knocked off 1 star because sometimes I felt that it was a wee bit too focused on the relationship aspect rather than the theatre production, though I definitely appreciate the author’s efforts in trying to bring in the theatre element as much as possible.

 photo fourstar_zps900cd6ef.png

0

Diamonds Are Forever By Michelle Madow

Diamonds Are Forever By Michelle Madow
The Secret Diamond Sisters #3
Published 27 Oct 2015 By Harlequin Teen

Goodreads

Summary: It’s cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents’ wedding approaches, the pressure’s on to reveal their relationship.

Peyton’s figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.

 photo review_zps95cdca33.png

The end.

I am so sad to say goodbye to the Diamond girls. It had been such a good series. I admit, this book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It isn’t one of those action packed, super intelligent Young Adult books. The plot of this series (and this third instalment) is simple. Perhaps a little cliche, and this time, a little predictable but it is still good. I’m not going to knock it down because it isn’t what people would call an “intelligent” book.

Diamonds are Forever picks up a little after the ending of its second book, Diamonds in the Rough. After the ending of Diamonds in the Rough, I anticipated and expected a lot from Diamonds are Forever. Diamonds are Forever was predictable and its ending was a little rushed. Nevertheless, Diamonds are Forever came to a good conclusion. Everyone had their own happy endings, and I like that about this series. One of the main things that hooked me about this series from the start is the characters. Madow weaved in the different characters well. The sisters had their own colour and personalities. They are as typical as they come, but they had their own merits.

I wish that Diamonds are Forever would have elaborated more on Adrian’s back story. After the crazy revelations in the second book, it would have been good to know what really went down with Adrian back in the day. Still, the main focus of the story is about the Diamond sisters — so I won’t complain about that much.

I am so intrigued by the ending. I hadn’t expected Brianna to get her own chapter at the end, but she DID. And now I’m expecting a whole spin off based on Brianna’s story. Kind of like what they did with the Gossip Girl series, with Jenny Humphrey’s character. I don’t know if that is what Madow wants to do or has in mind, but I am all for it!

Now… can someone pick it up as a TV show already? This series is just as crazy addictive as Gossip Girl. I don’t see why it shouldn’t get its own TV series!

 photo fourstar_zps900cd6ef.png