IT’S TIME FOR SOME MORE MINI REVIEWS! I’ve read some pretty great books recently (and some meh ones too, but shh, let’s focus on the positive), so I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done just reviews on my blog, so I hope you’ll find some new releases to add to your TBR if you haven’t got to these ones already! ENJOY!
YAAAAS. I loved this one! I’m always a massive fan of #LoveOzYA contemporaries, but THIS ONE was particularly outstanding! I just related to the characters so much and loved the reluctant friendship, and it was just perfect. I LOVED the banter between Alice and Teddy, and ahh, they were just ADORABLE! This is the kind of book you need in your life.
Alice Dyson knows what she’s going to be doing in her last year of high school. Her plans consist of keeping her head down, studying, getting good grades, and — it goes without saying — not mixing with the most notorious trouble-maker in school. But Teddy has other plans. After a viral video throws Alice into the unwilling centre of attention, Teddy refuses to leave her alone. Great. Making Friends with Alice Dyson is a story about rumours, friendship, and discovering who you really are.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO LOVE THESE TWO CHARACTERS EVEN MORE?! I related to Alice so hard — because yeah, I was definitely that nerd obsessed with doing well in high school. I felt like we had an instant connection. And then there’s Teddy, who is super mischievous and spontaneous and it was impossible not to fall in love with him. THEIR FRIENDSHIP GAVE ME LIIIIIIFE. It was just such a realistic book that I know so many people are going to see themselves in, and it’s an Aussie contemporary you need in your life. THE. CUTEST.
Oh my GOODNESS. THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL IS SERIOUSLY THE CUTEST THING I’VE EVER LAID EYES ON! I’d been excited about it ever since I hear about its 2019 release, because y’all know I’m here for books that are queer and involve baking and a seaside town — so BONUS POINTS for this glorious creation having all three things in one. Plus, the art style is gorgeous and if you love Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper, you can’t miss this one.
Bloom is about a boy whose father owns a bakery he’s forced to work at. But he dreams of moving to the city with his band and doing something “bigger” than his small country town allows for. So he decides to interview people to take his place at the bakery, and that’s when he meets a boy who’s just moved to town. A friendship starts to bloom (ha, see what I did there?) as the two work together, but it slowly transforms into something more…
This is the type of graphic novel you’ll want to curl up on the couch with, cup of hot chocolate in hand and pastries by your side. It was such an easy book to fly through — and it was one I didn’t want to put down until I’d turned the final page. IT WAS SUPURB. If you’re looking for more queer things in your life (which, to be fair, everyone should be) and you’d like to give graphic novels a go, I highly recommend starting with Bloom!
ANOTHER MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE OF 2019! I absolutely love Shaun David Hutchinson’s work — so much so that I was refreshing the Audible page for his latest release every half hour the day this book was being released just so I could be one of the first to read it. And WOW, this book blew my mind. I know it’s pretty hard for any of his other books to top the love I have for We Are the Ants (because that book CHANGED MY LIFE), but The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried came damn well close. It was just phenomenal.
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried is about a boy named Dino who works at his family business, a funeral home, when one day his ex-best friend dies… and then comes back to life. However, she’s really alive. Together, Dino and July have to figure out what’s happening and also confront why their friendship ended so badly. But at its core, this is a book about friendship, the mysteries of life, and the importance of letting go.
I honestly don’t know where to start, because this book was just so good. The characters! The supernatural elements! The romance! ALL OF IT. But I think what made this book a five-star read for me was how it centred around a friendship — because we don’t get many YA novels like this — and how Dino and July had to figure out what went wrong between them and how they had to try to work together to fix the whole “undead phenomenon” thing. IT WAS AMAZING. If you’re a fan of Shaun’s other work or if you liked Undead Girl Gang, I think you’ll really love this one too.
Oh goodness, I’m sad to report that I didn’t love this one as much as I had hoped. IT WASN’T TERRIBLE, DON’T GET ME WRONG. It was just more of a three-star read for me. I know it’s a retelling and so it won’t feel entirely fresh, but it just… fell flat for me. I feel like I’ve read so many books with similar tropes, and I just wasn’t feeling it. There were aspects I enjoyed, but on the whole, it was a pretty meh reading experience.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling about Prince Rhen, who’s the heir to Emberfall, and needs a girl to fall in love with him before he turns into a beast hell-bent on destruction — a beast that destroyed his castle, his family, and his hope. Harper’s life has been anything but easy. Her father’s long gone, her remaining family is barely holding it together, and everyone is constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy. When she’s snatched away to the land of Emberfall, she begins to realise what’s at stake, and that it will take more than a broken curse to save the kingdom from ruin.
My favourite aspect of this novel definitely Harper, and the cerebral palsy representation. It was really great to see that in YA, but I liked how it wasn’t her “defining characteristic”. She was just a strong, fierce young woman who was sick of being underestimated, and I LOVED that about her. Her interactions with Grey were also great! And then there was Rhen… ahh, Rhen. I LOVE ME A SOFT MONSTER. I am complete trash for characters like Rhen, and I absolutely fell head-over heels for him. I would have liked some more world-building and development on Harper’s family, but I suppose the next book will build on that! Not sure if I’ll get to it, but it’ll be interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts.
HOW HAVE I READ SO MANY AMAZING BOOKS LATELY?! I was super lucky to read this book while I was interning at a publishing house, because that means I sneakily got my hands on it early. And wow, I just loved it so damn much. It was the wholesome contemporary book I needed in my life right now, and seriously, this one is going to be one you won’t want to miss.
With the Fire on High is about a girl who has some tough decisions to make — she’s in her last year of high school, has a baby daughter, and she’s enrolled in a culinary school, but she needs to find enough money to join the rest of her peers on a trip to Spain. But it’s once she starts cooking that all of her worries fade into the background, and she can’t help but think this is what she wants to do with her life: be a chef.
This book was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, I felt like I could smell the aromas of the kitchen and taste the delicious dishes that Emoni was making. IT MADE ME HUNGRY THOUGH. And it was so nice to read a YA novel where the protagonist has a young child, but that’s not the entire focus of the book? Like yes, it was of course a major aspect in Emoni’s life and her decision making, but it didn’t overwhelm the stories like some “issues books” do with certain topics. IT WAS JUST SUCH A WHOLESOME READ. Loooooved it.
Have you read any of the books I read recently? What did you think of them? Will you be adding any of them to your TBR? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks to Wakefield Press for providing me with a copy of Making Friends with Alice Dyson in exchange for an honest review!