Life Among Pages

Book Reviews and Personal Musings

Tag: Young Adult (Page 1 of 3)

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera | Review

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Cover for What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveria with Harry Potter wand, Baby Driver movie tickets and Hamiliton soundtrack cover image

4 Stars


“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.” 
I feel quite conflicted by this book. On one hand it was a super cute, enjoyable, lighthearted read. When I first saw the title I immediately thought of the song from Dear Evan Hansen and once I started reading the book I knew that was Becky and Adam’s intention, especially as the lyrics are split to form the different parts of the book: “What If”, “It’s Us”, “And Only Us”.

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated. Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play? But what if it is?” Summary from Goodreads

“I’m just going to live in the moment. That’s the only way to see where we end up.” 

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Review

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda book surrounded by paper stars

5 stars


“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

This book was recommended to me so many times, and finally last year I got it for my birthday. I couldn’t wait to read it, especially when the film adaption was announced and I finished the book before seeing the film, and oh my God they did so well. Sure  there were changes but nothing too major that spoiled my enjoyment.

I loved this book so much, my heart was just bursting with love for Simon and Blue by the end and I’m kicking myself for having not read this sooner.

‘Sixteen-year-old and not so openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met’ (Summary from Goodreads).

“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mould. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.”

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Hollow City by Ransom Riggs | Review

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Miss Peregrines: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs beside vintage photos that are included in the hardcover box set edition of the series and with a canvas pouch featuring a quote from the book on it.

4 stars


“I liked this idea: that peculiarness wasn’t a deficiency, but an abundance; that it wasn’t we who lacked something normals had, but they who lacked peculiarness. That we were more, not less.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this, it’s a great continuation of the series. It picks up directly where the previous book left off, with them rowing away from the island of Cairnholm. The high stakes were great, the time sensitive mission added a lot to the story. I also like the new additions and knowledge about the peculiar world we received.

“This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerising) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages”Summary from Goodreads.

“We aren’t so different. Outcasts and wanderers all—souls clinging to the margins of the world.”

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The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling | Review

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cover of the Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling, beside purple fake flowers, and Read Under the Stars bookmark by CreateExploreRead

2.5 stars


“It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is totally impossible.” 

I had a strange relationship with The Loneliness of Distant Beings, it held my interest enough when I was actively reading but as soon as I put it down to do something else it would all fade from memory and I didn’t feel like I had to pick it back up. I just sort of felt a bit meh about it all.

“Even though she knows it’s impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It’s something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you’re floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can’t help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they’ve ever known, or to each other?” Summary from Goodreads.

Please be advised there are some spoilers beyond this point.

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This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab | Review

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Cover for This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab surrounded by paper stars and tally marks

4 stars


“We each have a song. A piece of music that belongs only to us, something we’re born with, like a fingerprint.”

This Savage Song was different to what I imagined, not that I had a clear idea of what I expected. There was just a lot of hype about this book and the author all over Instagram when this book was published, and I always feel a little dubious whenever there is a lot of hype. But after reading the blurb I was definitely intrigued, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.” Summary from Goodreads

“The beautiful thing about books was that anyone could open them.”

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All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Review

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4 stars

“You’re all the colours at one, in full brightness.”

All The Bright Places is a very powerful book. It had me wondering about how it would end, because as the story progresses you know it can only end one of two ways with both main characters alive or one not so alive.

‘Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.’ (Summary from Goodreads)

“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” 

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Editing Emma by Chloe Seager | ARC Review

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Cover of Editing Emma, lying next to my macbook Pro, with its Karen hallion laptop skin which features the 10th doctor and Hermione Granger, with a life and goals journal and pen

3.5 stars

THANK YOU TO HARLEQUIN TEEN AUSTRALIA & NETGALLEY FOR GIVING ME AN EGALLEY OF THIS BOOK IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW

This was definitely an interesting read that was quite different to what I expected it; from the blurb below I thought it would be quite similar to Zoe Sugg’s Girl Online series, but it was definitely more mature and looked into the darker side of the web.

“When sixteen-year-old Emma Nash is ‘ghosted’ by the love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any normal teenage girl would do… Emma spends the summer lurking in her bedroom, avoiding all human contact (and the shower), surrounded by the collection of chewit wrappers she saved from packs Leon gave her, back when he actually acknowledged her existence…

But seeing Leon suddenly ‘In a relationship’ on Facebook with the perfect Anna, spurs Emma into action and she embarks on a mission to make positive changes to her life (or ‘edits,’ if you will) and vows to use the internet for more than obsessively stalking Leon’s activities! Instead, she will use it for good and noble causes like finding someone who will actually be nice to her, and recording her findings for the rest of the world to see (i.e. BFF Steph and her mum) on her new Editing Emma blog.

But Emma soon discovers her ‘habit’ is harder to break than she first thought – turns out she’s not the only one ‘editing’ herself online (thank you Tinder for finding her mum’s profile, age 35, really?) and that life through an Instagram filter isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. But it could be worse, she could have outed her best friend, accidentally chatted up a 12 year old boy and revealed to the world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s time or virginity… oh no wait, that’s exactly what happened…” (Summary from Goodreads)

“EVIDENCE: Heed my warning. DO NOT make life decisions that will actually affect your future based around someone you like. Even if you think you may ‘love’ them. It is not worth it. You will end up like me. I am doing a whole extra AS level because I am an idiot.” 

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Am I Normal Yet? By Holly Bourne | Review

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Am I Normal Yet cover, on scattered pages surrounded by polaroid pictures of my friends and I

5 stars

I absolutely loved Am I Normal Yet? I thought it was just incredibly well written and was honest about mental health. Which we need more of in today’s world. I am so happy with the surge of YA books featuring various forms of mental health hitting the shelves recently. Showing teens that its okay to feel this way and will hopefully gets them to seek help.

‘All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?’Summary from Goodreads

“It was like I’d climbed Everest, had the summit in my sight, the flag in my hand, all ready to pierce it into the top of the mountain and say, “Whoopdedoo, I made it,” and then an avalanche from out of nowhere swept me right back to the bottom of the mountain again.”

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Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody | ARC Review

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Cover of Daughter of the Burning City on my iPad, surrounded by fake flowers 

4 Stars

“In short, there is a lot a city can see, hear and experience by traveling the world. Thus, we manage to mingle in the affairs of virtually everyone, and we gain enough intelligence from each destination to pull some powerful political strings.”

THANK YOU TO HARLEQUIN (AUSTRALIA) & NETGALLEY FOR GIVING ME AN EGALLEY OF THIS BOOK IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW

Daughter of the Burning City was quite different to what I expected going in, for some reason I wasn’t expecting it to be as focused on the mystery. But I’m glad it did because it was really interesting following that and seeing it unfold before the characters. I will say that I correctly guessed one part of the mystery (why her family was being targeted) but did not call the other twists. They definitely caught me off guard.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smouldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet, even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so, she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear. (Summary from Harlequin Books)

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | Review

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter lying on the tiles surrounded by paper stars

4 stars 

“Why did it take me so many years to understand that Night is something you can talk to, something that might even decide to watch over you or kiss you just when you’re about to crumple from loneliness?” 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A few book reviews I had seen online warned that it’s strange, and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea etc. well it was definitely mine. I was enthralled. I do agree that it does have an odd vibe, but I did not find it as strange as some people made it out to be.

“In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighbourhood.

In Vassa’s neighbourhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes-innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs, in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighbourhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair” (Summary from Goodreads)

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