Review: Freddy Riley is a normal teenager, going through high school with her close group of friends. Her only issue seems to be her girlfriend, Laura Dean, who keeps breaking up with her around major holidays. Freddy's friends are sick of Laura and how she treats Freddy, but they are more frustrated that Freddy finds herself continuously falling into this toxic relationship the moment Laura makes a move.
This book is poignantly beautiful. It touches on the topics of toxic love and friendship. Specifically, how a toxic relationship affects an individual, but also all those within that individuals life. Friendship plays a key role, as we see Freddy slowly fall away from the strength of support of her close group of friends, and becomes isolated and an object in Laura's world.
Review: This novel takes place in the span of one day, a day when destinies change. Adam Thorn is gay, only he is the son of Big Brian Thorn, a preacher for The House Upon the Rock (an evangelical church). His families stance on the LGBTQ community is very clear, therefore Adam hides who he is, his love, his personality. Luckily, he has his best friend, Angela, and his boyfriend, Linus, to keep him from breaking down under the weight of what Adam calls 'The Yoke'. 'The Yoke' is the stipulations, rules, laws his parent's place on him, in order for him to deserve their love. This day is meant to end with a goodbye party for Adam's ex, Enzo. He is unsure whether he still loves Enzo, so his seeing Enzo at the end of this very life changing day holds a lot of possibility and meaning.
This novel had a very compelling premise, with lots of twists and emotions. Sometimes the reader was as gutted as Adam, and sometimes as angry.
Review: Ari works at his parent's bakery, but is an aspiring musician. He hopes to move to the city with his friends/bandmates in pursuit of fame. So, he decides to hire a replacement, who he will train over the summer. Hector's Nana just passed away, he is in town preparing her home for sale. He loves cooking, in fact he is a culinary student, but to distract himself from his loss he takes a job at Kyrkos (Ari's family bakery).
I loved this cute romance story, from the breaks throughout that highlight food and the connection it forges between people, to the subtle, soft tale of love between Ari and Hector. Both are at a loss, searching for something. Ari is searching for who he wants to be, what dreams he wants to pursue, and Hector is searching for his roots after the loss of his Nana and a bad breakup.
Review: This anthology is full of short stories based on classic novels/stories that impacted the authors. Authors, such as Neil Gaiman, boiled their favourite tales down to their basic components and then rebuilt them anew. The book is worth having just for Gaiman's 'The Sleeper and the Spindle', my favourite of the whole bunch. In fact, I had recently listened to the audiobook, as this story has been turned into a graphic novel. I was immediately immersed in the magic of this Sleeping Beauty retelling. Gaiman masterfully refashioned the fairytale into a work of female empowerment, ambition, tradition, and breaking the mould of the princess/queen/witch/hag stereotype.
A few of the stories were ho-hum and left me rather disappointed. However, the majority captured the essence of their borrowed work and refreshed the story to keep the reader intrigued.
Review: Where we left off in Vol. 6, Imperial Phase 2, Persephone and the Norns have been locked up by Woden (or more accurately Woden's father, who is using the head of his son to make himself powerful). The story gets more convoluted as the reader continues, but in a good way. The twists and turns continue to keep you guessing and shock value is high. While some scenes are grotesque and deeply disturbing, there is still a tasteful amount of gore (not too brutal). It is never over the top, the story always folds back into itself, very slowly revealing details of the past.
Ananke is dead, or is she? Who is Minerva really, innocent child or something else entirely? I loved the new story interwoven throughout, of how this strange God occurrence began and continued for centuries. Also, how the rules work, the Gods, the deaths, the ritual. Terrifying secrets are revealed, ones that propel the reader to re-examine prior beliefs. Who is trustworthy? What role does Persephone (Laura) play in this twisted game? Will she break the cycle?
Review: Camilla Flores is an overweight, Latinx witch, whose best friend just died under mysterious circumstances. Mila is determined to find out the truth, since suicide does not fit right. One mysterious grimoire, rogue spell and magical catastrophe later, Mila is dealing with her dead friend plus two means girls, who also apparently committed suicide.
This book was masterfully written. Funny, dripping with wit and sarcasm, and dark. The perfect recipe for a five star read for me. Add to that a fantastic, sympathetic and relatable lead, and I am SOLD! Mila is amazing and it was her unique, cutting voice that hooked me from the very start of the novel and compelled me through to the end. She was me in middle school; an outcast, few friends, overweight. Her words continuously tugged me through memory lane. What wouldn't we do to get out best and only friend back, especially if we had the power?
Review: The paper girls are back, this time they have traversed into the future and are on the hunt for a way home to 1988. Mac is on a mission to prevent her own death, Tiffany and future Tiffany are trying to piece their lives together, KJ is finding out who she really is, and Erin is coming into her own as a leader.
Mac and KJ split away from the group, in hopes of finding a cure for leukemia. Erin and the Tiffany's look for an old acquaintance, who may know the way back from the future.
This installment is just as gripping as the last four, with the girls in danger from every side. As they try desperately to get home, who can they trust? Is Grand Father really evil? Why are these teenagers so intent on destroying him? What do the paper girls have to do with the war?
Review: Ruby Chernyavsky's time is running out, according to the powers left over from her powerful Russian family. But now, her great-Aunt Polina has defied her Time and lived far passed the prediction. So, can Ruby save herself and her best friend/cousin Cece from their Times as well? What price is she willing to pay for a little bit more life?
This novel had everything you could hope for in a Russian folklore tale. Witches, healing powers, feuding families, star crossed love, morally grey characters and powerful women. Ruby and her sisters charm the readers with their sisterly devotion. Each of them is so different, but they are a tight unit. So, when Ruby begins to hold secrets from them, you can tell that she may be going down the wrong path, following the wrong advice, trusting someone who abandoned her.
Review: Jessica has woken up in Wonderland with no memory of who she is or was. Wonderland is an afterlife for those who have suffered hardships throughout their life. Jessica is now on route, with Horace (one of the "white rabbits"), to a looking glass ceremony at the castle of the Hearts. There she will find her Wonderland reflection and learn what part of Wonderland's large world she belongs within.
This was a very unique and creative interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. This is not Disney friendly, but it speaks more truth about hard lives, friendships, and true love. The setup of the novel is also different, as it goes from storytelling to narration and back again, with bits of Wonderland geography, history, poetry and music throughout. At times this detracted from the story, but more often than not it added to the disjointedness of Wonderland and those who inhabit this fantastical world.
Review: Philippe is doing an interview when he spots a doppelganger of a man he loved as a teenager. He runs after the young man and what unfolds is a story of first love, hidden desire, secrecy and pain.
This is written in train of thought, moving from past to present. However, the writing is so fluid and beautiful, tinged with sadness, regret and loss, that you never feel overwhelmed or confused by the sudden change in narrative. The reader immediately connects to Philippe, especially as a teenager. He easily conveys the teenage mind, the hormones, the inadequacies and uncertainties. He illustrates youthful naivete and every teenagers inability to see that they are not invincible.
Molly Ringwald's translation runs so smoothly, the pacing is spot on, no awkwardness.