Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Set in Washington, D.C., THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED follows the summer story of 17-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso, who has had 26 unrequited crushes (and counting!). Molly considers herself the opposite of her fraternal twin sister, Cassie. But things begin to change when Cassie gets a new girlfriend who comes with a new possible boyfriend for Molly. But Molly might have co-worker, Reid, in her mind instead.

I think if I had to sum up this one book in one word it would be cute. The Upside is the second book from Simon vs. author Becky Albertalli and it’s just as fun and adorable as its predecessor. If you loved the humor and pace of Simon vs., you’ll definitely get the same feeling from The Upside. Similar to Simon Vs., Becky’s writing is simple and easy, everything is kept light and hilarious.

Unrequited is about different relationships, while focused on romance, it also includes familial ones and Molly is, easily, a relatable lead. She’s super cute and witty, I found myself rooting her from the very beginning. Becky Albertalli knows how to write awkward moments and happy scenes that create true-to-life scenarios that make this cast of characters feel so real.

Speaking of the cast of characters, rarely do I read a book where I would happily read a novel of each separate characters. From Molly’s mothers, who are strict and loving while they might not get it all the time, they’re clearly caring parents who will do anything for their children to dorky Reid, short stories of just him working in his parents’ store would make me happy. Looking back at the story now, I’ve realised how much Becky has packed into this novel but it never once felt overwhelming. It all felt natural following Molly’s story, but also her sister’s and her friends and family.

I think what got me the most was the fat representation in this book. I loved it and I saw myself in it. While I didn’t personally relate 100% when Molly spoke about her crushes but when it came to her body image, I could relate so much.

Overall, The Upside of Unrequited is a fun and enjoyable read, dealing with multiple issues faced by teenagers and portrays them in such a positive way.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY |

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Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Rating: ★★★★☆

Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author

When going on a walk with her crush, Michael, Asiya accidently stumbles across a dead body. Knowing that telling the police means revealing to her strict parents that she was with him, Michael covers for her but then goes missing himself. All the evidence points towards Michael but Asiya is sure he’s innocent and is willing to risk everything to help Michael.

This review is painful to write because I literally don’t know what else to say except that I loved this. It was such a fun read. All Asiya wants is a normal life but she’s thrust into a murder mystery and has to use her wits to navigate her way through the investigation. It was such a fun and comical read. And serious at times, especially when Asiya begins to doubt Michael’s innocence. And I really enjoyed the character of Asiya: she’s a head strong lead and her faith and determination drives her to do good, even if she shouldn’t be doing much of the things she does.

Even the attempt of bringing South Asian and Muslim problems forefront was good and done so well. (Asiya and her family are Bangladeshi and anytime I see a Bangladeshi character I immediately go  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ ) Solving a murder is hard and Asiya struggles with it a lot, especially since she doesn’t want to disappoint her family so she has to work around her family and community. She mentions the inconsistency of her community that allows boys more freedom and their gossiping nature that spreads like wildfire. I hope in the sequel we see Asiya use that to her advantage, like asking her brother to help and do something that she would’ve been easily caught doing but not him.

God Smites is an enjoyable book. I turned every page and I immediately was like “this is so me!” I kind of related more to her younger brother: he just wants to play video games and struggles to pass Maths which is literally my entire educational experience.  I’m also in love with the book’s dedication. For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in booksWith God Smites, I get to read about a Muslim girl go through daily life that’s similar to my own, where I can see myself in her actions and that’s my favourite part of this book. It’s such a real book which portrays such real characters without being stereotypical. Sure, her mother is very strict and her father too, but we also get to see them protect and try to understand Asiya. Their family dynamic was so relatable and funny. They all get frustrated and argue with each other but in the end, they do come together as a family. And that ending, guys, my jaw dropped. It ends with a big revelation and an even bigger cliffhanger. Can I have the sequel now?

I’m going to end this review with my favourite part:

He yelled a general, “Salam alaikum!” and made it halfway to the basement door before he realised something was off.

I actually had to put my Kindle down because I was laughing so much because:

  1. She’s in the middle of being interrogated and he casually walks in like this
  2. I do the same thing when I don’t know if anyone’s home 😂😂

GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: If I Was Your Girl

Book Review: If I Was Your Girl

Rating: ★★★★

“I’m not brave,” I said, smiling despite myself. “Bravery implies I had a choice. I’m just me, you know?”

Amanda is the new girl in school and she’s trying to keep a big secret. Amanda is transgender and moves to Tennessee in hopes of keeping her head down and getting through high school. Soon she makes friends and meets Grant.

If I Was Your Girl was such a charming read. I really enjoyed it. The plot, characters and hilarious sense of humour just made this a really great book. I really loved how the narrative jumps between real-time events and Amanda’s childhood. It added great suspense and was equally heart-breaking. (don’t want to spoil but my heart broke at the diary scene)

I’m not a huge romance reader, which is why I put this book off for so long, and while their romance came across generic, I found it so sweet. Maybe my cynical self needed some adorable picnic dates and cute film dates. They were so lovable and dorky together that I didn’t care it cheesy. I also may or may not had become a mushy mess on the train when I read the Halloween scenes. (Spoiler: Grant goes as Boba Fett and Amanda dresses herself as Leia. IT’S SO CUTE I DIED)

What I really enjoyed was the happy ending. In our media, TV, films and novels, there are so many characters who are LGBT+ and are constantly killed off for shock factor. I know it seems like a spoiler but I do see this book advertised like this, Amanda gets a happy ending, despite everything that happens, Amanda’s happy and alive.

Overall, I admired this book. The biggest issue I could think of was pacing in certain scenes but I definitely recommend this to anyone and add this to your TBR if you haven’t! (Also, I loved the separate author’s note Russo adds at the end: one for her cis readers and one for her trans readers.)

I should note while it’s wonderful that anyone reads my reviews at all, but I should remind you if you don’t know: this is a story about a trans girl written by a trans woman and I am a cis reader. This obviously means my perspective is limited and I will point you all towards reviews written by trans writers. (edit: i thought I bookmarked them but it appears I didn’t so once I find them I’ll link them up)


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: Written in the Stars

Book Review: Written in the Stars

Rating: ★★★★★

Written in the Stars is a common tale that goes unspoken. A tale that is a real life for thousands of women who find themselves facing it every day. Naila’s parents have always given her a choice but when it came to marriage, it was simple: they will choose her husband. Naila’s already fallen in love and when her parents find out, she is whisked away to Pakistan under the pretence that they are visiting family. But the truth is darker and Naila doesn’t have a say in the matter.

Written in the Stars was such an engaging and powerful read. From the very beginning to the very the end, everything goes high-speed for Naila and towards the end, you’re left thinking, will she make it?

Naila is a great protagonist. I loved her hopefulness, her love for Saif and her faith in believing she will make it back home. There are moments when you believe there’s no going back for her, but she fights back. The writing style is simple, but it works here. It was straight and simple to the point so we’re not distracted from every thing that happens to Naila. We, as the reader, are aware of her marriage from the very beginning, but to Naila, she’s completely clueless and the tension rose with ever clue that popped up, unknowingly to Naila. My favourite parts was descriptions of Pakistan an its culture. Its markets, food and the houses packed to the brim with visiting family.

However, it didn’t read perfectly polished, with some scenes happening too quickly and the ending could’ve definitely been slowed down a bit, considering what happens. But, nonetheless, this is a good book. It was intense, frightening and hopeful, all at the same time.

Also, the author’s note was perfect. Saeed mentions that forced marriages can happen anywhere, regardless of culture, country or religion. And I believe Saeed even wrote an article between the distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced one that many people aren’t aware of.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: Girl Out of Water

Book Review: Girl Out of Water

Rating: ★★★★☆

In Girl Out of Water, Anise Sawyer finds her final summer before college interrupted when her aunt is in a devastating car accident, which forces her and her dad to make their way to Nebraska to take care of her cousins. Stuck in the triply landlocked state, with three restless cousins, Anise discovers the local skate park and also the charming, one-armed, Lincoln, where she swaps her surfboard for a skateboard.

As someone who isn’t a big YA contemporary reader, I really enjoyed Girl Out of Water. I don’t really know how to describe it. But it was quite peaceful, in comparison, to the other books I’ve been reading. What we have is a heart-warming coming of age novel. Anise thinks she has it all sorted out, but when everything slowly falls apart, she has to take a step back. The more time she spends away from Santa Cruz, away from the sea and her friends, the more she starts to worry that she will become like her mother, who disappears for months on end. Girl Out of Water is Anise realising that, essentially, change has to come and that she doesn’t have to forget the friends she loves and the memories she has in order to make new ones. So the plot isn’t overly dramatic, but it is well-developed. Silverman’s characters were witty, hilarious and diverse. The punchy dialogue and style of writing really reminds me of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

Girl Out of Water is a story of first love, relationships, loss and change. I have no doubt that this will top the bestseller lists once it’s released. Its decent plot and cast of fun characters makes me excited to see what else Laura Silverman will publish in the future.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: We Awaken

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Rating: ★★★★☆

We Awaken is a very quiet story compared to the very dramatic book description. Since her father died in a car accident and her brother in a coma from the same accident, Victoria Dinham lives only for dance and is holding on to being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. Until one night, in her dreams, she counters a girl who holds a message from her brother. Higher stakes and a fuller plot would’ve definitely given this five stars.

We Awaken is sweet and happy. And that’s what I loved about it. Lynn creates this romance that is so cute and adorable between Victoria and Ashlinn. We Awaken is a mix of fantasy and magic in the real world. While I thought the beginning was a bit off once I hit the halfway mark, I was hooked and rooting for Victoria for the rest of the way. It’s much more character-driven so I can tell some people may be disappointed with the lack of explanation of the magic in this but the journey of these two girls is so magical and amazing. They help each other in so many ways. Ashlinn helps Victoria understand her sexuality, who later comes out as Asexual. The representation the book gives which allows younger readers to understand more about it within the comforts of a book makes this book even more important. Victoria learns that nobody but her can decide who she is, and she doesn’t need to explain her choices to anyone.

We Awaken is the kind of book that you easily read in one sitting. And in that one sitting, you read a novel that is dreamlike and enjoyable.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE