Review: The Poet X

Review: The Poet X

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Xiomara is the titular The Poet X who learns to find her voice in the pages of her journal, hidden from the world. Her passion and frustration grows in the pages of her notebook, reciting stories that must never leave the pages the ink drys on. But when she’s invited to her school’s slam poetry club, Xiomara decides to speak up in a world that doesn’t want to hear from her.

The Poet X follows Xiomara’s life as she tackles a world that works not in her favour. A world that doesn’t want to hear from her. The story tackles and addresses so many important topics. One of the main issues is sexual harassment and how victims of it are affected, especially from a young age like Xiomara. Another is how Xiomara grapples with living in a conservative household with religious parents. We follow Xiomara as she handles the shame, fear and confusion as she tries to fit in the boxes life had already decided for her.

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Review: American Panda

Review: American Panda

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

At seventeen, Mei is a freshman at MIT and on the road to complete her parent’s dreams for her: become a doctor, marry their preapproved suitor and continue their family line with children. Living in fear of being disowned like her older brother, Mei can’t seem to bring herself to tell her family her real dream lies with dance. Now she’s away from home and falling in love and learning the truth that could possibly shatter her future forever.

I’m not going to lie, I was surprised by how much I loved this book. I was genuinely thrown off by how much I ended up liking this. The narrative was so compelling as we watch Mei struggle with her overbearing parents and how cultural differences clash with what she wants to achieve – I really enjoyed the emphasis on the issue not being with cultural differences but how her parents use it to put their happiness over Mei’s. Even though Mei as a character and myself are worlds apart, I found her journey so relatable and it had me in tears at so many moments.

Honestly, Mei’s development was one of the best parts of this entire novel. We watch her try to struggle between being a good daughter while also wanting to follow her dreams and you get caught up very quickly in her emotions. She starts off as a sheltered kid who does her best to keep up with her parent’s expectation to slowly learning that it’s okay to not be the perfect image she’s expected to upkeep. And she slowly learns to get rid of the initial stereotypes she holds over other. Chao does an excellent job of portraying the drama between her and her family, which was so heartbreaking to read. Mei’s mother took a long time to grow on her, but you honestly develop a sense of appreciation for her, especially towards the end of the book and how the very same family issues and cultural values that affect Mei has had an impact on her.

The background characters all have my heart. And I loved how Mei’s personal development with all of them ended so happily. Especially with Darren and Nicolette.

Overall, Chao’s debut novel is a hit for me. It was such an emotional rollercoaster and a profoundly personal read that I recommend to anyone.


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Content warning: ableist language, fat-antagonism, the death of a family member and mentions of suicide. (If you’ve read the book and felt like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

[I found this review hidden in the pits of my drafts, how it managed to stay hidden is beyond me 😂]

Promised to each other by their parents, Dimple and Rishi finally meet at a programming course. Only, Dimple has no idea that she’s being set up while Rishi thinks he’s meeting his future wife.

I would say I was severely disappointed by When Dimple Met Rishi. I really wished the plot made sense. If it were just a little bit clearer, it would’ve improved this story so well. Dimple and Rishi both enter this programming course but the lack of them is doing what they came for is odd. The story is supposed to follow their romance, but I wished it was a bit more consistent in its background. Like there’s an app contest which later leads to a talent show which leads to even more confusion.

I think I’ve come to the decision that I liked these characters separately, but not together, they’re a damn mess that really doesn’t work well.

Dimple was a very irritating main lead. Just because the lines “Not like other girls” wasn’t used, doesn’t mean that wasn’t there. Dimple literally never fails to mention how different she is to other girls because she’s into STEM subjects and how she’s not like those art girls. I wished this book celebrated girls in STEM without throwing girls who don’t go into those subjects under the bus. Dimple is constantly putting down loads of the “mean girls” in this book, which is literally almost all the remaining girls in the book. Most of the time I really enjoyed her character, mainly because she’s ambitious and career-motivated, but the amount of girl hate indeed clashed for me, personally, about her character.

I feel bad for Rishi, he’s trying the most to be on his best behaviour and to get Dimple to fall in love with him. It was a bit creepy at first, and I didn’t enjoy the fact he ends up having to put up a lot with her behaviour. Especially in one scene, there’s an annoying invasion of Rishi’s privacy that’s immediately brushed away in the plot.

Overall, I would say When Dimple Met Rishi was a sweet read, despite my shortcomings about it. A fun, culturally diverse read but I wouldn’t really rush to recommend it.


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Series Review: Shatter Me

Series Review: Shatter Me

I was initially going to write separate reviews for each book in the Shatter Me series. But I decided that it was going to work much better as one post about the series. I should note that this is only a series review (so far) because I had this planned before Restore Me came but didn’t get time to read it until Restore Me came out. I should warn that this post is spoiler heavy and if you haven’t read it yet and want to read it without spoilers, ignore this.

Judging from the more popular reviews of this series, everyone hated the stylistic choice, but I think it was one of the better parts of the novel. Especially, since I read the series one after the other, it makes sense, and I enjoyed reading the development of Juliette’s journey through this.

Shatter Me

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Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Shatter Me, in my opinion, is the worst book of the series. If hadn’t borrowed the entire series from the library already, I would’ve dropped the set the second I finished the last page. But I follow Tahereh Mafi on social media, and I really enjoy her personality so I kind of held onto this series, hoping I would somewhat enjoy these books. This is very much a romance novel with a hint of dystopia. Like as if the story forgets it’s in a dystopian setting where the world is falling apart and picks itself up every now and then.

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Book Review: From Twinkle, With Love

Book Review: From Twinkle, With Love

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

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

Told through letters to her favourite female filmmakers, Twinkle Mehra navigates her journey as she is approached to help direct a movie for her school’s upcoming festival. Wallflower Twinkle grabs at the chance of getting to show off her skills while using it as an opportunity to get closer to her long-time crush, Neil Roy. But she finds herself falling for her producer, Neil’s twin brother Sahil. Suddenly, a mystery person called “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is dead set on it being Neil. Soon, everything spirals out of control but can Twinkle change the script in time?

Twinkle was such an adorable read. The characters are a bit younger than Menon’s debut characters, but you get the same feeling from this cast. Twinkle and Dimple share similar but different struggles when pursuing their passions so if you’re a fan of Menon’s first, you’ll definitely love this. There’s a lot to like in this book. The formatting was cute and worked well. The storyline with her family was one of the better parts of the book.

I enjoyed the dynamics of Twinkle and her friends. It’s more frenemy, but I liked how up and down the relationship went. It was a more realistic portrayal of teen groups in high schools. But I did feel like there was a lack of clarity as to why Maddie left Twinkle.

With everything that was good and enjoyable about this book, there was a lot that I didn’t enjoy. Everyone sort of becomes unbearable. Like all of them. Twinkle becomes really selfish and just belittles everyone around her and never really apologises for most of her behaviour even though she internally tells herself it wasn’t right to do that. And her stringing Sahil long when she begins to kind of date him even though she really just wants to date his popular twin brother, who literally doesn’t even know her. She uses him to try and shoe her way into the popular group, and her attitude towards everyone just didn’t make sense. She learns her lesson in the end, but that didn’t make it any better to read.

Overall, I’m glad I gave this book a chance since I wasn’t a huge of fan of When Dimple Met Rishi. I think I preferred Twinkle’s story over Dimple’s due to personal taste and how the plot developed and was wrapped up in the end. It was a fun, light read and great for the summer!


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Book Review: Skylarks

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

Skylarks is about the life of Joni after a wealthy company buys out her family estate, slowly forcing its working-class tenants to leave so that they can make more money. Joni slowly joins the grassroots campaign to reclaim their home. While working at her part-time job at the library, she meets Annabel, a girl who comes from an upper-class conservative background. They clash a lot in the beginning until they slowly find a middle ground with each other, while Joni struggles to keep her family together. It is quite a heartwarming story that touches on poverty, class divide, grassroots projects and inequality.

However, I didn’t really enjoy this as much as I thought I would. It was quite irritating to read, there were odd moments that felt jumpy, with moments that dragged onto long, and I just felt impatient reading this. The plot’s good, just not engaging enough. Joni and Annabel were cute though, I like that they bounced off each other and learnt a lot from each other.

There is also a scene were Joni is very ableist. She’s rightly upset that her father is not receiving the benefits he needs, but she points the finger to her next door neighbour and says that they get more even though she looked well. This was quite horrible to read and it isn’t challenged in the novel. Joni also accidentally outs Annabel to her father due to a misunderstanding and while Joni acknowledges her mistake, it’s quickly brushed off because her father is already aware and then, again, quickly forgotten about.

Overall, a novel about the conflict of wealth and social class while two girls fall in love. It was quite pleasing to read, but I did find it dull in some moments.


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Trigger/Content Warnings: Classism, ableism. If you’ve read this and feel like I missed something out, tell me!