Book Review: Starfish

Book Review: Starfish

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

I received a copy of this via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review!

Starfish follows Kiko, a growing artist, who dreams being accepted into her dream art school and finally be free of her abusive mother.

Starfish was brutal and brilliant, all in one go. Kiko’s story was tough to read but so authentic to experience. I truly loved the sections where it shows what Kiko wanted to say versus what she actually says. It was a great way of showing Kiko’s struggle and the art description at the end of each chapter were beautiful. I loved the writing and the way Akemi wrote this story, as we read about Kiko’s journey accept herself. I found myself connecting with Kiko on so many levels, Starfish was indeed an experience to read.

I will warn you, Bowman did say she wrote this for people who need to see their experiences brought to life, and, boy, she did do exactly that. It was a struggle to read this. Her mother’s behaviour is nauseating to read but felt so real.

Although the romance isn’t a massive subplot in this book, it wasn’t the most enjoyable part of it, partly because of Jamie’s ignorance. I get that he doesn’t understand (spoiler-ish, we learn from one of the reveals, that he sort of does) but there were too many moments where Kiko’s anxiety was being framed as absurd and not usual from his lines. And him submitting Kiko’s art and showing her images to others without her knowledge and permission was teeth-grindingly annoying. We get it, he loves her, but forcing her into certain things wasn’t okay for me.

Overall, Akemi has created a beautiful and emotional story about learning to love yourself when others told you it’s impossible. Read it if you can, it’s not one to be missed.

TW: sexual abuse, racism, emotional abuse, parental abuse/neglect, suicide attempt. (If you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something else, please tell me!)


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

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Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

I received an ARC of each book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Leigh is only sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving nothing but the words, “I want you to remember.” And this leads her on a journey to Taiwan in search of a bird, to meet the grandparents she never knew and hopefully learn about the life her mother never spoke about.

I can tell you it’s been a while since I finished a book and immediately started sobbing after completing it. The Astonishing Color of After was a wonderful, visually and writing-wise, novel about grief and family. There’s just so much to it. It’s a mystery with Leigh uncovering secrets her mother buried years ago through memories. But it’s also a love story as Leigh struggles with her relationship with her best friend, Axel. Her mother’s passing changes everything. And both sides of the story are equally beautiful and enthralling. But the family is the heart and strength of this story, and it indeed is so astonishing.

There’s also a magical element to this novel. Leigh experiences the past in the form of burning incense and items such as photographs, and she’s able to experience her family history from the perspectives of her family members. This allowed her to understand what she never could before and to accept the daunting choices that were made. This aspect of this was so, so gorgeous and Pan’s style made this so stunning to experience.

Overall, there are so many words to describe this novel: stunning, extraordinary, beautiful, gorgeous. The lyrical prose, Leigh’s strength and struggles as she tries to connect with a past she wishes she knew and while accepting a new future. She finds what she needed, and the ending was so satisfying. A beautifully-told story, and one that I’ll definitely remember.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

tw: suicide – mentions of it through the book and also the moments just after it. Depression.(if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

Book Review: Saints and Misfits

Book Review: Saints and Misfits
 Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

 

I can’t imagine what it means to love everyone, but I’m going to start right here, by loving a bit more of myself. And maybe then the rest will follow.

Janna Yusuf is surrounded by saints and misfits. She’s just trying to make sense of her life, and her feelings for an unreachable boy. But a particular monster, masked as a saint, is making it difficult for her. She can’t ignore him but she isn’t ready to speak the truth and if she does, what will others think of her?

Saints and Misfits has one of the most appreciable Muslim representations I’ve seen in a young adult novel. Ali nicely and quickly captures the life of Muslim teen that felt real. We see Janna living an ordinary life: Janna attends mosque events, wears the hijab while also going through typical teen drama and daily school life. Islam isn’t this HUGE block that’s separated from her, it’s weaved and incorporated into the plot, in a way that felt natural.  It’s a coming of age story that felt normal. There was nothing wrong with Janna being Muslim, and that felt so good to read.

Continue reading “Book Review: Saints and Misfits”

Book Review: Replica

Book Review: Replica

Rating: ★★✩✩✩ (2/5)

[So I actually wrote this review back in November, but for some reason, I lost it in my drafts and forgot to publish it]

Replica follows the lives of two seemingly different girls – Lyra, a test subject locked away in a research facility, and Gemma, a lonely teen whose investigation in her family’s past leads to her meeting Lyra and slowly unravelling the truth behind her family.

I tried, really tried, to read and enjoy this. I truly did. Its plot and concept from the outside scream a perfect read for me. Especially with the creative layout, the book can be read from one POV or alternative. I set myself up to read an excellent book, but it just didn’t grab my attention.

You get the impression of an exciting sci-fi novel, but it’s just a very cheesy YA romance with a sci-fi tint. It starts off interesting (I read the chapters alternatively), watching the lives of these two girls and how they differ but you can guess what happens. Nothing is surprising because it’s been done so many times and Oliver doesn’t add anything that makes it stand out, aside from reading format.

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Monthly Rewind: January 2018

Perhaps it’s weird that I can still have a wrap-up without blogging all that much, but I kept a promise to myself to blog more often, even if it means I’m rambling a lot. Despite my inactive first month, I’ve been reading a bit more – not the amount I used to read, but it’s enough to feel like I’m getting back on track.

L I F E

  • New Year’s Resolution | I actually set myself proper new resolutions which I intend to stick to. TLDR: Blog more frequently, read more, improve Bengali and do booktube.
  • Finish the first semester at university | because my timetable meant I only came in two days a week, it didn’t really feel like going to university, if that makes any sense. Luckily for me, my timetable for the second semester is a bit better, and I can plan work and other stuff around it more efficiently.
  • I also remade my Muslims in YA list. The previous one was two years old and severely outdated. You can now find it here (still a work in progress though!!)

B O O K S

monthlyrewind_jan18

Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: January 2018”

[CLOSED] Twitter giveaway of Love, Hate & Other Filters

Hello! I’m currently holding a Twitter giveaway of Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed! Here’s the link!

Rules

  • Follow and RT
  • Ends January 15th @ 6 PM GMT
  • INTERNATIONAL IF BOOK DEPOSITORY SHIPS TO YOU
  • Please be comfortable with giving me your email/ home address. (the email address is so I can forward you a copy of the purchase receipt)

Book description from Goodreads

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.