* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.
Can I just say how I love that ‘fike’ was just completely removed from the novel entirely?
I am pretty sure that I said in my review of the first part that I wasn’t going to read this once the book came out. I didn’t request the full version so I could bash it, I wanted to go back into this with the belief it could be better. I felt low key guilty of how harsh I was on the snippet, and now that it’s the full story that has been edited so I thought, how bad can it be now? And it is bad. Which is so disappointing because it has a strong concept and inkling of a decent plot which flopped really severely.
[EDIT 14/01/17: I’m adding link’s to Fatima and Aimal‘s review of Rebels because I urge you all to read them. Their criticisms were more well explained than mine]
I have never wanted to finish a book so quickly than this one. And I don’t mean it nicely. I was expecting this. I should’ve turned the other way when I saw it in Waterstones. I should’ve trusted my gut feeling and not listened to the random girl talking to her friend who said this was ‘the best book she’s ever read,’
Originally, I was intrigued by the Western/ Middle Eastern concept but only after a couple of pages, I realised how terribly clichéd it was and decided that this fusion was a terrible idea and she didn’t pull it off if you ask me.
I’m guessing the western concepts were the dustbowl towns and gun-toting civilians and when it came to the Middle Eastern aspects it was folk tales and mythology. As much as I loved Aladdin and Thousand and One Nights, it shouldn’t be the only model for stories about the Middle East and its people and culture. Desert, magic, threats of forced marriage and oppressive family. Rebel of the Sands is just one of many that are part of the YA fantasy boom that utilises Islamic folklore as the main concept of their novels but fails so badly. Her fusion felt so forced and artificial, more western than Middle Eastern. You could easily tweak a couple of things and just like that, the backdrop could easily become the dystopian USA. (And it breaks my heart knowing that publishers PREFER this, knowing that somewhere a Middle Eastern writer has probably written a fantasy book with their own folklore twist but their voice was passed over and they have to watch Hamilton and so many others make their debut from barely even touching their culture.)
The world-building was nothing special, and that’s a damn shame considering the concept and so much could’ve been done with it. The way this world runs was so confusing. These people drink yet pray so I’m assuming the predominant faith is Islam. If it isn’t, Hamilton hasn’t done much to clear the air since it’s entirely ambiguous. (Is there even a time period? Where are we?)
I keep reading all these 5 star reviews where they gush over Amani and Jin, but honestly, I don’t see it. And why I can understand with other YA couples but, with these two, I see absolutely nothing and I’m pretty sure you’re all lying to me about their relationship being amazing. Amani and Jinn have zero chemistry. Amani rarely acknowledges her feelings for Jin. And his introduction was so funny, I couldn’t stop laughing. We were only eight (eight!) pages in and she spent like a paragraph on how beautiful Jin was despite her being really anxious about to do a shoot off to win money, she still has the time to mention how extremely beautiful this random boy is. (Also, don’t you just love it when soldiers are chasing you and the only way you can hide is by kissing a boy you barely know #justgirlythings.) There’s also a huge time jump of around two months where these two supposedly become greater friends and I was so annoyed. The beginning could’ve easily been cut to allow us to see their friendship develop.
I have to admit Rebel of the Sands does pick up around the 200 page mark where what you’re promised to find is actually introduced to the story. It takes a very long time, though, and by the time I got there I was bored. I have no faith nor interest that the sequel will even be an improvement.
~Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review~
Girls had to believe in everything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.
I have no recollection of requesting this on NetGalley, but I read it anyway since I hate leaving books unread on NG. But this book just wasn’t for me.
In the wake of a popular high school student’s suicide, it sends tremors throughout a conservative town. Hannah befriends Lacey and, together, they form an intimate friendship, luring Hannah into a lifestyle of rebellion and violence, as they bond over their hatred of Nikki, the deceased’s girlfriend.
While the writing was enjoyable, I just found the plot too repetitive and it became tiresome. I haven’t read many books like these – those bad obsessive girls type of books. But this showed me that maybe it’s not my type. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the reveal and it’s ending – mainly because I didn’t expect Hannah to be capable of doing so. But there’s not much else I can say, I’m very picky when it comes to contemporary, and though the writing style was nice, I just didn’t find it enjoyable to read.
Kindle Edition, UK edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: May 5th 2016 by Little, Brown Book Group
~Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review~
Chasing Thunderclap haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to their band. With the death of a former band mate and on the edge of losing their new lead guitar player to an Ivy League college, could Chasing Thunderclap be no more by the end of summer? Hell-bent on keeping Bryan, their lead guitarist, in the band, the remaining members will do anything to turn his mind away from college. But as their plans crumbles away, each member begins to question whether this dream is worth following?
I’m not going to lie: I hated this book for the first 75% of this book. The behaviour of these boys actually disgusted me and they were so irritating. But I had to give the Caswell some props for making some distinction between the boys. I literally thought I was going to be stuck with five POVs with no idea who was speaking when. But the story of each boy was clear and different, and when weaved together, the novel was enjoyable to an extent. I liked the storyline but hated the characters. Haha, is that even possible? I really liked how the band had different meanings to each member. And how important the band was to their fans and that fuelled the boys to keep going. There’s a scene where a fan comes up to Bryan and tells him how their music saved their life, and that scene was so cute!
I was actually going to not even finish this book but I’m glad I kept reading because the ending was good. I don’t say that often but I liked how realistic it was. And it was good to see each boy finally decide what their position was in the band, and I agreed with each decision they made.
Kindle Edition, 315 pages
Published December 30th 2015 by Berried Alive, LLC
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.
When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~
I’ll start with what I did like so it’s not lost in whatever comes next. The style of writing made it easy to read, it’s light and fluffy, and serious when it needs to be. Mercedes was an interesting main character, I didn’t like her, but it was nice to read a YA contemporary that’s quite different. Firsts make a lot of promises, and the potential was so obvious.
I wanted this book to be so about empowerment but it was so bad how lacking the empathy was towards the females vs the amount of care was taken into sympathising with the boys she slept with, especially since they cheated on their girlfriends with Mercedes. But I felt so bad for her when she receives the brunt of the abuse from the girlfriends.
Mercedes logic behind why she’s provided her service is understandable, but again it lacks any proper exploration until the very end where it’s delivered in the biggest info dump ever. She never once tells her experience to the girlfriends or attempts to clear the air on why she did it. I get that they’re extremely mad at her, but considering how strong she was in her justification of her own actions to herself, I just thought she would try at least. Like her reasoning makes sense, but at the same time, I was sitting there thinking, you’re sleeping with people who are already dating other people.
Also, the character of Faye felt so forced and was such an obvious plot device to put Mercy and Zach together. (Mercy’s like oh this new girl is hotter than me, Zach is obvs going to like her better than me, despite Zach being so blatantly obvious about his feelings towards Mercy)
I think the biggest issue I had with this novel was the message it sent about consent. Twice Mercedes tells boys to disregard consent, and completely misrepresents consent and confuses what is a very clear case of rape. And it isn’t really addressed and questioned.
Overall, a novel that was filled with potential. This novel is set in our modern world where women are valued as object based solely on their sexual availability to men. I understand where Mercedes was coming from, but this book wasn’t for me. Don’t be bogged down by my low rating, it’s good because the book does point out an important double standard about sexually active girls and teen boys and does portray a realistic and challenge to slut-shaming and double standards.
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