Book Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

you can find the book at:

GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Author Website

goodreads summary:

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.

my review:

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

~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.

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine

you can find the book at:

GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble (unavailable)
Author Bio

goodreads summary:

Iris’s father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn’t even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world. Everything she thought she knew is up in flames.

Now her mother has declared war and means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection. But Ernest has other ideas. There are things he wants Iris to know after he’s gone. And the truth has more than one way of coming to light.

my review:

Rating:★★★★☆

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

The title, Fire Colour One,  refers to the Yves Klein painting FC1, I googled it- it looks cool, but the book is Iris who lives with her mother, Hannah, and stepfather in America until Hannah announces one day that they are returning to the UK to see Iris’s father, Ernest, who is dying. Hannah is desperate to get her hands on Ernest’s art collection. Iris has no recollections of her Dad other than what her mother has told her. She has grown up with the knowledge her father wanted nothing to do with her. Gradually, Iris and Ernest start to bond and Iris hears Ernest’s side of the story, and the life he has lived ever since her mother left him years ago.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine”

BOOK REVIEW: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Author Bio

GoodReads Summary:

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common.

But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

(spoilers in review)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a story of two friends, Ari and Dante, who meet at age 15 and forge a friendship through a summer of sheer boredom. Their developing friendship is sweet and playful, making it a fantastic story of friendship which later develops into love.

The story is narrated by Ari a loner who lives in a state of constant anger: at the secrets, his family keeps from him, at his father for not being open. Then he meets Dante, who is his opposite. Dante’s quick to laugh, an artist and a philosopher. Except as it turns out, they are not so different after all. Ari learns to let go of his anger and goes through a series of moments of self-discovery. It’s fascinating to see that Ari’s narrative is somewhat unreliable because it is apparent that Ari represses his feelings because he doesn’t know them either – and his actions speak louder than his words.

However, I really wished there had been more of a development with Ari and his brother. The mystery behind his brother was absorbing and I wished it was followed through to the end. The ending of the book also felt rushed and abrupt.

Overall, Aristotle and Dante is an engaging coming-of-age story and a thoughtful exploration of identity and sexuality. This story is heartwarming and an extremely worthwhile read.

BOOK REVIEW: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

you can find the book at:

GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Author Website

 

my review:

Rating: ★★★★☆

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

 

Laia is one of the Scholars – now ruled over by the Martial Empire – many of whom are poor and illiterate. When her brother is arrested by the Masks, she seeks out the Resistance for help. However, they demand that in return she must enter Blackcliff Military Academy as a slave to spy on the Commandant. Elias – the son of the Commandant – makes up the other perspective in this book.

The two main characters each have their own point of view, which I loved and was captivated by both. Laia and Elias have some major internal struggles going on. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I felt strongly for the characters, and the plot kept me going and I couldn’t put this book down! Both are unsure of the person that they are and what kind of person they want to be. It was beautiful to see them find the strength within themselves to survive in the very different but equally challenging positions they are in. It was lovely seeing their stories intertwine and seeing these similarities come to light. I was engrossed in the story, while it was slow-paced and the action not present throughout, I never felt the lack of it. A right balance was offered.

However, this isn’t really a complete story. The beginning doesn’t spend any time at all fleshing out the characters before everything changes for them. Rather than laying a foundation, Tahir pushes us right into the action. While this would annoy me for most books, but with Embers, it worked, and I was sped through this. It’s getting a sequel, and I’m glad because this is in no way a functional standalone, that some people thought it would be, since so many storylines were left unresolved. I thought it was well-paced and remained engaging throughout. There are a lot of flaws to point out, and a lot could have been improved.

Another aspect that had room for improvement was the romance. I’ll give Tahir credit, as I didn’t find it as bad, but I had a hard time buying some of the attractions between characters because they rarely interact. Overall, I had a fun time reading this, it’s an alright starter for a promising YA fantasy series. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for book 2!

BOOK REVIEW: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

you can find the book at:

GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Author Website

goodreads summary:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

my review:

Rating:
★★☆☆☆

(This review is a reposted one from my old GoodReads Account but my opinion on this book has changed making it a 2 instead of a 5 )

My initial reactions to this book were pretty similar to the rest of Green’s fans. I enjoyed the story and characters, and it was an exciting read in the end. I liked how it was about coming to terms with the fact that your life will almost never rise above insignificance. However, three years have passed since I first read TFIOS and my view on the book has changed considerably. TFIOS isn’t a bad book, but it’s standard and very similar to the other works of Green. And I understand why so many readers would have had such an emotional response to the book. Books about death are often upsetting & thought to provoke- looking back on this, I didn’t find it either.

I don’t believe in Hazel and Augustus the same way anymore. Their dialogue is contrived and ridiculous. Augustus was just created to spew a plethora of metaphors.And there’s the other problem I have with Augustus and Hazel: their romance feels like a plot construction far more than it feels like a real passion. In Green’s other books, although I didn’t enjoy them, I understood the romance. Augustus Waters just shows up in Hazel’s cancer support group and stares at her, and she just swoons at him. That’s almost as bad as Bella Swan falling in love with Edward Cullen even though he apparently hates her. Green attempts to play it cool by having Hazel recognise that she’d be creeped out if it were an ugly guy staring at her, but that doesn’t make their love affair any less sudden, but the plot won’t work if they aren’t in love, so it happens.

Also, Hazel is not a believable character, we learn nothing about her. She just hates Support Group and loves Augustus for reasons that were never adequately announced throughout the book. The idea that he spends money just so he can act out a metaphor that doesn’t do anything but make him look like a pretentious idiot.

But the strength of The Fault in Our Stars is that it refuses to offer false comfort regarding a subject matter that we all know doesn’t have a happy ending. We are all going to die, but we live our lives pretending that words like “forever” or “always” have meant something to us. Maybe that’s why it worked so well with so many readers, it did for me at first.

I guess this book would have been better for me to read if it had been about what happened to Peter Van Houten and his life in Amsterdam with Hazel and Gus coming to see him or Hazel with her actual terminal cancer. It would have been better to read Hazel’s cancer to conflict with her ability to be with Gus, rather than give her a weird miracle drug.

And that’s why The Fault in Our Stars no longer impacts me as much as it did the first time reading it.