Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney Review

book review

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid wasn’t awful, but not as awesome as I expected.

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney follows Rowley Jefferson, a faDiary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinneyn-favorite character from Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. In this installment (and potential spin-off series?) Rowley takes the reins and writes primarily about the history of his friendship with Greg.

I believe that I have read the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid a few years ago, but I did not pick up any additional books in the series, although I do hope to continue the series. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is well-loved by the age range of students that I teach and I enjoy reading books that motivate my students to read. While I have not read all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, I have seen three out of the four movies and greatly enjoyed them. I particularly enjoyed the character of Rowley because he remained unapologetically himself regardless of whether other people may label him as cool or not.

One criticism of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series that I’ve heard is that the series rapidly goes downhill after the first couple of books. Additionally, I’ve heard many reviewers voice concerns over the main character in the series, Greg, specifically for his treatment of the main character in this book, Rowley. From reviews that I have read of this book, many readers were disappointed because they view this book as a take on Greg’s bullying, only from Rowley’s perspective (see Emily’s review on Goodreads). While I do think Rowley’s voice in this novel, I was disappointed, like many other readers, that this story mainly involved around Greg with a promise to focus more on Rowley in the next book in the series.

Let’s start with the positives. I think one positive aspect of this book in Rowley’s voice and character. Rowley stays very true to himself and the character presented in the original series. All of his choices seemed consistent with his character. While some may dismiss Rowley’s naive nature as unrealistic for a middle school student, I think it allows him to make some humorous observations of people and situations around him. Like I mentioned earlier, I enjoy that Rowley always stays true to himself and I think he serves as a great role model for younger readers.

As a result, it disappointed me that so much of this book focused on Greg instead of Rowley. In this book, Greg becomes annoyed that Rowley also keeps a diary. Greg insists that Rowley turn his diary into a biography about Greg to be published when he becomes rich and famous. As a result, the book in a disjointed mix of events surrounding Rowley and Greg’s friendship, and like many reviewers point out, Greg’s terrible treatment of Rowley. By the time Rowley takes back ownership of the diary, it is only a promise to focus more on himself in the next entry. If I wanted to learn more about Greg, I would have picked one of the numerous books published about him already. I think many readers will be disappointed by the focus on Greg because it is not consistent with the book’s marketing.

While there were a few laugh out loud scenes in this book (the studying part made me crack up!), I was disappointed that this book did not follow a clear end goal and focused mainly on Greg. I give this book three out of five stars.

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ARC Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

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Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer follows Rob, a high school student whose popularity takes a nose-dive after his father is caught embezzling money, and Maegan, an overachiever whose cheating on the SATs jeopardized the scores of her classmates. Rob and Maegan’s worlds collide when they are partnered on a calculus project and they instantly connect over their complicated family dynamics. However, Rob’s aCall It What You Wantttempts to right his father’s wrongs may land them in hot water.

I became a huge fan of Brigid Kemmerer after reading Letters to the Lost last year. She turned into an auto-buy author to me after reading More Than We Can Tell soon after. While I typically stick to more light-hearted and fun contemporaries, I loved her ability to craft complex characters in heartbreaking, but incredibly real circumstances. While Call It What You Want attempted to check off those boxes, it was not as successful as her two previous contemporaries for me.

Brigid Kemmerer’s books always put you inside the heads of two characters. Even in books of her that were five stars for me, one character tends to outshine the other. In this case, I definitely enjoyed reading more about Rob than Maegan. Besides her SAT cheating scandal, which really did not make much sense to me and affected the plot very little, Maegan was the typical good girl that we see in YA frequently. On the other hand, Rob was portrayed a lot more complexly. Rob struggled to match his perfect father to the crimes that he committed and his father’s current state after a failed suicide attempt. Despite despising his father’s actions, he starts to become like his father by stealing money although for much more “positive” reasons in order to correct his father’s wrongs. While Kemmerer’s novels typically are unbalanced with the main characters, I found the balance to be a little more off than usual.

For me, one reason I tend to stray away from “heavy-hitting” YA books is the fine line between really big, real-world problems and what I call the Lifetime Effect. With the Lifetime Effect, there is some big scandal that bends the entire truth of the novel and there is often somewhat resolved, but not quite enough to make you satisfied enough at the end. Also, it brings out all the stops, or tropes, for a dramatic story. While Brigid Kemmerer’s novels always have that bend in the truth ending and tackle a lot of high stakes problems, it usually stays realistic enough for me to buy in the story. In fact, that was my favorite aspect in More Than We Can Tell and Rev’s characters.

Unfortunately for me, this particular story ventured into the Lifetime Effect. Now, I’m not bashing Lifetime movies in any way. Trust me, my mom is a HUGE fan and I’ve seen countless Lifetime movies over the years. Some were good and I remember them to this day, but some leave you with the feeling like “You’ve got to be kidding me.” In this book, you can spot the twists from a mile away. There is literally so much going on in this story from the embezzlement, Rob stealing, Maegan cheating, a pregnant sister on a lacrosse scholarship, a policeman father, the rich villain, and the list could go on an on. While having quite a few plots worked in other books by Kemmerer, it just all didn’t connect or gel well with me in this book.

While I have mentioned quite a few negatives, there were some aspects of this book that I enjoyed. In the synopsis of this book, it poses this question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons? A lot of the characters in this book are morally gray. They commit awful or questionable actions, sometimes in an attempt to do good. While I won’t spoil how this book answers the question, I do like when you can see how a book relates to a larger theme. While I do think this novel tries to tackle way too many things at once, at its core, we have seen stories that relate to this theme play out so many times in our lives. If you can look past some of the “extra” elements, then I think many people could relate to this story.

Overall, Call It What You Want was an average young adult book for me. Despite Kemmerer’s on-point pacing and relatable theme, I just could not connect to the characters or this story. That being said, I still really like this author and will continue to purchase and read her books in the future, especially when I’m looking for a “heavier” contemporary read. I give this book three out of five stars.

 

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ARC Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

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I have some serious love (and some criticisms) for this book.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett follows Birdie, an eighteen-year-old girl with narcolepsy and love for mysteries after she takes a night shift job at a hotel. On the job,Serious Moonlight Birdie runs into Daniel Aoki, a brief fling who she works with to solve the mystery of a reclusive writer who visits the hotel.

I have read one other book by Jenn Bennett, Alex, Approximately, which was an average read for me. I read Alex, Approximately as an ARC. While I enjoyed it, I was surprised to see so much hype surrounding the book upon its release. I wanted to try another book by this author to see if it lived up to the hype since I am a huge fan of contemporary books. While Serious Moonlight started off much stronger for me that Alex, Approximately, it ended up falling into several of the pitfalls that I did not enjoy in the first book that I read by this author.

Let’s start with the characters. Jenn Bennett does an amazing job of inclusivity with her characters. She includes characters from different races and cultures. Her characters struggle with mental illness or disability. But Jenn Bennet does not just include diversity in her books, but she fully fleshes out every character so they come across as people and not a checklist. The main character, Birdie is a shy and sweet main character that I think many readers will enjoy. Daniel, Birdie’s love interest, is also multi-faceted and interested. While I was initially put off by the “he’s perfect, but WAIT there’s a MASSIVE secret,” I think the author really steered clear of the typical formula that trope follows.

That being said, there were a few issues that I had with characterization in her book. My largest issue was with Birdie’s Aunt Mona and her former flame, Leon Snodgrass (yes, you read that correctly). Aunt Mona has a large personality and outfits to match. So much that you may roll your eyes at her outfit descriptions because they are so numerous and lengthy. While Aunt Mona has many moments that let readers see how amazing she is, I could do without the countless descriptions of her outfits that attempt to make her look quirky. The same goes for her love interest Leon Snodgrass, presented as what a frat boy becomes when he leaves college and barely anything else. I had this same problem in Alex, Approximately because I felt like I was being hit over the head with the character’s unique vintage style over and over again.

As for the pacing, the beginning of Serious Moonlight grabbed me a lot more than Alex, Approximately. For the first 200 pages, I found myself moving through the story quickly. While the mystery aspect could come across cheesy, I actually found it somewhat endearing since it helped Birdie come out of her shell. Then, the book took a major shift. There was a large chunk of the middle solely devoted to the relationship and devoid of any progression of the mystery plot, which confused me. This part of the book really slowed down for me and I found myself pushing through for more of the plot to develop. While I assumed I knew how the mystery ended (and I was correct), this derailment wasn’t my favorite aspect of the book.

Another aspect that I move back and forth on is the relationship in this book. For the majority of the book, I absolutely loved Birdie and Daniel. Both Birdie and Daniel grow as people throughout this book and learn to open up to each other throughout their relationship. I was actually really excited during the first 90% of this book because it generally steered away from the soap-opera style drama that I wasn’t a fan of in Alex, Approximately. Then, the big moment of the mystery came and some of my love left quickly. While I understand how Daniel reacted to this moment, it seemed fairly out of character for him, especially how he treated Birdie after it happened. I also was not satisfied with how quickly the characters moved past this moment either.

Overall, Serious Moonlight is a solid young adult novel. I can see why so many people consider Jenn Bennett an auto-buy contemporary author because she creates loveable and multi-dimensional characters in her books. However, there were still several aspects of this book that reminded me of reasons that Alex, Approximately was only a three star read for me. That being said, I am still interested in checking out Starry Eyes, another book by this author currently out on the market. I give Serious Moonlight three out of five stars.

 

I received Serious Moonlight as an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein Review

book review

Unfortunately, this book did not hit all the right notes for me.

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein follows high school senior June who hitches a ride with a family friend’s son on the way to school every day. After a few awkward interactions, June and Oliver decide to play music on the way to school to fill the silence. The deal? June adds a song every time that she convinces Oliver that high school does not matter, but Oliver adds a song to the playlist every time he convinces June otherwise.

I was interested in Shuffle, Repeat because the plot sounded like a cute contemporary. The music sharing part of the story reminded me of Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, which is my favorite YA contemporary book. However, this book failed to meet several of my expectations and came across as another bland, standard YA contemporary to me.

I think my biggest issue in this book was the main character, June. This main character definitely suffers from not-like-other-girls syndrome. Even though she berates high school for its hierarchy, she is the one who stereotypes all of the other characters in this book. For example, she is surprised whenever Oliver uses advanced vocabulary because she believes she is much smarter than him because he plays football. While June does develop friendships with people outside her clique as the story progresses, her maturity never reaches that point as she expresses many of those same stereotypes (like her surprise at Oliver’s intelligence) through the end of the book. I never connected with June because not only did her voice feel inauthentic for a high school student, but her actions rarely matched what she preached. Here a few quotes that highlight June’s inauthenticity and inconsistencies for me:

Belatedly, I remember that Oliver might not follow my advanced vocabulary, and I dial it back so he’ll understand. “It’s too much.”

“Underneath?” I practically explode. “There’s nothing underneath. Your music is overly produced and overly cliché!” I point a finger at him. “It totally makes sense.” “How’s that?” Oliver still doesn’t seem mad. Only amused. “That you would be into that. It’s manufactured and it’s fake!”

It’s not because we’re geeks and it’s not because we buy into some sort of outdated hierarchy of popularity.” “I never said—” “It’s because we’re better than it.”

“You’re kind of like an extra gay boyfriend, except you’re straight.” Oliver frowns. “Or I can be your straight guy friend…since that’s what I actually am.” “It’s just that it so rarely works.”

As for the other characters in the novel, they are not developed past the stereotypes in which June describes them. Besides the love interest, Oliver, which the most complex and interesting character in the novel, the rest of the characters missed the mark. I do not like leaving a book where I can summarize a character with one word or trope. However, that’s how I can describe most of June’s acquaintances in this story. There’s Theo, the dumb and sexist jock. There’s Ainsley, who while I had high hopes that the author would change the conniving cheerleader stereotype, fulfilled that role by the end of the novel. There’s Itch (yes, that really was his name), with the same “nothing matters” philosophy as June. Finally, there are June’s other friends only known for their respective sexualities. It confused me that a book that sought to dismantle many high school stereotypes actually managed to reinforce every single one.

As for the plot, the story plays out like many other young adult books that I’ve read. However, this book was not as successful for me. While this is an easy read that you can finish in one day, you have probably read this story and enjoyed it more in another book. Since this book is based on supporting or refuting the importance of the high school experience, you get a loose connection of football games, senior pranks, and proms. I think in a few months I will probably forget a lot about this book.

Overall, Shuffle, Repeat is an easy and quick read. If you really enjoy contemporary, this may be a book to check out. However, I would skip this one if contemporary really isn’t your thing because it probably contains all the tropes you like to avoid in the genre. I give this book two out of four stars.

 

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Internet Famous by Danika Stone Review

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This book was a #fail for me.

Internet Famous by Danika Stone follows Tumblr-esque blogger Madison “Madi” Nakama during her senior year of high school. When her mom leaves for a professor job out of town, Madi must learn to balance her blog, her senior project, and her sister’s schedule. Her world is further rocked when an online troll threatens her life on and offline.

I was interested in reading Internet Famous because I like reading books that tackle young people’s lives online compared to real life. Unfortunately for me, this book did not meet my expectations in terms of plot or characters. Overall, I had a difficult time reading this book and struggle to find a way to recommend it to other readers.

My largest issue with this book resides in the main character, Madi. Although Madi is a high school senior, her selfish and ego-centric attitude makes her appear much younger. This caused me to disconnect from her and her story completely. To the nail in the coffin for me was Madi’s blatant disrespect for authority. She handles herself inappropriately when educators point out that she does not follow rules or guidelines on her project. When asked for her identification in the school hallway (mind you, Madi does online school so every teacher may not know what she looks like in person since they do not physically see her every day), Madi’s response is extremely rude. This disrespect escalates when Madi’s project (her blog) is disqualified from her senior project because she monetized it and allowed guest posts on her blog. This leads Madi on a tirade that this teacher hates her and she is too much of a stickler for rules, when in actuality, Madi did not follow the requirements for her project. When faced with the same issue later in the novel, Madi never shows any growth in maturity. In fact, she screams in a library at the teacher, swears at the teacher, and then runs away when the teacher asks her to go to the principal’s office. Below are a few quotes from the book that best showcase Madi’s character:

“The woman’s eyes narrowed behind thick glasses. She pulled a pen from one jacket pocket, a small pad of paper from the other. “What’s the name of your sister? I need to check into this. There’s a protocol for pickups, you know. The school can’t just have anyone wandering in off the street.” The way she said anyone riled Madi. “It’s Sarah,” she said. “Now may I ask your name, ma’am? Because every teacher in this school knows I pick up Sarah from school. I’ve done it every day for the last two years.”

(in reference to her mom’s job) “Funny, u would expect a mother to be at home with her kids”

“You’d better start a rewrite,” Mrs. Preet said seriously. “The end of the year is only three weeks away and you have a semester-long assignment to redo.” “But I have final exams! I can’t just drop everything and redo my whole blog. Can’t you make an exception?” Mrs. Preet crossed her arms. “I can’t and I won’t. Doing that would make it unfair for every other student in this school.”

(after her father finds out she lied about her school project) “The Wi-Fi code is changing the minute we get back to the house. You can use your computer for submitting homework—I’ll type the code in when you need to send in your projects—but no other fooling around online until Mrs. Preet tells me you’ve passed that course.” “But you can’t just take away the Wi-Fi! That’s not fair!”

The other characters fared no better. From the love interest to they villain, they all embodied stereotypical characteristics. Like Madi, they lacked depth for readers to care about them or their importance to the story. Laurent, Madi’s love interest, is completely perfect. He’s the HoTtEsT bOy EvEr with his French accent (which is used as cheesily and unauthentically as possible throughout the novel) and forgives Madi quickly after she accuses him of horrific events that happen in the novel. Her teacher is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for holding her to the same expectations as any other student. The villain, barely present in the book, only spouted the same phrases over and over. Basically, you’ve seen all of these underdeveloped characters at least a dozen times. Below are a few quotes pertaining to these characters:

I also cringed at how Madi solved the “case of the troll” and thought it promoted ineffective problem-solving strategies for teenagers who read this book and come across cyberbullying.  When Madi receives threatening comments, Madi responds impulsively which escalates the situation. After the police inform Madi that it may take months to locate the troll, she takes matters in her own hands in a way that places both herself and her sister in danger. These actions are applauded by other characters in the novel. While I am all for characters sticking up for themselves, I think the way this situation was handled was inappropriate and could encourage readers to put themselves in dangerous situations to “cancel” a troll.

As for the pacing and overall plot, this book struggled to keep me engaged. Between blog posts about 80s movies, multiple coffee dates, and internet trolls, I just could not find myself invested in any part of this story. I read this book over a span of several months because I could barely stay engaged. While I could have put this book down, I pushed through hoping for the story to change since I already finished a significant portion of the book.

To me, this book missed the mark on so many levels. I rarely rate books lower than two stars, but this is an exception. From the underdeveloped characters to the plot, nothing worked for me in this story. I give Internet Famous one out of five stars.

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ARC Review: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

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There’s something sweet(ie) about this book!

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon follows two athletic Indian-There's Something About SweetieAmerican teenagers who develop a romantic relationship despite cultural and societal expectations. Ashish Patel finds himself heartbroken after his first love cheats on him. Despite his reservations, he asks his parents to set him up with an Indian-American girl. Enter Sweetie Nair, a top-notch track star whose mom opposes the match since she believes her daughter weighs too much. As a result, Sweetie becomes determined to prove her mother wrong.

Sandhya Menon’s books have been hit-or-miss for me. While I enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, it lacked the spark to make it one of my favorite contemporaries. On the other hand, I did not enjoy From Twinkle, With Love at all due to unlikable characters and an overdramatic plot. Going into There’s Something About Sweetie, I was not sure what to expect. I’m happy to say this book exceeded my expectations and ranks as my favorite among this author’s books.

I loved both Sweetie and Ashish because their personalities greatly differed from the characters in Menon’s other stories. While I enjoyed Dimple’s headstrong personality and Rishi’s gentlemanly attitude, I found Twinkle and Sahil to be watered down versions of those two characters and less likable. Sweetie possesses the same strong beliefs as Dimple, but comes across a lot more reserved and intuitive to others’ feelings. Rishi completely differs from Rishi or Sahil as he is portrayed as more “popular” and “cool.” I dislike when I read books by the same author and all of the main characters and love interests across the stories read the same. I appreciated that Sweetie and Ashish were vastly different than Menon’s other characters to set them apart.

If you have read Menon’s other two books, they follow a fairly similar formula. Each character has their passion, which is mentioned, but never as integral to the story as it may seem. I would say this is only half true for this book. Based on the synopsis, Sweetie’s track and “Sassy Sweetie Project” is mentioned, but there is a large focus on the dates that she goes on with Ashish as well. I would say the book holds true to the synopsis in this case. While the largest focus is placed on the arranged dates for Sweetie and Ashish, there is a large focus on Sweetie and how her weight is viewed through Indian culture as well. I think this will satisfy readers who were put off by the inaccurate synopses for some of Menon’s other books.

There were several other aspects of this book that I really appreciated. In the author’s note at the beginning of the story, Menon mentioned how her weight has fluctuated through the years and she has had vastly different experiences based on her weight at the time. She also mentioned that Sweetie describes herself as “fat” in the book because it is only a negative word because of societal connotations. However, she also acknowledges that some people, especially those bullied using this specific word, may feel uncomfortable when they see this word in the story and they are entitled to that feeling. I always appreciate reading about an author’s connection to a story and I thought Menon’s note before the story was incredibly thoughtful to those who may be triggered by the discrimination that Sweetie faces, especially since it often comes from close family members within this story. Just a warning: While this book does have a prevailing message of loving your body that although authentically portrays Sweetie’s experience, it may be extremely uncomfortable for some readers who struggle with body image. Since there is a large amount of negative commentary regarding Sweetie’s weight, you may want to skip this book if this triggers you.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was learning more about Indian culture. Sweetie and Ashish go on arranged dates by Ashish’s parents that are described as “typically Indian.” It was interesting to learn more about Indian culture and its influence in Indian-Americans’ lives. I think the two main characters also provided other perspectives that we have not seen yet in Menon’s books. Prior to this story, Ashish only dated white girls. Sweetie does not fit the stereotypical mold of the “perfect” Indian girl. It was interesting to read the conversations surrounding these topics in the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed There’s Something About Sweetie. I really liked the main characters and learning about a culture different than my own. I give this book four out of five stars.

 

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

 

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May TBR

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Once again, I failed to make a lot of progress on my TBR. I did not finish A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Bookish Boyfriends: The Boy Next Story, or You’d Be Mine while I did make a little bit of progress on two of those books. That being said, I did finish a book that I picked up and put down before I picked up any of those books. While the book, Internet Famous, was a struggle to finish, it still feels good to finally finish that story.

Looking ahead to May, I still want to focus on some of those books that I have been working on. However, I also want to finish reading an eARC that I received in order to review it before its release date. Here are my choices:

  • Bookish Boyfriends: The Boy Next Story by Tiffany Schmidt

The Boy Next Story: A Bookish Boyfriends Novel

I think that I am struggling to finish this book because it is really angsty and repetitive. I’m also not a huge fan of several characters in this book, including the love interest, which makes it difficult to finish reading. That being said, I am not the target age range of this book which skews as younger YA. Since I received this as an eARC, I am committed to finish it and provide an honest review.

  • Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Don't Date Rosa Santos

This book sounds right up my alley! I heard from other reviews that there is a large focus on the main character’s culture, which I always love to read in stories. I also have this book as an eARC, so I am determined to read and review it in order to provide an honest review before the release date.

  • You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

You'd Be Mine

I always struggle to read books involving celebrities or people trying to be famous, but I hope this is an exception. I barely started this book, so I’m not entirely sure about my feelings towards the characters or plot yet. The country music focus will be great to read as summer comes closer.

 

What books do you plan to read in May? 

 

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April Reading Wrap-Up

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Unfortunately for me, April was not my strongest reading month. Since I focused a lot of my time and energy into Camp NaNoWriMo, there wasn’t much left for tackling my TBR. As a result, I am currently three books behind schedule to meet my yearly reading goal of 50 books. That being said, the two books that I did read this month motivated me to write some of my most detailed reviews yet. Look for those reviews within the next couple weeks! Here is what I read in April:

  • Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein (★ ★)

Shuffle, Repeat

While the plot intrigued me for this book and reminded me of one of my favorite young adult novels, it took a different direction than I expected which I did not really enjoy. I found the characters bland and stereotypical and the plot as nothing special for the genre.

  • Internet Famous by Danika Stone (★)

Internet Famous

The execution of this book failed on multiple levels for me. While I like reading about teenage characters with a large online presence, most of these characters came across as stereotypical, immature, or annoying. As a result, I was never invested in this story.

 

What were the best books that you read in April?

 

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Sadie by Courtney Summers Review

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Sadie by Courtney Summers follows Sadie who embarks on a journey to find the murderer of her dead sister, who she raised due to her mother’s lack of involvement. Fascinated by the story, a radio host follows Sadie’s tracks in hopes to find Sadie who has been missing for a long time.

While I am not a huge thriller/mystery fan, I decided to pick up Sadie due to hearing many positive reviews. I was also interested in the format, which combines Sadie’s story as well as a podcast that chronicles her journey. Although I find Sadie an interesting and enjoyable story, it did not live up to the hype for me.

Overall, Sadie is an interesting and complex character. After surviving some traumatic experiences in her childhood and raising her younger sister, Sadie presents herself as tough and serious. However, readers also get to see a more vulnerable side of Sadie through several of her interactions with other people she meets throughout her journey. However, my favorite aspect of Sadie’s character is how realistic and relatable she is as a person. There are so many Sadies out there in the world that I think would resonate with her story.

As for the format of the book, it was a bit hit-or-miss for me. I really liked the concept of following the story through Sadie’s eyes and a podcast, but for me, it did not always enhance my reading experiences. Since the podcast’s hosts follow Sadie’s footsteps, some information is repeated throughout the story. While readers sometimes see the consequences of Sadie’s actions in the book, I felt like some of the podcast did not add anything to the story after you read it from Sadie’s perspective. Working towards the climax of the story, I sometimes wanted to push through the podcast aspect and get back to Sadie’s perspective. While I understand why the podcast was necessary for some aspects of the story, I think it could have been incorporated more successfully into the story.

I also think some readers may find the story predictable and the ending as flat. While I do not read this genre often, I was still able to figure out the mystery fairly early on in the story. While I continued the book due to my investment in Sadie as a character, other readers who frequently read this genre in favor of a less predictable storyline. Additionally, some readers may find the ending of this book as unfulfilling. I understand the author’s purpose behind the ending in the story, however, some readers may feel disappointed by the somewhat open ending.

Overall, Sadie is an interesting and overall enjoyable read. While I found the story somewhat predictable, this story still stuck with me after reading. I could not help but think of all the people with a similar story to Sadie in the world. I would recommend this book to people looking for more of an impactful mystery than a true mystery or thriller. I give this book three out of five stars.

 

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Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

book review

Unfortunately, too many aspects of this book did not add up.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang follows Stella Lane, a successful mathThe Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)ematician with Asperger’s. While advancing in her career, Stella becomes frustrated to see now advances in her dating life. As a result, Stella hires Michael Phan to help make her relationship ready. However, the business agreement grows complicated when Stella develops feelings for Michael.

I want to read more adult books, so I am always looking for more recommendations online. I saw many recommendations for The Kiss Quotient with many comparisons to The Hating Game and other adult books considered great stepping stones from people wanting to explore outside of the YA realm. Personally, The Kiss Quotient left me feeling unsatisfied and I find myself not buying into its hype.

After looking more into the thought behind this book, the concept still sounds interesting. The author wanted to create a story similar to Pretty Woman where the roles are reversed between the two main characters. I adore Pretty Woman, however, I think this story failed to capture what made that story so successful. For me, this book focused too heavily on the physical relationship between the two main characters. Yes, the synopsis emphasizes this aspect of the story, but I was still caught off guard that this seemed to be the only sense of the relationship between the two main characters. For me, I needed to see a stronger emotional connection between Stella and Michael to really buy into their relationship.

As for the characters, themselves they never really stood out to me and I never really connected with them. While I enjoyed that the author included a main character with autism and infused her own cultural background into the story, the characters never seemed fully developed or three dimensional. Additionally, I found Michael’s overprotectiveness a little off-putting and unhealthy. Overall, their personalities appeared very similar to countless other characters that I’ve read in books that I enjoyed a lot more. Characters are a huge factor that determines whether or not I love a story and I just never connected with these two characters.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this read. However, I can see why other people may enjoy this story, especially if they are huge romances fans. For me, this book fell a little flat. I give The Kiss Quotient three out of five stars.

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