ARC REVIEW // 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon follows two side-characters from the When Dimple Met Rishi companion series, Priyanka “Pinky” Kumar, an outspoken and rebellious teenager girl, and Samir Jha, a conservative and homeschooled boy. After her parents wrongly accuse her of a fire at their summer home, Pinky wants to prove to her parents that she is responsible and can make good choices. When Pinky discovers that Samir’s summer internship fell through, she offers him a room at the house and a future internship with her lawyer mother if he pretends to date her.

10 Things I Hate About Pinky (Dimple and Rishi, #3)

Sandhya Menon’s books have been all over the board for me. When Dimple Met Rishi was an average read for me, I loved There’s Something About Sweetie, but really did not care for From Twinkle, With Love (which is not part of the companion series). For me, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky was a mix of all the elements that readers have seen in Sandhya Menon’s books. As a result, there were some aspects of this book that I really enjoyed, but others that I didn’t enjoy as much.

The main character, Pinky, reminds me a lot of Twinkle from From Twinkle, With Love. Like Twinkle, Pinky is firm in her beliefs and will fight for what she wants. However, like Twinkle, I didn’t really mesh with Pinky’s character as she quickly jumps to conclusions and often starts arguments just to start arguments. While I appreciate that the author gave Pinky characteristics that made her act like an actual teenager, Pinky’s constant outbursts caused many situations and conversations to happen repeatedly throughout the book, which irritated me as a reader. That being said, Pinky’s personality makes this book come across as younger YA to me and I think readers in the target age range for this book would relate more to Pinky than I did while reading.

As for Pinky’s love interest, Samir, I liked him but found him to be too similar to Sandhya Menon’s other male leads. I think Sandhya Menon does a great job of differentiating her female leads by giving them their own dreams and aspirations, but often times, the male characters end up acting very similar, even if they don’t start that way. From the other books in this companion series, I always saw Samir as a little more awkward and not as traditionally charming. In this book, I found that he acted a lot like how I remembered Rishi in When Dimple Met Rishi. Samir is very confident and easily navigates Pinky’s complicated family relationships. In this book, it is mentioned quite a few times about how muscular and preppy he is, however, I never got that impression in earlier books. While I did appreciate Samir’s backstory and how that affected his life, the rest of his character seemed to blur with Menon’s other male leads.

As for the story itself, there were also some aspects that I enjoyed and some aspects that I didn’t enjoy. My favorite aspect of this book was the relationship between Pinky and her mom. While I do think there conflict was resolved too quickly at the end of the book (and I spotted the resolution from a mile away), their relationship was so authentic and I think many people will relate to their relationship.

Like I mentioned above, there were some conflicts in this novel that were too quickly resolved for my liking. Something explosive would happen at the end of a chapter, just to be resolved with a quick apology on the next few pages. This happened in multiple plots in the story from Pinky and Samir’s relationship, several instances with Dolly’s cousin, and the efforts to save the butterfly garden.

While I did appreciate the family relationships showcased in this book, there were some overall problems with pacing and character consistencies that held me back from fully enjoying this read. I found myself putting down this book and taking long breaks before picking it up and again, which means that this book didn’t fully captivate me. That being said, I still plan to check out more books by this author (I’ve recently added some of her to-be-released books on my Goodreads), but this book personally wasn’t my favorite. I give 10 Things I Hate About Pinky 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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ARC REVIEW // Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

Four Days of You and Me almost gets four stars from me.

Four Days of You and Me is the first young adult contemporary book by Miranda Kenneally set outside of the Hundred Oaks series. Every year, aspiring writer Lulu, along with the rest of her class, attends a class field trip. During freshman year, the field trip sparks a relationship between Lulu and a fellow classmate, sports star Alex. Four Days of You and Me documents their changing relationship throughout their high school years.

Four Days of You and Me

I have read every book in the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally, so I was excited to see her first book outside of the sports-themed books that she wrote in the past. For me, the Hundred Oaks series was hit-or-miss, but overall, each book was a quick and light-hearted contemporary. Four Days of You and Me was everything that I would expect from this author. Therefore, if you like Miranda Kenneally’s other books, then you would probably enjoy this book.

One aspect of this book that set it apart from Kenneally’s other books was the timeline. This book takes place on the same day throughout a four-year period, with flashbacks to other events that happened in the same year. Sometimes, timelines in books that frequently jump around can be unsuccessfully executed, which makes the book confusing to read. I think Kenneally did a nice job of jumping back and forth between different times without confusing the reading. Despite some problems I had with pacing towards the end (unrelated to the time jumping), I think the jumping to different periods of time actually made the book a quicker read and motivated me to continue the story.

That being said, the pacing in the last 20% of the book wasn’t my favorite. There were plot points introduced quickly into the end that could cause large rifts between the main characters or greatly impact their futures. When I expected the all is lost moment or some major area of conflict in the plot, it was resolved quickly with little impact on the story. In a sense, it was nice not to have a huge bomb dropped at the end of the book because throughout the story, you grow up with all the characters, and it leaves more of a bittersweet tone surrounding their last hurrah before graduation. At the same time, the problems weren’t as fleshed out as issues presented earlier in the book, so the ending felt slightly rushed.

Another aspect that I enjoyed were the characters. Since you see these characters from their freshman year, you get to see how they all grow, not just the main characters. I always wonder what happens to a character after the short time span we typically see in a novel, so it was cool to see how the characters in this novel literally grow up before your eyes. Getting more in-depth with all the characters also made the ending of the story emotional. Thinking about all the highlights of their high school career and then knowing that they will grow their separate ways will help readers in high school or people who graduated high school really connect with this story because they can themselves or their friends within the characters in this novel.

That being said, I did have some personal preferences that impacted my reading experience. Lulu, the main character, wants to write graphic novels. Throughout the book, we see her write the story, then she goes onto query agents and get more into the publishing process. For me, I don’t always mind when characters are writing a book, but for some reason, it always puts me off when such little details about the publishing industry are within a novel. To quote one of my favorite contestants from Survivor, Michaela Bradshaw, it’s like when a magician pulls a bunny out of a hat but they walk in with the bunny instead—it just takes away the magic of being fully immersed in a book, like the characters are real people, but now you are reminded that they are not.

Overall, Four Days of You and Me is a fun and easy to read contemporary book. While I did enjoy this book, there were some aspects that weren’t my favorite or could be improved. I give Four Days of You and Me three out of five stars.

What do you think of books that follow a non-linear timeline?

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First & Then by Emma Mills Review

This book wasn’t quite a touchdown for me.

First & Then by Emma Mills is a young adult contemporary book that follows Devon Tennyson who searches for some extracurriculars to boost her college applications, harbors a (not so secret) crush on her best friend Cas, and attempts to steer clear of her annoying freshman cousin, Foster.

First & Then

First & Then is the second book by Emma Mills that I have read, Famous in a Small Town was the first. In Famous in a Small Town, I was put off by the initial slow start. While I appreciated the emotional ending, for me, it felt like a lot of work for a little reward. As a result, it only ended as an average read for me. My experience with First & Then was fairly similar.

One of the aspects of this book that I enjoyed were the complexities of the relationships between the characters, specifically Devon and her cousin, Foster. I liked how their relationship grew and changed throughout the novel and how they influenced how each other grew and changed individually. While I do think some characters individually needed a little something extra to make them memorable, Emma Mills is always successful when creating meaningful and realistic relationships between characters.

One of the issues I had with this book was the pacing. While some people may not mind a lot of groundwork for emotional pay off at the end of the book, it isn’t my favorite style of pacing. This seems to be a trend in books by Emma Mills, and personally, it isn’t a structure that I enjoy but other readers may enjoy. Although the emotional impact the ending of her books has makes me want to boost my overall rating higher, when I look back, I don’t remember that same feeling that I had during the first half of the book.

Another aspect of this book that slightly annoyed me were several cliches that we see a lot of in young adult fiction. I thought this book would have been written in 2010 for all of the tropes that existed in this book. I got a big “not like other girls” vibe from Devon and I didn’t like how she talked about the freshmen girls. While every senior expresses their dislike for freshmen, she particularly focuses on the girls and states that they look like “prostitots” as they look young, but tie their shirts up and use a lot of makeup to feel older. This isn’t a passing joke, as she uses the term throughout the novel, even as she gets to know some of the girls. Devon is a huge Jane Austen fan, occasionally mentioning what Jane would think. This was also huge back in the day in YA, but for me, it really didn’t go with Devon’s personality. Plus, it led to that moment where the love interest reads a Jane Austen book to impress the lead, which is too overdone for me.

Overall, First & Then was an average book for me. While I liked the relationships between the characters, the characters themselves didn’t wow me. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

What I Read in 2019

Even though I am a little (read: A LOT) late on listing all of the books that I read last year, I always think it is fun to recap all of the books that I read in one year. Last year, I found myself in a bit of a reading slump, so I didn’t read as many books as I typically read in year. Additionally, I found myself not as invested in many of the books that I read in the last year. Fortunately for me, I’ve had a great start to the 2020 reading year and I hope it continues throughout February. Without further adieu, here are all the books that I read in 2019 (reviews will be linked to book titles):

 

What were your favorite books of 2020?

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord Review

Sometimes you just need a cheese-y romance.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord is the author’s debut contemporary romance novel about two high school students who fall in love after a viral Twitter war. Pepper is an overachiever who tweets memes for Big League Burger, her mom’s fast food chain restaurant. Meanwhile, Jack tweets for Girl Cheesing, his grandma’s bakery. When Big Tweet CuteLeague Burger steals the recipe for Girl Cheesing’s popular grilled cheese, an online battle ensues.

I never typically pay full price for books. I either wait for a Kindle deal or check out my local library for new releases, especially from authors that I don’t know. However, I heard a lot of hype for Tweet Cute and it sounded right up my alley, so I decided to purchase it soon after the release date. While I did enjoy Tweet Cute, there were a few aspects of the book that prevented me from rating it five stars.

My favorite aspect of this book was that it featured one of my favorite tropes: enemies to lovers. The banter between Pepper and Jack kept me turning the pages. I love how their relationship grew realistically throughout the book. Plus, it was nice to see both of their points of views as both were well developed characters individually. In dual perspectives, it is hard to make both perspectives interesting, but in this book, I enjoyed experiencing the story from both Pepper and Jack’s point of views.

One aspect of this book that wasn’t my favorite was the pacing. When I thought the book was reaching the breaking point, I was only at the 60% mark on my Kindle. At that point, I feared the book would drag on, and for me, it slightly did. The beginning of the book was fast paced with a constant back and forth between Pepper and Jack. In the ending, there were many rehashed conversations and some unnecessary drama that could have easily been cut without affecting the story. Towards the end, I found myself waiting for the actual end of the story because I felt like I reached the story’s “darkest moment” so many times before it actually happened.

Overall, Tweet Cute is a fun and enjoyable story that I think a lot of readers with enjoy, even if they aren’t a huge fan of contemporary books. That being said, the pacing at the end was a little off which negatively affected my reading experience. I give this book four out of five stars.

ARC Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

book review

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

book review

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

book review

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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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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