Unpopular Opinion Book Tag 2017

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One of my favorite tags that I completed when I started my blog was the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag. I loved sharing some of my opinions are reading about other bloggers’ unpopular opinions. I decided to complete the tag again this year, only using books that I read in 2017. Here are my answers:

  • A popular book or series that you didn’t like

In Real Life

I’ve seen this book in a lot of graphic novel recommendations, however, I wasn’t a huge fan of how the story played out. In Real Life has a great premise: cultures clash after a girl joins an online game where she hunts down players illegally harvesting gold and selling it for a real-life profit but these players also are exploited workers in a foreign country. My biggest problem was the execution of this book. The main character had no knowledge of the culture where she pushed her ideas based on little background knowledge, but managed to drastically changed their lives from behind her computer screen. I wish this book focused more of the main character learning about the workers and their exploitation and learning more about real life initiatives that could aid them. The unrealistic story and unlikable narrator made this an enjoyable read for me.

  • A popular book or series everyone hates, but you love

The Heir (The Selection, #4)The Fill-In Boyfriend

I think people dislike The Heir by Kiera Cass and The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West for a similar reason: both of the main characters are unlikable, at least at the beginning of their respective stories. With The Heir, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the story because I heard such negative reviews. This was actually my most highly rated book in The Selection series. I thought Eadlyn’s issue, not being liked by the press, was more realistic than America’s, the “rebels.” However, I do completely understand why people dislike the conclusion to Eadlyn’s story in The Crown. As for The Fill-In Boyfriend, I don’t understand why Gia gets so much hate. While Gia is stuck-up at the beginning of the story, she eventually learns from her mistakes and becomes a better person. I’ve seen many people say this is their least favorite Kasie West book, but it’s one of my favorites because I like the main character and the romance.

  • A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you DID NOT want them to end up with or an OTP that you don’t like

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy: The Summer I Turned Pretty; It's Not Summer Without You; We'll Always Have Summer

I actually don’t care that much about either love interest in this series, but I was pretty unsatisfied by how one of the brothers was portrayed in the last book. WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD. I wasn’t a huge fan of Conrad most of the series. I felt like he was a complete jerk most of the time and Belly continually made excuses for his behavior. As for Jeremiah, I liked him for the most part in the first two books even though he was a little too love sick for Belly. However, I was really annoyed with how his minor flaws were portrayed in comparison to Conrad’s major flaws. I felt like his character was sometimes made to be incredibly annoying just so I liked Conrad more.

  • A popular book genre that you don’t reach for

Emma

A lot of people are into classics, but I never find myself grabbing for them. Looking back at the books I read this year, there isn’t one classic on my list. Even though I would like to read some classics because I did read classics when I was in school and enjoyed some of them, it’s something I never consider when picking a book to read. For example, I picked up Emma something during high school outside of my assignments and really enjoyed it. Hopefully, I can find a classic that will motivate me to read more books in this genre!

  • A popular or beloved character that you do not like

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

I’m not sure if this is an unpopular opinion, but it is an opinion of mine that changed over time. When I read this book numerous times in high school, I really like Lola. After reading the book again this year, my opinion greatly changed. I don’t like how much Lola lies throughout this book. I also find her slightly hypocritical: she’s mad at Cricket because she thinks he led her on years ago, but she does the same to her boyfriend and Cricket years later. Additionally, I’m never clear on who she is exactly is as a person and if she actually thinks the costumes hid who she is or represent her personality.

  • A popular author that you can’t seem to get into

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

I’ve tried to read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and I couldn’t get into it. Fortunately, I really enjoyed her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses!

  • A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing

Open Road Summer

One trend I’m extremely tried of seeing is the “perfect boyfriend” trope. This guy practically falls at the protagonist’s feet, no matter how bad she treats him. He’s nice, sweet, and very attractive. Usually, his flaw will be issues with his father or that he doesn’t have a flaw at all. One book I read this year where I noticed this trope was Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Reagan was so nasty to Finch and other girls, her drama at the end of the book was so unnecessary, but Matt practically begged Reagan on his hands and knees for her to like him. This is so unrealistic and I prefer relationships in books where the characters truly love the other person, flaws and all. For example, Owen in Just Listen by Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite love interests ever. He has tons of flaws, many that I would be annoyed by in real life, but is written in such a realistic way that I can’t help but like him. I want more love interests like that in books!

  • A popular series that you have no interest in reading

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

I tried reading this book and got to around the 50 page mark before I put it down. I’m not into urban fantasy books or books that involve demons or demon hunting. Consequently, I don’t think any of Cassandra Clare’s series will be for me.

  • The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie,” but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

My Friend Dahmer

It’s not that this graphic novel was terrible, but I watched the movie trailer before reading the graphic novel. They are pretty much the same thing, so when I read the book, there was nothing different or surprising. I also think Ross Lynch does a great job in his performance of Jeffrey Dahmer which makes the movie stand out more than the book to me.

What are some of your unpopular book opinions?

Most Read Authors in 2017

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Earlier this year, I did a post on my most read authors of all time using Goodreads. Looking over my list for my books read in 2017, I noticed a few authors that appeared frequently on my list. If you read multiple books by one author (especially in a year), it usually means that you really like their books. While that’s true for most of the authors on this list, there are a few were I found some of their books a little hit-or-miss. For each author, I will discuss what books I read, my thoughts about the books, and a list of titles read with links to  my reviews. Here are some of my most read authors this year:

  • Jenny Han (4 books)

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2)We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3)Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)

This year, I read all of the Jenny Han books pictured above. When I went into Always and Forever, Lara Jean, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I hadn’t read the other books in the series for awhile and while I enjoyed them, they never really stood out to me among other similar young adult contemporary books. However, this final book in the series ended up being my favorite! After reading Always and Forever, Lara Jean, I felt motivated to tackle The Summer I Turned Pretty series. This series was popular when I was younger, but I never picked it up. Since it was the summer time, I decided to read all three. While they weren’t my favorite books, they were fun and quick to read.

I think I picked up so many Jenny Han books this year because of how much I loved the last Lara Jean book, which I rated five stars. Even though I did enjoy The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy as much as the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, they both possessed the same fun and fast-paced qualities that made Jenny Han’s books so enjoyable.

My favorite books that I’ve read this year by Jenny Han are We’ll Always Have Summer and Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

  • Sarah Dessen (6 books)

Once and for AllThe Truth About ForeverSaint AnythingJust Listen

This year, I read all of the Sarah Dessen books pictured above. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite young adult authors so this was a great year because it marked the release of Once and For All. This year, I also reread Saint Anything for the second or third time. I enjoyed it, but like the first time I read it, it doesn’t rank as one of my favorites of all time. I also re-read another middle-tier favorite, Along for the Ride. I really enjoyed re-reading Just Listen and The Truth About Forever (I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read each of these books) and I still consider them two out of three of my favorite Sarah Dessen books and some of my favorite young adult books overall.

I think I read so many of Sarah Dessen’s books every year because they are my go-to books whenever I’m in a reading slump. There are several books by Sarah Dessen that I’ve read multiple times and will never get tired of no matter how many times I read them.

My favorite books that I’ve read this year by Sarah Dessen are Just Listen and The Truth About Forever.

Books read: Once and For All, The Truth About Forever, Saint Anything, Along for the Ride, This Lullaby, Just Listen

  • Miranda Kenneally (5 books)

Catching JordanJesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks)Defending TaylorThings I Can't Forget

During this year, I read five books my Miranda Kenneally. I read all of the book pictured above as well as Coming Up For Air. Miranda Kenneally is one of the authors on this list that was hit-or-miss for me. I really liked Catching Jordan, Jessie’s Girl, and Things I Can’t Forget. However, I really wasn’t a fan of Defending Taylor or Coming Up For Air. I also read Stealing Parker the year before and didn’t really enjoy it.

I think I read so many Miranda Kenneally books for a few reason. First off, several were available in my library and appeared on Kindle daily deals. Additionally, I had wanted to read her books for a few years and receiving an eARC for Coming Up For Air increased my excitement to read her books. Additionally, all of her books are quick and easy to read. Even I don’t completely love a story, they are still pretty fun to read.

My favorite books that I read this year by Miranda Kenneally were Catching Jordan and Jesse’s Girl.

Books read: Catching Jordan, Jesse’s Girl, Defending Taylor, Things I Can’t Forget, Coming Up For Air

  • Kiera Cass (6 books)

The Selection (The Selection, #1)The Elite (The Selection, #2)The One (The Selection, #3)The Siren

I read all of the books by Kiera Cass pictured above as well as The Heir and The Crown. I started reading books by Kiera Cass because I started getting into The Bachelor and heard The Selection series is a fun series to read if you enjoy that show. Even though I didn’t hear the greatest about the story or writing in The Selection series, I decided to pick it up anyway.

Like with Miranda Kenneally’s books, I wouldn’t say books by Kiera Cass are my favorite books of all time. However, they do have a fun quality that makes you interested to read them. Besides the final book in The Selection series, I had so much fun reading that series. I’m sad that I put it off for so long just because I heard negative reviews about the series from people I know. While I did enjoy The Selection series, I didn’t not enjoy The Siren AT ALL. It didn’t have the same fun quality as The Selection series and the writing and story line was much weaker.

My favorite books that I read this year by Kiera Cass were The Selection and The Heir.

Books read: The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir, The Crown, The Siren

  • Kasie West (6 books)

P.S. I Like YouLucky in LoveThe Fill-In BoyfriendBy Your Side

I’ve read all of the Kasie West books above as well as On the Fence and The Distance Between Us. Before this year, I never heard of Kasie West which is crazy to me since contemporary is my favorite genre and she’s a huge contemporary author. After I read my first Kasie West book, I knew I wanted to immediately get my hands on more. Luckily, a lot of her books appear as Kindle Daily Deals!

Like with Kiera Cass, Kasie West’s books aren’t always the best written books that I’ve read, but I have so much fun reading them. Kasie West’s books always remind me of my favorite high school movies in book form! While I like some of her books more than others, I know that when I pick up a Kasie West book I will usually finish it in one sitting and be smiling afterward!

My favorite books that I read this year by Kasie West were P.S. I Like You and The Fill-In Boyfriend.

Books read: The Distance Between Us, P.S. I Like You, The Fill-In Boyfriend, Lucky in Love, On the Fence, By Your Side

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews #3: Awkward, El Deafo, In Real Life

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On the tenth day of Blogmas, my true love gave to me… three more graphic novel reviews! Last week, I gave mini-reviews for three graphic novels that I recently read (My Friend Dahmer, Relish, and This One Summer). For me, all of those books were average reads at three stars. Today, I’m happy to discuss two graphic novels that I rated five stars and (unfortunately) one graphic novel that I rated one star. Here are my thoughts on Awkward, El Deafo, and In Real Life:

  • Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Awkward (Awkward, #1)

In Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, Penelope “Peppi” Torres wants to fit in… even if it means pushing down a “nerd” who helped her. Peppi tries to push her actions out of her mind by surrounding herself with friends in the art club. However, Peppi is forced to work with Jaime Thompson (the nerd) after a fight between the art club and science club puts both of their clubs in jeopardy.

On the surface, Awkward is a pretty generic middle grade story about popularity, clubs, and learning to be true to yourself. However, Svetlana Chmakova does a great job of making her story stand out from the rest. Looking at her process at the back of the novel, Chmakova put a lot of thought into how her characters were drawn and how little features conveyed every character’s personality which really showed throughout the book. This book was fun, humorous, and adorable. Although a little unrealistic, I really enjoyed Awkward and can see myself picking up more books in this series in the future. I give Awkward five out of five stars.

  • El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo

El Deafo by Cece Bell chronicles the young-life of Cece Bell as a girl who is deaf. At first, Cece attends a school for other children who were deaf. However, when her family moves, Cece is forced to attend public school. Cece worries that her classmates won’t want to be her friend because of her phonic ear, but soon she discovers that her phonic ear enables her to hear her teacher no matter where she is in the school (even the bathroom!).

I’ve heard so many positive reviews about El Deafo through the years, but I never picked it up. I’m glad that I did because this is exactly the type of story that I love to read. I really loved how the author included so many different people in this book who reacted to her hearing aid. It gave readers a better perspective of what reactions are appropriate and what reactions are inappropriate. Additionally, I loved the author’s note in the back of the book where the author goes more into detail about the deaf community and how other people who are deaf can have experiences completely different than her own. I give El Deafo five out of five stars.

  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

In Real Life

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang follows a Anda, a girl who is recruited to be apart of an all-girl team in an online game. In this game, Anda is recruited to destroy gold farmers who harvest gold to sell it for money in real-life. Things grow complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer whose real-life depends on his success as a gold farmer.

I was really interested to read this book because it emphasized culture clashing and how wrong and right aren’t always clear. While I liked the premise of this book, the execution fell flat for me. Basically, the gold farmer Anda meets is this boy from China working in a factory who gold farms online to make money. Anda convinces him to rebel against his boss which ultimately leads to him being fired. Then, Anda recruits the other people where he works to stand up to the boss. In the end, everything is better, her friend from China has a better job, and he has a “Prince Charming”-esque avatar where he flirts with the main character. I found this whole plot incredibly unrealistic. I understand that the authors want to motivate girls like Anda to stick up for others, but I believe Anda needed to show more understanding for her friend’s culture, greater research into the issue, and more involvement than on a computer game to make her more likable as a character and the make the whole plot believable. I give this book two out of five stars.

 

What are your favorite/least favorite graphic novels?

Library Book Haul

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One of the greatest gifts to any book lover is the public library. You can discover tons of new books before committing to purchasing it. With hardcover books being around $20, it’s nice to pick out a new book without being afraid of disliking it. Here are the four books that I recently checked out of my library:

  • Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Guitar Notes

I never heard of Guitar Notes before spotting it in the YA section of my local library. However, I was looking for a cute, fluffy book and this seemed like it would be perfect! Guitar Notes by Mary Amato follows two students, Tripp and Lyla, as they share a music practice space in school and become friends as they leave notes in the music.

  • Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under Rose-Tainted Skies

I’ve heard of Under Rose-Tainted Skies, but didn’t know too much about reviews of this book before going into it. Under Rose-Tainted Skies follows Norah, a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder and agoraphobia after she meets a cute boy next door.

  • Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross (Warcross, #1)

I had seen Warcross everywhere and heard positive reviews for it, so I decided to pick it up after spotting at the library. I started The Young Elites by Marie Lu, but never finished it because I didn’t particularly care for the story. However, Warcross seems a little more up my alley. Warcross follows a teenage hacker whose identity is revealed after a glitch in a game. She is then invited by the game’s elusive inventor to spy on the worldwide tournament.

  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

I’ve seen this book a lot of heard decent reviews for it, so I decided to pick it up when I saw it in my library. Wonder Woman: Warbringer is the origin story for Wonder Woman. I’m not usually interested in books based on comic book characters and super heroes after a movie is released, but I do like Leigh Bardugo’s writing so I thought this could be an exception to the rule. However, this is one book that I checked out that I’m not sure if I will read due to my wavering interest in the plot.

 

What books have you checked out of the library recently?

Christmas Song Book Tag

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One of my favorite ways to get in the Christmas spirit is listening to Christmas songs! I actually started listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween. Every year, my parents get me a Christmas CD that we can listen to on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My favorites would probably be Michael Buble’s CD or Taylor Swift’s CD! To celebrate one of my favorite holiday activities, I thought it would be perfect to complete the Christmas Song Book Tag for one day of Blogmas. Here are my answers:

  • “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: Name a villainous character you can’t help but love.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Even though Rhysand isn’t necessarily the villain in this series, he definitely does some questionable actions. However, as his character grows and changes throughout the series paired with learning more about his backstory, I couldn’t help but enjoy his character a little bit more.

  • “All I Want for Christmas is You”: Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree

Renegades (Renegades, #1)

I’m a huge fan of Marissa Meyer, so I can’t wait to read the start of her new series! This book is definitely at the top of my book wish list.

  • “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves

The Hate U Give

Starr experiences a traumatic event where her childhood best friend is murdered, but struggles with coming forward about the truth of what happened. Over the course of the novel, Starr finds her voice and stands up for what she knows is right. Starr is such a great role model in YA literature!

  • “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”: Which character would be on the nice list and which character would be on the naughty list?

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Even though I do like Kaz as a character, I definitely think he can earn a place on the naughty list for some of his actions. On the other hand, I think Inej would be on the nice list for how she convinces Kaz to show some mercy to the people who cross him.

  • “Frosty the Snowman”: Which book melts your heart?

Fish in a Tree

As a special education teacher, this book completely melted my heart! Ally’s story is similar to so many students that I’ve seen in the classroom. Her struggle of being embarrassed of her learning disability made me so sad!

  • “Feliz Navidad”: A book that takes place in a country different than your own

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me takes place in Greece during Easter time. This book heavily focuses on family and Greek culture which made it a stand out read to me!

  • “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday themed book do you use to spread Christmas joy?

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (The Herdmans #1)

This is one of my favorite Christmas books! As a child, I loved reading about the Herdmans’ wild behavior. As an adult now, my heart breaks when I think about the conditions the Herdmans’ live in. This book has such a great message and the ending definitely makes me tear up a bit.

  • “Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you spend the holidays with?

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

Even though The Vanderbeekers had a stressful Christmas in this book, you can tell that they really care about each other. Each member of the family had such a fun personality that I would love to spend the holidays with them!

  • “Baby It’s Cold Outside”: Which book that you didn’t like would you not mind sacrificing to a fire to keep yourself warm?

Eligible (The Austen Project, #4)

This book was unnecessarily long with awkward dialogue and desperate attempts to appear modern and shocking. As a whole, I was completely disappointed and underwhelmed by this book.

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

Wonder (Wonder #1)

Wonder is such a great story with a heartfelt message. People of all ages need to learn this message!

 

What is your favorite Christmas song?

The Brittany Awards 2017 Part Two: Graphic Novels

the-brittany-awards

  • Part One: Re-Reads

In the second installment of The Brittany Awards 2017, I will be discussing my favorite graphic novels of the year. Before 2017, I can’t say that I ever read a graphic novel. However, this year I really wanted to branch outside of my comfort zone. After looking critically at the graphic novels that I read this year, there were only four that I would consider my top favorites. Here are my favorite graphic novels that I read this year (reviews will be linked to book titles):

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerves, #1)

Even though I have mixed feelings towards some aspects of Wires and Nerve, this is the book that really convinced me to look more into graphic novels. The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series, so I loved the opportunity to explore the world even more. I especially enjoyed getting to see the perspective of Iko, one of my favorite characters from the original series.

March: Book One (March, #1)

I heard so many positive reviews about this graphic novel series and it definitely lived up to the hype. While I love learning about history, I generally do not pick up non-fiction books when I want to read for fun. March took a subject that I do have interest in, but put it in a more accessible format for me. I literally could not put this graphic novel down!

  • El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo

I love reading books that feature characters with exceptionalities, so I loved reading this graphic novel memoir that focused on the author’s experience with deafness in her childhood. This book offered such a valuable perspective that not only educated readers, but provided a great story. Like with March, I heard a lot of hype surrounding this book before I picked it up and I was not disappointed.

  • Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Awkward (Awkward, #1)

I hadn’t heard anything about this book before I picked it up, both thought it looked cute when I spotted it in my library’s graphic novel section. While not the most realistic story, it was incredibly cute with illustrations that I really enjoyed.

 

What graphic novels did you read this year?

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews 2: My Friend Dahmer, Relish, and This One Summer

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Recently, I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone of fluffy contemporary books in order to discover new favorites. One area of books that I’ve decided to branch out into is graphic novels. I love graphic novels because they’ve really pushed me to read subjects that I normally wouldn’t read because they are in a more accessible format. Here are my thoughts on three graphic novels on a few recent reads:

  • My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer by Derk Backderf follows the high school years of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer before he commits his first murder. From police reports, interviews, and accounts from the people who knew Jeffrey Dahmer (like the author himself), this book details the origins of Jeffrey’s strange behavior.

One reason that I really love graphic novels is that they can take a subject that I don’t usually pick-up, in this case non-fiction, and make it more accessible to read. Especially with My Friend Dahmer, I appreciated the author had first hand knowledge of Jeffrey Dahmer’s high school years because he associated with him in high school. While it was interesting to learn more about the origins of Jeffrey Dahmer’s behavior, this book was only okay to me. Before reading this book, I had already seen the trailer for the movie based on this book. Since the trailer and the book are so similar, it felt like I was reading information that I already knew which made the book less shocking and interesting. I give My Friend Dahmer three out of five stars.

  • Relish by Lucy Kinsey

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish by Lucy Kinsey is a food-theme memoir that follows the author’s experience with food from her childhood until now. In addition to anecdotes in the states and abroad, the book also features some of the author’s favorite recipes that you can make yourself!

On Youtube, I saw one of my favorite Youtubers (Heather from Bookables) rave about this graphic novel. As a result, I picked this book up when I saw it in my local library. While I did enjoy this book and reading about the author’s experiences, there was just something missing for me. There were a lot of emotional moments in the author’s life that were a little glossed over for me. I understand the focus of this book was geared toward food, but I felt like I needed something more to connect with the author. However, I did enjoy the recipes in this book. If I didn’t read this book so close to the due date, I probably would have tried some myself! I give this book three out of four stars.

  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

This One Summer

In This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, a young girl returns with her family to Awago Beach which they do every summer. However, this summer is different because her parents keep fighting and her mom is acting drastically different. Additionally, the main character develops a crush on an older boy at the movie store dealing with his own issues.

I’ve seen this graphic novel in a lot of graphic novel recommendations, so I decided to pick it up. Like with the first two books I reviewed, this book was okay but I needed something a little more to make it a better read for me. One aspect of this book that I really appreciated is that it portrays life very realistically. Although this book is pretty dark, it does portray a lot of real events that would make the girl in this book grow up. At the same time, this book basically just chronicles the main character’s summer. The main character really doesn’t do anything in this book, readers just see her reactions to other people and events in the novel. As a result, the other character’s stories were a lot more interesting than the one readers actually get to see. I give This One Summer three out of five stars.

 

What graphic novels do you recommend?

The Brittany Awards 2017 Part One: Re-Reads

the-brittany-awards

The Brittany Awards are my annual end-of-the-year lists to celebrate my favorite books of this year. For 2017, I have divided my list into five preliminary categories (re-reads, graphic novels, middle grade, contemporary, and fantasy) and one overall favorites category. For each category, I will select my top five favorite books as well as two honorable mentions. Since I read 100 books this year, there’s a lot of competition for the top spots in each category!

Today, I will be reviewing my top five favorite re-reads. This year, I wanted to go back and read some of my favorite books. With so many books being released every year, sometimes I forget to go back and read the books that made me love reading so much in the first place. For this category, I decided to forego the honorable mentions and just talk about my five favorites of the year (reviews will be linked to book titles):

Just Listen

Just Listen is one of my all-time favorite young adult books, so it’s no surprise that it is on this list! This book has such a great message and is filled with realistic and complex characters. I’ve probably read this book over ten times already, but I always find something that I didn’t see before. This will most likely always be a five star read for me.

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

This book actually showed up in my favorite middle grade books of 2016. In this book, I think Judy Moody shows a lot of growth and it also gives an important message about unrepresented heroes in American history. I reread this book earlier this year because I had the opportunity to create unit on it for one of my student teaching placements. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to share this book with some of my students!

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

When I read Fangirl the first time, I enjoyed it but it probably wouldn’t have appeared on a favorites list. After rereading it, there are so many little details that I missed the first time around that made me like this book even more! Now that I’ve graduated college, it was fun reading this book and thinking about my own college experiences.

  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

This Lullaby

This Lullaby is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books, so it’s no surprised that I enjoyed it this time around. Every time I read this book, I resonate with Remy and further appreciate her relationship with Dexter. This is always a book that I read whenever I need a pick-me-up.

The Truth About Forever

This is the third Sarah Dessen book on my list! Even though I don’t like repeating authors so much on a list, I can’t help but hide my love for my favorite Sarah Dessen books. Like with Annabel and Remy, I relate to Macy which really invested me in this story. Even though this book has sad moments, I am always happy and hopeful when I finish reading it.

 

What were your favorite re-reads of the year?

Saint Anything Book Review

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In Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen, Sydney has always lived in the shadow of her charismatic brother Peyton, that is, until he is arrested for a drunk driving incident that left a boy paralyzed. After switching schools, Sydney meets the Chatham family who accept her for who she is and make her feel noticed for the first time.

When it comes to Sarah Dessen, I definitely have my top favorites. While I think all of her books are extremely well-written and I would read them again and again, not many of her recent releases have lived up to my favorites. Saint Anything, however, includes a lot of the elements from my favorite Sarah Dessen books and stands out as one of my favorites among her most recent books.

One of my favorite parts of this book was Sydney’s relationship with her family and how her brother’s actions impacted all of their lives. Every character handles the situation in a different way which greatly impacts their family and the plot as a whole. Like Sarah Dessen’s other books, this story is very character-driven and Sarah Dessen does a great job with exploring every character’s emotions and motivations and showing how they grow throughout the book.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed were all of the side characters, another hallmark in Sarah Dessen’s work. Layla is a fun and interesting character who is incredibly fleshed out throughout the book. Mac is an adorable love interest and an all-around nice guy which I don’t see as much as I would like to in young adult fiction. Eric is also a character that I wouldn’t normally enjoy for his pretentious attitude, but provided a lot of humor to the book. The only character I wish the author explored more was Irv, who although added some comic relief throughout the book, definitely was the most underdeveloped.

I only have a few mixed feelings towards this book. While I like many of the classic Sarah Dessen elements in this book, some of them are very similar to elements in her other books. As a result, they don’t seem as original to me which makes the book stands out less compared to her other works. For example, Sydney and Layla remind me a lot of Macy and Kristi from The Truth About Forever. While there are definitely differences in their characters, Sydney and Layla don’t seem as dynamic in comparison. Additionally, while I liked the relationship between Sydney and Mac, it wasn’t anything unique or different than several other relationships throughout Sarah Dessen’s works.