Review: Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Laflèche

Summary: Clementine Liu is ready to take on New York City and most importantly, the Parsons School of Design. Everything seems to fall into place: meeting her fashionista soulmate and fellow student, Jake, and dreamy fashion photographer, Jonathan. Between schoolwork and exploring the city, Clementine launches her blog, Bonjour Girl, and her originality and flair quickly gives her a big following. With her success, however, comes online abuse and bullying and a classmate who is not what she seems to be. Clementine has to find a way to save her and her friends’ reputations before they go out of style.

 My Rating: 3/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Isabelle Laflèche’s Bonjour Girl immediately caught my attention for its fashion-focused story, as our main protagonist, Clementine, takes on the Parsons School of Design in New York City. I think fashion-forward protagonists and stories are slowly making a comeback in YA, like Jill Baguchinsky’s Mammoth (which I loved) and Kelly deVos’ Fat Girl on a Plane. Bit of a throwback, but one of my first YA series was Melody Carlson’s On the Runway series, so I was really excited to read a book taking place at one of the world’s top fashion and design schools. NOT TO MENTION THAT CLEMENTINE IS A BLOGGER!

Having New York City and Parsons as our main setting was really fun. I enjoyed seeing Clementine taking on the city and school. Clementine definitely lives a privileged life, coming from Paris and moving to the city with her fashion superstar of a cousin, and it was fun delving into the extravagance that is her life. Before going into more details, I will say that Bonjour Girl does dive into diversity. Clementine is half-Chinese, her best friend is gay (more on Jake’s character, however, later), and Clementine and Jake tackle social injustice in the fashion world. For example, Clementine’s blog focuses on untold and diverse individuals in the industry, and Jake designs clothing for people with disabilities.

As a reader who is a blogger, it’s always fun reading about characters who run blogs.  Clementine’s blog was really unique and it was cool seeing her planning stages, like hiring a graphic designer and talking with interviewees. But aside from one detailed instance, we never see Clementine, you know, BLOG. While her blog deserves all the views and comments, thanks to its diversity, it felt so unrealistic that her blog got thousands of views after her first post went live.

But Clementine’s life is definitely far from perfect. Bonjour Girl features intense cyber bullying from one of her competitive classmates, and like most people, Clementine has a hard time dealing with the bullying. However, I do think Clementine could have taken other steps to lessen the problem, and there were times were the plot became too unrealistically dramatic. 

The book is told from Clementine’s first person POV, which often includes her internal reflections, from blog planning and her crush on the attractive and up-and-coming fashion photographer Jonathan. These reflections often referred to pop culture, and while I appreciate the incorporation of real-life TV shows and literature, Clementine often pulled us out the plot when she referenced these subjects. Like when she thinks about her OVERUSED IN SO MANY BOOKS favorite Emily Dickinson poem. Regarding the characters, I’ve seen some negative reviews about Jake being a stereotypical gay guy in the fashion world, but I frankly just didn’t like Jake. Yes, he was nice comic relief and support for Clementine at times, but he was just SO LOUD and really didn’t read social situations. I also thought Clementine pointing out his eating habits in relation to his weight felt weird.

Overall, I enjoyed Bonjour Girl for its fashion-focused story and extravagance, but I do not think its plot and characterization were well executed. Bonjour Girl is the first in a trilogy, and I’ll likely pick up the second book to see how the story continues when Clementine takes on another county known for being a major part of the fashion industry…

This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts or opinions.

Is Bonjour Girl on your TBR? What are some of your favorite YA fashion-inspired reads? Share in the comments!

WHY YOU NEED TO READ VICIOUS & GIVEAWAY

If there are two things that I love in this fangirl world, it’s giveaways and V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. Vicious is one of the very first books that I screamed about across the Internet, so I’m excited that Tor Books is partnering with me for a particularly villainous giveaway!

We all know that V.E. Schwab is the QUEEN of fantasy. Vicious of course is no exception. One of my all-time favorite books, this adult fantasy follows college roommates Victor and Eli- two brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who have a research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events. As expected, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of a prison and is determined to track down his old friend (now foe), with a young girl who has her own supernatural abilities by his side. In anticipation of the upcoming sequel, Vengeful, today I’m going to be sharing why you NEED to be reading Vicious right now.

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Villians, villains, everywhere- Not only is V.E. Schwab the QUEEN of fantasy, but she’s also the QUEEN of villainous POVs. Between Eli and Victor, Sydney and Serena, Vicious is filled with morally unjust characters that makes the story even more exciting and unpredictable.

The most glorious bookstagram coversVicious has recently received a gorgeous new cover design that would even make Eli Cardale envious of your bookshelf and bookstagram game. While the original cover has a special place in my heart- I love how it depicts one of the scenes from the book itself- I love how the new cover matches Vengeful and V.E. Schwab’s other adult books so well.

 

There’s a dog named Dol- We all know by now how much I love books that have dogs. Vicious earns 10+ more skulls for the cutie that is Dol, Sydney’s sidekick.

All the story themes in one fast-paced read- Romance, rivalry, college, science, sisterhood, death and more all take the stage in this absolutely addicting read.

You’ll have a good reason for your chocolate milk cravings- One of our main characters, Mitch, has a love for chocolate milk that even Victor Vale can’t explain.

There’s a sequel that you need to add to your TBR ASAP– When I read Vicious for the first time back in February 2017, I had no idea that there’d be a sequel. You better believe when I heard about Vengeful, I broke out ALL the chocolate milk. Vengeful is easily my most anticipated book of 2018, and I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you guys. Vengeful comes out on September 25, 2018.

Finally, there’s a chance you can win some especially villainous merch, including Vicious and Vengeful, courtesy of Tor Books.

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ARE YOU VICIOUS OR ARE YOU VENGEFUL?

One (1) winner receives a Limited-Edition VICIOUS Prize Pack including:

  • Copies of Vicious and Vengeful

  • “Hell, we could be heroes” hoodie

  • Vicious pencil set

  • Vicious tote bag

Enter Giveaway Here

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Tor Books.

Follow #VillainsSeries to also enter giveaways for the Limited-Edition VENGEFUL prize pack.

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About Vicious

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

About Vengeful

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.

With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

About the Author

Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Shades of Magic series, This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet and Vicious. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post and more, translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been optioned for television and film. When she’s not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she splits her time between Nashville, TN and Edinburgh, Scotland and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.

Purchase Vicious & Vengeful with the following sites:

Amazon: Vicious | Vengeful

Barnes & Noble: Vicious | Vengeful

Books-A-Million: Vicious | Vengeful

Indie Bound: Vicious | Vengeful

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Have you read Vicious? Are you excited for Vengeful? Share in the comments!

BACK TO SCHOOL REVIEW: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Summary: It happens every year before homecoming- the list is posted all over Mount Washington High School. Two girls are picked from each grade. One girl is the prettiest. One girl is the ugliest. The girls who aren’t picked are forgotten, but the girls who are picked are the center of attention. Following each girl’s reaction, it’s clear that prettiest or ugliest, once you’re on the list, you’ll never been the same.

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

After recently really enjoying Siobhan Vivian’s Burn for Burn trilogy with Jenny Han and loving Stay Sweet, I decided to pick up one of her most popular books, The List. Besides its popularity, I read this book mostly because I am already HERE for Siobhan Vivian’s 2019 release, We Are the Wildcats. We Are the Wildcats is told in the same vein as The List, and this 2019 release will follow 7 perspectives and take place over 24 hours.

10866233The List follows the eight perspectives of the girls who are deemed the prettiest or ugliest in their grade. For those who haven’t read MULTI-multi perspective books, like Six of Crows or the Throne of Glass series, eight perspectives may seem like a lot, but Siobhan Vivian did a really nice job of balancing all 8 girls. I think multi-POV are more popular in fantasy, but this is  easily the most perspectives I’ve read in a contemporary book.

If you’re in the mood for a high school drama worthy read that does delve into some heavy topics, like self-esteem, eating disorders, and identity, The List is for you. I read almost the entirety of this book floating around my pool! I love a good “throwback” YA book-the book came out in 2012. I couldn’t help but think how different things would be if this book take place in 2018. For one thing, the list definitely would have been posted on social media instead of on flyers around school. I think this would have played into the girls’ psyche even further, and it would been interesting to see if the school administration would find it.

My favorite perspectives to read were Danielle and Margo. I liked exploring Margo’s past with Jennifer, and I just liked reading about Danielle’s life as a swimmer. This book is definitely not perfect though, especially when it came to the girl’s decisions. For example, I think I actually cringed when Danielle sits out of swim practice because of some iMaTUre BOYS.

Overall, The List was a fast-paced, binge-worthy read that I felt I needed to add to my young adult repertoire.

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Have you read The List? Could you handle an 8 POV novel? Share in the comments!

Meeting Modern Darcy: Pride Review

Summary: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. So when the wealthy Darcy family renovates the building across the street and moves in, Zuri sees another sign that change is coming to her Bushwick neighborhood. She wants absolutely nothing to do with the Darcy’s sons, Darius and Ainsley- but not if her four sisters can help it. When Zuri’s sister Jane begins to fall for the charming Ainsley, Zuri is forced to befriend the arrogant and judgmental Darius. As the summer continues, Zuri and Darius’s initial distaste for one another is turning into something neither expected.

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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 My Thoughts:

 I, Haley of Fangirl Fury, am here to admit today that I have not read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Unless you count reading through its Sparknotes study guide after reading Pride, Ibi Zoboi’s latest release is the closest I’ve gotten to reading P&P. Thankfully, I enjoyed Ibi Zoboi’s remix for its modern day, multicultural twist on the classic tale.

There’s no need to read Pride and Prejudice in order to read Pride. However, from reading P&P’s summary, there are many connections to the classic. Without being too spoilery, Zuri is one of five girls, Ainsley and Darius’s last name is Darcy, and there are other allusions to P&P through characters’ names. Yet, Pride is a story of its own. The book has a multicultural setting within Buschwick, and Zuri often references topics of race, discrimination, economic status, and gentrification.

I think what I loved most about Pride was Zuri’s connection to her family and neighborhood. Her love for her community was really refreshing, especially in contrast to the Darcys’ initial impressions of Bushwick. I also really enjoyed her connection to Madrina, her spiritual landlady, and I liked learning about Zuri’s culture and religion. Zuri’s poetry and freeform writing excerpts were beautiful. They were often more revealing of her feelings tthan her first person perspective. However, there were a few moments where I thought the poetry didn’t flow with the narrative nicely. I think some sort of border or break could’ve fixed this inconsistency. As much as I enjoyed Pride for the above elements, there were also few things I didn’t love as much. While I shipped Darius and Zuri as a couple, the romance was a tad predictable.

Overall, I enjoyed Pride for its diverse story and family focus. Here’s to reading more Ibi Zoboi books and Pride and Prejudice retellings!

 This review is based on an advanced reading copy. By no means did receiving this copy affect my thoughts or opinions. 

Pride comes out on September 18, 2018

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Is Pride on your TBR? What are some of your favorite classic retellings? Share in the comments!

Monthly Recommendations: Binge-Worthy Series

Everyone loves a good series, but everyone (aka me) loves a good binge-worthy series. How else can you spend days in the pool or rainy weekends? The following series for September’s Monthly Recommendations are perfect for all of your binge-worthy reading needs.

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The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur- I read The Ivy series during one summer in high school. While they aren’t the absolute best books in the world, they’re perfect for when you need some whirlwind romance and college-age drama.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard- Needing to feel accomplished in your binge-reading skills? There’s nothing better than testing your skills with the 16 book Pretty Little Liars series. These books are just so easy to fall into, no matter the time in between picking each book up. I definitely enjoyed them more than the TV adaptation.

Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian- While this trilogy takes place over the course of one school year, Burn for Burn was the perfect poolside reading for me this summer, especially since it takes place on Jar Island. Think high school drama, relationships, and three girls with revenge on their minds.

The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han- What can I say, Jenny Han is the queen of binge-worthy series. If you’re looking for something to soothe your summer blues, The Summer I Turned Pretty is the one for you. The trilogy follows Belly, who measures her life in summers and the time she spends with Jeremiah and Conrad. This series is especially easy to binge-read in its Target bind-up. Its individual paperbacks also recently received a really pretty cover change.

Warcross duology by Marie Lu- A duology everyone will soon be able to binge-read once Wildcard comes out on September 18, Warcross is perfect for anyone seeking to escape to a futuristic, video game-like Japan. I absolutely love Marie Lu’s writing, and Warcross is a story that you won’t want to put down once you meet Emika Chen and Hideo Tanaka.

The Arc of a Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman – I wish we could all binge read The Arc of a Scythe trilogy RIGHT NOW, but it’s definitely a binge-read we can all look forward to! The final book in the trilogy, The Toll, comes out on in 2019. This dystopian series is filled with action, politics, and so much more. If you found yourself binge-reading The Hunger Games, this has to be your next dystopian binge.

Monthly Recommendations consists of a group of BookTubers and bloggers that share monthly recommendations based on a specific theme each month. Monthly Recommendations can be found here on Goodreads. newfireborder

What are your binge-read recommendations? Share in the comments!

HELLO AGAIN HIDEO: Wildcard Review

Since Wildcard is the second and final book in Marie Lu’s Warcross duology, there will be no summary for Wildcard today! Just know that this duology takes place in a not-so futuristic society where everyone is obsessed with the virtual reality game, Warcross, created by the young, intelligent & handsome- can you tell I’m drooling?- Hideo Tanaka. Warcross is a way of life,especially for teenage bounty hunter Emika Chen. When Emika accidently glitches herself into the Warcross Championships, she receives a job offer from Hideo himself to figure out a security breach within the game.

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 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Warning: There are WARCROSS spoilers below 

My Thoughts:

Wildcard picks up three days after the ending of Warcross. After Hideo reveals his morally-corrupt algorithm, Emika is left to decide if she should work with Zerp. I am here to say that even before I was halfway through this sequel, I am still very much in love with Hideo and still a hardcore Emika and Hideo-shipper.

In the colorful world of Warcross, Hideo is such a morally gray character, but what overshadows this flaw is his love for his brother. At first, I was a bit confused as to why Zero and Sasuke were referred to as separate individuals, but it is soon explained within Marie Lu’s incredible world-building and plot development.

If you were fascinated by the world-building in Warcross, then you are in for a big treat in Wildcard. In my opinion, Wildcard delves more into the futuristic and technological side of things , but the world is quite easy to understand. There were so many parts during this book when my hand flew to my mouth BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT THE FORK WAS HAPPENING (can you also tell that I’m ready for The Good Place S3?).

And where would Warcross & Wildcard be without our kickbutt Emika Chen?? It’s really fun exploring this world alongside Emika in both installments, and we definitely join Emika on her fair share of action in Wildcard. I laughed out loud at the following observation from Emika during one of her explorations:

“In my next life, I’m going to be an accountant instead” (162).

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Emika isn’t our only kickbutt character in this series. My favorite new character is Jax, who is equally kickbutt and has an insane past of her own. Wildcard also reunites us with the Phoenix Riders and Tremaine. I liked having them as Emika’s go-to support group from the start. Asher, Hammie, Roshan, and Tremaine each experienced significant character development alongside Emika and Hideo. This largely has to do with the use of Memories. While it was often a breach of privacy, going back to their pasts explained a lot about their well, character! Throughout, Marie Lu shows that while technology has its perks , there are definitely some benefits to going unplugged.

While I’m sad to depart from this series, I was really satisfied with Wildcard’s ending. We leave our characters in a (mostly) good and realistic place. It’s fun to imagine what their future will like. BUT IF MARIE WANTS TO GIVE US A NOVELLA OR BOOK OR ANYTHING ELSE, I MORE THAN APPROVE!

Wildcard comes out on September 18, 2018. 

This review is based on a galley. By no means did being provided this galley affect my thoughts or opinion.

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 Have you read Warcross or Wildcard? Share in the comments!

REAL WORLD YA: People Kill People Review

Summary: From the publisher: A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?

One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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 My Thoughts:

 People Kill People is a hard book to read, and it must have been a difficult book for Ellen Hopkins to write due to its content and style. This book tackles gun violence along with other heavy subjects, like white supremacy, violence, sexual abuse, suicide, and mental illness. People Kill People is told through poetry and second person POV from our six main characters. Our six POVS- Rand, Silas, Daniel, Cami, Noelle, and Ashlyn- are all far from perfect.

My favorite aspect of People Kill People were the second person narratives, with my favorite perspectives being Rand and Noelle. I definitely had the most sympathy for these two characters, although all six perspectives don’t have the best of backgrounds and families. I liked learning about Rand’s family life with Cami and their son. Like the others, Noelle has a tragic past that unfortunately has affected her health and relationship dynamics. Silas and Daniel were definitely different from most YA contemporary characters, and their perspectives were disturbing at times.

I know many readers like Ellen Hopkins’ books for her verse and poetry, but unfortunately, the poetry in the book often pulled me out of the story. The poetry is narrated from this ominous voice that I assume is the voice inside people’s heads telling them to commit bad acts. Unfortunately, the poetry excerpts were often unimportant to the narrative, and I found myself skimming through them. I really only enjoyed the poetry when it directly addressed what was happening to our characters.

As I said before, People Kill People addresses heavy and real life issues. While there is a lot of conversation on guns and gun violence, the book emphasizes the sentiment that guns themselves don’t cause gun violence; people are behind guns after all. I think readers may enjoy that none of our characters are perfect, however, their imperfectness might feel a bit unrealistic. I will say that some of the events near the end left me shocked, and I left the book thinking about how one action can affect multiple lives.

Overall, I enjoyed People Kill People for its POVs and unique story tackling gun violence. This is only the second YA book dealing with gun violence that I’ve read, and it is definitely a heavy, and at times, disturbing read. I think People Kill People is perfect for readers looking for books discussing real world problems and featuring characters on opposing sides of social issues. However, I felt disconnected with People Kill People’s poetry excerpts. There were times when the poetry is important to what is going on in the narrative and explains what happens next, but I disliked the excerpts addressed deeper meanings, pulling me out of the main plot.

This book is based on an advance reader’s copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions. 

 Is People Kill People on your TBR? Have you read any Ellen Hopkins books? Share in the comments!