Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary: Sixteen-year old Starr Carter leads two lives: the one in her poor, black neighborhood and the one at her predominantly white high school. Starr does her best to balance both worlds, until she witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil, die at the hands of a police officer.  Contrary to the officer’s belief, Khalil was unarmed and innocent. Starr deals with the aftermath of Khalil’s death head on, as he quickly becomes a national headline and Starr’s community looks for answers. Starr must decide how she’ll prove to her friends, community and the nation that Khalil wasn’t the thug the police and media are trying to make him out as.

Star Rating: 5/5 Stars

Cover Lust?: Yes! This cover is just so clean and I love the way Starr’s poster stands out in person

My Thoughts:

I admit, I was a little nervous to pick up The Hate U Give because of all of the hype it was receiving. Angie Thomas’s debut novel has been #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list for weeks,and so many bloggers and Booktubers are raving about it. I was afraid that I would end up not liking the book. However, within the first three chapters of The Hate U Give, I just fell into it.  When I’m completely memorized by a book in the very beginning, I know there’s a 99.99% chance that I’m going to absolutely love it and I did.

I was enchanted with many of the characters, especially Starr. She’s the side we rarely get in these horrific situations. I love how this book portrays what we don’t see in the media: what actually happened.While it was heartbreaking, I greatly appreciated Thomas for writing Starr’s breakdowns throughout the book. The tears don’t stop right after Khalil dies; they continue throughout the period after his death. Starr didn’t magically stop feeling sad and suddenly become this martyr. She struggles to prove that her friend wasn’t a thug. He was a human, he was her Harry Potter-loving best friend.

Sidenote: I loved the Harry Potter storyline in this book. Starr, Khalil, and Natasha were their own trio. I mean c’mon, “tighter than the inside of Voldemort’s nose”?? That’s genius! I also enjoyed how Seven and Starr find comfort in the series. One of my favorite moments was when Starr’s dad offered to watch Harry Potter with her, even though he didn’t understand why no one ever thought to just shot Voldemort.

The Carters soon became one of my favorite families in the YA world. They have such a strong family dynamic and each brought their own character to the story. Beside his humor, Starr’s dad was one of my favorite characters in THUG because of his love for his family. He refuses to be defined by his past and just wants a better life for his kids.. Also,can Starr’s mom be my honorary aunt or something?? She was just so extremely caring and gave Starr such great advice and support. One of my favorite quotes in the novel comes from Lisa, telling Starr, “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr. It means you go on even though you’re scared”. I also loved Starr’s relationship with Seven and Sekani, as they go from giving each other wedgies to standing up for one another.

From the  #BlackLivesMatter movement to Starr’s use of social media, I love the contemporary relevance in this book. It feels like 2017. In relation to the political climate that is the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I like how Starr and Thomas make it a point that not all cops are bad, which is additionally exemplified through her Uncle Carlos. They want to call attention to police officers who are in the wrong and don’t take responsibility for their actions.

It was so heartbreaking and frustrating that Starr’s story wasn’t taken seriously in the eyes of the jury and other individuals. In relation to social media, I love how Starr’s Tumblr and Twitter reflect her activism. I even love how during her fight with Hailey, someone shouts “World Star”. While it was a small detail, the fight would be something that was posted to the“World Star” Twitter account. It made it feel like something similar could have happened in any high school or college.

Overall, I loved The Hate U Give because I learned something. I learned about Tupac and Thug Life (by the way, Angie Thomas is a genius for coming up with the anagram, THUG!!!). I learned to not make conceptions about people based on their race, their class, their habits. I learned that it is important to stand up for what you believe in. To stand up for the truth and the people you love.

Have you read The Hate U Give? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!

How to Read for Fun in College

Between classes, clubs, and coursework, college is a super busy time. As an English major, I’m constantly reading for my classes, and I do my best to read for fun. If you’re trying to improve your reading game while at school, here are some tips for lowering your TBR pile!

Read before going to bed

Instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching one more episode of Gilmore Girls (I’m definitely guilty of this with Friends) before going to bed, try reading instead . By not staring at a bright light and focusing on the pages, you’ll feel relaxed and hopefully you’ll fall asleep easier. Unless you’re reading Crooked Kingdom and are way too invested in those characters. I think I cried myself to sleep after staying up until 1 AM on that emotion-filled journey.

Always carry a book on you

Always having a book on you is perfect for that half hour between classes or waiting for your next club meeting to start. If you’re not meeting a friend for lunch, pull out a book if you’re talented enough to not get crumbs or spills on the pages.

Use Goodreads as a motivation tool

Goodreads allows you to keep track of your TBR pile and keeps you up to date on the latest bookish news. The website has a ton of other features, such as giveaways, interaction with readers and authors, and setting reading goals.

Don’t stress out about reading or not reading

Reading for fun should be relaxing,not stressful. Don’t be worried about far along you should be in your reading goal. Don’t push yourself to keep when you have a paper to write or an exam to study for. While it’s hard to stop reading at times, my schoolwork is always my number one priority, even if it means not picking up A Court of Wings and Ruin the day it comes out.

Read books that you have a lot of interest in

Keep books at school that you are genuinely interested in reading. By doing so, you’ll be even more excited and motivated to read. Save books that you want to read purely for the hype or that you randomly picked up for breaks. If you start reading a book and aren’t liking it, put it down! You’ll have more time to pick up a book that you’ll actually enjoy.

What are some of your tips for reading during the school year? Share in the comments below!

Ron Chernow Talk

2017 continues to be another year of Hamilton for me! Last week, Ron Chernow gave a forum discussion at my school. Ron Chernow is the author of a Alexander Hamilton, aka the 800 page (!!!) biography that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write his hit-musical about the founding father. I actually bought the book right after seeing Hamilton back in January, but I’ve only read a few sections that mainly focus on his relationship with Eliza. I’m really enjoying it so far  because the book reads more like a narrative than a history lesson.

Over 800 people came to the discussion, and it was so cool to see that many people interested in Hamilton in one space. Chernow began his talk by discussing some key points about Alexander’s life. As seen in the musical, he joked that Hamilton loved to talk, which helped him a lot as Washington’s right hand man and later Secretary of the Treasury. He also explained how Burr and Hamilton came to their famous duel. Despite what the show depicts, it wasn’t just the election of 1800 that caused them to duel (side note: the Drunk History episode does a fantastic job making this point as well and features Lin as our narrator!).


Chernow soon transitioned to talking about Hamilton: An American Musical and how he became involved in the project. He admitted that he was a bit skeptical of Lin’s idea at first, but Lin’s passion and determination won him over. When he recalled the first time Lin sang “Alexander Hamilton” to him, Chernow sang the entire song on stage! It was so genuine and funny, I just couldn’t stop smiling! He also shared some behind the scenes information about the show.I knew that the characters’ type of singing had something to do with their age, for example, Jefferson sings jazz while the rest of the characters have moved on to rap. However  I never knew that the characters’ appearance above their neck was purposely modern-looking, while their outfits were inspired by eighteenth and nineteenth century wear.

Toward the end of the discussion, Chernow answered questions from the audience. Many of the history teachers in the crowd thanked Chernow for making history fun again. They said that Hamilton has  inspired to students to learn more about Alexander Hamilton’s time in history, as well as easily incorporating the musical into their lesson plans. My hands-down favorite questions came at the end by two children, who asked what Chernow’s  favorite song was (“Satisfied”) and if he would sign their books (yes). Overall, it was so exciting to have Ron Chernow at my school and hope to attend more Hamilton-esque events in the future.

“Riverdale” Talk, Episode 10: The Lost Weekend

Episode Synopsis:It’s Jughead’s birthday and Betty is intent on throwing him the perfect party. With Archie’s dad out of town, Betty and Archie plan the perfect inner circle gathering, until Cheryl and company show up. Meanwhile, Veronica needs to decide if she’ll testify as a character witness for her father.

My Thoughts:

Jughead doesn’t need a party. Isn’t it obvious that he doesn’t want one either?

He just needs me and cake

Okay, let’s just pull Chuck back in. 

Oh CW, you definitely bought Chuck back for even more tension and drama.

Don’t you love getting a letter from Papa Lodge saying that he’ll ruin your and your mother’s lives. 

I hate how we haven’t even met Hiram and he’s controlling everyone, not to mention his growing involvement with the Blossoms and the Serpents.

Poor Jughead.I would take you to Pops in a heartbeat. 

At least you have cake now.

Sure, let’s throw a keg in the yard and one in the kitchen. Comic book Archie is here.

While brining Cheryl and Chuck wasn’t the best idea, I sort’ve like seeing this indecisive Archie. It reminds me a lot of the comic book character (even though his hardest decision was choosing which blazer Veronica would like best).


As much as Mrs.Cooper gets on my last nerve, I think she’s had the best storyline and background in the show. I just can’t wait for everything to really connect.

I think I’m boarding the Betty-Jughead train?

They obviously both have dark sides, and I see how they work together now. Just no more parties, Betty. Just more Pops and cakes shaped like burgers.

My Star Rating: 4/5 stars. “The Lost Weekend” was a solid episode. Even though I hated the idea behind Cheryl and Chuck’s game, I think it brought back some character development for Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica. Their past storylines aren’t just going to get left behind. I’m really interested to see how Hiram’s potential role in Jason’s murder plays out and what else Mrs.Cooper is hiding.

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Summary: Before she became the Queen of Hearts, all Cath wanted to do was open the best bakery in Wonderland.In Cath’s parents’ opinion, their daughter should be more concerned about her impending engagement to the King than baking lemon tarts. Cath dreads receiving the King’s proposal at a royal ball, until she meets Jest, the handsome court joker. With Jest by her side, Cath is more than ready to open her bakery, even it its means losing her way to the throne. However, Cath forgets that this is Wonderland after all, and Wonderland has its own plans for Cath’s future.

Star Rating: 4.75/5 Stars. I really loved this book, however, I disliked some parts and couldn’t give it a full 5 stars.

Cover Lust?: Yes! The cover art and its typography is stunning, but what makes this books even more aesthetically pleasing is that IT IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL NAKED!

My Thoughts: When I picked up Heartless, I was a craving a fun, fantasy read and this book more than satisfied my desire. Marissa Meyer created her own Wonderland, along with reflecting Lewis Carroll’s original tale. There was croquet with hedgehogs and flamingos, mad tea parties, three creepy sisters in a well, talking animals, and so much other whimsy!

I really enjoyed Cath as the main character because of her determination. I adored how baking was her true passion, and  learning how to make lemon tarts is on my priority list. I loved her friendship with Mary Ann (yay positive female friendships!). However, the one problem that I had with Cath was her agonizing over the King and Jest. While there was some action and excitement in between, I needed more of a conclusion sooner. Along with Cath, I loved Jest so much. He was so mysterious and lovely and brought his own magic and whimsy to the story. I wasn’t a huge fan of his bestie, Hatta. From the moment Hatta met Cath, I suspected that he had something behind his back.

I knew going into this novel that it was a Queen of Hearts retelling, but I admit, I rooted for an ending where Cath didn’t become the Queen of Hearts. When Cath re-enters Hearts toward the end, I was somewhat convinced that Marissa Meyer would deliver an alternate ending. However, I did enjoy Cath’s transformation and seeing the title of the book come to life. As a fan of Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series, Cath’s story reminded me of Levana’s transformation in Fairest.  I look forward to Meyer’s future books, and I really hope she keeps writing about fairytales!

Have you read Heartless? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments below!

“Riverdale Talk”, Episode 9 :La Grande Illusion

Episode Synopsis: It’s the Blossoms’ annual maple syrup ceremony, and some other red head has to accompany Cheryl if Jason can’t, right? With some incentives set out by Mrs. Blossom, Archie is Cheryl’s date for the event, even though it might be more than he bargained for. Polly and Mrs.Cooper look for a way to get Polly to return to the Cooper household, while Veronica helps a classmate who’s going through a rough time at home.

My Thoughts:

Archie’s a major part of this storyline, whaattt?

It’s definitely been awhile since Archie was in one of the episode’s major arches. One of the few things I liked in this episode was seeing him come back into focus.

Okay Veronica, purging your closet isn’t going to help Ethel/Barb that much

Haven’t we figured out by now that clothes can’t change the fact that your daddy put people into a lot of debt?

Not melodramatic at all, Mrs.Cooper. Let’s throw one more brick at the family business, shall we?

This whole Archie and Cheryl take on the Blossom corporation and the world together isn’t going to happen

And I was right

Is Riverdale that big of a town for this money scheme?

I realize Hermione grew up in Riverdale, but how did her husband become so invested into this town’s livelihood?  

My Rating: 2/5 stars. Coming off of the high that was last week’s episode, I had big expectations for this week. I was disappointed because “La Grande Illusion” just felt so melodramatic, and it really just moved along some plot lines and open up a few news ones. While it’s interesting to think about how complex Jason’s murder could be, the overall storyline over his death is starting to rely on more outside information.

What are your “Riverdale” thoughts? Comment below!

A Court of Thorns and Roses Reread Review

As I began to anticipate Sarah J.Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin more and more, I knew I had to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury before ACOWAR comes out on May 2nd. I was even more motivated to reread the first two books in the trilogy when Kristin from SuperSpaceChick, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, and Cristina from Girl in the Pages announced that they would be hosting a A Court of Thorns and Roses Reread. Below, you’ll find my own non-spoilery thoughts of my ACOTAR reread.

ACOTAR Summary: When nineteen year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf, the last thing she expects is a beast-like creature to come and knock down her family’s door. The beast demands a life for life, dragging Feyre to Prythian, the land of the faeries and magic. Feyre’s kind have come to fear and hate the faeries, and Feyre’s own hatred grows when she learns that her captor is not a beast, but Tamlin- one of the powerful, immortal High Fae. As she adjusts to living in Prythian with Tamlin, Feyre’s feelings transform from hatred to passion, and she must find a way to help Tamlin stop a magical being from taking over the faerie lands.

My Reread Feels (warning: there are some minor spoilers about plot details below) 

My favorite part of rereading this book was noticing more of the Beauty and the Beast elements. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and the two stories hold many similarities and differences. One of the differences I noticed in this reread is between our two female protagonists. While Belle is obviously a huge bookworm, Feyre is unable to read. The coolest similarity I noticed was the physical element of the curse. In Beauty and the Beast, all of the Beast’s servants transform into objects. In A Court of Thorns and Roses, all of the people in Tamlin’s court, including himself, are stuck wearing masks. I thought it was so cool of Sarah J.Maas to incorporate this physical element in her book.

I really love the world-building throughout this series, and I’m so excited to refamiliarize myself with the rest of the courts in A Court of Mist and Fury. While I enjoy Feyre as our main protagonist, I enjoy interacting with the side characters so much more. Lucien, Alis, and Rhysand add such character and humor  into the story. Rhysand is a much bigger character in the second novel, so I enjoyed rereading his parts  and how he helps set up the plot for ACOMAF. This book also reminded how strong of a character Feyre is. She totally held her own while living in the human realm and living beside the faeries. However, in this reread, I went from loving Tamlin to holding a lot of animosity against him. Without being too spoilery, Tamlin feels that he has to have complete control over Feyre’s whereabouts and knowledge, which was completely unnecessary and too controlling at times.

Are you rereading A Court of Thorns and Roses & A Court of Mist and Fury in anticipation of ACOWAR?Share your non-spoilerly ACOTAR thoughts and feels below!

What I Read in March 2017

Thanks to a few snow days and spring break, I had so much more reading time in March and it was oh-so lovely!

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (3.75/5 stars)- The conclusion to Passenger, Wayfarer follows Etta and Nicholas’s quest through time, as they try to find each other and the missing astrolabe. While the book is told from both Etta and Nicholas’s perspectives, I only cared about Etta’s side of the story. I found the action in Nicholas’s sections hard to follow at times, and I found his companions, Sophia and Li-Min, much more interesting than the narrator himself. I loved reading from Etta’s perspective because I enjoyed her interaction with Henry and Julian, who were my favorite characters in the book. I would’ve rather spent the whole book with Etta and just have Nicholas simply appear back in her timeline.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (⅘ stars)Everything Leads to You follows Emi, a young set designer who’s gone back to the same girl too many times. With the help of a mysterious letter from an acting legend, Emi is led to Ava, who helps Emi in more ways than she could ever wish for. I finished this book in less than two days because I couldn’t step away from this cute, contemporary story for too long. Nina LaCour filled Everything Leads to You with such great characters and relationships. As someone who’s interested in film and media, I also loved learning about the behind-the-scenes of movie production. 

Vicious by V.E. Schwab (5/5 stars) – I needed another Schwab book to tide me over until Our Dark Duet’s release, so Vicious seemed like a great way to go. AND I WAS RIGHT BECAUSE I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Vicious follows two college roommates who turn from best friends to archnemesis after an experiment gone terribly wrong. I have a full review of this book on the blog, where I use even more exclamation points and capitalized phrases to describe my feels. If there’s one thing you need to know about reading this book, it’s this: THERE’S A DOG SO GO READ IT NOW PLEASE!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (3.5/5 stars)– When I learned that Jacqueline Woodson was visiting my school, I knew I had to pick up Brown Girl Dreaming right away. Written in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming tells the story of Woodson’s childhood, living in both the North and South during the Civil Rights Movements. While I found many of the passages to be so beautifully-written, I wasn’t totally memorized with the story overall. .

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder (3/5 stars)– I picked up this book at the library because of its cover and since it included road trip in its blurb. Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour has me wanting this trope more and more, okay? The Museum of Intangible Things surrounds best friends Hannah and Zoe’s life in their working class New Jersey town. When Zoe tells Hannah that she needs something different, the two embark on a road trip and leave everything they’ve ever known this book. If I could describe this book in one word, it would be bizarre. While I enjoyed having Hannah as the main narrator and the road trip, I really didn’t like Zoe as our other main character. Zoe has bipolar disorder and while I like how Wendy Wunder incorporated mental illness into the book, Zoe’s mental illness became more of a plot device than simply being a part of her identity.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (4.75/ 5 stars)- As a big fan of The Lunar Chronicles, I knew I had to read Marissa Meyer’s other fairytale-inspired novel. The origin story of the Queen of Hearts, Heartless follows Cath Pinkerton, who is trying to avoid accepting the King’s marriage proposal. All Cath wants to do open the best bakery in Wonderland. Cath dreads receiving the King’s proposal at a royal ball, until she meets Jest, the handsome court joker. I really enjoyed the connections to Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. People, there’s croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs! While I had a small hope for an alternate ending where Cath didn’t become Queen,I did enjoy seeing her transform into the Queen of Hearts.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (⅘ stars)- After constantly seeing it being compared to Caraval, I decided to finally pick up The Night Circus. Since Caraval is the first in a series, I decided to go with a standalone, The Night Circus, first. The Night Circus follows two illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been set against each other in a ‘game’. With the circus as their playing field and an entourage of individuals with their own special abilities, Celia and Marco try to figure out how to play, even as their feelings for each other deepen. I enjoyed The Night Circus because it is different from most of the novels I’ve read. I liked interacting with a full cast of characters, not just the two main protagonists. My biggest problem with this novel was that I didn’t feel very connected to the story and its characters. However, I wonder if it was Erin Morgenstern’s point to make us feel like outsiders and simply observe the circus in action.

Favorite Book: Vicious. I just couldn’t put this book down, and I wish there was some sort of sequel or companion novel to go along with it.I finally started reading Victoria Schwab’s books this year and her books might end up defining my reading year!

Between wrapping up this semester and life really, April looks like it’s going to be a pretty busy month for me. That being said, I would still love to read as much this month as I did in March. What books did you read this month? Share in the comments below!