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!

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!

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!

BEST FALL THRILLER: Sadie Review

Summary: Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. The now nineteen-year old basically grew up on her own, and she’s been raising her young sister Mattie in their isolated town. At least Sadie has her impenetrable bond with her sister to hold on to. Until Mattie is found dead. After a not-so successful police investigation, Sadie is even more determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and heads off on a road trip with a handful of clues.When radio personality West McCray overhears Sadie’s story, he becomes obsessed with the now missing girl. He creates his own podcast tracking Sadie’s journey, hoping it isn’t too late.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Thrillers have slowly, but surely become one of my favorite genres. This new love of mine for the genre is many thanks to Courtney Summer’s upcoming Sadie. Fans of Mindy McGinnis’s The Female of the Species will enjoy this thriller, whose title character will stop at nothing to get justice for her sister- and herself.

Sadie is split between the fictitious The Girls podcast led by West McCray and Sadie’s perspective. I really liked both perspectives, but I especially liked following West McCray’s side of cast through the podcast and findings. I kept rooting for him to pick up Sadie’s whereabouts faster, but I’ll let you find out if he succeeds by the end. While I read a physical copy, I think Sadie would make for a great audiobook. You can also experience part of thisthis haunting story through an actual The Girls produced by Macmillan here. No matter the perspective, this book is filled with suspense and darkness.

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As the title of the book may suggest, this book is far more about Sadie that I even would have imagined. Sadie’s hunt obviously serves purpose for avenging her sister’s death, but I’d argue even more so for the pain and downright horrible things Sadie experienced in her past. While heart breaking, I liked seeing her story open up more and more through her stream of consciousness and the plot.

While Sadie is a 5 star read for me, it wasn’t completely perfect. I sometimes didn’t see Mattie having the same love for Sadie that the book’s premise sort’ve promises, or even as May Beth implies. However, I think my feeling largely has to do with the fact that we don’t get Mattie’s perspective and maybe Courtney Summers is suggesting through May Beth, we’ll never know what really happened in the family’s home- and I’m not just talking about Mattie and Sadie’s relationship unfortunately.

Overall, I loved Sadie for its fast-paced story, complex characters and unique podcast format.Sadie is truly one of those books that you cannot put down until the very end.I’m really interested in picking up more of Courtney Summers’s books.

Sadie comes out on September 4th, 2018.

This review is based on an advance readers’ edition sent by the publisher. This did not affect my thoughts or opinions.

 Is Sadie on your TBR? What are some of your favorite thrillers? Share in the comments!

I READ A MG AND OF COURSE I LIKED IT: CITY OF GHOSTS REVIEW

Summary: Ever since Cassidy Blake almost drowned (correction: she did drown, but let’s not think about how she’s still alive), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead and enter the world of ghosts. At least she got a comic-loving best friend out of it. But Cass’s life with ghosts doesn’t end here. When Cass’s parents get their own TV show about the world’s most haunted destinations, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Aka the city of ghosts. In a city filled with phantoms and restless spirits, Cass realizes she has a lot to learn about the Veil and herself.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Since I am starting to enjoy middle grade more and more, it’s pretty exciting that City of Ghosts is the first middle grade novel I’ve reviewed on Fangirl Fury. How could I not read Victoria Schwab’s first middle grade and latest release??

Every now and then, I’m in the mood for a fun paranormal story and Victoria Schwab completely delivered with City of Ghosts. It was so much fun reading Schwab’s take on the ghost world and learning about the Veil and the family’s own history with ghosts. How cute is the name “The Inspecters”?? I liked seeing the contrast between Cass’s relationship and her parents’ relationship with ghosts. I wish Cass’s parents could be a bit more understanding of their daughter’s uh, situation, but then I guess we wouldn’t get Cass and Jacob’s hijinks.

Cass is a really great MC , and she’ll inspire the adventure inside all readers. She’s a Gryffindor after all! Jacob is also a really fun sidekick- I promise I’ll buy him an automatic page turner if that’s a thing; he can’t pick up anything physical!. I guess it’s part of the middle grade genre, but I like how Jacob and Cass have a strictly best friends relationship (or so I hope). I think if City of Ghosts were a typical YA book, they might have been paired as love interests. His humor really made me laugh, especially when he gets his Harry Potter terminology mixed up. I mean how could you not laugh at “Tumbledore”??

Speaking of Harry Potter, there’s loads of Harry Potter love and history packed into the story, with the main setting of Edinburgh, Scotland! Cass gets to experience some HP history in Edinburgh, and even without all the HP-goodness, Victoria Schwab really brings Edinburgh to life. And I’m not just talking about the walking and talking spirits. I think her amount of research into Edinburgh and the paranormal is really evident, especially during the Blake’s filming about the city. Also, how could you not love Finley as our/the Blakes’ tour guide??

Overall, City of Ghosts is a fun, paranormal take in the middle grade world and I’m really excited to see the next installment in this what-I-think-will-be-a-series from Victoria Schwab. 

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

How lucky are we that Queen Schwab is blessing us with not one, but TWO new books in 2018 (not to mention The Steel Prince!)?? How excited are you for City of Ghosts? VENGEFUL ANYONE?? Share in the comments!