MATURE YA: Not the Girls You’re Looking For Review

Summary: Lulu Saad is the type of girl doesn’t need anyone’s advice, especially with her three best friends by her side. At least that’s what she thought until she almost drowned a cute guy and made a scene during Ramadan that caused more damage than usual. With her friendships and family alliances on the line, Lulu needs to find her way out this mess soon, which may mean looking for herself first.

My Rating: 3.5/ 5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Early reviews for Aminah Mae Safi’s Not the Girls You’re Looking For Caught my attention, with much praise for the book’s biracial American Muslim protagonist. This YA contemporary debut definitely surprised me. The main character, Lulu, and her best friends deal with more serious issues than I realized upon reading the synopsis.

From the start, Not the Girls You’re Looking For sets a dark tone, as Lulu and her best friends party, drink, and hook-up with guys. I appreciate the book’s not-so unique cast, from Lulu’s mixed heritage to a certain character’s sexuality and finally, the fact that Lulu and her friends are certainly not perfect. However, the girls’ dynamic and personalities threw me off, as they often antagonize one another and drink or smoke through their issues at parties. While they each experience some character development towards the end of the book and I appreciate that they aren’t your typical YA cast, I had trouble connecting to them and the first half of the book.

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REALITY TV MEETS YA: Nice Try, Jane Sinner Review

Summary: After a personal crisis and getting kicked out of high school, seventeen-year Jane Sinner is going nowhere fast. When her parents push her to enroll in a high school completion program at the local community college, Jane agrees on one condition: she gets to move out.. and star on her college’s student-run reality show, House of Orange. Living in a Big Brother-esque set up with five other college students isn’t easy, but it’s better than living with her family, and winning the car at the end would be pretty nice. As House of Orange grows from a low budget web series to a TV show, Jane finally has the chance to prove that, with her cynical nature and tricks from her Intro to Psych course , she can win something.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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SUMMER IN WINTER: Love, Life, and the List Review

Summary: Abby Turner’s summer isn’t turning out the way she wanted. Two of her best friends are abroad for summer vacation. Her mother’s anxiety issues are growing more each day. Her not-so secret crush on her best friend, Cooper, is quite unrequited. And she’s just been rejected for a local art show because her artwork has “no heart.” When Abby gets another opportunity to show her work, she isn’t going to take any more chances. Enter the list. From facing a fear to learning a stranger’s story, Abby creates a list in order to gain more life experiences to inspire her art, learning that she can’t change her art if she doesn’t change herself.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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BAKING & PARIS: Love à la Mode Review

Summary: Rosie Radeke is a firm believer that happiness can be found in a mixing bowl. So imagine her happiness when she gets accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent’s culinary school in Paris, where Rosie’s cooking skills get put to the test.

Henry Yi grew up in his dad’s Chicago restaurant, and much like Rosie, his life-long love for food has found a home at the Ècole. Henry and Rosie quickly connect, but academic pressure from home and Rosie’s friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry push his dream relationship away. As sparks fly between the two, Rosie and Henry must prove that they have what it takes to be chefs—if not to their nightmare professor, but to themselves.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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ALL THE HYPE: January Mini Reviews

The following four books from my twelve total reads of January have received so much hype in the book community that I knew that 1) they deserved off my TBR and into my read pile and 2) needed a mini review from this hype-loving fangirl.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

After getting through the first seventy pages, I really thought I’d be DNF’ing my second book of 2019, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This 2017 debut has received so much hype beyond the book community and will be adapted into a film by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. In these first few chapters, I struggled connecting with Eleanor’s narration and thoughts. A few reviewers that have similar reading tastes to me said that they also struggled in the beginning, but it worth continuing on—and I completely agree!

As Eleanor warms up to Raymond and other people in her life, I was really able to understand her more and see how her tragic past has affected her mindset and lifestyle. This book is truly a tearjerker—I often felt the tears coming on as Eleanor tells Raymond and his mom that they can come over to her apartment whenever they wish. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine may be a hard book for some readers (warnings for physical and mental abuse and mental illness), but it felt like a very honest and real depiction). While I can’t say that I could connect to her throughout, I love where we leave Eleanor in the end and I could potentially see some sort of sequel.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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SELF-PROCLAIMED FAV READ: Dumplin’ Review

Summary:

(From the publisher) Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” 61p83vfe2alby her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Cover Lust?: The Dumplin’ movie tie-in edition depicts my absolute favorite scene from the movie! Of course, I also have much love for the original cover and how well it matches Puddin’.

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MIDDLE GRADE FUN: Dragon Pearl Review

Summary: Thirteen-year old Min longs to escape her neglected planet and explore the Thousands Worlds, much like her older brother, Jun. While Jun travels through the galaxy with the Space Forces, Min is stuck at home with her mother and aunties, hemmed in by all the household rules and chores. Min, who comes for a long line of fox spirits, can’t even shape-shift or Charm, thanks to her mother’s safety precautions. When word arrives that Jun has left his post in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows something is wrong, deciding to run away and clear her brother’s name.

My Rating: 4 /5 Stars

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