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review 2015-12-02 20:20
Because re-reading fav books is awesome
American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

I was in 8th grade when I first read American Born Chinese. I loved it but re-reading this book took my love to a whole new level. So what prompted this re-read you ask? Well, I was reading The Arrival, another great graphic novel, for one of my classes and then suddenly, I remembered ABC. I remembered the yellowness of the cover and I remembered the way the author weaved together 3 completely different stories in such a surprising way and then I wanted to re-read the book. I wanted to experience it from a more ‘grown up’ perspective.

I kind of want to make re-reading the book an annual thing for myself now because I have so much love for it. American Born Chinese deals with cultural identity, bullying, stereotypes and learning to love who YOU are.

Jin Wang moves from China Town, San Francisco to a school where he is the only Chinese-American kid in his class. The teacher basically gets his entire life story wrong on the first day and makes it evident to him how much he sticks out. As the years go by, he seems to become more and more self-conscious of all the stereotypes surrounding his culture and how that affects the way people view him.

His story runs parallel to the Monkey King's and the two stories interact in such interesting ways! Of course everything about this book is interesting to me but we won’t go down that rabbit hole.

So do I recommend this book? HECK YEAH I DO! Also if you’re a fan of Fresh off the Boat, this book would be a great read.

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review 2014-10-13 05:38
Afterworlds - Scott Westerfeld

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

I don’t know where to start with this book but I will say this,Scott Westerfeld is a genius. I love him to bits and pieces and this book reminds me why. When I first heard he had a new book coming out, I was over the moon, to the point where I didn’t pay much attention to the blurb just because I believed I’d love it and love it I did. This may not be his best work, and the novel may seem a little fluffy but there is so much more to it. It has so many hidden depths that come crawling out yet at the same time it makes you laugh. Who doesn’t love a book that can make you laugh yet at the same time makes you think?

Afterworlds, to me, is a work of art. The story follows two different timelines, one of the creator and the other of the created. A book about a book! BOOKCEPTION! Darcy is a young author, barely out of high school who got paid a huge advance for her book and can finally be an adult (YAY, Adulting is fun. NOT). Lizzie is the main character of said book. You’d think the two storylines wouldn’t have much connecting them aside from the fact that Darcy made up Lizzie but that’s not true.What really connects them, under all of that, is the fact that both are coming of age stories. Both these young women are thrust into situations out of their depth and as a result they grow. Darcy becomes a highly paid (unprinted) author at a young age and has to learn how to fit into the publishing community. She's also a tad naive so a lot of her journey is also about realizing that not everything is 'YA heaven'. Lizzie on the other hand has to learn to deal with all the death surrounding her and has to also learn all about this whole new world she finds herself in.

You know what’s brilliant though? I DON’T HAVE A FAVORITE TIMELINE! I loved both of them equally. There were times when I was more sucked in by one than the other but when I closed the book I didn’t have a favorite.

Darcy’s storyline was the one that made me ask the questions though. The glimpse we got of the publishing community left me hyper (I really do mean hyper... like jumping off the walls hyper) and just hungry to know more. It was so fascinating and even a little scary to see what authors (may) go through. The amount of hard work they put in, the problems they may come across and those bits broke my heart.  Darcy herself was a wonderful, sometimes annoying but all around fun to read about character. I think what made her so realistic was that in spite of everything that had happened to her, she wasn’t a mature adult. She was out of her depth. She didn’t do things perfectly and carefully. She blew her budget, screwed things up but at the end of it all, she learned from her mistakes. She grew up. That’s what made her storyline beautiful.

Lizzie’s on the other hand was more complicated to discern because her story is a book inside of a book and the book is supposed to be deep. The problem is that I kept on imagining it as Darcy’s book so I had a different view of it while reading than I did after I finished the book and realized that it wasn’t Darcy’s book, it was Scott Westerfeld’s book. Lizzie’s storyline was written in a certain way to emphasize that it was Darcy’s book and we could see hints of Darcy’s personality in it. Basically, Scott Westerfeld is a genius. Are you guys starting to get the idea that I really love Scott? WELL IT’S BECAUSE HE’S A BLOODY GENIUS. Moving on. Lizzie’s character was similar in some ways to Darcy but at the same time, it wasn’t. Their situations were different and, in some ways, Lizzie was more mature. She made silly mistakes too but she dealt with things in a way I felt like Darcy probably wouldn’t have if she were in the same situation. It really was so interesting to compare and contrast the two and see how Scott created developed their characters.

The world building in this book is magnificent. It’s hard to write a book about a book. Especially when the writer of the book is also a character (of the book that is being written about… are you confused yet?). But he does it and he does it well. I don’t really know how to explain it to y’all because it’s hard. Scott’s world consists of the bookish community but it also consists of the world he created for the book that is inside this book. The world building of Afterworlds, which is (also) the name of Darcy’s book, is marvelous. Not going to elaborate but think psychopomps, a little bit of hindu myth and the afterworlds. But going back to Darcy’s timeline, you get to also see the ways in which Afterworlds isn’t perfect. You see criticism for the other timeline, something you might have been thinking yourself and that just makes this all the more interesting.

I am getting to the point of my review where I usually start to talk about the romances and you know what? I won’t. The romances don’t matter. I mean they do, but everything else that is going on in this book is so much bigger and better. I will offer one hint though; both romances have relevance.

I am not going to say anymore. I will shut up and all I ask of you is to give this a shot. Don’t be intimidated by the size, you’re going to love it and if not love it, at the very least, like it. It’s Scott Westerfeld after all.

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review 2014-05-01 18:28
(Don't You) Forget About Me - Kate Karyus Quinn

***This review has also been posted on This Social Potato

“There is always a price to be paid”

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I am so happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. I read Another Little Piece last year and fell in love and that was when I knew that Kate had to go on my (mental) ‘I will read anything this author puts out’ list. When I heard that she had a new book coming out, I went berserk and flailed and stalked Edelweiss continuously to see when it would be available for request. And then it was.

Some readers who read and didn’t like Another Little Piece might encounter similar issues, but I think that for the most part, this is a lot better paced and will be enjoyed by a larger variety of people than Another Little Piece was. With that said, I definitely prefer Another Little Piece but (Don’t You) Forget About Me was JUST as amazing.

Gardnerville is a small town with secrets. The residents live long healthy lives and no one ever gets sick, but every 4 years, a teen loses it and goes off on a murderous rampage. Lately though, things have been changing. People are coming down with the cold, the old have started showing their age, and the teens aren’t losing control. Something is wrong and Skyla won’t figure it out until she remembers what she is trying to forget

Skylar is an unreliable narrator much like Annaliese from Another Little Piece but the difference between the two is that you don’t even realize Skylar is unreliable until the mystery starts unraveling. For the most part, she seems reliable aside from the fact that she may or may not be addicted to Forget Me Nots which she takes to forget - forget something she can no longer remember. But somehow, in spite of this, you like her. I don’t really know what it is about her; she should be annoying --  she really should be -- but you cannot help but like her. She can read people’s secrets and she should respect their privacy but that doesn’t mean she is tempted. She is very human in some ways, but she is also very mature. She has grown up surrounded by secrets. Secrets call to her. And sometimes she even takes them.

The secondary characters are an interesting lot to say the least. From Elton who you’ll come to hate and pity at the same time, to GG who you’ll have no clue about until the end, to her little brother who is just adorable.

The love interest. Foote.


“A boy full of secrets who can take a few bullets and chalk it up as nothing more than a scratch is made for this town. He’s doing just fine here, and I have no doubt that he’ll stay.”

He is mysterious but he isn’t an ass. You’re never quite sure of him but you cannot help, but develop a crush on him like our female lead did. I think one of the reasons I like him is that even though you’re never sure about him, he doesn’t lead her on. Ever. He is himself and that is why he is so hard to discern. He’s had a tough life but while it haunts him, I don’t feel like it changes who he is. A really sweet guy *sigh*

The romance is of the best variety. A good ole slow burn and better yet, it isn’t the focus. Hell, there are times you wonder whether the two will even ‘get together’. This book should not be labelled a romance because it is NOT one. There are hints of one and that’s about it but even those hints are perfect.

The mystery is what makes you giddy though. This book is stuffed with creepy. LOTS AND LOTS of creepy. And you never know what the hell is going on. Was Piper good or bad? Why the hell is Elton drugging all these kids and why is it a good thing? What is so special about the soil? What is so special about the Gardners? What is it that Skylar cannot remember?Everything is so well done.

This book is a giant puzzle and the author takes her sweet time giving us the pieces. You cannot call this one predictable. At all. But at the same time, it’s not unpredictable either. She doesn’t throw in twists, she gives you an honest to goodness mystery that she solves perfectly too. We are right there with Skylar trying to figure out what is going on and Kate isn’t offering the readers any clues. We have the same clues as the main character, but with the added advantage of getting hints from the past.

I absolutely LOVED how Kate incorporated pieces from the past into the novel. It’s usually annoying, but she does it so, so, so well. Like, can I emphasize what a brilliant mastermind she is?

You can also see how much Quinn has grown as a writer since Another Little Piece. This book is just as beautifully crafted as Another Little Piece, but where Another Little Piece took time to capture your attention, this one grabs it right from the start and it takes you on a long ride that leaves your mind boggled and wondering whether Kate sold her soul to the devil in exchange for brilliant writing skills.

This book is definitely a favorite of 2014 like Another Little Piece was of 2013 and really, I NEED MORE OF BOOKS WRITTEN BY KATE. I gots to have more.

I cannot say everyone will enjoy this because everyone won’t, but I’d still recommend it to everyone in the hopes of finding someone who loved it just as much as I did.

Note that all quotes have been taken from an uncorrected proof and may be subject to change

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