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review 2016-11-01 00:00
Love Blind
Love Blind - Christa Desir,Jolene Perry Love Blind - Christa Desir,Jolene Perry Read for free during Riveted Lit’s fundraiser campaign for It Gets Better.

Content Warning: Rape, Malfunctioning Parenting, Bullying

It’s hard reading the top reviews for this book since my reactions are so wildly different. #OddOneOut

Love Blind is a meaningful, funny, realistic, sarcastic, tale of two teens struggling with mental and physical issues while navigating the trials of high school. And this isn’t some Mean Girl drama. This is rape, a degenerative disease, bi-polar mood swings, anxiety, and fear. Fear. It’s causes and consequences are the underlying theme and conquering it is the message. You can seize the day, but recklessness creates problems as does doing nothing. The reasonable middle is a slippery, wavy mirage like heat off the pavement, but even landing on the other side, you’ll be okay. You can make it.

+LOVE Hailey
+Love Kyle
+LOVE Hailey & Kyle
+Love Hailey’s moms
+Slow Burn Romance: They’re friends for YEARS first.

+I thought the time jumping was handled well and there were clear reasons for it. It’s not an immediate best-friends situation, which was refreshing to read.

+Kyle is the typical dude who’s attracted to Hailey and his narration reflects that, but he berates himself about it. It’s not a bragger jock type situation. I honestly didn’t think it was overabundant or pervy. Especially since Hailey often did things on purpose to fluster him and flush him out. I’m a sucker for this kind of guy and thought their interactions were so cute.

+Loved the ending. Bitter-sweet, meaningful, and perfect for these two.

+Kyle’s mom is bipolar and still experimenting to find the right medication treatment. The effects are devastating. They have other issues that plays a huge role as well. I feel so bad for Kyle and her and their situation. It really hits home how things can go wrong, out of your control, and spiral. The depiction is subtle and nuanced. She’s not a villain, but a person trying to do her best but being held back and fucking up.

+Appreciate the disability, anxiety, rape, and mentally ill parent representation. Nothing seemed out of place or wrong to me, though I only have experience with the latter 3, not the former. Parents, if you have any doubts of the effects of certain actions on your teens, Love Blind is a great way to illustrate and make it hit home.

+There is a lot of “I’m not good enough for him/her” and trying to “earn” them, causing much grief and misunderstandings. I don’t like waving it off as just teenage bemoaning over nothing. Given how our society treats relationships and class it’s no surprise they have this kind of thinking. Is is pleasant to read? No. But it’s real. The idea must be combatted and that’s what Love Blind does.

==Pavel the Russian best friend. I like how it shows that inside jokes with the person about themselves is fine, but the way the described and talked about him rubbed me wrong. They weren’t being mean to him and Pavel jokes about it himself. I dunno maybe this is one of those things that makes you uncomfortable as an outsider but the person is fine with it. Pavel reminds me of Paul Finch from American Pie but Finch was mercilessly bullied, while Pavel isn’t.

He’s more than just comic relief though. His relationship and history with Kyle is an important part of the story. But did they make him Russian just for the ‘funny’ accent and cultural misunderstandings when communicating? See, I like Pavel and his role, but the execution and portrayal? I just don’t know. It doesn’t feel quite right. It could be nothing and I could be overanalyzing so you’ll have to decide for yourself on this one.

--Bi-erasure. Hailey does experiment and admits to not knowing for sure since she’s never been in a f/f relationship before. I really liked how this was handled except for one thing. It’s laid out as gay or straight. It’s never acknowledged or mention that hey, maybe she’s bi? Experimenting and finding out you’re straight is FINE. But if that’s the case, don’t list it as QUILTBAG and DON’T include it for a It Gets Better Campaign. Love Blind is a straight book. Experimenting and truly finding out you’re heterosexual instead of just assuming is a heterosexual experience, not a gay one.

Like I said, I liked her relationship with Girl. I think it will be useful to teens to have realistic exploration of sexuality with mature responses. However, the bi-erasure problem could’ve been solved with a sentence. Just one. Some acknowledgement it’s not an either-or simplicity. Sexuality is a wide spectrum. If she’s majorly attracted to dudes but enjoys some aspects of being with girls, why not use the Kinsey scale? Bi-sexuality isn’t a phase, but experimenting is. The fact this wasn’t clear makes it a problematic book unfortunately and shouldn’t be included or made to believe it’s anything but straight.

Love Blind should be included on lists about physical and mental issues though. It’s a great story with an usual romance that I completely fell for and would be remiss it this representation is ignore or overlooked because of fail marketing ploys.

Previous Update::: Read for free on Riveted Lit as part of their campaign:

Support the #WeAreHuman campaign and the It Gets Better Project by reading Love Blind and eight other great reads from now through November 11 as part of our Riveted Readathon!

Review to come shortly, I'm moving to the other novels while I can!
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review 2016-01-30 00:00
Other Broken Things
Other Broken Things - Christa Desir This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & More


This is my first book to read by Desir, and I loved it!  It's dark, gritty, emotional, and true.

Desir doesn't sugar coat anything.  You get it all whether it's pretty or not.  And I absolutely love that.  We don't get a girl who is completely perfect with small struggles. We get a girl who is trying to cope with addiction. Natalie gets ignored by her friends when she doesn't want to party anymore, and there may even be some relapses.  She finds unlikely friends to help support her through her journey to sobriety.

Desir also has no problem with sex topics.  She shows Natalie's experiences and doesn't make it all rainbows and sunshine. Sometimes sex is just that, sex. And it's not always because someone is loved or what have you. The person is there and it's convenient.

Natalie is also trying to deal with her own situation, and with her parents. Her dad is pretty much a prick. And I can't stand him.  But her mom, is pretty great, even though Natalie doesn't always see that.

I think Other Broken Things is great at showing the struggles of addiction, and finding your place when it seems like everyone you thought cared about you leaves.
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review 2015-09-22 03:14
Bleed Like Me
Bleed Like Me - Christa Desir

Gannon is struggling for air in a world where she barely noticed. She is barely surviving by simply going through the motions. Until an unexpected whirl wind of a boy interjects himself into her life. Everything changes when Brooks enters the picture. For once Gannon isn’t a specter in her own life; someone sees her. Not only does Brooks see her, but he loves her. As their relationships rapidly progresses, the stakes raise, and Gannon finds herself in a place she never imagined. Now in the in the midst of a relationship based on possession, and addiction she must decide if this is what she wants.

Warning: This book contains adult content such as; drug use, violence, sex and other adult situations that may not be suitable for all readers.

To me, books with realistic undertones and high emotions are the hardest to review. If I hated the situations but the book was good, will I be able to be subjective? By the same token, if I enjoy the emotional parts of the book but it wasn’t well written, can I stand back enough to review it? This is one of those reads. This book is full of pros and cons for me, I dislike the characters for the most part, as well as, the situations in this book. On the other hand I realize that this is a decent portrayal of how some relationships really are. So, here goes…

I feel like this book is a fairly adequate representation of what could happen in an unhealthy relationship. The relationship in this book is intense to say the least.

As far as characters go I have to say that I didn’t really like any of them in this book, with the exception of Gannon’s boss. He to me, is the only one who had his head on straight. Gannon is really detached from the readers, however, this is probably intentional seeing as she is detached from everything. I found Gannon’s problems to have some merit, however, I found most of them to be blown out of proportion. Though I know teenagers are notorious for this, I thought her reactions were too dramatic in relation to the situations in her life. To me she was whiney and selfish. She also has a very prominent addictive personality trait to go along with her depressive traits. These traits together made her make less than wise decisions. I personally feel as though she had a mental disorder, and seeing as I work in mental health, I feel like I can recognize it when I see it. If her parents would have only gotten her help sooner. On the other hand, we have Brooks, who I can also say, has a mental disorder. He seems manic-depressive to me. I don’t particularly like him either. I found him to be possessive, controlling, and moody. To top it all off he is an enabler.

Together these two bring out the absolute worst in each other. They feed into each other’s mental illnesses and addictions, which is like a hurricane colliding with a monsoon. I don’t know if “love” is a good term for them. Rather, they are addicted and obsessed with each other. Their relationship develops so quickly Gannon doesn’t even know what’s happened until it’s too late and she has completely isolated herself.
The writing in this book is pretty good. It kept me interested. I read it in one sitting in a matter of hours. I didn’t like how detached I felt from the characters. I theorize that Desir did this on purpose, but I can’t swear to it. Furthermore, I felt like the ending was like running at full speed into a brick wall. It literally came out of nowhere. Granted, it wasn’t the ending I was expecting, but it also didn’t feel like if flowed well with the rest of the story. BAM! ENDING! What just happened? Also, there was not really a conflict resolution which once again I realize was most likely on purpose. Despite that it is still aggravating, especially in a stand-alone novel. This made me question what exactly the point of the novel was. Finally, the introduction of superfluous characters. My main example is the librarian. She was completely inconsequential in my opinion. Overall, since my cons out-weigh my pros, I would have to give this book three out of five stars.

Source: brittneysbooknook.com
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text 2015-07-09 01:25
Other Broken Things by C. Desir
Other Broken Things - Christa Desir

Yall have to wait until January 2016 to read this. I feel very sorry for this! But damn. This book is a BOMB of reality in the contemporary YA world. 


Put it on your list. 

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review 2015-04-30 00:00
Fault Line
Fault Line - Christa Desir Who knows. I don't know.
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