REVIEW: simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda; becky albertalli

review - simonvs9.5/10 ✩

genre: young adult, contemporary, LGBTQ, romance

series? no, standalone

published: on april 7, 2015 by balzer + bray

pages: 320

i read the: us hardcover

began: april 14, 2015 // finished: april 15, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads: right here.

first sentence: “It’s a weirdly subtle conversation. I almost don’t notice I’m being blackmailed”


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simon vs the homo sapiens agenda is a book everyone needs to read – and i mean everyone.

this is a book i know will stay with me forever (or at least for a long long time). if you don’t already know, this is a “gay” book. even if you feel uncomfortable or somewhat opposed to people of LGBTQ, i still believe you should read simon vs.

i’ve read other novels that are LGBTQ, but i’ve never read one that was as wholeheartedly and honest as simon vs. everything was so relatable. in other novels, it was clear and obvious the characters that were LGBTQ were sorta different: in the way they act, speak, dress, etc. etc. however in simon vs., that was most certainly not the case. after reading this novel, i’ve realized that people who are LGBTQ are just like everyone else. there really isn’t a difference between gays and straights, except the preference in gender; in the end, that’s all there is.

reading things from simon’s perspective, we could also see how the LGBTQ community is generally treated. it was beautiful to see people who were incredibly supportive, but also people who were just downright awful. i loved every bit of that. it was completely genuine and true. we saw everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

my favorite aspect of the novel was how casual simon and his friends spoke of being gay. they would often joke about it – but not in anyway i found insulting or condescending. people often make this a huge deal, which i suppose it is a big deal, but sometime it shouldn’t have to be a big deal. if you think about it, being gay/straight/etc is only a big deal because people make it a big deal. why should it really matter? it’s just a small part of who we/you are. i find it similar to a person’s race. for example, it’s not like you’re going to see someone and instantly judge them because of their race (if you do, then go away). the same should be said about a persons’ sexual orientation.

moving on from the deep and somewhat controversial stuff, let’s talk about the writing and plot.

simon was an extremely sarcastic and funny character, so i couldn’t help but smile and grin the entire time. no, seriously, i couldn’t read this book in public because i would (literally) laugh out loud and smile to myself. people were definitely giving me strange looks, but i have no regrets because i looooooove it so much! (eventually i resorted to happily reading in my room.)

the main reason why i enjoyed this book so much was because IT WAS SO CUTE. the interactions between simon and blue made me want to squeal; i couldn’t help but root for them until the very end. the relationships between everyone were truly genuine and lovely and just.. *content sigh*. his family and friends were great and everything was <3.

awwwww

simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda was like a diary. because the writing seemed like this, there were parts i really enjoyed, but also parts i didn’t like. i loved how we could hear and see simon’s internal dialogue. i mean, he’s hilarious and very relatable. i got to connect with simon much more because i knew what he was thinking. but, there were parts in the beginning i was left confused. since simon already knows these characters, there’s no introduction. we meet everyone and it’s like an information dump and you’re kind of left stranded like, “what’s going on?” also, there are less descriptions. i don’t describe people in my head, so it makes sense for the writing to be this way. but, i found it hard to visualize characters, places, etc.

it was a quick read, which has it’s good and it’s bad. it’s a wonderful book to read in between huge series because it’s quite tiny, but because of that you’re left wanting more. the book concluded wonderfully, but since it’s so short i feel like i need just *holds fingers .00001 cm apart* that much more.

overall, i loved this book. it was honest; it was hilarious; it was adorable; it was so much more. becky albertalli created a true masterpiece from beginning to end. with a easygoing prose, the story was filled with love, finding yourself, and truth for the LGBTQ community. i’ve come to realize that many people are simply ignorant to the way LGBTQ people are it may not be their intention to be condescending or offensive; they’re simply oblivious to it all. i would recommend this book to… um, everyone. *whispers* go read it.

fivestars

**on a side note: i saw this beautiful artwork by risa rodil and i had to share it with you. it was one of my favorite quotes from the novel! she made it for spark notes’s review on the novel. you can find her original post by clicking the image.

– alexandra

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EPIC READS TAG // ft. tea with john green, #magnico, and more!

epicreadtag

epic reads is one of my favorite book publishing communities; to me, it’s the like “buzzfeed” of ya literature. (and i LOVE buzzfeed.) they have swoon-worthy instagram posts, hilarious tweets, relatable videos, and well… EPIC READS. i was stalking roaming through their youtube channel when i came across an epic reads tag video! i watched it, fell in love with the clever questions, and decided to bring it to the blogging community! (if it isn’t already here…) i wasn’t tagged, but i just wanted to do it because.. why not?! it’s quite epic.

here we go!!

1) if you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

tea seems like something that’d ensue a long conversation, so i’d choose john green and augustus waters. in a way, i feel like i know john green simply because i watch his vlogbrothers videos. i know what he sounds/looks/talks even though i’ve never met him in real life. also judging from his books, he seems like a super intellectual guy that could really make you think. also i’ve always wanted to meet gus. *sighs* i’d try serve something from oranjee, and probably epically fail.

2) what book do you wish the author could write a prequel for?

i’d have to choose looking for alaska by john green. (argh. i promise i’m not choosing john green for all the answers.) but seriously, i’d like to know more about alaska. there are so many unanswered questions about her, and whenever we do see her, pudge is usually fantasizing about how hot she is.. i want to know alaska before pudge was in the picture. she was so mysterious and it seemed like she would have a reasonable explanation as to why she acted the way she did.

3) which two characters (not from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

the pairings i thought of were so random and absolutely hilarious. this question is definitely the hardest, and maybe my favorite. i thiiiink i would go with nico di angelo (from the heroes of olympus series by rick riordan) and magnus bane (from the mortal instruments series by cassandra clare). they are like, complete opposites, but i feel like they would actually be good together. i can totally imagine magnus cracking some awful jokes and nico just giving giving him a flat stare (and trying not to blush). i don’t even know. it’s 1am and i might find myself insane in the morning, but it works at the moment. i’m actually really liking this pairing, but the more i think about it, the weirder it gets. would their ship name be #magnico or #banegelo?

awkward smile

4) if you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?

cures you for making me choose one author and one sentence. the struggle. the author would be…alexandra bracken and i would say something along the lines of, “hi, i love your books and there’s a million things i’d like to say to you, but here’s my email so we can talk more later,” as i hand her a slip of paper with my email address.

5) what book made you a reader and why?

charlotte’s web by e.b. white. it was the first “big” book i’ve ever read (aka chapter book) and i was super proud of myself when i finished. that’s when i knew i loved reading. it was my very early stages of fangirling. i don’t think i became an obsessive reader until i read the clique series by lisi harrison.

6) incendio! your bookshelf just caught on fire. show us the one book you save.

probably one of my lisi harrison books. they’re the only books that i have signed and personalized because i went to an author event, and it’s the only author event i’ve ever been to. i have other books that are signed, but it’s just not the same. also, the lisi harrison books have some sentimental value. after all, i proudly became a fangirl after reading her series.

the clique by lisi harrison

7) which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? why?

dystopian worlds are kinda cool, but mostly awful. if i had to choose, i’d pick the darkest minds by alexandra bracken. if i’m still alive, i would end up having super epic powers! i wonder what it’s like to levitate things, or set something on fire, or electrocute something, or memorize like a boss, or read someone’s mind.. you have to admit, it sounds pretty awesome. buuuut the society wants you dead and you’re forced into concentration camps… i guess there’s good and bad to everything.

8) what is your most epic read of all time?

define epic. do you mean: plot-twist epic, i-love-this-so-much epic, i’m-sobbing epic, or what? for all of the above, i think my most epic read would be the infernal devices series by cassandra clare. i read all three books nonstop for four days and was in a mourning period and withdrawal mode for about… a year. (actually, i still mourn for that series). it’s still one of my favorites.

oh. my. goodness. those questions were extremely difficult. i spent quite some time pondering on my answers, and i still don’t feel completely satisfied. nowwww onto the tagging.

i tag…

okay, so i’m preeetty sure none of these bloggers do tags (???) but i just love their blogs and wanted to give it a shot – even if it meant no one ended up doing it. anyway, you can go follow them because fabulous blogs~! if you end up doing this tag, please leave your link down below! i’d really love to see your answers!

boooooook shimmy,

alexandra

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REVIEW: endgame: the calling; by james frey

endgame cover

3.6/10 ✩

genre: young adult, dystopian, science fiction

series? yes, first book

published: on october 7th, 2014 by harpercollins

pages: 496

i read the: ebook

source: netgalley

began: march 27th, 2015 // finished: april 5th, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads: right here.

first sentence: “much of this book is fiction, but much of the information in it is not.”


reading this book was slow and slightly painful. it wasn’t the worst book i’ve ever read, but it most certainly wasn’t the best.

i hate to compare novels with other novels, but i couldn’t help but think of it like the hunger games. the plot is something along the lines of: twelve teenage representatives fight to the death in an epic end-of-the-world type of games. the circumstances are different, but the main gist of things are the similar.

the story is told from an omniscient (kinda) third-person pov. at the start of every chapter, it’ll tell you who’s pov you’ll be viewing from. it would be weird because there would be some chapters where you would feel omniscient, but others it would feel like third-person. it was awfully confusing to me because it would seem like the story was more focused on the plot, and not a certain character. however, in the end it still seemed focused on a character.. sorta. um… what?

what

i liked how the characters were diverse and distinct. each player was from a “line” in history, so they were all from different races and places. (rhyming~) it made me curious about history and how our civilizations were built. we travel the globe, stopping at places that aren’t popular in books, which i enjoyed.

however, i couldn’t connect with any of the characters. the players of the game were heartless, sadistic, irrational, and sometimes annoying. it wasn’t until the last two pages that there was some emotion shown through. before that, i was convinced the feelings were fleeting, or they were trying to use each other one way or another. there was also a love triangle going on.. *groan* as i mentioned earlier, it would feel like the story was focused on the plot, but randomly throughout the novel, there would an implying love triangle thrown in. the relationships were artificial and forced; i couldn’t sense any chemistry between any of the characters. i think it would’ve been better if the romance was gone altogether. it was there, but not there. 

my favorite part of the novel was the concept. although it was similar to the hunger games, the differences were clear and made it unique. there would be clues and other hints dropped throughout the novel: certain capital letters, spaces between words, symbols and photos here and there. it was interesting because it would feel like you were solving a mystery. i was hoping it would all be explained at the end, but it turns out you were supposed to figure it out yourself.

i liked how the author/publisher incorporated the story with real-life, as if you were playing the games as well. the entire book was a game, with the not-so-random symbols and letters. there’s even a website and like, ten pages of terms and conditions. the prize is $500,000, but i’m still not entirely sure if this is a fraud. buuuut i saw the endgame display the caesar’s palace hotel in las vegas and it was very cool! it all seems really legit.

overall, i did not enjoy this book. i thought it was quite interesting at first, but it eventually got really slow and it wasn’t enough to keep me going for it. the characters were unstable; the relationships were dry. i was confused on what was going on, and i didn’t particularly like the writing style. i’m curious to know what happens next, but i don’t think i’ll actually pick up the next book.

twostars

(background photo of the header is courtesy of epic reads, design by yours truly!)

xoxo,

alexandra

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REVIEW: red queen; victoria aveyard

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4.4/10 ☆

genre: young adult, fantasy, dystopian

series or standalone? series

published: on february 10th, 2015 by harperteen

pages: 383

i read the: us hardcover

began: march 11, 2015 // finished: march 12, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads summary: right here.

first sentence: “i hate first friday.”


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reading red queen was a frustrating process; i was super interested in the plot, but everything else made me cringe.

the story is like any other dystopian: a poor girl is somehow different and special compared to everyone else. the king and queen notice her – and want her dead. there’s a rebellion going on. and don’t forget the confused love-triangle feelings! what caught my attention was the premise; a world split by blood: silver and red. people with red blood are ordinary peasants who live in the towns. those with silver blood have special powers. our main character, mare, is a red.

i wanted to love this book, i really did! my annoyance started off as just that – an annoyance, but it continued to grow as i read on. i was hoping that if i continued to read it, i would like it better, but it just went on and on and on. the situations was too predictable and stereotypical: our main protagonist is living a dull, ordinary life, then a bunch of things get worse for her. suddenly, she’s the symbol of a rebellion. sound familiar? (psst.. the hunger games) add in a prince trying to find a bride (echm.. the selection?) and a confusing love interest (um.. very misleading) mix it all together and you got red queen! yes, the story is super interesting (which is why and also how i managed to finish it in one day), but it’s predictable. i would be reading a chapter and think, “why am i getting a sense of deja vu? has this happened before?” buuuuut, i’ll admit the plot twist at the end is extremely shocking. (shocking to the point where it’s unbelievable. as in, this-doesn’t-make-sense-no-way-ohmygod) but let’s be honest, besides the interesting storyline and plot twist, i didn’t find this book enjoyable.

omg backing away

that plot twist got me like

i’ve rolled my eyes too many times while reading red queen. it’s gotten to the point where my eyes should’ve rolled out of their sockets. it seemed like mare would constantly repeat the phrase, “i’m different.” yes, we know you’re different. not only have you shown us, but you’ve repeated the phrase six hundred times. i wanted to slap her across the face. however, there would be moments of clarity. it would feel as if the character actually had feelings: she was sassy, witty, and thorough. but then, mare would go back to being her annoying self and the alter-ego would *poof* disappear. she is (usually) indecisive and overdramatic – the typical ya “heroine.” i found it hard to connect with her thoughts – on second thought, i found it hard to connect with any of the characters. the closest it came to was, “oh, that’s nice” or, “um that’s unfortunate.” the main male character would either be a complete asshole or extremely compassionate. okay?? i couldn’t see any of the characters; they were murky and inconsistent. 

the love triangle, square, hexagon thing is confusing to no end. it starts off with one guy, then another appears and the first guy is disregarded, then another guy appears and i don’t know what to think. if you want to be friends, then just be friendly. if you want something more, then make a move. she was teetering on the edge of just-friends and love-of-my-life for all three guys. please, make up your mind! it seemed like the author wanted to simultaneously make the romance a small and big part of the story.

overall, this book was irritating beyond my comprehension. the storyline had the potential to be so much better. i was expecting it to be so much better (which i clearly should not have). i will probably be reading the next book (ugh, more mare) simply because the cliffhanger was quite good and i’m giving it a second chance. not fun to read, but it was so interesting.. UGH. do you understand my struggles???

how did you feel about this book? let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

alexandra

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