Teenage Girls Solving Murders: Did These YA Mystery Novels Pass My Vibe Check?

A year ago I discovered a new genre that quickly became one of my favorite: Teenage girl who solves murders. I loved the drive these types of characters had and how despite there having a police department, they were the ones who actually found the culprit.

READ: ‘Teenage Girls Solving Murders’ is one of my new favorite book genre and I want to talk about it.

So, I decided I would read three books that fit this genre and review them on here. The books I decided to read were The Ivies by Alexa Donne, They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman and The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson.

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Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly.

Alexa Donne delivers a nail-biting and timely thriller about teens who will stop at nothing to get into the college of their dreams. Too bad no one told them murder isn’t an extracurricular.

Review: Alexa Donne is one of my favorite author on YouTube. I love her videos on writing and its craft and her book reviews. I think she always has some good points. Her book was one of my most anticipated of the year: I couldn’t wait to see how this person I love on YouTube actually writes and if I would love her book.

I know people say ‘don’t meet your idol’, and while Alexa isn’t my idol, I think there should be a saying that goes like this: don’t read a book written by your favorite youtuber. I know it sounds harsh, but for me it was the truth.

This book was not bad, it simply wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. Everything, from the friendship to the romance to the reveal of the killer felt very meh to me. I don’t know why. I also couldn’t click with the main character, who I personally thought was awful. I always have a hard time feeling bad for the white girl at a rich school who’s only different than the others because she doesn’t have money.

I think my main problem with this book was the fact that it was very trope-y. I watched the author’s livestream once I finished reading it and she said it was one purpose, but I think it actually did more harm than good. Mean girls are so early 2000s/millennial. The whole  »there’s a queen bee and we shall follow her » thing is so outdated to me and felt very weird. It was like none of the other girls in the story had a personality. Also, Olivia’s desire to find out who the killer was, was just not it. It felt a little bit random to me.

Nevertheless, I read this in like… 48 hours or less? It was a page turner. It gave a great insight on the American college entrance system through the eyes of a private school person. The ending was satisfying to me and it felt realistic. There wasn’t any type of extra romance and I enjoyed that. All in all, I gave this a 3 stars and I think it’s well deserved.

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A murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.

In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.

Freshman year Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on.

Now, it’s Jill’s senior year and she’s determined to make it her best yet. After all, she’s a senior and a Player–a member of Gold Coast Prep’s exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill’s year. She’s sure of it.

But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham’s innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn’t kill Shaila, who did? Jill vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

Review: Similarly to The Ivies, I had a lot of hopes and hype for They Wish They Were Us. I’ve been meaning to read it since last year, but only got around to start it recently.

I loved the whole premise of the secret society, the prep school, and rich kids doing rich kids things, but was let down by the mystery. This did not feel like a YA mystery or thriller to me. It was more like a contemporary with a little bit of suspense? Or a commentary of secret society, hazing, and sexism.

The killer was so evident from the first time you meet them. Like I knew it was them as soon as I read the first scene they appeared on. Now, this is a debut novel and while I’m not an author, I think I can confidently say it reads like a debut.

I found Jill more interesting than Olivia in The Ivies as a character. The way she was protective of her brother was very heartwarming to me. However, the way her friendship to Shaila was written felt odd, in my opinion. In the beginning, she goes all about how Shaila was not a good person and how Jill was kind of jealous or just wanted her attention a lot, but then as the book goes on, Jill says she loved Shaila more than anything. It was just inconsistent to me.

Also, I think this book spent a lot of time in the past instead of the present, and had way too much time skip. It was odd. I wish we read more about the current Players instead of the past ones.

I gave this book a 4 stars on Goodreads, but the real rating is 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it more than The Ivies.

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Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.

Review: I devoured the Truly Devious trilogy and was over the moon to learn the author had written a fourth book! I didn’t know what to expect of it, since the mystery in the first three installments had been resolved, but this was still a great read. It took place in a camp set in a small town. Similarly to the first three books, the mystery was related to something that had happened in the past This time, in the 70s.

I loved reading about these characters again: Stevie, Nick, Janelle, and David. I loved seeing the way Stevie and David’s relationship had evolved and how they were still kind of figuring things out? The friendship between Stevie, Janelle and Nick was almost amazing.

The mystery was very interesting to me, I had no idea who the killer was all along. I think the way it was solved was kinda… meh to me, but it still was good. I love the way Stevie solves it, the way we can see her brain go and work.

This book was funny and twisty, not too dark, and not trope-y, and I think that’s why I preferred it to the other two books in this post and why I gave it a 5 stars on Goodreads.

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Thank you so much for reading this post! If you’re reading this, tell me: Are you a fan of murder mysteries?

BOOK REVIEW: It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

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Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.
But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.

Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for letting me be part of this blog tour and providing me with an advance reading copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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My journey in the fandom world started when I was 10 years old and got into Harry Potter and High School Musical. I started reading fanfictions, even tried writing some. Then, I got into Justin Bieber, One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, BTS, Blackpink, and even more groups. Fandom is a world that sucks you in. You make a Tumblr account, and a Twitter, and sometimes an Instagram, just to interact with people who share the same interests as you. You over-analyze things and watch compilations videos. It can be toxic at times, but it can also be the best place ever where you make the best friends ever. Miel Moreland depicted this very well in this book.

In It Goes Like This, we follow the other side of the fandom: the artists. However, Eva has a secret Tumblr where she pretends to be a fan of her own group (which, btw, is something I would totally do) and you can see the way she interacts with the fans and the way the fans write Tumblr posts and all and I just… I loved it.

I loved the plot of the book and the way each member of the group was distinctive and had their own voice. If Moonlight Overthrow was a real group, I would absolutely be into them.

While at time I found the plot to be dragging, I still had a really fun time reading this. I loved the angst and the tension and the whole aspect of figuring out who you are and what you want to do after a big part of your life is over.

I gave this book a 4.5 stars and rounded it up to 5 on Goodreads and I absolutely recommend it. I even bought my own copy!

BUY THE COPY

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49109704-it-goes-like-this
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250767482?tag=macmillan-20
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/it-goes-like-this-miel-moreland/1137176588?ean=9781250767486
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/It-Goes-Like-This-Miel-Moreland/9781250767486
Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/it-goes-like-this/9781250767486-item.html
IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250767486?aff=macmillan

Miel Moreland writes character-driven contemporary Young Adult novels. Born and raised in Minneapolis, she has a Midwestern heart but wandering feet. When not making pop music references and celebrating fandom, she is likely to be found drinking hot chocolate and making spreadsheets. She currently resides in Boston. 

Website: https://www.mielmoreland.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MielMoreland
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/readthenfall/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19794316.Miel_Moreland

BLOG TOUR: Off the Record by Camryn Garrett

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The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade.
Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this.

Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head.

One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will?

From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the #MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other. 

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tour and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book and for letting me be part of the book tour! All my opinions are my own!

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Off the Record was everything I thought it would be. Josie, the main character, is a journalist who wins a contest and gets to write a celebrity profile on an up and coming actor à la Timothé Chalamet named Marius Canet. The two of them hit it off and on the movie tour, Josie learns things from someone else about a famous director who may be a creep. She then decides to interview women and write a piece calling him out. All of this is a lot, especially for a seventeen years old.

This book discussed the #MeToo movement in a good way, I think. We see Josie realize what exactly sexual assault is, and it’s painful. It’s not too dense and still focuses on some cute contemporary things like romance, teenagehood, family, and fatphobia.

It was my first time reading a Camryn Garrett book and I will for sure pick up her next books in the future. The writing is great, it flows well and the book is a page turner. The characters are real and interesting. The only thing I wish is that Josie would have confronted her family on their casual fatphobia more.

This review is pretty short, but it’s because I don’t want to spoil the book too much! I genuinely found this book interesting and good and I absolutely recommend it. I gave it four stars!

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Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53331354-off-the-record

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Off-Record-Camryn-Garrett/dp/1984829998/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2CBYO3WTGRGV3&dchild=1&keywords=off+the+record+camryn+garrett&qid=1616354406&sprefix=Off+the+Record+by+Camryn+Garrett+%2Caps%2C386&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/off-the-record-camryn-garrett/1137946866?ean=9781984829993

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Off-Record-Camryn-Garrett/9781984829993?ref=grid-view&qid=1616354486708&sr=1-2

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/off-the-record/9781984829993-item.html?ikwid=off+the+record+by+camryn&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=1#algoliaQueryId=05616a9b5627f5b972808faf793571f2

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781984829993

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Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. In 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Her first novel, Full Disclosure, received rave reviews from outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, the Today Show, and The Guardian, which called a “warm, funny and thoughtfully sex-positive, an impressive debut from a writer still in her teens.” Her second novel, Off the Record, will be released May 18, 2021. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Website: https://www.camryngarrett.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dancingofpens

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camryngwrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17762820.Camryn_Garrett

BOOK REVIEW: Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan

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Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Karina is my girlfriend.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.

T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to? 

Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance

Diversity tags: author of color (bangladeshi american); poc representation (bangladeshi-american mc; black, indian, and chinese side characters); religion representation (muslim mc); lgbtq+ representation; mental health representation (mc with anxiety)

Trigger warnings: In-depth discussions of mental health (specifically anxiety) and mentions of parental abuse (emotional and psychological)

Publication date: 04 May 2021

Publisher: HarperCollins

Cover: Samya Arif (artist), Gigi Lau (art direction)

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Growing up, bad boys stories were my favorites to read on Wattpad. However, I could never see myself in them. The stories always featured the same bland white people. That’s why I was so happy to get to read an advanced copy of Counting Down With You! The main character, Karina, is Bengali and muslim! I’m also a muslim girl, and I also have strict parents, so I was really interested to see what I would think of the book.

Right away, the book did not disappoint. The writing was immersive and I didn’t want to put my copy down. I immediately fell in love with Karina’s friend group. I always love a book where the main character has a support group and have people around them to listen to them, and this is what I got.

I also really enjoyed the family dynamics. Karina’s parents are strict, and I mean… strict. I felt so bad for her when I was reading it; you could literally feel her pain through the pages. I absolutely loved Dadu, her grandma, and her relationship with her brother. We see how it changes through the book, as she gets to learn more about Ace and needs to tell her brother to not tell their parents. We see her brother realize the sexism in their family, and how Karina’s parents are more strict on her.

Now for Ace, the ‘bad boy’… I loved him. He was well rounded and three dimensional. We got to see why he acted the way he does (even if it never really made sense to me) and his relationship with his family as well. I found him to be a little bit more complex than more love interests in stories, and that’s what I really loved about him. He got a passion and things he loves and I truly felt connected to him.

Ace and Karina’s love story was very cute and swoony. I do have to say though, that buying a dozen books a week seems very unrealistic because… How the hell is she gonna read them all!!!! BUT STILL! VERY CUTE.

I loved the ending and, to be honest, I would love more books set in this universe.

Overall, this was a great contemporary romance. I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to Caffeine Book Tour for letting me on this tour! All these thoughts were my own.

Tour launch

May 17
 beyond a bookshelf
 Literary Delirium
 This Bookish Life Of Mine

May 18
 legenbooksdary
 Sunshine N’ Books
 thr4sam

May 19
 Heart’s Content
 MissMaddyChats
 READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA

May 20
 A Book and Chai
 A Logophile’s Love
 The Mind of a Book Dragon

May 21
 KymieeTriestoRead
 Love, Paola
 With Love, Saoudia

Tashie Bhuiyan is a Bangladeshi American writer based in New York City. She recently graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and hopes to change the world, one book at a time. She loves writing stories about girls with wild hearts, boys who wear rings, and gaining agency through growth. When she’s not doing that, she can be found in a Chipotle or bookstore, insisting 2010 is the best year in cinematic history. (Read: Tangled and Inception.)

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein

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Grace Welles had resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beat up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever…because now there is this boy she never asked for. Wade Scholfield.

With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thoughts.

So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realizes that 1. The universe doesn’t revolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret. Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him?

Acidly funny and compulsively readable, Mercedes Helnwein’s debut novel Slingshot is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, friendship, stupidity, sex, bad poetry, and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.

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I won’t lie, the first thing that made me interested in this book was its cover: it’s so colorful and pretty! It definitely caught my attention and made me want to know more about the book. I’m really thankful to the people at Wednesday Books for sending me a physical arc!!!

Slingshot was an interesting book, to say the least. If you love books and movies and shows about a cynical, rude white teenager… this one’s for you. Grace, the main character, was extremely annoying. Everything bad that happened to her in this book, happened because of her actions, yet she couldn’t seem to see it. Now that I’m done with the book, I fail to see how this character had growth. She really stayed the same rude person all along!

Nevertheless, it was a great story about first love, first times, boarding school for people who are rich but not that rich, friendships and messy families. It felt real, like one of those Greta Gerwig movies with Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet. Matter of fact, it reads like a movie! Which is what I love the most about the books I read. I like to be able to picture exactly the words in my head and give faces to the characters and see the action deliver like an actual movie. This book would make an amazing coming of age movie.

The romance in the book was sweet. I really love the whole mean girl/soft boy trope in m/f relationships! I liked the idea that Wade was into Grace despite her being… difficult (for lack of better words). He saw something in her, that most people don’t, and I thought it was really cool. I hate the way she hurt him, but I can’t help but feel like it wasn’t that much of a big deal. But that’s probably because I’m older.

One thing I disliked though, is the way Grace was really into her bio teacher. She considered him her first love and all that. She was devastated when he (obviously) told her he was just her teacher. She genuinely thought she, a fifteen years old girl, had a chance with that thirty-something man. Like???? His fiancée even worked at the school, like!! Hello?!

Overall, this was a great book and a nice story for teenagers and older people too! I’m really thankful to have read an advance copy! Slingshot is now out everywhere books are sold, so if this review interested you, go get your own copy!

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Do you enjoy books set in boarding schools?

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES OF THE YEAR! PART TWO!

I am back, bigger, and stronger, with a part two to my most anticipated releases of 2021! This time, I will be listing books coming out in May 2021! I hope you find books you haven’t heard before and get to pre-ordering them! There were so many that caught my attention, so I made a post just for them!

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Meet Cute Diary. Out May 4th

This book is said to be a swoony-worthy romcom with a transgender mc!!! That’s pretty much all I needed to be sold on it. I love the representation and the fact that the main character is a multiracial transgender is amazing, I think we need more of these stories! I cannot wait to read it. Plus, the cover is amazing and the plot looks like it’s right up my alley!

Not My Problem. Out May 25th

Sapphic contemporary… RIGHT UP MY ALLEY ONCE AGAIN! I have read some positive reviews of the ARC on Goodreads, so I think I will be into this one as well! I haven’t read the author’s debut novel, but I think I will this summer, once I’m done with school and have a little bit more time!

It Goes Like This. Out May 18th.

This is about an ex-band queer pop band? Formed in middle school, and now the characters are older and we follow them in high school after a storm ruins their town and they have to work together to have a show (maybe a concert-benefit type of thing?). I’m really interested, because I want to know how the hell does a pop-band about middle schoolers get famous: were they locally famous? Were they famous at all? I love books about bands! I love books about friendships! So this seems like a great pick for me.

Where the Rhythm Takes You. Out May 11th.

A contemporary story inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion! It’s said to be romantic and about first loves! And the love interest is a DJ, I believe! ALSO IS CHILDHOOD BEST FRIENDS TO LOVERS???? Wow. I’m really excited to reading this.

Tokyo Ever After. Out May 25th.

This book is about a teenager from a small town discovering she is a PRINCESS!!! I LOVED the Princess Diaries and this book is said to be The Princess Diaries meets Crazy Rich Asians, so I am really excited to read it!! Plus, the cover is gorgeous!

Counting Down With You. Out May 4th.

I had the chance to read an advance copy of this book, and I really enjoyed it! It’s a fun YA book with so much diversity and a cute romance. I recommend it and I hope you’ll pick it up once it comes out! This author is definitively on my radar now!

The Ivies. Out May 25th.

I love books about seniors about to go to college, especially when it’s full of drama and… murder….! PLUS! I am the BIGGEST Alexa Donne fan. I love her YouTube videos, so I’m really excited to read her newest book!

Off the Record. Out May 18th.

I love books about teen journalists undercovering things, so I think I will really be into this one. I’m also part of the book tour for it, so I’m really excited to get to read it and review it for you guys!

Playing the Palace. Out May 25th.

This is a book in which an American wedding planner falls in love with a member of the Royal family, and it’s an ownvoice m/m book! It’s super important to me to support ownvoice m/m authors, so I’m really excited to read this. The plot seems so fun and fresh and I’m so excited to get to read it!

A Special Place for Women. Out May 11th.

This is a thriller/suspense novel about a women-only social club, and it reminds me of an actual women-only place to work I’ve seen some YouTubers go to! So I’m super interested see what the mystery-suspense-y-thriller-y vibes of this will be!

Beth and Amy. Out May 25th.

Now, I know the only Little Women adaptation I’ve seen is Greta Gerwig’s, BUT! I still love Little Women a LOT. I want to read the book, but it’s just so long…. Ugh! This one caught my attention, because I’m really interested in seeing how the author will portray these two girls and how it will be in a modern setting.

Happy Ending. Out May 18th.

I don’t read much romance, but this one sounds interesting. It’s a second chance story, and the main character has a sex-toys business???? I’m sold.

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel. Out May 18th.

All I know, is that this is a book about a family reunion, and that both families have been friends for years. And that it’s at a hotel, and shit will happen and they have to save the hotel. I don’t know.. I’m intrigued and want to know more.

Madam. Out May 18th.

Gothic fiction set at a boarding school. That’s all I need to know to be sold, tbh.

Baby & Solo. Out May 11th.

A book about a friendship between two workers at a video store set in 1990. The cover looks really cute too!

Luck of the Titanic. Out May 4th.

This is a book about two British-Chinese twins acrobats traveling on the Titanic. Now, we know how the Titanic’s story ends… Let me just say I hope none of them dies!!!!

Last Chance Books. Out May 18th.

This is about teens working at rival book stores: one works at an indie bookstore, owned by her family, the other in a chain bookstore. Love will happen. Fights will happen. Typical YA contemporary. We love to see it!

⋆┈┈。゚❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ❁ུ۪ ❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ゚。┈┈⋆

What’s a book you’re excited to read in May?

BOOK REVIEW: Yolk by Mary HK Choi

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Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying. 

° 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 ₒ 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 °

Reading Yolk was like reading a love story to siblings relationships, New York City, and children of immigrants. It was beautiful and real. The characters, Jayne and June, we both so distinctive yet similar. I flew through this book, just like I did with Permanent Record (Choi’s previous book).

There’s something about this author’s writing that just grabs my attention. I love her attention to details and the way she always writes about snacks.

I’m the older sister, and I could see myself a lot in June. I don’t know if I would do everything she did, but I could find myself relating to her and to the choices she made and the way she acted. They say this book was about the fact that June has cancer, but to me it was really about the relationship these two sisters have. The way they grew up, from Seoul to Texas to New York. It was about their bond and the way they keep having each other’s back despite not talking to one another for a year.

Another thing I really loved was the love interest in this book, Patrick. He was sweet and kind and smart and just so freaking perfect? I love the way we see his and Jayne’s relationship evolve and the way it felt so real. Mary HK Choi is in her forties, I think, yet she captures the Gen-Z-esque vibes so well!!!!! It’s like, how does she does it?!

The only critique I have about this, is that I wish we would have seen a better development of Jayne’s eating disorder and the way she tries to deal with it. I think the ending was a tiny bit rushed,. I would have honestly read another 100 or 150 pages of this book! I also think, though, that Jayne’s relationship with food is so complex it would actually take another book to properly delve into it and analyze it and see her path to recovery.

Mary HK Choi made me realize books don’t need definite endings, and that sometimes leaving them in the open is good. I find myself wondering what are the characters doing sometimes and I smile and want to reread it again.

What a beautiful book.

5 out of 5 stars!

What’s your latest 5 stars read?

BOOK REVIEW: Squad Goals by Erika J. Kendrick

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Magic Olive Poindexter has big shoes to fill. Her mother was a professional cheerleader, her father is a retired NBA legend, her big sister is the new face of the oh-so-glamorous Laker Girls, and her grandmother was the first black cheerleader ever on Valentine Middle School’s HoneyBee cheer squad. Magic wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps. But first, she has to survive Planet Pom Poms, the summer cheer camp where she’ll audition for a spot on the HoneyBee squad. But with zero athletic ability and a group of mean girls who have her number, Tragic Magic is a long way from becoming the toe-touching cheerleader heroine she dreams of being.

Things start to look up when her best friend Cappie joins her at camp–until Cappie gets bitten by the popularity bug, that is. To make matters worse, Magic’s crushing hard on football star Dallas Chase. Luckily, Magic’s not alone: with the help of a new crew of fabulous fellow misfits and her Grammy Mae’s vintage pom poms by her side, Tragic Magic might just survive–and even thrive–at cheer camp.

° 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 ₒ 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 °

Thank you so much to Hear Our Voice and to the publisher for this advance reading copy of the book! I haven’t read a Middle Grade (MG) book in a while and it was refreshing to get back in the head of a twelve years old. It brought me back to when I was twelve (10 years ago, wow!) and was dealing with friends, petty fights, and crushes.

Squad Goals was interesting and read like a movie. I could clearly see Marsai Martin adapting this into a movie! The Poindexter family was adorable and cool: an NBA legend dad, an ex-cheerleader mom, a cheerleader older sister, and an ex-cheerleader grandmom! And then there’s Magic, who wants to be a cheerleader too, but isn’t athletic. I thought Magic was a great main character. She wasn’t too annoying, and I understood how she felt.

I loved the friendships the author wrote in this book. It was diverse without being forced and felt just great to read. The girls made me grins so bad when I was reading.

The pacing of this book was great and the setting was also well done. I hope the author turns this into a series, because I’d love to see Magic navigate Middle School and eventually High School, who knows!

Lastly, I want to comment on the romance! It was cute and cheesy and I really loved how it was executed. Dallas Chase was just so cool and kind, I really liked him.

This review is short, but believe me: this was a great book and I recommend it to any tween or anyone, really, who wants a nice palette cleanser.

° 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 ₒ 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 °

Erika J. Kendrick is an acclaimed author, national speaker, and mental fitness junkie. She earned a psychology degree from Stanford University and an MBA in marketing and international business from the University of Illinois. Erika was an NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls before writing her novel, Confessions of a Rookie Cheerleader (Random House, 2007). She penned Appetite (Random House, 2009), and The Accidental Escort (Cleis Press, 2010) shortly after. The celebrated author is currently finishing her memoir and touring nationally.

BOOK REVIEW: Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

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Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?

° 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 ₒ 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 °

So! This was a page turner. I finished it under 24h or so I want to say. However, I’m giving it a 3 stars. The story did what it said it would do: I got a book about a teenager who had an amazing summer with a girl and then sees said girl at her high school, and starts questioning her sexuality.

The thing is, there were many moments throughout my reading where I was just cringing because some of the comments made were just… weird.

Here’s what I loved:

  • The friendship groups were great. I love a great contemporary where the main character has fun friends and isn’t a loner (not that there’s anything bad with that, I just love a butterfly type of person). I didn’t enjoy the personality of all the friends, but I’m glad she had a group of friends!
  • The  »potential » love interest was a genuinely nice guy. It’s so rare to see male characters in contemporary books who aren’t assholes. He was really cool and nice and kind and I wish him nothing but the best
  • The other love interest was super cool. Like, really. I loved Jasmine, she was a mix of a pixie-type of girl, but was not annoying. I loved seeing her personality and I could see why Lara was into her.
  • The chemistry between Lara and Jasmine was great in my opinion. I think they make a power couple!

Here’s what I didn’t love:

  • There were some comments that the main character did that were just… weird. At one point, she says  »what do you call it when someone’s neither a girlfriend nor boyfriend? Non-binary-friend? ». I cringed so hard. Please, just say partner?! Significant other?! How hard is it to know this? It felt like the author wanted to include minorities but wanted us to know it.
  • Sometimes it felt like Lara had no personality. I know it was so we could see her get out of her besties’ shadow, but even at the end, after all the character development, it felt like she had no personality. Everyone but her had a thing. She was just… That blonde girl.

So, yeah! These were my thoughts on this book. Honestly, I don’t have much else to say, it was a great YA book and I’m super grateful to the publisher for letting me get this arc!

Have you read Cool for the Summer? What are you currently reading?

BOOK REVIEW: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

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Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior. 

° 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 ₒ 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 °

This book was an absolute gem! It was so funny and sweet and adorable. I can’t believe the Brown sisters trilogy is already over, and I’m so glad it’s the series that introduced me to what an amazing author Talia Hibbert is.

Eve Brown is a goofy, spoiled, mess. I loved that about her. I loved that she had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to do, but once she found out, she fought to keep doing it. She is sweet and funny and an adorable person. Definitely my favorite Brown sister! She always found herself in some comical situations and I really enjoyed reading this book.

Jacob Wayne is, like, the HOTTEST male character ever?????? I just????? Wow. He was so grumpy and broody but without being mean, you know? He’s actually super sweet and funny as well. The banter he and Eve had was top tier. It really carried the book for me.

The romance between Jacob ad Eve was quick, but adorable and sweet. I think I would have loved to see them interact a little bit more after the infamous third act break up scene every romance book have, but it’s whatever.

In this book, we were introduced to many new characters! I saw that Talia has a new series coming soon, so maybe these characters that we saw in this book will be part of the new series? If yes, I hope we get to see more of Eve and Jacob!

The pacing of the book was great, the characters were well fleshed out and funny. The romance was very steamy, but didn’t happen instantly (maybe around 50% in!), and that’s really all it took for me to give this book a 5 stars!

° 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 ₒ 𐐪𐑂 ♡ 𐐪𐑂 °

Act Your Age, Eve Brown comes out on March 9th! You can buy it on Amazon, Book Depository, or Indigo! Thank you so much to Hear Our Voices Book Tours and the publisher for the advance reading copy!