Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

The Upside of UnrequitedTitle: The Upside of Unrequited
Author:
Becky Albertalli
Publication Date: 11 April 2017
ISBN: 0062348701
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Softcover
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Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Review

I absolutely adored this novel! It was so cute and sweet and real. I mean, I loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by the same author for a lot of the same reasons. But I think I loved this one even more (if that’s even possible).

I think I’ll have to add Becky Albertalli to my list of favorite authors. I love her writing style. It’s a wonderful blend of description, dialogue, and thoughts that gives amazing insight in to the main character. It makes for a deep and intricate character, especially because of how she integrates character thoughts so seamlessly. It makes it easy to get lost in the story because you almost become the character.

One of my favorite parts of this novel was Molly’s relationship with body image. It was never a big focus of the novel, but it greatly influenced the entire novel. As a fat girl (that’s weird to write), it was really easy to identify with a lot of the personal struggles and self esteem issues that Molly was going through. The idea of her having to “be careful” and feeling that she wasn’t good enough for her crushes was relatable. More importantly, her qualms were applicable to a lot of different situations where anyone doesn’t fit into societal norms.

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Review: Infidel- Ayaan Hirsi Ali

InfidelTitle: Infidel
Author:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Publication Date: 1 February 2007
ISBN: 0743289684
Pages: 353
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback
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In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of “The Caged Virgin, ” Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West. One of today’s most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist’s murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie “Submission.”

“Infidel” is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished — and sometimes reviled — political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat — demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan — she refuses to be silenced.

Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali’s story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.

Review

I’ve never reviewed a memoir or any other autobiography so I’m not sure how to properly critique this novel. So what I’m going to do is discuss how the themes Ayaan Hirsi Ali explored made me feel. I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali until reading this book but I wish I had. She is an incredible person with a powerful story to tell.

Ali’s life by itself is an incredible description of many lives throughout the African continent; from the way women are treated to the severe corporal punishment that children face. It was clear that she was speaking from a level honesty that I’ve yet to read. I also thoroughly enjoyed the manner in which she talked about life. There was a lot of animosity that was quite palpable many times throughout the novel, animosity that I felt was well deserved. But, there was also a certain level of respect that she gave to those who had clearly hurt her and she clearly conveyed the initial feelings of love or like before conveying animosity. There was a progression of feelings just as much as their was a progression of her life.

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Review: The Invasion of the Tearling- Erika Johansen

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)Title: The Invasion of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Publication Date: 9 June 2015
ISBN: 0062290398
Pages: 515
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
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With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

My thoughts

I am in love with this series! I absolutely place this among the best series I have ever read. It is absolutely phenomenal and definitely one of the best books I’ve read up to this point in the year. I’m going to go ahead and say this now because I don’t want anything to be ruined:

Spoiler alert for book one!

Are all the people who don’t want to be spoiled gone? Yes? Great!

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Review: The Queen of the Tearling- Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Publication Date: 8 July 2014
ISBN: 0062290363
Pages: 448
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
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Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

My thoughts

Oh my gosh!! You guys! This book was phenomenal! It was glorious! I highly recommend this to any person out there, seriously everyone.

The writing style in this was incredible- there was sass, humor, and personality in every sentence. It was clear that a significant amount of time had been dedicated to each word, not a single word was wasted. The sass in this novel brought me so much joy; Kelsea refused to deal with other people’s crap and reading her reactions to various situations (usually involving some sarcastic jab) brought me great happiness. From the beginning Kelsea had a big personality that commanded attention even if she couldn’t see it herself. The amount of growing that she did within this novel was amazing to see but it wasn’t so much that you would wonder what would happen in the second book.

All of the other characters were equally developed. Even characters who didn’t have much page time- such as Barty and Carlin Glynn- were still very well developed. Seeing Kelsea’s flashbacks with her foster parents Barty and Carlin was intense because they had such a clear influence and, even though readers didn’t really see much of them, their influences could be seen in almost everyone of Kelsea’s decisions as a queen and as a friend. She believed in herself, she thought things through, she valued education, and she understood the importance of closes companionship as a result of Barty and Carlin.

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Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda- Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication Date: 7 April 2015
ISBN: 0062348671
Pages: 303
Genre: Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My thoughts

I loved book!!!! It was beautiful and phenomenal and eloquent. Just all around greatness. Romance and I have not always been the best of friends mostly because it’s insta- love with no real relationship development. That, my friend, is not the case here because Simon doesn’t even know his crush. The mystery in this novel was truly well written.

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