Hey y'all! I feel like it's been the longest time since I've published something here. Four days really does pass like an eternity, doesn't it? Anyways, I thought that since this feature is about getting to know me a bit more as a person, I'd share that today's my birthday! That's right, you guessed it, I'm a Libra. I'm sure you're not surprised. I'm so happy to be celebrating with friends and family, but I know that all day, I'm looking forward to coming home and reading Ninth House! It's pretty much all I think about these days. I'm so grateful that I got to meet Leigh at her Boston tour stop. She is so kind and funny--I loved her book talk with Kelly Link! Regardless, I love the setting and magical atmosphere of Ninth House, and can't wait to escape back to New Haven!
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Aaaahhh!! Incoherent screaming! I've loved Ruta Sepetys's books forever (see my recent #bookstagram post on Salt to the Sea), and I'm so thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Fountains of Silence! I have my review here today, as well as a cool moodboard for the novel.
The Book and its Author
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence--inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.
Ruta Sepetys (www.rutasepetys.com) is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist, as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Her novels Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea have won or been shortlisted for more than forty book prizes, and are included on more than sixty state award lists. Between Shades of Gray was adapted into the film Ashes in the Snow, and her other novels are currently in development for TV and film. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is passionate about the power of history and literature to foster global awareness and connectivity. She has presented to NATO, to the European Parliament, in the United States Capitol, and at embassies worldwide. Ruta was born and raised in Michigan and now lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter @RutaSepetys and Instagram @RutaSepetysAuthor.
Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review!
The Fountains of Silence is a beautiful knockout of a novel. Ruta Sepetys has done it again. I am constantly amazed by her characters and worlds, and this novel is no exception. I knew almost nothing about Franco’s Spain going in, but by the end I felt that I had learned so much about a part of history rarely spoken of (at least in American culture). This novel portrays powerfully the traumas that Spaniards went through under Franco’s fascist regime, and also the contrast between locals in Madrid and the American tourists who traveled there unaware of the horrors perpetuated by the government.
This novel instantly sucked me in. I didn’t intend to finish it in one sitting, but Sepetys’ writing is so magnetic that I couldn’t stop reading. Most of the book is character building: I spent so much time getting to know Ana, Daniel, Rafa, Julia, and Puri that they felt incredibly real to me. The Fountains of Silence is long, but every page is worth the read. There’s also a small mystery subplot that heightens toward the end and ties all of the characters together while revealing another impactful side of Spanish history. For fear of spoilers, since I KNOW you’re going to read The Fountains of Silence, I won’t say more.
Daniel and Ana were the main characters in my opinion, and I loved their chemistry and dynamic. Daniel is the son of an American oil tycoon, and Ana works as a maid at the Hotel Castellana Hilton, where Daniel stays in Madrid. Her parents were Spanish Republicans, and they were tortured and killed because of their political views. Therefore, Ana and her siblings must work hard to be seen as loyal to Franco to avoid being linked to their parents’ ideas. Daniel knows little of life for Spaniards, but I appreciated how respectful he was of Ana and how he was willing to learn more about Spain and try to make change through his photography instead of just brushing off the struggles of the Spanish people. Daniel and Ana’s relationship was one of my favorite parts of the novel.
I also enjoyed reading about Daniel’s photography. When I was reading his POV, I was struck by the ways in which he observed the world differently: framing shots in his mind, thinking about composition, separating moments into frames, and creating a story with a picture. This allowed him to explore the unseen in Spain and look deeper into the country’s hidden truths than his society peers. These shadowy elements of life in Spain during Franco’s regime were always in the background (and sometimes frighteningly in the foreground) of the novel, and there were moments when I literally stopped breathing while reading. Sepetys portrays the fear and tension in the country masterfully, and the care that she put into her research is evident.
Sure enough, part of writing a historical fiction novel is placing the events within a larger historical context, which Sepetys did well. She included sections of letters and news excerpts from the time period relating to Franco and Spain. She also included a bibliography in the back, which I appreciate. I know I will be reading some of those works to gain a better understanding of the time period she portrayed.
The Fountains of Silence is a gripping novel, full of empathy and the power of human connection. I give it 5/5 stars, and insist that everybody pick up a copy.
Hi all! This week is such a big week for blog tours! This is the second out of three, and I'm so excited to share this post with you! The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy is a new fantasy novel that you'll want to add to your TBRs straightaway. Follow along with the tour here, and don't forget to enter an exciting giveaway down below!
The Book and its Author
In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.
Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal's" memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.
To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.
Lauren lives in the Chicago area, where she's spent years working with youth, from young children to high schoolers. When she’s not writing, Lauren is usually with her family or exploring the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren's own journey with her mother, is her first novel.
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Thank you to Blink YA and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.
The Memory Thief is a new, expansive fantasy that follows Etta, a memory thief, as she learns about her family and grapples with guilt while attempting to remove the tyrannical ruler of her city from power. I quite liked that The Memory Thief is standalone fantasy. I think the story wrapped up well in the pages allotted, if a bit neatly. However, I would say that this novel’s strength here is also its greatest weakness. I always felt one step removed from the tale, and I was never fully immersed. I was always cognizant of the fact that I was reading a book.
Starting with the world building, which is intricate, if a bit clumsy: I was intrigued by the relationship between memory and wealth that Mansy built. Memories are used as currency, with people trading them through touch (as Gifted) or sight, (for Shifters). In this way, robbers can prey on those without the ability to transfer memories, creating an inequitable society. The Shadows, the organization that Etta has a fraught relationship with, aim to help those who can’t help themselves, providing protection to orphans and Gifted who don’t wish to join the army. There was a lot of information thrown into the first couple of chapters, but I quickly understood the general rules of the magic, and the different kingdoms. From the beginning, the reader is dropped into Etta’s world, and the action never stops.
Etta was an interesting character: throughout the novel, she dealt with the guilt she felt after her best friends died and her mother fell into a coma. She was very protective of her mother, and the novel is about her journey to saving her and preserving her memories of her childhood. Etta’s mother is in an asylum controlled by Madame (the villain), and Etta must save her or else Madame could have her killed. Etta’s feelings grief and shame change over the course of the book, and she goes on an emotional journey as she encounters old friends on her quest.
She also falls in love, which actually became a small quibble of mine. Reid and Etta started off extremely distrustful of each other, and then quickly grew to love each other, which I found sort of ludicrous. I’m never a huge fan of insta-love, and especially here when the circumstances of their meeting do not lead to a realistic relationship in my opinion.
Most of my issues with The Memory Thief stem from the length of the novel. For an introduction to a new fantasy world, the book is incredibly short: only 320 pages. This length made world building feel rushed at times, and did not allow for sufficient development of the characters and relationships. Especially towards the end, character development was sacrificed for plot. There was a massive twist that was just… not explained well, and it began to seem as though the characters were just being put through scenes to get to the planned ending, no matter whether or not it was believable. This hurt my understanding of the characters and world, and while I love standalone fantasy, I think The Memory Thief could have been taken in a different direction to form a more satisfying first book in a series.
Overall, I rate The Memory Thief 3/5 stars. Its problems impeded my enjoyment towards the end, but before that it made a delightful read. I’d recommend ordering a copy from your local library!
Hi all! I've had a late start today, so two quick pieces of news to share: First, today I'm teaching a blogging class at my local library! I'm super excited to share my passion with the attendees, and I hope some elements of the lesson can be incorporated into a new post series for you all. In the class, I talk about domains, themes, graphic design, writing, and publicity. Blogging has helped me practice planning and communication, and running one can be fun and informative, so I want to help people put their own words into the world!
Tomorrow is a super exiting day on the reading side of things, because I'm going to see Leigh Bardugo on her Ninth House tour! I'm loving the concept of the novel and I can't wait to meet her and get my copy. I've actually met Leigh before, at the Boston Teen Author Festival, but it will be exciting to hear her discuss Ninth House specifically. Stay tuned for more updates!
Hi all! So excited to be on the Blog Tour for The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey! Thank you to HarperTeen and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me a copy in exchange for my review. If you'd like to follow along, click here to see other tour stops, and be sure to participate in the FFBC's giveaway (details below).
The Book and its Author
From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.
While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.
Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.
Laura is a Cuban-American Californian who can be found haunting her favorite coffee shops, drooling over leather jackets, and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two superstar children.
This former teacher writes young adult novels about quirky teens learning to navigate life and love. Her debut, THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS will be published 10/08/19 from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins. Her #ownvoices sophomore project, A CUBAN GIRL'S GUIDE TO SWEATERS AND STARS is coming fall 2020 from Atheneum Simon and Schuster.
Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club and Inkyard Press for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review!
The Library of Lost Things is a sweet romance full of self-discovery and connection. Darcy and Asher had great chemistry, and every page of this book was a treat.
The literary connections strewn throughout were the charm of the whole novel. Darcy is an avid reader, with a boundless love for words. As a reader myself, I can always appreciate a literary heroine such as Darcy. She often finds herself holding books, which Namey touches on in a humorous way. I also relate to the parts of Darcy that wish she were reading when she’s uncomfortable. The bookstore that she works in plays a significant role in the novel, and I could see any bookworm loving Darcy’s job at the Yellow Feather.
Besides her job, another major part of Darcy’s life is her best friend, Marisol. Darcy and Marisol are friendship goals, honestly. I love positive female friendships in contemporary novels, and these girls will warm your heart. Marisol’s family is so welcoming to Darcy, and I was struck by how close the girls were. Marisol, the fashion queen, is always there to support Darcy and help her with various troubles, and is a wonderful guiding friend. The supporting characters in The Library of Lost Things are amazing. They push the novel and each have unique traits and fully-developed arcs. Tess, Darcy’s Grandmother, and Mr. Winston were each a joy to read about as they went about their lives and intersected Darcy’s story.
Darcy’s arc with her mother shines in this novel. It’s an incredible story of compassion, family, and memory. It was interesting to read about Darcy balancing her love for her mother with the anger she feels about her mom’s compulsive shopping. I haven’t seen a lot of YA with complex mother-daughter relationships like this one, and I recommend reading it. Darcy talks about counseling, her and her mom’s relationship with her grandmother, and her literary coping method, all of which develop the issue of mental illness so strongly in the novel.
Of course, I couldn’t review a romance novel without actually touching on the love story. Asher, Darcy’s love interest, is a great, well-developed character who is sure to make any reader swoon. His backstory? Tragic. His adoration for Darcy? Boundless. Watching them fall in love was a highlight of my reading experience. Their whole relationship is so sweet and charming, complete with romantic gestures and surprises.
Overall, this beautiful romance is a must read! 4/5 stars.
Today I'd like to share my blog tour post for By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery, out October 8th from Page Street Kids. Follow along here to read reviews and guest posts from other bloggers!
The Book and its Author
On the day Torrey officially becomes a college freshman, he gets a call that might force him to drop out before he’s even made it through orientation: the bee farm his beloved uncle Miles left him after his tragic death is being foreclosed on.
Torrey would love nothing more than to leave behind the family and neighborhood that’s bleeding him dry. But he still feels compelled to care for the project of his uncle’s heart. As the farm heads for auction, Torrey precariously balances choosing a major and texting Gabriel—the first boy he ever kissed—with the fight to stop his uncle’s legacy from being demolished. But as notice letters pile up and lawyers appear at his dorm, dividing himself between family and future becomes impossible unless he sacrifices a part of himself.
Candice “Cam” Montgomery is an LA transplant now living in the woods of Seattle, where she writes Young Adult novels. Her debut novel, HOME AND AWAY can be found online and in stores now, and her sophomore novel, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY will be released October of 2019. By day, Cam writes about Black teens across all their intersections. By night, she bartends at a tiny place nestled inside one of Washington’s greenest trees. She is an avid Studio Ghibli fan and will make you watch at least one episode of Sailor Moon and listen to one Beyoncé record before she’ll call you “friend.”
Thank you to Page Street Kids and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.
By Any Means Necessary has a super interesting premise, a great cast of characters, and tackles complex social issues in a thoughtful way. For that, I commend Montgomery on this novel. However, several elements of the execution have lowered my opinion and rating of the book.
The… not so good:
i had a lot of mixed feelings about By Any Means Necessary, but I think it’s a case of “it’s me, not you.” I know this book is perfect for someone, but it just wasn’t me. A lot of my grievances are nitpicks, so I’m rating it 3/5 stars.
It's a lovely fall Thursday, and I'm staring at the pile of books on my nightstand, mostly new and unread... and yet I'm still thinking about which books I want to order next! These beauties are a mix of new releases and old, and I can't wait to read all of them!
Hi y'all! I'm wearing a sweater-dress today, and it feels like peak autumn. All that's left to get is a hot cup of apple cider. I'm coming up on a busy stretch in blogging, so be sure to check back here often for my new reviews and features! Next week, I'm on three blog tours, so look forward to new reviews almost every day. Right now I'm reading those books, as well as some from the library.
In non-book-life stuff, I'm well into season 5 of Gilmore Girls (my favorite season, I'm Team Logan!), and I'm so excited that The Good Place is back on NBC! This season is so good so far, and I can't wait to see where the team is taking it. My bullet journal theme for October is "wildflowers" so it's been fun to just doodle all over my pages while listening to music or an audiobook, a new fix of mine.
That's pretty much all for today--I'm having a chill week with friends so far. Happy Tuesday!
Today I'm joining the blog tour for The Athena Protocol, out October 8th from HarperTeen! I'm here to share my review, and you can follow the tour here to find more interviews, reviews, and guest posts from other bloggers. Enjoy!
The Book and its Author
Jessie Archer is a member of the Athena Protocol, an elite organization of female spies who enact vigilante justice around the world.
Athena operatives are never supposed to shoot to kill—so when Jessie can’t stop herself from pulling the trigger, she gets kicked out of the organization, right before a huge mission to take down a human trafficker in Belgrade.
Jessie needs to right her wrong and prove herself, so she starts her own investigation into the trafficking. But going rogue means she has no one to watch her back as she delves into the horrors she uncovers. Meanwhile, her former teammates have been ordered to bring her down. Jessie must face danger from all sides if she’s to complete her mission—and survive.
Born in the UK, Shamim is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and director.
Her next book, The Athena Protocol, is an all-female YA contemporary action thriller that is published by Harper Teen in September 2019. Her debut novel, The World Unseen, won a Betty Trask award and the Pendleton May First Novel award.
Shamim has adapted and directed the films of three of her novels including, most recently, Despite the Falling Snow. The book was published by Headline in the UK and St Martin’s Press in the US. The movie stars Rebecca Ferguson and Charles Dance in a story of love and betrayal in cold war Russia. Her films have won 47 awards internationally.
Shamim’s third novel, I Can’t Think Straight, formed the basis of her cult hit film of the same name. Shamim’s book festival appearances include Hay-on-Wye, Cheltenham and Edinburgh. An accomplished speaker, Shamim has spoken at TED events worldwide, at the INK Conference in India and DLD in Munich. Corporate speaking events have included Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Citibank and Disney.
Shamim lives in London with her wife, Hanan, and their two sons.
Thank you to HarperTeen and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review!
The Athena Protocol is a fun, fast-paced spy thriller that’s sure to excite readers. I read the book in a couple of sittings, which I consider a great advantage. The plot was well-developed, as were the characters and their relationships.
I was first swept up by the vigilante justice and feminist aspects of the novel. The Athena organization focuses on taking down human traffickers and other monsters who hurt women around the world, but through one of their founders, they also help these women obtain educations and healthcare. If only we had something like that in the real world. I liked The Athena Protocol partly because it’s wish fulfillment fantasy for me. I would 100% join them, because they’re taking an active stance to end suffering. That being said, the ethical dilemmas of their vigilante-style missions is also fully explored in the novel, which makes for a more interesting read. Living outside the law while still existing in the world takes a difficult toll on Jessie, our protagonist. She needs to learn to mute her actions, because they could endanger her whole organization.
I admit, I didn’t like Jessie at the beginning of the novel. Her self-professed arrogance and aggressive demeanor didn’t seem to suit the work she did. She also didn’t seem to respect her teammates very much, unless they were in a position of power over her. Cooperation wasn’t exactly her strong suit. She did, however, experience consequences for her actions, which I liked. I absolutely hate when characters get free passes just because they’re “special,” and while Jessie is a skilled operative for Athena I think she needed to be kicked out to learn her lessons.
Of course, this also kicks off the plot. Stung at being left out of the mission she helped research—taking down a human trafficker in Belgrade—Jessie tags along. I liked that the action was practically non-stop, and how quickly the story moved. The plot twists, which I won’t describe but which appealed to me, and the tension between Jessie trying to learn about the trafficker’s operation and her teammates doing the same while hunting her, drove the story to exciting places. Sarif can write a mean action scene, too! Some parts were genuinely frightening, and her descriptions really evoked the creepiness of the villains and setting.
One of the other main points of the novel is the relationships between all of the female characters. Jessie had great friends within her team, and I’m glad she learned to treat them with respect and honor those bonds. For me, the most intriguing elements were Jessie’s interactions with her mom, Kit. Kit is also a member of Athena, but she spent a lot of Jessie’s childhood on tour as a rock star, so it was interesting to read about her involvement as a parent in Jessie’s live, and the impact her absence had on Jessie growing up. I was surprised and happy about the romance, as well! The Athena Protocol delivers a well-written and electrical f/f romance between Jessie and the daughter of the trafficker, Paulina.
Overall, I recommend The Athena Protocol to any reader seeking a quick spy thriller and a fearsome female operative team. 4/5 stars.
Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf BFYR for sharing a copy in exchange for my honest review!
She’s the beauty, I’m the bold one–together, we are the perfect girl…
Aphra Brown is bold and outgoing. Her best friend, Bethany, is achingly beautiful. Individually, they could both do a little better in the self-esteem department, but together? Together, they have what it takes to win over Greg D’Agostino, a proverbial “ten,” who happens to be fluent in six languages–seven if you count the language of smoldering gazes . . .
What begins as an honest mistake turns into an elaborate deception, wherein Bethany goes on dates with Greg while Aphra coaches her on what to say, and texts him in the guise of Bethany, trying and failing, all the while, to tamp down her own hopeless crush. It’s only a matter of time before things come crashing down. The question is: What will happen when Greg finds out? And can Aphra and Bethany’s friendship survive the fallout?
From the author of We Regret to Inform You comes a witty, warm-hearted exploration of love in all its forms, and a cris-de-coeur for self-acceptance when the pressure to be perfect is overwhelming.
First, I want to apologize for the extreme lateness of this review. I am deeply grateful to Knopf for sharing a copy of We Are the Perfect Girl.
We Are the Perfect Girl is a must-read of 2019. Featuring incredible character development, complex families and friendships, and a little bit of romance (if you squint at the end), it’s one of my new favorite novels. From the beginning, I was intrigued by the fact that this is a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. I love reading YA novelizations of plays. It’s interesting to see how authors interpret characters and translate the themes into a modern setting. Silverman completely succeeded in capturing my attention.
I had to reread this book twice before I could write any sort of review. I cried both times—I have little in common with Aphra, but I identified with her just the same, and couldn’t help but love her by the end. She’s incredibly complex, and though sometimes she makes questionable choices, you can’t help but root for her. I loved reading about how she viewed herself in relation to her loved ones. A big part of this novel is about self esteem, and Aphra learning to both stand up for herself and also think about other people, which is an easily relatable struggle for readers. She is simultaneously assertive and selfless, and it hurt so much every time Aphra chose to prioritize someone else over herself. Characters like Aphra, who who learn from their mistakes and self reflect over the course of a novel, are easily some of my favorites to read because they give the reader a chance to understand them in a way we often can’t with other real-world people.
As she’s written, Aphra is a really natural teenager. I noticed this especially in her crush on Greg—her observations, the things she remembers and references about him might seem inconsequential to anyone else, but those details matter so much to her. That’s very authentic, and Kaplan has truly captured a teen voice in Aphra. A high point of the book is its humor. Aphra's chat transcripts were genuinely funny, as was much of the narration. I laughed out loud at the “eat-the-pilot” scene, as well as many others. The clever writing and fresh dialogue hit the mark every time, which is especially important in this story and balanced out some of the heavy emotions and raw insecurities that Silverman explored.
I love the balance between Aphra, her friendships, and her family. Each relationship is so complex and given equal attention. I think my favorite dynamic is between Aphra and Bethany. They are the main characters, but I think a great choice of narration is the first person perspective solely for Aphra. It truly emphasizes some of the more unhealthy aspects of their relationship, as well as giving a window into all the good times they’ve had together. Aphra makes some questionable choices, but while I was reading I could tell the foundation of their friendship was solid. This gave me constant hope that Aphra and Bethany would be honest with each other and learn to properly communicate, which would make for an even better best-friendship.
Aphra’s family seems tough to live with, but I enjoyed seeing her relationship with them grow through the book. The sibling relationships especially got me. Kit is a super cute younger brother, and I liked that he and Aphra had a good relationship. She and Delia, however, is another story. They have a fraught relationship that turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the book, showing how family members’ choices can have a real effect on people. I was constantly rooting for Aphra and Delia to communicate and work towards understanding one another.
In terms of plot, the natural tension of whether Bethany and Greg will find out about Aphra’s deception is fantastic. Kaplan has such a great way of turning up the dial every time you think Aphra’s off the hook. I waffled between savoring every scene and wanting to find out what happened next, every time. Of course, some plot points are easy to predict because of the retelling aspect, but Aphra is a great character and narrator, and it was a joy to read her perspective on the events. That made the book feel new and original.
My favorite part of the book that isn’t about character or plot is probably the positive representation of mental health professionals. I liked that Aphra went to therapy and respected her need to be there. She also showed real improvement, which is positive messaging in and of itself. I like the notion in novels that young adults can’t solve every mental health problem themselves. One thing that always angers me is when characters try to love each other out of their issues. No! Therapy! Talk to adults! Silverman totally gets this, and Aphra is all the better for it. I think mental health professionals are extremely underrepresented in YA books, but I hope that trend is coming to a close.
I cried throughout the last two chapters of this novel. The ending is so emotionally resonant, and I think readers leave Aphra in a fantastic place. I grew to love her so much over the course of the story, and it was so rewarding to watch her grow and display vulnerability in the way she ends with. Finishing the novel, reading those last few pages… I felt like I was in a world of my own. By the end, loving Aphra felt like self-love, in a way. I couldn’t help but adore how Silverman closed out the story, but I also wished I could have more! I will definitely be rereading We Are the Perfect Girl for years to come. It earns 5/5 stars for me. My only regret is that I can’t rate it higher.
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.