Book Review: Tyler Johnson Was Here

Title: Tyler Johnson Was Here
Author: Jay Coles
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐💫
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Goodreads synopsis:

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

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Tyler Johnson Was Here is a beautiful story of family, grief, loneliness, and choosing to be strong and fight for something despite all of the odds.

I picked this book up because I felt like I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy novels lately. This book definitely gave me a break from all the fantasy and fictional worlds, but man, the story can definitely weigh you down with sadness.

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Book Review: Darius the Great is Not Okay

Title: Darius the Great is Not Okay

Author: Adib Khorram

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

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My heart is bursting with both sadness and joy because of this book. It was so well-written, so heartbreaking, and yet so heartwarming at the same time. So many people have recommended this to me, so many people have said a lot of good things about it, and they were absolutely right. I can say that Darius the Great is Not Okay is now one of my top 2019 reads.

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Book Review: Puddin’

Title: Puddin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Series: Dumplin’ #2

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

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This book has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now and it’s only this week that I decided to read it AAAAAHHHHH. I liked Dumplin’. It was okay for me, it definitely has a special place in my heart but it didn’t blow me away. Puddin’, however, blew my mind and captured my heart. This book is all sorts of amazing.

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Book Review: See You in the Cosmos

Title: See You in the Cosmos

Author: Jack Cheng

Genre/s: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7s, Walk Two Moons, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

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After reading King of Scars, I was in some sort of hangover. I didn’t know what to read next, I had no motivation to read another book (it is frustrating!). I knew I needed something contemporary, something light as I’ve binge read so much fantasy novels this month. Fortunately, See You in the Cosmos is exactly what I needed to refresh my reading mood and my senses! It was beautiful, touching, fun, and downright wonderful.

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