ARC Review: Last Girls

Title: Last Girls
Author: Demetra Brodsky
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Suspense/Thriller, Realistic Fiction
Content Warnings: Physical violence, mentions of murder, graphic details about wounds/violence
Publication date: May 5, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

No one knows how the world will end.

On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Prepare for every situation.

But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Teen!

When I requested Last Girls on NetGalley, I had little to no idea what it was about. I just knew that the cover enticed me and that it was about sisters and survival. Little did I know that it will become one of my favorites this 2020!

Last Girls is a wonderfully written story that will take you for a thrilling ride, keep you on your toes, and surprise you until the end. It’s brilliant!

My thoughts on Last Girls

lastgirls_cover_wrFirst of all, let me just say that all throughout the book, I kept thinking, “This would look so good as a movie!” or “Damn, I want to see this as a movie.”. Now that I think about it, I believe it’s because Last Girls has a unique and palpable suspense that will have the readers (or the viewers!) hold their breaths or clutch the armrest or send their minds reeling. From start to finish, the author managed to project that same suspense and tension onto me as the reader.

The characters were amazing, and not just the Juniper sisters, but the minor characters as well! Honey, Birdie, and Blue are tight knit; these sisters would do everything to stay together. I loved Honey’s protectiveness and determination, Birdie’s passion and spontaneity were something to behold, and Blue’s clairvoyance and calmness completed their dynamic relationship. As for the minor characters, Remy was just the sweetest, Ansel was a good guy caught up in a messy situation, and Toby’s determination added to the heartfelt touch of the story.

The plot was easy to follow, and it was also mysterious, suspenseful, and exciting! The Juniper sisters and their mother are preppers—people who are actively preparing for the end of the world every day. They just didn’t expect that the real and immediate danger would come from within their compound, and that’s where it gets interesting. I loved all the foreshadowing, tiny revelations, and little mysteries in this book! The author did such a good job with them, and I was always thinking about all those tiny details or I kept going back to certain parts of the book to confirm my suspicions and theories. I was so invested in them and it blew my mind every time I come across a plot twist or revelation.

LAST GIRLS mood boardI also loved the writing style of this book and the way the story was told. The story was mostly told in Honey’s perspective, but there were also a few chapters featuring Toby. At first, you might get confused and it may take a little while to build up, but the two perspectives will connect and the story line will have a whole new meaning. Best of all is that, at the core of Last Girls is the importance of family and sticking together no matter what. I loved that.

 

Quotes from the book 

“The things we don’t know will become the things we knew all along.”

“Our eyes don’t always see what our hearts know,” Blue says.

I think it’s important to think for yourself when making art. That way you’re leaving a mark as uniquely yours as your own fingerprints.

*Note that these quotes were taken from an advance reader’s copy and may differ from the final copy.


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5 stars for this awesome book! Also, I just really, really, really, want to see this as movie. So good!

How about you guys? Have you heard of Last Girls already? Is it in your TBRs? Tell me in the comments!

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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ARC Review: The Infinite Noise

Title: The Infinite Noise
Author: Lauren Shippen
My rating: 4/5 stars
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction, LGBTQ+
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Goodreads synopsis:

Lauren Shippen’s The Infinite Noise is a stunning, original debut novel based on her wildly popular and award-winning podcast The Bright Sessions.

Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”

Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.

Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.

“What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?” (Vox on The Bright Sessions)

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Teen!

This book, wow! The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen is a unique and diverse book—blending science fiction, romance, mental health rep, and LGBTQ+ rep.

I’ve been seeing this book frequently on Twitter and when I saw the synopsis, I was truly intrigued! When I found out my NetGalley request was approved, I dived into it right away!

But first things first. The Infinite Noise is based on the author’s audio drama podcast The Bright Sessions. This is really what intrigued me in the first place! This podcast is basically recorded sessions between Dr. Bright and her patients with supernatural abilities. I’ve already listened to a couple of episodes, and it was such a unique story. One of her patients is Caleb, and The Infinite Noise explores his story.

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Book Review: Been Here All Along

Title: Been Here All Along
Author: Sandy Hall
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
My rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee and having his choice of colleges. They do not include falling head over heels for his best friend and next-door neighbour, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do . . .

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong . . .

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Hi book nerds! I’m back with another book review! I started reading Been Here All Along just because I wanted to read an ebook alongside my physical read (which happens to be Reign of the Fallen), but I finished reading this one first!

This was a good read, a fast and fun one. And although the plot seemed too easy and predictable at times, it was still pretty enjoyable. I definitely recommend this to those who are looking for a short and sweet contemporary read!

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The writing

The writing was okay, it was light and it was easy to follow.

There are four perspectives, though, so that can be a little confusing, not because of timelines or the different thoughts of the characters, but because you’ll be wondering “oh, why does this character have a perspective? What does he/she have to the with the plot? Do they have a bigger purpose or part? What’s going to happen in their arc now?”. Stuff like those.

 

The characters

The characters were fine and it was easy for me to connect with the main characters, especially with Gideon and Kyle.

I love how they’re all facing their own problems. As I’ve mentioned, there are four perspectives, and these four characters all have their problems that they’re going through. I wish the author delved more into that though, because some conflicts in each perspective were only partly-solved. I was really waiting for the characters—especially Ezra and Ruby—to truly overcome and face their problems head on, I wanted to see more of their character development.

Another thing is that Gideon and Kyle’s feelings for each other seemed a bit rushed for me. I mean I get that they’re best friends, and I LOVE the best friends to lovers trope, but I didn’t see much of the “buried” feelings as they say, or the gradual realization that they have feelings for each other. I still like their pairing though, haha!

The plot

As I’ve mentioned above, the plot can seem too easy and predictable at times. Like it’s something that I’ve already seen in other YA contemporaries (the plot actually reminds me a bit of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda). The good thing about this is that, readers will definitely get that happy ending they’re looking for. This is why I totally recommend this book as sort of a palate cleanser, in case you’ve been reading a lot of fantasy novels or books with heavy or emotional issues. Been Here All Along is a fun and light read, for sure.

There are a couple of subplots as well, that I feel like wasn’t answered or tackled completely. It left me a little bit unsatisfied because unsolved or partly-solved subplots are some of the banes of my existence. Apart from that, everything was good.

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Overall this was a fun read and I give it three stars! How about you guys? Have you read this before or not yet?

And now that we’re in the topic of short/sweet contemporaries, go suggest some in the comments!

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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