Down and Across Blog Tour and Review

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Down and Across

Discover the secret to success in this incisively funny debut, for fans of John Corey Whaley, David Arnold, and Ned Vizzini!
“Quirky and charming, wise and unpredictable.” –Khaled Hosseini, #1
New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner 

Down and Across

By Arvin Ahmadi

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 6th, 2018

Format: Hardcover, 336 pages

“We’re all just trying to keep moving. Sometimes we know where we’re going and sometimes we get lost. But as long as we move, we grow.”

Synopsis (from inside cover): Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can’t commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion. With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious about a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

Rating: 3.75/5



Although I had a few issues with Scott (addressed later in the review), he was the perfect mix of witty and self-reflective. As a college student who has had her fair share of doubts about the future (I am an English major afterall), I found that I could deeply empathize with Scott’s predicament. Some people are blessed with knowing exactly who they are and what they want, but for the majority of us, growing up and thinking about the future is daunting. The way Ahmadi tackles these issues, the way he crafts Scott’s voice, allows for readers of all ages to see a little of themselves in Scott.


From subtle nods to Iranian culture to snippets of Farsi, Scott’s (real name Saaket’s) Iranian American heritage shines in this novel. I loved learning more about his background, which is so different than my own! Unfortunately, it’s still rare to see a PoC main character in a YA novel, so it adds an extra layer of importance to Scott’s voice. Also, LGBTQ+ representation, which is just <3.


One of the things I loved about Down and Across was the way it forced me to stop and reflect. For the most part, it was a fun, quick read, yet there were surprisingly deep commentaries on life, love, and finding yourself that I really appreciated. Sometimes it was amusing, sometimes it was painful, but Ahmadi weaved a hopefulness into Scott’s voice that really touched me. No matter how far off course life takes you (or you take yourself), as long as we’re growing, is it really a waste?



I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that I wasn’t entirely pleased with Scott’s inner monologue when it came to any female character that wasn’t Fiora. Scott’s voice, which I loved most of the time, became a bit condescending and judgemental. And while not all the female characters in this novel are gems, I do wish that there wasn’t the feeling of only one girl that Wasn’t Like Other Girls™.


For once in my life, I would like a contemporary YA novel written by a man that has a female love interest not defined by her quirkiness or delinquent behavior. In Ahmadi’s defense, he does complicate Fiora’s character, going beyond the stereotypical, two-dimensional Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Down and Across is, at times, remarkably meta and self aware about Fiora’s characterization. However, just because a character says she’s not a stereotype or a characterture, doesn’t mean that she isn’t. Think Alaska, from John Green’s Looking for Alaska. The emphasis on Fiora’s mental health and home life help her become more three dimensional, but I wish she would have broken free of a few more classic tropes.


Overall, Down and Across was a fun, quick, and thought-provoking read! The pure uniqueness of Scott’s voice and experiences made it entirely worth the read. While I wish Ahmadi would have avoided some of the more overused YA tropes for his characters, the plot was incredibly unique, and the wisdom it offered speaks to everyone, regardless of age.


If you liked Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz or Looking for Alaska by John Green, you should definitely pick up Down and Across!

Add Down and Across to your shelf on Goodreads, or head over to Amazon to treat yourself to a copy!

About the Author:

Arvin Ahmadi-Author-Photo Credit_Joe PowerArvin Ahmadi was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He graduated from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn. Down and Across is his first novel.


January Wrap-up

Another month, another wrap-up. It’s hard for me to comprehend that the first month of the year has already come and gone, but at least I read some great books! Unfortunately, school prevents me from reading (my books at least) and blogging as much as I would like to, but I still managed to get some quality reading and writing done. So, without further ado, here are the books I read in January:

Golden Son

By Pierce Brown

Rating: 5/5


Bloodydamn! This book was fantastic! Golden Son is the second book in Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, and it absolutely blew me away! I was a bit disoriented at first, because this novel picks up several years after the end of Red Rising. As soon as I started reading, however, it all made sense. Brown weaves an intricate tapestry of action, romance, and political intrigue, creating a sci-fi novel unlike anything I’ve ever read. There was backstabbing! Literal stabbing! Betrayal! Love! Loss! And the ending left off with one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve ever encountered. Seriously, reading this trilogy is worth it just for this novel.


History is All You Left Me

By Adam Silvera

Rating: 5/5

I reviewed this heart-wrenchingly beautiful book already, and you can access it here.


The Evolution of Mara Dyer

By Michelle Hodkin

Rating: 4/5

This is the second book in the Mara Dyer trilogy, and I enjoyed it quite a bit more than the first one! It was a quick, fun read, and Hodkin continued to impress me with her willingness to delve into Mara’s darker side. Also, I am here for Noah Shaw, and will be reading The Becoming of Noah Shaw ASAP!


The Retribution of Mara Dyer

By Michelle Hodkin

Rating: 3.75/5

For reasons that would be major spoilers (and I would never do that to you guys!), I didn’t enjoy the third book in the Mara Dyer trilogy as much as the second. The beginning was slow for me, and it didn’t really start to pick up until the very end. The ending, however, was amazing, for some unknown reason *coughs* Noah Shaw *coughs.* This trilogy was, overall, a quick, light read. I would recommend it if you don’t have any books on your immediate TBR, because although it wasn’t my favorite, I think it’s definitely worth the read.


Morning Star

By Pierce Brown

Rating: 4.5/5

Can I just say bloodydamn again? Morning Star is the stunning conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Like Golden Son, there was action, twists and turns, lots of stabbing, and SO MANY TEARS. Like, so many. I docked half a star from the rating, because the pacing was a little slow early in the book, but boy did it pick up at the end. I ADORED this whole trilogy, and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who isn’t scared away by the phrase “space opera.”


Wild Seed

By Octavia Butler

Rating 5/5

So, one of my English classes in college is a class on Octavia Butler. Butler wrote mainly science fiction, and was the first SF writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship in 1995. Basically, she’s this badass, black, feminist SF author who writes these incredibly unique, kinda fucked up books, and I love them! Wild Seed is set in multiple time periods throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th century. The premise is a bit difficult to describe, but it’s basically about Doro and Anyanwu – two immortal post-humans (think kinda like mutants) who are morally at odds with each other – and their struggle over whether they should seek out and “breed” others of their kind to create a new, superior race. Even though I read it for school, I was super into it, and I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy science fiction and x-men type premises.


Captive Prince (reread)

By CS Pacat

Rating: 4.5/5


Ohhh boy. I don’t even know how to put this book into words, but I’ll try my best. First things first, I absolutely love the Captive Prince trilogy. It’s pretty heavy romance, which I don’t normally read, but it’s incredibly slow-burn (like, the slowest burn), and there’s an intricate, intelligent plot too. It’s LGBTQ+, which is amazing! BUTTTTT, there are some very, uh, sensitive topics dealt with throughout the novel, including slavery, sexual violence and abuse, child abuse, etc. So, while I would love to recommend it to each and every one of you, I would implore you to do some research on you own (i.e. go read the 1 and 5 star reviews of it on goodreads, which will always give you what’s best and worst in a novel), and decide if it’s right for you! Also, if you do decide to read it, just know that each book is better than the last, and that most of the cringe-worthy stuff is in the first one! (I really hope I didn’t scare you away…it’s amazing, I swear!)


Mind of My Mind

By Octavia Butler

Rating: 3.5/5

So this is the second book in the Patternist series (in chronological order, not publishing order). Butler actually wrote this novel before Wild Seed, but it contains the some of the same characters, just set in the 1980s. While I loved Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind just didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t empathize or connect with the “protagonist,” and overall it was just kinda eh. The premise was cool though!


Prince’s Gambit (reread)

By CS Pacat

Rating 5/5

This is the second book in the Captive Prince trilogy, and if you made it past the first book and wanted more, then I think you will find this book to be ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! Laurent’s character arc is probably the most impressive I’ve ever read (like, ever!), and the main ship is just <3. This book is just filled with beautiful insights about love and loss, learning to open yourself up and trust, to not judge so quickly and harshly, and how racial and national prejudices can lead to horrible, needless violence and death. You know, just some light reading :). But seriously: beautiful, sassy, complex characters. High stakes plot. Go read!


Clay’s Ark

By Octavia Butler

Rating: 4/5

Clay’s Ark is the third book in the Patternist series, although it could easily stand alone. It doesn’t really include any of the characters in from the previous two novels, but one is referenced briefly. I don’t know what to say, besides alien virus, dystopian world, and lots of sex. Like the other two novels, it was weird as hell, but amazing! Seriously, if you’re at all curious about what 1980’s science fiction reads like, especially from someone like Butler’s unique subject position, you should go check it out!


And that’s that! The whole shebang! School has been kicking my ass, but I’m so glad I still had some time to read for fun. Also, side note, I’ve been reading Octavia Butler’s novels out of an anthology called Seed to Harvest, which includes all four novels in the Patternist series. It’s a great deal on Amazon, and I would really recommend checking it out!

5 Female YA Authors to Read ASAP

There are good books, and there are good authors. The two are not mutually exclusive, but we’ve all had the experience of reading a book we adore, then discovering that the author’s other works just don’t measure up. On the other hand, there are some authors whose talent makes me want to read everything they’ve ever written, from short stories to grocery lists. With that in mind, I compiled a list of five female YA authors whose talents shines through in every book they write

1. Leigh Bardugo


Leigh Bardugo is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. She has poetic prose, original stories, and she writes such beautiful diversity into all of her stories. The Six of Crows duology remains my favorite thing she has ever written, however the Grisha trilogy and The Language of Thorns are both spellbinding reads. If you’re new to Bardugo, I suggest you begin with Six of Crows and see where it takes you!

2. Victoria (VE) Schwab


If there is one author who can write morally gray characters with a skill that never ceases to amaze me, it’s Schwab. Both her YA and adult books are incredible, and I am anxiously awaiting her new 2018 releases, which you can find more info about here. Her adult book Vicious remains my favorite book of hers, but the Shades of Magic trilogy and the Monsters of Verity duology come in close second. If I were you, I would begin with A Darker Shade of Magic, which is an adult book that reads similar to YA.

3. Laini Taylor


Laini Taylor has one of the wildest imaginations I have ever encountered. The originality of her work astounds me, and her writing style is pure poetry (relax, it’s not actually poetry). She’s probably best known for her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (I still haven’t read the last book in this series, but that’s not a reflection of Taylor’s writing), but her 2017 novel Strange the Dreamer was one of my favorite reads of the year. If you’re new to Laini Taylor, I would suggest reading Strange the Dreamer first, because, if you’re like me, it will become one of your favorite YA books of all time.

4. Cassandra Clare


If you have lived for any amount of time in the YA world and haven’t read a Cassie Clare book, I’ll be shocked. You probably can’t walk through a YA section at the bookstore without tripping over a book by Cassandra Clare – they’re literally everywhere. Her Shadowhunters books are like a YA rite of passage. And, although not all her books are my favorite, it’s for good reason. Cassie Clare writes YA like nobody’s business. Her original series, The Mortal Instruments, was one of the first YA series that got me into the genre. Clare writes great, sassy characters, fantastic villains, and some of my favorite ships to this day. If you are a person who hasn’t read a Clare book (I’m skeptical of your existence), then I would either start with The Infernal Devices, or read them in the order they were published. (Publishing order: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices. Chronological order: The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, The Dark Artifices).


5. Sarah J Maas

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And finally, Sarah J Maas (*braces self for the hate*). I think it’s safe to say that SJM is a controversial author in a way that not many authors are. Sure, all authors have people who enjoy their work and people who don’t, but I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such hateful critics, both to the fans and the author herself. I enjoy Maas’s novels, and the Throne of Glass series is what got me into reading YA fantasy in the first place. I love how deeply she develops her characters. I don’t think I’ve read many YA books with characters as complex as Maas’s. Yes, some of her subject matter, relationships, plot, ETC. are problematic, but there are plenty of authors who write problematic content ALL THE GODDAMN TIME. Love Maas or hate her, there is absolutely no good reason for her critics to personally attack the fans of her work with the ferocity and the cruelty that they do. Okay, rant over. It’s time to recommend a good starting place for new readers! (If I haven’t scared you away :)) If you want to read a completed series (I know I hate waiting forever for new books to come out) then the A Court of Thorns and Roses would be a great place to start. If you would like to begin with my personal favorite, the series that started it all, then you should start with Throne of Glass.

And that’s it! This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the best female YA authors. These are just the authors that I trust to write books that dazzle me every single time. Some authors that didn’t make the list, but deserve a ton of love, are Sabaa Tahir, Maggie Stiefvater, Samantha Shannon, Renée Ahdieh, Marissa Meyer, and Rainbow Rowell. I hope I have inspired some of you to pick up a book by one of the amazing authors above, or, if you’re a fellow fan, to remember why they are the best. Happy reading!

Most Anticipated Releases of 2018

IT IS 2018. Holy shit. And with every new year comes new releases! However, as a reader, it can be overwhelming and honestly just plain annoying to try to keep track of all the amazing books that come out in a year. So, in an attempt to help you guys out, and to help myself out in the process, I compiled a list of my most anticipated 2018 releases in order of their release dates.

NOTE: This list is INCOMPLETE. There are many books that I don’t know about, and I’m sure they’ll be amazing. There are also some books that I didn’t include on this list because I’m simply not interested (e.g. Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones).

SECOND NOTE: Logic dictates that, if you have not read the previous book(s) in the series, the synopses I have linked here will have SPOILERS. Click on links at your own risk.

Iron Gold

By Pierce Brown (author of the original Red Rising trilogy)

Release Date: January 16, 2018

Pre-order: Hells yeah! I can’t wait to have this book in my hands.

Iron Gold will be the first book in a sequel trilogy (as far as I know) to the original Red Rising Trilogy. As I am in the middle of reading Morning Star right now, I have not read the Synopsis because SPOILERS, but you can find it here here.


Children of Blood and Bone

By Tomi Adeyemi

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Pre-order: As of right now – no. On the one hand, it’s a West-African inspired fantasy novel, which sounds amazing, but on the other hand, I haven’t heard enough about it from reviewers I trust. So, I’ll wait until it’s closer to the release date, then re-evaluate.

You can find the synopsis (and badass cover art) here.


Restore Me

By Tahereh Mafi (author of the Shatter Me trilogy)

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Pre-order: Ugh, maybe? I enjoyed the Shatter Me trilogy, but I’m trying to be better about spending money on books, and WHY ARE HARDCOVERS SO DAMN EXPENSIVE.

Synopsis here.



By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff (authors of Illuminae and Gemina)

Release Date: March 13, 2018

Pre-order: Probably. I read Illuminae and absolutely loved it. I haven’t read Gemina yet, but I’m Jay Kristoff trash, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is book 3 in the Illuminae Files. Synopsis here.



By Madeline Miller (author of The Song of Achilles)

Release Date: April 10, 2018

Pre-order: Absolutely!

I fell in love with The Song of Achilles, and I cannot wait to see what Miller does with the story of Circe! Synopsis here.


Sky in the Deep

By Adrienne Young

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Pre-order: As you have probably already figured out, I’m terribly indecisive about this… the jury is still out on this one, but I’ve heard great things!

Synopsis here.


A Court of Frost and Starlight 

By Sarah J. Maas (author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy)

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Pre-order: Maybe? I loved the ACOTAR trilogy, but I honestly don’t know if Maas is just writing fanfiction for the series at this point…

This is, as far as I know, a novella. Synopsis here.



By Claire Legrand

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Pre-order: Absolutely! I’ve heard from multiple reviewers that Furyborn is a five-star read.

Synopsis here.


Smoke in the Sun

By Renée Ahdieh (author of The Wrath and the Dawn duology and Flame in the Mist)

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Pre-order: I think I’ll wait until I can get this one as an ebook from the library, then buy it when it’s cheaper.

This is the sequel to Flame in the Mist. Synopsis here. 


A Reaper at the Gates

By Sabaa Tahir (author of An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night)

Release Date: June 12, 2018 (note: the release date has changed multiple times for this book, and I don’t know if this will be the final date)

Pre-order: Absolutely! An Ember in the Ashes was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and the sequel A Torch Against the Night did not disappoint!  

This is the third book in the quartet, and you can find the synopsis here.


City of Ghosts

By Victoria Schwab (author of the Monsters of Verity duology)

Release Date: August 28, 2018

Pre-order: Hot damn, I’ll read ANYTHING Schwab writes, so this is a no brainer. It will definitely be pre-ordered soon.

Schwab has also written the Shades of Magic trilogy and Vicious for adults under the name V. E. Schwab, and I adore both her styles. City of Ghosts should be amazing; you can find the synopsis here.


Nevernight #3

By Jay Kristoff (author of Nevernight, Godsgrave, and co-author of the Illuminae Files)

Release Date: September 4, 2018

Pre-order: Nothing could stop me from pre-ordering this beauty.

The third and final volume of the Nevernight trilogy. There is no synopsis yet, but the Goodreads page is here. 


Dark Age

By Pierce Brown (yes, we have seen him on this list already – author of the Red Rising trilogy and Iron Gold)

Release Date: September 11, 2018

Pre-order: It depends on how badly Brown destroys my soul in Iron Gold (jk I will definitely be pre-ordering this).  

There’s kinda a synopsis here.



By V. E. Schwab (we have seen this queen on the list already as well, although under her YA name, Victoria Schwab)

Release Date: September 25, 2018

Pre-order: HELL YEAH. Vicious was one of my top ten reads of 2017, and I cannot wait to get more Victor Vale.

No synopsis yet, but the Goodreads page is here.


The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

By Mackenzi Lee (author of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue)

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Pre-order: Honestly, probably not. I enjoyed TGGtVaV, but I’m more than happy to wait until I can get it from my local library.

Another vague synopsis here.


TOG #7

By Sarah J. Maas (author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy)

Release Date: October 30, 2018

Pre-order: I’ve already done it! The Throne of Glass series got me into YA fantasy in the first place, and I will see it through till the end.

No synopsis or title, but the Goodreads page is here.


Queen of Air and Darkness

By Cassandra Clare (author of everything Shadowhunters)

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Pre-order: Considering how Lord of Shadows ended? Damn straight.

Synopsis here.


And that’s a wrap! I may compile another list later, as I’ll probably discover more interesting releases, but these are definitely my most anticipated releases of 2018. Let me know which book you’re most excited for in the comments!

History Is All You Left Me Book Review

History Is All You Left Me

By Adam Silvera

“I’ll never understand how time can make a moment feel as close as yesterday and as far as years.”

QUICK SYNOPSIS: Griffin and Theo have been inseparable since elementary school – from best friends to boyfriends to exes, Griffin knows that him and Theo are endgame no matter what. So, when Theo drowns in California, half a country away, Griffin’s world is completely and utterly destroyed. In addition to battling his own grief, Griffin must also deal with Jackson, Theo’s boyfriend at the time of his death. Switching between the past and the present, Griffin must wrestle with his grief, guilt, and worsening OCD compulsions as he comes to terms with Theo’s death.

Rating: 5/5



Grief is messy. Grief is painful. Grief is inherently selfish. Many authors romanticize grief, turning it into something tragically beautiful. Often, they use it as a catalyst for a major change in their character, or a reason for a character to seek revenge. History Is All You Left Me subverts this popular narrative, digging into the unglorified, heartbreaking reality of what happens when you’re the one left behind. I don’t think I’ve ever read another novel that made me want to cry from beginning to end. Griffin’s selfish and destructive behavior may not be glamorous, but it is painfully real.


Griffin’s OCD may not be the main storyline, but, like the LGBTQ+ aspect of the novel, it adds a depth and a realness that makes Silvera’s novel stand apart. What many people in his life dismiss as “quirks” control Griffin’s life. The narrative arc of Griffin coming to terms with his mental illness is incredibly important, especially because of its scarcity in YA literature.


Okay, so while I realize that I used the words “beautifully tragic” above to describe what I don’t like about classic depictions of grief, I am now repurposing the phrase into what I DO like in love stories. There is something compelling to me about the inevitability of an unhappy ending, and Silvera delivers. The narrative switches from “history” to present, telling Griffin and Theo’s love story and eventual breakup in the midst of Griffin’s grief. Griffin and Theo’s early relationship in “history” is so precious that, at moments, I would almost be in tears because I knew it wouldn’t last. Also, amazing LGBTQ+ rep! Woot!



Griffin’s self destructive nature was, at times, difficult to read about. He broke my heart over and over again, but there was something so absolutely human about him that I couldn’t bring down the rating.


Although I listed what I liked about this book, it’s worth noting that there was something about it – something nearly indescribable – that just worked for me. Whether it was the writing style, the characterization, or the pacing, this book absorbed me. A brief warning: you will most likely want to cry the entire novel, so do not pick this book up if you are looking for something light and cheerful. That being said, I can’t wait to read more of Silvera’s work.


If you liked History Is All You Left Me, check out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (my thoughts on it and Ari and Dante in this post), or Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

December Wrap-up

Happy New Year, book lovers! This year, I hope to dedicate more time to writing, both for my personal projects and for this blog. So, to start off the new year, here is my December wrap-up. I didn’t have the opportunity to read much, but I did spend a lot of time with family and friends, so I’m considering it a win.


Red Rising

By Pierce Brown

Rating: 4.5/5

I already wrote a full review for this spectacular book here, but I’ll just reiterate what a refreshing and surprisingly good read this was! I’m in the middle of the sequel, Golden Son, and I’m loving it.



By Andy Weir

Rating: 3.75/5

I reviewed this one as well; you can get to it here. It was a great sci-fi featuring a headstrong and scrappy female lead.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

By Mackenzi Lee

Rating: 4.5/5

This book was everything I wanted and more! It’s a historical fiction, which I don’t often read, but this book makes me want to explore the genre. The main character, Monty, and his best friend/secret unrequited love Percy go on a tour of Europe. An adventure of a lifetime ensues. TGGtVaV was a great deal of fun to read, however, I was surprised at how many serious topics Lee covered. Chronic illness, domestic abuse, and homophobia are all explored in this emotional roller coaster of a book. Lee writes about all these issues well, but the shocking gravity of some of the topics covered (along with a frustrating and slightly predictable romantic plot line) brought down the rating just a bit for me.


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

By Michelle Hodkin

Rating: 3.5/5

This book is not exactly a recent release (unless you consider 2011 “recent”), but with all the buzz around Hodkin’s new novel The Becoming of Noah Shaw, I decided to give the original Mara Dyer trilogy a try. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I think 5 years ago Megan would have ADORED TUoMD. Unfortunately, 5 years ago Megan was obsessed with instalove and paranormal romance, so I don’t exactly trust her judgement. TUoMD was a page turner in the way that all books that feature MCs with missing memories are page turners. As a reader, I’m always dying to figure out what the protagonist can’t remember. It was also a bit darker than I was expecting, which I loved, because I’m always a fan of morally grey characters. What really brought down the rating for me, however, was the extremely cliché and trope-ish romantic plot line. Like I said before, I used to be a fan of instalove, and The Very Mysterious Love Interest™, and while I do still enjoy it if there is an original spin, TUoMD’s romance just fell a bit flat for me. Despite this, I am anxiously awaiting whoever is reading the second book at my local library to HURRY THE EFF UP and return it so I can find out what happens next.


And that’s it! I’m in the middle of reading two books right now, Golden Son by Pierce Brown and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, but I couldn’t get them finished before December ended. I hope you all have an amazing January. Here’s to hoping 2018 is full of 5 star reads and lots of writing!

Artemis Book Review


By Andy Weir

“I live in Conrad Down 15, a grungy area fifteen floors underground in Conrad Bubble. If my neighborhood were wine, connoisseurs would describe it as “shitty, with overtones of failure and poor life decisions.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have not read The Martian, nor have I seen the movie. This means that this review will not be biased by any previous experience with Weir’s work

QUICK SYNOPSIS: Jazz Bashara is a twenty-six year old smuggler living in Artemis—the sole colony on the moon. The population of Artemis is an eclectic mix of working class citizens, ultra-rich residents, and a ton of tourists. When an eccentric billionaire approaches Jazz with a job that is way out of her comfort zone, but that comes with an irresistible payout, she finds herself fighting for her life in the middle of an inter-world  power struggle she didn’t even know existed.

Rating: 3.75/5



Wow, this happens… never? I mean, I have several issues with Jazz’s character that I will address later in this review, but having a PoC as a main character in a sci-fi is rare enough. But having a female protagonist on top of that? Unheard of (by me; you may have a billion examples I am unaware of. Feel free to school me in the comments). This alone is one of the reasons I enjoyed the novel so much.


I am an absolute sucker for heists and capers and crimes in general! I love the planning, I love the inevitable moment when things go wrong, and I love the quick thinking required to somehow make it “right” again (notice the “” around right. These are criminals we’re talking about). Anyway, Artemis was filled with so much scheming it made my heart sing with joy.


Artemis is not an incredibly long novel. Sometimes, with fast-paced action (which this novel mostly has, see dislikes for more), character development gets lost. Luckily, there were some great side characters in this book! I wish we got more time to explore their stories, but there existence made this book much more enjoyable.



“I stared daggers at Dale. He didn’t notice. Damn, I wasted a perfectly good bitchy glare.”

Okay, see above reasons that I was PSYCHED the protagonist was a female. There is, however, a downside to her character. This is a male author writing from the perspective of a female. This can be totally awesome (see Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight for an example of a great female character written by a man)! But, for some reason or another, Weir seems to think that his audience needs to be reminded every so often that Jazz is a woman. For example, in the above quote, the need to preface a glare with “bitchy.” Alone, this would not be enough to really bother me, but it’s just one example in a book that was obviously written by a man. Like, here’s a thought. How about women, for the majority of their day-to-day lives, think like normal humans? We don’t really gender our glares or spend time thinking about how sexy we look doing certain things. Just so you know.


I think what really brought down the rating for me was the pace of the book. I had an extremely difficult time getting into it. For about the first 100 pages, I just couldn’t find my footing. I can’t really put my finger on why it dragged, besides the fact that there was hardly any action until the second third of the novel. I had to force myself to get through those first 100 pages. From then on, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s like a flip switched, and all of the sudden it was a five-star read for me. It’s also important to note that this is a sci-fi novel, and there was a LOT of science-y terminology and descriptions. I, for the most part, enjoyed it, but there will be some that feel like this makes the pace of the book drag even more.


“I checked my Gizmo. Eleven in the morning?! Wow, I really slept!”

The writing style didn’t really jam with me. I’m not a fan of short sentences with exclamation points, or just a style like this in general (see the above quote for an example). This is probably the most subjective part of the review, but it’s worth saying that this is one of the things that brought down the rating for me.


I have extremely mixed feelings about this book, as I know many people do (from my unofficial survey of Goodreads reviews). That being said, I did enjoy this book as a whole. It was a relatively quick read with good twists and turns and a lot of life-or-death action. Overall, I would recommend Artemis if you really like Sci-Fi or are just looking for a fun, quick read.

If you liked Artemis, check out Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Red Rising Book Review














Red Rising

By Pierce Brown

“You do not follow me because I am the strongest. Pax is. You do not follow me because I am the brightest. Mustang is. You follow me because you do not know where you are going. I do.”

QUICK SYNOPSIS: Darrow is a Helldiver (an elite miner) from the Lambda tribe on Mars. His people may be mistreated, starving, and working themselves to death, but at least they are paving the way to make Mars habitable for other colors—right? Everything may not be what it seems. When Darrow’s world is turned upside down, he must adapt to his changing environment as he fights to bring freedom to his people. But at what cost?

RATING: 4.5/5



I thought I knew what this book was going to be like. I’ve read The Hunger Games, Red Queen, Divergent, and all those other dystopian-type novels where the government is evil and revolution is the only way to save the people. In today’s YA, it’s a relatively overused plot device, and so many books fall into the same tropes over and over. Red Rising was not like these other books. Without spoilers, I’ll give you some highlights.

-Most revolutionaries in these sorts of books are “good” people. Notice the quotes around good. They are usually self-sacrificing to the point of flaw. When faced with situations where they might get their hands dirty, they usually falter at the final hurdle. I don’t know for sure, but I think the intended reaction is supposed to be something along the lines of, aww, how can I be frustrated with them ruining the only chance they had of being successful because of their ridiculously rigid adherence to society’s construction of “morality” and “goodness”? They’re such a “good person.” Or something like that. Anyway, without giving any spoilers… Red Rising is not like that.    

-I love how often Darrow fails. I’m obviously not going to get into specifics, but it was such a nice surprise to see a character that doesn’t know the best way to do things right away. He’s impulsive, and still pretty damn young when this novel begins, so it makes sense that he must grow and change throughout the novel in order to be successful.


What happens when the people you thought were villains aren’t all evil? Gah, I love this question! No spoilers, but there are some GREAT characters in the novel that are so complex and interesting to read about (including Darrow!).


Darrow’s world is organized by colors. He is a Red, with red hair and eyes, and sigils on his hands. There are Greens, Browns, Pinks, Greys, and more. At the top of the hierarchy are Golds. All the colors have specific jobs, and all are subservient to the Golds, who are considered the best of what society has to offer. There is, of course, a lot more to it than this, including a great commentary on how leaders use ideology to control a society. I love that a complex system like this (usually reserved for strictly dystopian novels) was blended with a sci-fi premise.



First off, it’s important to note that I love Darrow! He is complex, and defies stereotypical characterizations of the revolutionaries mentioned above. That being said, there are some events (calm down, no spoilers ahead) that seemed to stretch what I thought was plausible, even in the context of the novel. However, this is probably more of a personal opinion, so don’t let it stop you from picking up the book!


I bloodydamn loved this book (I have a special place in my heart for authors who go out of their way to create new expletives for their world). Now, I know that this review is pretty vague, but that’s because there are A LOT of twists and turns in this novel that I didn’t want to spoil for anyone. One of the greatest parts of Red Rising was genuinely not knowing what will happen next. Pierce Brown took the storyline so many places I wasn’t expecting, and that’s what made it such a genuine pleasure to read! In respect to the reviews that said it moved too slow, or that most of it was boring, I’d say that it just depends on what kind of content you like. Red Rising contains a lot of reflection on strategies, and how best to become an effective leader of a group of people that don’t want to be lead. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of action too, but if you prefer straight action or romance or whatever people like these days, I would take this into consideration. Overall, I would definitely recommend!

Also, quick note: if you’re thinking about picking this up, now would be the time! Iron Gold, a book set after the original trilogy (Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star) is coming out January 16th, 2018.


If you liked Red Rising, check out Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

November Wrap-up

Hey Booknerds! I know this sounds cliche, but I seriously can’t believe it’s December already! I’m in the second to last week of  fall quarter of my junior year at University. I’ve had to do so many papers, projects, and presentations that my mind is spinning. That being said, I was able to read some amazing books this last month, and I want to share them with you! So, strap yourself in for a brief overview of all the books I read in November. Also, feel free to drop a comment if there is a particular book you see in this post that you would like a full review for in the future.

(Edit: I apologize for any formatting issues. I copied from Google Docs, which apparently sucks. I’m too damn lazy to fix it. Sorry.)


By Marissa Meyer

Rating: 3.75/5

“But hoping,” he said, “is how the impossible can be possible after all.”

So, I think it is important to note that I went into this book expecting to love it. I have a soft spot for villains and their tragic backstories. I read Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and enjoyed them immensely. Let’s just say that Heartless did not live up to the hype for me. It’s a backstory of how the Queen of Hearts–from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland–came to be the “heartless” ruler we encounter in Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel (or the multiple movie adaptations, if you prefer). And while I didn’t hate the premise, or most of the characters, I just couldn’t get behind the protagonist or the plot. It was a slow moving book for me, and I had trouble getting into it. Also, Catherine (in my own personal opinion), was a spineless whiner that I just couldn’t respect, even as a “villain.” However, I did love a lot of the side characters (Jest, Raven, Hatter, etc.), and, personally, I think their backstories would have been far more interesting to explore. Overall, maybe it’s worth the read, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of your TBR.


The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas

Rating: 5/5

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

Wow. This book. Thomas’s debut novel absolutely blew me away! It’s a smart, well-written story about Starr, an African American girl who sees her best friend get shot by a police officer. The events that follow are an incredibly, brutally realistic account of the United State’s idea of “justice,” and the African American experience in the USA. Seriously powerful. I would recommend that every single person read this book. Even if you think you won’t “relate” to this novel, it will open your eyes to so many important issues that are NOT specific to the United States. Like seriously, move this one up on your TBR. You won’t regret it.


Annie on My Mind

By Nancy Garden

Rating: 5/5

“Don’t punish yourselves for people’s ignorant reactions to what we all are. Don’t let ignorance win. Let love.”

Love a good LGBTQ+ love story? Love love stories in general? Then this book is for you! It’s a story about love (have I said that enough yet?), accepting yourself for who you are, and not letting other people’s ignorance and hate get in the way of your own happiness. There is so much to say about this novel,  but for the sake of keeping it brief (and to keep my fingers from falling off before the end of this post) I will just say that Garden writes an honest love story between two high school girls–something that, in my opinion, the YA genre needs more of.


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

By Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Rating: 5/5

“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”

Thought I was done with LGBTQ+ recommendations? LOL NOPE. Aristotle and Dante is one of the absolute most precious books I have ever read in my entire YA reading life. Set in the 1980’s, Sáenz crafts a beautiful story of friendship, identity, and family. Disclaimer: there is not a lot of plot in this book. For me, this isn’t that much of a problem. Think, The Raven Boys. Great character development, great conversations, ships that I will ship until I die–but not much actually happens. So, if this is an absolute non-starter for you, then maybe you should skip this one. But for literally everyone else, please pick up this book ASAP.


The Princess Saves Herself in This One

By Amanda Lovelace

Rating: 4/5

“ah, life—

the thing

that happens

to us

while we’re off

somewhere else

blowing on


& wishing

ourselves into

the pages of

our favorite

fairy tales.”

Full disclaimer: I don’t really know shit about poetry. Yes, I study it occasionally in school, but I don’t really know what makes poetry “good.” However, I really enjoyed Lovelace’s collection of poems. Granted, there were some poems I didn’t relate to. But, overall, Lovelace is really just writing about one girl’s transformation from someone who is walked all over to an empowered badass. So, what’s not to love?


Turtles All the Way Down

By John Green

Rating: 4.5/5

“I mean, anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”

Ha! I already reviewed this one–go check it out here! (my fingers are crying with joy)


The Language of Thorns

By Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5/5

“We were not made to please princes.”

Aaaand Leigh Bardugo has once again stolen my heart. Ever read some of the old fairy tales and thought, wow, this is some misogynistic bullshit? Same! Even if you haven’t, Bardugo’s collection of fairy tales is an incredible study in expert world building, story telling, and the importance of diversity. The plot twists she manages to create in such short stories are serious goals. From a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, to the origin story of Ursula from The Little Mermaid (featuring a certain beloved someone from the Grisha Trilogy), Bardugo manages to re-imagine fairy tales that I want to read to my future children. Also, the illustrations that grace every page are simply gorgeous.


Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli

Rating: 4/5

“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”

Thought I was really done with LGBTQ+ recommendations? JOKE’S ON YOU. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a contemporary that follows Simon’s mission to discover the true identity of “Blue,” the boy he has been falling in love with over email. Also, blackmail. Intrigued? This book kept me guessing until the very end! I listened to the audiobook, so I can’t speak to the visuals, but I really did enjoy this story!  The only fault I have with this book was that there was a lot, and I mean a LOT, or reflecting on who Blue could be. Like, 80% of this book was Simon wondering who Blue is. Is it this guy? This guy? Who knows! And while the reveal was well worth the wait, it was getting a tad old by the end. Overall, however, I would definitely recommend! (Also, this is going to be a movie soon! They changed the title to Love, Simon, but go check out the trailer here!)


Will Grayson, Will Grayson

By John Green and David Levithan

Rating: 3.5/5

“Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt because it matters.”

LGBTQ+, joke’s on you, etc, etc. Overall, I liked this book. Did I love it? No. But I think it is worth the read. Highlights: Contains a hilarious autobiographical musical about one of the main characters. Contains some non-stereotypical  representation of gay characters. Contains two people with the same name (idk why this is a plus, but I thought it was a fun plot device!) Portrays depression from the point of view of someone already diagnosed and just trying to manage day-to-day life, which is pretty unique. Lowlights: Fat shaming. Lots of it. A main character that hates on his best friend 24/7 and is kinda an asshole for a good portion of the book. More fat shaming. So, I would say don’t put this one at the top of your TBR, but pick it up if you’re looking for a quick, easy read.


The Lies of Locke Lamora

By Scott Lynch

Rating: 5/5

“You’re one third bad intentions, one third pure avarice, and one eighth sawdust. What’s left, I’ll credit, must be brains.”

THIS BOOK. Seriously. It’s like a mix between Oceans Eleven and The Godfather. It’s like a wayyyy R rated version of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. It’s hilarious, well-written, and contains some of the most well thought-out cons I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. This is the first book in the Gentleman Bastards trilogy (the name says it all), and Scott Lynch knocks his debut out of the park. It’s a mix of chapters written in the present, interspersed with flashback from Locke’s (the protagonist) childhood. It managed to keep me in suspense the entire novel, which is saying something, considering it’s over 700 pages. It’s a true genre-bender, and if any of the above seems remotely interesting, PLEASE do yourself a favor and pick it up immediately.


Well, shit! My hands actually, physically hurt. But, that’s it! There were a couple other books I read that I didn’t really want to review. Richard Wright’s Native Son, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and Claudia Rankine’s lyric essay “Citizen.” I would recommend all of them, however, I read them for a university class, and I feel like I have analyzed the shit out of them. Therefore, I don’t really want to write a review about any of them right now–sorry!

I hope you enjoyed these mini-reviews! Remember, if there are any books you want a full review for, let me know. I hope you guys have an amazing December! Happy Holidays!

Turtles All the Way Down Book Review


Turtles All the Way Down

by John Green

“You’re both the fire and the water that extinguishes it. You’re the narrator, the protagonist, and the sidekick. You’re the storyteller and the story told. You are somebody’s something, but you are also your you.”

Okay, so I created this blog in October, and I haven’t posted anything since. I’ve been reading a lot, but with University, I just haven’t had time to write any reviews. I still don’t have all much time, but I decided that writing short reviews is better than no reviews, and maybe I’ll just get better as I go! *she said hopefully*

SO, without further ado, I give you my quick likes, dislikes, and overall thoughts on Turtles All the Way Down. (Note: after writing this review, I realize that it was not as “quick” or “short” as I had originally intended, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

QUICK SYNOPSIS: Aza is a 16 year old girl living in Indianapolis, Indiana. When a local billionaire disappears, her friend Daisy convinces her to go on a hunt for the vanished billionaire, hoping to collect the reward money that comes with finding him. Along the way, Aza struggles internally with her mental illness—battling intrusive and spiraling thoughts—but must also face how it affects those who love her most.

RATING: 4.5/5



“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”

Mental illness sucks. Unfortunately, pop culture loves to portray mental illness as something that causes a character to suffer beautifully, only to magically be cured by the end. Real mental illness is a lifetime battle. It has ups and downs, good days and bad. What I loved most about Turtles is that John Green doesn’t fetishize Aza’s illness. She struggles with her compulsions and thoughts in the beginning of the novel, and, spoiler, she is still struggling by the end. Her thoughts get ugly, and her behavior causes tension with everyone in her life. This novel is a window into a whole other way of perceiving the world—one that will hopefully give the reader a better understanding of mental illness. Although it’s not beautiful, Aza’s journey is real, and that representation is so important in YA lit.


“My whole life I thought I was the star of an overly earnest romance movie, and it turns out I was in a goddamned buddy comedy all along.”

Aza and Daisy have been best friends for ever (or at least a really long time), and their friendship was one of the most important parts of the novel for me. While most John Green novels revolve around romance, I loved how Daisy and Aza’s friendship grows and changes throughout the novel. There are ups and downs, raw moments of honesty, and ultimately a better understanding of what it means to be a “good” friend.


Not all of the parents in this novel are evil! Yay! Unlike most YA novels, Turtles contains adults who are actual people. Aza’s mother is kind, caring, and doing the best she can to be there for Aza as her illness worsens. On the other hand, you have the missing Billionaire, Russell Pickett, who completely abandoned his two sons in order to escape custody. It was a pleasant surprise to see some thoughtful characterizations of adults, as most YA lit likes to either kill them or make them the Bad GuysTM. (Note: Russel Pickett is a bad father, but not just because he is an adult)



Although I loved Daisy and Aza’s friendship, Daisy’s character fell into one of my least favorite tropes: the crazy best friend who somehow always makes the main character seem more serious and grounded. Their complex friendship complicates this stereotype as the novel progresses, but it is a bit disheartening to read YA novels with the same character archetype over and over.


I really enjoyed Turtles. Overall, it was a refreshing change of pace that broke away from a lot of classic tropes and stereotypes in YA lit. Of course, because it’s a John Green book, it contains lots of profound statements and quotes from old literary geniuses. I happen to like his style, but others find his writing a bit pretentious (okay, a lot pretentious). However, if you are at all interested in picking up a diverse, refreshing read, then I would highly recommend.


If you liked Turtles All the Way Down, check out Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.