Basically A Marie Lu Appreciation Post, (More) Short Stories/Novellas, My Contemporary-a-thon Wrap Up + Me Oversharing, Again // Recent Reads #6

I’m back with all my thoughts and opinions of books that I’ve recently read!

The second half of the month was a WILD ride (in terms of reading) because I really tried to get ahead of my goal to read 150 books, because hello, I just like overachieving I guess!

And grab a snack or a drink or whatever, because there is a lot of books in this post today.

More specifically, nine books.

I am deeply, deeply sorry.

And I mean it.

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The Door In The Wall by H.G Wells ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

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This was an interesting read for sure, and I appreciate how my English A Level Course is making me read works from classic authors that I’ve wanted to read! Granted, H.G Wells wasn’t an author on my radar, but now I’m somewhat interested in The Time Machine.

I really enjoyed the framed narrative and I felt that it made the story more compelling. It was an interesting read with an interesting main character and it gave a lot of food for thought, both individually and in a group setting! The writing was good, but not gonna lie – this was incredibly difficult to analyse at times which did hinder my enjoyment of this one.

And me thinking about writing an essay on this story? Ugh, no thanks.

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Prodigy (Legend, #2) by Marie Lu ★★★★☆

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

Note: Spoilers for Legend.

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

I’ve accepted the fact that I would probably die for Day and June, as individuals and together. Because gOD I love them so so so so much!!! This is such a fun series to reread and this world is so fun and everything is very fun. The plot kept me on my seat and so excited for the events that were going to happen. This installment does not suffer from second book syndrome, and the set ups for the finale are BRILLIANT.

It also reminded me of why I love Marie Lu and her books so much. Her writing is simplistic but also so, so compelling, which is just my favourite. Honestly, experiencing the series again was one of my best bookish decisions of the year. Rereading this series just makes me appreciate it so much more, because hello?? Quality literature? And also, I really liked the audio narrators for some reason? I don’t know. I just do.

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Frankly In Love (Frankly In Love, #1) by David Yoon ★★★★☆ (4.25)

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

Contemporary-a-thon, Book #1!

I have been so excited for Frankly In Love ever since I heard about its existence, and I was really hoping I loved it. And I did really enjoy my time with it and it made me so happy! Oh my god. This was so cute, but it definitely came with a bigger punch than expected.

The concept was cute and fun but I did feel that the situation with [highlight to see the name for spoilers Brit] could have been handled a lot better and with a lot more care, because I felt like it was so insensitively done and made Frank come off as a jerk, truth be told. I also loved the integration of Korean culture and the focus on Asian-American identity, as these kinds of stories are so important. The fake dating part was also SO CUTE and I loved it a lot? Ahhhh.

However, I did feel like this book was trying to do the Most with everything and it didn’t entirely work. It touched on the anti-black sentiments and racism amongst Asians (more specifically, amongst Korean) and while I felt it was important, a lot more could have been done with it rather than repeating one point for it. Also, I felt like it created plot points for dramatic effect/shock value in Asia, it also did things a little for shock value, which was not the best?

And one thing that really bothers me in books in having the ending come wrapped in a bow. By the last part of the novel, there were so many conflicts, and I felt like they were all swept under the rug and characters being hastily forgiven with no explanation felt really bad, not gonna lie.

Completed for the challenges of reading a 2019 release, reading a contemporary with yellow on the cover, reading a diverse contemporary, reading a dark/hard-hitting contemporary, and a contemporary beloved by a member of the book community (Chloe @ Books With Chloe!)

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Champion (Legend, #3) by Marie Lu ★★★★☆

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

Note: Spoilers for Legend and Prodigy

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

God, this was such a great conclusion! It was heartbreaking and painful but also so realistic, which is objectively, one of the best types of conclusions. For my heart and feelings … well, that’s another story.

Each book just keeps getting better and better, and I feel like Marie Lu is improving with each and every book she published. Except Wildcard. We don’t know her. I love seeing her progression of her writing as she goes along, and now I want to reread The Young Elites.

And also, I would DIE for an ARC of the Kingdom of Back. (Penguin, if you’re reading this, please take mercy on me).

The pace and the angst was GREAT and I was living, but also dying at the same time?? And I mentioned this in my Prodigy mini review, but I really like the audio for some reason? I DON’T KNOW. Honestly. However, I do think the pace could have been improved as I felt that the story did have a tendency to repeat itself and drag on because it could have been ended so much earlier. I actually can’t wait for Rebel (but also simultaneously wary), and I hope that Marie Lu doesn’t let us down. But overall, this was such a great readalong and I’m so glad I did a reread of the series!

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Life Before Legend (Legend, #0.5) by Marie Lu ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

Find out more about June and Day in this never-before-seen glimpse into their daily lives before they met in Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND series. As twelve-year-olds struggling to survive in two very different worlds within the Republic’s stronghold, June was starting her first day of school at Drake University as the youngest cadet ever admitted, and Day was fighting for food on the streets of the Lake sector. LIFE BEFORE LEGEND contains two original stories written by Marie Lu that give readers a sneak peek into the lives of their favorite characters in a thrilling new context.

I honestly have nothing much to say about this one. This was really cute and interesting, and goodness do I just love Marie Lu, her writing and the world of the Republic SO MUCH and everything is so fun. Also, all these are things that I love (for the most part) so I am a very happy camper. However, I felt like it was a bit predictable and boring – I knew what was coming. Because a 5 year old could predict the plot points, to be honest.

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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero O’Connell ★★★☆☆

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.

Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.

Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.

This has been on my TBR for quite a few months and I’m glad I did get around to this! I’ve been so intrigued by this and for the most part, I’d say I enjoyed it.

I found the focus on a toxic relationship interesting and so, so important, especially for teens, and toxic relationships are something teens need to learn about (irrespective of whether said toxic relationship is romantic). Because one thing that happens when you’re a teen (coming from personal experience and seeing other people’s experience) it’s so easy for you to settle with the people they have in front of them, because of certain factors such as conventional attractiveness, popularity etc., regardless of their treatment of you, rather than the people you deserve. Which is a topic that hits hard for me, because I’ve felt I have had more than a few friendships where this happened.

When I was reading reviews for this one, everyone was saying the art was absolutely gorgeous – and they were 100% right. The accent colours of black, white and a light-ish pink was beautiful, both individually and together (like the light pink?? Yes) and I am absolutely OBSESSED with it.

I did have a few gripes with this one that held this back from a 3.5 or 4 star rating. I felt like the whole plot was very rushed (which makes sense because it’s a graphic novel) but it could have been done better? On that note about plot – it seemed to me that some plot points felt like they came out of nowhere, and felt like an afterthought.

I also completely don’t get why Freddy held on to relationship with Laura for so long, especially since Laura Dean treats everyone badly? Is it just a me thing? I’m not sure. However, my MAIN issue with this book is a thing I find common with graphic novels – the lack of development. Absolutely NOTHING felt developed enough. I’m talking about characters and motivation not being developed enough. I felt like after finishing the novel, I had a one dimensional view of each character, even the main characters, which is a problem. I do know that development of characters can be done in graphic novels, though (hello Nimona), but yeah. Which kinda sucked.

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 10.10.17 PMLife After Legend (Legend, #3.5) by Marie Lu ★★★★☆ (4.25)

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Ok, I also don’t have much to say about this one, because it’s a novella, but here’s what I got:

This novella simultaneously broke my heart and put it together again. Essentially, this is the events leading up to the epilogue of Champion, from Day’s perspective, and you all, I just 😭💗 Marie Lu is just a gem and I will forever stan. I love Day and June so much and I am rooting SO HARD for them to just be happy, okay. The ANGST is too good and I guess I’m a masochist because even though it’s DEEPLY PAINFUL, I still stan and love this one a whole lot. This is what a perfect conclusion is, because yes. SO MANY FEELS.

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Going Off Script by Jen Wilde ★★★★☆

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

A TV writer’s room intern must join forces with her crush to keep her boss from ruining a lesbian character in this diverse contemporary YA romance from the author of Queens of Geek.

Seventeen-year-old Bex is thrilled when she gets an internship on her favorite tv show, Silver Falls. Unfortunately, the internship isn’t quite what she expected… instead of sitting in a crowded writer’s room volleying ideas back and forth, Production Interns are stuck picking up the coffee.

Determined to prove her worth as a writer, Bex drafts her own script and shares it with the head writer―who promptly reworks it and passes it off as his own! Bex is understandably furious, yet…maybe this is just how the industry works? But when they rewrite her proudly lesbian character as straight, that’s the last straw! It’s time for Bex and her crush to fight back.

Jen Wilde’s newest novel is both a fun, diverse love story and a very relevant, modern take on the portrayal of LGBT characters in media.

This was actually so fun and I had such a good time with this one! I loved the summery vibes and the visuals this one gave me. I also really loved that the book was set in LA, because yes! Admittedly, I do have a soft spot for LA because of La La Land (and its STUNNING visuals) so this is a point in the book’s favour. And the film internship aspect was actually so much fun to see ahhh.

Overall, the book was super cute and the characters were solid I guess? But not gonna lie, I did like the side characters more than the main character, because the main character could get annoying at times? I DON’T KNOW IS IT JUST ME. But I do love the side characters, a lot. I felt that they were ~ pretty ~ realistic and presented as multidimensional, which was awesome. My main gripe with this one, though – the villain felt kind of cartoon-ish and one-dimensional and just created for readers to hate, which was frustrating because flat characters really aren’t my faovurite.

However, I can see this was a really well put together novel and I’m SO interested on what’s coming next for Jen Wilde and her backlist. For your information, this is also a pretty quick read (it’s 300 or so pages), so if you need a cute, diverse read for your Goodreads challenge, here ya go!

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

This was a reread for me, and I really don’t know what to say about this one. I picked this up because I needed to squeeze in an extra read for contemporary-a-thon (which by the way, I did not finish in time for), and I remember the audiobook of this was three hours long, so.

I’m not giving this one a rating for now because my feelings on this one are SO conflicted. I think I enjoyed it more the first time I read it, but this was mostly because of me. I can appreciate how skilled Acevedo is as a poet, her way with words and her development of Xiomara as a character (also, that narration was FANTASTIC). Two problems I had with this book that was not a me thing was 1) the emphasis on the romantic relationship (I can see why it was needed, but the emphasis on it felt a little too much), and 2) how a lot of conflict, in my opinion, was swept under the rug.

Now this is where we get into the personal, and how my experiences have influenced my enjoyment of the novel. I think it was the audio that really enhanced how hard this book hit, but here’s the thing. In the novel, Xiomara’s mother is a fervent believer in Catholicism (I think it was) and is deeply religious, and this is something I deeply relate to. In the last few years, my mother has been converted to Christianity and so our relationship has changed, both for the position and the negative. And while my mother’s behaviour is nowhere as extreme as Xiomara’s mother’s behaviour, some of it truly terrified me as I could see the similarities between both mothers, which frankly, hit in a place far too close to home for my liking, to the point where I got a little triggered and had to put the book down to breathe. Like, I love my mother deeply, and I respect that she wants to be a Christian and all … but. idk. At this point in my life, I’m not ready to be religious. It’s complex and a lot to handle, and I don’t want to go too much more into it because that’s another conversation for another day.


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What are some books you recently read, and what do you think of them? Have you read any of the books here, and do you agree (or disagree) with any of my opinions? Why/why not? I’d love to know.Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 10.59.32 AM

 

12 thoughts on “Basically A Marie Lu Appreciation Post, (More) Short Stories/Novellas, My Contemporary-a-thon Wrap Up + Me Oversharing, Again // Recent Reads #6

  1. With Going Off Script, do you know if the side characters were the main characters from the other books by Wilde? I know she used Queens of Geek characters in The Brightsiders, and I loved that!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so happy to see that you liked Going Off Script so much! 🥰 I read it earlier this year and loved it! However, I agree that the main villain was SO bad and evil (I think on purpose, but it was a bit much for me at times), I couldn’t do anything but hate him 😶

    Liked by 1 person

  3. loved to hear your thoughts on frankly in love! to be honest, i was not super looking forward to this title, but since i found out the audiobook is available on scribe, i’ve been more inclined to pick it up. i think the points you made were really interesting and i’ll definitely be prioritizing other titles for now, but i’ll keep that in mind when i pick this one up. i’m glad to hear it has fake dating, though, because that’s a trope we love a lot.
    i also think it’s sooooo important to see more representation of toxic relationships in YA! i can only think of a couple authors who have done this before and it’s mostly either: a. unintentional or b. really heavy and full of triggers, which i don’t think represents every single toxic relationship out there. i think lara dean is one that i’ll recommend to some friends and people i know too.
    i really, really want to read going off script soon. queens of geek was so diverse, lovely and fast-paced. i’m sure i’ll fly through this one too!
    wishing you luck on your 150 books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lais! I hope you enjoyed Frankly In Love if you’ve read it at this point! I 100% agree with your thoughts on toxic relationships in YA, because I feel it’s super important to see them realistically represented! I hope you (and others) love Laura Dean, should you choose to pick it up, and same with Going Off Script! Thank you for your kind, kind words, I seriously don’t deserve you 💘

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really really need to get on with the Legend series someday….. I only read the first book ages ago and never went on with it, but you make me want to! and I’m SO HAPPY you liked Going Off Script, it’s such a fun read!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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