MINI REVIEWS #1 | Black History Month, Carnivals, Murders

Recently I've read a few books that I have formed some opinions on, but not enough to write an entire review. Most of these were read pretty recently and so all the thoughts are still swirling around in my head, dying to get out. Maybe in the future, if I have more to write, I'll consider doing full reviews. But for the moment, this is just my attempt at getting my thoughts out. Hope you guys enjoy!

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

I read this with my friend Belinda for our Instagram book club, Diversify the Verse. This book follows a dual POV of Rashad and Quinn, two boys who get tangled up in a historic event. One minute Rashad is buying a bag of chips and the next, he's being being pummeled to the ground all because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes, so he must have been stealing. Quinn witnesses Rashad being brutalized and someone somewhere happens to film the footage on a phone camera.

AAB is a poignant and powerful story. Our reason for choosing this book as our book of the month is similar to the authors' reason for writing the book- to start a dialogue between young adults and the world about racism and racial profiling. I think this is an incredibly important story that doesn't shy away from the topics of violence, racism and social injustice. It has an incredibly widespread message that will apply to anyone in any situation and the lessons that are taught are unprecedented. I hope you guys will check out our discussion questions on our Instagram book club!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Seeing as this book made almost everyone's top books of the year lists, I'm quite scared to share my thoughts on this one. Unpopular opinion, coming up! 

I really really wanted to love Caraval. I received an ARC and the only thing that stopped me from reading it early was the hype surrounding the book. No joke, the pre-release hype was insane with so many people already naming it as their favorite. I have a history of not liking books that receive a lot of hype so you could only imagine my fear going into it. But alas, I read it because curiosity got the best of me. 

Don't get me wrong. I didn't hate it or dislike it, I just didn't like it as much as everyone else did. I couldn't stand the writing style, and I though the ending was super anti-climatic. Garber did an excellent job at keeping the reader in the dark until the end for the big reveal. When I got to the end, I was expecting just that- a big reveal. Instead I think it just flopped for me and it was just really disappointing. Also, trigger warnings for physical abuse and attempted suicide. We see physical abuse from the main character's father straight from the beginning of the book, and it was quite unsettling to read. 

I quite enjoyed the sister relationship featured though. I would always recommend this book if you're looking for a prominent and well-written sister relationship.

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs 

I thought I was finally done with reading YA science fiction mystery books that follow the same storyline, that is, until I read this book! Nemesis is a potent combination of Orphan Black, Lord of the Flies, and The Matrix. Keep your eyes peeled for this book on March 21st.

Short synopsis: Every two years on her birthday, Min Wilder is murdered by a strange man in a black suit and silver sunglasses. But hours later, she'll find herself in a clearing just outside her Idaho home. It's been happening ever since she was eight. Meanwhile The Anvil, an enormous asteroid, is threatening all life on earth. Min vows to discover what is happening to Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders. 

Now I don't want to share too much because I'm going to be apart of the epic blog tour Penguin is planning. Let's just say that if you're tired of the same old science fiction plots in YA, read this book! It has such a unique story, one that incorporates the best of technology and a scary, corrupt government.

When I first read the synopsis, I demanded to know what the mystery behind the protagonists numerous deaths was! Every page unlocks something new and it's your job to put everything together and solve the mystery. This book is one that I'm sure to recommend over and over again to readers who love the thrill of a good mystery with a reveal that'll blow your mind.

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  2. I really enjoyed the sister relationship in Caraval as well, but I'm sorry the book didn't live up to expectations! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :) Lovely mini-reviews!

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles


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