Friday, I’m in Love by Camryn Garett Book Review

Book Description

Mahalia Harris wants.

She wants a big Sweet Sixteen like her best friend Naomi.
She wants the super cute new girl Siobhan to like her back.
She wants a break from worrying–about money, snide remarks from white classmates, pitying looks from church ladies . . . all of it.

Then inspiration strikes: It’s too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if she had a Coming Out Party? A singing, dancing, rainbow-cake-eating celebration of queerness on her own terms.

The idea lights a fire in her, and soon Mahalia is scrimping and saving, taking on extra hours at her afterschool job, trying on dresses, and awkwardly flirting with Siobhan, all in preparation for the Coming Out of her dreams. But it’s not long before she’s buried in a mountain of bills, unfinished schoolwork, and enough drama to make her English Lit teacher blush. With all the responsibility on her shoulders, will Mahalia’s party be over before it’s even begun?

A novel about finding yourself, falling in love, and celebrating what makes you you.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I will give any LGBTQ+ a try so when I saw this one I was happy to read it. I also have been trying to diversify the LGBTQ+ books that I read which means including more Sapphic books in that mix.

There is so much that happens in this book and I just really enjoy the way the author touches on each of these things. This book talks about socio economic class, queerness, religion, friendship, family, the concept of coming out, and so much more. I really liked the way each of these topics come about but also how much this book shows that it takes a village.

This book is one that I hugged, threw across the room, only to go grad it and hug it some more, this book made me laugh and then cry. This is one that just stuck with me for so many reasons and there was so much relatable material in this book that I just had to sit with it sometimes. This is one that I just wanted to immediately re-read once I finished it because of how much I related to what was going on in this book.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mahalia. You get to meet her mother, her best friend, Naomi, the love interest, Siobhan, her dad, his new family, and several more characters. I really enjoyed each of the characters that are introduced throughout this book and the relationships that they have with Mahalia and with each other.

I loved the relationship between Mahalia and Siobhan, even if you suspect this is coming there are definitely moments in which you think Mahalia is in love with a straight girl. I loved that this wasn’t the case and how this all unravels and how their relationship comes to be.

I also loved the complexity behind the relationship of Mahalia and her mother. I love that the mom wants to support her and doesn’t always know how to. I love that they don’t always know how to communicate with each other and that this is called out. I also liked how their relationship contrasts with the relationship that Mahalia has with her father. I thought it was great to see that contrast and then also see how Mahalia’s father’s new wife can show up for Mahalia even when he can’t.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Mahalia. I loved that everything was being told through Mahalia’s perspective because you got to know her feelings instantly. I think that being in her feelings really makes the book hit a lot harder and allows you to feel her pain. I also liked that everything was told in her perspective because there were so many moments that were beautiful because you didn’t see them coming.

Author Information

Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. In 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Her first novel, Full Disclosure, received rave reviews from outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, the Today Show, and The Guardian, which called a “warm, funny and thoughtfully sex-positive, an impressive debut from a writer still in her teens.” Her second novel, Off the Record, will be released May 18, 2021. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. You can find her on Twitter @dancingofpens, tweeting from a laptop named Stevie.

Cool. Awkward. Black. stories edited by Karen Strong

Book Description

A multi-genre YA anthology of bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors challenging the concept of the geek, featuring contributions from Amerie, Kalynn Bayron, Terry J. Benton-Walker, Roseanne A. Brown, Elise Bryant, Tracy Deonn, Desiree S. Evans, Isaac Fitzsimons, Lamar Giles, Jordan Ifueko, Leah Johnson, Amanda Joy, Kwame Mbalia, Tochi Onyebuchi, Shari B. Pennant, K. Arsenault Rivera, Julian Winters, and Ibi Zoboi.

A girl who believes in UFOs; a boy who might have finally found his Prince Charming; a hopeful performer who dreams of being cast in her school’s production of The Sound of Music; a misunderstood magician of sorts with a power she doesn’t quite understand.

These plotlines and many more compose the eclectic stories found within the pages of this dynamic, exciting, and expansive collection featuring exclusively Black characters. From contemporary to historical, fantasy to sci-fi, magical to realistic, and with contributions from a powerhouse list of self-proclaimed geeks and bestselling, award-winning authors, this life-affirming anthology celebrates and redefines the many facets of Blackness and geekiness–both in the real world and those imagined.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This was an anthology of eighteen stories centered around nerdy Black young adult characters. Due to this I am going to do this review a bit differently than provide you with my thoughts on the characters and writing style seperately. I am going to focus on the whole anthology then give you a brief review of my favorite stories in the book.

I really enjoyed each of the stories that are included in this anthology and how they all were connected by the theme of our main characters being nerds. I liked that the stories all varied in genre even if most of them were sci-fi or fantasy. I liked that some of the stories included a romantic subplot for our main characters.

One of the stories that captivated me was Roseanne A. Brown’s “Wolf Tracks” in which the men in a particular family transform into were wolves. What I really enjoyed about this story was how the transformation includes trans men and the brief explanation that is given as to how they are included. I have found most stories in which powers are assigned to a gender, the author tends to give the trans people the powers that would be given based on their sex assigned at birth or it is a battle for the person to get the powers that align with their gender identity. I not only liked this aspect but I also really liked how this story plays out and why we get to see our main character transform into this wolf and the conversation that happens with his dad as a result.

Another short story that I really enjoyed in this anthology is Corner Booth by Leah Johnson. I loved You Should See me in a Crown and Rise to the Sun so I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed this story by the same author. I really enjoyed the two main characters in this story and the interactions that they have with one another. I like how we slowly get to learn their secrets and what drew them to speak with each other.

I loved that this anthology introduced me to new authors that I haven’t read before and that I also got to read things from authors that I love. I think each of the stories that were included had something to like about them and what is great is that you can skip around and read them in any order that you wish.

Author Information

Karen Strong is the author of critically acclaimed middle grade novels Just South of Home, which was chosen for several Best of Year lists including Kirkus Reviews, and Eden’s Everdark, a Junior Library Guild and BCCB Blue Ribbon selection.

Karen is the editor of the young adult anthology Cool. Awkward. Black. She is also a Star Wars contributor featured in From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back and Stories of Jedi and Sith. Her speculative short fiction appears in the award-winning anthology A Phoenix First Must Burn.

Born and raised in the rural South, Karen is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and an avid lover of strong coffee, yellow flowers, and night skies. You can find her online at karen-strong.com.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas Book Review

Book Description

As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all―they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.

Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.

But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This is a book that I knew I wanted to read before it even was on the shelves. Aiden Thomas is one of my must-buy authors since I read Cemetery Boys and each of his books have been amazing. I don’t typically listen to fantasy on audio because I can’t always follow along but I decided to listen to this one and follow along on e-book and that was a great experience.

There were so many aspects about this book that I enjoyed, from the world building, to the characters, and the plot. This book grabs your attention from page one and then it never lets you go even after you finish the book and close it. I can’t wait to know what happens next for all of our characters, and this world that I have grown to love.

I liked that this book takes some time in the beginning to build up the world for us and explain how things came to be and what they are now. I also like the brief conversations that occur about gender identity and being Trans between Teo and Xio and think that this not only makes sense throughout the book but makes certain parts hit harder as you read.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters and don’t worry they all have distinct qualities so that you can tell them apart. You are introduced to our main character, Teo as well as the people that he is competing against in the Sun Bearer Trials, which are Xio, Aurelio, Auristela, Niya, Dezi, Xochi, Marino, and Ocelo.

Throughout the book you get to know some characters a lot more than others but each of them play an important role in moving the story along. I really enjoyed getting to learn about each of the characters but especially love how the website has the character cards so I can keep them separated in my head. It was minor details that I would forget about each character so I did love that each of them had distinct voices and you could tell who was who just by their actions and words.

I love the tension that we get between the characters because of who they are and the rankings that exist in the world. I also like the tension that we see just based on who their parents are and the impressions that they have made because of this. I really enjoy the role that the parents play in this book and how tensions seem to arise more when they are around.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person with a narrator that follows each of the characters with a particular focus on Teo. I liked that the narrator wasn’t first person because there were points that I wanted to know what others were thinking and/or doing and we were allowed those moments. I also did like the focus on Teo as our main character because of the relationships that each character has with him.

Author Information

Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans, Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.

Their debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, was published on September 1st, 2020.

As You Walk on By by Julian Winters Book Review

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Theo Wright has it all figured out. His plan (well, more like his dad’s plan) is a foolproof strategy that involves exceling at his magnet school, getting scouted by college recruiters, and going to Duke on athletic scholarship. But for now, all Theo wants is a perfect prom night. After his best friend Jay dares Theo to prompose to his crush at Chloe Campbell’s party, Theo’s ready to throw caution to the wind and take his chances.

But when the promposal goes epically wrong, Theo seeks refuge in an empty bedroom while the party rages on downstairs. Having an existential crisis about who he really is with and without his so-called best friend wasn’t on tonight’s agenda. Though, as the night goes on, Theo finds he’s not as alone as he thinks when, one by one, new classmates join him to avoid who they’re supposed be outside the bedroom door. Among them, a familiar acquaintance, a quiet outsider, an old friend, and a new flame . . .

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed reading Right Where I Left You and because of how much I enjoyed that one I really wanted to read this one. I ended up getting through this one really quickly and could’ve sworn I wrote the review but I guess I didn’t I must have written it in my head or something.

There was a lot that I really did enjoy about this book and one of those things is how quickly everything occurs. This book definitely feels like much more than one night where the majority of the story takes place with everything that is unpacked in that one night. I really do like how everything does occur in such a short time span because it just shows how time changes things.

I love the messages this book sends especially about friendship and what that means. I like how Theo needs to learn to share himself with others and how to move forward from the friendships that were causing him harm. I like that we have to first see him struggle with the loss and things aren’t perfect at the end but you see him be surrounded by loved ones because of who he is now.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Theo, as well as their interactions with each other. We get to meet his friend group, Jay and Darren, Theo’s dad, and a few people Theo meets while seeking refuge in a random room at a party, River, Makayla, Luca, and Aleah, his ex-best friend.

I really loved all of the relationships that are shown throughout this book and how complex they all are. I like how we see friends happen out of convenience and then friends happening because you let them into your life. I really liked watching the group from the room bond with each other throughout the night and watch how that all unfolds. I like how that bond strengthens throughout the book and how they know each other’s truth.

Writing Style: This book is told through first person through the perspective of Theo which is something that I really enjoyed. I liked this aspect of the story because when bad things happen we only know how Theo feels and not anyone else. We rarely get to know other people’s feelings unless they outwardly express them and I think this adds a layer to the story.

Author Information

Julian Winters is the author of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award-winning Running With Lions; the Junior Library Guild Selections How to Be Remy Cameron and The Summer of Everything; and the forthcoming Right Where I Left You. A self-proclaimed comic book geek, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta, where he can be found reading or watching the only two sports he can follow—volleyball and soccer..

Instagram

Twitter 

Jackal by Erin E Adams Book Review

Book Description

A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .

It’s watching.

Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.

It’s taking.

As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.

It’s your turn.

With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I heard about this book, the description alone intrigued me so I was happy to get a chance to read this one. I am glad that I decided to wait until I could get my hands on the audio book version though since I believe this added to the suspense in the book. I did make a mistake and read other people’s reviews half way through this book but was quite pleased that the reviews didn’t match my feelings about this book.

The reviews that I read didn’t really seem to like the explanation of what was going on throughout the book and how that mystery unfolds. Unlike those reviews, I actually really liked the supernatural element that was added into this book and how that tied into what was going on. I think this book did a great job explaining what jealousy can do to people and how much harm can be done to a community through not only jealousy but in this case racism.

I did feel that a lot of the reviews that I was reading missed the mark about what this story was about and the commentary that it was making. I think this is one of those books that goes beyond a horror or a thriller story so if you are expecting real monsters then this isn’t it. This book takes people’s fears, insecurities, goodness, etc. and turns it into something that monsters are after and explores what happens when the monsters are your neighbors.

I ended up highlighting so much points in this book as I followed along in the e-book as there were passages I wanted to re-visit. These passages were things I wanted to think about more and think about how they played into the conclusion of the story. I can’t spoil things for you so I can’t say much but I do hope you go out and read this book. Its one of those books that would be great for a book club or to discuss amongst your friends because of how much is brought up.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Liz . You get to meet her best friend, Mel, Mel’s daughter, Caroline, some people in town, Nick, Doug, Chris, Lauren, her mother, and the monsters. You also get to know about some of the girls that have gone missing through our monster’s perspective.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Liz. There are pieces that are told through the perspective of the person who has been taking the girls, and there are some snipping of news papers or other documents that were released when the girls went missing.

Author Information

Erin E. Adams is a first-generation Haitian American writer and theatre artist. She received her BA with honors in literary arts from Brown University, her MFA in acting from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, and her MFA in dramatic writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. An award-winning playwright and actor, Adams has called New York City home for the last decade. Jackal is her first novel.

Single Riders: A YA Novella by Selys Rivera Book Review

Book Description

After Seong Duri gets in a fight with her sister, Duri skips church to go to an amusement park. But when she runs into the pastor’s son, she asks the next person in line to switch places. She has no idea this decision will change more lives than one.

Alex Danieli is heartbroken after their boyfriend dumped them. Missing him, Alex decides to go on their ex’s favorite ride. But when Alex agrees to switch with another single rider, they immediately regret their decision. Alex soon learns, though, that maybe that decision wasn’t so bad after all.

Jaya Foster is an aspiring writer with a secret. She’s still trying to figure out how to tell her mom when she accidentally gets pulled into drama involving two other single riders. Little does Jaya know this is exactly what she needs to solve her problem.

Single Riders is a fun and touching reminder that you’re not alone. You never know when a future friend is around the corner. Or maybe next in line.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I heard about this book I knew that this was something that I really wanted to read. I tend to visit theme parks on my own a lot and have always thought how cool it would be to make friends in line. I loved that this whole book takes place in a matter of a few hours because it definitely feels like more time has passed than that.

I also like how each of these characters has something that is stressing them out regarding the future, and how they understand this for each other. I really liked the way that they introduce their problems to one another but also how we get the back story for these problems. I also like the idea of everything being resolved at the end of the day because your new friends gave you the courage to stand up for yourself.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to our three main characters, Alex, Duri, and Jaya, along with a few of the important people in their life closer to the end of the story. I really liked how the story focuses on the three main characters without really introducing us to the people who impact their lives until the very end.

I liked how naturally this friendship develops between the three of our main characters and how quick they are to support one another. I like how easily they became friends and what things brought them together.

Writing Style: This novella alternates between three different perspectives, Alex, Duri, and Jaya, told in first person. I really enjoyed getting to read this story through each of their perspectives as we get to know their back story in each of their sections. I also really like that we get to see how each of them feels in each moment as things play out for them.

Author Information

Originally from Puerto Rico, Selys Rivera considers herself a queer, God-loving, and social justice-obsessed chica.

Selys has published articles, poems, and stories in magazines, anthologies, and literary journals, as well as books. Her favorite genres to write in are YA/NA Fiction, Memoir, and Poetry.

In her free time, you can find her reading too many books, spending time with loved ones, or playing with her red Dachshund named Ketchup.

Follow her on TikTok @SelysRiveraWrites to stay connected.

Love Times Infinity By Lane Clarke Book Review

Book Description

The swoon of Nicola Yoon meets the emotional punch of Elizabeth Acevedo in this breakout debut novel that answers big questions about identity, family, and love.

High school junior Michie is struggling to define who she is for her scholarship essays, her big shot at making it into Brown as a first-generation college student. The prompts would be hard for anyone, but Michie’s been estranged from her mother since she was seven and her concept of family has long felt murky.

Enter new kid and basketball superstar Derek de la Rosa. He is very cute, very talented, and very much has his eye on Michie, no matter how invisible she believes herself to be.

When Michie’s mother unexpectedly reaches out to make amends, and with her scholarship deadlines looming, Michie must choose whether to reopen old wounds or close the door on her past. And as she spends more time with Derek, she’ll have to decide how much of her heart she is willing to share. Because while Michie may not know who she is, she’s starting to realize who she wants to become, if only she can take a chance on Derek, on herself, and on her future.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I do not know why I waited so long to begin reading this book but I am glad that I waited to listen to it on audiobook. This book is packed with so much and I highly recommend reading about the trigger warnings prior to going into this book because there are quite a few. All of this being said I do think the book manages to handle some heavy topics with grace.

The first thing that sold me on the book was the Grey’s Anatomy reference very early on since I rarely see that show referenced in a book. This wasn’t the only good thing about the book though, as I mentioned before this book covers some difficult topics and I believe it does a good job at this. I love how real the characters are and how the author lets each of them have feelings that aren’t neat. I think it was nice to see each of them unpack trauma and deal with it in different ways.

Characters: Throughout this book you are introduced to a few characters through their interactions with out main character, Michie. You get to meet her best friend, JoJo, grandma, love interest, Derek, and several people in her therapy group. I loved each of the characters that you get to meet throughout the story and the relationships that Michie establishes with everyone.

I really liked the relationship that Michie has with Derek and the way in which this develops. I like that we get to see how her past affects this relationship and how she works through that past. I thought it was great to see that things weren’t always perfect and easy for both of them and how their trauma impacts the way they respond to each other.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Michie. I thought that it was great that the story was told through her perspective because it allowed us to see how Michie felt about everything. I like that we didn’t really get to see how others felt about certain events that took place because they didn’t get to impact how Michie navigated the world she lives in.

Author Information

Lane Clarke grew up in Richmond, Virginia, where she hung out with her grandma at IHOP every Tuesday night and attended $3 movie nights at the Byrd Theater. Lane has been in love with books since the age of two. Her stories feature Black culture and big-hearted teenagers with self-doubts and big dreams, who—with a little laughter and good friends—can accomplish anything. She eats dessert before dinner and can usually be found rewatching her favorite teen soap operas. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her cat, Pickles, and works as an attorney in Washington, D.C.

Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Book Description

Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Publishing Date: September 27, 2022

Synopsis:

Fans of The Girl Who Drank the MoonPaola Santiago and the River of Tears, and Disney’s Encanto will be captivated by this fantastical novel about a girl who must learn to trust her ancestral powers when she comes face-to-face with the Mexican legend La Lechuza. 

Omega Morales’s family has been practicing magic for centuries in Noche Buena. But over the years, the town’s reputation for the supernatural is no longer one the people carry with pride. So Omega’s family keeps to themselves, and in private, they’re Empaths—diviners who can read and manipulate the emotions of people and objects around them. But Omega’s powers don’t quite work, and it leaves her feeling like an outsider in her own family.

When a witch with the power to transform herself into an owl—known in Mexican folklore as La Lechuza—shows up unannounced, Omega, her best friend Clau (who happens to be a ghost), and her cousin Carlitos must conduct a séance under a full moon in order to unravel the mystery of the legend.

Suddenly Omega’s magic begins to change, and the key to understanding her powers is more complicated than she thought. Omega will have to decide what’s more important—trusting the instincts of others or learning to trust in herself.

Content Warning: bullying and grief

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60021190-omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316304166/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza-laekan-zea-kemp/1140835397

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Omega-Morales-Legend-La-Lechuza-Laekan-Z-Kemp/9780316304160

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/omega-morales-and-the-legend/9780316304160-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316304160

Review

Thoughts and Themes: My first thought is that I keep reading Lechuza as Lechuga and was really confused about there being a legend regarding lettuce that I hadn’t heard about. I am glad to tell you all that this story is not about lettuce at all but that would have been funny. But also prior to this thought, I was so happy to see that the author had now written a middle grade book since I loved her two young adult books so much.

I am happy to say that I loved this book as much as the young adult books if not more. This is a perfect read for second graders and up especially during this spooky season. I love that this book is spooky but not too scary to frighten the younger audience. I loved the references to Mexican folklore that this book includes because so much of these tales were things that I grew up hearing about.

Something that I really enjoy about this book is the added images within chapters. I like how these images bring the story to life and it works really well for me since I have a hard time picturing what I am reading.

Characters: In this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Omega. You get to meet her family, her best friend Carlitos, and a ghost that lives alongside them, Clau. Right off the bat it is hard not to fall in love with each of the characters that you are introduced to in this story.

I really loved the relationship that each of the characters that are introduce have with our main character, Omega. I love how supportive each of the characters are of her and how they are supportive regardless of her differences. I love that you can feel the amount of love everyone has for each other seeping out of this book.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Omega. I really enjoyed the story being told through her perspective as it makes you remember the age of our main character. The voice of our narrator really made it hard to put down this book because I just wanted to hear more about the magic and everything going on in her world.

Author Information

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was a 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Recipient. In addition to writing she’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.

Author Links

Website: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laekanzeakemp/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6577467.Laekan_Zea_Kemp

Tour Schedule

Lord of the Fly Fest By Goldy Moldavsky Book Review

Book Description

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing Date: August 30, 2022

Synopsis:

One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.

Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.

But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .

Content Warning: violence, missing persons, and bodily functions

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54267774-lord-of-the-fly-fest

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250230128

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-of-the-fly-fest-goldy-moldavsky/1139790471

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Lord-Fly-Fest-Goldy-Moldavsky/9781250230126

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/lord-of-the-fly-fest/9781250230126-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250230126

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This one took me quite a while to finish but not because of a lack of interest, I was trying to savor every moment of this book. I wanted to take things slowly because I was enjoying the world-building in this book and the dystopian aspects. I really liked the way the author describes this island and how things slowly build. So once I finished this book I read some reviews and they all mentioned this being a satirical telling of Lord of the Flies I got this from the title but because I haven’t read that book I wasn’t able to make the connection myself.

I was skeptical about reading this one because I had recently read books similar to it and didn’t really care for them. I am glad that I decided to read this anyway because of how much I enjoyed the book. I liked how this story plays out and how we begin to see our main character as a bad guy because she put them in this situation longer than they had to be. I really like the way this book pokes fun at influencer culture and the people who feed into this. I liked that this book made commentary on our current lives.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Rafi. You get to meet several people who are on the Island with Rafi, such as Peggy, River, Jack, Ryan and Paul, and much more.

I really liked reading as the relationship between River and Rafi develops and how this shifts throughout the book. I liked seeing them both when they are together and seeing how River trusts Rafi but this also makes you skeptical of River just like Rafi is. I like that we never know who the bad person is in this story and that the narrator is removed adds to this mystery.

Writing Style: This story is told in the third person with a narrator who follows different characters around yet it is told mostly from Rafi’s perspective. I really enjoy that this story was told in the third person because we seem to know everything going on with each of the characters. What I really like is that this isn’t an all-knowing narrator though so the mysteries aren’t automatically solved.

This book also includes snippets of the podcast Rafi is recording, which I really enjoyed. I liked getting to see a different side of Rafi through the recording of the podcast and I liked to see the other’s responses to this podcast. I thought the podcast episodes being included added a good portion to the book because it shows us what Rafi is thinking about everything that we are reading.

Author Information

Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED (Scholastic), and THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt). Her books have appeared on numerous Best-Books lists and have been translated to other languages. Her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.

She is represented by Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency.

Author Links

Website: https://goldymoldavsky.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/goldywrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goldywrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682584.Goldy_Moldavsky

Tour Schedule

It Sounds LIke This by Anna Mariano Book Review

Book Description

A sweet and nerdy contemporary YA novel set in the world of marching band perfect for fans of Late to the Party and Kate in Waiting.

Yasmín Treviño didn’t have much of a freshman year thanks to Hurricane Humphrey, but she’s ready to take sophomore year by storm. That means mastering the marching side of marching band—fast!—so she can outshine her BFF Sofia as top of the flute section, earn first chair, and impress both her future college admission boards and her comfortably unattainable drum major crush Gilberto Reyes.

But Yasmín steps off on the wrong foot when she reports an anonymous gossip Instagram account harassing new band members and accidentally gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars. With no low brass section, the band is doomed, so Yasmín decides to take things into her own hands, learn to play the tuba, and lead a gaggle of rowdy freshman boys who are just as green to marching and playing as she is. She’ll happily wrestle an ancient school tuba if it means fixing the mess she might have caused.

But when the secret gossip Instagram escalates their campaign of harassment and the end-of-semester band competition grows near, things at school might be too hard to bear. Luckily, the support of Yasmín’s new section—especially new section leader Bloom, a sweet and shy ace boy who might be a better match for her than Gilberto—might just turn things around.

Review

Thoughts and Theme: I really enjoyed reading Anna Meriano’s other book, This is How We Fly, so I was quite excited to get a chance to read this one.

I really like how so many things are all new to Yasmin and how this makes it so that she doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the high school band kids. I really liked this because there’s a stereotype of the band kids and you would expect that Yasmin would fit in perfectly with them.

Something that I liked about this book is the ways in which religion is mixed into the story. I like how Yasmin thinks that a lot of her feelings have to do with religion and I like how they include these conversations there. I also really enjoy how this book includes conversations on sexuality throughout.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to a few characters through their interactions with a main character, Yasmin. You get to meet her best friend, Sofia, a few of the kids on the brass team, Sophia’s boyfriend, and Yasmin’s mom.

Something that I really loved about this book was how supportive the brass section is of Yasmin over time. I really like how they try to cheer her up when things go wrong and they all trust her. I like how she slowly starts to let them care about her even if at first she was disappointed in switching to this section.

I really liked getting to see Yasmin’s friendships with several of the band members and how these friendships develop throughout the book. I also like getting to see the shift in her friendship with Sophia and love how that wraps up. I liked that this book wasn’t neat and perfect because it felt real.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Yasmin. I like things being in her point of view because all we know is how she feels and the things people are telling her. I really liked that we got to see things through only Yasmin’s perspective because we don’t see what others are saying about her. We don’t see her as selfish and mean, and we don’t know things about her that she doesn’t know.

Author Information

From Anna Meriano’s website

I grew up in Houston with an older brother and a younger brother and a large but close-knit network of aunts, uncles, and cousins spreading across the state of Texas. I graduated from Rice University with a degree in English, and earned my MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in writing for children from the New School in New York. There I was lucky to meet CAKE Literary founders Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, who started me on the

Love Sugar Magic journey.

I live in Houston with my dog Cisco. I have taught creative writing and high school English and currently work as a tutor for students of all ages across Houston. In my free time I love knitting, playing full-contact quidditch, and singing along to songs in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

For information about events or school visits, you can contact me at annaemeriano@gmail.com

I am represented by Patricia Nelson, Patricia@marsallyonliteraryagency.com 

For information about my YA books, contact my publicist Tessa Meischeid,
tmeischeid@penguinrandomhouse.com