Review: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

the-heartbeat-of-wing-jonesThe Heartbeats of Wing Jones
by Katherine Webber
March 14th 2017
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Kindle Edition
336 pages
Young Adult / Contemporary / Romance

Blurb
Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights in this sweeping, warm, arrestingly original novel about family, poverty, and hope.

Synopsis
Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshipped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not.
Until the night everything changes when Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry. She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother and grandmothers’ grief. In addition to all this, Wing is scared that the bank is going to repossess her home because her family can’t afford Marcus’s mounting medical bills.
Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team. And better still, an opportunity at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?

Rating: B- – Liked

What I Liked

The POC representation. This novel perfectly captures how it’s like to be a POC and biracial at the same time. I really felt Wing’s struggle. The struggle of not being considered ‘Black’ enough or not ‘Asian’ enough because she’s somewhere in between, having both Chinese and Ghanaian as her ethnic background. It’s basically the same reason why people around her treat her differently making her feel out of place.

The characters.  I like how the characters are quite unique and distinct from each other.

The character development. Wing’s journey to self-discovery is deeply moving. This makes this book a good inspirational read for teens.

The family dynamics. I love how their family is really close and that in times of adversity, they all have each other’s back. That’s what family is for.

What I Didn’t Like

The magical realism. The lioness and the dragon were probably a symbolism of her ancestry. They awakened and gave power to her inner strength. It’s a good concept but I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly a fan of the idea of magical realism. It’s just a personal preference.

The ending. Seriously? Things ended just like that? It’s quite underwhelming. I mean – this is not really a movie. I deserve an epilogue.

The romance. For me, a romantic interest in the story is dispensable. I just don’t see the point of adding it into the mix.

I think I would’ve prefered The Heartbeats of Wing Jones as a film rather than a book. That is just my two cents.

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Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirlFangirl
by Rainbow Rowell
September 10th 2013
St. Martin’s Press
Kindle Edition
445 pages
Young Adult / Contemporary / Romance

Synopsis
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Rating: B- – Liked

Finally! I can now tell everyone that I’ve read Fangirl. Someone print me a certificate of achievement for finishing this novel. It took me a couple of years until I decided that 2017 is the right time to read this neglected novel. Almost four years late but it’s still worth a read, right?

What I Liked

The quality. This book is quality – the real deal. By that it means, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone. The writing is impeccable and this is not really up for discussion.

The premise of fanfiction. I’m not into fanfictions. I’ve read some but not enough to make it my thing. I’d rather accept the ugly truth or deal with the misery that the author has bestowed upon my book – no matter how much I hate it. I’m more likely to grab a new book rather than re-live the story one more time anyways. But then, Fangirl seems to convince me that I just haven’t found the right fanfiction for me yet.

The book cover. I’m in love with the color palette and the art style used by the designer. Everything about it screams girly and cute. If I was a nonreader and I was to pick a book for myself, this would probably be the first book that I would pick. It’s really that eye-catching.

What I Didn’t Like

Somewhat unrelatable. Fangirl failed to tap the inner fangirl in me. It made me ask myself ‘Is this really what a fangirl is?’. Because again, by the standard set in this book, apparently, I’m not a fangirl.

Not discreet enough. We all know that Simon Snow is already a knock-off of Harry Potter but couldn’t the author be more discreet? Did she really have to mention Harry Potter in this novel? It’s just weird knowing that in this book’s world, the Harry Potter series also exists along with that of Simon Snow.

The main character. I hate how it felt like Cath was limiting fiction to fantasy and science fiction. I don’t know how she became such a brilliant amateur writer with that kind of thinking. Also, there’s something really wrong and weird in Cath. I’m not saying it because she’s into the whole fandom but because she’s really just downright crazy. She made me feel uncomfortable. In my opinion, she needs to see a counselor.

Boring. The short excerpts from Carry On and Simon Snow books are way more interesting. Like I had thoughts of just moving on with Carry On. I need to be honest. The whole plot is just meh because it felt like nothing really was happening. In the end, particularly in the latter parts, it was really able to set things right and redeem itself. Cheers to that!

To be honest, Fangirl is both a delightful and a boring read. Coming from that, it’s really something that I’m giving Fangirl a B-.

Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

november 9November 9
by Colleen Hoover
November 10th 2015
Atria Books
Paperback
310 pages
New Adult / Romance / Contemporary

Synopsis
This is a love story between a guy (me) and a girl (Fallon).
I think.
Can it even be considered a love story if it doesn’t end with love?
Mysteries end when the mystery is solved.
Biographies end when the life story has been told.
Love stories should end with love, right?
Maybe I’m wrong, then. Maybe this isn’t a love story. If you ask me…I’d say this might even be considered a tragedy.
Whatever it is—however it ends—I promised I would tell it. So without further ado.
Once upon a time…I met a girl.
THE girl.

Rating: B- – Liked

After reading November 9, I will never question Colleen Hoover’s writing again. I still believe she’s a brilliant writer or rather storyteller. I’ll hand down give her that but she’s still not on my must-read authors.

What I Liked

The plot. The story of Fallon and Ben is quite amazing.  In all honesty, November 9 is an epitome of a contemporary romance. I’m not sure if my readers have noticed but I love contemporary reads. Overall, the plot sits well with me if only the details were left out. In fact, I am in love with the idea of November 9, that one special day out of a whole year for that one special person – although insta-love leaves a bad taste in my mouth, too. The whole concept was enough to capture my curiosity making me grab the book in an instant. I just really have some issues with the characters – like how I felt for Ugly Love’s characters too – and the plot twists.

The quotes. This novel is overflowing in quotable quotes – as if Hoover was trying to spoon feed me with life lessons. Well, I gladly opened my lips, ate the words and digested every letter. How I wish the characters learned from these words though. It would’ve helped their development.

What I Didn’t Like

Fallon. My level of distraught for the main characters is out of this world. I feel like Fallon has a mild case of beauty dysmorphia. I would have understood where she was coming from for she lost almost everything including her life but her way of thinking for me was just wrong. It was deliberate and of course, I knew that but there’s something that doesn’t sit well with me. She was a girl with a superficial and self-centered way of looking at herself which might have rooted from her dad’s upbringing and her previous career as a teen star. It showed how shallow and obsessed she was with her looks. To tell the truth, I felt quite uncomfortable and somehow a bit offended reading her first chapters. Fallon had a way of making me feel as if being ugly is the worst thing that can happen in a person’s life. I have my own set of flaws and have times when my self-esteem isn’t that incredible, and this novel brought me back to the times I am overthinking and uncomfortable with own skin. Her outlook in physical beauty and her “struggle” to improve her own self-esteem didn’t leave an inspirational message to me.

Ben. Ben was way worse than Fallon. My first impression of him was he’s an eavesdropper. The worst kind at that. He felt he needed to butt in some family’s or girl’s business. Next, he’s a pervert. I mean, if I was Fallon, I would’ve called him out for sexual harassment. Although I know that might have been called overreacting, my point is Fallon should’ve reacted something instead of standing still with her eyes closed doing nothing in that one instance. But damn she did nothing because she was obsessing of how he was making her feel, she was overthinking of herself or just the fact that he was a ‘definitely cute’ guy feeding her with ‘inspirational’ words or ‘compliments’ (man, she was like a girl hungry for a guy’s attention). He had this tendency to be controlling and demanding. If a guy pushed me to do things that I wouldn’t have wanted for myself to do on the very first day we met, well let’s say he would’ve gone out dateless. To tell the truth I really do have a bunch of issues with Ben and Fallon. To wrap up my feelings for them, let’s say I was really beyond annoyed. But I’m flashing a quick double thumbs up for Amber and Glenn. They were the cutest couple in this novel.

The plot twists. The plot twists were twisted – see what I just did there? – twisted in ways I perceived them almost as mockery. I wasn’t able to predict what was happening particularly with Ben. My prediction was way more realistic but maybe not worse (I’ll admit, I thought he was a druggie or a pusher who had been in and out of rehab). Given that I wasn’t able to predict some things about Ben, it doesn’t imply that I believe that the plot was very carefully planned and thought of. For some reason, I think it wasn’t. The coincidences in the novel were just so unbelievable.

Dragging read. I believe that dragging the whole story was really unnecessary. There were twists and turns here and there and they weren’t really that good because I felt they were absurd, may be illogical and just plain ridiculous to some point. I just felt like the five years could’ve been three. But I still enjoyed reading the novel anyways.

I believe a lot of readers can go past the issues I personally had with this book because Colleen Hoover’s storytelling makes up for what I think was lacking in the whole novel. I still recommend November 9 to readers, particularly to CoHo’s fans.

Review: Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

lying out loudLying Out Loud
by Kody Keplinger
April 28th 2015
Scholastic
Kindle Edition
309 pages
Young Adult /  Contemporary / Romance / Chick Lit

Synopsis
Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend’s house every night because she has nowhere else to go.
Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with— secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.
Ryder’s the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can’t stand—a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.
But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there’s one small catch: he thinks he’s been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she’s the girl he’s really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?

Rating: B- – Liked

When I first learned about Lying Out Loud on Goodreads, I was ecstatic. I was excited because this is a book companion to The DUFF which is my favorite book btw! I mean look at that cover – its teeny, cutie cover. The color scheme used is so girly and I love it! Now, off to the content of the book.

What I Liked

Fun. I enjoyed this book. It started off fun and light which is something that I was already looking forward to.  Also, the pacing was right on point which is great because lately, I have a very minimal tolerance for slow-paced books.

The plot. It is interesting. The situation can be relatable to teenagers because basically everyone IM’s and I think, everyone had already encountered a catfish at least once. It’s just impossible that you haven’t met or at least seen a fake Facebook profile.

The dialogue. The conversations are witty. I love how the author never fails to write banters in her stories.

What I Didn’t Like

The characterization. It seemed brilliant at first – mind you, at first. Here’s Sonny Ardmore, a certified expert liar. She’s really good at it because for some reason (maybe her charm or there’s something wrong in the water in their small town) the people actually fall for her lies. They absolutely believe her. The thing about Sonny, is at first, I found her likable because of this weird charm she had but in the end, I ended up disliking her. She was dragging things way too long when it comes to her lies which can be unfair for others. Her selfishness was bothering but she’s a teenager so that’s a bit understandable – I guess – given that she had some parent issues going on. Then, there’s Ryder Cross. Personally, I don’t like Ryder. He was rude and a snob which reminds me of a spoiled brat but a male version. Now, Amy Rush. She seemed nice and shy but somehow, something’s off about her. Thanks to the author, she’s not the main female character in this book because she’s no way better than Sonny in my opinion. Overall, the characters’ first impressions (except for Ryder) were great until you get to know and think more of them.

The name Ryder Cross. I just have to mention that his name was definitely and undeniably unoriginal – totally Wattpad-type of name for a male romantic interest. I think the author’s running out of names to give her characters. Look at this. Ryder = cool name. Cross = cooler name. Ryder Cross = this is so obviously a made-up name.

If you’re not into light reads of chick lit-type, then Lying Out Loud is definitely not for you. If you want real depth and a showcase of the technical skills of an author, I’m telling you to drop this book right this instant. But if you’re like me who loves books that are like marshmallows, so fluffy, cute and light with a few hints of humor, then grab this book now.