Monday, March 30, 2015

Early Unraveling of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Series: N/A
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA LGBT Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
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My Thoughts

A copy was provided through Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for review consideration

This was a lovely, cute, heartwarming and yet serious read. Albertalli managed to include very serious subjects delivered by a fun and insightful cast of characters.

There is talk of gay bashing, bullying, some racism, but also a bigger than life family dynamic (Yay for parents not being dead/distant/uninvolved!), close sibling relationships, great friendships of all kinds, and such a cute romance!

Simon is being blackmailed because he isn't ready to come out, Martin is a hard character to hate even if he is the one doing the blackmailing. Actually I wanted to hate a few characters here, but I just couldn't. They all worm their way into your heart, plop down and that's it. 

See Martin wants access to Abby this apparently gorgeous, smart, cheerleader who is one of Simon's best friends. I wanted to hate Abby, cause everyone just seemed in love with her or something, but she is a great friend to Simon, so I really couldn't.

While all of that is going on Simon is losing the battle of his heart for Blue. He knows Blue is a kid from his Junior class, but that's it and the progression of their romance through emails was heartwarming :)

I'm not saying this was perfect because there were some things I had issues with and I'm usually not a lover of contemporary books, but this was a great addition to the genre.

Another excellent debut for 2015 ;)

It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don't fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement. I guess this is sort of our version of the Homosexual Agenda?

The Homosexual Agenda? I don't know. I think it's more like the Homo Sapiens Agenda. That's really the point, right?


Would I Recommend it?

    Monday, February 2, 2015

    Early Unraveling of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

    Title: Red Queen
    Series: Red Queen Book One
    Author: Victoria Aveyard
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Publication Date: February 10, 2015

    Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

    To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

    From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
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    My Thoughts

    A copy was provided through Edelweiss and HarperTeen for review consideration

    I don't know. I saw that coming, I did, but I just REALLY didn't want it to happen and then all that shit happened and now...Now I'm just really bummed...

    While I really enjoyed this book, there still some things that I would have wanted more from. For being a fantasy it's quite lacking in world building. I don't know if this world is in the same style as Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns, where after modern humanity killed it self off they had to start from 0 again and it's been 1000s of years later.

    This is kind of what I gathered what with the bit of electronics and techies in use and the mention of radiation and stuff, but I honestly have NO CLUE what the hell happened. Also there is a war going on right now with the Lakelanders that's been going on for 100s of years and I don't even know what's the deal behind that. Not really. Some vague explanation was given but not good enough.

    Then there is the idea of the Silvers and Reds. It's a cool idea, reminiscent of X-Men but what happened to bring about the Silvers? Are we supposed to believe it was just evolution doing it's thing? I just don't know enough, and I'd very much like to.

    I liked the characters, I didn't LOVE any of them, but I liked them. I loved Mara's relationship with her family. Adored her brothers, but they didn't get enough page time.

    I can't really talk too much about the romance. It was good? But not really? But actually yes? You just really have to read it and find out.

    All in all, hats off to Victoria Aveyard for a great debut novel. Looking forward to the next one!


    Would I Recommend it?

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