What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #47

Since I’ve had more time again, I’ve spent it in front of screens a lot. Aside from tearing through some MasterClasses, I binged a couple shows and movies, which I’m now, once again, going to share with you!

Grand Army (Season 1)

TW: sexual assault, adultification, terrorism, racial profiling, racial injustice

I feel like Grand Army is Netflix’ response to HBO’s Euphoria. We follow a group of teens through a rough time in High School with the portrayal being relatable and closer to reality than some of the glossier shows airing these days. I understand when people say they don’t just want a copy of Euphoria, but, as someone who struggled a lot with that show a lot, I actually preferred Grand Army. It doesn’t bank on visuals as much as Euphoria and in that sense, made it easier for me to connect with the characters.

At the end of this show, I was emotionally exhausted. I love to binge watch and rarely don’t do it, but Grand Army really had me take breaks between episodes because it was getting just so darn heavy. It’s not a perfect show, I don’t think that exists, but I loved how so many really difficult issues were handled and openly discussed such a variety of struggles without making it seem preachy.

For fans of: Euphoria but less stylized, realistic teen struggles

Over Christmas (Season 1)

In only three episodes, you follow Basti’s (probably) worst Christmas ever. His brother is now dating his ex, his parents are keeping secrets from him and he isn’t as honest with his friends as he used to be. The premise is fairly easy and includes a lot of elements (I’d almost say clichées) that most of us have seen in other productions. It’s not that it’s bad show, but when Basti eventually blows up and ruins everyone’s life in the process, I had a hard time sympathising with him.

BRIEF SPOILER MOMENT

Especially considering that he outed one of his friends to the entire town and they just brushed it off like that wasn’t some super evil thing to do, nevermind that he was angry at his friend for not telling him he was gay. Like … you really gotta make it all about you, huh?

SPOILER MOMENT ENDED

The show was just three episodes and only showed three days in the life of this chaotic family. It had some nice bonding moments, but also felt a bit over-acted at times. It’s an okay way to spend a couple hours, but it could have seriously fit into a movie too.

For fans of: Luke Mockridge, predictable Christmas stuff

Virgin River (Season 2)

This show was a surprise to me when I started it a year or so ago. I was so pleasantly surprised in turn afterwards when it got renewed almost immediately. To those who thought the previous season finale was cruel, this one will have you nothing but stressed.

Mel and Jack truly have some of the most natural and sizzling on screen chemistry and make this show so watchable! For me, personally, the “crime” element has started to take over a bit too much at times. I am not saying this is a crime show, because it is decidedly not, but I prefer the more human dilemmas that are about relationships and life circumstances rather than stuff that needs police involvement.

For fans of: small town charming romances with a lot of drama

Stargirl

I have not read the book and this has absolutely nothing to do with the show Stargirl, just thought I’d clarify that up front.

I’d definitely say it is targeted towards a younger audience, but not in a bad way at all. As far as lovers of the book go, they thought this version of Stargirl (the person) wasn’t as quirky and charming, but I found her absolutely enchanting (probably, because I had nothing to compare her to). Stargirl is one of those people that will come into your life, turn it upside down, teach you empathy and compassion and then vanish without a trace. I think there was definitely potential to go deeper and it was generally pretty slow moving, but the message came across. For one, it’s all about being YOU, but also so much about making mistakes and learning from them, showing compassion towards others without any gain for yourself and to not put people on pedestals. They are always bound to fall off.

For fans of: quirky “magic” girls

Black Beauty

Again, just to say that up front, I haven’t read the book, even though I know it’s a classic.

When I was little, I went riding at a stable that had a lot of rescue horses. Not all of them were suitable for children and there were some I loathed to ride, but mostly I was fine. I had my favourite horses and when I got them, all was good. Still, I fell a lot and eventually turned to other hobbies when it became more of a chore than a joy to go riding, but my inner horse girl always remained in some part.

This movie has absolutely beautiful cinematography and had me tearing up almost every other minute. But it’s also a fairly slow moving story and the heavy reliance on narration probably won’t be to everyone’s liking. However, I did like it overall. It gave me all the whimsical and nostalgic feels that I want in a horse movie.

For fans of: horse stories


What have you been watching lately? Do you want to see any of the things I mentioned? Let’s talk!

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (eARC Review, Dash & Lily #3)

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Page Count
: 256

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: depiction of anxiety/panic attacks

I’ve currently really been on a roll when it comes to Dash & Lily, reigniting my love for the characters by binging the Netflix show (several times) and following it up by reading the sequel and now this book that places them in London. It’s as if the authors allow you to watch them grow up a little more with each book and I appreciated that the most in Mind the Gap.

There was much I loved, but also a couple things that bothered me. A lot of it came down to one of my biggest pet peeves – bad communication. Despite being miles and miles apart, Dash and Lily really make the long distance thing work. They seemed so solid in their relationship that their troubles once they reunited felt … strange to me. Obviously, they were busy living their lives and struggling or thriving (depending on who you’re looking at) and didn’t talk about every little detail that happened while they were apart. Where Dash got disappointed by his own ambitions, Lily was turning into a little dog mogul without her family or friends noticing. All of that is understandable and just warrants a bit of time to talk it all out, catch up on the things you missed, but what does Lily Bear do? Once again she runs away. I was so frustrated with her, because poor Dashiell was just too overwhelmed.

Lily went to London surprising Dash without his knowledge. While he was glad to see her (because he is always glad to see her), it was also really bad timing. He didn’t want her to see him in this state of despair he found himself in. Oxford had drained him to the last drop and only his previously estranged grandmother, Gem, could raise his spirits. Instead of being glad that Dash had finally found a family member to connect with, Lily was jealous. She was legit jealous of Dash’ grandmother, a woman who is basically a slightly British version of Mrs. Basil E.

But once they got over those initial hick-ups, however annoying I might have found them, especially on Lily’s part, the book was really fantastic. I felt Dash’ state of being lost to the core. The way his world seemed to close in on him and he just did not know what to do now that what he had always envisioned for himself wasn’t as fulfilling as he thought it would be. I think that’s something a lot of young adults have to face. Their expectations of college/university aren’t always going to match up with reality and it takes a whole lot of strength to muster up the courage to find a new path.

Simultaneously, you have Lily’s own struggle with what the future holds. I think I found it a bit harder to connect to her here, because she is so much larger than life sometimes. Where Dash is relatable in his quiet despair, Lily has suddenly made mountains of cash (without her very meddling family knowing?) and has become a dog influencer who is even recognised on the street outside of New York City. I always knew her happy demeanor was contagious, but she basically had become a celebrity without the people in her life realising it. Maybe because she didn’t communicate clearly what she was doing and just how successful she was with it, her family kept pressuring her to go down a more traditional academic route. I enjoyed that she stood her ground in the end, but I never really had to worry about her not being okay. She was doing great for herself, Dash was much more worrisome.

The book ended with their relationship stronger than ever. While the story as a whole was not as fluffy and cutesy as the previous ones, it still filled my heart with a certain warmth that only Dash and Lily can provide. Those kids are not kids anymore and you just know they’re going to find their way.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars! It was lovely to see them grow up like this.


Do you want to continue on with Dash and Lily’s epic love story? Does it convey the holiday spirit to you as well? Let’s talk!

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (Book Review, Dash & Lily #2)

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 226

**This is the second book in the Dash & Lily series. Please proceed with caution if you haven’t read the first one yet!**

I feel like I should start this review with a little disclaimer. I have read almost every single Rachel Cohn-David Levithan-collaboration there is. Honestly, I think there’s only one book missing, and I have enjoyed all of them. However, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was always my very favourite one. Now that Netflix released it’s series adaptation of the material, I realised just how much I had forgotten about the book though. I watched and I adored the show, but I couldn’t remember much more than the general premise it turned out. Still, I wanted more, so, I turned to this little sequel, that I never actually intended to read, because I was quite fond of whatever the first book gave me. So, what I am trying to say is, my knowledge from the first book is basically non-existent at this point (am I getting old?) and I completely based off my feelings for the characters etc. on what I had seen on the show.

Here’s a look at what Netflix has done. I can really only recommend it to get you into the spirit:

Now on to the actual bookish thoughts for The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily!

When I learned what the sequel was going to be about, I actually thought it sounded like a neat idea. Adding an element of angst that would lead to the characters having to grow up a bit as well as giving them a chance to repeat the formula from the previous book sounded promising, but it wasn’t delivered in the right.

I feel like the book could have been a lot more clear cut in its timeline. Albeit maybe a bit formulaic, I would have loved to actually see them embrace the twelve days of Christmas theme, but it was abandoned after day one in favour of lots and lots of miscommunication and sulking. Dash and Lily were on the brink of breaking up so many times that, at some point, I actually wanted them to take a break in order to see clearly again. While I do understand that they are teens and maybe have some misconstrued ideas about love, it was ridiculous how Lily expected Dash to read her mind and say all the right things, when everyone else could see that he was trying his very best to DO the right thing at all times.

The grand gestures felt a bit strangely placed this time around and often ended in disaster, but I will give them that they really made it work in the end. The message came through clear and that’s something that saved the book for me. It was right then that I felt like we were finally at a place that was interesting and where the characters were more themselves again, but that’s also right when the story ended. (And how cruel it did end, they are SUCH a tease!) Dash and Lily really do have that annoying habit of making you want more of their cutesy love, so, on to Mind the Gap I go.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars! The ideas were all there, but the execution wasn’t it for me.


Have you read this sequel? Do you want to? How about watching the show? Feel free to chat in the comments!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Book Review)

Publisher: Piatkus
Page Count
: 384

All my friends, and I really mean all of them, who have read this book (be it in physical form or via audiobook) have raved about it and loved it with all their hearts. Not going to lie, that set the standard for this book pretty high, but I am glad it didn’t disappoint in the end.

Chloe Brown, a chronically-ill Black woman, and Redford “Red” Morgan, a tattooed rough-looking whtie ginger guy, do not fall in love at first sight. In fact, they are so convinced that the other one doesn’t like them, that they end up not liking each other. It all perfectly makes sense, because once they actually take some steps towards each other and open up, they learn just how different their true feelings are. The fact that it really starts going because of a floof monster of a cat just makes it a plus point for me!

There’s much to like about Get a Life, Chloe Brown. The characters are well rounded and feel real. They have pasts that have created insecurities, they have lives that are complex and filled with people they have history with. So often, I feel like the baggage everyone carries isn’t addressed so much in the woes of new love, but Chloe and Red really had some interesting hurdles to master and it was nice to see that neither of them was perfect, but they were perfect for each other.

“So I’m doing it for you because that’s how people should behave; they should fill in each other’s gaps.”

To simply Talia Hibbert’s writing style in saying that it is merely funny would be a grave disservice to her. She manages to capture so many different emotions and really makes you feel in the moment! It was so easy to understand the thought process of the characters, be it in their pain or joy or lust, that you might have been in their heads just as easily.

I honestly don’t care much for the sexual and very physical parts. It’s not my thing or something I pay a lot of attention to, but I did find the writing very sensual and not unappealing? I really don’t know what more to say to that, because I do understand the physical attraction between the two and how it seemed to be amplified by the fact that they fit each other like two missing puzzle pieces in terms of characteristics and personality – like, it was sizzling – but also … I care more about the conversations they had? They really were so compatible on all fronts, it was just a joy to see them try to make this work.

“Life hurts,” he said fiercely. “It’s unavoidable. But I know the difference between torture and growing pains.”

Still, in the end, there’s really nothing not to like about this book! The conflict made sense in terms of character development, without suddenly disliking anyone for the choices they made to protect themselves. I had a blast with this one!

“Love is certainly never safe, but it’s absolutely worth it.”

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Already looking forward to diving into the rest of the Brown Sisters’ books in the near future!

Have you read a book by Talia Hibbert? Did you enjoy it? Do you plan to read one? Let’s talk!

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe (Book Review)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count
: 336

I have said it before and I will say it again, there’s something about Ben Philippe’s writing that just works for me. I was utterly smitten with The Field Guide to the North American Teenager and extremely pumped to read Charming as a Verb. From the first couple of pages, you just sort of get the characters and their personality. They come to life easily and grow on you quickly.

All children are charming as an adjective, but you’re charming as a verb. 

Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger is, in all possible meanings of the word, charming. He has a Smile (yes, capital S) for every situation and knows how to navigate people like the back of his hand. In addition to that, he is also extremely smart and funny and handsome – a combination that makes him likable in every social circle he encounters, despite some massive income differences between him and his other classmates. And while you read, you get it! Henri is a go-getter and not beyond a little con here and there to get to the places he needs to go. He just knows exactly what to say and makes his flaws look endearing, so, it comes as little surprise when Corinne, the social opposite of him, blackmails him into helping her get a social life. A meet cute started by blackmail, not something you see every day!

“You want me to She’s All That you?” I manage to say, hiding the smile creeping on my lips.
“What’s that?”
“Oh, my God,” I groan. “Watch more movies. Maybe that’s been the missing ingredient all along.”

From there on, things evolve quickly and you have a sort of rivals to friends to lovers situation. Corinne and Henri are incredibly cute together and will have you smiling like crazy with their banter and endearing get-to-know phase. However, this book isn’t just a romance. It’s about so much more!

A much bigger component, and the source of many a problem, is the fact that Corinne, Henri and their friends are in their senior year at High School. Being at a very competitive private school is one thing, but Henri simultaneously has to keep his dog-walking-business running, help out at home and fulfill his dad’s dream of getting into Columbia. And that’s the source of one of the main issues!

Despite our both being the O-Generation – a concept I have to admit rings terribly true the more I think about it – Corinne isn’t an immigrant. Or the child of immigrants. It’s a distinction that’s mostly irrelevant except in the moments like these, where it could easily place us on two different wavelengths. There’s no Haitian in her, no Jamaican, no Puerto Rican. Her Blackness is American, born and raised. Stolen and enslaved, technically, but still, it’s rooted here. She never aspired to be here from another shore elsewhere. She might not understand.
“If I give up on Columbia, then … I don’t know.”
“Then it’s like you’re no longer Haltiwanger Hungry?”
“Something like that.”

So, Henri has to figure out why he wants to go to Columbia and how far he is willing to go to get there. I call it the main issue, because it leads to Henri doing something that just made me so irrefutably angry. Maybe it’s not fair for me to hold Henri to such a high standard, but I truly expected better from him and that just made me so disappointed in his actions.
Then again, that’s another sign of great writing! I was so invested in the life of the characters, I wanted them to do better. I wanted everyone to succeed and live their dreams. And I don’t even speak of just Corinne and Henri here, who were so lovable, but also side characters like Henri’s best friend Ming. That dude was exactly the kind of friend I wish everyone had!

To recap, Ben Philippe’s writing style is still something that I enjoy very much. He manages to not feel the need to detail every second of every day the characters live through and yet you always feel like you have the full picture. His characters are full of life, relatable and fun. I didn’t enjoy the conflict in this one as much as in The Field Guide … but I still thought it had amazing parts focusing on the family-theme and very cute romance moments!

Fazit: 3/5 stars! I really wish Halti hadn’t done that one thing …

3s

Are you planning on reading Charming as a Verb? Have you read Philippe’s other book? Let’s talk!

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour (Book Review)

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 272

CW: parental neglect, emotional and physical abuse, grief, ghosts

Nina LaCour is one of my auto-buy authors and I don’t even need to read the blurb to buy her books. However, when I first heard about this one, I was immediately drawn to it. I knew that once again, Nina LaCour would create an impeccable atmosphere that would eventually emotionally wreck me – and that’s exactly what happened, but more about that later!

I see this book being classified as Young Adult and I’m not sure I would necessarily agree with that. Mila, the protagonist, is 18 at the beginning of the novel and turns 19 during the course of it. She goes to live on a remote farm, where she works as a teacher and helps with the harvest as well as Sunday markets. Her life and her struggles very much came from the past, and thus her younger self, but it still felt like it could have just as easily been classified as an adult novel. That’s not to say that I minded the more grown up approach, but I just think it’s something to be mindful of when you pick up this book.

There’s something about Nina LaCour’s writing that just transports me into a whole different world. Usually, rooted in a lot of trauma but still very much in reality, Watch Over Me was a surprise with its literal instead of metaphorical ghosts.

Had we been telling the truth, he would have said, The place where I’m sending you – it looks beautiful, but it’s haunted.
Okay, I would have said.
It will bring everything back. All that you tried to bury.
I understand.
It’s going to make you want to do bad things.
I have experience with that.
And how did it turn out?
Terribly. But I promise to do better this time.

Mila yearns for something in her life. I would say for a family, a place to call home and someone or something to belong to. In her desperate need to hold on to these new people she is meeting on the farm, feelings of jealousy and self-doubt creep in. While I understood entirely where she came from, it was such an intense longing tied to strong emotions on her part that it sometimes felt off-putting. That’s not to say that she was unlikable, but she surely contained multitudes behind her quiet and pleasant demeanor.

When I read a LaCour book, I often associate it with very strong emotions of my own. While Everything Leads to You wasn’t all happy, I still associate a warmth and admiration for it due to its setting being in film. With You Know Me Well, I had found one of my favourite feel-good-books and We Are Okay drowned me in a world of sorrow. Watch Over Me is a bit harder to categorise. I could have easily read it in one sitting, it is poetic and beautiful and flows nicely. But something about it is also very eerie and strangely tied to a sense of dread, sorrow and grief. It made me sad to the core and sometimes I cried at passages that didn’t even seem so sad.

“Do you like it?” Julia asked. But I didn’t know what she meant. All I saw was the deep blue-green water, the white foam against dark rock. The wildflower-studded cliffs, and the tall grasses in the wind. “Because it’s magnificent,” she said. “But I don’t like it. It scares me.”

There is no explicit romantic storyline in this book! While there are hints that a character may be attracted to more than one gender, it is not discussed or a focal point of the story. Although, the relationships Mila forges and nourishes are definitely worth talking about. To me there are four worth talking about here (without giving away too much):

  • Her mother and Blake: the trauma she has to face on the farm mostly stems from them. There is guilt and relief, sadness and so much strength that was bred in that relationship. It’s what’s really haunting Mila.
  • Terry and Julia: they are basically the parents Mila never had and always wanted. They have taken in over 50 kids and fostered them, which put them on a pedestal in Mila’s mind.
  • Billy and Liz: as I said, there’s no romantic storyline, but I feel like there was definitely an air of possibility for a throuple here as Mila seems to be attracted to both of them and fantasizes about them.
  • Lee: Lee is Mila’s 9-year-old student and anchor during her first weeks. She feels like they are both outsiders in this family and she clings to him tightly. I often felt torn about their relationship, because I loved how close they grew, but I also hated the emotional baggage she put on that kid sometimes.

“I’ll never leave you,” I said to him. I closed my eyes. I felt his body relaxing, heard the slowing of his breath. “You’ll have to grow up and leave me first.”

Sometimes I didn’t realise just how much time had already passed on the farm. It went from days to weeks really fast and I think that’s why I sometimes struggled with the depth of attachment the characters already had to each other. When I turned that last page, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a timeline at all. However, I did feel like I had just been on a journey with Mila. I didn’t understand everything that had happened, but I doubted that she did either. The farm is a magical place that only becomes the bad kind of haunted if you let it.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! I feel like I just went on a whimsical journey of sadness and grief.

Do you plan on reading Watch Over Me? Have you read other books by Nina LaCour? Let’s talk!

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (eARC Review)

Publisher: Del Rey Books
Page Count
: 336
Publication Date: September 29, 2020

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: a bunch of really murderous monsters of various kinds

This was my first Naomi Novik book and I had an absolute blast with it. From the premise alone, I already had a strong feeling I would enjoy A Deadly Education, the first book in the Scholomance series, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much fun I had with it.

From the beginning, Galadriel, who is usually just going by the name of El, was a hilariously snarky narrator. She finds very little to like about the people around her or the situations she finds herself in. Where other people try to see the good to get by, she is utterly prepared for the worst and expects nothing from no one. The amount of times she described herself as not being able to stop seething almost felt like a running joke at some point, because she really did have the hardest of times feeling anything but angry, which makes the moments she feels vulnerable all the more special.
However, what could have easily been an annoying trait after a while, worked well for her. Death seems to be a constant companion at the school and everyone is way too okay with more than half the class dying until graduation. They had to prepare to be eaten by monsters pretty much their entire lives (unless they were from a well-off enclave … which weirdly are only New York and London?). It felt so callous and cold, but I tried to jot it down as a coping mechanism. All I wanted from El was for her to actually care for someone, to break that carefully crafted facade, and during the course of A Deadly Education, that’s exactly what you get, which is what makes it such a joy to read.

The strong suit of the story is definitely El’s interaction with her fellow classmates, be it with enclave kids she hates, the few kids that tolerated her or, most fun of all, shinning knight and do-gooder Orion. If I had to describe him, I’d say he was a classic example of a himbo – not the brightest bulb out there, but a boy with a heart of gold … and not bad to look at either. His banter with El was really EVERYTHING! If you can give me a good “Why are you being nice to me? Are you mad at me?”-kind of dynamic, I am hooked! I don’t really want to speak more to the nature of their relationship, because I don’t even know if I can call it fake dating or not, but it’s hilarious.

Where the novel struggles a bit is the world building. I never really found myself confused by the concept of the school, the international aspects with students from literally all over the globe being in this one void place or the onslaught of murderous monsters. What I did struggle a bit with was the enormous info dumps though. El is telling everything from her point of view (with a really interesting 4th wall break at some point), with long paragraphs of inner monologue and little else, which establishes her voice nicely, but also just means info on info on info in some sequences of the book. I wish there had been a sleeker way to introduce all that to us, but it kept happening throughout the novel, even after the initially very info-dump-heavy first chapter.

What really throws you for a loop is the final line of the book though! Honestly, this could have easily been an interesting standalone book (with only a couple unanswered questions left), but with that one last line, it turns your whole world and the experience you just had upside down. Now I am really full of questions and anxious to find out what the frick is going on!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Absolutely loved this and am already so looking forward to the sequel!

Do you intend to read A Deadly Education? Have you read other books by Naomi Novik? Let’s chat!

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone (eARC Review)

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 288
Publication Date: September 29, 2020

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: racial profiling, police brutality, incarceration, domestic abuse, mention of sleep paralysis, anxiety and depression

I have been a huge fan of Nic Stone’s novel Dear Martin and while I didn’t expect for there to be a sequel (or companion novel?), I was excited to get the chance to revisit these characters. However, this book isn’t as much about Justyce as it is about Quan, a boy with a very different life.

Right from the beginning, the author explains why she decided to write this book. As much as Dear Martin had quite the impact, the more readers Nic Stone met, the more she realized that a lot of people don’t get the same chances and opportunities as Justyce. There are people who feel trapped with a label that got stuck on them early on and like there is no escape from a possible future as a delinquent. People who are often at the wrong place at the wrong time and have no one in their corner. Things don’t always go right and one can feel powerless in the circumstances that you find yourself in. And they, too, deserve for their stories to be told and will hopefully see themselves in Quan’s experience.

Reminiscent of the format in the first book, we still have a bit of a mixed media style going on (letters, prose, etc.) and I found that specific writing style very engaging. It keeps the story flowing at a nice pace, without every getting confusing when it comes to timelines and so on.

Often, I am drawn to stories where characters need to find their family, their people, because for whatever reason their home life isn’t it. There might be a lack of support or an abusive environment the character will try to escape, but I rarely considered that finding a family – because you so desperately want someone to look out for you – can also end in a bad way. Quan makes some stupid choices, but once you hear how he went from one bad situation to another and at some point you are just done with the cards life deals you, you can’t help but feel for him and root for him. I was so happy to see that he had people in his corner, that truly only had his best interest at heart, even when he didn’t think he deserved them going to bat for him.

I appreciated Nic Stone’s letter to the reader and author’s note so much. She really put a lot into this book and I like that the she acknowledged how much of it is fiction and how Quan’s case would have probably ended differently in real life. But a lot of the story is about how we need to belief in people and let them know that we do, how it creates hope and a mindset that there can be a difference – that’s why I am glad the book ended the way it did! I think it will help create more open minds and hearts as well, as we all can believe in and support the people around us!

Dear Justyce is just as raw and real as its predecessor and can easily stand on its own. It shows how different experiences can be, but how far a little support can go. I hope that it will encourage people to reach out to those who struggle and prevent things from escalating the way they did for Quan.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! I think I liked this better than Dear Martin (not that they are really in competition though).

Are you planning on reading Dear Justyce? How did you feel when you heard there was a sequel to Dear Martin? Let’s chat!

Mini Reviews: Teen Titans: Raven/Beast Boy

As much as I like comic books, I always struggle to review them. Anyway, I really liked the Teen Titans, so, I figured I at least gave them a try with a mini review! Haven’t done of these posts in a really long time.

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia (author) and Gabriel Picolo (illustrator)

Teen Titans: RavenA while ago, I would have firmly claimed to be a Marvel girl, but if we are being entirely honest, I am mostly consuming DC content now. While I have never watched or read Teen Titans before, I did watch DC’s Titans and liked it for the most part. This is entirely different, but I feel like that previous knowledge came in handy with Raven anyway.

The graphic novel very much focuses on Raven’s insecurities and her way of trying to figure out who she is as a person. Since she can’t remember anything, she tends to question everything instead of listening to her gut. She’s a teenager, so, she sometimes makes cringy choices, but I found those were easy to forgive.

Something I found confusing at times were the transitions between scenes, as they seemed very disconnected. I also felt like there was definitely some prior knowledge required, or you’d be a bit lost when certain characters started showing up.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Interesting introduction to this series.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia (author) and Gabriel Picolo (illustrator)

Teen Titans: Beast BoyI loved the illustration in this one even more than in the first one, even though it was both done by the same person. Gabriel Picolo has mentioned several times that Beast Boy is very near and dear to his heart and it shows. Especially the pages where Gar uses his powers for the first time are just swoon-worthy.

Again, this one also heavily focuses on the insecurities of the main character. For now, it’s what ties them together as they haven’t met yet. Gar just wants to be popular, not because he likes the people so much, but because he wants to prove a point. I understood why his friends were annoyed with him at times and appreciated that they had their own struggles to face. Still, there was a definite relatability to it, which made Gar very endearing.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! I was never once bored while reading.


Over all, I was really happy with these graphic novels! I think the illustration especially was excellent and I cannot wait for the third book (Beast Boy Loves Raven in Fall 2021). Have you read these ones as well? 

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power (eARC Review)

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count
: 352

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: death, murder, arson, vomiting, unplanned pregnancy

I was supposed to read this book about two months ago, before it’s release in early July, but it was a struggle getting here. I want to start by saying that I have not read Wilder Girls and therefore had no expectations concerning the author’s writing style or way of storytelling. All I thought this would be was a family drama, which it was in part, but there is definitely so much more to it that I feel like I didn’t sign up for.

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts for a while now, but can’t seem to make sense of it all yet. I think my main issue was that I went into this book thinking I’d get a twisted tale of a torn family, but really, it was more along the lines of horror? Those of you who know me, realise that in 9 out of 10 cases, I would not pick up a horror book on purpose and it was off-putting here as well.
I was prepared for an otherworldly, thick with the scent of buried secrets atmosphere (which Power manages to create quite well), however, I was not prepared for it to be so decidedly not our world in the end. When you start this novel, the characters take some getting used to, but it seems like we are here, in our reality. It takes almost half the book to come to the conclusion that you are not and at that point you are just confused.

This book features queer characters, a strained family relationship, a rural/small town setting – all factors that would usually entice me to read a book! So, why exactly didn’t it work for me?

Burn Our Bodies Down is told through the inner monologue of the main character Margot. She is a strange girl with very intense mood swings, something that didn’t always make it easy to follow her thought process. We get snippets of her personality as well as a bit of exploration of her sexuality (is she a lesbian? bisexual?), but it all gets dropped in favor of the “mystery” of the plot. And that mystery is really all that kept me propelled to keep reading, because I surely wasn’t able to connect or like any of the characters very much. I wanted to know how it would be resolved. I had my guesses early on and even though at that time, I had still thought this was just regular reality, I was right. That just added to me not feeling very satisfied by the pay off, because what else could it be?

Before I end this review for good, I just want to say that I saw a lot of people enjoy this book. It’s probably a very me-thing that I didn’t and which I mostly base on the inability to connect to any of the characters while reading. I highly recommend you check out varying reviews if you are still unsure whether you want to read this book or not.

Fazit: 2/5 stars! This was not meant for me.

Have you read this book? Do you want to? Have you read Wilder Girls? Let’s talk!