Boy Meets Hamster by Birdie Milano

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4stars

“If you pretend to be someone you’re not, you’ll never know who would have liked you for who you are.”

Title: Boy Meets Hamster
Author: Birdie Milano
Number of pages: 336 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Adorable book with sweet and read characters.
Bad things about this book: Dylan could be annoying but he wasn’t unbearable so it was okay.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it was pretty cute.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

When I bought the book, I thought the hamster was going to be an actual hamster and not the place’s giant orange mascot. It caught me by surprise at first. I did ask myself how a hamster was going to ruin Dylan’s chances with the boy next door. I was curious to find out how that was going to happen. The reality was so much funnier and sweeter. It’s amazing how much trouble a boy can manage to get himself into in just a short week.

It is a fast read, and it’s an enjoyable one. Dylan is fourteen and, as all the other boys his age in books I’ve read, he is insufferable, unreasonable, and very immature. I liked him, though, but he infuriated me. So much! He is looking for a summer romance, a movie-like love, and he is looking for it with the most awful and rude boy next door. Dylan is blind to how awful this Jayden-Lee is because he sees him with a romantic filter; he kept making excuses for how bad Jayden-Lee was because he saw something there that wasn’t really there, a spark of plain delusion.

Besides the infuriating parts of Dylan making everybody mad because of his crush, I loved everything else: the details of the story of this short vacation, the characters, the personalities, and the way this boy struggled differentiating reality with all the messy scenarios he had in his fourteen-year-old mind. I loved Dylan’s parents, his little brother Jude, and his best friend Kayla. They were all super interesting and different from characters I’m used to read. I have a 5-yo niece and I would fight whoever says mean things about her or tries to pick a fight with her! Jude has a disability and people are just plain rude, they just not think before talking. I have to say that it was a tad unlikely, though; do kids that age really cause that much trouble? Jayden-Lee’s little brother was a tiny monster. He needed to be sedated.

It was a fun read, light and sweet, and the romance was pretty obvious from the start, but it was adorable nonetheless. This book made me smile, it lifted my mood, making me forget for a little while how freaking hot it was outside, or inside for that matter. When I find a book about a fourteen-year-old that I don’t want to slap repeatedly from beginning to end, then it’s a book I’m going to recommend to the crowds! Read this book and imagine slapping Dylan for a bit, then imagine slapping real hard Jayden-Lee for the whole book, and finally imagine giving the fluffiest of hugs to Nibbles the Hamster! Never a hamster was more adorable than him!

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A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

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5stars

“You are a normal person. We all are. We all have brains that work differently, that’s all. You guys have been handed challenges. But you are worthy of happiness and health and help.”

Title: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater
Author: Jude Sierra
Number of pages: 258 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s a very sweet book with a good portrayal of mental illness.
Bad things about this book: It’s hard to read. Read the trigger warnings first.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course. It’s a story to be read by everyone.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Pretty intense. Read with an aching but hopeful heart. I cared for these characters and, even if I won’t know what choices they decide to make, I will know in my heart that they’ll be okay and living day after day. Together.

Books about mental illnesses are always very hard for me to read. Books like this are somewhat triggering but I can’t help but read them; I feel the need to know other point of views, to learn more, to be able to help myself and others with new information. It won’t ever be easy for me reading about someone struggling to keep themselves afloat. It won’t ever be easy for me reading about someone using unhealthy behavior.

He tries to give his body over to the sounds of a great big earth around him, understanding that he is very small, a tiny piece of something greater, a small glimmer of either light or darkness, depending on his choices and will.

Reid suffers from an illness called cyclothymia that I have never heard of before. It was hard to read how he struggled in the past, is struggling with recovery in the present, and will struggle with it for the rest of his life. Reid is a magnificent boy who has a brain that works in a very peculiar way and it makes his life very difficult. He really tries his best. Reid touched my heart with his personality and the way he wants to be seen by the world, and by the amazing and handsome boy he starts crushing on, Joaquim.

Joaquim finds himself in it too deep and too soon with Reid. Reid is not an easy person to be with, but it won’t be a mental illness the cause for him to walk away from someone he can see himself building something concrete with. Why would he run away when things get difficult? He asks a lot of questions and is destined to make mistakes, but he is a very patient boy and his feelings are deep and real. He can’t run from them.

Reid doesn’t pray, but sometimes he likes to think that the energy he and the others put out into the world might make a small difference.

The portrayal of mental illness is done in detail, wonderfully, and painfully. Nothing graphic, nothing just to give us some drama. Things aren’t okay, and they’re explained in a way that you understand both how Reid is feeling and how Joaquim is elaborating the info he’s getting. It’s a painful process, but it’s liberating. Joaquim is seeing Reid for who he is; he is not his mental illness, he is a boy fighting to get better, who wants an adventurous life and to love and be loved. Reid and Joaquim were sweet and cheesy and adorable. All the kisses, the hugs, the little touches, they were all elements that made their love story, one to desire. I will never be loved like that and it makes me sad.

When I finished the book last night, I closed it and realized I wasn’t in the mood for anything else; I was left empty yet full, no space for anything more. I went to bed and waited to fall asleep recalling one of my many happy made-up scenarios, because I knew that if I started thinking about the book, I’ll stayed awake analyzing every single aspect of my life. I hope I’m not the only one that uses made-up fantasies to fall asleep in order to avoid falling into the endless stream of anxious thoughts about life.

I keep sighing thinking about Reid and Joaquim. Those boys stole my heart. I’m so glad I somehow found this little book and impulsively bought it. I knew my impulsiveness had more pros than cons!

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Fence #7 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad & Joana Lafuente

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5stars

The idea of Aiden beating Seiji makes me mad. Not mad. Jealous.

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #7

Number of pages: 29 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: More matches, super happy Nicholas and adorable friendships!
Bad things about this book: Nothing! I WANT MORE!
Do I recommend it? Always!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This volume was so fun to read. All those matches. Nicholas all smiles and hope. Grumpy Seiji back as strong as before, his weak façade left in that bathroom. Aiden and Harvard’s friendship. Adorable! I need to see more of them, a lot more of them! Will I reread the 7 volumes again, maybe tomorrow and also the day after tomorrow? Of-bloody-course I will! The wait is atrocious!

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Look at my boy Seiji! Look at his face!!!I love him!

I’m sensing an obvious crush from Bobby towards a certain broody prince, and, girl, I’m so sorry, but there’s nothing that’ll distract that boy from fencing. Certainly not you, and I’m not being mean but it’s so clear that Seiji will never see her that way. This crush is going to hurt, and I’m really sorry for Bobby because I know it was inevitable, the boy is dreamy, but it was a recipe for disaster from the very first blush.

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Nicholas is just a simple boy with not very simple dreams. But he tries his best!!

I have to be honest, though, I keep wondering when we’re going to see Nicholas and Seiji start seeing each other as more than roommates. It’s going to happen, right? They’re not really friends now, but there will be a time when a spark is going to start what I hope it’s going to be the most beautiful love story of the fencing world. While I wait, I’m enjoying the competition and the glares and pouts (from Seiji, mostly). It’s going to be epic, I know it!

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Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

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4stars

It’s too simple to hate the people who have doorways where you have walls.

Title: Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate
Number of pages: 400 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: A cappella and a lot of good feelings!!
Bad things about this book: I was hoping it to be centered more around the main character understanding her sexuality, and it wasn’t, really.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

It was pretty cute and it put me in such a singing mode that I had to put the book on pause to marathon the three Pitch Perfect movies. Big tears and big emotions after, I resumed where I stopped and read almost without breaks and I finished the book.

There were parts that left me with too many questions, but I’m not entirely bothered about it. I got a lot of She’s the Man vibes and I kind of loved it because that movie is just a lot of fun. This book wasn’t as fun and light as the movie, though, but the sentiment was the same; both girls cross dress to be able to do something that the world (read: the school) didn’t permit them to do, so they had to think outside the box and risk it all to fit in.

The world saw exactly what it wanted to see. Finally, it wanted to see me.

I was expecting this would turn out differently, romantically speaking. I’m happy but not super happy. When I picked the book, I read it was a queer book, so I chose it to read during Pride Month, it sounded perfect. Was it the kind of queer book I was expecting? No, it wasn’t. Did it have enough representation to be qualified as a queer book? Yes, it did. I just hoped the main character’s confusion about her sexuality was taken more into consideration and not just left there like an afterthought.

The Sharps were all magnificent boys and I loved seeing how committed they were to their singing, to always being a little bit better, to be there for each other. I loved the diversity and how the economic struggles were portraited here; how true it felt, how frustrating it made me feel seeing that no matter how much you want something, if you don’t have money, your options are so limited you just feel so powerless all signs point to you don’t having a place in the world. I understood Jordan’s frustration, her loneliness, her decision to just say “f*ck it” and just go for it.

The world wasn’t just made out of instants – it was made out of plans, too, and the ability to learn from your mistakes.

While I enjoyed the overall storyline, I wasn’t a fan of the romance. I loved the characters involved in the various scenarios, but it just didn’t seem convincing. The love looked a little weird, it was missing the spark, and it left me wanting to feel more. I think that we needed more emotions and less actions for it to feel true. And, as I said before, the sexuality situation was just forgotten. It was a fun read, not light but not over dramatic, and it gave me a little insight into the magnificent world of a cappella!

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Inside Darkness by Hudson Lin

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4stars

Title: Inside Darkness
Author: Hudson Lin
Number of pages: 269 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: A lot of emotions in just a few pages. Intense.
Bad things about this book: Too many emotions to handle, at least for me.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Arc from NetGalley

I know I’m late! I’ve had this arc for quite some time but I read the summary very fast and only after been approved I realized it was about mental health. I wasn’t in the mood because my mental health is conditioned by what I watch/read so I wanted only bubbly, fluffy, easy books about good feelings, sunshine and rainbows. So days went by and I didn’t start it.

The day it was published I ordered me to read it, and I did, and I liked it. It was hard and it triggered me a little, but all in all it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I actually enjoyed it, even if I read it as fast as I could just to get it over with.

I struggled a lot because the feelings in it were so strong, so deep, and they were like a giant boulder crushing my chest. It was a wild ride, very important and insightful. I learned things I don’t think I’ve ever questioned about. The world is a harsh place and, as much as we like to face it head up, it comes and leaves scars so deep it’s hard to cope.

I’m a bit shaken because this is not entirely a happy story, but it has happy moments and so much hope. When the world seems to be dragging you into the deepest abyss, there can be a ray of sunshine that’ll help us keep the darkness at bay. Whatever it may be, there’s hope about finding it and that’s worth being in this world a little longer. Just to see the light at the end of the darkest of tunnels.

The characters were well written and relatable, old enough to have day by day issues similar to mine. Once in a while it’s refreshing reading about adults not having a precise clue about what to do with their lives and being as human and fragile as I feel most of the time.

Long story short, this book was hopeful and core-shaking, it gave me anxiety, palpitations and a mild panic attack. But in the end, the little smile on my face was reward enough to deem this book worth the time it took me to read it.

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Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

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3stars

Title: Out of the Blue
Author: Sophie Cameron
Number of pages: 279 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: A lot of potential and it reads easily.
Bad things about this book: Too many answers left unanswered.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

It was a cute little book. I was expecting a bit more, though. I kept expecting something more to happen and it didn’t. Maybe it’s just me but I felt something missing. Maybe I have to be the one filling in the blanks. Maybe it’s a lesson as to how sometimes it’s better not to know everything. Whatever it was, I still liked it a lot, the mystery elements surrounding the Beings and Jaya’s mission to hide and heal one.

Have you watched The Leftovers? One day a lot of people just vanishes, no explanations given, no explanations found. This book is a little bit like that. One day the Beings (angels) start falling from the sky; skin that shines like metal, blood the color of gold, big broken wings. They fall and they die because of the impact. And people, seeing as they are the usual stupid human beings, start cults, sell the feathers online for a lot, become not fascinated but obsessed. They see what they want to see.

Our main character, Jaya, and maybe a few others, are curious about the real mystery. Not when are they going to fall, but why are they falling. What is happening wherever they come from that it’s causing them to fall? They are not things to be sold, dissected and sold to be studied. They are humanoids, they have feelings, they bleed, so why are people treating them like objects to be earn money from? I hate them all; Jaya’s father, his obsessions, the Standing Fallen and their dumb believes, and the followers. So many “souvenirs”, restaurants, merchandise, depicting dead angels. Why? Because it sells, they gain money from it. It’s atrocious but so likely that it made me twice as mad.

A being that doesn’t die because of the impact falls right in front of Jaya while she takes her dog out for a walk. From that day, it’s just days spent feeding the female looking being, trying to keep her safe, healing her broken wing, and getting her back where she came from. There’s no final goal but that. I guess I just thought more things were going to be solved. Call me mad, but I was hoping the being, Teacake, was going to sense sickness and cure it. I hoped she was going to draw the place she came from, give some insight. I don’t know, I just feel that we were left with more questions.

Yes, I know, Jaya was having a lot of grieving issues due to her mother’s recent death and her girlfriend leaving, and this was also a journey for her to find some peace inside and out. But the beings were so important to the story that I was hoping they would’ve been of more relevance to the solving of all the little issues present in the story. Maybe I just went in with the wrong kind of expectations.

I would’ve loved an epilogue: I still think that some things were missing and maybe an epilogue would’ve helped. Cute book, though. A fast read.

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Running With Lions by Julian Winters

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5stars

“Bastian, you can do whatever you want, when you want. The only thing in life you have to do is live it.”

Title: Running With Lions
Author: Julian Winters
Number of pages: 299 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved the characters and how the story was told, so simply yet so deeply.
Bad things about this book: An epilogue maybe? A couple years into the future. I’m greedy, I know.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I loved it!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Life is a summer storm of insecure thoughts. There’s an umbrella of precautions to prevent insecurity, but it doesn’t always keep the rain out of your face.

I don’t know almost anything about football (or soccer, or however you call the sport with 11 players each team and a round ball). I don’t know much about sports, period. I have read books with characters involve in some kind of sport (real or made up) and I’ve stuck with it and was intrigued by it because the book wasn’t really about the sport per se, but about friendships, love and family. Team spirit gets to me, the comradery, the feelings that come from loving something so much and putting every ounce of you in it: my heart melts!

So when I saw for the very first time someone talking about Running With Lions, I knew that I was going to love it. Diverse book with a sweet love story, relatable themes and full of queer characters? Count me in! And it came out during Pride Month; that had to be a sign I needed to buy it and read it. I’m so glad I did. It was one of the sweetest books I’ve read in quite a while. It did have my dreaded miscommunication that made the characters waste so much time, but the story flowed to well that I almost didn’t mind my frustration. Almost.

“People dislike other people for the wrong reasons,” Emir says. “Doesn’t mean we should act like them.”

This book is sweet and deals with something I haven’t seen dealt with in none of the books I’ve read; male body issues. Sebastian is struggling with his body; he was chubby in the past and the bullism left him so scarred he exercised too much, hates looking at himself in the mirror, and he spirals into self-hate when he sees a tiny bit of fat on his body. His mind makes him see his body as a horrible vessel he’s forced to carry. I struggled a lot reading some scenes because I got him, I really got what he was going through, and I was worried he was overexerting himself with running and too little food.

For such a sought-after emotion, love sure comes with a lot of answerless questions.

I came to care about all the characters, all their different personalities, their flaws, their feelings for each other. I read the book with just a break for dinner. I wanted to see how things were going to end between Sebastian and Emir, how the characters would grow, learn from their mistakes and live their last year of high school being as happy as they could be, surrounded by people they trust and love. Running with Lions put me in such a nostalgic mood: a little sad and a little happy. Those boys have all their lives ahead of themselves. They’re so lucky.

“Just because people create rules doesn’t mean those are your rules.”

With a few tears but a big smile on my face, I can’t but recommend you this book. I’m glad there are much more books like this in this world today. We need them and I’m so happy teenagers today can grow up seeing themselves represented on paper and see that there’s nothing wrong with them. I’d love them to feel that there are people out there that will love them exactly for who they are and that, whatever obstacle is put in their way, they aren’t alone to face them.

Happy Pride Month, everyone! Be proud of who you are!

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