The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

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5stars

“But your best is not good enough sometimes.”
“Sometimes… you have to stop trying and just let someone else try their best. In order to survive.”

Title: The Wicker King
Author: K. Ancrum
Number of pages: 305 (hardcover edition) + 40 pages (novella in ebook)
Good things about this book: Heart-wrecking, emotional, complex, raw.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, I had also a novella and the ending was perfect.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Yesterday after lunch I wrote a couple of reviews and then went to bed with the intention of reading a few chapters of The Wicker King. I couldn’t put it down: didn’t eat, didn’t go to the bathroom, didn’t blink. Long story short: the book was over before dinner time.

It wrecked me, this descent into madness of these two boys: one seeing the other losing grip of reality, and being overwhelmed by the weight of it all, the other seeing a different world he needs to defend and can’t do it alone. Jack living in both the real world and the fantasy world was portrayed in a way that kept me glued to the pages. I needed to know more, I needed to know he was going to be okay That they were going to be okay in the end. It was a freaking rollercoaster. I exhaled a long sigh of relief after I finished it.

August’s heart seized.
He didn’t … know he could have this.

I knew it was a queer book from all the Instagram posts, but it wasn’t immediately obvious, and I found myself both curious as to how they were going to face their not so subtle feelings, and bothered by the miscommunication that brought our August to not know he could wish for more, risk asking for more, so he fooled around a lot. It broke my heart, because the feelings were there, as twisted and complex, but they were there!

“If you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.”

It wasn’t the easiest of books to read, their friendship was unhealthy, super codependent and the negligence of the adults was absurd and irritating, but it was surely a book that I’ll keep with me forever.

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The novella that was a sort of companion of the book, gave us Jack’s pov and a sneak peek into the fantasy world his mind was creating; I loved the way both the book and the novella ended. I’m so happy now. Five glorious stars for Jack and August, The Wicker King and his Champion.

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Alan Cole Doesn’t Dance by Eric Bell

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5stars

“You know what a good friend said to me once?”
“What?”
“He said, I’d rather have a hard time being myself than an easy time being somebody else.”
“Whoah.”
“Yeah. You’re being yourself, and that’s what matters.”

Title: Alan Cole Doesn’t Dance
Author: Eric Bell
Series: Alan Cole #2
Number of pages: 288 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Fantastic, important, emotional.
Bad things about this book: I want more books now but I’m happy how this ended.
Do I recommend it? Of course. You need to meet Alan.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Alan made me cry. He did it again with his innocence and good nature and his courage to be himself without having to endure bullism. Standing for himself and for all the people that don’t have the strength to do it. Defeating evil with kindness, with his art, one step at a time. To see the difference you want to see in the world, you have to start somewhere, right? If you don’t do anything, nothing will change, and that’s exactly what Alan thinks and why I love him so much. I adored this little book so much. I couldn’t put it down, finished it in one afternoon.

Alan is the sweetest of boys and Odin was a great addition to the narration. Odin and Alan were the cutest together; from “rivals” to art buddies. Smiles and laughter they didn’t share with anybody else, a past and present not so easy. Innocent and sweet. My heart couldn’t take all the adorableness. Alan’s friends, his family, things aren’t always great; they fight, because for things to get better, a little confrontation is necessary.

Having more queer books out in the world is the most amazing thing in the world and having more and more queer books for middle graders is even greater; this is the kind of book kids nowadays need, a book that normalizes their feelings because they aren’t wrong, they aren’t disgusting, their love is as much true as the ones of other people. They should never feel ashamed of who they are and books like this one give me so much hope they will have a safer world to live and be themselves.

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The Bones Beneath My Skin by TJ Klune

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5stars

You make yourselves a home out of nothing. You carry each other until your knees give out and you stumble. It’s almost impossible to understand. None of us could get that. Not until they felt a heart beating in a chest like I have. Not until I felt the bones beneath my skin.

Title: The Bones Beneath My Skin
Author: TJ Klune
Number of pages: 385 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Art’s view of people really got to me.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Another win for TJ Klune! This was such a lovely journey inside us as human beings with our flaws, hopes and loss. Everything that makes us. And meeting someone that society says you should fear and fight, but you will find that they will give you more than you’ve ever thought possible, when everything else was just hopeless. It was heartbreaking to see them so fragile, fighting ghosts inside them, trying to have a future full of hope.

I just loved the dynamics among the characters. Funny but not in the usual Klune’s comedy writing style, the over the top comedy I love so freaking much; the right amount of fun to fill a story full of emotions and self-discover. I found the characters full of life, trying to get to the other side of the tunnel after life tried to block their paths. So many hard lessons, so many sweet scenes, stolen moments in the middle of dangerous situations.

“Even if you think you have no faith left, I promise you, you do. All of you do. It’s easier, I think, to stay lost. But when you’re found, when you open your eyes, you can finally see the truth for what it is.”

While I usually read books with younger characters, I’m finding more and more books with older characters (as old as me or older) that I’m loving a lot. It has never happened before. Usually books with older characters all talk about the same thematic, and I can’t relate, and they often bore me. This is not the case here; I haven’t experienced what they had and I’m surely not like Artemis Darth Vader, but I have seen how the world can bring us down, how the void pulls stronger sometimes and it takes all of our strength to win the fight. Their journey softened my heart.

This is definitely a book to read without stopping. Get it all in, get the feelings, the truths, the raw love that grows slowly in time, and the one that grows all at once. You will love Alex, Nate and Art, you will love them so much it’ll be so hard to let them go.

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Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

5stars

Title: Last Seen Leaving
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Number of pages: 352 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I wanted to know more and more, I couldn’t stop reading.
Bad things about this book: Flynn’s lies were a little irritating.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

As good as I expected it to be. I kept wondering what happened to January, Flynn’s girlfriend, and I kept being on edge about Flynn lying and keeping an important part of himself hidden, a part he just wasn’t ready to tell the world.

I kind of love seeing teenagers getting justice with their own hands because their truths can’t be shared with the police and they think they can do better jobs at finding the bad guys and get them arrested. It’s fun because, in reality, it can’t happen without real consequences, but in fiction it’s all allowed, and I love it. Give me teenage vigilantes!

Flynn is a flawed character, but he is so easy to love. Yeah, I’m aware of the age gap between him and Kaz, but things kind of evolved in a very natural way that I forgot at some point they weren’t the same age. He’s is 3 years older I think, not much but enough to have more maturity when it comes to life and things in general. I just hope that in this fictional world, they can build a safe relationship and if either of them feels it’s too much, they call it quits and move on.

The ending satisfied me, as the rest of the story. I’m not usually a fan of thrillers because I need to know who did it, how and when, so I skim read, but with this one, that had also coming of age, coming out, and romance, I was glued to the pages until the very end.

I recommend it and, after this second book by this author, I can officially say that I will continue reading his books in the future. There’s come coming out on January and I can’t hardly wait, it sounds great!

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[ARC] A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love by Arden Powell

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3stars

Title: A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love
Author: Arden Powell
Release date: October 29th 2018
Number of pages: 318 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It was very easy to get into the story!
Bad things about this book: It dragged a bit in my opinion!
Do I recommend it? Yes, give it a chance.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC from NetGalley

It was cute and infuriating!! All the miscommunication bothers me a lot! And here there was so much of it!! Kris kept postponing his coming out as bisexual because he didn’t want the dynamics of the band to change, but then by not coming out his potential relationship with Rayne, who he was falling hard for, was at risk.

I couldn’t have been hard for him to tell Rayne what he felt because he was surrounded by really supportive people. He was afraid, and he shouldn’t come out if he isn’t ready, but he had more than one occasion to speak his heart, to tell Rayne even in confidence, that he was feeling things beyond friendship. Without labeling it, without coming out, he could have been more honest with Rayne. You could see from miles away how smitten they were for each other, pining for no reason, just because they were stubborn and kept things to themselves.

I always kind of like books with music bands in them. Imagining what kind of music they do, how they behave on stage and out. This was really nice, it dragged a bit, though; I thought it was almost ending when it was only at 50%. Maybe cutting some things out it would have been so much better.

Nevertheless, it was a nice book, even with the weird cult and the random peacock!

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What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

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5stars

“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.”

Title: What If It’s Us
Author: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Number of pages: 448 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: The sweetest love story I’ve read in a long time, so true and relatable!
Bad things about this book: I wanted a second epilogue, I wanted more!
Do I recommend it? Yes, two of my fav authors collaborating will always be a YES from me.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Lately it’s becoming hard for me to write reviews. I don’t know why but I struggle a lot to come up with words that describe perfectly, or in very simple words, how I felt about the book I’ve just read. It’s infuriating. I can’t seem to write anymore, and my reviews skills are getting worse. Still I persist because I quit too many times and that’s something I’m trying to do for myself: finish what I start.
I decided, though, not to write much because this book needs to be lived. Whatever I write might spoil the experience, and you know how much I love that!

PLOT —
The plot is pretty simple: boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy finds boy again, boys fall in love, but boys don’t live in the same city, are boys are destined to be heartbroken? All of that with a lot of musical references, videogames, coffee breaks, and very sweet characters in a beautiful city.

“An actual date with a boy. This is possibly, definitely the number one best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I have no chill about it. None whatsoever.”

CHARACTERS —
Arthur is really adorable: musical geek who talks a lot, believes in fate, and goes the extra mile to find a boy he thinks the universe wants him to be together with. Ben is sweet and confused, but he decides to believe in second chances and a little bit in fate so, even with his heart still healing from a bad breakup, he decides to trust his gut and try things out with this chatty boy he barely knows. The side characters are just as great, and yes, I kind of hated the ex-boyfriend, but it was just because I wanted so much the boys to be happy. So yeah, I liked them all.

It’s highly possible that this is the best I’ve ever looked. Either that or the douchiest. It could go either way.

THOUGHTS —
This book made me want to go see Hamilton again. I saw it in London last June and loved every second of it. I’ve already listened repeatedly to the soundtrack and knew it by heart, but it was like seeing it for the first time. Seeing as Arthur loves Hamilton and I love it too, I trusted his taste and listened to the whole soundtrack of Dear Evan Hansen and now I know what musical I want to see next. I’ve had Only Us stuck in my head all day! I love that song! Thanks, Arthur!!!

“Maybe this won’t work out and I won’t care about it ending. But I can’t get from A to B without us being A and B first. Live in the moment.”

CONCLUSION —
I’m not a 100% satisfied with the ending but that’s just me being picky. This book was just the right amount of fluffiness typical of Becky with a bit of “if life gives you lemons they’re probably rotten” typical of dear Adam. I keep thinking about the book, how I’ll love it when the movie comes out, how I want to wait at least a month before listening to the audiobook if it’s available, and how I picture these two boys living their best lives. I don’t usually go there, but I think I might need fanfiction. Yes, that’s how much I love it, I don’t want it to end.

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The Backstagers and the Ghost Light by Andy Mientus & Rian Sygh

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4stars

Title: The Backstagers and the Ghost Light
Author: Andy Mientus (author) & Rian Sygh (illustrator)
Series: Backstagers #1
Number of pages: 208 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Theater, musicals and ghosts!!
Bad things about this book: Nothing but now I want more and I’m impatient.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

PLOT —
How great is the backstage world? I didn’t know anything about the story behind the ghost light. Is it true? I didn’t investigate about it, but I want to believe it’s true and there are thousands of ghost lights on right now in theaters all around the world. This supernatural adventure was fun, a tiny bit scary, and sad since it dealt with loss.

CHARACTERS —
The same characters from the comics make an appearance showing more depth since there is more space for inner monologues. I loved being inside their heads and getting to know them better. They’re going through some changes and through hard times, but the good thing is they have each other and that’s beautiful. Also, new characters! Yay! Amazing addition!

THOUGHTS —
After reading the two Backstagers comics, I knew what to expect but this story just gave me more. In the comics there is so much to see, a lot of details, yet there are not enough pages to narrate a big story. They did it and I loved it, but with books, there is so much narration, more space for feelings, also more space for a little bit of heartache. I enjoyed how Andy Mientus portrayed the characters from the comics. It was a great beginning!

CONCLUSION —
From the ending and the spine of the book, this is the first of a lot of Backstagers books and I really can’t wait to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes. These stories are simple, easy to read, and very interesting. Its simplicity doesn’t take anything from the overall experience and it leaves you wanting more. And I definitely want more.

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