A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove ☆

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5starsplus

Hope was a dangerous thing, and it had no place here.

Title: A Boy Worth Knowing
Author: Jennifer Cosgrove
Number of pages: 172 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Nate is the sweetest and he really is worth knowing.
Bad things about this book: Too short? Maybe not, it ended perfectly.
Do I recommend it? Yes, please love it as much as I did.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I LOVED IT!!! It was adorable and sweet and gave me so many feelings!! At one point I was fuming, almost crying because I was sad and frustrated. My poor baby Nate; such a short book giving my heart an incredibly hard time. It was hardly fair because I cared for Nate and it was an immediate thing the attachment I felt for him. I didn’t think it was rushed; you just met the guy and start wanting all the best for him. Simple as that.

Since he was twelve, Nate has been able to see and communicate with the dearly departed. It’s a family thing but his ability is somewhat stronger than his relatives’. As a result, his own mother who lacks the medium ability is scared of him and kicks him out of the house and forbids his sister to have contacts with him. It was hard for me not to want to reach inside the pages and slap the woman. That sweet boy was hurt and his mother didn’t want to have anything to do with him. He goes to live with his aunt and talks frequently with his grandma who passed away a couple years before. She is a great confidant; a little nosey, though.

Dear, sweet Aunt Susan, what is it like in your simple life? Where people actually talked to each other? Asked questions and got answers? What was that like? I bit my tongue.

Nate is an outcast, bullied and ignored by his schoolmates who call him crazy. Nate is lonely and resigned to be by himself until the new boy, James, sits next to him and friendship blooms almost immediately. James likes Nate and Nate is confused by this: does he like him as a friend or maybe he can hope for something more? Oh boy, Nate was conflicted and didn’t want to risk the only friend he had to find out if they could be something more.

To make things weirder, if that was even possible, James had a ghost in tow: his brother David who passed away only a few months before James moved. James is clearly mourning his brother but won’t talk about it. He is suffering and David appears very often to tell Nate to help his brother move on so that he can be happy again. David and Nana are somewhat love advisors to Nate with his struggles of the heart. Nate likes James a lot and I suffer with him everyday he can’t tell James how he feels; every time Nate suffered because of James, I suffered and my heart broke in a million pieces.

He chuckled, and I was quietly overwhelmed by the idea that someone wanted to talk to me.

The frustration and sadness I felt reading some chapters were overwhelming; I thought I was going to start ugly sobbing at any moment. I did have tears in my eyes. I was so sad for Nate and for all the unfairness he was experiencing. I thought he was incredible and the thought of him being used to be alone, to be disappointed and left behind, made me hurt so much I still want to cry just thinking about it.

This book was so short but so full of emotions. I loved every page of it and I will put it in my favorites book drawers in my mind. It deserves this and much more. It was an adorable love story with a twist of paranormal so it was just the kind of book that’ll get to me and I was not disappointed. Not one bit.

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It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

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3stars

Is that how hearts work? Is love just a parasite that jumps bodies?

Title: It Only Happens in the Movies
Author: Holly Bourne
Number of pages: 384 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: The paragraphs with all the romantic movies clichés at the beginning of the chapters!
Bad things about this book: I found the main character not very likeable but that’s my opinion. Nothing bad about the book per se.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s very enjoyable.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I finished it yesterday but gave myself the whole night to think about it and this morning I’m confirming what I thought yesterday.
While I enjoyed it, minus some parts, I found myself laughing just a little and shaking my head a lot.
I kind of want to write a spoilery review because there’s one thing that bothered me so much I’m still mad about it. There were a few minor things that, in my opinion, were left just there while they needed to be explained. Give me all the facts and I will formulate my opinion, okay?

I read this fast because I wanted to see how it was going to end yet knowing how things were going to unfold but in the end it just didn’t get to me. I related to Audrey in some aspects but I didn’t connect with her. I don’t know how to explain it. I didn’t find myself cheering for her happy ending like I usually do in this kind of books. Why???

I didn’t like Audrey very much; I found her a little bit too whiny and I’m not talking about the obvious reasons she has to be whiny about but the boys’ reasons. It became more annoying the more I read. She had an embarrassing and traumatic experience with a stupid ex-boyfriend and now she does everything in her power to feel guilty on the inside and isolating herself on the outside. It’s not going well, she is stuck because she let her self-isolation going for too long and now she doesn’t know what to do to get her friends back and to stop being ashamed to be in the same room as her ex. Now she can’t stand romantic movies with all their perfection and happily ever afters.

I don’t think her problems are trivial and I cannot judge the way people might react to certain situations. We can’t act and react all the same way but her voice doesn’t resonate with my feelings. I don’t feel sad for her, I don’t root for her, I don’t care if she gets the boy or if she gets to make her dreams of acting come true. I found myself thinking she was often selfish and incoherent. You can’t be mad at people not doing what you think they are supposed to do. If something is not fair, say something! You can’t expect people to act how you want them to act, to behave the way you want them to behave. It doesn’t work that way. Yes, you have to tell someone if what they’re doing hurts you or annoys you, but you don’t get to reshape them completely to please you.

If you want a personalized boyfriend then maybe you were born in the wrong century. It’ll be easy to build yourself a perfect machine who does everything the right way. What’s the fun in that, though? I felt that Audrey was projecting all the things she wanted in a relationship in Harry and he, with his many flaws, was destined to fail in the boyfriend exam sooner or later. She’s been warned about him, she knew he liked to do many things she didn’t like; love is powerful but two very opposite people can only have a tiny fraction of happiness before everything goes kaboom. People reshape themselves a little when they’re in a relationship, each maintaining their peculiarities and personalities, but starting up with so many red flags sure isn’t the best way to built something that’s going to last or make you happy.

I guess I just didn’t like the way she faced the world. It’s a pity: I wanted to like her and to like this book with such a cute cover. There were positive aspects I liked about this book, for example I agreed with all the ridiculous clichés she wrote about romantic movies. Those bits were fun to read; I instantly thought of so many movies with those exact same scenes.

I have been avoiding the spoilery part of the review because I’m still conflicted: do I say it or not? That bit bothered me and it’s still bothering me to no end. It’s about Harry. I think the parts that really bothered me were about him and how those things weren’t explained or treated the way they deserved. I think I’ll carry this with me and it’s going to the unresolved stuff drawer in my brain. Oh well!

I will still read Holly Bourne’s books because I have always enjoyed them. Always! I trust her to come out with a new book that will give me smiles and happiness!

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The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

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4stars

“Being lost, being without the plan I’d armed myself with my entire life, got me out of my comfort zone in ways that challenged me and forced me to grow as a person.”

Title: The Big F
Author: Maggie Ann Martin
Series: /
Number of pages: 304 (paperback)
Good things about this book: Sweet and funny and well-written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it is a fast read.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Super cheesy. Extra cheesy. Cheese fest!! I can’t deny that cheese carnivals make me laugh but at the same time I like them. Really like them. It’s cliché, it’s predictable, it’s my safe haven. You just know that no matter how many things go wrong there’s going to be a happy ending that’ll make you all smiles and giggles. Just how I like them.

I couldn’t put it down and as much as it was almost 99% obvious how this was going to end, I wanted to know how they were going to get there. I was happy the dreaded trio was not present; won’t say what those are because it may spoil the book a little but if you want to know if there is something you won’t like, just ask.

I feel happy and light right now. The perfect book to calm my restless soul. The little things gave this binge-reading adventure a cute side; the family drama, the friendships, the love for pizza, the pressure of not being a disappointment, and love. You may think everything will go wrong because of one mistake, one failure, but then you take the wheel of your life and lead it to a different road, in the meantime finding different parts about yourself that you just didn’t know were there.

“Did you moan after eating an Oreo?” Porter asked.
I smacked him on the chest. “Shut up. It was delicious.”

Danielle failed a class and now she can’t go the college she chose, that her mom “the college whisperer” thought was perfect for her. Time to think of a plan B and set things straight: find a job, register to the community college for one semester and pass that damned class, be stronger, be independent, find the way to get back to the planned path. Easy! Add Danielle’s childhood crush, a coworker and his notebooks of gossip (yes, that’s a gossip journal, Porter), and maybe this plan B will have a few unpredictable turns.

Luke is a nice guy, maybe too busy with football training and team dinners, but he is sweet and you see he likes Danielle. It just seems too perfect from the beginning, like it was supposed to be that way because they already knew each other and it looked like fate. I thought Luke was a little flat, his personality just didn’t show, he was just nice, and I only saw him as a handsome guy with very blond hair. Love is in the air? I didn’t feel it.

He liked to act all tough and smart and cool, but really he was just a nice kid with eyelashes that were too long for his own good.

Porter, Danielle’s coworker at the bookstore, is the boy with the gossip notebooks and the long eyelashes. He likes to write whatever he sees that catches his eyes. He calls himself observant, maybe he is a little judgey, who knows? Maybe he is both. His little notebooks are a nice touch, though; they give him something more than what Luke has, they make him more interesting. Porter is Luke’s roommate: love triangle? Porter and Luke would have made a wonderful couple but that’s just me and my rainbow filter.

This book is a journey to find who Danielle truly is and wants in life; what she is passionate about not what she thinks she likes to do. It’s about self-discovery and taking her life in her hands and fighting the monster of failure to achieve the level of certainty of who she wants to be. It’s light and fun, sweet and cheesy, and it didn’t make me angry, not once: that’s a plus some books just don’t have.

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[ARC] Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

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4stars

“Are you a bad person? Of course not. Does that mean you’ll always do the right thing? Of course not. No one’s perfect.”

Title: Nyxia
Author: Scott Reintgen
Series: The Nyxia Triad #1
Number of pages: 384 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Nyxia is a pretty amazing element.
Bad things about this book: Forced romance plotline, unnecessary.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from Netgalley*

Besides one forced and gratuitous flaw, I enjoyed this more than anticipated. I still like Longwei, a side character that spoke almost never, more than I liked Emmett, the main character. We’ll see in the next book if I change my mind.

There’s always this problem with YA sci-fi in which the author thinks it’s a must to insert a romance plotline even if it’s stretched and we can very much live on without it. I was afraid it was going to happen here and it happened unfortunately but not like I expected; it was worse. I’m not going to say more about it but luckily it didn’t spoil the book altogether. I just hope it’s not going to happen again. I’m not a teenager, I haven’t been one for over a decade, but I know for sure that if there is not romance in a YA sci-fi, it’s not a big deal if the book delivers what it promises. This was doing just that and then, it fell into the void of things unnecessary.

Letting that slip because I’m a nice and patient person, I found myself liking a lot of the elements of this book and loving so many more. The twists, the mysterious nyxia, the characters, and space. I love space so much! The whole book is about the journey of these teenagers from Earth to a faraway planet called Eden where they are going to mine nyxia while earning a ton of money.

“But they don’t tell you the pain comes with you. They don’t tell you that hurt travels at light-speed too.”

These teenagers weren’t chosen randomly; there are 10 of them, all poor and broken. They are the perfect candidates for this mission because they are desperate and willing to sacrifice their time and strength to give a better tomorrow to their beloved ones at home. They are forced to compete against each other to gain passage to Eden, the planet with Nyxia mines, an element that is going to change life as they know it.

These boys and girls are all from different parts of the world so they don’t speak the same language. After all the mission is run by Babel Corporation so it seemed right. They all have a mask that translates everything they say; they speak and the voice translated reaches the ears of all the others wearing identical masks. It’s an incredible idea! I loved it!

I loved it almost as much as I loved nyxia. This element was given to each of them in the form of a ring and, through mind communication, they could transform it into what they wanted. The limit, you guessed right, is your imagination. Nyxia consumes your energy because in a way it is a part of you and you have to be careful because, being an element that has a mind of its own, it can take over and destroy you from inside out.

“Well, the first guy on the ground isn’t always the one who loses the fight, Doc.”

I loved their challenges, their friendship, also the twists, and I loved how the characters were all so different. As I said, I loved Longwei: he speaks little to nothing, he doesn’t socialize, he is smart and strong, but he sometimes lets his mask slip and shows a little vulnerability, he looks his age. He’s been chosen so he has to have a hard past and maybe also a hard present, and I can’t wait to see what’s beneath the walls he’s built.

This book isn’t without flaws but it’s a nice one. This is a promising beginning to a series that I know will deliver what I’m expecting. It has what it takes to be great.

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[ARC] They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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5stars

I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line, but I never ran the race.

Title: The Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Good things about this book: It’s a Silvera book!
Bad things about this book: Well, the end that was spoiled in the title.
Do I recommend it? Yes, and if you haven’t, I also recommend his other two books!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

“ARC by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review”

The Silvera Experience is always one of a kind but my heart is still not used to it: it’s an experience of love, tears, and so many thoughts your brain may explode. I finished reading the book yesterday night and every time my mind is not busy it goes back to the book. It’s a terrifying concept the one introduced here with the calls telling you about your imminent death. It’s terrifying because once you know that it’s impossible to not think about it. Then you ask yourself: what am I going to do today before I die? Did I live my life right? Do I have regrets?

I’m shaken by how Adam Silvera can get to me with simple words. Simple words in a slightly different kind of world, not the one we live in right now but it’s so close to it that it scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t put it down once I started it and now I have my heart in my hands, tears in my eyes, and not a single idea of how to put it into words.

No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.

Mateo and Rufus receive a call, THE call, telling them this is the day they’re going to die. They don’t know when and how but they know it’s going to happen before midnight. They are very different people with very different lives but destiny is a funny lady and this dreadful news brings them together on the day their lives are going to end. The Last Friend app brings together people on their End Day that don’t have anyone to spend their day with or that don’t want the people they care about seeing them dying.

I loved how their weird friendship starts and slowly they share their feelings, their pasts, their fears, and they get to have a last glimpse of love. It’s not instant, it’s not forced; it is how it is. Two boys that are going to die, getting close enough to have one more regret about the life they’re leaving behind too soon: a great love story that could have been, a happy life they could have shared. Just thinking about it fills me with sadness and it makes me realize how it’s never too late and even when it’s too late, it is still worth it.

“Why can’t we have a chance?” I ask Rufus.
“A chance at what?” He’s looking around, taking pictures of the arena and the lines.
“A chance at another chance.” I say.

At first I thought that knowing about your death in some ways triggered a chain reaction that would get you to the death that was predicted. It all seemed plausible and I found myself thinking that maybe without knowing they would’ve done things differently and destiny could’ve been rewritten giving them a second chance, maybe also a third. Like your path is not set in stone and it could change.

As I read on, though, I realized that no matter what things you may decide to do on your End Day, death would still find you. You can’t escape death and you’re certainly not meeting death because of the choices you’re making that day: you’re just changing the journey, taking a different road, but the destination it’s still the same. You’re given a chance to say goodbye, to have closure, to tied loose ends, to try things you weren’t brave enough to try before, and I think that’s really scary yet somehow liberating. I don’t know what I would do if knew today was my last day alive: I would freak out, that’s for sure.

I wondered if it was possible to ask them not to tell you when you were going to die, that maybe it could be an option you decided not to have. Then again, without the phone call Rufus and Mateo would still be dead but they wouldn’t have met, and they wouldn’t have been the last rays of sunshine they’ve seen in this world that had them for such a short time.

I wasted time and missed fun because I cared about the wrong things.

Adam Silvera has confirmed himself once again one of my favourite authors and I think he’s going to be one for a very long time. I can’t recommend his books enough and this is not an exception. Go get yourself a Silvera book, you won’t regret it.

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

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5stars

“Love makes us such fools.”

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Good things about this book: It is magical and so well-written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Perfect narration, lovely characters, a wonderful story told by an exceptional person. Felt like being in a world that was a mix of Amélie Poulain and Pushing Daisies. This book felt like all the colours, the brightest ones. It was enchanting and magical. I loved it all; I also loved how mad certain passages made me feel, at the way the scenes narrated made me navigate through my emotions. It was the perfect book, of the perfect length, for perfect summer afternoons. I read it slowly enjoying every bit of it.

The whole book is told by Ava Lavender: an exceptional girl born with a pair of extraordinary wings. Ava and her twin brother, Henry, are two peculiar children, each of them with something that make them stand up to the world, that make people see them as different. Ava with her wings and Henry with his silence and amazing map drawing skills.

The story, as much as it is about Ava, it is more about her family: her grandmother and mother’s adventures mainly. Ava recounts the story of her great-grandparents when they decided to move, with their four children, from a little town in France to Manhattan. It is a sad story about misunderstandings, love, lost love, pain and death. It seems that nothing goes right to the women of their family when it comes to love.

She worried she couldn’t protect me from all the things that had hurt her: loss and fear, pain and love.
Most especially from love.

I really loved how things were told, the feeling you got of the surroundings really brought out all the magical realism of the story. How the natural elements were mixed up with magic, without being weird or exaggerated, was done perfectly. There’s so much magic in this book and it fits it like a glove. I wish I lived in Ava’s world with ghosts, wings, baked goods that could change your mood, a weird house and its marvelous inhabitants. They brought me joy and I read about theirs lives feeling like a friend.

She learned how to worry. She, who’d always thought love’s only companion was sorrow, learned that worry came hand in hand with love.

Ava Lavender is just a girl. Her mother, Vivian, is just a heartbroken woman. Her grandmother, Emilienne, is just a baker. They are “just” something until you stop looking at the surface without seeing how many layers of magic, kindness and strength there is inside each one of these women. They are the powerhouses of this book. They are what make you turn the pages anxious to know more, to see them get the ending they truly deserve.

I recommend this if you’re looking for a magical book but as much as it is a light and easy read, check the trigger warnings and if knowing everything you still want to give it go, then you have my full approval!

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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5stars

We are not the same being we once were.
So then, if we are no longer human, what are we?

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Good things about this book: It is well written and it has a very original (and scary) plot.
Bad things about this book: When I bought it I thought it was a stand alone but it turns out it isn’t and I have to wait a lot for the sequel.
Do I recommend it? Yes yes yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This scared the hell out of me. Second book by Shusterman and second win for me, that’s for sure. He writes and takes you to an adventure, gets you hooked up into the story with amazing descriptions of a world, so vivid, you believe it exists yet you don’t want to live in it. It was scary because of its realness. This was such a compelling story and it had this depth in it that made me realize that no matter what will happen, our future won’t be nice. How is it that we are forever destined to ruin every good thing the world offers us?

People prophesized doom at the hands of a soulless machine. But apparently the machine had a purer soul than any human.

The Earth in this book has defeated diseases and death, and its society is run by the Thunderhead, an AI pure and just who helps everyone. Long story short, the world is great. But there’s only one problem: if people don’t die, there won’t be enough space for all of them to live, eat, to work. People in it “survives”: they take jobs that aren’t really necessary, go to school when they don’t really need it, have lots of children they don’t want to take care of. They are not truly living because when you are not afraid of mortality, poverty and hunger, then what really is your purpose?

Immortality has turned us all into cartoons.

That’s how the Scythedom was born. Scythes have the power to glean people, killing them definitely, taking them off a world where they are immortal and they can reset their age whenever they like. Scythes are human beings that are given a license to kill (and to grant 1 year immunity if they want to) without consequences, without laws forbidding it, with the world scared of them but at the same time charmed by them. Charmed by these people in colorful robes who can randomly select you to remove you from the world, adding your death to their annual quota of people that need to be killed in order to maintain balance in population.

Power comes infected with the only disease left to us: the virus called human nature.

Scythes’ actions are not ruled by the Thunderhead, who is always just and never makes mistakes, so they are flawed: they’re humans after all. There is corruption, favoritism, unnecessary cruelty, and people are unaware of all that. They just keep on living until one of those Scythes decides you can no longer keep doing that. Maybe the decision was truly random or maybe just maybe that scythe didn’t like you because you were too rich, too ugly or too fat. Are they punished for being biased and unjust? Not really.

To put oneself above all other laws is a fundamental recipe for disaster.

It was obvious that in a society with no more death or diseases and only one self governed institution that proclaims itself above all laws there’d be corruption. It makes me sick thinking how inevitable it was because, of course, they are humans and humans with power are dangerous. Give a group of people too much power over humanity and you’ll see how everything the Thunderhead worked so hard for crumbles, one little piece at a time.

This book is about two scythe apprentices, Citra and Rowan, and the different paths they take and are forced to take in the year of training before the last test that will proclaim them fit or unfit for the role. Following their mentor around, the lovely Honorable Scythe Faraday, will show them what lies behind the scenes of gleaning. Will they like what they see? Can they see themselves wearing the scythe robe and killing people? Will they ever lose their humanity and start enjoying it?

There’s so much to say about this book but none of the things I can say about it will make it justice. I wrote vaguely about what is the reality of the book and what is it about but, trust me, it is so much more than that. This book has lots of layers and without reading it you wouldn’t unravel it the right way, in the right order. I will end up spoiling the journey and this is a journey I took and recommend everyone to take.

My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human.

Experience their journey first hand. Fall in love with characters, and hate other characters. Cheer for them. Have your heart broken and wish you had nanites inside of you like them that’ll make you heal and calm yourself in no time. Be mad at the injustice. Be frustrated at how ugly humans can really be when they think only about themselves and their wellbeing. Be moved. Learn. Be ready for all of this can seem improbable but maybe it is not after all.

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