By the Book Review

The cover of this book is so cute that it drew me in immediately. Then I read it was a book about a girl who loves classic books and I already loved it even more.

Mary Porter-Malcolm knows a lot of classic literature, but she doesn’t know a lot about being a teenager. When she’s sent to a normal high school she makes friends who teach her about teenage life while she teaches them about boys, using men from classic books.

I found that Mary could be a little bit pretentious. I love classic novels too, but I found that she acted a little bit like she was better than everyone else because she reads so much. However, I think that might be part of the point and she definitely grew on me as the novel went on.

On a whole, I had trouble getting into the book at first, but once I got into it I was all in and actually quite enjoyed it. If you’re a fan of classic novels and YA romance, this book might be for you.

The Happiness Project: Advocacy

I had big plans this month. Mental health is a topic really close to my heart so for Mental Health Awareness Month, which is in May every year, I wanted to up my advocacy. Some of my plans didn’t happen as I planned a lot of this before COVID. For example, I was supposed to be going to a writing festival this month where I would have been on a panel about mental health and writing. Obviously that didn’t happen but some other things still did. 

I’ve had a mental health podcast for about a year now. We normally release an episode biweekly, but this month my cohost and I decided to release an episode every week. We started the month with an interview with Holly Forness on grief. All three of us have experience with the topic and we were able to discuss how different it is for everybody. Our second episode of the month was on mental health depictions in Disney movies, which was a really fun episode to record. On top of Mental Health Awareness Month, its also Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month, so our third episode was a special episode where my cohost interviewed me on living with BPD. Lastly, we ended the month with an interview with Callyn Dorval about routines and self-soothing toolboxes. You can listen to all these episodes (and our full library of episodes) here

I also planned on upping the social media for the podcast as well this month to spread awareness. I was only successful for a while. After a couple of weeks, I just didn’t seem to have the energy for it anymore.  Balancing my own mental health with wanting to be an advocate was tricky. It was triggering my anxiety too much to do some of the social media so after a couple of weeks I just accepted that we weren’t going to post much and I tried to be okay with that.

I also tried to write another piece for The Mighty for this month but it wasn’t accepted. After my luck of getting three pieces published in a row by them, it’s been hard to deal with rejection after rejection but I’m working on it. 

Join me next month for fear. An interesting topic in the time of COVID-19.

The Black Kids Review

The Black Kids is a coming of age story set in LA in the 90s. After LAPD police officers are acquitted after almost beating a black man to death, rioters start lighting the city on fire. Ashley Bennett, a wealthy black teenager tries to maintain her normal life in the middle of a crisis.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The premise sounded interesting and I’m always here for diverse books. Unfortunately, there were a few things that took me out of the story. The author waited too long to reveal that the book is set in the 90s and it took me by surprise when she did. I just wanted time and place to be revealed a little sooner.

I also feel like most of the things that happened in this book were in the background and that the protagonist wasn’t very active.  I didn’t want to compare it in my head to The Hate U Give, but I couldn’t help it, and it just didn’t stand up to that novel.

That being said, it was still an enjoyable and poignant read that fans of The Hate U Give will enjoy.

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly Review

This book was so much fun! I can’t resist a good girl-power story, and this novel had that in spades.

When Kit Sweetly replaces her brother for a night as a Knight in a show at a medieval-themed restaurant, she starts a revolution against the boys only hiring practice of the knights.

I’ve said it time and time again, my biggest pet peeve with characters is when they can’t communicate and they lie to each other or keep things from each other. I found Kit to be frustrating because of her insistence on keeping things from her friends.

Despite that, I loved her tenacity. The pop culture references were abundant, but I found them to be quite charming. Overall the book was really sweet and empowering and I give it 4 stars.

Sing Like No One’s Listening Review

Thank you to Peachtree Publishing for sending me an ARC.

This book was such a beautiful tale of literally finding your own voice again after a tragedy.

Nettie Delaney has been accepted to the same prestigious theatre school that her mother went to, the only problem is that she hasn’t been able to sing since her mother died. With help from a mysterious piano player, Nettie just might be able to find her voice again.

The characters and the emotions felt so real to me. I really loved that aspect of it. It was a simple plot but the characters and emotions were so complex that it didn’t need anymore.

However, there were a couple of loose ends in the plot that I really felt needed to be tied up. There were so many hints about her father and some of the teachers and I would have liked the ends to be tied up a bit.

The theatre nerd in me was delighted with this. 4 stars.

What I like About You Review

YA books and cupcakes? Sounds like a perfect combination. This book is just as sweet as it sounds.

Halle Levitt lives a double life. She’s Halle, a teenage girl who just moved to a new town with her brother to live with their grandfather while their parents work on a documentary. She’s also Kels, a book blogger and the creator of One True Pastry, a blog that combines YA book covers with cupcakes. What happens when her two worlds collide when she meets her internet best friend in real life?

I thought the premise was cute, and even though I usually find characters lying to each other b=very frustrating, it sort of made sense here and I was able to forgive it.

One thing that did bother me though was the constant bashing of adults reading YA. I get what the author was trying to say, that YA is especially for teens, but as an adult who reads and writes YA, I can’t help but feel insulted.

Despite that, the book was still a delight and I give it 4 cupcake covered stars.