Review: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Title:What to Say Next

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Published: 11 July 2017 | Delacorte Press

Date Read: 08 July 2017

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

*Finished copy kindly provided by Penguin Random House for review*

Ever since reading Tell Me Three Things I told myself that I would read anything and everything Julie Buxbaum writes. Luckily, the awesome people from PRH gave me a chance to read an early copy of her new novel What To Say Next.

Before I started writing this review, I’m contemplating if I loved What To Say Next more than I loved Tell Me Three Things. I rated both books 5 stars so that was immediately a dead end for me, but then I realized these two books differ from one another. What To Say Next tackles a very different plot line with a different set of unique characters comparing to Tell Me Three Things.

Written in alternating POV’s of the main characters David and Kit –  What To Say Next is about these two people who are socially different from one another but both going thru a rough and tough time. From the characters, the plot and even the sub-plot – everything clicked and worked out great for me.

“Good-weird is what I’ve been telling myself I am for years, when being just plain weird was too much of a burden to carry. Good-weird is the only solution to the problem, when normal isn’t a viable option. Good-weird may very well be the opposite of cool, but I’ve never aspired to cool. At least not the version of it I’m familiar with.”

David is different. That’s my first impression of him as I started reading this book. But what becomes prominent as I go on reading is that he’s different in a good way – intelligent, honest and has a good heart. He is dubbed as a loner at school because he’s always by himself with his headphones and notebook in his own world but I adored him. For some reason, it’s not a tough job to connect with David because he wears his heart on his sleeve.

He has a high-functioning autism, possibly Asperger’s making him more “different” especially with the kids from school. Some are cruel to him but he eventually got used and grown into it. With his trusty journal that he filled with his daily observations, he also has a list of people to help him remember who are “good” and “bad”.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever read a book tackling the subject of autism but what I’m sure of in reading about it here is that the author was able to capture the struggles of having it realistically.  We saw it on David’s POV and even saw it on how his parents and sister have treated him. This story also taught me that the autism spectrum is multidimensional, not linear. There are different kinds of it that sometimes can’t be seen with bare eyes. Aside from those, it also made me realize just how cruel society sometimes can be especially to people like David who are nothing but intelligent and kind but was treated as weird and with endless judgement just because he has autism.

But overall the story, I love David’s blunt honesty, awkwardness and geekiness. I appreciate the knowledge that he shared about Quantum Mechanics. *wink*

“I realize we all walk around pretending we have some control over our fate, because to recognize the truth-that no matter what we do, the bottom will fall out when we least expect it-is just too unbearable to live with.”

Kit is having a hard time dealing with grief. Her father tragically dies in a car accident over a month ago, and she’s grieving in her own way. With this grief, Kit begins to shut down everyone – her friends and even her mom.

She’s a mystery. That’s my initial impression of her. She doesn’t speak much about her past but I do know it has something to do on how she’s acting at the present. She’s really a tough character who barely cried during her father’s death. As a daughter who is closer to her father as well, I hurt and still hurting for Kit’s loss.

Being on the top of the social ladder on their school, it was a surprise for David and everyone at school when Kit sits by David every lunch time. They barely talk at first until David begins talking about Quantum Mechanics and from there begins an unlikely friendship.

Of course, this friendship is not all rainbows and flowers. They are both keepers of things to themselves and it took them sometime to open to one another, but as the pages go forward – seeing their friendship unfolds and blossom into something more, it was beautiful to read. They fit well together despite their differences.

Aside from David and Kit, the secondary characters are well written as well. There is David’s sister and parents and Kit’s friends – whom I thought would bash her out after leaving them but instead waited for her to grieve on her own way and will be there for Kit with arms wide open.

As typical of Julie Buxbaum, the writing flowed smoothly. Each chapter was quick to read and the thoughts are straightforward. I love the dual POV as we get to read what is inside David and Kit’s thoughts. There is a romance part of course, it was cute and swoony but it is not the highlight of the story. It was presented in a very subtle way for me. The story has deep issues – death, autism and grief –  it was handled seriously but there is no dark and depressing tone into it which is like a magic in writing.

Of course, revelation/climax part. At around 45% of reading, secrets are being unveiled. I do have hints here and there but it still surprised me in a way.

“Unimaginably bad things happened. We are left to choose whether to grow or to wither. To forgive or to fester. I’m going to choose to grow and forgive, for both myself and my mom.”

In just 300 pages or so, the story was able to explore the complexity of life and death and accepting the changes the life has given us. It packs a lot of lessons and emotions so get yourself ready as you read this.

This is probably one of the longest review I’ve written and it feels like my thoughts are everywhere, but please do yourselves a big favor and pick-up this book and other books by Julie Buxbaum. You will not regret it.

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Challenge: 2017 ARC August

ARC August is one of my most anticipated challenge every year. I have a never ending pile of ARC’s (old and new) waiting to be read and this yearly challenge always makes me feel motivated to attack that said pile.

For the new ones, here’s how ARC August works…

What is ARC August?

ARC August is all about YOUR personal goal in regards to YOUR ARCs! The only real rule for ARC August is any books you count towards the challenge MUST be an ARC. It can be an e-ARC or physical ARC. It can have a 2018, 2017, 2016 release date or an overdue date of 2010! As long as it is an ARC we won’t judge you or take that accomplishment lightly.

No blog necessary to participate, but you’ll need to include some form of social media as part of your sign up and use the #ARCAugust on social media to check-in

You can see more details about this challenge from the lovely blog of Read.Sleep.Repeat

This year, I’m pledging to read 10 ARC’s. 2 are upcoming titles for this month of August and in e-arc format,  5 titles are early 2017 releases & 3 tiles are 2016 releases and in paperback formats. So without further adieu, here are the 10 books I’m pledging to read for this year’s ARC August…

  1. Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas
  2. The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims
  3. Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein
  4. Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1) by Lexa Hillyer
  5. Literally by Lucy Keating
  6. The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato
  7. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  8. The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras
  9. Be Good Be Real Be Crazy by Chelsey Philpot
  10. What the Dead Want by Norah Olson

Sign-ups are still open until 15 August. Here is the sign up link. So what are you waiting for?


You, have you joined ARC August? How many ARC’s do you pledge to read? I ‘m totally interested to know. 🙂

Anticipated Releases: August 2017

It feels like it was just last week when I posted my July Anticipated Releases and now and I’m here again, posting a list of books I’m excited about for August. Whew, the days do run by so fast, right?

The list of books I made below is a mixture of YA-Contemporary, Romance and Fantasy. I’m really excited about the variety of books that I’ve listed. And without further ado, here are my Anticipated Releases for August…

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Release Date: 01 August 2017

Jillian and Max are long-time friends. Jillian knew that kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea. Aside from her dad not approving of Max, he also has a girlfriend. But then not kissing Max is easier said than done..

This is one of those hyped up books on twitter and I kinda get excited for it because of the very YA-Contemporary-ish cover but the blurb makes me a bit hesitant in reading it because I hate love triangles. I’m 75% still up into reading this, so might as well just give it a try.


The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
Release Date: 08 August 2017

I miss reading Fantasy novels and hopefully, this book will break my fantasy books reading slump.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is about a 16-year old girl who is solely focused in getting into a top-tier college. That is until  her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore. With the guidance of her schoolmate Quentin, Genie Lo’s priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged. She will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin says that she have.


Royally Endowed (Royally #3) by Emma Chase
Release Date: 14 August 2017

I’m an avid follower of Emma Chase especially of her Royally Series. I’ve always been a sucker for Royalty stories and this series just keeps getting better and better for me.

I’m really really really dying to read Ellie and Logan’s story!!!!

 


How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat
Release Date: 15 August 2017

This is quite an intriguing contemporary novel that is very timely for the rampant usage of social media nowadays. When Vicky’s bestfriend moved away, she became more isolated and a loner. So she decided to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. That is until she realized that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.

Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are.


The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims
Release Date: 15 August 2017

The Art of Feeling is a contemporary novel that is about the friendship between a girl in constant pain and a boy who feels nothing at all.  I’m curious and excited to meet Samantha and Eliot. Both experiencing depression but in an entirely different ways.

As they grow closer, they begin to confront Sam’s painful memories and of Eliot’s medical condition and  self-destructive tendencies.


Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino
Release Date: 15 August 2017

I’ll be preparing my tissue and comfort food as I wait for the release of this new novel by Renee Carlino. The blurb of this book already made me feel a bit emotional, what more if I get to read the whole book? I’m excited to read about Charlotte and Adam and their whirlwind adventure on love and life. There’s quite a mystery (I guess) involved in the story with the whole “ending has already been written” part of the blurb but one thing I’m pretty sure of is this book will be bringing us all in a roller coaster kind of emotional ride.


Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens
Release Date: 22 August 2017

This story is about a girl named Billie who struggles in fitting the mold of what everyone  says she should be. But what basically stands out for me and me me curious about this book is Billie might be in love with her friend Woods at the same time she might also be in love with her other friend Janie Lee.

I’ve always been curious and a bit excited to read queer novels. I’m also curious how the author will be handling this subject especially a lot of people are quite sensitive about it. Nevertheless, I’m excited to read this one and to meet Billie.


The Beauty of Us (Fusion #4) by Kristen Proby
Release Date: 22 August 2017

This fourth installment for the Fusion Series is about Riley – Seduction’s resident marketing and publicity expert. With the fame and success of their restaurant – Seduction – it was no surprise that a TV Network wanted to feature them. Convincing her friends and co-owners of the restaurant on this might be quite a challenge but she’ll do anything for it because this is just an opportunity they cannot pass. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Okay, I’m already excited for the angst and romance! Are you? 😉


The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) by Katharine McGee
Release Date: 29 August 2017

To be honest, I haven’t read The Thousandth Floor yet (and that book has been on my TBR since last year 🙈) but hopefully this month, I’ll be able to get a copy of the 1st book as well as this 2nd one. I’m so looking forward in binge-reading these books!


Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: 29 August 2017

This book is probably one of my the hyped out book to be released this August. Now, who wouldn’t be hyped out with its? It’s Wonderwoman and it is written by Leigh Bardugo. ‘Nuff said. 😆 But on a serious note, what makes me more excited to read this is because it screams ‘girl power’. I’m all into books that have feminine protagonists that are independent and strong. I’m also excited to read how the original story of Wonderwoman will be woven here.


You, what are your anticipated books for August? Feel free to share them with me on the comment page below. 💜

ARC Review: I See London, I See France (I See London, I See France #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Title: I See London, I See France (I See London, I See France #1)

Author: Sarah Mlynowski

Published: 11 July 2017 | Harper Teen

Date Read: 26 June 2017

Synopsis:

I see London, I see France
I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.

*ARC Kindly provided by HarperTeen thru Edelweiss for review*

DISCLAIMER:

This book is meant for more mature audiences. I’m expecting for this to include a bit of kisses here and there because it was tagged as YA but I was surprised that there’s a LOT more than that. There are quite some wild activities – smoking pot and watching live sex in Amsterdam – so definitely, this is for more mature audiences.

Now that I had that disclaimer out, let’s go on to what I really thought about the whole story. I’ve always been a fan of books that involves travelling – road trips, crossing countries, etc – whatever type of travelling a book involves, I’m up to it. That’s why it was no surprise that I put I See London, I See France on my anticipated reads this July, because it involves travelling specifically in the European Region.

“I could practically taste the fresh air. The fresh air, gelato, macarons and stinky cheese”

Sydney and Leela are off to a month of travelling in Europe visiting some of the most amazing cities – London, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, Pisa, Florence, Venice. Aside from going to these places, there are new people to meet, new foods to try and some people from their current lives they cross paths with.

The thing I enjoyed most while reading this is how the author described each places Sydney and Leela visited. I get the feel that the author did not simply researched about these places but have experienced the very same adventure that Sydney and Leela has been too. I love how each city were described – their culture, the people and the food!

The set of characters that this book has couldn’t get more unique and different from one another. Reading them altogether was fun even though there’s two characters that annoyed me and one I can’t seem to know what to think about.

Sydney is an okay character. She’s very caring to the people around her – family and friends. She’s so open to every adventure that comes to her way even though she did seem shy and aloof on the first few pages of the book.

Leela on the other hand, quite annoyed me for most part of the book. I hate how self-absorbed and childish she may seem for some time. But I did appreciate the change in her on the last pages of the book.

“A friendship can’t survive on childhood memories alone. We have to create new experiences, or the friendship will shrivel up.”

Sydney and Leela has been separated for a year because of college and this trip is their one and only time again to be with one another. They are off to a very rocky start on the trip. Add in unexpected people travelling with them and everything comes way way more crazy. They had their misunderstandings along but they did manage to work things out. I believe these two will go back home with a stronger friendship bond.

Aside from the travelling and friendship aspects of the story, I really appreciate how the author managed to squeeze in and handle what Sydney’s mom is going thru. Sydney’s mother is dealing with Agrophobia. I know what Agrophobia means but this book has let me look at it from a very different context that It’s not just fear of going to public places but being afraid of being out in public and losing control.

In all, it has been a wild and fun reading adventure. Though the ending feels a bit abrupt, I still loved it. Though, I would’ve appreciate it more if we were given a few more pages to save that happy ending. *wink*

ARC Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi

Author: Sandhya Menon

Published: 30 May 2017 | Simon Pulse

Date Read: 10 June 2017

Synopsis:

A New York Times bestseller

The rom-com that everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

*ARC kindly provided by Simon Pulse thru Edelweiss for review*

Ever since I read about When Dimple Met Rishi, I’m immediately head-over-heels excited for it and wanted to read it pronto! Some of you might say and may find this book cliché and predictable but for me, this is one of the most adorable, fun and lighthearted book I’ve read this year!!!

“It was beginning. Her freedom, her independence, her period of learning-about herself, about the world, about her career. She was finally doing it. Here, she wouldn’t be Dimple Shah, wayward, Americanized daughter of immigrant parents; she’d be just Dimple Shah, future web developer.”

Dimple Shah is attending the Insomnia Con – a camp for aspiring web developers. She’s off to Stanford at the end of summer and she’s pretty much excited to start college and study coding.

Rishi Patel is attending the Insomnia Con – a camp for aspiring web developers. But he’s not an aspiring web developer. He’s there to woo Dimple Shah, his future wife.

When Dimple Met Rishi is like a dose of a romantic comedy movie. Written in alternating POV’s of Dimple and Rishi, there’s the awkward first meet, the getting to know you, the fun moments and of course the falling in love. As I’ve mentioned earlier, some readers might find this story cliché and predictable but I find it adorable, fun and fresh. I’m excited with each turn of the page.

Dimple and Rishi are probably one of the most fun and memorable characters I’ve read. They feel real and very much relatable for me.

“Seriously? That’s what you think I should be relegating my brain space to? Looking nice? Like, if I don’t make the effort to look beautiful, my entire existence is nullified? Nothing else matters-not my intellect, not my personality or my accomplishments; my hopes and dreams mean nothing if I’m not wearing eyeliner?”

Dimple Shah is a headstrong character from the very beginning. I admire her determination and will to reach her dreams. I enjoy reading about her geekiness over coding/computer stuffs.

Rishi Patel is a true blue nice guy from the very beginning. Nope, he’s not perfect, but for me, he’s the epitome of an all-out nice guy. He also had a good sense of humor which really spices up the story. He wanted to please and make his family proud of him and really values his Indian culture. He’s a bit of a geek too with his love for drawing and doing his own comics.

“Rishi..he was like a pop song you thought you couldn’t stand, but found yourself humming in the shower anyway.”

Dimple and Rishi’s relationship are off to a very rocky start (with iced coffee spilling incident included). There’s no love-at-first-sight and there’s no insta-love, they started with nothing and it was refreshing to see how their relationship progressed throughout the story.

Dimple was against the whole arranged marriage thing. She’s focused in studying and reaching for her dreams instead of looking for the IIH – Ideal Indian Husband. To her, arranged marriages are more about practicalities than romance and she’s not yet ready to dive into the domestic Indian wife life because she have dreams to pursue. Though saddened by it, Rishi has been understanding with Dimple’s thoughts about their arranged marriage and that made me admire him more.

But since they are the same camp and has been partnered together for a project, they spend more time together, getting to know each other until they find themselves liking and falling for each other.

Of course, there is a drama on the last couple of chapters but it was resolved satisfyingly. Both characters ended up apologizing and owning up to each other’s mistakes. I also saw changes especially with Dimple. She started off mean and a bit cruel but she ended up being more open and a bit nicer, I guess.

I’ve read a couple of books about arranged marriages and most of them are treated in a negative tone with all the force and abuse, but I like how Sandhya handled this topic on this book in such a positive way. It kind of deletes the negative connotation that I have with arranged marriages.

The author, being an Indian herself shared to us about their culture in a very interesting way. I enjoyed reading about Hindi references, clothing and even Bollywood stuffs.

Overall, When Dimple Met Rishi is a fast, fun and adorable read. I’m recommending it to each and every one of you!

Bookish Tag: Mid-year Book Freak Out Tag

Hello everyone! It’s the 1st of July, how did that happen? April, May and June flew by so fast for me what with my busy working schedule. Anyway, I’m back for another Bookish Tag Post here on the blog after skipping it for 2 months and I’m pretty much excited to answer all the questions. 😉

the best books you’ve read so far in 2016

It’s a tie between The Color Project and When Dimple Met Rishi. I gave these books 5-stars because of both the stories are great! These books are definite must-read!

the best sequel you’ve read so far

I just realized that I haven’t read a sequel yet for this year. Most of the books I’ve read are first of a series or a standalone. 😆

a new release you haven’t read yet

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) is one of my anticipated reads last month however, due to busy schedule and other book priorities (hehe) I was not able to read it yet. I’m really excited to once again dive into the post-apocalyptic world of Kate and August where monsters roam around free. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one left wanting for more after the first book – This Savage Song – I’m looking forward on what would happen next to Kate and August. The responsibilities of our main characters are heavier on this book. I’m looking forward to more action-packed scenes!

most anticipated release for late-2017

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore immediately pops into mind for this question. I’m up for any fairytale like story with some magical realism so this book is definitely up on my alley. It will be released on the 3rd of October. 😉

biggest disappointment

So far, I can say that 2017 has been a good reading year for me. Most of the books I’ve read are okay, no big disappointments yet. And I hope it goes all throughout the year.

biggest surprise

The End of Our Story by Meg Haston surprised me. Just when I thought the story would go a certain way it would turn the other way around. I’ve never read a book about couples after their break-up, so it was a bit fresh for me. But what really catches me hook, line, and sinker was the twist on the story.  It is a very powerful and heartbreaking story about life realities, family, choosing who you really are and doing the“right” thing for the sake of you loved ones. I really recommend for you guys to read this one!

favorite new author (debut or new to you)

I loved The Color Project and I loved Sierra Abrams! She has been nice and very approachable from the very beginning. She’s now up to my auto-read authors and I’m definitely excited for her upcoming works.

newest fictional crush

Ohhhh, I do have a couple of fictional crushes and I’m still gushing over them. Here they are in no particular order: Rishi Patel from Dimple Met Rishi, SN from Tell Me Three Things and Levi Orville from The Color Project.

newest favorite characters

It took me a long time to finally read Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and I ended up loving it so much! I love Simon Spier, his friends and Blue. These set of characters brought so much fun into the story. I’m so excited to watch the movie that is currently in the works.

book that made you cry

Written in the Stars is a heavy and  very heartbreaking story about a Pakistani girl and her conflicts with her parents and their culture. The events on the story tore my heart out. Please do read this book and you’ll definitely find yourself shedding a tear or two.

a book that made you happy

I See London, I See France (I See London, I See France #1) made me so happy and makes me want to travel Europe so much more. I love all the places the story captures and enjoyed reading about all the places they’re exploring. I wanted to try something like what the main characters did – travel with no definite itinerary. That would be a fun adventure, right? 😉

favorite book to movie adaptation you’ve watched this year

I haven’t had the chance to watch a lot of movies this year and those that I’ve watched are not books-to-movie, so I’ll skip this one out.

favorite review you’ve written this year

For the 3rd time, I’m putting The Color Project by Sierra Abrams on this post. I love my review of the said book even though it feels like I’m just totally gushing over it. Here’s the link if you’re interested to read it — here. 😆

most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year

I bought Heartless by Marissa Meyer earlier this year (but I wasn’t able to read it yet up until now) and it’s definitely has one of the most beautiful cover.

what books do you near to read by the end of the year

Well, I really don’t keep a reading list. I’m spontaneous in reading and will pick-up a book usually on how my mood feels. But here’s a link to my TBR in Goodreads for books I might be reading this year. here.


Once again, I’m tagging all of you friends to do this tag as well.

Please feel free to leave your answers on the comments below. Or if you ever made your own version, leave your links below. 💜

ARC Review: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Title: That Thing We Call a Heart

Author: Sheba Karim

Published: 09 May 2017 | HarperTeen

Date Read: 20 May 2017

Synopsis:

Shabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a tony private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After hooking up with the most racist boy in school and telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.

Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.

With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.

Featuring complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is a honest, moving story of a young woman’s explorations of first love, sexuality, desire, self-worth, her relationship with her parents, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.

 

*ARC Kindly provided by HarperTeen thru Edelweiss*

It is rare to find a book with a Muslim lead-character. So I always get excited whenever I encounter one and read it. The Thing We Call a Heart might be the 3rd Muslim book that I’ve read and I’m happy and excited to be given a copy for a review. *wink*

“I had a simple plan. Get through the summer. Go to Penn. Begin anew. Don’t look back.”

Just like it is being rare to find a book with a Muslim lead-character it is also rare for me to find a book that I consider to be totally character-driven and reading The Thing We Calla Heart is one of those rare times.

Shabnam is a complex character. I had a hard time gauging who she really is I begin the story. She’s awkward, self-conscious but intelligent. She came off self-centered for me on most parts of the book and she frustrates the crap out of me most of the time as well but I still liked her – she’s flawed and she’s real.

Farah is Shabnam’s best friend and I like her just as much as I like Shabnam. They did have a bit of a fall-out in the beginning of the story after Farah started wearing a jihab without telling Shabnam but they did manage to work things out between them.

Of course, a love interest paved its way as well into the story into the form of a non-Muslim boy who’s very interested into the Muslim culture named Jamie. I never actually liked Jamie. I’m skeptical about his character from the beginning but it seems to fade whenever he makes or feel Shbnam special but nonetheless all throughout the story, I never liked him.

To say I’m surprised how Shabnam and Jamie’s story went is a complete understatement. I’m not going to go into details on what happened between these two but for me, the right thing happened because it opened a lot more for Shabnam.

It never gets old learning about the Muslim culture and history. I enjoyed reading about Urdu Poetry and learning about The Partition.

I love how different the Shabnam I met at the beginning of the story to the Shabnam on the last page of this book. Overall, this story is all about growing up. Figuring what you wanted in life and trying to understand life itself.

“Though sorrow is life destroying, we cannot escape it, as we have a heart.”