The Education of Margot Sanchez | The Reviewing of Becca Stevenson 😉

Title: The Education of Margot Sanchez

Author: Lilliam Rivera

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, #OwnVoices

Published: February 21, 2017 by Simon & Schuster (who provided this delighted blogger with a review copy! Yay! This does not affect the honesty of my review.)

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

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Everything, Everything | Becca’s Bookish Review

Title: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

Rating: 

 

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. 

 Woah, buddy. Need to catch my breath.

Words to describe this book: 

Captivating 

Unique

Engaging

Addictive

WOWZA

This is the kind of book that you absolutely can’t stop reading. Not in the fast-paced sort of way, in that way when the words reach out and claw and grasp your heart and your mind and don’t let go.
The writing is absolutely unique. The way each word described every emotion Madeline felt, how it analyzed every moment she experienced. It was pleasing—but then it wasn’t. It started to feel overdone and fake after a while. 

Yes, I guessed the plot twist. Yes, it was by accident. Yes, it was because everyone was talking about plot twists. Yes, I hate everyone now. Yes, you will probably hate me now because now you’re going to accidentally think of it too. Yes, I’m a little sorry. Yes, I’ll stop now.

This was a hard book to rate because what made it so great was also what I didn’t like about it. We’ll stick with four stars for now, but honestly I still don’t even know what to think and I likely never will.

An Ember in the Ashes | Review

Title: An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating:

  

Laia is a slave. 
Elias is a soldier. 
Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. 

It’s been three days and I’m still speechless.

First of all, I was just going to casually read a couple chapters for the few spare minutes I had. But then I kept reading and reading because I couldn’t stop, because I didn’t want to stop. I had things to do, I had NaNoWriMo! But that all faded away once I started reading.

I actually didn’t have super high expectations about the plot. Sure, it sounded interesting but it seemed a little like the generic YA fantasy book. But oh, was I surprised. It was emotional, it had so many dimensions. My heart stopped at very page. It was phenomenal. You could never quite see exactly where the story was going and that made it all the more exciting.

The characters made the story. They were just—indescribable. I felt like I knew them as well as I knew myself. They were absolutely real, they had flaws, but they tried. And it made you love every piece of them.

Now the writing. THE WRITING. It didn’t just make you see the world, it made you feel it. Not one word was wasted.

As much as I loved this book, I am also very angry at. exCUSE ME you can’t just make me lose a whole day of NaNoWriMo like that. Also, I don’t know if I’ll last a second without the sequel. I very much desire it.

Just so we’re clear, I will read absolutely anything Sabaa Tahir writes. Absolutely anything. For heaven’s sake, I’ll even read her grocery lists!

Mosquitoland | Review

Title: Mosquitoland

Author: David Arnold

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Rating:

  

 

“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.” 
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. 
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. 
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

THAT WAS AN ABSOLUTELY EPIC BOOK.

I have never felt so weirded out (in a way that couldn’t be any more amazing) by a character. I loved it.
The story starts with a character. This character goes on a journey. I mean, literally. Going on this journey with the character couldn’t give me more joy. The journey contains life-changing, heartbreaking events along with absolutely hilarious encounters.The character grows just as the number of miles left diminishes. She finds out so much about herself, and it’s the most satisfying thing.

And the book even had bombshells. Totally awesome ones, too.

The fascinating characters met along the way are so much fun to read about! They only add to the already amazing story. There is a true art to having so many dynamic characters, and David Arnold has certainly mastered it.

The writing was hilarious. Truly, perfectly hilarious. I can’t count how many times I laughed. Or cried. But it’s basically the same thing. (You’ll get it when you read it)

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also Elvis. 

Go. Read. It.

Cruel Beauty | Review

Title: Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling

Rating:   

 

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love. 

Wow, what a ride! 

Cruel Beauty had an insanely intricate plot line. At every page it wove itself deeper and added to the amazing story. Though by the end, it was too complex. I couldn’t follow it anymore, I was just confused. I think if Rosamund Hodge had just eased up on the complexity a bit, it would have been a fantastic book. Intricate plots are awesome, but too much of anything is never good.

The writing was absolutely magical! I fell in love with how she wrote every sentence and how each sentence formed a paragraph! 

The characters were very dynamic, which is always a good thing! Through the book you could really get to know all the characters and feel their emotions. Each and every one developed, and it was insanely interesting to read!

The world building was great! It flowed throughout the story with perfect ease, and you felt like you had lived in the environment your entire life. This is definitely a talent, and I applaud the author for it.

I really enjoyed this book, though the ending had me totally confused. Overall, it was a great retelling!

Fell of Dark | Review

Title: Fell of Dark

Author: Patrick Downes

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary?

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

A book that challenges the word “powerful” and obliterates it
Written in searing prose, this is the story of two boys: Erik, who performs miracles, and Thorn, who hears voices. The book chronicles their lives as their minds devolve into hallucinations, and shows the way their worlds intersect, culminating in a final stand-off.
This debut novel offer a raw, insightful look at the forces that compel us to act against our will. Even more so, it captivates and dares us to look away, knowing full well we can’t.

I have no idea where to start. 

Let’s begin with the writing style. This was absolutely my favorite part of the book. The best moment is when an author describes something so perfectly that you just think, ‘Yes! Exactly!’ That, my friend, is a talent.

Yet the story arc was weak, flimsy, and all over the place. The plot wasn’t really there. Maybe it was just too “subtle” for my “unrefined taste” but honestly I couldn’t see how there was even the hint of a plot, except for the fact that it all came together in the end. I think what the point of the book was just giving backstory and being inside the characters’ heads until they meet in the last 15 pages in the book.

I’m sorry, but that is not a real plot line for me.

I did enjoy the main characters—sort of. I couldn’t really help but sort of like them, even Thorn, despite how dark he was. 

Speaking of darkness, this book is bathed in it. I weirdly enjoyed it at points, yet not so much at others. I do know that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to stand any darkness whatsoever, and if you’re among them, I wouldn’t recommend this book for you.

There are a lot of questions surrounding this book. By questions, I mean confusion. I can appreciate that, yet just the right amount. I felt overwhelmed in it, which I know is often not a bad thing for many people, but it certainly isn’t right for me.

Would I recommend this? Meh. It was okay overall. I at the very least needed a real plot line. This is all I require. Is that too much to ask?

Magnificent May Wrap-Up!

Still on vacation, but I couldn’t stay away!

I read quite a few books this month, so without further ado, here they are!

5 Stars

 
Review here!

 
  

Review here! 

 
Review here! 

 
Review here! 

  
4 Stars

 
  

  

  

  

(Review coming soon)

3 Stars

  

(Fun fact: I’ll be going to a cafe where Ernest Hemingway used to sit and write!)

 

2.5 Stars

  

(Review coming soon)

Total books read: 13

Total pages read: 4,111

Not my absolute best reading month ever, but certainly up there! Stay tuned for bookish photography, lots of book reviews, and a HUGE BOOK HAUL!