Review: Check, Please! Book 1: Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Title: Check, Please! Book 1: Hockey
Author: Ngozi Ukazu
Publisher: First Second
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 288 Pages
Published September 2018

Summary: Eric Bittle is a former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier. But as accomplished as he is, nothing could prepare him for his freshman year of playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. It's nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South! For one? There’s checking. Second, there is Jack—his very attractive but moody captain.

I had heard nothing but great things about this book for years, and I had always meant to find time to pick it up, but life got in the way with college getting busy and the ARCs we had to read for publishers starting to pile up. So when I finally got the time to purchase a copy of CHECK, PLEASE and get reading, I was beyond excited. Especially since I'd been getting more and more into graphic novels within the last few years, so finding more contemporary and/or rom-com types of graphic novels has really been capturing my interest. So finally, after long last, I was able to find some time to sit down and to read CHECK, PLEASE -- and I'm really glad that I did. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, the story follows Eric "Bitty" Bittle, incoming freshman hockey player at Samwell. The graphic novel is told from the perspective of his vlog channel that he has, where he explains everything that goes on during his freshman year, both with the hockey team and also his Samwell experience in general. And there's also the fact that he has a *teeny tiny* crush on the gorgeous team captain, Jack...which leads to a lot of interesting stories to hear from him!

I really enjoyed reading this book! I thought it was a super cute, feel-good read that left me feeling satisfied and happy when I was finished reading. On the graphic novel front, I thought the illustrations were gorgeous and the book itself is really easy to get through quickly because the story just flies by. I'd absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read that leaves them feeling really good. You guys, it was freaking ADORABLE! I totally understand why all of my friends have been pushing me to read this book for so long, and I'm disappointed in myself for waiting so long to pick up this delightful story! 

In addition to the cute rom-com feel of the story, there was also an entire hockey narrative that was really interesting to follow, especially as someone who knows so little about hockey but really wants to get more into it. It's definitely one of the main focal points of the story, but it isn't too complicated or confusing to the point that non-hockey fans wouldn't understand what was going on. Bitty even offers explanations here and there, and in my copy of the book there was also an entire additional few chapters after the story ended where some of the story's other key players offered a "seminar" about how certain aspects of hockey/the lingo used in the book shakes out. As well as a hilarious collection of some of Bitty's best Tweets! 

I also really loved the dynamic of all of the different characters in this book and the ways that they all interacted with each other. There is definitely a really great ensemble here! I feel like every character was so wildly different, but they were all banded together by their united love of hockey and seeing the way they all supported each other and acted like a little family throughout several points of the book was really heartwarming. Shitty was definitely my favorite character, I think. Seeing his never-ending devotion for his team and his friends and just EVERYONE in general was really sweet -- he reminded me of a puppy in human form! 

The only thing that I was a little disappointed about with this book was the way that time flew so quickly, so it felt like a lot of the story arcs were a little bit rushed or just buried completely. It makes sense, being that this started as a webtoon and there was a lot to cover so of course time was going to have to be sped up at certain parts, but there were several moments where I had to go back and reread a few panels because I was like "wait, WHAT just happened??" because I didn't realize that so much time had passed. This first book is a little more than 250 pages and it covers the entire school year, so as you can see, there were definitely some moments that flew by quicker than others! However, it didn't bother me THAT much, and I don't think it made the book bad in any way -- it was just something that left me a little confused at times, but it was nothing that a quick peek backwards couldn't fix.

Overall, I still really enjoyed reading CHECK, PLEASE! and I will definitely be purchasing the second book soon to dive into because I just have to know what happens next. If you're looking for a feel-good story that will make you laugh, giggle, and even swoon, and you want to close the book at the end feeling satisfied and giddy because you just devoured such an ADORABLE read, then I'd definitely recommend picking this one up!

Also, if anyone else has any other contemporary/rom-com graphic novel recommendations, please send them my way via the comment section below, thank you!!! :-)


Waiting on Wednesday: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

Title: You Had Me at Hola
Author: Alexis Daria
Publisher: Avon
Paperback, 320 Pages
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020

Summary: After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

I am an absolutely *HUGE* fan of Jane the Virgin, so once I found out about this book and also found out that it was being called perfect for fans of the show, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. Now we're just a few days out from release, which is really exciting! I also was lucky enough to get an ARC from Avon for review, and I'm excited to dive into it ASAP because this sounds exactly like the kind of hilarious, dramatic love story that I absolutely ADORE!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back!

Review: The Heir Affair (Royal We, #2) by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Title: The Heir Affair (Royal We, #2)
Authors: Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover, 464 Pages
Published July 2020

Summary: Making it up the aisle was the easy part: After marrying the heir to the throne, Rebecca “Bex” Porter must survive her own scandals as she adjusts to life in the glamorous British royal family, in this “highly anticipated” follow-up to The Royal We, the “fun and dishy” bestseller and NYT Summer Reading List pick inspired by Will and Kate’s romance (People). After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca “Bex” Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world’s judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance. But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they’d placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick’s brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten — nor forgiven.

It has been an entire *FIVE YEARS* since I read THE ROYAL WE, so once I found out that there was finally going to be a second book, I preordered it immediately. And I was practically camped out by my mailbox waiting for the book to arrive. And then when it did, I dove into it immediately. And let me just say -- this was one of the best books I've read in a long time, right up there with THE ROYAL WE. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, this story picks up after the royal wedding of Bex and Nick (meant to be fictional accounts of Kate and Will), when a story (which I won't spoil for you!) was about to break that could possibly ruin their marriage AND the public's perception of them. THE ROYAL WE leaves off on a massive cliffhanger about whether or not the story is leaked, and the book picks up after the decision is made -- which I won't tell you! Through time, though, they find themselves being dragged into even more scandals and secrets, all while trying to balance their personal and private lives. What ensues is a swoon-worthy romance, some shocking plot twists, and lots of hilarious moments as Bex and Nick struggle to navigate this new chapter of their lives.

The five-year gap between me reading this book and reading THE ROYAL WE didn't matter as all as soon as I got right into the book. I'll admit, I read the last chapter of THE ROYAL WE the night before starting THE HEIR AFFAIR, and that was pretty much the only refresher I needed. I tore through this entire book in under a week because it was just so good and I wanted to know what was going to happen next at any given moment. Heather and Jessica are excellent at weaving together a perfect story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, and this 400+ page story flew by because I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. I spent entire afternoons sitting down with the story until suddenly I looked outside and the sun was down and it was almost midnight, because I was just that captivated. If you're a fan of royalty stories, romances, comedy, or even just the real Will and Kate, I absolutely recommend picking this one up! I absolutely swooned my way through Nick and Bex's entire story, and through all of the chaos that surrounds them, it's clear that their love is stronger than any other force that could come their way. 

As for plot twists -- without spoiling anything, I will say that there were definitely of twists that I wasn't expecting, some of which actually made me gasp out loud and immediately need to report to my boyfriend about them! All I'll say is that if you think you know the royal family...there's definitely some stuff that you're not expecting. Secrets come to life in ways that completely change the course of the narrative. And of course, they are all expertly written.

Something else that I really loved about this book was the banter between the characters. There were several times where I was reading this book and actually laughed out loud and my boyfriend looked over and asked me what I thought was so funny. Bex's sense of humor (as well as Nick's and Freddie's and all of their friends) really aligns with mine so all of the jokes were hilarious and made for a great read that I couldn't put down. The humor sounds a lot like Heather and Jessica's Tweets, so it's clear to see that their own personalities were able to shine through in the book for all of its readers to enjoy.

Overall, I absolutely loved reading THE HEIR AFFAIR and I would absolutely recommend this book and the previous book in the duology for anyone looking for a great story with so many twists and turns and shocking plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sprinkle in a healthy dose of humor and a swoon-worthy love story, and you'll be on cloud nine in no time! 

And if you want to read my review of the first book of the duology, THE ROYAL WE, you can check that out here!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Much About!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between! 

*This week's theme is actually Book Events/Festivals I’d Love to Go to Someday but I was struggling and only had two on my list. So I went through the past TTT archive and picked a new prompt!*

This Week's Theme: Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Much About!

I'm not joking when I say I have the worst memory ever. Having read well over 700 books it is safe to say that I don't remember a lot about a lot of them but I did really enjoy a majority of them! Click the links below to check out these books on Goodreads! 


Rereads on these are well over do, especially since these were books I rated 4 and 5 stars! Most of these books though were read when I was 16/17 and I am now 22 so it has been a long time! 

What is a book that you really liked or loved, but can't remember much about? Leave the link to your TTTs for this week so we can stop back! 

2020 Debut Author Interview: Kylie Schachte!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Kylie Schachte and her novel YOU'RE NEXT, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Kylie on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Kylie Schachte is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied such wide-ranging topics as comparative neuroscience and the cultural history of the United Status through literature and film. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their very clumsy cat, Matilda. Yes, she is named after the Roald Dahl character. Telekinetic powers unconfirmed. 

Keep up with Kylie: Website / Twitter / Instagram 

The Book Bratz: How does it feel that YOU'RE NEXT is debuting this year?
Kylie: It’s honestly so surreal. I keep saying “And once I have a cover/get reviews/see it in people’s hands/etc, etc it’ll feel real”...and we’re still not there yet! And now with a global pandemic going on, there’s a whole extra layer of strangeness on top. But I always pictured this book as a fast, fun summer read, and I know there are readers out there who need that kind of escape more than ever--that means a lot to me. 
The Book Bratz: What are some of your favorite thrillers and/or murder mysteries? 
Kylie: I actually wasn’t much of a mystery reader before writing YOU’RE NEXT, so when I started drafting I did a deep dive in the genre for research, which was a lot of fun. When it comes to the classics, I love the hardboiled stories like Raymond Chandler...Flora definitely takes a lot of cues from those grouchy old dudes. In YA, some of my favorites are TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE by Stephanie Tromley, SADIE by Courtney Summers, and FOUL IS FAIR by Hannah Capin. THROWAWAY GIRLS by Andrea Contos is a fellow debut that I’m really looking forward to later this year, as well! 

The Book Bratz: What inspired you to write Flora's story? 
Kylie: I was actually watching an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I got the idea! As I was watching, I thought, “I just want to write something like this: super fun, and action-packed, and a little snarky...the kind of thing I would want to read.” But around the same time that I was starting the first draft in 2014, there were all of these things happening in the news that really emphasized the failings of our criminal justice system. I was asking myself a lot of questions about who gets justice, and who gets forgotten, and what kinds of victims we decide are worthy of our sympathy. I thought a sixteen-year-old girl, someone who society sees as inherently vulnerable and “weak,” might have an interesting perspective on those questions. But that’s all pretty heavy, and I wanted to write a fun book! That became the greatest challenge of YOU’RE NEXT: trying to thread the needle between an honest emotional account of the trauma and tragedy of murder, while still getting to play around with the fun stuff, like teen fight clubs and this action-hero style protagonist. There are so many incredible YA books out there that address the criminal justice system and other serious topics head-on, but I also love when books that we might think of as more “light” or “pleasure reads” can still feel grounded in our world and its issues. I absolutely loved the movie Knives Out for this reason--it’s this super whimsical play on a classic Whodunit, but part of what makes that movie so thrilling is that, for all its zany antics, it is also imbued with these very real issues, like white privilege and our broken immigration system. I tried my hardest to walk the line between the two sides of my story--the fun and the grounded--and hopefully that comes through. 

The Book Bratz: If you were receiving sinister texts from a murderer and couldn't go to the police with them, what would you do?
Kylie: Haha well Flora and I are very different in this respect. Flora’s very action-oriented--she just wants to fight, to go, to jump and figure it out when she lands...even if that’s maybe not always the best choice. I’m more the research & strategize type, so I think I’d try to find some kind of tech-y way to figure out who was sending the texts, and make it clear I knew who they were (from a safe distance!) Maybe even get the press involved? I identify more with Cass, Flora’s best friend, and Olive, her younger sister. Thank god Flora has them around to make her do her homework (or at least think for like...5 seconds) before she runs headlong into the fray. You’ll notice she gets in the most trouble when she doesn’t listen to them.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope your readers are going to take away from YOU'RE NEXT?
Kylie: So like I said, I first got the idea for Flora while watching Buffy, and in some ways Flora is almost like a superhero. But being a hero is easy, in some respects, when you have super strength and magic powers. Flora’s just a regular person, like you or me, who saw something wrong with the world and said: if I don’t do something about this, no one will. She gets a lot wrong along the way, and makes some terrible choices. But at her heart she’s someone who wasn’t willing to look the other way when injustice happened right in front of her. That’s the part of Flora I know I want to be more like, and I hope other people feel that way too. But I’ll also say that Flora’s “superhero” identity is in a lot of ways a mask for her to hide behind. The true story of the book is about Flora learning to face her emotions and her trauma head-on. Kicking doors in and cracking skulls is fun and all, but it’s not a replacement for dealing with your feelings. I said I wrote this book because I thought a sixteen-year-old girl would make for a fundamentally different kind of detective, and what Flora ultimately finds is that truth & justice are easier to find when we approach them not from a place of vengeance, but from empathy, compassion, and courage. 

The Book Bratz: Are there any secrets you can share with us about YOU'RE NEXT? 
Kylie: Well, about that ending...let’s just say I initially wrote YOU’RE NEXT as the first in a series. Don’t worry, the mystery is fully resolved and the book stands on its own...but the story doesn’t have to be over, if you catch my drift. Hopefully if people like YOU’RE NEXT enough, I’ll get the chance to write more!


Title: You're Next
Author: Kylie Schachte
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication Date: July 7th, 2020

Summary: Flora Calhoun has a reputation for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. After stumbling upon a classmate's body years ago, the trauma of that discovery and the police's failure to find the killer has haunted her ever since. One night, she gets a midnight text from Ava McQueen, the beautiful girl who had ignited Flora's heart last summer, then never spoke to her again. Just in time to witness Ava's death from a gunshot wound, Flora is set on a path of rage and vengeance for all the dead girls whose killer is never found. Her tunnel-visioned sleuthing leads to valuable clues about a shocking conspiracy involving her school and beyond, but also earns her sinister threats from the murderer. She has a choice---to give up the hunt for answers, or keep digging and risk her loved ones' lives. Either way, Flora will regret the consequences. Who's next on the killer's list?

Thank you so much to Kylie for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about YOU'RE NEXT and it's out in the world NOW for you to enjoy!

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

ARC Review: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Title: You Had Me at Hola
Author: Alexis Daria
Publisher: Avon
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Paperback, 320 Pages
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020

Summary: Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy. After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars. With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so before I start, I just wanted to thank Avon for their generosity! 

And now...onto the gushing.

Anyone that knows me IRL knows that I am a *huge* fan of Jane the Virgin. Like, huge. I've seen every episode and watched it a million times and I could cite any episode without a second thought. Not only am I a huge rom-com junkie and I lived for the telenovela-style drama of the show, but the fact that Jane herself was an aspiring romance writer added another layer to the story that just hooked me from the beginning. So, as soon as I found out about YOU HAD ME AT HOLA and saw that it was being comped as the perfect book for fans of Jane the Virgin, I was immediately hooked and couldn't wait to get an ARC into my hands. And let me tell you, I'm SO glad that Avon was awesome enough to send an ARC over to me, because this book was INCREDIBLE. 

As the summary explains, Jasmine is trying to break out of her soap opera career by nailing the leading role in a new ScreenFlix (aka the fictionalized Netflix) romantic comedy series that's bound to change the game for the Latinx arts community. But she's still reeling from a previous breakup that ended up splashed across all of the tabloids, so all she wants to do is lay low and succeed on her own, without dealing with any more romantic drama. But when she finds out that her co-star is not only super attractive, but also super sweet, her resolve starts to crumble. One thing leads to another, and Jasmine and Ashton eventually find themselves with just as much chemistry off-screen as on, but there are complications -- including some secrets that someone's doing their best to avoid bringing them to light. But how long can their whirlwind romance last if not everyone's being entirely honest -- and before the outside pressure of fame and media attention starts to weigh in?

This book made me feel ALL OF THE THINGS. Not only was the budding romance between Jasmine and Ashton super swoon-worthy (and yes, it had me blushing more than a few times), but seeing Jasmine's close relationship with her family and especially her girl-gang group of cousins was really empowering. I truly loved this book so much and I tore through the entire thing so quickly because it was just so addictive that I couldn't put it down. It made for the perfect poolside read that I dove into while sitting out in the sunshine with a glass of wine -- and by the time I finished reading, I was filled with SO many emotions -- swooning, gasping, laughing out loud, and even a little shocked at the way some things worked out! Without spoiling anything, all I'll say is that this book is truly so fantastic and reading it made me feel like *I* was a movie star dealing with my own behind-the-scenes romance right alongside Jasmine. Alexis Daria certainly takes her readers for a ride with this one!

In terms of comparison, I think it's definitely safe to say that this book is the perfect fit for Jane the Virgin fans. There are so many twists and turns, shocking surprises, and secrets that come to life. The entire time that I was tearing through this book, I kept picturing scenes from the show and the atmosphere just felt super similar and so amazing. This honestly could've been a spinoff series from the TV show itself because so much of the vibe was so similar, and having loved JTV for as long as I have, it felt really sweet and comforting to fall back into that world and that feeling so easily.

Overall, I absolutely *loved* YOU HAD ME AT HOLA and I will be recommending it to all of my fellow Jane the Virgin fans for the near future (and definitely beyond). If you're looking for a hot, swoon-worthy romance book to read poolside this summer, filled with secrets and hookups and passion and the chasing of dreams (and the drama that comes along with it), then definitely look no further -- this book is the one for you! Alexis Daria has officially received a fan for life after I finished this spectacular novel. 

So what are you waiting for??? Go add it to your TBR right now!! *heart eyes*


Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Published May 2020

Summary: Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people...In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance - and Papi's secrets - the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. Papi's death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

I've been a huge fan of Elizabeth Acevedo's work ever since I read THE POET X, and then WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH was also so spectacular, so when I found out about CLAP WHEN YOU LAND, I knew that I definitely needed a copy. So as soon as it was available I purchased one from my local bookstore, and let me tell you...this is easily one of my favorite reads of 2020, if not one of my favorite reads of the last decade. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, the story follows two girls, one living in NYC and one living in the DR, as they each learn about the horrific plane crash that their father was in. In the wake of the crash, however, they find out more...that Papi had two families, two wives...two daughters. So this book not only explores the many facets of grief and coping with loss, but also what happens when secrets come to light and what gifts can be given to those who are blinded by such a horrible amount of hurt. And told in verse, this book adds up to be such a spectacular, emotional, perfect story.

I don't even have the words to properly explain how much I loved this book. I read over 400 pages in a single day, staying up well into the night to the point that my eyes were burning, because this book was so fantastic that I never wanted to put it down and I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. When I finished it, I sat there for a few seconds just absorbing it all and processing the whole story. It was truly incredible and amazing, and this book has absolutely touched me in a way that I haven't felt from a book in a very, very long time. I've read many things that I've loved, but so few books actually reach down and grab my heart and leave me feeling ALL of the feels long after I'm finished. But it's safe to say that CLAP WHEN YOU LAND is absolutely one of those books for me.

When I first started reading, I was a little bit intimidated about the fact that it was written in verse. I managed to read THE POET X just fine, but it had been a while since I'd read a book in verse, so I wasn't sure how comfortable I was going to feel with it again/if I was going to get tripped up or a little confused. (Reading poetry throughout elementary and high school was never my strong point.) However, that wasn't an issue even in the slightest. I tore through all 400+ pages of this book in a single night because it was just that amazing and spectacular. The story being in verse not only was easy to understand and didn't make things difficult for me, but it also enhanced the story and managed to make the emotions all the more twisting and magnified and even, at times, gut-wrenching. Acevedo is truly an incredible poet and her talent shines through with this book.

I also think that the story being told from the perspective of both of the sisters was a really powerful move. Especially in the beginning, when as a reader you know about the two families but each girl doesn't know about the other, it makes for a really interesting reading experience where I was always hurriedly turning the pages and staying up well into the night because I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. And as much as the girls were different and although they felt like they came from totally separate worlds, as a reader you got to see how so much of their grief was the same, and how they weren't as different and unrecognizable as they each thought they were. 

Overall, I absolutely adored CLAP WHEN YOU LAND and I don't think I'll stop singing its praises for a very long time. If you're looking for an incredible read that will grip you from start to finish, fill you with so many emotions, and leave you in awe at the expert storytelling that took place, then this is definitely the one for you.

Hats off to Elizabeth Acevedo -- she's definitely an auto-buy author for me now!


Spotlight: Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn

Today on the blog we have a spotlight for DATING MAKES PERFECT, by Pintip Dunn, courtesy of Entangled! So without further ado, let's get into it!

Title: Dating Makes Perfect
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Paperback, 400 Pages
Publication Date: August 18th, 2020

Summary: The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed. Until now. In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school. In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster. The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him. If only he weren’t her sworn enemy. 

About the Author:

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School. Her novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix del'Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the TomeSociety It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and MALICE. She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.

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Thank you so much to Pintip and the awesome Entangled team for allowing us to host this spotlight post! If DATING MAKES PERFECT sounds like something you'd be interested in, make sure to add it to your TBR!