Mini Reviews #1

Mittwoch, 13. Juni 2018

All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Published: May 15th 2018 by HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 432 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.
   Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.
   Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . . (goodreads.com)

   This story was wild, there is no other way to put it. It was also highly addictive. I was certainly intrigued by the premise of four teens befriending their favorite author (I mean that's kind of the dream, isn't it?) and things turning out not quite how they expected or hoped it would in the end. I really enjoyed the way the story was told through both interviews and excerpts from Fatima's new book, and the way you could see all the pieces coming together. It was fascinating to see how Fatima manipulated herself into the heads of those teens and made herself appear like their best friend and so interested in what they had to say and what was going on in her lives while knowing the reason why, and also how it made all of them feel and how they looked on it later on.
   This was the first time I read anything by Lygia Day Peñaflor and I really loved it. Despite my reading slump this year, I just couldn't put it down and finished it in about a day or two. I highly recommend it.
I give All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor 5 out of 5 stars.

* * *

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Published: September 7th 2017 by Walker Books
Number of Pages: 290 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

   Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?
   Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.
   Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
   But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?
   Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . . (goodreads.com)

   This book was certainly not what I expected it to be based on the description, but I was blown away by the story and how it unfolded. It alternates between emails and Romy's narration and it builds slowly, things come together piece by piece, the tension rises at the perfect pace, and it's also mixed with a bit of space science and a study on the mind when you're literally the only person in a radius of years instead of miles.
   I liked the fact that Romy sounded her age, but that her mind and knowledge also showed that she really could be someone born in space and training to be fit for the mission she was born into. Seeing her get to know J and also her love for her favorite show and even the (slightly cringy) fan fics she wrote for them, it was so much fun. But it was also genuinely thrilling, creepy, and downright terrifying, especially in the second half, even more than just thinking about being alone day and night for years on a spaceship. 
   Absolutely amazing read full of twists and turns and mind games.
I give The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James 5 out of 5 stars.

* * *

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Published: May 30th 2017 by Greenwillow Books
Number of Pages: 385 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
   In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.
   Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.
   But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. (goodreads.com)

   Francesca Zappia is one of my auto buy authors, though I'll admit that it took me way too long to actually pick this one up and read it. I absolutely loved her debut, Made You Up, and I loved this one just as much, though for different reasons.

“I made Monstrous Sea because it's the story I wanted. 
I wanted a story like it, and I couldn't find one, so I created it myself.”

   The idea of being someone whose art and story can spark such a vast interest, create a fandom and be something you can live off of, that's the dream of every author and artist, isn't it? So it was fascinating to actually read about a character like that, see how she sees her fame, how reluctant she is to claim it, show who she truly is, her doubts and worries, and how her friendship forms with someone who is an actual real life fan of her web comic. I loved Eliza and Wallace, how reluctant Eliza was at first to interact with him and what a beautiful thing became of it, how she didn't judge him for the fact that writing came easier to him than speaking, and all these other small things.
   The fact that the art in the book came from Francesca was even cooler so kudos to her for doing it. Both the main story, and the snippets we saw of Eliza's web comic, were absolutely fantastic and I can only recommend this book to everyone. Read it, you won't regret it.
I give Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia 5 out of 5 stars.

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