I read a lot of good books in February! In fact, almost all of them were four stars or higher, which is pretty awesome. In this set of mini reviews, I’ll be talking about three young adult contemporary novels I read this month.
Author: S.K. Ali
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Content Warning: Sexual assault
- Saints and Misfits is a super important story!
- It’s about a Muslim teen named Janna, (it’s #ownvoices!) and it deals with sexual assault.
- Janna wears a hijab because she wants to and because it empowers her, which is a message a lot of people need to hear! Her religion is a big part of identity and this book, but there are other defining aspects of her as well, and the book isn’t just about her faith.
- Janna likes photography, reading and drawing, so triple relatable for me. 🙂
- There were some really interesting side characters. Mr. Ram, Janna’s elderly neighbor who she helps take care of, was so awesome and wise and I loved him! Sausan, another girl from Janna’s mosque, was really interesting character.
- There is (you guessed it!) a love triangle. Sigh.
- Note: I am not Muslim. I encourage you to read these reviews by Muslim readers: here and here.
Author: Jandy Nelson
Release Date: March 9th, 2010
My Rating: ★★★★.5
- I read this solely because it’s by Jandy Nelson and I’ll Give You the Sun is one of my favorite books EVER. The Sky is Everywhere wasn’t quite as good but I did really like it.
- It’s kinda romance but it’s also about family and grief—Lennie’s (the main character) sister died.
- Lennie lives with her Grandma and Uncle, who were both quirky and endearing side characters. I really liked Gram especially, with her artsy gardening/painting vibes.
- There are these little bits of poetry and stories that were supposedly written by the protagonist sprinkled throughout. (Btw I predicted how that subplot would end and I’m so proud of myself! If you’ve read this you know what I’m talking about.)
- Basically there was a whole artistic vibe goin’ on and I just got swept up in the story.
- Like, there were some things that are sometimes bothersome (e.g. love triangles) that were in this book but didn’t really annoy me too much.
- Maybe I just happened to read it at the perfect time??? We had this weird patch of absolutely beautiful weather and the combination of that and this weird book made me feel so magical.
- Like I said, there are some annoying elements, like Rachel’s character, this girl from Lennie’s school who likes the same boy as Lennie. She was about as dynamic as a rock, and I’m so tired of the ‘girls hating each other because of a boy’ trope. Rachel could’ve at least had some dimension to her.
- Anyway, this book is totally weird and it made me really happy!
Author: Becky Albertalli
Release Date: April 7th, 2015
My Rating: ★★★★.5
- I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, and I finally got around to it because the movie’s coming out in March and I really wanted to read the book first. (It looks amazing!! See the trailer here!)
- No one knows that Simon (the main character) is gay except his internet pen pal, an anonymous kid from his school. When someone accidentally finds out about his pen pal, nicknamed Blue, Simon has some tough decisions he has to navigate in addition to the typical struggles of being a high school student.
- It was really adorable!!! THE ENDING OMG.
- Seriously, Simon and Blue are my otp. For a while, you don’t know who Blue is in real life, which adds a whole layer of suspense.
- I really enjoyed the family scenes and the friendships, especially between Simon and Abby.
- The side characters in general were pretty good and fleshed out, although I would’ve liked to see a little more of Nick. Perhaps we will in Leah’s spin-off book, Leah on the Offbeat!
- There is a lot of diversity, both as far as sexual orientation and race. The cast of characters felt like they reflected the real world.
I really enjoyed all of these books! Let me know in the comments: have you read any of these? What did you think?