RECIPE: How To Make Your Own Writer

Do you have a million ideas but no time or motivation to write them? Are you tired of writing your novels yourself? Is NaNo getting to you? Then I have THE recipe for you! Before you know it you’ll have made your own writer who can take over your work for you

I know it sounds to good to be true, but I guarantee you that it works*

* And if it doesn’t you clearly did something wrong while following the recipe so don’t blame me

I can hear you scream: WHAT IS THIS RECIPE MICHELLE? SHARE IT WITH US ALREADY

No worries, here it is:

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN WRITER: A RECIPE BY MICHELLE

NECESSITIES:
💛 1 bowl
💛 1 liter of tears of frustration (TEARS OF SADNESS DO NOT WORK!!)
💛 All of your ideas
💛 1 notebook
💛 2 pens
💛 Your favourite song to write to
💛 Something comfortable to wear while writing, like a onesie
💛 A blanket
💛 Tea, coffee or another writing beverage

DIRECTIONS:

💛 First change into something comfortable to wear while writing, like a onesie

Yes that’s me

💛 Put on your favourite song to write to while making your writer*. This is ESSENTIAL if you listen to music while writing/use it to inspire you. Your writer will have less inspiration if you forgot to put on that music. Don’t worry if you never listen to music while writing – in that case your writer won’t need it either
💛 Preheat the oven uhhhh** 200 degrees (CELSIUS!! VERY IMPORTANT NOT FAHRENHEIT YOU AMERICANS)
💛 Put all of your ideas in the bowl – you can do this by writing them down in the notebook, on separate pieces of paper or by sending your thoughts in the bowl***
💛 Add the notebook if you haven’t yet and also the pens
💛 Add tea, coffee or an other writing beverage and stir 10 times

* Bonus! Dance like me in the gif while making your writer for Extra Fun™
** I’m not making this up as I go along?? Where did you get this idea

*** 10/10 would recommend this method takes up the least ammount of energy, but it won’t work for everyone so if your writer doesn’t come out right it’s not my fault okay 

💛 Now it’s time to add those tears of frustration. Don’t have any yet, let alone 1 liter? That’s okay! Just think about how far behind you are on NaNo, how many ideas you haven’t been able to work on yet, all those plot holes… I’m sure you have a million writer problems to cry over!

💛 Stir for one minute, make sure those tears mix with your ideas nicely
💛 Now put all that in the oven for fifteen minutes
💛 Get comfy while you wait – time to use that blanket! Don’t use that free time to write – no don’t take that work away from your soon to be baked writer! Go sleep, watch a movie – do whatever writing got in the way of
💛 Let your writer get accustomed to their new surroundings for a bit when you take them out of the oven

The ammount of time this takes is different for every writer, but make sure you don’t put them to work before they’re entirely accustomed. It won’t take longer than a few hours – if it does, you did something wrong and you can’t hold me accountable
💛 Don’t forget to sprinkle that imagination on top of your writer!

Now set that writer to work and enjoy all that free time!

Do you have any other great writing recipes for me? Have you tried my recipe? Did it work out? How’s NaNo, or writing in general going? Let me know in the comments!

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Swan Song: A Story About Overcoming Your Grief, Finding Yourself and Ballet

Author: Charlotte Wilson
Genre: Contemporary | YA
Goodreads rating: 4.31
My rating:  ★★★

 

When iconic ballerina Beatrice Duvall died, a nation mourned – and a legacy was born. Sixteen years later, her daughter Ava comes to London to take part in a high-profile tribute to Beatrice, and to learn about the mother she never knew.

There’s just one snag: the tribute is a ballet, Swan Lake. Which is infinitely painful for Ava, because she can’t dance. Won’t dance. Not since she quit the Royal Ballet School last year and walked away from everything that defined her.

But this is London, colourful and crazy, and with actor Seb at her side, there’s so much to discover. Like Theatreland razzmatazz and rooftop picnics and flamingo parties. And a whole load of truths Ava never knew about her mother – and herself.

When the time comes to take the stage, will Ava step out of the shadow cast by her mother’s pedestal? And who will be waiting for her there, in the bright lights?

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

While Swan Song didn’t blow me away, I really appreciated that this was first and foremost about Ava and her grief for the mother she had never known. She knows barely anything about her mother, so when she’s in London for her mother’s tribute she also takes that opportunity to go to all the places that meant something to her mother. This was really the most powerful aspect of the book, especially when Ava finally ‘finds’ her mother and connects to her. It’s heartbreaking to read about every time she doesn’t feel anything and very relatable to see Ava avoid her grief.

Because it hurts. Not the way it should. Not because I found an echo of my mother resonating through time; not because I stood on a pavement where she’d once stood and suddenly she was real, there with me, and I could feel her. Because I felt nothing.

While in London Ava stays with her mom’s best friend Thisbe and her son Seb, who have taken her in like she’s one of their own, which was heartwarming to read.Seb is Ava’s love interest and does play a big part in the book, but it never overshadows her own journey of self discovery and finding her mother. They start out as friends and the relationship is built at a regular pace. There is a misunderstanding at some point, but it isn’t dragged out and is resolved realistically.

I do wish Ava’s father had played a bigger role, but plot-wise it made sense why he didn’t and it was realistic. All the other characters Ava meets are all interesting and add something to the plot and/or Ava’s growth. I also liked that there’s no antagonist – in a way Ava is her own antagonist.

I do want to talk about something that could be considered a spoiler:

One of the characters is bipolar, which is revealed in a chapter titled ‘A bit cuckoo?’. That title actually refers to another character talking about themselves, but from the way the previous chapter ended it sounded like this was about the bipolar character. This was just an unfortunate mistake, but I wanted to point it out if like me you’d get really mad at seeing that chapter title, because it has nothing to do with that character.

All in all it was a fun and cute read, sometimes emotional and overal it could be considered a powerful read, but something was missing for me. Maybe it wasn’t emotional enough? I really can’t put my finger on what it is, but it’s definitely worth the read.

Have you read Swan Song? Any books about grief that you’d recommend to me? Let me know in the comments!

Guess Who’s Back + Where I’ve Been | Life Update

Soooo I didn’t mean to disappear like that? Of course I hadn’t been blogging as regularly as I would’ve liked once I ran out of scheduled posts, but at least I got one or two posts up per week until…

School suddenly got very, very hectic. I was busy at the start of term, but I was still able to blog here and there and read some blogposts. Then we got to the point where we had to rely more on each other and the real group work began… And half our group didn’t do anything or did such terrible work that it was obvious they expected others to fix it for them. It was incredibly stressful and gave me a lot of sleepless nights, and now that it’s finally over I’ve of course come down with a cold. My friend and I emailed our teacher in detail about our group, and she said that the group members who didn’t do their shit are going to notice it in their grades. I’m so relieved to see her taking it seriously and even thanking us for our email. I was really worried that she was going to have a ‘not my problem’ attitude.

Anyway, this term is over!

I am proud of the magazine we made, even though I know it could’ve been better. Considering all our setbacks and that half of our group didn’t take it seriously at all, we really did a good job.

So now what? Well…

I’m taking a break from school

Honestly if I were to go back in time and tell secondary school me that at some point I’d take a break from college she wouldn’t believe me. Thing is, because I’m starting my term abroad earlier than I was initially told, I actually can’t follow any classes this term, because that would only be six weeks. I had signed up for a course last year when planning my year, but after lots of emailing back and forth with different teachers, it turned out I couldn’t do a big part of the course this term. I could’ve followed the more theoretical classes, but I didn’t want to take the exams while in Manchester since I would be really busy with my classes over there, so I’d have to take them when I’m back anyway. I figured there’d be no point in taking part of the course now, so I’m instead taking it when I get back from Manchester.

I’m actually more than fine with this break – my year is generally still the same as I had initially planned, just a slightly different order and my stay abroad will be shorter (I’ve talked about this before, but since I’m going to England I’ll be there for three months while other people will be studying abroad for five). So at least I won’t have any delay in my studies.

I pretty much had a burnout last school year and once this one started I was actually not ready to go back yet, so this break is actually very welcome. Especially after the second half of last term.

Basically this means that I’ll be able to blog regularly again! I might have to try and find my footing first, since I’m kind of out of my rhythm again and like I mentioned I have a cold, but I hope to at least post once a week again.

What else have I been up to?

💛 I got new glasses!

My previous glasses were super comfortable and gave me horrible headaches, so I barely wore them and always wore my contacts, but it was really annoying in the morning as I had to quickly put in my contacts before I got a headache and technically you need to take your contacts out about an hour before you go to sleep, which I never did anymore woops. I really love my new glasses – they’re cute and so comfortable!
💛 I’ve worked quite a bit at the museum – like during Museum Night, which is an annual event in multiple cities (though not at the same time) during which museums throughout the city are open until 2 AM. There’s lots to do (workshops, panel discussions, dancing, watching the art itself of course) and our Museum Night had a Keith Haring/80’s theme. It was a lot of fun and I’m really proud of what we accomplished
💛 My cousin turned eight and he had a Moana cake!! And he continuously said that he loved the movie!!
💛 My mom, aunt, cousin (another one) and I went to a collector’s fair – it was fun but there were also quite a few people just selling trash for a high price? I also find it hilarious to see what kind of stuff people collect – that stuff was so normal back in the day. It’s like if I were to keep a Coca Cola bottle for 40+ years and then try to sell it for 20+ euros lmao*
💛 I watched Lemonade Mouth and fell in love please watch that movie it’s amazing. The moment it ended I wanted to watch it again which barely ever happens 
💛 I decided to treat myself and finally buy Disney Magical World 2 – if you’re not familiar with that gaming franchise: it’s amazing. It’s a bit like Animal Crossing but with Disney and an RPG element. It’s really cute, fun and relaxing. Must have for every Disney fan. Anyway I’m a bit obsessed – oops
💛 There’s probably other stuff I’d mention but… I don’t remember any of it

* Guys I’m onto something here we should all start to collect our trash so we can sell it in 40+ years

So that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. I’m hoping to post again soon sometime this week and to read some of your posts, but we’ll see how it goes with this stupid cold.

How have all of you been??? Tell me everything. How’s school/work going? Done anything fun? Read anything good? Or read something that I should stay far away from? Any posts I’ve missed that you’re particularly proud of? Let me know in the comments!

London Day 2 | More Paddington, Disney and The Cursed Child

Would you look at that, it’s still 2017 while I’m writing this anyway now it’s just a matter of finishing and publishing this in 2017

If you haven’t read about day 1 yet, click here. Day 2 of course started with breakfast, which I’m not going to bore you with, though it was a good breakfast! We had read negative reviews saying there were barely any choices – those people must have been really spoiled! There were different kinds of bread, jam, yoghurt and fruit (maybe more but I don’t remember) so I don’t get what the problem is? Oh well, some people complain about everything ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The previous evening my cousin and I had planned our day, by starting at a mall where a Victoria Secret was located where she and my mom wanted to do some shopping. To get there we had to go to Paddington Station, so of course I had to see the Paddington statue.

@ All the train stations in Amsterdam where is your cute mascot

In my previous post I mentioned my mom being a paparazzi and she didn’t disappoint on Day 2 either

Back in Amsterdam we had looked up everything we wanted to do, but I had initially written down the Disney Store in Oxford Street since that’s the biggest one, so I didn’t know there was one in this mall as well.

Me when I saw the Disney Store

I WANTED TO BUY EVERYTHING

I remember there was this really cute Mickey and Minnie Christmas jumper but it was SO EXPENSIVE so you know never mind

Of course I didn’t need an excuse to go to a Disney Store, but I was on a mission (my poor mom and cousin had flasbacks of Dutch Comic Con and my search for an Alice in Wonderland Pop Funko WHICH WAS SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE) to find…

Unfortunately this store didn’t have Baymax* but I did find some cute Tsum Tsums to add to my collection!

Here you can see a Tsum Tsum Collector™ in the wild

* Or should I say… Baemax hahaha I’ll go see myself out now

Okay but seriously though look at all those plushies*. Looking at this pic makes me wish I had bought some of these lmao. I just remembered that they actually DID sell Baymax plushies, but it was a Christmas edition and I wanted a regular one.

* Did I ever tell you guys that I have a serious plushies addiction because I do

Afterwards we found the Victoria Secret, but turns out it as a PINK store and the bras my cousin was looking for were only found in regular stores. We hadn’t really paid attention when looking up the address the previous night woops. At least we got to see a part of London were none of us had been before. We went to some other stores as well, but I don’t really remember anything about them lol. I do remember going into a bookstore, but I didn’t buy anything so it wasn’t that memorable.

After some lunch* we walked back to the metro where my mom once again decided to play paparazzi

There are more but these two are my favourites. Oh and look at that those cute bags! Both times I bought something at a Disney Store I chose the Zootopia one (they didn’t have the Mickey and Minnie one at the second store)

* Or in my case only a smoothie?? I don’t have any food in the pictures of lunch?? And I do vaguely remember that I was only craving a smoothie. I’m so confused though. Me not hungry?? Who is this imposter)

Eventually we made our way back to the hotel with Subway sandwiches for dinner (since we were going to see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Part 1 that evening we didn’t have time to sit at a restaurant), relaxed a bit and got ready.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, we had gone to the theatre the previous day so that we wouldn’t get lost today. I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED? BUT WE GOT LOST. It took much longer than the day before and I started to seriously stress that we would be late, since they had said we had to be there on time because of bag checks. In the end it was fine, but you know, #anxietyyay

They seriously chose the right theatre. It fits Harry Potter so well and really makes you feel like you’re going to see a Harry Potter play. It was really hard to take proper pictures, especially since I hadn’t brought my camera (not that my previous camera was that great) but I tried to capture the theatre’s beauty

I tried to take a picture of the first decor, but it was unfortunately too dark

We were pretty high up on the balcony, so these binoculars were really useful for my mom. My poor aunt had forgotten her glasses though, so she couldn’t really see it that well. She got the script book for Christmas and she was like ‘now I can finally know what was going on’ 😂

Even though we were so high up I was still able to see everything properly, so thank Merlin for that!

 

 

 

Anyway, I don’t really want to talk about the play in this post (sorry!) but save that for Day 3 so I can talk about the entire play in one go. I can say that I thought it was really cool how they left things at a cliffhanger.

We went back to the hotel on a high – the magic of theatre folks. I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about The Cursed Child, which I totally get because I kind of do too? But still, it was an amazing experience and it made me really excited to see Part 2 the next evening.

When you’re the only one posing for the picture

On our way back it was also the first time I saw this poster*:

I LOVE THIS DOGGO AND WILL FIGHT EVERYONE WHO CALLS IT UGLY EVEN IF IT’S ‘FABULOUSLY UGLY’**

* Or maybe the first time I had the opportunity to take a picture who knows
** The poster says that’s what fugly means in this case but DON’T CALL THIS DOGGO UGLY YOU BULLIES

And on that note I’ll leave you guys. Next post I’ll talk about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in more detail, including my feelings on it. Also will I find my bae Max*? Will I succeed in my mission?  SO MANY CLIFFHANGERS JUST LIKE THE PLAY

* When you remember there’s a creep called Max who might have had a crush on you and completely ruin your Baymax pun for yourself rip

Do you have any people near you that act like they’re paparazzi? Have you seen The Cursed Child? Would you fight for that doggo? Let me know in the comments!

The Weekly Hufflepuff #61 | Art And B99 Murdered Me

I guess it’s becoming a habit to post wrap ups every other week instead of every week?? Though not for long! But more on that later.

I have to wrap up two weeks and I barely remember anything – why is my memory like this

In my last wrap up I was still making my way through Danger! Women Artists at Work which I finally finished. It was a really interesting read, but I wish it had included more women of colour and queer women. In my last wrap up I also mentioned having started Chasing Eveline, which I finished as well and absolutely loved. Apparently I never mentioned Masked in any previous wrap ups, but I read that one as well and… boy. I’ll elaborate later

Because I was behind on reviews I decided to not start a new book, so instead I read some comics. I’ll talk about all of them in my monthly wrap up, but for now I’ll only talk about Runaways, since I read the first three volumes. With the tv show coming up I figured it was time to give it a shot. While it’s a fun read, it hasn’t really blown me away yet. I am enjoying the girl power though.

I also finally read The Importance of Being Earnest, which is something I’ve wanted to read ever since I fell in love with Oscar Wilde a few years ago, and started Emma by Kaoru Mori. Two years ago I bought volume 1 and 2 in one, but never picked it up. It’s a cute manga, but I don’t know if I’ll continue it once I finish volume 2.

Time to test my memory

Oh yeah! I went to an art exhibition about gender and sexuality in Rotterdam, which I might cover in an Artsy Hufflehoe at some point. I say might because I might forget woops. It was really interesting though. Next week is the last week so if you live in The Netherlands and find exhibitions like that interesting, go check it out! It’s called Among other things I’ve taken up smoking and is at TENT.

Last week there was an event related to Keith Haring at the Stedelijk Museum, which included a panel with two people from the Keith Haring Foundation and a panel with some Dutch artists on whom Haring had a lot of influence and in some cases they had even met him/worked with him. It was really interesting, but what made it even better was seeing the velum in real life. Back in the 80’s Haring painted the velum specifically for the museum but it was gone for years. Now it’s been restored and it’s on display again above the stairs until June next year. If you’re in The Netherlands during that time I’d definitely recommend it because it’s really cool seeing it with your own eyes

I also finally cleaned my room – I’m not usually a messy person, but um… It had gotten really bad. By the time I was done it was so weird to see how much space I had lmao. I also re-arranged my shelves a bit and took out some books to give away. This took up a lot of my time, but at least it’s finally done.

Yesterday I went to the park hoping to take in the pretty Autumn colours and take some pictures… Only to discover that almost everything was still green #rip

ALSO DID ANYONE WATCH THIS WEEK’S BROOKLYN NINE NINE IT WAS SO GOOD

💛 I reviewed Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith which I’d recommend to every Harry Potter fan
💛 I finally wrote the first post in my London travel series (a year later lmao) 
💛 I also reviewed Masked, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. It could’ve been a fun superhero book, but there is a abusive relationship, a white superhero named Gypsy, slut-shaming and a bunch of other fun stuff
💛 And lastly I also reviewed Chasing Eviline, which is a really fun, cute, refresing contemporary that I’d recommend to everyone, contemporary fan or not

Hopefully I’ll be able to post part 2 of my London travel series sometime next week, and not spam you guys with so many reviews haha

💛 Giulia @ The High-Heeled Paper Girl wrote a powerful piece called ‘No, I don’t want you, stranger, to follow me down the streets’ 
💛 Lila @ Hardcover Haven talks about things she needs to see more of in books
💛 Vivian @ Writing With Style shares her NaNoWriMo project
💛 And so does Savannah @ The Book Prophet
💛 Holly @ Nut Free Nerd compares The Picture of Dorian Gray to The Goldfinch
💛 Lauren @ My Paper Infinity talks about her WIP and shares her character aesthetics
💛 Ellyn @ allonsythornraxx shares comic recommendations for young adult readers
💛 Bridget @ Bridget & Books talks about what makes her follow a blog
💛 Fadwa @ Word Wonders shares the dos and don’ts of approaching reviewers
💛 Multiple bloggers shared their beautiful book aesthetics: Brooke @ Brooke’s Books | Michelle @ Book Adventures | Laura @ Green Tea Paperbacks | Sarah @ Weaving Life | Laura @ Laura Noakes | Alicia @ The Grumpy Librarian
💛 Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader wonders if it’s okay to avoid talking about controversial topics
💛 May @ Forever and Everly came back to the blogging community! 
💛 A.J. @ Lacy Literacy discusses authors invading fan spaces
💛 The Orangutan Librarian wonders how realistic books should be

I’ve been able to read more posts these last two weeks, but I’m still having trouble keeping up, so sorry if I haven’t visited your blog in a while 💛

How was your week? Or past two weeks haha. Read anything good? Watched Brooklyn Nine Nine? Let me know in the comments!

Chasing Eveline: A Breath of Fresh Air

Author: Leslie Hauser
Genre: Contemporary | YA
Goodreads rating: 4.35
My rating:  ★★★★★

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel Heights High School who listens to cassettes. And her binder is the only one decorated with album artwork by 80s band Chasing Eveline. Despite being broken-up since 1989, this rock band out of Ireland means everything to Ivy. They’re a reminder of her mom, who abandoned Ivy and her dad two years ago. Now the music of her mom’s favorite band is the only connection she has left.

Even though Ivy wavers between anger and a yearning to reconnect, she’s one-hundred percent certain she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. But the only surefire way to locate her would be at a Chasing Eveline concert. So with help from her lone friend Matt—an equally abandoned soul and indie music enthusiast—Ivy hatches a plan to reunite the band.

The road to Ireland won’t be easy, though. And not just because there is no road. Along the way they’ll have to win over their Lady Gaga-loving peers, tangle with some frisky meerkats, and oh yeah, somehow find and persuade the four members to play a reunion gig. It’s a near-impossible task, but Ivy has to try. If she can’t let go of the past, she’ll never be able to find joy in the present (Goodreads).

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Chasing Eveline is such a refreshing, cute and realistic contemporary. While going in I did expect more of the book to take place in Ireland, I’m not disappointed at all. The road to get there was fun to read, and it made sense that it took a while. Plus it meant focusing on Ivy’s home life, her pain over her mom leaving them, her relationship with her dad and the friendship between her and her best friend Matt.

Ivy is desperately chasing Chasing Evline*, as it’s the only connection she still has to her mom. She’s slowly forgetting more and more about her, which freaks her out. Chasing Eveline’s music helps her get through her pain, which I found such a beautiful aspect of this book.

One day while I waited, I listened to every Chasing Eveline casette I owned. When the final song ended, I drew the hand clutching my mom’s Walkman to my chest. A faint tingle covered every inch of my skin. My river of misery had turned into a sea of tranquility, and I closed my eyes, desperately wanting to savor the feeling. A lyrical life vest had saved me from another day of drowning pain.

* Ha see what I did there

The writing was absolutely beautiful, especially whenever Ivy was listening to Chasing Eveline and was carried away by their music. It was so easy to feel her pain, yet the book still didn’t feel heavy at all. This was mostly due to her friendship with Matt, which was such a delight to read. At first I was a bit worried that romance might blossom between the two (which wouldn’t have been that bad, since their current relationship was good and healthy) since I absolutely loved their friendship and good friendships between girls and boys are such a rarity in YA. But! Romance never blossoms between the two. Not even a minor crush. Nothing.

Ivy and Matt bond over the fact that they’re both trying to get over someone leaving them and their love for Chasing Eveline. The way they meet is super cute and funny, and I’d love to share it with you but you should just read it for yourself. I marked so many scenes and quotes related to their friendship, because they’re absolutely adorable and just #friendshipgoals. They constantly quote and talk in Chasing Eveline lyrics to each other (dorks) and they constantly support each other. At some point Ivy doesn’t go to school because of a family emergency, and Matt is so worried that he ditches school to find out what is happening, and then just stays with her to support her. Matt is just a part of their family, which really warmed my heart.

Ivy’s relationship with her dad is also beautiful. He’s the only family she has left, so of course she’s very worried about him and constantly takes care of him. I can’t say too much about it since I don’t want to spoil anything, but their relationship is a big part of the book. Also!! When Ivy’s mom left he got her the cuttest dog ever and oh my god I would die for that doggo.

While Ivy’s relationships with Matt and her dad are an important part of the book, the plot itself of course is about trying to reunite Chasing Eveline for one last concert. And that would be in Ireland.  Of course when you’re two regular teens that’s not easy, so lots of shenanigans ensue. While some of those aren’t entirely realistic, they are fun to read about.

I can’t say anything about the ending without giving it away, but I absolutely loved it. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was incredibly realistic. While some of the shenanigans I mentioned earlier weren’t always entirely realistic, the book as a whole did feel realistic. Not just the ending, but the way the romance was handled as well. It didn’t take over as soon as the love interest was introduced, wasn’t forced nor rushed. Chasing Eveline being so realistic is what made it such a breath of air.

I would definitely recommend this one, whether you love contemporaries or not.

Have you read Chasing Eveline? What’s your favourite contemporary? Can you relate to Ivy’s relationship with music? Let me know in the comments!

Wasted Potential, Abusive Relationships, White Superhero Named Gypsy and More in Masked

Author: J.D. Wright
Genre: Superheroes | It’s advertised as YA, but this is NOT for a younger YA audience
Series: Superheroes UnderCover #1
Goodreads rating: 3.62
My rating:  ★

Vada’s To-Do List:

– Turn 18 (check!)
– Register super name
– Order supersuit
– Attend superhero indoctrination
– Graduate high school
– Start kicking criminal tail

Vada Lawson can’t wait to be a superhero. Born into a family with special powers, she’s been training to fight criminals and villains her whole life. But her indoctrination into the underground super community is derailed when normals start breaking out in superpowers themselves.

Not trained to control their new abilities, the normals are frightened and vulnerable. Then their mutilated corpses begin turning up all over town. What the heck?

Somehow, with the help—and hindrance—of an annoying newly-minted super named Orion, Vada has to stop the chaos before it destroys her and everything she holds dear…and ruins her superhero debut.

No one ever said that being a superhero was easy…

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Because this is going to be a long one

Since I love superheroes, I was really looking forward to this one. The preface only made me more excited, since the author wrote that since there aren’t that many superhero books, ‘especially with female readers in mind’, she decided to write one.

When the story starts it immediately gives us a look at Vada and her superhero family (who I absolutely love by the way), celebrating Vada’s 18th birthday, which is also the day she can officially become a superhero. Soon we meet her best friends Henley and James, the latter also having superpowers but wanting to be an agent, specifically Vada’s, instead. Things were looking up and I was definitely enjoying it, until one of the villains showed up and made a very crude comment that I didn’t see coming at all. While Vada is 18, the tone of the book still felt pretty young to me. Not that young, but not mature/old enough for me to expect language like that. Crude language like that is found multiple times in the book, and there are also graphic sexual scenes (at some point there’s even a straight up sex scene?? Which really weirded me out because minus these sort of scenes it really read like a YA book – which it’s also advertised as)

I’m not saying that the more mature content in general ruined this book for me. Though the way it was written is not my taste at all (too graphic) and I definitely don’t want to read an actual sex scene. I could’ve done without it, but if these scenes didn’t come out of nowhere, fitted the tone of the book and weren’t about an abusive couple maybe it wouldn’t have ruined the book for me this much.

This abusive couple, two villains, were pretty much my biggest problem with this book and kept me from really enjoying this. From the moment these two meet, I felt very uncomfortable.

[Spoiler] couldn’t stop the shiver she felt under [spoiler]’s intense gaze. When he swept his eyes over her, he seemed to almost be… absorbing her. Every hair on her body stood at attention. On one hand, she felt violated by his gaze and wanted to slap him for it. On the other hand, she secretly enjoyed the attention.

This girl is having a hard time at home and is constantly lashing out, trying to see how far she could get with her parents. She also has an unrequited crush on someone who doesn’t even know she exists. What I got from this is that she really wants someone to pay attention to her and love her. The guy she falls for though? Not the right person. He doesn’t have good influence on her, is predatory, manipulative, possessive, objectifies her and it’s pretty clear that she’s afraid of him:

Whatever the reason, she wouldn’t disobey him. He was gentle with her most of the time, but if she ignored his message, she would surely pay for it later when they were alone.

YIKES. But it gets worse!

[Spoiler] favoured spanking, and she’d ended many nights with rosy red ass cheeks. She wouldn’t give him a reason to use the spankings as a punishment.

Look, I’m not saying the author is condoning or even romanticising their relationship. But it’s also never really pointed out that it’s not a healthy relationship and they’re still together by the end of the book. Of course they’re villains, so maybe the author thinks it’s obvious that this isn’t a good relationship, but look at how many people ship Harley Quinn and the Joker and think that’s #goals. I also considered that maybe this relationshop is a nod to that one, as there are several other DC Comics references, but that doesn’t make the way this relationship is written as okay.

That being said, the girl herself is pretty problematic too. She has the power to make people do what she wants:

”I can make them say things, give me things, do things for me… do things to me…” She licked her lips and thought about the young man from next door and how he had bent to her will just two nights ago.”

Of course, she is a villain, but this is rape??

Besides these two villains, I also had some other problems with this book. Like James slutshaming Henley for the way she was dressed. While the friendship between James and Vada was really refreshing and fun to read, that slutshaming comment (and the fact that his first design for her supersuit was really sexual?? And when she tells him she won’t wear that, he says ‘it was worth a try’??) kept me from enjoying it.

Then there were the other superheroes besides Vada and her family. Honestly I enjoyed this book most when it was written from either Vada or Orion’s POV. Not that that says much. To be honest I think it mostly had to do with my relief of not having to read about the villains. Anyway, the other superheroes! One of them is a white girl who’s described like this:

Majestic took a brief moment to study the girl next to her, who was wearing a layered dress and strappy gladiator-type sandals. The entire ensemble started with a tan ruffled top, then changed to dark purple, lightening as it went down. The bottom layer was gold. Bells hung from her skirts and jewelry dangled on both arms and ears. The final touch, in lieu of a mask, she wore a sheer purple half-veil that somewhat masked the bottom half of her face, from the nose down.

Her name?

*whispers* Merlin

Just kidding. Just got serious Merlin opening vibes. All kidding aside, her name is Gypsy

That’s a slur that you shouldn’t use. It pains me every time they use it on The Flash (I know that’s her name in the comics, but use her real name! Give her a different superhero name! I don’t care! Just don’t call her that) and it definitely pains me in this book, especially when it’s a white girl dressed like that who decided to call herself Gypsy. Also her superpower is that she’s a psychic because of course.

I have some other problems as well, but I decided to write them down as a list because #yaylists!

💛 Can authors please stop writing about people purring unless they’re part cat or something
💛 SERIOUSLY HOW DO PEOPLE PURR WHAT DOES THAT SOUND LIKE SOMEONE DEMONSTRATE IT FOR ME I’VE BEEN QUESTIONING THIS SINCE SARAH J. MAAS
💛 Vada’s debut as a superhero is constantly called a debut, except this one time when it’s called a coming-out party?? Dude?? No??
💛 Both main superheroes are white, while their agents aren’t. In fact, said agents are the only ones in the book who aren’t white
💛 No YA book can do without your stereotypical mean girl of course *eye roll*
💛 ‘If she never had to hear [her mother] moan over her father’s multiple infidelities again, it would be too soon. She’d chosen to marry the bastard, after all. Whatever she reaped was what she sowed.’ Because let’s blame the victim here!
💛 ‘Turning happened when a super stayed in suit for too long and essentially became the alter identity. They lost touch with who they had been before and usually never found it again. Supers who turned were destined to stay that way forever. It usually happened to villains more than heroes, but it did happen to both. It was what Vada had been afraid had happened to [spoiler].’ Gurl she raped someone pretty much at the beginning of her career as a villain. Also I thought this explanation was a bit… cheap? And stupid? It’s not like you’re a completely different person when you’re in your suit. It’s like how we all act differently in different environments. I’m not the same person with my friends when I’m with my grandfather. I always saw the dual identity of superheroes the same way.
💛 The murders could’ve been an interesting mystery if the story had only been told from Vada and Orion’s POV, and not also from someone who knew what was going on. Bye bye murder mystery

But you know what the worst part of this book is? IT HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL. It could’ve been such a fun read! Vada’s superhero family is so much fun and I loved their scenes together. The siblings had pillow fights, supported each other, teased each other. The parents were actually involved, cared about their kids, protected them, made sensible decisions and were just good eggs. They had inside jokes!! There was female friendship and if James hadn’t made comments like that their friendship would’ve been great to read about. Also superheroes!! Superheroes are fun. But the graphic sexual scenes, the focus on such an abusive couple and having to read from their pov, the inclusion of a white superhero named Gypsy, and just so much more, really kept me from enjoying this book.

What really rubbed me the wrong way is, that the author says she wrote this because there aren’t that many superhero books with girls in mind. This is such a harmful book for girls. If you want superhero books/comics for girls, read Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Squirrel Girl or Not Your Sidekick (which I haven’t read yet but I’ve heard good things so I’m positive I can recommend this). I appreciate the thought, but the execution? Not so much.

Have you read Masked? What did you think? Any superhero books that you would recommend to me? (Besides Heroine Complex which I absolutely love and Not Your Sidekick which I need to get my hands on asap). Let me know in the comments!