The Upside of The Upside of Unrequited

No that title is not a typo, I didn’t accidentally write The Upside of twice – no it’s me trying to be witty and making a pun *finger guns*

Genre: YA | contemporary
Goodreads rating: 4.08
My rating:  ★★★★

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right? (Goodreads)

Becky Albertali has done it again. How does she manage to write such cute, fluffy, fun books, that are also important? I mean, I’m trying to do it myself with my current WIP, so I definitely look up to her.

Seriously though, The Upside of Unrequited is such a joy to read. My favourite thing about it is probably how diverse it is. Molly and her twin Cassie have two moms, of which one is black. They also have a little brother who’s also black (their white mom is their biological mom, while their black mom is their little brother’s biological mom), the family is Jewish, so is one of the love interests, Cassie is queer and of course so is her girlfriend Mina (to be specific she is pan), who is also Korean-American, Molly of course is fat and she also has anxiety (something I didn’t know going in) and there is so much diversity in the background too. Like one of Molly’s ex-crushes makes an appearance and he has a boyfriend. Also it basically starts on the day same-sex marriage is legalised which I absolutely loved.

Since I have anxiety myself, I was really thrilled to find out Molly has it too. Like I said in my Queens of Geek review anxiety is different for everyone, so of course there are differences between me and Molly, but I definitely related to her. Guys I’m so happy how many books are coming out lately with a protagonist who has anxiety (and they’re not necessarily about anxiety) – this is definitely a trend I don’t want to end (can we celebrate the end of abusive male love interests though)

Speaking of the end of abusive male love interests – I’ve noticed that this trend is dying out, especially because we’re getting such great male love interests lately. Of course they’ve always been there, but abusive male love interests are really popular in fiction (not just talking about books, tv and movies too) so I’m really happy to see less and less of them in books. Reid is such a cutie and he and Molly have great chemistry. I really hope this is the start of a new trend (as Jamie in Queens of Geek was a sweetheart too) and that abusive male love interests will be a rarity soon.

Another thing I loved was the focus on family. Molly and Cassie are very close, but throughout the novel they face some problems and Molly fears they’re growing apart. This was just as important to the plot as the love story and I feel like this is something a lot of people can relate to, though maybe with friends instead of family members.

The characters were all so much fun to read about. I loved all the little, quiet moments Molly had with her moms, where she confided in them and they were just there for her. My favourite moment is when one of them tells her that her getting a boyfriend at seventeen isn’t ‘late’, as Molly thinks and that it’s completely okay to not date in high school at all. I found this super important, since there’s a lot of focus on romance in fiction and media geared towards teens and a lot of them (me included, though I’m no longer a teen and I no longer feel that way) feel like there’s something wrong with them if they don’t date during this time. 

I also loved that Molly is basically a Pinterest Queen™ and loves crafting. I feel like there aren’t many YA protagonists with that hobby? Or at least that I’ve read about so it was a joy to read.

Basically: lots of diversity, focus on family, healthy relationship(s) (while there’s mostly a focus on Molly and Reid, the relationship between Cassie and Mina and Molly and Cassie’s moms are healthy too), positive messages, cute and fun oh and a big gay wedding

Have you read The Upside of Unrequited yet? What did you think? Any more books with great male love interests that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Magical Girls Save the Day Once Again in Zodiac Starforce

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always loved magical girl anime. So naturally I was really excited when I discovered Zodiac Starforce. Which means I really want to make all of you excited about it. Right now there are five issues: four in the Zodiac Starforce: By The Power of Astra arc and 1 in the new Cries of the Fire Prince story

So why should you read it? I’m glad you asked *finger guns*

💛 If you love magical girls, why are you still here? Go go go!
💛 It’s a very diverse group of girls too!
💛 Different ethnicities, different sexualities and different personalities of course
💛 There’s an f/f relationship that’s major to the plot!
💛 Friendship!
💛 The art is beautiful and of course magical
💛 It skips the whole origin story of how the girls became magical girls (and friends), but it does so in a clever way – I was never confused (though now I want the origin story)
💛 While it’s definitely not as dark as Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, it does cover the darker side of being a magical girl
💛 But it’s definitely not that dark! I mean, it definitely gets dark at times, but overall it’s still a light and fun read
💛 Their ‘magical girl identities’ and powers are based on their zodiac signs, which I personally find really cool
💛 They have really cool weapons and magical powers
💛 Healthy romantic relationships!
💛 Realistic teen texts (there’s one convo between two of the girls that is definitely me and one of my friends)
💛 It’s funny!
💛 Did I mention the art and their outfits and hair I am in love
💛 It’s fun!

But my biggest reason why you should read it really is magical girls. I mean, girls who are often still feminine and girly (and they’re allowed to!) who kick ass? How could I not love that! How could you not love that?

Have you read Zodiac Starforce? Or any other magical girls comics that aren’t that popular that I should read? Or maybe underrated magical girl anime that I should watch? Let me know in the comments!

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Queens of Geek More Like Queens of My Heart

Genre: YA | Contemporary
Goodreads rating: 4.07
My rating:  ★★★★★

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to eow fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe (Goodreads).

Favourite book of the year along with The Hate U Give, hands down. I honestly don’t see any other book this year being able to surpass these two. But let’s save The Hate U Give for its separate review, shall we?

The biggest thing I loved about this book (besides everything else), is how relatable it is. Firstly I can of course relate to the fact that they’re at a con and geeking out about pretty much everything. I think pretty much all of us bookworms can relate to the fandom aspect of this book. I didn’t expect to relate this much to Queens of Geek though.

Firstly there’s Taylor and her anxiety. While everyone experiences anxiety differently (and mine has a lot to do with my PTSD too) and there were thus some differences between me and Taylor, I still related to her a lot. I am absolutely in love with the way Jen Wilde wrote Taylor’s anxiety. While sometimes reading about it sometimes made me feel really anxious as well, it mostly felt really nice to read about because I felt so understood. I really wish that I had had this book when I was younger.

I also loved how understanding Charlie and Jamie were of Taylor’s anxiety and how much they helped her. It’s hard to find friends like that, so I’m happy that those with anxiety who sadly don’t have people like that around them, can see that there are definitely people like that out there (and of course this is fiction, but as someone who found a great friend like that I can assure you there really are people like that out there and I hope they’ll come into your life soon <3)

Then there’s Charlie, who I didn’t relate too as much as Taylor, but there was one line that really, really got to me:

The moment I first realized I’m into more than one gender was a quiet one. It was sudden and almost anticlimatic, so it’s not a particularly exciting story. I was fourteen, and by that time I’d had more than one crush on a girl, mostly movie stars. But I never interpreted my feelings as a crush; I just thought I admired them a whole lot. It didn’t occur to me that those feelings were similar to the way I felt about guys I liked.

So I guess this is were I come out on my blog? I didn’t want to do a whole post dedicated to it, since I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it and new followers would most likely not come across that post anyway, but if you’ve been following my blog for a while and didn’t know, I guess this may come out of nowhere so I didn’t want to not address it.

Anyway, I had never thought about it that way, but when I read that sentence, I realised that I had thought the same thing. The way bisexuality is written is so positive and while there’s some biphobia, it’s addressed and it’s coming from an antagonist.

There are two romances in this book, an f/f and a m/f one, and both were so adorable and healthy. I think I died from cuteness overload multiple times. And while I absolutely love Alyssa, I want to give a special shout out to Jamie. For a long time abusive male love interests were a trend in YA, and I’m glad to see that’s dying out. Jamie is an absolute sweetheart, who’s soft and nice and caring and nothing like the male love interests that were so popular not that long ago.

I also loved that Charlie’s ex was clearly abusive towards her and that it was addressed. It’s made clear that the way he treated her was not okay. As someone who’s very passionate about portraying abusive right and not romanticising it in fiction I absolutely loved that this was added. There are so many positive messages in this book. There’s also a part about bodyshaming and the way that was handled was so beautiful it almost made me cry.

Another thing I loved was how supportive Charlie’s manager was. When she was first introduced I feared that she wouldn’t sympathise with Charlie and be mean towards her, but I was pleasantly surprised. She was like a friend/big sister/aunt/manager in one and I loved her relationship with Charlie.

There’s so much more that I loved about this book, but these really are the main things (at least the ones I remember) besides the fact that it’s simply fun. And just a positive read. Sure, it touches some heavy topics, but it doesn’t feel heavy. To summarise: a light, fun but important read, with lots of positive rep and messages.

Have you read Queens of Geek yet? What did you think? What’s your favourite book of the year so far? Let me know in the comments!

Brave Chef Brianna: Cook With Anxiety in a City Full of Monsters

It’s time to talk about another favourite comic! This time it’s Brave Chef Brianna‘s turn, which sadly only has four issues. Though the story is wrapped up neatly and more issues aren’t necessary, I just want them! Four issues is way too short for me haha. So what is Brave Chef Brianna about?

Brianna’s father sets her and her brothers a challenge: the sibling with the most successful restaurant will earn the family empire. There’s only one restaurant allowed per city and Brianna decides to start hers in Monster City.

So why should you read it?

  • Brianna is a great character. She has anxiety which is portrayed in a very realistic way, which she constantly battles which is very inspiring to see. Despite her anxiety she doesn’t give up
  • It takes place in Monster City, so there are lots of interesting characters (almost all of them monsters)
  • Supportive friends!
  • Especially girls supporting girls!
  • Great art – characters don’t look the same, it’s colourful yet also fits the sometimes darker atmosphere
  • Fun recipes (at the end of each issue a recipe is included)
  • Basically it’s just a fun read!

Though I wish the story had delved a bit deeper into the history of Monster City and the reasoning of its laws, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was a fun read and I especially appreciated Brianna’s portrayal of anxiety. I’d definitely recommend this one (plus it’s a short read so what’s stopping you?)

Have you read Brave Chef Brianna yet? What did you think? Any other comics with great portrayals of anxiety you think I should read? Let me know in the comments!

Goldie Vance: Black Queer Female Teenage Detective

You may know that I’ve been reading quite a lot of comics lately, and today I wanted to talk to you guys about another favourite that deserves more love (obviously all my favourites deserve more love but ssh), namely: Goldie Vance

Goldie Vance is about a teenage detective solving, well, mysteries obviously. It takes place during the sixties and is just a lot of fun. So why should you read it?

  • First of all, because it’s about a black queer female teenage detective!!
  • Goldie is such a fun character
  • All characters are so colourful and unique
  • Goldie has a cute girlfriend!!!
  • It’s a fun read
  • It takes place during the 60’s yet has a diverse cast
  • Girls who race!!!
  • Girls who work on cars!!!
  • Girls who love cars!!!
  • Lot’s of girl power and girls supporting girls
  • There’s more to the mean girl than meets the eye (which honestly is one of my favourite tropes I can’t help it I’m such a sucker for it – maybe because ‘the mean girl’ is a far more used trope??)
  • It’s funny and just delightful???
  • THE ART. LOOK AT IT. IT’S SO CUTE AND COLOURFUL
  • And the clothes omg I love the clothes
  • Positive parental figures and positive relationships with their children
  • Good mysteries!
  • Basically: read it??

I hope my fangirling was useful to you and convinced you to read it haha. Do you know any similar comics or books (besides Nancy Drew) that you’d recommend? Have you read Goldie Vance? Let me know in the comments!

Did The BBC Class Books Fill the Hole in My Heart?

Genre: YA | Sci-fi
Series: BBC Class Companion Books
The Stone House GR Rating: 3.38
What She Does Next Will Astound You GR Rating: 3.44
Joyride GR Rating: 3.82
My rating:  ★★★

The Stone House

There’s an old stone house near Coal Hill School. Most people hurry past it. They’ve heard the stories. But, if you stop, and look up, you’ll see the face of a girl, pressed up against a window. Screaming.

Tanya finds herself drawn to the stone house. There’s a mystery there, and she’s going to solve it. But the more she investigates, the more she realises that there’s a presence in the house. One that wants her.

Something is waiting for Tanya in the stone house. Something that has been trapping others in its web over the years. Something that is far worse than any ghost.

What She Does Next Will Astound You

At Coal Hill School, things have started to get public. Kids have become obsessed with a website that demands you perform risky stunts, or tell it your most painful secrets. And Seraphin, everyone’s favourite vlogger, wants you to get involved. All in the name of charity.

At first people just get hurt. Then their lives are ruined. Finally, they disappear.

As April’s fragile group of friends starts to fracture, she decides she’s going to uncover the truth behind this site herself. Whatever it takes, whoever she hurts, April’s going to win. But then, to her horror, she wakes up and finds her whole world’s changed.

What she does next will astound you.

Joyride

Poppy is a quiet girl, right up until she steals a car and drives it through a shop window.

Max is a nice guy, but then he kills his whole family. Just for fun.

Amar always seems so happy, so why is he trying to jump to his death from the school roof?

Some of the students of Coal Hill School are not themselves. Some of them are dying. Ram has just woken up in a body he doesn’t recognise, and if he doesn’t figure out why he may well be next.

I’ve talked about my love for BBC Class before, and since I loved the show so much of course I needed to read the companion books. It’s been a while since I read them, so my memory is a bit foggy, but I’m still going to try haha.

Did these books fill up the hole the show left in my heart after it ended? (there’s still no news about a second season rip) Yes and no. On one hand I really missed the characters so I was thrilled to have them back in my life, even if it was only for a little bit. On the other hand the characters didn’t feel as fleshed out as they were in the show (which is one of the big reasons why I love it so mch) and there were times they acted out of character. Like in What She Does Next Will Astound You, April and Tanya’s personalities were kind of switched. While on the show April has no problem fighting and killing aliens, suddenly she does in this book and is more of the rational/logical one, which was Tanya’s role on the show. Meanwhile Tanya enjoyed the fighting and killing. Especially April suddenly having problems with fighting alien felt really weird, which I’m sure everyone who has seen the show would agree on. I mean, April is a warrior queen?

Does this look like someone who has trouble killing aliens

April (and by extension Tanya) isn’t the only one who acts out of character though. Charlie does something in the same book that I could never imagine him doing. The books are all written by different authors, so I guess the one who wrote What She Does Next just didn’t have a good enough understanding of the characters, which is really a shame. I also felt like this one dragged on a lot, even though the concept was pretty interesting.

Joyride on the other hand felt too fast-paced and it really annoyed me that we got to read from the antagonist’s POV several times, which gave too much away. I would’ve preferred if things had remained a mystery a bit longer for me as a reader and to have figured things out along with the main characters.

What I really liked about The Stone House was the relationship between Tanya and Miss Quill, something that I love about the show as well. I love that Miss Quill looks after Tanya and clearly cares for her, even though she tries to hide it.

The writing of these books was okay. I would’ve preferred if Patrick Ness himself had written them, not just because he’s an amazing writer but he knows the characters he created, unlike these writers.

I did love the cute Marlie scenes in all the books (with the exception of one but as Charlie acted completely out of character I’m just pretending that it didn’t happen *shrugs*), Miss Quill had some iconic lines like always, there are some funny moments and the books were fun to read. So all in all I did like them and if you really love Class and want more of it, I would recommend them. Just don’t have high expectations.

How do you feel about companion books? I’ve yet to find some that are really, really good. Usually they’re not on the same level as the original show, so I’m always a bit wary of them. My obsession with Class got me to buy them though haha. Anyway let me know how you feel about them in the comments!

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A Riordan Book with Second Book Syndrome? It’s More Likely Than You Think

Genre: YA | Fantasy
Series: The Trials of Apollo #2
Goodreads rating: 4.32
My rating:  ★★★★

Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . (Goodreads)

As I was writing down my thoughts in list format so that I wouldn’t forget them, I realised… I quite liked my list. Therefore I decided that it’s time for another list review

  • Not as good as the first one
  • Not much happened??
  • Second book syndrome?? A Rick Riordan book?? It’s more likely than you think
  • That’s really how it felt though, not much happened, by the end of the book I didn’t feel like the story had progressed that much. So all in all, it did feel like second book syndrome
  • Still love Apollo though
  • His past relationship with a man is a huge part of the plot!!!
  • Can people stop being so mean to him pls give my boy a break
  • His friendship with Meg!! I died and cried just aaah
  • It’s just so beautiful?? They love each other so much and they keep on going for each other????
  • Like these two will go to the end of the world for each other??
  • Like Apollo who used to only care about himself would willingly sacrifice himsef to save her?? My heart?? Can’t handle it??
  • The haikus are still enjoyable
  • Leo and Calypso!! And becoming friends with Apollo!!
  • Though I do wish we could’ve gotten the story from their POV as well, as now it didn’t feel like they played a big part
  • Apollo and Calypso being clueless ex-immortals together (though Calypso more so since Apollo kept up with pop culture)
  • Lesbians who played a big role and were important to the plot!! Spoiler (but a good one): they have a happy ending!!!
  • More Roman history and myths!! While you’d think it could get a bit difficult keeping up with all these characters, creatures and myths, Rick Riordan never info dumps and makes it feel like your head will explode
  • Cameos!! From old favourites!! Whether they actually appear or are mentioned
  • I loved a lot about it, it’s just that it dragged a bit and it didn’t feel like much happened?
  • All in all it was enjoyable, but I had high expectations since I adored the first one

Have you read The Dark Prophecy yet? What did you think? Oh and did you know that apparently it’s going to be five books?? I thought it was a trilogy! Did it change or was it always meant to be five books and did I get confused because Magnus Chase is a trilogy haha

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