Starfish // The Best Anxiety Rep I’ve Ever Read


Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Genre: Contemporary //  YA
Goodreads rating: 4.12
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time as her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the West Coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns transformative truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

A luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.Disclaimer: I was given an copy of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Where do I even start? Starfish has been one of my most anticipated reads for a while now, and boy it did not disappoint in the slightest. In fact I think it went beyond my expectations.

I’ve been having trouble writing this post for weeks now, because putting my love for this book into words?

It’s been a while since I read a book that I loved this much, plus a lot of it hit me personally, making it even harder to write this review. While I haven’t gone through exactly the same thing as Kiko, her relationship with her mother really reminded me of mine with my father, something I haven’t really talked about on here. While of course there are differences between Kiko’s mom and my father, there were a lot of similarities and I’m just so happy to see this represented so well in ya fiction. Because I’m lucky to know that things weren’t okay, so I know that it’s okay to choose to not have a relationship with my father now, but there are so many kids and teens out there that don’t, that think they just have to accept the way it is because they’re family. 

She can’t be the villain if she’s the victim.

Starfish shows us that it’s not okay, not in the slightest, and never tries to normalise her mom’s behaviour or get us to symphatise with her.

One quote that hit me really hard, because I’ve heard pretty much the exact words (except in Dutch of course) were: ”I’m not some evil dictator.” Her mom constantly played the victim, made it all about herself, constantly looked down on Kiko, and meanwhile Kiko badly tries to be perfect as to please her mom. I still have issues trying to do everything perfectly because of my father, so I related to Kiko so much.

Kiko’s anxiety definitely stems from her mother’s abuse, but it also stems from (TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse. Yes, this is a spoiler, but I want to mention this so that people know what to expect going in) her uncle sexually abusing her when she was a kid. This only made her mother’s abuse worse, as she doesn’t believe her. Thankfully I haven’t experienced any sexual abuse, but I definitely got my anxiety from my father’s abuse, making me feel a lot more represented in this book than others that deal with anxiety.

That’s not to say that other books I’ve read don’t have great anxiety rep! One of the reasons I loved Queens of Geek and The Upside of Unrequited so much is because of their great anxiety rep, but Starfish? Starfish is so on point. It touched upon things that I haven’t seen before in YA (that’s not to say it isn’t there! I just personally haven’t read it or my memory is failing me once again) and it made me think about my own WIP, as these things Kiko felt and experienced are just so normal to me that I didn’t even think about including them in my own WIP that also deals with anxiety.

I loved the inclusions of what Kiko actually wanted to say, and what she really ended up saying, because same? Not being good at talking to people, hating parties and loud music*, not being able to have fun when there are people you don’t feel comfortable around**, needing someone to hide behind/to talk for you/just be there with you in new situations, quickly worrying that you said the wrong thing and upset someone just because they’re not immediately responding… and just so much more. Starfish captured anxiety so well – anxiety is different for everyone, so there were differences between me and Taylor (Queens of Geek) and Molly (The Upside of Unrequited), but Starfish is the first book that when it came to my anxiety I just felt fully represented in.

Normal people don’t need to prepare for social interactions. Normal people don’t panic at the sight of strangers. Normal people don’t want to cry because the plan they’ve processed in their head is suddenly not the plan that’s going to happen.

* Fun fact: when I was still in my mother’s womb and my mother would go somewhere with loud music I would protest by moving around and kicking until she left lmao sorry mom so yeah that’s something I probably wouldn’t like even if I didn’t end up with anxiety, but now it can be really hard for me to handle?
** Like it didn’t matter I had my friends at school parties I did NOT feel comfortable at all with all the other people around. During our senior trip in Barcelona our teachers surprised us by going to a club hahahaha thanks mates couldn’t you have warned a girl I had a panic attack :) bless the club for having wifi though so I could talk to my mom all evening

I loved how at the end of each chapter Kiko would describe what she drew or painted that day, which always reflected something she went through, felt or experienced during that chapter, and to see how she’d turn that into art. Sometimes it was heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, but it was always beautiful. The way Kiko’s written as an artist is something I aspire to write as one of my character is an artist as well. Plus as an art lover it was just fun to read about an artist!

I draw a woman wearing an elaborate dress, twirling like she’s made of light and sun. And then I draw a shriveled girl trapped within her shadow. She doesn’t want the light – she just wants her mom.

One of my favourite things in this book is her relationship with the artist Hiroshi, who doesn’t just take her under his wings as an apprentice, but welcomes her into his family. He gives her so much wisdom, love and kindess, and so did the rest of his family. I also loved that this way Kiko could reconnect with her Japanese roots, which is something she was missing. Speaking of the Japanese rep, I’m not Japanese, so I can’t speak for it, nor can I speak for her experience of looking Asian in a white society, as while I’m part Indonesian I’m very whitepassing. So far I have only seen positive reviews from Asian bloggers, but if there’s anything incorrect about the rep that you’ve mentioned in your review, please let me know so I can link to it!

Kiko’s development is incredible. In the beginning she can barely go out by herself (same girl), but in the end she does things outside of her comfort zone, despite her anxiety. She isn’t magically cured, she still suffers from her anxiety, but she learns how to live with it. And that my friends? Is the message I really needed right now as my anxiety has been pretty bad lately.

Starfish is an incredible read, and definitely my favourite of 2018. Of course it’s only May, but I just don’t see anything surpassing it. It has a great balance between heavy and light, but never downplaying the heavy elements. It tackles racism, abuse, family, belonging and so much more.

If you haven’t picked this up yet, I highly recommend it.Have you read Starfish yet? What did you think? Any other great anxiety YA books you’d recommend? What’s your favourite read of 2018 so far? Let me know in the comments!

The Monthly Hufflepuff February // Stress!! But I Also Met A Blogging Friend!!

So uhh while I did post this weekend before that I kind of?? Disappeared again? This gif sums it up perfectly:

So yeah I’m VERY stressed about my essays even though I got extensions BECAUSE I’m stressed* Whenever I get stressed about something (usually school) I just drop pretty much everything and focus on the thing I’m stressed on (yeah pretty much always school) and then I’m just too tired to do anything else. Usually that means I’m also too tired to read, but because I’ve got ARCs to read I HAVE to make time – while that may sound stressful, I’m actually grateful because last year around this time I was in a huge reading slump and pretty much only read comis. While I love comics, I really missed books. So yay at least I’m reading. But blogging? I WANT TO BLOG SO BAD. Like I said last month, I really missed it and found my love for blogging again, but my stress is eating all my desire to blog. But as you can see I’m trying! Cause I’m writing this post! And I posted during the weekend and I’ve been reading a few posts here and there**

Anyway, I’ll talk more about my stress and stuff later on in this post. Let’s get the wrap up started

* I thought to myself ‘boy, there’s a silver lining to having anxiety’ when I got my extensions but then remembered I probably wouldn’t need those extensions if it weren’t for my anxiety nsjdhd
** You may have noticed me reading and commenting on posts from February – that’s because I had a window open with posts to read except I didn’t find any time until now lol

💛 Picture Perfect (Geek Girl #3) by Holly Smale ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I absolutely love Geek Girl and Harriet, but this one felt a bit like a filler to me. Also some really frustrating stuff happens and just asfbjdh Also I really Harriet’s friends, but at least there was a lot of her family! Her parents are just so funny and lovable.

💛 Snow Sisters by Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick ⭐TRASH GARBAGE NEEDS TO BURNED RIGHT NOW EXCEPT I DON’T HAVE A PHYSICAL COPY (THANK GOD) AND I DON’T WANT TO BURN MY PHONE. Incredibly transphobic, the transphobe is actually portraid as a victim and the authors are trying to get you to symphatise with her (I shit you not), bi-erasure, sexualities used as plot twists…   IT’S A HORRIBLE MESS

💛 Flight Season by Marie Marquardt ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Oh my goodness how am I gonna sum this one up?? Centers around a beautiful friendship between three kids (actually I’m not sure about all of their ages but they’re kids to me ok) who’d do anything for each other and how to live with grief. It’s honestly just a beautiful book. Also the MC is a lil bird nerd and I love her

💛  All That Glitters (Geek Girl #4) by Holly Smale ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ -I uh,, don’t remember this one that well?? My mind is just filled with the fifth one which I recently finished but Harriet makes new friends!! And I’m so happy for her!! Also she continues to be so cute and funny and relatable and I love her. There are also some great plot twists in here which I didn’t see coming at all. Harriet matured quite a bit in this one and I love seeing her grow so much through the series.

💛 Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I finally read it!! I’ve been meaning to read this forever, and then ended up reading The Unexpected Everything instead because there’s a pug on the cover (the pug BARELY appears don’t let the pug deceive you even though the book is worth it but don’t expect the pug to appear that much ok?)

COMICS: Lumberjanes #46 // Runaways (2017) #6 // Giant Days #35 // Ms. Marvel #27 // The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl volume 7

So I accidentally skipped a few weekly wrap ups and now have so much to talk about?? Okay it wasn’t ‘accidentally’ – more like I didn’t mean to but I decided to skip them because every Sunday I was just too busy and tired. I thought of doing them on Monday instead but just didn’t have the time and before I knew it it was the next Sunday.

Anyway, my lack of weekly wrap ups is NOT because I have nothing to talk about: I did quite a few exciting things:

💛 I met Elly from A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts and her mom!! It was so exciting to meet them and it was just so lovely. Time went by way too quickly haha. We went to the cat cafe here in Manchester and oh my goodness I want to live there?? It’s just so cozy and relaxing and CATS also rainbow cake!!

 

I’m not a big fan of cake but 1) my gay ass needed this and 2) it reminded me of red velvet cake and that’s pretty much the only cake I like and I was right! It’s very much like red velvet cake. I couldn’t finish it though because it was just so sweet and if I kept eating I would’ve gotten nauseous

Also I have a LOT more pictures to share but I’m doing a separate post on the cat cafe because CATS

💛 I went to two museums: The Whitworth Art Gallery which is a modern art museum and the Salford Museum and Art Gallery. The Art Gallery of the Salford Museum wasn’t that exciting, but the museum has a Victorian street inside which was really cool!

💛 I went to see the dragon’s parade even though it was VERY stressful because I do not handle crowds well and got a few panic attacks here and there. It was still fun though!

💛 I saw Black Panther! AND BOY WAS IT GOOD. I mean I don’t need to tell you that because everyone’s been yelling that right??

💛 My mom and I booked her flight (and my flight back!) and got tickets to see Hairspray while she’s here and I’m so excited!! I can’t wait to see her, show her everything and to finally see Hairspray live as it’s my favourite musical and I love it so much

Other than that I’ve just been busy with my essays, but as this is my last week of classes I’ll have a lot more time for them now. My mom will arrive on the fifth of April so I’m hoping to have finished by then, but if not my first essay is due the 16th and my last the 4th of May so I do still have time.

I can’t believe that I’m going home already so soon! Thankfully I’ve seen and done the most important things I’ve wanted to do, and I still have time to do things once my mom is here, so I’m not too worried about that. While I’m not too homesick anymore I am definitely looking forward to going home.

💛 Reviews: The Wren Hunt // Snow Sisters // Flight Season
💛 The Reading Hufflepuff: It’s February So Obviously It’s Time To Share My Favourite Books of 2017
💛 Writing: Valentine’s Write Tag
💛 Michelle in Manchester: A Not So Quick Update From Manchester: I Continue To Be A Cryptid // I Went To A Football Museum? And A Cathedral Straight Out of Sleeping Beauty
💛 Other: Monthly Mixtape Schwarmerei

I do have quite a few posts from around the blogosphere to share, but I’ll leave that for the next Weekly Hufflepuff. I have no idea when that will be, but we’ll see!

How has your month been? Are you too busy with school? What have you been reading? Have you seen Black Panther?? Let me know in the comments!

A Not So Quick Update From Manchester: I Continue To Be A Cryptid

Sooo things didn’t exactly go as planned. It’s February and I haven’t wrapped up anything 2017 related, I’m pretty sure I’ve missed three monthly wrap ups and while I wanted to write at least weekly posts about Manchester I uh failed that too

I’ve been busy adjusting, exploring Manchester, my best friend stayed with me for a week, I was busy watching Netflix, and uh got caught up in trying to figure out my family tree, something I’ve tried to do multiple times over the years but I never got that far. Meaning I didn’t get anywhere. I’ve decided to put things on hold as it was giving me quite a headache to get farther as I hit a bump in the road. Of course at the point which I’ve been most curious about pretty much my entire life, namely my great great great (? I’m terrible at ‘great great great’ stuff it’s so confusing) grandmother who was Indonesian. Of course that makes it a lil bit harder to find stuff out because ya know colonisation. But hey at least I found out what my great grandfather was called, something my grandfather didn’t know as he just always referred to him as ‘opa’ (which is Dutch for grandfather) so at least I could tell my grandfather what his grandfather was called. I’ll try to find out more when I get back home.

I’ve been slowly getting back into blogging (I’ve been reading a few blog posts!!) and I’m starting to get excited about blogging again, so hopefully I’ll be able to write some posts soon (I do have a review coming up for an ARC so I felt enough pressure to get started on that)

So with those excuses out of the way, let’s hope I won’t disappear again after this lol If I do I’m just gonna pretend that didn’t happen okay? Just pretend with me I don’t want to write a post like this every few weeks haha

Some other things I did/happened to me I want to share:

💛 I cut my finger open on a box of washing powder, got a piece of my phone’s screen protector stuck in my thumb and my other thumb started bleeding randomly MY FINGERS ARE NOT SAFE
💛 For the first time in what’s probably three years I’m borrowing books from a library?? It’s been even longer that I actually borrowed books that I actually wanted to read. The uni library doesn’t have THAT much fiction I want to read but it’s something and I feel so blessed is this how American bookworms feel
💛 Today was the first time I saw one of my housemates in like,, 2 weeks
💛 So basically I’m continuing to be a cryptid*
💛 In my defense my social anxiety just gets a lil bit too bad to go out in the kitchen/living room while there are people there, especially more than one
💛 But other than the usual (social) anxiety that honestly should’ve been expected but I didn’t really think about before coming here (which is a good thing because I might not have gone if I had) I think I’m doing pretty okay? I’ve gotten adjusted to things, gotten my routine and am less homesick
💛 My friend and I went to the refresher’s fair mostly because we were promised free pizza but we got one tiny slice #betrayed
💛 I uh… I bought more plushies *hides*
💛 I will show them in their respective posts (well, one of them hasn’t arrived yet) but hint: it’s Stitch dressed as the Easter Bunny and a super cute Dobby**
💛 The fire alarm goes off pretty much every week and lemme tell you it is not fun I get a panic attack everytime and apparently fire alarms are now a trigger for me because I had to mute B99 when the fire alarm went off on there!!
💛 Speaking of B99 have I mentioned before how grateful I am for this show it does wonders for my mental health really as most of the time it can make me feel better so guess who’s rewatching
💛 I found my precious seaweed rice crackers at a supermarket in Chinatown, gasped and started to whisper sing ‘Hallelujah’ – I really hope the guy behind the counter didn’t notice
💛 I’m still not cooking because the kitchen is still gross but I cleaned the oven (which was also gross!!) so at least I can get oven meals like quiche and spring rolls
💛 I also finally caved and became Cinderella and vacuumed the hallway, kitchen and living room because I couldn’t stand it any longer
💛 Today I suddenly heard someone vacuum the hallway??? It wasn’t me?? Shook

*  I just realised that I’ve kind of been a cryptid in the blogosphere as well *mind blown*
** I mean obviously Dobby is always cute but have you seen the official Dobby plush?? I’m sorry but no

Wow that list was a lot longer than I expected. Anyway, I’m going to Oxford tomorrow with my friend through the International Society, so hopefully I won’t be too tired on Sunday so that I can write a few posts, as I really really want to

How have you all been?? Any exciting news?? Posts you’re proud of that I MUST read? (Please give links!) Tell me everything!!

Studying Journalism With an Anxiety Disorder

This past school year I’ve been really struggling about whether or not I had made the right choice. I really loved my first year, and I had good grades. For the most part I continued to get good grades, and I had gotten positive feedback on my writing, but I still really, really worried if journalism was for me after all.

Studying itself gives me a lot of stress and anxiety, but on top of that having to call people, arrange interviews, doing the interviews themselves etc. I’ve gotten used to it, sort of, but the anxiety I feel before calling people and before the interviews themselves, has never gone away. And I feared that it never will.

My main character from my current WIP also has anxiety and is considering studying journalism, but is afraid his anxiety will get in the way. While I wondered this as well before making my decision, I wasn’t struggling with it as much as Yong-sun is in his senior year. I’m struggling with it now, at the brink of my third year. While this also gave me anxiety, it also really, really helped me. Because I decided to google ‘anxiety and journalism’. Which I could’ve done without writing about Yong-sun, but I didn’t think of it. I didn’t think of looking up journalists who also have an anxiety-disorder. Reading articles from journalists who face the same problems I do, really, really helped me. Am I still scared? You bet ya

But if other journalists can do it, then maybe I can do it too

Are you worried that your anxiety will get in the way of your goals? Has your writing/characters ever helped you in a moment like this? Let me know in the comments!

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*

Author: Becky Albertali
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!

Queens of Geek More Like Queens of My Heart

Author: Jen Wilde
Genre: YA // Contemporary // LGBTQIAP+
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!