Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ten Books I (Totally Could've) Read in One Sitting

Well, it's been a while! That was a totally unintentional brief hiatus, but I'm back! I've missed making posts, but I had midterms a couple of weeks ago, and things just got so hectic that I needed a break. Hopefully I'll be back on a somewhat normal posting schedule now, but no promises!

One of my favorite things about a book is when I love it enough that I want to read it in one sitting. I don't actually get to do that a lot, though, since other things tend to come up. So here are ten books - not counting comics, novellas, or other really short books - that were completely worthy of being read in one sitting, whether I actually did that or not.
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh (The Wrath & the Dawn #1): This was the first book that came to mind when I saw this topic, and with good reason. I started it in the middle of a school day, so I couldn't actually read it all at once, but when I actually got time to read, I couldn't put it down. It was just so perfect!

WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin (Wolf by Wolf #1): This one was so fast-paced that I just had to keep reading and keep reading because I needed to find out what happened next, especially since I got so invested in the characters so early on.

THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO by Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door #2): I wasn't expecting to get sucked into this one so much! I still don't know exactly what it was, but I absolutely flew through this one.

SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #1): This book does so many things well, one of which is keeping you on the edge of your seat. Everything was happening so quickly that I could barely bring myself to stop reading! Even to do important things, like eat.

SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli: I basically read this in one sitting both times I read it, and I can't really see reading it any other way. I devoured it like a package of Oreos.

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray (Firebird #1): All of the books in this series are quick reads, but this one especially stands out in my mind because I remember thinking that I'd take a quick break from homework to start the book and then suddenly I was on page 150 and I didn't want to stop.

THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson: This is a pretty long book to be on this kind of list, but it was that great! I had to take a break in the middle to sleep, but if I could have I totally would've powered through and done this in one sitting. It put a huge smile on my face.

SCARLET by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2): This is my favorite book out of this series, and one of the reasons why is how unputdownable it is! I flew through this and I was so upset when I got to the end that I went through and read all of my favorite parts again.

THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oakes: I definitely didn't read this book in one sitting, but there was just something about it that made me think that I'd have liked it more if I did. I still can't quite put my finger on it, but if I ever reread this, I'll make sure to clear out some time for it.

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han (Lara Jean #2): A couple of summers ago, I was in a pretty bad reading slump, but for some reason, I knew that this book would cure me. So I went to Barnes & Noble, bought it, read it within a few hours, and loved it. I'm still slightly convinced that it's magic.

What are some books that you've read in one sitting? How about some books that you wish you could have read in one sitting? Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones

Title: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones
Author: Katherine Webber
Series: N/A
Length: 336 pages
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Diversity: biracial main character and her whole family (half black, half Chinese), many black supporting characters (including love interest), two lesbians
Rating: and why aren't there more stars
Source: eARC via NetGalley

Let me tell you about my experience reading this. I knew from a few chapters in that I was reading an amazing book. As I kept going, it just got better and better and better, even when I didn't think that was possible anymore. It took my breath away, it kept my eyes glued to the page, and it shattered my heart into tiny, wonderful pieces. I got to the end. I thought of basically nothing else for four hours. And then I realized that I needed to start right back at the beginning, and guess what? It was even better.

Somehow, though, I'm having trouble articulating why and how much I loved this. I keep trying to put the words together, and I can't think of any better way to say what I'm trying to say, but nothing can come close to the experience of actually reading the book. So this is the part where I tell you to stop reading my blog and get this book in your hands immediately, because nothing will ever compare.

I love books that play with my emotions, and this book did that in the best way possible. Every word went straight to my heart. I felt what Wing felt. Every part of me was drawn into the story, and I think that's why I read it twice - by the end, I'd put so much of myself into reading that I didn't want to let go.

One of this books innumerable amazing qualities was its cast of characters. Every single character was just so perfectly written that I would have been all that surprised to find that they were real by running into them at the grocery store or something. I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between characters and people, and these characters are somehow just like complete people put on paper. I can't pick a favorite, though Granny Dee and LaoLao are probably my favorite duo. (Why aren't there more grandparents in YA?)

I didn't know about the magical realism elements of this book going into it, so I was a little confused at first. Pretty quickly though, it became one of my favorite parts. (Who am I kidding? The whole thing was my favorite part.) Everything was blended so perfectly that once I got over my initial confusion, I never had to question anything. And really, what book can't be improved by a dragon? And a lion.

Really, though. Read this book. Let it suck you in. And when you're done, you might just have to read it again.
Goodreads summary:
Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights in this sweeping, warm, arrestingly original novel about family, strength, and hope.

Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshipped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not.

Until the night everything changes when Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry. She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother and grandmothers’ grief. In addition to all this, Wing is scared that the bank is going to repossess her home because her family can’t afford Marcus’s mounting medical bills.

Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team. And better still, an opportunity at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Recommendations for Newsies Characters

I pretty much only talk about books on here, but I also really love musicals! One of my favorites is Newsies. I was ridiculously lucky in that I got to see it on Broadway a few weeks before it closed a few years ago, and it was amazing. (On a bookish note, one of the reasons I love it is that it introduced me to David Nasaw's books, but that's another story). I was so happy to find out that it would be filmed and shown in theaters, and seeing it again made me remember just how great it is.

I was thinking about whether I could find a way to fit it into a book blog post when I remembered a post that Emma @ Awkwordly Emma did (that I somehow can't find right now - I'll go back and edit this later if I can) where she recommended books to fictional characters. So I'm doing the same thing for Newsies characters!
For Jack Kelly, the leader of the strike, my first recommendation is I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson. Jack's an artist, and this is the first book that comes to mind whenever I think about art. With art, though, I think the more obvious answer is comics! And for that, I have to go with HAWKEYE, the series that got me into comics. (With an honorable mention to MS. MARVEL, because I just can't talk about comics without mentioning Ms. Marvel.)

For Katherine Plumber, the reporter covering the strike and hoping that it'll be her big break, one book that comes to mind is one centering around another aspiring female reporter at the end of the 19th century - THESE SHALLOW GRAVES by Jennifer Donnelly. Jo Montfort's story has so much in common with Katherine's - though the former's is a bit darker - that I couldn't not include it. For a more contemporary read, I'd pick VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Katie Coyle, since Vivian goes to huge lengths to get answers about the unexplained Rapture-esque apocalypse.

Davey Jacobs, the brains behind (most of) the strike, seems like someone who likes fiction that gives him something bigger to think about. The books that really do that for me are the ones in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, especially the City Guards subseries. The first of these, GUARDS! GUARDS!, isn't my favorite, but you really can't go wrong with Discworld. Another book that really made me think is WILLFUL MACHINES by Tim Floreen, which raises some really fascinating questions about robots and what it means to be human.

I actually had kind of a hard time picking out books for Crutchie. I wanted to find books that really focused on friendship and family, but so many of them just didn't seem right. For an amazing friend group, though, you can't beat THE DARKEST MINDS series by Alexandra Bracken - such amazing characters who fit together so well! Then, I settled on one of my most recent reads: A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe, for the bond between Julian and Adam. Their interactions were my favorite parts of the book.
Did you see Newsies in theaters? What are some of your favorite musicals? Tell me in the comments! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Review: The Pants Project

Title: The Pants Project
Author: Cat Clarke
Series: N/A
Length: 272 pages
Published by: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Diversity: trans main character with two moms, disabled supporting character
Source: eARC via NetGalley  

This was just so gosh darn cute. I love happy queer books! And I'm so happy that these kinds of books are becoming more widely available and being written about a wider variety of characters.

Minor spoilers ahead, with no details - I was really happy to see a story involving a queer character who starts out in the closet whose story doesn't revolve around coming out. We need all kinds of queer stories, because there are all kinds of queer people! And I can't think of too many others that are like this.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how diverse this book is. I knew it had a trans main character when I picked it up, but he has two moms, and one of his best friends is disabled!

Liv is such a great protagonist. He's funny, he has good intentions even if he doesn't always go about things in the best way, and no matter how great he is, he's still realistically imperfect. His voice made me like him right off the bat, and I was rooting for him the whole way through!

This wasn't the main focus of the book, but one of my favorite parts was how this discussed that apologizing for something doesn't automatically make everything okay. There were a few times that I was worried that things would be resolved in a quick, forced way, since I tend not to expect as much depth from middle grade (which is a habit I should really break). But I had nothing to worry about! It handled real emotions and real problems exceptionally well.

I may not have given this a full five stars, but really, I have no complaints. I guess it was just missing that little extra something that would have made me absolutely love it. If this kind of book seems like your thing, I'd highly recommend it!

What are some of your favorite happy queer books? What about your favorite middle grade books? Are you going to read this? Tell me in the comments! 
Goodreads summary:
"My name is Liv (Not Olivia)... I'm not technically a girl.

I'm Transgender. Which is a bit like being a transformer. Only not quite as cool as cool because I probably won't get to save the world one day."

A Transformer is a robot in disguise. Liv is a boy in disguise. It's that simple. Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy, but with his new school's terrible dress code, he can't even wear pants. Only skirts.

Operation: Pants Project begins! The only way for Liv to get what he wants is to go after it himself. But to Liv, this isn't just a mission to change the policy- it's a mission to change his life. And that's a pretty big deal.