Thursday, March 16, 2017

Illusion by Nadette Rae Rodgers

by Nadette Rae Rodgers
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

Everybody dreams, everyone has nightmares...but no one dreams quite like Addison Smith. Addison has always had unusual dreams. However, the crazy factor has risen to a whole new level. Still, she doesn't realize just how unique she is. But one day, Addison wakes up covered in bruises with blood on her pillow, and she realizes that maybe her dreams aren't so normal after all. Someone or something is causing all of this, but she doesn't know who and she doesn't know why. Suddenly the guy of her dreams (literally) becomes the new kid at school and turns her world upside down. Before she knows it, the line between reality and her dream world blurs. What is real? What is just an illusion?

I'm not going to lie, I am a book snob, which causes me to rarely give self-published books a chance. However, as soon as I heard the synopsis of Illusion, I knew I had to read it, and I am so glad that I did. I am excited to say that after reading hundreds of young adult books, Rodgers managed to create a fresh and unique story. Throughout the book, the main character, Addison, experiences terrifying dreams that definitely got my adrenaline pumping. I loved having to discern whether these experiences were a dream or a reality alongside Addison, even though Rodgers masterfully provides the reader with clues in the sentence structure. That being said, the writing of this book is incredible, especially for such a young author. I can honestly say that there wasn't a dull chapter because of the continual heightened sense of intrigue and vivid, lifelike characters. 

The characters portrayed in this novel are incredible. Addison is a relatable and enjoyable main character while Zach is mysterious and brooding. Additionally, I love how well the side characters were developed. Instead of just dropping her best friends like most young adult protagonists do the instant they are paired with a boyfriend, Addison continues spending time with her circle of friends. More specifically, I absolutely adore Addison's relationship with her best friend Cammie and how realistically the friendship is portrayed. Additionally, this book also emphasizes familial relationships in a positive light, which is also unique for young adult novels. Addison's parents are active throughout the novel and even play a significant role in the plot. It was truly special being able to see the mother-daughter bond illuminated in this book.

Ultimately, this book is a wild ride and transcends genres because of its continual shift from a fairly typical high school experience to a life threatening chase in a dream. As a result, this book is unputdownable because of the well-crafted, imaginative tale that Rodgers has created. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to see how Addison's story continues in the next book!

My Favorite Part: The suspense!

Do I recommend this book? Definitely! 

Will I be reading the next book? Yes, I want it now!

Monday, June 6, 2016

You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well
by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

Released: June 7, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Amount: 256, US Hardback
POV: 1st Person (Mark & Kate)
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

Plot: A
Characters: A
Creativity: A
Writing: A
Pace: A+
Ending: A

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them

Let me begin this review by saying I really loved this book. LaCour and Levithan nailed the voices of Mark and Kate and weaved an intriguing and realistic heartfelt story. I haven't come across too many books where every sentence and every word makes my heart glad, but this book made me smile, laugh, commiserate, and give a hug to each and every character. This book is one of the most truthful and realistic books I have ever read. Nearly every young adult book I have read in the past has had a romantic storyline, but this book shows the reality that love can be unrequited. I am so incredibly overjoyed that LaCour and Levithan took risks with this small book and made this book relatable as well as enjoyable.

Although this book takes place over the span of a week and is only 256 pages, I was immersed in Mark and Kate's world. Sure, I wish I could be these amazing characters for a longer span of time, but the length of this book was perfect. There was not a single dull moment, and I found myself never wanting to put the book down because I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. Even though this book chronicles fairly ordinary events, it is extremely captivating.

As for the characters, I felt a deep connection to them since page one. Mark begins this book a little shy and hopelessly in love with his best friend, but as he becomes closer to Kate, he learns how to be brave. On the other hand, Kate is first seen panicking over her immense love for a girl she's never met and running away from everything that appears to be terrifying. Even though Mark and Kate are virtually strangers at the start of the novel, they become friends at exactly the right time: when both of them need a friend the most. I have seen a couple reviews where readers have said that their friendship began too rapidly, but to me, it seemed like a realistic portrayal of how incredible friendships are forged. When I think about how I met many of my best friends, all I can remember is being at an event where we instantly clicked. Therefore, I truly thought Mark and Kate's friendship was believable.

Another thing I really loved about this novel is that although it may seem like this book is all about navigating romantic relationships, this book is so much more than just a love story. The main focus of this book is on Mark and Kate's friendship, not the romantic relationships. Moreover, this book also covers many of the challenges that face teens in high school. For example, Kate has to deal with her best friend drifting away from her while also having continual fears about leaving high school and beginning college. I truly admire how the authors packed so many tidbits of life into 256 pages. 

The ending was very fitting for this story. The book ends with an image of Mark and Kate's adventures at the pride parade where they come together with their loved ones and meet a couple new friends. I feel like the ending set up a whole new beginning for Mark and Kate, which was really cool to read. I love being satisfied with the ending, knowing vaguely what's to come for Mark and Kate, while also wanting to know more about the two friends. Even though this book is super short, it sure was an unforgettable read with truly amazing lifelike characters.

My Favorite Part: How realistic this book truly was. 

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! 

It's a Book Thing
Review by Macy ♥

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen 
by Jazz Jennings

Released: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Crown (Imprint of Penguin Random House)
Page Amount: 272, ARC
POV: 1st Person (Jazz)
Genre: Memoir
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

This review is based on an advance reader copy that I picked up at BookExpo America. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.


Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series "I Am Jazz" making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence particularly high school complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy especially when you began your life in a boy s body.

This was a book that I picked up on a whim at Book Expo America. Before picking up this book, I had never heard of Jazz Jennings, but I'm really glad I now know who she is. Before reading this book, I binge watched all of the episodes of I Am Jazz. Then, once I finished watching the show, I decided to pick up this book. Seeing as Jazz is only 15 years old, this book is fairly short and doesn't really cover anything unique from the television show. There were a couple chapters that were about the filming process of I Am Jazz and about the start of her activism that weren't covered on the show, but for the most part, the passages on bullying and her transition were identical to the stories I saw on the show. 

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this book. It was a super fast read, which allowed me to read this book in one sitting. I enjoyed being able to see pictures of Jazz as a child, and I really loved hearing her unique voice narrate her experiences. I also really loved the extra interviews with her siblings, parents, and grandparents that were included at the end of the book. I found it interesting to hear how Jazz's being transgender affected the family as a whole.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, but I think it would be more successful if Jazz waited to write about her life so that she would have more unique experiences to speak about. I was very interested to hear about what its like being a transgender teenager, but I felt like I didn't get to hear much about her emotional journey. This book seems to focus more on Jazz's public life rather than her private struggles. Although this book wasn't entirely what I expected, I will definitely pick up any other books that Jazz writes because of her unique, engaging voice.

My Favorite Part: I loved being able to see how Jazz became famous.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, if you haven't already seen the show I Am Jazz.

Thanks for reading! Please follow and let me know in the comments if you've watched I Am Jazz!

It's a Book Thing
Review by Macy ♥

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June TBR

What books are you planning to read in June? Let me know down below!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

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