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

OVERALL:
Plot: A
Characters: A
Creativity: A
Writing: A
Pace: A+
Ending: A
/5








SUMMARY:
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 more.-Goodreads.com


REViEW:
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. 



ALL iN ALL:
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.

OVERALL:
/5








SUMMARY:
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. -Goodreads.com


REViEW:
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.


ALL iN ALL:
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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Massive BEA Book Haul

Which book do you think I should read next? What books are you highly anticipating?


Make sure you follow and subscribe because many ARC giveaways are on the way!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You 
by Jojo Moyes

Released: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books
Series: Me Before You, Book 1
Followed By: After You
Page Amount: 369, US Paperback
POV: 1st Person (Lou)
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

OVERALL:
Plot-18/20
Characters-17/20
Creativity-20/20
Writing-18/20
Pace-7/10
Ending-10/10
= 90/100 A
/5



SUMMARY:
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.-Goodreads.com


REViEW:
Like many people, I first heard about this book from all of the buzz surrounding the movie. I was immediately drawn to the romance between Will and Lou in the movie trailer and ended up disappointed when the book showed virtually no romance between the two. I do not want to say too much about the plot of this novel because I don't want to spoil anything. I was happy that the book focused on issues surrounding life and living with a debilitating injury, but I wish that I could have felt and seen more chemistry and romance between the two main characters. 

I believe the characters in this book are what made this novel fall flat for me. When I first began reading this book, I loved Lou. She was quirky and cute. I must admit that I laughed out loud during the interview scene. Lou seemed to be full of personality, but then a couple chapters later once she began working for the Traynors, she really fell flat for me. She seemed very two dimensional, leaving me unable to connect with her. On the other hand, Will had a strong personality complete with wit and sarcasm, yet I felt like I didn't see much of him. I really wanted to connect with all of the characters like I felt when I watched the movie trailer but wasn't able to.   

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this book. Even though I wasn't that big of a fan of this novel, I did end up crying by the end of it. I absolutely loved the ending. It was very fitting for the book and the characters involved. I am curious what takes place in Moyes following novel After You, but I'm hesitant to read it because of how disconnected I felt towards Lou in Me Before You. Overall, I did enjoy this book, but I wasn't completely in love with it. I have a feeling this will be one of those rare times where I enjoy the movie more than the book. 

My Favorite Part: The interview scene towards the beginning of the novel.

ALL iN ALL:
Do I recommend this book? Yes, but I think I would recommend the movie more.
Will I be reading the next book? I'm not entirely sure.

It's a Book Thing
Review by Macy ♥

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown 
by Kiera Cass


Released: May 3, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: The Selection, Book 5
Preceded By: The Heir
Page Amount: 279, US Hardback
POV: 1st Person (Eadlyn)
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

OVERALL:
Plot-17/20
Characters-17/20
Creativity-17/20
Writing-18/20
Pace-9/10
Ending-9/10
= 87/100 B
/5


SUMMARY:
When Eadlyn became the first princess of IllĂ©a to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone. Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.-Goodreads.com


REViEW:
WARNING: May contain some vague spoilers about the plot of the novel.

Seeing as I loved The Selection trilogy and enjoyed The Heir, I made sure to pre-order The Crown so I could find out what guy Eadlyn would choose in her own selection the day the book was released. I devoured this book in one day because, like Cass' other novels, this book was quick, adorable, and fun. When you go into this series knowing that it is addictive fluff, it is incredibly enjoyable.

When I was reading this book, I was kind of surprised that there wasn't really any plot other than Eadlyn deciding which of the selected she will marry. This is because the original trilogy seemed to always have a political subplot to aid tension to the selection. However, in The Crown, I feel like Cass focused entirely on the selection while trying to add in little tidbits of political and social drama. This bothered me because it seemed like the drama with Marid and his family as well as the caste uproars were added as an afterthought. Both political events seemed to have no purpose other than eliciting drama and an ending. I wish Cass would have either introduced this political plot earlier and spent more time on it or instead focused on character development to drive this novel. I would have loved to see Eadlyn rush to choose her man because she was maturing and learning to love rather than her rushing to marry in order to avoid another proposal. This book just had too many things going on for a short 279 page book.

Even though I didn't get the exact transformation of Eadlyn that I had wanted to see, I was still happy with her growth. She was still annoying at times, but her voice was realistic and consistent. She really grew on me during the course of this book. I genuinely cared about what guy she wanted to marry and admired her for her ambition. However, I was really upset that Maxon and America relinquished nearly all of their power to their young, immature daughter without a second thought. I'm thoroughly shocked that they wouldn't even really help Eadlyn transition to regent. That seemed really out of character to me and really lessened my opinion of both America and Maxon. I understand that this is Eadlyn's story, but come on, most of us readers are only reading this book because we fell in love with America and Maxon. 

Anyway, as for the boys in the selection, oh how I loved them. I wish we could have spent more time in this novel exploring Eadlyn's relationships with each of them. I really could have used some more Kile action, but I was happy to see more of Hale. I was happy with who she picked, but I wish I could have seen more of how she started to fall for that particular guy because it seemed like instalove to me. For over half this novel, she barely seemed to consider this guy and then all of a sudden she was like "I love him." It seemed very abrupt to me. That being said, I wish I could have seen her relationships with all of the boys blossom more throughout this novel, but I was thoroughly happy with how it all ended.
The ending was cute. Although the book did not end the way I had originally had hoped, I am very happy about how everything concluded. By the end, I firmly believed that this was the only way that things could end for Eadlyn. However, I did wish that America and Maxon weren't pushed to the side. I know that this is Eadlyn's story, but I really wished to see the Schreave family interact more. Nevertheless, I closed this book feeling elated because of how cute and fun this series is. I know I stated a lot of things that I wish Cass would have done, but quite honestly, I did love this book. It was a sweet end to The Selection Series.

My Favorite Part: How everything wrapped up. I was pretty comfortable with the ending of this fun series.

ALL iN ALL:
Do I recommend this book? Yes, this book made me smile.


It's a Book Thing
Review by Macy ♥

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Summer Goals

SCHOOL'S OUT!

Hey guys! Sorry I haven't been very active this year. College is wonderful, but it has consumed my life for the past couple of months. But now that I'm finally free from required reading and intense essays, I plan to dedicate a lot of my time to making It's a Book Thing awesome on here as well as on my YouTube channel. To do this, I came up with a list of goals for the summer:

SUMMER GOALS
1. Remodel Blog Design
2. Remodel YouTube Channel
3.Post Something at Least Every 3 Days
4. Try to Read at Least 10 Books a Month

CURRENTLY READiNG
1. Me Before You
2. The Curiosities
3. Cress

UPCOMiNG VIDEOS
1. Feb./March/April Wrap-Up
2. Various Reviews
3. SE-YA Fest Book Haul
4. May TBR

Also, I will be going to Book Expo of America and BookCon so I will surely have a lot of videos and posts about that coming soon! I can already tell this summer is going to be a great one!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

Happily Ever After 
by Kiera Cass




Released: October 13, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Amount: 416, US Hardback
POV: 1st Person 
Series: Companion to The Selection
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

OVERALL:
Plot-18/20
Characters-18/20
Creativity-16/20
Writing-18/20
Pace-9/10
Ending-8/10
= 87/100 B
/5



REViEW:
Happily Ever After contains the novellas The Queen, The Prince, The Guard, The Favorite, and The Maid as well as some scenes about Celeste and other girls from the Selection. Like many super fans of Kiera Cass' work, I had already purchased The Prince and The Guard when they were both released in 2014, so I wasn't too thrilled with them being repackaged into this fancy new hardback. I really had no intention of buying this book until I saw a signed copy, making me need to have it. I'm glad I did buy it because this book had so many really neat exclusives. I loved the illustrations scattered throughout the book as well as the detailed maps that make up the inside cover. They were really beautiful and added a special charm to the stories. The stories did not really add that much to The Selection Series but it was fun to find out some more about secondary characters like Aspen, Maxon, Amberly, Lucy, and Marlee. I felt very indifferent about most of the stories because not much happened in the novellas. I wish Cass would have focused more on the background of these characters instead of re-narrating events that we already know from the main series. All in all, this book wasn't special, but it was a nice way to go back into the palace.

My Favorite Part: Celeste's scenes.


ALL iN ALL:
Do I recommend this book? Only if you really want to spend some more time with the characters of The Selection.


It's a Book Thing
Review by Macy ♥

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not 
by Adam Silvera


Released: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Soho Teen
Page Amount: 293, US Hardback
POV: 1st Person (Aaron)
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

OVERALL:
Plot-18/20
Characters-19/20
Creativity-20/20
Writing-20/20
Pace-9/10
Ending-9/10
= 95/100 A
/5






SUMMARY:
In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. Why does happiness have to be so hard?-Goodreads.com


REViEW:
This book has been on my wishlist ever since I first heard of this book. I was immediately intrigued by the plot because although the book is almost entirely realistic fiction, it still has a sci-fi element to it because of the Leteo Institute's memory removing procedures. I loved the fact that that element did not detract from the realism of the novel but rather enhanced its meaning on sexuality. I do not want to explain too much of the plot because I believe this is one of the books that you just have to experience for yourself. I can say, however, that this book's plot shifts throughout the novel as more revelations occur to Aaron. I absolutely loved this because it kept me guessing throughout the novel. Just when I thought I had figured it all out, I turned the page and realized I was wrong on absolutely everything, and I love that! Not only was I shocked at some of the turns this novel took, but I also was completely sucked into the characters, writing, and plot of this book. I couldn't help but stay up all night to finish it because I had to know what was going to happen to Aaron and all of the fleshed out secondary characters. 

All of the characters in this book were amazing. I loved how Silvera really developed an entire community of characters within less than 300 pages. The main character and narrator, Aaron, had to be my favorite because his voice was distinct, raw, and honest. Aaron is an interesting character because he doesn't always see things as they really are, which lets the reader have some fun figuring out what's true and what's not. I was also blown away by how much I could identify with and get to know so many of the supporting characters. I loved reading about Tyler, Genevieve, and Aaron's mother. Each of them brought an entirely new perspective to Aaron and his situation, which was nice because it allowed me to sympathize with an array of different characters. These characters challenged me to think like a friend as well as a mother about sexuality and memory. The many perspectives that this book explores really made this novel something unique and truly special

The ending of this book was also terrific. I really don't think that Silvera could have ended this novel any other way because this ending was so fitting for the plot and the characters that were developed throughout the book. I, for one, was very happy with the ending and was left speechless and in awe once I closed the book. I am absolutely blown away by Silvera's debut novel, and I cannot wait to read more of his books in to future. 

My Favorite Part: I loved being shocked by the twists and turns and seeing how the sci-fi elements intertwined with the realistic to create deeper meaning. I also really enjoyed how tastefully the issue of sexuality was handled.


ALL iN ALL:
Do I recommend this book? Yes, I really truly do! I especially recommend it to people who are searching for a great LGBTQ+ read! 
This book has become one of my all-time favorites.

It's a Book Thing
Review by Macy ♥
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