Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Monday, June 6, 2016
You Know Me Well
by Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Amount: 256, US Hardback
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.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
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)
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.
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.