Reading wrap-up #29

This is another longer review, so I will keep it to only three books.

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Liked it enough
  • (★★): Didn’t care for it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amazon.com: If I Was Your Girl (9781250078407): Meredith Russo: BooksRating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, young adult, LGBTQ+

GoodReads rating:  4.00 / 5 (27,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: Amanda starts at a new school after being attacked at her old one for being transgender. Can she keep her secret and lead a normal life in this new town?

Thoughts: This is a popular LBGTQ+ young adult fiction book and pretty much hit all the YA clichés: promposal, dating a football player, house parties, completely predictable, you get it. The secondary characters were rather indistinguishable and the author wasn’t the best at creating an atmosphere. Although this book wasn’t really my taste, I still think this book is a great introduction for young people to trans people (especially as the book was written by a trans woman).

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska: Green, John: 8601400593011: Amazon.com: BooksRating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, young adult, contemporary

GoodReads rating: 4.02 / 5 (1,052,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: At his new boarding school, Miles makes friends with troublemakers including the irresistible Alaska Young. After pulling a prank, Alaska hastily leaves campus and never returns. Miles and friends set off to find out why she bolted and if if she’s coming back. 

Thoughts: What do you know? Another hate-read. I read Turtles All the Way Down and despised it and couldn’t even get past the first few chapters in The Fault in Our Stars, it made me cringe too much. First, I found it funny how this book included discussion questions as if it could ever be considered valuable literature (talking about “book’s unusual structure” when there was absolutely nothing unusual about it and “wonderful characters” when there was nothing groundbreaking about them, either). The plot to this book and Paper Towns sound damn near similar… normal boy, longs for a perfect girl (probably with huge boobs, wide ass and a tiny waist, proportions Barbie would envy) whose sole function of the story is to make him whole, revenge prank, girl goes missing… you know the rest. As expected, the characters are quite bland and pretentious, with their only personality trait being smoking cigarettes (“Ya’ll smoke to enjoy it, I smoke to die”… really?). The characters’ interests are way beyond their years (and even mine), it makes them unrealistic and unrelatable. Also, isn’t a deep fried burrito called a chimichanga? You can’t claim to invent the “bufriedo,” cabron. Anyway, I digress. The second half of the book the characters were more tolerable, the plot was pretty good and the ending was appropriate; this would have been a four-star book if not for the reasons listed above. Too bad.

Other adaptations: The Hulu series began last year and has decent ratings. This might be one of my lockdown binges when I return home.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - Penguin Books AustraliaRating: ★★

Genre: Fiction, dystopia, sci-fi, classics

GoodReads rating: 3.99 / 5 (1,359,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (free Kindle classic)

Summary: The new World State is made up by genetically pre-determined castes who value consumption and stability… until a Savage challenges these new ways.

Thoughts: I couldn’t wait for this book to be over. I’m trying to read more classics and by the time I realized I wasn’t enjoying it, I was around the 40% mark and decided to power through. While the premise was interesting enough, I didn’t really care about any of the characters and the plot details didn’t grab me. I felt like the author spent too much time explaining the world and spoon-feeding lessons to the reader and left the plot underdeveloped. In my opinion, Animal Farm and The Alchemist do a better job of having both plot substance and worldly lessons.

Other adaptations: There we a few TV movie adaptions, none of them particularly impressive. There is a TV series coming to the new NBC streaming platform (really? another one?) this year.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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