Book Review: My Fate According To The Butterfly by Gail D Villanueva

Book: My Fate According To The Butterfly by Gail D Villanueva

Published July 2019 by Scholastic Press|240 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade

When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.

If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears — of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom — and figure out the cause of their rift.

So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult — and dangerous — than she ever anticipated.

Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!

I liked My Fate According To The Butterfly!  It’s a cute and heart-warming middle grade book that’s worth checking out.

I really liked Sab, and her connection to butterflies.  It’s an interesting story, and I never thought of butterflies as being a sign of death before this book.  For me, the black butterfly wasn’t literal, in terms of how it relates to the story.  She learns a lot about her dad and family and how things aren’t what she thought they were.

Maybe that’s what the butterfly represents- learning something about your family and how things aren’t what they seem.  It also seemed to give her something to focus on and it seems to set things in motion for her and her family.

I do get why her mom didn’t say anything about what was really going on with her dad.  I didn’t get why her sister didn’t talk to their dad, but I do understand why she wouldn’t say anything to Sab.  It makes total sense they’d want to protect her from that, and it must have been hard to hear what had really happened.  But hopefully Nadine will be able to make amends with their dad, and hopefully things will eventually be okay.

Sab definitely has an adventure going all over Manila with her best friend Pepper, and I wish we got to see more of it.  I liked what we saw, but I did find myself wishing we saw more.  It seems like Sab is pretty sheltered, and we see that she has to be pretty careful when she leaves her quiet neighborhood.  It’s a world she isn’t used to, that’s for sure.

Something I did find confusing was her relationship with her sister.  It’s a minor thing, I guess, but for most of the book, I kept forgetting Nadine was her sister and not her aunt or an older cousin.  She’s actually called Ate Nadine throughout the book, and for some reason, it made me think of aunt or someone who taking of care of her.  Her sister does, because her parents aren’t together and her mom travels a lot but I found that it threw me off a little bit.

3 stars.  I did like this book, and I liked seeing Sab’s learn more about her family, but I didn’t love it.  It’s still worth reading, though!

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ARC Book Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite And Maritza Moulite

Book: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Expected Publication Is September 3, 2019 by Inkyard Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 384

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle. 

I wish I liked Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, but it was a hard book for me to get through, and I ended up not liking it.

It’s told in a mixed media format, so you see news articles, emails, texts, transcripts, and diary entries from both Alaine and her family.  That didn’t work at all in an e-book format.  It just didn’t look great, but keep in mind I was reading an advance copy, so I’m pretty sure it’ll look better once it’s actually published.

I did have a hard time getting through the book, and part of it is that the mixed media form of story-telling didn’t work in an e-book form.  A few parts of the text were out of order, and it’s hard to have a good flow when you start a new section or chapter in the middle of a sentence.  Again, I’m sure that will be fixed by the the time the book actually comes out, but it did affect my reading experience.

Part of why I struggled with the book was the random tangents.  We’d be reading things from Alaine’s point of view, and then suddenly, we’d be getting imagined emails between her mom and someone at GNN, where her mom used to work, or diary entries on a centuries old family curse.  Even though everything did tie together in the end, it didn’t make sense for most of the book.  I did finish the book wondering what it was supposed to be about.  There’s a lot going on, and while I did like the individual pieces, I don’t know that I liked all of them together.  I felt like it muddled the overall story to the point that I wasn’t sure what the story was supposed to be about.

I did like the family relationships, and that was something I did like about the book.  You don’t really see that in YA, and it was really refreshing to read.  It was nice to see how they developed and changed over time but I wish we saw more of it.

Alaine had a really strong voice, and I wish we saw more of it.  It did take a backseat to some of the other things we see in the book, and I’m a little sad about that because I felt like it took away from her story.

My Rating: 1 star.  I really wish I liked this book more, but it just didn’t work for me.  I think it would work great in physical form, but as a digital ARC, it was hard to get through.  There were parts of the book I liked, but it wasn’t enough for me to really get into the book.

Book Review: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Book: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Published May 2019 by Razorbill|336 Pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: These Witches Don’t Burn #1

Genre: YA Paranormal

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven–and any chance she has with the new girl–is destroyed.

I really liked These Witches Don’t Burn!  I wasn’t sure what to expect but I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would.

I really love this take on Salem and the witches that live there.  It’s definitely different, and I liked how current day Salem was tied to the Salem that we know from the Salem witch trials.  It really did tie together really well, and Sterling did a great job with connecting everything.

In a lot of ways, it’s a pretty typical story.  There are witch hunters, witches can’t tell mortals, and there’s a council overseeing everything.  I didn’t mind it, though, and it was pretty interesting to see the mystery unravel.  People are definitely not who I thought they were, and it was hard to know who to trust.  I was a little bit surprised by the revelations and now I kind of want to go back and re-read the book to see if I can pick up on anything.

The story did feel pretty realistic, and the weird things that are happening could be done by anyone.  I was surprised by some of the things in the book, but I felt like things were revealed pretty naturally.

I liked Hannah, though I didn’t love her.  I felt for her, though, and she had a lot going on, from the beginning of the book to the very end.  Especially at the end of the book.  I wasn’t a fan of Veronica and her love interest Savannah, and it seemed like Savannah had a lot of issues she needed to work out.

I get where Savannah’s coming from, and that she’s not ready to come out, but I also thought she was pretty horrible to Hannah for a good chunk of the book.  Veronica was pretty careless at times as well, and she was pretty terrible to Hannah at times.

Hannah was sweet, though, and you can tell she’s really earnest.  She wants to help and do good, and it shows.  It makes her really endearing, and I’m curious to see how the events of this book will change her.  If it does, but I don’t see her staying the same person she was in this book.

4 stars.  I really liked These Witches Don’t Burn.  It was fun and intriguing, and I am looking forward to reading the next book.

Book Review: The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Book: The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Published May 2019 by Alfred A Knopf Books For Young Readers|224 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Mystery

Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.

Her dad is drowning in grief. He’s also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she’s got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he is still alive, that there is a life after Beth that is still worth living.

Who is Isobel Catching, and why is she able to see Beth, too? What is her connection to the crime Beth’s father has been sent to investigate–a gruesome fire at a home for troubled youth that left an unidentifiable body behind? What happened to the people who haven’t been seen since the fire?

As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town, and a friendship that lasts beyond one life and into another…

I’m not sure how I feel about The Things She’s Seen.  It’s interesting but I was as interested in it as I thought I would be.

The Things She’s Seen are narrated by Catching and Beth, and their stories are pretty distinct.  Catching’s story is told through poetry, while Beth’s is not.  Catching’s story felt more like she was telling a story, and it felt very rooted in folklore or oral storytelling, while Beth’s story is more rooted in the present day solving a mystery.  It made the narrators very distinct, and it was easy to tell who was narrating.  They alternate sections, and even without looking at who was supposed to be narrating, I knew who had taken over the story.

I will say that Catching’s part of the story slowed things down for me.  I wanted to get back to the mystery Beth was trying to solve with her dad from beyond the grave, and Catching’s story felt like it veered away from that.  Even though we know what happens in the end, and that it’s clearly spelled out in Beth’s sections, I just wasn’t into this story.  It’s not for me, but I can see why so many people love it.  I really wish I was one of them.

This book is definitely for people who like very creepy mysteries, and I most certainly am not the type of reader that will love this book.  I like creepy stories, I like mysteries, but this one just didn’t work for me.  The setting is really creepy, but the characters and writing didn’t grab me the way I thought it would.

2 stars.  The Things She’s Seen just wasn’t for me.  I liked that the two narrators were very distinct and there is a creepy feel to the book but overall, it was just okay.

Book Review: This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Book: This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Published June 2019 by HarperTeen|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

I didn’t like This Time Is Different as much I thought I would, but I still liked it.

CJ was interesting, and I love that she’s into flower arranging.  I feel like that’s not something a lot of people are into, and that definitely stood out.  She really was happy helping out at the family flower shop, and it was really important to both CJ and Hannah.  I didn’t love her, but I can’t really figure out why.  She was really hard on people, and not willing to give them second chances.  Which is understandable but she let it get in the way of other things.

Fighting for the flower shop, and changing the name of the school was really important to her, and it was interesting to see her fight for that.  There are issues along the way, including working with someone she doesn’t like.  Which I completely understand, after hearing what had happened.  But it was middle school, and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt..maybe she has changed.

I felt like I learned a little bit more about Japanese internment and the effects it had.  It’s not something I really remember from history class in school, but it had this huge affect on CJ’s town, even decades later.  It very much affected her family, and it became really important to her to fight for her community.

The characters in This Time Will Be Different are very human and very flawed.  I liked that because they felt so very real.  They have a lot of really difficult conversations, and there aren’t easy answers but I think a lot of the characters learn a lot about themselves along the way.

I know for me, I really wanted the flower shop to be saved, and was disappointed it wasn’t, but things don’t always work out how we want them to.  Hopefully, CJ will find something she loves as much as she loved the flower shop and she’ll find something she’s really passionate.  Maybe she’ll stick with the flower arranging but maybe not.  She has a lot of options, I think.

3 stars.  I liked This Time Will Be Different but I didn’t love it.

Book Review: We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Book: We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Published May 2019 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux|472 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Sands Of Arawiya #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

I really liked We Hunt The Flame!  It was a great read, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Arawiya is a very vivid place, and it felt so real.  Like it was a living, breathing place, and it really had a life of its own.  Arawiya was the perfect backdrop for the story, and it really felt like it was a character as well.  I could picture everything that was happening so perfectly, and Faizal did such an amazing job at describing everything.

Zafira and Nasir were both interesting, though I liked Zafira a little bit more than Nasir.  I’m not sure why, but I felt like we got to know Zafira a lot more than Nasir.  I was definitely a lot more interested in her story, and I really felt for her.  She had a lot going on, and she really wanted to do right by her people.  Still, both Nasir and Zafira have their own really unique stories and I could definitely tell that Faizal put a lot of thought into their backgrounds and how it informed them as people.

The names and places did get a little confusing at times, and I did have some trouble keeping up with who was who.  I don’t know if it’s because it took me quite a while to read it, or if I wasn’t paying enough attention when I was reading it, but sometimes I had a little trouble with names and places.

The world is pretty distinct, and while some elements of the story is pretty familiar- you read enough YA fantasy, and eventually, everything starts to blend together- the world stands out.  I don’t think there are many worlds like this one, and I don’t know if it’s because of how it’s described or just the world in general, but it’s pretty distinct, at least for me.

The story does move pretty slow, but there’s enough going on that I stayed pretty interested in what was going on.  And with how the book ended, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

4 stars.  I really liked We Hunt The Flame, and I thought the world was very vivid and unique.  I did have some trouble keeping some of the characters and places straight but We Hunt The Flame is a great read!

Book Review: Aru Shah And The Song Of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Book: Aru Shah And The Song Of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Published April 2019 by Rick Riordan Presents|381 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Pandava Quartet #2

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Re-Telling

Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.

But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone.

Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.

I really liked Aru Shah And The Song Of Death!  I really liked the first one, and I was pretty excited about this one.  It didn’t disappoint!

Aru’s story continues in this book, and she’s definitely in for more adventures with Mini.  We also see another Pandava sister in this book, and it makes me wonder if we’ll see the other ones.  There’s two more books planned in this series, so it’s possible we’ll see the other sisters.

Back to this book, though.  Mini and Aru team up with Brynne, who was a pretty cool character.  She’s rough around the edges, but I really liked that about her.  Aru and Mini could use someone with her strength and sense of direction, and I like how all three girls balance each other out.  They all have their strengths, and I think they work pretty well together.  I can’t wait to see what other adventures they have.

On their quest to prove their innocence, they go deeper into this world.  While we were introduced to the world in the first book, we are definitely past learning how this world works, and we’re thrown right into things.  I liked that we were able to explore Aru’s world a little more, and I’m hoping it stays that way for the rest of the series.

I liked the humor and pop culture references and they felt pretty natural.  I’m always nervous when I see pop culture references because I always worry the book is going to feel dated in a few years but I don’t feel like that’s the case with this book.

I also really liked that we don’t always know the whole story, and that heroes aren’t always who they’re cracked up to be.  I did like it because it’s really easy to elevate heroes, but there’s also the message that even heroes make mistakes.

We don’t see Mini or Boo for a good chunk of the book which was a little disappointing, because I really like Mini and Boo.  But Aru did have to learn to work with Brynne and while I love the relationship Aru has with Mini, I also think it’s good for her to learn how to work with other people too.  Aru is more confident with her abilities, and I’m sure she’ll get more confident as the series goes on.

4 stars.  I really liked this one, and it’s a great addition to the series.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Book Review: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Book: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Published May 2019 by Simon Pulse|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Dimple And Rishi #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

The irresistible companion novel to the New York Timesbestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, which follows Rishi’s brother, Ashish, and a confident fat athlete named Sweetie as they both discover what love means to them.

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

I really liked There’s Something About Sweetie!  It’s really cute and I really liked Sweetie.

Sweetie’s a great character, and she was really easy to relate to.  I think, at some point in our lives, we all feel like we’re not good enough for some reason or another, and that made her really easy to relate to.  She really wanted to prove people wrong.  In particular, I think she wanted to prove her mom wrong, and show her that she can do anything she sets her mind to.

I finished the book with the sense that her mom meant well, and just wanted to protect Sweetie.  Sweetie is this amazing athlete, and a great student, and that never seemed to be good enough for her mom.  Overall, she’s a pretty good kid, and she really could have used a lot more support from her mom.  Her dad’s pretty awesome, though.  I was glad to see that her mom came around, and did stand up for Sweetie in the end.  It was long overdue, in my opinion.

Seeing Sweetie and Ashish together was really cool, and I liked them together!  They balance each other out pretty well, and they have more in common than you would expect.  He’s definitely a different Ashish than the Ashish we see in When Dimple Met Rishi.  Speaking of…both books are set in the same world, but they stand on their own, so you don’t need to read When Dimple Met Rishi to know what’s going on in this book.  I still think you should read it because it’s a great book and you’ll understand Ashish a little bit better but overall, you’ll know what’s going on in this book without reading the other one.

I liked Ashish in this one and he’s definitely different after everything that happened with Celia.  I was angry at him for texting her back when he was so into Sweetie.  And the fact that he didn’t mention anything about it, and she just happened to see the messages…that didn’t help at all, but I’m glad they were able to work it out.

Their dates (planned and approved by Ashish’s parents) were definitely different but the cover made a lot more sense after one of their dates.  I couldn’t figure the paint out on the cover and I’m sad to say that I cannot remember the festival if my life depended on it but it did sound really interesting.  It also reminded me of that one run where they throw paint at you throughout the race, though I’m positive this festival came first.

Overall, There’s Something About Sweetie is a super-cute romance and worth reading!

4 stars.  I really liked There’s Something About Sweetie, and Sweetie is pretty awesome, though her mom frustrated me at times.  Her mom did come around in the end, which was nice.

Book Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Book: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Published May 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|304 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Royals #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

I liked Her Royal Highness!  I don’t know that I liked it as much as the first book in the series, but it was still fun and entertaining.

I wasn’t sure about Millie and Flora at the beginning, and by the end of the book, I still wasn’t sure how I felt about them as characters. They’re thrown together since they have to share a room for part of the school year.  They did have some pretty interesting interactions and I was curious to see what Flora would do next to get out of boarding school.  It didn’t work but it was fun to see what she would actually do, and I was glad that she actually found a reason to stay.

The nice thing about Her Royal Highness is that you don’t need to read the first book to know what’s going on in this one.  Some of the characters from Royals make an appearance in this book, and while it’s a good idea to read the first book for some background, you’ll know what’s going on in this one if you don’t.

One thing I didn’t like about the book was the timeline.  It seemed liked things were going really fast with not a lot of explanation of what was going on.  I felt like there were a lot of gaps in time with no indication time had passed and yet it also felt like it took forever to get to Millie and Flora getting together.  Don’t get me wrong, the book was entertaining and fun but at the same time, it did drag in the beginning.

As a couple, I didn’t really feel any connection between them.  Maybe because it felt like there were these weird gaps in time?  Honestly, I couldn’t tell you much about Millie and Flora, and maybe that’s why I’m not sure about them.  I wish there had been a little more time developing them as characters.

Speaking of characters, I couldn’t even begin to tell you about the other characters.  I can’t remember much of anything about Millie and Flora, so there’s no hope for any of the other characters that we meet in the book.  It’s also been a while since I’ve read the book, so that might be part of it, but you’d think something would stick.  Millie does make friends, which is great, and hopefully they’ll stick around for awhile.

3 stars.  Her Royal Highness was fun and entertaining, but things seemed to jump around and the characters didn’t stand out.

Book Review: A Good Kind Of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee

Book: A Good Kind Of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee

Published March 2019 by Balzer + Bray|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

From debut author Lisa Moore Ramée comes this funny and big-hearted debut middle grade novel about friendship, family, and standing up for what’s right, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and the novels of Renée Watson and Jason Reynolds.

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn’t think that’s for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn’t face her fear, she’ll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.

I really liked A Good Kind Of Trouble!  There’s a lot of heart in this book, and if you like The Hate U Give or All-American Boys, you’d really like this one.

I really liked Shay, and how scared she was to do the wrong thing but also scared to do the right thing.  It was interesting to me that her hands felt really itchy, whenever she had to face her fears, and I wish it were explored a little more.  It wasn’t, of course.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s middle grade, and there just wasn’t the time to explore it more.  But there were so many other things going on that I didn’t mind it wasn’t explored in depth.

I liked seeing Shay navigate middle school and changing friendships and being a part of the track team.  There are a lot of changes in her life, and she really does open up to new things and new people.  I loved how her parents encouraged her to use her voice instead of ignoring it, even when it would have been easier for them to do the opposite of what they did.  She has a great family, and I wished we saw more of them.

I really came around to Bernard, and he ended up being a great character.  He wasn’t what I thought at all, and I’m glad Shay gave him a chance, and saw he wasn’t as bad as she thought he was.

I wasn’t a big fan of her friend Julia, but I am glad that they worked things out.  Julia did want to fit in, and I can see how she got caught up in that.  I really liked Isabella as well, and she’s so sweet and thoughtful.  All three girls really seem to balance each other out.

A Good Kind Of Trouble is a great middle grade book!  It has some of the issues we see on the news and in YA, so it’s great to have a middle grade book that’s about social justice and standing up for what you believe in.  It’s worth reading!

4 stars.  I really liked A Good Kind Of Trouble, and it’s perfect for fans of Angie Thomas and Jason Reynolds.