The YALLWEST 2019 Recap Post

Hey everyone!  Today, I’m going to ramble on about yallwest.  I had a lot of fun, and I knew I had to talk about it with all of you.

I drove up from San Diego, and while I was glad I didn’t get any traffic on the way up, I was also glad when I got there.  After being in my car for over 2 hours, it was really nice to get out of my car and be able to walk around.

I got a few books signed- I was really excited about getting Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan signed, and I was super-excited about getting The Hate U Give and On The Come Up signed.   I didn’t think to actually get pictures with them, and I honestly didn’t feel like taking a picture of the actual signed pages.  But it was great meeting them, and all three books are great, so it was nice to get them signed.

I also went to a couple of panels.  I went to one that was sci-fi vs fantasy, and it was really fun.  There were definitely some surprising answers to some of the questions asked, but it was really interesting to hear the panel talk about what they like about both sci-fi and fantasy.  Veronica Roth moderated, and Jay Kristoff, Robin LaFevers, Nafiza Azad, Melissa Albert, Tochi Anyebuchi, and Brandon Reichs were on that panel.  I’ve heard that Jay Kristoff is really tall, but I didn’t realize how tall until I saw him on the panel.  I’m 4’10, so everyone is tall from my perspective.  Anyway, I really loved Nafiza Azad’s answer about why she loves fantasy, and it makes me want to read her book even more.

Oh!  I ended up with an ARC of The Tenth Girl.  They were giving them away to the people who went to the Sci-Fi Vs Fantasy panel, and it looks interesting.  I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise, but I’m excited to read it.

Right after that one, I went to a panel that focused on writing mysteries and thrillers.  I don’t read a lot of mysteries but it was still really interesting to hear the panel talk about writing and where they got the inspiration for their current project.  Alexia Bass, Gwenda Bond, Sara Farizan, Karen McManus, Matthew Modine, and Gretchen McNeil were on the panel, and it was moderated by Peter Stone.  I’ve only read Gretchen McNeil and Sara Farizan and while I didn’t love their books, I definitely liked hearing everyone talk about how they write.

There’s a lot going on, and as a first-timer, it was really overwhelming.  I didn’t really know where to start or go first, so I wandered around feeling a little lost and confused.  I was okay by the time I ended up leaving, but it was very much deer-in-the-headlights.  At least for a while.  It was pretty well-organized, though, and putting something like this together can’t be an easy task.

I’m definitely appreciative of all of the work that went into it, and I very much appreciated all of the authors who came out and the volunteers who took the time to be there answering questions and keep things going.  I’m glad yallwest is around and close enough for me to go to.

Now that I know where to go, it’ll be easier for future festivals, but for the first time?  It was a little hard navigating, and even with a map and program, I had a hard time with figuring out where everything was.  It’s user error, though, because I can be directionally challenged sometimes.

I didn’t buy a lot- I already had copies of the books I wanted signed, and that actually made things a lot easier.  That’s something I’m definitely doing again next year.  Even though Mysterious Galaxy had a booth right next to the signing area, it was a lot easier for me to not worry about needing to buy the books I wanted signed.

I did get this really cool bag from the Book Beau booth.  It’s a travel size pouch, and it’s super cute.  I would definitely buy a couple bigger sizes from them and in different patterns.  I just fell in love with it, and it’s just so pretty!  Not that I don’t love what I got from them, because I do, but all of the samples they had were really cute.  I kept seeing people walk around with them all day, so I was glad when I actually saw where they got them so I could get one for myself.

I also made a stop at the Owl Crate booth, and got a tote bag and a signed copy of Pride by Ibi Zoboi.  I ended up moving my books from my bag to the tote bag, which made it a lot easier to carry it around.

The only other things I ended up getting were an enamel pin and a water bottle…which got a lot of use, because I ended up getting really thirsty throughout the day!  At least there were water fountains so I could get more water.

I had a lot of fun, and I’m definitely going back next year.  It’ll be easier now that I know where things are and what to expect.

Here are my takeaways from this year:

  • I’m wearing/bring sunscreen.  I didn’t realize I’d be outside pretty much all day, so I ended up with some pretty nasty sunburns on my arms and my face, so sunscreen is a must for next year!
  • I’m using a backpack next year.  Walking around with a yarn bag full of books (I left the yarn at home this time) meant my arms and shoulders were killing me by the end of the day, so a backpack will be a lot better for me.
  • I’ll definitely be buying any books I want signed/personalized ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about buying them there
  • On a related note, I really need to remember to have my own sticky notes with my name on them if I want them personalized.  It’s a lot easier than trying to flag someone down so I can get my books personalized
  • The drive home was pretty rough.  I was tired, sore and sunburned.  I did stop about halfway home to stretch my legs, take a bathroom break and eat something, and that was a good idea.  It’s something to keep in mind for next year.  I’m glad I left when I did, though, because I wasn’t sure I could have made it until everything was over
  • I’m totally printing out the schedule for next year.  It’ll be easier than looking at it on my phone

Overall, I had a lot of fun, and I’m glad I went!

Advertisements

Book Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed

Book: Internment by Samira Ahmed

Published March 2019 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|387 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

I absolutely loved this book.  It was heart-breaking and terrifying but I loved Layla’s story.  I don’t do this often, but if there’s one book you’re going to pick up this year, make sure this is one of them.

Layla’s story was terrifying because it felt so real.  I can see this happening, and Ahmed really drew from real-life/current events with this book.  Throughout the whole book, it was clear that Ahmed was drawing on everything leading up to the election and everything that happened after.

I did like the author’s note at the end of the book, and how she gave some additional resources to check out about the Japanese interment camps.  It gave a lot of insight on what inspired the book and it really added to the book.

I really loved Layla, and though she was really trusting at times, I understood it.  I didn’t always agree with it, but I did understand it.  She was determined to fight for what was right, and she wasn’t willing to stand by and let things happen to her friends and family, even if that would have the easier path.  So many other people in her camp were willing to go along with everything but she wasn’t.  Even when things went very, very wrong, it felt like she became more determined to make things right.

It went by really fast, and it felt like it happened over a really short period of time.  I’m curious about the time period, and if it happened over a few weeks or few months.  Especially in the internment camp.  The book seemed a lot shorter than it really was, and while it wasn’t really in-depth, you got a clear picture of what was going on.  It did skim the surface at times, which is the only thing I didn’t particularly care for.  But it also wasn’t enough to get me to dislike the book, or warrant a lower rating.

5 stars.  I loved Internment, and though it was heart-breaking and all too real, it’s also worth reading.

Book Review: Tell Me Everything by Sarah Enni

Book: Tell Me Everything by Sarah Enni

Published February 2019 by Point|288 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Your secret’s safe…until it’s not.

Ivy’s always preferred to lay low, unlike her best friend Harold, who has taken up a hundred activities as sophomore year begins. But Ivy has her own distraction: the new anonymous art-sharing app, VEIL.

Being on the sidelines has made Ivy a skilled observer, and soon she discovers that some of the anonymous posters are actually her classmates. While she’s still too scared to put her own creations on the app, Ivy realizes that she can contribute in an even better way — by making gifts for the artists she’s discovered. The acts of kindness give her such a rush that, when Ivy suspects Harold is keeping a secret, she decides to go all in. Forget gifts — Harold needs a major party.

But when her good intentions thrust her into the spotlight, Ivy’s carefully curated world is thrown into chaos. Now she has to find the courage to stand out… or risk losing everything and everyone she loves most.

I really liked Tell Me Everything!  I was definitely intrigued and I wasn’t sure what to expect but I definitely got pulled into Ivy’s world.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ivy, and Harold was definitely more supportive than she was with him.  It was hard to like her, and it felt like she didn’t give people a lot of chances.  She’s definitely of those characters who needs one friend and no one else.  Hopefully, she’s more open and willing to give people a chance at the end of the book.

I feel like she made a lot of progress throughout the book.  I think Ivy had good intentions and I really do think she meant well, but at the same time, the app was anonymous for a reason.  People shared things to the app for a reason, and I was bothered by how she tried to figure out who people were.  It had some major consequences for her, and she really did have to decide what was important to her.  At least she realized that she hurt people with what she did, and before it was too late.

The app was pretty cool, and it reminded me a lot of PostSecret but tied to a specific location.  I don’t know if that’s where Enni got her inspiration from but that did cross my mind as a possibility.  I really wish we had seen some of the art from the app.  I know art doesn’t pop up in YA but if we can get texts and letters and emails, I don’t know why we couldn’t get a few pictures.  It would have been really interesting to see the things that inspired Ivy, and it would have been a nice addition to the book.

For a lot of the book, I thought there was going to be a love triangle.  It definitely seemed like that was a possibility, but it never happened.  Romance is hinted at, but it wasn’t really a thing in the book, and I actually really liked that.  I don’t really have anything else to say about romance, but I did want to through that out there.

4 stars.  I really liked Tell Me Everything, but I didn’t love it.  It was hard to completely get behind Ivy, even though I understood why she did what she did.

Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Book: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Published January 2019 by Little, Brown & Company|322 pages

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

Series: The Folk Of The Air #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.

Jude has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were biddable. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a faerie world. 

I liked this one!  Not at much as The Cruel Prince, but I still liked it.  I haven’t been in a huge mood to review books lately, so I’m really fuzzy on the details of this one because of the gap between when I read it and when I’m actually writing it.

The ending surprised me, and I’m not sure why.  I kind of feel like I should have seen it coming after everything that happened in the book, but at the same time, it makes me curious about what’s going to happen next.  After everything that happened and with everything Jude did…maybe I should have realized there would be consequences.  Either way, I was along for the ride, and not expecting it did get my attention.  It definitely makes me want to read the next one.

I really like the world Jude is living in.  I feel like there’s so much more to it than what we’re seeing, and I’m a little sad we don’t see enough of it.  It’s definitely cutthroat and manipulative, but I feel like there’s a lot more world to see and explore.  Who knows what we’ll see with how everything ended?

The characters were okay but mostly didn’t stand out to me.  I’m not sure if it’s because we know them already or I just can’t remember anything at this point.  Jude was pretty interesting in this one, and I’m really interested to see what she’ll do next.  She’s going to have to be pretty careful in the next one.

3 stars.  I liked The Wicked King, and it was a pretty enjoyable book.  I just wish I remembered more than the ending, and that I could talk about the book more.

ARC Book Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Book: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Expected Publication Is May 7, 2019 by Farrar, Straus, And Giroux|Expected Number Of Pages: 320 pages

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

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

I really liked Somewhere Only We Know!  I swear, Goo writes the cutest books, and this one was no exception.

I will say, it took me a while to get into it.  Jack and Lucky both narrate, and I think that’s why I had a hard time with the book at first.  It was hard to get into each character, but as the book went on, I got more settled into things, and I ended up really enjoyed the story.

It happens over a pretty short period of time, and it’s quite the adventure for both Jack and Lucky.  There really isn’t a lot of romance- it’s more hinted at than anything else, and while father-daughter relationships are pretty important in her other books, it’s not something we see in this book.  It has the same feel as her other books but it doesn’t have some of the same elements I’ve seen from her.  Still, it was really fun and really cute, and I really liked seeing them explore Hong Kong together.

The Sun Is Also A Star is a pretty good read-alike for this one, in the sense that it’s the one-day romance where they’ll never see each other again…or find each other years later as adults.  Even though we get an epilogue, and see what happens after the events of the book, part of me wonders how things worked for both Lucky and Jack.  Romantically, of course, but also in their personal lives.

As for Jack and Lucky, I really liked Lucky but I was not a fan of Jack.  I think having his perspective really hurt, because we see and know things Lucky does not.  It made it really hard to like him and even though we see him change, it was really hard to get behind it knowing what we, as readers, know.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and it’s a cute book.  I wasn’t a fan of Jack, but I really liked Lucky.  I also wish I had more to say about this book, but I don’t.  It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you like K-Pop.

ARC Book Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Book: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Expected Publication Is May 7, 2019 by Thomas Nelson|Expected Number Of Pages: 352

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her…

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad…and he’s on the other.

I liked Romanov, but not as much as I wanted to.  After reading Fawkes, I was pretty excited about this one, but I struggled to get through this book.

It’s a little sad, because the idea is really cool.  It’s a different take on the Anastasia story, but the book started off really slow.  It didn’t pick up the her family is executed, and that’s when Romanov got interesting.  That’s where I’m torn, because on the one hand, it took too long, with too many details before things started moving along.

At the same time, having that background did give some insight into what was going at the time.  So while starting right before the execution would have started things off with a bang, I think we also might have missed out on a lot.  Unless Brandes found a way to include in the book, through flashbacks or something.

I really liked how she included magic with history.  I wish we had more about the history of magic in Russia and how it was used.  I had the same issue with her other book, and it’s the execution of the Romanov family plus Anastasia surviving plus magic, sort of like how Fawkes was the Gunpowder plot but with magic.

We all know how people have claimed to be Anastasia over the years, and how two bodies were quite a bit away from the rest of the family, and this book has a really interesting and magical explanation for that.  It’s certainly an interesting way to have Anastasia survive, and I liked how that was included in the story.

Brandes is really good at re-telling history with magic.  While I wanted more details about the magical aspects, and how it exists in this world, I liked that it was just a normal part of Nastya’s world.  I can’t wait to see what else she comes up, and what part of history she’ll re-tell next.

My Rating: 3 stars.  It took a long time for this book to get going, but I did like it, and how she re-told this story.

Book Review: Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Book: Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Published January 2019 by Balzer + Bray|454 pages

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

Series: Circle Of Shadows #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

A thrilling new fantasy series full of magic and betrayal—from Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series.

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

I was excited about Circle Of Shadows, but it ended up being okay for me.  I wish I liked it more, because it’s a really cool idea, and I really liked The Crown’s Game.

I’m really torn about the world- on the one hand, the world and history is really cool.  But at the same time, I felt like everything was just there, and wasn’t really explained.  The gemina part of the story made no sense, and wasn’t explained.  Were they supposed to be working together or were they supposed to have something a little more romantic?  It was really weird, and I wasn’t sure why everyone was paired off.

There were a lot of little details that could have added to the book.  There were a lot of descriptions I could have done without, and I definitely felt like we didn’t get the details we should have had.  It definitely didn’t have the same appeal as her previous series (though I definitely enjoyed the first one a lot more than it’s sequel).  It just didn’t have the same level of detail or world-building as her other series, and I felt like we were missing out.  To me, it felt like a step backward in terms of the world.

It’s too bad, because I liked the story.  There’s a lot of potential, and I’m sad this book wasn’t for me.  I just had too many questions about the world.  The history of Sora’s world seemed pretty interesting, and there were a few moments in the book where I couldn’t stop reading.  Those were few and far between, and for the most part, I was bored.  There was one moment at the end that was really hard to read, and even though I had the feeling it was coming, it was a little more gruesome than I expected.  If I could have read it peeking through my fingers, I probably would have.

The characters were okay, and no one really stood out to me.  The names stood out, but I think because they were not names I was expecting.  While I’m fine with taking on a new name once you become an apprentice, I also thought the names Skye went with were a little odd.  Fairy and Broomstick?  Spirit and Wolf?  The names seemed like a place-holder or a childhood nickname as opposed to a name bestowed on a magical apprentice.  But that’s just me.

It started off really well, and the interesting, while predictable, was also interesting.  It meandered a lot in the middle, and I got pretty bored.  I probably would have been a lot more interested in the ending if I hadn’t lost interest in the middle.

2 stars.  While I didn’t actively dislike this book, it was still okay.  I wanted different details than the one we got, and I had a hard time getting through it.

Book Review: The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Book: The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Published January 2019 by Scholastic Press|336 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life? 

I really liked The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali!  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I really liked Rukhsana’s story, and how supportive some of her family and friends were.

Her parents weren’t the most supportive, at least initially, and I think it’s important to note that not of all her family thinks the way they do.  They do come around, though I was sad it took a really big event for them to see things differently.  I felt so much for Rukhsana, and everything she went through.  I hated what her parents did- I know they thought they were helping, and they were definitely more worried about what other people thought.  And even though I am not a fan of what brought them around, it was a wake-up call that they could have lost Rukhsana.

Her friends and her girlfriend were pretty frustrating at times.  They didn’t seem to get how hard it would be for Rukhsana to come out to her parents, and what would happen if they did.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have supportive, caring parents, and it seemed like her friends brushed off what she was telling them.  I don”t think they realized the gravity of what would happen when she came out, and we definitely see what happens when her mom finds out.

I really loved her grandma, her brother, and her cousin.  She had a couple of other people who were really supportive, and it was obvious they cared about her, and what happened to her.  She had some great people in her corner, and she’s lucky to have them in her life.  They definitely encouraged her to hear her parents out after what happened, and I get why she wasn’t willing to talk to them at first.  She did change her mind, but it also seems like they have a long way to go before things are completely better between them.

4 stars.  I really liked this book, and it was a great read.  Her parents were really frustrating at times, and though I don’t agree with how they handled things, they did start to come around.

Audio Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray, Narrated by January LaVoy

Book: The Diviners by Libba Bray, Narrated by January LaVoy

Published September 2012 by Listening Library|Length: 18 hours, 14 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: The Diviners #1

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED…

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…

I’ve meaning to read this book for a while, and I finally got around to it!  I liked it, and it was great on audio but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I thought the setting was a great backdrop for the paranormal.  It worked really well, especially with the time period and with the book being set in New York.  While it would have worked in another time period/place, I can’t imagine it being somewhere else.  I don’t know that it would have worked otherwise.

There were times where I ended up getting confused.  We’d be with Evie, and then the book would suddenly switch to someone else.  It took a while to figure out how those other stories were connected to what was going on with Evie.  I think it just didn’t translate well to audio, at least for me.

It was really long, and it took me a while to get through it, so by the time I got to the end, I was fuzzy on what had happened at the beginning.  I was never clear on what Evie could do and what led her to New York, and I’m not sure if it’s because I just didn’t remember what happened or if it was never mentioned.

I’m not sure how I feel about Evie.  I didn’t mind the slang at first, but I did get tired of it by the end.  I feel like if Evie were a real person living right now, she’d have her own reality tv show.  She has this ditzy socialite vibe to her, and she seems pretty self-absorbed, even at the end of the book.  Obviously, some don’t change, which is fine, but maybe there’s hope for Evie.

I did like the narrator, though!  January LaVoy did a great job narrating, and she really brought Evie to life.

3 stars.  I liked The Diviners but I didn’t love it.  I might pick up the next book, but I’m still undecided.

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Book: Slayer by Kiersten White

Published January 2019 by Simon Pulse|404 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Slayer #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

Slayer was a book I was both excited and nervous about.  Excited because I love Kiersten White, and I will read anything she writes.  But I was nervous because I’ve never seen Buffy, and I wasn’t sure if what to expect.  But White is an auto-buy author for me, and I knew I was going to fun and entertaining.

I actually really liked it, and I had no reason to be nervous!  I was sure I would have no idea what was going on, since this is my first introduction to Buffy.  But you don’t need to have seen Buffy in order to know what’s going on, which was really nice.  I think it does reference the show, but she does a great job at explaining what’s going on, and what got us to the events we see in this book.  I definitely want to watch the show now!  If only to see the world White was working from.

There were some things I wasn’t surprised by but I still loved seeing how everything played out.  I’m really curious to see what will happen next.

I loved Nina, and she was really easy to relate to.  I really felt for her with everything going on, and even though I understood where her mom and sister were coming from, I still found myself really hating them at times.  Nina really seemed like an underdog but there were some people who seemed really supportive of her and wanted her to do well.  I kind of wonder what would happen if some things hadn’t happened, and if things would have turned out differently.  I guess we’ll never know, but I’m still looking forward to seeing what’s next for her and everyone else.

4 stars.  I didn’t love Slayer but it was a really fun read.