Review: The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Becky Albertalli is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

First off, she has a fantastic name, which is completely irrelevant to people not named Becky.

Second, this book was so much fun to read that my face aches from smiling so much.

Third, Simon was one of my favorite 2015 reads, and I didn’t think anything new could touch that adorable, huggable book. But I was wrong. This story was so enjoyable and relatable.

Fourth, a lot of YA gets heavy, regardless of genre. Albertalli’s books have a way of tackling real issues in a way that’s fresh and easy. It doesn’t take anything away from the seriousness of a topic, but she also doesn’t try to pulverize my heart, which I appreciate.

Fifth, the characters are authentic and delightfully teenagery. That should be a word. Just roll with it.

Sixth, the writing is funny.

Seventh, the pacing is solid.

Eighth, the parental units, actually most of the adults in the story, are decent, layered, and running the show as is typical of the real world.

Ninth, the depictions of neurotic first love/crush behaviors are amusing and spot on.

Tenth, Molly’s voice is so earnest and honest, even when she’s being unreasonably hard on herself. It’s nice watching her grow, but it’s realistic in showing that people change and grow slowly. It’s more about the process, and evolving, not about achieving perfection.

Pages: 338

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Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nothing I say in a review could do this story justice.

It’s well-written, full of voice, current, relevant, timely, insightful, and heartbreaking. I think everyone should read it. Right now. And then we should all sit down and discuss it. Everywhere. In every library, school, and home across the nation.

Pages: 464

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Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies

Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is about Norah, who has agoraphobia (which keeps her inside), OCD (to extremes), and very severe anxiety, which leads to some self harm. Living inside Norah’s skin and world for the duration of this story was both painful and eye opening.

I would probably lean towards 4.25 stars on this, and while I don’t love it quite as much as Everything, Everything and/or OCD Love Story, I think it’s a great YA read for helping people understanding these different disorders better, including how differently they manifest in each person.

Also, the voice is captivating, and it’s well-written. I’d recommend this to anyone, as I think that not only is it an interesting read, it’s also very informative. I especially appreciated the fact that Norah’s mental illnesses were not spurred on by any specific tragedy or event. They just crept up on her unexpectedly in her early teens until they were unmanageable, and not being able to explain to people why she was so severely anxious (other than that’s just how her mind functioned), was a real challenge for her.

I spent a large chunk of the book feeling incredibly sorry for Norah and wishing there was something someone could do to make life easier for her. I mean, her mom and therapist both helped with that, but the sad part is that there was no perfect solution or magic cure. If she was a real teenager, she’d probably struggle the rest of her life with these disorders, and I couldn’t help wishing it didn’t have to be that way for her. I wanted a better and faster solution, even though I was fully aware that doesn’t exist.

Pages: 320

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