A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of SeaA Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story is so full of mistakes and heartache and misunderstandings and love and growth. It tugged hard at my heart and held my full attention. It’s just so raw and sincere.

The is best YA novel I have read on what it is like to be Muslim American post 9/11.

Pages: 310

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With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on HighWith the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was delicious, well-written, and heartfelt. I’m loving all the amazing and diverse YA stories the publishing industry has to offer these days. What a great time to be a reader. It’s also nice to see a female MC with a passion for food and cooking.

Pages: 400

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Birthday by Meredith Russo

BirthdayBirthday by Meredith Russo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My god. This is absolutely stunning.

It’s an aching, haunting look at navigating true friendship, love, trauma, mental health disorders, being transgender, and unequivocally loving someone transgender, despite negative public perspectives.

It also has the most positive depiction of healthy masculinity that I’ve seen in a YA book in ages. This split journey of Morgan trying to grow into her true self and Eric trying to hold strong and be his true self, despite being surrounded by such toxic views of masculinity, is a combo that was just utterly glorious and enchanting.

I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a story this much, and I read almost 450 books a year. There’s something about this one that is just so special that I’m sure I’ll read it again and again and again and again.

And I listened to the author interview at the end, and It’s just as wonderful as the book. Now I can’t quit crying and also feeling so happy that such an amazing book exists for every kid, teen, and adult who always needed and wanted a story like this and also for all of them who never wanted it or never knew they needed it but still did.

Meredith Russo is a force to be reckoned with. You never know with a debut author, when their first book is so sublime, if they’ll ever write anything again that you love that much. But I love this as much, or maybe even just a smidge more than IF I WAS YOUR GIRL, which doesn’t even seem possible.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me an arc for review. My apologies that this review is a bit late.

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my heart! I can’t say how happy I am to see neurodiversity so well-represented, especially in the romance genre. I especially loved reading yet another great story about an MC with an autism spectrum disorder, written by an author with an autism spectrum disorder.

What is even better is how utterly charming, original, and heartfelt this story is. I could not stop reading it. It’s absolutely compelling, and I also hope it is eye opening for those who don’t have a lot of experience with or understanding of autism spectrum disorders. This is a great book for awareness, but regardless of that, it’s just a great story.

I’ll definitely read this one again, because it is so utterly satisfying.

Pages: 320

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