Sunday, May 13, 2018

Two YA Contemporary ARC Mini-Reviews

I'm behind on getting these reviews up!  I couldn't find the emails from the publishers that sent them to me, even though I know or could swear one was a specific request for me to read and review.  Oh well, I did get them done and want to share!  Even though both were published on May 1st, I'm getting them back out in the public eye with these reviews today!

Everywhere You Want to Be by Christina June:
Publisher:  Blink YA Books/Harper Collins
Source:  Physical ARC from publisher which did not influence my opinion in any way
My rating:  4 stars

This is my 2nd book by this author, and once again I enjoyed it.  You can read my review of the first book here:  It Started With Goodbye.  While both books are standalones, they both include the same characters. We met Tilly, our main character in the first book. But this time she gets her own story, as she goes off to NYC to hopefully make her dream of being a professional dancer come true, in what is her last hope she feels after the accident that caused her ankle injury.  This was a pretty quick read, like the first one.  I loved all of the NYC bits, as well as the grandma/abuela.  It made me want to go back to NYC if I ever get the chance.  The dance aspects of the story were fun to read, I used to want to be a dancer myself.  And the romance was sweet as well.  There was a bully in the story, Sabrina, and I really, really like the way the author went with that at the end of the book.  Throughout the story it worked perfectly as well, but the way the author took it at the end, while not typical for YA stories, was definitely more realistic in my opinion.  I don't know for sure that I get the feeling of the fairy tale it was supposed to take after, but that's okay, I still really enjoyed it.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
From author Christina June comes Everywhere You Want to Be, a modern tale inspired by the classic Red Riding Hood.

Matilda Castillo has always done what she was told, but when she gets injured senior years, she watches her dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer slip away. So when Tilly gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the summer with a New York dance troupe, nothing can stop her from saying yes--not her mother, not her fears of the big city, and not the commitment she made to Georgetown. Tilly's mother allows her to go on two conditions: one, Tilly will regularly visit her abuela in New Jersey, and two, after the summer, she'll give up dancing and go off to college.

Armed with her red vintage sunglasses and her pros and cons lists, Tilly strikes out, determined to turn a summer job into a career. Along the way she meets new friends ... and new enemies. Tilly isn't the only one desperate to dance, and fellow troupe member Sabrina Wolfrik intends to succeed at any cost. But despite dodging sabotage and blackmail attempts from Sabrina, Tilly can't help but fall in love with the city, especially since Paolo, a handsome musician from her past, is also calling New York home for the summer.

As the weeks wind down and the competition with Sabrina heats up, Tilly's future is on the line. She must decide whether to follow her mother's path to Georgetown or leap into the unknown to pursue her own dreams.

Ship It by Britta Lundin:
Publisher:  FreeForm Books
Source:  Physical ARC from publisher which did not influence my opinion in any way
My rating:  4.5 stars

I totally adored this book, although there is a .5 of a star I kept back, that is my own personal issue, one I will probably not address as it would probably make people angry.  I loved the characters, how real they were especially.  I loved all the nerdiness from the comic conventions.  I loved the people who LOVED the shows and were huge fans.  There was so much that made me laugh.  Parts that made me tear up a bit, as well as parts that made me frustrated.  I can't wait to order this book and put it in my school library next year.  There was one line that I hope makes it to the final copy, as it is such a true sentence:

"It's so much more exhausting being around people when you're sad, especially when they're not as sad as you."

If you've ever been sad, but had to still be around other people who weren't sad, then you totally understand this.  The shipping in the book totally reminds me of some of the crazy ships that exist in the world of one of my favorite tv shows, Supernatural.  As a heterosexual woman, I don't necessarily see the things that some people see, like the whole Smokeheart ship in this book reminds me of what people do with Castiel and Dean or Crowley and Dean.  Something that while I get the bromance thing, my straightness doesn't always quite pick up on the other, or at least it didn't used to.  My eyes might be a little more open to that these days.  

If you are a shipper, or enjoy a good lgbtq romance - with a teen girl who just still doesn't know for sure if she is gay or not, and plenty of other good examples of lgbtq characters, as well as the reality of people who are not accepting of this and will fight it in public, you have found the right book.  If you like reading about the craziness of fans at comic book conventions or online with fanfic or Tumblr, etc., this is also probably the book for you.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Claire is a sixteen-year-old fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. Forest is an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at a local Comic-Con panel, it's a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, that is, when Forest laughs off Claire's assertion that his character is gay. Claire is devastated. After all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest's character and his male frenemy. She can't believe her hero turned out to be a closed-minded jerk. Forest is mostly confused that anyone would think his character is gay. Because he's not. Definitely not.

Unfortunately for Demon Heart, when the video of the disastrous Q&A goes viral, the producers have a PR nightmare on their hands. In order to help bolster their image within the LGBTQ+ community-as well as with their fans-they hire Claire to join the cast for the rest of their publicity tour. What ensues is a series of colourful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show that lead Forest to question his assumptions about sexuality and help Claire come out of her shell. But how far will Claire go to make her ship canon? To what lengths will Forest go to stop her and protect his career? And will Claire ever get the guts to make a move on Tess, the very cute, extremely cool fanartist she keeps running into?