Blog Tour Review: Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

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Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, #ownvoices
Publication: June 18th 2019 by Kokila
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 320 pages
Format: ARC from Penguin Random House International
Rating: ★★★★★

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A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.  Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay”

Blog Tour Review: Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

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Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi
Genre: YA Science Fiction, Gaming, Virtual Reality
Publication: May 21st 2019 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 384 pages
Format: ARC from Penguin Random House International
Rating: ★★★★☆

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For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires.

But she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget.

Until now. Because WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him.

What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers–or is it the attention–she’s wanted for years?

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi”

Review + Aesthetic Board: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

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Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction
Publication: March 5th 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 464 pages
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★.5

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Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . .

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.  Continue reading “Review + Aesthetic Board: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds”

Review + Aesthetic Board: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

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The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: January 29th 2019 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 320 pages
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★.5

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Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn’t want to think about, ever.

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His “wives” and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won’t like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he’s the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.

Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what’s considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.

Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they’re willing to risk — to get the thing they want the most. Continue reading “Review + Aesthetic Board: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg”

Review + Aesthetic Board: Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

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Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Publication: February 12th 2019 by Roaring Brook Press
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 320 pages
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★.5

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Miriam’s family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that’s what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn’t have enough to worry about, Miriam’s life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam’s grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love). Continue reading “Review + Aesthetic Board: Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks”