Me Before You ~ Book Review

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Me Before You is one of those books that has been ripped apart by outrage culture due to its popularity. Did I enjoy this book? Yes! I loved it and cried an hour after it ended. It’s one of my favorite books of all time now. Does it deserve the criticism it received? Yea sure. Anything deserves fair criticism. I have realized a trend in people denouncing books before reading them. For example, the outrage that Outlander managed to receive.

Let me start off first with what I loved about this book. It’s not necessarily a romance novel. The romance takes a huge backseat in this story. It’s heavily character driven. Louisa and Will are my favorite fictional pairing. I won’t say couple because (spoiler) it never really happens. At least not in the book. I would like to state first that I haven’t seen the movie and I feel no need to. All of the characters are amazing. Even Louisa’s dweeb of a boyfriend. Jojo Moyes’ writing is simple but colorful. Straight to the point but haunting in some passages.

Now, I am an able-bodied person. So what I experienced while reading this is likely not comparable to what a disabled person might experience. I thought this book did a great job at highlighting how our everyday life functions and navigation isn’t readily accessible to disabled people. I don’t think this book sensationalized Will’s disability either. So when I hear that particular criticism I’m wondering if I’ve even read the same book. Will was an amazing character. We often talk about the need for diversity and Will I think, deserves a lot more credit as a disabled, smart, handsome, and witty character. In the book, it even explains that there was a point in time where Will was confident in his circumstances. He tried to live his life, but he could no longer regulate his body temperature, anything could trigger pneumonia, and his health was slowly debilitating. He would never get better.

How Louisa and the Turners handle Will’s decision is part of an important point that Moyes was trying to make. No one agrees with Will’s decision. Not a single person. Louisa even talks to other quadriplegics with varying opinions and experiences on a forum. Which is another thing people seem to ignore, but once again. I haven’t seen the movie so I don’t know if this is left out.

If Will had decided to live, people would still be upset that a woman made his life meaningful to him. Regardless of how this story ended, some people were still going to be upset.

I loved this book, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Even those who haven’t even bothered to pick it up.

The entire point of this book, I think, was about Will’s autonomy. And if you read the book, then you know what I mean. I can’t properly articulate how I feel and I’m aware that I’m speaking from a place of privilege.

TLDR; Even though there has been controversy surrounding Me Before You, I do recommend everyone to give it a try and if it makes you uncomfortable then you can at least say that you gave it a shot. It was worth the time.

Add or follow me on Goodreads: frootbatte

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Eight Hundred Grapes (800 slaps to my face) ~ Book Review

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Eight Hundred Nopes–you know a story is off to a bad start and dull as fuck all when the names of the characters escape you 100 pages in. Often, I found myself flipping a few odd pages back just to help me remember who was who. That’s not good at all. The shit thing is, Laura Dave’s writing isn’t bad. It’s actually pretty clever but once again good writing cannot save a lackluster story.

Maybe this book wasn’t a good introduction to Dave? Because I saw hope neatly packed within her prose. I have a strong feeling in my stomach that that’s exactly what it is.

There’s Eight Hundred shitty things wrong with this book though. The plot, for one, consists of everyone being stupidly dishonest with one another, everyone is having some kind of affair or on the edge of one…….wait what am I saying. There wasn’t any plot. Just one hella of huge big miscommunication.

Eight Hundred Miscommunications.

Eight Hundred Ways To Avoid Your Problems.

EVERYTHING could’ve easily been solved with some open honest dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with miscommunications in stories but they have to be cleverly done. Not just random plot devices to stress out the protagonist. The Fords were forgettable, annoying, and carried a blood line of fucking stupidity.

Hate hate hate hate hate……

But there were a lot of moments that saved it for me. Enough to give this soap opera three stars. I think Dave did a good job at wrapping everything up. I was so happy when it was over…I could finally move on from the pettiness. The only person I liked in this entire shit storm was Jacob. That’s who I wanted to read about. His super smart girlfriend too.

I will give Laura Dave another try because I honestly could see myself enjoying her story telling. This book just seemed really messy? I just don’t like messy characters that can’t solve easy problems for themselves.

TLDR; I honestly don’t have much else to say about this book other than it’s meant for mindless reading. This would be a good book to read while traveling. It’s not long, the prose isn’t pretentious. It’s very straight to the point, be it all the points are pretty dumb and predictable.

The Bees by Laline Paull~ Review

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I rate books based on the way that they make me feel. I’ve read things that I know are relevant culturally and have hated them (i.e. Love by Toni Morrison). The Bees is similar in that, while I enjoyed it far more than any Toni Morrison book that I’ve read, it didn’t leave me contemplating my life. The Bees is a great work of fiction and I honestly see it being referenced years from now as a classic. It stands out and stays true to the nature of honey bees. The bees in this book aren’t human and the reader is hyper aware of this throughout the entire book. They don’t think like humans, they don’t operate like humans…save for the theme of love at the end of the book. But that’s spoilery territory.

For me, The Bees was more of an experience than mindless entertainment. It was incredibly new and refreshing from anything I’ve ever read. Laline Paull’s writing is beautiful and lyrical. While I did give this book three stars on Goodreads, I am anticipating another novel from Paull. The Bees wasn’t an amazing roller coaster ride but I appreciate it for its very different perspective and tone. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to imagine the story either. It kind of gave me James And The Giant Peach vibes. Or Disney’s A Bug’s Life.

This book deserves more buzz and I encourage everyone to step outside of their comfort zone and experience the story of Flora 717. You will also learn a thing or two about honey bees.

Maybe if I had read it before ACOMAF I’d be a more enthusiastic about it.

TLDR; If you love challenging yourself or simply enjoy unconventional stories then this book is the way to go. It lulls in some parts but you won’t be bored with the ton of information you will consume about bees. Very easy to read and not saturated in idle details.

Follow/Friend me on Goodreads. My username is frootbatte.

A Court Of Feels And Misery (ACOMAF Review)

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Do I simply enjoy my guilty pleasures? Have I come to terms with being a sucker for vapid romance? Sarah J. Maas isn’t a perfect writer by any means. She recycles phrases (everyone loves to vomit and rip things to ribbons) and she has this tendency to describe things in threes. Without commas. She substitutes them with an abundance of ‘ands’. Surprisingly, to my elitist horror (yay for self awareness) the flaws with this book did not take away from the story. Maas is actually an amazing story teller and I hope one day she will step out of the New Adult/YA genre and write for us grown women (haha if 24 is really grown??).

A Court of Thorns and Roses was swiftly redeemed by A Court of Mist and Fury. It was the best 600 pages of my life. I went in seething, absolutely HATING the immediate flip of Tamlin, but the more I read, the more I understood and I absolutely ADORE Rhys. HOWEVER I wish in ACOTAR Feyre and Tamlin had interacted just as much as Rhys and Feyre interacted in ACOMAF. I get what Maas is trying to do. She’s not creating a love triangle and this pleased me. Feyre grew as a person. She grew out of Tamlin, but I think having more Feyre and Tamlin in the first book would’ve made the transition less blunt and forced.

I don’t know how to feel about the complete Tamlin 180 either. We got so little perspective on him in ACOTAR that I find myself really not caring about Feyre leaving him. I don’t care about him as a character at all, which makes me sad considering he was Feyre’s ‘first’ love or whatever. It made the ending very jarring.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, so far Tamlin seems really misunderstood? Maybe Maas plans to give us some insight on him in the third book coming out this year. I’m not trying to excuse his actions. Rhys deserves Feyre. I don’t want her back with Tamlin, but I kinda need closure.

Maybe he’s just incredibly delusional and insane. Clearly he is weak. He literally sat there while Feyre was being tortured to death to save him. He sold out for a woman who made it VERY CLEAR that she didn’t want him. What the fuck happened to Tamlin guys….I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS AND THAT ENDING WAS SO EVIL!!

I would also like to point out the not so subtle Game Of Thrones vibes Maas has going on. Her map looks a little bit like Westeros, the religious fanatics, the wall, the narrow sea…..I feel like there’s something else I’m missing.

TLDR; If you value your sanity and time. Don’t read this. It will literally consume you. I loved all of the fluffy trash in this book. I squealed the entire time. It moves a bit slow but picks up in the middle. So much fluff. So much cheese. I can’t believe I went in wanting to hate this series. I really enjoy it and Maas deserves its growing popularity. ACOMAF so far is the superior book.

My ACOTAR Casting (I’m not asking you to agree with me!!!)

Feyre: Emily Browning

Rhys: Ezra Miller

Tamlin: Jamie Campbell Bower

Lucien: Eddie Redmayne

Mor: Lily James

Amren: Christina Ricci

Cassien: Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Azriel: Ian Somerhalder

Nesta: Mia Wasikowska

Elain: Lily Rose Depp

Amarantha: Eva Green

I feel like I’m missing some people >:

A Court Of Thorns And Roses and the case of my blushing tatas. (Review)

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A book can be lackluster but still entertaining. That has become a hard pill for me to swallow. I’ve read things that are beautifully written but writing alone cannot save a book from its dullness. I have actually read more books with awe inspiring prose that couldn’t hold my attention than books with meh writing and an amazing plot.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and The Beast Retelling by Sarah J. Maas. Its marketed as young adult but is in fact a part of the new adult genre. Our protagonist, Feyre, is a poor village girl who kills a fairy while she is hunting. As payment/punishment, she must give up her life for a life to a fairy lord.

ACOTAR started off really strong but dropped off between pages 70 and 250. I experienced a mix of emotions while thumbing through the middle chapters. Maas’s writing is kind of bipolar. There were moments when she’d gorgeously paint a scene. Her imagination would literally seep off the pages and THEN there were times the writing became redundant and flat. The beginning and end were great but I really don’t know what happened in between.

Let me start off by pointing out that it felt like Feyre spent more time with Lucien than Tamlin. At least it felt like that to me. While I love Feyre and Tamlin together, their love seemed to manifest out of nowhere. While I’m aware there could’ve been a huge lapse in time, it just wasn’t explained properly maybe? Maybe a season or two had gone by? Either way, the middle of the book could’ve been more of Feyre and Tamlin bonding. I would’ve loved to have had a scene where Feyre would’ve allowed Tamlin to help her learn how to read. Or they could’ve sparred together? Their passion at the end of the book just didn’t add up to what was going in before they realized they loved each other.

I know what you’re all thinking. I denounced young adult not too long ago, but I saw so much buzz around this story. Even my favorite people on goodreads loved this book so I had to give it a chance. I’m practically clinging to its new adult label just to make myself feel better for enjoying it. That being said, ACOTAR reads like a YA novel. It moves along quickly.

I  had trouble figuring out what I would rate this book. While I did love it, it had a few problems. Which I hear is common for most of Maas’s first books in her series. So I gave it three stars and I’m waiting on my copy of the second book to come in the mail. I hear A Court of Mist and Fury is the superior book. Fingers crossed.

I’M NOT A RHYS AND FEYRE SHIPPER!!! I STAND FIRM IN MY FEYRE AND TAMLIN SHIP!!

I really don’t like love triangle plots and I hope Maas doesn’t turn it into that. I would like to believe that Feyre is just as stubborn in her relationships as she is when it comes to everything else. I also really hate love triangles because it makes the lead female seem fickle. Which I don’t think Feyre is. She has an extreme case of tunnel vision. A love triangle would only ruin her characterization. At first I hated Feyre for being so stupidly stubborn, but I grew to like it. It kept her very solid towards the end.

I would also like to point out the obvious Game of Thrones inspiration. The map in ACOTAR looks like westeros. There’s a wall, a narrow sea, and religious fanatics who worship ‘the old and forgotten gods’. I wonder if I’m the only person who’s ever noticed it.

TLDR; If you’re into fantasy/paranormal  YA then you will love this book. It’s got a lot of action and it moves pretty fast save for the awkward middle portion of the book. At first, the characters might seem irritating but Maas tightens everything up later for their reasons to make sense. A great read. There wasn’t a boring moment. Maas excels in storytelling. The sex in this book is sparse and very tasteful.

Deliciously Evil ~ Vicious Book Review

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There are no heroes in Vicious. The pages are dominated by the egos of two college best friends, who happen to discover the secret to Extra Ordinary beings. God complexes, obsession, and super villains.

At first, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like this book after my disappointment with The Book Of Speculation, but I was consumed by the beautiful lyricism and quickness of V.E. Schwab’s story telling. I kept flipping the pages trying to figure out who’s side I would be on by the end of this novel. Victor or Eli’s? There’s no way to fully divulge into the characters and plot without spoiling anything, but I will say this. No one is a good person in this book.

Because I was introduced to Victor first, I was more empathetic towards him but by the end I was convinced that he was simply more likeable than Eli. Not any better by any means. I loved every single character, but I was a bit confused by Serena’s motives. She turns on her sister for seemingly no reason, but Schwab explains that E.O.s (extra ordinary people) lose parts of themselves when they gain their powers. Maybe that was the point? She probably could’ve conveyed it better, but that is my only critique.

Vicious isn’t preachy, but it asks the reader to think critically about what makes someone a good or bad. Everyone in this book commits a crime. No one is innocent (save for Sydney but that’s debatable). Eli and Victor do bad things but I found their reasons to be valid. What separates the two is Eli’s unyielding denial. Victor is completely honest about his cruel intentions. As I was reading, I could tell that Schwab is really into anime or comics books. This was a perfect superhero/super villain story.

V.E. Schwab has become a new favorite of mine and I encourage everyone to go out and get Vicious. I believe it’s one of her lesser known books. It’s not YA. It’s not romance. I honestly can’t give this book a generic label. It wasn’t necessarily action packed but it was insanely INTENSE and suspenseful. It was incredibly different from what I’m used to reading. I hope she plans to expand on this universe and bless me with a second book.

TLDR; If you love fast paced YA you will love Vicious. The plot moves along smoothly, its prose is easy to digest but still meaningful, all of the characters are likeable, and it wraps up nicely. Lots of violence and blood. Tons of blood really.

The Not So Spectacular Book Of Speculation ~ Review

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Some books, like people, you are just drawn to…..but The Book Of Speculation was simply an itch that needed to be scratched for me. When reading the summary I was immediately sold and captivated by the idea of mermaids and circuses…..buuut….

First I became well acquainted with denial. I thought to myself– yeah this book will get better! I kept turning the pages hoping that I’d be swept under the so called spell of The Book of Speculation. But…BUT I made a new friend. Her name is rage and she created thirty fires that melted away my soul. I absolutely HATED this book. I don’t even think hate is a good enough word. Don’t get me wrong, The Book of Speculation is a page turner, but not because of its whimsy writing and magical characters. In my opinion, Erika Swyler failed miserably at the magical realism aspect of this story. This book is a page turner simply because you are going to want to find out what keeps killing off the matriarchal lineage of this family. That is the only reason why I kept reading so kudos to you Erika for building up enough suspense.

Tone deaf I think perfectly explains what is wrong with Swyler’s debut novel. Swyler isn’t a bad writer. I honestly would pick up another book of hers, but I just don’t think magical realism is her thing. There were moments where I was genuinely confused. For example, Evangeline thwarting her grandmother to death with a spoon!?!?! I laughed so hard and from then on decided to hate read this entire book. MAYBE I missed something? Amos and Evangeline are insufferable and I couldn’t help but feel like Swyler was forcing feeding me their relationship. I didn’t get any sense of chemistry from them. Their relationship just kind of happens?

Let me go ahead and get in on the characters. The only person I liked in this book was Doyle. Everyone else was incredibly unbelievable. Simon is a doormat, Enola is neurotic with a unexplained stick up her asshole (like really her attitude was so unappealing), Frank and Alice are the most boring and uninspiring people in this entire clusterfuck. Alice and Simon have no chemistry. THAT’S THE THING NO ONE IN THIS BOOK HAS CHEMISTRY. And I don’t know if Swyler got too caught up in trying to make everything seem magical….I just really don’t know what happened. Most of all I just found myself not caring about any of the characters. I read this book immediately after I finished Dragonfly In Amber, so maybe that’s why I disliked it so much. It was no match to Gabaldon’s storytelling, but days after reading it I concluded that this book is just dull.

There’s nothing wrong abrasive and rude characters, but I think Enola just wasn’t handled correctly. Everyone could’ve been handled better. This book is steeped in nauseating melodrama and pettiness. I just couldn’t stomach it. I was so happy when it ended.

The Book of Speculation isn’t bad enough to not suggest. I would still suggest this to book to anyone interested in its genre. It just didn’t work out for me. Maybe this review was too harsh….

TLDR; If you love corny, cheesy, magical stories about traveling circuses then this  might be for you. Swyler’s clearly got an imagination, but her characters are really flat. I will be looking out for other books she might publish in the future. I hope next time around she WOWs my socks off.

Diana Gabaldon’s Dagger In My Heart ~ Outlander and Dragonfly In Amber Review (Spoilers)

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How do I go about articulating my thoughts? My feelings? A week and a whole novel later, Dragonfly In Amber STILL has me SHOOK! It’s been a long time since a book has invaded my heart space. Not only is Gabaldon’s writing amazing, but she has managed to get me to care about two fictional characters the way a childless auntie coos over her nieces and nephews. I felt so many things while reading Outlander and Dragonfly In Amber. Stress, anger, sadness, and fear for the Frasers. Even betrayal as I wept during Jamie and Claire’s eventual parting. I ACTUALLY CRIED and that’s incredibly rare for me.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of the first 300 pages of Outlander, I really enjoyed the tedium of Dragonfly In Amber. I was instantly sucked into their lifestyle as French aristocrats and overall enjoyed them functioning as a married couple. What I most enjoy about the series so far is that it’s kind of one huge history lesson.

That being said, I do have my critiques but my criticism has very little do with the books. Let me explain. Now I’m not going to beat the SJW dead horse. I’m not trying to be an angry woman of color either, but I always find myself feeling detached somewhat when I read historical fiction. As much as I love Claire, I do question some facets of her character. She’s a white woman from the 1940s who willfully gives up her rights to be with Jamie in the past. There’s no mention of slavery in the books, and while I don’t read stories to feel validated I do often have this thought in the back of my head. How does Claire feel about these things? How does Claire feel about Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era? Hell, I would even love some insight on how she felt about World War II as a combat nurse (the Holocaust!!! HELLO!!). Aside from the obvious war is bad. Is Claire more than just book smart? She doesn’t really express any sort of multiplicity in her train of thought.

These thoughts don’t make me enjoy the book less. Or any historical fiction for that matter. Diana Gabaldon wasn’t trying to make a political statement and no one should expect her to. The series is a cheesy romance novel wearing the costume of an epic adventure. This leads me to the strong rape culture argument surrounding the books. While I understand that a lot of the things that happen in the books ARE appalling and downright DESPICABLE, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Gabaldon reinforces rape culture and violence against women.

HOLD UP! DON’T LIGHT YOUR TORCHES YET! LET ME EXPLAIN!!!

It is important to critically understand what you are reading, but I don’t think feminist theory should be applied to EVERYTHING. It’s possible to enjoy and consume media while still acknowledging its shortcomings. Gabaldon has every right to tell her story the way she wants. We have choices in life which is why I would not suggest this book to anyone who doesn’t like violence of any sort. Do not read this book if rape and violence triggers you.

Opinions are like buttholes. We all have one.

Since I’m discussing the problematic aspects of Outlander, Jamie gets raped by Jack Randall. The aftermath is important to his character and his development. He suffers and Claire suffers with him. And I loved the way Gabaldon handled it. We never talk about sexual abuse when it involves men. NEVER! This is why NOW I haven’t watched the show entirely. I’ve only seen the first two episodes of the Starz adaption. So I can’t really speak on what has been portrayed in the TV, but in the books I think Gabaldon did a really swell job at handling Jamie’s character and his rape. HOWEVER I did not enjoy reading about what happened to Mary Hawkins or Fergus. I do think the story could’ve done without their sexual abuse. Especially with Fergus. I cringed and had to put the book down for thirty minutes. I wish I could ask Gabaldon why she felt as though she had to let two characters endure rape that is never really discussed later.  This is my biggest complaint. Of course I eventually picked the book back up, but I was emotionally exhausted. I did think about taking a long break after, but I was committed to the rest of the book. I had made it so far there was no need to stop.

Diana Gabaldon drained my soul with these books and I won’t be reading Voyager for two months. I need time to recover honestly but my money was well spent. If I’m committing to a thousand pages I better be destroyed. I wish I had taken a break after Outlander. I immediately dived into Dragonfly In Amber without taking a month long gasp of air.

Claire is a bit of a Mary-Sue. A bearable one though. Sometimes I feel like Gabaldon gives us more insight on the characters surrounding Claire. But Claire’s faults doesn’t detract from the story. Honestly, I read more so for Jamie. In most romance novels the love interest is a brooding asshole who takes his anger out on everyone around him. Jamie is the EXACT OPPOSITE and I love it. Jamie is considerate, kind, eager for Claire’s happiness, and emotionally available. Jamie is so willing to love Claire and it was such a refreshing departure from what I’m used to. Jamie actually talks about his problems and allows Claire to help him sort through them. He doesn’t push her away. There’s never a misunderstanding that ruins their relationship for the sake of storytelling.

TLDR; If you enjoy happiness don’t read this series. If you like having free time don’t read this series. If you’re a whore for torture, melodramatics, and a sprinkle of adventure DO READ THIS! Allow Gabaldon to ruin your life and deplete you of all your HP. Email me if you’re interested in a phoenix down.

Diana, if by any chance you read this I would like to have my soul back.

Undermajordomo Minor~ My Review

 

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Have you ever felt like a book was written specifically for you? As though the writer secretly knows and creates a story that perfectly fits with who you are? That’s exactly how I felt after reading Undermajordomo Minor.Patrick DeWitt’s writing embodies everything I love about story telling. His sense of humor is amazing. I could feel fragments of my personality lifting off the pages. Now the story didn’t make any social nor political statements of the sort,so you’re probably wondering why I hold it so personally. It’s Dewitt’s try at a dark fable. It felt magical and it mirrored a lot of Tim Burton-esque storytelling. I could totally see Burton getting a hand on this and immediately feeling compelled to adapt it into a movie.

I have no complaints about this book. Nothing about it bothered me in the slightest. Even the random ballroom scene with the salami. I embraced it just as much as I embraced the rest of the book. However, I would like to personally ask DeWitt WHY he wrote it and if it really had any significance that I missed.Simply to hear his answer. Hoping that it would be just as witty and hilarious as his writing.

This book doesn’t necessarily fit in a genre? Lucy Minor is a teenager but this book has no YA elements and the ballroom scene definitely solidifies that. I do think anyone 17+ can enjoy this book. It’s really whimsical despite how dark it is.

TLDR; Go read this book. It was the best two days of my life and I was so sad when it ended. I’m proud to have it in my collection and DeWitt has immediately become one of my favorite writers.

The Pretentious Elephant In The Room

As I sifted through the many booktubers, I’ve noticed this strong YA presence. Not to say that it’s a bad thing but a lot of these booktubers are close to my age (early twenties). Anyone can enjoy whatever genre to their liking, and I guess it shouldn’t matter as long as people are reading books…..

I just remember reading Twilight before it was a pop cultural phenomena. I was thirteen and I still remember the horrible disappointment I felt when I finished the book. I remembering feeling as though it talked down to me. It was so dull and uninspiring. Twilight is the sole reason I left YA behind at an early age. The next book I sought after was Memoirs of A Geisha and I never looked back. I started taking up adult contemporary and getting my hands on anything I saw in the book section of Walmart.

I guess ‘leaving YA behind’ is a huge exaggeration on my part. I did pick up YA books but they never quite satisfied me? In my personal opinion, YA doesn’t challenge the reader. That could partially be why it’s so popular. Most YA books are easy reads. I finished Twilight in a day. I finished Evermore in a day. Every YA book I picked up, it took me no time to finish it. It was like gobbling up tons of information. Useless and mindless information. TLDR: I think YA is soulless and lacks depth. Not all YA books but the vast majority from my experience.

That all being said, I’m still very shocked to see adults who read things like The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc etc and think it’s ground breaking literature? Maybe I’m overthinking it all and it really just all boils down to personal taste.

Booktubers I’m currently into:

bazpierce

climbthestacks

Libby Stephenson

mynameismarines