If you’ve been following me for some time, you might remember this post in which I talked about some books I had won in last year’s B-Fest, a mini YA book festival hosted by Barnes and Noble stores all over the nation.
Well, this year I certainly couldn’t pass it up, so of course I made my way to the second annual B-Fest in my area in the hopes of having some good old fashioned YA fun! 🙂
So, here’s a post about it. It’s sort of like a vlog, I suppose? Except in text form. Which I guess would make it just a blog post, but it’s not a formal blog post, exactly. You know? Anyway, moving on!
First of all, there was a little presentation by Stacie Ramey, the author of The Sister Pact and The Homecoming. I had a chance to chat with her a little bit and she was an absolute sweetheart and had some really important things to say about the book industry, getting published, and the importance that perseverance has in the life of an author (or an aspiring one). Of course, I had to have a copy of The Sister Pact signed by her and I can’t wait to read it!
There were also several really great YA trivia games which were not only fun to participate in but also yielded very satisfying results. Needless to say, I ended up winning a grand total of two totefuls of books–some of which are ARCs–and I am absolutely ecstatic about it! (The perks of being a Nerd™ is that you can win more books with which to enable yourself.) Here are the books that I am currently gazing at lovingly from across the room.
Frostblood by Elly Blake
Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond (ARC)
People Like Us by Dana Mele (ARC)
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Orphan, Monster, Spy by Matt Killeen (ARC)
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (ARC)
Overall, it was a day very well spent, and now in the days to come I’ll be delving into all these wonderful novels, so keep an eye out for reviews! :**
Release Year: (ARC) To be published November 1, 2016
Genre(s): YA, realistic fiction
(Shout out to the Barnes and Noble B-Fest, where I won this ARC!)
Natasha lives in New York City. Her family is Jamaican. She is cynical and practical. And she’s got a problem–her family is twelve hours away from being deported back to Jamaica. A place she remembers through fuzzy childhood memories. To be clear: She definitely doesn’t believe in fate, but it will take nothing short of a miracle for her to find a way to stay in America, where she belongs.
Daniel lives in New York City too. His family is Korean. He is poetic and sentimental. He’s also got a problem–he has to apply to Yale and be the Good Son™ his parents want and become a doctor. But that’s not at all what he wants. To be clear: He definitely does believes in fate, and it is not in his to follow his parents’ dreams for him.
Now, under any other circumstances, they never would have met. If Natasha hadn’t been listening to music while walking away from the immigration services building and almost gotten run over, and if Daniel hadn’t skipped his college interview and been there to save her, their paths would never have crossed. But it’s funny how life works. What ensues is a journey across New York, and over the course of one day, two teenagers that began as complete and total strangers get to know each other and share in each other’s pain and happiness. And as unlikely as it seem, they each learn from each other from their differences and unexpectedly fall in love. Love at first sight is a tricky business, however. Natasha is still about to be deported. Daniel still messes things up. Will this sudden, beautiful spark burn on or fizzle out from unfortunate futures?
The Sun is Also a Star absolutely blew my mind. ❤
I’m going to organise this review bit differently because if I don’t, this post will end up being a flailing mess. 😉
Nicola Yoon definitely writes from her heart and it really shows! I found the writing in this book to be so touching; just like the characters, it’s ever-changing. It’s a bit of soft, poetic narration that makes you feel fluttery mixed with logical philosophy and hard facts, all penned in with descriptive chapters that shake you to the core. I absolutely loved it and there were so many quote-able moments.
Okay, we need to talk about how this book was set up. This book is written in multiple point-of-views, with Natasha and Daniel as the main narrators. However, some chapters are written through the perspective of side characters that briefly enter the story, while other chapters are written like the omniscient universe’s explanation of history, of fate, of incidents. It’s kind of limitless perspective that describe backstories that all connect. It’s a different reading experience but one that I thoroughly enjoyed!
Characters + Relationships
Natasha and Daniel were amazing characters! At the end of this book I almost felt as though they were real people I knew, albeit distantly. They’re both so flawed and so real, just two teens who (rather fittingly) fall in love too fast in the fastest-paced city in the work: New York City.
I generally tend not to be the biggest fan of instalove–it mostly feels too contrived to me–but this was one of the rare instances in which I was all for it. While Natasha and Daniel only knew each other for a day, the way their relationship progressed was so natural! Their dynamic was so interesting to follow along. Natasha, guarded, realist, and strictly scientific versus Daniel, an open book who tended to romanticise everything. Reading their character development and watching the two teach and balance each other out, especially as they got closer, was deeply satisfying.
The Sun is Also a Star explores themes like fate, logos versus pathos, multiverses, the theory that all things happen for a reason, rebelling against what other people want for you versus what you want, family issues, and even some scientific knowledge smudged in. (Not to mention the whole immigration issue that Natasha was experiencing, in which she was being deported to a home she didn’t know and the bureaucracy did nothing to help.) This wasn’t a fast, fluffy romance; it wanted you to sit down and think about these things, which I respected a ton.
Another aspect I really appreciated was the racial diversity and addressing of the trials of each group. Not only were Natasha and Daniel aware of their cultures, their families were also introduced and their histories and dreams and familial struggles told. As Yoon herself is Jamaican-American and her husband Korean-America, you could tell that a lot of love and had been put into these characters and their cultures. So so so nice to see books like this. ❤
All in all: The Sun is Also a Star made me feel all the feelings. You need to get your hands on this book once it’s out. If you’re looking for a smart, dazzling romance that will leave you reeling with an overflowing heart when you’re done, this is the one!
(Boy, this was a long review!) (Also, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten some new followers! Welcome, you guys!)
Hello friends! Just returned to my home after five weeks of being abroad, so expect some travel posts scattered around! 🙂 Here’s a review after quite a while; I’ll be posting extra this week. (Also if anything interesting is going with you all, please let me know! I love hearing about summer!)
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publishing Company: Riverhead Books
Release Year: 2003
Genre(s): Historical drama, political drama, realistic fiction
I actually can’t give a summary for this one. There are so many incidents that occur that I honestly can’t summarise the book without giving away some major spoilers and going off on a tangent. So instead I offer you the official synopsis, taken from Khaled Hosseini’s website.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
I picked this novel up on a recommendation. I’d heard a lot about it before; it has gotten a lot of high praise over the years. I was captivated by its synopsis, and I expected to like it.
I did not.
I know, I know. It is one of the most renowned political drama novels (for lack of a better phrase) of all time. I tried to like it, really, but I just couldn’t.
One major issue I encountered was that I simply did not like the main character, Amir. I struggled to sympathise with him so much; after all, the sheer enormity of all the tribulation he goes through should, at the very least, induce some affinity for him. Instead, I found him to be a pretentious child who grew into a mopey adult. Only towards the end, when he decided to redeem himself, did I feel sympathy–or any positive feelings–toward him.
This book used almost every single tragic plot device you could think of–from war to rape to illness to familial betrayal to attempted suicide. Every page brought another twist, another conveniently awful coincidence, another way to bring suffering to the characters. (So much so that I daresay it began to resemble the winding, melancholic Bollywood movies Amir and the son of his father’s servant, Hassan, watched as children.) It’s not that I don’t enjoy sad novels (because I certainly do) or war-time novels. I have read war-time books, and those centred around violence in the Middle East specifically, before, but never have I encountered one with this much desolation and absence of even a glimmer of hope.
As for what I did like: The prose was, admittedly, quite nice. It was descriptive and lyrical at times, and I admired the way imagery was used. There were some scenes that were very well-written and truly painted a picture of the beauty of Afghanistan before the war. The premise of the book is interesting, as well. The only problem, for me, was the plot–which is what, in its essence, makes or breaks a book.
All in all: I do not suggest you read it if you are easily triggered by violence, or if you don’t like wiping away angry tears every couple of pages. The Kite Runner was much too melancholic, slightly disturbing, and exaggeratedly despondent for my taste, but hey, it might be the right book for you. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So, let’s pretend I didn’t just disappear for two months. *laughs nervously*
I’m coming tomorrow with a full post complete with a very special book haul, but I just had a great evening at my local Barnes & Noble (shoutout to my favourite book store!) at their “B-Fest: Teen Book Festival,” which is a YA book fest that last throughout this weekend. It’s the first of its kind and I had a lot of fun only on the first night, so I would highly recommend paying a visit to a nearby B&N if you’d care to do so. There are author meetings and trivia contests and prize winning too!
Stay tuned for my book haul–which, by the way, is going to be an overview of the lovely bookish goodies I won in a trivia contest this evening–and I hope you all are having a great week!
Hope your April has been going well so far. I am so happy that it finally feels like spring; flowers are blooming in abundance and the weather is lovely where I live. 😀
I’ve been a little missing-in-action lately, partly because I’ve been doing too much reading and not enough reviewing! We also haven’t had a Book Chat here in a while so I thought I’d show you all just what exactly I’ve been preoccupied with: Monsieur Poirot and his epic adventures!
Yes, that’s right–I’ve been reading a lot of the Queen of Mystery–Agatha Christie herself’s–murder mysteries. They tend to be intricate, well-written, and immensely suspenseful books, and they’re rather addicting. Here’s a little photoshoot/quote thing (?) of the ones I’ve read so far. Hope you enjoy!
“Words, mademoiselle, are only the outer clothing of ideas.”
– The ABC Murders
“Loyalty, it is a pestilential thing in crime. Again and again it obscures the truth.”
– Murder in Mesopotamia
“Sensationalism dies quickly, fear is long-lived.”
– Death in the Clouds
“The impossible cannot have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”
– Murder on the Orient Express
Well, there you have it. I’m not too sure what exactly this post was, but if you’d like to see more of these strange photoshoot post things, please do let me know!
Today, as you all know, is Leap Day. I decided that I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to post today considering February 29th only comes around once every four years.
(Also, completely unrelated but still rather notable— I read my first Agatha Christie book yesterday and I. Absolutely. Loved. It. You can look forward to a shining review in the next couple of days. Honestly, I’m tempted to purchase all her novels and read them back to back right now.)
It’s been a year since I started up yasimone.com. A year since I first mustered up the courage to introduce myself to the world. A year since I was overjoyed that my blog actually appeared on Google (on the fourth page of results, no less). A year since I wrote up fifteen post drafts before finally settling on this tiny stub of a first post.
A year. It’s seemed so short. How funny, that a year can drag on for an eternity and yet pass by quicker than a second.
2015 is over, and it’s been a whirlwind of a journey. We can only imagine how 2016 will turn out.
So, I’d like to say thank you. 😀 Thank you to everyone who takes the time out of their day to read my posts. To everyone who likes books, to everyone who’s supported my blog and me all this time, to everyone who’s ever liked or commented on one of my posts, to everyone who has tagged or nominated me for an award— thank you. I am indescribably grateful. 🙂
Here’s to fresh beginnings and many more years of bookishness to come! 😛