Size Doesn’t Matter (158): Rebellion of Thieves; The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora; Antisocial

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (158): Rebellion of Thieves; The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora; AntisocialRebellion of Thieves by Kekla Magoon
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on October 18, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Adventure
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book Depository

Twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley has learned how to fend for herself while also protecting her home, Nott City, against a harsh government ruled by Ignomus Crown. Aided by a band of misfit kids, each with their own special talent for evading the authorities, Robyn has helped right the wrongs of a city ruled by an evil hand.

But now that Crown knows about Robyn, she must figure out a new way to evade a corrupt society that is out to stop her and her friends . . . for good.

The second book in this new series with an unforgettable heroine and a diverse band of characters continues to treat readers to feats of courage and daring deeds.

Robyn Hoodlum continues to be a cute spin on Robin Hood, and I continue to wish it was young adult with romance.

Like I think it’s awesome having a little POC mg Robin Hood girl fighting against a Hunger Games-esque evil government. I also love the fact that she’s totally going to hook up with Merryan, aka Maid Marian. I’m basically sticking around for that, because, cute as it is, I’m not invested in the plot (mostly because the weird prophecy stuff leaves me cold). Basically every time Merryan smiles at her or touches her, Robyn gets feelings she can’t explain and I’m mentally trying to age them all up a few years.

TBH, I do think this whole concept would be stronger with older protagonists. Robyn’s twelve, and she’s heading up the rebellion. And, like, early on, they’re not sure how she can go undercover in the Iron Teen competition (again Hunger Games-y) because her braid is so recognizable. It takes a bit for her to think of cutting her hair. And she still forgets to take off her unique necklace. All the tiny baby children can drive apparently? And they can hack government systems? Okay, sure, whatever you say. They routinely make very terrible decisions, which hey they’re like middle school dropouts, but also they are actually challenging the government which um no.

The world building and plotting beg a lot of questions, but I’ll probably keep sticking around for that future f/f mg ship.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (158): Rebellion of Thieves; The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora; AntisocialThe Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya
Narrator: Pablo Cartaya
Length: 5 hrs, 6 mins
Published by Listening Library on May 16, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

-Sensational.- --Matt de la Pena, New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning author of The Last Stop on Market Street

Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL?

For Arturo, summetime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela's restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo's apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn't notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of Jose Marti.

Funny and poignant, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is the vibrant story of a family, a striking portrait of a town, and one boy's quest to save both, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia.

Middle grade audiobooks can be tough, because so often it’s very awkwardly an adult trying to sound like a pre-teen or young teen, and it just doesn’t work for me at all. The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora isn’t a book I would have picked out in print, despite the adorableness of the cover or title, just because the plot didn’t sound like something that would move me. However, I’m so glad I picked this one out, because Cartaya’s first middle grade is full of feeling and family.

Cartaya narrates his own book, and he does a phenomenal job. It’s one of those cases where he completely sold the voice and character. I immediately bonded with Arturo and his big family, and I found myself way more invested than I would have expected in them being able to save the restaurant from the evil corporate schmo. The plot’s the weakest point, because the corporate dude is so flat, but I didn’t really mind because I was there for the Zamoras.

Arturo’s adorable, and I basically love his whole family. It’s also absurdly cute how worried he is that it might be inappropriate to be crushing on the girl his mother is a godmother to. Also, though the ship isn’t massively shippy, I very much appreciate that Carmen’s clearly going through her awkward middle grade years but Arturo’s totally not bothered by the braces or anything; I love finding adorable little romances where both people aren’t models. Arturo, too, hasn’t quite hit his growth spurt yet, so it’s just precious really.

I very much got the feelings about Arturo’s grandmother, and I wasn’t bothered by the poetry thing like I thought I would be. You do get hit a bit over the head with the poetry, but I know basically nothing about poetry, so it was nice to learn a little something about a Cuban poet and historical figure.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is a cute and funny upper middle grade novel. I had a ton of fun with it, and maybe you will too!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Size Doesn’t Matter (158): Rebellion of Thieves; The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora; AntisocialAntisocial by Jillian Blake
Narrator: Tara Sands
Length: 6 hrs, 32 mins
Published by Listening Library on May 16, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

What if your greatest secrets became public? For the students at Alexandria Prep, a series of hacks leads to a scandalous firestorm--and the students are left wondering whose private photos and messages will be exposed next. It's Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks.

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it's going to be a lonely road. She's just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend--with no explanation. Anna's closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she's always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn't the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it's funny--people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public.

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives: Sometimes we share too much.

As per usual with my audiobook listening, Antisocial is a book I had very little interest in, but I decided to give the audiobook a shot anyway. I think I was probably on point in this case, and that I probably would not have enjoyed this as much in print.

Antisocial has yet another anxious heroine (loving this trend), and, though Anna’s anxiety is much more severe than mine (she has regular panic attacks), I did relate to the fact that she’s a bit of a bitchy anxious person. Most of the anxious heroines I’ve read aren’t also judgmental, so that was pretty cool for me. Anna’s big struggle of the book is trying to get her friends back after the boy she ditched them for ends their relationship.

Another strange thing about Antisocial is that it’s about the more popular kids for the most part. Anna’s not a total outcast loner. Sure, she’s anxious and not great with people, but she has a lot of friends. Her friends semi-grudgingly take her back, but when a hacker starts outing people’s secret texts and photos, Anna’s worried that the shitty things she said during the time they were on the outs will come out and ruin the relationships she’s working to rebuild.

What I like about Antisocial is that, though I expected it to be preachy about technology, it’s actually more of a reminder. There’s a subtle undercurrent reminding people to be more positive and to put thought into what they send out into the ether. I also very much appreciate that View Spoiler » The romance, such as it is, does not satisfy emotionally. I was on bored, but I didn’t like where Blake ended it. View Spoiler »

Come to this one for a consideration of technology and friendship, but not for a romance.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:



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