Size Doesn’t Matter (167): In a Perfect World; Valiant

I received this book for free from ALA 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 (167): In a Perfect World; ValiantIn a Perfect World by Trish Doller
Published by Simon Pulse on May 23, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 294
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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four-stars

Caroline Kelly is excited to be spending her summer vacation working at the local amusement park with her best friend, exploring weird Ohio with her boyfriend, and attending soccer camp with the hope she’ll be her team’s captain in the fall.

But when Caroline’s mother is hired to open an eye clinic in Cairo, Egypt, Caroline’s plans are upended. Caroline is now expected to spend her summer and her senior year in a foreign country, away from her friends, her home, and everything she’s ever known.

With this move, Caroline predicts she’ll spend her time navigating crowded streets, eating unfamiliar food, and having terrible bouts of homesickness. But when she finds instead is a culture that surprises her, a city that astounds her, and a charming, unpredictable boy who challenges everything she thought she knew about life, love, and privilege.

Trish Doller has come to be widely recognized (at least by me) as one of the major talents of YA fiction. She stands out for me because she often writes books that aren’t so much Christina books but somehow they’re so good that they end up being Christina books. In a Perfect World is the most Christina of her books so far. I felt a bit disconnected from it emotionally, but it definitely delivers in terms of quality.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (166): The Best Kind of Magic; The Love Interest

I received this book for free from ALA 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 (166): The Best Kind of Magic; The Love InterestThe Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari
Series: Windy City Magic #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 16, 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

The Best Kind of Magic was a complete impulse pick up at ALA MW. I’m a sucker for anything with magic in the title really. Admittedly, my expectations were pretty low because for some reason I thought it was a middle grade and I’d heard absolutely nothing about it (which, given Cover Snark, I’ve generally at least heard of most everything). The Best Kind of Magic turned out to be a surprise, under the radar gem of cuteness and fluff, which was just what I needed in a reading doldrums.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (165): Tease, The Year of the Gadfly

Size Doesn’t Matter (165): Tease, The Year of the GadflyTease by Amanda Maciel
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 8 hrs, 33 mins
Published by Harper Audio on April 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
three-stars

If you gulped through reading or streaming 13 Reasons Why, Tease is the book for you.

Provocative, unforgettable, and inspired by real-life incidents, Amanda Maciel's highly acclaimed debut novel Tease is the story of a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide. With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy.

And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

I’m not entirely sure what made me want to read Tease, but at some point I bought the audiobook. When I ran out of review audiobooks, I chose this one because it had been on my Audible the longest. Tease does a nice job making the points that it’s making, but it’s not a pleasant read since it’s all about slut shaming, suicide, toxic friendships, and bullying.

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The Book Cake Tag

Morgan (The Bookish Beagle) tagged me to do the Book Cake tag from suddenlylorna on BookTube, and it sounded fun, so I’m doing it. I’m also adding a category because that’s how I roll. I’ll be limiting myself to books read so far in 2017, because otherwise this would take me HOURS of going through all my books ever. Besides, I’ve read 218 so I’ve got plenty of material to work with

Self Rising Flour: a book that starts out slow but really picks up as you go along

Because You’ll Never Meet Me – Leah Thomas: For much of the book, it’s just this chill epistolary novel, and then at some point things get bonkers and really incredibly emotional. Also, there’s this super complex and dark plot hidden under the charming letters.

Summers at Castle Auburn – Sharon Shinn: This one’s not slow in a bad way; it’s more like you’ve gone on a summer picnic, and you take some naps. This book is relaxing and calm in pace, but then towards the end, things get surprisingly dark and the ship sets sail and it gets unputdownable.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (164): Waste of Space; This Monstrous Thing

I received this book for free from ALA 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 (164): Waste of Space; This Monstrous ThingWaste of Space by Gina Damico
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on July 11, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Humor
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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Goodreads
three-stars

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show. And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.

Gina Damico’s debut series, the Croak trilogy, is one of my favorite series of all time and made up of some of my favorite books. Since then, I’ve been waiting with high hopes for more Damico novels with that level of shippiness, humor, and badassness. Waste of Space is Beauty Queens meets Illuminae but lacks the characterization to really pack an emotional punch.

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