BOOK REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN WARBRINGER BY LEIGH BARDUGO

Here’s the deal: I enjoyed this, but I wasn’t necessarily wowed by it.Frankly, I think I would’ve enjoyed this story more had it focused on Alia rather than Diana. Diana wasn’t a bad character per se, but she felt so…perfect. Sure, she had her struggles and insecurities, but they didn’t emotionally impact me as much as Alia’s. I found that some of the most standout moments in this book were from Alia’s POV, moments when she was pushed to her limit, when she had to summon every dredge of willpower left in her. As for the side characters, I thought they were fun—but that’s exactly it. They werefun, and so was their banter, but I ultimately didn’t end up forming a particularly deep connection to them. (I did really love Theo though.)As always, though, Leigh Bardugo incorporates some wonderful diversity in this book: excepting Diana, the cast is made up entirely of POCs, one of whom is fat and also bisexual. The representation was overall fantastic, and that’s definitely not something I took for granted.Plot-wise I don’t have anything noteworthy to say. There were some scenes that stood out to me, and I generally appreciated that there was a good balance between plot- and character-development. My biggest qualm with the plot though was with this book’s ending, or at least the series of events that led up to the book’s ending.

(SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT)


Here are some of my favourite scenes/quotes:

“‘You’ll remember me,’ he panted, his face sheened with sweat. ‘I was your first kiss. I could have been your first everything. You’ll always know that.’
She looked deep into his eyes. ‘You were my first nothing, Jason. I am immortal, and you are a footnote. I will erase you from my history, and you will vanish, unremembered by this world.'”

DAMN, DIANA ACTUALLY Did That

“He jabbed his finger down on the screen. ‘Shapow!’
Nothing happened.
‘Oh, wait a second.’ His thumbs flew over the screen again. He cleared his throat. ‘What I meant to say was, shablammy!'”

this is why I love Theo

“I am done being careful. I am done being quiet. Let them see me angry. Let them hear me wail at the top of my lungs.”

YES ALIA YES

“She marched up the hill, tears choking her throat. It wasn’t the embarrassment. It wasn’t the memory. It was everything that had come with it, every hateful thought she’d ever had about herself like a chorus in her head. The lasso was like looking into a mirror that stripped away each illusion you used to get yourself through the day, every bit of scaffolding you’d built to prop yourself up. And then there was just you. Boobs too small. Butt too big. Skin too ashy. She was to nerdy, too weird, too quiet around people.”

what a heart-rending passage


An overall fun read, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll be very impressionable for me in the long run.

3.5-


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BOOK REVIEW: EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED BY DANIELLE YOUNGE-ULLMAN

love love love. so many emotions right now.

imma do this review Random Thoughts style:
â–ș If I had to sum up this book I would say it’s all about Complicated Shit. I’m not kidding. The beauty of Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined is that you get to see Ingrid work through all her emotional and psychological turmoil throughout the book. You go to hell and back with her as she tries to untangle her mess of emotions, and when she finally does, you’re just so damn happy for her. I just really love Complicated Shit books, man. They’re emotionally taxing, but they’re 100% worth it. (If you liked We Are the Ants, then you might like this too. They’re not particularly similar content-wise, but they’re both YA contemporaries about, as aforementioned, Complicated Shit, and the process of sorting through it.)

â–ș Ingrid is a wonderful main character. She’s caustic and self-aware and upfront and I love her for all those things.

â–ș I loved how Younge-Ullman explored Ingrid’s—here’s that word again—complicated relationship with her mom, who, by the way, was a really fascinating character (both fiercely loving yet aloof, distant yet unhesitatingly vocal). Like Marchetta’s Saving Francesca, this book deals with how a mother’s mental illness—depression in particular—takes its toll on her, her daughter, and their relationship.

â–ș THAT ENDING THO. I may or may not have cried.

â–ș ok but the premise behind this book was VERY clever and well-executed. You go back and forth between Ingrid’s time at this super intense camp and her past at home with her mom and at her school. And lemme tell you, these two plotlines complemented each other incredibly well: the former informs the latter and the latter informs the former. Together, they worked almost magically to breathe life into Ingrid’s character and to explain why she made the decisions she made. Honestly, kudos to Younge-Ullman for pulling it all off, because she did.

Definitely one of the best contemporaries that I’ve recently read. Highly recommend you give this one a try.

four


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BOOK REVIEW: RADIO SILENCE BY ALICE OSEMAN

Writing-wise, this book didn’t wow me, but I really think it hit the nail on the head content-wise. It’s mainly an exploration of the shitload of pressures/expectations students have to deal with daily to do well and be well-rounded and get good grades and go to uni and always stand out, etc. etc.—and lemme tell you, that shit is too real. I would definitely file this book under “relatable af.” I’m not sure how much of Frances’s story mirrors Oseman’s, but I can tell you that Oseman really gets just how shitty and unfair this whole charade often is. Speaking of “getting it,” Oseman also really gets what I’m gonna call “teen talk,” for lack of a better term. Her dialogue feels so organic, rife with all the wonderful ers and ums and likes that make everyday speech so familiar. One last thing: this book places a major—almost exclusive—emphasis on friendship, a (wonderful) boy-girl friendship no less, so it gets like 50000 bonus points from me for that.

As for my rating, I give Radio Silence 3.5 stars not necessarily because of what it had, but because of what it didn’t. It just didn’t emotionally hit me as much as I would’ve liked it too, and I felt like the writing was too stripped down to be particularly evocative. Apart from that, I think the messages that this book delivers are really important and frankly, really damn necessary—especially for the bajillion students out there who feel like they’re not enough, like they don’t know what they’re doing, like they’re lost. Grades are not the be-all end-all—they don’t, and shouldn’t, define your self-worth.

three


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