My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

What do you get when you combine the amazing nostalgia of the 80’s (I wasn’t alive then but let’s pretend) and the pure horror of seeing Regan’s head do a 360 for the first time when you were 10? My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix!

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism is about Abby and her best friend Gretchen who somehow gets possessed by a demon after a night of taking shrooms gone wrong. Abby desperately wants to help Gretchen but how can she when she’s got all the problems of being a normal 16 year old, plus is literally having to fight the devil.

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I don’t know how to explain this book, I think you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. I honestly loved it. I’m a really big fan of Hendrix’s other book Horrorstör (you can read my review for it here) and I found MBFE to have the same creepy and funny vibes while also being a unique story. Somehow this book is also a little bit heart-wrenching which I didn’t expect! I give it 4/5 stars.

A x

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Yellow by Megan Jacobson

 

yellowcoverI was desperate to read Yellow after hearing Taneika from Flipping Through Pages praise it so highly! I listened to this one as an audiobook through Audible (not spon but Audible feel free to sponsor me) and must say I really loved the audiobook style. I usually hate Australian audiobooks because I find our accents GRATING AS HECK but the narrator (Marny Kennedy) was just the right amount of Aussie!

This book is about Kirra. Kirra is your average run-of-the-mill 14 year old girl, except for the fact that her whole friend group bullies her, her mum is a raging alcoholic, her father has left them for a woman who lives two streets away and now a ghost has started talking to her via an abandoned Telstra phone box. So, the usual stuff. The ghost who goes by the name of Boogie  wants justice brought to the person who murdered him many years ago, and believes Kirra is the one to do it. Kirra agrees to this as long as Boogie will help get her parents back together and make her popular. I know this all seems a bit ridiculous but the way the book is written just makes it work! The book deals with some pretty heavy topics and there are trigger warnings for the following: bullying, suicide, murder and alcoholism.

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Kirra is a really interesting character. She’s ridiculously smart but also grows up in a small town with Tall Poppy Syndrome. She tries to suppress the fact she’s smart and hangs out with a bunch of girls who are completely horrible. They are the epitome of bitchy high school girls. The book opens with them berating Kirra for the way she walks and basically saying they won’t be her friends if she doesn’t learn to walk better. Kirra is so shy and self-conscious in part due to her friend group and suppresses everything that makes her, her. On top of this Kirra’s mum is an alcoholic and verbally abusive to Kirra, and her dad, Lark, is pretty much out of the picture after moving in with a new woman. I really felt for Kirra throughout the book because her life is terrible. However, throughout the book Kirra says some really shamey and weird comments about girls who wear “too much” makeup and also about sex workers. Is there’s one thing that annoys me in a book it’s the shaming of sex workers but that’s a whole other topic for another day.

There’s also another character in the book who stood out to me, which is Willow. She’s pretty badass, has great feminist ideals and speaks her mind. She’s also a fantastic friend to Kirra which I loved. My favourite quote from her is “do not define me by my gender or socioeconomic status” which was an amazing moment! There’s also a love interest in the book but they are the most boring character in the world and I literally can’t remember a single thing about them except they might have freckles?

The book as a whole is interesting and good, but at the same time it just didn’t grab me like I thought it would. Maybe my hopes were to high? I just didn’t connect with the story fully which was a bit of a bummer. So I give this #LoveOzYA book a 3/5 stars.

A x

 

Rupi Kaur

Dear Rupi Kaur,

I am writing this post because I want to publicly thank you for sharing your poetry with the world. Often, I read words that provoke my thoughts, make me feel things or stay with me forever. But there are only two times where a book has reached into my mind and heart and took the words right out of me. Those two times were reading milk and honey and the sun and her flowers. There is an astounding sense of comfort in knowing you’re not alone in your thoughts and feelings and I am honestly grateful for your work. In conclusion, if you haven’t read Rupi’s poetry, I highly recommend it. It deals with feminism, mental health, loneliness, heartbreak, self-love and SO MUCH MORE.

 

A x

 

 

The Martian: Book Vs. Film

I recently listened to the audiobook of The Martian by Andy Weir and then immediately watched the film version because, why the hell not?!  So, in this post I’ll be talking about the differences between the two and who won this battle!

the martian 1The book of The Martian by Andy Weir is honestly a pretty incredible book. It completely fooled me – I assumed it was a true story and that Andy Weir was retelling the story of what happened to him… apparently this makes me an fool after some googling revealed a bunch of posts along the lines of “some really ignorant people think The Martian is a true story”. Well shit. It was convincing to me. The amount of science discussed in the book is astounding, I can’t even fathom how much research must have gone into this book. The main character Mark Watney is also just an absolute pleasure to read about. He is hilarious and smart as hell. He’s innovative, inventive and the ultimate survivor. At times though, I wanted to see a more human side to him because he pretty much only makes jokes throughout the book or discusses extremely technical astrophysics/botany things that just went over my head (even though they were interesting!). I loved this story a lot more than I thought I would which really surprised me. Rating = 4/5.

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October_2_24_92_99_18.epsNow, the film version of The Martian was a visual masterpiece. The effects were just amazing and you just can’t deny that. Visually, it really helped me understand the baron-ness of Mars. It also simplified some of the really scientific stuff that was too heavy for me. Another thing I really liked about the film was how they gave Mark Watney a more human side. It really showed the toll loneliness has on you. I mean, HELLO, this guy spends like 600 days on Mars… I think you’d definitely lose your sense of humour after a while. The film depicted this well and it made me feel for the character and root for him more. Now, what I didn’t like? Matt Damon. Watching a film with Matt Damon in it makes me sick. Why did I even do this to myself? Maybe he’s a good actor, I don’t really know. All I see is someone who stood by while his friend and colleague sexually assaulted women and did nothing to stop it, while KNOWING what was happening. Now this film came about before everything about Harvey Weinstein came to light but I don’t really care, Matt Damon is trash. He knew about the the complete rot within Hollywood and did nothing. Rating = Film 4/5, Matt Damon 0/5.

So who wins… the book of course!

A x

 

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

This book was sent to me by Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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 The Start of Me and You is a Young Adult book which focuses on grief, friendship, love and starting new.

A year ago, Paige’s boyfriend Aaron died in a tragic swimming accident and her life hasn’t been the same since. Stuck grieving the loss of a relationship that had barely taken off and having to deal with getting “the look” from everyone she knows, Paige decides she’s ready to start living her life again and not be “The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned”.

From the beginning, I was completely captivated by this book. I didn’t really know what to expect because I’d never read an Emery Lord book before. I have to say this book was so lovely and I’m surprised by how much I liked it. The main thing I loved about the book was the friendship. Paige has a group of close friends – Tessa, Morgan and Kayleigh. They are all unique and fantastic and just a beautiful group of friends. Seriously, this is how to write friendship. These girls will go to the ends of the Earth to lift each other up. They support and love each other. They care about each other’s well being. I especially want to focus on Tessa because she is Paige’s best friend. Now, we all need a friend in our life like Tessa (I’m lucky enough that I do!). Tessa would definitely be a Gryffindor if she were at Hogwarts because she’s brave and loyal. She is by Paige’s side through everything and it’s just beautiful.

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Now in the book, Paige decides that one way she can start fresh is to date again. Preferably, she wants to date Ryan Chase who she’s had a crush on for years! She also decides that she needs to partake in more activities and groups. To summarise, Ryan has a cousin called Max who’s a bit (a lot) of a nerd and is a member of the QuizBowl team. Paige decides to kill two birds with one stone by joining the QuizBowl team so she can put a big tick next to partaking in activites, and also use Max to get closer to Ryan. I know, I know… Paige is a liiiiittle bit shady but don’t judge her too harshly. She really makes leaps and strides throughout the book. Max is also an ADORABLE character and such a good friend to Paige and just… ugh! I wish I had friends like this in high school.

The book is crammed full of literary references and book chat because Max and Paige both love reading. It’s also full of general knowledge because of the quiz team Max and Paige are on and wow, I did not expect to LEARN things from this book but I did and I loved it. It’s been years since I’ve stayed up until 3am to finish a book and I just feel great (and sleep deprived). There was only one thing that annoyed me in this book and it happened at the end. A female character is revealed to be in a relationship with another female and the way it was done was a bit eh. It was revealed at the VERY end as a very WOW moment and even worse it was done through some post-story emails. I just think the representation could have been better. This character was not hinted to be LGBTQIAP+ throughout ANY of the book and then it’s just thrown in at the end like scraps being thrown to chickens. The character deserved better and the LGBTQIAP+ community deserves better too. There is going to be a sequel to this book (which I’ll definitely read) and I am really hoping we get more diversity in it!

In conclusion, this book was just such a cruisy ride and I loved it. I give it 4.5/5.

A x

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Now, I know every person and their dog has already read and reviewed this book. Published in 2012, I’d have to say Ari and Dante is one of the most groundbreaking YA books focused on LGBTQIAP+ and with good reason. How do I put this eloquently… IT’S F*CKING INCREDIBLE.

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Aristotle and Dante is a coming of age novel about friendship, love and family. It especially explores ideas of masculinity and what it means to be a “boy” and a “man”. The books revolves around Aristole and Dante (duh!) and how these two boys who just so happen to be named after famous philosopher’s become friends.

Aristotle (Ari) is struggling with his identity. He’s knows he’s Mexican, and he knows his brother is in prison. He also knows his family will not talk about his brother and this confuses him. He loved his brother and doesn’t understand. He has a lot of trouble sharing his emotions and is very distant.

Dante on the other hand is very in touch with his emotions and not afraid to show it. He’s also Mexican, but unlike Ari he doesn’t “feel” truly Mexican because his upbringing doesn’t reflect Mexican culture. Dante is basically the embodiment of goodness, he’s a beautiful soul and an adorable pure entity who I will protect with all my heart. He loves poetry and he loves his family and I LOVE HIM.

One thing I really loved about this book was how it portrayed families. Firstly we have Ari’s parents. Ari’s dad is somewhat a closed book, he fought in the Vietnam War and has never been the same since. He doesn’t talk about it and Ari struggles with this. This might be why Ari has so much trouble talking about his emotions It’s beautiful watching their relationship grow and change in the book. I love the way it portrayed PTSD and the effect it can have on not just those with PTSD but also their family and friends. Ari’s mum is the “fascist” as Ari likes to lovingly call her. She’s a teacher, she’s strict and she cares about Ari so much. She’s been through some shit. Her son Bernardo (Ari’s brother) is in prison and everyone is tight lipped about it. Ari can hardly remember his brother but dreams about him regularly. His parents refuse to discuss Bernardo, it hurts them too much. We see the way this effects Ari, he brother was his best friend and I don’t think anyone in the world would just accept their best friend leaving for no reason.
Dante on the other hand has a father who is forthcoming with his emotions, visably showing his love through verbal interactions, hugs and kisses. Dante’s mum is also wonderfully expressive and supportive of her son.

In general, I was so happy to see healthy parent relationships. I’ve read so many books where one or both parents are dead, sick, absent or abusive and I somewhat think this is “trendy” in YA. It was definitely nice to see families portrayed this way. This isn’t me having a go at other books at ALL because I know it’s real life to have fucked up families, but it was so nice to see some functional families for once.

The writing is poetic and elegant without being pseudo intellectual. It just… is. It flows so well. I’ve seen some people say the pacing felt off but for me it was perfect. The story is told through Ari’s perspective and I think this effects the pacing and I understood it. There’s no doubt that Ari is miserable in the book and the pacing reflected his (what I think was) depression. The story was also very dialogue heavy which turns out to be my favourite way to read a book! The interactions between Ari and Dante are just so cute and are #friendshipgoals.

I give Aristotle and Dante 5/5 stars and 100% of my tears and love.

A x

I’m Sorry

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I’m writing this quick post to basically apologise for being so absent over the last month and a half. In the middle of September, my life has taken a dramatic turn and to say my blog has gone on the back burner is an understatement.

But, I’m back now. I can’t let my personal issues and anxieties get in the way of doing what I love. Which has made me realise I need to do more with this blog and talk about my passions, particularly diversity in literature. That’s what I hope to start doing and I really hope you all love it!

So thank you if you’ve stuck around during my absence and I can’t wait to post some new content and be more active on here.

A x