Review: By Your Side – Kasie West


By Your Side – Kasie West

By Your Side

Title: By Your Side

Author: Kasie West

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: HarperTeen

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 346

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

2 out of 5 stars


I was very underwhelmed with this book.

By Your Side follows Autumn as she gets trapped inside her public library with the bad boy of the school. They are locked inside the library on a cold January weekend together and have to figure out how to survive the weekend.

I had quite a few issues with this book, actually. I found some things to be problematic and would like to address those first.

  1. You can’t just put the competing love interest into a medically induced coma to further the romantic chemistry between the two main characters.
  2. Anxiety is not really anything like how it’s represented in this book.

I’m all about this relationship between Autumn and Dax. I always love a bad-boy-is-only-good-for-his-girl story, but the other relationships in the book were just annoying! The original love interest, Jeff, gets in a car crash the weekend Autumn was going to tell him that she had a huge crush on him. This just so happens to be the weekend she gets trapped in the library. Anyway, Jeff is put into a medically induced coma because of how bad his car crash was, but I just felt like this was such a weak plot device. I don’t think it’s morally correct for her to only understand she doesn’t like him after he’s taken out of the picture in this way.

The anxiety representation of this book was…. pathetic and lackluster, honestly. I have anxiety and have since I was in elementary school, so I get what panic attacks are like and how it feels to be so overwhelmed you can barely speak, but the way it was told was so inaccurate. I obviously don’t have anything to base this off of except for my own experiences, so maybe some people’s anxiety feels like it was explained, but to me it just felt… I don’t know, fake maybe?

Also, telling people about your anxiety should not be that big a deal. The only reason people freak out about it is because they’ve been trained by the people around them that it isn’t okay. There is literally NOTHING wrong with telling your friends you have anxiety and can’t deal with talking in front of too many people. They will understand, and will end up feeling like assholes because they didn’t know sooner. Just fricking tell them.

Some of the interactions between characters of this book were SO CHILDISH. It was almost painful to read because they focused on things that were so irrelevant. The guy, Jeff, is in a coma and could have something seriously wrong with him, but his friends are arguing in SUCH a petty way about who gets to go and visit. I understand that you would want to see your friend, but remember that you’re going to the hospital to visit a friend who is horribly injured. Calm the frick down and get over yourselves. Damnnnn.

The pacing of this book was weird and felt rushed at the end. The first half of the book Autumn and Dax were in this library, but then they didn’t talk to each other for a certain amount of time after, then were dating. I don’t know. The beginning was quite slow, then they became all buddy-buddy in two seconds. Just kind of annoying to me. There were just so many things that felt rushed in this book.

I liked Dax a lot. He was sweet and kind, but there were also a lot of unnecessary details about him that were supposed to make his character deeper, but were just explained too fast to really mean anything. Autumn notices this tattoo on his wrist and thinks about asking him about it for like 2 minutes, then 20 pages later she finds out. There was no build up to any of the conclusions. I get that its only 350 pages and you can only do so much explaining, but don’t have so many plot lines happening at once.

I know this is a hella negative review, but it’s just easier for me to be critical of a contemporary. It’s real life and you don’t have to be fully introduced to the world because you already live in it. It’s so much easier to focus on what went wrong when you know the world lol.

Also, this is set in a library and she didn’t even pick up a book. She had 72 hours. Locked in a library. And she chose to watch TV. I just don’t get it lol. I think there should have been more of an emphasis on the actual library part.

Review: Turtles All the Way Down – John Green


Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

Turtles All the Way Down

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Publisher: Dutton Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 304

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

5 out of 5 stars


I don’t know why this book took me so long to pick up because I knew that I was going to love it. I had no idea that I was going to love it this much, though!

Turtles All the Way Down follows Aza who is living with OCD and anxiety. The book opens with her sitting at her lunch table with her friends and she is obsessively thinking about the microbiome in her gut and how more than half of her is made up of bacterial cells. She keeps spiraling through questions and answers in her head until she reverts back to her nervous habit; she pokes her thumb fingernail through the callused skin on her middle finger. She removes the band-aid, washes her hands, applies hand sanitizer to the wound, then puts on a new band-aid. All this just to ensure that she won’t get infected and then get a disease.

This is just one example of how Aza is having to live with the mental illness of OCD. She obsesses over thoughts that spiral forever in her mind. She can’t stop thinking, and is constantly in her own head. News gets out about a billionaire who left his family to escape a bad business scam. Aza knows the son of said billionaire, and her best friend Daisy convinces her to let them go and talk to the boy, Davis.

Aza hasn’t talked to Davis since they attended a summer camp back in middle school, so she’s worried about how he will react. She doesn’t want him to think the only reason they’re going to talk to him is because of the money, but she doesn’t know how to make conversation, and she’s anxious about the whole concept. The two girls go, and Aza is reminded of the crush she had on Davis way back when…

Seriously this book was amazing. Anxiety was represented perfectly in this book and I could relate to so many of the scenes in this book. I don’t have OCD, but I know that this is an own voices novel as John Green has OCD, so I’m fairly positive that it was also accurately represented.

Sometimes John Green’s characters can seem a little too quirky, but I found that all the characters were unique, but not unrealistic. I loved the relationships in this book. I really enjoyed Aza and Daisy’s friendship because they were so different. I actually really enjoyed the conflict between them because it brought to light how hard being best friends with someone actually is.

My favorite relationship in this book was between Aza and Davis. The book mainly focused on their relationship, and I appreciated that it felt real. My wonderful mother has told me many times that sometimes the best friendships are only for a certain season in your life and that that is completely acceptable and great. I think that this friendship/relationship between Aza and Davis was perfectly timed for the both of them, but wasn’t destined to last. Aza needed someone in her life and Davis was extremely lonely and needed someone who could listen and understand him. This relationship was for only a season of life, but benefited both of them so much that it’s impossible to be angry at the outcome of the relationship.

SPOILERS:

I loved the ending of this book because it was so beautifully crafted. I loved that Aza and Davis didn’t end up trying to make the relationship work even though he was moving away. I love that they let it end naturally and on great terms. The last two pages made my heart MELT because they were so perfectly written. The fact that he left her the painting that she loved and even though they weren’t together she kept it with her and became a fully functioning adult it was just so cute. The ending was beautiful and I may or may not have read the last two pages a few times :)

END OF SPOILERS

I really loved this book and I think anyone who hasn’t read it really should. The way that John Green portrayed the stream of consciousness was perfect and made you really feel like you were in the mind of Aza. This REALLY makes me want to read all the rest of his books *that I haven’t read.*

I love that the book is called Turtles All the Way Down and that the reason is because Daisy tells Aza the story her mom used to tell her. I like the story of it just being turtles all the way down.

Great book. Highly recommend. I pretty much read it in a day :)

Review: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) – Libba Bray


The Diviners (The Diviners #1) – Libba Bray

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1)

Author: Libba Bray

Release Date: September 18, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 578

Evangeline O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far.

When the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfurl in the city that never sleeps. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened….

4 out of 5 stars


This book took me forever to read, but I’m SO GLAD I read it!

The Diviners follows Evie O’Neill as she goes to live with her uncle Will in New York. Her parents send her there from their small town in Ohio because she told everyone at a party a truth about a wealthy family’s son. Evie is ‘too much’ for her small Ohio town and is excited to see where her adventures in NYC take her, when all of the sudden she and her uncle get involved in a murder mystery case. Evie has powers but has never been able to talk about them to anyone, but maybe she can confide in her uncle…

This was such an interesting read! I do think that it was quite long, but it was totally worth it. The characters in this book are so well crafted; they’re all unique and fun to read about. The mysteries keep you on your toes, and this made me want to travel to NYC!

Evie is so spunky and fun and is the epitome of a flapper girl. She loves partying and dancing and being unapologetically her, which she can do in New York. She’s much better fitted to a big city than to a small Ohio town.

The mysteries were so cool and the way that the story played out was amazing. In the book there was this Pentacle Killer and he was killing in the order of some creepy religious text. So it follows Evie, uncle Will, Jericho, and Sam trying to figure out what is happening.

Evie is a Diviner, so she has a supernatural ability. She can see information about people by just holding an object that is important to someone. This adds a nice amount of mystery and paranormal to this story! She also wants to help catch the Pentacle Killer with this ability but no one knows. It’s just a whole lot of tiptoeing around people to keep her power a secret. It’s suspenseful and cool.

One of my FAVORITE tropes ever is hate to love, and that is being set up so so so well in this book. The first person Evie meets when she gets to New York is Sam Lloyd. He steals $20 from her at the train station and she freaks the freak out at him. He keeps popping up everywhere and then he gets a job at her uncle’s museum so he’s always around. He’s crushing crazy hard on her, but she’s oblivious to it, but it’s SO CUTE. I really hope that their relationship turns into something because it would be so cute.

This was a really great book and it followed a few different storylines and I think they’re all going to meet up in the next book and YAY! I’m so excited. Read this book!!

Review: The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Nancy Drew #38) – Carolyn Keene


The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Nancy Drew #38) – Carolyn Keene

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #38)

Title: The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Nancy Drew #38)

Author: Carolyn Keene

Release Date: 1961

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 182

Eloise Drew asks her niece to investigate the disappearance of her neighbor, a young university student. In New York, Nancy, Bess and George are drawn into the intrigue and danger of a smuggling ring. Nancy plans a clever ruse: George is disguised as the missing Chinese girl! The girl detective is also suspicious of an unpleasant bookstore owner and his loud, overbearing female customer. A series of clues lead the girls to Hong Kong. Ned, who is studying in Hong Kong, joins them. The amateur detectives follow more clues to the international smuggling ring. This book is the original text. A revised text does not exist.

3 out of 5 stars


Just a typical Nancy Drew mystery. In a good way. :)

I love Nancy Drew, and I have ever since I read my first ones SUPER out of order back in middle school. I think I just wanted to read them in the order they were on the shelf, which for some reason wasn’t in series order, but I remember starting with 40-something lol.

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon follows Nancy, Bess, and George as they help Nancy’s aunt and her Chinese neighbors to find the girl Chi Che. Chi Che is the niece of Aunt Eloise’s neighbor. They find themselves faking identities, sneaking through bookstores, and traveling abroad.

It’s kind of hard to review some of the Nancy Drew books because this was written more than 50 years ago and is considered children’s fiction. Some of the things said in reference to ethnicity would not be okay today. The whole time, the Chinese families and students were called Orientals. So that wouldn’t be okay, but at the time it was written it was a more acceptable term.

Like I said above, this was just a typical Nancy Drew mystery. I don’t think that it’s really possible to figure out ‘whodunnit’ because you’re never given enough information to make inferences, but it was still a fun read. It was super fast and I read it in one day.

I will forever recommend this series to young readers!

Series:

Password to Larkspur Lane (Nancy Drew #10)

The Clue of the Broken Locket (Nancy Drew #11)

Mystery of the Ivory Charm (Nancy Drew #13)

May Wrapup + June TBR


Read:

  1. Sula – Toni Morrison *review*
  2. i love this part – Tillie Walden *review*
  3. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff *review*
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) – Sarah J. Maas *review*
  5. REREAD City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) – Cassandra Clare *review*
  6. Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) – Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian *review*

TBR:

  1. The Diviners (The Diviners #1) – Libba Bray
  2. The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Nancy Drew #38) – Carolyn Keene
  3. Ivy Introspective (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy #2) – Kellyn Roth