• YA Contemporary Book Review

    Bad Romance

    Warnings: Gaslighting My Thoughts Bad Romance is a heartbreaking story about relationship abuse and self-loathing, and one of the most accurate portrayals that I’ve ever read. The book is exceptionally well-written, with developed characters that talked and acted like typical teenagers. It shows how trouble at home can drive a young woman into the arms an abuser, trapped in a relationship because of dependency. One of the things that worked really well for this novel is that it starts from the beginning when Grace met Gavin and how they fell in love. Too often with stories about abusive relationships the story takes place when things are already bad and nearing…

  • YA Contemporary Book Review

    A Step from Heaven

    My Review: A Step from Heaven is not an easy book to address. It follows the life of Young Ju Park and her family; they are Korean immigrants pursuing the American dream. The book takes place over a wide span of time from the age of four to graduating high school. The story focuses not on the everyday events of the narrator, but instead on the major events that impacted her and her family as they struggle to acclimate to American culture. It is a classic immigrant story that is deeply heartfelt and inspirational, but it’s also a story about motherhood, and the sacrifices that parents make for their children…

  • YA Contemporary Book Review

    Thirteen Reasons Why

    Warnings: Suicide, Bullying, Rape, Sexual Assault My Thoughts This is a difficult story to unpack and process. The book tackles suicide and a number of other incredibly heavy themes that are not easy to approach and talk about even though they are topics that do need to be talked about, and badly. The story is paced like a suspense novel and it made the book incredibly readable, but I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing. On one end it’s good, it allows Hannah to talk about the different life events that impacted her and sent her spiraling into depression while simultaneously showing the effect that her…

  • YA Contemporary Book Review

    The Place Between Breaths

    My Review: The Place Between Breaths is an emotionally raw story about mental illness and the ways that it can weigh heavily on our lives. Schizophrenia is a serious illness wherein those that have it experience severe delusions. Its causes are unknown and require lifelong treatment to keep symptoms under control. The plot for this novel is difficult to pin down and there are a lot of questionable holes in the plot that won’t be wrapped up nicely, which was oddly fitting given the subject matter. The research and lab portion of the book had potential but it was left largely unexplored. Everything about Gnentium and the schizophrenia research was…