Three Mini Reviews: Warcross, The Gallery of Unfinished Girls, and Turtles All the Way Down

Hi friends! I have somehow not posted a book review since October. How did that happen on my book review blog? Ugh to all other commitments that take my time away – like teaching and writing and friends, etc. Anyway, here are some books I would recommend to pretty much anyone – especially anyone who likes YA books enough to still be reading this blog. So …

WarcrossWarcross by Marie Lu is set in a near future where pretty much all of society is dominated by a virtual reality game. Emika Chen would probably be amazing at Warcross, if she wasn’t so busy trying to pay off her dead father’s debts and keep a roof over her head as a hacker and digital bounty hunter. In a desperate situation, she accidentally hacks into the opening night of the official Warcross games. She expects legal trouble, but instead the game’s creator – the teenage and smoldering Hideo Tanaka – offers her a job. He will put her as a wildcard into the Warcross games if she will serve as his spy. I’m not *quite* finished with this book yet, but I feel VERY confident recommending it. The weaving in of Emika’s backstory is done masterfully. In books like this, I sometimes have trouble keeping track of all the different characters and technology in play. But from page one of Warcross, I’ve been riveted.

Gallery of Unfinished GirlsThe Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz is one of the more quiet young books from 2017 that I wished got a little more attention from the YA community. I interviewed Karcz in July when her book came out, but don’t think I’ve followed up with how much I enjoyed this debut. Filled with magical realism, the story follows Mercedes Monroe, a teenage artist with serious painter’s block. Her mom’s out of town taking care of her abuela, who’s in a coma, and she’s keeping a seriously big secret from her best friend Victoria. The answer to her artistic problems, seems to be a mysterious neighbor with an invitation to an enchanted empty condo building. In the building, Mercedes is able to do her best work – but it has to stay in the building. And eventually she has to decide what’s more important, her life outside the condo or the expression and invigoration she feels inside.

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is a book that, by contras, has gotten lots of attention. Deservedly so. I had ridiculously high expectations after The Fault in Our Stars  and this book surpassed every one of those expectations. Every. Single. One. This was a stay up way too late to finish this book in one sitting kind of read for me. Part mystery, part chronicle of the difficult internal life of a character struggling with OCD, and part celebration of complicated friendships – I LOVED THIS BOOK. In case you can’t tell. It felt so nuanced and hard and true about knocking down the often used tropes and misunderstandings about mental illness. And it had the tight, exceedingly clever language that I’ve loved in Green’s previous books. It also made me cry all the tears and feel all the feels and remember how powerful and immersive reading a book like this can be.

What are you all reading these days (not that I need to add to my TBR, lol)?


John Green Tweeted My Name

I’m sure there is a more chill way to title this blog post, but I’m not going to be able to access that chill. You guys know how much John Green and his books and vlogbrothers have meant to me. I’ve written about it again and again and again on this blog. After finishing Turtles All the Way Down, I began a hunt for every book John had ever recommended. It was kind of a cuckoo big undertaking for one little blog post. But I was really proud of the effort I put into my list of 99 John Green Book Recommendations for Book Riot. And then I woke up this morning and saw:

And my whole mind basically exploded – but, you know, in a good way. I don’t know if I’ve ever liked my name as much as seeing it on JOHN GREEN’s twitter.


Seven of my Favorite Quotes from Turtles All the Way Down

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I’m a big nerd fighter – okay, meek and mediocre but secretly clingy nerd fighter – so it’s not really a surprise that I read and loved John Green’s new book Turtles All the Way Down in one sitting. It’s my favorite of his so far, and SUCH and important book in terms of mental health representation. I don’t have OCD, but I have had intrusive thoughts related to trauma. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that experience explained on the page as well as in this book. Expect a (glowing) review soon, but until then here are some of the quotes I underlined furiously while devouring this book Tuesday night. Don’t worry, no spoilers!  Continue reading

I Got to See John & Hank Green (aka the oddest book event I’ve ever been to)

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I’ve written a little bit (okay a lot) about John Green and how the vlogbrothers Youtube series is an important part of my life. I love John’s books, but more I love listening to him and his brother talk about writing, about mental illness, about family and life and everything from llamas to angler fish (more on angler fish in a moment). I don’t want to be too mushy gushy, but I think watching their conversation has helped me tremendously in the weird process of figuring out how to adult and how to deal with hard things instead of avoiding them. It’s not as big a part of my life right now as it always has been, but this is all to say I was VERY EXCITED about John’s new book and the fact I’d get to see John and Hank live at Town Hall in Manhattan last week.  Continue reading

Marry, Date or Dump: Quentin, Ben & Radar from Paper Towns

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I am waiting for a few weeks so I can watch Paper Towns with my sister, like I did with The Fault in Our Stars. But I am so so happy about the good reviews and can’t wait to see it. In honor of the movie, I want to see who you’d marry and who you’d date and who you’d dump when it comes to Quentin, Ben, and Radar. I’m excited to see who you pick!  Continue reading

John Green, Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare, and Why I DO Think We Should “Keep YA Kind”

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Yesterday on one of the longest megabus rides from NY to Annapolis ever, I stumbled on this really interesting interview with Maggie Stiefvater and Cassandra Clare talking about being “dehumanized” by their fandoms online. Then last night my twitter feed blew up with tweets defending John Green. Defend against what (?) and what happened (?) were two questions running through my brain. Apparently, someone started a vicious and unfounded internet rumor about Green (which elicited a response from him saying he might withdraw from using tumblr in the same way moving forward … but then a post this morning thanking people for so much support). I’m sure no one really needs my defense or thoughts on the situation. Especially, because so many great things have been written by people like Libba Bray, Holly Black, Hank Green, and Maggie Stiefvater. Still, this morning I wanted to share a few thoughts on why I’ve been really attracted to the YA community and problems with Internet hate.  Continue reading