Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: 
Francesca Zappia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Pages: 385 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Rating:
4 and a half stars

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Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

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I like the cover art but I also don’t like it. I think the cover art is awesome but it doesn’t fully match the book. At no point in this book do they mention Eliza painting! It’s always drawing, so even though I like the look of the cover, it’s still not accurate and that annoys me.

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I really enjoyed the writing in this book! It flowed really well and was really easy to understand even for someone who has 0 experience with webcomics and that hole of the internet. I also loved the addition of my text messages & drawings! I love a book with little extra things in them and this was definitely one! I really liked the drawings and also little bits and pieces of the webcomic. Even though the webcomic story was a little confusing as it’s part way through the webcomic that they show and trying to keep track of the characters in the webcomic story was a bit of a task too as I would forget between each part of the comic as it was only ever 20 or so pages! But besides those little things, I really enjoyed the actual story itself.

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**TRIGGER WARNINGS!**
Mentions & thoughts of suicide within this book.

To be completely honest the main plot of this story I guessed before even starting the book. So it was just a point of waiting for it to happen. I also found this part of it kinda similar to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda when it came to the ‘everyone finding out the secret through the internet’ type of thing. But besides that, I really enjoyed everything else in the plot of the book! I also think that everything was done really well and realistically. Sometimes I feel like some contemporaries just go overboard and border on unrealistic, but I definitely think that this book was done really well and never went too crazy!

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Okay, so I may be a bit prejudice as the MC and I share a name, but I really liked Eliza. I loved that even though she struggled with a lot of social situations she never let it actually get her down. She pushed through and knew her limits in situations she could control. She also felt relatable even though I don’t have much in common with her.

Wallace, I liked for the most part. However, after the secret was out I did not like his attitude in the slightest and even though he apologized it was only because he realised how far he had pushed her. But before that, he was selfish and obsessive and I was not okay with it at all.

I really like Eliza’s brothers! Church and Sully were so funny but also super understanding. They were also super surprising too and some of the stuff you find out I was not expecting at all! I kinda wish we could have a companion novel following them as they were my fave characters!

Eliza’s parents are a bit hard to judge.  I understand them completely as all they were trying to do is be involved in their daughter’s life but they didn’t understand how and Eliza never seemed to try and help them be in her life. And it frustrated me sometimes how Eliza reacted to them, but they also did kinda push some boundaries sometimes. Family dinner is not the right time to discuss whether your daughter should start birth control for an example! That is something that should be discussed in private, not with both parents and 2 brothers in the middle of dinner. So some of the time I did understand Eliza but also a larger part of the time I understood her parents struggle. That’s also another reason why I like Church and Sully because they took the time to actually explain to their parents what they did wrong to Eliza when she was just pushing them away and getting angry at them when they had no idea the whole situation! How could they know when she never told them the whole truth and kept the money side of it a secret from them.

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I enjoyed the writing and the addition of the texts and drawings in the book! Even though the main plot was obvious I really enjoyed the rest of the plot. I liked Eliza and loved her brothers a lot and wish they were a bit more in the book or get a companion about them. So yeah, overall I really enjoyed the book!



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Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: 
Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Balzer & Bray
Rating:
5 Star

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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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You can find my spoiler free review of The Upside of Unrequited HERE!

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I honestly don’t like this cover, like at all. I like the cover of The Upside of Unrequited a bit more but still didn’t love it. The Simon cover just kinda looks cheap and basic and I just don’t like it.

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My opinion of Becky Albertalli’s writing is the same in this book as it was for The Upside of Unrequited! These books drag you in and you just get so invested in the lives of the characters in this book. I feel as invested in these characters in 300 pages as I would usually feel in the last book in a trilogy! These books are also really quick reads! Each I read easily in a day!

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I really enjoy that in Albertalli’s books there is the main plot, but also side plots going on, but they also feel like they are main plots too! I love that these books also deal with major topics but bring it into an awesome, funny and cute book! I just love everything about these books!

I’m not going to lie though, this book was a little predictable and I guessed who Blue was like half way through and was right.

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Again a pretty diverse range of characters! We had Gay, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Jews & Dark characters (I don’t believe it was actually stated what nationality Bran actually is, so I don’t want to make a guess). We also had people from divorced families, which I respect as being from a divorced family myself.

I really like Simon and being in his head for this story was hilarious. Just the way he thinks was so funny and a great perspective to read from! I feel like I can kinda relate to him too, but for the life of me, I don’t know how really as I haven’t been through any of these things myself!

There are a lot of characters I want to talk about, so I’m going to try and keep it to one or two paragraphs. And they are in no particular order of how much we see them in the book, I’m just writing it as I think of people.

Martin was an ass, I don’t care what happens throughout the rest of the book, I still don’t like him. He seemed genuinely upset at the end there though, so maybe he at least understands his mistake, even if it doens’t take back what he did.
I enjoyed Abby a lot, she was the cool best friend that you could do silly things with and there was never really an issue.
Nick, I was really excited to see as he was the one mentioned in The Upside of Unrequited that was with Simon at a certain thing, so when we meet him I was excited as! But also he is a cool character and I enjoy that nothing will get in the way for his love of both music and video games haha.
Leah was a little grumpy and annoying some times, but there was a reasoning behind it, but she was one of those characters that you just wanted to help feel better because even if she didn’t see ‘the thing’ coming, the rest of us totally knew how it would play out.
Garret, we don’t see too much of, he is just kinda in the back ground a lot of the time. Same with Bran, but I still thought Bran was the quiet and cute type.
I really liked their theatre teacher, she was awesome and passionate!
I also really liked Simon’s Sister Alice, she was understanding and caring, even though she wasn’t around. I also liked Simon’s Younger Sister Nora too, I don’t know how old she was but she seemed pretty mature for a younger sister and I liked that she was understanding as well. She was also caring enough to show Simon a certain thing rather than just ignore it and let him figure it out.

Those are all the ones I can think of right now, but I know there are more. But that is all I think!

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I really loved this book and from now on Becky Albertalli is an auto buy author. Even though I’m not a romance reader, I have a soft spot for LGBT+ romances. I think one of my main isues with romances in books as they are always so damn typical and over done! And it’s nearly always the same type of romance with similar characters. So for that reason, I don’t mind LGBT+ romances as they are usually more unique and also, being a bisexual myself, I like seeing these diverse characters!

Anyway, I love these books! They are fun, hilarious and cute books with amazingly diverse characters and great plots! I highly recommend them both!



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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: 
Sandhya Menon
Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Pages: 380 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Simon Pulse
Rating:
3 and a half star

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Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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This is probably going to be the weirdest review you read. Even though I think this was a beautifully written book with a great diversity of characters, I also didn’t love it. I am quite simply not a romance reader and this book was just too much for me. But it is still a great book and I highly recommend it to everyone that does enjoy romance!

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Even though I don’t usually like covers with people on the front, I do really like this one as the person on the cover matches the description of the MC perfectly, same with the back cover with Rishi & Dimple on it! So often books with people on them don’t even match the MC description (just look at the multiple editions of the Anna and the French Kiss books). So I was really happy to see a book that matches! I also like the simplicity of the cover but it portrays the book perfectly.

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The writing of this book was great! My only problem was the combination of Hindi (I think) in the speech parts of the book. I don’t speak Hindi, so it was a tad confusing as even though some of it was explained/translated, there was a lot that wasn’t. At the beginning, I did try and google the translation, but it messed with the flow of the reading, so I stopped bothering and even though I didn’t feel like I missed anything not understanding those parts, but it was still a little annoying not knowing the meaning of them.

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The plot of this book was fine but like I said the main focus is the romance, so I wasn’t obsessed. But I did love the rest, the app designing was really interesting and I’m curious if anyone has actually created an app like that as I think it legitimately would be helpful. I also really enjoyed the comic side of things too! It was also interesting learning some things about their culture.

I did find the plot a little predictable at times, but there is very few contemporaries that I have read that I haven’t found predictable.

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I enjoyed that there was a fairly diverse bunch of characters. Not only did we have 2 Indian MCs but also Dimple’s room mate is, I am guessing, bisexual as she mentions have a girlfriend previously but is in a relationship with a male within the book, so just guessing the bisexual part.

I did enjoy Dimple as a character and I mostly enjoyed being in her head as I found it funny and similar to myself, her way of thinking, even if she didn’t say a lot of things out loud.

Rishi was a little annoying at times as he kinda went on and on in his head about Dimple and relationship/marriage things (Dimple did it too but not as often or as excessive). Besides that, he was pretty cool and I enjoyed his passion for comics even if he tried to down play it.

I enjoyed Celia at the start and at the end, in the middle though I wanted to slap some sense into her but she came round and figured it out for herself eventually anyway and then I was back to liking her but I just can’t stand the type of people that act like she was acting in the middle there.

Well, they were the main ones, but I also want to talk about a few others. Ashish, I did enjoy and I loved his development with his brother towards the end. Hari & Evan were just typical jerks. Isabelle, I didn’t like, even though she acted like she was the victim the same as Celia in that middle part, she still kept pretending afterwards.

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The book was okay. It’s a fun cutesy romance, but romances just aren’t for me. But I enjoyed the other elements of the story and most of the characters. The writing was really good and the so was everything else, just not a book for me.



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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: 
Morgan Matson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Pages: 449 (paperback)
Publishers: Simon and Schuster Children’s
Rating:

4 star

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It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

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This cover is alright but personally, I don’t like books with people on the cover, but that’s just me. But besides that it is a nice cover, it would have made more sense to have them eating pizza or something as it seemed like they hadn’t actually been to that ice cream place before Emily has to go there..

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I really enjoy Morgan Matson’s writing. This is my third book of hers I have read and I have enjoyed it in all three. Her writing is quick and easy to read and also always has some added feature in it. In The Unexpected Everything it was parts of a story written by a character, in Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour it was scrapbooking & playlists and in this one it was playlists and the list. However this one was a bit less interesting, I would have liked it done more in the style that Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour was done as it looked like someones actually book or paper that has just been scanned and chucked into the book. I would have liked if the list was written in Sloanes writing, not just normal text. I also wished the playlists looked more like screen captures of Emily & Franks iPods, rather than a table with the song names and artist. That would have just added that little bit more. Also, I read this via an eBook, so it might be designed differently in the physical copy, I don’t know.

I also enjoyed that there were sections that were Emily’s memories and they weren’t exactly in any order, they just happened to somehow match the current situation of the book, which I really enjoyed.

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I thought this book was really interesting, even from the synopsis the bucket list type thing that was suggested sounded really interesting. This book, though was action packed and extreme it was still fairly full on. Except for at the very beginning this book is fairly fast paced for a contemporary. Matson skipped over all the boring parts and just got to the main plot, which I enjoyed.

As some of you will know I’m not a huge romance reader and this is a romance. However this wasn’t too heavy on the romance, it was kinda there and then at the end it’s more prominent but it didn’t take away from the actual plot.

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I enjoyed Emily as a character and liked seeing her develop and grow in this book. Her struggle was something that a lot of people have to deal with, so I enjoyed seeing that represented in the book. Frank was also enjoyable, he was fun and intelligent. He was a good friend, was caring and picked up on the little things about people easily.

Collins at first I thought was a bit of a tool but I began to like him a bit more towards the end. He started showing the real him towards the end rather than the show he puts on for everyone else. Dawn was an interesting character, she kinda just turned up quickly, but it also felt realistic of how she became friends with them all. I am disappointed that we didn’t get to see what happened in the end with Emily, Collins & Dawn.

Sloane, we mainly only see through the memories, as she disappears, just like the synopsis says. I didn’t really know what to think of her as mainly all the memories were fun things and showed their friendship. But there was also a certain memory that I didn’t particularly like and I don’t think she made the best choice, but overall she was fine. Sam we barely saw but I didn’t like him, he was a bit obsessive and a jerk… I don’t know what to think of Gideon (I don’t know if that is spelled right but I can’t find his name in the book as he isn’t mentioned much and I’m trying to find it on an eBook..). Anyway, I don’t really know what the point was of him being in the story. It was kinda left unfinished with him and I just don’t know what to think. I don’t support what Emily did though when it comes to him…

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Overall, I enjoyed this book and only had a few small issues. This was a light and easy read. This would also be a good ‘summer read’… That honestly doesn’t mean much to me being Australian, but I get the idea.



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