ON THE EDGE OF GONE BY CORINNE DUYVIS [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW]

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SYNOPSIS

January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one.

Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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REVIEW

On the Edge of Gone was an intriguing post-apocalyptic tale. In an over-saturated world of science-fiction, particularly dystopian stories, On the Edge of Gone was a somewhat refreshing take on the end of the world.

Firstly, I have to applaud Duyvis for writing such a beautifully diverse story. Our main character, Denise, is autistic and of mixed race (Dutch and Surinamese). Denise’s sister, Iris, is bisexual and transgender. And along the side, we have characters who are gay, Muslim, Jewish, and more.

I think it’s incredibly uplifting to see more stories featuring diversity like On the Edge of Gone. I cannot say enough how important it is for others to be able to see themselves properly represented in all forms of entertainment—books, television, film, etc. It helps those who feel unheard finally have a voice and a presence. It shows them that they aren’t alone.

I look at the sky and the dust that separates us from the stars that will be my home. I breathe in the night air, the rotten night air, and I miss,
I miss,
I miss.

As much as I loved the plot and the diversity of On the Edge of Gone, I simply could not get into this novel. It felt as though most of the events of this book were unnecessary and didn’t further the plot or characters. This novel could have easily been reduced to 350 pages and have had enough room to hold the important plot points and characters arcs.

By the end of the novel, I was happy with what I read, and yet I felt as though nothing really happened within those 460 pages. Many of the events felt repetitive or again, unnecessary. I suppose those smaller scenes aided in building up the world and the characters, however it really made the novel much longer than it needed to be.

Overall, this was a fascinating dystopian story. I really liked the characters and the idea of the plot, though I wish it was executed with a bit more precision. But of course, this is easier said than done. I, of all people, understand how it can be difficult to trim down a novel, only keeping the scenes that further the plot and/or the characters in some way. It is no easy feat.

If you’re in need of a diverse, dystopian tale, I do recommend picking up On the Edge of Gone and giving it a read for yourself. I may have found it slow, but as we all know, books are purely subjective. So therefore, this is a novel I would very much recommend.

RATING: ★★

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LET’S CHAT

How has everyone’s April been so far? I’ve had a very exciting, lively month, but now when it comes to reading. I’m hoping to devour many books in the coming weeks being that I’m now FIVE books behind schedule. *sigh*

Have you read On the Edge of Gone? If so, what are your thoughts? What are some of your favorite dystopian and/or diverse books? I would love to hear if you have any recommendations. And as always, feel free to add any other thoughts or comments down below.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde [Spoiler-Free Review]

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Synopsis:

Three friends. Two love stories. One convention.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek, an empowering young adult novel by Jen Wilde, is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

*Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Queens of Geek will be released March 14, 2017*

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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Review:

Alright, everyone. I’m warning you now, this review is going to be long and include a lot of fangirling because

  • one of the main characters is named Taylor and she was basically like me
  • anything and everything nerdy is mentioned in this novel
  • Taylor’s love interest is my actual dream guy and I could NOT handle his cuteness
  • though this novel was cutesy, it also discussed important topics such as intersectional feminism, sexuality (including the topics bi-phobia), and sexism

I’ve had my eye on Queens of Geek for a while now. When Swoon Reads approved me to read an ARC of it, I was beyond thrilled. The best part was, they approved me the day before Valentine’s Day. (Which is technically Galentine’s Day and is way better than Valentine’s Day in my opinion. Just saying.)

So after getting all my work done on the morning of Valentine’s Day, I curled up in bed with Queens of Geek. At the mention of Jessica Jones on page one, I was already in love.

“History and experience have proven to me it’s very hard for people to understand, and all too easy for them to judge.” He shakes his head like he’s disappointed. “But how will you know how people react if you don’t open up to them in the first place?”

The way this book spoke to me on a personal level was incredibly eerie. Throughout reading the novel, I kept messaging my mom and my sister these quotes and traits, and they too could not get over the way it related to me so well.

It’s when I read novels like this—stories that tell me I’m not alone in my struggles—that make me want to fight harder for diversity. I’m lucky to be able to see myself in practically every story in the world, but for those who feel they are never represented, I couldn’t imagine the pain of it. It’s crucial for everyone to know that they exist. That they have a voice in a world.

“You can’t pick and choose whose equality you support. That’s not equality.”

That’s another beautiful thing about Queens of Geek. Wilde creates a realistic, diverse cast of characters. Taylor suffers from social anxiety and Asperger’s syndrome. (She also is a self-proclaimed introvert, wants to be a writer and knows all things nerdy, so you can see how we relate.) Charlie is Chinese-Australian and bisexual. Jamie is Spanish and nerdy and loves Marvel and Supernatural and photography. (We’re meant to be.) Charlie’s love interest is Alyssa, an African-American girl who is a Youtuber and actress, like Charlie. And throughout the novel, we meet men and women of every color and sexuality and it is so beautiful.

He’s got the whole Peter Parker thing down to a tee, right down to the camera hanging around his neck.

Alright. So I’m pretty convinced Wilde has somehow been eavesdropping on my conversations and decided to use my dream guy for her novel because PETER PARKER AND CAMERAS??? Sorry, Etienne St. Clair. You have been replaced. (But don’t worry, I still love you forever and always.)

Jamie is the sweetest friend and I just … I CANNOT HANDLE HIS CUTENESS. He was always considerate of Taylor’s feelings and anxieties. He was always supporting her for exactly who she was, never once trying to mold her into someone else. He only brought out the best in her, and she brought out the best in him.

I love everything about crushes. The butterflies, the possibilities, the giddy wonder of it all. But this is the first time I’ve liked a girl who might actually like me back.

Now, we have to talk about how cute Charlie and Alyssa are together. BECAUSE THEY ARE ADORABLE. Much like Taylor and Jamie, these two girls brought out the best in each other. They taught one another how to be brave, how to stand up for what you love and believe in. They are both, strong and confident women. Together, they made such an incredible duo that was swoon-worthy.

I show him Valentina, pointing to the part where it says she’s autistic, and his eyebrows shoot up. “That is so cool.”

“This is Josie, remember from Skyler’s signing? She created it.”

Jamie introduces himself, picks up a copy from the table, and buys it then and there.

BLESS THIS BOY. BLESS THESE CHARACTERS. BLESS JEN WILDE FOR CREATING THIS BOOK.

Another quality I adore about Queens of Geek is how it supports self-love, body confidence, women supporting women, and accepting our flaws. Wilde embraced all of the dark corners of our world, the storm clouds in our chests, and told us it’s okay. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be messy.

“We’re all messy. What kind of friends would we be if we demanded you only show us your prettiness? This isn’t Instagram, it’s real life. And real life is messy.”

This was an adorable novel, and yet so raw and real. I admire Wilde’s ability to write such an easy read, but still be able to discuss important topics such as sexism and homophobia. She didn’t ignore these issues that are still very relevant to our world, and I think that’s very admirable.

I’m surrounded by superheroes. And that means I must be one, too. And everyone knows that no matter what darkness they face, heroes are destined to win.

Queens of Geek showed me how to be my own hero and help me conquer a long-time fear. Jen Wilde, thank you so, so much for writing this novel. It has made me a better person. It has made me believe in love again. And I know Queens of Geek will help many others in a variety of ways.

Rating: ★★★

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Let’s Chat

Queens of Geek is easily one of my favorite books of the year, and probably of all time. I highly, highly, recommend pre-ordering this beauty and reading it as soon as it arrives at your door. I already pre-ordered my copy and look forward to taking pictures of it and gushing about it for the rest of my life.

But tell me, what are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year? What novel gives you all of those lovey-dovey feelings? As always, leave any recommendations, thoughts, comments or questions down below for me.

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Paperweight by Meg Haston [Spoiler-Free Review]

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Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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Review:

Despite the name of this novel, Paperweight is not a light-hearted read. This book deals with a multitude of heavy subjects, including eating disorders, anxiety and death. It was quite difficult to read at times, but I’m glad I pushed through.

Death is not an exact science, which is irritating for those of us who appreciate precision.

I’ll admit throughout the first half of the novel that Stevie is hard to love. She is cold and mean. But as most situations, bitterness typically stems from a source of guilt. Being that Stevie wanted to take her own life, I knew there was more behind her story and why she was behaving in such a way.

As always, I was right, because when am I wrong? (JK. I am almost always wrong.)

Stevie, among the other side characters, were very rich and layered. They each had their own pasts and their pain. Their own personalities that reflected their weaknesses and issues. Again, it was challenging at times to be reading about these characters living through such a difficult time. I did begin to feel the pain and anxiousness as if it was my own.

Promise was like a precious stone, she told me: hypnotizing, but after a while the weight of it could sink you.

I don’t suffer from any eating disorders, but as far as my knowledge goes, I think Haston approached the subject beautifully and accurately. (And I’m now realizing in the acknowledgments that Haston actually suffered from an eating disorder herself and says she’s tried her best to represent it). This, of course, is always very refreshing to have a disorder or mental illness represented fairly, because for those who suffer, they will realize they aren’t alone in their struggles. And that is SO important.

We’re meant to be part of a we. Something bigger, something outside of ourselves.

Paperweight is certainly not the easiest read. It is heavy and painful, but I think it’s so incredibly important to read and learn about. By familiarizing ourselves with topics we do not know of, we understand others in ways we would not have been able to before. And in a society where we are able to understand one another, we find peace.

(Did I just make this review political? Maybe. Because I just McCain’t help it.)

Rating: ★★★

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Let’s Chat

Have anyone here read Paperweight? If so, what are your thoughts? What books have you read that discuss mental illnesses? Any recommendations? As always, leave your recs, thoughts, comments or questions down below!

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