DEAR EVAN HANSEN // Book Review!!

Hey all! I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted a review, but that’s because I’ve been on the Teen Board at teenreads.com  and I’ve been busy reviewing books there. Also I stopped posting around senior year exam time and since college started I haven’t found that much time either.

But anyway, without further ado, I present to you my review of the DEAR EVAN HANSEN book! In case you weren’t aware, the hit musical has been adapted into a novelized form, and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy as a teenreads reviewer!


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DEAR EVAN HANSEN by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Ben Pasek and Justin Paul

Publisher: Poppy

Publication Date: October 9th, 2018
Page Number: 368

Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0316420239

My Rating: 4 stars


Synopsis:

Based on the hit Broadway show, DEAR EVAN HANSEN tugs at the heartstrings of readers in a new way that even people who didn’t watch the show will find themselves loving. High school senior Evan Hansen is assigned by his therapist to write letters to himself about having a good day. When one of these letters ends up on the wrong person, Evan’s latest letter is taken out of context and throws Evan into a world of grief, lying and trying to do the right thing. After the loss of their son, Connor Murphy’s parents finds the letter their son stole from Evan and think that the letter includes Connor’s last words. After the Murphy’s confront him, Evan goes along with them and gives them the closure they so desperately need about their son. The one problem? Evan wasn’t Connors’ best friend like the Murphy’s believe he was, and the letter was always Evan’s, not Connors’.

What I liked: 

I flew through this highly anticipated novel in several days and loved how fast paced it was. The writing was so immersive and I could really understand the motivations behind each character. I really liked not knowing the plot beforehand. With every plot twist and new development, my sense of shock was very genuine. It was also fun piecing together what I already knew about the musical, (which was slim to none). I knew the phrase “The Connor Project” from a quote in the musical, and so when it came up in the book I instantly felt excited. As someone who has not seen the musical, I was still able to enjoy this book a lot, and I know if I ever do see the musical, I think I’ll appreciate it more. For those that loved the musical, I would still recommend this book as it’s still a great insight for readers. With books, there is so much more details behind characters and their thoughts and I know that the book form of DEAR EVAN HANSEN will just give musical lovers a greater appreciation for this piece of work.

What I didn’t like: 

I usually dislike the snowball effect of lying trope in movies and books where the main character either tells a lie or doesn’t dispute a lie and it snowballs into a huge lie that would be hard to untangle without people getting hurt. DEAR EVAN HANSEN relies heavily on lies and secrets and for me personally, I couldn’t stand how many lies Evan told and the repercussions he faces at the end of the book are slim to none. Evan’s rise to fame and popularity essentially are contrived from an unfortunate suicide and Evan lying to a grieving family. I just couldn’t see Evan as this great hero protagonist that the book was trying to make him out to be. It was very hard for me to wrap my head around the romance in the book in addition to Evan’s recovery from anxiety. Evan’s anxiety is portrayed as pretty extreme and it’s heavily hinted that Evan broke his arm in a suicide attempt. I just can’t believe he stops taking his medication and faces no side effects from that.

Verdict: 

Overall, I would recommend this book to people who already loved the musical. The book is able to go into so much more character and plot depth than the musical was probably able to because of the nature of books in general. If you’re eager to learn more about the world of DEAR EVAN HANSEN than I would highly suggest you read this book!


 

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu // Book Review!

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Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Publisher: Roaring Book Press

Publication Date: September 19th, 2017

Page Number: 330 pages

Format Read: E-book (Live-brary Borrowed)


Goodreads Synopsis:

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

My Thoughts:

Oh my god I loved this book!

I first saw Moxie mentioned in the Zoella book club video and thought that the synopsis sounded nice. I later saw Moxie again in my list of books to choose from for teenreads.com and I thought it was a sign for me to place a hold on live-brary.

I am so glad I decided to give this book a read because it was everything this high school feminist wanted to read. I had no idea what was going to happen and every time you thought that Mathieu was going down a typical YA high school plot she turned around and surprised you.

I related hardcore to Lucy and how indigent she was when sexist events would happen at school and everyone just accepted it as how it was in Texas. If anything like what happened at East Rockport High School happened at MY high school, you can bet 100% none of the girls in my school would let the boys or administrators get away with it. I’m blessed that my town is pretty progressive.

Side note: When my school first started back in September actually, an administrator apparently made a remark at a back to school assembly that girls have to dress more conservatory because if you get sexually harassed it’s hard to defend you to the boys parents.

…well the sophomore girls who this happened to blew up, started a petition for an apology and they had a whole new assembly where apologizes were made. I genuinely do not think that the administrator at my school meant for her words to come out that way, and I do think that she loves all of us students, but she just has to be careful what she says because girls are no longer staying silent and we’re speaking up now.

So anyway, given what happened at my school, the events that happened in this book that were FAR worse definitely made my blood boil. Honestly, how some of the girls managed to NOT punch anyone in the face is beyond me.

FEMINISM! I loved it so much! The dialogue between Vivian and Claudia about Claudia wanting to be an equalist and then later seeing why feminism is so important was amazing!

SETH! Like what?! How in the world did such an amazing boy end up at that school full of jerks minus the boys he sits with at lunch! And the fact that Vivian and Seth had actual fights about meaningful things and it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine!

GIRLS SUPPORTING GIRLS! Emma! I knew it! The bonds these girls formed over Moxie was amazing and I loved seeing how Vivian and Lucy wanted to help the girls soccer team get new uniforms because they win more than football. (In my school actually, the soccer players, boys and girls are the popular ones who win games while football players generally do not win that much, soz football players but I’m right).

FEMINISTS AND DIFFERENT RACES! Mathieu was so clever that woman. We finally see non white feminists and white feminists who acknowledge that this fight is an EVERY girl fight. I understand that this is a conservative town but it would have been nice to see more LGBTQ rep, but it was fine honestly.

We NEED more books written like this! GIRL POWER!

My next feminist read is going to be WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Actually, Adichie has been everywhere for me, I listened to her danger of a single story TED talk and we talked about it last year in my TOK class, this year in my English class, and now I’m going to be using it in my IB extended essay. I was also recommended to read PURPLE HIBISCUS, so I’m going to request that one at the library as well!

Verdict:

I LOVED IT! I flew through this book and loved all of the emotions I experienced, from outraged to annoyed to making heart eyes at Seth and Vivian, I loved it!

My Rating:

5 stars


Have YOU read this book? Let’s chat!

-Calliope

A Wrinkle in Time Book Review!

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L ‘Engle

Publication Date: March 15th, 1973

Publisher: Yearling Books

Page Number: 211 pages

Format Read: Paperback (Library borrowed)


Goodreads Synopsis:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. 

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

My Thoughts: 

I found this book in my house after my brother borrowed it from the library but never read it and was going to return it until I pounced and claimed it for myself. I had it sitting on my desk for a month before I finally got around to reading it! I honestly renewed it from the library 3 times. That’s okay though because I’ve finally read it!

I didn’t know anything about this book before going into it and the sci-fi elements really surprised me. I shouldn’t have been surprised though because hello the title is a dead giveaway but whatever it’s middle grade so it could have been about anything really.

Charles Wallace is my favorite! What a sweet intelligent boy! I was so upset when was being manipulated by IT.  Also Calvin! Do I sense a Meg and Calvin relationship in the future??

I’ve heard there’s a movie being made of this book, or maybe there already is one? I don’t know, it’s late at night and I don’t feel like doing extra research. Wait now I’m curious, one sec. AHA! There is a movie and it’s coming out in 2018 and I’m totally going to see it!

ALSO! Speaking of movies THE HATE YOU GIVE is being turned into a movie!! Omg see what I just did there, I capitalized the title. You know why? Because I’m a reviewer over at teenreads.com and I’m slowly being sucked into their formatting style. I will probably be adopting it completely over the next few months. Teen reads doesn’t stop me from being a fangirl and totally informal on my personal blog right here though!

Okay moving on, Aunt Beast was also so cute and so motherly I was so touched because I thought they were honestly going to eat Meg, Calvin and father. Also I thought I would like father a bit more but I didn’t which made me sad.

Verdict: 

Sci-fi space stuff and evil stuff and three witch things that can time travel! Can you tell senior year is getting to me? The college pressure is real ya’ll.

My rating: 

4 out of 5 stars


Thankfully school hasn’t put a damper on my reading just yet, I’m still reading a lot, but not blogging -_-

Anyhoo, have you read this book?! What did you think?! Let’s chat! Also no I am not over hyped on coffee right now, it’s the Greenday blasting in my ears that’s hyping me up, I swear. And Panic too.

-Calliope

P.S. It was my BIRTHDAY yesterday!! I am officially 17 years of age! Wooh!! Any fellow Virgos out there??!!

 

Lucky in Love by Kasie West // Book Review

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Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: July 25th, 2017

Page Number: 333 pages

Format Read: E-book (Live-brary download)


Goodreads Synopsis:

Can’t buy me love…

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

My Thoughts:

The little things in this book that irked me eventually added up and I couldn’t stand the cliches, inaccurate portrayal of teenage life and a main character that I thought was a complete idiot, though her GPA of 4.2 would contradict me.

I read this book in one day, from 8 in the morning to 8 in the afternoon with obvious breaks and doing my daily summer stuff. I actually kept track of the things I didn’t like through texts with my best friend. When things bothered me, I texted my friend to vent so that’s how I know what to talk about actually.

Things I liked: 

Seth! Asian love interest and Asian stereotypes addressed! Also Seth was the best character in general, he was so sweet, even when Maddie was so mean to him.

The cover! The cover is so cute, like most of Kasie West’s books actually.

Fast pace and enjoyability! Some parts of the books were really interesting and kept me reading and I can’t deny that I did like the main plot, (not subplots though).

Things I didn’t like:

So Maddie is supposedly number two in her class with a 4.2 GPA and all of these extracurricular and volunteer hours and yet not once throughout the book does she go to any club at school or stay after. Maddie has to be usual YA teen that finishes school and never has any trouble with school or studying.

She’s also in HONORS ENGLISH, with a 4.2 GPA. I’m not saying anything bad about people in Honors English, really, but to be number 2 in your grade you need to be in AP or IB classes. (Unless California doesn’t do AP)?

Also I get it, Maddie’s parents are chill parents but when Maddie told them she was throwing a party, they said it was about time she did normal teenage things. At other times her mom told her she needed to keep studying for college. It’s very contradictory, either her parents want her to study and be a goody goody or do “normal” teenage things like partying.

I also saw Maddie’s C on that pop quiz coming from miles away. Obviously once the really smart girl gets rich she stops caring about school and studying. And when Maddie was talking on the phone to Seth about how smart she was and her studying all the time, it didn’t feel like it was genuine because Maddie did not study in the book for as much time or enough times to feel like she actually even went to school.

And then when people started taking advantage of Maddie she didn’t even notice. She hired a band before hearing them play and took their word that they made a thousand dollars per gig. Obviously…they sucked.

Maddie’s parents said it was her money and to get a financial advisor, but Maddie of course doesn’t do this until the END of the book AFTER all of the bad things happen that come with winning that much money from the lottery.

Verdict: 

I don’t know why but this book clearly triggered me for some reason. Can anyone play therapist and analyze why I was so triggered haha

My Rating:

2.5 stars


And that is all! Have you read this book? Did you like it? Let’s chat!

-Calliope