Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin – spoiler free review

Hi!

I recently read the book ‘Ronit & Jamil’ by Pamela L. Laskin and I really wanted to talk about it. I think this is mostly because I do have a lot of mixed opinions on this book.

This is a spoiler-free review, so if you haven’t read the book you don’t have to worry about getting spoiled while reading this post.

note: I did not enjoy the original Shakespeare play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ so that may have affected the way that I viewed this novel.


30317423Ronit & Jamil

author: Pamela L. Laskin

number of pages: 192

published: February 21st, 2017

genre: poetry, romance, retelling

my rating: 2.5/5 stars

synopsis:

“Pamela L. Laskin’s beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.

The teenage lovers fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can only be kept secret for so long. Ronit and Jamil must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.”


The fact that this book is written in verse shocked me at first but I got used to it quickly. I thought this was a nice way to connect the novel to the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Shakespeare’s original work (which this novel is based on).
There were times when I enjoyed the writing and times when I didn’t. Towards the end, it sounded wrong (I listened to the audiobook). There were times when Pamela L. Laskin used really nice metaphors and imagery, and there were also times when it sounded dull and horrible. For example:

” They may have named me
“Jordan”
a pet name
since I am a river
my feelings are liquid
even before Ronit
I was the boy without armor,
because I love to read and write,
but I also listen to Coldplay,
so why say
I melt? “

I feel like this should’ve been written “normally” because having this written in verse didn’t help me, the reader, visualise the characters, settings etc.

The constant (unlabeled) changes in point of view was frustrating. Due to the different narrators, I was able to tell the difference between the two. However, it felt all over the place and somewhat unorganised. If the author had focused on each character for a little bit longer, allowing the reader to fully understand and allowing for further character development, I probably would’ve enjoyed this book more.


The relationship between Ronit and Jamil, to me, felt rushed and that it was based on sexual attraction alone. There was no development of an emotional, romantic connection between the two of them. The novel was filled with lines such as:

“so I know
she thinks of me
as a man
who would lift her skirt
and love her,
not the foolish boy
my Abi
thinks I am.” 

The lack of a development of an emotional, romantic connection between Romeo and Juliet is something that I felt was left out of the original play and could’ve been added to this retelling in order to make it better. This could’ve been done by making the story longer in order to further develop these characters and their relationships with their families and each other. By doing this, the novel could’ve been so much better.


I did not appreciate the use of ableism in this novel (through the use of the word “l*me” – I cannot remember what was being described in that moment, but it was definitely not describing ‘[of a person or animal] unable to walk without difficulty as the result of an injury or illness affecting the leg or foot.’) This was only done once which is better than having ableism throughout the novel, however, it was one too many.

There were a few phrases that, to me, felt a bit American and felt out of place in this novel. I felt that these odd lines didn’t help with the development of the setting, especially because this book is written in verse.


This novel somewhat addresses the Israel/Palestine conflict. I was expecting it to really go into the Israel/Palestine conflict, and help not just myself, but other teens and readers to better understand this. However, I was disappointed, I felt that I just read a load of “fluff” (for lack of a better word). There was very little political context, I personally do not know a lot about the Israel/Palestine conflict, which made it a little bit harder to understand the betrayal caused by their relationship. I do understand that this is a story, not something that is used to educate people, but I just expected a bit more information than what was given.
The author attempts to give the reader some context in the brief “Reader’s Note” at the beginning which says:

“There are several references to a “fence” throughout the book. This is actually a separation barrier–being built by Israel–that runs near the “Green Line” between Israel and the West Bank. The premise behind it is that it would prevent terrorists from entering Israel proper; however, there is much controversy surrounding this structure.”

I jumped onto Google because I wanted to know more about this ‘fence’ because I felt that the information that was provided was inadequate.

The ‘fence’, which is described in the quote above, in my head looked like this: Related imageAfter some simple Googling, I found out that it actually looks like this:Image result for the fence between israel and palestine
Basically, this ‘fence’ is really a ‘separation barrier’. I do not understand why the author has called it a fence throughout the novel as she states that it’s a ‘separation barrier’ in the Authors Note, logically they should’ve called it a separation barrier throughout the novel so that they do not confuse the reader.

Also, it is a twenty-five foot high concrete wall (7.62 metres) that is 430 miles long (692.018 kilometres) This is something Pamela L. Laskin failed to mention, something which she could’ve easily done in the Authors Note. If she had done this it would’ve made the image of the ‘fence’ a lot bigger, causing the reader to understand what a big deal it is.

In order to fully explain the size of the wall, I found a graphical representation comparing the Berlin Wall to Israel’s Apartheid Wall.

On this same website, I found this:

“The semantic problems posed by the use of the word “fence”, in either language, are enormous:

fence (n.)

1. A structure serving as an enclosure, a barrier, or a boundary, usually made of posts or stakes joined together by boards, wire, or rails.

wall (n.)

1. An upright structure of masonry, wood, plaster, or other building material serving to enclose, divide, or protect an area, especially a vertical construction forming an inner partition or exterior siding of a building.

2. A continuous structure of masonry or other material forming a rampart and built for defensive purposes. Often used in the plural.

4. (a) Something resembling a wall in appearance, function, or construction.

To characterise the structure as a “fence” without referencing its other features is highly misleading.”

I also found out, through the same website, that the wall does not run along the ‘Green Line’  as I believed it did, due to the authors’ description of the ‘fence’.

There was some explanation of the Israel/Palestine Conflict, however, I felt that it was briefly explained and was rushed. As I did with Israel’s Apartheid Wall, I went onto Google to find out more about the Israel/Palestine Conflict. To oversimplify this, this conflict is because of land. Becuase the British Government (from roughly around about 1913 to 1915) made too many promises and then attempted to ‘fix’ this but unfortunately made this so much worse.

As this is a book review, not a history lesson, I’m not going to go into all the finer details about the Israel/Palestine Conflict. However, for those of you who want to know more about it, I watched the “Conflict in Israel and Palestine: Crash Course World History 223” YouTube video, and John Green did a very good job of explaining it in a way that made sense. I think it’s also important to know a bit about the Jewish Diaspora, I watched another Crash Course video, “Christianity from Judaism to Constantine: Crash Course World History #11” and another YouTube video called “The Jewish Diaspora”.

All of the information that I found on the Israel/Palestine Conflict was found from the 2003 article “Is it a Fence? Is it a Wall? No, it’s a Separation Barrier” on The Electronic Intifada, the video “The Wall Between Israel and Palestine” on Youtube as well as the Youtube videos “The Israel-Palestine conflict: a brief, simple history” created by Vox and “The Illegal Israeli Wall – What You Need to Know in 90 seconds” which is also a YouTube video.

Please leave a comment if any of the information I have shared on this is incorrect or if any of these sources, which I have listed, are unreliable. I have tried my best to make sure that these sources are reliable and are sharing correct information.


Overall, I thought this novel was well written, it just required more development of the main and side characters as well as more political context.

Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought about it in the comments

 

Yasmin xx

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As I Descended by Robin Talley – spoiler free review

Hey!

I recently read As I Descended by Robin Talley, and absolutely loved it. I thought I’d share my thoughts on this book with you.

This is a spoiler-free review, so if you haven’t read the book it’s okay. I have read Macbeth, so please keep that in mind when reading this review, as my knowledge of the original story has impacted the way I read and view this novel.

please note. there is a very unhealthy and abusive relationship in this book


28218948

As I Descended

author: Robin Talley

number of pages: 370

published: September 6th, 2016

genre: fantasy, retelling

my rating: 4/5 stars

synopsis:

“From the acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves, Robin Talley, comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria’s attendance at Stanford—and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room.

Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion”


I would recommend reading Macbeth or watching a film adaptation of the play before you read the novel. Just because, I think, it makes the reading experience a lot more enjoyable.

I went into this book knowing that it was a Macbeth retelling, with an f/f relationship. Little did I know, this book was literally flooded with diversity. There is; LGBT representation, a character that is living with a disability/chronic pain and Hispanic characters. I love retellings, and I love retellings with characters I can relate to.

there were problems that other people had with the book, things that I did pick up on while listening to the audio book. Leah (from the blog Small Queer Big Opinions) has a goodreads review about some of the problems, not only they had but also I had, with this novel.


The book is split into five acts, and each chapter was named after an important quote. I also liked how each chapter title was an important quote from the original play. There were so many little things which were from the original play which was added in.

I appreciated how there were aspects of the original play scattered throughout the novel. Things such as; the dagger, toil and trouble (which was a video game), Lily/Lady Macbeth trying to wash the blood of her hands, as well as the football field being named Dunsinane. There were other things, such as the scholarship being called the Cawdor Kingsley Prize. I didn’t pick up on this until I finished the book, mostly because for the majority of the novel it was just called the Kingsley Prize.

Other than physical things in the novel. The characters names somewhat echo the original Shakespeare characters names. Macbeth is Maria, Lady Macbeth is Lily, Macduff is Mateo, Banquo is Brandon, and Duncan is Deliah. I loved the fact that there is that small connection between the names of the original characters. Something I really appreciated was that all of the characters, even though you could see aspects of the original Shakespeare characters in them, they were still their own character.

Robin Talley was able to change iconic scenes from the play without changing the essence of the scenes. Throughout the entire novel, even though it was a modern retelling, you could still sense that it was Macbeth, or at least inspired by Macbeth.


something I really would’ve liked to see was the students actually going to classes and doing homework or actually interacting with teacher/adults. We didn’t see a lot of this, and at times it was easy to forget that they were actually high school students at a boarding school. There was quite a lot of conversation about college scholarships, campus security, and homecoming. But the lack of classes, teachers, and assignments made it feel more like they were just a group of people who lived in the same block of apartments.

Something that didn’t make a lot of sense to me was, why Maria needed the scholarship. It is made very clear that Maria is a very intelligent and appears to be a well-rounded student. It seems ridiculous to think that she wouldn’t have gotten accepted into Stanford University.


I have recently been tweeting my thoughts on the books I’m currently reading. I thought I’d include a link to that thread in here, just in case anyone wanted to read them or find out more of my in the moment thoughts


overall I really enjoyed this book. it was a fun entertaining read. If you loved Macbeth then you’ll love this book, I guarantee it!

let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it in the comments.

Yasmin xx

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – Spoiler Free Review

Hi,

I got sent The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr via Netgalley for an honest review.

This book was such a beautiful and emotional book. It has changed the way I feel about my own memories and how lucky I am to be able to form successful memories. Reading a novel from the perspective of someone who has anterograde amnesia was eye opening and so upsetting at times. Through this book, I have begun to appreciate the idea of living in the moment and focusing more on the present rather than the past or future.

please note. trigger warning for self harm.


30849412The One Memory of Flora Banks

author: Emily Barr

number of pages: 303

published: January 12th, 2016

genre: contemporary/mystery

my rating: 5/5 stars

synopsis:

“Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.


The first chapter in the book was so attention grabbing and literally sucks you in,

“I am at the top of a hill, and although I know I have done something terrible I have no idea what it is.”

after reading this line I knew I was hooked. The first few lines in a book, for me, loose either make me want to continue reading or make lose interest in a book, and from this line, I knew I was going to love this book.

When I read the synopsis of this book and after I started reading the novel it bugged me that her kiss with Drake was the only memory she has been able to successfully create, however, once I’d finished the book I understood why this was so important. I was really glad to see that this didn’t follow the ‘boy meet girl and suddenly everything is okay’ trope.

As the story is told through Flora’s perspective we don’t get to see a lot from the other characters as what they say and do is often forgotten, even though Flora doesn’t remember, their actions still have a huge impact on the story.  During the novel we get to see Flora’s character develop and become herself, which was really nice to read.

throughout the book we see Flora make write down everything she wants to remember, I thought this was a really nice thing to see throughout the novel and it really made me appreciate the fact that I am able to remember most things throughout the day, week etcetera.

“If I had a pen in my hand I would write that on my arm to emphasize it: ‘I am older than I think I am’. I should not wear party dresses any more. I should wear jeans”

Emily Barr wrote this book beautifully. She really thought out each and every word, so that in the end everything pieces together so nicely and so that it felt complete. Little things, that appear to be unimportant, that are mentioned in the novel then turn out to be important, and I think this added to the mystery of the novel.

I seriously recommend that you check out this book as soon as you can because it will literally change your life.

let me know if you have or haven’t read this book and what you thought/think of it in the comments

Yasmin xx

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – spoiler free review

Hi!

this book was one of the first books I read this year and I really enjoyed it. it did come out a few years ago (five years to be exact) and I thought it’d be a good idea to let you all know how I felt about it to encourage you all to read this book, just in case you haven’t yet.


12000020Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

number of pages: 359

published: February 21st, 2012

genre: contemporary

my rating: 5/5 stars

synopsis:

“Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”

the book follows our main characters, Aristotle and Dante, for two years, we get to see them mature as the book progresses. One of the things I really liked about this is that Benjamin Alire Sáenz writing matured as the boys got older, I think this was a nice little touch that the author added which made the book so much better.

in a lot of books, we either see very little parents or not at all. However, this book we get to see both Aristotle, who prefers to be called Ari, and Dante’s parents throughout the novel, both of their parents play important roles in the boy’s lives and help them understand themselves better as they get older.

something I really liked about this book is that the who main characters, even though they’re both Mexican-American, they both feel differently about their culture. Aristotle is very proud of his ethnicity while Dante as comfortable with it. I think this is something really interesting that the author added in.

this book had so many beautiful lines, some of my favourite lines in this book are

“I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get–and never would get.”

I thought this line was such a beautiful line and something that I could honestly relate to. I thought this was a really nice way to explain people and trying to understand people.

“Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you’re thinking but because you’re feeling. Because you’re feeling too much. And you can’t always control the things you do when you’re feeling too much.”

this novel is filled with so many beautiful and emotional quotes, which is one of the main reasons why I love this novel.

overall this book is such a heartwarming, lovely read, and it included quite a few relatable things.

let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it in the comments!

Yasmin xx

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Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven – spoiler free review

Hi!

I received a copy of Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven for an honest review via Netgalley, I will be discussing my thoughts and feelings on this novel. However, I will not be including any spoilers so that anyone can find out a bit more about this book and perhaps be motivated to read it as well!


28686840

Holding Up the Universe

author: Jennifer Niven

number of pages: 391

published: October 4th 2016

genre: contemporary

my rating: 5/5 stars

synopsis:

“Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.”


I really enjoyed reading this book, it contained so many things I love to see in a novel; character development, romance (but not too much) and humor.

I loved that this book touched upon so many important issues, such as; body image, mental health, and bullying. Honestly this book had a lot of representation in it and it’s just amazing.

There are so many things I loved about this novel, I loved some of the little things that characters said or did. Something that really stood out to me is the fact that Dusty, Jacks younger brother, carries around a purse because they want to. Dustys’ response to Jack trying to get him not to take the purse with to school is one of the most beautiful things in the entire world.

” “You won’t be. I just wanted to . . . Are you sure about the purse, little man?”“I like it. I can fit everything in here.”“I like it too. It’s a really damn cool purse. But I’m not sure everyone’s going to dig it as much as we do. There might be some kids here who are going to be so jealous of that purse that they’ll make fun of you.” I see about ten of them walking past us right now. “They won’t be jealous. They’ll think it’s weird.”“I just don’t want anyone to be rough on you.”“If I want to carry a purse, I’m going to carry it. I’m not going to not carry it just because they don’t like it.” “

One of the other little things I really liked is the fact that Jennifer Niven brought up the way teenagers look in television shows versus what they actually look like.

“no one looks as shiny and polished as they do in the TV and movie versions of high school. Real teens aren’t twenty-five years old. We have bad skin and bad hair and good skin and good hair and we’re all different shapes and sizes. I like us better than our TV selves”

It’s little things like this that make me love a book so much more.

I really enjoyed the way that the novel talked about body positivity, I loved all the little things that made me feel so many different emotions. There were parts where I would start crying because other kids can be so mean, and parts where I would feel so happy just because we got to see Libby not caring about what anyone thought of her because of the way she looked.

I really enjoyed learning about prosopagnosia, I’d never heard of it before reading this novel and I actually ended up doing some of my own research into the disorder after I finished the novel just to find out more about it (the novel already covered it in quite a bit of detail but I just like to know almost everything I can on something that interests me). Things like this remind me that there are so many different things that affect people who just aren’t seen in the media.

Lastly I’d like to discuss this book when compared to All The Bright Places. Both of these books are stand alone, and I shouldn’t make comparisons between Holding Up The Universe and All The Bright Places but I want to just touch upon this briefly. I didn’t really enjoy ATBP, I wasn’t certain if I did or didn’t enjoy it. Now after reading Holding Up The Universe I realise why I enjoyed this book so much more, I feel that this is because Holding Up The Universe focused more on the individual characters and their development over the course of the novel rather than the romance/romantic relationship between the characters. If you didn’t enjoy All The Bright Places and are unsure if you want to read Holding Up The Universe I can assure you that the focus of this novel is different to that in All The Bright Places.

I honestly really enjoyed reading this book and seriously recommend that you all plan to read this book in the near future.

Let me know what you thought of this book in the comments

Yasmin xx

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This Above All by Lindsey Roth Culli – spoiler free review

Hi,

I received This Above All by Lindsey Roth Culli for review via NetGalley, I’ll be discussing my thoughts and feelings on this novel, but I won’t be including any spoilers so that if you haven’t read this book yet you won’t be spoiled.


27865252This Above All

author: Lindsey Roth Culli

number of pages: 226

published: August 29th, 2016

genre: GLBT/commentary

my rating: 4/5 stars

synopsis:

All her life, sixteen-year-old Piper has been content to go along with her ultraconservative family’s mission to warn the heathens of the impending judgment of God through anti-gay protests. So when she’s cast as Romeo in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, Piper is as shocked as everyone else. The production proves to be vastly different than her other on-stage experiences– previously limited to playing “AIDS Girl” in her church’s annual “Hell House”– and Piper soon discovers not only does she love acting, she’s also pretty talented.

The school principal, influenced by people like Piper’s dad, demands that the part of Romeo be recast “appropriately” or the show cannot go on. Now, Piper faces a choice: become the figurehead to appeal the principal’s decision– in direction opposition to her family and everything she’s ever believed–, or accept the message the administration’s ultimatum sends to gay students, including someone she has come to call a close friend. Namely, that they should be ashamed of who they are or whom they happen to love.

For the old Piper, it would have been a no-brainer. But being Romeo has affected her in ways she never imagined, and so has her new friendship. Now Piper finds herself face to face with the real cost of all her family’s efforts, and it challenges everything she thought she knew about life. And God.


Overall I enjoyed this novel, there were parts of it that I really enjoyed. However, there were parts that just didn’t sit right with me.

I enjoyed some of the humour in this novel, the little jokes between the characters. There was quite a few parts tin the novel were either Piper or another character would say something about Shakespeare that was something that I have thought about and have discussed with friends of mine before, however, I’d never seen anything about Shakespeare’s flaws online or in a novel before. Which I think was a really nice thing to see considering the fact that so many people praise Shakespeare for his works. An example of this is;

“Romeo’s affections snap from Rosaline to Juliet in a matter of hours, mostly. He can’t have Rosaline because she wants to remain chaste. Romeo loves Juliet, sure, but it’s the fiery, lusty, passionate love of youth. They never talk about kids, or getting old or what happens if one of them ends up with cancer and dies leaving the other with twelve kids to raise. Alone. None of the serious stuff that comes with a real and lasting relationship. They’re too focused on getting into each other’s pants.”

Even though I enjoyed this novel there were a few things that didn’t sit right with me and/or I just found slightly annoying.

I don’t enjoy clichés, I find that they just take away from the story and make it feel slightly boring. A lot of the characters in this novel were predictable and used the overused ideas used in high school settings such as; false rumours, bullying and miscommunication ruining relationships. There was also the ‘popular mean girl’ who plays one of the lead roles in the play, Juliet, and of course, she didn’t get along with the main character.

When you go onto Goodreads one of the main themes/genres that are listed is GLBT+ but the main relationship in the novel was a heterosexual romance and the only gay character, Tony, wasn’t seen in a relationship and his character wasn’t front and centre either.

Considering the fact that the plot is based on the fact that the main character, Piper, is playing Romeo, and Juliet is also played by a female. There are no f/f romantic and/or sexual relationships in the entire novel. Which makes me question why the book is labelled a GLBT+ novel.

One of the things that bothered me the most about this novel is the fact that when Tony comes out, for the first time (I believe), it’s to Piper. I found it unrealistic that he would come out to her first, especially because it’s common knowledge that she comes from a very conservative family.  I know that, especially for me, when it comes to coming out most people tell people they’re closest to first and/or that they know are going to be accepting. I think that the majority of people don’t come out to people who they know won’t be that accepting at first because it’s likely they’ll get a negative response and, honestly, not feel accepted and loved which is all anyone wants to feel. This may not be the same for everyone, and if you yourself or someone you know did come out in a similar way then I’d like to apologise for what I’ve just said, these are just my own opinions based on my own personal experiences with coming out.

Even with these issues I still did enjoy this book.

Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it in the comments.

Yasmin xx

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13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough – spoiler free review

Hi,

I was sent, through Netgalley, 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough in return for a spoiler free review. I like reading mystery novels because I find that they force me to think a lot more than a contemporary novel would.

2780257513 Minutes

Author: Sarah Pinborough

Genre: Thriller, Mystery & Crime

Number of Pages: 320

Release Date: July 14th, 2016

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

This book is about Natasha (Tasha), a teenage girl, who was dead for thirteen minutes, hence the title, and when she is asked how it happened she doesn’t remember anything. The synopsis of this novel was so intriguing which made me want to read it straight away.

This novel is written in the third person but mostly follows Becca. We do see Tasha’s journal entries, notes from the police investigation, text message conversations and newspaper reports. This was one of my favourite things about this novel, these added more mystery for the reader and kept me thinking. However, the change in point of view did take a while to get used to.

I loved Sarah Pinborough’s writing style, it was beautiful and flowed really nicely. I think that the way that she described things was really well done. Also, the order in which she told the reader things made the book so much more interesting. I can’t imagine the amount of planning that went into this novel.

The reason I gave this novel three and a half stars, instead of 4 or five stars was because it was a bit slow, and also because of stereotypes. We have the mean popular girl (Natasha) who is, “Never caught without lip gloss. And always with the shortest of shorts no matter how many times she has been told to change them.” (location 139). I find the stereotype of popular girls always looking ‘camera ready’ and wearing clothes that are short or tight really annoying. We also see the ‘popular girl’ fat shaming, which is really annoying and something I do not like to see in books or in my everyday life.

We also have the main character, Becca, who was best friends with the mean girl but no longer is. Personally, I just don’t like seeing girls hating on other girls, I don’t see the point in it. I also don’t like seeing girls who are constantly worried that their boyfriend is going to be ‘taken’ by some other girl. I could have a huge discussion on why this is wrong but I will leave that for another time.

Overall this novel was pretty good, I enjoyed reading it and I found that it kept me on my toes during the majority of this novel.

I gave 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough three and a half out of five stars

Yasmin xx

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