mini reviews // the time i read contemporary novels

Saturday, March 18, 2017
i've been in a strange mood lately. i've actually been reading a lot of contemporaries *gasps*
we're back today for another edition of my mini reviews, which i've decided that i love to write. i think this is going to be a new series i do every so often (naturally, when i don't feel like writing a whole book review).

so, my reading habits have been very, very strange lately. i've been reading a lot of contemporary novels in the past few weeks, mostly because i've been a little tired of fantasy (somehow if that's even a real thing). i dunno. a lot of the fantasy novels i've read lately have been extremely trope-y and cliche. i just needed a little break, and i'll probably be back to the normal all-fantasy-all-the-time program tomorrow.

let's go.
by Becky Albertalli // ★★

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.
a few things i loved:

- epic friendships. simon's friend group was so tight-knit and i loved them. especially abby.
- oreos
- the cutest email relationship ever.
- i love simon because of his awesome personality.
- the honesty about being gay
- the humor
- the story felt so real
- oreos and food.
- waffles
- i liked trying to figure out who Blue was. and i was totally off. for a sec there i thought it was martin...
- the ending was perfect <3

- i didn't really feel an emotional connection with the characters. sure, they were fun and actual cinnamon rolls, but for the most part they didn't stick out to me much.

- leah was the only character i didn't love. she seemed really jealous and unhappy the whole time, and it didn't even seem like her friends' fault that she was this angry, yet simon and co. had to apologize. 

that's about it for cons. overall, this was a light and fluffy read that was so fun. the only reason i didn't give it five stars was because i didn't feel the emotional connection, and i don't think that it will stick with me in the long run. legitimately though, this book is a cinnamon roll.

by Laura Ruby // ★★

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame? Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go. As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are. 

- MAGICAL REALISM. i. love. this. so. much. when it comes to contemporary novels, those with weird and wonderful happenings are my very favorites. like the world might be magical but it also might be the main character's delusions? WHO KNOWS. i loveee.

- the writing style. it had the most beautiful writing and used the most perfect word choices and just flowed so well. like, the words weren't being forced; they were happening.

- the summer vibe. the whole book had the most amazing lazy summer vibe. and there was honey and bees and talking corn. it all fit so well together. this would make the most amazing yellow-themed aesthetic board !! brb gotta go drown in yellow summery pinterest pins

- the characters. like, think the most amazing cinnamon roll characters of ever. roza was kind of our main focus. she's missing and everyone in Bone Gap loves her. she can make the plants grow strangely well (see: magical realism) and she makes polish food and cookies. i have some serious respect for her because of her courage.
finn is so whimsical and unfocused. he can't look people in the eye and hears the corn talking to him. he's the best.
sean is finn's brother and he basically gave up his life to take care of his brother. he's so kind and he's in love with roza. A TRUE CINNAMON ROLL.
petey is salt and vinegar mixed with a teensy bit of honey, finn's love interest. she's known as "the ugly girl" which is kind of sad. regardless, she's a great character because she's the polar opposite of finn.

umm. literally nothing. i loved every minute of this book. especially the weirdness of it all.

this book is so hard to explain because of the magical realism aspect, but JUST GO READ IT. 

by Patrick Ness // ★★

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions...

- it was a unique perspective. you never really get to see the lives of the regular people when you aren't the special snowflake, and it was interesting to see this. basically, the book takes place in a town that's had supernatural stuff happen, but there's a certain group of people that deals with this (definitely not mikey and his friends). the supernatural stuff is just a background part of the story.

- family relationships. the sibling bond between mel + mikey + meredith was A+. also, the friend relationships were amazing. jared was basically a big brother to mikey. i loovvved how jared helped mikey out when he got into one of his loops.

- representation of OCD/other mental illness. i thought this aspect of the story and how it was represented as a part of mike's story was really well done.

- mikey, mel, jared, and henna (+ also meredith, who's mikey's sister) were just the perfect main characters, and i loved their personalities. also, so much diversity among them ­čĹŹ

- it was slow at times. but overall, this didn't really take away from the quality of the story.

- sometimes, it got hard to care. i just wasn't totally invested in the story. the idea of the story was amazing, but the actual execution fell a little flat.

overall, this was a great book, but i don't think that it's going to stick with me, or i'm going to reread it. i just didn't care about the story that much. family and friend relationships were awesome though.

have you read any of these books? do you enjoy magical realism in your books? any magical realism recommendations for me? (pretty please!) chat with me in the comments!!

xoxo, madeline


  1. Bone Gap is on my TBR!


  2. I have wanted to read Simon for a looooong time! But every time I'm about to pick it up... I just happen to see another book that's higher than my TBR and promptly abandon it?! I liked your short review though :)

    And honestly, I swear by The Rest of Us Just Live Here! It's the only Patrick Ness book that I personally enjoyed. His trilogy, I think it's on The Knife of Never Letting Go or something like that never really hooked me so I stopped reading, and same case with More than This! I think what appealed to me was the twisted trope.

    One magical realism that I've read this year is The Accident Season. It was pretty cool but very, very weird to me. Maybe my imagination couldn't take it, but just saying the writing was gorgeous, but the plot did just not click with me.

    - Andrea at A Surge of Thunder

    1. i totally get you! that has happened to me for so long with Rebel of the Sands!

      i love ness's take on the classic special snowflake trope also! i really need to read A Monster Calls! ooh i totally need to check out the Accident Season!

  3. I 100% AGREE WITH YOU ON SIMON VS. Yes, it was sweet and compelling, but it wasn't necessarily stand-out. I still enjoyed it, however! It was so cute and fun <3

    BONE GAP IS ON MY TBR AND I ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WAIT TO GET TO IT. I confess I didn't read your review (purely because I'm paranoid about spoilers, even though I doubt your review had any), but I'll be so happy to squeal with you about it once I read it!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. i can't wait to hear your thoughts on Bone Gap and i hope you love it as much as i did!! i do the same thing omg. i never read the reviews of books i'm really excited for because i'm afraid it'll spoil something.

  4. NO. STOP. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH *cries* I already have two of these on my TBR (Simon & Bone Gap) and I've heard Patrick Ness's books are good (ish) AND NOW I MUST READ THEM ALL AAGGGHHH. I'm really weird and I don't read a lot of contemporaries BUT I REALLY NEED TO. I'll definitely be checking these out!

    1. this was my first Patrick Ness book and i really need to check out more from him (particularly A Monster Calls). samee i don't read nearly as many contemporaries as i should!

  5. DUDE I am being killed very slowly and painfully by reading all these different Bone Gap reviews and YET NOT READING IT MYSELF. *whines* I'm a very unhappy pineapple right now. But someday, I will overcome.

    I loved this post! It was interesting, straight to the point and just fun. BTDUBS I lovelovelove your blog template/design it's so chic and beautiful and it makes my heart very happy. :):)

    xoxo Jazzy |

    1. GO AND READ IT NOW, pleaseee :) i would love to know your thoughts!

      ahh thank you so much for the kind words!! <3

  6. I love magical realism - although I don't come across it very often. However one of my favourites that I discovered last year was The Otherlife by Julia Gray - its a contemporary story about two boys and their friendship, but one of them can see the Norse Gods lol. Its super interesting. Otherwise I really want to read Bone Gap so super glad to hear you enjoyed it :) Loved your mini reviews!

    1. same! i don't really come across it often, but i love it! ooh i totally need to check that out! :)


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