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Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings

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rainy day’s books video games and other writings

Book Review: Goodbye Stranger

Rating: 3.5 stars

Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend? On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

I really enjoyed reading Goodbye Stranger because of how simple of a read it is to get through. Even though I’m not at all its intended audience as I’m not a middle schooler, I felt like I could still relate to the overall content as I remember what it was like for me being in middle school. Going through physical changes to my body and not knowing how much things in my life would change, trying to make friends and trying to fit in, and boys. I remember how awkward middle school was, and I feel like this book perfectly captured one of those years.

I know some people might criticize some of the content in this book as one of the subjects discussed is sexting, but I feel like as the world has changed since I was in middle school, heavy subject matters need to be discussed. And I honestly appreciate how Rebecca Stead covers this subject as its something that definitely needs to be talked about, especially with younger people. I know a lot of parents might disagree, but would you rather they learn about it from you or find out through someone asking them for pictures?

What I also enjoyed about Goodbye Stranger was seeing all of the different friendship dynamics. You mostly see the story told through Bridge’s perspective, but she was a part of a friend group of three: her, Tabitha, and Emily. Then one day in school, Bridge meets a boy her age named Sherm, and she becomes friends with him as well. But their friendship is a different dynamic with her two girlfriends as the three of them make a promise never to fight, which often gets tested throughout the book. The difference other than Sherm being a boy is that even though there’s a possibility of them becoming more than friends, the book focuses more on them just being friends and them enjoying each other’s company. And as someone who had a lot of male friends when I was around that age, I appreciate Stead showing a friendship between a boy and girl that didn’t focus heavily on becoming more. There’s also the friendship/rivalry that gets shown between Bridge’s brother Jamie and Alex, which in Goodbye Stranger I appreciated seeing. To me, it was an interesting dynamic to read, and I enjoyed seeing how it played out.

What I would say my criticism is for this book is how slow of a read it is. I know the intended audience is for middle schoolers so it would be slower as a result, but there were times where it felt to me like it was too slow. They would introduce an element/plot point to the story, but then it would take what felt like several chapters for it to play out. It was to the point where these elements/plot points were predictable, you were just waiting for it all to play out in the pages as you continued to read.  

I also wasn’t at all that big of a fan of the chapters taken from the perspective of the mysterious high school girl who supposedly underwent a betrayal on Valentine’s Day. At first, I found them interesting as I was trying to figure out who this high school girl was. But then once I found out what the betrayal actually was and the mystery of this high schooler was revealed, I was disappointed. I was disappointed because there was so much build up to her betrayal, but then when you find out what actually happened, it felt like a waste of chapters in this otherwise enjoyable read. Especially because the “betrayal” was mostly of her own doing and if anything I felt like it was her that betrayed her friend and put that friendship at risk, not the other way around. I also was disappointed by these chapters because we were introduced to this character early on in the book and what I knew of her before finding out she was the mystery high schooler seemed interesting and I had wondered what chapters of this book would look like from her perspective. But then when I found out she was the mystery character, I felt completely let down as what I’d seen of her character didn’t make me believe these chapters were actually from her perspective.

Overall, my experience reading Goodbye Stranger was enjoyable. I was reminded of how simple life used to be and reminded of some of the books I read when I was around that age that I enjoyed. Reading this book made me feel nostalgic and at times wish I could go back to when things in life were so much simpler.

Please leave a comment below on my blog if you’ve read any books that reminded you of a simpler time in your life that you wouldn’t mind revisiting. I wouldn’t mind hearing what stories made you reminisce.     

Book Review: Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard

Rating: 4 stars

From Borrower to wizard, Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame saw him catapulted into the limelight aged just twelve when he landed the iconic role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films.

Speaking with candour and his own trademark humour, Tom shares his experience of growing up on screen and as part of the wizarding world for the very first time. He tells all about his big break, what filming was really like and the lasting friendships he made during ten years as part of the franchise, as well as the highs and lows of fame and the reality of navigating adult life after filming finished.

Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.

I’m not one who typically reads autobiographies, but as someone who grew up loving the Harry Potter series, I was excited to read this one about the actor who plays the iconic character of Draco Malfoy. I found this autobiography to be an easy read for me as I learned more about Tom Felton and what it was like for him to grow up as a child actor.

What I loved about reading Beyond the Wand is the way in which Felton wrote. In his book, he felt so relatable, and I enjoyed that. I know those of us not in the entertainment industry tend to idolize celebrities, but they are just everyday people like us. And I felt that in this book when Tom talked about his family and what it was like growing up with three older brothers. As someone who doesn’t follow celebrities closely enough (even celebrities that are part of a series that I really love), I felt like I learned a lot about Tom that I didn’t know and felt like I got a really good understanding as to why he was the perfect person to play as Draco Malfoy.

What I also enjoyed from reading this autobiography was getting to get inside the mind of an actor and getting to visualize where the Harry Potter films were created. I felt like we got a huge glimpse into the Harry Potter universe through Felton and I enjoyed it. I also found this book to be a highly entertaining read whenever he would mention another actor from the series being up to no good or whenever he talked about things he did on set that got him into trouble. I also loved hearing about the other actors in the series from Tom’s perspective as we don’t really know what the relationship between actors on a set is like and you could tell that Tom overall enjoyed his experience filming the Harry Potter movies.

If I had to choose anything to criticize about Beyond the Wand it would have to be the overall length and how it ended. I felt that while this autobiography was a very enjoyable read, it felt almost too short. Like there was more content that could’ve been included that we didn’t get. I feel like this goes hand in hand with my view about this book’s ending, which I’ll get into now.

While I enjoyed the last two chapters as they portrayed a serious subject matter that I don’t feel gets talked about often enough, I feel like they didn’t fit in with the rest of the book. However, once I read them, I also wanted more chapters like them as I feel like a lot of Felton’s autobiography focuses on his time filming the Harry Potter series. Of course, I understand that the Harry Potter films played a huge role in his life so it would make sense that there would be a lot about them but after reading the last two chapters, I realized then that I wanted even more. I wanted to learn more about the subject Tom barely covered as I feel like it’s an important element to his book that we needed more of. And the way in which it was talked about wasn’t enough for me.

But overall, I enjoyed reading Beyond the Wand as I felt like I could hear his voice as I was reading it, and loved the nostalgia it provided me as someone who grew up with the Harry Potter series. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy autobiographies, especially by celebrities. I also recommend this book to those wanting to see the Harry Potter series through the eyes of someone portraying one of the characters in the films and if you’re curious to learn more about the actor who played as Draco Malfoy.   

First Impressions: Life is Strange: True Colors

I know the last time you saw a Life is Strange review from me was when I was talking about this game here along with the review I did on its fifth episode. Like that game, Life is Strange: True Colors is also a video game that focuses on a main character with superpowers. But instead of having the ability to rewind time, Alex Chen has the ability to read people’s emotions to where she can even take on their emotions if they are strong enough and she gets too close to them.

Taking place in a small mining town in Haven Springs, Colorado, you play as Alex Chen who’s just been reunited with her older brother Gabe after many years apart. Alex has a difficult past and her brother offers her a place to stay in Haven Springs as a fresh start. But when her empathetic abilities start to take over once again, she finds herself discovering there is more to this small town than what meets the eye, and will have to use her powers to find out the truth about what happened to her older brother.

There are so many things I loved when playing through Life is Strange: True Colors. For starters, I loved that they introduced a character I felt like I could relate to. I myself tend to be a heavily emotional person and consider myself someone who’s sensitive to other people’s feelings to the point where I’ve embodied those feelings. Not to the point like Alex who is able to not only embody those feelings but find out why someone is having those feelings through objects near the person whose strong emotions she’s picking up on and help the person dealing with them. But I felt like I could relate to her character because I’ve been able to pick up on people’s emotions like she has and felt like I had no control over them. I love they brought a character I could relate to life so vividly. And they did it in a way that drew me into the story in the game and made me want to find out what happened next.

Besides Alex’s superpower, I also enjoyed playing Life is Strange: True Colors because of the setting where they had these events take place. Haven Springs is a small mining town and I felt like you could clearly see how small of a place it is when Alex meets everyone in town. They did a good job of bringing to life what I imagine living in a small town would be like where everyone knows everyone already and where everyone knows when something is going on. Like when Alex made it into Haven Springs, the residents already knew she was coming because of her brother Gabe. Along with the small-town feel, Haven Springs itself is a beautiful setting in this game and I felt like they did a good job of showing the mountains you’re more than likely to see in a place like Colorado.

I also enjoyed Life is Strange: True Colors because the story and characters drew me in. I found Alex and the residents of Haven Springs to be very relatable and I wanted to find out what was going to happen in this town.

Unlike the original Life is Strange, however, I felt like a lot of the overall choices you made in the game didn’t have too much of a significant impact on what happened to you as Alex. I felt like a lot of the decisions you made didn’t heavily impact the story quite as much because the end result was going to be the same no matter which choice you made. Yes, there were some decisions you as Alex could’ve made that I felt like they were trying to make seem like big decisions, but to me, they didn’t seem all that big in comparison to the first Life is Strange game. I feel like the only difference I would’ve seen if I made different decisions would’ve been different dialogue and whether certain characters trusted you when you revealed the truth about one of the characters in town. Oh, and there might’ve been different results as well depending on who you decided on as Alex’s love interest. But overall, I don’t think there were really any choices you could’ve made that would’ve completely altered how things played out.

Overall, I enjoyed playing Life is Strange: True Colors. It touched on my emotions with its story and with playing Alex who was someone I could relate to because of her superpower. It’s a game I can see myself coming back to play. I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys story-based games and wants to play a game with a main character that has superpowers.

Are there any video games you’ve played recently that touched on you like this one did for me? Please leave a comment below telling me about your experience as I’d love to hear all about it!

Book Review: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Rating: 3.5 stars

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it now.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

Self-help books aren’t something I actively set out to read because I usually feel like I have to take time to reflect on what I’m reading in each chapter before going on to the next one. But being referred to as a badass made me feel pumped up to get into this book and see what it was all about. You Are a Badass was overall a good read for me. I enjoyed it because of how when I read these chapters, I felt inspired by the author and what she was saying. I found her insight very light-hearted but also funny and I felt like she offered overall some good advice. And while at times I found it annoying that she put as her last piece of advice in every chapter “love yourself,” there were some chapters after reading them where I found that advice more helpful than others.

The first couple of chapters in this book were really good and made me interested in continuing to read what she had to say. I especially appreciated the chapter about affirmations and meditation along with her thoughts about source energy as a whole.  

But I feel like as this book went on, I was slowly starting to lose interest in what she was saying. I think that’s because in certain chapters Jen Sincero didn’t sound overall empathetic to other people. And what I mean by that is she sometimes sounded tone-deaf to me when offering some of her advice. I understand that sometimes tough love is needed to get a point across, but I don’t think that’s where the issue came from for me. I think for me it was more she was talking from a point of privilege than anything else. I saw this in the chapter where she talks about money along with some of the other chapters as well.

I feel like this criticism for me stems from the idea of “visualize what you want your life to look like and it’ll happen.” I feel like the problem I have with the idea of visualizing your life is that there are things you actually have to do to make what you want in life to happen. You can’t just sit and do nothing and then what you want will happen. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, there are some steps you have to take to make changes in your life. You can’t just visualize them or want them really badly to get it. Even if there are things you want to do and you try and set yourself up for those things, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get what you want.

And in order to accomplish your goals, there are going to be some challenges along the way you’ll have to deal with, which she didn’t mention at all throughout this book. I feel like she was overall saying in that regard that if you want something, you won’t use excuses not to make it happen. While that is overall true in most cases, there are some things that are beyond your control when it comes to achieving what you want from life, and she never once acknowledges how to overcome any challenges you could potentially face to achieve the life you want for yourself. And I have a problem with that in this self-help book.

You Are a Badass is overall a good read that got me pumped up and I found inspirational. However, not all of the information within its pages will benefit you so I think it’s okay to pick and choose which pieces of advice she offers you want to use since you won’t be able to relate to every single thing she’s saying.  

Stepping Into 2023 With a Fresh Start

Hello everyone! If you’re reading this, thank you for continuing to follow my blog despite the lack of posts in 2022. 2022 has been such a busy year and I wasn’t writing and reading quite as much as I usually do so I unintentionally stepped away from blogging. But I’m hoping with this, I can get back into blogging again. Its not that I meant to not post anything, just sort of happened and I couldn’t stop it.

There’s also just been a whole lot with work and life in general from this past year that I’ve been dealing with too. So I’m hoping as we step into 2023 I can start over with a fresh start so to speak. I’m not planning on making any promises that the amount I post within 2023 will be more than now. What I do know though is that I will continue to blog on here. I’ve been in a writing slump the past couple months and am slowly getting out of it now. I went through a brief time where writing was feeling like a chore to me, so I wanted to get out of that mindset before posting on here again as I didn’t want to bring that mindset onto my blog or any of my posts. So I’m hoping as we all step into the new year, my love of writing continues to shine through, and I don’t have as many moments where I feel like I’m not enjoying what I’m doing when it comes to my writing.

Along with starting 2023 on a clean slate, I also want to continue in 2023 doing things I enjoy doing. Whether that’s continuing to make blog posts here on WordPress, reading, playing video games, etc., I want to always make time out of each day to do at least one thing I enjoy. Life is too short not to make time out of your day to do things you love, and I find for myself at least that it helps me feel better whenever I’m not feeling as good.

 I also want to take into the new year better health. Whether it’s mental, physical, or emotional health, 2022 has been a rough year for health for me and members of my family. So I’m hoping as we step into 2023, that things will get better health wise for me and my family as this year its been rough and I feel like we need a break. I know there’s no guarantee of this of course, but one can always dream!

Hope you all are doing well though! Is there anything you are hoping to get from the new year? Please leave a comment below if there’s anything you are hoping you’ll get from 2023 and thank you for reading my blog!  

Book Review: Fire and Ice (Warriors #2)

Rating: 4 stars

“Fireheart could hear a roaring around him, like wind in tall trees. The acrid stench of the Thunderpath stung his nostrils, together with a new smell, sharper and more terrifying. Fire!”

Book two of Warriors continues Fireheart’s quest to be a true warrior, when he finds new danger lurking in the woods as the chill of winter sets in.

WindClan is missing, and hostilities between the remaining three clans place all the cats in peril. Illness and tragic accidents weaken the camp, and ThunderClan needs all its warriors to defend itself – but Fireheart suspects that certain cats may not be as loyal as they appear.

I feel like this was an enjoyable sequel to where Into the Wild left off. We continue with Firepaw going by Fireheart due to becoming a warrior of ThunderClan. We also have him along with his friend helping another clan getting back into their territory despite the other clans not wanting them to return. I feel like there was a lot that happened in such a small period of time between the two books, making it enjoyable to find out what was going to happen next.

What I also enjoyed when reading Fire and Ice was seeing Fireheart return to his roots. You see him throughout the story struggling with belonging in the clan because of seeing his sister Princess and thinking about what his home used to be. You see him visit her quite frequently despite the risk and danger of doing so, which I thought was interesting because it made the theme of family a prominent part of this book. I know at times I wondered if Fireheart would end up going back to where he used to be before ThunderClan became such a big part of his life. But then you also see the choice Princess ends up making so that more of their family joins the clan, which I thought was sweet considering the risk involved.

What I also enjoyed with this sequel was being introduced to some of the cats of WindClan as well as meeting more of the cats of RiverClan. Its interesting to see when reading this series the dynamic between all the clans and how they interact with each other throughout the story. I also loved the slowly building romance that started to occur through the story despite the obstacles it presents.

I also love that Fireheart is continuing to investigate the truth of Oakheart and Redtail’s deaths. I know there are going to be a lot of obstacles in his way as the truth of what really happened during that time will cause a divide in the clan when its finally brought to light. But I think it’s great he’s investigating because Tigerclaw is one of my least favorite characters in ThunderClan. The reason being that so many cats in the clan seem to look up to him but he’s hiding things from Bluestar and the rest of the clan. I feel like even though Bluestar doesn’t want to face that truth, I find it telling that she’s told Fireheart how many lives as their leader she has left while Tigerclaw who is her deputy, has no idea.

I also disliked in Fire and Ice how Fireheart’s nephew Cloudkit was treated by their clan when Fireheart brought him in. While I understand the danger of having outsiders joining the clan that aren’t blood, I feel like it reminds me too much of how Fireheart was treated when he first joined ThunderClan. And it bothered me because most of the cats in this series seem to have the mindset that cats born in a clan are superior to cats who aren’t full-blooded warriors. I know it bothered me in Into the Wild with how clan members were with Fireheart, and it bothered me just as much with Cloudkit, maybe even more so because of being a baby kitten and not knowing any better.

But overall, I enjoyed this sequel and can’t wait to continue into the next book in the series Forest of Secrets to find out what happens with ThunderClan and the rest of the clans. This series continues to captivate me so I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment.  

Book Review: Into the Wild (Warriors #1)

Rating: 4 stars

For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying– and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty … who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

When I was a child, the Warrior series was apparently a series of books a lot of children enjoyed. However, I never heard about these books until I was an adult, and decided I’d give this series a try. When reading Into the Wild, I realized these books were something I’d enjoy.

Even though this series is supposed to be geared towards children, what I enjoyed about this first book was how it introduced me into the world of cats. As someone who likes cats and animals in general, I found the world of cats and how they interact with each other interesting. The dialogue between all the felines in this book was enjoyable to read as you can tell that you are reading a book about cats.

I also enjoyed reading Into the Wild because of how light of a read it was for me to get through. The characters and dialogue were simple to follow, and the story was enjoyable for me for this book to be considered a children’s book. I found the universe wild cats verses house cats inhabited interesting as the main character the story follows went from becoming a cat who was used to getting fed by humans to a cat who found himself wanting to see what was out in the wild and decided to join a clan of wild cats when he met several of their members. It was also interesting to see all the different names a wild cat was given once they joined the clan as each cat was given a name based on their physical appearance and their hierarchy in the clan. And learning about all of the different clans and where their territory is out in the wild was interesting to me too.

I also loved this book because I felt like I was able to escape into the world between its pages. It was a story that for me I enjoyed because I felt like I was with the warriors and wanted to see what was going to happen to the clan next. It was also just the right of fantasy for my imagination to run wild and continue turning the page.  

The only real issue I had with reading this first book in the Warriors series was the treatment of the main character by other members of ThunderClan for being what they called a kittypet. In these books, house cats are considered cats who don’t have the ability to become warriors because of being born as house cats instead of being born in a clan. So when the main character joins ThunderClan, many of their members don’t like him being in the clan and being trained to become a warrior because of where he was born, which is something beyond his control.

Despite this though, I enjoyed Into the Wild because Rusty/Firepaw doesn’t take what the other cats in the clan think to heart and he develops into a cat ThunderClan can be proud of to have as a member of their clan. I’m enjoying this series so much that I can’t wait to review the second book, Fire and Ice, which I’ve also already finished and am planning on writing a review of very soon.

Have any of you here read any of the books in this series before? If so, what was your experience with this series as a whole? Please leave a comment below because I’d like to hear your thoughts on a series I’ve just started reading that I can’t seem to put down.      

Book Review: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)

Rating: 4 stars

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Really enjoyed The Darkest Minds for several reasons. It was a story that caught my attention from beginning to end. I don’t know if it’s because the plot paralleled what’s been going on in the world lately or because of how dark/dystopian the story could get. The world Ruby lives in isn’t a pleasant one, full of the government trying to keep children with unique powers locked away in camps after surviving when kids their own age died of a disease that was killing children in America.

I couldn’t put this book down but tried my best to read at a slower pace so I could absorb what I was getting into. Watching Ruby’s character develop throughout the story was captivating and loved seeing her abilities and how they impacted her life. I also loved the rest of the kids she ran into when she escaped from her camp and how they were able to help her learn to trust others and be allowed to form friendships.

What I also loved about this book was how dark it could get at times. Ruby’s powers are unique because there are few children in her world that have them. When she and her fellow travelers make it to East River, she meets their leader who’s one of the few people whose classified as an Orange like her. However, he isn’t all who he’s cracked up to be, making this story more intriguing as I read on. Because while he helped her with gaining control of her abilities, he also took advantage of her, which made me dislike him more as the story continued.  

I also felt immense empathy for these kids in The Darkest Minds because I couldn’t imagine what they were going through just because they had powers. Especially when some of the kids own parents turned them into the government because of their abilities. While the powers these kids have at times sounded cool, that they sometimes couldn’t control them made me understand why Ruby felt the way she did about her abilities.  

Despite how much I enjoyed reading this book, there are some things I also didn’t enjoy too.  My biggest criticism of this book for me is the choices Ruby sometimes makes. While I get her life is hard and that some of the decisions she made were for the best of others, she also made some tough but terrible decisions. Especially close to the end of the story when one of her friends is really hurting and she seeks help from someone she shouldn’t have. I also wasn’t too keen on what she did to Liam either because I feel like she really wasn’t helping him. Some of the choices Ruby made I wasn’t at all pleased with because they always ended up hurting others instead of helping them.

But despite those choices, I still loved Ruby’s character and enjoyed reading The Darkest Minds, the first book in a series I’m planning on continuing to read so I can see what happens next. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Never Fade, which I’m sure will be just as enjoyable for me as this book. Have any of you ever read a book like this one before? Leave a comment below if there are any books like this one that you’ve read that you’d highly recommend because you think I’d enjoy it just as much.      

Book Review: Suggested Reading

Rating: 3.5 stars

Clara Evans is horrified when she discovers her principal’s “prohibited media” hit list. The iconic books on the list have been pulled from the library and aren’t allowed anywhere on the school’s premises. Students caught with the contraband will be sternly punished.

Many of these stories have changed Clara’s life, so she’s not going to sit back and watch while her draconian principal abuses his power. She’s going to strike back.

So Clara starts an underground library in her locker, doing a shady trade in titles like Speak and The Chocolate War. But when one of the books she loves most is connected to a tragedy she never saw coming, Clara’s forced to face her role in it.

Will she be able to make peace with her conflicting feelings, or is fighting for this noble cause too tough for her to bear?

I really enjoyed reading this book that focused so much on censorship in schools. Even though the story itself told within its pages is fiction, censorship of books in schools is very much a real topic. While I’ve never (to the best of my knowledge at least) experienced having books I’m interested in being censored from me reading them, I know I can’t relate to Clara’s experience other than feeling empathetic towards her and the other characters in this book. I do not understand what any of them are going through, but I feel like I would also react in the same manner as Clara and want to do something so my peers that’re interested in reading can continue reading books they enjoy.

Suggested Reading is an enjoyable book for any bookworm because of the amount of book references within its pages. I love that this book also had at the beginning of its chapters quotes from different books because I felt like they were a good preclude to what was going to happen in that chapter. But I really loved seeing all the book references in this read because many of the books mentioned are books I have heard of before, even if I have not read every single one of them. I did know enough about the books mentioned though to understand why they were being referenced, which made this read that much more enjoyable for me.

What I also enjoyed with reading this book was the characters themselves in the story. While I feel like there was extraordinarily little character development, I enjoyed learning more about Clara and her friends and the world she inhabited while she worked tirelessly to provide her peers with books to read out of her locker. Just even imagining her rebellion with using her locker as a library made me gleeful and cheer her on to thwart authority.

I also appreciate the lack of romance in this story as well. Most young adult books have a little bit of focus on romance, and I appreciate that Suggested Reading did not have any. I do not have an issue with books that have romance. However, I feel like sometimes every young adult literature book has it in some capacity or another, and there are times when I feel like its not needed. This book is one of those instances, and I found I loved this book even more because of it.

However, that does not mean that I do not have any criticism when it comes to this book. While I enjoyed what I was reading, I felt like this book did lack some things. For starters, I felt like the pacing of this story was off. When I first started reading it, the story had a decent pace that felt relaxing to me. But as the story went on, it picked up in a way I was not expecting. It went from Clara making her locker library to her questioning her decision to start her locker library to begin with in the blink of an eye. I understand the author having her question her decision to start this library. However, I did not like the way it was done because it felt sudden to me. Like the events that unfolded to cause this change in Clara and make her see things from the principal’s perspective. While I understand wanting to show another perspective on the censorship issue, I feel like it was not needed for Clara because she did not do anything wrong.

I also feel like this book should have been longer. Not because I did not want the story to end, but I feel like there was a lot missing from the story that should have been there to make everything come together cohesively. Like her getting to know the people she started becoming friends with because of the events in this book.

However, I overall enjoyed reading Suggested Reading. It was a charming read and I feel like it is a story a lot of people will enjoy. Especially anyone who is a book nerd like me that will understand the book references mentioned within its pages. While I have never experienced censorship when it comes to reading, I am curious if anyone here has. If you have, please leave a comment below and share your experience if you feel comfortable doing so.

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