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Book Review: Noughts & Crosses (Noughts and Crosses #1)

Noughts and Crosses Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Sephy and Callum have been friends since early childhood. And that’s as far as it can go. Because theirs is a world full of prejudice, racism, distrust and mounting terrorist violence.

Despite all this, a romance builds between the two friends.

But this is a love that could lead them both into terrible danger…

The summary on the back of Noughts & Crosses doesn’t do it any justice. From the beginning, this book had me hooked, wanting to know how this story would go. It was an emotional rollercoaster that while in the moment didn’t produce any tears from me, it made me have an array of emotions when I was finished.

It tells the tragic story of Sephy and Callum, best friends since childhood who over the years of their lives fall in love with each other. But they can’t be together because of racism and terrorist violence which threatens to tear their lives apart.

I received this book through Blind Date With a Book Club, a website where for the next six months, you get a mystery book based on the genres you’ve chosen. This is the first book of the six I received, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.

What I love about this book is that it emotionally hooked me into the story. As a reader, this story really pulled me in, made me root for Sephy and Callum to be together despite the many obstacles that stood in their way. I wanted so badly for their love story to work out even though I knew the chances were slim because of how dark this story became.

I also appreciate the honesty in which this story portrays heavy topics such as racism. This book gets seriously dark in the way it shows you as the reader how much racism can affect the world around you. How hatred for someone because of the color of their skin can really cause harm to the people that hatred is turned towards. This book does a spectacular job of showing you as the reader how this hatred can really hurt people, especially those you love. I’m not scared to admit that this dystopia world sometimes frightened me because it felt so real and it wasn’t that long ago that the world we live in acted the way the Crosses do towards the Noughts.

But experiencing that fear helped me because as someone with privilege, I know I’ll never understand what the Noughts went through. Though in this dystopia world, the author turns racism on its head, since Noughts in the story are white people experiencing racism from black people. I thought that was an interesting dynamic because it made me think and I feel like it helped me understand racism better. Especially since Malorie Blackman used a lot of experiences to show how terrible racism can truly be. Before reading this book, I felt like I understood racism, but I truly believe this book really showed me how dark it can get, and that people tend to take it way too far.

I felt like this book really spoke to me too. My partner and I aren’t the typical relationship you expect to see so I feel like I can relate to this story because of it. It made me think about our relationship and made me realize how much I truly appreciate my partner. Our relationship isn’t always easy, but I truly feel like we’re meant to be together despite the obstacles we’ve faced. So, in many ways, I feel like I can relate to Sephy and Callum’s relationship because they both went through some hurdles to be together.

My biggest criticism with Noughts & Crosses is that while I was rooting for Sephy and Callum to be together, there were moments where I didn’t understand why they still cared for each other. Throughout the book, their relationship is put through the ringer. Yet, both Sephy and Callum still end up caring about each other despite the many situations their put in during their romance. Situations that would typically result in one or both people involved wanting to separate from each other. The best example that comes to mind happens close to the end of the story and is the result of the way their romance ends. I won’t go too much into it because I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone, but I really don’t understand why these two characters chose that moment to do that. It was the worst timing on their part and I knew as soon as it happened it would cause the end of their relationship. It also just didn’t make sense to me because the situation they both were in wasn’t an ideal moment for them to give into impulses.

Like I said, I can relate to their relationship, so I do overall understand why they wanted to be together. But there were moments in the story where for their own safety, they shouldn’t have been. Or where they both made rash decisions that they shouldn’t have, which impacted not only them but those closest to them.

Another criticism I had while reading was that while I loved that this story was told from two points of view (Sephy and Callum), there were times I didn’t overall like the writing from their perspectives. I know both these characters are young, so I get that what they said or did sounded childish, but there were times for me when it was a bit too much. I especially noticed this a lot when the story was being told from Sephy’s perspective. Maybe part of that in the story is that Blackman wanted to showcase with Sephy her privilege through the way she acted during certain moments in the story. Either way, it was something I wasn’t too fond of despite liking that this story is told from two different perspectives.

But overall, Noughts & Crosses was a really gripping, emotional read for me to complete and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m also happy that this was the first book I was given with Blind Date With a Book Club and can’t wait to see what book I’ll receive from them next.

 

Book Review: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)

p.s. i still love you book cover

Rating: 4 stars

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times best seller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

I definitely enjoyed reading P.S. I Still Love You better than To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Like its predecessor, I found this book easy to read through. But I found myself even more invested in what’s going on because I found the story and plot itself more invigorating.

What I believe helps is that you continue to see Lara Jean coming more and more out of her shell as her relationship with Peter grows. It’s like their relationship really brings her to life and I enjoyed every minute of it. I think what helps for me as a reader is that I can relate to Lara Jean’s feelings because I’ve had those feelings myself. The first time you fall in love is one of the most wonderful feelings and this book reminded me of everything that comes along with it, including the most difficult moments of a relationship. While I’m no longer with the first guy I fell in love with, this book still allowed me to relate to it because of those feelings. It allowed me to reminisce without feeling sadness and regret over a relationship I’ve since moved on from and reminded me that you can find love again even after the heartbreak.

Like with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, this book continues to portray good, realistic relationships. I continue to love seeing the bond Lara Jean has with her family, her relationship with her best friend Chris, and her relationship with her boyfriend Peter. I also love seeing the new relationship she begins to form with John, one of the recipients of her love letters even though it doesn’t turn out the way you as the reader expect. You finally get to see how the letters getting out really affects her relationships and I enjoyed it.

If I have any criticisms for P.S. I Still Love You it’s that you don’t really get to see her relationship with John go anywhere. You can tell as a reader that feelings are going on between the two of them, but you don’t really see it turn into anything. While I understand why that’s the case, I actually wouldn’t have minded too much to see more interactions between the two of them. While I love Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter a lot, I wouldn’t have minded seeing her give John a chance and seeing where that went. Because I honestly really like John’s character a lot. So, I think my biggest criticism is actually that I think both Peter and John are good guys for Lara Jean and am struggling with which guy I think is truly right for her.

So, I overall loved reading this book a lot more than To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before because you see her relationships with everyone she’s close to growing and you can truly see Lara Jean falling in love. But I also love that the story realistically portrays first love, which is something I can truly relate to because of my own experiences. I just didn’t like that both of the guys she ends up liking are both likeable because it makes me as a reader have a difficult time choosing which of the two guys she should end up with. I can’t wait to finish reading Always and Forever Lara Jean, even though I know I’ll be sad that I’ll be done reading this trilogy.

I definitely recommend reading P.S. I Still Love You because it’s such a good read. But if you’re just getting out of a relationship, then this book might not be for you.

 

Book Review: The Creeping

The Creeping Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Only Stella came back.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush – until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting, which was both a good and bad thing for me. I overall enjoyed the story, but there was a whole lot of things with it too that made me enjoy it a lot less.

For starters, the book cover for The Creeping is absolutely gorgeous. It’s gorgeous in the sense that it’s creepy in all of the right ways, making it where the reader wants to dive within the pages to see what the story is going to be about. I know it was one of the things I saw on Goodreads that made me want to read the story, to find out what happened to the characters. To see if the cover matched the overall tone in the book. Whether it does or not depends on the individual reader.

I also enjoyed all of the horror elements in the story, starting from hearing the story about what happened to Stella when she was a child to her looking to uncover the truth of what happened on that day. There was just so much interesting information about the town she lived in and the other girls who went missing that I was interested to see where it’d lead. It made The Creeping a much more interesting read for me because without it, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed this book quite as much. I like that Stella decided to take the matter into her own hands because we learn so much more about the town she lives in and what she’s like as a person that we would’ve never known. It added to the overall tone of the book, which made me want to continue reading to see what happened next.

Related image
Via Giphy.

However, there is just so much with this book that I can’t look past that made me enjoy it less. For starters, I wasn’t fond of most if not all of the characters. Because of what happened in her childhood, Stella ends up becoming one of the popular girls at her school and her best friend Zoey makes her choose between staying friends with her or Sam, the first boy Stella kisses. So despite Stella choosing Zoey over him, Sam still cares about her and tries to be a part of her life. He lets Stella treat him like crap over the years in the hopes that one day she’ll realize how much he cares about her.

While she does eventually realize how much he cares and starts to feel the same way, I felt like their whole relationship was completely unrealistic. Especially since she was still friends with Zoey at the time who cares nothing more than about being popular at their school. I also just feel like Alexandra Sirowy added their romance in the story to add some unneeded drama into the book. Because while Stella and Sam grew up together and had been friends for a really long time, I just didn’t really see their relationship develop well in the story. I pretty much felt bad for Sam, despite not liking him that much either because he seemed desperate to win Stella over. I felt like he deserved a much better person in his life and just didn’t understand why he still cared so much about her when she didn’t take his feelings into account at all.

I also hate her relationship with her best friend Zoey. It feels like it’s extremely toxic because all Zoey wants is to be the most popular girl at their school. It’s to the point where I think she’d be willing to end her friendship with Stella in order to stay at the top. While I get there all in high school and haven’t reached maturity yet, their friendship just didn’t sit well with me at all. Even during the moments when Zoey backed Stella up and supported her, I still didn’t like her because there were a lot of moments when she wasn’t there for Stella too.

I also hated the ending of The Creeping. As someone who believes in the supernatural, I felt like there was so much potential to make the mystery of Jeanie’s disappearance so much more than what Sirowy decided to do. We were given all this information about the town and other lore that I was expecting something more to come out at the end of it. I was deeply invested in the book because of the horror in the story and we are given a predictable ending for the story instead. The ending was predictable because it felt like an obvious choice to make this person responsible for what happened to Jeanie. And for me, that was extremely disappointing because I saw so much potential for something extraordinary to happen instead. It made this book that much more of a disappointment to me because I felt like there was so much more that could’ve been explored.

I overall liked reading this book because the horror in the story made me invested to find out what happened next. However, I wasn’t quite keen on the YA elements in the story, like the romance between Stella and Sam and Stella’s friendship with Zoey was too toxic for me to enjoy. I also didn’t like the ending because it felt too predictable and obvious to me when I felt like there was potential for something more. But the horror in The Creeping was exactly what I needed because it kept me reading to find out more.

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