2.5 stars

Book Review: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Book Review: The Gravity of Us by Phil StamperThe Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 4th February 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

Honestly, I had high hopes for The Gravity of Us and ultimately I feel really let down. If you’ve seen my reading vlog, you’ll have seen that I was very keen for this book, especially in the beginning. But the whole thing started to go downhill quite quickly.

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Now You See Her by Lisa Leighton & Laura Stropki

Now You See Her by Lisa Leighton & Laura StropkiNow You See Her by Laura Stropki, Lisa Leighton
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 26th June 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

AMELIA has always felt like a happy life is just out of reach. Having moved every few years with her mom and sister, she’s always had a hard time making and keeping friends; there’s never enough time, and never enough money to stay in one place. And now, in her senior year, right before tennis season, Mom wants to move again.

SOPHIE has a perfectly curated, Instagram-ready life, from her first singles wins to her cute, long-term boyfriend to the beautiful, landscaped home where she lives with her parents. Though they’re tennis teammates, the two girls almost never speak.

But then one night changes everything. When Amelia’s car breaks down on the side of the road in a rainstorm, a man she thinks is a Good Samaritan pulls over to help her. When he tries to abduct her instead, she escapes into oncoming traffic.

In one inexplicable moment, Amelia and Sophie switch bodies. Amelia wakes up in Sophie’s body. Amelia’s body is in a coma. Now Amelia needs to find a way to switch back into her own life—but before that, she must retrace her steps to unravel the mystery of the accident, her attempted abduction, and how it’s all tied to her mother’s secret past.

I always find it difficult to review books that I would class as “just… okay”. There is very little to say about them and I don’t feel as though I can give an in-depth review because I have nothing of substance to say. These are the kinds of books where the characters are alright, the plot is okay, and the writing is nothing standout. There’s nothing bad about them, but there’s nothing particularly good either.

Now You See Her is one of those books. I felt like I had read the entire thing before (many, many times) and it doesn’t bring anything new to the YA world. It felt more like an episode of a TV show than a book, and nothing about it was particularly captivating.

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

Where I Live by Brenda RufenerWhere I Live by Brenda Rufener
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 27th February 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

LINDEN ROSE HAS RULES FOR SURVIVAL.

1. Prevent the in-class nap.
2. Never carry too many belongings.
3. Avoid looking the part.

Her rules guarantee no one discovers her secret–that she’s homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her best friends, Ham and Seung, have formed a makeshift family, and writing for her school’s blog prevents downtime. When you’re homeless, free time sucks. Despite everything Linden’s burdened with, she holds on to hope for a future and a maybe romance with Seung.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay attention. And attention is the last thing Linden needs.

To put a stop to the violence, Linden must tell the story. Even if it breaks her rules for survival and jeopardizes the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.

I’ve never read a book about a homeless person before, so when I saw Where I Live pop up on Edelweiss, I had to grab it. I have incredibly mixed feelings about this book, and I struggled to figure out how to rate it after I read it. Having sat on it for a couple of days, I think I’ve finally figured it out.

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The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi AldermanThe Power by Naomi Alderman
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 27th October 2016
Publisher: Viking
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.

Well, this was a bit boring. I’m massively disappointed in The Power because I picked it up after Alderman won a tonne of awards, including the Bailey’s prize, and I thought it was going to be a modern classic. I was expecting something epic.

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What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

What We Left Behind by Robin TalleyWhat We Left Behind by Robin Talley
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 22nd October 2015
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won't understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni's life. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

What We Left Behind is Robin Talley’s second novel, a follow up to the excellent Lies We Tell Ourselves. I think it’s fair to say that I had very high expectations for this novel so it was doubly disappointing for me when it didn’t meet any of those expectations at all.

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