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Author: Ryan La Sala
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Source: Personal Collection
Amazon / Book Depository
Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!
All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.
As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.
This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.
When the Barnes & Noble book club chose this book for the January book club, I was a little leary. I actually had this book from NetGalley and just couldn’t get into it. I tried for months to get into the book and just couldn’t do it. But, I hate to miss a book club, so I bought the book, hoping getting it in a physical copy would help. It did, but so did finally just sticking to it and getting through the first portion of the book.
I’m going to say this now – the only character I actually like is Ursula. The main character, Kane, is so annoying I want to reach through and just smack the daylights out of him. His thing of nothing being able to remember anything about his accident or who he was/what he was like before the accident, asking people what he was like or who he was before the accident, and then not believing them drove me bonkers.
Adeline’s attitude of seeming to be better than everyone is also annoying, Sophia’s overprotective character makes me cringe, and Elliott spends most of his time trying to impress Ursula. Poesy is a whole other ball of wax… let me tell you. I still don’t know if Poesy is biologically male and a drag queen, biologically female and dressed as a man for Kane and Poesy’s first meeting, or if Poesy is simply supposed to be unknown in gender – Poesy is referred to as “he” once or twice, “they/them” at other times, and “she” at other times. It’s a bit confusing and seriously easy to mis-gender Poesy because it’s hard to keep track of gender on that character.
The writing is done very well. The editing not so much. There are several places were words are misspelled, the wrong words are used, and where words are missing, but that’s a double edged issue – writing and editing. I mean, honestly, you’d think the editors would have noticed.
The story in and of itself is very creative. It gives a whole new perspective on “our own little worlds” and what could happen if those worlds managed to escape into reality. If you’re looking for a YA fantasy with major LGBTQ+ rep, I suggest you read this book. If there’s a sequel, I’m definitely going to read it.
Title: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight
Authors: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 06, 2019 Format: Hardcover
Source: Personal Collection
Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.
Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.
When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.
They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.
This was another book I read for the Barnes & Noble YA Book Club. I have to say, it was completely different than what we thought it was going to be. Somehow, we got the idea it was going to be some sort of post-apocalyptic or dystopian thing. Instead, we got a very real look, in fiction form, at reality.
Campbell is a white girl from Pennsylvania who has been tossed into a high school in Georgia city. Lena is a black girl who’s lived her whole life in this Georgia city and knows full well how the police and everyone else there sees black people.
During the course of the book, Lena calls Campbell on her naivety when it comes to how the police and black people get along in their city. She calls Campbell on her views about black people. But Campbell calls Lena on her own views about white people.
Campbell is naive when it comes to how other races are profiled and she makes assumptions about the black people she lives around. There is no mistake about that. But her assumptions come more from what her father has said than from her own experiences with those people. Just a reminder that racism is learned/taught, not something people are born with.
Lena, however, is just as bad. She has her assumptions about white people – such as that they are rich. Again, she’s been taught that white people are the way she thinks they are.
The riots in the book are realistic. They are taken almost directly from the news media. They show how things are. They show how even white people can be pulled in and how they can end up seeing things from a different perspective.
There is one things that bugs me about this book – Black. That boy needs a swift kick in the butt. The literal only time he really, truly has Lena’s back is toward the end of the book. I won’t say why/how, because that would be a spoiler. But I will say, I’ll be surprised if you like him. None of us at the book club did.
I gave this book 5 stars because it is a gripping book. It may be slow to start, but that was more of being used to hearing people talk like Lena does rather than reading it. But once you get into the action portions, you’ll forget all about Lena’s style of speaking and be totally sucked in, wondering what will happen.
I think fans of The Hate U Give will really like this book.