A Castle In The Clouds | A Review

Hey everyone! Today I bring you my review of ‘A Castle In The Clouds’ by Kerstin Gier! Before I get into my review, I just want to add that this is a translated novel! (Translated from German to English.) I can’t wait to read more translated books in the future!

A Castle in the Clouds: Gier, Kerstin, Fursland, Romy: 9781250300195: Books  - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from goodreads.)

Way up in the Swiss mountains, there’s an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. Once a year, when the famous New Year’s Eve Ball takes place and guests from all over the world arrive, excitement returns to the vast hallways.

Sophie, who works at the hotel as an intern, is busy making sure that everything goes according to plan. But unexpected problems keep arising, and some of the guests are not who they pretend to be. Very soon, Sophie finds herself right in the middle of a perilous adventure–and at risk of losing not only her job, but also her heart.

First, let’s talk about the plot! The original premise of A Castle In The Clouds was everything I could have ever wanted on a cold winter afternoon. A mystery in an old hotel in the mountains? Sign me up! And can we talk about that stunning cover? The execution however…totally lived up to my expectations! There was mystery, humor, and romance. (Which in case you haven’t noticed already, is one of my favorite combinations.)

The book follows Sophie, a 17 year old high school dropout navigating her life as an intern in the old hotel in the mountains, which is most commonly known as; The Castle In The Clouds. Sophie reminds me a lot of Sophie from the film ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. They’re both charismatic and caring people. However, she didn’t have much character development in the story. Nevertheless I did enjoy the fact that it was a very plot driven story. That intrigued me, as I’m used to reading very character driven books. Tristan and Ben where two other lovable characters. There was even a love triangle between both boys and Sophie! Now, I dislike love triangles, so I disliked that aspect of the book too. Why must it always be your favorite character that ends up heartbroken? I also think the romance felt a bit out of place. Moreover, I absolutely adored Tristan! He was a guest at the hotel, and there was this vibe to him that reminded me so much of Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. He even looked like him! Tristan was honestly such a delight to read about! Ben on the other hand, was alright. Ben was a young adult set to inherit Castle In The Clouds from his father. I found him to be slightly stuck-up at times, but I didn’t dislike him though.

Unfortunately if I reviewed every side character, this review would be 30 paragraphs long. 😆 The hotel staff had some nice and funny characters, but none of them stood out to me all that much. (Except for Old Stucky, he was one heck of a guy.) Another side character that I enjoyed reading about was none other than Don B. Jr, a snarky 7 year old guest at the hotel who had me laughing like crazy. From his rude comments, to his spontaneous actions, Don was certainly a memorable character. Next we have the Ludwigs, who where the sweetest old couple ever, and had a lovely backstory! From sassy Gretchen and her other self absorbed sisters to Amy and little Gracie, these hotel guests where nothing but boring. But my favorite side character was hands down ‘The Thriller Writer.’ The only thing we as readers knew about him was that he writes books…And asked the kitchen staff to send him a raw animal to 💫inspire his writing💫. All in all, each side character had their own personality, and I found that to be one of the best parts of the book! Despite having so many characters, the story never became overwhelming or complicated. So props to Kerstin Gier for executing the story in such a beautiful way!

“Bienvenue. Willkommen. Benvenuto. Welcome to A Castle In The Clouds. Enjoy your stay.”

― Kerstin Gier, A Castle In The Clouds

The dialogue between the characters was immersive, and every line was fresh and fun! The thing with mysteries is that every piece of dialogue matters, so naturally I paid close attention to it…Only to find that all of my assumptions where completely wrong. (Let’s just say I’m not the best detective. 😂)

In case you’re wondering, the entire novel is in Sophie’s perspective. I found Sophie’s narrative to be super entertaining! The writing style was also very descriptive. Typically, I dislike descriptive stories. However, I loved reading the author’s descriptions of the hotel! The author writes in such a way that allows the readers to feel like they themselves are in the hotel and are experiencing the same events as Sophie, and to me that’s something truly special!

The overall enjoyment level was slightly affected by the weird pace fluctuation. I felt that the climax came out of nowhere, but maybe that’s because I wasn’t anticipating a huge plot twist. Unexpectedly though, I found myself breezing through the last 150 pages! It was simply too gripping to put down!

‘A Castle In The Clouds’ was a cozy read, perfect for fans of mysteries and contemporary! I highly recommend you give this novel a go!

Age Rating: 13 and up

TW: Violence, talk of kidnapping and murder, kidnapping, some suspense

Final Rating: 9.5/10 or 4.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What is your favorite mystery novel? Let me know in the comments below! Have a fabulous day!

| My Instagram | My Pinterest |

A Song Below Water | A Review

Hiya! Today I will be reviewing the contemporary fantasy YA novel; A Song Below Water By Bethany C Morrow. Enjoy!

A Song Below Water: A Novel: Amazon.ca: Morrow, Bethany C.: Books

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

Let’s talk about the plot! The original premise sounded so incredibly bone rattling and revolutionary! The execution however, let me down. The whole story was very confusing, and many of the magical creatures weren’t explained beforehand. As someone who doesn’t know much about magical realism and fantasy, I was extremely confused. I also longed for more social commentary. I felt like there was barely any, which is such a shame as it could have made this book 10 times more enjoyable.

Fortunately though, I liked the main characters. Effy and Tavia had the best relationship! It was just the sweetest. I absolutely loved the talk about black hair! I actually learnt quite a bit about black hair through A Song Below Water. Wallace was another great character. He was kind, charismatic, and charming. At times I felt as though Effy was cold towards Wallace for absolutely no reason whatsoever. For example, he’d try to help her, and she’d snap at him. The fluctuation from I-love-Wallace to I-hate-Wallace was a bit off, and didn’t transition smoothly.

“We should all speak like sirens. Use our voices to make a difference, because all of them matter.”

― Bethany C. Morrow, A Song Below Water

Tavia’s parents were dislikeable, and their actions where discriminatory towards sirens. (Tavia is a siren by the way.) Fortunately, I was very intrigued to see the father-daughter dynamic play out, so that was cool! Moreover, the other side characters such as Naema and Priam were flat out mean. I won’t talk much about the actual actions some characters made as I don’t want to give spoilers. However, it seemed that a lot of their actions were done ‘just because,’ and didn’t have any meaning behind doing so.

The dialogue between Effy and Tavia was the best thing ever! I absolutely adored their late night talks! If you’re looking for a story about sisters, do check out A Song Below Water. I also loved how Tavia and Effy used sign language to communicate when Tavia was not able to speak. Sign language is something hard to find in YA novels, let alone fictional novels! As mentioned previously, I was hoping for more talk about the discrimination that sirens, let alone African Americans, face.

“What we need isn’t dissuading, or discouragement, or consoling. We don’t need to be told we’re all helpless. What we need is action.”

― Bethany C. Morrow, A Song Below Water

For the most part, the writing style felt choppy and hard to follow. I did however, like how I was able to distinguish between Effy and Tavia’s point of views. In many books, it’s hard to tell which character’s head the readers are in, but with A Song Below Water, I was able to distinguished perfectly between the two! They each had their own unique way of thinking, and I’m so glad the author delved into that vigorously! The best thing about the book though, was that there was barely any swearing or cursing! Isn’t that amazing? I don’t know about you, but it left me feeling very happy.

I’m sad to say that the overall enjoyment level of A Song Below Water wasn’t very high. I was way too confused to feel completely immersed in the story. It took me over 200 pages to get into the storyline. Fortunately, the plot was whimsical perfection, so that added to the overall enjoyment of the book!

A Song Below Water was an enlightening read that I recommend to whimsical fiction lovers!

Age Rating: 12 and up

TW: Police brutality, forced outing, colorism, racism, talk of murder, bullying, cyber bullying

Final Rating: 6/10 or 3 stars

⭐⭐⭐

Have you read A Song Below Water? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! Have a wonderful day!

(PS: If anyone’s curious, I posted a pic of this novel on my bookstagram)

|My Instagram | My Pinterest |

A Pho Love Story | An ARC Review

Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing ‘A Pho Love Story’ by Loan Le. It’s actually my first ever eARC/ARC, and I am so happy I was approved to read this novel! Thank you Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Publishers for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. (Please note that the synopsis provided is from goodreads.) Without further ado, here is the review!

A Pho Love Story: Le, Loan: 9781534441934: Books - Amazon.ca

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.
If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.
For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.
But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember. Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories? 

First let’s talk about the plot! The original premise sounded very promising, and the plot was executed pretty well. The readers were able to get lovely descriptions of Phở and other delicious Vietnamese foods, which made me, admittedly, very hungry. Unfortunately, I felt as though we didn’t get much time in the restaurants. It would have been so cool to see all the steps it takes to establish a restaurant.

The characters were a delight! Bao was snarky and always made me laugh. He was honestly just a really kind and caring character towards everyone really. I loved how the idea of not knowing what he wanted to do in the future was executed in the novel. Uncertainty about the future is a very real that people go through, so it was definitely cool to see! Linh on the other hand knew she wanted to be an artist. It’s wonderful to see young people pursuing the arts, and I loved how Loan Le incorporated Linh’s family into her art. Linh’s inspiration for creating art was very beautiful and I found myself liking her character. However, she wasn’t as memorable as I thought she’d be. Moreover, Linh and Bao had a very healthy relationship. They were so cute together, and made a fantastic team! There was some miscommunication, but it was worked out throughout the novel!

Since the version I read of A Pho Love Story was an ARC, there won’t be any quotes in my review. Instead, take this cute cat!

The side characters were unique as well. I loved how the cast was almost all Vietnamese. It was very refreshing to see! Linh’s friend Ally, and Bao’s friend Viet, where great supporting characters. They were both helpful, and funny. I only wish the author went more in depth into the lives of the side characters. I also absolutely adored the family dynamic. The tension between the two families felt raw and realistic. Another character I enjoyed reading about is Chef Le and his family’s hilarious cameos. It was nice to see a very wholesome relationship between the Mai sisters. Evie and Linh have a lovely sibling dynamic that I wish was explored more in the book. A Pho Love Story is gorgeously done in terms of creating a sense of community within families, and I fell in love with that. Having a loving family is something very special, so I am very happy it was explored vividly throughout the novel.

The dialogue between Linh, Bao, and their friends felt pretty average, nothing ground-breaking was said. It was the dialogue between the main characters and their parents that really intrigued me. I haven’t read many YA novels where the parents and children had intricate relationships. Furthermore, it was very interesting to see Vietnamese spoken throughout the book. I love learning about different languages and cultures, so this only added to the enjoyment of the novel!

I unfortunately struggled with the writing style. The point of view switches from Bao to Linh, and vice versa every 10-15 pages or so. I found myself struggling with trying to understand if the we were in Bao’s head, or in Linh’s. At other times, the story felt repetitive and boring. In my opinion, A Pho Love Story didn’t need to be over 400 pages long. If it was slightly shorter, I’m sure I would have loved it even more.

As mentioned previously, the book seemed to drag on at times and felt a bit repetitive. That did affect the overall enjoyment level a lot. Nevertheless, it was still an incredibly refreshing read that I totally recommend!

Age Rating: 13 and up

TW: Stories of war and death

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

So, will you read A Pho Love Story? Have a great day!

| My Instagram | My Pinterest |

This Train Is Being Held | A Review

Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams. Before I get into my review, look at this beautiful cover! I say this in every review, but I can always, ALWAYS, appreciate a stunning book cover. This was easily my most anticipated YA novel of 2020, so I’m super excited to have finally read it! Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs. Over the course of multiple subway encounters, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.

First, let’s talk about the plot. The original premise of ‘This Train Is Being Held’ sounded, rather generic. We’ve all heard the story of ‘they meet one day on a train.’ However, going into the story, I knew I wouldn’t be delving into a creative plot. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I prefer contemporary, so it was nice to be met with a rather simplistic story. The plot was executed pretty well, so I had no issues with that aspect of the novel. Unfortunately though, it was a bit too insta-love for my liking.

Furthermore, with that said, the characters were complex. It was amazing to see an almost all Latinx and Hispanic cast. The diversity within the cast was so cool! The main characters; Isa and Alex weren’t bland. Alex wants to be a poet, and Isa wants to be a dancer. In many immigrant households, pursuing the arts is a rather taboo topic. So it was great to see that they were showing colored people in the arts. However, I was hoping for more communication between the characters. From the parents to the children, to Isa and Alex, there was so much miscommunication! That part of the story left me a bit frustrated. Without giving away spoilers, for a large part of the story, Alex kept on trying to talk to Isa, but she would constantly respond to him indirectly. And Alex always kept on assuming things without even trying to communicate with other people.

“Because it doesn’t matter where you come from. If you work hard enough, you can do anything. Become anyone.”

― Ismée Amiel Williams, This Train Is Being Held

The side characters were also well crafted. First we have Isa and Alex’ parents. Their parents were complex, and I loved that. In a lot of stories, the parents literally have no personality. In This Train Is Being Held, Isa’s mom and older brother are bipolar. I can’t say for sure how accurate the illness was portrayed in the novel because it simply isn’t my place to comment on that. However, Isa’s mother has a fascinating backstory. (You’ll have to find out what is it for yourself. 😏) I also liked how Alex has a sweet relationship with his parents. He has a great relationship with his mom, and step mom; Yaritza. His dad however, not so much. I like how the family dynamic was explored throughout the book. Alex’s dad is hard on him and his little brother Robi. Robi is just such a cutie, and I love how Alex was protective over him. Alex’s friends; Danny and Bryan are great characters as well. In the story, the police constantly target Alex and his friends because of the color of their skin. They assume they’re in a gang, much like the one Danny’s brother was in. The book readily explores police brutality, and I thought it was so amazing and unique to see such topics present in contemporary novels. Another interesting side character was Kiara; a girl that likes Alex. Without giving away too much, in the beginning I didn’t like her. However, she proved to be an empathetic character in the end! Isa also has a loving relationship with her older brother Merrit. She looks up to her brother, and cares for him. It was refreshing to see a brother-sister dynamic where the dialogue isn’t just “GeT OuT oF My RoOM.”

Looking back, I realize that there wasn’t much dialogue between Alex and Isa for the last 3/4 of the book. For the dialogue that there was, I would say it was rather unrealistic. Within the first 20 pages, they kiss….um what. Nevertheless, I was very intrigued with the dialogue between Alex and his friend Danny. A portion of the narration was in Spanish. Personally, I found it to be rather refreshing. Although I don’t understand the language, it was still nice to see another language other than English spoken in a American YA novel.

“I want to be with you through the bad. Not just laugh next to you during the good.” He tells me what his mami told him. That falling in love is easy but fighting for it is hard. “You, this.” He points to the two of us. “It’s worth fighting for.”

― Ismée Amiel Williams, This Train Is Being Held

The writing style was raw, and I loved that. It was nice to see Alex and Isa’s inner thoughts. The point of view is in first person, and in present tense. Present tense writing is something I don’t encounter often within the Young Adult Genre. I enjoyed the writing because it was very ‘in the moment.’ This allowed the readers to immerse completely into the story. Unfortunately though, the pacing was incredibly awkward, and the words girlfriend and boyfriend, were only mentioned till way later. That made me extremely confused as to whether or not they were dating, or simply just liked each other. On a side note, the description of the foods present in the novel where done so well. I’ve never tried guava pastries, but I really want to now!

The overall enjoyment level of the book will be different for everyone. If you enjoy contemporary, then I recommend This Train Is Being Held! However, if romance isn’t your thing, then you might not enjoy this book as much as I did. What others would define as boring, I define as nail-biting suspense. The author had me hooked throughout the entire story!

I will admit, I was going to give this one three stars. The middle proved frustrating, but the ending was phenomenal. So I bumped it up to four stars!

Age Rating: 15 and up

TW: Police brutality, gang violence, some mature content

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

What is your favorite YA contemporary novel? Have a fabulous day everyone!

| My Instagram | My Pinterest |

Journey To The Center Of The Earth | A Review

Hi everyone! Today I bring you the long awaited review of ‘Journey To The Center Of The Earth’ by Jules Verne. After six long months, I finally finished it! I didn’t DNF it, I just got carried away into other books. (And that’s on reading 4 books at the same time.) For those of you who don’t know, this novel is a 295 page classical adventure that takes place in, for the most part, Iceland, England, and the center of the earth.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne - Penguin Books New  Zealand

When German professor Otto Lidenbrock stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient manuscript, it’s the first step in an epic adventure-one which will take him to the planet’s very core! Lidenbrock, together with his nephew Axel and Icelandic guide Hans, mounts an expedition downward through the layers of the Earth, coming face-to-face with strange creatures, overcoming terrific obstacles, and discovering truly wondrous sights.

First, let’s talk about the initial premise of the story. A journey into the earth sounds exciting and fun! I for one have never heard of such a unique plot, so I was rather intrigued to see how it would turn out! However, the plot execution is where the novel falls a bit short. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely did enjoy reading this classic, but the ending is what really bummed me out. The story had so much potential to grow! There were so many amazing species they talked about, and even saw, but never really discovered. Then again, there is only so much you can do in 295 pages. So overall, the plot execution was just okay. Not incredible, but considering the fact that this was most likely THE FIRST adventure novel out there at the time, I’ll give Mr. Verne a pass.

The characters where actually really interesting. First we have Professor Lidenbrock, who is absolutely hilarious. The novel is told through the eyes of Axel, the professor’s nephew. His sarcastic and rational reactions to his Uncle’s outgoing and determined behavior keeps the story lively and interesting. Hans, their Icelandic assistant, literally saves their butts ten times in row, and it gets even funnier every time. Overall, the characters were simple, yet well-crafted. Not to mention that despite being published in the early 1860s, there were no sexist or racist remarks made by the author in the novel! That pushed me to give this book an immediate extra star.

“Is the Master out of his mind?’ she asked me.
I nodded.
‘And he’s taking you with him?’
I nodded again.
‘Where?’ she asked.
I pointed towards the center of the earth.
‘Into the cellar?’ exclaimed the old servant.
‘No,’ I said, ‘farther down than that.”

― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

The dialogue was absolutely hilarious! I never ever got tired of it. The language was so easy to understand, yet it was very descriptive. Speaking of descriptive, Journey To The Center Of The Earth had me playing a literal movie in my head. It was so descriptive, but in a great way! You also learn A LOT about geology and science. However, due to the stressful situations the characters go through, it isn’t nearly as boring as reading a high school geology textbook. (No offense.)

The writing style was surprisingly simple yet energetic. It was quite easy to understand. So if classics intimidate you due to their formal and hard-to-understand nature, this book is a wonderful place to start!

I must say, I really did enjoy Journey To The Center Of The Earth. In my 2021 Winter TBR Post, I talked about how I’ve been reading this book for a while now. The reason behind that is because adventure is simply not my style. I love realistic fiction and contemporary, so that’s why I decided to take a break from the novel for a while. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly spontaneous read, and I highly recommend it to anyone eager to read a good classic novel. If classical reads aren’t your style, this is the story that will hopefully get you out of your comfort zone! (In a good way of course.)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth is a charming classic that everyone should read!

Age Rating: 10 and up

Final Rating: 8/10 or 4.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read Journey To The Center Of The Earth? If not, what do you think of classical novels? Let me know in the comments down below! Take care and have a fabulous day everyone!

|My Instagram | My Pinterest |

Love From A to Z | A Review

Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing my most anticipated read of 2020, Love From A to Z. Happy new year everyone! I hope 2021 treats you well!

Love from A to Z: Amazon.ca: Ali, S. K.: Books

Even though, for the most part, I’ll read books with aesthetically pleasing covers, I still never review the covers. (Please don’t come for me, I’m a sucker for pretty book covers.) However, can we talk about this book cover! People of color, and Muslims, on a book cover?! I love it! That’s when I immediately knew I had to read this one. And thankfully, I was not disappointed.

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together. An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.
But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.
When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s.
Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.
Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.
Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…
Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting. 

Now on to the actual review! So first let’s talk about the plot. Love From A to Z’s original premise was simple. Two teenagers falling in love is certainly not a unique plot to the Young Adult Genre. But it’s the way the plot was executed that truly made me fall in love with this contemporary novel. The whole marvel and oddity thing keep the story engaging, and gave a unique feel. Every time it switched from Zayneb to Adam, and vice versa, a marvel or oddity would be discovered.

“Maybe that’s what living is—recognizing the marvels and oddities around you.”
― S.K. Ali, Love From A to Z

The main characters were so incredibly diverse and unique. First we have Zayneb; A fiery and passionate hijabi who is half Trinidadian, and half Pakistani. Next we have Adam Chen; An easy going and quiet Chinese, and Finnish boy. I mean, can we talk about the amount of biracial rep?! At first, I didn’t like Zayneb. I thought she was annoying and got overly angry. But then I realized that if you aren’t angry about something, than no one else will be either. Over the course of the novel, Zayneb learnt that there is a method to the madness. What I mean by this is, she learnt how to get angry politely. (Minor Spoilers ahead.) For example; When she wore a t-shirt and leggings in a swimming pool in Doha, the manager told her the custom was to wear tight swimsuits only. To overcome this challenge, she wore a burkini. When the manager refused to let her wear a burkini, it was then that she confronted him. So essentially, what I am trying to say is, Zayneb learnt how to solve a problem calmly. But if she couldn’t solve it calmy, then she would show her anger. Adam was a rather introverted and polite character. He loved making things, especially for his little sister Hanna. Adam was honestly so wholesome. Zayneb and Adam, despite being polar opposites, got along really well. They shared the same values, which certainly was a driving force in their relationship. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I loved how there was no love triangle or any people getting in the way of their love. It was just the two of them. I loved how they accepted each other for who they were, and actually did thorough research on certain obstacles that might affect them in the future. Overall the plot was executed very well! And the characters, including some side characters, were funny, and diverse!

The dialogue between the main characters was raw and pure. The book really gave the readers an interesting and positive look at what it’s like for Muslims to marry. In the media, Muslims are portrayed as terrorists, and women are seen as opressed. In real life, that is totally not the case. In most romantic stories, the couple will always kiss before getting married. In Adam and Zayneb’s case, they weren’t allowed to touch until after marriage. This is done to ensure that lustfullness is not the thriving source of love before marrying someone. It was so cute when they wanted to hug and kiss, but remained respectful of each other and didn’t. It was just so adorably awkward.

The writing style switched between raw and harsh, to poetic and elegant from time to time. However, none of the writing seemed out of place. The author did a great job at setting the mood through her dialogue and writing.

At times the story seemed a bit slow, and at other times it went a bit fast. So the pacing was slightly off. But that didn’t really affect the enjoyment level that much. Overall, this was such a cute read that is great to show people who have mixed feelings about Muslims. Muslims are people just like the rest of the world. That’s why it’s so important to write #ownvoices stories. They can really change a person’s entire perspective. Henceforth why I think that you should definitely pick this one up!

Age Rating: 12 and up

TW: Islamophobia, talk about violence and death

Final Rating: 9/10 or 5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you’re curious about my review policy click here. So, will you read Love From A to Z? Or if you have already, what did you think about it? Have a fabulous day everyone!

| My Instagram | My Pinterest |

Book Reviews

All My Reviews Ordered By Book Title

A

A Castle In The Clouds | A Review

A Pho Love Story | An ARC Review

A Place Called Perfect | A Review

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World | An ARC Review

A Song Below Water | A Review

B

C

D

E

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners | A Review

F

G

H

I

In Deeper Waters | An ARC Review

J

Journey To The Center Of The Earth | A Review

K

L

Love From A to Z | A Review

Love Is a Revolution | A Review

M

Made in Korea | An ARC Review

Made in Manhattan | A Review

N

O

One Last Stop | An ARC Review

P

Q

R

Rogue Princess | A Review

S

Scritch Scratch | A Review

Some Girls Do | A Review

Sugar and Spite | A Review

T

Thanks A Lot, Universe | An ARC Review

The Dead and the Dark | An ARC Review

The Ex Hex | A Review

The Holiday Switch | A Review

The Kids of Cattywampus Street | A Review

The Other Side of Perfect | An ARC Review

The Song of Achilles | A Review

This Train Is Being Held | A Review

Together, Apart | A Review

Turtle Under Ice | A Review

U

V

Vicious | A Review

W

We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This | An ARC Review

What Lives in the Woods | An ARC Review

When You Get the Chance | An ARC Review

X

Y

Yes No Maybe So | A Review

Yesterday Is History | A Review

Z

*ARC means advanced reader’s copy.

Yes No Maybe So | A Review

Hey everyone! Here’s my take on the YA novel ‘Yes No Maybe So.’ Enjoy!

43615530

Goodreads – Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely. 

What I love about this book is that although Maya and Jamie are in fact seventeen years old and can’t vote yet, they still try to spread awareness for the candidate they want to win. This made the story incredibly inspiring as Becky and Aisha really did do an amazing job at showcasing teen voices in action. I even found myself looking up ways for me to get involved in my area’s upcoming elections!

The story is told through the voices of Jamie and Maya. Personally I thought that was the best decision the authors could have made. Jamie’s little inner monologues really add a quirky and awkward feel to his character. Jamie’s character development throughout the novel certainly wasn’t lacking. The way he was trying to understand Maya’s religion was absolutely adorable! However I did feel that Maya’s character felt a bit bland in the beginning. However, as the story developed, so does Maya! She becomes a very intriguing character as more and more obstacles start to stand in her way.

Although I would 100% file this book under the category ‘politics’, there is a healthy balance between politics and the characters’ personal lives. Going into ‘Yes No Maybe So’ I was worried the whole story would revolve around politics, but it was quite the opposite of that. The ratio of personal life to politics is roughly 60:40.

Overall it was a witty and political read that I totally recommend!

Age Rating: 13 and up

TW: Islamophobia

Total Score: 7.5/10 or 4 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you’ve already read the book, what was your opinion on it? Let me know in the comments down below!