Hey everyone! I hope you are well. Today I’ll be reviewing Stritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie. I must say, this one scared me quite a bit. Yes, yes, I’m a scaredy cat. We’ve established that by now. 😆 Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
(Synopsis from goodreads)
Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone. Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her. Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.
Deliciously eerie and mysterious, Lindsay Currie brings us a story all thriller fans will adore! The plot hooked me right from the beginning, and kept my attention till the end! Scritch Scratch is fast-paced and gripping, so it’s definitely the perfect read to get out of a slump.
Furthermore, the characters were not that interesting. Although I respect the author’s ability to create semi-realistic kids without throwing in a gazillion references, I did not feel any connection to the characters. None of them were annoying per se, they were just lacking in development. Fortunately, the main character’s parents were very well developed. They each had their own unique personalities. The MC’s dad is a ghost story author, and runs his own spooky tour bus company. While their mom runs a baking business. How cool is that?!
“Love Ms. Mancini. She’s the only teacher I have who wouldn’t shame a student for falling asleep in class. I think she remembers what it was like to be in seventh grade and that’s what makes her so good at her job.” ― Lindsay Currie, Scritch Scratch
In addition, the dialogue fell short on personality. Most of it was trope-y, and uneventful. However, it’s the writing that really grabbed me.
Man oh man does Lindsay Currie know how to write a chilling story! I was very frightened, yet so intrigued throughout the book. What I found interesting, was that the writing was not very descriptive. This fascinated me as typically thrillers are quite descriptive. Luckily, this didn’t have a negative affect.
The overall enjoyment level of Scritch Scratch is very high. If you’re looking for a thrilling story with a wonderful message about friendship, and never forgetting those who came before us, then this is definitely the novel for you!
Age Rating: 10 and up
TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, lots of talk of a drowning accident, talk of abandonment
Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars
What’s your favorite thriller? I’d love to know. Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!
Hey everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk. Feel free to read my interview with the author here! I hope you enjoy!
(Thank you Netgalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but then a terrifying fall shatters her leg — and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected — namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive castmate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she experienced in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet — something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else? Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.
The original premise of The Other Side of Perfect is very unique and intriguing. Luckily, the execution was done quite well. I loved the talk about racism in the ballet industry. It’s something you never hear about, so I’m beyond happy the issue was addressed.
Our main character Alina Keeler is going through a rough patch. Due to an injury in her leg, she can’t dance Ballet anymore. At first, I thought she was unnecessarily rude and judgmental. Eventually, as time passes, Alina learns to grow from her experiences. Towards the end, I started to admire her character much more than I did when I first started reading the book.
The side characters were all quite diverse and three dimensional. Unfortunately though, Alina’s best friend Margot was very infuriating. Throughout the whole book, she’s mean and crude to others for no reason. Thankfully, our main character’s other friends are all very sweet. Each of the characters go through development, and change throughout the novel. My favorite character is Jude. I love how the he defies gender stereotypes. The topic was discussed quite a bit, and I’m so glad the author discussed it. That’s actually one of the reasons why I’m rating The Other Side of Perfect higher. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Alina and her younger sister Josie. It felt incredibly realistic and raw. Also, can we talk about the fact that the bullies in the novel are named Jake and Paul. Okay social commentary, I see you. 👀
Moreover, I couldn’t connect much with the dialogue. There was too much profanity for my liking, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It just isn’t something I particularly enjoy.
In addition, the writing was just okay. It wasn’t very engaging, and thus bored me a bit. The author rambled a lot as well, which caused the writing to be repetitive. However, Mariko Turk successfully created a character that actually felt like a teenager. The story is told through Alina’s perspective, and is done very well. She’s a morally grey character that’s a teensy bit selfish. But you can’t help but like her! The author captures Alina’s emotions and sentiments perfectly.
The overall enjoyment level of The Other Side of Perfect is well, fine. The first 70% was boring and uneventful. Luckily, the last 30% was very enjoyable! If you’re looking for a coming of age novel on dance, racism, and grief, than this is definitely the book for you!
Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely YA novel, The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…
Title: The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 11, 2021
Content Warning: protagonist is dealing with a lot of anger and some depression, various experiences of racism
Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?
Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.
Find out more about The Other Side of Perfect with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!
Without further ado, here is the interview!
1. Hi there Mariko! I’d just like to say how amazing it is to have you here with us today! Before we start, do you mind telling us some random facts about yourself?
Mariko: Hello and thanks so much for having me! Some random facts about me are: I love tea and tacos, I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Colorado, when I’m at home I exclusively wear pajamas, and my favorite flowers are hydrangeas!
2. Congrats on your debut! I’m so incredibly happy for you! If I may ask, what inspired the making of The Other Side of Perfect?
Mariko: It was inspired by a couple of different things. First, right after college, I broke my leg while dancing ballet. Second, I’ve always been interested in how people grapple with the negative aspects of the things they love. For instance, I love ballet, but I know it has its share of harmful aspects—like its lack of diversity and its reliance on racial stereotypes in many classical pieces. So I started wondering, if ballet perpetuates these negative things, does that mean I shouldn’t love it? And if I do still love and support it, what does that mean about me?
When I decided to try writing a YA novel, I imagined what would happen if a 16-year-old half-Japanese girl who dreamed of dancing professionally had a career-ending injury and had to deal with losing something she loved with all her heart and with wondering if she ever should have loved it in the first place. Her story became The Other Side of Perfect.
Saniya: Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking response Ms. Turk!
3. The Other Side of Perfect tells the story of a young girl of color as she navigates racism, ballet, and love. The diversity is amazing! What was your experience writing the novel?
Mariko: This book is so special to me because it’s the first book I ever finished! So in a lot of ways, my experience writing it felt so new. I pantsed the first draft. I knew the general idea and some of the characters, but I figured out the themes and the plot as I went along, and it went pretty quickly. I finished in a few months. But then I spent about two years revising. I actually loved the long revision process because it gave me a chance to make the themes richer and more complex, and get to know the characters on a deeper level.
Saniya: I’m glad you loved the long revision process!
4. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would you say?
Mariko: To just write and not worry about if it’s “perfect” or not. My tendency to edit as I wrote really slowed me down and stopped me from finishing so many projects because I’d get so caught up in individual sentences and paragraphs that I’d lose steam. The Other Side of Perfect is the first book I ever finished, and it’s because I told myself I had to keep moving. I knew I’d have lots of changes to make. Sometimes I realized what those changes should be when I finished a chapter. But I didn’t go back to change them until I had a full draft.
Saniya: I loved what you said about how you just need to keep moving. It’s so easy to get caught up in little things, when we should really just be moving forward instead of holding ourselves back. Well said!
5. Racism is something that many people of color experience, and it really hurts my heart to see kids experiencing discrimination. Why do you think it’s important to portray authentic and diverse characters in the media?
Mariko: I think it’s so important for all young people to be able to see themselves in the stories they read and watch. And not just in one book or movie here and there, but in many. Young people deserve multiple stories that they relate to and that speak to them and their experiences in various ways. So in other words, diverse characters shouldn’t only star in stories about racism and discrimination, but also in stories about love and friendship and family and school and everything else.
Saniya: I couldn’t agree more.
6. Lastly, what do you hope readers will take away from The Other Side of Perfect? Thank you so much for your time Ms. Turk!
Mariko: I hope one message readers take away is that there’s a way out of isolation and unhappiness. And that finding the way out might be tough, messy, and take longer than you want it to, but that it can also be funny, exciting, and full of unexpectedly spectacular possibilities. Thank you for these wonderful questions!
Saniya: This is such a beautiful message! Thank you once again for answering my questions. It was truly a delight to have you. 🙂
About The Author
Mariko Turk grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in creative writing. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children’s literature. Currently, she works as a Writing Center consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder. She lives in Colorado with her husband and baby daughter, where she enjoys tea, walks, and stories of all kinds.
Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario. This is actually the first time I’m reviewing a book written in verse. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive. But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone. Haunting and evocative—and told in dual perspectives—Turtle Under Ice examines two sisters frozen by grief as they search for a way to unthaw.
I usually read books in verse if I’m trying to get out of a slump. However, I just picked this one up spontaneously. And I’m happy that I did! Turtle Under Ice is a story full of emotion and the will to just push on. It oozes out with sisterly love, and tells us that we should always be grateful for our parents.
The story follows sisters Ariana and Rowena. It’s told through both their perspectives and is done astonishingly well. Despite disliking Ariana, I can 100% understand where she’s coming from. Ariana wants to be an older sister Rowena can look up to, but she knows she’s failing that role. I found this to be incredibly touching and relatable. Ariana is also a creative, and uses her art to cope. She actually does her summative art project on grief. Meanwhile, Rowena, or Row, uses soccer as an escape from her heartache. What really broke me is that Row sees her mother on the field when she plays. The reason behind this is that her mom was always so busy, that she could never attend any of her soccer matches. Furthermore, I ADORED the sibling dynamic. It perfectly captured the fact that no matter what happens in life, they’ll always have each other, and it was just the sweetest thing!
“Maybe hope is like a turtle under ice breathing through its shell, through its biochemistry, still alive. Maybe hope waits for spring to come, for the ice to thaw for the weight of the pond that encapsulates us to melt into nothing. But maybe we are not meant to wait for springtime. Maybe, instead, we are meant to break the ice and be free.” ― Juleah del Rosario, Turtle Under Ice
In addition, through the dialogue we got to see how Ariana interacts with other people. The way she talked to people with no care in the word was quite interesting. Aside from that, there wasn’t much dialogue. Instead, there were more monologues, which brings me to the writing!
“There was no right time for my mother to die, because when someone we loves dies, it will always be untimely” ― Juleah del Rosario, Turtle Under Ice
Juleah del Rosario’s writing is truly beautiful. Turtle Under Ice is written in verse, and is done exquisitely. The author creates such vivid yet depressing scenes that will make you want to read on! It’s absolutely stunning, and isn’t overly metaphorical or unclear.
Overall, Turtle Under Ice is a quick and emotional read perfect for those who are looking for a moving story on familial relationships and grief.
Age Rating: 14 and up
TW: Death of a parent (off page but talked about a lot), miscarriage, main character runs away from home
Final Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 stars
What’s your favorite novel written in verse? Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!
Hiya! Today I’ll be talking about the books I read in April! I’m actually quite happy with this month’s results. I read more books in this month than I have ever read in any month before! Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
Novels I Read
Rogue Princess by B. R. Myers: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a gripping Cinderella retelling that also had a lot of sci-fi elements. Read my full review here!
(ARC) Made In Korea by Sarah Suk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) I adored this!! Made In Korea is essentially a book about rival high school businesses but make it K-Beauty, and it was so much fun. 😆 I buddy read this one with Rania and Ritz. Do check out their blogs as well! Read my review here, and my interview with the author here!
Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25 out of 5 stars) I read this one in two days! It was so intriguing! Yesterday Is History is a touching and quick read on time travel and love. Read my review here!
A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was my first middle grade read of the year, and it did not disappoint! The premise is incredibly unique too. Review to come!
(ARC) The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars) This was a sweet coming of age about dance and musicals. Check out my review here, and my interview with the author here!
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a chilling middle grade novel about a ghost that follows a girl home. Review to come!
Graphic Novels and Manga read
Blue Lock Volumes 1-11 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yuusuke Nomura: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars) I may or may not have binged this series. It was THAT good. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so interesting! I can’t recommend it enough.
Shortcake Cake Volumes 3-6 by Suu Morishita: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. The art is incredibly stunning, but I have major issues with a lot of things in the series.
Ao Haru Ride Volumes 12-13 by Io Sakisaka: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) Only one more volume left! It feels so bittersweet, but I’m glad I enjoyed the series.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) I didn’t like the Prince much, but it was still a cute story nonetheless.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. I didn’t love the art style, and the ending felt rushed.
(ARC) Star⇄Crossed!! Volume 1 by Junko: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a fun and light hearted manga on switching bodies with a J-Pop idol.
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) This was so adorable!! I loved it! You can read my full review here!
Total Number Of Books Read: 30 (A new record!)
Total Number Of Posts Published: 7
Average Rating: 7.2/10 or 3.7 out of 5 stars
April @ Booked Till Midnight gives us some summer book recs! And she also celebrates her birthday! Happy Birthday April!!
Hiya! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought why not do the three bookish things tag! I was tagged by the lovely Isha @ Paperbacktomes. Do check out their blog as well. 😀
Three Read Once and Loved
I absolutely adored Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier! It was the perfect cozy mystery. I can’t wait to read more books by them. Made In Korea by Sarah Suk was such a great book too, I loved it so much! History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera had very gripping writing, I couldn’t put it down.
Three Titles I’ve Watched but Not Read
I have watched The Hunger Games, Moxie, and Shadow and Bone. I’ve never read them though. I’m absolutely loving Shadow and Bone so far!
Three Characters I Love
I adored Bao from “A Pho Love Story.” He was kind and genuine. Valarie from “Made In Korea” and Zayneb from “Love From A to Z” were both goal driven and compassionate people. I loved reading about them!
Three Current Favorite Book Covers
I absolutely love the cover of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan has a stunning cover too. Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas has such a cute cover. I really love it.
Three Favorite Authors
Deborah Ellis is a middle grade favorite of mine. I adore SK Ali‘s writing style and characters. Yoshitoki Ōima creates such heart-wrenching and emotional stories, I love their work.
I hope you enjoyed the tag. 😄 Have you read or watched Shadow and Bone? If so, what are your thoughts on it? I’d love to know. Have a great day everyone!
Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing spectacularly. Before we get into it I just want to say…Happy Spring!!! As displayed in today’s post thumbnail, the change of seasons is really just an excuse for me to use Studio Ghibli clips. 😆 Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
(PS: Click on the covers of the books to add them to goodreads.)
First, let’s recap!
In my Winter TBR post, I said I’d read five novels. I’m happy to report that I read all of them! With that said, onto the actual TBR!
1. Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers
This is a gender-bent science fiction retelling of Cinderella, which sounds so unique! I’ve actually been meaning to read this one since November, so it’s about time I pick it up.
2. The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk
I love middle grade novels, and this one just seems to be amazing! I can’t wait to delve into it!
3. Made In Korea by Sarah Suk
This YA novel sounds so exciting! I love how it’s about entrepreneurship too!
4. Jelly by Clare Rees
Survival stories have always keened my interest. However, for the most part, they seem to follow a similar format. But a group of teens trapped on a giant jellyfish? Now that’s different! And just look at this sick cover!
5. We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Solomon
This is an exciting rom-com about two teens whose parents are involved in the wedding business. One’s parents are wedding planners, and the other’s are wedding caterers. The premise sounds super fun and I can’t wait to read it!
6. Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson
This seems like a heartbreaking read that reminds me of History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera…Let’s shed some tears!
7. Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie
This is an eerie middle grade novel about a girl who’s being followed. As long as I don’t read it at night, I’m sure it won’t be too scary. 😂
8. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
This gives me major Zuko from Avatar The Last Airbender vibes, and I am totally here for it. 😆
9. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
I’ve been putting this one off for a while, so I think it’s finally time I give it another go. This’ll also be my first V.E. Schwab book!
10. Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka
I’m hoping to finish the remaining three volumes this spring. This series is such a fun ride about being in high school. (Really bad pun intended) I hope to pick up the author’s newest series too!
I hope you enjoyed reading my TBR list. What are some books on your spring TBR? I’d love to know! Have a fabulous day!
Hiya everyone! Today I am here with a special treat; An author interview! I am super excited to be introducing the lovely Francesca Burke who is here with me today to answer some questions about life as an author. I hope you enjoy!
First let’s talk about Burke’s newest novel; The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes. Here’s a quick synopsis!
Princess Amelia’s home, the Kingdom of Mirrors, is on its knees, ravaged by the cantankerous Sapphire Dragon. She must find a way to rid her country of its unwelcome guest and work out how to restore its fortunes before her parents marry her off to clear the kingdom’s debts. Prince Richard of the Valley of Dreams knows he’s not very heroic… he’d rather read about quests than actually go on one. But when he finds himself travelling to a haunted tower, he discovers a treacherous conspiracy that could rip the Three Kingdoms apart… and learns there might be some heroism tucked up his sleeve after all. Esme Delacroix is a psychic living in Stormhaven, the only part of the Three Kingdoms where magic is taboo. A terrifying vision sends Esme and her friend Violet on a perilous quest that shakes Stormhaven and the Three Kingdoms to its core.
Without further ado, let’s get right into the interview!
1. Was there anything that inspired the making of The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes? If so, what inspired it?
Ms. Burke: Yes! I wanted to write the sort of fairy tale I wish I had read as a child/teen. Something with all the magical elements and questing, but with fewer irritating princes and helpless princesses.
Saniya: I totally agree!
2. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Ms. Burke: Learn to plan! Or at least try to know where your story’s going before you start. It’s going to make the editing process so much easier.
Saniya: That’s a great point! Effective planning is really important, regardless of if it’s for writing or not.
3. Did you always want to be a writer? Or did you have something else in mind?
Ms. Burke: I think I wanted to be a pilot when I was very small! I sort of fell into writing when I was 12 or so, and I’ve been doing it ever since (I’m 25 now), so I think I’ve wanted to do it and been doing it for long enough that I can’t really remember a time when it wasn’t part of my life.
Saniya: That’s very cool!
4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Ms. Burke: Is that… is that…do people do things other than write? Just kidding. I like to read, obviously, and I like walking, which is good because there’s not a lot else to do at the moment… I have a blog, Indifferent Ignorance, where I chat about books and writing and sometimes more intense things like politics. It’s kind of part of my writing work but doesn’t really earn any money, so I think it counts as a hobby. Or I hope it does, I really don’t do much else. Let’s blame the pandemic for that, and not my being an introvert.
Saniya: Reading and walking are wonderful things to do!
5. Do you have a specific writing routine? Is there a certain time of day that you write the most?
Ms. Burke: I yo-yo between a strict routine and no routine. I work best when the rest of the world’s still asleep, and my general routine fluctuates with the seasons, so in the summer I’m usually up early and working away at 7am. Left to my own devices, I do nothing between about midday and early afternoon, and then I work in the evenings. This is not conducive to being a student or having a job, I should add. Why does no one in the UK take a siesta?! Anyway, in the winter I’m in hibernation mode so I do write in the morning and evenings, but more in the evenings.
Saniya: I can totally understand how your routine would fluctuate depending on the season you’re in!
6. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories?
Ms. Burke: That evening dresses should always come with pockets. There are other, more serious, ‘messages’ in the novel, but telling you any of them would be a GIANT SPOILER so you’ll just have to read it to find out!
Saniya: All dresses should come with pockets!!! Well there you have it folks, now you just have to read Francesca Burke’s newest novel!
Alrighty~ That’s a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed the interview! Here is some information about Ms. Burke!