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

Hi all! I hope you are well. Today I bring you my review for We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Enjoy!

**I received an advanced readers copy via Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

We Can't Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Quinn Berkowitz and Tarek Mansour’s families have been in business together for years: Quinn’s parents are wedding planners, and Tarek’s own a catering company. At the end of last summer, Quinn confessed her crush on him in the form of a rambling email—and then he left for college without a response. Quinn has been dreading seeing him again almost as much as she dreads another summer playing the harp for her parents’ weddings. When he shows up at the first wedding of the summer, looking cuter than ever after a year apart, they clash immediately. Tarek’s always loved the grand gestures in weddings—the flashier, the better—while Quinn can’t see them as anything but fake. Even as they can’t seem to have one civil conversation, Quinn’s thrown together with Tarek wedding after wedding, from performing a daring cake rescue to filling in for a missing bridesmaid and groomsman. Quinn can’t deny her feelings for him are still there, especially after she learns the truth about his silence, opens up about her own fears, and begins learning the art of harp-making from an enigmatic teacher. Maybe love isn’t the enemy after all—and maybe allowing herself to fall is the most honest thing Quinn’s ever done.

This book will punch you in the gut, but in the best way possible. 

Incredibly poignant and heart-wrenching, Rachel Lynn Solomon delivers a young adult contemporary unlike any other. To start off, the book wasn’t predictable at all, which is quite rare for me in terms of YA romance. Furthermore, the initial plot of We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This had me thinking this would just be a romantic comedy, and boy was I wrong! This was such a rich novel, whose characters laid bare on the page.

Speaking of characters, despite not throwing in a gazillion references to pop cultures, the book’s characters are immensely relatable. Seventeen year old Quinn Berkowitz hates grand gestures. Eighteen year old Tarek Mansour on the other hand? It’s all he knows romance to be. The story essentially follows Quinn’s life as she navigates love (it wouldn’t be a Rachel Solomon book without it), family life, and the future. I  must say, the experiences Quinn goes through really had me all over the place. Despite disliking Quinn, (I found her to be extremely infuriating), she feels so real as a character. Moreover, Tarek was the absolute sweetest! His character was so endearing. Tarek loves baking, and of course, rom-coms. What I found to be quite refreshing is that despite being a guy, he loves romance. His infatuation in it is something I have strictly only seen in female protagonists, so it was definitely a nice change of pace. Unfortunately though, I could never really understand what Tarek saw in Quinn. When he was basically head over heels for Quinn, she didn’t reciprocate even 50% of that energy despite having a huge crush on him. Admittedly, this made me dislike her a lot more.

On a more positive note, an aspect of We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This that I absolutely adored was the representation. Quinn is Jewish, and lives with OCD. Tarek is Muslim, and lives with eczema, and depression. I can’t speak on how accurate the OCD, Jewish, or depression representation was. However, I am someone that lives with eczema and is Muslim. In terms of eczema rep, I think it was represented quite accurately. As for the Muslim rep, I didn’t feel represented in it at all. But that’s okay! Not every Muslim person is the same.

In addition, the dialogue is where it really hit me. It was just too good! The interactions Quinn and Tarek have are so genuine. They fight, they grieve, they love, and here I am tearing up, witnessing their whirlwind of emotions.

The story is told through Quinn’s point of view, and is written very smoothly. There aren’t any clunky paragraphs, and no typos either. Although, I will say that some chapter transitions seemed as though they had cut off mid scene. Moreover, Tarek and Quinn had a very on and off relationship. At times, it felt much too repetitive. Nevertheless, the writing style was very charming, which is always a plus!

The overall enjoyment level of We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This is, is very high. It explores various aspects such as mental health, relationships, consent, and so much more! We rarely get to see these topics compiled into a single novel, and that my friends is what makes this book a must read for all. 

Age Rating: 15 and up

TW: OCD, Depression, Anxiety, some us of alcohol

Final Rating: 9/10 or 4.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What’s one contemporary that made you cry? 😆 Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!

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Made in Korea | An ARC Review

Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing Sarah Suk’s Made in Korea; A delightful and charming YA contemporary. I had buddy read this with some amazing bloggers; Rania and Ritz! Do check out their blogs as well if you can. Anyways, let’s get into it!

Made in Korea | Book by Sarah Suk | Official Publisher Page | Simon &  Schuster Canada

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris. Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover… What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor. Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for. But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book via TBR and Beyond Tours and Simon & Schuster Canada. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was everything I ever needed! Rival school businesses and K-Beauty will always be a win in my book. What makes this novel so special is that the characters make bad decisions while still remaining logical. You typically see people making bad decisions emotionally, never logically, so that was very refreshing to see. Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that despite being marketed as a rom-com, I really don’t think it is one as the book deals with a lot of of hard hitting topics. Essentially what I’m saying is that if you’re looking for a funny enemies to lovers, you most likely won’t get that from Made in Korea. Anyways, on with the review!

What I loved most about this book, is that Valarie and Wes had very distinct personalities. They each have their own goals, and progressively became the best versions of themselves as the story went along. There was an abundance of character development, and I loved seeing them grow. I’ll admit, at first I didn’t like Wes. I couldn’t understand why everyone, including himself, kept of saying that he was so nice. I didn’t think he was nice till the last 30 percent of the book. Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed reading about Valarie and Wes’ relationship dynamic.

The side characters were such a joy! Charlie, Valarie’s cousin and business partner, will forever be my all time favorite book character! I don’t think I’ve ever read about someone so incredibly wholesome. Taemin was also absolutely hilarious, and he genuinely made me laugh. Kristy was another great character too. Furthermore, Valarie and her halmeoni (grandmother), had such a cute relationship. I loved how much they cared about each other, it felt so real and genuine. Valarie’s older sister Samantha was a character I could really resonate with. She has all these expectations placed on her because she’s the eldest sibling, and it’s something that Valarie will never understand. I was interested in their relationship, and would like to have seen more interactions between them. Pauline however, I wasn’t too fond of. In my opinion, she was a fairly dull character, and I couldn’t see why Charlie could like her. It felt as though he had a crush on Pauline just for the sake of it. Her infatuation with marine biology was cool though.

The dialogue in Made in Korea was very well written, I really felt all the emotions the characters were experiencing. This novel contains by far one of the best dialogues I have ever read. It was extremely raw and heart-wrenching. I loved every bit of it.

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In addition, the writing style was simple and easy to follow. It’s told by the perspectives of Valarie and Wes. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I can’t tell the difference between the perspectives of characters. Thankfully, I had no issues telling them apart. My only complaint is that the constant italics complicated things a bit. Nevertheless, the story had me hooked on every word.

The overall enjoyment level of Made in Korea is through the roof! You’ll definitely not want to put it down. If you love the idea of entrepreneurial enemies to lovers, or love it when opposite attract, than this is definitely the book for you! I highly recommend this book to all contemporary fans!

Age Rating: 14 and up

TW: Some use of alcohol

Final Rating: 9/10 or 4.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you for reading (or skimming). You can read my interview with the author here! Have you read Made in Korea? What’s your favorite YA contemporary? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a fabulous day!

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Blog Tour: Made In Korea // Author Interview With Sarah Suk!

Hiya! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting yet another blog tour stop and interview with Sarah Suk, the author of Made in Korea! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…

Made in Korea | Book by Sarah Suk | Official Publisher Page | Simon &  Schuster Canada

Book Info

Title: Made in Korea by Mariko Turk

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 18, 2021

Synopsis

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

Find out more about Made in Korea with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

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Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Sarah! I just want to say that I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we get into the interview, do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me! So I’m Sarah – nice to meet you – and I live in Vancouver, Canada where I write books for kids and teens. Other than writing and reading, I love film, photography, spending time by the water, and making souffle pancakes.

2. Any book that mentions Hi-Chews is a win for me! So I have to ask, what’s your favorite Hi-Chew flavor? After reading your (lovely) novel, I’ve learnt that there is a flavor for every occasion. What flavor would you give Made In Korea?

Sarah: My favorite flavor would have to be strawberry. As for a flavor for Made in Korea, I’d have to say mango! Mango is Valerie’s celebration flavor, and this book is very celebratory to me. Both in personal ways, because it is my debut novel, and in the book itself, because I feel like the story is a
celebration of many things, including Korean culture and teen entrepreneurship.

Saniya: Ooo good choice, strawberry is always nice! I NEED to try the celebration flavor now. 😆

3. I love how Made In Korea revolves around young entrepreneurs! What inspired the entrepreneurial aspect of the novel?

Sarah: I love that part too! I was just really intrigued by the idea of students selling things at school and running their own businesses. Teens are so innovative and creative, and I wanted to explore that through an entrepreneurial lens in Made in Korea.

4. If I may ask, what is your favorite scene in the book and why?

Sarah: Definitely all the scenes between Valerie and Halmeoni (her grandmother). Those were some of my favorite moments in the book. They were just very healing and tender. I also loved writing the Halloween scenes!

Saniya: 100% agree. Valarie and her halmeoni have the best bond. Ahh yes, the Halloween scenes are iconic!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine?

Sarah: I feel like this changes with each project and sometimes even with each day, but there a few things that have stayed consistent in my writing routine. I always write down my writing goal for the day in my bullet journal to help me keep track of what I need to do. Then I usually make myself a cup of tea, sit down at my desk, procrastinate for a while, and realize I should probably turn off my wi-fi if I want to get any work done. Sometimes I also listen to an instrumental or lofi playlist while I write to
help me focus.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you use a bullet journal, they truly are helpful. I liked what you said about how your routine changes with each project too!

6. Is there a character in the book that you resonate most with?

Sarah: I resonate with each of them in different ways because I feel like I can see a part of myself in every character. For example, I relate with Valerie’s ambition and tendency to define herself by her goals, as well as Wes’ passion for the arts and people pleasing nature. I even resonate with some of the side characters like Charlie and Pauline in their loyalty and inquisitiveness.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from Made In Korea after reading it?

Sarah: Mostly, I hope readers will feel something while reading the book. Whether it makes them laugh or reflect or empathize with a character, I hope there would be something in the story that sparks a sense of joy.

Saniya: That’s such a beautiful message, I love it!

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Giveaway (US/Canada Only)

One winner will receive a finished copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on May 24th.

Click this link to enter the giveaway!!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fc15a59531/

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About The Author

Sarah Suk (Author of Made in Korea)

Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.

//Website//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads//

Thank you so much for reading this blog tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed it. Ms. Suk’s debut novel is amazing, and I can’t wait for you to read it! Have a great day!

Ten YA Novels By BIPOC Authors You Need To Check Out!

Hi all! Today I’ll be talking about some YA novels by authors of color that I believe need more recognition. I tried to pick books that aren’t necessarily as present in the book community so that you could discover some new voices!

Disclaimer: Some synopsis’ are summarized by me, others are taken from goodreads.)

(PS: To add the books to goodreads, simply press on the book covers.)

1. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

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The story centers around seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan. By day, she works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. By night, Jo writes for a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” And the story takes off from there in such an intriguing way.

This is a young adult historical novel about fighting racism and gendernorms, and I am 100% here for it!

2. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer (Raybearer, #1) by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer revolves around Tarisai, a teen who has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. However, The Lady wants Tarisai to kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust, as she as compelled to obey this order. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

Doesn’t this sound like such a unique fantasy story? I definitely think so!

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3. Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai

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Butterfly Yellow is a story about a young Vietnamese girl and her little brother. As they get ready to go to America, her brother Linh is ripped from her arms, leaving Hằng behind in Vietnam. After six long years, she makes it to Texas, USA as a refugee. Once Hằng finally reunites with her brother Linh, he doesn’t remember her! She has come so far, and will do anything to bridge the gap between them.

This is an incredibly heart wrenching and beautiful novel.

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4. The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves

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The New David Espinoza revolves around a teenage boy named David. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully’s slap goes viral at the end of junior year, David vows to use the summer to bulk up— do what it takes to become a man—and wow everyone when school starts again in the fall. Soon David is spending all his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that’s full of bodybuilders. Frustrated with his slow progress, his life eventually becomes all about his muscle gains. As David falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world, pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he’ll have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything. 

Male body dysphoria is something I rarely see present in books, so I’m happy to see the issue being addressed! This is also an own voices novel.

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5. This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams

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This is a young adult romance featuring two New York teens; Isabelle and Alex. Isabellle is a dancer, and Alex, a baseball player who wants to be a poet. Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, 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.

This is an authentic young adult drama with one of the best family dynamics I have ever seen!

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6. Once Upon an Eid by A Collection of Authors

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices: Amazon.ca:  Ali, S. K., Saeed, Aisha, Alfageeh, Sara: Books

This is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!

This book is just the cutest thing ever! If you’re looking for an own-voices Muslim rep, this is definitely the book for you!

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7. Want by Cindy Pon

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Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost. With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary. Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

This is a perfect novel for all the science fiction and dystopian lovers out there!

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8. Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Despite being fictional, Internment tells the story of many people today. It’s an eye-opening book perfect for those who enjoyed The Hate U Give.

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9. Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by A Collection of Authors

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

This is a collection of intersecting stories set at a powwow that bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. In a high school gym full of color and song, Native families from Nations within the borders of the U.S. and Canada dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. They are the heroes of their own stories.

If you want to read more Indigenous own voice books, then this is 100% the book for you!

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10. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Pet

Pet is a rather unusual, but gripping tale about a girl named Jam. In her city Lucille, there are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

Pet is a bizarre yet astounding tale that I just know whimsical fiction lovers will come to adore!

I hope you found some great books to add to your TBR! Have you read any of these? I’d love to know. Stay safe everyone! 💙

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