From Page to Screen: Everything, Everything

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Source: Alloy Entertainment

I loved Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon when I read it last year so I was super excited to see the movie, especially when I discovered Amandla Stenberg was playing Maddy.

For those that haven’t read this book (for shame!), the story follows 18-year-old Maddy who has spent the majority of her life inside her house because she has a disease that basically makes her allergic to everything. However, when a boy named Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door, Maddy begins to think maybe some things are worth the risk.

I thought the casting for the film was really well done. I was hesitant about Robinson as Olly at first but seeing him in the role, I thought he was perfectly casted. I also thought Anika Noni Rose as Maddy’s mom was a good choice though I do wish they would’ve chosen an Asian actress since Maddy’s mom was Asian in the book. However, as I suspected when I first saw the trailer, the movie basically flipped the races of Maddy’s parents, making her father Asian. Still, her father is dead in the film so this diminished the opportunity for Asian representation, which is disappointing.

Besides that, the film did make a few other changes that I wasn’t particularly fond of. For one, Maddy and Olly’s text conversations were shown in the form of them meeting up in Maddy’s architectural models, along with the astronaut she includes in each of her models. I just thought this was a strange way to show their conversations and didn’t like it at all. I especially didn’t like that the astronaut kind of became a character. It just seemed strange to me.

I was also disappointed that the film took out Nick’s friend but he wasn’t necessary for the story so I get the change. Another change, which I actually did like, was that Carla’s daughter and Maddy were actually friends in the film because they weren’t in the book. It was nice that Maddy had a friend that was around her age.

Overall, I did like the film. Of course it didn’t hold a candle to the book but it was decent. Would I see it again? Probably not, but it was a nice romantic film and as far as book to movie adaptations go, I’ve definitely seen worse.

Have you seen the Everything, Everything movie yet? Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below.

ARC Book Review: Flame in the Mist

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Synopsis:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from First in Line and B-Fest. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on May 16, 2017.*

I didn’t know this was a Mulan retelling until someone on Instagram said it was and that made me feel so much better because my first thought while reading was, “Is this supposed to be like Mulan or are the similarities just an unfortunate coincidence?” Once I knew it was a retelling I was more comfortable with the similarities between the plots and I also liked how much Renée Ahdieh also changed it for her own story.

The first noticeable difference is this novel takes place in feudal Japan not Han China. However, there’s also a lot of other differences. I’d say the only real similarities is that Mariko disguises herself as a man and she develops romantic feelings for one of the men she ends up working alongside. Otherwise the stories are actually very different.

Mariko ends up disguising herself as a means of survival. Walking around in the jungle is never a good idea. Walking around in the jungle as a woman is an even a worse idea. It’s unfortunate but it’s also true. So Mariko takes on a new (male) identity and heads on a mission to find the Black Clan who she believes is responsible for trying to kill her and killing all those that were with her.

She of course finds them and figures out a way to weasel into their group. It’s not easy and she quickly realizes that while she’s smart in a lot of way, she’s not exactly “street smart.” Still, while working with the Black Clan she begins to make friends and even finds some romance.

Besides Mariko, the story also follows other characters. Told in the third person the story switches around a bit to Mariko’s brother, Kenshin, the Emperor, and members of the Black Clan. The jump in perspectives was nice because at points I found Mariko’s story to be a bit slow. I wanted action and she’s a planner, which is fine I just wasn’t really interested in all her plotting.

There’s also a great deal of mystery and magic in this novel and while I think the mystery did it’s job in making me want to know more it also left me thoroughly confused. Mainly, I was very confused by the ending and I’m not sure that I’m supposed to be. This book is the first in the series so obviously the cliff hanger sets up the next novel but I think the ending of this book was a plot twist that I somehow missed. I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll just say that the ending left me feeling unsatisfied, not entirely eager to continue on with the series but also curious to know what happens next.

Another issue I had with the novel was the romance. I won’t say who it’s with because one thing I did like about this novel was I wasn’t entirely sure at first who Mariko’s romance would be with. Not to say it took me by surprise when it happened but there’s definitely a few twists that I was definitely surprised by and liked a lot. What I didn’t enjoy was the ease in which the conflict between Mariko and her love interest was resolved. It just seemed way too easy to me. It was like there was this huge betrayal and then a few chapters it was like, “Never mind, we’re good.” I didn’t get it all and it didn’t sit right with me.

Besides that though, I did really love the romance. It made me swoon, which sounds cheesy to say but it’s true. Plus, I just really liked the relationship between them. Mariko spent her whole life feeling less than just because she was a woman and with the Black Clan and her love interest she began to realize that being a woman wasn’t a weakness or a fault, it was just who she was. I absolutely loved that and I loved that overall message of the book.

For that alone I really did enjoy this novel. Would I read it again? I’m not sure. Still, I think you should give this book a try. It’s really interesting and like I said, the romance is fantastic.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“You are first and foremost a person. A reckless, foolish person, but a person nonetheless. If I ever say you are not permitted to do something, rest assured that the last reason I would ever say so would be because you are a girl.”

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Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

It’s been way too long since I read a LGBTQ centered novel so I was happy to pick up this one. Simon has been sitting on my shelves for about a year now and for some reason I just never got around to reading it. However, after hearing there’s going to be a movie and needing a quick read after the behemoth that was a A Court of Wings and Ruin, I decided to give it a chance and I’m so glad I did.

The novel is told in the first person POV of Simon Spier who’s gay but not out yet. Though he’s not really afraid to come out and knows he’s lucky enough to have family and friends that will except him, he’s just not ready yet, which is perfectly fine. However, his life gets complicated when his fellow classmate Martin discovers Simon’s secret emails to “Blue,” another gay student who Simon met through the school’s unofficial Tumblr.

Martin uses the emails to blackmail Simon, leading to a lot of problems for Simon who is basically put in the position of either agreeing to help Martin or being outed. Yeah, I’m not Martin’s biggest fan either. Though this is obviously a terrible situation for Simon to be in Becky Albertalli somehow managed to make this novel both funny, romantic, and very heartfelt.

Simon’s sense of humor had be literally laughing out loud and I loved reading his emails with Blue. They’re so incredibly cute together and I loved the mystery of trying to figure out who Blue was. For me, Blue’s identity was surprising enough that I loved the big reveal but wasn’t so surprising that it felt like it came of nowhere. Basically, it was perfectly done.

Besides, Simon and Blue’s epic romance, I also really loved almost every character and for different reasons. Simon’s group of friends includes his best friends Nick and Leah, and relatively new girl Abby, who causes some friction in the friend group, mainly because Leah’s jealous of her. Though Leah annoyed me at points I also found her to be relatable and grew to love her. I really liked Nick and Abby from beginning to end though, especially Abby. She was my favorite.

I also loved Simon’s family. He has an older sister Alice and a younger sister Nora, and I liked that they were so incredibly close but also all had their own secrets. Additionally, I thought Simon’s parents were so funny and I liked that they felt like real parents, meaning they were dorky and embarrassing but also loving and not adverse to handing out the occasionally grounding.

Lastly, I really liked Simon’s teacher Ms. Albright for a long list of reasons but mainly because she’s that kind of teacher that you’d totally be friends with on Facebook after you graduate. She’s chill but also a force to be reckoned with if you cross her.

Overall, I just really loved this novel. My copy is now filled with so many tabs it’s a little absurd. I’ve already reread my favorite scenes at least three times and I could reread this book from beginning to end right now, I love it that much. If you haven’t read this book yet I highly recommend it. Honestly, I’m mad it took be this long to finally give it a read.

Borrow or Buy: Are you serious? Buy it. Like yesterday.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”

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Book Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (Spoiler-Free)

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Synopsis:

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: While this is spoiler-free for ACOWAR there will be spoilers from the first two books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Read at your own risk.*

First, I think it’s worth noting that we, the fandom, overhyped this book. We were too hype. A Court of Mist and Fury was an amazing novel that is still my favorite book out of the three and I think everyone went into this novel with very high expectations that would’ve been difficult for any author to meet. With that being said, though I definitely don’t feel like A Court of Wings and Ruin met my expectations, I still throughly enjoyed this book.

The novel began where ACOMAF left off. Feyre was now in the Spring playing the doting… something to Tamlin. It doesn’t seem like the term girlfriend exists in this world but they weren’t exactly engaged either so I’m not sure what you’d call it. Regardless, Feyre played her role well and that’s where we found her at the start of the novel. One of the first things that bothered me about this novel was that I really hoped it would be told in alternating POVs between Feyre and Rhys and that was not the case.

Ninety-eight percent of the novel was told in Feyre’s POV, which was fine, it is her story after all. I just would’ve loved to see more of Rhys’ POV. I wanted to know what was going on at the Night Court while Feyre was away. How was the Inner Circle handling things? How were her sisters? I understood why Sarah J. Maas wrote it out this way. If we, the readers, saw what happened at the Night Court it would’ve been redundant when it was revealed to Feyre. Still, I just really wanted more Rhys.

That aside, I truly enjoyed this novel. The wittiness was still there, making me literally laugh out loud at times. I also legitimately cried at least twice, so badly I couldn’t see what I was reading, so look forward to that. I also loved that we got to know Azriel more. Because he’s so quiet and literally hides in the shadows, I think he went unnoticed at times in ACOMAF. He’s way more involved in this novel and he became one of my absolute faves. I 100 percent support a book just about Azriel. He’s too good for this world, honestly.

What I loved most about this novel was the world building. We got to see so much more of Prythian in this novel and learn more about the other courts and High Lords, which I really enjoyed. Because of this, the novel was also more diverse, including more characters of color and LGBTQ characters, which was a very nice improvement.

There was one character’s sexuality that really took me by surprise though and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. To me, personally, it seemed to come out of nowhere and while I love inclusivity this kind of felt forced, especially because it was revealed closer to the end and the situation around the reveal wasn’t really resolved, if that makes sense. This brings to what I believe is a lot of people’s issue with the book: it didn’t feel like a conclusion.

In theory, this is the end of Feyre’s story, however, there will be three more books in the ACOTAR world as well as two novellas. For some reason, everyone’s under the assumption that these three books will be another trilogy, which would make sense, however I don’t believe SJM ever said that would be the case. If it is great, but I’d be interested to see how she connects all the loose ends in this novel into another trilogy. To me, it felt like she laid the groundwork for multiple different stories to occur, but it’s possible that’s what the novellas are for and the three books will indeed be a trilogy that follows another character, just as this trilogy followed Feyre.

I say this all to say that I too felt very unresolved with this ending. Particularly, there was one major plot twist that left me confused because the people involved in that twist don’t even know about. I kept waiting for Feyre to say something and yet she didn’t, which I thought was so strange. I wanted to see that reveal, wanted to know what happened when they found out and then it didn’t happen. That irritated to me, but again I’m almost 100 percent positive SJM purposefully left that open ended and I’ll have to wait until we get more information about what these next books will be about before I can truly decide how I feel about this ending. (If you’d like to know the specific questions I’d like the next books to answer you can find them here. They’re spoilers, obviously.)

Additionally, this specific plot twist that I’m referring to also kind of annoyed me because it felt way too similar to a plot twist that occurs in SJM’s other series, Throne of Glass. If you’ve read that series, you’ll know what I mean when you read this book. I also kind of felt that way about the sexuality reveal I was talking about as well. It just felt like I’d read that before and while I enjoyed the twist it just felt too similar for me to be really excited about it.

Lastly, while I did enjoy the novel overall and was for the most part satisfied with the ending, I did kind of feel like it was a cop out though I did appreciate the full-circle feel to it. I can’t really explain what I mean without spoiling it so I’ll just leave it at that. Still, faults aside, this was a great novel, and I have so many tabs in this book of scenes and quotes I want to reread. I can’t even begin to imagine all the merch that is going to come from this book. I already want all of it.

If you’ve finished ACOWAR already, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. If there’s a spoiler in your comment please put in a spoiler alert so you don’t spoil it for anyone. Thanks!

Borrow or Buy: Buy it! Like I said, I’d give it a reread.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“I missed you. Every second, every breath. Not just this but…talking to you. Laughing with you. I missed having you in my bed, but missed having you as my friend even more.”

Book Review of A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF)

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (Reread)

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Synopsis:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court-but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms-and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future-and the future of a world torn apart.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*This review will contain spoilers for ACOTAR and ACOMAF. For the spoiler-free review of this book please click here.*

In prep for the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin, which came out today, I decided to reread the first two book in the series and it was probably the best decision ever. I finished my reread of A Court of Mist and Fury and then went back and started rereading it again. Can you tell I’m obsessed with this book? I’m not even sorry.

So where to begin. Going into this reread I was honestly a little nervous that I wouldn’t love it as much as I remembered. I was scared I’d realize Rhysand isn’t actually that great and I just hyped it up in my memory, but boy was I wrong. I loved it even more the second time around, for a variety of reasons but mainly because I really got to see Feyre fall in love with Rhys.

I think the first time I read the book I was so focused on Rhys’s obvious affection for Feyre and being mad at her for not really what was right in front of her face, that I missed Feyre’s own realization of her feelings. I may have also been distracted by all the smut. I loved Rhys and Feyre’s flirting and wit and how fun they were with each other the first time but during that first reading I was kind of surprised when Feyre told Rhys she loved him. I expected it but I also kind of didn’t. Even with the reveal that they were mates, I understood why she ran. To be, that was a big deal that I felt she probably wasn’t ready for. However, during my reread, there was one scene I totally forgot about.

After they went to the Court of Nightmares, which was a very good scene, Feyre and Rhys got into this whole fight and Rhys stopped talking to Feyre for a day. It was during that time when it was clear to me how deep her feelings for him really were. And then Starfall right after was so good and I was like, “Feyre you are so in love with him!” It was perfect. I reread that part multiple times.

There were also just a lot of things I forgot. For example, one of my favorite lines, “There are good days and hard days for me even now—Don’t let the hard days win,” I thought Rhys said that but it was actually Mor. There were a few other instances like that where I forgot who said what and just scenes that were so fun to read again.

I honestly feel like I could reread this book again right now but it’s time to dive into the next book and I’m excited and nervous to see what happens next.

Stars

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belongs to you.”

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Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Reread)

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Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*This review will contain spoilers for ACOTAR and ACOMAF. For the spoiler-free review of this book please click here.*

In preparation for the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin, I’m rereading the first two books in this series, and thus far it’s been a blast. There were so many things that occurred in ACOTAR that I totally forgot about so let’s dive right in.

First of all, it was super strange to read about Feyre falling in love with Tamlin, knowing that Rhysand is her mate. I ended up cringing a lot during this book, especially during particular points that I thought were warning signs for Tamlin’s over protectiveness that turned abusive in ACOMAF. For example when Tamlin said this to Feyre:

“No, I don’t want you to live somewhere else. I want you here, where I can look after you—where I can come home and know you’re here, painting and safe.”

This sounded really nice and sweet in the moment but when combined with the way Tamlin locked up Feyre in ACOMAF, it doesn’t sound all that sweet anymore. That being said, I did find some sympathy for Tamlin after rereading ACOTAR. Sarah J. Maas affectively turned her fandom against Tamlin with the utter change in character of him and Rhys in the second book but I think a lot of us forgot why we liked Tamlin in the first place because of it. My reread reminded of all the reasons why I did like him.

Feyre says it best in ACOMAF, when she says Tamlin was good for her at the time that she needed him. Yes he was overprotective with her and was more than happy to take care of, and that’s what Feyre needed when she was human. Tamlin didn’t treat Feyre poorly, she just hadn’t wanted anything more than to be pampered and loved by Tamlin. His problem began when he failed to realize how much Under the Mountain changed Feyre and after having to watch her die, it’s easy to understand why he became so protective and controlling. Was Tamlin wrong? Without a doubt, yes. Do I know understand where he was coming from? Also, yes.

Besides Tamlin, I didn’t know how to feel about Rhys. I was at war with myself while reading. On the one hand, I knew why he did all the things he did but on the other hand, I wanted to tell Rhys to chill and at least try to be nicer to Feyre. There’s one point right before he makes the bargain with her, where he grabs her injured arm and twists and I literally cringed. Why Rhys, why?

Still, there were also a lot of one liners that meant so much more to me, knowing how he truly felt. My personal favorite was when he sees Feyre for the first time at Calanmai and saves her from those other faeries.

“There you are. I’ve been looking for you.”

I think I literally swooned, especially when Feyre referred to him as, “the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.” So good! (Side note: Rhysand probably heard her think that. That probably made him even more cocky.)

Another one of my favorites was when Rhysand sees Feyre dressed for the party in the throne room Under the Mountain.

“You look just as I hoped you would.”

That means so much more knowing how he felt about her. For Feyre, she thinks he’s joking at her expense but in reality he really means it and it’s so cute and also so heartbreaking because at this point Feyre hates him so much. Another moment that broke my heart was when Feyre heard the music that gave her a slither of hope. That moment also meant so much more knowing it was Rhys that sent it.

Also, through my reread I realized all the many hints SJM put in about Feyre and Rhys being mates. There’s literally so many references to the night and stars that I’m honestly a little mad I didn’t catch on sooner. It was so obvious! SJM is amazing. I truly can’t take it.

My reread also reestablished my distaste for Feyre’s sisters and my love for Lucien. Hopefully my reread of ACOMAF will make me like Nesta and Elain again. As for Lucien, I’m still upset with him for the things he did in ACOMAF but I remember now why I loved him so much and I hope he’s redeemed in ACOWAR. I kind of hope Tamlin’s redeemed too but to be perfectly honest, if he died I wouldn’t cry over it. Sorry, not sorry.

Overall, I think I liked ACOTAR even more the second time than I did the first. The start was still just as slow as I remember it being but because I knew where the story was heading that was enough to keep me reading and interested. I highly recommend giving this book a reread after reading ACOMAF. It takes on a whole new meaning and it’s really interesting seeing how drastically the characters change between books.

What are your thoughts on the ACOTAR series? Let me know in the comments below.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

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ARC Book Review: North of Happy

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Synopsis:

His whole life has been mapped out for him… 

Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family, where he attends an elite international school. Always a rule follower and a parent pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.

When his older brother, Felix—who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel—is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother’s voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father’s plan for him. Worrying about his mental health but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the United States and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss’s daughter—a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what’s most important to him and where his true path really lies.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I won a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Harlequin Teen. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on April 25, 2017.*

Honestly, I’d never read a book by Adi Alsaid before but I love giveaways so I entered without a second thought and was happily surprised when I won. The book then sat on my shelves for a while but after reading two Ellen Hopkins books back to back I wanted to read something happier. Obviously, I forgot what this book was about.

The story follows Carlos, after his older brother Felix was tragically killed. Felix was the “wild child” of the family, meaning instead of going the traditional route and go to college like his parents wanted him to, he decided to travel the world instead. Carlos, did the very opposite, and planned to intern at his father’s company after graduating high school and then go to the University of Chicago, even though he loved to cook. However, after Felix’s death, Carlos, at the advice of Felix, who he keeps seeing everywhere and in everything, decides to head to an island by Seattle instead.

There, he goes to a restaurant his brother wanted to visit and finds himself meeting Emma, a girl who helps him feel less crazy about seeing his dead brother, and he also finds his way into the kitchen at the restaurant. However, Carlos unfortunately can’t have both the girl and the job. At least, he’s not supposed to, but being the new reckless teen that he is, he dates Emma anyway, which I loved. Forbidden romance is my jam.

Of course complications arise, and there’s some drama, both romantic and familial for Carlos, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I really liked that Carlos seeing Felix everywhere isn’t really explained so you can take it as you want to. I personally like to think Felix was indeed a ghost and Carlos wasn’t tripping, but that could just me. Additionally, I really liked Emma and Carlos’ relationship. I thought they were cute and funny but it was also realistic and didn’t feel forced.

Chef, Emma’s mom, annoyed me to no end but by the end of the novel I at least felt like I understood where she was coming from. I still didn’t like her but I respect her. I also really liked the side characters, especially Carlos’ roommates on the island; even Matt, who is kind of a jerk.

Although I was satisfied with the ending, I do think some people won’t be. It’s one of those endings where you can kind of decide for yourself what happens next, which I love but I know some people don’t. Still, I think this is definitely a must read. The way Alsaid handles grief, familial obligations, and just family in general, was great. I also enjoyed that every chapter started with a recipe, which was a constant reminder of Carlos’ love for food (and made me very hungry).

If you’ve never read Alsaid’s books like I hadn’t, I highly recommend this one. It was a quick read and I couldn’t put it down. Now I want to read his other novels. If you’ve read any of his books, which one should I read next? Let me know in the comments below.

Stars:

4 stars

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