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Review: History is All You Left Me // Character Driven, Complex, and Beautiful

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RATING : 3-stars

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It’s a little disappointing to see that I’ve fallen into the hype. In case you didn’t know, I loved More Happy Than Not and this book is honestly one of my most anticipated releases this year. This is gonna be an unpopular opinion but unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.

History is All You Left me follows the story of Griffin, a high school senior whose ex-boyfriend Theo just died in a drowning accident. Theo was Griff’s best friend, first love, and probably end game as well. They broke up before Theo went to college in California. In there Theo started a new relationship with Jackson, despite saying that Griff would be his end game as well.

Unsurprisingly, the writing is beautiful and vivid. I was hooked from the first page because it jumped straight to the important scene : Theo’s funeral. However, it went downhill fast. Suddenly the pace slowed and to be honest, I was bored 😦 the writing alternates between past and present and while I usually love it, I found myself having a hard time this time. The past chapters were too… rambly. There are too many filler paragraphs, discussing things that don’t really matter. However, we got a lot of Harry Potter and Star Wars references so at least those parts were great.

My biggest issue with this book is that I couldn’t emotionally connect with the characters. Despite narrating the story, I felt so distant from Griffin and I have no idea why. And if I’m already that disconnected from the main character, you can imagine how I felt for the rest of the characters. This is upsetting because it prevented me from feeling what Griffin and the other characters felt. That’s why I was only a liiiitle bit sad. I thought I was gonna cry like a baby but it didn’t happen.

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The middle of the book was probably the hardest because there was nothing much happened there. I realized this is character driven, but still, I was bored. I wanted things to happen immediately and when it finally did… well, there’s this twist (sort of) near the end of the book but it didn’t blow me away as much as I expected. I really didn’t see it coming, though it makes sense, but it wasn’t as surprising as the twist in More Happy. The ending was great, but to me it still didn’t make up for the rest of the book.

Speaking of the characters, it’s so great that almost all the characters are complex and realistic. Griffin stood out because not only was I in his head, his characterization was also explored thoroughly. He made plenty of bad decisions that I wouldn’t agree of, but it’s understandable. Jackson took a while to grow on me but by the time I closed the book, I absolutely loved him. Wade—Griff and Theo’s best friend—is probably my favorite. He’s sassy, funny, yet thoughtful at the same time. I also love Griffin’s parents ♥

The only person I didn’t like was Theo. I felt awful because he’s dead and he meant so much for Griff and Jackson. I loved the romance but the truth is, Theo was selfish. Griff might be the one who broke their relationship but Theo held the key. He found a new boyfriend (which is completely okay and not his fault since they’d already broken up) but he kept leading Griff on and it pissed me off because Griffin (and Jackson) deserved better. I just, I couldn’t see why he was so special for Griff and Jackson and again, I felt awful for saying this 😦

I love the portrayal of grief in this book. Everybody went through it, only differently. I also love how real the portrayal of OCD in this book was. It’s vivid and realistic and I loved to see how much Griffin’s OCD and anxiety affected his daily life. At the end of the book, Griffin got slightly better—well, not exactly better but more like he wanted to be better and were open to change, because of certain someone. I was worried about it but overall I think it was handled well. However, I was really not a fan of Theo calling Griffin’s OCD “quirks” even though THE BOOK DIDN’T CONDONE IT. But still, it kinda rubbed me the wrong way and only made me dislike Theo even more </3

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ALL IN ALL, History is All You Left Me didn’t live up to my expectation, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. The characters are great, complex, and realistic. There’s also a realistic portrayal of grief and OCD. Unfortunately, I was unable to emotionally connect with the characters and couldn’t feel what they felt. I’d still recommend it for readers who are looking for m/m romance and character driven novel and I’d definitely read more of Adam Silvera’s upcoming books ♥

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Book Title : History is All You Left Me
Author : Adam Silvera
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Release Date : January 17th 2017

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

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Have you read History is All You Left Me? What do you think about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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6

Review : The Hate U Give // Powerful, Important, and Provocative

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RATING : 5 Stars

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Five stars and more, and I don’t think any reviews will ever do this book justice. It’s so powerful, wonderful, and undoubtedly the most important and honest book I’ve ever read in my life.

As could be inferred from the blurb, The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Going into this book, I almost didn’t know what to expect. I heard it was amazing, unapologetic, and possibly one of the best books everyone’s ever read. But still, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was so much… more, than I could have expected. This book was so honest, strong, brilliant, and it evoked so many emotions in me. Hours after reading that last page, I’m still reeling with my emotion. There are so many things I want to discuss about this book.

Racism is a prominent theme of this book. It discusses racism, shows us what happens, and how it affects the Black and their lives. The way it was portrayed was unapologetically honest. Starr doesn’t narrate it in a mean and bitter way, she doesn’t mean to corner White people, she just talks about the reality. Differences between races exist, and so does racism.

I don’t want to say things like “I learned so much about racism and Black people” just by reading one book. It sounds… naive, and despite Angie Thomas’s honest and brilliant portrayal of it, I’m sure there are a lot of things I still don’t understand, and I don’t want to act like I do. But I’m gonna say this : THUG gives me so much insight to the lives of Black people and the racism they have to deal with. It makes me realize that racism runs so much deeper than I ever knew. It’s internalized. It’s everywhere. It’s hard to avoid, and just like Starr said, you can say something racist and not be a racist. And it’s dangerous. It costs people like Khalid, and who knows who else, their lives.

This book also evoked so many emotions in me. Seeing all the things that happened to Starr, her family, Khalid, and everyone in her neighborhood makes me angry, sad, heartbroken, furious, and baffled. But seeing Starr with her friends and family makes me smile, happy, and laugh. Between its tough issues and its sass, THUG is a perfect mix.

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More than anything, this book also makes me uncomfortable–in the best way possible. I almost never have any encounter with people from different races. In this country where I live, almost everyone here is Indonesian. We might come from different ethnics, but we’re the same race after all. But still, prejudice between ethnic exists. Sometimes I assume things about other ethnics based on common stereotypes. I know it’s not the same as racism, but it pains me to realize that I’m practically doing the same thing that these cops and some of Starr’s friends do to Khalid. They make assumption.

I also hate the fact that sometimes I justify cops killing people. It might not be about racism here, but sometimes police officers shoot drug dealers and other criminals to death. I never condone it. I believe it’s not justice. But sometimes, some tiny part of me, feel… I don’t know, relieved, that one bad person is gone. Reading THUG made me feel so, so deeply ashamed of myself for ever feeling this way. But like I said, this is the good kind of uncomfortable, because now I realize where I did wrong and it makes me want to stop doing those things for ever.

Characters wise, THUG also does a really wonderful job. Starr is my new favorite protagonist. She’s brave, strong, funny, and she’s sooo sassy I love her. She grows so much in the span of one book and I love seeing her growth. She’s grown from someone who felt like she needed to hide her true self to someone who’s not afraid. Someone who feels confident with herself and not afraid to show the world who she really is. I love all her family as fell. Seven, Sekani, Starr’s father and mother, even Uncle Carlos and Nana. They’re all amazing and together they make a wonderful family dynamic. They’re definitely my new family goal ♥

The friendship dynamic in this book is also brilliant. I love Maya, Kenya, Chris, even Hailey (even if I dislike that girl so much). I love the fact that they exist and a part of Starr’s world. It gives so much depth into the story and it makes Starr’s life more relatable. I felt weird toward Chris at first, or still do, but I love the fact that he sticks with Starr to the end. It’s also very refreshing to see a couple had been together before the story started.

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ALL IN ALL, The Hate U Give is definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s wonderful, it’s so unapologetically honest, and it’s so unlike everything I ever read before. It changes my perspectives. You probably realized that I talked a lot about how the book affected me, because that’s how powerful this book really is. Highly, highly recommended.

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Book Title : The Hate U Give
Author : Angie Thomas
Publisher : Walker Books
Release Date : February 28th 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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Have you read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas? What do you think about it? Did you learn as much as I did from it? What is the most important book you’ve ever read? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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The Diversity Corner #2 : March Updates, Asian Representation, and April New Releases

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Hello everyone, welcome to the second edition of The Diversity Corner! ♥

ICYMI, I talked about Muslim representation in books on my first edition, you could read it here. Today I’ll be talking about Asian representation and I teamed up with several Asian bloggers to put this post together! 😀 But before we get there, as usual, I’m bringing you some diversity-related news and updates ♣

P.S. it’s gonna be long, so grab your drink, settle into a comfortable position, and read 😉 Continue reading

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ARC Reviews : You’re Welcome, Universe & Things I Should Have Known

Hello everyone! ♥

It’s Thursday and according to my new blogging schedule, it’s review time! 😀 Lately I’ve been reading so many books, mainly review copies and ARCs, which means there are a lot of reviews I need to post. That’s why today I’m doing a double review of You’re Welcome, Universe and Things I Should Have Known. However, my reason of doing a double review isn’t merely for convenience! These books also have several things in common 😛

Behold, I’ve prepared a list :’) Both books are 1) diverse contemporary, 2) e-ARCs I received from netgalley, and 3) going to be released in March. Without further ado, let’s get down to the reviews! ♣

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

youre-welcome-universe Continue reading

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The Diversity Corner #1 : February News, Muslim Representation, and March New Releases

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Hello everyone, welcome to the first edition ever of The Diversity Corner! 

You might remember my post about my stance as diverse book blogger and the introduction of my feature. I’m a bit nervous but HERE I AM, with its first edition ♥ Today I’ll be talking about Muslim representation. I chose this topic because this is the one topic that is so close to my heart. I’ve been living and learning it ever since I was a baby, so this is the topic that I’m most comfortable talking about. I promise you, I won’t be preachy! I won’t sell or promote my religion to you. I just want to talk about its representation in book–or rather, the lack there of 😂

But before we get there, let’s start with the first two sections : diversity news & updates and diverse book bloggers spotlight ♥ Continue reading

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ARC Review : The Inexplicable Logic of My Life // Lyrical, Beautiful, and Heartwarming

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RATING : 4 Stars

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I received this book from publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest review.

UPDATEIt has been brought to my attention that this book is problematic. I honestly missed this part and I didn’t think it wasn’t a big deal, mostly because the book didn’t make it a big deal. But after reading a few reviews and rethinking some passages from the book, I agree that one of the conflict could have been handled a lot more wisely. Here’s a review that talks about it in detail if you want to know more. Below is my original review ⇓

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL BOOK INDEED ♥ Continue reading

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Review : The Girl from Everywhere & The Ship Beyond Time // Maps, Ship, Diverse Characters, and Time Travel

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Hello everyone, it’s review time! ♥

As you probably remember, I won a giveaway hosted by Heidi Helig in December. The prize is seven diverse books that arrived last month and two of them are Heidi’s own books : the UK edition of The Girl from Everywhere and the ARC of The Ship Beyond Time. Thank you Heidi! 😀 Since it was Heidi who gave me the books, of course I read her books first. Not to mention that I’ve been wanting to read them for a while now.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the review! Continue reading