Free-verse, country music, and British humor: July mini-reviews!

Hey bookdragons!! Another mini-reviews post today, this time focusing on contemporaries and historical fiction! Thank you again to Fierce Reads for sending me ARCs of these to review, I had some pretty great surprises!!

Not another love song – Olivia Wildenstein

46223076Angie has studied music her entire life, nurturing her talent as a singer. Now a high school senior, she has an opportunity to break into Nashville’s music scene via a songwriting competition launched by her idol, Mona Stone. Discouraged by her mother, who wishes Angie would set more realistic life goals, she nonetheless pours her heart and soul into creating a song worthy of Mona.
But Angie’s mother is the least of her concerns after she meets Reedwood High’s newest transfer student, Ten. With his endless collection of graphic tees, his infuriating attitude, smoldering good looks, and endearing little sister, Ten toys with the rhythm of Angie’s heart.
She’s never desired anything but success until Ten entered her life. Now she wants to be with him and to be a songwriter for Mona Stone, but she can’t have both.
And picking one means losing the other.

   This one made me dive into the universe of country music! For once, I was happy that it was a YA contemporary but that the parents of the main characters had a role to play in the story. It’s just so much more realistic than invisible parents and teens who can go in and out and do whatever they want haha!
I struggled a bit with the female main character, Angie, as she could be a bit self-centered and wanted to be a singer like crazy… while also having never sung in front of anyone. That sounded a bit weird to me no? But then the way her romance with Ten (a new mysterious student who hates Angie’s country idol) was developed was super sweet and cute. And Angie really grew through the book, rethinking what she was willing to give up or give away to accomplish her goals, and what truly mattered to her!
Rating: 3.5/5

Love is for losers– Wibke Brueggemann

52148580. sx318 sy475 In this wry and hilarious queer romantic comedy, fifteen-year-old Phoebe realizes that falling in love is maybe not just for losers.
Did you know you can marry yourself? How strange / brilliant is that?
Fifteen-year-old Phoebe thinks falling in love is vile and degrading, and vows never to do it. Then, due to circumstances not entirely in her control, she finds herself volunteering at a local thrift shop. There she meets Emma . . . who might unwittingly upend her whole theory on life.

   This one was such a good surprise! Sarcastic, fun, and full of biting humor in a very British way. We dive directly into the journal of a 15 years old girl, writing down daily entries on her thoughts on her daily life, her relationships, and especially love! While super frustrated by her BFF being in love and having no more time for her, Phoebe decides she’ll never fall in love. That was before she met a super cute girl that could very well change her mind… but you shall see!
All I can tell you is that you really should read this book! Pheobe is such an honest character, whether she talks about cats or sex or food, she is hilarious and a joy to follow, while also bringing all of the emotional roller coaster teens can so easily go through! And I think she could be neurodivergent but it is not named in the book so it could be just me… also if you want to hear more of my thoughts on this book, you can check my vlog here 😉
Rating: 4/5

I am here now – Barbara Bottner

40036561. sy475 You can’t trust Life to give you decent parents, or beautiful eyes, a fine French accent or an outstanding flair for fashion. No, Life does what it wants. It’s sneaky as a thief.
Maisie’s first day of High school should be exciting, but all she wants is to escape.
Her world is lonely and chaotic, with an abusive mother and a father who’s rarely there to help.
So when Maisie, who finds refuge in her art, meets the spirited Rachel and her mother, a painter, she catches a glimpse of a very different world―one full of life, creativity, and love―and latches on.
But as she discovers her strengths through Rachel’s family, Maisie, increasingly desperate, finds herself risking new friendships, and the very future she’s searching for.

   I’m gonna get out of the way first the only thing I didn’t like about this book: the French. The author put French words and saying in the book, and there were a lot of mistakes. I an French, it is hard to see haha. But it is a small thing compared to the beauty of this book.
It is poignant, so well written, and feeling so true! Maisie is a young girl with such a rich and creative world inside of her, that is being killed little by little by a very abusive mother (tw: physical and psychological abuse). As she is trying to navigate her relationships, to find love in other places, she also learns more about herself. She is a passenger of her life, trying to take back control, but being overwhelmed by her emotions.
It was heartbreaking and beautiful, and the verse form, for me, really allowed all the power and emotions to reach us right in the heart. Barbara Bottner really has a lot of talent, I can tell you that! Again, if you want to hear more on what I thought about this book, I’m discussing it in this vlog 😉
Rating: 4/5.

Here we are for my mini-reviews of this month, hope you enjoyed this way to review, let me know if some of these books are on your radar!

See you for a cup,

Elise

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