PopCulture Readathon Book #3: Clap When You Land- Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: Clap When You Land

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 417

Rating: 5/5

TW/CW: Sexual Assault, Death of a parent , Grieving, Harassment, and Stalking

Elizabeth Acevedo has done it again with her beautiful writing in verse form, but she also brings awareness to something that’s almost always swept under the rug. Tragedies not fueled by politics. Acevedo’s “Clap When You Land” is centered around a real life tragedy. On November 12, 2001 American Airlines flight 587 en route to the Dominican Republic crashed into a neighborhood in Queens, NY. At first terrorism was said to come into play, as this was around the time September 11th happened. 265 people died on board and 5 people died on ground. It was a national tragedy. However, when it was discovered it wasn’t a terrorist attack, the media coverage ended. The Dominican community was devastated and left without answers and broken hearts.

‘Clap When You Land’ follows the lives of Camino and Yahaira. One lives in Santo Domingo and the other lives in NYC. They’re both oblivious to each other’s existence until they lose their father in a airplane crash. The flight was en route to DR. Their father was living a double life, and through this whole tragedy they were able to connect with each other despite the differences in living conditions. Both girls are fighting their own issues, but Camino feels unprotected without her father the most. Especially against the town pimp”El Cero”. El Cero is a creep and consistently stalks her everywhere she goes. She’s tired of this life. She just wants to go to Columbia and study premed, but she’s torn between that and the love for her land. Once they finally connect they both realize their father wasn’t who they thought, even though he was perfect in their eyes he definitely had some major flaws. 
I absolutely loved this beautifully written story. It shows how a tragedy can bring you close and help you grow. Both of these young ladies helped each other in ways they thought they couldn’t. Acevedo has done it once again with this heart wrenching novel. It will definitely have you in your feels.

PopCulture Readathon Book #1 Review: Turtle Under Ice- Juleah del Rosario

Hey Guys!

So if you’re on book twitter, you might’ve seen this graphic within the bookish community. My absolutely amazing friend Whitney @ books whit me created the PopCulture Readathon centered around the 90’s. My other amazing friend Lorryn @ Reading Parental is the co-host as well. If you want more info on this readathon you can find it at their twitter here. It’s not too late to join. July has just begun, and it runs until the end of the month.I chose to do the adult bingo board and read my first book this morning in a hour.

Title: Turtle Under Ice

Author: Juleah del Rosario

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 272

Rating: 5/5

CW/TW: Death, dealing with grief, loss of a baby, thoughts of not being enough, dealing with the death of a parent

“Because, like snowstorms and earthquakes and death, your future will happen regardless of whether you planned for it” p. 15

“my grief makes people uncomfortable, I am not a walking disease because my mother died, I am not abnormal. I am not contagious” p. 65

“There was no right time for my mother to die, because when someone we love dies, it will always be untimely” p. 143

I have so much to say about this book. All good things of course. Row and Arianna lost their mother a few years ago and they’ve both went their separate ways and trying to figure out how to deal with themselves and life without their mother. One night Ariana picks up and leaves in the middle of the night during a snowstorm without telling anyone where she was headed to. Meanwhile, Row is left home alone, alone trying to figure out her feelings, her life, and her relationship with her sister. All while trying to piece together clues of her sister’s whereabouts with the help of her friend Kennedy.

My thoughts:
This book simply put is…amazing! Written in verse and from two different POV’S, it takes you on both of these sister’s journeys. Allow me to break it down:

Row: A soccer player, but also a worrier, she was there when her mother passed away. Always thought that no-one wanted to be around her because she was grieving her mother’s death. She worries about her sister Ariana and what would’ve been her baby sister.

Ariana: In pain from losing her mother, she also loses herself. She’s doing bad in school and is on the verge of not graduating, until her teacher gives her a second chance to redeem herself…

Overall, this book really hit home. I lost my grandmother who was like my mother, and ever since then I lost myself as well. Many people have decided to distance themselves from me because they believe I need to “get over it” and “move on”. Turtle Under Ice really opened my eyes and I’m glad the author wrote it.

ARC Review: Breath Like Water- Anna Jarzab

Title: Breath Like Water

Author: Anna Jarzab

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 416

Rating: 5/5

As a person whose only known swimming all her life and wanting to be in the olympics, Susannah fears her body is slowing her down as she gets older. She thinks about the championship she won at 14 years old and if she can reach her potential again. Swimming demands so much out of young people and she’s scared to fail. Two people enter her life that will rearrange her life and career around. A coach that could help her reach that dream and a new fellow swimmer named Harry.

Susannah is such an amazing character. She’s mature, strong, and trying to fight those nagging demons in her head. Harry on the other hand is dealing with his own demons. He’s bipolar. Dealing with constant mood swings and anger throughout his life. He falls in love with Susannah but, he’s afraid his mental condition might scare her away.

This book is far from swimming competitions and the stress from it. It’s about friendship, hope, being opened to new experiences in life and trusting people. I loved how Susannah and Harry connected despite their differences. Sorta hit close to home as my significant other also is bipolar. What an amazing story of two young people and their struggles with life and family. I truly enjoyed the ride this book took me on. Special thanks to NetGalley, and Harlequin Teen/ Inkyard Press for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine- Maika and Maritza Moulite

Title: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Author: Maika and Maritza Moulite

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 432

Rating: 5/5

When an incident at her school gets Alaine almost suspended, she is told to go back to her country and complete a internship at her aunt’s non-profit organization. Its called PATRONAL, which is an app created to help fund children in need in Haiti. While in Haiti she’s able to learn more about her country, and of course develop a cute crush on one of the interns. The book is full of lots of Haitian history and culture(I would’ve liked if this also talked about beautiful areas in Haiti). She learned quite a bit of her family history as well….especially when there’s a curse involved.

Follow Alaine as she takes you through her island, and some rather heart wrenching moments, especially those involved with her mom. I think it’s so important to see how she dealt with her moms dementia. That was honestly one of my fave parts of the story (not in a messed up way). Another great thing about this novel is that it’s written by two sisters. Kudos to Maika and Maritza Mountie. You created a beautiful story full of representation. Thank You to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I definitely need a copy of it on my shelf.

ARC Review: Tweet Cute- Emma Lord

Title: Tweet Cute

Author: Emma Lord

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 368

Rating: 5/5

Big League Burger was a family owned restaurant that somehow blew up overnight in success. They quickly became popular and they started to open many more locations. Pepper is a normal kid. She goes to school, she’s on the swimming team, and is on social media…but not how some people make think or know about. She’s actually the mastermind behind her parents’s twitter account for their restaurant.

We meet Jack and his brother. Everyone praises Jack’s brother and Jack always seems to be in his brother’s shadow. He just wants to feel special too. He still however helps out his family in their deli. When he discovers that a family recipe for grilled cheese has been stolen by Big League Burger, he gets upset and begins a twitter war with BLB. But, what no-one knows is that Jack has invented an app where he talks to Pepper on and pretty soon….sparks start to fly between them.

It’s a cute read with lots of social media referencing and yummy treats mentioned. I am a total sucker for a good book with yummy treats. It’s pretty cool seeing a book with two restaurants going at it, when realistically you see it in today’s society as well.
Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday

The Last Ten Books Thats Gave Me a Book Hangover

Sometimes there’s books that leave us feeling empty…wanting to read more. I know I’ve felt like that many times. However, I don’t have a problem with moving on to a new book back to back. Below you’ll find the ten books that have left me with a major book hangover.

Thanks to Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl for taking over the awesome Top Ten Tuesday. Make sure to check out her blog and read more on TTT.

  1. With the Fire on High- Elizabeth Acevedo: This story left me wanting more. I really wanted to see what happened with Emoni after she finally made it to her dreams. Acevedo has a way with words.
  2. I Wish You All The Best- Mason Deaver: A non-binary teen comes out to their parents and has to deal with their anxiety stemming from the rejection of their family. They have to juggle with this and many other issues while trying to keep a low profile in school.
  3. Scars Like Wings- Erin Stewart: A young lady loses her parents in a tragic fire that left her disfigured. She moves in with her aunt and uncle whom encourage her to go back to school and learn to live again.
  4. The Shrike and The Shadows- Chantal Gadoury: A dark retelling of Hansel and Gretel, this book left me on the edge of my seat. I was craving ore of it. I can’t wait till the next one!
  5. Juliet Takes a breath- Gabby Rivera: After coming out to her mom and not being received with open arms Juliet decides to head out and figure out her life in Oregon while interning with her favorite writer. A writer whose all about feminism, women empowerment, and all things gay. I really wanted to know what happened with Juliet after she returned to the Bronx.

6. Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell- A cute story between two teens who seem awkward to everyone else, but to each other they’re perfect.

7. Winger- Andrew Smith: Ryan Dean West goes to boarding school.. a rich one at that. He’s in the troubled dorm and is trying to adjust to his new surroundings and taming his newfound feelings for his best friend Annie. An adventure you’ll never forget as a reader.

8. Flowers in the Attic- V.C. Andrews: We all mostly know this classic. This family is forced to move out of their home when tragedy strikes. The mother and the children go live at their grandmother’s home, but the children are forced to stay in the attic. Their grandmother, a hateful woman wants no part of them. They grow in the attic and go through numerous trials and tribulations.

9. Matilda- Roald Dahl: The children’s classic that made me fall in love with reading. Matilda is my absolute favorite. I wish we had a follow-up with how her life with Miss honey as her mother was like.

10. The Nightstalker- Philip Carlo: This book is actually a true crime book. Richard Ramirez was a ruthless and sadistic serial killer. I’m such a serial killer fanatic (not in that way). This book even gives you an exclusive interview with the killer while on death row. Richard Ramirez died a few years ago.

Whew! that was a long post lol. But yes, these are the books that have tickled my book hangovers. I’m hoping for more to do this to me in the future.

Review: Dylan McFinn & the Sea Serpent’s Fury- Liam Jenkins

Title: Dylan McFinn and the Sea Serpent’s Fury

Author: Liam Jenkins

Publisher: Liam Jenkins

Pages: 184

Rating: 5/5

“Many thousands of years ago, creatives were considered the most important people in the communities. Stories, songs, poems, and paintings were all considered sacred tools and moral compasses from which people learned and receive guidance. But the importance of creativity has been forgotten along with storytelling and it’s important role within a community”
-Liam Jenkins

Where do I start with this amazing and magical book? The beginning is best. It opens up with little kids gathering around Dylan as a older man, to hear about what happened many years before…when Dylan was just a boy, when he knew he had special powers.
We meet Culburt McFinn aka The Captain. A man with good ole heart that helps everyone around town. After a drunken night at the Neptune’s Tower ( a hangout for sailors). As he takes a dip in the ocean he comes across a lovely face…Varuna. After The Captain goes to hell his buddy Marvin pickup plastic from the ocean, he’s taken down under by Veruna. Many think she’s a mermaid, but she’s a Lapatian. And she’s going to show The Captain a magical place. A place where there’s a whole new world where a great and dangerous secret lies. Lapatia is the underground world Varuna is from. Lapatia was once protected by the sea guardian known as Lapoto, whom was part barracuda part human. He guarded the island and the lapatians. He also made sure the people had a safe passage to the mainland. He was also a whopping 11feet tall. Then there was Kadavul at over 2o feet tall, Kadavul was part man/ part shark and he was jealous of Lapoto and wanted to claim all the Fijan and Samoan Island. One day the two giants collided. As a result the mainland broke off. After Lapoto defeated Kadavul, Kadavul felt bitter and sank the island. Some of the villagers ran away and others stayed and adapted to their new life. Varuna and the rest of the Lapatians vowed to keep the oceans clean, and that’s where The Captain comes in. Varuna explains to The Captain that he needs to stay and continue to help the Lapatians protect their waters…he accepts. 

Flash forward to 14 years later

The Captain and Varuna are married and have 2 boys. Axneus (10) and Dylan (13). Both are characters in their own ways. The Captain decided to take the two boys in a trip to the captains homeland. But things have changed and for the worst after the disappearance of The Captains old friend. While The Captain and his sons explore around the day, Axneus discovers a stone that possesses some secretive powers which will flip this family’s life upside down. 

My thoughts on this masterpiece….it was amazing! Jenkins did an amazing job describing the characters and making them come alive in your imagination. He made you really believe you were there experiencing everything. Axneus was super annoying and may times I wish I could reach through the book and slap him. Dylan was selfless and and not selfish like his younger brother. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in this saga.