Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

Setting: 8/10

Writing style: 8/10

Character building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

If you are looking for a fun, light, and entertaining summer read, Since You’ve Been Gone is a perfect book for you. Filled with great character development, fun interactions, and bucket list fulfilments, it offers everything you can hope from a fun young adult summer book.

The story starts with the main character Emily trying to find her best friend Sloane since she has been MIA for a couple of weeks. But the only clue that Sloane has left Emily is a crazy and challenging list that the main character has to complete. Hoping that by the crossing of every single item on the list, Emily will somehow find her best friend, she attempts to face her fears. But unexpected circumstances lead Emily to become quite a different person, develop new friendships, and get out of her comfort zone.

So at the heart of the book, you have the main protagonist Emily, who’s journey from a scared, shy, socially-awkward girl towards a fun, friendly risk-taker is the most entertaining part of the story. At first, I had a bit of a trouble liking this character. She seemed a bit bland, boring, and quite depended on her friendship with Sloane. It was like without her best friend, she ceased to exist. So I was quite glad to see Sloane go because without her in the picture, Emily actually managed to form her own personality. She took risks, did crazy things, and became a delightful character in the process. It was quite easy to relate to a character, because I guess everybody has things that scare us, making quite a few people hide in their comfortable places, and not really doing anything spectacular in the end. Therefore, after reading Emily’s journey, it makes me want to do something similar as well.

I loved that the romance in the book, although present, was not the main part of the story. It felt more realistic and relatable. The characters seemed like real people, with their faults and issues. Therefore, the author did wonders by avoiding the clique perfect innocent girl and a misunderstood guy structures, did not make the romance silly or unrealistic, and actually made me care for the characters individually before inserting an idea of a romantic involvement.

Morgan Matson has incorporated a great female narration with a fun plot, and by focusing on a sole character development and the importance of friendships rather than making the character change because of the guy, wrote quite a remarkable book. Of course, I did see a few faults, like lame teenager misunderstandings, expected resolve of the story, certain actions not making much sense, and, well, being a bit childish at times. However, despite having faults, it never failed to entertain. It was fun, heart-warming, and hopeful.

Overall, a perfect read to relax. If you are looking for something fun and light, it is a book for you. Especially if you feel like you are too closed off in your comfort bubble, this book might change your perspective on things.

Book Playlist

  1. Neon Trees – Everybody Talks
  2. Of Monsters and Men – Dirty Paws
  3. Twenty One Pilots – House of Gold
  4. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home
  5. Eric Church – Springsteen

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 6/10

World building: 6/10

Writing style: 7/10

Character building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 7/10

My Opinionated Review

Rebel Belle was an entertainment at its best. A perfect blend of funny and action-packed themes, the book kept me interested throughout the whole story, making me laugh at more than a few occasions.

This story has a Buffy/Gossip Girl southern style vibe, and only these reasons were enough to make me enjoy this book. I loved the typical clique use of small town undercurrents, gossiping old ladies, small town traditions, rivalry-driven character dynamics, and a great, funny, witty and smart overachiever-perfect-good-girl female lead. Although the story is of supernatural nature, it was so easy to forget this element, and at times it just felt like a contemporary coming of age typo of the book, just with the addition of certain twists to keep the action going.

The book has one of the best female lead narration, it was a delight to read from Harper’s perspective. Her unique and delightful voice made me laugh quite a lot. She was such an unusual, yet amazingly multi-layered character and her dealing with the whole supernatural change in her normal life was very believable. Sometimes supernatural books start in real worlds and then completely forget about it, and it was very entertaining to see Harper trying to juggle her supernatural-ness with her previous life.

Did the whole supernatural world seem amazing? Not really. I do not think it was the story’s strong point, making the contemporary elements of the story the most enjoyable part. However, despite the supernatural world, the author has created did not really captivated me, it did add to the story with its never-ending mystery and most of the chapters ending on a cliff-hanger. With so much going on, it was easy to ignore the weaker parts, since the comedic feeling of the book made the irregularities much more unique.

What really got me to care about the book was the amazing dynamics between Harper and David. Both of the characters had that clique enemies-turned-friends-turned-lovers type of dynamic, but it was written in such a witty and fun way, without being too dramatic and most importantly, without characters being stupid. And since romance was not a big part of the book, the need to have what it is not given to you makes you root for the characters so much more.

So, although I have seen quite a few flaws in the supernatural aspect of the story, the voice of the heroine and the contemporary small town problems viewpoint just made the book pure entertainment. It was a quick light read, and despite lacking the ‘smartness’, Rebel Belle does not fail to relax, entertain, and make the reader laugh out loud.

Overall, it is a perfect girly book if you are looking for something light, fun and relaxing.

Book Playlist

  1. Jessie Ware – Say You Love Me
  2. Imagine Dragons – Not Today
  3. Ingrid Michaelson – Warpath
  4. Ross Copperman – If I
  5. Sarah Bareilles – Gravity

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

Setting: 8/10

Writing Style: 8/10

Character building: 9/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda offers such a great feel-good story. I could not stop smiling throughout the whole book! I heard so many good things about this book prior to reading it, and it did not disappoint at all. The author has successfully avoided cliché young adult romance themes and crafted a very realistic, family orientated, witty characters filled school romance, without the need to go into epic big gestures and barf moments.

This story is about a thoroughly delightful and very funny character Simon, his struggles of coming out, and finding support and love in an unlikely place – the Internet. It explores the themes of family bonds, what it actually feels to be in high school, identity struggles, and more. And everything is explored in such a simple and well-thought out manner, that it brings the reader joy and feels real. The book is not about the dark and unaccepting society where everybody judges the guy for coming out. Nor it has a tragic family dynamics or the most epic angst-driven romance plot. And these are the main reasons why it is so darn fun!

This is definitely an example of how YA books should be written. The simplicity of it was brilliant and refreshing, so nice to break out of the usual over-the-top bombastic love stories that makes me roll my eyes so much. The realistic and very lovable characters, friendships, relationships and family bonds just made this book so enjoyable. The characters were great, especially Blue and Simon, bringing me close to tears from laughter more than a few times. The romance was realistic, making it much more fun to read. This book was just pure JOY.

Although I have guessed Blue’s identity quite early in the book, it was not really meant to be a mystery. It actually worked out for the better, with the message that sometimes the thing that you are looking for is just in front of you, but you are too blind to see it.

It was a nice break from intense, action-packed fantasy/sci-fi books that I have been reading lately. And I would definitely recommend it to everybody who is looking for something light, fun, and joyful.

Book Playlist

  1. Brandon Flowers – Only the Young
  2. The Pierces – Boy in a Rock and Roll Band
  3. George Ezra – Blame It On Me
  4. Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait
  5. American Authors – Best Day of My Life