Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

Watch Over Me is about a girl named Mila who has just aged out of the foster care system. She has been offered a job on a remote farm tutoring young foster kids who live there.  She loves it there but is haunted by the past traumas that threaten to overwhelm her life.

 This is not what I was expecting at all. I thought this was going to be a young adult thriller/horror novel where kids keep disappearing or found murdered on this farm, but really it was a contemporary with a speculative twist.

I think this book was structured perfectly. From the present timeline where Mila is being introduced to life on the farm and finding her place within this already established family. To the flashbacks of Mila’s time with her mother and Blake giving us much needed context and displaying how these events still have an affect on Mila all these years later.

The ghosts added the perfect touch of edginess to this otherwise quite rudimentary storyline. Had they not been there and having the mystery surrounding why they are haunting this farm I think I would of otherwise been a little bored with this book.

Mila is an endearing character. I found the relationship she developed with Lee to be touching and I feel she may have using him as a surrogate for her younger self and how she wished she would have been treated by her mother. We are only given a glimpse of what she had to endure in her past and we definitely see how some of the decision she made back then have just compounded on her conscious and are brought to the forefront for her to deal with.

This was a touching story about guilt and remorse and how someone who has been dealt a tough life is still able to move on and gain a family and a place to feel welcome and comforted.

⭐️3/5 stars haunting, poignant & moving

Clap When You Land Review

43892137._SY475_This was great!

Clap When You Land is about two sisters who didn’t know each other existed. Their father was leading a double life and would live throughout the year with one of his daughters in New York and then in the summer would go back to the Dominican Republic to be with his other daughter, until he tragically dies in a plane crash.

The tone of the book and the format was spectacular. Having the story told in verse I felt made the story that much more personal and poignant. It really connected me to the characters and made me so much more invested in them individually.

We see both Camino and Yahaira simultaneously having to deal with their father’s death and working through their grief. I loved the contrasts between the two sisters and learning how different both their lives have been even though they both have the same father. How he influenced them both separately yet they still have similar memories about his mannerisms and his overall presence.

Camino felt a little more passive and naïve to me. She is hopeful when she finds out about her sister and wasn’t as betrayed be her father than what Yahaira was. Her relationship with her Tia was wonderful to read and I just loved the fact that she chose to stay with Camino to raise her after her sister died even though she knew what her brother in law was doing in New York.

Yahaira had a bit more of that New Yorker attitude I felt. She really had to step up when her mother couldn’t cope with her grief and make sure that they weren’t being taken advantage of by their extended family. I think he anger with her father and her sister was natural but the fact that she overcame that and replied to Camino really showed her true character.

The overall theme of grief and sisterhood really impacted me and at times made me tear up a little. The scene in the rain where Yahaira, her mother and Tia went and saved Camino from El Cero was very powerful.

Overall this was a pretty fast read for me even though the pacing was a little stalled at times. I would of liked to get more time with the sisters actually together and getting to know each other a bit more as opposed to having the majority of the story with them separated.

⭐️4/5 stars Highly enjoyed, highly recommend!

When Dimple Met Rishi Review

28458598This book is a fun contemporary about a girl named Dimple who has just graduated high school and is going to a 6 week course at San Francisco University where she meets Rishi. They have been brought together by their parents to hopefully get married one day, Dimple is very much opposed to the union and Rishi wanting to appease his parents has agreed.

This seems unrealistic but I have a feeling this kind of situation probably happens often. I think the fact that Dimple’s parents didn’t warn her first was a little problematic especially when they feigned innocence when she called and confronted them. But they do end up apologising and supporting Dimple’s decision in the end.

Dimple came across a little arrogant at times for me. She can be quite dramatic and doesn’t really take into consideration other people’s thoughts and opinions. She writes Rishi off pretty quickly and then once she gets to know him realises how wrong she is and then pushes him away again. It was a little frustrating and I thought it was a little ironic that she called Rishi the coward.

 I actually really enjoyed Rishi, I found him adorably naïve when it came to Dimple and their first meeting was hilariously cute. The respect he has for his parents was honourable and even though he disagrees with them in the end he was able to work it out maturely. I loved that he has a backbone and calls out inappropriate behaviour from those around him, not caring if he made people uncomfortable!

Culture really means a lot to both Dimple and Rishi and I loved that it was explored throughout the course of the plot line. Their beliefs had an impact upon every decision that they made and we see them both reflecting a lot on what their parents would think and how they would be perceived in their community.

I just thought the relationship progressed too quickly and felt a little rushed to me. I would have liked if they would have more time to cultivate their friendship before jumping straight into a quite serious relationship in the course of a month. Even though they met when they were younger it wasn’t as if they were ever friends.  Just a tad too insta-lovey for me personally!

⭐️3/5 Cute, fun, didn’t blow me away by any means!

Love from A to Z Review

40148146._SY475_Love from A to Z is a dual perspective story following Zayneb and Adam. Zayneb has just been suspended from school after confronting a inslamaphobe teacher at her school and is sent on an early spring break to Doha. Adam is dealing with just finding out he has been diagonsed with multiple sclerosis the diseases that killed his mum when he was nine.

What I loved about this book was that even though it is a contemporary love story at it’s core, it doesn’t stop each character from having their own personal drama’s that they are having to overcome. The narrative isn’t focused solely on them and dramatised in a way to keep them apart, it’s realistic and thought provoking and genuine.

Zayneb I found to be a little too focused on justice which at times clouded her vision and forced her to make brash decisions. When she is upset her anger overwhelms her and she can’t see any other side besides her own. I love that we explore so much of her culture and the decisions that she has made to commit to her way of life and be unapologetic about it. She definitely evolved and developed over the course of the storyline and the fact that she was able to recognise some of her faults but mould them into positives was indicative of her growth.

Adam is the sweetest, calmest, most frustrating character! I just wanted him to confide in his father from the beginning about his diagnosis but I can understand why he chose to keep it a secret. Having this condition that killed his mother and reliving some of his memories of her was heartbreaking and again we really see him come to accept the things he is not in control of and embrace the good things, the marvels in life.

Every single character in this book serves a purpose, from Adam’s group of friends to Aunty Nandy and especially Zahid. I have to say Zahid was definitely my favourite of all the characters in this book. The length that he went to in order to help this young man he didn’t even know really captured my heart and brought a tear to my eye. 

I loved the format of the story told from the perspectives of their journal and having such stark contrasts between our two main characters. It was a quick, emotional, touching book that I feel I will be rereading many times in the future!

⭐️5/5 stars Another MUST read!!!

I Believe in a Thing Called Love Review

 *SPOILERS BELOW*

31145133Desi is a senior in high school who has achieved everything she has set her mind to, she is valedictorian of her class, she has many extracurricular activities and has her mind set on Stanford but she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a known disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet.

I think this was supposed to be a fun, light, fluffy contemporary romance but I just found it to be a little silly and cringey to be honest. Desi, even though she is portrayed as being quite smart and switched on is woefully naïve and immature at times. Choosing to keep her interview a secret from Luca and continuing with her list and her plans even after they are together was almost frustrating to read. 

I think the plot was too predictable as well. Like we knew Luca was going to end up finding the list and would break up with her and still she never really dwelled on her actions and accepted how wrong she was keeping this whole scheme a secret. Even going that step further and trying to manipulate him into getting back with her at the prom really demonstrated how little she had grown over the course of the story line.

I really liked Desi’s friends, I think they really shone in this book. They are both supportive of Desi and call her out when they know she is going too far. We are given a little background into their friendships and how they came to be so close and I appreciated the dynamics between them, it felt realistic.

The overall premise of the book was quite unique and entertaining. I liked that we are given some cultural diversity with the Korean culture. I am quite the fan of K Dramas myself so it was quite fun to get the references to the different shows thrown in there as well! You are kind of on the edge of your seat throughout the book just waiting for that other shoe to drop, and when it does the drama definitely ensues.

⭐️3/5 A tad too immature for me!