Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April 7, 2015
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 26- December 30, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
I absolutely adored this novel! I think it helps that I live in Georgia, the author lives in Georgia, and the novel also takes place in Georgia.
I adored Simon from the beginning. Somehow Albertalli captured the voice of a teenage boy in his situation brilliantly! I always say there are not YA books out there from the male perspective, added to that from the gay perspective. You can really see how Simon feels about everything and are rooting for him. I also liked Simon’s close knit group of friends, though I least connected with Leah. I was surprised to find out the second book in the series focuses on her. Despite the lack of connection to Leah in Simon I will give the second book a shot as I would like to see what happens next in all of their lives.
Being this novel is YA, surprisingly for me the teen drama is not ‘full in your face’ like I expected it to be. Yes there is teen drama, but it is all part of the story with the sequence of events. Various social media and the constant need for their phone is all over this novel as it is a normal part of teens lives now.
I would say this would be for older teens as there is foul language used in the novel, which includes the F word. There are also mentions to masturbation and there is underage drinking. But it all feels like a real situation.
There is also a bit of a mystery as to who Blue is. And once we finally find out the answer the story keeps going.
Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is highly recommended. This was my final audiobook I listened to in 2018 and was glad I ended the year with it.
Movie Perspective of Love, Simon:
I watched the movie Love, Simon before listening to the audiobook and also really enjoyed it! I adored Simon and his friends and also liked Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon’s parents. There are some changes in various parts of the film, which I actually enjoyed. There was one part of the novel I enjoyed that was not in the movie and wish it was. I surprised myself and started to feel sorry for Martin after the football game…until he did what he did.
Nick Robinson played Simon brilliantly, especially when it came down to a certain very emotional scene. This particular scene felt 100% real and I wanted to knock some sense into Martin myself! I would be very tempted to ground my kid for life if they ever did what Martin did to Simon.
I would say watch the movie first as the movie ends while the novel keeps going. It was a fine ending for the film but we get more in the novel.
Author: Cammie McGovern
Published: November 10, 2015
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Neither of us is exactly living the dream. But we’re living something and that’s more than either of us expected this year.’
In A Step Towards Falling, Cammie McGovern tells a poignant, compelling story of not judging people on appearances and knowing how to fix the things you’ve broken.
Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing – until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.
Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a centre for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?
I really loved McGovern’s book, Say What You Will. So, when I saw another book by the same author on sale, I snatched it up! I wish I could say that I love A Step Toward Falling just as much, but I can’t. Unfortunately, in trying to make the story and circumstances believable, McGovern actually made the story more frustrating than anything else. When Emily and Lucas didn’t say or do anything for Belinda when she was attacked, the principal and “discipline committee” make it sound like they are just as bad as the attacker. I absolutely do not agree with that. We all know that teens are idiots; they’re immature children trying to act like adults. Society has this wonderful habit of changing its tune to fit whatever its narrative is at the time. I don’t mind the community service punishment, it’s just all the dramatics of calling a disciplinary hearing and requiring the kids to defend themselves that felt “kangaroo court-ish” to me.
McGovern was trying to salvage some likability for Emily and Lucas, but didn’t adjust the plot accordingly. For the record, of course it was wrong for the kids to just walk by without intervening; both Emily and Lucas acknowledge that very quickly. But one thing that McGovern is excellent at is portraying disabled people with empathy instead of pity. I liked all of the disabled characters in this book. I liked the way we can see into Belinda’s mind with clarity and realism. It’s a great way to look at her as a person as opposed to a label. Emily and Lucas were so sweet and redeemed themselves perfectly. Overall, I enjoyed this book. All that annoyance I felt at the beginning of the book, dissipated relatively quickly. This is actually a pretty good book for teens to read, with a little discussion. As I said with Say What You Will, learning the perspective of others is never a bad thing. A pretty good read!
Amazon US This post was created Saturday and when I (Jessica) was looking up the links on Amazon- I saw the paperback was just $4.19, so I grabbed a copy! You can’t loose at that price!!!! Hopefully at posting the book is still cheap!
Author: Nic Stone
Published: October 17, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 21-26, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
Dear Martin succeeded for me where The Hate U Give failed: It captured the police brutality and racism that sadly does occur on a black teen youth who did everything right.
Dear Martin is a unique novel in the young adult genre: we have a male point of view! This was quite refreshing as male POVs are a rarity. This is a short novel ( just over 200 pages) that would be perfect for all teens. There are other subjects addressed that teens face today.
I really liked Justyce! He really is a good kid who finds himself in a bad situation more than once. You feel all the emotions he experiences. I really enjoyed the letters he writes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, we really get to know Justyce. I found myself wishing that MLK Jr. was still alive to answer and give advice to Justyce. In some ways I felt I got to know MLK Jr. himself.
Dear Martin takes place in Atlanta and I live in Metro Atlanta, which added to my enjoyment. When certain areas were mentioned (“Let’s go hike Stone Mountain”: OMG, I’ve been there MANY times!) Nic Stone lives in the Atlanta area so she is local to me, and I am all about supporting ‘local to me’ authors!
Dear Martin was Stone’s debut novel and I look forward to see what she does next. Her second novel Odd One Out will be released October 9th. Dear Martin is one that everyone should read!
Dear Martin is very highly recommended.