Book Review

A Song Below Water |Book Review

Image Copyright: marinainw0nderland

(Disclosure: There are things that I don’t know and through literature I seek answers. Please educate me on things that I don’t know. As always I try to be inclusive. kind and respectful in my reviews. xoxo, Rina )

Synopsis:

Legacies meets Nic Stone’s Dear Martin in Bethany C. Morrow’s debut YA, A Song Below Water, about two best friends discovering their magical identities against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. (Goodreads)

REVIEW

This was a surprising read. This was marketed to me as a mermaid tale. This intrigued me a lot because I had never before read a book that revolved around mermaids.

Pros:

This book had social commentary that I feel is relevant in today’s times. The book revolved around black characters and police violence. I feel like police brutality in the black community has taken a rise, and representation of it is important in literature to begin the conversation of how we can change this. This novel acknowledged the right to protest and showed it in a way of being able to use your voice in order to demand social change. I liked that this novel also showed the use of media, such as Youtube as a means to educate the public on social issues. I valued that this novel portrayed a true representation of what a protest looks like, the precautions one takes when protesting and the risk that one puts themselves in when they are protesting.

I enjoyed that this book included people of color representation and it was written by a black author.

While the book dealt with difficult social issues and had mythical creatures in it, it also displayed teenage love and the innocent feelings of crushes. While it did have a serious undertone to the story, the teenagers still acted like teenagers with magical powers. While the reader is trying to figure out who and what our main characters are, the main character Tavia and Effie are on the same journey as the reader trying to learn about their abilities and what it means to have those abilities in there life.

Favorite Quote:

” What is the status of that? Are we avoiding labels or is he officially your boyfriend?”

“Okay, what makes it official?”

“If he asks you to go steady. Doy.”

“I just don’t think guys literally ask that anymore.” (P.173, Bethany C. Marrow )

Cons:

However, the plotline of having police conflict within the black community was a promising touch, because I thought this was a very important point that provided space to educate the reader. I feel like this giant event was lost among the storyline. This story seemed to not contain a plot other than two girls having to protect one another.

There were different characters that were introduced without any explanation of their mythical origin besides their mythical names. Throughout the entire book, the main characters spent running away from an invisible evil force without really knowing why. Tavia and Effie also spend the greater part of the book not knowing their true identities and the reader spends a lot of the time being confused who is who.

There is a society of mythical creatures that are created to protect the girls called eolokes but, their origin is not explained. It is hard to understand their place in society. All the supernatural creatures lacked a back story. The creatures were all new to me, they were ones that I have never read about before. Which at first gave me excitement for a new fantasy world but the story fell short due to lack of back story and too much trying to be fit in such a short novel.

The family lines were very confusing, as the reader early on find out that the “sisters” are not related by blood. It was hard to identify which sister belonged to which family because it seemed that there was no strong connection between the family. When the families got together it felt like it was one large family, until the reader was reminded that the girls had lived previously in different homes. I personally struggled with making strong connections to their family lines. It did seem that the book tried to make the two families an important aspect of the story but it lacked in creating the connections that helped the reader be able to easily identify which family went to which girl and what roles the family played.

Overall

This book was not exactly my cup of tea. I enjoyed parts of it as I read. There was not much in this book that was very memorable to me and I do not see myself revisiting this book in the future. While I enjoyed the “people of color” representation and I thought that the book gave an interesting and important overview of protesting. The fantasy elements were not for me. I felt that the book lacked a lot of back story, while it introduced numerous amounts of supernatural creatures. I think that just by adding back story and having the book be slightly longer the story could have had a much more lasting effect on me. This siren tale was just not for me.

XOXO,

Rina

book reflection · Book Review

Beautiful Disaster By Jamie McGuire| Review

15749887Synopsis: The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. (Goodreads)

Review Reflection: 

This was a reread for me. I remember reading this book a few years ago and being completely goo-goo-gaga over Travis Maddox. This book is a love story, following a dysfunctional relationship between Travis and Abbey. Travis is known for sleeping with all the girls on campus and when he meets Abbey, for some reason he wants to change his ways and just be with her. Although, the two struggle with their past selfs and entangle in a dysfunctional abnormal relationship.

If you are looking for healthy romantic representation this is not it. This book shows everything that a relationship should not be, however, the writing and storyline are addicting to read. On a 5 star scale, as an older adult, I would rate this book starsstars/5 stars.  If you are reading this for the entertainment purposes I think you won’t be disappointed, if you are dissecting the book like a science experience, better hold your breath and were your safety goggles.

Initial Thoughts (2013) +Commentary

I loved this book from beginning to end. Although many people compare Jamie McGuire to E.L. James, I think that these two authors are nothing alike.

I really liked watching our female character Abby, grow from being just Travis’s best friend to girlfriend to a girl who stands up for her believes to Travis’s savior. (I still enjoyed this aspect of the book. I really liked how for the first half of the book, the main characters were just friends. It didn’t seem as insta-love, as a lot of young adult books are. )

Man, was Travis something else too. I loved his character. I enjoyed seeing his dark side and how Abby brought out the good in him. ( I still enjoyed seeing the chemistry between Abby and Travis. ) He is impulse and possessive. (Marina, what in the world?? Impulsivity and possessive is now a major turn off for me. In the book, Travis pretty much threatened anyone male who came within 50 feet of Abby. Those situations could have been dealt with in a much classier way.) But, something about his nature makes him sexy. He is afraid of losing the one thing in the world that means the most to him, Abby. He makes stupid decisions and sometimes says the wrong thing but, is willing to give up anything not to lose her. (The thing that makes their relationship irresistible is they go through so much shit together and yet at the end of the day after they decide to be together. I think that was a part that was important to see. Half the book the two main characters are not even together, then they get together and mess up only to break up again, but in the end that work out their differences. I think that in one way it is important to show that it is easy to walk away from something, but with your head on straight it is important to note how important a person is in your life and not be judged for giving second chances or wanting to try again. ) 

The minor characters were really great as well, Shep and America, try their hardest to protect both water and fire elements of Abbey’s and Travis’s personalities. (Still relevant) 

The ending of this book was shocking and unexpected. Overall, I was sad when it all came to an end. I can’t wait to read the story from Travis’s point of view in “Walking Disaster”. (Still, have not read this story from Travis’s point of view)