Obviously I never stick to what I say cause I’m already posting before I said my hiatus was over. I’m here with a blog post yay..Who even knows my mind. I’m here to review 3 recently hyped YA contemporary books. I really need to stop giving into the hype train because none of these contemporaries lived up to my expectations but they were cute nonetheless.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (3/5)
Molly is a virgin and has never been kissed. She wonders if she is inherently unlovable. She wonders how someone gets 1 person to like them let alone many like her sister Cassie. But all that changes when she gets a job at at an antique store and meets Reid.. I think this book gets a lot of things right in some ways. It perfectly captures what it’s like to feel left behind relationship wise, how it feels to be totally clueless and immature when it comes to sex and relationships. Her inner thoughts throughout the book reflect this constant insecurity that is kind of narcissistic but ultimately relatable at the same time. I do think that the side characters had a lot of potential like Hipster Will, her moms, and even Cassie but they never quite reached it. Although very diverse, they lacked a sense of presence and personality other than their obligated roles. But all of this is fine except Becky Albertalli’s writing has nothing to offer itself. It is overtly simple to the point of boredom. I wish the relationship between Cassie and Molly was explored more. TUoU’s main theme is one of self-confidence and self-acceptance but Molly’s journey to self-confidence immediately resolves itself after she kisses someone. Poof fixed.. I wanted more of an exploration of her insecurities surrounding her weight, her anxiety etc. the romance was ok even if the love interest was slightly lackluster. But it was serviceable and pretty cute and I didn’t hate it so there’s that.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston (2.5/5)
As you have no doubt guessed from the title, Geekerella is a Cinderella retelling following Ella who is a fangirl of the show Starfield (which is essentially Star Trek) and she has a blog talking about all things Starfield. Starfield is getting a reboot movie and the main actor just so happens to be Darien Freeman whom Ella hates for the main role. She writes a heated blog post about it and the story ensues from there. I have to be honest, I mostly wanted to read this book for the fandom aspect and you can certainly tell the author is a fangirl herself. She understands all the machinations behind conventions and blogs and online fandom. I liked that part the best even though there was less of that aspect than you would expect. I also have to be honest and say I’m not really a fan of Cinderella retellings mostly because I always feel the stepmother and stepsisters are so cartoonishly evil, it’s almost laughable. I felt the same way about the stepfamily in this one and I, in fact, think they’re not even as bad as real human beings can be (which tbh is kind of sad to think about but it’s true). They’re superficial and say mean stuff but I didn’t feel hurt when they insulted her because there was no sense of nuance or half-baked motivation for their actions. I also felt as if Ella as a main character was boring af and that’s mostly due to the fact that she was not very proactive in making her own decisions in her own life. Even the cosplay she was going to enter into Excelsicon was not really even her idea. This book also suffers from a case of instalove. They text each other and begin to fall in love because they understand Starfield references together and that’s it?? Also this is a side note but I am so sick of how convenient getting into college is for YA protagonists is. Mild spoilers but basically Ella gets accepted into UCLA because a film professor really liked her blog and basically pulled strings for her..
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5)
When Dimple Met Rishi is about two Indian-American teens who end up at the same web design summer camp called Insomnia Con. Dimple does not know that her parents have an arranged marriage planned for her (and if she did she would be furious, she has no time for that tradition and only wants to start designing her app) with her IIH (Ideal Indian Husband). The potential Ideal Indian Husband in question is Rishi who is perfectly aware of this arrangement and is perfectly fine with it as well. He is the traditional, reserved, and practical first son after all. Misunderstandings happen, they meet up and it goes from there. Although I wish it had gone into more detail, I did enjoy the exploration of arranged marriages, of expectations with traditional parents and that ultimate conflict of values between parents and children as they grow up. What I didn’t like as much is the instalove between Dimple Met Rishi. Their initial conversations were a little trite and ultimately did not convince me. After the initial meeting, Rishi already thought she had the best eyes in the entire world (cool story bro). Dimple was portrayed to be this really fierce and outspokenly feminist character but Rishi ended up being the more outspoken one..weirdly enough even though he was suppose to be the more reserved one. In all honesty, Dimple was basically like most YA contemporary heroines, she’s “not like other girls” who worry about boys and doesn’t do frivolous things like her roommate Celia. Also Rishi was a little too perfect. If you read my Alex Approximately review, Rishi is the nice guy. This book is also dual perspective which was interesting reading because one thought that Dimple would have would bleed into Rishi’s thought process. I wish the relationship between Dimple and her mom was explored more. Her mom is more interested in how Dimple looks than what Dimple was actually doing in Insomnia Con. But it was solved so conveniently in the end. There was no sense of real conflict in this book, even in Dimple and Rishi’s relationship from her not “doing” relationships (I haven’t heard that before), to long distance relationships to being too “domestic”. None of these themes served as real conflicts.
Also the whole Bollywood dance thing was very trite. And also, again with the whole unrealistic getting into college part. Repeat after me: You cannot get into college just from one person’s good word!!!
Let me know if the hype train got to you and you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them =)