Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

review

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Let me just start off by saying I’m usually not a big contemporary reader so when I rate a contemporary 5 stars it’s just through the roof amazing! “The Hate U Give” is probably one of the most hyped books out there and it is 100% worthy of all of it, not only is it just an overall incredible read but it’s also a very important book. It focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement and speaking up for equality and against racism and police brutality.

I wish I could go into more depth on the subject matter of this book but I am not one to talk about important issues such as these that I don’t know anything about personally (not saying I’m completely ignorant I just don’t know enough to go giving you all the information you need). All I can do is try and give “The Hate U Give” a review that will do it at least some justice and convince you all just how much you need to get your hands on a copy.

PLOT

First things first, I cannot believe this is Angie Thomas’s debut novel! Her writing is phenomenal and she writes like a pro, it was easy to follow, entertaining, and very emotional. Trust me when I say that books have to be VERY well written for me to get so immersed in the characters and story that I’ll be crying and I did more than once throughout this book!

As I mentioned above this book focuses mainly on racial inequality, our corrupt justice system, police brutality, and racism and in my opinion it really nails all of these things and sheds light on the truth of the way our society works. While this is some pretty heavy stuff that doesn’t mean “The Hate U Give” is that way the whole time, in fact there is a lot of humor in the otherwise somber plot. I loved how many light-hearted moments were included even though what Starr was going through is very tragic and scary.

The story is very character driven and that being said almost every single character has their own storyline that interconnects with everyone else’s as well. So the plot is very complex and there is never, NEVER a dull moment. You will be hooked from page one and will be 100% invested in these character’s stories.

Remember when I said the writing is very emotional? That’s probably one of the things that stuck out the most with me, just how emotional this story gets in so many different ways. There were times when my heart was absolutely broken, other times when I was over-joyed, and times where I was legitimately terrified for the characters.

This last thing I want to say involving the plot is kind of a side note but I wanted to mention it because it pissed me off so much! The white kids at Starr’s private school decide to hold a protest for Justice for Khalil which is awesome….except the only reason they did anything was to get out of class and they didn’t actually care. How about NOOOOOO? I did really appreciate the fact though that some of the other white characters refused to do it once they found out it was just a gimmick.

characters

If I was going to be honest and tell you what my absolute favorite part of this book was I’d have to say all of the characters! There wasn’t a single character who didn’t have a personality and a story all their own.

Starr is an extremely down-to-Earth and relatable character, I was rooting for her the entire time! Not to mention she’s also sassy, smart, and brave but she also isn’t without her flaws as well. Overall she’s very complex and has earned a spot in my favorite bookish heroines!

I also absolutely adored the family dynamic in “The Hate U Give”, literally loved it to little bits and pieces! It’s definitely a nice change to see a loving, supportive family in YA with children/teens who respect their parents and elders. I mean how many times do we see YA heroes/heroines that blow their parents off? Too many is the answer and it drives me nuts to see kids be so disrespectful.

The secondary characters were amazing as well and it was almost mind-blowing to see so many complex and developed characters all at once!

romance

So this is going to be very brief because while there is romance in the story it definitely does not take over the plot, THANK GOD! While I do love the way Starr’s interracial relationship is handled by themselves and outside parties I just didn’t like it overall, I felt that Starr and Chris just didn’t really have any chemistry. I think that Starr’s friendships and family relationships were handled a lot better with much more depth.

in conclusion

This is usually where I state the things I did like and didn’t like in the book and honestly there just isn’t anything I disliked that strongly, it is a 5 star book after all! I loved the story, the writing, and most of all the characters and I have zero complaints.

RECOMMEND

If I could give every single one of you a copy I would that’s how much I wish everyone would read “The Hate U Give” because as I said not only is it just a plain amazing book it’s also an extremely important one that handles some very serious and all too real issues.

GO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!! YOU WON’T REGRET IT!!!!!!!!!!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

March Wrap-Up

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March wasn’t the best of months for me but it was still alright as far as reading went! I did have a bit of a blogging slump there at the end which was absolutely ZERO fun but I’m back now and will hopefully be getting more posts up. I do apologize for all the posts I’ve missed from you guys and I know there are comments from WEEKS ago I still haven’t replied to but bear with me I’m getting to it all!

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Books Read This Month: 5

The Women in the Walls by Amy LukavicsBad Blood by Demitria LunettaThe Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie OakesThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I pretty much enjoyed every book I read in March which is amazing especially since I did not have such good luck in February. Of course I’d have to say “The Night Circus” and “The Hate U Give” were my favorites and both are definitely 5 star books! I’m not sure how the heck I’m going to be able to write reviews for them……


Reviews Finished This Month

The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

I should have finished a lot more than 3 reviews but…blogging sluuuump!


Tags & Memes Done This Month

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite YA Fantasy & Science Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR


Other Posts Done This Month

February Wrap-Up

Discussion Post: Reviewing Books Long After Finishing Them

My Recipe for the Perfect YA Fantasy Book

Mystery Blogger Award

Unplanned Hiatus/Blogging Slump Update


What I’m Currently Reading:

Living Dead GirlTiger Lily

I’ve been switching books a lot lately trying to find the ones I’m in the mood for so if you follow me on Goodreads I’m sorry! I did finally settle on “Living Dead Girl” which is a super short book and then after that I’ll be going straight into “Tiger Lily”!

I also have a poll on Twitter going right now about which of the following books I should read next: “Red Rising”, “The Song of Achilles”, “Starflight”, or “An Ember in the Ashes”! So if you don’t follow me on Twitter feel free to leave a “vote” in the comments below!

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How was your reading and blogging month this March?

What were your best or worst reads?

What are you currently reading?

What books are you excited for this coming month, April?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

review

I’m not quite sure how to define this book because while it is technically a contemporary it never really FEELS like your typical contemporary YA. “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly” is definitely 100% it’s own book, I’ve never read anything else remotely like it. Overall I’m very impressed with it!

PLOT

I’ve always found the cult mentality and just cults in general to be very interesting, I’m morbid like that, and I feel like this book portrays both of these things extremely well too. It’s hard to imagine people blindly following someone or something that just seems so ridiculous and unbelievable to the rest of us, which is shown in this book. I really enjoyed just how developed Oakes made her “Kevinian cult”, with the Prophet’s prophecies, his own version of a bible full of made up stories, polygamy, and even the brutality of their punishments.

The violence can get very graphic at times which not only made it more realistic, I think, but also really helped to drive the point home that these things actually happen in the world. I mean a major part of the story revolves around the fact that the main character gets her hands cut off. So if you’re the more squeamish type this book may not be for you.

However, as interesting as the cult aspects of the book are it isn’t the sole focus instead it focuses more on Minnow, her story, and how she’s learning to adapt with a way of life that goes against everything she’s been taught to believe. This is the part of the book that makes it so powerful and what makes it such an amazing read.

The ending was really the only part I had any complaint about as far as the plot went, it felt kind of anti-climatic although it was still very solid. I felt like the revealing of the Prophet’s death should have been a little more dramatic and what happens to Minnow after her story is complete a little more defined but I’m happy with the choices she made.

The pacing is a little slower and there definitely is not a ton of action but the story Minnow tells about her time with the cult is interesting enough to keep you turning pages, trust me!

What I easily loved the most about this book was Minnow’s narrative, it was compelling with some wonderful snippets of humor as well. I also loved her character in general but I’ll get to that in a bit….

Also the writing! It was just plain amazing I can’t believe this is a debut novel, Stephanie Oakes writes like a pro! I will definitely be reading more books by her when they come out.

characters

As I said a little earlier Minnow is by far the best part about this book, her narrative was amazing and she’s a very strong character especially after all she’s been through. She was complex and realistically developed throughout the story, going from believing blindly to questioning everything she’s been taught.

The side characters are also really well developed, mostly everyone in the juvenile detention center such as the other girls, guards, and teachers. I loved how the “don’t judge a book by its cover” sentiment really comes into play here as a lot of the girls have a lot more to them than initial appearances.

romance

There is a little bit of romance but nothing major, Minnow develops a relationship with an African-American boy, Jude, who also lives out in the woods. Their romance is really very sweet but at the end I was still very happy with Minnow’s decision regarding Jude.

in conclusion

Overall “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly”  is a powerful story with a message that’s easy to grasp, thinking and doing for yourself and no one else. I think that’s something we can all get behind.

What I Liked:

  • Minnow and her narrative
  • Side characters!
  • The realistic (and brutal) portrayal of cults and cult mentality
  • The overall message of the book (thinking and doing for yourself and no one else)
  • The writing
  • The side romance was sweet and didn’t take precedence over the story

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The pacing was slow at times
  • The ending felt a little anti-climatic
  • The Prophet! (even though that was the whole point….but still!)

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book if you’re looking for a unique YA read that also has a really strong message! Overall it’s just a wonderful, dark, realistic book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Book Outlet

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is pretty simple and straight forward, what books are on our spring TBRs. I personally am terrible when it comes to sticking to a set TBR since I’m a mood reader so while these books on my list are ones I’d like to get to sooner rather than later these are by no means set in stone.

I will also link each title to its Goodreads page in case you guys want to check out any of these books!

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10.) Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)

I have a feeling I’m either going to love this one or really hate it since I’ve seen reviews that swing both ways. I’m not the most patient of readers so slow pacing really kills me and I’ve heard this book is pretty slow. However, I do love YA fantasy so I’m hoping it will be worth it.


9.) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily

I’m a HUGE Peter Pan fan so of course it’s my mission in life to get my hands on all of the retellings! Unfortunately it seems there really aren’t any amazing ones out there but “Tiger Lily” has tons of glowing reviews but at the same time a few people haven’t liked it. So I’m a little nervous about this book but I’m hoping it’s actually a good Peter Pan retelling.


8.) The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

The Call

I’ve heard about this book a lot but at the same time I never hear it mentioned, it’s very underrated. While it’s listed mostly as a dystopian I think it’s YA horror as well, with some Irish mythology mixed in! I think it will be a very thrilling, quick book so I’m hoping to get to it.


7.) Front Lines by Michael Grant

Front Lines (Front Lines, #1)

An alternate history book where women and girls were eligible for service during World War II, how does that not sound awesome? I’ve always loved learning everything I could about this era in time so it’s definitely right up my alley and I am hoping to make time for it (finally) this spring!


6.) Starflight by Melissa Landers

Starflight (Starflight, #1)

YA fantasy and sci-fi are two of my absolute favorite genres and unfortunately I don’t think there are enough good YA sci-fi books out there. However, “Starflight” appears to be one of the few with all of the glowing reviews and from the sample I read it deserves every one. I’m super excited to get to this one!


5.) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising, #1)

Super popular and super hyped I’ve been wanting to read “Red Rising” for a while and FINALLY got a cheaper copy off of Book Outlet. I’m excited to see if this one lives up to expectations!


4.) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

I’m slowly trying to get through some of the more popular and hyped books on my TBR so this one definitely needs to get read here soon.


3.) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

Once again really popular book and I am ALL for an “Iliad” retelling.


2.) The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

I have this weird sort of morbid kind of curiosity concerning cults so a book about a girl who lived 12 years in one really appeals to me. I’ve also heard TONS of good things about this book so I’m definitely going to read it soon, if not next!


1.) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

This will be my first new release purchase this year because I MUST HAVE IT! And once I get my mitts on it I will drop everything and read it right away!

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What books are on your Spring TBR?

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Are any of these on your TBR as well?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your Top Ten Tuesday as well!

The Sassy

 

 

Book Review: The Women In The Walls by Amy Lukavics

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description

Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

review

So of course I was really pumped for this book since I LOVED the author’s debut novel “Daughters Unto Devils” (full review here), but while I enjoyed this book it just wasn’t as good as the debut book. Still a very solid read though especially if you’re a YA horror lover!

PLOT

My biggest problem with this book (and why it didn’t get a 4 or 5 star rating) was that the beginning of the story was extremely slow paced and kind of boring. There really wasn’t any real creepiness, horror, or gore at all in the beginning of the book but it had ALL of that within the last 50 pages or so. Honestly, the ending was what made reading the whole book worth it! It was fucked up and weird in the best and creepiest way possible, I wish I could say more but I can’t without spoiling it! There’s also a bit of mystery towards the end as well that made the atmosphere a little more eerie.

Speaking of the ending it is open-ended and I thought it was the perfect way to end it. I feel in horror books open endings really work, the add that much more to the creep-factor because you don’t know what REALLY happened or what will happen afterwards…… I personally loved that it was open-ended because of that reason and it was just like “Daughters Unto Devils” in this manner.

Women (as the title hints at) play a very important and big part in this book as well, basically any and all men are useless side characters and the women hold all the power and sway. Of course I’m going to say this is a plus!

There also is some representation of mental illness in the form of cutting, Lucy (the MC) does cut herself. However, even though I have zero personal experience with people who do cut themselves I felt that the matter was kind of brushed over in this book. It plays a pretty big part in Lucy’s life and yet it never really gets an attention. I just felt it should have been a little bit bigger of an issue with the characters….

The writing was sort of just “meh”, nothing too spectacular. I felt it was better in her other book “Daughters Unto Devils”.

 A HUGE plus for this book is the fact that there is no absolutely zero romance. That’s right there is no romance in this YA book, and isn’t that refreshing?

characters

There was not a whole lot of character development but that’s to be expected with a book that’s only 278 pages long. I didn’t really connect with Lucy or any of the other characters, I felt really distant from what was happening to them. Lucy did have her moments where she stuck up for herself and her family and yelled at some of those arrogant country club people but for the most part she was just okay.

Not to mention I LOATHED Lucy’s dad with a fiery burning passion, talk about worst dad ever! He basically shows zero emotion towards his own daughter and ignores her when she comes to him about things. It really ticked me off so I thought it was worth mentioning.

in conclusion

Overall I did enjoy reading this book although it was a little painful to get through the beginning but ultimately that ending is worth it! I don’t think this one was as good as “Daughters Unto Devils” though but I will still read anything Lukavics comes out with.

What I Liked:

  • THAT ENDING!!!!
  • Women play a big part in the plot and men are useless side characters
  • ZERO romance

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not a lot of character development (hated Lucy’s dad!)
  • Up until the last 50 or so pages is slow and a bit boring
  • The writing is “meh”

RECOMMEND

Even though I didn’t like this one as much as “Daughters Unto Devils” (which I highly recommend checking out) it is still a pretty good book and the ending is insane! If you’re looking for a short YA horror book with zero romance to distract from the creepiness this one is for you! I definitely do recommend at least checking this book out.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s topic is favorite fantasy and science fiction books in collaboration with BooktubeSFF Awards! I decided to do both genres but in only Young Adult. I have read and reviewed all of these books so I’ll attach my review links to the titles if you want to read more of my thoughts on each of these!

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5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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I’ve said this countless times but it’s so true: this book is a hidden gem! Not only did I find the world building very good but also the fact that it had it’s own plot going on along with four sort of “mini stories” and each is a fairy tale retelling (Mulan, Emma, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella). I loved all of the characters as well and actually grew very attached, I didn’t even mind the romance either!


4.) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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The romance in this one did have some problems but I still really enjoyed it, the characters, and the world building was AMAZING! Also Laini Taylor has THE most gorgeous writing I’ve ever come across, seriously I’d read the woman’s grocery list. Overall the story is just so engaging and I really recommend reading it.


3.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Let’s see here: actual badass main character, lots of action and plot twists, plenty of “court intrigue” with plotting and revenge, and a romance I could actually ship. Not to mention it’s all in space! If you’re looking for a fast paced space adventure than this is definitely a book I recommend reading, it’s one of my new favorite sci-fi books of all time!


2.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Image result for illuminae book cover

I think you’ve all heard about “Illuminae” but in case you haven’t…..its yet another super fast-paced, action-packed, space opera! Complete with crazy AIs, mutating space viruses, and hella plot twists. Plus there’s that unique formatting that is to die for! If you’re looking for an awesome YA sci-fi book look no further.


1.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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While I do acknowledge that this book is very problematic (as seems to be the case with a lot of Kristoff’s books) I still consider it to be one of my all time favorite fantasy books. It’s got fantastic world building (some of the best I’ve seen) and mythology and great characters that I grew very attached too! Plus there’s a bit of steampunk in it as well, they have chainsaw katanas!

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What are some of your favorite YA fantasy or sci-fi books?

Have you read any of these on my list? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your T5W as well!

The Sassy

February Wrap-Up

Top Ten Tuesday(48)

So February was one of my best months ever as far as stats go which is awesome it also wasn’t such a terrible month for reading either. The only thing that happened that I wasn’t happy with was I got sick last week and didn’t get ANYTHING done, no reading or anything. Fortunately I’m feeling better and am looking forward to getting some shit done this month!

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Books Read This Month: 5

Wintersong by S. Jae-JonesTraveler by L.E. DeLanoThe Dragon's Price by Bethany WigginsThe Bone Witch by Rin ChupecoThe Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

These were all ARCs that I read this month and unfortunately none of them were very good with the exception of “The Bone Witch” which I did enjoy even though it did have some problems.


Reviews Finished This Month:

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Traveler (Traveler #1) by L.E. DeLano

The Dragon’s Price (Transference #1) by Bethany Wiggins

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco


Tags & Memes Done This Month

The Sims Book Tag

The Valentine’s Day Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite/Least Favorite Slow-Burn & Insta-Love Romances

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved Less Than Everyone Else


Other Posts Done This Month

January Wrap-Up

February TBR

Most Anticipated Releases: First Half of 2017 (Part 2)

Book Recommendations: Underrated Books


What I’m Currently Reading:

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So far this is a pretty decent book and I’m still expecting to love it in the end! Amy Lukavics has yet to disappoint me!

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How was your reading and blogging month this February?

What were your best or worst reads?

What are you currently reading?

What books are you excited for this coming month, March?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy