Young Adult

Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute

By: Emma Lord

Blurb:

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Review:

Tweet Cute is a young adult novel about two high school seniors dealing with issues regarding their respective family businesses. As well as all the typical high school stuff that comes with going to a prestigious private school.

Pepper spent the first fourteen years of her life in Nashville. Then her parents divorced, amicably, and her mother moved to New York City to expand their family fast food business. Pepper moved with her and molded herself into the perfect prep school student, but she never felt like she belonged.

Jack has always lived in New York, working at the deli his family owns. He attends the same private school as Pepper. He has a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to his twin brother. Jack also feels like he’s being forced into taking over the family business.

For whatever reason, Pepper’s mom has decided not to hire a social media manager for her multi-million dollar company, who can handle snarky tweets. Instead, she relies on her teenage daughter to go after a small mom and pop deli when they have issues with Pepper’s mom stealing a family grilled cheese recipe. Her mom is not sympathetic in this story at all. After everything her mom does and says, Pepper keeps trying to stay in her good graces, even though she knows her mom is in the wrong. Even with the reveal at the end, her mother comes off as a bad parent.

Meanwhile, Jack’s parents have regular parenting conflicts with him. Pepper and Jack (way too on the nose with those names) both need to sit down and talk to some people. Pepper does at least try several times with her mom, but her mom steamrolls over her.

Pepper and Jack’s romance is super sweet, and what makes the book for me. I’m not an angsty teenage fan, and I was not too fond of Pepper’s mother, but the romance made me enjoy Tweet Cute. They were engaged in a Twitter feud that spawned fanfic, they started talking a lot at school, and they were anonymously chatting to each other. I love the anonymous letter-writing trope.

There were never any super embarrassing moments. Watching their friendship develop, and then their romance was entertaining. I liked Pepper and Jack as characters as well. Plus, there were lots of yummy food references.

3.75/5

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

By: Garth Nix

Blurb:

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

Review:

Finally, a book I loved. It’s been so long I was starting to think something was wrong. I’m a Garth Nix fan, but I don’t always love his books. Sabriel was one of the first female-led fantasy books I read, and I still go back and re-read it.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London starts with a great tagline on the cover, “Authorized to kill, and sell books.”

Set in 1983, Susan is in London, the summer before university starts, to search for her father. It ends up being a lot more complicated than she previously thought.

At the beginning of her search, she meets a member of a family of booksellers. He also happens to battle mythic and legendary creatures. His world is complicated and scary, but Susan handles it very well. She was calm and cool, with the occasional what the hell is happening moments. It’s a fine line to balance, but Nix did a great job.

There are very few lulls in the story, with something almost always happening. It managed not to be exhausting, though. There was a nice little romance between two of the characters and an entertaining family dynamic that helped with the pace. I thought it was cool that Merlin was gender fluid or non-binary. It was never explained; it was just who he was. It was the first time I’ve read a character like him.

The book didn’t get as dark as Sabriel does, but there is still a satisfying climactic conclusion. It’s written like a standalone book, but I would love to see more. The world of the booksellers was fascinating, and I liked all of the characters.

4.5/5

Love, Creekwood (Simonverse #3.5)

Love, Creekwood (Simonverse #3.5)

By: Becky Albertalli

Blurb:

It’s been more than a year since Simon and Blue turned their anonymous online flirtation into an IRL relationship, and just a few months since Abby and Leah’s unforgettable night at senior prom.

Now the Creekwood High crew are first years at different colleges, navigating friendship and romance the way their story began—on email.

Review:

Love, Creekwood is a novella that is a series of emails between the characters from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. You see them during their freshman year of college. It’s cute and angsty since Simon and Bram are going to different colleges. It’s a short read but the ending feels like a set up for the next book. There isn’t one listed on Goodreads, though, so not sure if one’s coming.

Unless you’re a fan of the previous books, I wouldn’t recommend reading this. It was definitely written for fans.

4/5

Renegades

Renegades (Renegades #1) By: Marissa Meyer

Plot:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Review:

Why do YA superhero books have to start out killing a baby? I understand setting up a tragic past, but come on do something else, please.

It took me a while to get into Renegades, partly, I believe, because it reminded me a lot of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. As the world was revealed and the characters more developed those similarities lessened, but it was still a world recovering from an apocalypse, still had young adults with powers making stupid decisions and being emo.

Nova and Adrian are frustrating characters for me, they’re both smart kids, capable of critical thinking, but they have both swallowed the kool-aid so completely on their respective sides that they can’t seem to see the negatives. They’d walk right up to the edge and then turn around, they couldn’t take that final step. It was annoying.

My fear is that the next book, which is supposed to be the final one, doesn’t try to fix things, that it picks a side and you’re supposed to just accept the problems that come with it. Surely that’s not where she’s going with this.

I was disappointed with the level of world building. What there was only really existed for the Renegades. The rest of the world didn’t matter, it was just sort of there ignored in the background.

There was some potential here, but I wasn’t thrilled with really anything in this book.

3/5

Triple Threat (Lois Lane #3) By: Gwenda Bond

Still loving these covers, the hardcover is awesome

 

Triple Threat (Lois Lane #3) By: Gwenda Bond

Plot:

For the first time, Lois Lane has almost everything she wants. Non-temporary home? Check. Dream job? Double check. Incredible BFFs? The absolute best. And now, her online crush, SmallvilleGuy, is coming to Metropolis. If all goes well, they’ll turn their long-distance friendship into a some-kind-of-fairy-tale romance. But when does all ever go well? Before she can check boyfriend off her list, Lois must take down a mad scientist plus a trio of mutant teens, protect the elusive flying man from the feds (including her dad), and navigate her very first date with SmallvilleGuy. In the follow-up to FALLOUT and DOUBLE DOWN, Gwenda Bond’s reimagination of DC Comics’s first leading lady takes on her toughest challenge yet: Love.

Review:

One of the things I love most about this series is the lack of teenage angst and drama. It’s not a complete lack, but it’s not enough to be annoying, just believable. Sadly, “Triple Threat” changed all that and there was a definite increase in the angst and drama. It wasn’t a ton, but it was enough to affect how much I enjoyed the story.

Lois spent a lot of time worrying that she was keeping too many secrets, but then didn’t really stop until forced too. She also spent a lot of time reacting emotionally to the fact that she finally gets to meet her online boyfriend. That was mostly alright, though. We also got to meet TheInventor, who was not who I thought he was going to be, but as soon as he was revealed I mentally kicked myself.

The story itself was the weakest of the series so far. It felt rushed at the end and I’m not sure if Lois’s story would have been accepted by a paper with the reputation of The Planet, but then I recently watched Newsroom and I could just be projecting their high ideals.

Things were quickly resolved, but there were still questions, and it left me feeling like I’d skipped pages, only I hadn’t.

Overall, the series is excellent. I would love books like this set with these characters only as adults. For now I will keep reading their teenage versions, especially if Gwenda Bond keeps writing them.

3.5/5