Expected publication: January 16th, 2018
A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape--perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.
American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.
There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
First book read in the New Year! But grrrr, I was hoping to like it more. I'll start with what I didn't like so I can at least end this review on a positive note.
-The romance was cliché, predictable, and not at all interesting. It was super obvious from very early on what was going to happen and there were so few obstacles standing in Maya's way.
-The Islamophobia and terrorist attack became background plot. I was expecting it to be a huge focus, but it wasn't, and I was super disappointed. This book could have been the next The Hate U Give, but I found the problems that came from the terrorist attack to be very easily taken care of when they should have been complicated.
-There also wasn't any focus on Muslim culture?????? Maya NEVER talks about what she thinks about her religion or anything, even though she clearly has different thoughts from her parents on everything.
-The writing wasn't great and the dialogue was awkward. I didn't like most of the characters because of this, even though I should have liked the characters otherwise.
-The whole thing just felt super surface level and too easy. If the author had dug a little deeper, it could've been a masterpiece, but it was just fluffy, and not everything in it was supposed to be fluffy.
-MAYA WAS SO UNFAIR TO HER PARENTS. Sometimes she had the right to be a little annoyed, but other times she acted exasperated by them when they were being totally reasonable. At one point, her mom offers to stay home with her because she's not feeling well and she's like, "Mom, I'm being smothered!" So rude.
Things I did like . . .
-There was a huge focus on Indian culture, which I found to be refreshingly diverse and interesting. It made for great family dynamics and perspectives on how to straddle two cultures (American and Indian).
-I liked that Maya wanted to be a documentarian! I've never seen that kind of art portrayed in a YA book and it was cool to see a unique side of movie-making.
-The book touched on a lot of different important issues Indian-American and Muslim-American families faced today, and while I wish those issues had been explored more, they were still brought up, and that's a step in the right direction.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, which I personally didn't like that much, but I know many people did. It read very similarly.
I rate it:
Published: January 2nd, 2018
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
This was a very cool premise (you can turn your blood into currency and those coins can then be consumed to add years to your life). I loved the creativity that went into the world building and legends. Ultimately, that's what made the story unique and worth reading, because otherwise it read like any other fantasy.
I wasn't a fan of Jules as a character. I didn't dislike her, and sometimes I felt sorry for her, but she was a little bland.
The romance was honestly laughable. I didn't buy it in the slightest. It was basically instalove, which I can't stand 95% of the time.
The plot twists could have been great, but I feel like they were confusing and sloppy in execution. They might have worked better had they been spread throughout the book more, but the first half of the book was a ton of setup, which made it kind of slow.
I probably won't read the sequels, but it was entertaining while it lasted and a fresh take on fantasy worlds. Fans of RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard might enjoy this one.
I rate it:
Actual rating: 3.5
Have you read Love, Hate & Other Filters or Everless? What did you think? What was the first book you read this year? Leave a comment!