Saturday, June 15, 2019

Short and Simple Reviews: With the Fire on High, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee, and The Great Unknowable End

This is a place for books that I didn't fully review.
Maybe I listed my likes and dislikes, had a little short paragraph, or a few sentences to convey my feelings on the book, but whatever the "review" is, all of them are short and simple. (hence the clever name)

With the Fire on HighWith her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free. 
  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

After reading The Poet X , I immediately added this book to my to-read list. It is clear that Acevedo is a wonderful writer and even in the prose of this book the poetic language is there. Emoni's voice is strong in this book and her passion for cooking shined in the pages. I really liked that this book showed Emoni as a mother, but that was not the focus of the book. So many YA books like to focus on the teen mother aspect, but being a mother is just a part of Emoni. This book shows her as a person who has goals and works hard to achieve them even with many other things in life trying to work against her. I will admit that I don't love this book as much as The Poet X, but I still think this is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. I will definitely be reading more from Acevedo in the future. 

 I hereby give this book
4 Stars
Meaning: I really liked it

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee
A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about 
their futures--and the TV show they host--in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show's guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he'll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous...and momentous.

  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Despitory

This was one of those bittersweet books that makes you laugh but also makes your heart break. This book switches between Delia and Josie. Each POV has a clear voice specific to each girl and oftentimes their own stories, but the girls are best friends and the repertoire together was just fantastic. I don't think there are enough books featuring female friendships in YA and this book definitely gave me female friendship in such an authentic way. While there are other things happening in this book, such as Delia trying to find her dad and Josie's relationship with Lawson, at its heart this book is about a strong friendship. This isn't the first book I've read by Zentner, but I now definitely plan on reading his debut book and any other books he publishes in the future. 

 I hereby give this book
5 Stars
Meaning: A new favorite!

The Great Unknowable End

Slater, Kansas is a small town where not much seems to happen.

Stella dreams of being a space engineer. After Stella's mom dies by suicide and her brother runs off to Red Sun, the local hippie commune, Stella is forced to bring her dreams down to Earth to care for her sister Jill.

Galliard has only ever known life inside Red Sun. There, people accept his tics, his Tourette's. But when he’s denied Red Sun's resident artist role he believed he was destined for, he starts to imagine a life beyond the gates of the compound...

The day Stella and Galliard meet, there is something in the air in their small town. Literally. So begins weeks of pink lightning, blood red rain, unexplained storms... And a countdown clock appears mysteriously above the town hall. With time ticking down to some great, unknowable end they’ll each have to make a choice.

If this is really the end of the world, who do they want to be when they face it?

I originally added this book to my TBR list right after I read Tash Hearts Tolstoy and all I really knew about it then was that it was going to take place in Kansas so I automatically wanted to read it (I'm from Kansas, okay? And there are not enough YA books that take place in Kansas. Granted I want more YA books that take place near the city. Why does everyone automatically think of rural when it comes to Kansas?). I'm not sure if the geography made sense, but I was really drawn into this book. The setting was very atmospheric, not just the small town setting, but there was such a clear feeling of summer and the '70s. The pacing was slow throughout a majority of the book, but that did not bother me. It just put a focus on the characters and I loved both Stella's and Galliard's perspectives. As the book progressed the pacing quickened in a very exciting rate. The last portion had a hint of magical realism and I'm still not sure what happened, but I overall liked this book. Also, I'm glad the Cosmosphere at least got a tiny shoutout at the very end.

 I hereby give this book
4 Stars
Meaning: I really liked it

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