Review: Love, Creekwood (#3.5) by Becky Albertalli

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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. 

It’s been a long time since I originally joined the Love Simon universe and read Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I’ve since read all of the books in the Simonverse, watched the film adaptation and I’m currently watching the most recent season of Love, Victor with my boyfriend. As soon as I saw this little novella was being released, I knew I wanted to dive back into this world.

This book is a short collection of emails between Simon, Bram and the gang from Creekwood. It includes their personal emails to one another and their group emails. I found this such a fun and heartwarming way to follow the gang after all of the books are set – especially as the emails pack a lot in with discussions of how the friends are struggling with and adapting to their next steps.

When we say we want to freeze time, what we mean is that we want to control our memories. We want to choose which moments we’ll keep forever. We want to guarantee the best ones won’t slip away from us somehow. 

I really love these characters and I’d definitely recommending reading all of the books in the Simonverse before this one. Most of the emails in this collection are like love letters, and honestly made me want to write a love letter to my boyfriend, they were so sweet. I also loved seeing the emails between Leah and Abby from Leah on the Offbeat and also seeing them all talk as a friendship group.

I think the biggest disappointment about this novella is just that the emails can be a little repetitive after a while. Simon and Bram talk so much about missing each other that sometimes it feels as though the emails are copy and pasted. I understood how they felt, but I wanted something else, I guess.

 So when something beautiful happens, there’s this impulse to press pause and save the game. We want to make sure we can find our way back to that moment.

Overall, this was a really sweet addition to the Simonverse and I’m glad I picked it up. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s definitely worth reading if you like and miss these characters (also check out Love, Victor!)!

4 out of 5 stars


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Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

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Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely. 

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book through work and I was super excited to find it! I’ve loved all of Becky Albertalli’s book so far, and this one didn’t let me down.

Maya and Jamie were such great protagonists. Jamie was so sweet and awkward and I related to him a lot. I adored his love for Target, because I also have a weird obsession with big department stores and find it really fun to go shopping when it’s quiet. I found Maya so interesting to read about because of her religion. I often find religion isn’t shown a lot in YA and it was fascinating to read about Maya being Muslim in the way it should be written – like it’s normal. Because it is.

I also adored the characters’ passion for politics. Maya and Jamie get to know each other through canvassing and politics, and it was so lovely to read about teenagers being interested in something so important. The other characters in the book were so lovable too – especially Jamie’s grandmother! She’s a social media influencer and she is the most amazing character. Both of Maya and Jamie’s families were so great as supporting character’s and the rest of the friends were fascinating too. I loved how much friendships and family relationships were written about and included too, especially the hard parts. It made the book so real and relatable!

The romance was the sweetest thing and I loved reading about it. It was a little cliche, but I was rooting for them all the way. I couldn’t help but love them. As Alex also said in her review, I was constantly reminded in little ways of my boyfriend and I realising we liked each other just before we got together, and it made me smile every time!

I had so much fun buddy reading this with Alex and Faye. This book was so easy to read and I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. I could have probably read over a hundred pages at a time, I was enjoying it so much!

5 out of 5 stars


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Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera


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Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?

If there are two people who are destined to write together, it’s Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. They go together like salt and pepper, and I love what came out of their partnership in What If It’s Us!

I’m a big fan of both authors and I felt their characters complimented each other perfectly, but still had their own voices. I could just about feel the differences between the way both characters were written that gave them each a unique feel.

“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship.”

I loved the plot! I remember Adam talking when I met him last week, and I know him and Becky really wanted to write about the difficult parts of relationships as they develop and not just the getting together part. I loved how this book tackled the struggles and not just the Broadway worthy scenes, and it made this book so relatable.

Arthur and Ben were just the cutest, but they were so flawed too! There were parts when I couldn’t help but feel like both of them were just being assholes, but that’s the charm of these characters. They’re so real, they mess up, they accept it, they move on.

“You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.”

I also loved the side characters, friends and family! Not enough YA includes intimate family scenes and I love how their whole lives were included, as well as scenes at home. There’s a specific scene including both of Arthur and Ben’s parents, and it was so heartfelt and lovely.

The only slight issue I had with this book is that it took a long time for me to get into. Maybe 100/150 pages in I got it, but when I did get into this book I couldn’t stop reading! It took me almost a week to read 100 pages, and then a couple of days to read the last 300. So I’d definitely say it’s worth the wait.

4 stars


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Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli


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When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

I didn’t think I was going to read this book – I was just unsure that it was my thing as I’m getting older and my reading tastes are developing, but I’m so glad I did! It was a combination of loving The Upside of Unrequited and @bookish_and_proud (shoutout to Becky!) enjoying it that made me finally picking up, and it was definitely worth it.

“Imagine going about your day knowing someone’s carrying you in their mind.”

In some ways, this book was exactly how I expected it to be. It was angsty, cheesy and cliche, but I also loved it. I’m trying to be honest with myself here, and be honest with you guys too, so I’ll just come out with it. I really want to be cultured, and educated, and have an obsession with classics and other  books that will shape me as a person. But I honestly really love a good YA contemporary, so here we are. This book was my guilty pleasure in written form.

First of all, Leah. I loved her, she was so relatable and badass and I really found myself enjoying reading about her character. But I have to say, she was also incredibly…brash? I don’t really know how to describe her, but she really needs to learn to forgive and stop holding so many grudges. I get it, I can be like her as a person too, but sometimes it just annoyed me a little how she seemed to hate people for no reason (*cough* Wells *cough*).

“That has to be the best part of being in love- the feeling of having a home in some else’s brain.”

But that really has to be the only downside of Leah on the Offbeat, because I couldn’t help but love the rest. It’s cliche, but it also has a balance of deep, meaningful stuff which is really true about growing up. But what I really loved about these books was the laughter. I find it really, truly difficult to laugh-out-loud at books, but this one really tickled me. I kept having to stop and recite funny passages to my boyfriend.

On top of it being so funny, it was also so current! I found myself giving a little fist-pump when I saw Troye Sivan was mentioned. It warmed my heart at every single Harry Potter reference. I melted when I saw a reference to Six of Crows. I’m going to have to stop, because I loved this book so much I could go on and on about it, so I will say one last thing – I love how this book is in the same world as Simon vs. and The Upside of Unrequited. And I love how they’re not direct sequels, because there is no pressure to go back and remember what happened in Simon vs!

4 stars


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Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

This book honestly really surprised me! I thought I was over cutesy YA romances like this but it turns out I can’t help but have a soft spot for them. And it also turns out that my friend Amy knows me even better than I know myself, because she sent this to me knowing how much I’d love it!

Before I start, this book isn’t perfect. I’d rather finish on the good, so I’m going to start with the little bad there is. Even though I enjoyed it, it is predictable and all of the characters have their…problems. For example, there was a few places that made me cringeeee. Basically, Molly (the main character), talks to her cousin Abby and the conversation almost suggests Abby is a slut because she slept with her serious boyfriend of 4 months. Why is that even a consideration? It’s up to Abby whether she sleeps with her boyfriend or not. If they were ready at 4 months, great. If they were ready sooner, great.

“You would matter. That’s the thing. I get into this weird place sometimes where I worry about that.”

But apart from a few little things, I did love this book. I had to put myself into my mind a year or two ago, but I couldn’t help but really enjoy this. It is exactly how I felt when I was Molly’s age and crushing. She felt so real to me. I love how much I could relate to her and her situation. Molly wasn’t perfect but who is? And this book was so diverse, with so many LGBT and POC characters! Sometimes I struggled to remember Molly was still growing up (I was a little more mature than her at the same age), but that was just her as a person, and I could sympathise with that.

“I’ve never told anyone this – not my moms, not Cassie – but that’s the thing I’m most afraid of. Not mattering. Existing in a world that doesn’t care who I am.”

Maybe this book says something about me, because I feel like I’m one of the only readers who didn’t find Molly a little annoying because I found her so relatable. I loved that Molly suffered with anxiety and that was part of her character. I loved that she was fat and that was discussed in relation to how she was feeling. I loved her addiction to Pinterest.

So overall, this book feels like a guilty pleasure to me. I just couldn’t help but fall completely in love with it. Molly is the perfect representation of a 17 year old girl with low self-confidence. Her story, and the stories of the people around her, brought tears to my eyes even though I kind of knew what was about to happen. If you love romance and have a secret obsession with contemporaries, please go and read this. It’s beautiful and perfect and includes many, many Mini Eggs. It’s the definition of cute and fluffy, but it warmed my heart so much.

4 stars


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