Review: Fangirl, Vol. 2 (Fangirl: The Manga #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes.

Full disclosure: I have not read volume 1 of this manga. However, I have read Fangirl, the novel that this is based upon, and have always been curious about this manga adaptation. I am familiar with the story so I was able to read and understand this volume without having read volume 1. 

If I could use one word to describe this book it would be cozy. It feels like such a comfort read, probably because the book is set during the fall/winter. It has those cozy vibes that makes you want to read this while curled up with a blanket and a hot beverage. 

I loved the art style. The illustrator specializes in black and white manga style and that is very evident. The art looks like a classic manga. The illustrator did a phenomenal job conveying all of Cath’s emotions. 

I liked that the manga followed in the book’s footsteps and used snippets from the Simon Snow books and Cath’s fan fiction. Since this manga doesn’t use chapters, it helped separate different parts of the story. Generally, I prefer chapters in manga to avoid it feeling like one long scene. 

Overall, this was such a warm and heartfelt read. I cannot wait to read the next one since this one ends on such a cliffhanger! 


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Review: Beast Boy

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review. 

I’m not super familiar with the Teen Titans so going in I knew very little about Beast Boy. Because of this, I didn’t have any particular expectations going into it. I ended up enjoying learning the origin story of Beast Boy. 

As a whole, the plot is fairly basic. There really isn’t anything super exciting going on since this is just the first part of his story. It basically him navigating high school while also discovering who he is and his powers. I am very intrigued to see how the rest unfolds. The book did a good job setting up things to come. 

The artwork was amazing. It worked really well with the overall vibe of the book and I liked how shades of green were featured and incorporated. 

Overall, this was a great start to Beast Boy’s story and I look forward to reading more of his adventures (especially with Raven)! 


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Review: The Places We Sleep

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from Books Forward in exchange for an honest review.

I was really intrigued by this book because it centers on 9/11. I was only 6 years old when it happened so I never truly felt the magnitude of it. 

This book did an amazing job detailing how 9/11 rocked everyone’s world. You saw how 12 year old Abbey felt. You saw how her mom reacted to finding out her sister went missing during the attack. You saw her dad’s military response to it. You saw how regular civilians felt about the possibility of war. You saw racial prejudices exhibited by Abbey’s classmates to a fellow student. The book covered a range of experiences.

This is a novel in verse so the entire book was written in poetry. As a whole, I thought the poems were well done. However, I would have loved if the poems had titles. Instead, they were numbered. Sometimes titles can help enhance the poem and create a bigger impact. But on the flip side, having no titles made the book more novel like. It reads very smoothly because of that. At times, it didn’t even feel like you’re were reading poetry because you get sucked into the story. 

Plot-wise, I wanted a little more, especially towards the end. I wanted there to be a little more development with some of the supporting characters. Even though this book centers on 9/11, it is also a coming of age story. One of the things that gets explored is periods. I am happy that this book did not shy away from showing girls getting their period for the first time. 

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about the American reaction to 9/11. This book is aimed towards middle grade readers but can still be enjoyed by adults. 


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Review: This Woman is Still Girl

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a really powerful poetry collection. 

I really liked how this collection told the author’s story and portrayed her life experiences. It was very raw, personal, and real. I felt like I really got to know her and what she went through. I particularly liked that she talked a lot about her mixed heritage. 

I liked how the book was organized into three sections (is Girl, is in Between, is Woman). Sometimes with poetry collections, poems are just scattered throughout with no particular thought to the order of them. Having the sections helped tie it all together and led the reader on a journey through her life. It made it very easy to see her growth. 

Some of my favorite poems were: 

  • Mixed Girl (pg 12)
  • Dating (pg 52) 
  • I am still girl (pg 62)
  • How I Became A Writer (pg 71)
  • I am woman (pg 109)
  • Khaleesi (pg 126)
  • Hard (pg 133) 

Overall, this was an amazing collection about growing up as a woman of color and discovering who you are. 


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Review: Frankly in Love

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative.

This book was so good! It’s a romance but it goes so much deeper than just that. At the core, it’s a story about first love, racism, identity, and family. 

I absolutely loved that this book did not shy away from talking about racism, especially the racism of Koreans towards African Americans and other Asian communities. I haven’t really seen that in a book before. 

I liked that this book explored the struggles of being Korean-American and having immigrant parents. Frank is often conflicted over his identity. At one point he states, “I call myself Korean-American, always leading first with Korean or Asian, then the silent hyphen, then ending with American. Never just American” (pg. 133). 

I also loved the end of the book. It was a bit sad but still realistic. 

My one critique is that the romances seemed a bit instalove-y, especially Frank’s romance with Brit. Frank fell in love with Brit so fast. It kind of came out of nowhere. 

Lastly, as a Filipino American I’m always looking for representation and this book has a tiny bit of Filipino rep. One of Frank’s friends, Paul, is Filipino. His character doesn’t do much, but the book does incorporate Isang Bagsak. Isang Bagsak is a Filipino unity clap, whcich I never even heard of prior to reading this book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this #OwnVoices exploration of love and identity. 

Review: Alternative Remedies for Loss

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour I did to promote the book. 

The author did a fantastic job taking you on a journey with the main character, Olivia, following her mother’s death. You really get an in-depth look into Olivia’s mind and how she feels. Olivia felt very real. Sometimes books that are the “coming of age self discovery” type, end up being excessive and unrealistic. The characters will do crazy things and end up in situations that probably would never happen in real life. Luckily this book did not go down that path. Everything Olivia did made sense and the things that happened to her were not too far fetched. 

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I also really loved the supporting characters. Olivia’s family were a great addition to the story and seeing how they coped with things provided an interesting contrast to Olivia and her situation. It was also nice to see how Olivia’s attitude towards June, her father’s girlfriend, changed throughout the novel. That was excellent character development. 

The writing style was very easy and effortless, making it a pleasure to read. I read this book very quickly. The writing style just made me fly right through it. 

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The reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 was because it was missing that spark. I enjoyed the book a lot, but there wasn’t that special something to make me stop and go, “Wow.”

Overall, this was a well written coming of age tale and I look forward to seeing what else the author puts out in the coming years. 

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